The Other Half

(…of this.)

“Wynérias SysCon, this is CMS Greed and Mass-Energy inbound from Kythera System checking in, emergence point on bearing one-eleven ascending four from stargate, drift seven three eight. Request instructions per previously filed flight plan code niner-three-zero-eleven-one. Over.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, Wynérias SysCon, we have you arriving in Wynérias System at 5158-11-10:4+37-34. Squawk ident, subcode F; Wynérias Development and Holding welcomes you to our colony. Please specify preferred transit profile.  Over.”

“SysCon, Greed and Mass-Energy, squawking ident-F. Prefer direct brachy routing to Wynérias Actual, acceleration four point eight, for insertion into planetary inbound transfer orbit.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, SysCon, you are cleared to initiate brachy burn in five-one pulses, acceleration as specified. Proceed direct, no need to confirm flip. Compute to cut acceleration to two point one at range zero point four five seconds for optimal insertion into inbound transfer slot, confirm with Orbital at that time and any variances on this channel. Ack and back. Over.”

“SysCon, Greed and Mass-Energy, acknowledge clearance for brachy burn in five-one, proceed direct, cut to two point one at zero point four five, confirming with Orbital at that time and any variances on this channel. Clear.”

* * * * *

“Wynérias Orbital, this is CMS Greed and Mass-Energy reporting per clearance, cutting acceleration to two point one at range zero point four five seconds. Request further instructions. Over.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, Wynérias Orbital, wait half… Greed and Mass-Energy, you are cleared into inbound transfer orbit level six, slot nine-ailék; perform maneuvering burn at your discretion to establish zero-zero and circularize on slot entry. Call back once established. Ack and back. Over.”

“Orbital, Greed and Mass-Energy, acknowledge clearance to inbound transfer level six slot nine-ailék, maneuver at discretion and circularize on entry, callback when done. Clear.”

* * * * *

“Wynérias Orbital, Greed and Mass-Energy, established at inbound transfer level six slot nine-ailék, standing by for further clearance. Over.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, Orbital, state intentions. Over.”

“Orbital, Greed and Mass-Energy, request docking and cargo transfer slot at Sung Orbital. Over.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, Orbital, do you require bunkerage? Over.”

“Orbital, Greed and Mass-Energy, top off with standard mix, over.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, please hold current slot due to heavy traffic in orbital maneuvering transfer zone. Estimated delay four point two hours. Please remain ready to maneuver. Clear.”

* * * * *

“Greed and Mass-Energy, Wynérias Orbital, you are now cleared continuance for transfer to Sung Orbital maneuvering zone, initiate one point five gravity retrograde burn per route-book in two-six-zero mark, circularize at zone entry and contact Port Control at that time. Skies are clear. Ack and back. Over.”

“Orbital, Greed and Mass Energy, acknowledge clearance to Sung Orbital manuevering zone, initiate route-book burn at one point five in two-six-zero by your mark, circularize on entry and contact Port Control. Thanks for your guidance. Clear.”

* * * * *

“Sung Orbital, Port Control, this is CMS Greed and Mass-Energy entering your orbital maneuvering zone on flight plan code niner-three-zero-eleven-one for docking and cargo transfer slot. Request taxi instructions. Over.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, Port Control. Your flight plan is acknowledged and closed. Please terminate use of heavy thermal engines at this time. Wait two for taxi instructions. Clear.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, Port Control. You are cleared to proceed from orbital maneuvering zone to outer docking volume corse gilék two seven in four-five. Switch to cold-gas only within outer docking zone, maintaining highport-relative velocity below ten fips. Forbidden thrust vector map available on subchannel gishalel. Callback on arrival. Ack and back. Over.

“Port Control, Greed and Mass-Energy, acknowledge clearance to proceed from orbital maneuvering to outer docking volume corse gilék two seven in four-five, sub ten fips and cold-gas only within zone, forbidden thrust vectors on gishalel, callback when done. Clear.”

* * * * *

“Port Control, Greed and Mass-Energy, we are zero relative in dock corse gilék two seven. Over.”

“Greed and Mass-Energy, Port Control, discontinue engine function at this time; squawk null. Call back when your radiators are in the black, and we’ll get the service pods out to you. Welcome to Port Sung! Over.”

“Port Control, Greed and Mass-Energy, squawking null and will do. Much thanks and glad to be here. Clear.”


Know Thy Enemy and Know Yourself

Perhaps the most embarrassing of all military disasters in the history of the Worlds is the Battle of Aktir, also known as the Five-Second War, the Last Biochauvinist War, and The Day The Meat Was Tenderized.

In its increasing frustration with the increasing numbers of independent digisapiences and digisapient polities and polises in the Worlds, the biosupremacist True Life Alliance – made up of a number of polities and private organizations which had adopted rigorous anti-AI views – determined to strike a decisive blow against AI acceptance, while simultaneously demonstrating the superiority, as they claimed, of biosapient life.

