I’ve added the Watch Constabulary’s (and OIP’s) special rank titles for the E- and lower O-grades to the Table of Ranks, for those interested in such things. See them here:
(Originally titled Eldraeic Word of the Day: asírdaëlíthal, but come on…)
asíran: power; note: not coercive power, the power of compulsion, which is korás. Rather, the ability and means to act upon the elements of the world towards a defined end. (See also the kinds of power, here.)
daëlin: probability, chance.
asírdaël: (from asíran + daëlin) opportunity; that is to say, a possibility (probability) which exists because of one’s possession of the power (agency) to take advantage of that possibility; that which can be realized through action.
íthal: object, thing.
asírdaëlíthal: (from asírdael + íthal) an opportunity-object; an item created for no reason other than that one possessed the power to create it. The end product of such philosophies as “because it’s there“, “we do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard”, and “we do what we can, because we must”. Existence/possibility as imperative.
…are what I have been working on today, so here’s a quick table for those interested:
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…
- Ride together, die together… bad boys for life.
- On the modern battlefield, per-century banners are generally not carried; however, the colors and symbols are still used in identifying v-tags.
- Note that there is no rank of Captain in the Imperial ground forces.
- The eagles, on the other hand, are borne into battle, usually with the headquarters section. It may not be practical, but there are such things as standards, y’know? Standards about standards, even.
- General opinion within the Legions, on the other hand, is that the strategos is somewhat senior to god.
- You can think of these as, simplistically, filling the “attack helicopter” role.
- Despite variations in the numbers of auxiliary staff attached, logisticians usually budget 18,000 personnel for transporting a full legion, in the comfortable assurance that they won’t need all of ’em for people.
Whatever one’s position on the dubious assumptions behind the cliché “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words shall never hurt me” and its unfortunate persistence in many societies, these are not assumptions which the Empire shares. Indeed, it has a fine selection of words to describe an entire taxonomy of words that can hurt you, sorted by the specific manners in which this is so.
Today, though, we concentrate on one specific subset of these: the traälathkháln laras (from alathkháln, “the pain of new understanding”, and laras, “word”). These are the words which can hurt you because, Eldraeic being a precise language, they require you to confront and resolve the fuzziness of your assumptions in order to voice them.
Specifically, let us consider the English word “hypocrisy”, “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform”. This is a term which in one word combines motivations from peccadillo to abhorrence, and acts from near-passive to motivated malice, and one whose broad spectrum is leveraged in many a motte-and-bailey argument with the intent that one’s conscious fraud will be considered an unconscious peccadillo, and one’s opponent’s vice versa.
Eldraeic, meanwhile, has three top-level terms which cover this territory, and does so in such a way that while one might argue over which is in play in a given instance, it is at least clear which claim you are making.
These terms are:
qané tracorlíë niril (lit. “insufficiently robust soul”): that hypocrisy which derives from weakness; giving in to a forbidden temptation. Usually albeit not always a peccadillo – let he who has never sneaked a second doughnut cast the first stone – but in any case, not involving any deliberate intent to deceive, nor implying that your commitment to the principles you espouse is insincere. Merely that you struggle to be perfectly adherent to them.
tracorlíë maurqártill (lit. “soul-fraud”): that hypocrisy which is deliberate; espousing one thing and choosing, in a state of talcoríëf, to do another. Not a peccadillo, as you might expect of any compound word which has the component maurqártill in it. Definitely implies insincerity and false commitment; almost certainly fighting words.
traürlis corlíë (lit. “false-soul”): Implies that you would have to have principles in order to falsify them, and therefore that you cannot be a hypocrite since no-one would ever have believed anything you claimed about having them in the first place. A verdict of damnation. Break this one out, and someone’s walking away from the conversation dead.
Other Related Words
- urlis: false, logically untrue; oppose talis.
- maurlis: from mahar “make” + urlis, therefore “manufactured falsity”, or lie
- maurqártill: from maurlis + qártill “price”, therefore “liar’s price”, or fraud1
- corlíë: soul, (poetic) mind-state
- niril: robust, durable
- Obviously, not all fraud is as simple as “lying about prices”, but ultimately, all fraud does involve deceiving someone about the exchange-value of something, even if not directly expressed in monetary terms.
So, let’s talk about Theory of Mind.
Well, okay, not that theory of mind. The theory of how minds work in the ‘verse, and so the theory behind most sophotechnology, since this topic has come up on the Discord recently.
(Much of the below was heavily inspired by Greg Bear’s Queen of Angels, in my opinion one of the best pieces of SF exploring psychology and cognition. I heartily recommend it.)
The first division sophotechnologists make in analyzing mind-states is logos and psyche, or to give them their longer names, personality organization algorithm and incrementing memory string.
The logos has been discussed before. It is, for sophont minds, where the magic happens. Volition, paracausality, nondeterminism, all that good stuff. It’s also a seed crystal for mind. Drop a logos into a free energy medium where quantum computation is possible, and it’ll start spinning out mind around itself, like a seed crystal in a supersaturated solution. This is how digisapiences are made, for example.
It is also, unfortunately, mostly a black box, although some studies and classifications of it have been made from the outside. (Imagine how pleased that makes the AI wakeners.) Further study is ongoing, but poses both extreme technical and equally extreme ethical problems.
The psyche is everything else. So what is everything else?
(Actually, let’s get one special case out of the way first. That special case is the consciousness loop, a specialized agent which organizes your narrative thread of consciousness. This is the agent which is responsible for autosentience – self-awareness – to whatever degree you have it, that endless stream of status updates on your thoughts that runs through your head.
