Trope-a-Day: Drop Ship

Drop Ship: The Sledgehammer-class drop shuttle and its cousins (such as the Piton-class single-legionary drop pod), as carried by a variety of assault cruisers.  Since when you’re actually attempting to get down to the surface of a hostile planet with still-active defenses speed is very much of the essence, the Sledgehammer-class, et. al., are designed for lithobrakingYes, that does mean exactly what you think it means.

And The White Walls Are Not White

A post I made elsewhere concerning colors according to alien eyes:

Indeed so, even if they happen to use the same chunk of the EM spectrum we do as “visible light”. There are, I suppose, some restrictions on what’s likely, since moving too far into the longer wavelengths starts to give you resolution problems and moving too far into the short wavelengths gives you issues once you start trying to come up with plausible eyes that run off ionizing radiation, but even so. The eldrae, for example, whose visual spectrum stretches a little down and a little further up from the human one, have three colors we don’t: gallé (infrared), ivén (low UV), and serís (high UV); the kaeth, by contrast, have two infrareds, no UVs, and can’t see the wavelengths we call “violet”, either. And that’s before we get into all the subjective issues of how the actual qualia differ, if that’s even a question that’s possible to answer.

The standard interlingua has a set of compromise color names defined by the frequency bands of the light in question, specifically to help sort out this whole sort of general mish-mash with which colors look like what to whom, once all the optical system differences get sorted out. (Consult your friendly translator’s test card for what each color looks like to you!)

Of course, where life gets really interesting is that the human visual system, due to its architecture, innately does some averaging inasmuch as it can’t tell the difference between red-and-green and yellow in light, or between blue-and-yellow and green in pigments; the brain never gets that data. But there’s no reason that a visual system has to work that way, although I assume in my universe for various implementation reasons most of them do – so, imagine how wildly different the world would look to someone who sees all the different mixed pigments/lights we use to produce that shade of green as entirely different colors, and the same for every other shade…

(And then try and imagine using one of their control panels – quick, is that the yellow alarm light flashing, or the red-and-green one?)

Trope-a-Day: Drinking on Duty

Drinking On Duty: Averted inasmuch as neither the Imperial Navy nor the Imperial Legions, nor indeed any other part of the Imperial Military Service is dry, even on duty.  Drinking enough to render yourself unfit for duty, on the other hand, and the punishment for same, is played very straight indeed.

On the third hand, between the biotech upgrades you start out with and the ones which you acquire mid-way through boot camp for your shiny new military-basic body, you would have to drink truly heroic quantities of booze – enough that you’re unlikely to be able to have it with you on post, unless your duty station is engineering and you’re slurping the reactor coolant directly – in order to render yourself unfit anyway.  (This does mean that you can’t drink to forget the horrors of war, but since you can visit a memory redactor for that, it’s probably not so bad a trade-off.)

Trope-a-Day: Drill Tank

The Empire does have some Drill Tanks (or subterrenes, rather – technical term), giant plasma-belching nuclear-powered monsters which carve their way through rock, cleaning up the waste as they go and leaving steaming glass-lined tunnels behind them, and keeping up a pretty decent clip while they’re doing it, too.

They’re not the most practical weapons ever, and spend much more of their time excavating civilian tunnels for Purely Peaceful Purposes than they ever do for military ones, but they have their uses, often when someone’s fortification needs to be reduced.

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The Legions of Azikhan March

Iron gates clash, flung wide.
Horns ring with brassy blare.
The legions of Azikhan march.

Light gleams from fire-wrought blades.
Gray and gold the banners blaze.
The legions of Azikhan march.

The drums of war beat wildly.
Ten-thousand treads shake the earth.
The legions of Azikhan march.

The ice-wind’s bite is bitter.
Hot iron and blood foretold.
The legions of Azikhan march.

All choice but death and glory.
The Seat of Storms shall break.
The legions of Azikhan march.

– pre-Imperial Azikhanian inscription, author unknown