Girl Genius
Girl Genius

Doctor Francisia Monahan is an English Spark, who evidently specializes in biological sciences, specifically working with rats. (Though we eventually learn she studies other things, too...) She is a red-haired woman who when she first appears always wears a full face protective mask with goggles and a mouthpiece. She swaps masks to deal with any new hazardous conditions she may end up facing.

She and Lucrezia Mongfish were sorority sisters at some unnamed university (possibly Transylvania Polygnostic) and evidently were as close to being friends as two powerful and amoral Sparks can manage.

Pre-appearance Mentions[]

Monahan's name is first mentioned (not counting The Works, see below) as Gilgamesh Wulfenbach concocts Tarvek Sturmvoraus’s inoculation draught. To wit, distillation of Monahan's venefirous mus elixir is an ingredient required.

Later, when Gil and Tarvek view the string of recordings made by the Agatha-constructed Wingbot recovered from the lab of Lord Snackleford in the Londinium dome of the Queen's Society, the last of them shows Doctor Monahan taking possession of the little clank from a fellow British citizen/agent. She evidently is the one who delivered it to the dome filled with disloyal cultists, with Queen Albia never getting any word of the clank's message. When shown the recording, Trelawney Thorpe confirms the Doctor's identity, adding that she has been officially missing for some time, along with noting her previous relationship with Lucrezia.

When Ariadne Steelgarter needs to hide we are informed that Monahan is holed up on an island somewhere sort of near Londinium and still working with her Horrible Rats. Furthermore, they are both acquainted with the rogue Smoke Knight Madwa Korel.

First Actual Appearance[]

Monahan finally appears in person when the comic's action moves to said island, where she is indeed scheming against Our Heroes with Steelgarter and Korel. Along with rats, she is an enthusiast of large bladed weapons, but to her disappointment, she doesn't get to immediately indulge in their use when Agatha and Co. fake their own deaths in an airship explosion.

She assists the also-present clank-copy of Lucrezia in getting the island's resident Mirror (sort of) connected to the one in the Royal Collection of Inconvenient Oddities, and she, Steelgarter and Lucrezia visit the laboratory where she creates her Rats. While her mask(s) make confirmation difficult, during all of this she comes across as surprisingly calm and pragmatic for a Spark. She's also pretty insightful, commenting at one point to Steelgarter and Hippocrates Brunel that Lucrezia is atypically sharing large swaths of information with them because she (Lucrezia) thinks that she will soon have no further use for them and intends to destroy them all. And sure enough, when events reach the point that Lucrezia needs a biological Spark body to occupy, she immediately attempts to copy herself into Monahan's brain with a built-in Summoning Engine, only to learn that Monahan has spent time working with the still-mysterious Loremistress Milvistle and has become an expert in Lucrezia's work... and so is able to block the attempt. She's also strong enough, thanks to her lifelong cheerleading enthusiasm, to kick the Lucrezia-clank into the nearby pool of Dyne-like water which she has been calling effluvia and using to experiment on her rats.


Dr. Monahan unmasked

She finally removes her mask(s) once Lucrezia seems dealt with, revealing an attractive freckled face and glowing pupil-less eyes with one iris colored purple and one orange, indicating that she is already making her own progression towards Queenhood. She states that with the revelations Lucrezia has let slip and Luci's adjustments to Monahan's set up she thinks she can complete the process herself. Speaking of which, she immediately proceeds to step into a shower of the purified effluvia and tells witness Steelgarter that she might want to run.

Steelgarter does indeed leg it while LuBot reappears and battles with Monahan, the two of them ending up "sharing" the available dose of Queen-inducing energy and both at least temporarily ascending (and growing to giant-size) as their ongoing fight begins to collapse the island around them. When Queen Albia is abruptly summoned to the island in person, in contrast to Lucrezia, Monahan displays some species of fear and caution. She then chooses to save the weakened Albia's life, distracting the gloating clank by sending in her newly be-winged rats, and then (finally) finishing Lucrezia off with an energy-blast to the head. She, Albia and the rest of the protagonists depart the remains of the island on the airship Zeno of Citium; on board, Albia gives Monahan her first lesson in Queening, showing that she can teleport her surviving rats directly to her current location.

Albia later tells Agatha that Monahan's research is fascinating and she shows great promise. However, Monahan was unable to fully complete her ritual and thus she may yet die.

When Agatha returns to The Continent to confront a Polar Ice Lord invasion, Monahan visits her en route and insists on repaying her perceived debt; after various ideas are rejected, she settles on giving Agatha's Wasp-Eater wings and departing for parts unknown.

The Works[]


Doctor Monahan, her rats, and her Diabolical Rat-Stretching Engine.

Doctor Monahan (no first name given) first appears as a character in the original 2001 version of The Works, looking much as she does in the comic.

Dr. Monahan herself is shown — rat in one hand, syringe in the other — with details Mad, Villain, and Spark.

Dr. Monahan’s Rats is another card (with two copies); details are Mad, Giant, and Pests. The two rats are several meters tall.

Finally, Dr. Monahan’s Diabolical Rat Stretching Engine has the detail Machine. It isn't worth any points itself (which is unique), but increases the value of Pest cards for one turn. So far the Engine has not appeared in the comic, the Rats instead being made Horrible via large glass tanks filled with Dyne-type water.[1]

Theories and Speculations[]

Tweedle's description of Dimitri Vapnoople's unnamed pre-Tweedle apprentice pretty much matches Trelawney's description of Monahan one to one.

Possibly relevant outside information[]

It's likely that the doctor was named after the Foglios' real life friend, bridesmaid, Rat stretcher , and business associate Carol Monahan.


  1. On the patron-only Girl Genius Patreon page for Wednesday, January 5, 2022 (the relevant page of the Girl Genius comic can also be seen here ), a fan made the comment, "It seems that Dr. Monahan's personal laboratory is the in-comic version of 'Dr. Monahan’s Diabolical Rat Stretching Engine'…" and Kaja Foglio responded, "It certainly is!"