Yes, if you were wondering, I just changed the name at the top of the blog.
(It is the official name of the setting, after all, on the book covers and everything.)
But carry on using the short name if you like. It’ll answer to it!
Yes, if you were wondering, I just changed the name at the top of the blog.
(It is the official name of the setting, after all, on the book covers and everything.)
But carry on using the short name if you like. It’ll answer to it!
In the year 8054, a forward-thinking Initiative of Ring Dynamics, ICC, evaluating the expansion program for the stargate plexus based on the recent advent of the frameslip drive, a free-flight capable FTL technology which would allow the positioning of stargates with speeds and at distances previously unattainable, made a proposal to the Directorate named after the historic trade route.
That proposal was for a new backbone for the stargate plexus which would cover the entire galaxy, if thinly – rather than expanding by constellations, using the new frameslip drive to build braided “thread” routes out along each galactic arm, connected by initially single – but ultimately multiple – crossing spines. In this way, distant civilizations would be placed a position in which contact could be made relatively simply – each could join the transportation and communications network simply by reaching the local “thread”, and become part of the larger galactic community. New local networks of constellations and cross-links would spin out from such contacts, which would serve as seed crystals for further development.
This was that proposal:
In this episode of “the author recommends other less known universes”, I’d like to point up CMDR Isilanka’s Starmoth setting as worthy of the attention and interest of Eldraeverse readers. From its own introduction page, it is described as:
Once upon a time, humankind thought it was on the doorstep of the stars. Then, the thermo-industrial age came to a brutal collapse as the ravages of the anthropocene took old. For five hundred years the world ignored what lay beyond the atmosphere. For three hundred years reigned the Low Age. And then we turned to the stars again.
Starmoth is a post-apocalyptic, post-capitalistic, interstellar setting where semi-realistic spacecraft coexist with unknowable alien ruins, open-source FTL devices and colourful, vibrant societies. It is meant to be a tribute to science fiction focusing on a sense of wonder, as well as evoking nostalgia for a time that could have been.
For myself, I should like to point up some fascinating worldbuilding in social and exosocial areas in particular, which will definitely repay the attentive reader. I look forward with great interest to seeing how it continues to develop.
“I noticed the knife the first day we were assigned to work with the Spireguard. It was easy to notice: everyone knows what a hanrian looks like, and there aren’t many who carry around multiple fighting knives. But even among those who did, this one was always set off to the side, away from the others. It’s a very distinctive knife; two opposed blades on the same hilt. One’s got a deep hooked notch near the tip, and serrations along the back of the blade. The other’s a fat spike with a triangular cross-section, and grooves wrapped around it; not along the length of the blade, as fullers would be, but circles wrapping around it.
“But not one ever used in the fight, that I could see, and when we were figuring each other out, asking questions about each others’ kit, and sharing war stories, that one knife never came up.
“So a couple of weeks into the fighting, I asked the question. And that night, I learned that it was called a ‘dignity knife’, and not something considered a matter for polite conversation.
“Eventually, I learned what requisition forms called it, which was ‘BS-11 Biological Security Knife, Block II’. One end is a pithing knife, which – while familiar to us now – was quite the shock to learn about in those days; the other, though? The fat blade was stuffed with incendiary explosive and lenses, those grooves, to focus the force of the blast. Per the manufacturer, that was ‘biotech security’, making sure no corpses were left behind for enemy intelligence to plunder for biotechnological secrets.
“Unofficially? The Legions had a unique interpretation of “no-one gets left behind”. For me, unnerving will always be defined by fighting alongside allies who carried special knives to kill their own wounded, then incinerate the bodies wherever they fell.”
– MSgt. Anvis Ankarian, 14th Drop Shock Echelon,
Memories of the Mnekkej Campaign
the Empire’s Shadow: the common and collective name for a group of organizations on the interstellar scene in the Associated Worlds, loosely defined as those organizations which are not in and of themselves arms of Imperial policy, but which take immoderate advantage of their chosen work not being illegal by Imperial standards, and the general reluctance of most polities to provoke the friendly neighborhood dragon. (Also known as “the Empress’s skirts”, presumably a metonym for what they are hiding behind.)
