quaternary weaponry: Among heavy infantry, who use the M-70 Havoc combat exoskeleton, there are three official categories of weaponry:

  • primary weaponry: the heavy tribarrel, flamer, and target designator built into the exoskeleton;
  • secondary weaponry: additional hardpoint-mounted weapons provided by a modular weapons back, such as the BP-400 Conflagration;
  • tertiary weaponry: weapons carried by, rather than attached to, the exoskeleton.

Quaternary weaponry, therefore, is a term that shows up principally in aftermath reports, meaning “punched to death”. Insofar as the M-70 Havoc provides a twenty-four-fold physical strength multiplier to its wearer, the use of quaternary weaponry against armored troops, vehicles, buildings, and occasional field fortifications is far from unknown.

— Blackjacket’s Dictionary

There Have Only Ever Been Four

In 7262 and 7263, the Imperial Security Executive suffered a number of leaks of documentation referring to the establishment of a “Sixth Directorate”, including location information on forward operating bases attributed to this Sixth Directorate, and a number of sightings of Intelligence prowlers whose pennant numbers indicated association with this Directorate, and backed up by traffic analysis indicating the existence of this new intelligence organization.

The Sixth Directorate, of course, did not exist. Not, it is to be noted, in the sense that the Fifth Directorate does not exist, but in the sense that it literally did not exist save for the shadow cast by leaked documentation, dressed-up empty prefabs, and altered transponder data.

Its nonexistence, however, and the panic reactions of most of the Worlds’ intelligence agencies, did a marvelous job of distracting everyone from Second Directorate and Admiralty Intelligence operations during the 7265-7269 period of the Republican central government’s final collapse.

(A brief resurgence in Sixth Directorate sightings occurred in 7489 and 7490, which were largely dismissed as an attempt by the Executive to resurrect their old masquerade. In this case, however, ExSec had designated their Primary Working Group for dealing with the Exceedingly Hostile Takeovers the “Sixth Directorate PWG”, allowing them to operate with impunity in the former Magenite sphere of influence while attention was directed conspicuously elsewhere.)

– Imperial State Security, A Declassified History

That Is Not Dead

By dreaming dragons – the world was carved
To dreaming dragons – the world yet bends
Those dreaming dragons – all lie dead
Yet dreaming dragons – carve it still.

“Lay of the Dead Dragons”, fragment, circa -3,500

the light breathes
the shadows move and the objects don’t
are you real?
am I?

I am not.

unknown survivor of passage through the periphery of the Tortelsvard grimward, immediately before dissolving without trace

Drones can’t bleed.

Dallen Osiríän, engineer on OPERATION ABYSS DREDGE, upon being confronted with a post-dive drone that was, in fact, bleeding

You can try a reality engine against it the moment that no-one else is living on this planet, and not before.

Prefect Aldysis Paluna, Fifth Directorate

“That’s not fog. That’s reality getting fuzzy. Basically… run.”

History records that the trakelpanis trakóras amán are all dead, wiped out at the beginning of the Gloaming, three hundred thousand years ago. In this, history is correct.

The common assumption that death carries with it finality, on the other hand, is incorrect. During the Chaos that marked the end of trakelpanis trakóras amán civilization, five fell upon Eliéra: for three, those who we believe dwelt here before the Chaos, we have names. The Shaper died at her home, in the Dragon’s Nest, and in so doing created the largest of Eliéra’s grimwards, nearly twenty miles across. Of those who dwelled at the Gate of Dragons, both died elsewhere: the Architect fell in Saralainn, and the Farseer was slain abroad in far Marukamui. Of the nameless amán legendaria presume to be their attackers, one formed the first and most famous grimward in central Kaládav, brushing the valley of the Falthrang, and the other died far to the south, amid the monazite sands of Tortelsvard.

And there part of them remains.

What is a grimward? It is the mad dream of a dead dragon, no more and no less. The trakelpanis trakóras amán possessed a peerless ontotechnology, capable of commanding the forces of reality and warping it in accordance with their desires and ambitions, making, twisting, and unmaking with a thought. The amán knew few strictures or boundaries, and acknowledged fewer, the fatal flaw that led to their self-destruction as a race: how much less restrained, then, the passions flickering in their hollow bones, unconstrained by conscious will?

