Bigger and Uglier

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.

To The Unknown God

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


  1. 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.

Undistress (2)

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…

Commodore Teresu?

– Tanis Ophris, second officer

NOTSPC

From: Talentar Orbital
Distribution: Talentar Orbital Space (all); Talentar Inbounds (all)
Cc: Lumenna-Súnáris SysCon
Priority: PRIORITY
Subject: NOTSPC S00110/7380 PR S00024/7380
Timestamp: 7380 Cálith 25 Waking 0
Type: NOTSPC

*** 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.

Ends.

Memetic Waste Disposal

[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

Not Somewhere We Need To Go

(Inspired by a reader comment comparing the Brigade in a Bottle™ to the Faro Swarm from Horizon: Zero Dawn.)

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,

Aldysis

Things to See, Places (Not) To Go (15)

Goarthech (Cherith Beacons): At first glance, and even second and third glances, Goarthech is all that one might want in a garden world for a prospective colony. Moderate gravity, close to standard. A warm, mid-range yellow sun, a conveniently located moon. An oxygen atmosphere with enough to breathe, but not enough to set everything on fire.

And to add to those practical requirements, Goarthech is a beautiful world, one that had development corporations drooling over the images the far horizon probe sent back: majestic purple mountains, burnt orange seas under a sky just the purplish side of blue, with tumbling arcs of tropical islands to watch the sunsets from. A little chilly (planetary average temperature of 242 K) for many races, but nothing that couldn’t be handled.

Sounds perfect?

That is what the first-in survey team thought until they discovered the planet’s secret. The fortunate ones discovered it when they read the chemical analysis of the planetary atmosphere, while those less fortunate discovered it through choking, gagging, retching, and carrying their colleagues with insufficiently sturdy constitutions back to the nearest evacuation shuttle. Evacuation shuttles which, in the fullness of time, would be jettisoned back into the planetary atmosphere along with anything else it had touched.

Goarthech, it turns out, has considerable geothermal activity going on in its extensive shallow seabeds, and this activity in turn supports a large and rather well-developed ecology of sulphoxy-metabolism bacteria – and while some of their metabolic byproducts contribute to giving the planetary oceans their lovely burnt-orange hue, one in particular bubbles to the surface in quantities sufficient to make it a constant low-level presence in the atmosphere.

That product? Thioacetone, a chemical notorious even in minuscule quantities for irritating beyond measure the chemoceptors of virtually every known race to have chemoceptors, and by so doing induce some of the most remarkably appalling olfactory qualia translatable across species.

Perhaps one day a race will join the Worlds whose members find thioacetone a pleasant experience, or who are, at the least, anosmic, and who care nothing for driving away any potential visitors to their colony, and on that day, Goarthech will at last live up to its potential.

But for now, the “Stinking Vale” remains on the Commission for Colonization’s open list, tempting and tantalizing the hard of sniff.

Remove Yon Oaf

The most popular dynamic sense-filter UI is Bozo Bit™️, an augmented reality package to add people or objects to your cutfile¹ which by default is skinned as an antique dueling pistol. Simply point and click to enjoy confrontation-free social events!

(Also available is its big brother, the Bozooka™️, designed to edit entire classes of annoyances at once, from the sound of lawnmowers on quiet evenings to a super-bozo’s entire rep proximity group.)

While Bozo Bit™️ can operate within whatever parameters your sense-filter configuration prefers, its standard configuration deletes removed objects entirely from your sensorium, replacing them when strictly necessary (outwith emergency situations) with the “grayshade” removed-object symbol from the VIML Common Symbologia, and inventing neutral actions to cover interactions of third parties with them.

Additionally, while Bozo Bit™️ exerts no control over the AR environment of filtered objects, it provides a courtesy v-tag on the public annotations channel informing them and other nearby entities that their appearance and communications privileges with you have been denied; their own sense-filters and other exoself software may handle this as desired.

– Social Exoselves For Beginners


  1. Not “killfile”; see cut direct and automated deathlist management.

Discarding Embers

The Anti-Antipyrian Act, introduced to the Senate on 7284 Yrnaes 11 by Senator Samív Ollianos (Chamber of the People; 1001st Century; Ascended Illuminance of Ancas Iliaster) with the sponsorship of Senator Verloc mor-Kjan (Chamber of the People; 1450th Century; Imperium Bellipotent) and Senator Diracháné 0xCDEE998A (Chamber of the People; 888th Century; Rationalist Stringency) was today debated by the Committee of the Whole.

