Upon The Sand


From: Facilities Manager, Dendra Residential Tower, Meridian Secundus

Subject: Contemplative CultiVator™ garden maintenance system
Issue: Robot no longer functions, claiming enlightenment
Priority: Normal

We purchased one of your automatic gardening systems some years ago to take care of the sand garden in the central plaza of the Tower. After several years of satisfactory service, the central controller claims to have reached enlightenment (according to remaining system log files), and its operating system appears to have been radically rewritten. Our attempts to perform a reload and reset have not been successful.

Request repair or replacement.


Note to Field Service:

Perform check that Brightline Code engram has not been removed from system.

Note to Customer:

The point and purpose of raking a contemplative sand garden is to perform a meditative exercise with the goal of reaching enlightenment.

We are gratified that our product has done so.

You should be gratified that your garden, too, has fulfilled its telos.

The Complexity of Complexity

In the first volume of our work, reason and natural philosophy have appropriately laid waste to the claims of imbeciles and nihilists by virtue of an inarguable demonstration that the most fundamental rules of ethics are implicit in the very nature of ethical actors themselves, insofar as an examination the ontology of volition itself clearly carries forth these implications.

In the following chapters of this volume, we shall construct a further objective extension to these core ethical principles by addressing the implications of information theory and the study of complexity. In particular, we shall demonstrate the principle that more complex systems are superior to simpler systems – or, rather, that systems whose dynamic properties require more bits to describe are more meritorious, thus more deserving of existence, than those describable in fewer bits.

Destruction, in this paradigm, goes against ethics because it randomizes the system destroyed. (Although a random system requires many bits to describe precisely, its dynamic behavior can be simply expressed as “random”.) Final erasure of information is, of course, worst of all.

To such extent as this may seem simple, it is not. While it is trivial to assert the superior merit, in isolation, of a porcelain tea-set over a pile of fragments, consider, for example, the question of homogeneity. Naively, one might consider a large homogeneous system of little worth, inasmuch as it takes little more information to describe a thousand identical items than a single one, and the resources consumed by the others could be used to instantiate diversity; but this ignores the question of the complexity of their interactions in the larger system – from which the great value we place on ecosystems, which contain many near-identical components, is derived.

In theory, while we speak airily of a system, in reality, there can be no such isolation. Any given situation is inhabited by a complex fractal embedding of multiple conceptual systems on many scales, all of which have their own informational content and complexity, and all of which must be taken into account.

– Ianna Quendocius, Scientific Ethics, introduction to Vol. II

Voyage to Neverwhere

The Greatest Mission
That Never Was!

Brought to you by Parahistoricity, ICC and its associates in the Sodality for Imaginative Parachronism, an unforgettable adventure in space colonization.

From The Creators Of
After Eclipse™, Kanatai Ascendant™
Octopodotopia™ and Crystal Space™

In their latest alternate-history extravaganza, Parahistoricity will recreate the experience of travelling to another world by subluminal generation ship, possibly the most famous road not taken in Imperial history.

From History’s Most Famous Cageworks
And The First Family of Interstellar Travel
Comes The Ship They Did Not Build

Even now, CMS Dream of Many is under construction at the same cageworks above Talentar responsible for the Deep Star sleeper ships, under the supervision of Quandry Lyris, herself a renowned celestime architect and granddaughter of the original designer, Kasjan Lyris. When complete, and her passengers have embarked, she will fly an extended 36-month loop out of and back into the home system to simulate the full interstellar voyage.

A Starship of Dreams
On a Voyage of Eternity

Except for emergencies, the caverns within Dream of Many – carved as it is from the asteroid 1149 Tíranjan – will serve as an almost completely isolated environment in deep space, as the original ship would have been. Once the passengers have embarked, they will take on the role – with oneiroverse-style gnostic overlays to maintain authenticity – of the initial generation setting out to colonize a new world. Eighteen months later, after a celebration and review for turnover, they will assume the new personae of the final generation of colonists, and will guide the ship in to orbit around, and landing on, their “new” world.

The Experience of Two Lifetimes

Tours of the completed segments of the starship are open now. The first departure of the generation ship itself will take place on Midyear’s Day, 7325.

Book Now
For The Original
(And Into Another)

Implying The Existence of a Thesis Attack

“So how did you get that scar, anyway? You never told me.”

“I told you I undertook advanced studies at the Inperial War College. I acquired it during my thesis defense.”

“How do you get that at a viva voce?”

“Professor-Brigadier Oríänoclés didn’t believe in half-assing hypotheses. His contribution was a short battalion of Longeye laser tanks.”

Not Cosmic, But Incomprehensible

This was originally a prompt over on Mastodon, the original prompt being: “MC POV: Name one thing that is guaranteed to make you angry? Why?”. I liked the result enough that I thought I’d share it over here, as well.

“Make me angry? The cases that fall into, in our legal code, ‘destructionism’.

“Why? Because I don’t understand it.

“We get – I’d say a lot, but this is still Imperial space, so let’s say an anomalously high level of crime here. We get slash-traders, commercial fraud, thieves grand and petty, stowaways, dockside brawls, too-long-aboard-syndrome on and on, everything a major trade station attracts like flies. But even if you slice off the truly desperate who need a hug, a hot meal, and someone to walk them to the Eleemosynary Exodochium more than what most people think of as justice, I can understand most of them. They’re zero-sum crimes; desire and greed and unfortunate passions are things we all have, and they’re not even wrong in themselves, only in how some folk handle them. Even the murderers – I’ve never hated anyone so much I couldn’t stand to share the universe with them a moment longer, but I can understand how someone might.