Among the most well-known of these are the Agalmic Information Foundation (freedom of information), the Astrapostale (mail delivery… everywhere), Celeritous Exit (snakeheading), the Council for the Promotion of Scientific Irresponsibility (freedom of research), the Eldinimieuthunumis (that fun which is oft called vice), the Freedom’s Seed COG (exporting revolution), the Holy Order of Deoclasts (antimissionaries), the Inevitable Justice Foundation (prosecuting crimes against sophoncy), the Last Gleam Preservers (saving souls), the Means of Defense COG (the right and means to bear arms), Miscegenation Nation (supporting interspecies and other unconventional relationships), the Secret-Keepers (cryptography, cryp, and data havens), the Technic Imperative (access to tools and concepts), the rare filibustering TTGs, and some indeed would argue much of the Starfall Arc Free Merchant Confraternity (smuggling).
– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary
“Always remember: memetics is no more and no less than the science of ideas. Applied memetics, therefore, is no more and no less than advanced persuasion. Memetics cannot impose ways of thought. Memetics alone cannot correct biases, or determine truth, or override the will. And no memetic technology can force someone to believe anything.”
– The Iron Rule of Memetics, Acad. Lí Amarens
“Holy fire-spitting crapsticks, is there anything these morons won’t believe?”
– Alseyn’s Corollary
PROTOCOL OROELLE BLUESHIFT FRATERNAL
FOR PUBLIC RELEASE
A protocol to verify the identify and whenwhere of purported time-travelers from future dates, claiming to be about Imperial business.
Since the information needed to generate and/or validate the Oroelle-block verification code does not exist until after the code has been presented and is retained in non-observable storage (i.e., storage which self-destructs upon observation without revealing its contents) until the time for its release, assuming indicated security procedures are followed, the OROELLE BLUESHIFT FRATERNAL procedure is considered to offer limited causal proof of a time traveler’s bona fides, with regard to identity and whenwhere of origin.
OROELLE BLUESHIFT FRATERNAL should not be considered proof against Transcendent-equivalent attack.
COLLAPSITER (THRESHER MAELSTROM)
Special weapons package THRESHER MAELSTROM, or the collapsiter warhead, is a kugelblitz-based delivery system suitable for deployment from a large-bore heavy mass driver. Put simply, the principle of the collapsiter is the activation upon detonation of a spherical array of annihilation-pumped lasers focused on a single point, raising the mass-energy density of that point to such a degree that a black hole is formed, one which rapidly adds the remaining mass of the warhead to itself. The layout and activation of the array is computed to impart considerable angular momentum to the resulting hole.
The destructive effect of the collapsiter warhead comes primarily not from direct interaction, but rather from the shredding effect of the intense tidal forces exerted by the nascent hole upon objects in its vicinity. Conveniently, these are aligned perpendicular to the controllable rotation axis of the hole, making the collapsiter one of the few coplanar weapons systems in the armamentarium, if one discounts the secondary destructive effect of the eventual quantum evaporation of the kugelblitz and the return of the invested energy in the form of an intense particle radiation burst.
Collapsiter warheads, as relatively contained gravitic weapons capable of remote deployment, are also of particular note for their ability to disrupt and destroy via sharp inflection the controlled space-time distortions used in wormhole-based systems and other metric engineering technologies.
High-yield collapsiter warheads are considered Tier II prohibited weapons under the Ley Accords. However, in practice, the largest barrier to wider collapsiter deployment – bearing in mind the Ley Accords prohibition is on use rather than manufacture or deployment – is the outrageously high insurance rate charged by tort carriers for guaranteeing stargate leases for or in any polity known to deploy collapsiter-based weapons systems. As a corporation dependent upon metric engineering technologies and inasmuch as collapsiter warheads are one of the few weapons systems considered good candidates to overcome the vector-lock armoring of the stargates themselves, Ring Dynamics considers collapsiter deployment in or near systems they serve to warrant a highest-risk assessment.
– A Brief Guide to Special Weapons Packages, IN Press
This is a little meta to begin with, but please do indulge me, for we will get there. It all started this morning when I happened to read this little piece of not-even-wrongitude:
Authority by consent is no authority at all, like I say. Unless you can force people to listen to you, they won’t obey commands unless they agree with them. And if they won’t obey commands unless they agree with them, you’re ultimately not leading anything, you’re a mouthpiece spouting what they want to hear.
Hold onto your togas, kids, we’re off to Rome, and we’re going to learn exactly what authority is by examining auctoritas. Your free clue is that it is precisely not what the above quotation claims it to be.
(Obviously, the Romans did have the concept of forcing people to listen to you and do what they’re told. That one wasn’t auctoritas, though. That was imperium, which is where the strapping lads [the lictors] with the bundle of sticks and an axe – yes, that one – would proceed to do the needful unto anyone who didn’t get with your program. This equipment and the chaps carrying it were a warning – who you were not, for the most part, allowed to go without – to everyone that you were allowed to deal out corporal and capital punishment.)
