12/29/21 – Rule of Equeelin

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




It’s always hard to discover a good friend is a murderer. I hate when that happens!


  1. rws

    Not really any worse than killing another creature, cutting them up into pieces, cooking them, and eating them. Especially since we now suspect that nearly all Earth creatures are sentient, given a translator chip.

    1. Erhannis

      Yeah, simply a somewhat more unpleasant form of murder than usual, and with weird connotations/circumstances.

      The translator chip sentience thing is, agreed, a whole weird thing that I’m not sure has yet gotten the limelight it should. There was that whole thing a few comics ago about how the furryites, a food source, turned out to be sentient, and it was sortof a scandal. …Did the translator chips not work on them, and that’s in part why they were thought non-sentient? I forget. …Anyway, yeah, way more sentient food wandering around than you’d think, unless the translator chip CONVEYS sentience, and that’d be a whole other kettle of (sentient) fish to be examined.

      1. Anonymous

        Wait wait wait.

        Is the rule about mating with offworlders, or talking about mating with offwolders?
        Because the same Quort that, so unrepetantly said its a dumb and antiquated rule, also was very upfront about how humans mating darnitawls would be lethal. Not really the atitude of someone unrepentant.

      2. Erhannis

        Hmm. The way the conversation went, it sounds like Quort isn’t up for casual murder at the drop of a hat, so I sorta wonder if it was one of those “yes, I’d die to be with you forever” kind of things, and the law doesn’t care whether it’s consensual. (Nor does American law on killing somebody, really, mind you, but the detail would sorta explain some of the disconnect.) Or it might possibly have been a mistake in the heat of the moment kind of thing, though that wouldn’t explain the “stupid and antiquated rule” remark.

        1. It might have been self defense.

          The rule seems to not be “you can’t take on outworld lovers and merge with them, murdering them.” It’s “you can’t dissolve other races, period.” This means that in a situation where a Darnitawl would have legitimate reason to kill another sentient and has no other weapons (for instance, self defense or warfare) , they are caught in a reverse catch22. Don’t break the rule and you don’t kill them (and, say, they kill you, or if it’s a more complicated war situation maybe they instead do something that results in killing a whole lot of other people). Or you do break the rule and kill them, and bang, exile, because this is Taboo.

  2. Pete Rogan

    Human marriage is, perhaps surprising some of you, very equeelinlike. People say that marriage makes two people one, and this is true, but the one is typically the husband. Don’t throw Xanthippe or Mileva Mari?-Einstein at me; you know what I mean.

    Given that Darnitawls can bond with others of their own species, I have to wonder what parts of offworld ‘lovers’ remain after digestion. Some trace of memory, perhaps? Familiar scenes and dialog from less-corrosive times? Alkyine might still be hosting her former lover for all we know, and he/she/it/them might manifest in an inappropriate setting. We haven’t heard enough to judge. Now, though, I expect we will.

    By the way, the word ‘equeelin’ is a good deal easier to remember and to spell than misceabsorption, which is how humans might interpret this particular, uh, ‘act.’

  3. Gene

    Usually, mating results in *reproducing*, but with Darnitawls it *reduces* the Darnitawl count. I wonder how that works from a species-fitness prospective. I’m gonna guess that Darnitawls split into multiple clones to reproduce, and doing the mating thing first means that all of the clones are all stronger (due to the merger of strengths.)

      1. rws

        Quort was fairly long, so probably budding. In the long run, asexual reproduction really needs a boost from sex once in a while. I suspect that there is some hanky Panky going on with the earth newts was it? Some sort of small amphibian.

  4. Demarquis

    Yeah, I was wondering about how a new Darnitawl comes into the picture. Perhaps it cannibalizes the mass of the “losing” partner. If you are what you eat, in the Darnitawl case it’s “they are who you excrete.”

    : )

  5. Pete Rogan

    I can see the signs on the cube walls and the team announcement page: Instead of a marriage notice or a birth announcement, a Darnitawl about to reproduce puts up the notice: GONE FISSION.

    And before the crowd of Darnitawl blue jokes worthy of Rodney Danger or Bob Saget muscle their way to the keyboard, Happy New Year to all and drive safe. If you can’t drive safe, ask permission before you sleep in a total stranger’s bathtub.

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