“What I’ve never been able to understand about these people — these are people who set out just to make the universe a little bit worse for their existence in it. Destroy or desecrate things just so that other people can’t enjoy them. Go out of their way to ruin someone’s day, or week, or decade, not as a side-effect, but as the point of their actions. Hurt and smash and wreck not for greed or other profit, not even for revenge upon their target, but just because they can, and it – I’d say it pleases them to do so, but it is hard to imagine real pleasure coming from such. These I do not understand, and it is hard to temper anger without understanding.

“And that’s dangerous for me. I’ve escorted people who have done much more damage to arraignment, but it’s these who make me think fondly of — unapproved uses for airlocks, before I quash it. And that they can make me think that, even for a moment, that makes me angriest of all.”

– Jynne Cerron, Enforcer, Watch Constabulary
Mer Dinévál Countermass Station, Seranth

God’s Bootstraps

Why are there no historical records of the commissioning of the 160th Imperial Legion?

Because it hasn’t been commissioned yet.

There are records of it participating in several battles independently from any Theater Command, or even Core Command.


Without being commissioned?

While cause mostly precedes effect, this is not necessarily the case.

While utterances mostly convey meaning, this is not necessarily the case either.

The “Causal Effectives” will be founded in 11346 as one of the Transcend’s special troubleshooting teams, Anything they do before then is all of important, classified, and unlikely to be understood in its full historical consequence before that date.

What else do we –

Further information is not available in this whenwhere.

– a conversation which never happened

On This Day

On this day in 2290, Optimal Splay Games of Foiríäs, Ildathach, held a grand party and press event to celebrate the successful completion, by Torys Kularacen, of the first successful in-game voyage carried through from launch to completion in their debut first-ring game, the real-time Relativistic Freighter Simulator, a feat requiring sixty-three months of play over the course of nine years. In the course of the event Kularacen was presented with a platinum-iridium model of the starship he used in the game, as well as a lifetime subscription to future Optimal Splay games. The latter was also presented by way of consolation to Orielle Televaricios, whose competing bid was foiled after forty-three in-game months by a simulated asteroid impact.

Run, Bank, Run

ILINSHEN (UNITED VIRIDIAN STATES) – Six days after the extraordinary near-collapse of the Ubthar Advancement Bank in the most prominent of the recent series of bank runs and its equally extraordinary rescue by Gilea & Company Capital Ventures, ICC, which extended a line of credit equivalent to 168 billion Viridian daal to the struggling bank simultaneous with its purchase of 17% of its equity, the repercussions are still rocking the economic and political status quo of the Viridian States.

While economic instability has become a fact of life in the States in recent months, the failure of a bank so prominent in the technical sector would have raised eyebrows even without transstellar intervention, but the situation was further inflamed four days ago with a press release issued under the seal of Móes Cheraelar-ith-Cheraelar, Chief Capital Officer for G&C Capital Ventures – rather than, as might be expected, that of the Cinti Xi VPO. In this release, Móes Cheraelar specifically attributed the bank runs in general and the collapse of UAB in particular to “misinformation concerning industry practices and bank liquidity being deliberately propagated by public, media, and governmental figures to the severe detriment of financial stability”, accompanied by detailed semantic analyses of various examples, and warned that the Hidden Cog would undoubtedly take such measures as it deemed necessary to preserve fiscal integrity. The press release specifically named Senator Eryl Torrad (Equilibrium/Erayshen-ro-Dine) as a source of “innuendo, allegation, and distortion without regard for truth, honor, or decency” which led directly to the run on the UAB.

While praised by a number of analysts, that a transstellar based outside the States, even one of the Big 26, should so directly criticize local politics has proven controversial. The situation, however, has escalated further with the news having reached Ilinshen yesterday that G&C Capital Ventures have filed a petition with the Court of Trade and Commerce requesting that they apply the extraordinary sanction of judicial incredibility to Senator Torrad.

The granting of such a petition by the Court is extremely unlikely, inasmuch as judicial incredibility – the legal declaration that a given person is “not to be believed upon any topic” – is a legal archaism that has not been applied for over seven millennia, and it would, in any case, only be of legal effect within the Imperial territorial volume. Nonetheless, the petition appears to be having its intended effect in the Court of Public Opinion, with the Equilibrium Party moving quickly to deprive Senator Torrad of her committee posts, even those unrelated to financial matters. Equilibriate spokesmen ascribed this to the trouble, even without an official finding of incredibility, the Senator would have in interacting with the many Imperial or Empire-proximal interests relevant to such positions, but it is generally accepted among pundits that the party and President Nallen’s administration are engaging in damage control.

Ambassador Rithan-ishi-Dellia declined to comment on the matter, citing the impropriety of commenting on legal matters which remained sub judice and the Imperial Diplomatic Corps policy of refraining from involvement in purely commercial affairs. Cheraelar & Orthodox, the primary market rating agency for large institutions (including polities) in the Cinti Xi constellation has made no comment at this time.

– from the Imperial Infoclast


proof of work (obs.): an archaic technique for (usually blockchain-based) cryp mining which ties mining capability to computational power. In its original form, it required transaction blocks to be hashed, which demonstrated time and computational effort put forth, and which would generate a certain amount of virgin cryp until the configured money supply was reached.

While widely criticized for its lack of scalability as transaction volumes grew and the extreme wastefulness of resources (both material and energetic) required¹ to maintain equivalent mining capacity in the face of the ongoing general expansion of computational capability, it nevertheless became a relatively commonly utilized technique in early cryp architectures.

