Trope-a-Day: Script Reading Doors

Script Reading Doors: Played oddly straight – the ability of people’s neural laces and muses to override local hardware, if they think of so doing, can create some of these effects – the ones involving staying open for longing looks, or operating stealthily, or while people are conversing through it, or other cases where the people involved could logically think of it in advance.

And automatic door circuitry is smart enough to understand who has permission to go through doors, or when someone has been v-tagged as going to a specific location, and the difference between someone walking to a door and walking past a door – but still, they’re not perfectly script-reading, even if they are much better at predicting intentions that purely proximity-sensor based automatic doors.

Trope-a-Day: Creepy Monotone

Creepy Monotone: While they don’t really intend to, more than a few Imperials come off this way (even if it’s actually more of a calm monotone, really) to more naturally-emotive cultures.  It’s another minor drawback/side effect of the calmness/rationality/serenity that comes from having your emotional state managed and self-control enhanced by the artificial part of your brain – well, I say drawback, but that’s only from the point of view of baseline humans and other members of the appallingly emotionally labile set.

Also see: Dissonant Serenity.

Trope-a-Day: Dissonant Serenity

Dissonant Serenity: Actually very common among Imperials, for two reasons.  First, the standard modification to the epinephrine system to make it promote rather than suppress higher-level prefrontal/frontal brain functions, on the grounds that most disasters, crises and battles one runs into in the modern world require more advanced problem-solving routines than “run away/hit it with a stick”; and second, the emotional-control response triggered in the artificial part of the brain by any off-the-shelf set of crisis-management routines, never mind a full battle program suite, because that works so much better than getting all frothy-brained.

As such, walking through crises and disasters and battles in a calm, rational, and yes, serene manner is a positive trademark of these chaps.  And they have – despite the usual lamentable tendency to melodrama – some of the coldest rages you can imagine.  (Do not confuse a sense of the dramatically appropriate for emotional compromise.  That never works out well.)

Trope-a-Day: Brain-Computer Interface

Brain Computer Interface: The most ubiquitous kind of cybernetic implant, although the modern ones are mostly grown in place.  The most modern ones, the neural laces, are functionally part of your brain architecture and so behave like actual extra senses/limbs/memories and faster, more accurate thoughts once you learn the right way to think to activate them.  The older generation, the virtual interface implants (VIIs) were less sophisticated, just behaving as wearables that you didn’t have to actually wear.

This Is Your Brain On Data


A mental condition caused by intelligence enhancement, infostarvation is the result of the capacity of the mind to process information exceeding the bandwidth available to it to access information, leading to, in effect, intense boredom – if not of the whole mind, at least of part of it.

While this was not unknown in the early days of intelligence enhancement, it is rarer in modern times which permit additional I/O bandwidth to be added to the brain, often in the form of dataweave connectivity; and which permit parallel metacortical threads and exoself agents to be spun-down as needed. However, it remains possible for infostarvation to be triggered by travel to areas either of constrained bandwidth or lacking in network connectivity, since it is easily possible for modern core intellects to exceed the capacity of natural sensoria.


A morbid or pathological fear of not knowing things, commonly experienced by members of cultures in which use of group shared-memories, mnemonic interfaces (permitting one to remember reference material as if it was part of one’s own memory), neural interfaces, or even wearables is widespread upon visiting less developed cultures where compatible V-tags and reference databases for everyday objects and individuals are not available; the phobia itself is triggered upon encountering unknown individuals and non-described objects. Specific symptoms include compulsive memorization of any available reference material, undue social and technical awkwardness, denial, and flight response.

– Manual of Mental Diagnostics, 271st ed.