Freefall 3561 - 3570 (H)
Freefall 3561

Flo and Gregor at the ship

If you guys sit up front, you can continue your talk and I'll get things moving here.
Ship, please clear the lock out on thrusters and main drive.
Understood. Thrusters and main drive are now operational.
We'll be accelerating at one meter per second squared. We'll arrive at the boneyard in an hour and fifteen minutes. Any questions?
Did you bring snacks?

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3562

Flo and Gregor at the ship

Tell me about your world. How does your government work?
Mine was
a monarchy. Other clans had different systems.
It wasn't a succession by blood line. Promising new sqids would be made part of the royal family. When the king needed to be replaced, one of the royal family would be elected to be the new king.
It sounds very orderly when I say it. In reality it's more like thirty seagulls all trying to eat the same potato chip.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3563

Flo and Gregor at the ship

What are your wars like?
More chaotic and less violent than yours. Sqids will switch sides if one side is winning. Or the other guys have better loot. Or they think there might be more adventure.
The first encounter with the enemy will be their recruiters. Wars can be decided by who has the best persuaders, liars and con men. In the battle of twisted river, the recruiters were so good that both armies switched sides before looting the supply trains.
When they went home and sold the enemy goods, it was so profitable that they restaged the same battle three months later. That's how the twisted river trade company got its start.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3564

Flo and Gregor at the ship

So you do have trade and an economic system.
There are times when
it is more profitable
to trade than steal.
It's a struggle, though. Asking
a sqid not to steal is like putting a marshmallow in front of a kid and telling him he'll get two if he waits.
A human child will either eat the marshmallow or wait. A sqidling would eat the marshmallow, leave the room to find where it came from and then run off with the rest of the bag.

Color by George Peterson
Stanford marshmallow experiment

Freefall 3565

Flo and Gregor at the ship

Is there a lot of inequality in your society?
I think mine might have a bit less than yours.
Sqids consider it honorable to … personally facilitate the distribution of wealth. We're also very good at short term cooperation.
On my planet, if a CEO is paid a hundred times what the workers are, it's only because the workers plan to burgle his home every night.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3566

Flo and Gregor at the ship

My civilization does need to learn from yours. We're too secretive. We don't share information freely. Our schools and libraries are for our clans only.
This led to infiltrators, as every clan would try to get the secrets of every other clan.
For students though, it was an opportunity. If you were ever late, you could always claim enemy agents stole your homework.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3567

Flo and Gregor at the ship

I assume at some point you lied
about your homework being stolen.
Of course.
If I were the only
one whose homework
wasn't stolen, it
would be obvious
who was doing it.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3568

Flo and Gregor at the ship

We're at the turnover point. Rotating the ship. Please
stand by.
You'll have to forgive my engineer.
She often interrupts important conversations when there's actual
work to be done.
I know the type. In
fact, I am the type.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3569

Flo and Gregor at the ship

You were a spy.
I was and am a humble seeker of knowledge. Though I will admit that knowledge people don't want me to have is often the most interesting.
What will you do with the knowledge you gain from us?
I don't know. Getting it home is impractical. My people don't have radio. I'd have to send something physical. That is a problem.
It's expensive to mail a parcel thirty five light years away, not to mention the difficulty of attaching several billion stamps.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3570

Flo and Gregor at the ship

With knowledge, you can't just skip to the end. You have to understand A to understand B. You have to understand B to understand C.
If all our scholars did nothing but read your papers, we still wouldn't catch up. You guys come up with new stuff faster than sqids can assimilate it.
In this area, humans are something we considered impossible. A group so rich that you can't steal from them.

Color by George Peterson

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