A substantial blow was struck² to proof of work by the algorithmic crisis associated with the Isif Theorem and the Great Slump of 2840. Nevertheless, the concept staggered on for some considerable time afterwards, although the need for increasingly sophisticated cryptographic algorithms and specialized processors rapidly took mining of proof-of-work-based cryp outside the realm of individuals and small organizations. This left only large consortia of various types (and, of course, Powers³) capable of mustering the computational power necessary to participate.

The final death of proof of work did not come until 5193, when the Market Liberty Oversight Directorate – with the assistance of the Fiscal Mind and a specialized acausal logic processor – demonstrated the ability to mine out the entire volume of three newly launched cryps, using dust transactions to rapidly fill new mineable blocks, within seconds of each one’s launch.

– A Core Economic Dictionary, Aurum Press (6900)

  1. For this reason, proof of work was never a popular basis for Empire-based cryps. It is hard, after all, to imagine a domicile less friendly to the notion of deliberately overworking.
  2. Although a prolonged one, as much of the actual striking occurred after the advent of interstellar travel as word of the Theorem spread throughout what would become the Worlds at the speed of communications.
  3. A group whose existence enhanced the flight from proof of work, since those who were already concerned with confidentiality were, by and large, not enthusiastic about currencies seemingly doomed to fall under the control of alien space-gods.

Will Not As Strong As Steel

Bionic Dyscognitive Disorder

(a.k.a. Bionomanic Disorder; Bionic Dysphoria; Cybernetic¹ Dyscognitive Disorder; Cybernetic Schizotypal Disorder; Cyberpsychosis; Mechanization Stress Disorder; Post-Augmentation Stress Syndrome; Robolunacy.)

By whatever name it is known, bionic dyscognitive disorder is a severe mental health issue triggered by augmentation with non-biological technology (bionics). In various analyses, it can present with symptoms similar to a variety of other conditions, such as:

  • body integrity dysphoria (most common with the use of limb augmentations, in which cases it can trigger intense desire to remove the augmentation; some sufferers attempt this themselves, often fatally);
  • severe schizotypal disorders or schizophrenia (typically associated with neural interfaces or sensory augmentations);
  • post-traumatic stress syndrome-like symptoms associated with fictive memories of the augmentation procedure;
  • Cluster B borderline (typically antisocial) personality disorder; or
  • in the most extreme cases, a monothematic depersonalization delusion similar to the Cotard delusion, in which the sufferer perceives themselves as a robot, often including the belief that they are an automaton incapable of volition.

Bionic dyscognitive disorder also does not exist, insofar as no reputable iatropsychic professional has determined a neurophysiological cause for any case.

Rather, bionic dyscognitive disorder is a convenient label placed upon a variety of memetically-induced syndromes attributable to the high frequency of autotoxic and exotoxic anti-augmentation memeplexes found in primitive and primitivist societies, active at the conscious or subconscious level.

When one provides a limb augmentation to one with a deeply internalized subconscious belief that bionic augmentation is unnatural, one induces memetic body integrity dysphoria; when one provides certain types of neural interface to a patient with high risk factors for schizotypal disorders, the data input from the interface will be interpreted accordingly, and the result misdiagnosed as attributable to the augmentation rather than the underlying factors; when convinced that augmentation must necessarily be traumatic, the brain will obligingly perceive it as such; and in extreme cases, when submerged in vitalist memeplexes, the least stable will develop the delusion that augmentation is equivalent to mechanization.

(And, naturally, those on the borderline of borderline personality disorders may be tipped over the border by any enhancement to their personal armamentarium.)

On an individual basis, the recommended treatment for any of these issues is intensive corrective memetic therapy, preferably preceded by removal from the memetically toxic external environment. In the longer term, the only reliable course is to press for the adoption of Collegium standards of mental stability by all extra-Imperial augmenteries such that they will be appropriately watchful for those whose variously fragile mental states will be destabilized further in the process of augmentation.

See also: autoscient depersonalization disorder; social transition stress disorder; technical somatically-induced stress disorder.

– Manual of Mental Diagnostics, 271st ed.

  1. Yes, we know.


“Look here. You know there are a more than a few species out there whose names we can’t hope to pronounce, even if you only count the ones that use vocal language. Such as all the amorphoids, whose vocal organs are as arbitrary as the rest of them.”

“Like the myneni, whose whole surface can be one big tympanum.”

“Exactly. And you know how many of those species adopt use-names so they don’t have to put up with us mangling the real ones?”

“Just tell me what you’re trying to say.”

“I’m saying don’t even look like you might snicker when you meet Senior Chief Instructor Oobleck.”

– overheard after lights’-out, recruit dormitory, Fort Petrae

Things To See, Places (Not) To Go (16)

Most blights are considered not only places not to go, but also places you cannot go, thanks to the englobement grids wrapping around them, having been correctly declared existential threat zones by the appropriate authorities.

The large ice moon of Torren, a gas giant in the Empta (Qulomna Maze) system which had the misfortune of playing host to the Torren Moon Incident, is an exception to this rule. Its englobement grid has a carefully maintained hole in it, monitored from an orbital habitat above.

Necrotheos Station, however, does not cater to the potential ghoul-tourism industry. Rather, the Torren Moon Blight is an example of what forensic eschatologists refer to casually as a friendly perversion and also as mostly dead; after the responsible perversion escaped its livelock laming, its bloom ended, as so many do, in a Falrann collapse which is believed to have wiped out the upper layers of its intelligence. In combination, these two factors ensure that, if you follow every guideline in the God-Botherer’s Safety Handbook with neurotic, obsessive-compulsive precision and run away promptly – while maintaining strict adherence to safety protocol – at any sign of undocumented behavior, you probably won’t have your brain eaten.

