“Seriously”

Overheard at the Classified Item Destruction Facility, Palaxias (Imperial Core):

“I’m telling you, they’re just not taking our job seriously. Look at this thing – it’s a Sera Esklav, for the love of — It makes hot drinks! How is that ‘containing information prejudicial to Imperial security, access codes to secure command systems, or inherently dangerous components’? It’s a complete waste of our resources, unless they’re using orbital grasers to warm mugs these days –“

“It was sent to us from Pyrethrin Nebula. Admiral Sargas’s flagship?”

“Then what blistering cretin let it be sent downside? Close the blast doors! Enact full artifact-grade containment protocols, and get a UXB team in here, stat!”

Living Libraries

The Office of Studied Archaism and Talent Preservation is a curious little department of the Ministry of Ancestral Heritage (itself part of the Ministry of Progress and Prosperity). Like their cousins at the Office of the Libraries, their job is to prevent antiprogress in the form of lost knowledge, but where the librarians focus on gnosis, the OSATP and its partners in the Repository of All Knowledge and various authenticist initiatives focus instead upon praxis.

As such, they monitor, and offer grants and stipends to, authenticist and recreationist societies and individual hobbyists and relicteurs both, in order to ensure that there will be plenty of people around who can manage second-century blacksmithing, 8th-century steam engineering, 10th-century cogitator computing, 16th-century silicon-chip fabrication, 23rd-century asteroid-homesteading, and so forth, such that the knowledge will not be lost, and thus will be available should there ever again be a need for such things – or should some synergy with modernity, otherwise unavailable, become apparent.

– Sur-Dodeciad Parts in Approximate Formation: The Empire from Outside

Cultural Crossovers #16: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Does whatever a spider can…

  • Guess we’re going to have to assume some sort of introductory foo, here. Otherwise no-one’ll know who Spider-Man is, in medias res and all. Apart from what we saw in Civil War.
  • Well, lady, you just lost all our sympathy. You don’t stiff someone on a contract.
  • Yeah, those are some pretty nice things.
  • Ah, quick recap.
  • Nice self-awareness there, Tony.
  • Yeah, waiting on the call sure does suck.
  • Seriously, a dick pun is the best you can do?
  • You need some sort of changing room. Really.
  • Also, more work, maybe.
  • Nice toys, boys. We can’t exactly approve of what y’all opening guys are doing, but still, you don’t stiff people on contracts.
  • Man, you broke the Death Star.
  • LARB.
  • Free pudding, yay! Hopefully not made from larb.
  • Although those would all be really cool powers. And they’re good questions. Should work on those.
  • Okay, how did they get Cap to make those videos?
  • Ah, the perks of Avenger-hood.
  • Okay, score one for the stunner-fist.
  • Oh, your boss is not going to be happy you lost that.
  • Your power-set is really very poorly adapted to suburbia.
  • Nice parachute feature. Needs some beta-testing.
  • Ooh, remote-control suits. Nice.
  • Also nice reference. Shame no-one has the background knowledge to get it.
  • “The Shocker”? Well, I suppose it’s slightly better than Taserface…
  • Seriously, you’ve got to remember which gun is which.
  • I applaud your lair-logic.
  • So, what do strontium, barium, and vibranium have in common?
  • “Training Wheels Protocol”? Seriously, Tony, that’s a name that almost demands that someone turn it off, and you had to know that Peter’d go looking. Maybe “Prevent Your Head From Exploding Protocol; Do Not Disable”? At least then he’d have to read the code first.
  • Really, ammo selection should be her job, or what’s a suit AI for?
  • I’ll take one of those portable doors.
  • At least it’s not a radioactive energy core.
  • Dear lift-lady: Less reassurance, more action.
  • Now that’s an awesome drone.
  • Someone throw that guy out of the elevator and let the reasonable people be rescued.
  • Well, that kinda-sorta worked.
  • “Man-Spider”? Come on, guys, get it together.
  • Seriously, WHO GOT CAP TO MAKE THESE VIDEOS?
  • …these protocol names really aren’t getting any better.
  • And seriously, Peter, get Karen to read you the instructions first.
  • Okay, someone needs to have a word or two with you about collateral budgets.
  • And, oh yeah, how even not fancy space guns can fire through wrapping.
  • …so close.
  • Ooh, a swarm of shovebots. We like.
  • Desperation. It’s a hell of a drug.
  • Man, harsh. Although it’s not like Tony doesn’t have a good point. Several of them. From experience.
  • Ah, young love. At least you’re getting good advice on this one.
  • …oh, my. This will work out badly.
  • Although credit to him, offering a life for a life.
  • At least he didn’t ask for your pants, dude.
  • Glad someone’s having a good time. In the chair.
  • Although Peter is definitely right that y’all should do more listening.
  • Is that self-repairing? I don’t think that’s self-repairing.
  • Good strategy. Much overkill. Smart. Not good enough, certainly, but still smart.
  • And there it is. (We were noticing your heroic quality all along. Glad you caught up with us.)
  • Pretty sure ‘retroreflector’ is not the term, there.
  • Is that really a case of arc reactors?
  • You can’t believe that worked?
  • …now that. Damn. That was an awesome landing.
  • It’s over. You know it, you know there’s nothing to be gained, and you’ve been an honorable enemy thus far. Don’t —
  • — do that.
  • Nice note.
  • Yeah, you’ve got to secure the bathroom first.
  • No, that may be your worst analogy ever, and it’s up against some damn stiff competition.
  • ..we hope you’re going to give him Karen back. They were really bonding.
  • Awwww. We’re all so happy for you crazy kids.
  • Ah, you did! Excellent.
  • Oops. (And, man, are we going to be disappointed not to see how that conversation ended before we see Spider-Man again in Infinity War.)
  • Well done, sir.
  • …you’re just trolling us now, aren’t you?

