A prison the size of the universe is still a prison, the philosopher Arlannath once said. Today, with the release of Phukale™, we can say that a universe the size of a prison… is still a universe.
Academician Ranoj Tsoroloth
Irreality Vault researcher
on the release of the first custom-designed phukalic containment universe
In a correction to our previous correction on this issue, not only is the controversial slogan of Joy-Joy Bubbles, a synthdrink manufactured by the Happy Lips Belly Snuggles Corporation of Dzenicha (Wyst Reach) not “Joy-Joy Bubbles: Drink It Or We’ll Kill Your Children”, but it is also not: “Joy-Joy Bubbles: Consume To Prevent Still Births”. According to our most recent retranslation, the (much less controversial than formerly believed) slogan is, in fact, “Joy-Joy Bubbles: Imbibing Gives Your Spawn Vital Energy!”
In unrelated news, the Linguacoding Partnership of Inidu (Freeport Loop) has been removed from the Worlds’ Newsbyte Providers’ Association list of recommended linguistic corpus providers.
– CHANGELOG, Imperial Infoclast, 7240 Calenmot 4
Celad Tiragdal, the Paperclip Maximizer:
(fl. ~5400) One of the older Master Traders of the Starfall Arc Free Merchant Confraternity, Celad Tiragdal was an early pioneer of methodologies for trading with technologically undeveloped emerging markets (later codified as the Tiragdal Market Development Methodologies) that promoted local development while remaining within the severely constrained volume of trade possible without starport infrastructure and an extant developed market.
His most famous implementation of these methodologies, and the one which earned him his epithet, was in the marketing of office-efficiency technologies to worlds on the threshold of developing administration sophisticated enough to require them. He pursued this on dozens of planets, to immense success, using a two-phase trading strategy: first, importing a million paper clips to civilizations advanced enough to have paper-based bureaucracy, but which had not yet invented the paper clip, and second, importing simple paper-clip producing machines (capable of using even crudely-drawn wire as feedstock) to worlds he had previously visited which were in danger of running out of imported paper clips.
In addition to his position in the Confraternity and the fortune in the trillions of esteyn he earned over the course of his career, the Paperclip Maximizer is worshipped on Handrian (Lisune Pass) as Keledal, He Who Binds Together, a local deity of paperwork, efficiency, justice, and proper form.
– Heroes of Trade: Stories of the Great Merchants
(Inspired by the Inevitable Certainty Engine, of course.)
lookforward monitor: a specialized optronic circuit containing a signaling microwormhole or temporal tangle channel from the near future. (The precise time period depends on the application, and has been configured for periods as short as one micropulse and as long as a full hour.) The function of the lookforward monitor is to receive a continuous input signal from the future and generate an output signal if the input signal ceases or otherwise departs nominal.
retroveto: Triggered by a lookforward monitor, a retroveto is a safety procedure invoked automatically, whether to cancel a user-initiated action which would have caused a disaster within the time range of the lookforward monitor (detectable since changes to a worldline propagate instantaneously along that worldline in terms of its internal time), or to trigger preemptive emergency procedures, for example a reactor scram.
retroabort: In spaceflight and other transportation jargon, a mission abort triggered by flight computers in response to an abort signal from a lookforward monitor indicating catastrophic vehicle failure.
Extensive iterative development of the design concepts involved in retroabort technology along with related families of devices such as UNMOVED MONAD and the moiraean alarm ultimately led to the development of refined shielding technologies, most notably the probability unseller.
– A Collection of Temporal Technologies
FROM: CORE COMMAND (OPERATIONAL MANAGEMENT)
TO: ALL SHIPS
***** FLEET CONFIDENTAL E2048
ALL FLIGHT COMMANDERS:
- THIS MESSAGE CONSTITUTES A ROUTINE UPDATE OF STANDING ORDER 147 (TEMPORAL IDENTIFICATION PROTOCOL).
- AS PER STANDING ORDER 147(A) TRANSPONDER/IFF SUFFIX PIP 1471 IS TO BE USED BY ANY IMPERIAL NAVY STARSHIP OPERATING NONSEQUENTIALLY IN EMPIRE TIME, EXCEPT AS PROVIDED FOR IN STANDING ORDER 147(C) BELOW.