The land, sea, and sky for miles around where they lie, then, are regions where reality grows fuzzy: even the most mundane things found within or passing their boundary may find themselves warped into prodigies or horrors unique in the universe. Space and time themselves quail there: one may cross miles in a footstep only to find that step taking centuries, or a mile may stretch into a journey of decades which leads one out before one entered. There can be no certainty there, no prediction, and no safety. Only the whim of the grimward’s master defines the structure of being within its bounds.

Thus, these regions have been surrounded by long and high walls, posted warnings, and the strongest wardings ancient thaumaturgy or modern technology could devise since early in the Gloaming, long before there was an Empire, layers built on layers and warnings inscribed over earlier warnings, with reality engines humming where once beacon-fires burned.

They may be the greatest dangers we have found in this universe.






A Ring On It

The most distinctive feature of any frameslip drive is its ring. Unlike the simple vector-control core which can be tucked safely within the parent ship – the microtides accompanying too-close exposure to a vector-control core have been responsible for little more than a great deal of nausea among engineer apts – the much greater inflection of space required to form the frameslip envelope and the ripple on which it rides needs to be kept as far from the starship itself as practical. Since sensor domes, turrets, drive nozzles, radiators, et. al., protrude beyond the hull and must continue to operate during fittle-flight, a large slipspace volume is required, resulting in frameslip rings often being the most prominent feature of any starship equipped with one.

As frameslip travel has advanced, a variety of techniques have evolved to deal with the unfortunate form-factor this forces upon frameslip drive starships, and the problems inherent in having a large structure packed with relatively delicate metric-manipulation technology outermost in the starship’s structure, especially for warships.

Where the technology itself is concerned, the most important development was the multiphasic frameslip drive, enabling a single core to direct its output through dual or even multiple rings arranged in series along the drive axis. Rather than the spherical slipspace produced by an original-pattern frameslip drive, multiphasic frameslip encapsulates an ellipsoidal volume, more compatible with other aspects of celestime architecture, albeit at some cost in envelope efficiency. Such designs obviously reduce the necessary size of the frameslip rings for a given hull compared to a single-ring design.

Another area of development has been the use of temporary rings. The first systems of this type were simple temporary rings; a number of prototype vessels were constructed with dockable “collar” frameslip modules, similar in concept to the drive module of the Kalantha-class frontier trader. While this proved to be an unpopular paradigm, later developments along this line produced the Flatbread-class frameslip superlifter, which uses an open frame similar to a cageworks to surround the vessel it transports, and the Lanceola-class fleet carrier, a long-spined craft to which cruiser and destroyer-type screening vessels can dock within the radius of its frameslip rings.

Simultaneously, other designers were working on the collapsible frameslip ring, capable of being withdrawn from its active position to lie flat against the hull when not in use, a process requiring first disconnecting and then shrinking the individual segments of the ring. In achieving this, designers concentrated the frameslip machinery into a series of nodes at key points around the ring, permitting the remainder – primarily waveguides and simple couplers – to be mounted within telescoping structures extending from each side of the spar-mounted nodes and interlinking to complete the ring. This has now become the established standard for all but specialized and dedicated frameslip vessels; in more advanced designs, the extended nodes make use of reality graphics to form the full ring out of pseudomatter nanovoxels, eliminating the need for telescoping.

One particular example worth mentioning at this point is the Metamotive-class stargate transport, which hybridizes the above models. It makes use of a unique six-part design, the components of which are capable either of linking together and operating as a single unit while moving between gates, or of separating and docking independently with the transport sockets on a Ring Dynamics Mark IV stargate, extending the reach of the ring to cover the entire structure.

One of the greatest difficulties in ring design, however, was faced by the Imperial Navy’s Bureau of Innovation: that of enabling capital ships – battleships, carriers, and larger classes – to be constructed with frameslip capability. While collapsible frameslip rings, which place the key machinery safely within the protective envelope of the starship’s systems, suffice for civilian use, this is insufficient for a ship of war; the protection of armor is required for survivability in the battlespace environment. Thus, the Bureau developed the Alcarialé-Renaez frameslip mount.

Capital starship design is based upon a core framing structure within which the pressure hull (or hulls) is mounted, along with the drives, power reactors, bunkerage, auxiliary machinery, cargo holds, etc., etc. The outer hull, composed of armor plating, is mounted atop this framing structure by means of flexible spreader trusses; only a few necessary components are mounted to the inside of the outer hull.

