An excerpt discussing the manos from:

My Time in Frontier Space,
A Journal of Extraordinary Travels and Mesmerizing Sights.

by James Henry Cooper, MD, PhD

... an organism unlike any other discovered before or since. Such is their nature that many prominent men of science declare the manos a creation, rather than acept them as a natural occurence. A mano's bizarre ways do nothing but support such claims; perhaps these scientists are correct in their assumptions. Perhaps some ancient civilization made the mano long ago for their own purpose?

     Of a mano's many pecularities, the organism possesses two extraordinary qualities. The first being its method of travel; the other being the mano's system of energy consumption and storage.

     Travelling in the frictionless vacuum of space requires, for humans, the application of a force opposing the direction of travel. A mano, however, utilizes no such technique; instead it bends the very fabric of space around it. Through means currently unknown a mano "pulls" its destination closer while "pushing" away the position where it began its journey. To the untrained observer, this favorable stretching of space causes the mano to glide through space at speeds apparently faster than light! Incidentally, but of no slim importance, a properly trained and equipped human can travel within the mano's "wake" of space-manipulation. The human can even goad the mano in a specific direction, thus taking a "free ride," as it were, to a distant star.

     The second aspect unique to the manos is their ability to efficiently store energy in their bodies ...

Dispatch to

"Norman's Stormriders"

from Baron Norman Altheim

NOTIFY: "Norman's Stormriders" [NORMST45JI923.7F]

SUBJECT: Upcoming Serendipity IV Alpha Deathmatch

   As you are already aware, I have chosen but four of you to defend our acquisition of the star system Serendipity IV. Not only is this system rich in resource, but our technicians have found the system's four gas giants perfect for the appetites of our great mano shoal.

   You were all children during the Civil War, but surely you remember its effects on our lives. It took the barons and our manos many years to rebuild this great civilization. Without men like yourselves, especially you, my own Stormriders! we would all be starving and dying still.

  And now those damned new humans are keeping us from glory! Our cause is the survival of civilized space, but we are stopped by these otherworlders' spiritual bullshit and foreign technology. Did you know that, in the first of the deathmatches these primitives forced upon us, their soldiers had no energy weapons? They fought us with bows and arrows! They stole our knowledge of weapons and with it a piece of our culture!

   These backwards strangers have no right to stop us, but still they force our men into this ritual combat! This is why I personally decided on four of my finest men. You are our only hope in claiming Serendipity IV. You will fight brave and fierce and leave no savage standing!

          - Baron Altheim

The Story of

Why Mano Lives in the Space Between Stars

as told by Shaman Black Tongue,
recounted by Silver Bear Mamooquim.

[The dim, flickering glow of a fire lights the shaman's face from below. Eerie shadows play upon the ceiling, as if the spirits of our ancestors dance wildly for our attention. The shaman raises his ancient head and stares through each of us with rheumy eyes. Our low murmurs disappear and with a voice as dry as Autumn's forest floor he begins the story.]

Before even a single star burned in the sky, all the animal gathered in a grand council.

"We need a land to rest upon," agreed the animals.

Hare, whose ears were still short then, said, "Yes, my children need a place to sleep."

And Crocodile, who could never be trusted, hissed, "Yes, my tribe needs a place to bask" ("and catch our lunch," he added under his breath).

And Raven, who is at times kind, at others wicked, and always hungry, cawed, "Yes, I and my tribe need a place to rest our wings."

And so every creature agreed that a land was needed. The last person to speak was Mano. Mano who ignored everyone not of his tribe, and never sided with anyone not of his tribe. Many animal heard Mano's voice for the first time then.

"No," he said, "I need no land. I can drift anywhere it pleases me. I do not need land and neither does my tribe. You will not make this land."

The entire council began to talk at once, all of them in disbelief at Mano's selfish words. Can he and his tribe think so? they all asked. Then Mano was asked to leave and not return until sent for, so that the other animals may decide on a way to argue with Mano.

"I will go back to my tribe," said Mano, "and tell them what has happened here. You will not create the land until I agree, because we are a council. And a council does not ignore a single person." And Mano left the council then.

With every other person in agreement, the council decided to make the land. "Mano does not know what he is saying," the animals agreed, "He will like the land when he and his tribe sees it." Turtle and Duck and Frog all swam to the mud below. They scooped up what they could carry and returned to the council. From this mud they made the planets and stars and set them into motion. And in the joy of creation, not a single one remembered to send for Mano. When they had finished making the universe, Mano and his tribe pushed their way to the center of the council.

"What is this? You have made the universe when I told you I did not want it. How is this a council? I am angry at your deceit, but I cannot stop you all. From now until the end of time I and my tribe will never live with any of you. We will live in the empty space between the stars and planets, never stepping on land or swimming the ocean."

Everyone hung their head in shame, save Squirrel. Squirrel, who thinks his head is bigger than it really is, shouted, "We do not want you on our land or in our seas. We would rather you stay in the empty space!"

With that Mano grew furious.

"Not only have you ignored me, but now you insult me as well! My tribe will do more than live in the empty space. We will eat your stars and planets as if they were food! We will eat and eat until the universe is no more and you must start again. And next time I and my tribe will not be ignored."

With his last word Mano, followed by his tribe, left the other animals forever. And that is why the manos are the way they are today. It is also why are not to hurt them, for then we would be as shameful as our animal parents on the day of the universe's creation.

[With his closing words the shaman lowers his head and speaks softly to an elder beside him. After a brief time of silent appreciation we shuffle out of the lodge. Some of us to our planetside homes, others use the Katagates to reach far away ships. All of us sleep that night with shoals of manos haunting our dreams.]

The private thoughts of Feet Like Jaguar's

spoken to his grandmother before entering battle.

I do not understand them....

They grow hair on their face, like an animal. But are they mocking Bear and Walrus and their tribes? Or are only ignorant?

They treat the manos like machines; andwhile the manos are selfish and mean, they cannot help what they are. Do these hollow men understand that? Do their shamans tell the same legends as ours? Have they shamans?

Their knowledge of nature and wakeh-magic is a pebble to our coast, yet they call us savage. I have heard about their empires and "grand" civiliation. How can these humans be so advanced when they nothing of the spirit world or even our simple wakeh-magic?

They pour their efforts into selfishness and destruction. How can a civilization be great with so many weapons? How can a human understand their parents, the animals, when the manos are enslaved so?

I do not know. Perhaps there is more mano than human in them. May Mano and his tribe forgive them; I cannot.