Dear Snarthy

By Carol Seck 

 Dear Snarthy,  

This is the first time I’ve written to an advice columnist. I usually laugh at those who put their fate into the hands of a stranger, but you’re the only one I can ask that won’t ridicule me.

I applied for my dream job eons ago, and they finally hired me. I thought my employers would inform me about something as basic as this, but I imagine they thought everyone on the planet would know. Everyone might, but me. My generators are weirdoes who didn’t let me watch executions on vidvision, so I’m in the dark on this. 

I start on Monday as an official witness for the people and haven’t a clue what to wear. I’ll work with a mentor but nothing was said about clothing, and I want to make a good impression my first day. What is appropriate when representing the populace at a solemn state execution? 


Clueless in the Capitol

Dear Clueless,

I feel your pain. It must have been difficult growing up with these ambitions in a household that denied you the basic education and experiences of a normal sibhood. To be deprived of viewing the downfall of enemies of the people must have been horrible. Snarthy is not laughing at your ignorance but will do its best to correct it.

Bright colors, Clueless. This is a happy occasion. Blood reds are always in style. Royal green since you’re representing the Crown. Nothing somber, so black or white is out. You must represent the people in joy. An enemy is being removed from among us.

As to footwear, boots are good. You didn’t tell your gender, but they are appropriate for any of the three. Something that won’t stain with the splatter, so again white is out. As to the rest, your mentor will guide you gently through. 

Good luck, 


Dear Snarthy, 

You might remember me. I wrote awhile back. I’d just started my job as a witness for the people. Your advice was brilliant. Because of you, I started my duties on a positive note. I am now an independent, mentoring my own charges. So thanks for that, but I have another problem. 

I have been approached for mating, and I’m not sure what to do. There are two possible choices, one I’ll call “Brem” is a wealthy blastic. It’s a superior of mine at the capitol. So the pairing would be advantageous. The problem is I’ve also been solicited by “Contra” who is a priam. “Contra” doesn’t work with me but its preferences match mine in every area. We like to eat the same creatures, usually after an evening of racing after them through the woods. We dance to the same music and enjoy the same programs on vidvision. It even came from the same type of family grouping as I, every bit as radical, and has worked past obstructions from well-meaning sibs and renegade generators. I am a tetra, so either pairing is appropriate. 

The biggest barrier is the memory of my abusive family. I came from a union of a tetra and a priam. Logically, I realize that “Contra” is different from my alpha generator. It does not share the strange mindset of contrary, antisocial behavior. But somewhere in my mind lurks the fear that all priams might morph into renegades. I can’t bear the thought of it. 

What do you advise? Should I mate with “Brem” who is established, steady in its beliefs, and can further my career, but is not attractive? Or should I take a chance on “Contra”, the priam of my dreams, who might turn into a nightmare, years in the future?


Bewildered Witness 

Dear Bewildered,

Congratulations on your success. Snarthy is elated that it was of service. Now to focus on your dilemma: who to mate with, the attractive priam or the wealthy, influential blastic. It sounds like you have narrowed your choice to these two after careful mixing with all the genders. At least you were wise enough to avoid the pitfalls of a tetra/tetra pairing. That would never do if you have aspirations for higher office. Officially, such pairings are permitted, but the Crown is rethinking that even as Snarthy writes.

Here is my advice: go for the blastic. Your mind is already wired for failure with your energetic priam. Even if “Contra” shows no tendency to turn renegade, you will constantly expect the worst. The pressure will interfere with your advancement. You don’t need distractions at this point in your upward journey to the court. And as you said, “Brem” cares for you in its own way and will be a force for positive change. Maybe you can keep “Contra” as an occasional friend, if “Brem” doesn’t object. You, of course, can do as you please, but if you’re asking for logic, this is my take on the matter.

Good luck,


Dear Snarthy, 

I think of you as the wise generator that was always missing from my life. I’ve written before. I was the execution witness, who has now been elevated to advocate for victims, this through the intervention of “Brem” my alpha mate. As you predicted, its influence is beyond measure in my life. “Brem” generously allows my friendship with “Contra” to continue, as long as it doesn’t interfere with our daily agenda.

But sadly, I’m facing a new conundrum. “Brem” wants us to generate, and being the tetra, I must carry the packet. This is not unusual. Many tetras lumber about with a full pouch of neo-siblings as they walk the aisles of the court. Tetras are respected for this selfless service.                

“Brem” has chosen the mix of neo-sibs, three tetra and two blastics. He is not at all interested in priams who he views as flighty. We ritually squashed the rest of the eggs underfoot to create the optimal mix. So far, you say, Snarthy, there is no problem. Why is this tetra writing again? 

It is this: my friendship with “Contra” remains of utmost importance. It gives me feelings of fulfillment unobtainable with “Brem.” A while back, “Contra” convinced me to replicate with him; this with the permission of his mate “Midy” whose skin chemistry rejects the attachment of a packet. “Contra” discharged two neo-sibs, and they are now attached to my upper back, hidden securely under my robes. Now “Brem” wants me to carry our packet as well and knows nothing about my arrangement with “Contra”. 