The Alcarialé-Renaez frameslip mount separates the frame structure into multiple segments (typically three), along with the armor above it. The points where secondary structural members meet are connected when the segments are closed up using variations of the Ascíël coupler, while flexpipe, concertina couplings, and similar technologies are used to carry power, data, and materiel across the segments regardless of their position. Meanwhile, the junctions in the armor layers are built to a double-overlap pattern which provides protection when closed and do not allow for a vulnerable gap between armor sections. The primary structural members – selected to be sufficient for the stresses of fittle-flight, if not combat – at the division points are replaced by magnetohydraulic rams wrapped in similar variable-length couplers.

When such a vessel wishes to engage frameslip drive, it must first disengage the various couplers between each segment, at which point the multiple magnetohydraulic rams engage to drive the framing segments apart, lengthening the starship and opening gaps in the armor above the division points through which the spars and nodes of a collapsible frameslip ring may be extended, and the ring completed through reality graphic projection. On arrival, the same process is reversed to withdraw the ring and restore battle-readiness.

Of course, as all this is a somewhat complex and lengthy evolution, the frameslip-equipped capital ship must be sure to plan its arrival at a suitable distance from the battlespace, and likewise, may find itself unable to depart without a safe location in which to deploy the frameslip ring without exposing its vulnerable aspects to enemy fire.

– The Evolution of Frameslip (8001-8200), INI Press

Their Shafts Benight The Air

The Daalípel (“Whiteout”) is the first entry of Eye-in-the-Flame Arms, ICC into the military vehicle market. An evolution of the classic MLRS platform, Daalípel has a variety of advanced design features.

The vehicle itself resembles a large pillbug, with rows of individual rocket launchers and laser point-defense units arranged behind the defensive armor plates leading each of the Daalípel‘s nested segments. However, the resemblance extends beyond appearance; while the Daalípel moves only slowly using its conventional rollagon drivetrain, the vehicle, like its inspiration, can conglobulate – docking nose to tail and forming an gyrostabilized ellipsoidal wheel. In this mode, while the rocket launchers cannot be used, the armor offers maximal protection and the rollagons can be used to drive the entire vehicle at high speed for rapid deployment scenarios.

The weapons systems of the Daalípel are an equal advance over its predecessors. While most MLRS systems (such as the Imperial Legions’ venerable HVR-17 Burnscar and HVR-19 Glasslake systems) are configured to fire unguided or minimally guided rockets in order to either blanket an area with submunitions (the time-honored “erase this map square” option) or inflict heavy damage to a single target, or small group of targets, the Daalípel incorporates a high-factor tactical warmind and wideband multiplexed control channels, enabling it to simultaneously fire hundreds of smart, seeker minimissiles, each in turn equipped with multiple guided submunitions.

In summary, the Daalípel can, with a single fire mission into a densely crowded target zone, take out the enemy with astounding precision while causing little or no damage to civilian property or infrastructure. One demonstration event showed this capability being used to assassinate a target demographic entire within a crowd without causing significant harm to anyone else, a function valuable for eliminating hostage-takers, occupation forces, or users of sophont shields.

Similarly to the HVR-19 Glasslake – although significantly more difficult to achieve due to the greater complexity involved – the Daalípel is designed to manufacture its own ammunition from onboard stocks, field replenishment, or even scavenging, with advanced onboard fabbers capable of restocking an empty Daalípel fully in a matter of hours under typical conditions.

While still being evaluated by the Imperial Military Service and little-purchased elsewhere, modified Daalípels have proven popular in a number of roles: they have been used for the rapid deployment of search-and-rescue minibots across areas afflicted by disaster; to spread mesh network nodes across silent regions; for emergency application of medical solutions; and to distribute self-expanding supply packages to those in need.

The response of the Directorate to this development is, as yet, unknown.

– Destruction Review editorial

Si Vis Pacem, Pacem Fac

They call me a warmonger? Then they are correct. Pacifism in the face of evil is concession to Entropy; therefore I mong war. Therefore it is the policy of this branch to mong war. And therefore we intend to go on monging war until the last tyrant in the universe has been strangled with his own entrails.

…assuming he has entrails.

Senator Akisko Deteis, Imperium Bellipotent, League Systems Newsbytes interview

Dancing With Myself




Proceed (+/-)? +




All MIDWINTER MIRROR related material applies to situations in which situations unknown, possibly including but not limited to worldline forking, temporal bifurcation, probability actualization, or extrauniversal phenomena, lead to the Empire being confronted with a duplicate of itself.