The proposal, as in its previous five recensions debated over the past millennium, proposed the reclassification of all individuals adhering to metaphysical determinism as objects rather than persons, citing classical definitions of sophoncy as the capacity for choice, and addressing themselves in particular to such outworld groups as the Antipyrianists and their promotion of toxic memes derived from this viewpoint.

With pause for a brief interruption by Senator Korathly min Ilmar (Chamber of Demesnes; District of Úneï; Alliance for Balance), observing that Senate protocol called for a Harmonious Proposal of Unquestionable Justice and Incontrovertible Benignity, not one of Incontrovertible Hilarity, the now-traditional rebuttal was delivered by Senator Chloé Leiravál (Chamber of Counselors; Alliance for Balance), declaring that however frustrating it might be dealing with individuals sufficiently deranged as to consider themselves soulless automata and their ratiocinations around the point, going so far as to concur with them – even only for legal purposes – would be neither true nor kind, and thus in exceptionally poor accord with the sacred values of the Empire.

In the absence of further comment, the proposal was then placed before the Chamber of the People for a vote, that Chamber being quorate, and failed of enacture in that Chamber, three Senators voting for and 1,422 against.

In later debate, Senator Leiravál accepted without condition a reprimand jointly submitted on behalf of the Speaker of Starlight, the Functionality of Mechanicians and Clockwork Engineers, the Sanctified Order of Theurgists and Shrine Maidens, et. al., with regard to her use of the phrase “soulless automata”, which many automata and their associates believe to be both demeaning and inaccurate in contexts in which it might be interpreted as applying to all automata.

– Proceedings of the Senate, 7284, Issue DXIV

How I Met Your Mother

The air whirred when she stepped into the room.

That wasn’t all that unusual. Lots of bravos would spin a sphere or two around their heads as an impromptu weapon or threat display. Some of the more dangerous ones could manage three, with a coin-flip chance on whether what made them dangerous was the odds of them losing their grip on the third.

She had twelve.

Not sharing a track, either, like an idiot’s shotgun. She had them spinning at different angles, weaving in and out of intersecting orbits, in what was on one hand a breathtaking display of psychokinetic prowess, and on the other hand was a blatant statement that she could kill everyone in the bar between one breath and the next.

Cocky bastard, thought I. Then again, I bought her a drink.

Air Wings Sold Separately

Bringing the what-the to warfare once again, and following on from both the unquestionable success of Nuclear War In A Can™, and their earlier semi-portable combat drone product Janissary In A Drum™, Eye-in-the-Flame Arms, ICC once again provides a new terror to the battlefield with the release of Brigade In A Bottle™.

Another in their line of self-decompressing nanopaste products, Brigade In A Bottle™ is a pre-programmed assembler system designed to be supplied with raw materials (chiefly metals and industrial plastics, although the paste is designed to forage; the accompanying manual suggests junkyards, disused factories, and captured enemy equipment as potential sources) and electrical power in the field. When these are supplied, the paste uses fast-burn nanoassembly techniques to manufacture, in a matter of hours, a brigade-sized mixed unit (a fighting strength of 4,664) of Jaeger 4400 mechagrunts and Warg 216-A hunter-killer houndbots, primed with command codes ready to join your tactical mesh.

The experienced reader may perceive the single flaw in the product: these are last-generation combat mechanicals, rather than the sleek leading-edge machines you might expect from a company with Eye-in-the-Flame’s reputation. As the product developer explains, though, this is a side-effect of the rough and ready, error-prone nature of field nanoconstruction, which cannot accurately reproduce recipes with the fine tolerances and exacting detail available in commercial nanofacture. As Brigade In A Bottle™ is chiefly intended for use in the creation of disposable shock troops for use in on-alert security systems, diversionary maneuvers, emergency reinforcement, and asymmetric warfare, this may not prove too great an impediment to its success.

– product announcements column, “Destruction Review”

Undistress (1)

IMS Sukórya’s Joy, Cerulean Ocean, 1340 Gradakhmath 3

It began with a signal.

We were three days out of the White Silver Gates when the signal came in. It was late, but while I would have usually been manning the wireless office alone, my junior, Shioi Morotai, was working with me that evening. We had a full load of moguls aboard on the Sybarite Deck keeping in touch with their offices, and a fever for the novelty of a wirelessgraph had swept the rest of the ship, keeping us working at the message backlog.

The hour was rising into Candleglass when the alerter rang. I glanced by instinct over at the dedicated set tuned to the distress frequency, but it was cold, with nothing but a soft hiss coming from the monitor. Next to it, though, the company set was lit up and blatting out our callsign.