What would you suggest? Should I tell “Brem”? Beg him to freeze our neo-sibs until “Contra’s” mature, and I can give them into “Midy’s” care? Or should I carry both packets at once? I’ve learned it has been done by others, but I’m unsure of the consequences to my health or that of the neo-sibs. Share your wisdom with me again, Snarthy.


Conflicted Advocate 

Dear Conflicted,

Snarthy is honored that it is seen as a wise counselor, someone needed desperately in this situation. As you have already figured out, it is unwise to bear a packet for another without your alpha mate’s consent. It is marginally legal, but puts the beta mate in a conflict that is difficult to reconcile. 

And, yes it is true: two packets can be carried by one tetra simultaneously, but in the past it was only done by sibs sharing a mate. This is an outdated solution practiced in the old order, when tetra’s were scarce, and the population dwindling. The Crown might soon outlaw the practice since it is needed no longer. 

Will carrying two packets from non-sibs of different genders harm a tetra or its precious neo-sibs? Snarthy checked with its experts but came up without an answer. Not one would venture a guess, since, in their knowledge, it’s never been done.

As to your solutions: do not approach “Brem” with this. Think first of your family and your contract to generate with it as your alpha mate. Can you imagine its anger if you’d ask such a thing? Blastics are not known for their sunny disposition. Think of your career in court! You might be exiled or worse.

Carrying both packets? Snarthy shudders when thinking of the possible consequences. There is only one solution, not an ideal one, but necessary. Remove “Contra’s” packet! Insist it find another to carry the neo-sibs for its beta mate. It sounds harsh but it is the only logical choice. Let Snarthy know how this turns out. It thinks of you with fondness.

Good luck,


Dear Snarthy, 

You asked that I keep you informed of the outcome of my twisted mess. Sadly, I did not follow your excellent advice. I just couldn’t do it. When I saw the sorrow on the faces of “Contra” and “Midy” when I proposed your solution, my heart pounded in my head. How could I pull away a forming packet of neo-sibs, halfway through their maturation? How could I murder their family?

So I did the unthinkable; I carried both packets without telling “Brem” It was not difficult to do. “Brem” seldom sees me unclothed, and “Contra’s” packet was small, holding only one tetra and one priam. The gestation of the smaller packet had started earlier, so I imagined I could give it into the care of my friends, long before “Brem’s” larger packet needed more of my body substance.

“Contra” and “Midy” joyfully received their perfect neo-sibs, half-way through the gestation of “Brem’s” packet. Their neos thrived, and I felt more fulfilled by this simple sacrifice than by any work I’ve done for the court.

But for some reason, my health declined when I carried only “Brem’s” packet. My body must have been used to the chemical balance created by both batches. I was unable to work for the last month of the maturation. “Brem” was concerned and brought in a doctor, who was perplexed by my symptoms, not knowing the full story. 

When the packet burst, and the neo-sibs tumbled out, I fully realized the price I must pay for my rash promise. The tetras were malformed, only three arms for each of them. The blastics were monsters, joined together at the back, barely breathing, heads smaller than normal. “Brem” took one look and flew into a rage. He summoned a servant to remove the evidence of our mating then demanded an explanation. He knew it must be my fault because blastics glory in their perfection.

I could not confess the cause, Snarthy. He would have   my friends arrested As it is, I am one step away from prison myself. “Brem” declared me unworthy of our mating and is looking through the records of my cases, trying to find justification for pronouncing me an enemy of the state. I am in hiding and soon will go off into the barrens with “Contra” and “Midy” and their sibs. All of us renegades, all of us exiled from our futures. Such is the sacrifice my friends will make, in return for my sacrifice.

I won’t be able to write again, but I’ve written this one last letter as a warning to others. Mate with your first choice, not for career or influence. Do not glory in and celebrate the downfall of others. You never know when you might do some small act that will put you outside of the boundaries of society. My priam alpha generator was right to question. Would that I had questioned too.


Unhappy Exile 

Dear Unhappy Exile, 

You have drawn erroneous conclusions from your misadventure. Your mistake was not in choosing the wrong mate. Snarthy stands by its original advice. The blastic and his generous mentoring and lenient rules was your perfect match. You, however, were unworthy of his trust.

Snarthy gave you a perfect solution, but you let the priam stir up emotions that brought about your downfall.  

One last piece of advice, which you’d do well to consider: flee quickly, the Crown is watching!

In disappointment,



Carol Seck is a fantasy and science fiction writer who enjoys weaving social commentary into her stories. She participates in two online critique groups and has had one previous story published in the anthology Orphans of The Storm ,published online by Whispering Spirits Magazine. She has several novels in progress and high hopes that she’ll find the perfect literary agent before the end of the year. Most of her stories aren’t nearly as weird as this one, but usually involve ghosts, healing powers, magic, strange locations and mystical religions. 

Published on March 29, 2008 at 3:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

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