The title says most of it. There are other crew members with different duties, and one of them talks about the tree he's going to buy when he gets home. The author's name is probably Robert. I don't know how else to look for it.

  • 3
    You're going to need some more information then that if you want help finding it and the question to stay open. Could you mention anything about when you read it, or character names
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 2:02
  • 1
    Is this it? scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/141644/… Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 2:27
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    "Specialist" by Robert Sheckley, read it here
    – user14111
    Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 2:27
  • It is Robert Sheckley's Specialist. Commented May 18, 2017 at 2:25

1 Answer 1


"Specialist", a short story by Robert Sheckley, first published in Galaxy Science Fiction, May 1953, available at the Internet Archive; also the answer to this old question and this one and this one.

Here is the Wikipedia summary:

A galactic deep-space cargo ship is blown off course by a photon storm. When the crew recover, they don't know their location in space and one of their members, known as Pusher, is dead.

The Crew comprises varied members of vastly different intelligent races, all in close mental rapport known as the Cooperation, and serving specialized functions; they are known as Engine, Thinker, Eye etc. But without a Pusher, they cannot accelerate to FTL speeds. They manage to locate a planet known to be rich in primitive Pushers, Earth. They try to communicate with a man they find, but he is so violent and resistant that they are forced to bring him on board the ship to try to reason with him.

Gradually, the man begins to realize the nature of the Crew and the pleasure to be found as a part of the mental Cooperation. He agrees to join the crew. Hesitantly at first, he tries to Push and finally learns how it is done. The ship speeds away at eight times the speed of light and accelerating.

An excerpt from the story:

Talker looked at them eagerly, through Eye. A wave of self-pity washed over him. He remembered home, his family, his friends. He thought of the tree he was planning to buy when he got back.

  • Been meaning to try to find this one now I know :) Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 17:57

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