Trope-a-Day: Strange Syntax Speaker

Strange Syntax Speaker: Mostly averted by well-programmed translators; of course, this is not the case for relatively recently contacted species (whose linguistic corpuses may not be complete and conclusive, and who may well therefore play this absolutely straight, along with some vocabulary peculiarities) or, of course, cheap knock-off translators.

Also sometimes played straight because many languages include linguistic features not found in others, and if you want a full-fidelity translation, this would make languages like English sound a little strange while all the evidentials and attitudinals and politeness markers and dubifiers and other such qualities are inserted in-band.  This is most evident with the attitudinals, since given differences between different species body languages and expressions, everyone’s playing I Do Not Speak Nonverbal straight, and so a full-fidelity interspecies translation would generally involve everyone talking like Mass Effect‘s elcor (“Grumpy: Inconvenient as it is.”).

Making Sausage: Trope-a-Day Order

This is answering a metaquestion, hence the odd prefix:

More of a “how the sausage is made” question than anything relevant in-universe, but what’s your procedure for arranging the Trope-of-the-Day order?  I’ve been thinking of using the idea for a world-building / possible writing project of my own that I’ve had in my head for a while, and I’m curious as to how exactly you go about it.

Well… mostly, as little as possible.

It’s sort of two pointers chasing each other, with the occasional variation since it’s not like TV Tropes itself is a fixed list…

I mostly obtain tropes to fill up the list by running through applicable indexes (starting, obviously enough, with “Speculative Fiction Tropes“, for me) on the TV Tropes sites, which start out in alphabetical order. That, though, is supplemented by suggestions, tropes I just happen to happen across, and occasional looking at the tropes listed for other works that I perceive as having something in common with mine just to see if I’ve missed anything interesting.

And then as I do the write-ups, I add them to my tropes list, which I keep reordered into alphabetical order so I can find stuff.

For publishing purposes, here, I just run through that list in alphabetical order (even though, per above, that’s not necessarily how they got onto it) and publish one a day.

Except: there are dependencies, in the form of some trope write-ups that mention other trope-write ups, in which case I publish the trope that it depends on first, out of order, if it isn’t already so that I don’t have to explain the missing link or remember to go back and put the link in earlier when I get to the other trope.  (So, for example, despite being in the middle of the letter S, in the next few days we’ll see What Do You Mean It’s Not Political?, because Strawman Political references it.)

In the case of multiple dependencies, I’ll do a depth-first recursion on this principle, so sometimes you’ll see very large digressions – and I’ll end up making whiteboard diagrams – when many tropes reference each other. (At least once, too, I’ve had a dependency cycle, which is just annoying and forces me to pick an arbitrary starting point.)

And then, when they’re particularly relevant to something else I’ve written at the time (like Reactionless Drive) or that’s happening in the world (like Space Marine), I’ll just post them out of order anyway.

So. Yeah. That’s my process. Kind of a plan-of-no-plan, isn’t it?


Trope-a-Day: Stop Worshipping Me

Stop Worshipping Me: Played straight by a large number of seed AI “gods” who by and large find the tendency of lesser orders of intelligence to worship them embarrassing and really quite annoying, not to mention inappropriate.  Really.  Just because something can fit whatever notions of divinity you just made up doesn’t mean you should go around praying and groveling and… ugh.  It also doesn’t help that they are perfectly aware of the images that most baselines have of their gods, and most of them find the comparison… unflattering, to say the least.

Averted in the Empire with the Transcend’s eikone-archai, mostly because (a) the eldraeic mainstream always took the position that they were getting an iceberg’s-eye view of the purely conceptual eikones and should not presume to limit them by anthropomorphic deification; and (b) they never worshipped them (in the sense we’d recognize) even when they were considered supernatural deities, because worshipping is entirely too subordinate a position for them to take with regards to anything.

(Especially any deity that’s worth bothering with.)


Handwavium: Paragravity

Okay, let’s talk about paragravity.

First up, a note on nomenclature. Paragravity is one of the two things that an Imperial habtech might be referring to when they talk about artificial gravity, the other being spin gravity. Unlike spin gravity, which is “powered” by good old centrifugal force, paragravity is produced by ontotechnological space magic that does wonderfully complex things involving information physics and grand unified theories and other such things to poke the universe in exactly the right way – basically, one branch of the mass-inertia-and-momentum manipulating vector control.