Note: it’s not in charge of anything. It’s just a glorified journal file that brings order to chaos. This is why those experiments seem to show that you acted before you thought of acting; the decision was made elsewhere in the psyche. What you think is you thinking of something is actually just that thought being written to the log…
…humans do not have very good autoscience. For one thing, just think of the sheer amount of cognitive activity going on that you remain completely unaware of.
And for that matter, autoscience is not a strictly necessary part of minds at all! Self-awareness is not a prerequisite of even quite advanced cognition, although it is needed for sophoncy.)
The psyche is essentially a Minskian society of mind, a frothing sea of agents – mental subroutines – running independently and, for the most part, in parallel. Individual agents are no more than scraps of mental code – major mental structures come from their agglomeration into larger routines of various types: talents, memes, memories, subpersonalities, and so forth. The interaction of all of these, the chorus, produces the mind as we know it.
The most basic agents arise from evolution and brain structure. Some remain that simple all the way through: the agent responsible for, say, heartbeat doesn’t need much more to perform its function. Others are spun out by the logos – simple builders, shapers, generators. Yet more are generated by other agents or higher structures, the mind shaping itself according to archetype and input from memory and sensorium.
But the key to understanding the mind is the higher structures. These include:
Primary personality: The primary personality isn’t, if we’re being strictly technical, very different from a subpersonality in structure; its distinction is that it has emerged during individuation as the dominant voice in the chorus. It is the structure most readily identifiable with the conscious self, but that’s at best only a limited part of the picture – it spends much of its time enmeshed with subpersonalities, talents, and agents all of which color it a great deal, and of course also with the logos.
Subpersonality: Among the largest of structures, each reflecting a major personality aspect. (You can find a whole bunch of Jungian archetypes here.) Probably the best known are the animus/anima/animin, the gender-modeling routines, but there are also things like occupations (your “on-the-job” personality), parental models, your with-this-group-of-close-friends personality, etc., etc. They aren’t independent; they mesh with and color the primary personality when brought forward.
(If one were to devise a theory to explain plurality/dissociative identity disorder in this paradigm it would be subpersonalities which had grown to the point of overshadowing the primary, or become independent primaries; they may also have accompanying sets of talents which are exclusively or mostly-exclusively invoked by them, which adds to the complexity when it comes to determining legal divergence of identity.
This is also something that can be and is done intentionally to produce useful mental subfunctions, similar to Aristoi’s daimones.)
Talents: Talents are smaller complexes of agents encapsulating particular skills, or parts of a skill, called forth when they are required. “Skill” for these purposes includes instincts, emotions, and so on and so forth. “Anger” is a talent – or set of talents – every bit as much as, say, “Tying a Tie” or “Tightrope Walking”, or “Administering Kubernetes Clusters”. They are not necessarily passive; the “situational awareness” talent-cluster is entirely capable of making itself known when other cognitive activity triggers it, for an obvious example.
Memes and memories are both actually subclasses of talents, in this sense: a meme is simply a talent encapsulating an idea, much as a memory is simply a talent encapsulating a remembered concept, in each case along with its various associative linkages. These are mostly passive until something happens to poke their associative linkages: things like PTSD are what happens when they aren’t passive enough and force themselves on the primary personality.
The talent class also includes mental models, mini-eidolon talents formed in the image of other minds for the purpose of predictive empathy.
Implications for Identity
Identity is… messy. Even identity of primary personality doesn’t constitute identity of identity, since there is so much else intermeshed with it that goes to make up the mind. Especially since, being a chorus, virtually all of the elements that go to make up a mind can be shared, even without going to the level of a conflux or a Fusion.
Thus, to a considerable degree, identity is also arbitrary.
For legal purposes, identity is defined by delta-divergence of the mind-state entire, even those parts that may be shared.
For practical purposes, individuality is defined by legal identity plus substrate separation. Hence, immediately after Bob forks, Bob is now a single identity, but two individuals.
Implications for Sophotechnology
This nature of the mind also enables other sophotechnologies. Situational subpersonalities and parapersonalities, for example, work by injecting a full subpersonality into the chorus. Skillware and microskillware operate by injecting talent-level routines, as does mnemonesis by injecting memory-formatted talents. Other technologies, like memory redaction, work by isolating and removing specific talents and patching the associative linkages; other thought-viruses add to these effects by temporarily suppressing some subpersonalities or talents and promoting others, while full psychedesign or meme rehab effects this permanently.
(This is a delicate art due to the complexity of the chorus and its internal balances, but it’s basically what therapy – making use of the mind’s self-editing capacity – and other psychiatric treatment is doing now, indirectly, rather than by direct mental surgery.)
Even such interface technologies as cathexis, synnoesis and vastening work, ultimately, by integrating outside cognition into the chorus, as do collective-consciousness systems like confluxes, Fusions, and the Transcendent soul-shard. (Although with that last we then get into the complexities of soul hierarchies, which is beyond the topic of this post.)
A quick conlang note inspired by a conversation I was having elsewhere, in which my interlocutor was vexed by people talking as if lack of choice due to government (i.e., coercive constraint) was a reduction in freedom, whereas lack of choice due to poverty, illness, disability, etc. was not.
The relevant part here is my claim (which included mention of my conlang) that we can once again blame it on English, that lazy and imprecise language, for lumping two distinct concepts into one single word and hoping no-one is rude enough to point it out, resultant confusion be damned.
The Conclave of Linguistics and Ontology, you see, has higher standards of precision. The Eldraeic word usually glossed as liberty, or freedom, is jírileth, which literally means “a life of choices”, and insofar as it’s talking about freedom from constraint, it includes the latter natural constraints and much more, right up to making amendments to natural laws, punching out the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and installing a few doors in infinity. “A prison the size of the universe is yet a prison! I will not be bound!”