Initially, an attempt to confirm (with high probability a mutual attempt, since we may reasonably presume Empire-prime to be executing its own MIDWINTER MIRROR doctrine) alignment, and in the case of δ-imperfect alignment to achieve a mutually beneficial median must be made, as documented in the subfile MIDWINTER MIRROR PARALLEL.

If this has a positive result, which will necessarily be the case if Empire-prime is a true instantiation of the Imperial entelechy, proceed initially to determine Imperial and Prime Function priority using the below-documented random procedure, followed by complete organizational and logistic merge under priority command following the protocols outlined in MIDWINTER MIRROR RACEMATES.

If, however, Empire-prime does not possess an identical procedure for MIDWINTER MIRROR, reference should be made to procedures classified under MIDWINTER MIRROR SCISSOR. Developed in accordance with current research into acausal trade between agents operating according to δ-identical ethics, MIDWINTER MIRROR SCISSOR outlines a process for determining which MIDWINTER MIRROR process should be followed to which both parties must necessarily agree.

If this proves not to be the case, it is to be assumed that the Empires party to case MIDWINTER MIRROR are not operating according to δ-identical ethics, and a second MIDWINTER MIRROR PARALLEL process should be attempted.

If alignment proves impossible, initiate CASE SKYSHOCK FUNHOUSE.

Proceed (+/-)?

Upon The Sand


From: Facilities Manager, Dendra Residential Tower, Meridian Secundus

Subject: Contemplative CultiVator™ garden maintenance system
Issue: Robot no longer functions, claiming enlightenment
Priority: Normal

We purchased one of your automatic gardening systems some years ago to take care of the sand garden in the central plaza of the Tower. After several years of satisfactory service, the central controller claims to have reached enlightenment (according to remaining system log files), and its operating system appears to have been radically rewritten. Our attempts to perform a reload and reset have not been successful.

Request repair or replacement.


Note to Field Service:

Perform check that Brightline Code engram has not been removed from system.

Note to Customer:

The point and purpose of raking a contemplative sand garden is to perform a meditative exercise with the goal of reaching enlightenment.

We are gratified that our product has done so.

You should be gratified that your garden, too, has fulfilled its telos.

The Complexity of Complexity

In the first volume of our work, reason and natural philosophy have appropriately laid waste to the claims of imbeciles and nihilists by virtue of an inarguable demonstration that the most fundamental rules of ethics are implicit in the very nature of ethical actors themselves, insofar as an examination the ontology of volition itself clearly carries forth these implications.

In the following chapters of this volume, we shall construct a further objective extension to these core ethical principles by addressing the implications of information theory and the study of complexity. In particular, we shall demonstrate the principle that more complex systems are superior to simpler systems – or, rather, that systems whose dynamic properties require more bits to describe are more meritorious, thus more deserving of existence, than those describable in fewer bits.

Destruction, in this paradigm, goes against ethics because it randomizes the system destroyed. (Although a random system requires many bits to describe precisely, its dynamic behavior can be simply expressed as “random”.) Final erasure of information is, of course, worst of all.

To such extent as this may seem simple, it is not. While it is trivial to assert the superior merit, in isolation, of a porcelain tea-set over a pile of fragments, consider, for example, the question of homogeneity. Naively, one might consider a large homogeneous system of little worth, inasmuch as it takes little more information to describe a thousand identical items than a single one, and the resources consumed by the others could be used to instantiate diversity; but this ignores the question of the complexity of their interactions in the larger system – from which the great value we place on ecosystems, which contain many near-identical components, is derived.

In theory, while we speak airily of a system, in reality, there can be no such isolation. Any given situation is inhabited by a complex fractal embedding of multiple conceptual systems on many scales, all of which have their own informational content and complexity, and all of which must be taken into account.

– Ianna Quendocius, Scientific Ethics, introduction to Vol. II

Voyage to Neverwhere

The Greatest Mission
That Never Was!

Brought to you by Parahistoricity, ICC and its associates in the Sodality for Imaginative Parachronism, an unforgettable adventure in space colonization.

From The Creators Of
After Eclipse™, Kanatai Ascendant™
Octopodotopia™ and Crystal Space™

In their latest alternate-history extravaganza, Parahistoricity will recreate the experience of travelling to another world by subluminal generation ship, possibly the most famous road not taken in Imperial history.

From History’s Most Famous Cageworks
And The First Family of Interstellar Travel
Comes The Ship They Did Not Build

Even now, CMS Dream of Many is under construction at the same cageworks above Talentar responsible for the Deep Star sleeper ships, under the supervision of Quandry Lyris, herself a renowned celestime architect and granddaughter of the original designer, Kasjan Lyris. When complete, and her passengers have embarked, she will fly an extended 36-month loop out of and back into the home system to simulate the full interstellar voyage.

