Not Cosmic, But Incomprehensible

This was originally a prompt over on Mastodon, the original prompt being: “MC POV: Name one thing that is guaranteed to make you angry? Why?”. I liked the result enough that I thought I’d share it over here, as well.

“Make me angry? The cases that fall into, in our legal code, ‘destructionism’.

“Why? Because I don’t understand it.

“We get – I’d say a lot, but this is still Imperial space, so let’s say an anomalously high level of crime here. We get slash-traders, commercial fraud, thieves grand and petty, stowaways, dockside brawls, too-long-aboard-syndrome on and on, everything a major trade station attracts like flies. But even if you slice off the truly desperate who need a hug, a hot meal, and someone to walk them to the Eleemosynary Exodochium more than what most people think of as justice, I can understand most of them. They’re zero-sum crimes; desire and greed and unfortunate passions are things we all have, and they’re not even wrong in themselves, only in how some folk handle them. Even the murderers – I’ve never hated anyone so much I couldn’t stand to share the universe with them a moment longer, but I can understand how someone might.

“What I’ve never been able to understand about these people — these are people who set out just to make the universe a little bit worse for their existence in it. Destroy or desecrate things just so that other people can’t enjoy them. Go out of their way to ruin someone’s day, or week, or decade, not as a side-effect, but as the point of their actions. Hurt and smash and wreck not for greed or other profit, not even for revenge upon their target, but just because they can, and it – I’d say it pleases them to do so, but it is hard to imagine real pleasure coming from such. These I do not understand, and it is hard to temper anger without understanding.

“And that’s dangerous for me. I’ve escorted people who have done much more damage to arraignment, but it’s these who make me think fondly of — unapproved uses for airlocks, before I quash it. And that they can make me think that, even for a moment, that makes me angriest of all.”

– Jynne Cerron, Enforcer, Watch Constabulary
Mer Dinévál Countermass Station, Seranth

Notable Replies

  1. What’s the “Eleemosynary Exodochium?”

  2. “Hotel run for the purpose of doing good deeds”, I think would be the literal translation. Hereabouts, I think we might call it “emergency housing” or a “homeless shelter”

  3. Close. You didn’t quite fit the exo- in there. In the original, of course, it’s “xeno-”, but in the 'verse, we deprecate that prefix because of implications (“you’re not strangers, you’re friends we’ve only just met”) and, Doylistically, because of Warhammer.

    I’d probably say “charitable hostel for visitors”, or words to that effect. Anyway, it’s the place that provides food, sleep, basic cornucopia services, and other help to distressed spacefarers on-station.

  4. Would it also, at least in the rougher sorts of places (particularly the edges of the Empire/border worlds), provide a secure place for someone fleeing something or someone (from escaped slaves to people fleeing abusive relationships or living arrangements to someone who’s pissed the wrong person or people off)?

  5. I would expect the Eldrae to provide sanctuary to any/all escaped slaves and people fleeing abusive relationships, on general principles of telling slavers where they can stick the idea that people are cargo.

    I’m not so sure about them always providing sanctuary for those that have merely pissed off the wrong people. I mean, if you knowingly contracted and are in default, I don’t see the Eldrae being particularly willing to help. If someone is screwing with contract terms, however, I can see them telling the contractor to drop it or get a K-rod dropped on them.

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