Boom Tomorrow?

HÍÄSTRE, INTAIS (LEY NEBULA) – The small letal colony in the Chiaras (Beratnas Cluster) system broadcast an appeal today for aid, after local astronomers confirmed that the orbit of the comet IGS 31278493 would intersect with the orbit of Chiaras in three months time. While impact cannot be confirmed due to the increasing outgassing of the comet as it approaches perihelion, neither can it be ruled out. No assistance can be expected from the greater Inial Consulate, with which the Chiaras colony had severed formal ties, and no response has yet been made by any of the regional powers.

While no statement has been issued, public eyes report that the Imperial Rimward Fleet’s Task Group 149, currently on patrol in the Stritta (Vertyl Gyre) system, altered course at approximately the same time as the broadcast could have reached them, light-lag permitting, although their intentions remain unknown at this time.

(Amendment: the Accord Journal has, however, received a joint statement of protest from the Seventeen World Empire and the Vile-Born Imperium concerning the Empire of the Star’s monopoly on the adjective Imperial in this story and such publications as ours. We thank them for their attention to the most important details, although our editorial policy remains unchanged.)

Trope-a-Day: Descriptively-Named Species

Descriptively-Named Species: Not commonly found among sophont species, who rarely feel the name to describe themselves and the convention being to transliterate their name as literally as possible, even if that occasionally leaves other species struggling to pronounce the correct vowel distinctions in sssc!haaaouú.

More common in other lifeforms, from Eliéran tubefish and Phílae’s handfish through air plankton, asteroid potatoes, bursters, carrier bats, chime oaks, crystalplants, ice weasels, songleaves, sweetfungi, etc.

Trope-a-Day: Meaningful Name

Meaningful Name: What attributive names are supposed to be, both the self-chosen and the awarded, and what a lot of the subsidiary components of a full name are: persona, patronymic, matronymic, locative, generation, clade, mindstyle, associations, etc. (See also: Luke Nounverber, Names to Run Away From Really Fast (upcoming), Name That Unfolds Like Lotus Blossom (also upcoming), Overly Long Name).  Also seen, at least part of the time, in the naming conventions for ships, habitats, cities…


In a Name

Why are the analyst/supervisory grades in the agency referred to as the “proxy adhoc“?

‘Adhoc’ should be clear enough: due to their adhocratic structure, as is common in all areas of the Imperial Service.

As for the former, individual title applied to its members: it is by ancient custom, dating back to Istar Sargas, Alphas I’s left-hand man and the spiritual ancestor of the agency, that those responsible for initiating and carrying through operations bear this title. It was his little joke that those he served – the “Clean Hands” in ISS jargon – should never be personally troubled with the details of the ugly, yet necessary actions which were his and are our remit, nor have to engage in giving orders for them directly.

Rather, such matters should always be handled by proxy.

– “ISS Structure and Terminology” introductory memeplex

Who Are You Calling Exo?

exosciences (also xenosciences) (n.): Including exogeology, exogeography, exoclimatology, exobiology, exoecology, exosophontology, exomemetics, etc.

An archaic series of terms referring to the various sciences when applied to off-planet phenomena, usually used with reference to the speaker’s homeworld.

This terminology fell into rapid disrepute after the first full conference of the Fellowship of Natural Philosophy after the reunification of the Thirteen Colonies, in which, upon entering the nomenclaturical dispute over the proper terminology to describe each individual colony’s branch of the exosciences – then in its third hour – Academician Excellence Corvis Ejava, Dean Pro Tem, declared “it’s a big [redacted] galaxy and none of your homeworlds are that [redacted] special”, adding that the prospect of having to use 300 billion different terms to describe the same studies depending on where you were was “the single most bloody stupid thing I’ve heard in the last 900 years, and I have students”.

The term geography, while possessed of some local bias, persisted for several hundred years after this conference, before being universally replaced with galactography, following representations from the scientific community of the hydrogen-breathing sssc!haaaouú that while their homeworlds could be described as many things, “geo-“ was not one of them.

– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary

Trope-a-Day: One Federation Limit

One Federation Limit: Averted.  In addition to the Empire of the Star, there is also the Temporary Empire, the Seventy World Empire, and so forth, including several Imperiums.  In addition to the Voniensa Republic, there’s the Quave Republic.  There’s the Blue-Green Federation, Vissevu Federation, and several other Federations and Confederations.  There are also multiple Leagues, Accords, Concords/Concordats/Concordiums, several Corporates, Combines, and at least one Syndicracy, and a number of Free Zones, Cooperations, Primacies, Unions, Exarchies, Assemblies, Alliances, Pacts, Spheres, and Commonwealths.  Among others which, so far, are singular in my conception of the Worlds.  (And for the Atlas Shrugged readers among us, precisely one People’s State, which is – or was, post-Core War – exactly the kind of hellish abortion of a governance you’d expect it to be from the name.)

Trope-a-Day: Numbered Homeworld

Numbered Homeworld: Averted.  As we mentioned way back in Naming Your Colony World, inhabited systems generally do get named objects, if only because they’re easier to remember.  Even uncontacted alien homeworlds get names, often a pronounceable transliteration of whatever the local name is, out of some respect for local sensibilities… and ease of memory/reference.

(Yes, this implies that Vonis Prime isn’t really called Vonis Prime…)

Trope-a-Day: New Neo City

New Neo City: Averted, at least within the Empire.  While people are, of course, free to call their cities, estates, habitats, moons, etc., anything they feel like, the Imperial Grand Survey find this trope incredibly annoying – especially predicting how meta this could get looking into the deep future – and flat-out refuse to put any New Neo Names on the maps.  Period.

Trope-a-Day: Naming Your Colony World

Naming Your Colony World: Examples of most of them exist in various places, although the Imperial Grand Survey works really hard to discourage people from naming anything New Anything, to the point of refusing to register the names, on the grounds that in deep time, eventually naming things New New New New New Whatever is too damn silly for words.

Beyond that, most of them are literary or mythological references, with a smattering of egopoli and symbolic names.  Numbered names are generally reserved for unexplored systems (most of them beyond the periphery of the Associated Worlds), and star names are generally not found per se, although generally, settled systems tend to be referred to, even on star charts, by the name of the primary settled world/main habitat in the system, rather than that of the star; which is not to say that the star doesn’t retain its own name separate from that of the world in formal usage, of course.

Trope-a-Day: Named After Their Planet

Named After Their Planet: Mostly averted.  While the galari are from Galáré, those names were created by the explorers who met them, since the galari themselves don’t use spoken language in any sort of phonemic sense.  Similar considerations explain the myneni from Mynár, inasmuch as mynenio is an almost pure-tonal language entirely without standard phonemes.  Meanwhile, the eldrae are from Eliéra, the esseli from Mmrdene, the kaeth from Paltraeth, the d!grith from Prrshurru, the kalatri from Vonikar (although they call it Vonis Prime these days), the ciseflish from Ólish, the linobir from Bir-Liahs, the skrandar from Kr!ngath, the celsesh from Eö, and so on and so forth…

(And all-yall Earthicans can be assured that they won’t call you that.)