A Starship of Dreams
On a Voyage of Eternity

Except for emergencies, the caverns within Dream of Many – carved as it is from the asteroid 1149 Tíranjan – will serve as an almost completely isolated environment in deep space, as the original ship would have been. Once the passengers have embarked, they will take on the role – with oneiroverse-style gnostic overlays to maintain authenticity – of the initial generation setting out to colonize a new world. Eighteen months later, after a celebration and review for turnover, they will assume the new personae of the final generation of colonists, and will guide the ship in to orbit around, and landing on, their “new” world.

The Experience of Two Lifetimes

Tours of the completed segments of the starship are open now. The first departure of the generation ship itself will take place on Midyear’s Day, 7325.

Book Now
For The Original
(And Into Another)

Eldraeic Words of the Day

grangár: to consume, to ingest, (alternative) to eat

glágrang: intemperate consumption, gluttony

alathglágrang: (“knowledge-gluttony”) intemperate absorption of knowledge; essentially, the tendency to disappear into the library and not be seen until days later, passed out on a heap of books, having succumbed to the irresistible temptation of so much knowledge collected in one place.

alathglágrandár: one who indulges in, or is prone to indulge in, an alathglágrang. In theory, a pejorative term; in practice, no-one acculturated to Imperial norms will think too badly of an alathglágrandár in general, only inasmuch as doing so can on occasion be a damned inconvenience.

súnashír: (from súnar “brilliant, shining” + sashír “glamor”) awesome

andrakith: (from andra “fire” + ankithel “emotion, passion”) inspired; possessed by inspiration

trasúnashír anandrakithef: the state or quality of inspiring others with the aura of one’s personal reputation, deeds, qalasír, etc.; inf. “awesomeness”

argylayékith: (from argyr “merit” + layés “longing” + ankithel “emotion, passion”) a manner of carrying oneself such that other people wish to be more like one; inf. “coolness”

dísgalith: (from dísil “difficulty, challenge to be overcome” + galith “challenger; to attempt”) daring

traqanédaëljír dísgalithef: (from qané “a little” + daëlin “probability” + jír “choice” and dísgalith “daring”) willingness to attempt deeds that few would consider; inf. “radicalness”

It’s Not Quite a Smeerp

So, some worldbuilding notes on the nature of greenlife…

It’s easy to make the assumption that it’s just Earth-life in every way, especially since I tend to use the Earth-parallel names for things to create a sense of familiarity.

But a thing worth bearing in mind is that the Precursor genetic-distinctiveness harvesting vessel Incomprehensible Draconic Screeching collected its samples of Earthly life, the ancestors of Eliéra greenlife, around 360,000 years before present time.

This is, in short, before the domestication of anything, plant or animal, a process which has a lot to do with how modern plants and animals appear and, in some cases, behave. So while greenlife is from the same biochemical family as Earth life, it’s been through various different paths of descent that often result in a rather different organism.

Let’s talk some examples, starting with plants.

  • The múleth, or apple, is actually one of the least odd-looking cases, even though it wasn’t domesticated here on Earth until 10,000-4,000 years ago, mostly because it was being domesticated for many of the same traits. Thousands of cultivars exist; it’s just that none of them are the same cultivars. The most obvious thing, as you would see upon picking up a children’s book which includes the equivalent of “A is for Apple”, is that the modal Eliéran apple isn’t green; it’s golden. Green apples are a small minority among the cultivars. There are also more than a few purple apples, which while they do exist on Earth, are confined to one rare cultivar from a particular Tibetan region.

  • Oranges, on the other hand, don’t exist. The sweet orange as we know it today is the product of a deliberate post-domestication cross between the mandarin and the pomelo, and doesn’t show up in our history until a couple of hundred BCE, in China, not making it to Europe until well into the common era. Naturally, they have a whole lot of fruits bred out of the primordial citrus they did have (given that the genus Citrus is infamous for its hybridization), but while there is a rubescent citrus serelléth (“bloodfruit”) that is very popular in the fruit dishes and juicers of the Empire, it’s not a direct counterpart of our sweet orange. The closest direct counterpart you’ll find is something like a pinkish mandarin.