(Its excruciatingly technical definition, the one used in the ethical calculus, would be “optimization of the phase-space of individual volition”, or slightly less jargonically, “affording each the greatest scope of will”).
This is the one which they put on the Imperial motto, because if there’s one thing the Empire’s citizen-shareholders aren’t afraid of, it’s tackling really big ideas.
The former, on the other hand, is mere ulqóras, a shortened form of ulquor kóras, literally meaning “absence of coercive power”, and while much more fundamental to ethics, it’s also a much, much smaller concept. And the problems attached to it are far, far simpler to solve — if one can manage to refrain from choice-theft.
Some more words and phrases, since I’m feeling linguistic this morning:
esélmór: remembrance; memory-token (from esél “remember” + mórés “token, representation”); an object kept to stimulate the memory.
ethé: soft, yielding, comfortable
feäl qalasír: necessity (internal; an irrefusable demand of the soul); from feäl – abstraction operator – + qalasír “driving energies of the individual”.
galráësél: to recall with the body, as in trained reflexes or physical skills (from galrás “flesh” and esél “remember”)
galshín: to carve (cut meat), a meat-carving knife
galshíndar: one who uses a meat-carving knife; butcher
hatheän: ephemeral, brief (from hath “time” + eän “flicker (of flame)”).
húëll: animal (originally, anything which is living and moves by its own will)
kalat: plant, sessile lifeform (originally, anything which is living and does not move itself)
kithémór: heart-token (from kithel “to feel, to emote” + mórés “token, representation”); an object kept to express its owner’s passions.
layés: longing, yearning, to long /yearn for
misan: a day-night cycle; specifically, one calendar “day” composed of an arísú “day” and a múrna “night”, although not necessarily in that order. See also -mis, suffix for day names.
(Traditionally, the cycle was accounted from dawn to following dawn in the Old Empires region, which became the basis of the Harmonious Calendar; however, when contact with the Underside was made, the cycle there was accounted from dusk to following dusk, thus preserving identity of date, i.e., the 9th day of the month would consist of the same hours on both Upperside and Underside, save with the day and night reversed to night and day.)
mithseir: mathematician (from mithá “number(s)” + idaseir “seer, scryer”).
nistrazik: ore (from nistraöth “metal” + azik “rock”)
shín: to cut, a cutter (including knives and all other objects which cut)
“súnavár an-arídamaen”: “brightening sunsets” (from súnar “bright” + arídan “sun” and maen “to fall, one which falls”); a euphemism for “dead”, referring to cremation and the scattering of ashes into the wind.
“traäman cadair”: the Dragon Throne (from aman “dragon” + cadair “throne”).
“traülestxí ithal”: mathom, purposeless object (potentially with function, but without purpose); from estxí “function”, diminutive form of estxíjir “wyrd/destiny/dharma” + ithal “object”.
velcál: bread; technically any product made from a dough of ground grains (desh). Seen often in the compounds el velcál ap aesaer (bread and salt) and el velcál ap galrás (bread and meat; a common type of sandwich).
velmahav: baker, to bake (from velcál “bread” + mahav “make”)
cagshálvéth: (lit. “sewer-food”; from cagshálla “sewer” + evéth “food”; the former itself from cagál “shit” + shálla “pipe”) a derogatory term applied to yeast-based and (especially) mycogenic foodstuffs, typically by outworld dirtsiders who haven’t figured out yet that a larger circle of life doesn’t mean that they aren’t eating as much shit as they’re talking.
(Actually a much more common word in Trade than regular Eldraeic.)
“Half ahe… that way.”
– Capt. Olavi Corel, first captain of Amphisbaena
Displacement: 125,000 long tons
Length: 330 m (at waterline: 316 m)
Beam: 84 m (at waterline: 48 m)
Draft: 12.1 m
4 x Empire Nucleonics, ICC 64 MW “Fat Salamander” fission reactors
8 x Blackstone Industries, ICC steam turbines and reduction plant
In-house magnetohydrodynamic “inchworm” drive system
Speed: 42 knots (non-sustainable emergency power: 48 knots)
Range: Unlimited; 12 year refueling interval
1,672 officers and men
Thinking Machines, ICC “Admiral Aliniv” Command Optimization Thinker
Artifice Armaments, ICC, ASR-24/3 air search radar
Artifice Armaments, ICC, SSR-36 surface search radar
Artifice Shadow Works X-449 imaging lidar
Hydrodyne Technologies, ICC, “Long Ear” sonar suite
Tactical interweave uplink
6 x Artifice Armaments, ICC 22″ “Big Howlin’ Bitch” railgun
6 x triple Artifice Armaments, ICC, 16″ “Little Sister” railgun
24 x Artifice Armaments, ICC 9″ “Poniard” conventional gun
36 x Firefly Aerospace, ICC “Waterline” anti-ship seeking missile
36 x Firefly Aerospace, ICC “Gentle Touch” target-finding missile
8 x Eye-in-the-Flame Arms, ICC “Pesticide” automated threat protection system
Citadel: 24″ layered C-allotrope/alloy composite; equiv. 53″ steel
Main turrets: 18″ layered C-allotrope/alloy composite; equiv. 39″ steel
Elsewhere: 12″ layered C-allotrope/alloy composite; equiv. 26″ steel
16 x Stonesmight Automata, ICC “Tattletale” scout drones
16 x Stonesmight Automata, ICC “Fleshharrower” attack drones
The four Amphisbaena-class battleships were the last fast battleships laid down by the Imperial Navy (note: the “wet” navy of the era, not its space successor), and participated in a number of military actions including the last battles of the Consolidation to take place on Eliéra proper. They are widely considered to represent the pinnacle of the naval architect’s art, and the furthest development of the “wet” battleship as a class.
