It’s the wreck of the S.S. Llama. It was 15 weeks out of Lima Peru with a cargo of llamas, the llamas were originally intended for a large-scale agricultural experiment in California, the so-called Llama Scheme that saw them as a way to terraform the desert and make it bloom.

The S.S. Llama foundered in a rare typhoon on the shores of Elsewhere Island, which was then known by its Spanish name of Isla de los Piedras (Isle of Stones). The ship broke up on the rocks for which the island was named just after midnight, disgorging human and llama alike.

Despite being dashed against the rocks the entire crew and all but one of llamas were saved. The only llama that they couldn’t save was Swimmy Dave (actually a female), the only one who loved to swim; he swam in the direction of Santa Monica and was never seen again. Legend has it that there have been Swimmy Dave sightings all over the Southwest and rumors of a secret llama colony persist to this day

Survivors of the wreck founded the first llama farm in North America on Elsewhere Island, and when they were approached by search and rescue ships, they refused to leave their new home and instead traded soft llama fur for badly needed supplies such as steel pans, medical kits, and toilet paper.

50% of the modern inhabitants of Elsewhere Island descend from these original unwilling colonists, as well as 100% of the llamas. Alas, inbreeding in the llama population means that llama farming is a very minor portion of the island’s economy today and most lot of farming is done strictly for subsistence or artisan purposes; most modern llama fur comes from llamas in Tibet.

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Not many people know that dromedary camels and Bactrian camels can interbreed. Their hybrid descendants usually have either a large misshapen hump or two humps: one small, one large. Their descendants are fertile and can produce further hybrids, though anything other than a first-generation female hybrid and a male Bactrian camel tends to produce offspring that is runty and bad tempered.

In the 1880s interested in the potential of camels to be used as beasts of burden in the vast interior of the Great Sandy Desert, British husbandry experts attempted to breed a Bactrian dromedary hybrid with three humps. Through a careful and expensive program of crossbreeding and back-breeding, they were able to produce a three-humped dromedary named Herbert in 1891.

Named after Lord Kitchener, the senior British Army officer who took a personal interest in the project, Herbert proved to be a hardy and sturdy beast of burden. With his three homes he could travel 75% further than a dromedary camel without water, and he was also capable of bearing a 50% heavier burden. While having three people ride him turned out to be impractical, Herbert was easily ridden by two people if saddled in the areas between his large humps.

A test expedition to Alice Springs in 1892 produced extremely positive results, not least of which because Herbert was generally gentle in temperament and fond of his handlers. Lord Kitchener gave his personal go-ahead for the husbandry experts to breed an entire herd of three-hump type camels for use in Australia.

Unfortunately, Herbert himself proved to be sterile as a result of the extensive breeding put into his birth, and further experiments failed to lead to a three humped camel that lived longer than a few minutes after birth. As such, the program was terminated in 1900, and Herbert was put on display in the Melbourne zoo for the remainder of his life. He was a great favorite of children in his time there, and was housed with a female dromedary jokingly named Fitzgerald by people who knew perhaps too much about Lord Kitchener’s personal life.

Though Herbert himself died in 1918, he gave his name and image to a local Melbourne rugby club that played as the “Three-Humpers” until 1967, when the changing nature of the word “hump” made the moniker untenable.

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Nerdicon has taken this trend a step further with the addition of a permanent wedding planner to its staff. During the one-week span of the convention, dedicated members may attend up to five weddings a day, with interested parties able to fill out the guestbook with cosplayers of their choice who charge a nominal fee for their appearance.

“Naturally, Klingon weddings are most popular option,” says Sherwood Greg, overall coordinator of Nerdicon and head of the Council of 12. “While health and safety regulations prevent us from using genuine pain sticks or real bat’leths, Nerdicon is able to offer a high level of verisimilitude.”

Sherwood Greg goes on to say that other popular wedding options include elven weddings, stormtrooper weddings, and anime nuptials. “We have a fairly strong divide between people who want to be married as Tolkien elves and people who prefer Dungeons & Dragons elves,” says Sherwood Greg, “but luckily we have enough cosplayers to fill out either.”

One wedding option that is strangely unpopular is superhero weddings. “We’ve actually never had a superhero wedding,” Sherwood Greg says. “The closest we’ve gotten is Superman and Lois Lane, but even that didn’t last and they showed up at the subsequent Nerdicon for a divorce, which we are also able to grant thanks to our Spock also being a notary public.”

Asked why superhero weddings are so unpopular, Sherwood Greg speculated that the frequent deaths of spouses in superhero comics and movies gave people a sense of foreboding or of tempting fate. “Everyone worth their salt knows that Peter Parker’s love life is a mess,” says Greg, “and nobody wants that for themselves. It is also especially tempting for our guests cosplaying as villains attempt to disrupt the ceremonies. That’s not a problem in a Klingon wedding, were disrupting the ceremony is in fact part of the ceremony— look it up if you don’t believe me— but in a superhero wedding it’s a real mood killer.”

Susie Palmer is planning a stormtrooper wedding with her longtime girlfriend May Withers. “I know there aren’t any stormtrooper weddings in the original trilogy, or even in the—noncanonical— prequels and extended universe,” Ms. Palmer said. “But we still feel like having our union blessed by two rigid rows of galactic fascists and presided over by Darth Vader and the Emperor himself is preferable to going before a Republican notary.”

