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From the short story "The Cosmic Poachers," what is a character description for Captain...

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littledevil | eNoter

Posted November 24, 2010 at 7:40 AM via web

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From the short story "The Cosmic Poachers," what is a character description for Captain Shure?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 25, 2012 at 8:34 PM (Answer #1)

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Captain Shure is a classic Golden Age Sci-Fi space captain. He is human-centric, with disdain for alien creatures, and perfectly assured of his moral stance; this even acts as a pun on his name, since he is always "sure" of his right to act. In the story, he apprehends a ship of aliens which seem to be gathering gemstones from planets which are legally owned by Human government; they cannot communicate, but the aliens fight to keep their collected cargo. It turns out that the gemstones are actually alien eggs, and the humans are unwittingly bringing them home to hatch on Earth, with predicted dire consequences. Captain Shure has no thought for the reasons of an alien race; he is only concerned with the promotion of humanity, and he sees the "gems" as property simply because they are on planets within his scope.

Shure's jaw jutted out angrily. "We have to find out what they're after. Look at them go! They know exactly what they're doing." He grabbed up the communication mike. Then he dropped it. "We can handle this alone. We won't need Terra."
(Dick, "The Cosmic Poachers," Google Books)

His attitude is to take action without considering the risks; when a crewman wonders if the "gems" are alien property from before the distribution of planets, Shure ignores the moral implications of this and goes ahead with his plan. He is arrogant and ignorant, and it is implied that the whole planet Earth will pay for his hubris. Without the ability to empathize with aliens as having different motivations -- Shure wants valuable gems, the aliens want children -- he proves to be a capable military commander but a poor diplomat, and has little common sense.

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