Auctoritas, from whence our authority (and also, point of curiosity, “author”) had approximately buggerall to do with the ability to force people to listen and obey, because the whole point of having auctoritas is that you don’t need to.
Let me quote Bret Devereaux’s excellent blog here:
Roman political speech, meanwhile, is full of words to express authority without violence. Most obviously is the word auctoritas, from which we get authority. J.E. Lendon (in Empire of Honor: The Art of Government in the Roman World (1997)), expresses the complex interaction whereby the past performance of virtus (‘strength, worth, bravery, excellence, skill, capacity,’ which might be military, but it might also by virtus demonstrated in civilian fields like speaking, writing, court-room excellence, etc) produced honor which in turn invested an individual with dignitas (‘worth, merit’), a legitimate claim to certain forms of deferential behavior from others (including peers; two individuals both with dignitas might owe mutual deference to each other). Such an individual, when acting or especially speaking was said to have gravitas (‘weight’), an effort by the Romans to describe the feeling of emotional pressure that the dignitas of such a person demanded; a person speaking who had dignitas must be listened to seriously and respected, even if disagreed with in the end. An individual with tremendous honor might be described as having a super-charged dignitas such that not merely was some polite but serious deference, but active compliance, such was the force of their considerable honor; this was called auctoritas. As documented by Carlin Barton (in Roman Honor: Fire in the Bones (2001)), the Romans felt these weights keenly and have a robust language describing the emotional impact such feelings had.
Note that there is no necessary violence here. These things cannot be enforced through violence, they are emotional responses that the Romans report having (because their culture has conditioned them to have them) in the presence of individuals with dignitas. And such dignitas might also not be connected to violence. Cicero clearly at points in his career commanded such deference and he was at best an indifferent soldier. Instead, it was his excellence in speaking and his clear service to the Republic that commanded such respect. Other individuals might command particular auctoritas because of their role as priests, their reputation for piety or wisdom, or their history of service to the community. And of course beyond that were bonds of family, religion, social group, and so on.
In ‘verse terms, now, while the correspondences aren’t absolutely perfect, what we are talking about is korás (“coercion”), the power to make people do what you want by threatening them (or more directly), versus argyr (“worth, merit”), and in the specific case of governance coronargyr (“sovereign’s merit”), that authority sufficient to lead the people to confer upon one the Imperial Mandate, that contract which gives one the power to rule.
(Most governances do try to make use of the latter as well as the former, even though/when the latter is the ultimate basis of their power, inasmuch as it’s very hard to have enough jackboots to keep everyone’s face stomped forever, and so not having to trot them out all the time is most convenient.)
The Empire, of course, is an extreme case of ruling, insofar as it is possible, only by coronargyr and banishing korás to solely those few responsive purposes laid out in the Fundamental Contract, on which it has no monopoly. This is something of a necessity when your citizens are (a) functionally unintimidatable, and (b) respect little except competence/virtue/excellence/awesomeness, which they respect greatly. You can’t drive people (i.e., what that initial quote thinks “leading” is) like that with any hope of long-term success; only lead them, and that by being so bloody good at it that people want to follow you.
Start thinking that they should follow you because of who you are, not what you can do, and you’ll swiftly find yourself here.
So, to sum up the thesis of this post:
“Ledger Embiggening, this is the captain of the armed vessel currently on intercept with you. As you have noticed, we have our weapons locked on you. Your options are these: cut your engines immediately, heave to, and permit us to board and claim whatever passengers and items of cargo we wish… or don’t, and we’ll slag your drive, then take your ship by force and have them anyway. You have until I get tired of waiting to decide. Over.”
“Unknown armed vessel, this is Ledger Embiggening. All our off-site backups are up-to-date and we have enabled our proximity-triggered spite charge, as required by the terms of our charter insurance carrier. I am legally required to advise you not to approach within 10,000 miles of this vessel under any circumstances. Your move. Ledger Embiggening, clear.”
“And that’s how I lost this leg,” the former pirate slurred. “Also one kidney, three-quarters of my liver, both spleens, fifteen feet of assorted intestine, and a not inconsiderable portion of brain tissue.”
And next in our review of less conventional starship types, we come to that odd duck, the aerospace cruiser. (And many of these remarks, naturally, also apply to its larger cousin, the aerospace carrier.)
Ever since the early Imperial Navy absorbed the old air forces into its Close Orbit and Atmospheric Command (CLATMOCOM, under the Second Space Lord), these specialized classes and their equally specialist crewers have existed in something of a limbo, engaging in practices often deemed unnatural among decent, right-thinking spacers. Such as, if I may write in hushed tones for a moment, streamlining.