Marcus Dingman, a stormtrooper who was hired off the Nerdicon convention floor to attend the wedding, had nothing but fond wishes for the couple. “Sure they’re paying me 10 bucks to stand around and look intimidating as the Emperor give them lightsaber rings to cauterize each other’s fingers with,” he says, “but it’s really all about the love. I’d honestly do it for a nip of their wedding buffet.”

Asked if the trend toward Nerdicon weddings will eventually become unmanageable, Sherwood Greg had this to say: “if people want to get hitched in costume, we’re happy to take the money. They’re already here for a world-class nerdy experience, and they’re likely already in costume. Charging them a few bucks for extras in the use of one of our Hollywood level backdrops isn’t hurting anybody.”

“Not that I would ever consider such a ceremony,” adds Greg. “I’m married to the con, and she is a very jealous wife.”

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Alpha Omicron Kappa (AOK)
The oldest sorority on campus, Alpha Omicron Kappa was founded when Waverly University was simply the Waverly Schoolhouse. Its long tradition of service dates back to its founder, 6th-grade student Heather Grimaldi, who got a pencil for Dino Spinoni without even being asked.

Beta Sigma Sigma Gamma (BΣΣΓ)
Founded by a Milwaukee brewer in 1902, Beta Sigma Sigma Gamma fraternity has been on probation continuously since 1977, a school record. Pledges are (in)famous for the “Bring it Up For a Vote” tour, where the objective is to leave a liquid scream at each of the four corners of campus. It may or may not be an urban legend.

Sigma Tau Delta Beta (STΔB)
Though no one has ever forgotten the events of 1972, when a goalie-masked man terrorized the house, Sigma Tau Delta Beta sorority has moved beyond its checkered past. Popular activities include seances, midnight graveyard parties, and of course splitting up to cover more ground.

Rho Theta Rho – (PΘP)
Legacies are the name of the game at Rho Theta Rho: it’s impossible to apply for membership without having a father, uncle, grandpa, or gruncle who was a brother. This, understandably, limits membership somewhat, so Rho Theta Rho has an aggressive recruiting policy that verges on stalking.

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Posh Hall
Named after Waverly University economics professor emeritus J. Herbert Posh, this dormitory houses the honors students as well as members of Beta Sigma Sigma Gamma too young to live off-campus. Posh Hall is well known for furnishing outstanding members of the rowing, tennis, and golf teams.

Annie Hall
Former state senator and alumna Amy Annie Smith, who dropped her last name as a political protest, gives her name to this dormitory. It is notable for being the only dorm at Waverly University that is carbon-neutral. It is also the only Pronoun-Free Zone on campus and the designated No-Kill Shelter for campus cockroaches.

Cox Hall
A former men-only dorm, Cox Hall gets its name from James Cox, through he never attended Waverly. University officials were sure he would win in 1920 and named the hall to curry favor with who they assumed would be the new President.

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COMING TO NBS THIS FALL: SPUDINA MCSHAW, POTATO FARMER

Our scene is eet in Idaho during the rough and tumble Potato Rush period of 1882-1904, when potato barons competed with free-spudders for access to land and water from the Snake River. Spudina McShaw, a brash and fiery immigrant from the south, arrives bearing a gift from her godfather Luther Burbank: the fabled Russet Burbank.

Large, white, mealy, and delicious, the Russet Burbank will revolutionize spud farming–if Spudina can successfully bring her first crop to harvest. But it won’t be easy. Potato rufflers are after a slice of the crop. The notorious potato baron Joe Marshall is casting a dark shadow over the industry. And what truly motivates the mysterious young fertilizer salesman J. R. Simplot?

Spudina will have to deal with them all to make Idaho potatoes the envy of the world. Tune in to find out how–and if–she is able to deal with a world where all eyes are on her taters!

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Once the cameras had snapped and the first shovelful of ground had been broken for the new McDougal’s fast-food joint, the owner waited until the crowd had dissipated before making a quiet call into his cell.

Fifteen minutes later, an unmarked car drove up. It was from the local McDougal’s lodge, no. 421, and out stepped the local representatives of that most noble order. First an Apprentice, wearing only the striped shirt and hat. Then a Journeyman with a striped cape, fluttering in the afternoon breeze. And finally the Master himself, with a striped robe and a staff topped with the symbol of the Most Sublime Double Order of McDougal’s, the All-Consuming Maw.

“Is the way prepared?” said the Master.

“Yes,” the owner said. He led them to a small concrete receptacle that had been prepared at the exact mathematical center of the new building’s footprint. A small stone casket lay there, prepared with mortar to seal it for all eternity.

“Very good.” The Master reached into his voluminous robes and produced a freshly-made McDougal’s milkshake, still glistening with condensation. Reverently, he placed it in the receptacle whilst singing the sacred words: “Pull up, pull up, pull up to the second window.”

“The second window will take your money and give you healing,” said the Apprentice and Journeyman.

Grasping the proffered spade, the Master covered the milkshake with earth while repeating the singsong liturgy. Once that was done, he sealed the container with the mortar. “This McDougal’s is consecrated now,” he said. “Mind that you treat McDougal’s #3891 with the due reverence it demands.”

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