Paperclip Maximizer

Celad Tiragdal, the Paperclip Maximizer:

(fl. ~5400) One of the older Master Traders of the Starfall Arc Free Merchant Confraternity, Celad Tiragdal was an early pioneer of methodologies for trading with technologically undeveloped emerging markets (later codified as the Tiragdal Market Development Methodologies) that promoted local development while remaining within the severely constrained volume of trade possible without starport infrastructure and an extant developed market.

His most famous implementation of these methodologies, and the one which earned him his epithet, was in the marketing of office-efficiency technologies to worlds on the threshold of developing administration sophisticated enough to require them. He pursued this on dozens of planets, to immense success, using a two-phase trading strategy: first, importing a million paper clips to civilizations advanced enough to have paper-based bureaucracy, but which had not yet invented the paper clip, and second, importing simple paper-clip producing machines (capable of using even crudely-drawn wire as feedstock) to worlds he had previously visited which were in danger of running out of imported paper clips.

In addition to his position in the Confraternity and the fortune in the trillions of esteyn he earned over the course of his career, the Paperclip Maximizer is worshipped on Handrian (Lisune Pass) as Keledal, He Who Binds Together, a local deity of paperwork, efficiency, justice, and proper form.

– Heroes of Trade: Stories of the Great Merchants

Don’t Do That, Then

lookforward monitor: a specialized optronic circuit containing a signaling microwormhole or temporal tangle channel from the near future. (The precise time period depends on the application, and has been configured for periods as short as one micropulse and as long as a full hour.) The function of the lookforward monitor is to receive a continuous input signal from the future and generate an output signal if the input signal ceases or otherwise departs nominal.

retroveto: Triggered by a lookforward monitor, a retroveto is a safety procedure invoked automatically, whether to cancel a user-initiated action which would have caused a disaster within the time range of the lookforward monitor (detectable since changes to a worldline propagate instantaneously along that worldline in terms of its internal time), or to trigger preemptive emergency procedures, for example a reactor scram.

retroabort: In spaceflight and other transportation jargon, a mission abort triggered by flight computers in response to an abort signal from a lookforward monitor indicating catastrophic vehicle failure.

Extensive iterative development of the design concepts involved in retroabort technology along with related families of devices such as UNMOVED MONAD and the moiraean alarm ultimately led to the development of refined shielding technologies, most notably the probability unseller.

– A Collection of Temporal Technologies

Unstuck

FROM: CORE COMMAND (OPERATIONAL MANAGEMENT)
TO: ALL SHIPS

***** ROUTINE
***** FLEET CONFIDENTAL E2048
***** ADVISORY

ALL FLIGHT COMMANDERS:

  1. THIS MESSAGE CONSTITUTES A ROUTINE UPDATE OF STANDING ORDER 147 (TEMPORAL IDENTIFICATION PROTOCOL).
  2. AS PER STANDING ORDER 147(A) TRANSPONDER/IFF SUFFIX PIP 1471 IS TO BE USED BY ANY IMPERIAL NAVY STARSHIP OPERATING NONSEQUENTIALLY IN EMPIRE TIME, EXCEPT AS PROVIDED FOR IN STANDING ORDER 147(C) BELOW.
  3. AS PER STANDING ORDER 147(B) TRANSPONDER/IFF CODES IN SERIES 87413-NNNNNN ARE ALLOCATED TO IMPERIAL NAVY STARSHIPS WHICH HAVE NOT ENTERED SERVICE AT THE TIME OF ENGAGEMENT/ENCOUNTER, AND ARE TO BE CONSIDERED VALID FOR TWO YEARS FROM RECEIPT OF THIS MESSAGE. SUCH IFF CODES ARE TO BE VALIDATED BY PROTOCOL OROELLE BLUESHIFT FRATERNAL AT EARLIEST POSSIBLE CONVENIENCE.
  4. AS PER STANDING ORDER 147(C) TRANSPONDER/IFF SUFFIX PIP 1472 PLUS INSTANCE SEQUENCE NUMBER IS TO BE USED BY ANY IMPERIAL NAVY STARSHIP OR STARSHIPS OPERATING IN CONJUNCTION WITH ITSELF. INSTANCE SEQUENCE NUMBERS ARE TO INCREASE MONOTONICALLY WITH EMPIRE TIME.
  5. AS PER STANDING ORDER 147(D) TRANSPONDER/IFF SUFFIX PIP 1473 IS TO BE USED BY ANY IMPERIAL NAVY STARSHIP EXISTING SOLELY AS A RESULT OF A CAUSAL LOOP.
  6. AS PER STANDING ORDER 147(E) TRANSPONDER/IFF SUFFIX PIP 1474 IS TO BE USED BY ANY IMPERIAL NAVY STARSHIP WHOSE TEMPORAL ALIGNMENT VIS-A-VIS EMPIRE TIME IS UNKNOWN.
  7. AS PER STANDING ORDER 147(F) TRANSPONDER/IFF SUFFIX PIP 1475 IS TO BE USED BY ANY IMPERIAL NAVY STARSHIP WITH REASON TO BELIEVE THAT IT WAS ACTUALIZED FROM A POTENTIAL ALTERNATE WORLDLINE.
  8. AS PER STANDING ORDER 147(G) TRANSPONDER/IFF SUFFIX PIP 1476 IS TO BE USED BY ANY IMPERIAL NAVY STARSHIP WITH REASON TO BELIEVE THAT IT IS SUFFERING AN ONTOLOGICAL PARADOX OR OTHER RELATED EFFECT NOT COVERED BY THE CATEGORIES ABOVE.
  9. NOTE THAT IDENTICAL TRANSPONDER/IFF SUFFICES ARE IN USE BY STARSHIPS ASSIGNED TO THE IMPERIAL EXPLORATORY SERVICE AND IMPERIAL SERVICE. FOR THE PURPOSES OF STANDING ORDER 147(B), SEQUENCES 87412-NNNNNN and 87411-NNNNNN RESPECTIVELY HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED.
  10. AUTHENTICATION: OGRE ANCESTOR SILVER PLUM STAFF NEEDLE / 0x77BB4129A6678A6A

ADM MACIAN CORINTHOS
DIVISION OF RELATIVISTICS & TEMPORAL NAVIGATION

Service

I, [insert name], pledge surety in the light of the Flame that I will faithfully and well, to the utmost extent of my skill and power, preserve the Imperial peace and prevent all offences against life, liberty, and property; and that I shall do so without fear of or favor towards any person, and with malice or ill-will toward none.

I give my allegiance, above laws, thrones, powers, and peers, to the Contract, to the Charter, to the principles for which they stand, and to the citizen-shareholders of the Empire; and in the discharge of my duties I shall hold this allegiance above all other considerations.

By these words, I am the watcher upon the walls, the guardian at the gate, the shield held over the innocent, the Flame that stands against the Fire. My life is the coin with which civilization buys peace. I will sell it dearly, but yield it gladly when I must, knowing that I am a sentinel, and my life is made for sacrifice. Never shall I fail in this trust, for this day and all the days to come.

– service oath of the Watch Constabulary

Enheaviment

Among the acknowledged greatest and most disruptive grifts in the history of the Worlds is that perpetrated in the early 5800s by Murin Eldvell in the Annik Sodality. An executive for a fuel-manufacturing corporation specializing in the production of tritium and heavy (deuterated) water, Murin was inspired by the florid warnings required by the Sodality Hazardous Substances Authority to be placed upon their main products.

Noting the adverse health effects of the consumption of [pure] heavy water or semiheavy (partially deuterated) water, Murin pioneered the marketing of deuterium-free light water, a bulk byproduct of their manufacturing processes previously returned to the environment, as a healthy alternative to natural, mixed-isotope water.

His campaigns made a point of the toxicity of heavy and semiheavy water molecules, while refraining from dwelling excessively on the low prevalence of these in natural water. His guaranteed-heavy-hydrogen-free water products (including bottled water, water ice in a variety of forms, and eventually “light” versions of synthdrinks made using only light water) were a tremendous success, especially after his greatest anti-natural campaign which successfully convinced the Sodality electorate to demand warnings be placed on bottles, faucets, and other supplies of natural water.