To this end, they marshaled a combined fleet from their members, comprised of vessels of all classes from battleship to frigate numbering over 3,000, and dispatched this fleet against the oldest and best known of the Worlds’ digisapience polities, the Photonic Network.

The Photonic Network, in response, sent a single processing node.

The fleets met shortly thereafter in the Aktir (Tomal Cluster) System, an uninhabited system a short distance outside the Network’s home volume. After transmitting a lengthy statement of intent – by all accounts quite stirring, if rabid carbon chauvinism is to your taste – every ship of the True Life Alliance fleet fired its mass drivers and flushed its missile tubes simultaneously at the lone processing node.

Much to their surprise, 4.3 seconds later, their missiles executed coordinated dispersal and deceleration maneuvers, and every starship of the fleet simultaneously lost thrust and helm control. This surprise was relatively short-lived, however, as the starships in question opened their airlocks and internal spacetight doors – thus venting their internal atmosphere and unsecured crew to space – immediately thereafter.

The undamaged processing node returned to the Methizar Traverse with its freshly acquired escort fleet and missile cloud, which unsubstantiated rumor claims were broken down for raw materials upon arrival. Meanwhile, when news of the debacle reached their homeworlds, the True Life Alliance collapsed in disorder, as did the governances of several of its member polities.

No-one has attempted a frontal attack on the Photonic Network since.



“The associated Sunfire Club is an exclusive society and social club for those who have either triggered in person, or at least endured up-close, the detonation of a nucleonic weapon. While its numbers – still very few – did grow somewhat after the invention of the Greater Immortality, club rules adopted at that time require that the detonation remain within one’s personal continuity; that is to say, that members cannot have been restored afterwards from off-site backup. Only those whose vector stacks survived in readable form and were picked out of the smoldering crater afterwards are eligible for Club membership.”

– Veryn’s Guide to the High Branches, Cant & Sinistra, 6990

Because Engineers’ Puns Never Change

bytegeist (n.): Originally a trademark of Epiphani, ICC, the term bytegeist refers to a modular, multi-function, autokinetic accessory for one’s muse (q.v.), providing physical-world interface, scanning, and manipulatory ability independent of those of the muse’s host.

(As was inevitable, earlier single-function muse accessories were immediately rechristened bitgeists once the bytegeist reached the market; likewise, such accessories which work in conjunction with a modern bytegeist are naturally referred to as its “bits”.)


Viriaz vs. Carlantanda

Viriaz vs. Carlantanda, District Court of the Lesser Rocks, 4001: In a case arising from an incident in which Viriaz was defrauded of several hundred esteyn by Carlantanda by means of the well-known “shell game“, respondent Carlantanda advanced that by the principle of long-standing custom (as seen in the brawler’s bar), and inasmuch as within delta of every sophont in the galaxy is familiar with the shell game, plaintiff Viriaz consented to play the game in full knowledge of its fixed outcome. Amicus briefs were filed for the plaintiff by the Baranithil Station Guide & Path-Pointer Association, and for the respondent by the Consequential Didaxis Non-Discouragement Faction.

The District Court found for the plaintiff, Justice Víënéra dissenting.

– Curial Summaries: Significant Historical Precedents in Imperial Law


Phosphorylation is Murder

Tsingale Light: In most respects, this drift in the central Raidermarch is a typical starship propellant-and-shore-leave stop, albeit one in a bad neighborhood. One should, however, note the curious local law that all corpses on the station are property of the Administration – which exists, based on our writer’s conversations with the drift’s engineers and the purchase of much strong drink, due to the Administration’s reluctance to spend exval on upgrading to a less primaeval phosphate/sulphur recycling system. It would appear that simply tossing the periodic fruit of brawls between unruly belters, privateers, and long-haul freightsophs into the rendering vats is considered a more than adequate and fiscally advantageous substitute – so long as the Administration can also avoid spending money to upgrade security in the vicinity of docks and locks.

For all three of these reasons: Not Recommended.

– Around the Worlds on ¤1,000 per Sol


Holy Water

“The hydrarastrum of the Pearl-Bright Ocean is indescribable in mortal terms.

“This is not to say that its qualities cannot be imperfectly described: it possesses the glow of liquid light, the milky iridescent gleam of mother-of-pearl, and both the silver-white shine and heavy fluidity of quicksilver. It is simply that such qualities cannot coexist simultaneously in mortal substance.

“This, then, is your warning that when you set sail upon the Pearl-Bright, you are leaving the Realm of Instances for the Realm of Forms, where domain and entity alike are wrought from ideas in conceptual essence, and may thus prepare yourself to be likewise idealized in the course of your voyage.”

– “Ascending the Spire”, Elune Steamweaver