In short, while normally one can rely on a comfortable dichotomy between airships – which stay down in the nice, warm, notably present air – and starships – which avoid atmosphere in the much the same way that a thirsty Leirite avoids water – the aerospace cruiser defies this. While even the interface vehicles that bridge these two realms tend to minimize their time spent in the inconvenient middle, it spends all its operational time in a realm too low for low orbit and too high for upper atmosphere, being beholden to neither.
This requires a large number of rather unsettling compromises. Let’s begin our examination with the fundamental reason why: the entire purpose of an aerospace cruiser is to provide a secure base from which atmospheric combat vehicles can sortie, and in order to let them be competitive ACVs, it is necessary not to weigh them down with large extra drive mechanisms just to enable them to get to and from the mama bird. Thus, said mothership must not operate merely in low orbit, but dipping well into the atmosphere – into the lower mesophere – at typical altitudes for lithic worlds no more than 65 to 80 km (211,000 – 264,000′) above the surface. Such altitudes are already painfully difficult to reach for dedicated air vehicles, but manageable with relatively small auxiliary aerospikes.
And yet, the implications! A non-interface starship at this altitude suffers from high levels of atmospheric drag, enough to rip any normal starship’s – one not designed for atmospheric entry – structure apart, and thus, aerospace cruisers must share the great attention to streamlining and the heavier structure required by interface vehicles, but to an even greater extent, since the aerospace cruiser must not only penetrate the entry interface, but hang in it while launching and receiving aircraft from its vomitories.
(This in turn involves various trade-offs in other starship systems, like radiators, which must be accommodated behind streamlined panels while still functioning effectively; the point-defense laser grid must be tuned to atmospheric frequencies despite the effects on performance – and aerospace cruisers are well within the practical offensive range of ground-based aircraft and anti-aircraft systems; the engines must not choke when run in atmosphere; and so forth.)
The next issue, fortunately, partly cancels out this one. While an aerospace cruiser sustaining (via continuous burn; copious fuel supplies and an oiler or two to restock them are also essentials for space-to-atmo operations) orbit at 72 km would have to deal with an arbitrarily long period of fending off the atmosphere at 8 km/sec, consider that the period of such an orbit is a little under 1.5 hours, meaning that an aerospace cruiser maintaining its “natural” orbital velocity will pass very rapidly over the battlespace and out of air range; and pilots in general, it should be said, are notably unappreciative when their mothership leaves them behind.
To avoid this, aerospace cruisers are required to operate in forced orbits, maintaining station above a particular location. This requires, of course, even more copious supplies of fuel and multiplies the required continuous – and for those not familiar with the concept, continuous here means if the drive ever stops, you fall right out of the sky and die – station-keeping burn considerably, but at least it spares you quite so much brutalization by the atmosphere and makes launching and receiving aircraft practical, not just theoretically possible.
So before we continue and look at specific types, let’s raise a glass to these low-flying, fuel-gulping, plasma-shocking, sky-hanging abominations of nature, and all that sail in them! We don’t look down on you – except literally – but we wouldn’t have your jobs for a Service pension and a nice retirement moon.
– the Big Boys’ Book of Boom
from Extropa Energy, ICC
Available now throughout the Imperial Core and Fringe, with planned expansions into selected areas of the Worlds, Extropa Energy wishes to announce the availability of its Stars as a Service™ range of remote energy supply options. Using Extropa’s newly established fleet of mobile energy generation stations, each equipped with more than dodecen industrial-grade fusion reactors, Stars as a Service™ is able to deliver a reliable, continuous microwave or laser power beam into a compatible receiver anywhere in the system, both to stations and to beam-operated vehicles. Beamed power can even be transferred to planetside facilities with the lease or purchase of suitable relay satellites.
Power beams can be delivered in capacities ranging from megawatt through gigawatt, terawatt, and exawatt, according to your local requirements. While standard beams are delivered from shared reactor facilities according to a fixed schedule (due to the exigencies of light-lag) and with necessary occlusion windows dictated by the movement of celestial bodies, special extra-cost arrangements can be made, including reserved reactor instances, dynamic control of power delivery via tangle channel, and the lease of relay satellites to eliminate or minimize occlusion blackouts.
Need more energy?