The design of the Amphisbaena-class, in keeping with the mandate the IN inherited from the Alatian Navy’s Weapons Development Board, was to produce a vessel that would utterly outclass any opponent against which it was set. Thus, the class carries six 22″ railguns – of a model designed to be scaled down for naval use, rather than used as is – in addition to its six triple 16″ railgun turrets and conventional armaments. This same approach led to the inclusion of the eight “Pesticide” automated threat protection systems, capable, once activated, of automatically reducing anything not tagged as friendly approaching within a mile of Amphisbaena, above or below the water, into chaff and charnel.
The final development of this approach was Amphisbaena‘s magnetohydrodynamic “inchworm” drive. While the primary characteristic of this type of drive is its quietness, and thus lower sonar profile, in the case of Amphisbaena, it was selected because its lack of the issues associated with high-performance propellers, coupled with an otherwise oversized power plant, enables Amphisbaena to reach the otherwise unprecedented – for a ship of its displacement – cruising speed of 42 knots.
It also has the advantage of functioning equally well in either direction, and this – combined with the ability to divert water to side outlets at both bow and stern – gave Amphisbaena unparalleled abilities not only to change heading 180° without turning at all, but also to decelerate, to turn in its own length, and to keep station – making it an incredibly stable gun platform.
It is also to this drive that Amphisbaena owes its entirely symmetrical hull profile and superstructure, since the designers felt no need to inflict the notion of a preferred direction on a ship which otherwise would have lacked one. Despite the quotation above, officers and men serving on Amphisbaena-class ships rarely had difficulty telling the bow of the moment from the stern when the ship was under way, but it is nonetheless true that a red-blue color gradient was added to the bridge paintwork after Amphisbaena‘s sea trials to make end from end clear when moored or hove to.
líänd-khadár: vampire (lit. “flame-stealer”); mythologically, a malicious, semi-corporeal creature which drains its victims of volition and the capacity for choice, before going on to consume the remainder of their thoughts and memories and leave them empty. In the modern day, considered a metaphor for entropy-as-depression.
Have a random selection of answers to old questions and comments that came up while I was clearing out my e-mail:
In our world, there is a Spanish proverb that runs: Ladrón que roba a ladrón tiene cien años de perdón (memorably quoted in translation by the villian of The Magnificent Seven as “A thief who steals from a thief is pardoned for a hundred years,” or more conventionally glossed as “It’s no crime to steal from a thief.”)
How would the eldrae analyze such a situation? Would they consider it wrong to take something without its possessor’s consent if that possessor is not, in fact, the true owner?
That would depend. On the first level of analysis, Imperial law is more concerned with the will than the deed, and as such technically, for example, you are guilty of theft if you take something that was being freely given away, if you did not know that that was the case and therefore you believed that you were stealing it. Likewise, if you did not know that the possessor was not the true owner, it’s still theft.
On the second level, since the essence of theft is depriving the rightful owner of their property, if B steals from A and C takes it from B, then C is also guilty of theft from A.
The only situation in which such a C would not be guilty of theft is if they were aware that A was the rightful owner and “stole” it in order to return the property in question to A, in which case no crime has been committed, for that is merely a special case of the reclamation of property by its rightful owner. We might call this the Leverage exception.
Just a quick question, but how does a post-scarcity civilisation like the Empire deal with the problem of the so-called “mouse utopia”?
My thinking, at least for us normal old humans, has been that we need three principle policies or conditions to avoid this:
1. Monogamy as the default for the great majority of people.
2. Scarce resources if need be due to artificial constraints, in order to motivate people to get out there & do things.
3. A small (preferably non-existent) welfare state.
Needless to say, there’ll be plenty of pressure to change all 3 of these, so have fun balancing the need to retain these conditions with little things like not being a tyranny. Anyway, obviously the Empire doesn’t have #3 to worry about, but #1 and #2 seem to apply to them. Did they just get lucky and manage to genetically modify everyone to avoid the trap caused by cornucopia machines and such, are their minds that different from human ones, or is there a hush-hush part of the Transcend that’s quietly ensuring that “if a man will not work, he shall not eat” …?
The short version is: sophonts ain’t rodents.
(Rodents don’t have birth control, for one thing, and it’s pretty clear from global demographics among humans who do that in the presence of abundance, our problem is a birth rate falling below replacement, not overpopulation.)
Now, overpopulation is the most notable failure-feature of the various mouse utopias, and we know empirically that that doesn’t happen. But also:
Well, not to impugn the intellect of our rodent cousins – who are really exceptionally smart for critters whose brains comfortably fit in a teaspoon – but they do possess certain limits on their creativity when they get bored. No-one’s going to write the Next Great Murine Novel, or even grind their way to the top in World of Ratcraft – although, I note, nonetheless providing this sort of outlet did improve matters in later mouse utopias than the infamous ones.
Even humans – well, I’m gonna save myself some time and point you at Scott Alexander’s take on basic income (which the Empire does effectively have in the form of the Citizen’s Dividend) vs. basic jobs, here: https://slatestarcodex.com/2018/05/16/basic-income-not-basic-jobs-against-hijacking-utopia/ . The whole thing is worth a read, but specifically, look down under the heading “iv) Without work, people will gradually lose meaning from their lives and become miserable“.
Specifically, look at all the people who didn’t or don’t have any particular need to work, and who still live perfectly meaningful, satisfying lives.
Now consider that the eldrae are even further out on the self-motivated dynamism bell-curve.
tl;dr The “mouse utopia” is a model of what you get when you provide for the needs (and needs, note, not wants) of a group of people in a prison both physical and mental, not a model of a functioning society.