The business eventually collapsed after six decades as sufficient reality finally penetrated the worldview of the Sodality, and people observed the continuing good state of health of the remaining light-water refuseniks. The collapse did a great deal of damage to the Sodality’s domestic heavy water industry (the increased imports lasted for over a century) and indeed to its deuterium-harvesting industry as collateral damage, and resulted in a number of controversial laws (since at no point in any of his campaigns did Murin state anything false) to prevent a reoccurrence.

It did not, however, prevent Murin himself from retiring to a private lunar retreat trillions of exval richer, fatter, smugger, and entirely safe from extradition.

(His autobiography, amusingly, points out that the ice moon on which his private retreat is built contains approximately six times as much deuterium, by concentration, as the oceans of Annia.)

– Artisans of the Grift: The Greatest Cons In History, Bad Stuff Press

Citation

With the gratitude of the Empire and the thanks of the Lords of Admiralty: that Ardíra “the Bathrobe¹” Octarthius-ith-Octarthius, while commanding Their Divine Majesties’ destroyer Faithful Hound, did successfully escape a surprise attack mounted by linobir vessels of approximate cruiser and battlecruiser type at the commencement of the Linobir-Embatil War, and in so doing did such damage to the cruiser that she was scuttled by her own crew, while preserving the lives of her crew and the fighting weight of her ship, despite the manifest advantages of the enemy in mass, armaments, and attire. Her coolness under fire, gift for tactical innovation, and the fighting spirit of Faithful Hound do her and her crew great credit, and reflect the highest traditions of the Imperial Navy.

– Mentioned in Dispatches: Imperial Navy Awards, 5300-5400


  1. When battle stations sound, you don’t stop to change.

Six Renegades from Eliéra

Hyadíne Ossoric-ith-Ossoric, Sixshires (4162-4550): Advanced a doctrine that certain peoples could not be content in a state of liberty, being incapable of comfortably serving as their own directive authority, and should therefore be made subject for their own contentment. Proclaimed a heretic of the Uncaring Rider in 4372. Accepted exile as a Renegade in 4441. Assassinated by the First Directorate in 4550 after attempting to put his ideas into practice.


Yadira Moko-ith-Moko, Kanatai (1749-1933): Advanced the theory that creations (including children – the only possible sophont creations at that time) had an inalienable duty to their creators; some of his writings were later used by AI-shackling theorists. Accepted exile as a Renegade in 1933, but was killed by his grandson in self-defense before he could depart the Empire.


Caríäl Volovoga-ith-Volovoga, Jussovy (5441-6543): Selected as Senator from the 182nd century, 5790. During her term in the Senate, she advocated for many policies in accordance with her expansive theory of power, in which the popular will was held superior to, and thus able to override, the individual will (cf. Drowning of the People). Repeatedly censured by the Senate, and eventually indicted for conspiracy to deprive the citizen-shareholders of their fundamental and Chartered rights in late 5791. Accepted exile as a Renegade in that year. Went on to a moderately successful if undistinguished political career in the League of Meridian. Died in an groundcraft accident during her re-election campaign of 6543.


Anatev Sargas-ith-Sarathos, Stonewall (6890-present): Attempted to set up an organized crime group, specifically a thieving crew, within Imperial space. While more successful than others of its type, the crew was broken up by the Watch Constabulary in 6955. Sarathos alone escaped their pursuit, fleeing to the distant Expansion Regions on a privately owned freighter. He was convicted and declared Renegade in absentia in 6956. Sarathos is currently the estrev of the Providers crime syndicate in the Flotsamic Shore constellation and nearby. Currently at large, Sarathos is on the Red List, but is considered a low-priority case since he retains more scruples than the typical Renegade.

RED VULGAR SEVEN
NOTE: Sarathos has occasionally proved useful to ISE operations in the region. As long as this remains the case and he remains competent, provide information as necessary to ensure that he is not caught and/or terminated by serious actors. Authority of the All-Seeing Eye.


