The Other Half

(…of this.)

“Wynérias SysCon, this is CMS Greed and Mass-Energy inbound from Kythera System checking in, emergence point on bearing one-eleven ascending four from stargate, drift seven three eight. Request instructions per previously filed flight plan code niner-three-zero-eleven-one. Over.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, Wynérias SysCon, we have you arriving in Wynérias System at 5158-11-10:4+37-34. Squawk ident, subcode F; Wynérias Development and Holding welcomes you to our colony. Please specify preferred transit profile.  Over.”

“SysCon, Greed and Mass-Energy, squawking ident-F. Prefer direct brachy routing to Wynérias Actual, acceleration four point eight, for insertion into planetary inbound transfer orbit.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, SysCon, you are cleared to initiate brachy burn in five-one pulses, acceleration as specified. Proceed direct, no need to confirm flip. Compute to cut acceleration to two point one at range zero point four five seconds for optimal insertion into inbound transfer slot, confirm with Orbital at that time and any variances on this channel. Ack and back. Over.”

“SysCon, Greed and Mass-Energy, acknowledge clearance for brachy burn in five-one, proceed direct, cut to two point one at zero point four five, confirming with Orbital at that time and any variances on this channel. Clear.”

* * * * *

“Wynérias Orbital, this is CMS Greed and Mass-Energy reporting per clearance, cutting acceleration to two point one at range zero point four five seconds. Request further instructions. Over.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, Wynérias Orbital, wait half… Greed and Mass-Energy, you are cleared into inbound transfer orbit level six, slot nine-ailék; perform maneuvering burn at your discretion to establish zero-zero and circularize on slot entry. Call back once established. Ack and back. Over.”

“Orbital, Greed and Mass-Energy, acknowledge clearance to inbound transfer level six slot nine-ailék, maneuver at discretion and circularize on entry, callback when done. Clear.”

* * * * *

“Wynérias Orbital, Greed and Mass-Energy, established at inbound transfer level six slot nine-ailék, standing by for further clearance. Over.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, Orbital, state intentions. Over.”

“Orbital, Greed and Mass-Energy, request docking and cargo transfer slot at Sung Orbital. Over.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, Orbital, do you require bunkerage? Over.”

“Orbital, Greed and Mass-Energy, top off with standard mix, over.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, please hold current slot due to heavy traffic in orbital maneuvering transfer zone. Estimated delay four point two hours. Please remain ready to maneuver. Clear.”

* * * * *

“Greed and Mass-Energy, Wynérias Orbital, you are now cleared continuance for transfer to Sung Orbital maneuvering zone, initiate one point five gravity retrograde burn per route-book in two-six-zero mark, circularize at zone entry and contact Port Control at that time. Skies are clear. Ack and back. Over.”

“Orbital, Greed and Mass Energy, acknowledge clearance to Sung Orbital manuevering zone, initiate route-book burn at one point five in two-six-zero by your mark, circularize on entry and contact Port Control. Thanks for your guidance. Clear.”

* * * * *

“Sung Orbital, Port Control, this is CMS Greed and Mass-Energy entering your orbital maneuvering zone on flight plan code niner-three-zero-eleven-one for docking and cargo transfer slot. Request taxi instructions. Over.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, Port Control. Your flight plan is acknowledged and closed. Please terminate use of heavy thermal engines at this time. Wait two for taxi instructions. Clear.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, Port Control. You are cleared to proceed from orbital maneuvering zone to outer docking volume corse gilék two seven in four-five. Switch to cold-gas only within outer docking zone, maintaining highport-relative velocity below ten fips. Forbidden thrust vector map available on subchannel gishalel. Callback on arrival. Ack and back. Over.

“Port Control, Greed and Mass-Energy, acknowledge clearance to proceed from orbital maneuvering to outer docking volume corse gilék two seven in four-five, sub ten fips and cold-gas only within zone, forbidden thrust vectors on gishalel, callback when done. Clear.”

* * * * *

“Port Control, Greed and Mass-Energy, we are zero relative in dock corse gilék two seven. Over.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, Port Control, discontinue engine function at this time; squawk null. Call back when your radiators are in the black, and we’ll get the service pods out to you. Welcome to Port Sung! Over.”

“Port Control, Greed and Mass-Energy, squawking null and will do. Much thanks and glad to be here. Clear.”

 

Know Thy Enemy and Know Yourself

Perhaps the most embarrassing of all military disasters in the history of the Worlds is the Battle of Aktir, also known as the Five-Second War, the Last Biochauvinist War, and The Day The Meat Was Tenderized.

In its increasing frustration with the increasing numbers of independent digisapiences and digisapient polities and polises in the Worlds, the biosupremacist True Life Alliance – made up of a number of polities and private organizations which had adopted rigorous anti-AI views – determined to strike a decisive blow against AI acceptance, while simultaneously demonstrating the superiority, as they claimed, of biosapient life.