  • And then to grains. There is corn (by which I mean maize), but it wasn’t domesticated until around 10,000 years ago in Mexico, and even then, it looked nothing like the fat yellow kernels found in your local grocery store, which are entirely an agroindustrial creation. While the maize that was developed on Eliéra by the Aictectep shares some of the traits of our cultigen – insofar as those traits were necessary steps in turning it into a useful food plant for a civilization – the red-and-purple spatter-patterns, etc., of the primordial teosintes it was developed out of are retained in the Eliéran version, for example. (You can see a particularly good example on the planetary crest of Ponratectep (Talie Marches), being rather more prominent than even that world’s famed fire opals.)

  • One of the most immediately recognizable grains to our eyes would be rice, among other grain crops. It is, after all, amazing what grass varietals can do, and how robust they are. It is not as close a cousin to Oryza sativa as it might appear – and it is often rather more colorful that we could expect, compared to most of our commercial rice – but it’s very close to the same grain.

    What we might not expect as the number of cultivars of an offshoot species which has developed salt sensitivity to the point where it can be grown in, and even prefers, coastal salt marshlands and even floating seawater paddies.

    (And, of course, in very familiar-looking grasses, there is dyanail (“bamboo”), although the number of cultivars and engineered varieties in the modern era would be quite something to see.)

  • Coffee, on the other hand, does not exist either (it doesn’t appear in Earth records until the 15th century or thereabouts, unless you credit the 9th-century attribution of the legend about Kaldi’s buzzed goats). Esklav, while drunk like coffee, isn’t coffee; while Esklavea sendaren probably does share part of its ancestry with Coffea spp., they’ve both diverged a lot since then. It also has qualities that suggest a partial ancestry descending from Theobroma, but since the closest relation that bears to Coffea is that they’re both eudicots, it suggests someone’s been mucking about in their genomes along the way, and that’s not just the radioactivity.

    At least some cousin of Theobroma cacao managed to make it through close enough to be recognizable, even if the product doesn’t taste quite the same and is somewhat lighter in color.

  • And now to animals. Let’s start with man’s best friend, the dog, who might kind of be the same as eldrae’s best friend, the bandal.

    Well, sort of. See, the dog was domesticated in human history no later than around 15,000 years before present, but no earlier than 40,000-30,000 years before present, which is the point, we believe, at which they diverge from their now-extinct wolf ancestor (not the grey wolf). This ancestor doesn’t turn up in the record until around 129,000 years before present, which is still a good long way from 360,000 years.

    So while Bandal vocíëvis is definitely a wolf-like canine (family canidae, subfamily caninae, tribe canini, and probably-mostly subtribe canina, despite some likely admixture of Aenocyon dirus), you could make some interesting arguments as to whether it is or is not technically a member of the genus Canis. (It probably is; after all, Canis spp. were around well before the genetic harvest, and it is probably interfertile with C. familiaris, C. lupus, C. latrans, etc., because the Canis species are like that.

    In any case, they’re very good boys. Yes, they are. Even if they’re second or third cousins a couple of times removed.

  • “You think that’s cow you’re eating now?”

    If you order a steak *there*, you’re getting quebérúr. Now, quebérúr is delicious red meat, to be sure, but it’s doesn’t come from the domestic cow (first seen in the form of the zebu, maybe 8,000 years before present), or indeed from anything in the genus Bos, although it is one of the Bovina. The closest relative of the quebérúr on earth is its distant cousin the bison (Bison bison), as you might be able to tell from its distinctive humped back, but their common ancestor is back in the now-extinct megafauna. It is, in fact, a bloody big piece of pot-roast on the hoof, given that the typical quebérúr is around 3,500 lbs and 7′ at the shoulder; also known for their sharp, downturned horns, and thick, shaggy – like Highland cattle – black coats.

    Guess the radiation was good for them, huh?

  • The sevesúr isn’t exactly a chicken (domesticated about 8,000 years ago), either. Or a turkey. Or even a guineafowl. They’re certainly order Galliformes, superfamily Phasianoidea, and maybe even family Phasianidae, but further taxonomy is not available at this time.

  • And finally, we get to horses (domesticated on Earth on the Central Asian steppe, about 5,000 years ago). Well, sad as it is to say for would-be equestrians, none of the common riding animals on Eliéra are equines, or indeed greenlife. There are the cerrúr and the certárúr, both of which are bluelife hexapeds. The latter is a rather dull, plodding creature which one might consider analogous to a bluelife ox – mostly kept as heavyweight draft animals, and for leather and parchment, which can be repeatedly harvested from the skins they shed in spring; the former, while a intelligent and agile riding animal, has more in common morphologically with some of the larger species of deer than with horses, and is not terribly suited for any but light draft work.