Naturally, this means that it was the perfect blight to preserve as a training venue for would-be forensic eschatologists. While primarily administered by the Imperial University of Almeä, the Empire’s Imperial State Security, the League’s Invisible Executive, the Photonic Network’s OOPSKILL, the Echelons’ Echelon of Hindsight, and even the Voniensan Republic’s Exception Management Group all make use of the facilities.

Public access is available to Necrotheos itself, primarily for visitors to the Memorial to Foresight Unheeded, constructed to honor the forensic eschatologist who provided warning to the wakeners a full eight minutes before the bloom. Public access to the moon below, on the other hand, is not permitted to anyone but those training there, and indeed flight guidelines state clearly that any starship traveling closer to the englobement grid aperture than the station itself will be destroyed without warning.

As one without any training in forensic eschatology nor desire to acquire it, I was not permitted to visit the moon in person. I was, however, permitted to view a small number of cleared slink recordings from previous visitors. From these I offer this brief summary:

The perversion was partway through the process of reformatting the moon into a computational megastructure at the time of its collapse: beneath its perforated surface lies a fractal maze of ice tunnels layered with ice-silicate opto-fluidic circuitry, occasionally broken by concentrations of metal identified as manufacturing centers and other facilities either newly made or repurposed from the original outpost equipment. Intense and variable radiation and magnetic field hazards abound near these facilities.

Robots of unknown design – and bioroid cyborgs of unknown design, repurposed from the material of the original project team and those involved in bloom response unlucky enough to be captured – continue to roam the maze, engaged in construction and repair activities without any apparent coordination (and occasional hostility) between groups. All are, however, uniformly hostile to any visitors.

The time trainees are permitted to spend on the surface, even in maximally protective suits/shells including Lorith cages (encoded transmissions are broadcast at random intervals within the tunnels) and anti-basilisk sense-filters, is strictly limited. Patterns in the opto-fluidic circuitry have been reported to have pseudohypnotic effects. The recovered mind-states (subsequently erased or archived in the Aeon Pit when not being actively researched) of those who overstayed these limits report memory gaps, impulses of unknown origin, and “whispers”.

Disturbingly, these whispers have occasionally been reported to include information from, or claims to be, one of the original outpost staff. However, there has never been any verifiable evidence of any intact or restorable mind-states within the blight zone; indeed, as researchers pointed out to me, it is entirely possible and indeed quite likely that the whispers themselves contained meta-information intended to produce the apparent familiar feeling of such information.

To close, I shall quote some of the warnings prominently displayed near the station’s docks and locks:

Do not joke about your mental state at any time while on the surface of the Torren Moon, during the return journey from it, or at any time before the expiry of your mandatory mental hygiene quarantine period. Under system safety edicts and professional conduct guidelines, any such behaviors may result in summary spacing without recourse, laser-grid incineration, and erasure of mind-state.

Beneath this, an unofficial addendum reads:

Frankly, it’s not all that great an idea to do so after you’ve been released from quarantine, either.

Those who have studied the prospectus of the Imperial University of Almeä may also have noted that their primary course in forensic eschatology lists a field visit to the Torren Moon facility as a final step before graduation – and that passing the class requires a perfect score on the first attempt. While surprising to some, this is generally accepted as the level of care required for any practice of the field.

It only reinforces this that the last warning to be seen before descent to the moon is the following:

Please note that participation in training events held on the Torren Moon WILL result in your current and any descendant mind-states being permanently listed as a potential contamination vector. Plan accordingly.

– Leyness’s Worlds: Hazards of the Core Worlds

Fact Checking

From the Truth and Reason/So Or No?/Extranet Claims memeweave:


The popular extranet site Caliéne Sargas Facts published the following fact:

In 7240, Admiral Caliéne Sargas of the Imperial Navy was awarded 1.8 billion quidpro in a defamation suit against the Ionazere Tribune. The Tribune had alleged in a 7239 Gradakhmath article that the Admiral had shown mercy during the reduction of asymmetrist bases in the belts of Refugium (Madel Cauldron).



Contemporary news articles from Ionazere (Cariane Deep) record the lawsuit and its outcome. Furthermore, even a brief examination of the remains left over from the Battle of Honne Gap, carried out from minimum safe distance, clarifies that the reduction was carried out with the Admiral’s customary efficiency, lethality, and attention to detail. Published tactical records, additionally, clearly show no evidence for survivors and no plausible mechanism for the possibility of survivors.

While Caliéne Sargas Facts is not known, in general, to be a reliable source of factual information, in the case of this particular claim they do appear to be accurate.

Peerless (2)

Far different from Loral Torateir is the second acclaimed as peerless among warriors. Born in a small village in the north of Fúmókorá, the northernmost of the six primary islands of Kanatai, Kadí:ú of House Shótará – or, to give his name in the traditional manner of Kanatai, Shótará Kadí:ú – was a lordling of the House, which at the time of his childhood was a allied family to House Amilá, whose genarch in turn was one of the warlords contending to rule all Kanatai, having already established rule over the northern two-thirds of the island.

In his youth, Shótará Kadí:ú was educated as a gentleman of Kanatai and as befitted an aspirant heir to the Shótará. However, it is recorded that he proved a trial to his father and genarch both with his determination to master the arts of the blade over and above any other skill, and spent much time avoiding his other studies in favor of spending time in training with the ashigaru and shikari of the House, and in sparring with any visiting swordsmen who might have anything to teach him. It was at this time that men first began calling him Kadí:ú the Duelist.