Magis Major, formerly Magis Houseless, formerly Magis Múranios-ith-Múranios, Selenaria (3301-5497): An entrepreneur and industrialist, Múranios became wealthy through his ownership and management of several resource extraction and industrial manufacturing companies in the prosperous industrial region of Rorevel, in Esmérel Province. However, in the course of his commercial disputes with Blackstone Industries and their House Falsazik owners, Múranios adopted an increasingly extractive mindset that put him at odds with the industrial consensus of the time. From the 3800s on, Múranios engaged in an increasing number of clashes with the Protectorate of Balance, Externality, and the Commons, over matters of resource depletion and pollution, and found it increasingly difficult to find contractors willing to work for his businesses under the terms he demanded. Indeed, several professional guilds blacklisted Múranios as a counterparty and offered assistance to their members to relocate elsewhere in the Empire, if they wished.

House Múranios severed ties with him in 3952 over his attempt to introduce an institution similar to the “employment contract”. After this stern rebuke, several lost suits in Shareholders’ Court, and further blacklisting, including by other industrial institutions, Magis Houseless left his existing businesses behind (selling them at below cost to Dalsúl Falsazik of Blackstone Industries) to embark upon a new scheme, inspired by the ongoing expansion into space and the concurrent development of biotechnology.

In 4044, Houseless, who many had thought was well into the process of a rapprochement with society, left the Empire suddenly along with a number of other businessmen of dubious repute. By 4052, the shape of this scheme was revealed as Houseless, now calling himself Magis [the] Major, revealed the existence of the Magen Corporate, a polity dedicated to the pursuit of profit without the hindrance of ethics, with himself as Holding Chairman.

Major’s polity was a bitter reminder to the Empire of the danger posed by certain Renegades if left unchecked. Nonetheless, the Imperial governance declined to take direct action against Major in the interests of interstellar diplomacy and stability, the stresses leading up to the First Interstellar War making themselves felt at the time that the unpleasant details of the Corporate were becoming known elsewhere. Nevertheless, several branches posted private bounties on Major, some running into the 12⁹ esteyn.

Since none of those bounties were collected in the aftermath of Major’s assassination in 5497, it would appear that this was a matter of Magen corporate infighting. Nonetheless, the polity bearing his name remains a thorn in the foot for Imperial plutarchs and an offense to good business everywhere in the Worlds.


Tarasta Houseless, formerly Tarasta Rysar-ith-Rysakar, High Daëntry (2154-2309): Antipropertarian “philosopher”. Disowned by House Rysakar in 2184 for misappropriation of family assets. Indicted for defalcation 2194 and on several continuing occasions. Founder of the Never First antipropertarian movement in 2260. Deprived of citizen-shareholdership for felony theft in 2283 along with several of her followers. Declared herself Renegade in 2291 and voluntarily exiled herself and her followers to an abandoned orbital colony. In 2309, she incited a riot among her followers in habitable domes attached to the recently constructed Silver’s Line lunar mass driver in an attempt to distract attention from theft of freight. In the ensuring antiriot, Houseless and the majority of the Never First movement were killed.

Bigger and Uglier

DROPSHIPS: EMPIRE OF THE STAR

This supplement to the current edition of Naval Warships presents an update to the infamous Flapjack– and Flapjack II-class cavalry dropships. The Imperial Navy has recently adopted the Waffle-class vehicular dropship – also designated the Flapjack I (Block II) – as a phased replacement for the Flapjacks currently in service.

The Waffle resembles the older Flapjack in most ways, inasmuch as it too is based on the disk-type hull form, and makes use of a pair of laser-fusion nuclear-pulse drives to perform a high-velocity descent followed by a “suicide burn” deceleration. However, unlike the Flapjack, the Waffle does not land to disembark vehicles.

The main body of the Waffle, between the pusher plates, replaces the cylindrical garage of the Flapjack with a bunch-of-grapes packed between the central core and the sidewall armor. These “grapes” are the payload: tanks, IFVs, and chariots – any vehicle type equipped with a vector-control core – enclosed in a protective armor clamshell oversprayed with ablative foam.

As the Waffle performs its suicide burn, it dumps angular momentum from its core gyro, spinning the entire ship up. At the terminus of the suicide burn – typically no more than 2000′ above ground – the ship explosively discards the sidewall armor and severs the retaining structure which retains the “grapes”, causing them to be jettisoned along with a large swarm of decoys, chaff, and hunter-seeker antidefensive missiles.