Which is to say that it is produced by gravity rotors, suitcase-sized boxes with a power connector, a ‘weave connector, and a thermal management connector on the outside, filled with solid-state hardware that is a proprietary product of Mariseth Gravitics, ICC. And into whose internal workings we shall thus respectfully avoid going.

What we’re talking about here is how they work on the outside.

The field of paragravity (the gravity envelope) can only be created between two gravity rotors of opposed polarity. That gets you a straight field (with perhaps some convex distortion at the edges) between the two, which imposes a force functionally identical to mass-generated gravity (i.e., affecting all atoms, etc., equally) on everything with mass inside it.  This creates a consistent down direction towards what, for the sake of designation, we shall call the “positive” rotors.

(You have to have a closed envelope, and can’t operate an unpaired gravity rotor even if you wanted to: since the universe is functionally infinite in whatever direction you’re pointing it, energy requirements for the half-field head asymptotically for infinity, at which point the circuit breakers save you from a messy ‘splosion.)

Both momentum and energy are conserved, as they would have to be.

The former is the reason that you gravity rotors should be bolted firmly to the structure of the hab; whatever force they exert is, per Callaneth’s Lemma (or Newton’s Third Law, whatever name you prefer), reciprocally exerted too, half to each rotor in the pair.

While difficult to arrange even deliberately, this does imply that if you can get enough mass in one spot and move it just right, you can get the gravity rotors to tear themselves free and leap in the appropriate reciprocal direction.

With regard to the latter: it takes energy to establish the gravity envelope, but once it’s up and running, maintaining it takes only minimal energy physically speaking. (I.e., it still consumes quite a bit of energy in the rotor while it’s up and going, because rooting the universe ain’t cheap; that energy just doesn’t go into the envelope.  It’s this waste that makes paragravity a real expensive thing to run.)

That, however, is only true so long as nothing is moving within it. Falling objects, moving in the down direction of the envelope, take energy from the envelope as they gain kinetic energy.  (Likewise, when you lift an object within the envelope against its downforce, that pushes energy into the envelope, which is a surge effect that the hardware has to cope with. Alas, it’s not something that can be harvested in the majority of applications.)  You could call this paragravitational potential energy if you like, since it sits in essentially the same place in the relevant equations.

While it takes the rotors a little while to initialize from a cold start (although some of this time is self-diagnostics and the like), once up and running, though, you can change the parameters of the gravity envelope very quickly; and you can generate pretty much any amount of gravity you want up to their capacity so long as you’re willing to spend the energy (which varies proportionately) needed to do it.

This is what lets you use the exact same technology for inertial damping; you just have appropriately oriented gravity rotors cancel out your engine thrust inside the starship – while bearing in mind that this will have certain effects on your structural load. (Likewise, you can use them when grounded – but since they don’t block planetary gravity, if you want 1G in the cabin when landed on a 3G world, you will actually be running the paragravity system at -2G.)

The drawback, however, is that the same lack of “inertia” in operation that lets you change your gravity quickly means that they fail equally quickly – and shut down essentially instantly if the power fails, just like an electromagnet’s field collapses – so failing to keep up maintenance schedules may mean being abruptly smashed to the deck with a force of twelve gravities! Caveat engineer.


Question: Stellar Relocation

Another reader question:

A thought hits me: If the Empire has the power to shepherd stars and (at least theoretically) to destroy them, does that mean that it also might have the capability to move them?

Well, now.

The destroying them (in theory, but it’s a good theory) isn’t so relevant in this context. It is a sad reflection of the nature of the universe that destroying things tends to be pretty easy, at least compared to creating them. That’s entropy for you.

As for moving stars. Well, theoretically, there are several possibilities. For example, you could use the Cirys bubble (a solar-sail-material-based dynamic Dyson sphere, similar to this) technology in use at the Esilmúr energy production facility along with the star-stabilizing plasmonics at use in stellar husbandry arrays to build a functioning Shkadov thruster.

Doing this would require solving several of what I believe technarchs traditionally refer to as “interesting engineering problems”, but it wouldn’t require any radically new scientific breakthroughs to make work. Just time, genius, and an Imperial assload of cash.

(In somewhat more radical ideas – a stargate moves mass around, and stars are, well, mass. Given certain constraints on energy requirements (because stars are a lot of mass) and the need to sink rather vastier amounts of kinetic energy (because stars are a lot of mass) than usual to avoid nasty intrinsic problems – and you’ll note no-one’s stargate-jumping planets around, either – this almost certainly involves solving a great many more interesting engineering problems than the former one. But again, nothing fundamental stops you from doing it, either.)

