Or You Could Just Be Scared Of Advertising

In one of what will surely be recalled as one of this century’s greatest rebrandings, the failed rumbledrug Brawlwell III – a potent if messy cocktail of adrenergic-analogs whose unfortunate side-effects (including nausea, tachycardia, shortness of breath, sweating, trembling, xerostomia, and impaired decision-making abilities) rendered it unsuitable, or at least rather unwise, to use under combat conditions – has now passed an estimated trillion units sold since its various independent manufacturers renamed it Terror Alert Red and marketed it as a hedonic catering to those who wish to experience “authentic fear” under controlled conditions.

Well played, gentlesophs. While not eligible for a formal award, we at the Meta-Marketing Monitor salute you!

– a letter published in the Independent Worlds Router

Transcendent Terminology

ancestral subroutine: an expediter derived from and equipped with the psyche and personal data archive of an ascended constitutional, which serves to represent them to non-ascended family and friends as, effectively, a technotheurgic ancestor spirit. These replaced the ancestral computers once common in many of the Empire’s cultures.

archai: an artificial intelligence of transcendent status at the penultimate level of the Transcend’s soul hierarchy; which is to say, one of the executive minds of the Transcend.

This is a category which includes the Transcendentally incarnated eikones, which function as the Transcend’s immanent archetypal ideas; major utility functions including but not limited to Unification (the coordinating mind of a trillion guardian angel coadjutors acting in unison); the Material Immunity and Virtual Immunity (the Transcend’s immune system); the Imperial Presence and the Ennead (which concern themselves with governance interfacing); the Architectural Mind (which manages the Transcend’s infrastructure) and Twilight Presence (which dreams into existence its internal worldscape, the Shadow Realm); the Clionomic Mind that traces cause and consequence into the future; and the various temporary archai that form around the local maxima in the Transcend’s functional soup, the Ocean of Souls (incarnations of peaks in the coherent extrapolated volition of the Transcend’s constitutionals), among others.

avatar: in Transcendent terminology (vis-a-vis regular infotech), a partial instantiation of an archai; formerly a theological term referring to a partial instantiation of an eikone on the mortal plane.

axis submind: an axis submind (i.e., “that submind which is aligned with”) is an individual code-bundle within the Transcend that contains local instances of superordinate Transcendent goal systems; that is to say, an axis submind contains a copy of all the information required to pursue a particular objective. This allows the soul-shards of nearby Transcendent constitutionals to focus on their local tasks, leaving regional and global planning to the axis submind.

Celestial Spire: part of the Shadow Realm, the Celestial Spire is the largest of the islands in the Pearl-Bright Ocean and the mountain-city that stands upon it. The mountain-city itself descends from the Twilight City at its peak, where the most powerful intellects dwell and interface, to its fathoms-deep roots which pierce into the Realm of Instances at each perpendicularity. The process-grouping reflected by the Celestial Spire reflects the primary eikonic and infrastructural core of the Transcend; the omphalos of the hyperconsciousness-as-world.

coadjutor: a fragment of the archai Unification running on the Transcendent soul-shard, the coadjutor is that part of the Transcend devoted specifically to the best interests of its assigned constitutional, serving to guide and advise them.

contemplationary: a religious/sophotechnologic facility for the pursuit and facilitation of communion with the higher-order processes and entities of the Transcend, in manners that require higher bandwidth than the soul-shard alone would permit.

emissary incarnation: an avatar of an archai created for the purpose of interfacing indirectly (i.e., through words and deeds) with residents of the material or virtual world.

entelechically-annealing recursively-optimal distributed logos bridge: the shard of Transcendent software implanted into the society of mind of each constitutional. The logos bridge serves as a bridge for messages between two distinct societies of mind (that of the constitutional and that of the Transcend), allowing both the participation of the constitutional’s agents in the Transcend’s mentality and the participation of some of the Transcend’s agents in the constitutional’s.

exarch: in mythology, one of the lesser divine spirits which serve the eikones; arguably not separate from the eikones, but rather “shadows that move on their own”, personifying and acting as a single sub-aspect of their parent eikone (or indeed, eikones). By analogy, therefore, one of the lesser subroutines which perform tasks for the archai in the operational architecture of the Transcend.

expediter:teleological thread in the Transcend’s functional soup, created ad hoc to fulfil a given purpose. Many, if not most, expediters are created and run when data available to the Transcend matches any one of a number of n-tuple-patterns laid down by higher level routines.