- AS PER STANDING ORDER 147(B) TRANSPONDER/IFF CODES IN SERIES 87413-NNNNNN ARE ALLOCATED TO IMPERIAL NAVY STARSHIPS WHICH HAVE NOT ENTERED SERVICE AT THE TIME OF ENGAGEMENT/ENCOUNTER, AND ARE TO BE CONSIDERED VALID FOR TWO YEARS FROM RECEIPT OF THIS MESSAGE. SUCH IFF CODES ARE TO BE VALIDATED BY PROTOCOL OROELLE BLUESHIFT FRATERNAL AT EARLIEST POSSIBLE CONVENIENCE.
- AS PER STANDING ORDER 147(C) TRANSPONDER/IFF SUFFIX PIP 1472 PLUS INSTANCE SEQUENCE NUMBER IS TO BE USED BY ANY IMPERIAL NAVY STARSHIP OR STARSHIPS OPERATING IN CONJUNCTION WITH ITSELF. INSTANCE SEQUENCE NUMBERS ARE TO INCREASE MONOTONICALLY WITH EMPIRE TIME.
- AS PER STANDING ORDER 147(D) TRANSPONDER/IFF SUFFIX PIP 1473 IS TO BE USED BY ANY IMPERIAL NAVY STARSHIP EXISTING SOLELY AS A RESULT OF A CAUSAL LOOP.
- AS PER STANDING ORDER 147(E) TRANSPONDER/IFF SUFFIX PIP 1474 IS TO BE USED BY ANY IMPERIAL NAVY STARSHIP WHOSE TEMPORAL ALIGNMENT VIS-A-VIS EMPIRE TIME IS UNKNOWN.
- AS PER STANDING ORDER 147(F) TRANSPONDER/IFF SUFFIX PIP 1475 IS TO BE USED BY ANY IMPERIAL NAVY STARSHIP WITH REASON TO BELIEVE THAT IT WAS ACTUALIZED FROM A POTENTIAL ALTERNATE WORLDLINE.
- AS PER STANDING ORDER 147(G) TRANSPONDER/IFF SUFFIX PIP 1476 IS TO BE USED BY ANY IMPERIAL NAVY STARSHIP WITH REASON TO BELIEVE THAT IT IS SUFFERING AN ONTOLOGICAL PARADOX OR OTHER RELATED EFFECT NOT COVERED BY THE CATEGORIES ABOVE.
- NOTE THAT IDENTICAL TRANSPONDER/IFF SUFFICES ARE IN USE BY STARSHIPS ASSIGNED TO THE IMPERIAL EXPLORATORY SERVICE AND IMPERIAL SERVICE. FOR THE PURPOSES OF STANDING ORDER 147(B), SEQUENCES 87412-NNNNNN and 87411-NNNNNN RESPECTIVELY HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED.
- AUTHENTICATION: OGRE ANCESTOR SILVER PLUM STAFF NEEDLE / 0x77BB4129A6678A6A
ADM MACIAN CORINTHOS
DIVISION OF RELATIVISTICS & TEMPORAL NAVIGATION
I, [insert name], pledge surety in the light of the Flame that I will faithfully and well, to the utmost extent of my skill and power, preserve the Imperial peace and prevent all offences against life, liberty, and property; and that I shall do so without fear of or favor towards any person, and with malice or ill-will toward none.– service oath of the Watch Constabulary
I give my allegiance, above laws, thrones, powers, and peers, to the Contract, to the Charter, to the principles for which they stand, and to the citizen-shareholders of the Empire; and in the discharge of my duties I shall hold this allegiance above all other considerations.
By these words, I am the watcher upon the walls, the guardian at the gate, the shield held over the innocent, the Flame that stands against the Fire. My life is the coin with which civilization buys peace. I will sell it dearly, but yield it gladly when I must, knowing that I am a sentinel, and my life is made for sacrifice. Never shall I fail in this trust, for this day and all the days to come.
The Master said:
First, do no evil. Then, do good. This is the Way.
The Student said:
What if I must do evil in order to do good?
The Master immediately struck the Student with his staff, knocking him senseless.