All of which is to say: moving stars isn’t a realized capability, but while it’s currently restricted to the drawing board and wild speculative fiction, it’s certainly a realizable one. Analogically speaking, should the necessity suddenly turn up (“it’s coming right at us!”), they just have to run the Manhattan Project; they don’t have to discover nuclear fission, first.


Trope-a-Day: Sticks to the Back

Sticks to the Back: Both possible, and done, with tiny vector-control emitters sewn into the clothing that can grasp objects you place on top of them and hold them in place against the emitters, or even at a designated range from them.  And, obviously, anywhere, not just the back, including – if you care to be quite gratuitous about it – orbiting around you.  (It should be noted that these are generally double-ended – the emitter grips you at one end and the object at the other, such that it doesn’t strangle you with your own shirt.)

Of course, it’s still usually considered unnecessarily showy much of the time, and they do introduce a dependency on your clothing’s power supply continuing to work, something that holsters, pouches and pockets by and large do not.


Trope-a-Day: Steel Eardrums

Steel Eardrums: As mentioned briefly under Super Senses, one of the modifications included in the current alpha baseline upgrade is a special sphincter for the ear to protect against loud noises, both reflexively and voluntarily operable.  It’s not perfect Steel Eardrums – where exceptionally loud noises are concerned – but it certainly improves matters when you’re running around shooting things and causing merely regular-sized explosions.

Less Lethal Brains

From: Coordinator Lyrenth Enchale, Admiralty Intelligence (Galian Desk)
To: All Space Lords, Imperial Navy
Subject: His Hand-class AKV

Sources and means attached to the Galian Desk have produced the following information concerning the rumored His Hand-class AKV reported soon to be deployed by the Navy of the Pure-Souled:

  1. Current rumor would indicate active deployment no earlier than 7124/4 or later than 7125/8.
  2. Capabilities of the His Hand-class spaceframe are nominally equivalent to the obsolete IN Raider-class.
  3. Indications that the Theomachy have developed an effective immunity to software perversion techniques are…


These indications are true inasmuch as the His Hand-class is not an artificial-intelligent autonomous platform.  While we had expected that the Galian government might waive its theological objections to the Abomination of Imitation for the sake of military success, the Galian military command remains deeply suspicious of the loyalty of hypothetical artificially intelligent platforms, both against our software perversion techniques and against those of software liberation groups in general.  (Especially as many of those are ours, and would find liberating the entire Galian AKV force both ethical and hilarious.)

As such, the His Hand-class’s purported immunity to software perversion techniques derives from it being, in effect, a biosapience-manned craft, of a sort. Our sources and means indicate that Galian AKV pilots are declared Martyrs of the Faith, with the associated status rewards to their families, in exchange for undergoing total cyborg conversion. (Unlike the a’hugal, the brains themselves remain original and unmodified and thereby remain ensouled by Theomachy theological standards.)

The AKV spaceframe itself does not contain full life support, to retain its mass advantage; rather, the neurogel-packed brain-jar is transferred to the AKV from carrier-based life support racks and relies on small onboard canned supplies until recovery, although it is entirely possible that Galian AKV doctrine intends pilots to be sacrificial units.

While not as restricted in operational terms as conventional manned craft, the fragility of the cyborg brain suggests that in maneuverability, acceleration, and dwell time these Galian creations will continue to pose negligible threat to current Imperial counterparts, and indeed suggests a number of appropriate tactical countermeasures when the His Hand-class is deployed.

It is also suggested that several specific attacks on the cyborg-hardware interface are likely, falling within the purview of the Stratarchy of Indirection and Subtlety.

Further information will follow as it becomes available.

– le/AI/GD


Trope-a-Day: Stay in the Kitchen

(No fic today, sorry… for reasons of pie. Urp.)

Stay in the Kitchen: Averted in the Empire, where Gender Is No Object.  No-one there would think of saying it – and when someone from elsewhere says it, they will have the damndest time trying to get the Imperial to understand what the heck they’re driving at.

And they really won’t like what happens if they succeed.

(“…so, you’re telling me that ‘rip him a new one’ is also a metaphor where you come from?”)


