It’s Just Business

The Data Acquisition Echelon aren’t the enemy. They’re the opposition. Ignorance is the enemy.

Agent-Expediter Fors Raikav, Second Directorate

Grand Game Accords: A rumored covert agreement between many of the Worlds’ more gentlesophly intelligence agencies and data brokers reflecting the spirits of rivalry and partnership whose balance changes from moment to moment as the board develops. It provides for limited field cooperation and permits their agents, if compromised in the act of espionage, to surrender to each other with an assurance of good treatment, including during limited interrogations and memory redaction, and regular exchanges of captured operatives.

After all, we all spy on each other in the interest of galactic peace, or at least galactic stability. No-one gains anything from making it personal.

– Rilial’s Informal Dictionary of Intelligence and Security Terminology

Year Terminated: Core Dumped

(Which is to say, a bunch of miscellaneous snippety stuff that didn’t find a home anywhere else.)

“Just once, it would be nice to meet someone who used their wine cellar for storing wine .”

Agent-Expediter Fors Raikav, Second Directorate

“Further information on the Spirinal Anomaly is classified REDSHIFT ABYSS YAK. If you do not have REDSHIFT ABYSS YAK clearance, stop reading now.”


“In theory, you can carefully program high-grade nanophages to respect in vivo thermal emissions limits, respect the surface markers of legitimate nanoproducts they might encounter, and use them as a vaccination against possible infection. In actual practice, you shoot people with them from a safe distance, then shout ‘sorry’ if or when their blood begins to boil out of their ears. Remember, you’re likely to discover a need for these when there’s a friggin’ bloom in progress. They probably have a backup anyway, and saving their life comes in third, behind removing them as a transmission vector and not becomin’ part of the problem.”


Return to Hunger, Return to Labor

A minority political movement originating in the League of Meridian and spreading elsewhere among the wealthier regions of the Worlds, advocating the creation of artificial scarcities of goods and artificial demand for labor in order to preserve society from decadence and idleness. It has proven difficult to create memetic countermeasures against, due to the sheer blithering wrongheadedness of the ideas from which it arose.


Ice Age: The period in ciseflish prehistory lasting around 2.5 million years, ending circa 1,000, during which raw water ice (considered a mineral on Ólish) was widely used to make implements with an edge, a point, or a percussive surface. Following this period, ciseflish technological ascension began with the development of more advanced iceworking and iceturgical techniques, ushering in the Clathrate Age.

Things to See, Places (Not) to Go (11)

Ulijen (Cordai Gap): Honestly, if I have to tell you it’s a bad idea to visit a planet that looks like someone took a bite out of a giant apple, you probably aren’t able to read this book anyway.

Ulijen is the infamous site of the eponymous Ulijen Disaster, in which an ill-advised attempt to tap power from the system’s primary using a wormhole resulted in the planet being bathed in heart-of-a-star conditions for long enough to vaporize a substantial chunk of its mass: the resulting crater covers a quarter of the planet’s surface area, and the rest of the planet is not a habitable world any more, either.

But that all happened long ago (circa -1,000), you say?

Well, there are three very good reasons not to go that still apply:

One, it’s astonishingly radioactive. Being effectively dunked in a stellar core causes a lot of neutron activation, and while to my knowledge no-one’s actually computed how much shielding you need to visit a planet that glows from orbit 8,000 years later, it’s certainly more than you have.

Two, to call it tectonically unstable would be to call Leytra (Ringstars) ‘bright’. When you vape that much mass off a planet, it tends to collapse back into a proper sphere under its own gravity. This is not an easy, short, or comfortable-to-be-around process.

Three: you want to go there to salvage paleotech, don’t you? Of course you do; that’s why anyone goes to a fossil world. But even if it wasn’t all vaporized in the disaster, you’re then going to try and sell someone a power generation system with a known history of destroying civilizations.

The likely consequences of this are best appreciated by reading my companion book, 1,769 Sophs Who Were Airlocked, And Why They Had It Coming: A Cynic’s Study Of Consequences (Bad Stuff Press, 7920).

Boom Tomorrow?

HÍÄSTRE, INTAIS (LEY NEBULA) – The small letal colony in the Chiaras (Beratnas Cluster) system broadcast an appeal today for aid, after local astronomers confirmed that the orbit of the comet IGS 31278493 would intersect with the orbit of Chiaras in three months time. While impact cannot be confirmed due to the increasing outgassing of the comet as it approaches perihelion, neither can it be ruled out. No assistance can be expected from the greater Inial Consulate, with which the Chiaras colony had severed formal ties, and no response has yet been made by any of the regional powers.

While no statement has been issued, public eyes report that the Imperial Rimward Fleet’s Task Group 149, currently on patrol in the Stritta (Vertyl Gyre) system, altered course at approximately the same time as the broadcast could have reached them, light-lag permitting, although their intentions remain unknown at this time.

(Amendment: the Accord Journal has, however, received a joint statement of protest from the Seventeen World Empire and the Vile-Born Imperium concerning the Empire of the Star’s monopoly on the adjective Imperial in this story and such publications as ours. We thank them for their attention to the most important details, although our editorial policy remains unchanged.)

The Right To Bear Arms

“If you need a good cadre job done fast, the Gun Captains are who you want to hire. They have an office in Plenary, a couple of blocks north of the Battlespire, or if you’re not welcome on Vordon, you can lug it all the way out to Hantol System in the Free Verge and call on them at home on Guntown Drift.

“Yes, that Guntown Drift. Don’t listen to the scaremongers; all the fresh puppets, clankie or squishie, were certified mindless before import. And we’re reasonably sure that any battle-trophies being worn about the place were legitimate spoils before they were turned into zek-meat.

“The locals may be the product of an AI revolt, but not the implacable-hostility-to-biosapiences kind. dilReigar Weapons screwed up their sophonce inhibitors by the numbers, but all they got were, heh, smart guns, that didn’t want to walk fresh milmeat through basic competence for free. So offer some quality pay. Trust me, they’re worth it.

“Oh, and look them in the sights, not the barrel, and definitely not the puppet’s eyes. That’s just respectful.”

Eldraeic Word of the Day: Maharargyr

maharargyr: maker’s merit; from mahav (make, maker) and argyr (quantized merit), the excellence which one accrues from a worthy creation.

Note: refers only to the excellence itself, rather than the repute derived from it. This latter is mahadársúnar, from mahav and dársúnar (glory), which in turn is from daráv (sophont) and súnar (brilliant, shining).

But Not Quite Yet

Yeah. Big changes to come. But not quite yet, since this is the piece I have in mind for the closing of, not book three —

Book three, in editing.

— but rather, of book four.

So the galaxy won’t be having a paradigm shift to suffer through quite yet. I’m just issuing early teasers.

It’s coming, though.

And the stars shall tremble.