[personal profile] oakenguy
Random Question: Would you rather take a squid or a hummingbird into outer space?

"That depends" is an awful answer to almost any question*, but I feel like I have to wheel it out here because, well, spaceship design. Would I want a squid in the Apollo 11 capsule? Would the squid want to be there? Would it have made for really fascinating NASA footage? No, no, and yes omg now I need a gif of Buzz Aldrin and a squid colliding in zero-gee are the answers to these question.

So let's make a couple of ground rules: big ship, with enough food and air that relative size isn't the deciding factor. Artificial gravity. Modified genetics or tech so that the squid could breathe without being confined to a tank of water, and....this is tricky...so that both the squid and hummingbird are uplifted to a point where their intelligence and communication skills make them capable of functioning as crew members.

**There is now a 30 minute pause while the author searches the internet for fanart of either a squid or a hummingbird wearing a Federation uniform. A search for 'star trek + squid' takes you down some strange rabbit holes, people.


ANYhow.

With all that said and done...I'm still torn.

SQUID


Pro:
Amazingly good at multi-tasking
Intimidation factor
Boneless nature allows them to squeeze into small spaces. That + the tentacles + speedy multi-limbed propulsion = EXCELLENT shipboard security.
The whole hentai thing
Already pretty darn smart


Con:
Possible connections to Cthulhu
The whole hentai thing
Squid use of rapid changes of skin color and patterns to communicate may either cause trouble in communicating with humans or create a whole new branch of human body modification
Already pretty darn smart PREDATORS
Perceived pro-whale bias and grumpiness about treatment of world oceans has potential for shipboard tension and even eventual mutiny, in which case all those pros become cons really really quickly



HUMMINGBIRD


Pro:
Fast
Very small. You can fit an entire colony of hummmingbirds in a starship designed for humans.
ZOMG SO FAST
Cute, too
Manueverable
Have I mentioned the speed? I think I need to mention it again. FAST.


Con:
Here's the problem: fast creatures don't perceive themselves as fast, they perceive normal creatures as

moving



very








slow






l




y.

See how annoying that was? Now imagine if you were a hummingbird in a mixed-species crew, and every single conversation was like that. A boring hour-long meeting takes on a new level of horror when your heart beats 1240 times a minute and you're never more than a few hours away from either starving to death or falling into torpor. A Star Trek'ian five year mission would be the equivalent of a 70 year mission for hummingbirds. And say if you tried to compensate for that by bringing a whole colony of them along...now they're enhanced enough, what if their society changes at the same fast rate as their biology? It would be like an advanced race beaming up a town of Dust Bowl farmers, taking a nap, and then waking up to find their spaceship full of hippies.



WINNER:


Hummingbirds would be fantastic scouts. And hackers, now that I think about it. And gamers. And moderators of internet comment sections. But when I think of outer space it's all about slowness and majesty...watching a moon gradually coming into view over the rings of Saturn, or hanging motionless and watching the clouds of Jupiter swirling down below. There's a reason they didn't use "Flight of the Bumblebee" for the Star Wars theme.

Also, sooner or later we'll run into robot space sharks. And I think we all know who we want in our corner then:













*The one exception being "What that on that old person's bottom?", and if your follow-up question is "Why are people at a nursing home communicating in caveman-speak?" I've got a "Why the heck not?" with your name on it.

Date: 2013-07-03 10:50 pm (UTC)
gilana: (Default)
From: [personal profile] gilana
Credit where it's due -- I got the random question from my husband. He's good at random weirdness. And I'm so glad I did, that was quite the answer! You guys should definitely meet one of these days... I just want to sit back and listen to the conversation.

Date: 2013-07-04 12:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wellstar.livejournal.com
Thank your husband for me. I was SO looking forward to hearing the answer to this one. And it was a good one.

Also, you have a HUSBAND! Whoa.

SQUIIIIIIIDS IIIIIIIN SPAAAAAACE!
Edited Date: 2013-07-04 12:22 am (UTC)

Date: 2013-07-05 01:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oakenguy.livejournal.com
It was a fun question! And it stuffed my head full of squid and hummingbird facts, which is never a bad thing.

Date: 2013-07-04 01:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fbhjr.livejournal.com
In zero g I'm not sure the squid would need water if the air were kept humid.
So, they might do OK in Apollo 11...

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