And it was good.
– The Book of Five Leaves
Among the acknowledged greatest and most disruptive grifts in the history of the Worlds is that perpetrated in the early 5800s by Murin Eldvell in the Annik Sodality. An executive for a fuel-manufacturing corporation specializing in the production of tritium and heavy (deuterated) water, Murin was inspired by the florid warnings required by the Sodality Hazardous Substances Authority to be placed upon their main products.
Noting the adverse health effects of the consumption of [pure] heavy water or semiheavy (partially deuterated) water, Murin pioneered the marketing of deuterium-free light water, a bulk byproduct of their manufacturing processes previously returned to the environment, as a healthy alternative to natural, mixed-isotope water.
His campaigns made a point of the toxicity of heavy and semiheavy water molecules, while refraining from dwelling excessively on the low prevalence of these in natural water. His guaranteed-heavy-hydrogen-free water products (including bottled water, water ice in a variety of forms, and eventually “light” versions of synthdrinks made using only light water) were a tremendous success, especially after his greatest anti-natural campaign which successfully convinced the Sodality electorate to demand warnings be placed on bottles, faucets, and other supplies of natural water.
The business eventually collapsed after six decades as sufficient reality finally penetrated the worldview of the Sodality, and people observed the continuing good state of health of the remaining light-water refuseniks. The collapse did a great deal of damage to the Sodality’s domestic heavy water industry (the increased imports lasted for over a century) and indeed to its deuterium-harvesting industry as collateral damage, and resulted in a number of controversial laws (since at no point in any of his campaigns did Murin state anything false) to prevent a reoccurrence.
It did not, however, prevent Murin himself from retiring to a private lunar retreat trillions of exval richer, fatter, smugger, and entirely safe from extradition.
(His autobiography, amusingly, points out that the ice moon on which his private retreat is built contains approximately six times as much deuterium, by concentration, as the oceans of Annia.)
– Artisans of the Grift: The Greatest Cons In History, Bad Stuff Press
With the gratitude of the Empire and the thanks of the Lords of Admiralty: that Ardíra “the Bathrobe¹” Octarthius-ith-Octarthius, while commanding Their Divine Majesties’ destroyer Faithful Hound, did successfully escape a surprise attack mounted by linobir vessels of approximate cruiser and battlecruiser type at the commencement of the Linobir-Embatil War, and in so doing did such damage to the cruiser that she was scuttled by her own crew, while preserving the lives of her crew and the fighting weight of her ship, despite the manifest advantages of the enemy in mass, armaments, and attire. Her coolness under fire, gift for tactical innovation, and the fighting spirit of Faithful Hound do her and her crew great credit, and reflect the highest traditions of the Imperial Navy.
– Mentioned in Dispatches: Imperial Navy Awards, 5300-5400
- When battle stations sound, you don’t stop to change.
On the sea or in space, a battlecruiser is a cruiser putting on the airs of a battleship, and a fast battleship is a battleship cosplaying as a cruiser. This doesn’t become a problem until the types start to overlap.Admiral Brandel Tsurilen, First Shore Lord
There are those who accuse Mer Vadális Exoarchaeological University of being home to, if not infested with, one of the Starfall Arc’s greatest collections of adventurers, looters, graverobbers, smugglers, treasure-hunters, weirdseekers, and other scoundrels of like nature. It is my honor to assure them that they are understating the case.Morrí Elarios, 7th Chancellor of the University
Hyadíne Ossoric-ith-Ossoric, Sixshires (4162-4550): Advanced a doctrine that certain peoples could not be content in a state of liberty, being incapable of comfortably serving as their own directive authority, and should therefore be made subject for their own contentment. Proclaimed a heretic of the Uncaring Rider in 4372. Accepted exile as a Renegade in 4441. Assassinated by the First Directorate in 4550 after attempting to put his ideas into practice.
Yadira Moko-ith-Moko, Kanatai (1749-1933): Advanced the theory that creations (including children – the only possible sophont creations at that time) had an inalienable duty to their creators; some of his writings were later used by AI-shackling theorists. Accepted exile as a Renegade in 1933, but was killed by his grandson in self-defense before he could depart the Empire.
