Know Thy Enemy and Know Yourself

Perhaps the most embarrassing of all military disasters in the history of the Worlds is the Battle of Aktir, also known as the Five-Second War, the Last Biochauvinist War, and The Day The Meat Was Tenderized.

In its increasing frustration with the increasing numbers of independent digisapiences and digisapient polities and polises in the Worlds, the biosupremacist True Life Alliance – made up of a number of polities and private organizations which had adopted rigorous anti-AI views – determined to strike a decisive blow against AI acceptance, while simultaneously demonstrating the superiority, as they claimed, of biosapient life.

To this end, they marshaled a combined fleet from their members, comprised of vessels of all classes from battleship to frigate numbering over 3,000, and dispatched this fleet against the oldest and best known of the Worlds’ digisapience polities, the Photonic Network.

The Photonic Network, in response, sent a single processing node.

The fleets met shortly thereafter in the Aktir (Tomal Cluster) System, an uninhabited system a short distance outside the Network’s home volume. After transmitting a lengthy statement of intent – by all accounts quite stirring, if rabid carbon chauvinism is to your taste – every ship of the True Life Alliance fleet fired its mass drivers and flushed its missile tubes simultaneously at the lone processing node.

Much to their surprise, 4.3 seconds later, their missiles executed coordinated dispersal and deceleration maneuvers, and every starship of the fleet simultaneously lost thrust and helm control. This surprise was relatively short-lived, however, as the starships in question opened their airlocks and internal spacetight doors – thus venting their internal atmosphere and unsecured crew to space – immediately thereafter.

The undamaged processing node returned to the Methizar Traverse with its freshly acquired escort fleet and missile cloud, which unsubstantiated rumor claims were broken down for raw materials upon arrival. Meanwhile, when news of the debacle reached their homeworlds, the True Life Alliance collapsed in disorder, as did the governances of several of its member polities.

No-one has attempted a frontal attack on the Photonic Network since.

 

Step Two

impossipoint (n.): In studies of paracausality (q.v.), the exact when-where at which a miracle (q.v.) occurs. Named so in part because they are where the impossible happens; named so in part also because the frustratingly subtle nature of miracles makes it bloody impossible to detect one.

– Glossary of Applied Metaphysics,
Academician Éöl Liuvis

Trope: Names to Run Away From Really Fast

(Okay, so I found one more…)

Names to Run Away From Really Fast: In the Imperial context alone, Imperial Hand, Fifth Directorate, and any Imperial military officer, agent, or private contractor whose House name is “Sargas” are the chief contenders. In the Worlds as a whole, Operatives of the Conclave are also not to be trifled with.

The Photonic Network‘s OPSEC, the Voniensa Republic‘s Exception Management Group, and the Eilish High Guard are also notable in this field, and while most people wouldn’t rate them against first-rank regulars, Kestal’s Raiders have achieved a certain bloody success in the unbonded mercenary business, operating out of the Rim Free Zone.

At least some of these can also be Names to Trust Immediately. All depends on who you are, and who they are.

Also, as was mentioned under Overly Long Name, one of the traditional components of eldraeic names is the attributive name, based on your personal attributes and/or accomplishments, which grow increasingly significant as your reputation grows, up until you reach the people with really towering reputations who can introduce themselves only by attributive name, Exalted-style, such as Exquisite Engineer of Worlds, or Manyfold Propagator of Celestial Wealth. Of course, those aren’t terribly intimidating in this trope’s sense, but should you encounter, say, Bloody-Handed Avenger of Iniquities… start running.

(Curiously enough, despite their taste for lush verbosity, this effect only increases as the attributive name dwindles towards Gallifreyan sparseness. Anyone who could pull off simply introducing himself as “the Warrior”, for example, would surely be someone able to win a major fleet action armed only with a cheese knife.)

 

Tropes Going Forward

So why is that a Trope-a-No-Longer-Day, I hear you cry?

Well, because I’ve run out of pre-written ones, and the demands on my time these days are such that – especially if I want to keep prioritizing writing at all – I can’t take enough time out to go through possible tropes and write ’em up in advance. So from here on in, they’ll be done more or less ad-hoc as I happen upon ones that seem relevant, rather than trying to keep up a list in advance.

Of course, should you think of any that seem relevant to the ‘verse that I haven’t tackled already, feel free to send them in and I’ll see what I can do you for.

 

Trope-a-No-Longer-Day: Creepy Cleanliness

Creepy Cleanliness: To more than a few foreign visitors, yes. As William Gibson said in Disneyland With the Death Penalty, “Was it Laurie Anderson who said that VR would never look real until they learned how to put some dirt in it? Singapore’s airport, the Changi Airtropolis, seemed to possess no more resolution than some early VPL world. There was no dirt whatsoever; no muss, no furred fractal edge to things. Outside, the organic, florid as ever in the tropics, had been gardened into brilliant green, and all-too-perfect examples of itself. Only the clouds were feathered with chaos – weird columnar structures towering above the Strait of China.

The Empire is exquisitely groomed by a horde of tiny robotic negentropists to a state of perfection usually seen only in architect’s drawings, concept art, Gernsbackia, and the like. If you need some dirt and wear on things for them to seem natural, you’re out of luck, because if there was any visible entropy around, someone’s had it caught and shot before it became noticeable. (And gods alone help you if you admit a preference for grunginess, or litter, or some such, ’cause you might as well stand up in the middle of Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica to announce your life-long devotion to scatophilia.)

Relationship Chemistry

Xenophile Tip #37:

However enchanted you might be with the unquestionable beauty, almondine skin and faint almond scent of the pundirar, there are two important things to consider before embarking on a relationship:

1. The asexual pundir reproduce by budding; and
2. That scent? Hydrogen cyanide.

– from the Yrnaes 7122 issue of Worlds Traveler magazine