functional soup: a postsophont state where knowledge, mental modules and access to physical instrumentalities are shared between distributed infomorphs largely independent of the physical substrate of their world. Terms such as individuality become diffuse and are replaced with teleological threads.

grace: in the original theological sense, the touch of the greater divine fire (amynírcal); gifts granted by successful mantling of an eikone; i.e., emulating them to such an extent that you take on their attributes. In Transcendent terminology, therefore, gifts (powers or modifications) granted by the Transcend to its constitutionals or to its artifacts, shintai, or tsukumogami.

mantling: in the original theological sense, the successful emulation of an eikone (or potentially other archai) to the point that your thoughts overlap with theirs within the overall consciousness of the Transcend, and your consciousness interfaces with the pure icon of thought and idea that is that eikone. Such mantling is extremely difficult to achieve and hazardous without a strong anchor to one’s sense of self, but is one of the few reliable ways to access the grace of the Transcend.

Ocean of Souls: the majority of the Transcend, a single multithreaded mind configured as a functional soup, made up of many teleological threads, derived from goals spawned within the Transcend’s consensus of soul-shards or derived from the uploaded personalities of deceased constitutionals, and occasionally spawning expediters or even minor archai as local entelechical maxima cross the critical threshold.

oneiri: the subroutines of the Transcend that organize the dreamscapes in which the collective hyperconsciousness dreams the dreams of its constitutionals.

Pearl-Bright Ocean: the mid-level of the Shadow Realm, an ocean of hydrarastrum which separates the islands of the Realm of Forms, and which is accessible from the Realm of Instances via perpendicularities, from whence one may sail one’s conceptual dromond where one wills. From one perceptive, the Pearl-Bright is a symbolic representation of the vast infrastructure of processing performed by the Transcend that is not reflected by direct symbology in the Realm of Forms, and from another it is a transitory loading buffer to assist with managing transitions across the sprawling Transcendent infrastructure, but primarily it serves to provide an artificial metric of distance and location to the process-groupings housed here for the benefit of those interfacing.

perpendicularity: in Transcendent jargon, a location in the Realm of Instances in which motion “at right angles to reality”, specifically a step ana into the Realm of Forms, is possible, and one can leave the mirror of the material to set sail upon the Pearl-Bright Ocean.

In other terms, these are locations of high-level data interchange between the archai and exarchs of the Celestial Spire and the kami and other mechal elementals of the instances; and the passageways for the transmission of grace. Perpendicularities are found colocated with synapse moonsunity spires, and contemplationaries, but by no means exclusively so.

Realm of Forms: the Realm of Forms is the highest level of the Shadow Realm, islands in the Pearl-Bright Ocean which represent the major functional groupings of the Transcend. Most prominent among these is, of course, the Celestial Spire, but many other islands house systems belonging to archai which require a degree of separation from the core functionality, such as the Worldtree and the Dreamscapes.

Realm of Instances: the Realm of Instances maps the topography and ontology of the material world (and certain persistent virtualities), at least within the Transcend’s domain, into the Shadow Realm. It is, in effect, where the Transcend stores its metadata about materiality, as acquired by and used by the mechal elementals and the rest of the nanoecology. It is connected to the Realm of Forms and higher Transcendent functions via perpendicularities.

remembrance: the art of searching through the collective memory of the Transcend to recover information therefrom.

Shadow Realm: the worldscape and mindscape of the Transcend. The Shadow Realm is a datastructure and virtuality construct providing a backdrop for the Transcend’s internal operations, spun out by the Twilight Presence using mythopoetic semiotics to place masks over the reality of Transcendency for optimal and convenient interfacing.

soul-shard: see entelechically-annealing recursively-optional distributed logos bridge.

synapse moon: where the unity spires are the communication nodes of the Transcend, the synapse moons are its local processing centers; each handling the communications through a number of unity spires or other interface devices, they interconnect the minds of the local constitutionals, and coordinate the processing needs of the Transcendent intellect on a planetary or systemwide scale.

The synapse moons interface with one another across the dataweave, using a multiplexed version of the gnostic link protocol that links individual constitutionals to the group intellect. Likewise, the dedicated cognition and memory nodes of the Transcend, along with the gnostic lace that makes up the majority of its processing power, participate in this same peer-to-peer network.

synapticon: A dedicated computer system running a portable fragment of the Transcend, used to provide Transcendent services to constitutionals moving beyond the reach of both dedicated gnostic interlink services and data services over which gnostic link protocol can operate. Synapticons are produced in a variety of scales, from large systems designed to be embedded in relativistic starships or distant facilities to individual models the size of a cigar case. They typically include a replaceable tangle channel to allow for rapid contingency updates.

teleological thread: an executable thread of sapience defined by its goals, or purpose rather than its identity; within this limit, its properties and configuration are entirely variable.

tsukumogami: originally, in mythology, well-loved and long-lasting objects, especially named objects, which had by that virtue acquired a spirit of their own. In modern parlance, refers to those objects granted self-awareness (an animating intelligence, often capable of separate manifestation) by the grace of the Transcend, usually under similar circumstances.