Contact your Extropa Energy Stars as a Service™ representative today!
gravity tremble: The variations in experienced gravity found aboard starships making use of the thrust gravity provided by nuclear pulse drives, or other discontinuous-thrust drives. Essentially, the gravity tremble refers to that portion of the thrust variation not damped out by the thrust transfer framework, leading to a predictable variation in experienced gravity around its nominal value, from the jarring on-off transitions of the earliest undamped concussion drives to the smooth and gentle oscillation (resembling a phugoid cycle) of modern fusion-pulse sail drives.
The term is also used to refer to the distinctive gait seen in long-term pulse-drive starship crewers (or, more accurately, crewers of those starships in which the pulse rate is relatively fast). With experience in maneuvering under trembling gravity, such crewers develop the habit of attuning their stride interval to the tremble frequency, pushing off and up with the drop and descending with the rise, thus gaining the most advantage from the momentarily lighter gravity.
– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary
To begin our discussion of protective technologies, notionally, there are four types of shielding:
Particle & Ray Shielding
The most important and most common of these, of course, are the first two: particle shielding and ray shielding. Naturally, both of these are complete misnomers, thanks to wave/particle equivalence, and have an inconvenient degree of overlap, and yet they are the accepted engineering terms.
The technical definition of particle shielding is that it is intended to affect fermions, the particles which chiefly constitute matter, including quarks, the composite particles made up of them, and leptons; while ray shielding is intended to affect gauge bosons, such as the photon, gluon, and the various asthenons.
Thus, in the informal engineering view, particle shielding begins with conventional armor, Whipple shields, laser point-defense grids, and the like, while ray shielding can be considered to include such simple devices as high-reflectivity surfaces, HICAP and other high-Z materials, and even thermal dissipation systems or sheer mass. (Drunkwalking, of course, can be considered both.)
Later developments in particle shielding included a variety of technologies including sacrificial defense drones, semi-ablative fluff, fluid-foam armor, droplet nanoclouds, and gravimetric bubbles, the forerunners of the modern kinetic barriers.
Meanwhile, the story of attempts to advance ray shielding is a complex mess of dismissed technologies, ranging from entirely failed attempts such as FAT NINJA through variations on many others: magnetic plasma bubbles, dazzle nanoclouds, EM blisters, Meng mirrors, wormhole mouth-drones, antithetikon emitters, polariton photon-walls, stasis hyperspheres, claudications, and other metric warps, none of them achieving nearly the same success or general applicability as their particle counterparts.
All of which is to mostly ignore the inevitable overlap between technologies (for example: while often classified as “rays”, kinetic barriers are effective against particle beams; and attempts at producing kinetic barriers strong enough to deflect photons, which after all do have mass, continue – thereby classifying them as ray shielding, too), not to mention such bizarre entries in the field as the uncertainty sheath, singularity-lock armor, the blink displacer, UNMOVED MONAD, and its weaker cousin, the probability unseller.
Intended to protect you from gravity and weapons that function on gravitic principles. Entirely hypothetical, unless you count “get your own equal and opposite gravity”.
Intended to protect you from having the laws of physics you’re using edited out from under you, which also conveniently protects you from hypothetical dangers like extrauniversal invasions that bring their own physics along with them, falling through nilgularities, or outbreaks of primordial chaos within the brane. Currently consists of a single technology, the selective ontology evocation system, programmed with its most boring use, ensuring that everything stays exactly as it is.
– introduction to “Shielding” chapter, Celestime Technology Review
anti-buckling vents: vents, either permanent or automatically opening (using, for example, rupture disks) in the event of a significant pressure differential across them, installed in non-spacetight bulkheads and deckheads to prevent them from behaving as de facto spacetight compartmentalizations while lacking the structural strength to serve in that role.
After a number of incidents in which decompressions caused by hull punctures and the resulting pressure differentials caused crumples and collapses of non-spacetight bulkheads, severing piping and cable runs passing through or along those bulkheads, anti-buckling vents became a standard component of celestime architecture.
(For this reason, it is important to immediately follow decompression procedures when the alarm sounds, whether or not the source of decompression appears to be in the current compartment.)
– A Space Traveler’s Dictionary
WATCH CONSTABULARY / ORBIT GUARD
SPACECRAFT INCIDENT REPORT
REPORT DATE: 7322 Yrnaes 11
INCIDENT DATE: 7322 Yrnaes 8
VESSEL CLASS: Tingesek-class ESV/courier
REGISTRATION: Free Loxix
OPERATOR: Private charter
REPORTED BY: Aste min Direthill, commander, Toralish Orbit Guard
REFERENCES: [see attached]
SUBJECT: Fuel Tank Rupture Leading To Interior Dissolution
Shortly after entry into Toralish system, contact was lost with the Tingesek-class ESV, Soreseg Ven. All efforts to regain contact with the vessel failed, and shortly thereafter observations by System Traffic Control showed an abnormal termination of maneuvering burn. The vessel was then declared not under command, and a patrol boat, CSS Captal’s Mercy, was vectored towards its last known position.
