Viriaz vs. Carlantanda

Viriaz vs. Carlantanda, District Court of the Lesser Rocks, 4001: In a case arising from an incident in which Viriaz was defrauded of several hundred esteyn by Carlantanda by means of the well-known “shell game“, respondent Carlantanda advanced that by the principle of long-standing custom (as seen in the brawler’s bar), and inasmuch as within delta of every sophont in the galaxy is familiar with the shell game, plaintiff Viriaz consented to play the game in full knowledge of its fixed outcome. Amicus briefs were filed for the plaintiff by the Baranithil Station Guide & Path-Pointer Association, and for the respondent by the Consequential Didaxis Non-Discouragement Faction.

The District Court found for the plaintiff, Justice Víënéra dissenting.

– Curial Summaries: Significant Historical Precedents in Imperial Law


Phosphorylation is Murder

Tsingale Light: In most respects, this drift in the central Raidermarch is a typical starship propellant-and-shore-leave stop, albeit one in a bad neighborhood. One should, however, note the curious local law that all corpses on the station are property of the Administration – which exists, based on our writer’s conversations with the drift’s engineers and the purchase of much strong drink, due to the Administration’s reluctance to spend exval on upgrading to a less primaeval phosphate/sulphur recycling system. It would appear that simply tossing the periodic fruit of brawls between unruly belters, privateers, and long-haul freightsophs into the rendering vats is considered a more than adequate and fiscally advantageous substitute – so long as the Administration can also avoid spending money to upgrade security in the vicinity of docks and locks.

For all three of these reasons: Not Recommended.

– Around the Worlds on ¤1,000 per Sol


Holy Water

“The hydrarastrum of the Pearl-Bright Ocean is indescribable in mortal terms.

“This is not to say that its qualities cannot be imperfectly described: it possesses the glow of liquid light, the milky iridescent gleam of mother-of-pearl, and both the silver-white shine and heavy fluidity of quicksilver. It is simply that such qualities cannot coexist simultaneously in mortal substance.

“This, then, is your warning that when you set sail upon the Pearl-Bright, you are leaving the Realm of Instances for the Realm of Forms, where domain and entity alike are wrought from ideas in conceptual essence, and may thus prepare yourself to be likewise idealized in the course of your voyage.”

– “Ascending the Spire”, Elune Steamweaver

Snippet: Legality != Approval

“One of the chief problems with some cultures’ attitude towards professionalism is that it prevents their courts from issuing opinions such as – to quote Mandatory Benevolence Association vs. Suld – ‘This court must affirm that the defendant possesses an unalienable derived right to be, if he so wishes, a bigoted sack of contaminated crap.'”

– Presiding Justice Madrasi Koiric, Court of the Beyond


The Range of Range

“You will hear it said that lasers have ‘a pathetically low range’ and are ‘suitable only for point defense and the inner engagement envelope’. To put this statement into its proper context, one must understand the proper scale of starship engagements; i.e., that the pathetically low range in question is approximately a light-second, or to put it another way, that the enemy vessel must close to within a distance roughly equal to twenty-five diameters of your home planet before you can engage them with this notoriously short-ranged weapon.”

The Dirtsider’s Guide to Interplanetary Warfare

Sidebar: Fixed Wormholes

(An in-universe explanation as to why the Empire, et. al., prefer to use their special – i.e., yes, per here, space-magic enhanced – wormhole technology.)

A common question among newcomers to the field of spacetime engineering, especially as it applies to wormholes, is the reasoning behind our use of dynamic wormholes (i.e., those that are created, used, and collapsed in the course of a single gating) rather than static wormholes, permanently inflated to allow passage and held open by exotic mass-energy “frames”. This seems, to these questioners, more elegant: being less wasteful in terms of energy (although the cost of maintaining the unstable exotic mass-energy frames should not be undercounted; the analogous Andracanth ram is not designed for continuous operation), and requiring nothing on the part of transiting vessels.

Sadly, this is prevented by the interaction of static wormholes with relativistics. Transporting a wormhole end incurs the time dilation of relativistic flight, such that one can travel through the wormhole to the destination system, in the reference frame of the transported end, years or decades before the wormhole end is delivered in the reference frame of the sender; sometimes, indeed, while the linelayer would still be visible leaving the origin system! This means, in effect, that outgoing travelers through the wormhole are stepping years or decades into the future, while returning travelers are likewise passing into the past, vis-à-vis flat space-time.

While this has interesting astrophysical and galactopolitical consequences (amply dealt with elsewhere), it alone does not cause issues from the point of view of infrastructure; since a return through flat space-time must require (per the Luminal Limit) more time than the wormhole’s time differential, the block universe is preserved.

However, it is easily demonstrable that the only topology which guarantees this is a pure directed acyclic structure, or tree, in which only one path is available to outgoing and returning traffic.

This is undesirable from an infrastructure point of view, since it greatly limits the capacity of the network given the bottleneck links near its core; forces all otherwise cross-link traffic, even between nearby systems, through a single distant core node (likely to be, as a strategic aside, near to if not within the builders’ most important star systems); and causes both of these issues to expand geometrically with scale.

More importantly, while there are a few primarily theoretical exceptions, almost any alternative structure containing cross-links (and therefore cyclic structures) enables certain routes to function as closed timelike curves, allowing particles, even virtual vacuum fluctuations, to return to their origin point at or before the time of their entry into the route. Such a path doubles the intensity of transiting particles with each retraversal (which all occur effectively instantaneously), thus creating arbitrarily high peak intensities, in turn resulting in the catastrophic resonance collapse of at least one of the wormholes along the critical path. Quite apart from the loss of route, the energies involved in this collapse along with those likely to be liberated from damaged stargate systems are such as to pose a significant hazard to the systems containing the mouths of the collapsing wormhole.

(This is also, as we will see later, perhaps the most important reason for the Imperial Timebase system being intertwined with stargate control systems at a very low level, and for the various sequencing and safety protocols encoded therein. While the wormholes used for gating are ephemeral, it would be possible – without coordination – for a simultaneous set of openings to form such a closed causal loop, which would then undergo such catastrophic collapse.

Bear in mind that, while we are able to lock the emergence of dynamic wormholes onto the empire time reference frame, the natural phenomenon of drift (q.v.) along t axis guarantees nonidentity, and as such this does not immunize loops of such wormholes from the catastrophic resonance collapse phenomenon.)

Since the point of collapse is controllable to a limited extent by the “strength” of the links along the CTC route, this effect is also weaponizable by hostile powers with wormhole capability (a causality attack, recognized by the Ley Accords as one prohibited form of causal weapon).

For these reasons, Imogen Andracanth’s team considered the static wormhole to not be viable as a large-scale interstellar transport technology.


– The Stargate Plexus: A Journeysoph’s Guide

…And The Strength Of The Wolf Is The Pack

The MMR-144 Parasol rockets launcher.

No, it’s not a rocket launcher. It’s a rockets launcher.

That’s because the MMR-144 fires a single unguided projectile which acts as a bus for twelve smart missiles, which deploy at the apex of its trajectory and hunt target areas according to their programmed profiles.

Yes, we said target areas. Upon reaching terminal guidance, each smart missile separates into another twelve penetrating guided warheads, each capable of seeking out and mission-killing an independent target, for a sky-darkening total of one hundred and forty-four kills per firing.

The MMR-144 Parasol rockets launcher. For when you really want to throw some shade.

– from an Eye-in-the-Flame Arms interactive advertisement