"Death Machine Telemetry": Elijah Snow goes to see Melanctha, a magician (she prefers the term "scientist") he has not seen in many years. He tells her The Four are now Three, and he's looking for ways to remove the rest of them. Melanctha is intrigued and she o
- It's a strange world, Mr. Snow. Never lose sight of it.
- — Melanctha
Synopsis for "Death Machine Telemetry"
Elijah Snow goes to see Melanctha, a magician (she prefers the term "scientist") he has not seen in many years. He tells her The Four are now Three, and he's looking for ways to remove the rest of them. Melanctha is intrigued and she offers him a cup of tea, and discuss about the work of a couple of noted physicists, such as Richard Feynman and Eric Drexler, noting how these men knew that not enough attention was being paid to the microscale.
"We contain universes," Melanctha says. While Snow focuses on The Bleed, what lies below it? This segues into the "esoteric scientific research" that has shown that souls are a form of electromagnetic field, bound to the human body. When the body dies, the field/soul is leached out of the body and into the ecosystem. Plants then absorb some of their properties, and via this mechanism Melanctha links the souls of the dead with hallucinogenic, perception-altering drugs used by oracles and mystics throughout history, dating back to ancient times. Melanctha then coolly informs Snow she has drugged his tea. Sensing his alarm, she explains how she is sending him on a journey through "the wall beyond the microscale"-- the universe contained in a grain of sand. She talks him through that journey, at the end of which Snow learns he doesn't belong due to his status as a "Century Baby".
As he returns, she notes to Snow that given the wonders, and the vastness, of the universe, as well as his special place in it, surely his role is far more important than merely waging his war on The Four. Snow's face tells that he realizes she may be right.
Appearing in "Death Machine Telemetry"
- John Stone (In a vision)
- The Bleed (In a vision)
- The Last Shot (In a vision)
- This issue is collected in Planetary: Spacetime Archaeology.
- Melanctha recalls Shek Chi-Wai who denied the existence of an afterlife in Planetary #3. She curiously wondered if Shek Chi-Wai never saw the afterlife experienced by Elijah.
- Melanctha is visually based on Meredith Yayanos, violinist, theremist and background vocalist of The Vanity Set.
- The 1993 earthquake in Antarctica mention by Melanctha was based on an actual event. Scientists have concluded that two mysterious explosions in 1993 were caused by 'strange-quark nuggets' or strangelets.
- Melanctha references Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception, which elaborates on Huxley's psychedelic experience under the influence of mescaline.
- The spherical entities Melanctha identifies as "pneuma", which is from the Greek word for "breath", and in a religious context for "spirit" or "soul".