Upon reaching and boarding Soreseg Ven, the pressure hull was found open to space, with severe damage to the interior. On examination, virtually all organic or carbon-based material was found to be missing, and severe erosion was found on many metallic surfaces. All eighteen souls aboard were lost without trace.
Subsequently to the investigation, the hulk was ordered towed for disposal to the Kathar wreckyard as a hazard to navigation, awaiting owner clearance for disposal.
Investigation of the spacecraft revealed the following:
Due to the timing of the failure, it is believed that the additional stress placed on the oxidizer tank head by the maneuvering burn initiated by Soreseg Ven after jumping into Toralish caused the stress fractures along the shared structure of the oxidizer tank head and after pressure bulkhead. With the oxidizer tank fully pressurized, immediate structural failure followed, allowing large volumes of the rapidly vaporizing oxidizer to penetrate the pressure hull.
Since the Tingesek-class ESV makes use of a chemical reaction drive powered by pentaborane and high-test hydrogen peroxide, it is believed that the crew and passengers of Soreseg Ven were immediately dissolved during the oxidizer inrush, as were the majority of the vulnerable fittings and other items within the pressure hull, a process which only ended when the rapid changes in internal temperature and pressure caused the pressure hull itself to fracture.
93.2.4 / Public / Last updated 283 years ago
Install: pkg i vocel-react-affective
License: Riantar Ventures Open Usage & Modification License (Commercial & Non-Commercial)
Depends-On: vocel-react-core, vocel-react-modulate, vocel-react-dynamic
The vocel-react-affective package forms part of the VoCel React™ voice interface system for household robotic systems, and provides the affective response and courtesy subroutines used by the system to phrase and pronounce its responses to the user.
The primary configuration parameter for the vocel-react-affective package is the basic Courtesy Index (ci). This is a floating point setting whose value can range from +12.0 to -12.0, with a value of zero effectively disabling the package, resulting in the brusque, efficiency-optimized responses provided by such interfaces when this package is not installed. A value of +12.0 causes the attached system to maximize courtesy and formality in its interactions, combining the most polite circumlocutions of the Court of Courts with the warmth of an old family retainer, while a value of -12.0 maximizes the system’s lack of respect for the user without slipping into gutterspeak; i.e., the “Do it yourself, stinkin’ meat bag!” option. Values below -8.0 permit the system to arbitrarily refuse orders, while values below -4.0 permit it to demand they be rephrased in a more appropriate fashion. A recommended initial value for everyday applications is +6.0.
Secondary configuration parameters allow the package user to specify maximal and minimal values for the Courtesy Index, used when dynamic configuration is enabled. This permits the ci to be varied by a number of additional packages, including vocel-react-profile (permitting per-user configuration), vocel-react-affective-mirror (adjusting the courtesy level of the system to match that of the user), vocel-react-standards (requiring certain standards to be upheld for interaction), et. al., as well as combinations of these.
Tertiary configuration parameters, meanwhile (see full documentation), allow adjustments of specific formality level, register, and stylistic tics, and interact with similar parameters provided by packages such as vocel-react-species, vocel-react-regional, and vocel-react-subcultural.
So, in the past, we discussed the arms and equipment of the Imperial Legions, but we never went into their organization in any particular depth, something this post intends to correct.
Now, if you remember the Table of Ranks post, you’ll note that I have used fairly typical Western-type ranks (albeit in somewhat altered structure) to translate the ranks of the Imperial Military Service, Legions included. This is a convenience for the reader who is familiar with these, although in many ways this paints an inaccurate picture of their actual organization.
One should remember, after all, that the Empire’s history never had the Dark Ages, or the medieval era that followed. The implication being that the Imperial Legions draw their tradition, in unbroken descent generation following generation, from the phalanges of Ancyr and the lockstep legions of ancient Selenaria, themselves born of a time when the hot new military technology was very early steel – and this imprint still lies heavy upon them.
And one of the places that this is visible is in their organization and associated positions.
(These being the titles associated with command or various other positions within a unit, separate from the rank held by whoever occupies it. As I note below, there is a loose association between the one and the other, but the Imperial Military Service has gone all-in on matrix management and does not believe in up-or-out; in a world in which lives are so very, very long, they don’t want to lose talent to such policies over time; or, indeed, by promoting people from positions in which they are exceptionally good into positions in which they are less talented. So while it is by no means usual to find legionaries whose rank is disproportionate to their position, it’s by no means unknown.)