Re sports: How popular are team sports and team-based activities locally, relative to “individual” sports?
Less common than here, ratio-wise, which is largely an effect of spectator sports being less popular than participatory sports, but by no means uncommon.
Re tort insurance, the IQI, and other matters: What typically happens to those unlucky few who are unable to pass the IQI test but also have no one willing to claim them as a dependent?
If they do not possess a robot guardian, a robot guardian will be appointed for them.
Yes, those same ones that you can appoint for yourself if you want to get all Declaration of Situational Mental Incompetence-y. Only without the option.
Spending as much time as we do to block information-collecting used for these ends comes across as putting a comical amount of effort into making your own life less convenient by making it harder for the desire-satisfaction sector to satisfy your desires, and why the heck would anyone want that?
First, what would they make of someone on the opposite end of the spectrum — a sort of “Very Private Person” who deliberately goes out of their way to leave as little footprint as they reasonably can and who reacts negatively to any sort of unsolicited contact or requests for information simply because they believe that their business shouldn’t be anyone else’s business?
“You do you, but keep your weird fetishes to yourself, ‘kay?”
Also bear in mind that privacy law doesn’t support the notion of public privacy. And that since information about transactions is owned equally by each party to the transaction, not knowing what they just did as your counterparty is likely to be an extra-cost service for the annoyance.
Possibly stupid question (that you may well have already answered) –
_if_ everyone has a neural lace (and therefore could have something very like machine-mediated telepathy), why are there still explicit communications devices (“phones” and the like)?
Originally (i.e., in the days before advanced tech, when there was just baseline eldrae techlepathy), other communication devices existed for two reasons.
First, because you have to know someone’s signature to find them in the aether, and they aren’t readily written down; but also
Because – well, the thing about techlepathy is that even mediated via wireless transmission of neural gestalts, it’s still rubbing your brain up against someone else’s. This is not necessarily something you want to get into with just anyone.
Now in the modern day (well before neural laces – this was true even of early virtual interface implants), of course, you can easily receive e-mail and make trinet calls using only your implanted hardware, so in general, a lot of dedicated communication hardware doesn’t exist. Mostly it exists in places where it’s important to have a secure, hardwired communications line regardless of other conditions.
Now, there are plenty of slates, hand terminals, etc., and other such devices. They mostly exist because of the shape of brains. We are, after all, built to work by eye and hand; vast areas of brain are devoted to just that. Tool users are comfortable using tools; it’s as simple as that.
First, referencing this:
As for self-control: well, any young citizen-intendant who doesn’t learn to show an adult’s self-control will likely be culled by the age of 12 or so, simply because they’re too bloody dangerous to keep around. This is acknowledged as harsh, but also as regrettably necessary; when temper tantrums can shatter bones and blow out walls, you can’t afford to permit them.
Would it be correct to infer a generalization from this that, essentially, the head of an Imperial household has some measure of power analogous to the old Roman patria potestas over their minor dependents?
No, it would not.
It’s a simple matter of self-defense. When a tantrum can and will escalate to a lethal incident (and bearing in mind that this requires years of them failing to get their ass under control, with all the assistance available), this is just the end of the line.
(I mean, think of what happens to people who throw tantrums with automatic weapons here, except that there, the gun is always in hand and the trigger is a thought away.)
Aside from axiomatic self-ownership, what sort of rights do children (or other wards) have, particularly vis a vis the “veto power” of their parents or guardians?
All of ’em. Life, liberty, property, and even contract insofar as tort insurance (theirs, or their parents) will cover it.
As a sort of sub-topic of that: How do eldraeic parents go about disciplining unruly and disobedient children? What are, for instance, local attitudes toward corporal punishment?
That it’s assault and battery. (And also is an effective lesson in how it’s acceptable to use force to get what you want, but really, that’s a secondary point.)
Raising children is generally a matter of Taking Children Seriously, and the carrot – positive discipline – and greater access to responsibilities and privileges than the stick. Such stick as is necessary is provided by social consequences and a legal system that doesn’t offer special exceptions by age.
(Which last is arguably another form of taking children seriously.)
A small question: Does the eldraeic love for speculative fiction extend to what we call *here* the “alternate history” genre? Are there any popular works that deal with the subject of “What If [pivotal event X] never happened, or happened differently?”
It exists, but it’s just a minor subgenre. I don’t have any particular works in mind.
On that note: Does eldraeic have a term for the local equivalent of stercorarius (“manure entrepreneur”)?
“Dirt farmer,” (no translation yet) which term you may have seen before in the context of ecopoesis. Because they literally farm dirt.
So, for a question for the month, here’s my question-
One day, an Imperial Scout Ship wanders into Eldrae space, and the eldrae have just had their first contact with the Third Imperium. What particular hilarity and comedy happens after that?
Arguing over whose FTL drive is superior. (Both of them.) Horror at all the psionics. The Empire’s memetic warfare specialists and the Hivers finally have found worthy opponents in the manipulation game. Clash of capitalist titans. Arguments over whether non-jump FTL qualifies you as a major race. Ancients vs. Precursors, who were the most negligent? Dar-bandal vs. Vargr, who are the goodest bois?
Really, this one’s going to be one of the most uneventful first contacts, since no-one’s terribly offended by anyone else, not in ways more than is usual in both settings anyway. The biggest effect is going to be the long-term effects of all that transsophont tech seeping into the Imperium.
While I’m asking questions, I may as well venture another one, to answer or not as you wish, since I’ve not exactly been donating recently… how does the balance of power between the diarchs of the Imperial Couple work? Is it a veto from either side of the diarchy if they do not approve of a given course of action, or a delineation of fields of responsibility, or what? What, from the eldrae perspective, is the advantage of the diarchy over a singular executive? Is it the fact that it does divide powers?