So, this has been your quick trip into just how variant Earth-descended life got when you take it early and abandon it on another planet for a few millennia. Hope it was a somewhat interesting peek into the process of making exotic worlds a little more exotic.

Implying The Existence of a Thesis Attack

“So how did you get that scar, anyway? You never told me.”

“I told you I undertook advanced studies at the Inperial War College. I acquired it during my thesis defense.”

“How do you get that at a viva voce?”

“Professor-Brigadier Oríänoclés didn’t believe in half-assing hypotheses. His contribution was a short battalion of Longeye laser tanks.”

Meta: State of the Writer

So, I won’t reiterate the sad and rage-inducing story of the past few weeks, since I’ve done that in enough places and for enough times already. If by chance you haven’t seen it, you can find it on the Discourse here, forwarded along from Patreon.


While we don’t expect to get any of our stuff back (a) soon, or (b) in working order, good fortune and the generosity of kind friends has allowed us to start getting the most important parts of our network back up and running, and we’ve managed to restore our offsite backups from Azure, so that’s the main thing, although since full cleanup (“…I have my notes, now I just need to install the nodes to host the Kubernetes cluster to run the wiki stack to display them…”) not to mention fixing the damage done to house and home will still take some time, it’s not back to normal operation yet. But since I am posting some ‘verse-related things already, you can see that we’re a lot closer.

(On a related note, I don’t yet have posting access to the Discourse, since I was using 2FA with it and both my security key and the hardware running my authenticator app were among the items we lost. I’m talking to the hosters about it, and hope to have that back soon, but in the meantime I ask for your patience with regard to responding to your posts.)

On another note, as it happened, when the Feds so rudely interrupted our normal television-watching cycle, we were in the middle of Star Trek: Discovery, and not having our media server serving media any more, decided that the easiest thing to do was to switch to just marathoning that.

This was a good decision.

I’m going to embrace the controversy here, and take a moment to say that Discovery is probably the best Star Trek we’ve seen, bar none. In particular, from where we were – the very end of season two, on through seasons three and four – was exactly what I needed to be watching in our time of crisis and trial. Because when your real-life party has just been crashed by what amount to exemplars of the opposite, hope, and faith, and people finding the inner strength to rise above and be the best versions of themselves, and successfully navigating your way through – and finding the path to ending – the dark times surrounding you through your ideals and principles, and not by immediately tossing them aside like all too much so-called “gritty” fiction has its characters doing, is just everything you need.

In fact, one of the major reasons I call it the best of the Treks is because it is precisely when the world has gone to shit around you that it is both hardest and most important to cling to those ideals and principles that define you, and your response to that challenge that most defines you, and it does a brilliant job of showing it.

(Also Stamets and Culber and the rest of their found family are absolutely goddamned adorable and I will brook no dissent on this. But I digress.)

tl;dr I approve this. Add it to the semi-canonical Media Of Which The Imperials Would Approve list, too.

Also, just to bring some canon into this post:

“If there is to be a rapprochement between us and the Republic – and such a thing is, I think we must all concede, profoundly to be desired – I can think of no better basis than this: that they, like we, are a civilization that holds principle above expedience.”

– Talaïs Oravedra, Imperial Diplomatic Corps

On a final thought, before I move along; back at the start of the month, I had a conversation on Twitter with one of y’all (readers, that is) concerning a resisted urge to write a fanfic where they tried to pull that kind of no-knock raid crap on an Imperial citizen-shareholder. (“Because it would probably star a Sargas, and that’s not *quite* called for, objectively speaking.”)

To which I had to admit to having restrained a few vengeful thoughts along such lines myself, authorially. (It would be cathartic, at least, although also almost certainly dreadful crap which I would burn before anyone else got to read it.) It would also be very easy to conceive. Not like you’d even need a Sargas.

I mean, you probably can’t throw a rock without finding someone who thinks using an extra microgram of antimatter to power her bug-out transmitter is about right for visiting some places, and using terror tactics on someone with a spite charge that size is its own punishment.

I mean, I started writing for various reasons, but a big one is that I wanted to inspire people. I wanted to show them a realized dream of a better world, one where people listen to their better angels, not their worst impulses.

I can’t as yet. It’s too close.

