Author’s Note: Bad, Bad Word

As a side note, that cautionary dictionary entry, if anything, understates just how spectacularly insulting uljíra is, adjective-wise. But then, it was written by a non-native speaker of Eldraeic, even if a native speaker of the Trade dialect.

Its literal meaning is “choiceless1” – and not so due to external forces. Jír, recall, is the root of jírileth, with its important literal meaning.

That’s right up there with “Defaulter” in terms of Things To Say To An Imperial That Will Result In The Coroner Declaring Your Ensuing Death A Suicide.

1. And you can consider that in the context of that certain old saying daráv xíjirár; jaqef vigínár: a sophont chooses, a servile complies.

Glossary of Otherwise Known Terms

Reminded of this by a comment on G+, I thought I’d put together a list for y’all of the various terms used here and there in the Eldraeverse for concepts (mostly, but not universally, sciency) that match up to concepts we have here on Earth, but which for various reasons – often involving different discoverers, perspectives, etc. – obviously don’t have the same name.

(A translation table for which, in addition to clarifying, is also helpful in case anyone needs to look something up…)

Herewith, then, is a quick-reference list:

Imperial Terran
aerobic/anaerobic (do not necessarily refer strictly to oxygen *there*)
Ardinan probability Bayesian probability
Atagavia’s Limit the Bekenstein bound
blue-blotch fever
blue-blotch syndrome
radiation sickness
boson1 condensate Bose-Einstein condensate
Callaneth mechanics Newtonian (classical) mechanics
Callaneth’s Lemma2 Newton’s Third Law
Chronological Consistency Protection Theorem
(also Block Universe Theory)
Novikov self-consistency principle, with later quantum-mechanical extensions
clanking replicator Von Neumann machine
classical elements not our four; *there*, the six designated pre-chemistry elements are Air, Fire, Water, Wood, Metal, and Stone
consciousness loop Cartesian theater
constellation (refers to clusters of close-linked stargates as well as star patterns)
divided-particle process Penrose process
ecopoesis terraforming
fission cell (small) radiothermal generator
gallé near infrared
gravity well maneuver Oberth effect
Greater Ancíël Whirl the Large Magellanic Cloud
hidden cog (metaphor) invisible hand (likewise)
horizon radiation Hawking radiation
iatropsychics psychiatry (well, sort of)
Indeterminacy Barrier Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
Isif Theorem (not proven *here*; a non-constructive proof that P=NP)
ivén low ultraviolet
kernel4 Kerr-Newman black hole (or, rather, specifically the “industrial-grade” kind)
Laras globule Bok globule
Lesser Ancíël Whirl the Small Magellanic Cloud
libration point6 Lagrange point
Lorith cage Faraday cage
Luminal Limit the speed of light
nuclear magnetic resonance imaging5 magnetic resonance imaging
minimum delta transfer Hohmann transfer
nucleonic device/weapon nuclear device/weapon
overweave virtual private network
powercell rechargeable battery7
rainbow glass trinitite (well, created by the same mechanism, but of somewhat different composition)7
sapphireglass transparent ceramic alumina
Senna’s Belt the Kuiper belt
Seredháïc-class ice miner equivalent of a Kuck mosquito
serís high ultraviolet
(the) Shards8 the Oort cloud
slate tablet (computer)
slugthrower gun; not necessarily firearm, but a KE-based projectile weapon
snaplight glow stick
social disease (not a euphemism for an STI; an epidemic toxic meme, rather)
sophont9 person
sophontology anthropology (only less, y’know, racist10)
Stannic cogitator Babbage engine
Stannic-computable Turing computable
Starfall Arc the Milky Way
sunblade a (weaponized) thermal lance
swarmweave flash mob
sweetmilk honeyed yoghurt drink
Sylithandríël’s Daughters hypothesis Gaia hypothesis (Lovelock, et. al.)
Talith Drive Lemma Tsiolkovsky rocket equation
technecology what the Internet of Things wants to be when it grows up
theobrom (fabbed) hot chocolate drink
synthdrink soft drink (although not all of them are)
tessera Planck granularity
Theory of Relativistics Theory of Relativity
Tiráms manifold Calabi-Yau manifold


1. I draw the line at renaming uncapitalized particles. We’ll call that a translation artifact.

2. “No credit for partial answers, maggot!”

3. Okay, so this one doesn’t actually exist on Earth, but the question has come up…

4. Which, yes, I got from Atomic Rockets here – their local etymology is appropriate, though, because their chief usage is as the kernels of stargates and of contraterragenesis plants.

