Natural Legislation

selective ontology evocation system: Known in the vulgar as the reality engine, or even as the god-machine1, and widely acknowledged as the crowning achievement of the ontotechnologist’s art, the SOES is the first general-purpose ontotech effector.

The SOES came from a development and reconsideration of simpler ontotechnologies derived from the three major competing physical hypotheses: information physics gave us matter editation, and with it reality graphics, the matter-handler, and the peeker-poker; matrix theory gave us vector control, the probability kiln, and the subquantum operators underlying the tangle channel; while ontological precedence produced dimensional transcendence, the frameslip drive, and the subtleties of mirithestel architecture. Various ways to bridge the gaps between these theories were suggested by the Liuvis-Lochran-Marukanin-Melithos Partial Unification, and the result, when turned to practical application, was this device.

Put simply, a reality engine permits you to – within a superficies-bounded volume, and for so long as the engine is operating – modify, revoke, or define fundamental constants, physical laws, and other dependent aspects of reality as its operator wishes. (Within certain limits: while even many trivial modifications can easily cause catastrophic information loss, mass-energy decomposition, or even vacuum decay, imposing a self-inconsistent set of principles on even a bounded volume of hard vacuum will cause eschatonic substrate collapse and reversion to cacoastrum. Fortunately, the universe is robust and such phenomena have not proven to be indefinitely self-propagating.

For this reason, commercial SOES tend to be dedicated units, or programmed with a limited number of safe presets.)

1. Although, as ontologists point out, the SOES is unable at this point to bring about permanent alteration in fundamental constants and laws, or to create entirely new universes, and as such the latter term should be reserved for the still-hypothetical universal ontology editation system, or UOES.

– Quandry’s Guide to Technological Fundamentals

(Author’s Note: We again here find ourselves reading a document that fell off the back of a temporally-displaced starship from the Rather Further Future. As careful readers may know, the SOES and certain of its predecessors – the peeker-poker, dimensional transcendence, and the frameslip drive – do not exist yet in the 7900-8000 timeframe in which the majority of these nanofics are set.)


Step Two

impossipoint (n.): In studies of paracausality (q.v.), the exact when-where at which a miracle (q.v.) occurs. Named so in part because they are where the impossible happens; named so in part also because the frustratingly subtle nature of miracles makes it bloody impossible to detect one.

– Glossary of Applied Metaphysics,
Academician Éöl Liuvis

Where? Elsewhere


A term adopted by ontotechnologists to designate the not-space/not-time in which the universe keeps its metadata (a realm whose existence is implied by all three major theories of natural ontology, although with different representations and certain disagreements on the details), and which is also the realm that translocation moves through, that pocket claudications and other dimensionally transcendent spaces “exist” within, and so forth. Not really a where or a when, inasmuch as it contains only the space and time that you bring with you (mistakes in this area often prove embarrassing), the term is mostly a shrug that saves explaining the detailed mathematics and metamathematics behind Janiris’s Sixfold Mapping of Mass-Energy Event Nodes onto the Sexternial Data-Space Metric, for example, to curious laysophs.

– Quandry’s Reference to Scientific Terminology

(Author’s Note: for those keeping close track of the ‘verse’s technological base, this is taken from an edition that accidentally found itself [REDACTED] years in the past, and as such describes certain effects that don’t exist yet…)

Trope-a-Day: Subspace Ansible

Subspace Ansible: The tangle channel, which involves manufactured entangled (not in the standard quantum sense, note, because we know that doesn’t work; these are ontotechnological devices using the “privileged channels” a long way behind those) particle-pairs.  This makes them quite expensive (since they are a consumable resource, one particle per bit transmitted, and have to be shipped there the long way once you separate the ends; if you don’t have one or a stargate, your best option is a lighthugging communications torpedo) at least relative to using light-speed EM communications and relaying them through the stargates, the way most of the non-priority extranet works, but they’re invaluable for priority communications and beyond the reach of the stargate plexus.  (They are, for example, the only means of ready communication available to lighthuggers.)  And yes, they do work for mindcasting.

(And, yes, they can also let you play interesting games with causality. Just as expected.)

That said, extensive use of caching, prefetching, and AI traffic prognostication makes the extranet delays mostly invisible in practice, as does the ability to engage in pseudo-real-time communication by sending a partial copy of you along with, or as, your message to be able to have a real discussion with the recipient, then reabsorb it when it returns.

Trope-a-Day: Star Killing

Star Killing: The theory exists behind several nova bombs, anyway, and ontotechnology shows the way to interesting possibilities like twist-pinch bombs.  (These are essentially the same type of nova-inducing weapon that we see at the start of Charlie Stross’s Iron Sunrise.)  And one probably could induce a nova with sufficient perversion of the stellar-management technology that goes to make up a stellar husbandry framework, were one to have the luxury of building a giant industrial megaproject in the system one wanted to explode.  But by and large the list of Tier 1 star-killing Instruments of Regrettable Necessity that one shall never use, by the Ley Accords and on pain of the displeasure of the entire Accord is just about empty.

Well, there is one, the star-targeted strangelet bomb.  Theoretically, it should work – from the Burning of Litash, they know that the strangelet bomb itself works, and that it does burn out before destroying all matter in the vicinity, and that strangelets themselves decay and don’t irreversibly contaminate the neighborhood.  But that said, no-one is exactly sure of the result of trying one out on a star, and just in case it turns out to be the nightmare case where the nova scatters active strangelets all across nearby space, no-one particularly wants to be the one to run the test.

And in any case, doing this would be an excellent way to get every major military in the Accord hunting you down, loaded for genocide.  If you thought garden worlds were expensive, stars are even more so, and the collateral damage that can be caused more than a few light-years away significant.

Trope-a-Day: Pocket Dimension

Pocket Dimension: Alas, outside virtual reality, this seems to require basement universes (requires very high-energy physics, being worked on) or dimensional transcendence (requires emergent ontotechnology, also being worked on).

Being worked on very enthusiastically by starship manufacturers, I note, because holy mother of crap what would being able to keep your remass in a pocket dimension do for your mass ratio!

(Let’s hope that the mass of the contents inside doesn’t seamlessly translate to the mass of the dimension “mouth” outside…)

Trope-a-Day: Our Dragons Are Different

Our Dragons Are Different: Inasmuch as the eldraeic mythological aman (“dragon”) was – if you believe “certain not-entirely-accepted parahistorical theories” – imagined in the image of the local Precursors, as were a number of other similar-looking mythologae of the known galaxy.  What’s known about them is that they were about the right size and shape (from the ruins), scaly (from the fossils), near-solipsists (like the rijzh) who ended up wiping each other out through inability to cope with each other’s’ existence, and possessed of technology which, while in general not all that exotic compared to the current galactic mainstream, included some ontotechnological wonders or natural gifts that made them dangerous force-of-nature-level Reality Warpers to everything around them.

And they’re also responsible for the existence of various of today’s species (starting with the eldrae), various acts of ecopoesis and ecological modification, and contributing significantly to the Galaxy’s piles of archives and ancient, dangerous artifacts.  (And, of course, tend to get other examples attributed to them because, well, they’re there, belike.  Despite not being the only older-than-elder species out there.)

All other dragon-like characteristics are from these extrapolated.

(There are also the ékaláman, translated as “wyvern”, which look like small, non-fire-breathing Western dragons – reptilioid, following the bluelife hexapedal model with the mid-limbs turned into wings – but are not so much terrifying magical beasties as hard-to-kill dangerous flying predators and damned nuisances to people living in their home range, and specifically to their sheep, cattle, and – if flocking – children.  If you’re going out, don’t forget your clockbow.)