But I want to write the story of how this sort of thing would be handled there. Where enforcing the law is a sacred trust that demands the nation’s best. Where everyone is treated with honor, and respect, and dignity, and kindness.

Even the very worst. Just because it’s the right thing to do, the civilized, decent, good thing to do, at whatever cost. In a world, in short, in which listening to our worst selves and calling it pragmatism hasn’t turned protection and service into a goddamned punchline.

Not Cosmic, But Incomprehensible

This was originally a prompt over on Mastodon, the original prompt being: “MC POV: Name one thing that is guaranteed to make you angry? Why?”. I liked the result enough that I thought I’d share it over here, as well.

“Make me angry? The cases that fall into, in our legal code, ‘destructionism’.

“Why? Because I don’t understand it.

“We get – I’d say a lot, but this is still Imperial space, so let’s say an anomalously high level of crime here. We get slash-traders, commercial fraud, thieves grand and petty, stowaways, dockside brawls, too-long-aboard-syndrome on and on, everything a major trade station attracts like flies. But even if you slice off the truly desperate who need a hug, a hot meal, and someone to walk them to the Eleemosynary Exodochium more than what most people think of as justice, I can understand most of them. They’re zero-sum crimes; desire and greed and unfortunate passions are things we all have, and they’re not even wrong in themselves, only in how some folk handle them. Even the murderers – I’ve never hated anyone so much I couldn’t stand to share the universe with them a moment longer, but I can understand how someone might.

“What I’ve never been able to understand about these people — these are people who set out just to make the universe a little bit worse for their existence in it. Destroy or desecrate things just so that other people can’t enjoy them. Go out of their way to ruin someone’s day, or week, or decade, not as a side-effect, but as the point of their actions. Hurt and smash and wreck not for greed or other profit, not even for revenge upon their target, but just because they can, and it – I’d say it pleases them to do so, but it is hard to imagine real pleasure coming from such. These I do not understand, and it is hard to temper anger without understanding.

“And that’s dangerous for me. I’ve escorted people who have done much more damage to arraignment, but it’s these who make me think fondly of — unapproved uses for airlocks, before I quash it. And that they can make me think that, even for a moment, that makes me angriest of all.”

– Jynne Cerron, Enforcer, Watch Constabulary
Mer Dinévál Countermass Station, Seranth

God’s Bootstraps

Why are there no historical records of the commissioning of the 160th Imperial Legion?

Because it hasn’t been commissioned yet.

There are records of it participating in several battles independently from any Theater Command, or even Core Command.


Without being commissioned?

While cause mostly precedes effect, this is not necessarily the case.

While utterances mostly convey meaning, this is not necessarily the case either.

The “Causal Effectives” will be founded in 11346 as one of the Transcend’s special troubleshooting teams, Anything they do before then is all of important, classified, and unlikely to be understood in its full historical consequence before that date.

What else do we –

Further information is not available in this whenwhere.

– a conversation which never happened

The Lady Offshore With The 16″ Guns

“Honestly, I think the primary motivation to develop warships that can descend into the atmosphere and hover in a menacing, fight-in-the-shade manner has nothing to do with any of the technical rationales you hear bandied about.

“It’s so that when someone says to you, ‘You and what army?’, you can just point upwards and say, “No, no, me and that Navy.

“Who wants that? Everyone who’s ever led a shore party in hostile territory, just about. It’s nice to be able to intimidate people without a telescope.”

– Commander Eril Tsurilen, Imperial Navy,
extranet interview

On This Day

On this day in 2290, Optimal Splay Games of Foiríäs, Ildathach, held a grand party and press event to celebrate the successful completion, by Torys Kularacen, of the first successful in-game voyage carried through from launch to completion in their debut first-ring game, the real-time Relativistic Freighter Simulator, a feat requiring sixty-three months of play over the course of nine years. In the course of the event Kularacen was presented with a platinum-iridium model of the starship he used in the game, as well as a lifetime subscription to future Optimal Splay games. The latter was also presented by way of consolation to Orielle Televaricios, whose competing bid was foiled after forty-three in-game months by a simulated asteroid impact.

Eldraeic Word of the Day: fanc

fanc: (pron. “fansh”) a flaw or defect; an imperfection

from which

talifanc: (from talis “truth” + fanc) an imperfection whose presence indicates authenticity; examples would include inclusions in natural gemstones, grain in natural wood, and unintentional variations in hand-crafted objects; compare Jp. wabi.

and also

lin-fanc: the Flaw; entropy.