5. Some people aren’t scared of the big bad n-word…

6. Which is also a perfectly valid term *here*, yes, but the point is that they don’t call ’em Lagrange points.

7. Although their version is made of stacked superconducting loops.

8. Metaphorically, the shards of the shattered crystal sphere (theory).

9. Yes, even in relatively common usage.

10. “You humans are all racist!”

Imperial Fringe, or, Map Time

Today’s gift for y’all is… a new map! A bigger map! A better map!

This map:


Which basically quintuples the amount of the Worlds that has been mapped on a system-by-system basis by extending that from the Imperial Core to the entire Imperial Fringe. Enjoy! (Although it’s big, so be aware when you click through.)

Key and notes:

  • As is usual, it’s a link-graph map, i.e., like a metro map, and a projection of 3D space onto 2D space besides. Neither stellar distances nor relative positions are in the least accurate except in the most general possible sense.
  • Each of the constellations (the Imperial Core plus the five constellations of the Imperial Fringe) represented is represented as a box containing the associated star systems. At the edges, the little orange boxes with CAPITAL LETTERS inside them represent links out to the other constellations of the Worlds.
  • The majority of Imperial star systems are represented as GOLD nodes. The exceptions to this are:
    • Certain important systems highlighted in RED (the throneworld, the IN Prime Base, the Cirys sphere and Cirys swarm); and
    • The system dedicated to the Conclave of Galactic Polities, indicated in BLUE; and
    • Imperial conlegial systems, indicated in GREEN; and
    • The original Thirteen Colonies (reached subluminally) represented in PALE GOLD.
  • Non-Imperial star systems are represented as PURPLE nodes.
  • Stargate pairs connecting systems are represented as SOLID lines. Stargate pairs connecting entire constellations are represented as DASHED lines. Crossing lines, as per the symbology, don’t actually intersect.
  • Arterial routes, i.e., extra-high-capacity stargate pairs, are represented as THICK lines.
  • The ORANGE line represents one major interstellar trade route passing through the Empire, the Mercantile Corridor. The GREEN line represents the other, the Lethiaza Trade Spine.
  • GOLD systems with a RED border are Imperial systems that connect directly to non-Imperial systems and as such form part of the Interface Defense Matrix. Also, when you get there, you have to clear immigration.


Special extra challenges for the detail-oriented reader with some time to kill:

…how many different ante-Eldraeic roots for “world, place, land, planet, etc.” can you identify from the names of the various Imperial worlds seen on this map? And how many of those are actually exotic-species routes?

…how many and which extra-Imperial polities can you draw lines around based on commonalities of name scheme among the non-Imperial worlds?

Answers and questions in comments, please!

(P.S. Yes, that’s “Kerbol System” down there in the High Verge; having thrown that reference in as an homage, I’m hardly going to reverse myself now. Any assumptions one might make, however, about its planets, inhabitants, space program, or other details, however, are distinctly non-canonical.)

Trope-a-Day: Religion of Evil

Religion of Evil: Mostly averted. While there has certainly been historical evil, there have been very few actual entropy-cults.  For the most part, the evil have been more interested in the personal benefits than philosophical commitment to the Death of Everything, even if their actions are entropic as a side-effect. Much the same goes for those religions which the Church of the Flame has strong ethos-based differences with; one can be mistaken without being an active entropist.

(That being said, many people can probably list for you quite a few religions which they think are evil, even if they’re not of evil, a subtlety which is probably lost on many non-theologians.)

You might also classify the control memeplexes of any number of dysfunctional seed AI under this, but really, they’re more religions of control rather than strictly evil.

Author’s Note: I Have The Death Sentence…

Seeing as that last was pretty much a blatant Star Wars reference, I feel the urge to point out that a thermal sword is not, actually, the local lightsaber equivalent.

It’s a short one of these with a hilt stuck on it.

Which is to say, it’s the exact opposite of a more elegant weapon for a more civilized age; it’s an ugly-ass weapon that’s precisely what you would expect the denizens to cobble together from wreckyard salvage down at your local wretched hive of scum and villainy.

(Also, given the somewhat harder universe parameters, even if it were possible to solve the many and varied physical, engineering, and practical problems involved in waving about a hand-held magnetic bottle of plasma at all, the laws of narrative integrity would require that you die a horrible, fiery death on first encountering an enemy with magnets

…how do they work?)