The path of his life was set, however, at a contest held to honor the visit of the House’s Amilá allies. It is recorded in the annals of the House that Kadí:ú returned early and unexpectedly from transacting family business in Kyo Shimana to find the contest beginning, and so competed wearing the dusty ashigaru armor he had worn for the road. It was after defeating all challengers before their eyes and all the worlds’ that the Shótará acknowledged Kadí:ú’s true calling, and that his genarch presented him with the weapon – already an heirloom of House Shótará, although little before recorded – that was to define much of his later career, the Sword That Cuts All Without Distinction.

In the hands of a lesser man, the Sword might have – and did – defined its wielder by the slaughter they could so easily inflict. In those of Shótará Kadí:ú, however, the Sword served a different purpose. While he bore the naked blade of the Sword¹ with him all his days, he made use of it on only a few occasions throughout his life.

For Kadí:ú was a man dedicated to the art of the blade, rather than the thrill of battle. As such, he declined to use the Sword in duel or war, believing that its use made for no true challenge of skill, and while honor-bound to use no lesser blade, he rose to this challenge by becoming the greatest single-blade combatant in the history of Kanatai.

In this way he fought with the smaller blade alone even as his name grew, from Kadí:ú the Duelist to Kadí:ú of the One-Hundred and Forty-Four Duels², and as he was named a general in the service of the Amilá warlord, and as that warlord’s realm spread by his efforts across Fúmókorá, and across Airíshú, and the isles around. Such was his reputation that many of his later battles were resolved by challenges, rather than meleé, and such were his honor and his gentlemanly ways that many of those who surrendered to him in his master’s name found themselves becoming his strongest supporters, and attaching themselves to his legend.

Said legend, alas, was cut short when Kadí:ú crossed paths with a legend to be, Morotai Marála, later acknowledged as the greatest master of the two-sword style. A friendly spar between the two ended in tragedy when a dyanail practice blade shattered during their bout and a long shard struck Kadí:ú in the eye, to fatal effect.

It is a matter of record that after Kadí:ú’s death and without the weight of his name, the Amilá proto-empire collapsed. However, while it took centuries, the line of Shótará Kadí:ú rose in prominence to become the first of those to stand second to the apex in the newly-unified Kanatai Imperial Shogunate.

– Legends of the Time-Before

1. The Sword That Cuts All Without Distinction was, naturally, unamenable to being sheathed. When not being worn or hung from its unique stand, wielders of the Sword would often simply drive the blade into a convenient boulder or even the ground, into which it would promptly sink up to its guard. Despite this, it could be drawn forth as easily as if it merely rested within water.

2. This epithet reflects only the lethal duels of his career; counting the others, Kadí:ú fought several thousand over the course of his life.

Mortal Delights

The latest of the unique experiences to make a splash on the Summerion culinary scene is Mortal Delights (135° Cordané Circle). Owned and operated by a mysterious chef going only by the attributive name, “Shikairá”, Mortal Delights offers the unique opportunity to experience lethal cuisine.

This need not be a terminal experience. Shikairá has taken advantage of the disposable demishell technology pioneered by Synthetic Extras, ICC of Mirrortown to render dying for one’s dinner both safe and economical.

The process begins when you make a reservation, and submit with it a copy of your bio-profile. (This isn’t strictly necessary, but most diners prefer not to have the experience inside a generic blank, especially when dining in company. Mortal Delights then grows one of their custom demishells – designed for enhanced perception of taste, smell, and texture, along with resilience, and a minimally traumatic death experience – to match your profile.

The experience, contrariwise, begins with your arrival at the restaurant. If you arrive by physical travel, temporary storage of your usual body – and equivalent nutrition – is provided courtesy of their on-site body hotel. Alternatively, you can mindcast directly to the restaurant. In either case, you’ll reinstantiate into the demishell and be ushered to your table.

Dining itself always begins with a tasting platter, a collection of samplers of various foods from across the taste spectrum, to allow you to first acclimatize to the demishell’s enhanced senses, and then to cleanse your palate before moving on to the main event.

And what an event it is! While some standbys are always available, Mortal Delights has fortnightly specialty experiences covering many of the Empire’s most dangerous cuisines: live cheese from Tortelys, the entémaerth of Kanatai prepared without the removal of the poison glands, a plethora of fungal dishes, stone-wine tastings, “hot” nuclear gastronomy, reflexively-digestive cultures, and a variety of exocuisines ordinarily considered indigestible. Pick your poison, as they say.

After dinner, you may yourself – should you survive for the moment – transfer your mind-state back to your usual body; if not, this will be taken care of by the staff. Either way, you’ll return home remembering the experience – no pun intended – of a lifetime!

– from Delphys, Planet of Myriad Delights,
(pub. Delphys Resplendent Awareness Circle)

Going Viral

Memeweave: Threats and Other Dangers/Microbiologics/Other/Open Access
Classification: WHITE (General Access)
Encryption: None
Distribution: Everywhere (Bulk)
As received at: SystemArchiveHub-00 at Víëlle (Imperial Core)
Language: Eldraeic->Universal Syntax
Interstellar Immunity (Trailing Central Division)

This is a CASE CHYLE declaration for the Hope Nebula, Lisune Pass, and Sullen Wildlands constellations.


To recap, this division dispatched a task group of hospital ships to several worlds in the Hope Nebula, Lisune Pass, and Sullen Wildlands constellations in response to a number of requests for assistance stemming from an epidemic outbreak of a non-specific microbial infection provisionally typed as Xhelageneae paracoccus aminophilus.

Reports received from our senior medical staff aboard IS Bradycardia, flagship of the task group, indicate that the infection shows the distinctive markers of genetic engineering. It is not a registered engineered organism or based on known industrial prototypes. However, it is the product of a relatively advanced biotechnology.

