Epistolary Experiment (5/30)

The cellar shuddered under another impact, and dust sifted down from the cracked ceiling.

“Sign up with the Expansion Renewal Union, you said,” huffed the ciseflish, pressure suit creaking as he dragged the heavy cable across the floor. “It’ll be fun, you said. All the excitement happens in the Expansion Regions.” Jamming the cable into its socket, he settled it with a kick.

“Are you sayin’ this isn’t excitement?” The kaeth’s grin was feral in the green glimmer of the bacterial emergency lights.

“You are having fun, aren’t you!?”

“Not yet.” The fuel cell sputtered into hissing life, and in the glow as the lights spun up the kaeth’s grin seemed, impossibly, wider. “When they stop dropping rocks and start landing troops, then I’ll be having fun.”

– transcribed from the security logs of the communications facility at Tarqil (Crimson Expanse)


Winter Tempest actual, Pillar of Sunset.”

Winter Tempest acknowledges.”

Winter Tempest, we have reports that a small task force is assaulting the communications base at Tarqil. Take Bladestorm and clean them up.”

“Our pleasure, Pillar of Sunset. Winter Tempest, clear.”

Razorwing actual, Pillar of Sunset.

Razorwing acknowledges.”

Razorwing, we think something slipped past the Borderline, maybe through Confederacy space. It may have seized or destroyed a passenger liner, the Circumstellar Wanderer. How do you feel about a hunting expedition, Captain Aíc?”

“Never a better time for one, Admiral.”

“Then take your flight and be about it.  Pillar of Sunset, clear.”

– communications record, CS Pillar of Sunset, Koral System

…hear them loading my metals, now…

…guards in the tunnels, closing off sections…

…to vacuum, blowing the machinery…

…still have my propulsion charges…


– fragments retrieved from a log recorder, found in a rubble pile, Charach System


Epistolary Experiment (3/30)

From: Karr mor-Kadrek, Fleet Security
To: Virni Alman, Fleet Communications
Subject: Re: War warning – procedure?

File it.

Nice of the home office to send it through, but even cutting the corner of their space, what’s the worst they could do to us? It’d take ’em ten years just to get done saying “Heave to and prepare to be boarded…”


– from the archives of the relativist market-maker, Rocky Road to Riches


Spinward Lines regrets to announce that CMS Circumstellar Wanderer, a chartered cruise liner with 4,128 souls aboard, is 48 hours overdue to arrive at her next port of call after departing Istria (Crimson Expanse). Attempts to contact the Wanderer made by standard means and direct corporate tangle channel have failed. It is feared, therefore, that she may have been interned or become a casualty of war. No communication has been received from the Republic government on this matter, and investigations continue.

The thoughts and hopes of Spinward Lines are with the passengers and crew of the Wanderer, their families, and associates.

– from the Accord Journal, shipping news section


…and then there were warships all over the scanner, pinging loud enough to overload the ‘mesh…

…lizards, bloody four-armed lizards, on my claim…

…open up! they say. My hairy arse I’ll open up…

…through the walls. Blew out the garden maze…

…never find me in the deep tunnels, not with all the refinery hash…

– fragments retrieved from a log recorder, found in a rubble pile, Charach System


From: Sinith Arání, VP Public Relations
To: All Contractees
Subject: Shit. Fan. Congruence.

Well, folks, we’ve all heard the news.

From our corporate perspective, that means that we’re about to be condemned by a hundred polities and a thousand news organs for failing to do the impossible.

This in turn means that I need you to get three memetic campaigns polished up and ready to go:

First, that while we obviously deeply regret the specifics of this situation, in general freedom of transit is both extremely important and something they personally have benefited from greatly in the past. In the version of this we’re pitching to more militaristic governments and cultures, it probably wouldn’t hurt to remind them gently how unhappy they would have been if we’d disabled the stargates during some of their local squabbles, just so that they realize that we will have no problem pointing that out to everyone else, too.

Second, we need to subtly remind people that you can’t just turn a stargate off, anyway, in a manner that can’t be readily hacked back on, and if they think the damage the war will cause is bad, they should try comparing it to the amount of damage that a loose kernel would do to their star system.

And third, that we are doing our bit for the war effort, inasmuch as we’re waiving all transit fees for Accord member navies to, from, and in the front lines. Don’t launch that one yet; I still have to run the details past the Directorate, but it’s too obvious not to pass. And it’s not like we don’t have as much to lose as everyone else.

Actually, also, fourth: since we certainly can’t rely on those idiot baselines to hack carefully or even not to land on the stargates themselves and screw about with things beyond their understanding, you’d better start working on one to place the blame appropriately if they do manage to set a kernel loose, too.

Budgets are cleared all the way up on this one, people. We need to be at our best right now.


– from the Ring Dynamics, ICC, corporate e-mail archive