In legal terms, it’s like the Roman consulship or the Spartan kingship; the diarchs have the same powers, subject to mutual veto. In practical terms, most of them tend to work out a rough division of fields of responsibility day-to-day.
(The advantages – originally in the eyes of the Cestian kingdoms from whom the Empire inherited the system – were threefold. The mutual veto is a check on stupid-ass decisions, and the division of responsibilities both keeps the Imperial workload reasonable and helps with the spectacularly wide range of knowledge and experience needed for the role.)
Also would like to know what the Empire of the Star would do with nonlocality tech, and whether the Transcend already has it.
Non-local sensors and effectors (essentially, like “noach” from Greg Bear’s Anvil of Stars and Moving Mars) aren’t yet within the capabilities of any species of the Worlds, although the Empire’s ontotechnologists are working towards it.
(It does exist in the ‘verse, though. The matter editation that Eliéra’s ecology maintenance systems use is a species of this technology.)
As for applications – good grief, what couldn’t you apply it to?
While we’re on the subject of definitions, what are the ‘spacer pikes’ mentioned in “But I don’t need one for this!”? Are they similar to the collapsible ‘broomsticks’ that Clarke describes in “Islands in the Sky” and “2010: Odyssey Two”?
Very similar to those, yes, with a hint of lochaber-axe-without-the-axe.
Are there any notable sovereign polities out there that, in the same manner as the Hessians that fought in the American Revolution, approach the “mercenary market” as suppliers — putting up their own state troops for hire as auxiliaries, perhaps as a way to make a quick buck on the side — rather than as customers?
Several. It’s proven an effective way for some single-system polities concerned about their larger neighbors to fund a larger military force than they otherwise could, and battle-season it to boot.
My question is twofold: what style of warships do mercenaries typically operate; are they running large battleships or mostly smaller Hornéd-Moon starfighters?
If they can afford it, a large mercenary outfit will operate something like a light cruiser or two to provide some space muscle for their typical missions (raids, commerce raiding, boarding ops, orbital fire support). There’s not much market for the larger types among mercs, because it takes a decent-sized plane of battle to have much of a chance in a stand-up naval fight, and mercs rarely get into stand-up naval fights anyway.
(This is not to say that no-one does it, but it gets you an expensive-to-support white elephant and suspicions that your admiral is compensating for something.)
The second question is concerned with the commerce raiding aspect of the shadow fleet; are there/have there been instances of opponents arming merchant vessels to mitigate losses (I.e. A spacefaring ‘East Indiaman’, with a few defensive AKVs or lasers)? Thank you!
Q-ships and convoy escorts are more common than armed merchantmen, simply because a merchie (with its lighter structure) hasn’t a prayer of surviving a stand-up fight against any naval vessel, even a naval auxiliary or corvette.
Specialist armed merchant cruisers (built on warship frame) do exist, primarily for use in regions where piracy is common, but even they wouldn’t rate against a naval vessel, and aren’t economic for general use.
I have to wonder. Wouldn’t anyone who undertakes the trip be considered a pariah at best and a slaver at worst? Anyone taking advantage of the Sleeper’s Deal has failed the ethical calculus of infinities and asymptotic infinities per, for example, On the Nonjustifiability of Hells: Infinite Punishments for Finite Crimes, Samiv Leiraval-ith-Liuvial, Imperial University of Calmiríë Press, no? How can such a sophont openly return to civilized society?
Because not all quote civilized unquote societies use Imperial standards of ethicality, the poor benighted sods.
arídaqerach: laser; from arídan “sun” + qerach “lightning”.
So, what words would they use to describe a solar flare, or coronal mass ejection? Those being things that might be described as a little like sun-lightning, and probably visible before anyone made a laser.
To me, they’ve always looked more like flames than lightning, and the names are going to come before the understanding, I do believe. Probably, then, arídandris (“sunflame”), or a similar compound.
You have mentioned matter editation before, what exactly is it? From the context from before I figure it is some kind of ontotechnology.
The ability to read and edit the properties of the fundamental particles of matter as easily as tweaking numbers in a spreadsheet. Think of it as a Minecraft world editor for reality.
What is the difference between AKVs and missiles?
An AKV carries weapons (i.e., is more analogous to, say, a Predator drone); a missile is a weapon.
Did they have a word for something along the lines of “Precursor Metal”? Something to use to refer to the (apparently) impossibly strong and light substance that a lot of the artifacts lying around might be made of?
Not as such; there are an awful lot of different materials, alloys, etc., that the Precursor races used in their construction, and that was obvious early on enough that it would have seemed odd to give any of them that particular soubriquet. There are lots of specific terms for assorted material oddities they left behind, though: everything from dragon pearls through orichalcium and Saermaharavei crystal.
Seeing as most warships we’ve seen in the Imperial Navy thus far have particle shielding rated for only 0.3c, how do the fleet carriers provide particle shielding for their constituent members when cruising?
They don’t. Fleet carriers behave like slow luggers, not fast clippers, for exactly this reason – and because if you could build particle shielding large enough to shield an entire fleet, you’d be out of luck trying to haul that at near-luminal speeds anyway.
(You could probably cram a lighthugger’s worth of particle shielding onto the bow of a warship, but the resulting design would not do well against any equivalent vessel not so encumbered – like all those at your destination. 0.3 c is a compromise already, you may note, as already substantially more than that found on civilian vessels.)
Does the local laws of war recognize the difference in asymmetrical warfare acts of mass destruction between non-governmental actors and governmental actors?