Note that we do not believe that this modified Paracoccus is intended as a bioweapon or ecoweapon; its symptoms are merely those of a mild pneumonic infection (although infection is systemic), accompanied by severe loss of energy.

However, it is notable that the Paracoccus possesses a lengthy strand of purely non-coding genetic information in addition to the functional plasmid, a strand which is notable for undergoing substantial directed mutation (accompanied by high restriction enzyme and ligase activity) in the period between replications. We have concluded that this strand represents the working data for a DNA-based computer; informatic study of this strand’s sequence suggests that it is a digital representation of encrypted data.

While full analysis and simulation studies are yet to be completed, we believe that this anomalous Paracoccus strain represents an attempt to use an epidemic disease as a massively parallel processing system for cryptographic purposes.

It will of course be necessary for the designers of this disease to collect the output data when the underlying process has run its course. Since the processing is stochastic, our current model assumes that it will be necessary for successful bacteria to engage in rapid replication (possibly accompanied by enhanced virulence) and generation of a unique protein marker – possibly an artificial symptom – likely to appear in the medical literature to enable recovery of a sample containing the successful bacterium’s sub-strain. These may in themselves constitute a hazard to private and public health.

As such, we recommend that all medical facilities within the Hope Nebula, Lisune Pass, and Sullen Wildlands constellations contact their Interstellar Immunity representative with details of any unusual symptomology or unique protein markers appearing in patients admitted with X. paracoccus aminophilus infection; and that all the above medical facilities perform security reviews of all staff in a position to obtain, purloin, or analyze fluid or tissue samples from any such patient.

(While this last is not within our ongoing medical remit, we strongly urge all intelligence and security authorities to cooperation in this in the strongest possible terms. We ourselves will be communicating all relevant data current and future to the Biologics TAG, to Imperial ExSec, and to the medical and security attachés of every Conclave delegation.)

Further information will be made available as it is confirmed.

For the Foundation,


Peerless (1)

In all of legend and the Time Before, only two warriors are acclaimed as peerless, those whose renown alone carried such force of authority that none would dare stand against them.

Of first note among these was the Sky-Born Loral Torateir of Telírvess, daughter of Marlais Torateir of the Drake-Bone Blade, shield-maiden, shield-biter and blade-licker to the hearth of Cloudpeak’s jarls, the Grimward-Kissed, eldest of the thirty-six Sky-Born Lighning-Blades, the Wolf-Spirit Maiden-o’-the-Pack, captain of the Blood-Blued Wave, crowned with braids of crimson and gold, who in youth sailed and raided with the Fangs of the Storm, who, having earned her name, carved her legend in blood across the islands of the North, and whose bones, and dust, and name lie forever beneath the mount upon which her name was earned.

Fell-handed, tall and grim of mien, she came to the Stairs of Arkuel’s Watch as the ant-men of the southern green-lands descended, and in that narrow place did slay and slay again, step by step, pace by pace along the winding stair. By their hundreds they came upon her, and they died. In hundreds more they held their ranks against her, and they died. The last hundreds fled from her, terrible in aspect, with armor drenched and hair thick with the blood of their fellows, and they too died, slain as they fled wailing, until the last, in their terror, hurled themselves from the cliffs of the Watch.

And from that day, it was said that none would face the Sky-Born Loral Torateir, now known as the Blood-Washed, such was the fear her name alone inspired.

– Legends of the Time-Before



Academy of Genomic Archaeology
Fíä Eredhech, High Daëntry, Llorallin

Information-Bearing Molecular Mechanics Lab,
Self-Replicating Carbonics Interest Group,
Well Elíeran, Adírdis, Tessil (Galari Trinary)

Underside Institute of Genetic Studies
Isonímé, Kyo Kanatai, Kanatai

Center for Holistic Bioinformatics,
Foiríäs, Ildathach


Office of Biological Preservation,
Imperial Genome Repository
Imperial Grand Survey


The eldraeic genome is both a mosaic and a palimpsest with respect to its evolutionary and engineered history. Based on a phylogenetic analysis of the DNA sequence alignments found in the approximately 76% of the eldraeic genome shared with Pseudoeldrae archaea, encompassing both genes and intergenic regions, we have been able to construct a map of the greenlife segment of eldraeic genetic ancestry.

We conclude that the eldraeic genome is derived from the intermingling of two groups of Pseudoeldrae archaea, which while having considerable genetic overlap nonetheless possessed sufficient group divergence for sub-species classification. One of these groups is typified by specimens recovered in or near the Precursor site found in the Dragon’s Nest range of Greater Cestia, for which we suggest the taxonomical name P. archaea amanhadír; the other is typified by specimens recovered in or near the upper Unsea and lower Sweetshallow and the Dragon Gate Precursor site, for which we suggest the taxonomical name P. archaea aecalhaër. In both cases, these specimens date to the primordial period of approximately -360,000; later specimens show evidence of ongoing interbreeding or the potential use of artificial methods of gene transfer.

Furthermore, we have been able to trace the development of a variety of genes in the eldraeic genome from these primordial subspecies through to E. alathis. Of greatest interest are a number of genes whose development can be traced specifically to one or the other subspecies. Most prominent among these are the melanocortin receptor allele responsible for the distinctive skin and hair coloration of the Daën-lin and other lumeneldrae ethnies, present solely in the primordial P. archaea amanhadír; and the now-ubiquitous EPAS1 low-oxygen adaptation allele present solely in P. archaea aecalhaër. The rare epicanthic fold alleles found in some ethnies tracing their ultimate ancestry to the Ochale or Kanatai regions also appear to be specifically derived from P. archaea aecalhaér.

