01/09/23 – Working off Steam

Spacetrawler, audio version For the blind or visually impaired, January 09, 2023.




It’s like a child’s game of telephone, except with more death.


  1. Coyoty

    Not the first time the conjunction of jelly and babies was misassociated with death.
    “Would you like a jelly baby?”
    “It’s true then. They say the Evil One eats babies.”
    “You mustn’t believe all they say.”

    1. TB

      In the original “Star Wars” movie, a stun setting was a weird “flying O” blue thing, easily distinguished from the laser-type blaster zaps. I just started watching the new arc of “Bad Batch,” and the blue O’s are back. Apparently the Bad Batch has adopted Lone Ranger rules, and fights even serious, lethal battles using only stun settings. It’s possible Omega has set this rule up, in the same way that young John Connor ordered Terminator Two not to kill.

      The Star Trek series was all over the map with this over time, and often you had to rely on someone in the scene saying “set phasers to stun” to clue us all in. Of course, the deadly setting was all over the map, too. Sometimes the phaser killed a person without leaving a mark. Sometimes it burnt a hole. Other times it completely evaporated the victim.

      Chris uses this “evaporate” setting to inform us that yes, this person is really, most sincerely, dead.

      1. The Saprophyte

        Phasers have a dematerialize setting over and above kill. (overkill?) TNG tends to eschew this in favor of levels though I think TOS phasers also had more than three settings.

        1. TB

          TOS had several settings for phasers, depending on the need of the plot. Stun, to avoid killing people, heat (usually used for heating rocks), general blasting (making holes in things, breaking stuff), killing without leaving a mark (for famous guest stars), and complete disintegration, so you don’t have a dead Mugato cramping the actors’ style in the next scenes. There’s also a “turn the phaser into a bomb” setting, which seems a bit excessive for a hand weapon.

          In a pinch, phasers come in handy as batteries, cooking devices, and probably coring apples.

          One episode showed the Enterprise using its phasers on a stun setting against a general population which seemed amazingly useful to only use once.

  2. Night-Gaunt

    In one of my stories the Astroboy of said universe has been under mind lock for 36 years under the Kempeitai kills being a terminator nicknamed “Hammer Hand” and the moment he is freed he swears never to consciously kill anyone else.

    It is a bad time to do that.

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