Existing While Not Being God

“I am confident, to more than nine nines of certainty, that not only has a fully-general means of causality-altering time travel not been invented, but that a fully-general means of causality-altering time travel never will be invented within our light-cone.”

“Excuse me, Academician – but how can you be so sure?”

“Are we, as we speak now, omnipotent deities the supremacy of whose mere whims is written into the canons of natural law itself?”

“…no?”

“Exactly.”

from the proceedings of the Oroelle Conference on Temporal Mechanics,
7920, 8340, 8760, and 9180

Trope-a-Day: Extra Parent Conception

Extra Parent Conception: Leaving aside for a moment the issue of species which naturally have more than two sexes (which is extra from our point of view, but not from theirs) plus the issue of cladism and other deliberate modifications, this is the sort of thing which the same reproductive technology that conveniently enables Homosexual Reproduction makes downright trivial, conveniently enough for the polyamorous married.

There’s a reason why current birth documentation *there* registers bio-parenthood by “percentage of genetic complement”. (Not that either that or “incubator” is used for much but medical purposes; there’s a reason why it records three different kinds of parenthood, too.)

…And Other Clichés

“…and the vacuum is hard out today.”

A joke so old it’s evolved sophoncy independently from the primordial slime, but interface vehicle pilots evidently have to say something about ambient conditions at the highport. It seems that talking about the weather comes pre-hardwired into every sophont species’ cognome – whether or not there is any.

– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary

Author’s Note: Bad, Bad Word

As a side note, that cautionary dictionary entry, if anything, understates just how spectacularly insulting uljíra is, adjective-wise. But then, it was written by a non-native speaker of Eldraeic, even if a native speaker of the Trade dialect.

Its literal meaning is “choiceless1” – and not so due to external forces. Jír, recall, is the root of jírileth, with its important literal meaning.

That’s right up there with “Defaulter” in terms of Things To Say To An Imperial That Will Result In The Coroner Declaring Your Ensuing Death A Suicide.

1. And you can consider that in the context of that certain old saying daráv xíjirár; jaqef vigínár: a sophont chooses, a servile complies.

Trope-a-Day: Exposed Extraterrestrials

Exposed Extraterrestrials: Averted entirely, for reasons as disparate as regulating temperature, protection from environmental hazards, etiquette, and perhaps most significantly of all, pockets. (Literally everyone in the galaxy who isn’t actually sessile has invented pockets, and arguably the ones who are have too, except they call them cabinets.) Even those species (say, the dar-bandal) whose fur privilege takes care of the first three above still wear a Waistcoat of Style for the sake of the pockets.

“Polite”, As In Somewhat Less Dismissive

vetel i-seldá (n.):

  1. Employee (lit. “seller of time”).
  2. Hireling (pej.)
  3. Flunky, lackey, stooge. (v. pej.)

vetel i-seldá remains the currently accepted term in Trade Eldraeic for an employee, under the quasicontractual doctrine practiced in many polities, despite being a reuse of the original term in formal Eldraeic for the lowest grouping within the (obsolete) servile daressëf, those who were unable to contract for the performance of specific works or the use of professional skills and were therefore limited to selling their time per se, working under direction upon arbitrary tasks. This is typically ascribed to it remaining the technically accurate term in the eyes of those contract brokers currently holding the largest talent market share, not coincidentally corporations domiciled within Imperial space.

The term that may be heard but should nonetheless always be avoided is traüljíra jaqef, ‘bound servile’, a reformulation of an ancient (korásan-period) term roughly equivalent to ‘serf’. This is an extreme pejorative, whether used of an employee or of an employer’s desire, and – even for the lightest and most self-deprecating usages – unsuitable for any usage beyond extranet polemics, invitations to duel, or acceding to the fighting words doctrine.

– Dictionary of Trade Eldraeic, min Sarthall, League Press

 

Trope-a-Day: Explosive Decompression

Explosive Decompression: No. Just no. (In the trope sense. Obviously it can happen in the technical sense.)

Well, with one exception. The trope quite correctly notes that it can happen if you have a really high pressure gradient, say, 8-9 atm to 1 atm. As such, some people from planets with very thick atmospheres (say, ciseflish) can suffer some serious abaryic trauma if their suit decompresses or if taken out of it – albeit rarely to the extent of literally exploding.

But whether that applies or not, it is a universal truism that sudden decompression sucks.