Uplifting Thoughts

In this course, we cover one of the most interesting branches of exosophontology, the exosophontology of uplifted species.

While we will touch upon the minority uplift cultural movements (the integrationists, who attempt to become indistinguishable from their creators; the separatists, who would divorce themselves from civilization to find their own way; the worshipful, who cast themselves as eternal servants; and the devolvers, who seek to cast off mentality and regain a state of presophonce), these will not be our focus. That remains the majority cultures practiced by uplifts.

These majority cultures are evolutions of a fascinating pastiche, composed originally of elements drawn from three primary sources. First, there is the culture of the uplifting species, which – being omnipresent from the uplifts’ first days, and practiced by their species-parents – inevitably makes a considerable impression upon them.

Second, there is their indigenous culture. In some senses, this is a vacuum waiting to be filled, since even the most developed of prosophonts remains prosophont, and lacks history, heritage, and traditional praxis. However, with sophoncy, the process of cultural development begins, based on instincts and merkwelt, along with their existing social structures, and protolanguages, rudimentary as they might be. Responsible uplifters, such as our own Family of Species, promote this process as a means of preserving the unique cognitive and social qualities that made the species worthy of uplift in the first place.

Third, and finally, a newly uplifted species naturally studies what has been said about it by others: not merely scientific information, although this is a natural place to start for those whose genesis came about through science, but also legend, story, fable, and folklore. Originally, uplifters made efforts to discourage this, to avoid contaminating emerging uplift cultures from the outset, but swiftly learned that such curiosity could not, and should not, be denied. While not encouraging it and offering appropriate cautions regarding the possibility of fitting themselves to a mold not theirs, such other-discovery is now accepted in the later stages of uplift and the new sophonts’ search for authenticity.

The cultures resulting from the intertwining and mingling of these three strands are complex, nuanced, often initially-contradictory creations, both simple in the fashion of young species cultures everywhere – even after centuries, in the presence of much older cultures, many uplifts still feel as if they are extemporizing much of the time – and at the same time filled with a surprising richness, with a great deal to contribute to the wider Imperial and galactic cultures.

This course, however, can offer only the most shallow examination of any individual uplift culture in the time available, as it must necessarily concentrate on describing the common features, principles, formation, and evolution of uplift culture. However, graduates of this course will find themselves well-positioned to undertake the study of specific uplift cultures or cultural features as their studies continue.

– from a course description at the
Imperial University of Almea