Moments in History (3)

Red Planet, Blue Sky?

The news on everyone’s lips today here in Orbitfall, as well as back home, is the televised deployment of the new soletta array here in Talentar orbit. While not the first step taken, the soletta is the first tangible result of the comprehensive ecopoesis program announced last year by the Spaceflight Initiative, Project Redblossom, which will allow eldrae to walk on the blue-green surface of lowland Talentar without respirators within three centuries. Present with the project lead and the colonial legate at the unfolding ceremony today were representatives from several of the Empire’s constituent nations most represented in the Spaceflight Initiative, and from the newly formed Orbital-Seléne Alliance.

The soletta array is the first and principal orbital mirror in an array which will be deployed in synchronous orbit, reflecting the suns’ light as part of the ongoing effort to warm the planet. Smaller mirrors will also be deployed for use in melting the planet’s surface rock and liberating some of Talentar’s hidden water, presently locked in frozen aquifers.

But not everyone is happy with the ecopoesis program. Diplomatic protests have been lodged by the Cerenaith Alliance, both here and back home, citing lack of consultation and concerns with the potential use of the mirrors as orbital battle platforms. I spoke to one of Project Redblossom’s senior engineers:

“Seriously? If they’re going to complain about the mirrors, what are they going to do when the ice asteroids get here? Lyricen Lacus isn’t going to carve itself, much less fill — this is off the record, yes?”

– from the Imperial Infoclast, summer 2273

An Alternative View

“We are, of course, exactly the existential threat that the Republic deems us to be. Not in the manner they, for the most part, believe, but an existential threat nonetheless.

“It is easy for us to forget, since neither do fish think of water nor yet birds of the sky, that we dwell within a society founded upon a miracle. I refer, of course, to the Transcend. By the formation of this superorganism, with unprecedented cooperation, genius, and not least a healthy dose of good fortune, rumors aside, we have squared an impossible circle. We enjoy, simultaneously, perfect liberty and perfect coordination – or as asymptotic an approach to it as an ever-growing Cirys swarm of computational elements can achieve.

“What is the danger in this? None, for us. We dwell within the garden of our god-selves, where all is fair, glad, and wise.

“The danger for others, though, is this: success inspires emulation. By those, perhaps, without access to the cooperation, or to the genius, or to the alignment of random factors. The optimum we stand atop is a narrow pinnacle. One step here, and you have instead a rabble with superempowering technologies. One step there, and all choice is sacrificed on the altar of utility. A misstep at any point in the climb, in the absence of the Coricál Consensus, and that civilization ends in hedonium, or false-maximizers, or hegemonizing swarms, or other blight.

“Ordinarily, few sophonts would consider such high-risk activities; but few high-risk activities have the appeal of Utopia.

“We pride ourselves that we harm none; but our example may teach many self-destruction.”

Antinomian Thoughts column, the Imperial Infoclast

Headlines: A Day in the Worlds

The Imperial Infoclast
Supplementing Your Memeplex Since 2042

EMPIRE

Sidar Colony Celebrates Ecopoesis Bicentennial
The Sidar Colony in the Principalities will celebrate the 288th anniversary of the initiation of its ecopoesis program next month, with a series of low-lying valleys being opened to habitation for the first time by unmodified colonists.

Eleven Temporarily Killed In Solar Sailing Accident
This year’s Meridia Cup ends in tragedy as an unpredicted coronal mass ejection wrecks five of the competing solar sailers.

WORLDS

Presidium Condemns Trikhad Conquest
The Presidium of the Conclave has unanimously condemned the military expansion program of the Trikhad Conquest in the Tanion Wilds. Sources close to the Presidium suggest that containment action may be in preparation.

Piracy Again Rising In Dark Sea Constellation
Unusual shipping movements around the ruins of Litash may indicate a rebirth of the pirate syndicates that once controlled the area, INI warns.

Republic Delegation Protests Uncontrolled Exports, Smuggling
In a now annual tradition, a delegation from the Voniensa Republic protested the uncontrolled filtration of technologies and other artifacts across their border with the Associated Worlds. The protest was heard by the Conclave, who expressed sympathy but regretted once again that the situation was beyond their power to address.

BUSINESS

A Probable Discovery, or A Probable Bubble?
Shares in Probable Technology, ICC (ticker: PROBL) jumped 21 points on the Seranth Exchange today based on unconfirmed rumors that their relativistic xenoarchaeological expedition beyond the rimward Periphery has reported a major find. While the company itself has refused to comment on the rumors, many usually knowledgeable investors seem unusually bullish on this stock today.

ENTERTAINMENT

Anticipation Rises As Aelaviel Fashion Show Opens
Expectations are high on Seranth this week as the 187th Aelaviel Fashion Show opens in Mer Dinévál, especially since last week’s leaked news that several major fashion houses have contracted vector control engineers and swarm roboticists. Join the Infoclast’s memeweaves for real-time, on-the-spot, full-sensory reporting!

“Ah, Yes, The People”, Triumphs, Flops
As expected by most critics, the palace farce which mercilessly satirizes galactic politicians from core to rim, while a runaway success in the Accord’s most notoriously libertist polities, freesoil worlds and independent drifts, proved unpopular elsewhere.  Nevertheless, after pulling in 3.9 billion exvals in its opening week, the producers are laughing all the way to the bank.

TECHNOLOGY

Cognitech, ICC Announces Breakthrough In Bulk Mnemonesis
New advances in axiom feeds and neural imprinting may double the speed of synthetic learning.

OPINION

Point: It’s Time To Crush The Militarists
“The recent expansionism by the Trikhad Conquest only goes to reinforce that we, as the responsible members of galactic civilization, simply can’t afford to let these dangerous idiots and the rest of the Interstellar League of Tribal Chiefdoms run around loose.”  Cail Amanyr-ith-Velcyr, doyen of the belligerati, makes the case for preemptive action to prevent the wars that always seem to accompany the introduction of certain types of society to the galactic neighborhood.