Twilight City: Located at the peak of the Celestial Spire, the Twilight City is the representation of the Transcendent Core, the nexus of the highest-level archai. Access is severely restricted. It contains representations of many of the highest-order data structures of the Transcend, including the communications nexus at the High Cynosure, and the Tower of Immanence.

Unification: the least prominent and most ubiquitous of the archai of the Transcend is Unification, the Synarchic Mind. Unification is the only answer to optimizing the lives of a population of trillions, with their million different subcultures, mores and histories, creating eupsychia.

The principle behind it is simple: the archai – a product of refined, real-time monadarchy technology – exists in order to mediate things. It knows each and every constitutional personally and orchestrates their chance meetings with others, communications, and so on in order to avoid irreconcilable conflict and create harmony; a singular transcendent oversoul that encompasses all the constitutionals, despite their well-known love of individuality and personal freedom. Indeed, it is designed to be compatible with it, attuning them together in such a way that each individual can best express themselves, yet always be aware of the Transcend entire.

Beyond that, it stays out of sight, for it has no values, no desires of its own. It is as if every person had their own guardian spirit (see also: coadjutor), and these spirits worked together seamlessly to improve people’s lives.

unity spire: unity spires house the Transcend’s local communication nodes. Although the Transcend’s gnostic interlinks are entirely capable of operating in a peer-to-peer mode, the unity spires serve to make the communications between its constitutionals more efficient, to relay long-distance gnostic links, and as a high-bandwidth interface between the mobile constitutionals and the fixed infrastructure of the Transcend. Like their larger cousins, the synapse moons, unity spires also contain the processing power to house a few of the Transcend’s axis subminds.


Order in Council,
3rd Meeting of the Stellar Council, 710.

In response to the sundry complaints and petitions brought before Our Ecumenical Throne concerning the diverse activities abroad of Our Empire’s citizen-shareholders, outwith those matters of law properly addressed to Our Court of the Beyond, Our Most Crystalline Stellar Council reminds all beyond the bounds of Our Empire’s Illumination that, in accordance with ancient law and custom reified by Our Empire’s founding Charter, as set down by the hand of Our Imperial Predecessor, We place no constraint and We may place no constraint upon the ambitions and enterprise of Our People, at home or abroad.

If such nations, branches, and corporations as may exist beyond the reach of Our Light wish to contest or to dispute the lawful exploration, colonization, or trade carried out by Our People, in manners respecting, upon pain of Our Displeasure, those rights afforded to each and every of Our Empire’s citizen-shareholders in every time and place, they may do so with Our Blessing, but Our Empire will not and may not lend its authority to such endeavors.

Given under Our Hand and Seal this day, 8th Andamúné, 710.

Elis Diasteros Tínalyris
by the grace of Their Divine Majesties
Minister of State and Outlands
Cisatar of Esmérel
Sur-Companion of the Order of the Companions of the Scales

for and on behalf of

Valentia I Amanyr Moneléfcarabár
by right of Coronargyr and Chartered Mandate
Empress of the Eldrae
Chief Executive Officer of the Imperium Incorporate
First of the Free
Defender of the Star’s Flame
Heart of the Realm

Bad War

grubby shoot: military (primarily mercenary) slang for a mission or contract which pits them against a sufficiently low-tech opponent (q.v. grubby, slang for low-tech locals) that the conflict is hopelessly one-sided and victory requires little or no effort.

Reputable mercenaries and regular military units tend to loathe grubby shoots, as they lack all dignity, honor, and opportunity for valor. Their commanders also note that they have a strongly deleterious effect on morale and troop quality, and thus avoid taking such missions – especially for the long term – whenever possible.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of disreputable mercenaries and militaries out there, usually amateur and pillage- and atrocity-prone, and more can often be created ad hoc by arming the local grubbies with advanced weapons.

– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary

Got To Be Sharp

“And this is our design for a sword edged with a topological defect. We probably shouldn’t go to prototype before we can better simulate the consequences, though.”

