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by Phil Temples

<"I've been thinking more about nnn-mmgg"> said Ng-ggn-uu to Krnn-muu-nn and the others.

Actually, Ng-ggn-uu didn't say it—he <thought it>. As with all Mm-nn-muu, Ng-ggn-uu possessed the ability of telepathic communication. Verbal cues resembling grunts and groans were added merely for emphasis. When he stood on his two rear appendages, Ng-ggn-uu rose to nearly three and one-half meters in height. He had a massive body, especially given the considerable gravity of this world. Ng-ggn-uu weighed nearly 700 kilograms. He oftentimes supported himself on all four sturdy appendages. His body featured an additional tail appendage. Ng-ggn-uu was regarded as a talented philosopher. The females also considered him quite handsome.

Ng-ggn-uu, Kran-muu-nn and the other Mm-nn-muu of their tribe fed under a blazing yellow sun on a world known as Kil-nuu-nuu. They fed only on plants, for they considered it barbaric to eat the flesh of other animals. To their collective knowledge, no Mm-nn-muu had ever killed a creature for its flesh, even in the most desperate situations.

The Mm-nn-muu believed themselves to be descended from magnificent beings who came to Kil-nuu-nuu from a planet circling a far-away star. The star could only be observed at night when their sun was eclipsed. The Mm-nn- muu had never used tools; thus, they had never designed scientific experiments. But they knew intuitively that their Kil-nuu-nuu was round, and that it rotated on its axis producing a cycle of day and night. They had also reasoned the concept of gravity. Quite simply, the Mm-nn-muu knew much about their physical universe by conducting intellectual intercourse amongst themselves. Life was good, and their daily routine presented them with much tme in which to eat and to discuss the physical--and the metaphysical.

<"The nnn-mmgg must surely exist after we pass on, but in other forms,"> thought Ng-ggn-uu. Nnn-mmgg was the Mm-nn-muu's concept of the soul.

"Muu-nnnn," Ng-ggn-uu grunted, to help emphasize his point.

Ng-ggn-uu continued, <"We know that our very communication is comprised of energies that, although we cannot measure, must exist as surely as our Kil-nuu-nuu moves around our Gn-nnn-mm.">

To this statement, several others of the tribe <thought> their approval, and spoke it, too, with long, high-pitched groans.

<"Other great thinkers have postulated that all energies and matters are conserved. Nothing is ever really destroyed. Rather, it is reduced into smaller components. Indeed, I would argue that energies and matters may even be interchangeable.">

"MMMMmmmmmm-nn! ..." and, "...NNnnggmm-mmm..." There was much agreement to this concept, introduced to the tribe several moons earlier, by Ng-ggn-uu.

<"If one were to extrapolate, it would not be hard to envision a system where our individual nnn-mmggs re-combine to become a Kil-nnu-nuuian nnn-mmgg.">

Other theories were put forth by Mg-hnn and Ghn-nuu. Mg-hnn favored the concept of re-birth of the individual nnn-mmgg, a sort of re-incarnation. Many felt that Mg-hnn's concept warranted further discussion.

Just as the discussion was beginning to get interesting, a machine used by one of the tool-making creatures, the Gg-rr-nuu, appeared on the horizon. The Gg-rr-nuu were flesh eaters; they were also highly unpredictable, and could be dangerous on occasion. Mostly, though, the Mm-nn-muu regarded them as pests to be tolerated.

Ng-ggn-uu hated these periodic interruptions.

<"Car!"> thought Krnn-muu-nn to the other herd members.

With that, 16 Gurnsey cows dropped to all fours and began to utter in unison, "Mmm-mooooooo..." until farmer Bard had driven out of sight.

[Author's note--my profound apologies to Gary Larsen...]