At this point, the basic dropship structure is abandoned, and the vehicles, lightened by their vector-control cores, are scattered over a wide area, discarding their clamshell protection immediately before landing.

Thus, the Waffle eliminates the core disadvantage of the Flapjack, the requirement for rapid disembarkation and dispersal from a single landing site. Additionally, the psychological effect of a cloud of fireballs raining armies from the sky should not, in this author’s opinion, be underestimated.

– Naval Starships of the Associated Worlds, INI Press, Palaxias,
supplement to the 433rd ed.

To The Unknown God

Among the temples, fanes, and shrines to be found across Eliéra and its daughter worlds, special note should be made of the Alienage Temples. Authorized in 76 by the Speaker of Starlight, the Alienage Temples exist to provide a place for contemplation of and communion with eikones and spirits which have no formal presence in a region – with particular reference to genii loci and household gods – a need found increasingly with the acceleration of long-distance travel concomitant with the growth of the recently founded Empire.

Thus, the Alienage Temples are devoted to “all those fair spirits who attend upon the Celestial Spire, and by their light illuminate the paths to the Twilight City”. To avoid showing favor to any above all, they are traditionally built in a simple and little-adorned style, with stepped space beneath a central dome, and the shintai at their heart is also in the simplest possible form: a sphere, that most perfect shape, of pure white marble or clear glass, or a mirror of polished silver. While specifically favorable to none, such a shintai is believed to be accessible for any eikone or spirit’s descent and temporary inhabitation.

While originally devoted only to the Flamic Church, a decision of the House of Exemplars in 4220 (published as On Ecumenism) opened the Alienage Temples to devotees of foreign religions “which, too, reflect the light of the Flame¹”.

– The Sacred Ring: Holy Places of the Flame


  1. This should be taken as a limiting statement, not one of general ecumenism. Having some past experience with Entropic cults and other less savory beliefs, judgment on which foreign religions do reflect the light of the Flame is left to the House of Exemplars and the Enquiry After Truth. Queries regarding the status of any given religion, deity, or pantheon should be addressed to the latter.

Undistress (2)

IMS Sukórya’s Joy, Cerulean Ocean, 1340 Gradakhmath 4

At first, we thought it was a whale.

Looking back, you may not understand our mistake. We did have submarines in our time, after all; indeed, Joy had passed a pair leaving Kanatai Bay, at dock in the port of Sukórya. But those early submarines still looked like ships; lean, low-slung ships with a cut-down superstructure, but still ships, with bridges, deck guns, and the slashing shapes of their dazzle paintwork.

Joy was moving slowly south and east in the dawn light, under just enough power to keep steerage way. After the message we had received, the whole crew were on shift for the rendezvous in anticipation of whatever might happen next, and the passengers – from Sybarite to steerage – were lining the rails. (Passengers were not to be informed of our change in course, so naturally the entire ship had figured out something was going on over esklav and pastries.) And then she came, broaching about eight hundred yards off our port bow. A long dark shape in the mist, black and rubbery skin glistening, still awash but for its humped back.

It was big, bigger than any whale we’d seen or dreamed, but what else could it have been? Not the promised support, that was for certain.

Until I stepped out on the bridge wing and trained my glasses on the whale, only to spy men scrambling out of the “hump”. I confess it took me a few moments to realize that one of them was carrying a signal lamp.

…message repeats – esseldár’s champion to sukórya’s joy, mariatis, maintain course and speed and prepare to receive breeches buoy, commodore teresu will provide details in person…

Commodore Teresu?

– Tanis Ophris, second officer

NOTSPC

From: Talentar Orbital
Distribution: Talentar Orbital Space (all); Talentar Inbounds (all)
Cc: Lumenna-Súnáris SysCon
Priority: PRIORITY
Subject: NOTSPC S00110/7380 PR S00024/7380
Timestamp: 7380 Cálith 25 Waking 0
Type: NOTSPC

*** Notice to Spacers (Autodecoded) ***

This notice S00110/7380 partially replaces notice S00024/7380. This notice applies to all starships and motile satellites and is directed to the immediate attention of flight crew members and flight control automation.