Handwavium: Clarifying Tangle/FTL Restrictions

…since I’ve accumulated a couple of queries on this, it’s probably a good thing to clarify.

The restriction on taking tangle (and certain other members of its family of technologies) through a stargate arise from the details of the Minovsky Physics I have defined to fill in the handwavium gap between ontotechnology and our understanding of the universe. I’m not exactly ready to give a full primer on the details of those, heh, but here’s the relevant parts:

  • From a quantum-physics-interpretation perspective, the three competing current Theories of Everything are equivalent to a non-local-hidden-variables interpretation. (In short, I’m assuming that some version of NLHV is correct.)
  • All of these imply “privileged channels” – this is a metaphor – by which state information is “teleported” – this is an even worse metaphor – about the place.
  • I draw from various ideas I have seen in the scientific literature relating quantum entanglement to the quantum foam to thus associate these “privileged channels” with the foam-scale wormholes.
  • (Some of this may seem familiar to those who’ve paid attention to the revealed technical details of stargates. If you also notice some inspiration from Greg Bear’s conphysics in Moving Mars and Anvil of Stars, that’s probably fair to say.)

What does this mean for tangle? Well, it means that for those “privileged channels” to function, they require coherency. Ordinarily, this is a given – we, at the macroscale and even the particle nanoscale, all operate in a nice, consistent spacetime geometry, if one that’s interestingly distorted in places. But then there are stargates, which blow up a wormhole to macroscopic proportions, allow transit, and then collapse it, pinching it off. That breaks coherency because it changes the spacetime topology, not something that normally happens up here. The universe is a robust thing and can handle that/clean up after it, but the nitpicky privilege-dependent details like entanglement – be it the quantum kind or the more subtle kind tangle channels use – are wiped clean in the process.

And that’s why you can’t jump a tangle channel – meaning, specifically, one end of a tangle channel leaving the other end behind – through a stargate. Once you do, the entanglement is broken and both ends are now just boxes filled with random bits. (Incidentally, this is also why you can’t jump a stargate through a stargate; it scrambles the core’s connection to its counterpart.)

But you can, which has been the point that has led to some confusion, jump both halves of the same tangle channel together, because the topology change then happens around them; they stay inside a self-coherent “bubble” geometry, if you will.

So, for example, when I mention the use of tangle to communicate between IN starships and their AKVs, or tactical sensor platforms, they can get away with that because both ends of the tangle channel jump together; but if they jumped out-system and back in again leaving the platforms behind, they’d lose the communication channel. Likewise, they can’t use tangle comms with pre-placed sensor platforms unless they pick up the other half of the channel after jumping in.

And the chap who stole a colonial tangle-channel and ran off with it to do an NFT scam? He had no problems getting the stolen channel to his target world, because what he stole was both ends neatly packed together in their shipping container.

On the other hand, though, when looking at examples like the tangle channel the Stratarchy of Indirection and Subtlety were using on Vontok II, and so forth, those had to pre-positioned and taken aboard once they got in system. (There are a number of strategies for this, all of them annoyingly complicated and most of them involving some sort of masquerade or other, because they have to delivered STL and even a light-sail starwisp is not what you might call the stealthiest of craft.)

Likewise, when you see starships being ordered to report in over tangle channel, like, say, WHISPER NINE or SHUFFLE FOURTEEN, those tangle channels aren’t carried with the starship, if it’s not a lighthugger. Fleet Communications has carefully and subluminally placed communication relays at lots of different points in the Worlds with onboard channels – some of them in satellites that can receive radio signals, others, more covert, that you actually have to dig up and plug in – and you use them by going to their location, or sending a courier to their location, and then transmitting your message.

Hopefully that should clear everything up!

Author’s Note: Quebérúr

For your envisioning pleasure – and also because I secretly hope someone will send me fan art along the lines of a classic Old West painting set on said Mars-type world (beautiful for spacious pink skies and vermilion mountains’ majesty above its fruited plain of mottled green and blue grass, although the grain still comes in amber waves) – the greenlife quebérúr is a relative of the Terran bison. Specifically, it’s a separate descendant of Bison antiquus than our modern Bison bison, that has kept the 15%-25% larger size of the former (about 7.5′ tall, 15′ long, and 3,500 lbs.) Other relevant differences include having developed curled, downward-pointing horns, and being able to digest and mostly excrete the non-overlapping compounds across the bluelife/greenlife gap without being poisoned or sickened by them. Much the same parameters apply to their transbovine descendants.

Every bit as tasty, though!