Things to See, Places to Go (2)

Hyníne: One of the inner moonlets orbiting the ice giant Raziké, the 10th and outermost planet in Lumenna orbit, Hyníne is a largely undistinguished chunk of water ice some 400 miles in radius. While a few private getaway habitats are recorded as existing here, there are no major domes or orbiting habitats.

Hyníne would have gone entirely unremarked in history were it not that in 3130, Hyníne witnessed the last act of the Consolidation. A rogue starship of the Cerenaith Alliance-in-Exile, fleeing an unsuccessful attempt to seize propellant tankers off Melíeré, was on course to use Raziké in a dangerous gravitational slingshot maneuver cutting through the plane of its faint rings. This course took it close to Hyníne, and it was near the point of closest approach, a mere 6,800 miles range, that this starship was caught and destroyed by an AKV operating from CS Enfilade, an escort destroyer of the Imperial Navy. This action is historically notable both as the final action of the Consolidation before the surrender at 32 Avénan and the start of the Aeon-Long Peace, and as the first known action in which a fully autonomous sophont AI destroyed a crewed starship on its own initiative.

The Hyníne Action is commemorated by a small solar-powered memorial beacon constructed at what would have been the point of nearest approach on Hyníne’s surface, jointly sponsored by the Office of Imperial Veterans and Sophont Software Sovereignty.

– Leyness’s Worlds: Guide to the Core Worlds

Opening Shots

It was a wet, cold, shivery, gray afternoon at the dying end of autumn. Fog blanketed the waters of the bay and veiled the other towers in a manner that made them look almost respectable; almost. The harbor towers had been little more than frameworks of heavy, rejected ship-timbers and bamboo lashing when they were new, and they hadn’t been new for more than a few years.

We shivered in our thick coats of upriver fur, stamping our feet to keep warm, and watching the clouds of our breath blend with the fog. Even our sniff-hound was shivering, and he had more fur than both of us put together. With fog lying heavy, not even the usual traffic of small traders and fishers wanted to navigate the bay shoals. Nothing to look at, nothing to do: welcome to the Harbor Guard.

Until Meijis, my partner, spotted them. Five or six ships incoming, glimpsed through patches in the fog. Unusual, at the best of times, and unheard of in this weather, the more so because they looked to be, best as we made out, in staggered line ahead; a battle formation.

Pirates, we thought, or some other kind of raiders. Lost, we presumed, since the harbor was well-defended, but better to be safe than not, so I sent Meijis down to ring the warning bell, and heard it picked up by the other towers in the chain.

His eyes were wide when he climbed back up top. “They’re coming in fast. Too fast for than any ship I’ve seen moving against the wind.” The view down there must have been better, but at that moment the fog drew back, and I saw that he was right, and more. These weren’t like any ship we’d seen – low-slung, sailless and mastless, gray as the sky and water, undecorated but for the sharp-angled writing the azik use. At first I thought they were afire, for smoke – hidden by the fog – billowed from their squared-off sterns…

“Quor! What do –”, Meijis’s voice yanked me out of my stupor.

“Sink ‘em!” We leapt together for the largest ballista and swung it around to bear, lighting the slow fuse on its charge and yanking back the lever. The great bolt flew straight and true, hitting the foremost of the ships just aft of the midline, then bouncing from its unmarked hull with an oddly subdued clang and vanishing below the waves. The sniff-hound yelped at that, and leapt from the tower into the harbor waters. He was the smart one.

Thunder spoke the ship’s reply. The tower fell away beneath us.

Sar Anpeng fell to the Imperials before dusk.

– recorded in The Southern Consolidation: Viewpoints

Let’s Not Do That Again

“…to refer to the Consolidation as the Consolidation Wars, as is the practice of certain critical historians, is to do the period an injustice. While the foreign policies of the time were largely if irregularly driven by the Senate axis revolving around the Immanent Destinarians, the Sons of Liberty, and the Bellipotency – the forerunners of the modern Imperium Bellipotent – only one of these was a true “war party”, and the Consolidation also laid the groundwork for the modern Empire’s pattern of peaceful growth, ‘Consolidation Without Conquest’.

“We should never forget the examples, in our urge to draw judgments from history, of the free and earnest admission, by their own desire, of Cimoníë and the Travinth; of the wagers over daehain that brought Istalyn and Merianvard into the fold; of the peaceful revolutions of Crescenthold and Isahan; of the troubled, but successful mutual cultural assimiliation that created the Iniositac-Variasotec Commonwealth for autochthon and antichthon alike; of the simple bribery of the Veilyns oligarchs. Victory without blood, without tears, ultimately without loss.

“And if we are instead to draw our examples from the purely warlike aspects of the Consolidation – a minority of a period scattered over sufficient history that the so-called Consolidation Wars began with spear, shield, and phalanx, and ended with fusion bombs, autonomous orbital k-kill platforms, and scuttling tank-drones – let us not permit ourselves the luxury of selectivity. The Imperium Bellipotent reveres the conquests of Ochale and Breysvard, the annexation of Twingirt Deme, honorable warfare between daryteir, won and lost with grace and acceptance. Do they also remember with reverence the butchery on the fields of Indimór, the disaster at Lorai Vallis, the fall of the Talentar elevator, the naked annihilation of the Amynmahar and the Aictektep?

“The scars of these wars may have healed during the Aeon-Long Peace, but are the memories so lost to time that we would again inflict such bloody wounds upon ourselves, or those we would add to ourselves? The voice of history that comes down to us from the Consolidation is clear, and speaks – as does it ever – in favor of choice over coercion, however tempting a short-cut might appear to those who refuse to listen.”

– Modern Bellatrists: Why They All Have Their Heads Stuck Up Their Emergency Discharge Ports,
Academician Indis Ellestrion-ith-Ellerovyn