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World Background

What is the milieu of the comic?

E Motel is set... well, Khristo was born in the 1950s, and he's nearly seventy, so events here occur around the late twenty-teens. Say about ten years in the future (as at the time of writing.)

Global Situation

In global politics, the United States is still in a very confused state, recovering from the severe bungling and misgovernment of a two-term presidency in the early 2000s. The current incumbent, frankly, has bitten off more than he can chew, since his platform was one of making massive changes in government spending, directing funds towards education, sciences and social security. Both major parties were completely blind-sided by the landslide victory of the American Values Party, and, rather than listen to the people, have set themselves to ousting the upstart.

The United Nations is undergoing an extensive and painful restructuring after a damning report exposing serious corruption and paralyzing bureaucratic infighting.

Iraq, left to itself, is a three-ring circus with Kurds on top, Sunnis in the middle and Shiites on the bottom. Fortunately the Kurds don't trust the Shiites, so civil war hasn't fully erupted. Yet.

China is involved in open war against Tibetan pro-independence guerillas, but is trying unsuccessfully to divert attention by publicizing its assistance efforts in North Korea. This is making both Taiwan and South Korea extremely nervous, thanks in part to the intransigence of North Korean leader Sung Kyong Il. Fears are that China may lose patience and simply depose him, occupying the Stalinist kingdom and giving Den Xiaopang another angle of attack on South Korea. And if that happens, Taiwan fears it may well be next.

Africa is the usual stew of tribal warfare, corruption, and natural disasters it always has been. The assassination of Robert Mugabe doubly so.

NASA astronomers shocked the world around 2010 by reporting the existence of what they described, with admirable restraint, as "a very large artificial object" orbiting out beyond the moon. The media immediately dubbed it, quite accurately, as "the Mothership".

The first manned Mars expedition is being assembled in low Earth orbit at the Virgin ISS and is expected to launch sometime in the next six months. Sir Richard Branson is described as "excited."

What about New Zealand? What's happened over the last ten years?

Well, Labour had a defeat to National, then National again, and we're back with Labour. Again. Rather like US presidential elections but nicer.

One of the nicer bits of legislation that appeared (and almost disappeared) was the Student Wage Act: namely, fulltime tertiary students get paid the minimum youth wage, a move easing the pressure on students to work as well as study. On the flipside, the national student debt now exceeds ten billion dollars as course costs and rents continue to rise.

Several groups took out a class action suit against the major petrol companies accusing them of acting as a cartel, spurred by no less than four consecutive price hikes in what became known as "Black April". Car sales dropped precipitously and "drive-offs" (the practice of leaving the petrol station without paying) jumped.

Wellington finally got work started on the Transmission Gully bypass, which is due for completion in about six years.

Bars and restaurants can now pay a hefty licensing fee to allow smoking inside the building; less for a designated smoking lounge and more (often much more) for a general permit. This loophole was designed to assist mainly pubs in rural areas, who were hit hard by the Smokefree legislation which often saw them shutting extremely early due to customers preferring to pick up a dozen at the supermarket and take it home. (The proliferation of illegal "garage bars" probably also helped.) Of course, by this time fewer people were smoking anyway, so some bars didn't even bother, preferring to shut up shop rather than pay what they saw as an unnecessary and unaffordable cost.

(In Te Kore, the Surf Club has a full permit; the Te Kore Hotel has a partial permit for the bar only; and the Seabird Café famously can't be bothered.)

Alien Involvement

Khristo is the first alien-human hybrid known, and was born roughly a year after Kenneth Arnold made his report of UFOs. Since then, not only did reports of sightings proliferate, but reports of close encounters and abductions as well.

In the E Motel universe, there are two predominant types of UFOs reported: classical 'flying saucers', oblate spheroids associated with the Greys; and triangular vehicles which somehow manage to ignore normal physics with regards to inertia and conservation of momentum. Some people have associated the latter with Reptilians, but they're wrong.

There is a Reptilian race, however. It's about 750 light years away, and its most advanced civilisations are on a par with Ancient Rome. Whether they have hybrids is, therefore, not yet known at this point. Come to think of it, it probably doesn't really affect Earth in general, or the story of E Motel in particular, in any way whatsoever.

How many hybrids are there?

There are about thirty-one such beings signed up with AHHA, mostly concentrated in the United States and Europe; one member is living in Bahrain and another in China.

There are probably more such beings not enrolled with AHHA, according to Greg. His suspicions are that such hold-outs are afraid that the group is a means to locate and track their kind, or that they are "born into third world countries where they and their mothers are immediately burned as devils, such as Angola or Arkansas."

Did Greg really do a porno movie?

Yes. It was called Anal Probers, and as Greg has confessed, he decided to do it during a time of great hardship.

The story, naturally, involved abduction and rectal probing of pretty girls (and guys) by a sex-crazed alien (Greg.) Watching it, the fact that Greg was pretty zonked on marijuana and who knows what else is pretty obvious — as is his "falsie." The "falsie" was required by the producer; the drugs were required for Greg to participate in the gay/bi scenes.

