Trope-a-Day: Do Not Adjust Your Set

Do Not Adjust Your Set: The obvious canonical example is the Emergency Notification System, run jointly by the Watch Constabulary and Emergency Management Authority, which can send out a signal across the IIP mesh network preempting every device to deliver an emergency notification. Subverted inasmuch as it can be overridden freely at the receiving end, on the grounds that if there’s a gorram emergency going on, people might need to use those devices.

(There is also is counterpart, the Emergency Monitoring System. Separate from the basic functionality in which devices that perceive an emergency happening locally will report it of their own volition, the EMS permits a code to be sent out instructing all devices within a specific area to activate all their sensors and report what they perceive to the WC/EMA. Again, this is optional functionality – no-one has to participate for obvious privacy and property reasons – but rather depends on the authorities being trustworthy and individuals being mutually responsible citizens…)

Truth In Nomenclature

damnfool switch (n.): Engineering / aerospace jargon. Damnfool switch is an alternate term for the Master Envelope Interlock Disable switch; i.e., that switch which disables the hardwired safety features preventing the pilot, sailing master, or other operators from commanding maneuvers or equipment operations known to cause damage to, or the potential destruction of, the vehicle. (See also: redlining.)

The damnfool switch acquired its sobriquet due to the near-universal consensus that not only would only a damn fool disable said interlocks in anything other than a dire and imminent emergency, but that most of the people who have disabled them under such circumstances were also damn fools at the time.

idiot light (n.): The warning light, usually located next to the Master Alarm indicator, that indicates that the damnfool switch has been engaged; so named because the illumination of the idiot light indicates that an idiot surely must be in command of the vehicle.

– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary

Trope-a-Day: Instant Emergency Response

Instant Emergency Response: As a side effect of the AI monitors on the raw feed mentioned under Big Brother Is Watching, which both make sure response is dispatched to observed crimes and accidents as they happen, and which are happy to use predictive algorithms to make sure that its in place before they happen; and inasmuch as the various emergency services have widely distributed robot hotels to make sure that they can at least get cybershell feet or wing on the ground very rapidly, emergency response is very rapid, and most of the time, you dont need to explicitly call it in if youre in public.

Welcome Aboard

“Your attention please, gentlesophs and adjuncts, and on behalf of Captain Corrével and the remainder of the crew, welcome aboard the IS Elegant Locus, operating Interstar flight 963 from Mer Dinévál Countermass Station, Seranth, to Star City Highport, Clajdíä.  I am Galry Inurian-ith-Inuriannon, your purser for this flight.”

“At this time, all passengers and freight have been boarded, and the airlock doors have been closed.  We have been given a departure window commencing in one hour, at which time the holds will be sealed for the duration of transit.  If you have special cargo or steerage-class passengers you wish to check upon, please do so at this time.”

“When our departure is announced, please return to the ship’s lounge until we clear the station.  Since we will be in microgravity immediately after departure and for the rest of the voyage, please ensure that all of your luggage and personal chattels are properly stowed and liquid containers sealed previous to this time.  Emesis containers are located in the pocket of each lounge seat, and microgravity adaptation syndrome drugs are available on request from the lounge stewards or other crew members.  For those passengers who are not spacer-certified, Interstar is pleased to offer a complimentary basic class in microgravity navigation and other tasks in the ship’s gymnasium immediately after departure.  Our time of transit to Clajdíä will be approximately eight days.”

“At this time, the Shipboard Information Service has been enabled.  Details of the costs for dedicated tight-beam or tangle transmissions are available on the ship’s intranet, as are charges for processor rental.  Batched data transfer and access to the ship’s extensive library and cache are available at no charge.”

“Under the Imperial Navigation Act, we are required to familiarize you with certain emergency procedures.  In a loss-of-pressure emergency in any compartment of the ship, this alarm will sound — and the ship’s lightning will switch to high-contrast blue.  The spacetight doors will immediately seal off each compartment.  If you are in a compartment designated as a pressure shelter at this time, identifiable by the green and blue bands painted at the top of the bulkheads, please remain where you are until otherwise instructed.”