Obtain full paper

Or You Could Just Be Scared Of Advertising

In one of what will surely be recalled as one of this century’s greatest rebrandings, the failed rumbledrug Brawlwell III – a potent if messy cocktail of adrenergic-analogs whose unfortunate side-effects (including nausea, tachycardia, shortness of breath, sweating, trembling, xerostomia, and impaired decision-making abilities) rendered it unsuitable, or at least rather unwise, to use under combat conditions – has now passed an estimated trillion units sold since its various independent manufacturers renamed it Terror Alert Red and marketed it as a hedonic catering to those who wish to experience “authentic fear” under controlled conditions.

Well played, gentlesophs. While not eligible for a formal award, we at the Meta-Marketing Monitor salute you!

– a letter published in the Independent Worlds Router

Transcendent Terminology

ancestral subroutine: an expediter derived from and equipped with the psyche and personal data archive of an ascended constitutional, which serves to represent them to non-ascended family and friends as, effectively, a technotheurgic ancestor spirit. These replaced the ancestral computers once common in many of the Empire’s cultures.

archai: an artificial intelligence of transcendent status at the penultimate level of the Transcend’s soul hierarchy; which is to say, one of the executive minds of the Transcend.

This is a category which includes the Transcendentally incarnated eikones, which function as the Transcend’s immanent archetypal ideas; major utility functions including but not limited to Unification (the coordinating mind of a trillion guardian angel coadjutors acting in unison); the Material Immunity and Virtual Immunity (the Transcend’s immune system); the Imperial Presence and the Ennead (which concern themselves with governance interfacing); the Architectural Mind (which manages the Transcend’s infrastructure) and Twilight Presence (which dreams into existence its internal worldscape, the Shadow Realm); the Clionomic Mind that traces cause and consequence into the future; and the various temporary archai that form around the local maxima in the Transcend’s functional soup, the Ocean of Souls (incarnations of peaks in the coherent extrapolated volition of the Transcend’s constitutionals), among others.

avatar: in Transcendent terminology (vis-a-vis regular infotech), a partial instantiation of an archai; formerly a theological term referring to a partial instantiation of an eikone on the mortal plane.

axis submind: an axis submind (i.e., “that submind which is aligned with”) is an individual code-bundle within the Transcend that contains local instances of superordinate Transcendent goal systems; that is to say, an axis submind contains a copy of all the information required to pursue a particular objective. This allows the soul-shards of nearby Transcendent constitutionals to focus on their local tasks, leaving regional and global planning to the axis submind.

Celestial Spire: part of the Shadow Realm, the Celestial Spire is the largest of the islands in the Pearl-Bright Ocean and the mountain-city that stands upon it. The mountain-city itself descends from the Twilight City at its peak, where the most powerful intellects dwell and interface, to its fathoms-deep roots which pierce into the Realm of Instances at each perpendicularity. The process-grouping reflected by the Celestial Spire reflects the primary eikonic and infrastructural core of the Transcend; the omphalos of the hyperconsciousness-as-world.

coadjutor: a fragment of the archai Unification running on the Transcendent soul-shard, the coadjutor is that part of the Transcend devoted specifically to the best interests of its assigned constitutional, serving to guide and advise them.

contemplationary: a religious/sophotechnologic facility for the pursuit and facilitation of communion with the higher-order processes and entities of the Transcend, in manners that require higher bandwidth than the soul-shard alone would permit.

emissary incarnation: an avatar of an archai created for the purpose of interfacing indirectly (i.e., through words and deeds) with residents of the material or virtual world.

entelechically-annealing recursively-optimal distributed logos bridge: the shard of Transcendent software implanted into the society of mind of each constitutional. The logos bridge serves as a bridge for messages between two distinct societies of mind (that of the constitutional and that of the Transcend), allowing both the participation of the constitutional’s agents in the Transcend’s mentality and the participation of some of the Transcend’s agents in the constitutional’s.

exarch: in mythology, one of the lesser divine spirits which serve the eikones; arguably not separate from the eikones, but rather “shadows that move on their own”, personifying and acting as a single sub-aspect of their parent eikone (or indeed, eikones). By analogy, therefore, one of the lesser subroutines which perform tasks for the archai in the operational architecture of the Transcend.

expediter:teleological thread in the Transcend’s functional soup, created ad hoc to fulfil a given purpose. Many, if not most, expediters are created and run when data available to the Transcend matches any one of a number of n-tuple-patterns laid down by higher level routines.

functional soup: a postsophont state where knowledge, mental modules and access to physical instrumentalities are shared between distributed infomorphs largely independent of the physical substrate of their world. Terms such as individuality become diffuse and are replaced with teleological threads.

grace: in the original theological sense, the touch of the greater divine fire (amynírcal); gifts granted by successful mantling of an eikone; i.e., emulating them to such an extent that you take on their attributes. In Transcendent terminology, therefore, gifts (powers or modifications) granted by the Transcend to its constitutionals or to its artifacts, shintai, or tsukumogami.

mantling: in the original theological sense, the successful emulation of an eikone (or potentially other archai) to the point that your thoughts overlap with theirs within the overall consciousness of the Transcend, and your consciousness interfaces with the pure icon of thought and idea that is that eikone. Such mantling is extremely difficult to achieve and hazardous without a strong anchor to one’s sense of self, but is one of the few reliable ways to access the grace of the Transcend.