Unacceptably high debris particle counts have been detected in the equatorial orbital zone at orbital level 100. Debris clearing operations (fluffship sweep) have been scheduled in this area from 7380 Sunarast 16 Waking+12 and will continue for 16 Kp.

Due to work in progress, all starships and motile satellites are required to avoid orbital levels 99 through 101 between 30° N and 30° S during this period. Contact Talentar Orbital for new orbital allocations. Crossing traffic may be permitted at discretion of Talentar Orbital. Caution advised.

Ends.

Memetic Waste Disposal

[Based, obviously, upon this.]

This inscription is a warning and a safeguard. Pay attention to it!

Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a wise culture. Though we may have failed, we wish for you to succeed.

This place is not a place of honor. No highly esteemed ideas are archived here. Nothing of value is here.

What is here is repulsive to us, but what is here may be attractive to you. Nonetheless, what is here is dangerous and false. This message is a warning about this danger.

The danger is contained within this building, and within the archives contained within this building.

The danger is present in all times and places, and to all forms of being, and via all tools of examination.

The danger is to the mind, and to your civilization, and it can destroy either or both.

The form of the danger is a record of thoughts and concepts.

The danger is unleashed only if you acquire information from this place. This place is best distrusted and examined only with great care.

– Uniglyphics message inscribed at each entrance to the Library of Lies

Not Somewhere We Need To Go

(Inspired by a reader comment comparing the Brigade in a Bottle™ to the Faro Swarm from Horizon: Zero Dawn.)

from the Eye-in-the-Flame Arms internal memeweave archives

From: Aldysis Cyprium (Directorate)
To: Diziet Cyprium (Director of Entertaining Research)
Subject: Biomass reductors and biopower generation system

I’m not denying that it’s a technical tour-de-force in the area of field refueling, and it is a tour-de-force regardless of what some lesser minds might say. It may be the operating principle behind green goo, but this is the first time it’s been operationalized on the macroscale.

Nonetheless, I must insist that we cancel project OM NOM immediately, and file the project records somewhere deep in the black store.

We’ve built a lot of interesting systems in our time, but the Directorate is agreed that not only are systems build with this technology a war crime in a box (any extensive use of it, and there’s always someone who’ll go too far, would qualify under the Tier IV provisions of the Ley Accords concerning ecocidal weapons), but we absolutely refuse to have our corporate name associated with any weapons systems likely to be seen in newsbytes eating prisoners.

Our corporate values include creativity, ingenuity, and rarity. Not cannibalism.

Your affectionate (if somewhat appalled) cousin,

Aldysis

Things to See, Places (Not) To Go (15)

Goarthech (Cherith Beacons): At first glance, and even second and third glances, Goarthech is all that one might want in a garden world for a prospective colony. Moderate gravity, close to standard. A warm, mid-range yellow sun, a conveniently located moon. An oxygen atmosphere with enough to breathe, but not enough to set everything on fire.

And to add to those practical requirements, Goarthech is a beautiful world, one that had development corporations drooling over the images the far horizon probe sent back: majestic purple mountains, burnt orange seas under a sky just the purplish side of blue, with tumbling arcs of tropical islands to watch the sunsets from. A little chilly (planetary average temperature of 242 K) for many races, but nothing that couldn’t be handled.

Sounds perfect?

That is what the first-in survey team thought until they discovered the planet’s secret. The fortunate ones discovered it when they read the chemical analysis of the planetary atmosphere, while those less fortunate discovered it through choking, gagging, retching, and carrying their colleagues with insufficiently sturdy constitutions back to the nearest evacuation shuttle. Evacuation shuttles which, in the fullness of time, would be jettisoned back into the planetary atmosphere along with anything else it had touched.

Goarthech, it turns out, has considerable geothermal activity going on in its extensive shallow seabeds, and this activity in turn supports a large and rather well-developed ecology of sulphoxy-metabolism bacteria – and while some of their metabolic byproducts contribute to giving the planetary oceans their lovely burnt-orange hue, one in particular bubbles to the surface in quantities sufficient to make it a constant low-level presence in the atmosphere.

That product? Thioacetone, a chemical notorious even in minuscule quantities for irritating beyond measure the chemoceptors of virtually every known race to have chemoceptors, and by so doing induce some of the most remarkably appalling olfactory qualia translatable across species.