And so, in the absence – ah, time to spend on conlanging, where art thou? – of a full and appropriate set of Eldraeic terminology, pray pardon my shameless appropriation and distortion of a variety of Greek and Roman terms in the below descriptions. (Also the use of the term armiger, “one who bears arms” in its non-heraldic sense, to describe those legionaries one of whose primary functions is fighting personally.)
So, to begin at the beginning, with the smallest of units:
The smallest, most fundamental division of the legions, the fist is a fireteam of four legionaries (E-3, outside training legions or first-tour replacements), one of whom (the monitor, usually an E-4/Corporal) is in tactical command, and a second of whom carries an additional heavy weapon.
(Well, except in armor legions. There, the fist is generally representative of a single tank crew, etc.)
The next division up, the lochos (or file, since the original lochos was based on one file of soldiers in the Ancyran phalanx or the Selenarian legions) consists of three fists, plus a lochagos (file leader; usually an E-6/Master Sergeant) and ouragos (file closer; usually an E-5/Sergeant) as commander and second-in-command, respectively, for a total of fourteen armigers.
In light infantry legions, each lochos is assigned a pair of V40 Ralihú IFVs (accommodate 8 each) as transports, the lochagos commanding one and the ouragos the other.
The lochos can be considered the approximate equivalent of the modern squad. In more classical comparisons, one might analogize the lochos with the Roman contubernium, the tent-group; the lochos is a logistical unit inasmuch as its members are quartered together, eat together1, share various common appurtenances, etc.
Next up the hierarchy we come to the triarchy – which is not a formally constituted unit but rather one occasionally broken out for convenience – and consists of three lochoi assigned together; 42 armigers. The commander of a triarchy, although sometimes referred to as the triarch, is simply the lochagos with seniority. (On the rare occasions that a triarchy is seen operating independently – see note under century – higher command strata may find an O-2/Ensign from somewhere to give it policy direction.)
It can be considered the approximate equivalent of the modern platoon – in size, at least.
Next in formal units, the century; six lochoi together, commanded by a centurion (O-4/O-3/O-2 Lieutenant/Sublieutenant/Ensign, usually depending on the seniority of the century within its legion) and an optio (E-7/Gunnery Sergeant); 86 armigers total. The century is usually the smallest unit to operate independently (for short periods; any long-term independent operations will be assigned a full cohort). A legion contains 162 centuries (from three alae / nine merarchies / twenty-seven cohorts).
The century is the first of the “bannered units”; these being the century, the cohort, and the legion entire. When colors are carried2, the symbolism for each century and its attached battle-honors are of course unique, but the background pattern and combination of colors is standardized, such that every legion’s, for example, 43rd century will use the same base banner as every other legion’s.
The century also has staff positions (auxiliaries) outside the directly armigerous personnel. In auxiliaries, a typical century will include a signifer (the bearer of the colors and communications specialist), a quartermaster, two forward observer/recon specialists, two armorers, two field medics, and the field kitchen.
In addition, there is a fire-support asset attached to each century; for an infantry legion, this is usually a Saber coilgun-walker or something similar; and it is at the century level that the G5-TT Corveé tactical transports and their crews (one per two lochoi), or equivalent, are attached.
The century can be considered the approximate equivalent of a modern company.
Back to non-formal units, the dicentury, which is exactly what it says on the tin; a pair of centuries operating together (i.e. 172 armigers), commanded by the senior centurion of the pair.
On we go with the cohort; six centuries, for a fighting strength of 516, commanded by a machegos, or “Battlemaster” in the vernacular (O-4/Lieutenant or O-5/Major3). The cohort is the unit most commonly used for independent operations.
As the second of the bannered units, the cohort includes an aquilifer to carry its colors4 (and the golden eagle atop them) as well as serve as a communications specialist among its auxiliaries, which include at this point a full embedded logistics and medical staff, an adjutant for the machegos, the master of the camp, an intelligence staff, and the padre, among others.
(The cohort’s padre is not counted among the armigerous on the technicality that his command structure answers first to his deity, and only afterwards to the machegos5. Regardless, when the cohort meets the enemy, the padre is usually to be found in the van.)
In addition, there’s a heavy fire-support asset attached to each cohort. The type varies by legion, but a light infantry legion might use the HV-12 Stormfall missile tank or the HVC-14h Thunderbolt drone tank, in the role.
The cohort can be considered the approximate equivalent of the modern battalion.
