chrune (n.): A type of galactic politician named after Sen Melk Chrune (6012-6319), the League of Meridian Senate’s unsurpassed master of peculation and bribery. Often accused but never indicted despite the sheer flagrancy of his behavior, Chrune died in office1 at the age of 307.
– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary
1. And in his office. Malicious gossip – which is naturally widely believed despite the lack of substantiation – holds that he suffocated when his life-support equipment was damaged during a campaign orgy.
SYSTEMIC INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGIES TICKET-TRACKING: CASE 921632
From: Supervisor of Police, Behibehin Rock
Mail Subject: HELP US NOW YOUR SYSTEM LOCKED EVERYONE UP AND WE CANT FIX IT WHAT THE —
Subject: Assent-Panopticon Ubiquitous Law Enforcement Instrumentality (all components)
Issue: Stupidity (was: System imprisoned entire population in error)
Resolution: WILL NOT FIX – WORKING AS DESIGNED/SPECIAL
Does no-one read the gorramn manual?
The Behibehinti have become another entry in our list of customers who failed to read the warnings in sections 3.7, 3.8, and 3.9 concerning the need to lint your legislation before activating it, because the Assent-Panopticon ULEI has no way of knowing when you intended parts of it to be obsolete, symbolic, or selectively enforced. That said, managing to get the entire population, including the governance – although that latter is surprisingly common – jailed and awaiting trial before the now-inelegible-to-serve judiciary when the system was enabled is perhaps a new low in this particular failure mode.
Although this is closed WONTFIX, as per company policy we have dispatched a service engineer with the override code and a customer service lawyer with copies of sections 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, and the service agreement to free the customer and otherwise clean up the mess.
On the bright side, I won a week at the High Cysperia Luxurium in the departmental betting pool.
“Yes,” said the forensic eschatologist. “Your crippling techniques all appear fully operational. Your screening talkers have detected no basilisks or dangerous memetic payloads, and neither have the people screening them. Your emergency-wipe protocols show no sign of tampering, your network links show no anomalous traffic, and there is no present sign of a hard takeoff within the constrained subnet.”
“So it’s safe, yes? And you can report that to the -”
“This is exactly what one would expect to see if your containment protocols worked perfectly. However, it is also exactly what one would expect to see if a four-point-two kilosoph-equiv intelligence wanted you to think that your containment protocols were working perfectly. Leaving aside the implications of your belief that trying to jail something three orders of magnitude smarter than you was a good idea in the first place, which do you think is more likely?”
“…and asked them their wish. So the lovers told the Unwise GenAI that they needed neither goods nor gift, and that all they wanted was to live happily ever after and love always. And the Unwise GenAI said, ‘By your command,’ and bade his servants seize the lovers and place them in a capsule, and fired that capsule into close orbit around a black hole, deep down by the event horizon where no moments pass, frozen in between seconds, ever-living, ever-loving, until time itself dies…”
– from “Terrifying Tales for Despicable Descendants”,
Bad Stuff Press
damnfool switch (n.): Engineering / aerospace jargon. Damnfool switch is an alternate term for the Master Envelope Interlock Disable switch; i.e., that switch which disables the hardwired safety features preventing the pilot, sailing master, or other operators from commanding maneuvers or equipment operations known to cause damage to, or the potential destruction of, the vehicle. (See also: redlining.)
The damnfool switch acquired its sobriquet due to the near-universal consensus that not only would only a damn fool disable said interlocks in anything other than a dire and imminent emergency, but that most of the people who have disabled them under such circumstances were also damn fools at the time.
idiot light (n.): The warning light, usually located next to the Master Alarm indicator, that indicates that the damnfool switch has been engaged; so named because the illumination of the idiot light indicates that an idiot surely must be in command of the vehicle.
– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary
So, um… we found a couple of minor formatting glitches in the released e-book version (the printed version is fine) of The Core War and Other Stories.
They’re now fixed in the current download, but if you have purchased a copy before now, please be assured that you’ll also receive the fixed version (or the option to download the fixed version) within a week or so; we just have to wait for the wheels of Amazon’s update review process to grind to completion. Sorry about that, and I hope it doesn’t spoil your enjoyment of the book.
(Those of you who have received the Patreon version of the book need not be concerned; you have the updated version.)
The second stage of jump procedure using a Ring Dynamics stargate is obtaining a reference-frame trap, thus ensuring that you arrive in your destination system in the same sequence and association to the empire time frame that you were in when you left, thus preserving chronological consistency.
In urban myth and pulp fiction, this is the procedure that prevents you from wondering why the dinosaurs are warning you off their nice carboniferous planet when you were told to deliver a load of colony prefabs, or from having your extropy sucked out by the ice giants at the end of the universe who are so glad you turned up to feed ‘em high temperatures and ordered states.
In theory, this is the procedure careful adjustment of which permits you to indulge in predestination paradoxes, knight’s-move oracles, and other cunning manipulations of the informational content of your future light-cone.
In practice, this is the procedure that stops you from coming out the other end of the wormhole as a light-year long smear of exotic particles. The universe hates time travel, and is not shy about telling you this.