Perhaps one day a race will join the Worlds whose members find thioacetone a pleasant experience, or who are, at the least, anosmic, and who care nothing for driving away any potential visitors to their colony, and on that day, Goarthech will at last live up to its potential.

But for now, the “Stinking Vale” remains on the Commission for Colonization’s open list, tempting and tantalizing the hard of sniff.

Remove Yon Oaf

The most popular dynamic sense-filter UI is Bozo Bit™️, an augmented reality package to add people or objects to your cutfile¹ which by default is skinned as an antique dueling pistol. Simply point and click to enjoy confrontation-free social events!

(Also available is its big brother, the Bozooka™️, designed to edit entire classes of annoyances at once, from the sound of lawnmowers on quiet evenings to a super-bozo’s entire rep proximity group.)

While Bozo Bit™️ can operate within whatever parameters your sense-filter configuration prefers, its standard configuration deletes removed objects entirely from your sensorium, replacing them when strictly necessary (outwith emergency situations) with the “grayshade” removed-object symbol from the VIML Common Symbologia, and inventing neutral actions to cover interactions of third parties with them.

Additionally, while Bozo Bit™️ exerts no control over the AR environment of filtered objects, it provides a courtesy v-tag on the public annotations channel informing them and other nearby entities that their appearance and communications privileges with you have been denied; their own sense-filters and other exoself software may handle this as desired.

– Social Exoselves For Beginners


  1. Not “killfile”; see cut direct and automated deathlist management.

Discarding Embers

The Anti-Antipyrian Act, introduced to the Senate on 7284 Yrnaes 11 by Senator Samív Ollianos (Chamber of the People; 1001st Century; Ascended Illuminance of Ancas Iliaster) with the sponsorship of Senator Verloc mor-Kjan (Chamber of the People; 1450th Century; Imperium Bellipotent) and Senator Diracháné 0xCDEE998A (Chamber of the People; 888th Century; Rationalist Stringency) was today debated by the Committee of the Whole.

The proposal, as in its previous five recensions debated over the past millennium, proposed the reclassification of all individuals adhering to metaphysical determinism as objects rather than persons, citing classical definitions of sophoncy as the capacity for choice, and addressing themselves in particular to such outworld groups as the Antipyrianists and their promotion of toxic memes derived from this viewpoint.

With pause for a brief interruption by Senator Korathly min Ilmar (Chamber of Demesnes; District of Úneï; Alliance for Balance), observing that Senate protocol called for a Harmonious Proposal of Unquestionable Justice and Incontrovertible Benignity, not one of Incontrovertible Hilarity, the now-traditional rebuttal was delivered by Senator Chloé Leiravál (Chamber of Counselors; Alliance for Balance), declaring that however frustrating it might be dealing with individuals sufficiently deranged as to consider themselves soulless automata and their ratiocinations around the point, going so far as to concur with them – even only for legal purposes – would be neither true nor kind, and thus in exceptionally poor accord with the sacred values of the Empire.

In the absence of further comment, the proposal was then placed before the Chamber of the People for a vote, that Chamber being quorate, and failed of enacture in that Chamber, three Senators voting for and 1,422 against.

In later debate, Senator Leiravál accepted without condition a reprimand jointly submitted on behalf of the Speaker of Starlight, the Functionality of Mechanicians and Clockwork Engineers, the Sanctified Order of Theurgists and Shrine Maidens, et. al., with regard to her use of the phrase “soulless automata”, which many automata and their associates believe to be both demeaning and inaccurate in contexts in which it might be interpreted as applying to all automata.

– Proceedings of the Senate, 7284, Issue DXIV

How I Met Your Mother

The air whirred when she stepped into the room.

That wasn’t all that unusual. Lots of bravos would spin a sphere or two around their heads as an impromptu weapon or threat display. Some of the more dangerous ones could manage three, with a coin-flip chance on whether what made them dangerous was the odds of them losing their grip on the third.

She had twelve.

Not sharing a track, either, like an idiot’s shotgun. She had them spinning at different angles, weaving in and out of intersecting orbits, in what was on one hand a breathtaking display of psychokinetic prowess, and on the other hand was a blatant statement that she could kill everyone in the bar between one breath and the next.