“Why, what are the consequences?”

“‘If on your journey, you should pass through the universe, the universe will be cut.’

overheard at the Eye-in-the-Flame booth, ArmsCon 7900, Everlasting Science Fair

Shield Wall to Wall-Shield

Early in the development of kinetic barrier technology, engineers found themselves stymied by an inability to project kinetic barriers. While they could create them, they were limited to doing so along the plane of a conductor. While fringe emission lobes did exist along the surface, these were inadequate to provide any protection, being too narrow even at high power levels to provide significant deceleration.

While these problems were eventually solved, they led to a serendipitous discovery when, in testing, the conductor plates were found to be less damaged by incoming gunfire than unpowered control plates. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the dampening effect of an active kinetic barrier field, when interpenetrating existing matter, served to strengthen interatomic and intermolecular bonds without the side-effects that altering electromagnetic forces might have. The net result was that conductive materials imbued with such a field behaved as if they possessed greater material strength, hardness, and toughness.

Such greater resilience to impact, abrasion, and fracture was obviously of great interest to armor manufacture, and schemata for introducing suitable conductive layers into composite armor plating to use this to best effect – along with designs for suitably distributed and redundant field injectors – were pioneered by such companies as Cosmic Defensive Technologies, ICC. The resulting wall-shields became a common component of both maritime and celestime armor, and indeed remain the principal component of underwater maritime armor, in which projected kinetic barriers have a tendency to interfere with good hydrodynamics.

– Armor: The Last Millennium, Sardal Oricalcios

The Naming Of Ships Is A Difficult Matter

pennant number: The Imperial Navy’s best attempt at a general purpose identification code for ships, other means having proven inadequate.

It is generally held that the true identifier of a ship is its name: that is, after all, what is written upon the hull, and with it travels the ship’s crest and other naval heraldry, figurehead, relics, and traditions. More importantly, the name itself travels with the spirit of the ship.

While this is definitive from the perspective of aelvaqor, this is unfortunately inadequate for administrative purposes. Eucharion’s Spear, for example, has in its time been a war galley (w/RG-14¹), two first-rate ships of the line (w/RL1-12 and w/RL1-56), two battleships (w/BB-4 and w/BB-82), a submarine battleship (w/BS-156), two star battleships (BB-6 and BB-183), and three star dreadnoughts (BD-47, BD-200, and BD-486).

A second form of identification is the hull number, assigned to the hull upon construction. Hull numbers consist of an alphanumeric designation for the graving dock in which the hull was constructed, followed by the serial number assigned by the dockmaster to that hull.

This, too, is inadequate for administrative purposes as it relates to the ship entire. Over the course of its life, a single hull may undergo several refits, which may alter many of the ship’s characteristics, even to the point of altering its type. Consider, for example, the case of Damaschira, who began her career as a Simélia-class destroyer (w/DD-1161), was later retyped along with the rest of her class as a destroyer escort (w/DE-2217), and finally was refit as a dedicated minesweeper (w/MS-141).

For this purpose, the pennant number² was devised. Assigned to a given ship (hull) when it is commissioned, along with its name, the pennant number is updated whenever the ship undergoes a significant refit³ and is never reused after the ship is eventually scrapped and passes its spirit and name to an heir, thus providing a unique designation for both the individual ship and its current set of capabilities and characteristics.

The pennant number consists of a type prefix (also known as the flag superior), identifying the type of the vessel, followed by a numerical suffix (the flag inferior), indicating the order in which the ship in question was commissioned as that type. A ship which is refit into a new type and then back into its original type acquires a new pennant number, unless the second refit is merely to restore its original class.

Small craft are not issued names or pennant numbers, and instead – for administrative purposes – use the pennant number of their mother ship with a numerical suffix indicating order of assignment. For communications, a flight number is used instead.

Blackjacket’s Dictionary


  1. Historically, not all ships were assigned pennant numbers at the time of commission. Type codes beginning with “R” indicate pennant numbers assigned retrospectively to ships of types which no longer exist. Similarly, both the wet navy and space navy use similar pennant number systems; where both are used in the same context, it is conventional to prefix wet navy pennant numbers with “w/”.
  2. Originally flown by wet navy ships by means of signal flags, hence the name and the names of its components. In later years, and by space navy ships, the pennant number is signaled by the ship’s transponder and used in tactical mesh packet headers.
  3. The definition of significant refit is somewhat ambiguous, but is traditionally held to include any refit sufficient to change the type, or even class, of the ship in question.