Caríäl Volovoga-ith-Volovoga, Jussovy (5441-6543): Selected as Senator from the 182nd century, 5790. During her term in the Senate, she advocated for many policies in accordance with her expansive theory of power, in which the popular will was held superior to, and thus able to override, the individual will (cf. Drowning of the People). Repeatedly censured by the Senate, and eventually indicted for conspiracy to deprive the citizen-shareholders of their fundamental and Chartered rights in late 5791. Accepted exile as a Renegade in that year. Went on to a moderately successful if undistinguished political career in the League of Meridian. Died in an groundcraft accident during her re-election campaign of 6543.
Anatev Sargas-ith-Sarathos, Stonewall (6890-present): Attempted to set up an organized crime group, specifically a thieving crew, within Imperial space. While more successful than others of its type, the crew was broken up by the Watch Constabulary in 6955. Sarathos alone escaped their pursuit, fleeing to the distant Expansion Regions on a privately owned freighter. He was convicted and declared Renegade in absentia in 6956. Sarathos is currently the estrev of the Providers crime syndicate in the Flotsamic Shore constellation and nearby. Currently at large, Sarathos is on the Red List, but is considered a low-priority case since he retains more scruples than the typical Renegade.
RED VULGAR SEVEN
NOTE: Sarathos has occasionally proved useful to ISE operations in the region. As long as this remains the case and he remains competent, provide information as necessary to ensure that he is not caught and/or terminated by serious actors. Authority of the All-Seeing Eye.
Magis Major, formerly Magis Houseless, formerly Magis Múranios-ith-Múranios, Selenaria (3301-5497): An entrepreneur and industrialist, Múranios became wealthy through his ownership and management of several resource extraction and industrial manufacturing companies in the prosperous industrial region of Rorevel, in Esmérel Province. However, in the course of his commercial disputes with Blackstone Industries and their House Falsazik owners, Múranios adopted an increasingly extractive mindset that put him at odds with the industrial consensus of the time. From the 3800s on, Múranios engaged in an increasing number of clashes with the Protectorate of Balance, Externality, and the Commons, over matters of resource depletion and pollution, and found it increasingly difficult to find contractors willing to work for his businesses under the terms he demanded. Indeed, several professional guilds blacklisted Múranios as a counterparty and offered assistance to their members to relocate elsewhere in the Empire, if they wished.
House Múranios severed ties with him in 3952 over his attempt to introduce an institution similar to the “employment contract”. After this stern rebuke, several lost suits in Shareholders’ Court, and further blacklisting, including by other industrial institutions, Magis Houseless left his existing businesses behind (selling them at below cost to Dalsúl Falsazik of Blackstone Industries) to embark upon a new scheme, inspired by the ongoing expansion into space and the concurrent development of biotechnology.
In 4044, Houseless, who many had thought was well into the process of a rapprochement with society, left the Empire suddenly along with a number of other businessmen of dubious repute. By 4052, the shape of this scheme was revealed as Houseless, now calling himself Magis [the] Major, revealed the existence of the Magen Corporate, a polity dedicated to the pursuit of profit without the hindrance of ethics, with himself as Holding Chairman.
Major’s polity was a bitter reminder to the Empire of the danger posed by certain Renegades if left unchecked. Nonetheless, the Imperial governance declined to take direct action against Major in the interests of interstellar diplomacy and stability, the stresses leading up to the First Interstellar War making themselves felt at the time that the unpleasant details of the Corporate were becoming known elsewhere. Nevertheless, several branches posted private bounties on Major, some running into the 12⁹ esteyn.
Since none of those bounties were collected in the aftermath of Major’s assassination in 5497, it would appear that this was a matter of Magen corporate infighting. Nonetheless, the polity bearing his name remains a thorn in the foot for Imperial plutarchs and an offense to good business everywhere in the Worlds.