To this end, they marshaled a combined fleet from their members, comprised of vessels of all classes from battleship to frigate numbering over 3,000, and dispatched this fleet against the oldest and best known of the Worlds’ digisapience polities, the Photonic Network.

The Photonic Network, in response, sent a single processing node.

The fleets met shortly thereafter in the Aktir (Tomal Cluster) System, an uninhabited system a short distance outside the Network’s home volume. After transmitting a lengthy statement of intent – by all accounts quite stirring, if rabid carbon chauvinism is to your taste – every ship of the True Life Alliance fleet fired its mass drivers and flushed its missile tubes simultaneously at the lone processing node.

Much to their surprise, 4.3 seconds later, their missiles executed coordinated dispersal and deceleration maneuvers, and every starship of the fleet simultaneously lost thrust and helm control. This surprise was relatively short-lived, however, as the starships in question opened their airlocks and internal spacetight doors – thus venting their internal atmosphere and unsecured crew to space – immediately thereafter.

The undamaged processing node returned to the Methizar Traverse with its freshly acquired escort fleet and missile cloud, which unsubstantiated rumor claims were broken down for raw materials upon arrival. Meanwhile, when news of the debacle reached their homeworlds, the True Life Alliance collapsed in disorder, as did the governances of several of its member polities.

No-one has attempted a frontal attack on the Photonic Network since.

 

Step Two

impossipoint (n.): In studies of paracausality (q.v.), the exact when-where at which a miracle (q.v.) occurs. Named so in part because they are where the impossible happens; named so in part also because the frustratingly subtle nature of miracles makes it bloody impossible to detect one.

– Glossary of Applied Metaphysics,
Academician Éöl Liuvis

Trope: Names to Run Away From Really Fast

(Okay, so I found one more…)

Names to Run Away From Really Fast: In the Imperial context alone, Imperial Hand, Fifth Directorate, and any Imperial military officer, agent, or private contractor whose House name is “Sargas” are the chief contenders. In the Worlds as a whole, Operatives of the Conclave are also not to be trifled with.

The Photonic Network‘s OPSEC, the Voniensa Republic‘s Exception Management Group, and the Eilish High Guard are also notable in this field, and while most people wouldn’t rate them against first-rank regulars, Kestal’s Raiders have achieved a certain bloody success in the unbonded mercenary business, operating out of the Rim Free Zone.

At least some of these can also be Names to Trust Immediately. All depends on who you are, and who they are.

Also, as was mentioned under Overly Long Name, one of the traditional components of eldraeic names is the attributive name, based on your personal attributes and/or accomplishments, which grow increasingly significant as your reputation grows, up until you reach the people with really towering reputations who can introduce themselves only by attributive name, Exalted-style, such as Exquisite Engineer of Worlds, or Manyfold Propagator of Celestial Wealth. Of course, those aren’t terribly intimidating in this trope’s sense, but should you encounter, say, Bloody-Handed Avenger of Iniquities… start running.

(Curiously enough, despite their taste for lush verbosity, this effect only increases as the attributive name dwindles towards Gallifreyan sparseness. Anyone who could pull off simply introducing himself as “the Warrior”, for example, would surely be someone able to win a major fleet action armed only with a cheese knife.)

 

Tropes Going Forward

So why is that a Trope-a-No-Longer-Day, I hear you cry?

Well, because I’ve run out of pre-written ones, and the demands on my time these days are such that – especially if I want to keep prioritizing writing at all – I can’t take enough time out to go through possible tropes and write ’em up in advance. So from here on in, they’ll be done more or less ad-hoc as I happen upon ones that seem relevant, rather than trying to keep up a list in advance.

Of course, should you think of any that seem relevant to the ‘verse that I haven’t tackled already, feel free to send them in and I’ll see what I can do you for.

 

Trope-a-No-Longer-Day: Creepy Cleanliness

Creepy Cleanliness: To more than a few foreign visitors, yes. As William Gibson said in Disneyland With the Death Penalty, “Was it Laurie Anderson who said that VR would never look real until they learned how to put some dirt in it? Singapore’s airport, the Changi Airtropolis, seemed to possess no more resolution than some early VPL world. There was no dirt whatsoever; no muss, no furred fractal edge to things. Outside, the organic, florid as ever in the tropics, had been gardened into brilliant green, and all-too-perfect examples of itself. Only the clouds were feathered with chaos – weird columnar structures towering above the Strait of China.

The Empire is exquisitely groomed by a horde of tiny robotic negentropists to a state of perfection usually seen only in architect’s drawings, concept art, Gernsbackia, and the like. If you need some dirt and wear on things for them to seem natural, you’re out of luck, because if there was any visible entropy around, someone’s had it caught and shot before it became noticeable. (And gods alone help you if you admit a preference for grunginess, or litter, or some such, ’cause you might as well stand up in the middle of Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica to announce your life-long devotion to scatophilia.)