Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: It’s not so much hyperspace in the SFnal sense as the Void Between the Worlds, but the primordial chaos/cacoastrum of the bulk/plenum is, by and large, not a very scary place, because it invariably kills you before you have the opportunity to be scared. Its adjacentia, however, if anyone ever should manage to punch a hole in the universe, would almost certainly be utterly terrifying – the more so the more you understand about them.
(Well, okay, technically it doesn’t, but that’s because there’s no time outside the universe for there to be any instants of. But the effects of cacoastric exposure – to wit, dissolution/transformation into slightly less primordial chaos, with cake – amount to much the same thing, even if they happen at sausage squared over blue hadron teapot.)
The Seventh Law: Never Seek Knowledge and Power from Beyond the Outer Gates.
Now, I somehow doubt that the Eldrae would quite accept that law on it’s face. But, given that in the Desdenverse, there are Things from Outside that multiple orders of magnitude more powerful, destructive, and thoughtlessly malicious than any AI “God” that can exist Inside, maybe the Outer Gates should stay shut, at least for a while longer…
Ahh, the paradox of Shub Ferminauth. If there are horrifying eldritch abominations from beyond space and time with powers beyond the ken of mortal wossname, why aren’t they here already?
Well, in this specific case, for two reasons:
One, because most eldritch abominations arising from the primordial chaos share the same lifespan as everything else arising from the primordial chaos: that of a soap bubble in a sharkfirenadocane.
Two, because the environment inside the brane is as hostile to them as that outside it is for us. Exposure to such rigid concepts as “gravity”, “causality”, or “commutativity” tends to have an effect on them similar to that of a period on a sentence.
Then these are clearly not the sort of Things that Mark Atwood was thinking about, are they?
It kinda seems to me like there are different core assumptions in each ‘verse: in one, you don’t peer beyond the Outer Gates because what’s out there absolutely can live in our ‘verse and it will subvert, pervert and/or utterly devastate you, and will take malefic, sadistic joy in so doing, and there’s a very real chance you could get the entire multiverse huffed if you try too hard or get too unlucky.
In the other, the primordial chaos is positively seething with… everything, but none of that everything hangs around long enough to be a threat – or a benefit – as such. But the mere fact that the conditions are such that things randomly spring in and out of existence like that means that even if some heinous entity that resembles Cthulhu, Satan, Melkor, Zeromus, Tzeentch and the Leviathan Consciousness all in one did suddenly appear and persist, it’d be pretty much a non-issue. And if you went out there where it can interact with you, then you rather rapidly become a non-issue.
This does not make peering beyond the Outer Gates – or their analogous concept – any better of an idea in the latter ‘verse than it is in the former, from my perspective. Just, err, bad for different reasons.
Well, there are some things that can persist in the chaos. (After all, if everything dissipated immediately, that would be suspiciously orderly… 😀 )
The big ones, as mentioned here, are universes. And if I’m going to make analogies, I’m going to make ’em to Exalted, and say that the medium-sized ones are Primordial-class entities and the small ones are potent raksha-type entities. Don’t stretch this analogy too far, as we’re not in the same genre, here, but in some ways you can reasonably analogize the cacoastrum to the Wyld.
And thinking of the Primordial analogy in particular, it’s not so much that they have any malicious designs on the denizens of the universe, it’s just that they can’t conceive these clotted, static lumps of weirdly fixed possibility as being anything in particular worth concerning themselves with. Insofar as concepts such as “conceive” and “concern” have meaning for them.
Now, what the Threats and Other Dangers people worry about isn’t crossers of the brane-surface: for us, that’s death by decoherence, and for them, it’s failure by fixation. If there is a threat out there, it’s going to be a symbiosis between the bulk-dwellers and the internals – much as while the Blight can’t operate in the Low Beyond or the Slowness, it can pervert agents which can.
And it’s going to look like something – well, one example would be that seen in Anders Sandberg’s Bulk and Surface RPG campaign (linked here), in which the bulk-dwellers are grafting brane-edge symbionts onto internals in order to create tools which implode stars on a supra-galactically massive scale to feed the bulk-dwellers tasty singularities for their unknowable whims, or other things of similar scale and high weirdness. Your bog-issue Cthulhu-cult, it is not.
(You can get slightly less weirdness and a somewhat smaller scale of problem by punching through the plenum into one of the decaying universes – with reasonably compatible physical laws – ruled over by the local Cold Ones, who look upon your still-warm and extropic ‘verse as a cosmic buffet. But still not the Great Old One type, unless you look at it as a considerably-greater-volume-affecting CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN.)
Have you noticed that more and more cellphones have two cameras?
It does make me wonder just how much work the “Inadvisably Applied Technology” folks get from trying to stop people who happen to come across universe-popping forces and decide to start meddling with them without fully understanding what they’re getting into.
One might reasonably assume that universe-popping is quite hard to do, because the universe still exists .
(IAT is necessarily limited in reach, but there’s always the Incredibly Ancient Alien Arms Control Conspiracy option)
Though that might just mean that either A) other polities out there have the same kind of thing, once the technology to pop universes might actually be available, and/or B) most of those attempts would have failed in any case, but the consequences of letting them try are potentially dire, so it’s worth stopping them anyway. Though, that runs the risk of edging into Satanic-Panic-style paranoia and hype, which I would imagine is not a particularly common failure mode in the Empire, however common it might be elsewhere.
Your assumption there is that the presence of mind to prevent your peers from collapsing the universe always arises sufficiently far before the ability to collapse said universe becomes available, or that everyone who does discover that ability is within easy reach of another intelligent species who can discourage them.
This would be a staggeringly lucky coincidence, given the number of intelligent technological species that are already mentioned in the eldraeverse, and the fact that there do appear to be much older species (eg. the ones who made the elves, etc).
Coincidences on that scale imply the Incredibly Ancient Alien Arms Control Conspiracy, I’d say.
Fortunately, this sort of thing is Really Hard to Do ( vide. https://eldraeverse.com/2014/11/08/other-sizes-maybe/ and the suggestion that it might need a galactic-core-class black hole, for starters – definitely not a hobby project even by advanced-civilization standards), which probably means most cultures suffering from Beginners’ and Intermediate Stupidity will blow themselves up long before getting there.
(One never knows about Advanced Stupidity graduates, but since the universe is much too large and old to effectively police and yet still here, it looks to be pretty robust.)
At the very least, successfully punching a hole in the universe doesn’t result in its instant dissolution into chaos. Which is encouraging news.
I suppose something like a vacuum-metastability event is still possibly in the cards, but, to apply meta-universe knowledge, it doesn’t seem like the sort of place where there would secretly be an invisible wall of squish advancing through the universe at lightspeed.
Which ironically means that if anyone has a good shot at creating someone sufficiently too-clever-by-half to accidentally the Universe Entire, it’s probably going to be the Empire.
The Guardians of Our Harmony do, after all, exist for a reason.