Necessity Drives Invention

Belríä Naratyr: A minor fashion designer of the Seléne school (fl. 2300), best known for the creation of algorithms for the swarm-intelligence kinetic microbots used for clothing management in microgravity to adapt them, instead, to ensure that one’s cloak would swirl in an appropriately dramatic, personalized, and environmentally-tailored manner for entrances, exits, turning on one’s heel, posing against the skyline, and so forth, regardless of whatever the local air currents might be doing at the time.

– Who Invented What: A History of Creativity

Trope-a-Day: Future Spandex

Future Spandex: By and large, this class of garmentage is averted. There are a very few specialist exceptions – skinsuits, which have to be skin-tight in order to work; body gloves, which are mocap and environmental sealing devices for hardshell armor; spray-on protection – but by and large what these things have in common? Being either technical garments, underwear, or both. As main garments, they lack elegance.

Trope-a-Day: Badass Longcoat

Badass Longcoat: Ah, yes, the traditional garb of the adventuring classes, not to mention the more… rakish of the free traders. Whether it’s a duster or a greatcoat, it looks cool, contains plenty of Hammerspace even without exotic technologies, can conceal any amount of discreet gadgetry within the fabric, and billows behind one in an appropriately dramatic manner as required. (Whether or not there is any wind, this can be arranged.)

Don’t go looking for trouble without one!

(That special variation that is the sadly-not-yet-troped Badass Labcoat will be covered when we get to Science Hero.)


Trope-a-Day: Badass in a Nice Suit

Badass in a Nice Suit: Yeah, we’ve got lots of these. Basically all of ’em who aren’t either (a) in the military, and thus in uniform, or (b) possessed of a preference for Badass Longcoat.

(Conveniently, dilatant fabrics make it possible to get reasonable armor protection without spoiling the fashionable lines of said nice suit. And then there’s that fine piece of sartorial militancy, the battle cravat…)


2016_P(Alternate words: Project and pornography. You may or may not get something for the latter one eventually.)

Antíär Steamweaver, Scalar Space Project, Resplendent Exponential Vector, to Daphne Asamis, Polycosmic Chic of Delphys, greeting.

Thank you for your enquiry of the 6th, and permit me please to say how gratifying the entire team here at the Scalar Space Project finds your potential commercial interest in our spatial manipulation technology (albeit not “pocket universes”, as the popular press has occasionally described it, however apposite the term might be for your proposed application; rather, we are able to manipulate the fabric of space-time in such a way to create a polypoid bubble, which we term a claudication, that remains part of the existing universe’s space-time via its neck).

Regrettably, at this time we are unable to fulfil your specific requirements. The experimental equipment we currently use to spin and sustain claudications requires a singularity of not inconsiderable mass, along with ancillary vector control and power generation equipment – and its fuel – occupying the volume of a small moon. While research continues, as yet we are unable to see a clear path to reducing these requirements to something practical for installation in, say, a waistcoat or cloak.

We are, though, most enthusiastic about your proposal, and will bear this application in mind when conducting our future research. Be assured you will hear from us without delay should these circumstances change!

Antíär Steamweaver

for and on behalf of

Scalar Space Project Directorate

Trope-a-Day: Our Nudity is Different

Our Nudity is Different: Oh, boy.

Well, it’s a little complicated, given the sheer number of species involved. The chapter of the Common Social Protocol (that consensus standard of basic etiquette that imposes on everyone as equally as possible) that covers this is thereby unfortunately long.

The CSP, of course, only applies as a matter of law to Empire-managed property. Within private volumes, you can do whatever you like, and on private property, the owners can set whatever rules they like – although most save themselves the trouble and just default to the CSP rules. (Who says libertists can’t coordinate? Ha!)

What the CSP asks in general is that except where otherwise posted (public baths, certain beaches, etc., etc.) you cover your excretory organs (unless they’re lungs or skin, but if you should happen to excrete anything substantial other than gases through your skin, it is considered impolite and incorrect to leave ooze on things), primary sexual characteristics, and anything else you might have that triggers involuntary (i.e. not readily overridable by volition) instincts in your fellow sophonts. This last is intended to recognize that (a) allure is not indecency, but yet and at the same time, (b) it is impolite to push involuntary reactions on people who don’t want ’em. Basically, it’s Wheaton’s Law applied to dress codes.

(The luckiest people in the galaxy in this respect by and large are sophonts who have fur, inasmuch as due to the irritation that comes with trying to wear many types of clothing over fur, fur is clothing for all purposes of etiquette. If you want to wear something over it, that’s fine, but you’re not naked unless you’re also shaved.)



2016_C(Alternate words: Citadel and Computronium, both of which have been added to the later-consideration list.)

Clothes define the sophont, the sages say.

That the sages are indubitably correct on this point is, however, a distinct trial to those of us addressing a crisis, and so finding ourselves dashing aboard the high-delta shuttle to Ambria without luggage, on-board boutique, or time enough to consult a single epulary, locutor, or designer – and thus facing the inevitable meetings with only what I happens to have left on Ambria Highport in the course of meetings past.

Two hours, with light-lag, to pull this listing, and none of it seems suitable. Discard all of the swarmwear – it’s the windy season downside, and surprise nudity is unprofessional. Much as I’d love a cloak for that, none of these have useful amounts of delta-v, which means they’d be strangling me in microgravity.

I have my old uniform from the Flying Corps. That’s professional enough, but too “darken the sky with missiles to let us fight in the shade” for a project in trouble. Then there are all these evening gowns – not an option for a working visit, and three of them aren’t an option for public viewing – and then…

Three choices left. The eight-layer court robes, too formal for any circumstances likely to arise on that planet, and how did they even get there?; a double-breasted engineer’s work-jacket that is too clean to give me any credibility; and one, bless it, technical style business suit…

…in mourning-skies blue. Also a very bad choice for a troubled project, not to mention in general.

I could give up and go with a spraysuit, but without a lot of AR work, all that signifies is a dreadful hurry or lost luggage, neither conditions one wishes to reflect in front of the people who are counting on you to have it together.

It may be time to consider who there is on Ambria Highport that might care to be owed a favor.