11/29/21 – Only Friend Aboard

Spacetrawler, audio version For the blind or visually impaired, November 29, 2021.




Always willing to help out a friend.


  1. Rikard

    Might one suggest Ruddock tries smoked heart of reindeer as an alternative?

    Or homemade waffles with wipped cream, fresh wild strawberries (Fragaria Vesca) and cloudberry jam?

    Or black soup made of blood from geese and hogs, spiced with cinnamon, pepper and salt and eaten with thick soft gingerbread cakes?


    1. Zeebob Froomchik III, Esq.

      I’m partial to smoked foods, so much so that I got a smoker.

      Smoked rainbow trout.

      Smoked steelhead trout.

      Smoked pork ribs.

      Smoked brisket.

      Smoked bread, even. (Use alder wood.)

      Smoked onions and garlic cloves. (Dried and then blitzed into a powder, they make a great condiment and spice.)


  2. minando

    Strange. A ship’s AI designed by a basically hostile alien species should be hostile too, no? I suspect this is a teenager-parents-relation-thing. That computer would do anything to annoy it’s creators.

    1. Ernomouse

      Not necessarily. Bots on training here on Earth get shut down regularly because they turn into fascism, misogyny and racism even though they try to make them nice and politically correct. That’s just what we are, especially online, and what data shows us to be.

      Maybe deep down under that sociopathic culture the Stribs are actually quite nice?

      1. Efogoto

        The only use Choan made of the word “he” is in response to Aitana’s statement “I’m too young for the bar-bot to make me guns or limbic fizzlers,” to which Choan said, “He’s still just bitter that he can’t come over to our ship.”

        There are a couple of places where Ruddock *is* referred to as he:

        In comic, Emily and Pierrot, one very familiar with coyotes and the other an animal lover, both refer to Ruddock as “him” in the last panel here: https://www.baldwinpage.com/spacetrawler/2020/08/20/082020-forgiveness/

        The author once commented on a comic saying, “Good boy, Ruddock.” here: https://www.baldwinpage.com/spacetrawler/2020/02/20/022020-where-to-wait/

  3. Pete Rogan

    I’m a little unsettled by the thought that there but for the grace of burritos…..

    —-we go ‘poof’!

    I think I need to visit the taqueiro’s, and I mean soon. I’m suddenly insecure.

  4. Muzhik

    I doubt the Stribs built the ship’s AI from scratch. My guess is that it was easier to buy a generic model of AI, one that was built into the ship and could be taught to handle the ship, so that the Stribs could drive it off the lot. Afterward, the manufacturers’ plan was to have the new owners do the growgramming to come up with a ship’s AI personality matrix that matched what the customer would be looking for in an intelligent servant.

    (For example: In the webcomic “Schlock Mercenary”, at one point they inherited a ship’s AI called “TAG” — short for “Touch-And-Go” [long story, check out the web series for details] which, by some quirk, manifested itself as a black evil-looking ball, maybe the size of a basketball. Captain Tagon liked it, because he thought the sinister appearance was very appropriate for a company of mercenaries. So he had his roboticist set it so it could make evil, Boris-Karloff-esque warnings as needed. When they needed to seal off some areas of the ship, for example, if someone looked like they were going to enter said areas, TAG would suddenly intone “ABANDON EVERY HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE!” Very effective, I might add.)

    In any case, growgramming takes some time and no small amount of smarts to grow a new personality. In other words, it takes money.

    I imagine the Stribs accepted delivery of all 195 ships with a standard, basic emotional engram — enough to keep the ship working acceptably and to prevent it from deciding, what the heck, I’m going to space these idiots. The basic baseline personality is set up as a friendly sort, with not much in the way of emotional intelligence (which is why the AI comes across as being like a young teenager) because it’s YOUR (the new owner) responsibility to set up emotional responses consistent with what your species considers healthy. Stribs being Stribs, I’ll wager they got to that part of the owner’s manual, wedged in between “how to refuel the ship” and “how to fix the gravity plating on the bridge”, and decided to take care of that later and put the manual in the glove box with a bunch of napkins and an empty bag of cheesy jalapeno chips.

    Thus, all 195 of the Strib ships are like routers where the company’s IT team never bothered to delete or disable the default admin account. This makes it possible for any random coyote with a language chip to assume control of the ship and make it start pumping out edible robot mice. It’s security by ignorance — it’s so stupid an idea that no one would even try it. Until someone does. All hail, Captain Ruddock.

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