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To Help Tell

Many, many eons ago, Mars was a thriving ecocognate of Earth. Similar atmosphere, chemical makeup, and climate, only slightly colder. Life thrived there. The whole globe was filled with jermosans, glacknüks, and roljams. However, the entire Phlegra Montes mountain was dominated by a race of intelligent beings now known as the Phlemians.

Now, the Phlemians were a tall, greenish bipedal terodactyl-like race, and they could both fly and walk on their hind legs. They prized athletic prowess, intelligence, and ability to hold one’s breath. In fact, a common rite of passage for youths was to hold one’s breath until he or she passed out. The thought was, once the youth was revived, he or she was now an adult. Those who did not survive were deemed disqualified for adulthood and were not mourned.

Trippy rituals aside, the greatest contribution to the Multiverse which the Phlemians gave is the word for film. The Earth word “film” in fact comes from the Martian word meaning “to help tell.” According to ancient Phlemian culture, the storytelling elder was the most revered of the whole clan. Often, the sons of the storyteller, or Feelmirkl, would go on to become chieftans. This was because they, being raised around the tales and provencial wisdom of the clan, would be better suited to lead than the offspring of the current chieftan. (Plus, they learned a great lesson from the Romans, and liked to break up reigning regimes with each successive chieftan.)

Anyway, the Feelmirkl routinely taught the whole clan through stories, parables, and stories of future histories. These revelatory tales dictated policy and cultural turning points within each clan. Thus, each story was called a “film,” and meant “to help tell,” or could even be literally translated “story’s story.” “Film” was a somewhat nebulous word back then, and could refer to anything story related, from tropes to visual metaphors. Eventually, however, “films” became synonymous with “stories,” and the name has stuck ever since.

As this developed, however, the clans became more and more bitter with each other, as the basic shared stories had evolved separately as the different clans grew larger and more distinct. Eventually, no one could agree on which stories were fact, parable, or even whether something was hyperbolic or not. The reigon descended into Chaos (a nearby chasm normally used for ritual suicide) and all the Phlemians warred amongst themselves in a large battle until less than none were left, save the last Feelmirkl’s son. This Phlemian was named Raål.

Raål came down from the mountains and rented a spaceship from the nearby Martian colony of Gangnøstm, which was far more technologically advanced than the puny narrative-obsessed Phlemians. Raål flew his ship toward the only place he could find: Roswell, New Mexico. That is how Mar’s history has survived, as the othe rinhabitants and creatures were wiped out by the bomb Raål left for them before he took off. NASA won’t admit it publically, but that’s the reason why Mars is devoid of everything but rust, rocks, and subterranean ice particles.

The bottom line of all this is that the only surviving aspect of the Martian culture of the Phlemians that I can tell you about is their word for “to help tell.” Besides that, the last remains of their civilization can be found still, only in a less lush and more rust-ridden environment.