Not Cosmic, But Incomprehensible

This was originally a prompt over on Mastodon, the original prompt being: “MC POV: Name one thing that is guaranteed to make you angry? Why?”. I liked the result enough that I thought I’d share it over here, as well.

“Make me angry? The cases that fall into, in our legal code, ‘destructionism’.

“Why? Because I don’t understand it.

“We get – I’d say a lot, but this is still Imperial space, so let’s say an anomalously high level of crime here. We get slash-traders, commercial fraud, thieves grand and petty, stowaways, dockside brawls, too-long-aboard-syndrome on and on, everything a major trade station attracts like flies. But even if you slice off the truly desperate who need a hug, a hot meal, and someone to walk them to the Eleemosynary Exodochium more than what most people think of as justice, I can understand most of them. They’re zero-sum crimes; desire and greed and unfortunate passions are things we all have, and they’re not even wrong in themselves, only in how some folk handle them. Even the murderers – I’ve never hated anyone so much I couldn’t stand to share the universe with them a moment longer, but I can understand how someone might.

“What I’ve never been able to understand about these people — these are people who set out just to make the universe a little bit worse for their existence in it. Destroy or desecrate things just so that other people can’t enjoy them. Go out of their way to ruin someone’s day, or week, or decade, not as a side-effect, but as the point of their actions. Hurt and smash and wreck not for greed or other profit, not even for revenge upon their target, but just because they can, and it – I’d say it pleases them to do so, but it is hard to imagine real pleasure coming from such. These I do not understand, and it is hard to temper anger without understanding.

“And that’s dangerous for me. I’ve escorted people who have done much more damage to arraignment, but it’s these who make me think fondly of — unapproved uses for airlocks, before I quash it. And that they can make me think that, even for a moment, that makes me angriest of all.”

– Jynne Cerron, Enforcer, Watch Constabulary
Mer Dinévál Countermass Station, Seranth

Trope-a-Day: Space Elevator

Space Elevator: A standard fixture on most moderately developed planets – while shuttles and lighters can make easy ground-orbit transfers in any direction, and ground-based mass drivers can shift arbitrary amounts of mass upwards and downwards quickly, once a world’s passenger and freight volumes increase to the point that it’s taking commuter traffic, passenger liners and grapeship megahaulers, you need something that can handle multiple continuous streams of traffic in both directions.  Hence, the space elevator.

(Heavily developed worlds often have more than one.  Seranth (Imperial Core), the busiest tradeworld in the Empire, has six, with a starport-heavy ring-city linking them at the geostationary end.)

Such elevators often become vertical cities, with residents living around and among the cables at various levels, and with an even larger city at their base; as the primary interface between planet and space, there are usually a lot of people wanting to live and do business right there.