Tarasta Houseless, formerly Tarasta Rysar-ith-Rysakar, High Daëntry (2154-2309): Antipropertarian “philosopher”. Disowned by House Rysakar in 2184 for misappropriation of family assets. Indicted for defalcation 2194 and on several continuing occasions. Founder of the Never First antipropertarian movement in 2260. Deprived of citizen-shareholdership for felony theft in 2283 along with several of her followers. Declared herself Renegade in 2291 and voluntarily exiled herself and her followers to an abandoned orbital colony. In 2309, she incited a riot among her followers in habitable domes attached to the recently constructed Silver’s Line lunar mass driver in an attempt to distract attention from theft of freight. In the ensuring antiriot, Houseless and the majority of the Never First movement were killed.
Having established as an ethical principle that to be sophont is to be entitled as of right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness, it must necessarily follow that the proper function, in accordance with virtue, of the technical organs of a civilization is the abolishment of death, constraint, poverty, and misery.Ch. 1, Eternal Progress, Ianthe Claves Elinaeth
DROPSHIPS: EMPIRE OF THE STAR
This supplement to the current edition of Naval Warships presents an update to the infamous Flapjack– and Flapjack II-class cavalry dropships. The Imperial Navy has recently adopted the Waffle-class vehicular dropship – also designated the Flapjack I (Block II) – as a phased replacement for the Flapjacks currently in service.
The Waffle resembles the older Flapjack in most ways, inasmuch as it too is based on the disk-type hull form, and makes use of a pair of laser-fusion nuclear-pulse drives to perform a high-velocity descent followed by a “suicide burn” deceleration. However, unlike the Flapjack, the Waffle does not land to disembark vehicles.
The main body of the Waffle, between the pusher plates, replaces the cylindrical garage of the Flapjack with a bunch-of-grapes packed between the central core and the sidewall armor. These “grapes” are the payload: tanks, IFVs, and chariots – any vehicle type equipped with a vector-control core – enclosed in a protective armor clamshell oversprayed with ablative foam.
As the Waffle performs its suicide burn, it dumps angular momentum from its core gyro, spinning the entire ship up. At the terminus of the suicide burn – typically no more than 2000′ above ground – the ship explosively discards the sidewall armor and severs the retaining structure which retains the “grapes”, causing them to be jettisoned along with a large swarm of decoys, chaff, and hunter-seeker antidefensive missiles.
At this point, the basic dropship structure is abandoned, and the vehicles, lightened by their vector-control cores, are scattered over a wide area, discarding their clamshell protection immediately before landing.
Thus, the Waffle eliminates the core disadvantage of the Flapjack, the requirement for rapid disembarkation and dispersal from a single landing site. Additionally, the psychological effect of a cloud of fireballs raining armies from the sky should not, in this author’s opinion, be underestimated.
– Naval Starships of the Associated Worlds, INI Press, Palaxias,
supplement to the 433rd ed.
Among the temples, fanes, and shrines to be found across Eliéra and its daughter worlds, special note should be made of the Alienage Temples. Authorized in 76 by the Speaker of Starlight, the Alienage Temples exist to provide a place for contemplation of and communion with eikones and spirits which have no formal presence in a region – with particular reference to genii loci and household gods – a need found increasingly with the acceleration of long-distance travel concomitant with the growth of the recently founded Empire.
Thus, the Alienage Temples are devoted to “all those fair spirits who attend upon the Celestial Spire, and by their light illuminate the paths to the Twilight City”. To avoid showing favor to any above all, they are traditionally built in a simple and little-adorned style, with stepped space beneath a central dome, and the shintai at their heart is also in the simplest possible form: a sphere, that most perfect shape, of pure white marble or clear glass, or a mirror of polished silver. While specifically favorable to none, such a shintai is believed to be accessible for any eikone or spirit’s descent and temporary inhabitation.
While originally devoted only to the Flamic Church, a decision of the House of Exemplars in 4220 (published as On Ecumenism) opened the Alienage Temples to devotees of foreign religions “which, too, reflect the light of the Flame¹”.
– The Sacred Ring: Holy Places of the Flame
- This should be taken as a limiting statement, not one of general ecumenism. Having some past experience with Entropic cults and other less savory beliefs, judgment on which foreign religions do reflect the light of the Flame is left to the House of Exemplars and the Enquiry After Truth. Queries regarding the status of any given religion, deity, or pantheon should be addressed to the latter.
IMS Sukórya’s Joy, Cerulean Ocean, 1340 Gradakhmath 4
At first, we thought it was a whale.