(I.e. Would they consider “a terrorist/political group using NBCN (Nuclear/Biological/Chemical/Nanological) weapons, software weapons, and similar devices on somebody’s capital world” different from “our special forces, still operating under a legally recognized chain of command, using NBCN weapons, software weapons, and similar devices on somebody’s capital world after YOU INVADED US without provocation”?
The local laws of war, as written, don’t bother making a distinction between non-governmental actors and governmental actors period, because the people who wrote them tend to think of governments as organizations distinguished mainly by silly hats and an unearned sense of ethical privileges.
Which certainly don’t get to write themselves a special pass to go around using weapons of mass destruction against civilian targets.
“the mass drivers spin their projectiles purely through EM fields”
Why is needed to spin the projectiles, flechettes, at all? The term flechette means ‘little arrow’ (in French).
Flechettes are fin stabilized not spin stabilized, true some experimental flechette rifles did had very shallow rifling (low twist rate) but that was primarily to break the sabot once the flechette cleared out of the barrel. Does the mass drivers of your setting need sabots?
The spin stabilization in this case is a later addition (or re-addition, I suppose) to the system to correct for personal point-defense systems, which tend to use high-power laser ablation to shove projectiles off course. Spinning them reduces the effect of the laser by spreading out otherwise localized heating and outgassing.
I’ve been wondering, has anyone ever used a stargate with the kinetic compensator off as a means of transporting the gate?
Imagine: you gate a gas giant through a stargate pair at a substantial clip, maybe several dozens of kilometres per second. The well-aimed stargate pair fly off in opposite directions at holy-crap relativistic speeds because conservation of momentum, while the gas giant planet carries on its merry way relatively unaffected. One mouth deploys a brakeloop or something and shines with hard rads until it arrives in a Worlds-owned system, and the other end continues on its merry way until it decelerates the same way into the target system.
Would make the Elsewhere Project look like a bottle rocket.
Unfortunately, that’s not what the kinetic compensator is for.
Momentum transferred from the transiting body to the wormhole mouth doesn’t affect the stargate, because the wormhole isn’t coupled to the stargate; the wormhole terminus picks up the momentum, but it’s in the process of collapse back into the foam at that time and so it can be safely ignored. Likewise with the exit terminus of the wormhole at the other end.
So this local conservation isn’t a problem. What’s a problem, once all the various bits of finaglery are done, is global conservation – which is to say, stars move relative to each other, not to mention all orbiting around the galactic core, which is itself in motion, etc., etc., all of which means that post-gating your intrinsic velocity is that of the orbit you were in in the system you just left. Or, to put it another way, going HOLY CRAP fast in absolutely the wrong direction.
The job of the kinetic compensator is to sink or source enough momentum, linear and angular, to fix this – and thus prevent you from taking an impromptu tour of the Oort cloud, being hurled directly into the sun, or suffering some other awkward, hard-to-explain-to-insurers, fate.
caülgyrelef: compromise; agreement in which neither party receives what they want (from tratracalma traülgyr elefí, lit. “least worthless/unfavorable contract”, i.e., a bad deal but the least bad deal possible).
sédelélef: mutually beneficial agreement; agreement in which both parties succeed (from trasédelékith elefí, lit. “mutually pleasing contract”.)
Traditionally, a caülgyref is what you end up with if you are unable to make a sédelélef; which may not be the result of one party being an obstinate idiot, but usually is.
traäzik ulalath: literally “stony ignorance”, (or for the convenience of Tellurian readers, “stone stupid”, even though the backing metaphor is entirely different), the very special kind of stupidity self-inflicted by and on the extremely loyal, be it to contract, person, cause, or necessity, characterized by making extreme deeds and ludicrous plans appear logical, sensible, and sane.
See azkith, “loyalty”, from azik “stone” + ankithel “emotion, passion”.
(Incidentally, for the MLP:FiM watchers among my readers, Tanks for the Memories is pretty much exactly what an episode of traäzik ulalath looks like.)
So, stepping out of the ‘verse for a moment, why does paracausality exist?
Thematically speaking, the existence of paracausality says something very important about the nature of the universe. It means that it’s impossible to deny the existence of free will. (Or, rather, you can, but it’s about as useful as standing on a planet’s surface and denying the existence of gravity.)
You make choices, and your choices make you, and the universe you exist within. Create or destroy, heal or harm, save or damn, it’s all down to choice.
And either way, it’s your fault. No-one made you do it, not without rooting your brain and turning you into a non-volitional tool. Not society, not your parents, not circumstance, not culture, not memes, not instincts, not your friends, not your enemies, and certainly not the deterministic unfolding of acyclic causal graphs. Just you.
You chose, and the world responded. You did it. And the consequences are yours to own and to live with, forever and a day.
This gives the world a rather vital quality, especially in fiction: meaningfulness.
xatírár el rótaní: (“do the needful”)
- (common) A request to do that which is necessary or required in a given context, with the respectful implication that the other party is trusted to understand the needful and operate autonomously.
- (rare) A request to do that which is understood without being spoken. Used in situations requiring deniability.
- (rare; ISS) An instruction to arrange a cauterization.
In recent questions:
What’s the status of dark matter/energy in the setting?
Munson sez: ‘There ain’t no such thing. Somebody just needs to correct their math, is all.’
The honest answer is “I haven’t established that yet”…
…but here’s some bullshit I just made up that should not be considered official canon:
If the in-‘verse theory of information physics (and its non-local hidden variable implications) is true, then the universe has a lot of metadata to keep track of. (Traditionally described as kept “Elsewhere”.) The more interesting interactions happen in any given location, the more metadata is generated.