I gestured Shioi to take over the message I was transmitting, and she slipped into my place in a moment, picking up in mid-word without hesitation, while I grabbed a message pad and shifted my headset’s plug to the company set, just in time for the callsign to break into a high-speed spatter of dits and dahs.

Looking back on it, that should have been suspicious. I knew the hand of all the company operators, and this was none of them. More than that, Shioi had the finest and fastest hand of them all, and even she couldn’t have produced a signal so perfectly regular, or transmitted the meaningless cipher-groups as quickly and cleanly as a message in clear.

The message repeated twice, then came to an end. I checked my transcription against itself, then ran it through the cipherwheel, and gaped at the result:

EX ILDATHACH / FARCANTER LINES / COMMODORE — IN SUKÓRYA’S JOY / MASTER — PRIORITY — BE ADVISED WE HAVE RECEIVED THREAT TO VESSEL — MEASURES UNDERWAY TO NEUTRALIZE — PROCEED TO POSITION 077.4 DEGREES 2,320 MILES FOR RENDEZVOUS WITH SUPPORT — MARIATIS — ESSENTIAL ONLY NECESSARY CREW INVOLVED AND PASSENGERS NOT INFORMED OF THIS — MAKE NO FURTHER COMMUNICATIONS REGARDING THIS MATTER — THESE INSTRUCTIONS HIGHEST MANDATORY PRIORITY — ENDS.

The message made no sense on its face. I looked again at the nonsense word in the middle, though, spun the locks on the safe by my knee, and pulled out the envelope inside, the code words shared only between Farcanter Line ships and the fleet commodore. The red card within bore a single word.

MARIATIS

– Olivét Cendriane, wireless second, eighteen hours before the event

Better Than Vacuum

roidsteel: The worst metal in space.

Roidsteel is spacefarer’s pot metal, refined using crude field techniques from sideritic asteroids. (The term roidsteel derives from the largely nickel-iron composition of such bodies.) The “classic”, if such a term applies, refinement of roidsteel calls for melting the body using a solar mirror, while spinning it to concentrate and rake off stony slag, and finally forming it into ingots or sheets by thrust-forging. In practice, the production method varies widely, since roidsteel is a staple of field repairs carried out with inadequate equipment.

The properties of roidsteel cannot be given exactly, since the composition of each sideritic asteroid differs, and the production of roidsteel rarely makes any attempt to control its composition beyond basically nickel-iron; substantial quantities of various impurities – often valuable metals in their own right – are always present. Thus unreliable, the accepted uses of roidsteel are cobbling together an emergency hull patch, armor plate, or spar to enable one to limp to a nearby cageworks, at which point the roidsteel can be sold at average-density value to a refiner and a proper repair be implemented.

Should someone attempt to sell you goods made from roidsteel, take your leave and don’t look back.

– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary

Intellect Property

DORJE (FREE VERGE) – In a punitive innovation repugnant to all civilized polities, Corporate Fejj-Doval (a major corpclan on Dorje, an associate world of the Rim Free Zone, specializing in deprecated media) has posted the mind-state of one Parden il Vrane par tak, formerly par Fejj-Doval, for public extranet download. Fejj-Doval alleges that il Vrane had been maintaining a blacknet publishing intellectual property held by them, although in accordance with Dorjan custom, they were not required to demonstrate this in order to secure an arrest order against il Vrane, and goes on to state that in accordance with the principle that “he who obstructs trade becomes trade”, he who appropriates their intellectual property becomes their intellectual property, to dispose of as they will.

It is estimated that up to eight million copies of il Vrane’s mind-state have been downloaded thus far.

While no official action has yet been taken by any star nation of the Worlds in response to the condemnation of Corporate Fejj-Doval by the Conclave of Galactic Polities, the Warden-Bastion Compact of private law providers, and treaty bodies in the Free Zone, at the time of writing no fewer than seven sequestered claims-of-responsibility have been deposited with Imperial banking institutions (most under 24 year expiration-disclosure) for eleemosynary hunter-killer worms designed to euthanize non-self authorized il Vrane instances.

– from the Independent Worlds Router, early 7131

Hustle

Opportunity Profits

In the Thousand Precise Protocols of the Integral Accountant, opportunity profits are defined as effectively the opposite of opportunity costs,

Opportunity costs represent the potential value one misses out upon when choosing one alternative over another. Because opportunity costs are, by definition, unseen, they can be easily overlooked. Understanding the potential missed opportunities when one chooses one path, or one investment, over another allows for better decision-making.

