I have a very vague recollection of a short story in which somehow the parts of a spaceship were aliens of different races, whose innate powers allowed them to perform a function (braking, steering...). The end revelation is about the nature of the ship's accelerator.

Any bell ringing?

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    @SQB how is this, a 3 year old question, a duplicate of a question asked 40 mins ago? :P Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 21:00
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    @Shevliaskovic Perhaps because SQB felt the newer Q was a better question than this one, in terms of detail. While precedent for that exists, I prefer this Q as it has had more exposure. Maybe someone can amalgamate the info?
    – Möoz
    Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 21:11
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    @SQB - I agree and have used my super-duper-deduper-hammer on this question instead.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 9:26
  • @user14111 This was flagged for re-opening under the policy that story ID questions are not to be closed as duplicates unless both are accepted with the same answer. When closing questions as duplicates, the better question/answer remains open and the other is marked as a duplicate, whether the better question is newer or older (i.e. the rule you mention has not been repealed).
    – Null
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 6:13

1 Answer 1


That would be "Specialist" by Robert Sheckley. Sheckley wrote dozens of brilliant and memorable short stories in the 1950s, and it's well worth tracking them down.

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    Sheckley was awesome indeed.
    – John C
    Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 20:20
  • I read this recently -- great story. Commented Mar 24, 2013 at 5:30

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