Little known was that Greg was directly responsible for having the director jailed on narcotics charges, resulting in the company's vanishing. Greg seized the master tapes and destroyed them, making what few copies remain extremely valuable.

Naturally, Greg's Bogans fan-base refuse to believe a word of it.

What was Bogans From Outer Space like?

Greg's finest and favourite role was in this sci-fi chase movie, which he refers to fondly as a "smash flop." The plot was almost as risible as Anal Probers — a group of alien hoons fly in to try Earthling drugs and end up pursued by both local and galactic police forces, local gang members and various outraged parties. A reasonable description would be a teleporter accident involving Goodbye Pork Pie, Reefer Madness and Laserblast.

The production standards were famously low, especially in regards to the "shuttle", a poorly disguised HQ Holden station wagon, and the predominantly night-time shooting. On the other hand, some sense was shown in the back story, with the aliens fretting over how to fix their shuttle to get back to the ship in orbit overhead — a ship already discovered by the galactic police. The rest of the time, however, the plot revolved around truly awful drug humour (alien biochemistry, you know) and "fish out of water" situations.

Criticism has revolved around the clumsy shift from clumsy imitation of Cheech & Chong to a slightly inspired car chase at roughly the forty-minute mark. Admittedly, "inspired" is stretching it, since the alien cops' ships were almost as corny as Greg's shuttle.

The shuttle, in the end, is repaired enough to return to the ship, but Greg and friends are arrested anyway. The final shot is of the hoon ship being towed away before the credits roll, rather like that of Goodbye Pork Pie.

What happened to all those rescued Gryrnese?

The death rate of the Rescued due to Transition Sickness — that is, a reaction to how native Tryslmaistanian substances in their blood broke down in universal transmogrification — was high; only about one or two hundred survived.

The parallel research committee had learned very quickly about how to "reach" Tryslmaistan, and information on how to create a "wormhole" large enough to pull something the size of a human being through was soon disseminated.

Successful rescues were carried out in research sites in New Zealand, Australia, United States, Britain, Germany, Tel Aviv, Japan and China, much to the surprise of both institutional management and governments.

Those rescued in New Zealand, the US and Europe fared relatively well, but also relatively poorly. While immediately rallying to provide medical assistance, the refugees were soon left to the mercies of non-profit organizations and were expected to assimilate into the host societies and cultures.

The Australian contingent effectively shut down parallel research in that country. Given the strong xenophobia that still existed even after the Howard administration was finally defeated, those particular Gryrnese were quick to leave the country. Most of them moved to join their fellows in Little Gryrnu, Waiarapa, RD5 New Zealand.

The Chinese contingent, according to Amnesty International, were not only subjected to medical research without their consent, but also indoctrinated (Amnesty International used the term "brainwashing") in what passes for Communist doctrine in China. Any public appearances they make are generally festooned with Party officials "for their protection."

What is parallel research?

An offshoot of quantum physics involving a lot of handwavium and unobtanium particles flying around. Basically, the idea is to explore alternate universes.

Until the Rescue, parallel exploration was limited to capturing electromagnetic radiation and small quantities of material. The eventual idea, which all governments are interested in but deny, is to create "wormholes" or "portals" large enough to transfer large objects (such as earthmoving equipment) to alternate Earths and colonise them.

The fact that the parallel equipment could be used to contact completely different universes came as a complete surprise to researchers. It also helped explain the mysterious disappearance of the San Francisco Science Museum in 1984 as well as shedding light on other chronicled vanishings, such as that of Tintern Abbey in the 16th century. However, several well-chronicled explosions have put a lid on this area of research.

Suspicious people may question researchers connecting to Aeryx Tryslmaistan, a notoriously introitus-resistant universe, at exactly the point in space-time when they could rescue many of their fellow humans from Stormfall.

Suspicious people also draw a connection between the aliens and recent developments in parallel research.

Alien Investigation & Research Society

AIRS is an international society of concerned citizens, kooks and crackpots convinced that the nations of Earth are not taking the potential threat the aliens pose seriously enough. The probable reason for this is the antics of the more, ah, "excitable" members, who are often all to ready to fire off fanciful press releases at the slightest provocation.

Their activities generally involve observation of what they consider to be alien activity and reporting same to the authorities, who may be interested, but usually fake it.

World Alien Resistance

WAR is a more militaristic caricature of AIRS, and "shoot first and take it to your leader later" is a pretty good encapsulation of its ethos. Where AIRS sees a potential threat, WAR knows the aliens are hostile and already control key government people.

As such, WAR attracts the disaffected and angry brigade who are all too willing to indulge in illegal activities. "WARheads" often appear in the papers charged with illegal possession of firearms, trespass, threatening behaviour, vandalism, driving offenses, drug offenses, sedition (rarely) and violence.

It is not too exaggerated to say that most AHHA members and Gryrnese live in fear of running into these lunatics; however, AIRS members are nervous about them too. WARheads think that AIRS betrays the human race by reporting activity to the authorities, since the authorities are in the aliens' pay. As such, AIRS has a standing order that any WAR activity should be reported to the authorities — who are more likely to take such things seriously!