08/30/21 – Cuddle Puddle

Spacetrawler, audio version For the blind or visually impaired, August 30, 2021.




Sometimes I horrify myself, even (especially) when I can’t stop laughing.


  1. Jude

    A nice big warm sleepy Stribs group and I thought “There’s no way Ruddock can wipe them all out with one or two sneezes.” Ah, but I should know you better (as a writer) by now. A zap and splubtbtbtbtbt later and that puddle’s gone. Hooray for Ruddock!

    I doubt that all are decimated though. No vessel has all its crew asleep at one time. I’d say there’ll still be lots of murderous Stribs that need to be looked after.

  2. tlhonmey

    Now that does make me wonder just how laser disintegration works… One Strib at a time, sure, you could maybe turn them into finely atomized powder and let them drift away on the breeze with nobody the wiser… But a pile that size? That’s going to clog the air filters and fill the room with a choking hazard amount of dust pretty well instantly…

    If it’s turning them to gas, that’s even worse. At the very least they’d displace all the air. More likely there’d be an impressive explosion…

    Doesn’t look like there’s a puddle left over either…

    I’ll give you bonus points if the Stribs realise something’s going horribly wrong because the life support clogs up with Strib dust I guess. 😛

      1. tlhonmey

        I guess that works as long as it’s somehow efficient enough to not cook everyone with the waste heat… Better hope the power pack in that laser doesn’t have a problem though, it could probably vaporize a small moon…

  3. Meerling

    Ruddock still hasn’t seen what’s happened yet, he’s always sneezing when they disappear. This definitely freaked him out.

    Still, without even knowing it I’d have to guess he’s probably wiped out around close to half their ships crew by now. Too bad for them that Ruddock is allergic to them, or maybe their shampoo, whatever 😉

  4. Pete Rogan

    What did I say last week? I’m SO annoyed that Ruddock has eliminated all the Stribs with his collar laser. Even more so because he did it in one fell soup, as they say.

    Mind, they are the most truculent of species, and their parasitic plan to turn humans into unwitting and mindless nannies of their pups is obnoxious and offensive, but blowing away the crew here makes the task of tracking down their supplies and their facilities that presumably are still waiting for humans to sling into their slavery obstreperous and Augean.

    Finding the crewless Strib ship is just the first step in unravelling the larger plot against humanity and Galactic law the Stribs are still preparing. And I don’t think finding the Strib homeworld and linking Ruddock’s laser to the GOB fleet’s fire control system is the solution. However amusing that might be, briefly.

    No, don’t you dare!

  5. Muzhik

    What I can’t get over is how the Stribs are like little match heads. Normally, the laser blast would splupt only one Strib, and maybe the Strib behind that one. But no! Splupt one and the whole bunch is splupt.

    It could be a combination of the fabric their wearing and the chemicals used to clean them. Bunch them together and like match heads, you light one and the entire pile goes up. Or maybe like Apollo 1 — the adhesive used to affix the Velcro all over the capsule had no safety issues when under Earth-normal pressure and atmosphere. But in the mix of gasses used and the higher pressure in the capsule needed to test the strength of doors, etc., meant that when one piece caught fire the entire capsule was engulfed in flames in seconds.

    Cheery thought.


      As I understand it, Apollo 1 used pure Oxygen at 5psi. Allowed for much cheaper and lighter capsule. Perfectly safe in space. Not safe on earth with what – 19 psi over vacuum.

      Should have used air on that occasion.

    2. Just_IDD

      The Apollo fires were so fierce because the capsule environment was pure oxygen. Normal air is only about 21% oxygen and oxygen is the element required for the most efficient oxidation..aka burning.

      Once they start, fires in oxygen rich (5x more oxygen in this case) environments burn hotter and that additional heat allows other more energetic elements to also start burning which cascade until all the oxygen is gone.

      There is a thing called the “Fire Triangle” which covers the three things fire needs to happen. Oxygen, heat and combustible material. All of our firefighting technologies attempt to do two things, separate the burning surface from oxygen, and cool them below the burn threshold. Water does that through evaporation.

      The hotter an environment gets the more likely things that are not normally combustible will become so.

      Search online for “Lighting a grill with Liquid Oxygen” and really really don’t try this at home.


        Note that improperly used, charcoal and liquid oxygen make a potent explosive, at least in theory. Not to mention flames 50 feet high if it IS done right. So really, don’t try it.

        Still, I wish Mythbusters has tried it.

  6. Night-Gaunt

    Ruddock’s sneezing firing the disintegrator weapon is doing an accidental service in annihilating any Stribs he meets.

    Well if Rick found the ship he’d take whatever tech he finds of interest. And maybe other items as well.

    1 in 10 is big bounty!

    This is both funny and terrifying. Just like the Stribs are who use their puppy dog exterior by their cold murderous interiors to take what they want.

    They certainly deserve it. So I cry as a crocodile does.

  7. Rob C.

    What strange place for the crew to sleep. Well, hopefully, Ruddock can figure out how to operate the ship if he not traumatized. He now picking up he cause of people disappearing and not just squinting when he sneezes.

  8. Pete Rogan

    No! Don’t!

    Ruddock convinced Spacetrawler he was the best commander the ship ever had. If he does that to the Strib ship….

    Okay. That does it. Forget the lemonade. Decanting the Old Grand-Dad now. I’m gonna need it.

  9. I have been asking for weird in this comic for ages.
    Ruddock. Mass murderer/Genocide of Stribs..

    I mean
    Accidental Mass murderer/cause of Genocide of Stribs..
    Ok we have hit creepy weird now. I get how this totally changes the story and I get how Ruddock may end up being prosecuted for crimes against Stribs.

    I am even up for a retcon too undo all of this.

  10. Meran

    Wow. Really had to scroll to get a comment field..

    Way to go Christopher! It’s said that to be a good writer, you must first kill all your darlings… big eyed puppy-looking things do qualify!

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