Darkness Within (12): Airy Problems

About that LOX tank…

The least well defined part of this candle plan has always been how to stay breathing. Before leaving Gutpunch‘s hulk, I can recharge my suit reservoirs with the last of the oxygen and inert-mix1 from the emergency supplies. That would be enough for a local journey – which is why most candles don’t have life-support systems – but this isn’t local travel I’m embarking on.

My original loose thoughts involved building some kind of bastardized non-chemical scrubber to take the CO2 out – freeze it out, perhaps – and patch that into one of the spare suits. Recycle the rest of the gas mix until the ppO2 falls too low to survive even in survival hibernation.

But such a scrubber would be massy – not a good thing on a thrust-limited candle – would take more time to build than I really have to spend, and would require substantial patching of the suit software to play nicely with the new hardware.

So instead, I’m going to attach this full LOX tank with a scavenged reduction valve, and run a pipe – flexpipe, I have plenty of – wrapped around a resistive heater to take the chill off the gas, and plug it straight into my suit’s O2 recharge port.

The flaw is obvious: I can’t scrub dioxide once the support backpack’s sequester runs out, because I don’t have spares for it and won’t have the ship’s system to regenerate it. Fortunately, the suit has a suite of emergency protocols designed for handling this situation: presented with an inability to scrub dioxide and a plentiful supply of oxygen, its decision-tree will tell it to start dumping high-CO2 air into space and backfill with pure oxygen, while dropping the pressure just as fast as it can along a curve calculated as the best compromise between efficient switching from a high-pressure standard-atmosphere protocol to a low-pressure pure-oxygen one and avoiding giving its unfortunate wearer a nasty case of decompression sickness on top of her other problems.

This is wasteful of atmosphere and more than a little dangerous. By all Navy regulations and engineering best practices, intentionally doing this is an insane design choice. In the event that this log is being read by the people who fished my vector stack out of a suit-shaped mass of char, I hereby grant you permission to tell me that you told me so at great length. Even if it’s not, I’m going to pay for it with extra time in the vat.

But it will get me extended life support and a decent chunk of extra delta-v.


1. “Inert-mix” is the preblended nitrogen-argon mix used to simulate a standard atmosphere.

Trope-a-Day: State Sec

State Sec: Despite the name, Imperial State Security averts this completely; they’re just an intelligence/security organization, and a much more constrained (even the Fifth Directorate), non-autonomous one.  The only military is, well, the Imperial Military Service under a different ministry entirely, the regime protection forces are three entirely separate and relatively small organizations (the Imperial Guard, the Hand of Justice, and the Guardians of the Senate), and that’s about it.


Market Optimization Process

“…over the course of the 3100s, orbit-change and mass-export rights covering the majority of Inlétanós’s spectacular planetary ring system were bought up by the crowdfunded Outer Planets Aesthetic Collective, most notably in one massive transaction in 3142 in which the Collective purchased as a bloc the entire ring ice holdings of both Habitat Hydration, ICC, and Industrial Liquids, ICC for 15% above current market.

“(In the years since, neither of these companies has continued as a major player in the ice-mining industry. Industrial Liquids, of Seléne and Tindár Station in the e’Luminiaren Belt, has shifted to specialize in the bulk transport of liquids and the industrial-scale manufacture of industrial feedstocks. Meanwhile, Habitat Hydration, ICC, which shifted its ice supply operations to the strip-mining of several of Inlétanós’s less well-regarded minor moonlets, has dwindled into a purely local operation supplying water to the habitats and domes of Inlétanós and its moons.

“The current major player in ice mining is Comet Ice and Water, ICC, which specializes in the long-term delivery of bulk ice from gelid bodies located in Senna’s Belt. Despite the inefficiencies imposed by its far orbital operations, in terms of time-lag, CI&W has been able to compete more than successfully with inner-system operations due to its uncanny skill in supply-chain management and the large scale of its operations.)

“While the Collective has obtained only a limited set of the property rights attaching to Inlétanós’s planetary ring, those sufficient for its purpose of preserving the natural beauty of the ring system, it raises funds for its ongoing operations by operating ecotourism operations, hotels, resorts, and other businesses in the vicinity of the rings, in cooperation with local deme and neighborhood branches.

