Beneath Their Wings

the Empire’s Shadow: the common and collective name for a group of organizations on the interstellar scene in the Associated Worlds, loosely defined as those organizations which are not in and of themselves arms of Imperial policy, but which take immoderate advantage of their chosen work not being illegal by Imperial standards, and the general reluctance of most polities to provoke the friendly neighborhood dragon. (Also known as “the Empress’s skirts”, presumably a metonym for what they are hiding behind.)

Among the most well-known of these are the Agalmic Information Foundation (freedom of information), the Astrapostale (mail delivery… everywhere), Celeritous Exit (snakeheading), the Council for the Promotion of Scientific Irresponsibility (freedom of research), the Eldinimieuthunumis (that fun which is oft called vice), the Freedom’s Seed COG (exporting revolution), the Holy Order of Deoclasts (antimissionaries), the Inevitable Justice Foundation (prosecuting crimes against sophoncy), the Last Gleam Preservers (saving souls), the Means of Defense COG (the right and means to bear arms), Miscegenation Nation (supporting interspecies and other unconventional relationships), the Secret-Keepers (cryptography, cryp, and data havens), the Technic Imperative (access to tools and concepts), the rare filibustering TTGs, and some indeed would argue much of the Starfall Arc Free Merchant Confraternity (smuggling).

– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary

The Seal of Quality


I have completed the investigation of the quality control incident of last month with regard to various varietals of our pleasure fruit on sale in the Chonsey Provinces.

It would appear that one of the local suppliers chosen to produce these varietals took it upon themselves (in direct defiance of our Better Product mandate) to dope the pleasure fruit produced with anticompetitive sequesterands targeted at the hedonic products of competing organizations. This led to various customers becoming unable to consume said products, in many cases without suffering severe side effects.

These customers have been informed of the reason for these events, and compensated accordingly for past harms done. Discounted access to our products has also been offered in the interests of goodwill.

Internally, OP1 in this constellation was deemed to be guilty of only minor negligence, and has been informed of a cut in his percentages. A formal reprimand has been placed in his file.

As per standard procedure for handling supply of known-contaminated goods, our contract, and the supplier, have been terminated.

Awaiting further instructions,

SOP Bluesteel

– archived from the Chonsey Provinces Eldinimieuthunimis darknet

Trope-a-Day: Recruiting the Criminal

Recruiting the Criminal: There are those who wonder about the existence of crime (actual crime, not merely the assortment of smugglers and people like the Eldinimieuthunimis who no-one locally would consider to be engaged in real crime) in Imperial and near-Imperial space.  Surely the Transcend should be able to stamp that sort of thing out completely, not just near-completely?  (Well, no, for reasons which among other things, involve showing some respect for free will.)  Other people also point to the influence of one of the more morally gray of the eikones, Éadínah, the Princess of Shadows, eikone of night, darkness, subtlety, deeply-laid plans, and some would indeed say organized crime, or with a roll of the eyes point out the way in which all too many Imperials will look at the Gentleman Thief or the Classy Cat Burglar and permit their respect for talent, skill and sheer awesomeness to outweigh, albeit not overpower, their sense of moral outrage.

And, while those are most of the reasons, there is also the fact that various agencies – from the Fifth Directorate through more well-known parts of ISS, certain private agencies and even, indeed, some parts of official law enforcement – find having people like Mass Effect‘s Kasumi Goto, the Leverage team, etc., around to call on for those skills that they don’t teach in academia extremely useful.

(Nor, indeed, are they particularly shy about occasionally recruiting out of the justice system, when they can, with the promise of challenging work, an excellent benefits package, and the opportunity to keep any unconsidered trifles one might pick up along the way…)

Trope-a-Day: Band of Brothels

Band of Brothels: The Circle of Silken Flowers, as mentioned under Platonic Prostitution, along with a couple of its lesser cousins (including the more educational Guild of Erotic Artistry).  In less platonic senses, the Negotiable Affection Division of the Eldinimieuthunimis runs a few of these abroad.  (But even these latter enforce rather, ah, higher standards of professionalism and client selectivity than most.)

The Eldinimieuthunimis Defined

<Yellow-Starred Amethyne Motet in E Flat Minor>, Staff Writer

“A sinister syndicate of crime and corruption, whose deeply-buried tentacles cast a grim shadow across the Associated Worlds.”