Looking back, you may not understand our mistake. We did have submarines in our time, after all; indeed, Joy had passed a pair leaving Kanatai Bay, at dock in the port of Sukórya. But those early submarines still looked like ships; lean, low-slung ships with a cut-down superstructure, but still ships, with bridges, deck guns, and the slashing shapes of their dazzle paintwork.
Joy was moving slowly south and east in the dawn light, under just enough power to keep steerage way. After the message we had received, the whole crew were on shift for the rendezvous in anticipation of whatever might happen next, and the passengers – from Sybarite to steerage – were lining the rails. (Passengers were not to be informed of our change in course, so naturally the entire ship had figured out something was going on over esklav and pastries.) And then she came, broaching about eight hundred yards off our port bow. A long dark shape in the mist, black and rubbery skin glistening, still awash but for its humped back.
It was big, bigger than any whale we’d seen or dreamed, but what else could it have been? Not the promised support, that was for certain.
Until I stepped out on the bridge wing and trained my glasses on the whale, only to spy men scrambling out of the “hump”. I confess it took me a few moments to realize that one of them was carrying a signal lamp.
…message repeats – esseldár’s champion to sukórya’s joy, mariatis, maintain course and speed and prepare to receive breeches buoy, commodore teresu will provide details in person…
– Tanis Ophris, second officer
From: Talentar Orbital
Distribution: Talentar Orbital Space (all); Talentar Inbounds (all)
Cc: Lumenna-Súnáris SysCon
Subject: NOTSPC S00110/7380 PR S00024/7380
Timestamp: 7380 Cálith 25 Waking 0
*** Notice to Spacers (Autodecoded) ***
This notice S00110/7380 partially replaces notice S00024/7380. This notice applies to all starships and motile satellites and is directed to the immediate attention of flight crew members and flight control automation.
Unacceptably high debris particle counts have been detected in the equatorial orbital zone at orbital level 100. Debris clearing operations (fluffship sweep) have been scheduled in this area from 7380 Sunarast 16 Waking+12 and will continue for 16 Kp.
Due to work in progress, all starships and motile satellites are required to avoid orbital levels 99 through 101 between 30° N and 30° S during this period. Contact Talentar Orbital for new orbital allocations. Crossing traffic may be permitted at discretion of Talentar Orbital. Caution advised.
[Based, obviously, upon this.]
This inscription is a warning and a safeguard. Pay attention to it!
Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a wise culture. Though we may have failed, we wish for you to succeed.
This place is not a place of honor. No highly esteemed ideas are archived here. Nothing of value is here.
What is here is repulsive to us, but what is here may be attractive to you. Nonetheless, what is here is dangerous and false. This message is a warning about this danger.
The danger is contained within this building, and within the archives contained within this building.
The danger is present in all times and places, and to all forms of being, and via all tools of examination.
The danger is to the mind, and to your civilization, and it can destroy either or both.
The form of the danger is a record of thoughts and concepts.
The danger is unleashed only if you acquire information from this place. This place is best distrusted and examined only with great care.
– Uniglyphics message inscribed at each entrance to the Library of Lies
from the Eye-in-the-Flame Arms internal memeweave archives
From: Aldysis Cyprium (Directorate)
To: Diziet Cyprium (Director of Entertaining Research)
Subject: Biomass reductors and biopower generation system
I’m not denying that it’s a technical tour-de-force in the area of field refueling, and it is a tour-de-force regardless of what some lesser minds might say. It may be the operating principle behind green goo, but this is the first time it’s been operationalized on the macroscale.
Nonetheless, I must insist that we cancel project OM NOM immediately, and file the project records somewhere deep in the black store.
We’ve built a lot of interesting systems in our time, but the Directorate is agreed that not only are systems build with this technology a war crime in a box (any extensive use of it, and there’s always someone who’ll go too far, would qualify under the Tier IV provisions of the Ley Accords concerning ecocidal weapons), but we absolutely refuse to have our corporate name associated with any weapons systems likely to be seen in newsbytes eating prisoners.
Our corporate values include creativity, ingenuity, and rarity. Not cannibalism.
Your affectionate (if somewhat appalled) cousin,