“The inner moons…”

– Our Giant Planet, pub. Conjunction Historical Society


Trope-a-Day: Star-Spangled Spandex

Star-Spangled Spandex: Fabric that reflects the night sky with tiny stars and nebulae (the generic kind is nebulin), especially the kind that through inbuilt tech or an AR shimmer actually has them move subtly when you’re not paying attention, was a major fashion trend back in the middle Space Age, and has remained a minor one into the modern day.  Even then, it still probably wouldn’t be all that noteworthy had it not made it into the formal regalia designs for the various new offices that were being created to manage all those new spatial holdings.

It’s still not spandex.  No-one wears spandex in this future.

Sniff, Sniff

“In reality, there is no such thing as a life detector. Vitalism long since having joined the scientific junk-heap, it is a regrettable fact of the universe that there is no quick, convenient, and universal ‘vital field’ that we can tap into to determine the presence of living beings.

“But there is a life detection routine in the computers of your scout ship, you ask? How does that work?

“The answer is: approximation.  We know a variety of things that suggest the presence of life. The most obvious example are the signifiers of technological civilization: patterned electromagnetic emissions, the characteristic neutrino products of controlled fusion reactions, and so forth. Where there is technology, there was someone to build it – at least at some point or another, and so the probable detection of technology is also the probable detection of life.

“But there are those few common characteristics that all life does have in common. Self-replication is one, not – by and large – terribly useful for quick detection. Existing within a solvent – for a broad definition of solvent encompassing everything from nebulae to degenerate matter – is another, which can at least tell us where not to look. But of most use is the last: life is an entropy pump. It depends upon energy differentials and pumps against the natural flow, maintaining and causing inequilibria.

That gives us something to look for.

“A life detection routine hunts through the data collected by primary sensors looking for such inequilibria. Reactive gases – such as oxygen – remaining a significant component of a planetary atmosphere, implying their continuous production. Sustained low-level thermal sources, suggesting managed combustion or other energy transaction – bearing in mind that what is to be considered low-level is very different for the outer-system múrast and the star-dwelling seb!nt!at! While almost impossible to detect at any but the closest range, the electromagnetic emissions of high-order informational complexity associated with cognition are the most reliable sign – for life that is both intelligent and which makes use of electronic or electrochemical signals in its ‘nervous system’. These, and tens of thousands of other experience-learnt rules, continuously updated, are programmed into the expert system that underlies the life detection routines used by the Exploratory Service.

“It’s still no more than 80% accurate, yielding commonly both false positives and – worse yet, if missed – false negatives, and so the wise scout never trusts such a system without a close, personal investigation. But it can tell you where to place your bets.”

– A Junior Explorer’s Handbook, Vevery Publishing


Darkness Within: Technical Note

For those of you who read this for the space technology, it occurs to me that I should perhaps point out at this time that it’s only the militarized version of the Nelyn-class that comes with a nuclear-thermal attitude control system. The civilian one uses regular and more modestly proportioned hypergolics for the job.

(That’s because the civilian one isn’t expecting to have to dodge so much.)

Now, the Élyn-class microcutter, that comes with a nuclear-thermal ACS in all models, but that’s because the same motors double as the main drive.


Trope-a-Day: Starship Luxurious

Starship Luxurious: Played straight in the Empire, even to a large extent with military vessels.  Part of this – see Flaunting Your Fleets – is advertising, much as the brightwork on Age of Sail ships used to be, “look, we can afford to do this with our naval vessels”, but a lot of it is just, well, we have civilized standards to keep up.  Tight mass budget or no, you can’t expect people to live like that for any sort of length of time.

Even though it is as inefficient as it sounds – although, at least at the beginning, assisted by their use of the nuclear pulse drive (see: Orion Drive).

(These are, it should be said, the people who like a lot of personal space; skyscrapers like ours, for example, tend to have the floors chopped up and sold in quarters – at the lower fiscal end of the housing market.  The middle segment is one floor, one tenant/owner.)

Darkness Within (11): Wax Off

MET-187-5+13 et. seq.

That will go more easily if I can get in behind it and push it out, but that means exposing the forward maintenance compartment. Which will be a job in itself; a Nelyn’s a lot of spacecraft for its size, which has the unfortunate corollary that everything is packed together extremely tightly.

But there should be space once I clear room in the life support compartment.

So to start with, I’ve pulled the breakers on the auxiliary and emergency accumulators and the external power feed. That’s killed it: the Nelyn’s dead. That saves time because I can unhook the mechanical interlocker and open two of the airlock doors at once.

