05/10/23 – Fried Synapses

Spacetrawler, audio version For the blind or visually impaired, May 10, 2023.




So far on Aitana’s final quest: not going well.


  1. TheWreck

    Um… wow. She can’t possibly go back with them, can she? If they don’t remember that and don’t seem all that enthused with the prospect of resuming the relationship…

    Where does she go? I think there are several options, but, gee…

  2. Prior Semblance

    I gotta say their reaction here feels out of character for how caring they are supposed to be.

    It would be one thing if she just came out of nowhere on Earth and dropped this on them but after all they’ve been through an alien tells them their memories are fried and a little girl tells them they adopted here and they just say it’s “so seemingly unlikely”

    Of course there would be plenty of evidence on Earth of it being true anyway.

    1. Dangerbird

      Well, consider that if their memories were altered, aside from frying things they particularly thought problematic, they might also ‘install’ some pushback to ideas that would conflict with the new reality – and ideal long term surrogate parent mentality – they have constructed. I don’t expect her mother said it cruelly, merely that because she lacks memory of their time together – and probably even whatever inciting events that inspired them to adopt someone NOT a fuzzy puppy person – it seems unlikely to her presently. I read it as being not unkind in tone, with a grain of uncertainty.

      People love the big ‘love conquers memory altering’ trope, but there is actual neurological alteration at play here. If someone wiped my memory of my girlfriend and they told me they were and we’d known each other since high school, I probably would be polite, yet hesitant and mistrustful at the suggestion. Sure, Choan is telling them their brain was damaged by the altering, but they can’t genuinely be sure of their motives either. They barely met them, and don’t have a large amount of evidence they can trust with any certainty they have any less motive to manipulate them than the people they were just saved from.

      On top of this, there is a very real neural phenomenon called the backfire effect. When presented with ideas contradictory to what someone knows or believes, even when presented with evidence, the brain actually responds to it as a threat and engages the same fight or flight neurochemical response as to threat of violence – the more core to their world view or personal worldview, the harder it kicks back. It actually takes a lot of discipline to ride out the brain squirm and reexamine those views (which explains a lot of recent society).

      All that considered, I think they’re handling it okay so far. Plus it’s a comedy – a little allowance for a punchline should be a given.

      C’mon Choan, you can find a solution!

  3. russell

    Adopted, so DNA useless.

    They could prove it easily, but the house was destroyed. Any online accounts have probably been closed by now.

    Maybe relatives would remember. Why do I suspect they have no family or friends. Would not matter. Suspect that they have been mentally damaged.

  4. Pete Rogan

    Not worried. Thomas Edison was once comforted by a friend who found Edison had built four thousand failed storage batteries, and attempted to commiserate. Edison wouldn’t have it. “I’ve found four thousand things that DON’T work,” he famously replied.

    Though later on, still trying to find a suitable substance to electrify to cause a consistent glow not quite as devastating as a carbon arc, he did in fact test everything he was served for breakfast one morning, from toast to scrambled eggs to sausage. He couldn’t really improve his 1879 patent, and it wouldn’t be until 1904 that Austro-Hungarian inventor Franjo Hanaman and his assistant Alexander Just came up with the tungsten filament in an evacuated bulb. You just have to keep trying.

    But here, we have another clue to progress. For the first time, we have six consecutive panels of Choan not smiling. Not once. That tells me she’s putting serious thought into this problem. So I ain’t worried. It’s just a matter of time. And trying some other things.

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