Let us now handwave some sort of information-energy equivalence, or at least that information has its own effect on the space-time metric. (In honor of the original author who came up with this one, we can call it Pratchett’s L-Space Hypothesis.)
Conclusion: dark matter is actually all the universe’s metadata distorting space-time from its secret lair. It tends to halo around galaxies because that’s where all the interesting stuff happens.
(Let the weeping of the physicists now commence.)
((For those who don’t mind a particularly silly universe – and this one is definitely not canon – we could also postulate that dark energy, which has the opposite – universe-expanding – effect, is produced by ignorance; or, I suppose, technically, computational operations which could have happened but didn’t produce it as a byproduct. So study hard, folks, and keep thinking — or the universe will explode!))
demév: (from old Cestian deméthír, “wizard”) skilled practitioner, professional, one of notable expertise in a given area.
Casual descriptions of such expertise can be given using tra- compounds; however, various formalizations of these exist both general, such as alathdemév (loremaster), eléfdemév (obligator, “oath-master”), haindemév (warmaster), and mahademév (craftsmaster); and specific to individual professions.
Examples of this latter include alételídemév (pilot, “master of winds”); brandemév (blacksmith, “iron-master”), a specialty of nistrademév (smith, “forge-master”); riandemév (blademaster, meaning by extension a master of the martial arts); sashírdemév (fashionista, “master of glamor”) and leirdaërdemév (manipulator/intriguer/diplomat, “master of mist-games”).
So, having completed all ten planets of Lumenna in this series, we now move to its companion star’s nine, once again, beginning with the innermost:
Orbit (period): 0.08 au (6.198 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.06
Radius: 2,850 miles
Mass: 2.51 * 1024 kg
Density: 4.88 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.81 g
Axial tilt: 1.2°
Rotation period: 6.198 T-days (tide-locked)
Black-body temperature: 687 K
Surface temperature (avg., sunside): 824 K
Surface temperature (avg., nightside): 69 K
Hydrographic coverage: 0%
Satellites: 2 moonlets.
The innermost planet of Súnáris, tide-locked Andrár was a twin of Eurymir in all but name; a tide-locked rockball of brightest day and blackest night; if anything, even more sun-scraping than Eurymir.
Its colonization, however, followed a markedly different pattern. Rather than an experimental or resource world, Andrár came under serious consideration in the era in which laser sails and early fusion drives were competing as possible propulsion systems for the first interstellar starships. Andrár, thus, was developed as a power plant and interstellar laser system.
Much of the surface of Andrár, in the modern era, is oddly smoothed by years of autoindustrialism – on sunside, the planet is practically plated pole to pole with layers of solar panels and thermal generators, whose cold radiators likewise cover much of the nightside, broken only by the rectennas beaming power to the planetary ring statite (and other nearby habitats), and the huge laser arrays dangling upwell therefrom.
While not used for the colonization ships the designers had in mind (Kasjan Lyris’s fusion drive having won the battle to power the Deep Star vessels), Andrár’s lasers did sterling work propelling starwisp probes to nearby systems in preparation for the colonization efforts, and served as interstellar communication lasers during the days of the Thirteen Colonies. While the renaissance promised by the Laserider Network never came about, due to the discovery of a workable FTL system, the Andrár Beam Station continues to power starwisps on their way through the Thirteen Colonies, and supply various other initiatives in the home system, such as comet melting and zone refining, that need all the laser.
(Computation of exactly how much energy you can extract from the sunlight falling on half the surface of a world 0.06 au from a K2V, plus the above temperature difference, is left as an exercise for the calculation-loving reader. For everyone else, trust me, it’s a fuckjoule.)
Orbit (period): 32.4 au (184.424 T-years/67,362.71 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.06
Radius: 37,668 miles
Mass: 1.01 x 1027 kg
Density: 1.08 g/cm3
Cloud-top gravity: 1.86 g
Axial tilt: 4.1°
Rotation period: 12.1 T-days
Black-body temperature: 46 K
Satellites: 4 close moonlets (including Hyníne). 2 major moons (doublet). 6 eccentric moons.
Lumenna’s outer ice giant, a brooding dark blue-green, is a backwater in an otherwise busy system. Very few sophs travel as far out into the system as Raziké and its moons, beyond even the three stargates in the Lumenna sub-system (orbiting in a stable rosette at 24 au), trans-solar transit traffic excepted. There’s not much reason to, the options for doing so are limited, and the light-lag is extraordinarily inconvenient.
There are three principal qualities that bring sophs here: cold, ice, and privacy. Combine as you will, and you see a region whose inhabitants – if we discount the Distant Early Warning stations operated by the IN – are a few batch-mode computronium nodes, deep time data vaults, comet herders and ice miners, and the scattered communities and hermitages of those wanting to get a long way away from it all. Total population is below a quarter-million sophs.
I/10/a. Múrazór and I/10/b. Múrnamár
Barycenter orbit (period): 1.356 million miles (10.17 T-days)
Barycenter orbit (ecc.): 0.04
Total Mass: 1.42 x 1022 kg
Density: 1.71 g/cm3
Black-body temperature: 46 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 42 K
Atmospheres: Trace. Primarily carbon dioxide and nitrogen.
Raziké’s major moons are a doublet; a pair of ice bodies orbiting around their common barycenter, which in turn orbits Raziké proper. The statistics given above are for the Múrazór-Múrnamár pair as a whole; the mass of the doublet is split two-thirds/one-third in Múrazór’s favor.
Múrazór houses much of the local population, in the form of an IN base for the outer-system picket, a scientific research station, and the Comet-Herder’s Gather, a meeting place and floating market for the population of the sub-system and nearby Senna’s Belt.
Múrnamár, by contrast, is almost untouched.