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The Fluttermolpy Discussion

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The Fluttermolpy Discussion is one of the periods of the xkcd comic Time, within the Mountain Era.
It lasted from frame 2066 to 2141.


Having moved on past their encounter with the hedgehog-like molpy, this period follows Cueball and Megan as they continue up the mountain on their journey of discovery towards the top, a detour in and of itself from their original quest to discover why the sea is rising. The purpose of their journey and their course become a major topic of discussion during this period.

As has become standard in recent periods, the terrain pieces are particularly steep during this period. In the first scenery piece they enter as the period begins, they see a reed-like bush. Cueball touches it, and then Megan gives it a much bigger "BOP" as she passes.

Halfway through the third scenery piece they hike through, Megan pauses for a moment, causing Cueball to turn back and ask if she's okay. She responds with an enthusiastic, "Yup!" and presses on, past Cue who is now the one paused in place. After she passes him, he suggests, "Maybe it's time to turn around. The world is too big. It can go on longer than we can." Megan defiantly adds, "I'm going on," to which Cue, rath
Xkcd time 20130616 0600

Megan passionately describes the beauty of the fluttermolpy as part of her argument for continuing higher up the mountain.

er existentially, replies, "But one day we won't be. And we're a long way from home." Megan looks up the mountain, then back at Cueball, who continues his reasoning: "Earlier, I thought you wanted to turn around and go back to the sea." She responds that she doesn't want to go back to it, but rather to understand it. Cueball counters by questioning climbing as a means of discovering the answer, as the sea is down, not up.

Just then, a flying insect (dubbed in the One True Thread the "Fluttermolpy"), flies in from the right side of the frame, weaving its whimsical mid-air dance, and lands on a bush right in from of Megan as she watches it. She looks at it and says, adding her own philosophical contributions to the discussion, inspired by her new flying friend: "These bugs have such beautiful wings. You could spend a thousand lifetimes staring at water and sand, thinking as hard as you could, and you'd never guess the world had things like this in it." She once again pauses to look up the mountain and back at Cueball again and concludes, "I wanna see the top."

Apparently convinced, Cueball joins Megan in continuing up the hill once again, asking as th
Xkcd time 20130617 0600

The foreboding demise of the fluttermolpy

ey set off, "What do you think we'll find?" She responds quite simply, "More world. Maybe different." The fluttermolpy follows them to the edge of the frame, and into the next scene piece--one of the steepest encountered yet, especially at the right edge, requiring them to pull themselves up with their hand to get to the more plateaued top before exiting the frame. After they exit, the fluttermolpy is still seen dancing in the air until a bird of some sort swoops in, from the top of the frame, nabs it for a meal right in the air, and exits again at the top. This is the first death observed in the comic and adds a very dark tone to the already philosophically burdened period.


The plain journeying parts of this period did not yield very much discussion, but their rather deep conversation did, as did the dramatic fate of the fluttermolpy at the end.

Their conversation primarily prompted further character analysis of Cueball and Megan respectively, the former being more short-sided and perhaps phobic towards the world, the latter driven by intense curiosity and sense of adventure. This period certainly does stand in strong parallel, and in some ways contrast to their earlier period of Questioning the Quest at the Abandoned Habitation, where they had to decide whether to pursue the sea further or begin exploring the mountains. In the former discussion, they changed their plans, while this time they reaffirmed them, though both pointed them in the same direction: either into or higher up the mountain.

Megan's final four word reply, "More world. Maybe different" caused a renewed speculation regarding the vocabulary and life experience of the pair, some conjecturing that the simplicity of the sentences might suggest, as has been hypothesized before, that they are children. However, many others tended to agree that her short responses didn't have to mean that, and aren't even that abnormal, as people often converse in fragments rather than complete sentences, and since the previous frames showcased rather elaborate sentences from her describing the beauty of the fluttermolpy, it seems odd to label her as simple-minded. Indeed, both characters introduce rich and developed thoughts during this period. Cueball rather darkly adds very sobering reminders of the mortality of man and of human limitation, countered by Megan's use of the fluttermolpy to make a case for the human sense of discovery and appreciation of beauty. Both philosophies are symbolically reinforced in the next scene piece by the fluttermolpy continuing to journey with them and dancing beautifully around them before meeting its own mortal end through the bird.

Some hypothesized that the bird, beyond merely reinforcing Cueball's philosophical contribution, also served as a dark omen, foreshadowing danger in the natural world soon to befall Cuegan. This would prove correct during the attack from the large cat shortly thereafter.

Molpy SightingsEdit

Besides the Fluttermolpy and bird mentioned above, two other Beesnakes are seen, one each in the first and second scene pieces respectively. The first is apparently startled from the bushes it resides in initially when Cuegan approach, then flys in a few whimsical circles before exiting the frame at the left. The second is seen flying in from the left and back out again in the period's second scene piece right after Cuegan exit right. This overall abundance of insect appearance in the comic during this period adds to the symbolic gravity Megan assigns to them during the discussion.

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