Trope-a-Day: Karma Meter

Karma Meter: Reputation networks are everywhere, functioning as effectively a public record, social network, and barometer of public opinion for everyone.  Of course, there’s not a particular standard of karma in use – they exist for all kinds of different groups and different themes – to steal an example I’ve used before, the Iniscail City Righteous Enforcers of Social Propriety and the Lechers of Iniscail aren’t exactly using the same metrics, never mind the special rep-nets for businessmen and scientists and celebrities and Fusions and drivers and every other interest group you can possibly imagine.

Swirl them all together – by professionals into meta-rep nets and by each individual who decides what matters to him and how it should be weighted – and everyone has their very own Karma Meter to measure everyone else by.

(A special note, here, should go to the Public Exclusions COG, which runs a private-sector kind of ostracism by looking for people whose aggregated/averaged cross-network meta-rep score falls below a threshold of public acceptability, and then offers them money to renounce their citizenship and depart forever.)

 

By Their Works Shall They Be Known

“…of stone originally dating back to the ninth century pre-Imperial.

The Merchancy Library: A little bit off the beaten track in a lower niche of Inisvaen’s Wind District (B Coster Court), the Merchancy Library houses one of the finest collections of antique tally-strings and slice-verified contracts dating back to the late pre-Empire and early Imperial periods.

The library also houses a unique collection of books bound in leather tanned from eldrae skin. These date back to the burning of the original Merchancy Library in -43 by a raider band operating out of the nearby forest. Upon capturing these raiders, the then cisatar of Iniscail, Larjyn Calcelios, sentenced them to “replace, at least in part, what they had destroyed”. The fine sense of irony that characterizes the Calcelios is not, it would appear, of recent origin.

The Focative Tower: Surmounting the…”

– Sights and Sites of Southern Selenaria, Iniscail Tourist Press

Of Things Dug Up

Artifact #19,246: the Sapphire Sphere

Unearthed during the Iniscail excavations, located in a central position in the third lefthand side room of chamber seven. The Sphere is a dull matte sphere two spans in diameter, a pale blue in color and emitting a constant glow of the same color. The Sphere weighs five stoneweight.

– Excavator Taris Veran-ith-Vere

ANNOTATIONS

1

Artifact 19,248, located nearby, is an ornate brass stand which may be intended to hold the Sphere.

– Excavator Taris Veran-ith-Vere

3

Intended usage: a light source, perhaps? Or given the position of respect it was found in, possibly a religious symbol?

– Academician Halir Muetry-ith-Mirari

4

A light source? Of which we’ve found no others of its kind in the entire rest of the complex? Are you seriously suggesting that we’ve found a Precursor ornamental lamp?

As for a religious symbol, if we called everything we dug up and couldn’t understand a religious symbol, we’d have nothing but. And there’s no reason to believe the Precursors even had religion.

– Academician Iridal Selequelios-ith-Serris

8

Whatever temperature the surrounding room is in, the Sphere maintains a constant temperature, around blood heat. Intense heating or cooling can change it locally, but it returns to its normal temperature unnaturally fast.

– Academician Hieras Octarthius-ith-Octian

14

The Sphere cannot be opened by any method familiar to us, nor does it possess any discernible power source.  Exposure to sunlight or common chemicals effects no change or reaction.

– Academician Hieras Octarthius-ith-Octian

33

The Sphere is unresponsive to attempts at verbal or telepathic interrogation.

– Academician Hieras Octarthius-ith-Octian

372

In light of the inability to open the Sphere with conventional methods, drilling, or chemical erosion, I have submitted a request for explosives.  Perhaps careful blasting will let us investigate the interior.

– Academician Isif Larathyr-ith-Lyrian

374

Academician Larathyr-ith-Lyrian has been dismissed from the Initiative. Firstly, Precursor artifacts are very rare, and while permission may occasionally be granted to perform destructive testing on those of which we have multiple examples, no such testing is to be proposed on unique examples.

Secondly, blasting? After what happened to the Penjel facility, a researcher proposes blasting?

NO EXPLOSIVES! EVER!

– Supervisor Kendrian Cyprium-ith-Reyne

1118

With today’s better measurement instruments, the constant temperature of the Sphere is recorded as 307.54 degrees. No variation in this was observed over a half-year period. Nor has any previously-undetectable variation in the intensity of the glow been identified.

– Academician Excellence Hieras Octarthius-ith-Octian

2019

The Sphere doesn’t just emit blue light. It emits monochromatic blue light of wavelength 464 nm along with thermal radiation appropriate to its temperature.

– Academician Sinté Quendocius-ith-Quendocius

4311

Under new scanning series, the Sphere appears to be opaque to neutrinos. It’s another datum, I suppose, but still no progress in identifying anything that might be in there.

– Senior Technician Vivalíé Peressin-ith-Peressin

5096

The Sphere may be the device referred to in sections 91.4 and 93.2 of the damaged inscriptions from the Mazir asteroid site. Relevant translatable phrases include its description as a ’resonant monoluminor’, as an ’automorphous facilitator’, and ’the purpose of noetic energy-conversion for dynamic change’, although, per 33 above, it remains opaque to mental interrogation.

While this in itself provides little insight, it is hoped it may provide some possible directions for future research.

– Linguist Excellence Ciriath Essenye-ith-Estrey

6522

No, clear it for shipment to the Museum. It’s been sitting on the supervising researcher’s desk as a paperweight for nearly 1,400 years at this point. If it wasn’t a danger then, it’s not going to start being one tomorrow.

– Administrator Excellence Antar Calaris-ith-Calir

7322

Oh, for the love of –

It is a lamp. Of course it’s a lamp. ’Resonant monoluminor’ – makes light of one color via resonating electrons. As for the rest – ’automorphous’, ’noetic’, ’dynamic change’ – it’s a light you think by, or rather, a light you learn by.

Five millennia to discover that we’ve found a self-powering Precursor library lamp. We’re the best in our field, ladies and gentlemen.

– Academician Excellence Iridal Selequelios-ith-Serris

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