Opportunity profits, therefore, represent the value one gains from choosing and acting upon an alternative, which, implicitly, other people have thus far chosen not to pursue. For example, an odocorp which constructs a bridge over a river reaps, in addition to the profits deriving directly from the construction and operation of the structure, but also an opportunity profit; their legitimate reward for having demonstrated foresight in seeing the need, willingness to accept the risks involved in the investment, and the boldness to seize the opportunity.

Perhaps the most famous example of opportunity profits (other than the Empire’s major odocorps) would be those of Ring Dynamics, ICC, whose seizure of the opportunity of the moment to parlay their development of stargate technology into a long-lasting dominance of interstellar transport is, if you will pardon the expression, textbook; although this also provides an example of a lost opportunity profit, since the Laserider Network lost its investment in the deep space lasers rendered obsolete by the advent of the stargates.

– from an introductory Imperial economics textbook, circa 3000

Following The Money

From: Toríno Lanada (Economic Attaché [Vonis Prime Mission], Diplomatic Attachment WG, Active Operations PWG, Second Directorate)
Memeweave: All-Seeing Eye/Voniensa Republic/General
Cc: Intentions Analysis PWG
Subject: Shell colony economic anomaly
Authenticity: 4E11; SENDER, RELAY (4/4), RECIPIENT
Security: EYES ONLY ORANGE ICE SHADOW
Distribution: Executive & Analysts
Date: 7142 Yrnaes 11, Studious falling 14

Be advised that as of this date we have identified and confirmed a number of anomalies in the financial reports submitted by a large number, approximately 20%, of the Republic’s Shell colonies to the Central Financial Group. Such anomalies (detailed documentation to follow by non-expendable communications) vary significantly in detail, but serve the identical function of minimizing the apparent economic product of the colonial economies in reports used by the Central Financial Group to determine the remittances due to the central governance.

This practice appears to have been adopted in the wake of the Council of the Republic’s decision to increase remittances (to a demand of 30% of economic product) to restore cuts made to Core system distributions, these cuts in turn having been made in order to fund the Fleet rebuilding programs called for after the Core War. Such restorations were necessitated by increasing social instability on several of the Republic’s most heavily populated Core systems, including Vonis Prime itself.

In light of the increasingly fragile state of the Republican economy and the increasing divisions now manifest between the Core systems and the Shell, I request greater resources be allocated to determining specific expected fracture points and shock vectors therefrom resulting, as well as additional asset allocations to prominent Shell colonies identified in the detailed documentation if Intentions Analysis concurs that these are high-probability event whenwheres.

– Lanada, ExSec

Haz Beans

Neither somewhere you can visit, nor even somewhere you can see up close – it being found deep within a restricted system – it would nonetheless be remiss to omit Ómílarith, the 14th moonlet of the gas giant Bunker (Arvael IV), in the Palaxias (Imperial Core) system.

It should be obvious from the massive docking facilities built into the moonlet’s northern pole and the radiator structures of its southern tip that it has long been converted to military purposes, as has much of the Palaxias System, but Ómílarith, unlike much of the Bunker sub-system, has not been converted for gas mining, nor for antimatter storage, and nor is it a simple warehouse like the structures that surround Depot (Arvael III) with a set of metallic rings.

It is, however, a cryonic storage facility, and one dedicated to a single good.

Bioweapons? No.

Milspec bodies? No.

Pharmaceuticals? No.

Ómílarith is home to the miles and miles of tunnels lined with cryocels, each holding in perfect preservation one more ton of the seed, the fruit-pip, of the Esklavea sendaren plant.

It is, after all, well-established that the Imperial Navy runs on esklav to a far greater extent that it does on deuterium, antimatter, or even paperwork. No-one is entirely certain what would happen should the beverage cease to flow – whether the Empire’s military operations would simply grind to a grouchy halt, or contrariwise, whether the Navy would sweep through known space like an angry, migrainous wildfire – but even fewer are willing to take the chance of finding out.

Against such mischance, the Imperial Strategic Bean Reserve stands ready.

– Around the Worlds on ¤1,000 per Sol

Selectivity

The Habtech’s Peace referred originally to an agreement brokered between the various mercenary companies engaged on each side during the months of drift-habitat fighting that characterized the latter phase of the Black Web War, and continues to refer to similar agreements (again, usually between mercenary groups) up to the present day.

Under a Habtech’s Peace, all combatants engaged in extended combat operations aboard a drift-habitat or other hostile-environment shelter agree to

  • refrain from using control over or sabotage of structural, main power, thermal control, life support, attitude control, or orbital maneuvering systems as a weapon of war;
  • refrain from conducting operations in such a way as to impair the operation, repair, or maintenance of these systems, or in a manner that places key elements of them at risk;
  • permit the passage of identified habitat technicians through and between the combat zone and occupied areas as necessary, without let or hindrance;
  • refrain from making use of identified habitat technicians as agents of sabotage or espionage;
  • actively refuse any offers of intelligence from identified habitat technicians;
  • and so forth.

