Trope-a-Day: Casual Interstellar Travel / Casual Interplanetary Travel

Casual Interstellar Travel / Casual Interplanetary Travel: It’s a little complicated.  Technically, yes, you can travel interstellarly fairly casually, since while you have to drag one end of your wormhole at subluminal speed to wherever you want it, interstellar travel to places where you have one already is pretty damn casual.  Step through and you’re there.  Ping.

Of course, wormholes and their associated stargates are Really Damn Expensive, and so is interstellar travel to anywhere that isn’t on the stargate networks involving as it does the many years relativity demands of you even in lighthugger starships, the great expense of said lighthugger, and for that matter, the even greater expense of the thousands or tens of thousands or even, for the largest luggers, hundreds of thousands of tons of antimatter you need to fuel the thing.

Further, and to subvert this slightly, while there’s casual interstellar travel, what there isn’t is casual interplanetary travel (speed-wise; it’s much more casual cost-wise).  No-one’s invented a convenient magical gravity drive that lets you whip up nigh-instantaneous thousands of gravities of acceleration (while there are vector-control drives, neither acceleration nor delta-v are any better, and indeed usually worse, than equivalent reaction drives; blame conservation of mass-energy), so getting anywhere in-system, including out to the stargate, still takes days or weeks, and for interstellar travel, that means on both ends of the wormhole.

This is resubverted for those with the right metaphysical attitude, because if you don’t go into quivering neo-Luddite theofear at the thought of having your mind separated from your body and transmitted elsewhere to be reinstalled in a different one at the far end (and granted, that’s not exactly most people outside the rampaging postsophontist neophile civilizations), then you can just mindcast where you want to go (assuming of course they have the right receiving equipment, which is by no means guaranteed outside the aforementioned civilizations).  Which is substantially quicker and counts as fully casual interplanetary/interstellar travel, because photons and (especially) tangle move a lot faster than your own personal meat/rock can be transported.

Trope-a-Day: Brain Uploading

Brain Uploading: Pervasive and universal, just about.  The Eldrae, after all, being naturally unaging, find the notion of accidental death rather unpleasant, and so took to this technological advancement with enthusiasm; and, as rabid technophiles, even more so once the other technologies it enables – reinstantiation, mindcasting, forking, gnostic overlays, etc. (unlike a lot of universes, there are no convenient laws preventing you from screwing around with mind-states in all the ways you might expect to be able to) – came along; and now are enthusiastically selling immortality to the entire rest of the Galaxy, or at least everyone they can reach.  (And, incidentally, considering governments that ban this sort of thing as, essentially, being morally, if not legally, guilty of the mass murder of everyone who dies in their jurisdiction and would have preferred not to; immortalists vs. ephemeralists is a major galactopolitical issue.)

To the point, in fact, that modern – and thus highly engineered – brains come with the technology (“noetic architecture”) for minds to hop in and out designed right in.

Also, this is how you reach the afterlife (see Deus Est Machina).

Steganography (1/2)

Mind-state transmission received; 3.263564 exp 16 octets validated.
Body reconstruction data [archive pointer].
Accoutrement construction data [catalog pointer], [catalog pointer], [archive pointer].
Augmented reality object code received; 2.465542 exp 10 octets validated.

Scan for hostile code complete; none found.
Identity confirmed: Acté Cyprium-ith-Réyne [UCID and mindprint match].

Reinstantiating…

With a gurgle of suspension fluids and a blast of drying air, the body pod finished draining down, split, and opened.  The young woman stepped out of the pod, and stretched satisfyingly, curling long toes into the carpet.  A rainbow of color rippled under her skin, chromatophores rippling through their wake-up sequence.

Moving over to the shelf, her hair already whispering around her shoulders, coiling itself into complex curls, she unscrewed the leftmost container’s cap, poured the thick nanopaste within out onto the floor, and dipped a toe into the puddle.  She shivered slightly as the nanites made their ascent, the silvery fluid spinning itself into a shimmering gown around her.  A flip of her now fully self-styled hair out of the garment’s way, and a little shimmy to settle the fabric, and she was dressed.

“Dress: a little bit more provocative, if you please. I am one of those decadent Imperials, and I’d hate to disappoint all those expectations.”

While the dress busied itself adjusting its lines in all the right places, she slipped the copper-jade necklace-replica she’d brought around her neck.  Then, reaching into her personal thought-space, she produced, reified, and settled atop her head the augmentality illusion of a halo of fire, flames dancing and throwing off sparks among her blonde curls.

Well, she subvocalized, how do I look?

You are the very epitome, my lady, her muse wryly replied, of the young, rich, and lovely fluff that attend all of Saven Jerrad’s best parties.  I believe you will not-blend-in quite splendidly.