“If you are in a compartment that is not a pressure shelter, or if you are in a pressure shelter and this alarm sounds — accompanied by strobing high-contrast blue lighting, indicating a local loss of pressure, you should immediately locate the nearest individual rescue ball.  These are located behind the emergency panels in each compartment, marked in hazard yellow.  Simply pull the panel from the wall, and remove the rescue ball.  Unfold it, place it on the floor, sit on it, and pull the red handle at the sides of the ball up simultaneously and over your head until they meet, at which point the sides of the ball will catalytically seal together and the ball will inflate.  In the event that the automatic sealer fails, remove any foreign objects from the area where the edges of the ball meet, and press the edges together manually until a proper seal is formed.  There is no need to rush; explosive decompression is exceedingly rare, and carelessness in this task is a greater risk than delay.”

“Each rescue ball contains a self-repair pack, essential medical supplies, and an intercom system to allow communication with crew and with passengers in other balls. It also contains an automatically activated rescue transponder that will report your location and status to the crew.  The rescue ball’s internal air supply will last for a minimum of one hour; if you will be required to remain for longer periods of time, the crew will connect your rescue ball to the ship’s backup oxygen supply.”

“In the event of a local loss of pressure, sealing capsules may be released into the compartment’s air to plug the leak.  While the sealant gel is unpleasant to the touch should you come into contact with it, it is non-toxic and designed to bond only to hull metals.”

“Should a fire occur in any compartment, the following alarm will sound — along with red, flashing alert signs.  You should leave the compartment immediately, following the bulkhead track lighting to the nearest spacetight door.  If a fire is of magnitude sufficient to trigger the alarm, you should not attempt to fight the fire; the fire will be extinguished when the compartment is vented to space.  Do not stop to collect your belongings or other items.  While every attempt will be made to provide reasonable escape time, the spacetight doors will seal as rapidly as is necessary to secure the safety of the ship, and the compartment vented to space to extinguish the fire.  If you are unable to escape the compartment before the spacetight doors seal, make use of a rescue ball in a location as distant from the fire as possible.”

“In the event of any other survivable emergency situation, please report to a pressure shelter compartment as soon as possible, and comply with all directions given by the ship’s crew.  If you are trapped or otherwise unable to reach a pressure shelter compartment, please contact us using the emergency channel on any ship intercom.”

“If you have any questions about the flight at any time, please don’t hesitate to ask any of our cabin stewards.  Thank you, and again, on behalf of Captain Corréval and the crew, please enjoy your voyage with Interstar.”

In Time of Emergency, The Rules Suspend The Rules

Under section 31(c) of the Imperial Emergency Management Act (Revised), 4111, in fulfillment of the Charter mandate to promote the common and mutual defense of civilization from cataclysms of nature, and exercising by herein-authorized proxy the Responsibility of Eminent Domain;

When a Class II or higher emergency has been declared by the Imperial Emergency Management Authority, or when an emergency is in progress and the Emergency Communications System is off-line;

And in the absence of duly Mandate-authorized authority, including all officers of the Ministry of Harmonic Observance;

In such situations as it shall be necessary to prevent further harm to life or property, or to perform essential works of infrastructure reconstruction, citizen-shareholders shall be authorized to enter unattended commercial (retail or storage) property, containing construction materials or repair supplies, within the zone of the Emergency in an orderly manner, and appropriate therefrom such goods as are necessary for the prevention of harm or performance of essential works, as stated.  Such appropriations shall be recorded at the site from which they were made, and the owners of said property may claim due recompense at the market price for such appropriations from the Imperial Emergency Management Authority.

Citizen-shareholders are reminded that the appropriation of any goods not required to prevent harm to life or property or to perform essential works of infrastructure reconstruction, to fail to properly record all such appropriations, or to cause any unnecessary property damage, or to leave property vulnerable to further damage, in the course of such appropriation is forbidden under section 31(c) of the aforementioned Act, and shall constitute the crime of looting.  In times of Class II or higher emergency, looters are considered enemies of the public safety, and are to be shot on sight; citizen-shareholders are further reminded that the law enforcement duty is the responsibility of every citizen-shareholder, especially in emergency situations.

It should also be noted that the privilege of appropriation conferred by section 31(c) is intended to cover emergencies of unusual duration, and that the responsible citizen-shareholder should not consider it a substitute for individual crisis readiness, as delineated on pp. 432-440.  Remember, a prepared Empire is a safe Empire!

– Codex of Civic Services and Citizen Responsibilities, 117th edition