– Mach Journalist-I’qar, Vonikar Times

My Voniensan colleague’s taste for assorted alliteration and colorful metaphors aside, it must be admitted that certain of his allegations are true, as are those made more quietly by various other news providers within the Worlds themselves.

From my perspective, of course, as an Imperial citizen-shareholder and resident, the Eldinimieuthunimis is merely a perfectly legitimate trading house.  Their public office tower in Mer Covales is visible from my desk as I write this.  Their openly published corporate accounts and other records are unimpeachable.  (Although the list of outworlders holding 38% of their public nonvoting stock under the shield of Seranth’s labyrinthine banking privacy laws would doubtless make fascinating reading, given the sources of much of the foreign criticism of the organization.)  And no executive or employee of the core organization has ever been indicted, much less convicted, on any issue relating to their corporate operations.

Some of this discrepancy is a matter of location, of course.  The Eldinimieuthunimis locates very few of its operations inside the Empire; as their affable estrev-i-ráyestrev (“overboss”) Calin Sargas-ith-Sarathos Methunimis is happy to explain, there’s very little point in trying to run a syndicate inside the Empire, whose notoriously libertist politics and freewheeling attitude make it reluctant to make most of the traditional money-makers for this type of operation illegal; and thus, makes them unprofitable when the competition is made up of more standard commercial organizations.

Outside the Empire, however, the Eldinimieuthunimis operates very successfully through a number of arms-length sub-syndicates in the fields of smuggling, gray marketeering, arms dealing, information brokerage, and trading in locally illegal technology, immortagens, and hedonic pharmaceuticals, with occasional sidelines in black clinics, gambling, negotiable affection, and snakeheading to freesoil worlds.

The notable thing, of course, about this list of operations – as certain of my colleagues have pointed out – would be the virtual impossibility of convicting someone of any of them in front of a Curial court, given the Charter’s restrictions.  And indeed, the politics and attitude of the Imperial mainstream are such that it is most unlikely that the governments whom they do offend – by treading on their ability to restrict their citizens’ access to weapons, biotechnology (especially immortagens), information and hedonics, or to inject tariffs into private contracts – will find much sympathy in the Court of Public Opinion, either.  The rare occasions on which an attempt has been made to extradite an identified thunimidár (“faded person”; lowest-level employee of the core business, overseeing a particular outworld operation) would appear to bear this out.

Of course one does occasionally see some of their agents from the sub-syndicates hauled up in front of a Curial court and either extradited, or subjected to severe censure; usually in cases where they have been involved in something the Eldinimieuthunimis would consider going too far, such as selling arms to terrorist or violent criminal groups, resorting to sophont trafficking, taking up more traditional organized crime activities such as extortion, or some other such.  It would be the purest paranoia to suggest that the Eldinimieuthunimis has a tacit arrangement with the Watch Constabulary to burn its rogue operations in exchange for providing something for the diplomats to point at by way of action against the Sinister Imperial Mafia.

The same sort of paranoia that might lead this journalist to suggest that the operations of the Eldinimieuthunimis are broadly tolerated by a plurality of Accord governments in order to reduce the market share of much less scrupulous crime syndicates, in fact.

– published in a recent edition of the Accord Infoclast

Steganography (2/2)


As requested, I collected the package from the courier at Jerrad’s party.  No problems – the usual watchers were there, but there were no signs that anyone suspected an op in progress.  And with the transfer spread out over two dances and three conversations out of dozens, the statistical alibi should be solid.

I have reintegrated package HALO with packages CRAVAT and BOOZEHOUND previously collected by third-level operatives, and confirm successful reassembly and authentication.  The recipe is ready to deploy to second-level manufacturing on your instruction, and immortagen shipments should be go for street-level distribution within the week following.

Finally, I would note that in addition to the clean transfer, the courier positioned herself at the center of attention to avert suspicion of covert intent without, in my opinion, displaying the memetic tells of intentionally doing so.  In light of this excellent tradecraft, I would suggest that we recommend to the estrev paying this courier the highest level of performance bonus and adding her to the preferred external contractor list.

Awaiting further instructions,

OP2 Grayiron

– archived from the Falish Traverse Eldinimieuthunimis darknet