Prank War

GAN-LAK-NAK (HANTH CLUSTER) – The capital of the Aklaknak Cluster was in chaos today after multiple issues have wreaked havoc on its governance automation, local correspondents report.

Currently these issues include the deletion of all data relating to sophonts whose names begin with the letter ‘K’ from Revenue Generation Service databases, the replacement of all digraphics in license documents with pictures of as-yet-unidentified small furry quadrupeds, highly localized snowfall despite midsummer temperatures, the designation of all sugar-containing products as Class V restricted toxins, and public-access vehicles driving in circles while unoccupied, singing popular drinking songs.

The Archetype of Security has appealed for calm, blaming the errors on ‘unexpectedly severe systems glitches, currently under investigation’. Outside offers of technical assistance have, thus far, been rejected.

 

Trope-a-Day: Bizarre Alien Psychology

Bizarre Alien Psychology: Most of them, to one degree or another, however well concealed it may be by translation and commonly agreed protocols. Particularly notable are the aklaknak and embatil, both of whom are collegiate intelligences rather than single consciousnesses; the codramaju and seb!nt!at, who don’t use identity the same way we do; the cusaron and hjera, which are hive minds of different internal topology; the járaph, who are total solipsists; the mezuar, who are forests; the múrast and voctonari, who have five or so minds each; the tennoa, who are obligate utilitarians; and the vlcefc, who have a sessile brain with coordinating independent non-sophont motiles.

Also, of course, much of the point behind uplift – so you can have minds around the place with fascinatingly different points of view.

Population

PDISCLAIMER: All population figures found herewithin should be considered provisional and contested.

Ongoing controversies exist where the correct measurement of population figures is concerned, including:

  • Accounting of clone families;
  • Accounting of fork families, both synchronized (cikrieth) and desynchronized, and the measurement of repeated non-persistent forks;
  • Accounting of group intellects, including both true hive-mind species (such as the hjera and cusaron) and independent Fusions, representing single minds in a multiplicity of bodies, and collective consciousnesses (such as the Eldraeic Transcend), representing multiple independent minds sharing only specific layers; as well as multiple intermediate and overlapping cases;
  • Accounting of collegiate-intelligence species, such as the embatil and aklaknak;
  • Accounting of naturally fork/merge capable species, such as the codramaju;
  • Accounting of biologically casted species in which only a single caste or a subset of castes is sophont, such as the vlcefc, or the gender-based equivalent;
  • Accounting of polysapic species possessing multiple natural minds acting in accord, such as the múrast and voctonari;
  • Accounting for members of species not possessing sophoncy at all points during their lifespan, including but not limited to the majority of r-selected species;
  • Accounting for presently-inactivate species members, including those in long-term cryostasis/nanostasis or data storage;
  • Accounting for the deceased retaining active cognition within technologically-mediated afterlives;
  • Accounting for unconventional forms of identity, such as teleological threads;
  • Location accounting of infomorphs (by processor or by avatar/point-of-interaction location);
  • Legal differences of opinion on the prosophont/sophont boundary;
  • Calibration of population accounting for post-sophont entities, both regarding the appropriateness of categorizing such minds on an equivalent scale with baselines, and inasmuch as high post-sophont minds are capable of generating transient and/or lasting sophont memes in the normal course of cognition;
  • And so forth.

While recognizing that in many cases appropriate answers to these questions is determined contextually (the computation of required life-support capacity obviously is dependent on bioshell-population, for example), the meaning of population in the generalized sense requires the resolution of these questions, many of which are hotly debated philosophical, theological, and/or political topics in many of the Worlds’ polities.

As such, we have chosen to use population figures, in all cases superseding those locally provided, established by the Imperial Grand Survey, whose methodology has the virtue of being consistent, transparent, and well-documented (see publication IGS-1134/P rev. 112).

– from the preface to the Associated Worlds Factbook, Conclave Press

We’re the Phone Company

Lhaegár Rhuanhz, Vice President of Operations for Bright Shadow in the Hanth Cluster, looked around her office, eyes passing lightly across a dozen network status displays, a reassuring blue overall with normal local traffic and the brighter datatrails of the Selvaciy and Synnecy backbones, before returning to rest on the extranet map that hung over her desk, a mesh of links between systems with five ugly black spots near its center – shut-down interchanges in the middle of the Hanth ‘net.

On cue, two incoming trinet images shimmered in next to it, flagged with special governance-priority, supersedence, and shutdown-override codes, and already engaged in an argument that had evidently been going on for some time.

Lhaegár very deliberately folded her ears back flat, and bared her teeth in what, she was confident, could not be mistaken by even the most parochial as a species-specific smile, before keying acceptance of the call.

“I regret that you have not been called here to address your complaints, gentlesophs.  That does not call for the attention of one of the Directorate – and you are both, of course, entirely aware of what underlies your complaints, since your intersystem data service has been suspended.”

“Rather, you are here to address the violations of your extranet service agreement.  Specifically, you are here, Prince-President Rsh-t-t-n-tf-g” – she gazed at the mists enshrouding the rntrugg – “because one of the agencies of your government endeavored to disrupt communications for your enemies by introducing a data plague into their Xan-Rak-Han system network.  Ordinarily such activities are beneath our concern, except that you overreached when you had it target the extranet infrastructure itself.”

“And you, Gene-Archetype lant-hak-nint” – her gaze shifted to the shifting disks of the aklaknak colony – “overreached yourself even further when you went so far as to land a force on the surface of the Tttnfl-Fgflln stargate itself, and attempted to physically disable the extranet router there.  Our cousins from Ring Dynamics, I believe, also wish to address this with you.  In either case, either of these acts are clear violations of your service agreements and our property both.”

Silence fell.  Mists and disks alike shifted uneasily.

“Very well, we admit our… mistake,” Rsh-t-t-n-tf-g hissed.  “Yes, some of our agents were zealous.  They will be corrected.  What is the cost of this error to be?  How soon may we be restored?”

“And how much more must we pay to ensure that they are not?” lant-hak-nint added.

“I fear you mistake your negotiating position, inasmuch as this is a negotiation of any kind.  There are costs, certainly, incurred by us and our clients both.  Your mutual efforts interfered with approximately 3% of the traffic along the Selvaciy backbone for almost a kilobeat; reparations for the substantial economic and other losses involved, as well as the costs of redirection along secondary routes and system repair and revalidation are being assessed.  These you will pay; this we require of you absolutely under the terms of our existing contract and the Accords.”

“In addition, however, we require an end to your war.  You will each withdraw from the claimed territory of the other within one month of this date; you will further both resign all claims you have in the Fgflln/Lak-Han-Tar system.  In order, you understand, to prevent further zealotry from infringing upon Bright Shadow corporate sovereignty.”

“The money, yes, but you have no right—“

“You can’t dictate to nations—“

The rntrugg and the aklaknak glared at each other, neither willing to allow the other to speak first.

“This is not, you understand, a demand or an ultimatum.  As a neutral commercial organization we are not in the habit of issuing such things.”  She bared her teeth again, without humor. “It is merely a condition we attach to the continuation of your contracts.  Should you believe yourselves able to find or contrive a viable alternative to our extranet service, you may feel free to continue your war. Perhaps a particularly large courier fleet?”

“I will contact you again in – shall we say one hour? – to hear your decisions.  Bright Shadow, clear.”