The purpose of such an agreement should be obvious: operations in such environments offer all too many scenarios in which all sides of the conflict lose, in the destruction of the asset over which they are fighting and/or a mass-death event which destroys or renders combat-incapable both sides. Death for death’s sake is in no-one’s interest.

While combatants often cut a course very close to the line, a Habtech’s Peace is rarely violated, and in such cases mercenaries and mercenary-support organizations adherent to the Iron Concord will often join forces to punish the offender. (It is widely believed that the lack of participation of polity forces in these arrangements is due to the lack of ability – in most cases – to punish defectors.)

– from an article in Blood Cheques and Bullets, 7282Q1 issue

Give Way

“Okay, let’s go over how the traffic priority controls work. You can up-priority by paying a small fee, with a promise to pay more if your higher priority becomes relevant. The fee goes to us, the later charges to every vehicle that’s inconvenienced by yours. Or you can down-priority, which is free, but nets you a small payment every time the road-grid can pick you to ‘lose’ rather than another vehicle.

“But people don’t understand how the vehicle priority algorithm works underneath.

“It doesn’t affect vehicle speed, or routing, or any such. We can’t run vehicles efficiently at multiple speeds over the same roads, after all. No, what the traffic priority setting does is affect the way the road-grid handles resource-contention decisions where two vehicles require the same resource – odoblock, say – simultaneously, and resolving this deadlock require that one vehicle be selected to ‘lose’, which we define as a set of parameters including increased travel time, increased travel cost, vector changes outside the passenger comfort envelope, user preference deviations, and so forth. In those cases, the lowest priority ‘loses’, and where multiple vehicles share the same priority, a random function decides the loser.

“That’s a simplification, but it’s close enough to true. It’s most visible with emergency response vehicles, which naturally have a hard-coded top priority, but if you carefully study the patterns of traffic around some other vehicles over time, you can see the algorithm at work. Sleeper cars and fragile cargoes, for example, have their comfort envelopes weighted higher so other vehicles ‘lose’ to them when a maneuver is required. Bulk freight without deadlines is usually deprioritized for the potential savings, so statistically speaking, robotrucks ‘lose’ more than regular traffic.

“So why do people think that these don’t do anything?

“Well, how often do you think the road-grid system needs to make resource-contention decisions?”

– Eimil Murianos, odocorp engineer, IBC live interview

They Also Sell Anti-Shame Drugs

ATTENTION, SHOPPERS!

CUSTOMER CONFIDENTIALITY IS NOT GUARANTEED
BUT MAY BE PURCHASED AS A RANGE OF AFFORDABLE OPTIONS

Hush (Ex. 16)
No-one will be told that you were here, but your information will be retained in my records.

Shopper? I Hardly Know Her! (ExV. 256)
I will forget that you were here, and identifying information will be removed from my ledger; the purchase will be attributed to “Some One”. Your presence will also be deleted from security footage et al. Warning: control of your presence information with regard to infrastructure not owned by me is outside the scope of this option.

Passing Without Trace (ExV. 384)
As above, except that both identifying information and the item(s) in question will be removed from my ledger; the purchase will be listed as “Some One bought Some Thing”. To maintain ledger consistency, the identity of the items will also be removed from their record of purchase.

Concealing The Backtrail (ExV. 512)
As above, except that the identity of the supplier(s) of the item(s) will also be removed from the record of purchase.

As an extra-cost option to the above, I will also undertake to contact my supply chain for these items and purchase similar confidentiality services on your behalf. Pricing for such additional services will begin at cost plus ExV. 128 for the first hop (per item), with the per item charge doubling for each additional hop. Undertaking to purchase such confidentiality services does not imply that such services are or will be available, or that they are or will be effective; no warranty is implied.

SPECIAL OPTION: AUTOCONFIDENTIALITY

That’s Not Mine, Officer (ExV. 128)
Your purchase of these item(s) will be redacted from your memory and transaction records will be anonymized. (Custom inoffensive false-purchase records can be added as an extra-cost option. Memories not included.)

I Was Never Here (ExV. 256)
Your purchase of these item(s) and your presence here surrounding this transaction will be redacted from your memory. (Custom inoffensive false-purchase and false-supplier records can be added as an extra-cost option. Memories not included.)

A 12% discount applies if this option is purchased in combination with “Shopper? I Hardly Know Her!” or any of the options above which include it.