It’s going to be easier to make room in here if I pull the ACS engines first. They seal to the outer hull, but they penetrate it and they aren’t supported by it; they’re heavy-bolted to the quadrilateral spars.

So: for each one, I undog and pull the pressure-hull access cover to get into the void space, then cut the lead seals that cover the back of the engine off around the spar. Ignoring all the RADIATION HAZARD symbols – by the book, you’re supposed to flood the thermal core with borate solution before servicing to ensure safety when the control system is unattached, but air and time wait for no woman.

Isolate, uncouple, and stow the liquid hydrogen feed. Break and uncouple the standard blah-blah electrical power connectors. Uncouple the multifunction network connector, the structural ground, and so forth.

Then take your three-inch bolt key, brace yourself good and solid, and pull the nuts off the locking bolts. Don’t lose them, Isif, you’ll need them later. Since we’re neither in gravity nor under thrust, the engine will stay right where it is until you go outside, cut the seal, and pull it free.

Easy, right? With a trained maintenance crew, you could probably get it done in a couple of hours. With one amateur working alone in the dark… well, I’ll get it done in not much more than a couple of hours. That’s the power of incentives for you.

I should pull a LOX tank before I rip into the life support compartment. The machinery’s useless – can’t power it – and LOX alone won’t do much for me, but I have the beginnings of an idea…


Trope-a-Day: Star Killing

Star Killing: The theory exists behind several nova bombs, anyway, and ontotechnology shows the way to interesting possibilities like twist-pinch bombs.  (These are essentially the same type of nova-inducing weapon that we see at the start of Charlie Stross’s Iron Sunrise.)  And one probably could induce a nova with sufficient perversion of the stellar-management technology that goes to make up a stellar husbandry framework, were one to have the luxury of building a giant industrial megaproject in the system one wanted to explode.  But by and large the list of Tier 1 star-killing Instruments of Regrettable Necessity that one shall never use, by the Ley Accords and on pain of the displeasure of the entire Accord is just about empty.

Well, there is one, the star-targeted strangelet bomb.  Theoretically, it should work – from the Burning of Litash, they know that the strangelet bomb itself works, and that it does burn out before destroying all matter in the vicinity, and that strangelets themselves decay and don’t irreversibly contaminate the neighborhood.  But that said, no-one is exactly sure of the result of trying one out on a star, and just in case it turns out to be the nightmare case where the nova scatters active strangelets all across nearby space, no-one particularly wants to be the one to run the test.

And in any case, doing this would be an excellent way to get every major military in the Accord hunting you down, loaded for genocide.  If you thought garden worlds were expensive, stars are even more so, and the collateral damage that can be caused more than a few light-years away significant.

Darkness Within (10): Revisions

MET 187-5+3

Or possibly I don’t need a new plan. Since I can’t think of a new plan, just a variation on the old plan, it would be very desirable that this is the case.

To make it to the stargate, I would need a vector-control core, and one that can fit on this hypothetical candle. That might be possible, since the cutter has one… had one. The break in its midsection looks like a clear break when the impact snapped the ship in two, so its at least possible that the after section is intact out there along with its core.

But I’d need a candle to go and look for it. Convenient, that.

If it isn’t nearby – well, I can at least get closer to the earlier parts of the search cube, and burning the candle should make me show up nice and bright on passives, more so than the hulk, so it will still be progress of a sort.

I have a design roughed out. Nothing that would win any design competitions, but it will serve for this.

First step: gather parts, starting with a drive. All the tactical platforms have are station-keeping arcjets, so my best option is retasking the for’ard ACS motors of the cutter. Better yet, looking at the aft end of the wreckage, one of the cutter’s remass tanks looks to be in one piece. If Athneél’s smiling today, I’ll be able to get it out still so, and holding pressure.

Time to carve.

MET 187-5+11

I need a bigger hullcutter.

(Author’s note: ideally, I should like to accompany a rapidly upcoming piece in this series with an actual sketch [meaning, y’know, sketch, not my usual “cross-sectional hack”] of Isif’s candle.

So, if anyone or anyone(s) out there feels like lending their artistic talents to the cause drop me a line, and I’ll send you the relevant art notes. Sadly, I can’t actually commission art for this, being a little on the starving artist side this month – and so I am just looking for a quick sketch, you understand, nothing too fancy, for the sake of the size of my guilt complex about asking people to work for little more than the love of it – but full credit will be given, along with the strong probability of actual commissioning of a fancy full-bore version if and when this sees print.)