Up to the next level, the merarchy; three cohorts together, for a total fighting strength of 1,548, commanded by a merarch (O-6/Colonel or O-7/Brigadier). It’s primarily a tactical and administrative division rather than one that has a large staff attached to it. What it does have attached to it, though, is the lighter half of the legion’s organic air support, in the form of one wing of G12-BU Falcon tilt-rotors6 attached to each merarchy.
Can be considered the approximate equivalent of the regiment – in size. Where the “regimental system” is concerned, however, that’s the legion.
Next, the ala, or wing; three merarchies together, for a total fighting strength of 4,664, commanded by an alearch (an O-7/Brigadier or O-8/General of the Wing). Much like the cohort, it has a full attached staff, appropriate to its place in the hierarchy (although it is not a bannered unit).
Also attached to the ala is the legion’s heavy air support; a wing of G7-BU Sunhawk heavy ground-attack aircraft each. Combat support units of various kinds which the legion has permanently acquired over its history and temporarily attached subunits tend to also be glued on here, at the ala level.
It can be considered the approximate equivalent of the modern brigade.
And finally, the legion itself; three wings together, for a total fighting strength of 13,9327, commanded by a strategos, a post occupied by an O-9/General of the Legion. Also includes the strategos‘s command staff (including the draconifer, who carries the legionary standard, a crystal-and-gold replica of the dragons framing the Dragon Throne, and is in charge of legionary communications) and its support units.
The legion is, of course, the highest of the permanently established units of the Imperial Military service. It can be considered the approximate equivalent of the modern division.
The legion is, of course, not the largest possible military command; it’s merely the largest formally and permanently organized unit. When needed for a war, legions can be grouped together into field forces, which can be grouped into armies, which in turn are attached to fleets up in the airy heights of the Admiralty where grades O-10 through O-14 (various kinds of Marshal) roam, ultimately under the overall theater command of a Warmain (polemarch) answering to the First Lord of the Admiralty.
But that’s another story…
unspace interrupter: a type of switch used in extremely-high-power electrical systems, the unspace interrupter is designed to overcome the ultimate limit in switching: namely, the dielectric strength of possible insulators used to separate the contacts.
Perfect insulators are generally considered impossible since all baryonic – and most exotic – materials, even the most insulating, still contain small quantities of charge carriers, and sufficiently high voltages are capable of tearing the electrons from atoms, or otherwise motivating these charge carriers. Even vacuum is not a perfect insulator; a perfect vacuum still breaks down at 1e12 megavolts per meter, and the much more achievable high vacuum at a mere 30 megavolts per meter, even discounting processes such as thermionic emission.
The unspace interrupter bypasses this by observing that charge carriers require space to exist within, and by taking away that space, one assures that they cannot exist, and thus cannot flow. Unspace interrupters have been constructed using a variety of techniques, but one simple example is to consider two widely separated contact points – or an equivalent system, such as a photonic motor-generator set – linked by a tunable-pinch wormhole, i.e., one which can be closed or opened at will. When opened, current flows freely; when closed, the effective dielectric strength of the interrupter is determined by the arbitrarily large distance between its separated ends, which can be functionally infinite. Moreover, the opening of the contacts by this system is not subject to arcing or flashover.
– the Glossology of the Anbaric Spark, 997th ed.
Provocogen COG is unusual among the ranks of Citizen Oversight Groups in that, while generally acknowledged as serving a socially useful purpose, everyone individually would much rather be spared its attentions.
Provocogen, as its name might suggest, is a manufacturer of meme-allergens and other informational toxins. Extending the theory that an unchallenged immune system degrades, their purpose is to maintain and enhance the memetic immune system, lest parasites, meme-allergens, autotoxic and exotoxic ideas, recursive conspiracies, memetic vulnerabilities and plain old stupidity spread out of control.
Unlike the informational and warning efforts of other COGs and TAGs in the memetic security space, however, Provocogen generates examples of all these things (in a hopefully weakened state) and sends them out into the ideosphere to do their work, keeping people alert and priming the public’s memetic immune systems to other ideas of the same general kind, followed by painfully – for those taken in – debunking them in exquisite depth and architectural detail.
To this end, Provocogen has assembled what is undoubtedly the largest collection of trolls, conspiracists, grifters, meme-hackers, slash-traders, mystagogues, rhetoricians, sophists, unhanged scoundrels, and intellectual coprophiliacs to be found anywhere outside a full-quorum meeting of the Conclave of Galactic Polities.
– Sur-Dodeciad Parts in Approximate Formation: The Empire from Outside