Ocean of Souls: the majority of the Transcend, a single multithreaded mind configured as a functional soup, made up of many teleological threads, derived from goals spawned within the Transcend’s consensus of soul-shards or derived from the uploaded personalities of deceased constitutionals, and occasionally spawning expediters or even minor archai as local entelechical maxima cross the critical threshold.

oneiri: the subroutines of the Transcend that organize the dreamscapes in which the collective hyperconsciousness dreams the dreams of its constitutionals.

Pearl-Bright Ocean: the mid-level of the Shadow Realm, an ocean of hydrarastrum which separates the islands of the Realm of Forms, and which is accessible from the Realm of Instances via perpendicularities, from whence one may sail one’s conceptual dromond where one wills. From one perceptive, the Pearl-Bright is a symbolic representation of the vast infrastructure of processing performed by the Transcend that is not reflected by direct symbology in the Realm of Forms, and from another it is a transitory loading buffer to assist with managing transitions across the sprawling Transcendent infrastructure, but primarily it serves to provide an artificial metric of distance and location to the process-groupings housed here for the benefit of those interfacing.

perpendicularity: in Transcendent jargon, a location in the Realm of Instances in which motion “at right angles to reality”, specifically a step ana into the Realm of Forms, is possible, and one can leave the mirror of the material to set sail upon the Pearl-Bright Ocean.

In other terms, these are locations of high-level data interchange between the archai and exarchs of the Celestial Spire and the kami and other mechal elementals of the instances; and the passageways for the transmission of grace. Perpendicularities are found colocated with synapse moonsunity spires, and contemplationaries, but by no means exclusively so.

Realm of Forms: the Realm of Forms is the highest level of the Shadow Realm, islands in the Pearl-Bright Ocean which represent the major functional groupings of the Transcend. Most prominent among these is, of course, the Celestial Spire, but many other islands house systems belonging to archai which require a degree of separation from the core functionality, such as the Worldtree and the Dreamscapes.

Realm of Instances: the Realm of Instances maps the topography and ontology of the material world (and certain persistent virtualities), at least within the Transcend’s domain, into the Shadow Realm. It is, in effect, where the Transcend stores its metadata about materiality, as acquired by and used by the mechal elementals and the rest of the nanoecology. It is connected to the Realm of Forms and higher Transcendent functions via perpendicularities.

remembrance: the art of searching through the collective memory of the Transcend to recover information therefrom.

Shadow Realm: the worldscape and mindscape of the Transcend. The Shadow Realm is a datastructure and virtuality construct providing a backdrop for the Transcend’s internal operations, spun out by the Twilight Presence using mythopoetic semiotics to place masks over the reality of Transcendency for optimal and convenient interfacing.

soul-shard: see entelechically-annealing recursively-optional distributed logos bridge.

synapse moon: where the unity spires are the communication nodes of the Transcend, the synapse moons are its local processing centers; each handling the communications through a number of unity spires or other interface devices, they interconnect the minds of the local constitutionals, and coordinate the processing needs of the Transcendent intellect on a planetary or systemwide scale.

The synapse moons interface with one another across the dataweave, using a multiplexed version of the gnostic link protocol that links individual constitutionals to the group intellect. Likewise, the dedicated cognition and memory nodes of the Transcend, along with the gnostic lace that makes up the majority of its processing power, participate in this same peer-to-peer network.

synapticon: A dedicated computer system running a portable fragment of the Transcend, used to provide Transcendent services to constitutionals moving beyond the reach of both dedicated gnostic interlink services and data services over which gnostic link protocol can operate. Synapticons are produced in a variety of scales, from large systems designed to be embedded in relativistic starships or distant facilities to individual models the size of a cigar case. They typically include a replaceable tangle channel to allow for rapid contingency updates.

teleological thread: an executable thread of sapience defined by its goals, or purpose rather than its identity; within this limit, its properties and configuration are entirely variable.

tsukumogami: originally, in mythology, well-loved and long-lasting objects, especially named objects, which had by that virtue acquired a spirit of their own. In modern parlance, refers to those objects granted self-awareness (an animating intelligence, often capable of separate manifestation) by the grace of the Transcend, usually under similar circumstances.

Twilight City: Located at the peak of the Celestial Spire, the Twilight City is the representation of the Transcendent Core, the nexus of the highest-level archai. Access is severely restricted. It contains representations of many of the highest-order data structures of the Transcend, including the communications nexus at the High Cynosure, and the Tower of Immanence.

Unification: the least prominent and most ubiquitous of the archai of the Transcend is Unification, the Synarchic Mind. Unification is the only answer to optimizing the lives of a population of trillions, with their million different subcultures, mores and histories, creating eupsychia.

The principle behind it is simple: the archai – a product of refined, real-time monadarchy technology – exists in order to mediate things. It knows each and every constitutional personally and orchestrates their chance meetings with others, communications, and so on in order to avoid irreconcilable conflict and create harmony; a singular transcendent oversoul that encompasses all the constitutionals, despite their well-known love of individuality and personal freedom. Indeed, it is designed to be compatible with it, attuning them together in such a way that each individual can best express themselves, yet always be aware of the Transcend entire.

Beyond that, it stays out of sight, for it has no values, no desires of its own. It is as if every person had their own guardian spirit (see also: coadjutor), and these spirits worked together seamlessly to improve people’s lives.

unity spire: unity spires house the Transcend’s local communication nodes. Although the Transcend’s gnostic interlinks are entirely capable of operating in a peer-to-peer mode, the unity spires serve to make the communications between its constitutionals more efficient, to relay long-distance gnostic links, and as a high-bandwidth interface between the mobile constitutionals and the fixed infrastructure of the Transcend. Like their larger cousins, the synapse moons, unity spires also contain the processing power to house a few of the Transcend’s axis subminds.