Cocky bastard, thought I. Then again, I bought her a drink.

Air Wings Sold Separately

Bringing the what-the to warfare once again, and following on from both the unquestionable success of Nuclear War In A Can™, and their earlier semi-portable combat drone product Janissary In A Drum™, Eye-in-the-Flame Arms, ICC once again provides a new terror to the battlefield with the release of Brigade In A Bottle™.

Another in their line of self-decompressing nanopaste products, Brigade In A Bottle™ is a pre-programmed assembler system designed to be supplied with raw materials (chiefly metals and industrial plastics, although the paste is designed to forage; the accompanying manual suggests junkyards, disused factories, and captured enemy equipment as potential sources) and electrical power in the field. When these are supplied, the paste uses fast-burn nanoassembly techniques to manufacture, in a matter of hours, a brigade-sized mixed unit (a fighting strength of 4,664) of Jaeger 4400 mechagrunts and Warg 216-A hunter-killer houndbots, primed with command codes ready to join your tactical mesh.

The experienced reader may perceive the single flaw in the product: these are last-generation combat mechanicals, rather than the sleek leading-edge machines you might expect from a company with Eye-in-the-Flame’s reputation. As the product developer explains, though, this is a side-effect of the rough and ready, error-prone nature of field nanoconstruction, which cannot accurately reproduce recipes with the fine tolerances and exacting detail available in commercial nanofacture. As Brigade In A Bottle™ is chiefly intended for use in the creation of disposable shock troops for use in on-alert security systems, diversionary maneuvers, emergency reinforcement, and asymmetric warfare, this may not prove too great an impediment to its success.

– product announcements column, “Destruction Review”

Undistress (1)

IMS Sukórya’s Joy, Cerulean Ocean, 1340 Gradakhmath 3

It began with a signal.

We were three days out of the White Silver Gates when the signal came in. It was late, but while I would have usually been manning the wireless office alone, my junior, Shioi Morotai, was working with me that evening. We had a full load of moguls aboard on the Sybarite Deck keeping in touch with their offices, and a fever for the novelty of a wirelessgraph had swept the rest of the ship, keeping us working at the message backlog.

The hour was rising into Candleglass when the alerter rang. I glanced by instinct over at the dedicated set tuned to the distress frequency, but it was cold, with nothing but a soft hiss coming from the monitor. Next to it, though, the company set was lit up and blatting out our callsign.

I gestured Shioi to take over the message I was transmitting, and she slipped into my place in a moment, picking up in mid-word without hesitation, while I grabbed a message pad and shifted my headset’s plug to the company set, just in time for the callsign to break into a high-speed spatter of dits and dahs.

Looking back on it, that should have been suspicious. I knew the hand of all the company operators, and this was none of them. More than that, Shioi had the finest and fastest hand of them all, and even she couldn’t have produced a signal so perfectly regular, or transmitted the meaningless cipher-groups as quickly and cleanly as a message in clear.

The message repeated twice, then came to an end. I checked my transcription against itself, then ran it through the cipherwheel, and gaped at the result:

EX ILDATHACH / FARCANTER LINES / COMMODORE — IN SUKÓRYA’S JOY / MASTER — PRIORITY — BE ADVISED WE HAVE RECEIVED THREAT TO VESSEL — MEASURES UNDERWAY TO NEUTRALIZE — PROCEED TO POSITION 077.4 DEGREES 2,320 MILES FOR RENDEZVOUS WITH SUPPORT — MARIATIS — ESSENTIAL ONLY NECESSARY CREW INVOLVED AND PASSENGERS NOT INFORMED OF THIS — MAKE NO FURTHER COMMUNICATIONS REGARDING THIS MATTER — THESE INSTRUCTIONS HIGHEST MANDATORY PRIORITY — ENDS.

The message made no sense on its face. I looked again at the nonsense word in the middle, though, spun the locks on the safe by my knee, and pulled out the envelope inside, the code words shared only between Farcanter Line ships and the fleet commodore. The red card within bore a single word.

MARIATIS

– Olivét Cendriane, wireless second, eighteen hours before the event