Conedus conedus

RANGE: These tiny terrorists move at the speed of light, are as odorless as natural gas, and harder to find than offshore oil. Yet they are everywhere, flitting from the hypercooled south to the overheated north, leaving trails of white smoke in the skies between.
HABITS: It is the Energenii’s function to cause our precious energy sources to be diminished. There are many subspecies (or “alternate sources”) of Energenii: Gas Guzzlers, Power Mongers, Short Circuits, Ethyl Mermen, and Brownie (or “Brown”) Outs, to name but a few. They are a warrior band, organized along military lines, with a chain of command running from their General, Electric, through ranking officers, Major and Admiral Appliances, down to the humble Private Lee-Owned Resources. The Energenii strike like lightning (most often at night), plugging in and turning on every light, motor, burner, and piece of equipment in home, office and factory. The Energenii distract the gas station attendant and cause him to leave the locking gas cap off your tank, allowing precious fuel to “evaporate,” sometimes through a hose into a bucket. They readjust your car’s idle screw so that the engine roars like a dive bomber at a stoplight and the whole vehicle shakes and skips around like a bronc in a rodeo show. Energenii also enjoy destroying the washers on (preferably hot) water taps, turning up the furnace thermostat after you are asleep, and making sure your gas or electric oven is left on at the highest possible setting when it isn’t in use. Their most insidious tactic is to stealthily infiltrate our houses, strip away the insulation, and thus make draft dodgers of us all. Like most wicked spirits, Energenii are frightened away by sunlight. Thus, some optimistic mortals believe that there is yet time to employ Solar Power against them, before they acquire (oh, terrifying thought!) nuclear capability.
HISTORY: Like all Genii (or Djinni), they are Arabic, hailing from the nations we now designate as OPEC. After arriving in this country, they decreed that the homes of the early settlers should contain one or two fireplaces (at least) per room in order to make maximum inroads on the forests and coal deposits of the New World. When the first jalopy, consuming precious gasoline and belching the first protosmog, tooled out of a shed, the Energenii realized that it was the ideal vehicle to do their bidding in the New World and to this day the automobile remains their favorite form of transportation. Two mortals in particular have done the work of these plundering creatures: Henry Ford, who invented, at the Energenii’s hellish behest, the infernal combustion engine; and Thomas Edison, who in a very real sense made each of us a Slave of the Lamp.
SPOTTER’S TIPS: The Energenii can be seen hovering in colorful clouds over most cities and spreading like viscous rainbows on the surface of the Gulf. They are present at the construction of any major dam—their traces are those harmless-looking little cracks in the concrete. When you see a sevenseater, eight-cylinder American Bronto-mobile caught in traffic, burning fossil fuel to operate the stereo, air conditioner and power seats—containing, to the naked eye, only the plump, polyester-clad and bilious driver—you may be sure one of the Energenii is hunkered down in the suicide seat beside him, grinning.


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