Trope-a-Day: Improbable Piloting Skills

Improbable Piloting Skills: While mostly averted, “If it flies…” is partially played straight thanks to Powers as Programs.  Note that this still doesn’t mean that anyone can fly well – but once you’ve learned all the kinesthetic skills, reflexes, etc., etc., that a pilot needs, it sure makes adapting to new types easier.

(And “the eyes of an eagle” are sometimes provided by regular old Super Senses.)

Gods of the Void

The Ice Bitch, the Spawner of Calamities, the Father of Error, That Whose Laughter Rings In The Ears Of The Dying

A near-ubiquitous spacer belief – even among the eldrae, who do not make a habit of placing masks upon the force of Entropy – is that of the many-angled god-goddess who deals out impartial death and calamity towards all whose efforts to ward his-her-its attentions off have been insufficiently fervent and effective. The Spawner of Calamities holds dominion over all ways to suffer and die in space: over void, dark, and vacuum; over fire, radiation, and flare; over leak, suit-rupture, and micrometeoroid; over hypoxia, toxin, and life-system collapse; over power-exhaustion, equipment-failure, and defect; and over stupidity, incompetence, and ill-luck most of all.

The Father of Error has little consistent depiction; mythography attributes him-her-it with, in combination, a gnarled and nauseating mass of virtually every body part and organ known to biology anywhere. The exception is that all of his-her-its forms are depicted as eyeless, befitting the blind idiot deity of error and mischance. The shadow of the Ice Bitch scars the world with radiation and poison as he-she-it passes. Symbolically, he-she-it is aptly represented by a red star in flare, bringing death to those left without shelter.

Throughout the majority of the Worlds, the cult of the Laugher is at best semi-serious – it is comforting, amidst disaster, to have someone to blame, to swear by, and indeed to swear at – although a few genuine cults do exist in less developed areas of the Expansion Regions. Unusually by comparison to similar cults, their theology does not support sacrifice or reverence; their deity’s indifference renders him-her-it indifferent to any worship. The offerings of bitter wine poured out on his-her-its altars are mere acknowledgement of the truth of things. Nonetheless, enough people seek the propitiation of their fears that his-her-its cults can sustain themselves and grow.

(Sadly, these cults do nothing to encourage wise caution and due attention to maintenance procedures.)

– Mythographies of the Worlds, 53rd ed., Third League Publishing & c.

Trope-a-Day: Powers As Programs

Powers As Programs: With the availability of mnemonesis to download knowledge and skillsets into your brain, gnostic overlays to do the same thing for professional personalities, and the ability to download recipes for your portable nanolathe or desktop nanoforge to build you the tools to use them…

…yeah, this is pretty much the way it works.  Although those powers which require genetic changes, large tools, exotic materials, or significant ‘shell modification are somewhat more difficult to achieve.

But see also Skilled, but Naïve, when we get there.

Trope-a-Day: Skilled, but Naïve

Skilled, but Naïve: The consequence of relying too much on mnemonesis and gnostic overlays to download distilled knowledge and skillsets.  They can, and will, grant you extraordinary, even superhuman, technical skill.  Excellence is guaranteed.  You will outperform any mediocrity, even any average professional you ever meet on raw talent alone, because you have been given a magnificent instrument.

But it’s the integration of the downloaded knowledge with your core self that lets you play it like a virtuoso, and there’s no artificial substitute for that.  Just experience and practice.

Sleep Well and Wake

outside storage (n.): Also cold storage; vacuum storage. Among the things space has in plentiful supply are volume and insulation. The former affords a bounty of available space for various usages; the latter ensures that items occupying it require relatively little protection to be safe from environmental influences. Many habitats throughout the Worlds make use of this for storage. Once chilled down, a package can simply be wrapped in a K-blanket (for micrometeoroid protection, if the storage volume itself is not shielded as a whole) and reflective foil, tethered to a convenient truss, and airlocked. The space environment will protect it near-indefinitely, at minimal if any cost.

NOTE: On many habitats, the prevalence of this technique is such that the phrase “thrown out” now typically implies storage rather than disposal.

Ice Bitch’s Hell, the (n., slang): Also Frozen Death, the; Slow Death, the; long, cold wait, a; suspended internment; cryostatic indigent holding. As previously mentioned, one endemic problem faced by many drifts is the build-up, over time, of indigent floaters. Due to the cost of interstellar travel, individuals travelling without guaranteed-passage tickets or reflux bonds may find themselves stranded on a distant habitat without means to depart, and with depleting funds.

This naturally poses a problem for drifts in Second Tier and Emerging markets, which can afford neither the cost of deportation nor the life-support overhead of maintaining an indigent population that isn’t paying hab fees, yet which would prefer on ethical grounds not to simply march them out the airlock, and which cannot rely on the limited resources of distressed spacefarer’s organizations. One widely used solution, of uncertain provenance, is to place indigent floaters in cryostasis, remove them from the cryostasis capsule, then package the corpsicle for and place it in outside storage – thus eliminating the associated life support costs, et. al. Many drifts have thousands – even tens of thousands, in the case of major transit points – of frozen floaters in long-term outside storage awaiting someone willing to pay for their cryorevival and transportation.

Rumors of long-term storees being sold off to slavers or organleggers by certain unscrupulous storage authorities or station management remain largely unconfirmed at the time of writing.

– A Star Traveller’s Dictionary

Trope-a-Day: Improbable Aiming Skills

Improbable Aiming Skills: Training for the various sentinel occupations, including the Imperial Legions and, yes, also the Watch Constabulary tries its best to achieve these, or at least to avert Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy really hard.  In these modern days in which you can have a top-flight ballistics software package running in your head and arbitrary amounts of computer power, locally networked sensors, etc., etc., in your gun – well, let’s just say that the standards for improbable have been raised a tad.

In The Details

“Accurate description of a subject society is vitally important to our work, and thus it is important to be aware of our descriptors as tightly-defined terms of art. For example, ‘primitive’ and ‘barbaric’ are not cognates: a society whose implicit economic scarcity requires people to labor in exchange for subsistence goods is primitive, but need not be barbaric. Contrariwise, the practice of taxation is in and of itself barbaric, but not necessarily limited to primitives.”

– An Introduction to Cultural Sophontology