Worthiness

Credit ratings are best thought of as a measure of risk: if I lend money to, or invest money in, this person, or this corporation, or this security, how likely am I to get my money back? This is essentially the same as the trivial assessments we make every day: the staid, millennium-old commercial bank in the center of town inspires no concerns in anyone, whereas the scruffy floater hanging out in startown might as well be a walking junk bond. Credit ratings merely formalize this.

Most relevant to Imperial investors, credit ratings are assigned to any entity of market relevance and any security listed on an Imperial exchange by one of a number of market rating agencies, such as Cheraelar & Orthodox (a joint venture between Gilea & Company and the Calmiríë Securities Exchange), Adichi Reliability, or Rational Risk Ratings. Such ratings are typically published covering short-term (12 year), medium-term (144 year) and long-term (576 year) periods.

The basic categories used for these ratings were set by Cheraelar & Orthodox, as one of the earliest rating agencies, and others have stuck to their format, although providing their own detailed write-ups and occasionally extending the format into other areas.

Super-Prime (AAA)

The six grades of super-prime are assigned to those entities or securities in which the ratings agency has confidence that there is no probability of obligor default whatsoever. Such a rating is extremely rare, requiring starcorporate status and/or a personal guarantee1 from Gilea & Company or another bank of equivalent stature2, along with domicile in a legal regime which permits appropriate guarantees to be made.

In the corporate realm, the Big 26 and five other Imperial corporations hold a AAA rating, along with fourteen foreign-domiciled corporations. Imperial gilts are the only sovereign security to be thus rated.

Prime (AA)

The twelve grades of prime are assigned to those entities or securities in which the ratings agency estimates the probability of obligor default as less than 0.083% during the rating period at the high end, and 0.166% at the low end. These are considered high-grade investments, suitable for long-term holds.

Sub-Prime / Sovereign-Impaired (A)

The twelve grades of sub-prime are assigned to those entities or securities in which the ratings agency estimates the probability of obligor default as greater than the 0.166% required to qualify as prime, but less than the 1% which would relegate them to the speculative class.

So-called “sovereign-impaired” entities or securities are those whose governing legal regime does not meet Alpha Concord Free Economic Zone Standard 23.1 where foreclosure is concerned, impairing legal recovery in the event of default. Such entities or securities cannot be classified higher than sub-prime, even if in other ways they would meet the standards for prime or even super-prime rating; naturally, the majority of sovereign debt and other sovereign-issued securities are considered sovereign-impaired.

Speculative (S)

The twelve grades of speculative are assigned to those entities or securities in which the ratings agency estimates the probability of obligor default as no more than 1% during the rating period at the high end, and less than 12% at the low end. While not a high rating in terms of risk, the majority of entities or securities rated S are new business startups, engaged in inherently risky ventures, or simply lack the financial history upon which a more favorable rating could be based; as such, they also tend to offer substantially higher returns than less risky investments.

S-rated entities and securities offer a great many opportunities to the attentive investor who can safely bear the risk of such investments, and to whom they are typically directed.

Junk (no letter code)

The twelve grades of junk are assigned to those entities or securities to which the ratings agency estimates a probability of obligor default exceeding 12% during the rating period. While not in default, and potentially on the road to recovery, the risk is significant and only experienced investors should consider them. In the bottom half of the category, sometimes referred to as “sub-junk”, such entities or securities are considered in collapse, “on the road to default”, and are best left to the vultures.

Defaulter (D)

The rated entity or security is in default, and no longer eligible for exchange trading. At this level, acquiring such securities is only useful as a basis for legal foreclosure, as a basis for hostile foreclosure, or as toilet paper.

– excerpted from “So, You Have Lazy Money?”,
Auric Productions Press


1. And at this level, that means the Old Lady personally signed off on it.

2. There are no recognized banks of equivalent stature, but it could happen.

Although Most Designs Are Poly

Ascíël coupler: the standard design, in modular habitat and starship architecture, for the coupler that binds adjacent modules into a single unit.

For such semi-permanent connections on a large scale, simple docking adapters are obviously unsuitable; tidal forces and other stresses common in large structures may cause a simple docking adapter to be stressed sufficiently to separate over time, and starship-level thrust applied to a modular design would cause near-immediate failure.

A variety of designs (often based on existing railroad couplers) were tried to prevent this while also avoiding the expense, wasted time, and potential damage involved in bolting or welding additional reinforcement onto the modules, with varying degrees of success, eventually converging on the modern Ascíël coupler.

The Ascíël coupler, as defined in IOSS 64212, makes use of the IUSI androgynous docking adapter (as defined in IOSS 52114) to achieve initial connection. (As such, it too comes in the three there-defined standard sizes.)

Once hard dock has been achieved, the surrounding coupler engages a nested pair of counterrotating helical screws, which intertwine from each side of the coupler to form a solid bond between the modules. Once the screws have advanced to the fully engaged position, twelve locking rods (six per screw, three being managed by each coupler) are electromagnetically released and are forced by springs into their extended position through holes in the screws, preventing them from rotating and thus from working loose over time.

When fully engaged, an Ascíël coupler has an effective strength equivalent to that of the surrounding module hull.

– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary

A Sticky Solution

SECRET YELLOW / EYES ONLY OMRD

PROJECT TAR BABY

PROPOSAL

A prohibitive constraint on the use of conventional weapons in the anti-satellite (ASAT) role is their tendency to create debris through a variety of paths: direct ablation, spallation or fragmentation debris, warhead shrapnel, non-intercepting ordnance, and so forth.

The accumulation of such debris beyond a chaotically variable critical point – easily surpassed during military escalation, per Orbital Hazards in Simulated Great Power Escalation Scenarios (Oricalcios, Efiathe, and Cylassé, 2074) – poses a long-term hazard to civilization by inducing a cascade catastrophe, a rapid chain multiplication in debris count likely to render the orbital bands involved non-viable in the long term.

TAR BABY attempts to avert this by developing a specialized non-fragmentation ASAT weapon.

Specifically, we propose a dedicated ASAT warhead designed for compatibility with the Firehawk surface-to-orbit missile system (selected for its multiple-burn capability). Upon closing with the target satellite, this warhead deploys a sphere of viscous adhesive at its nose, formulated to remain effective in vacuum conditions for the duration of the impact event and to retain its shape via surface tension.

It is believed that this mechanism should allow a TAR BABY warhead to achieve a hard connect with the target satellite with minimal uncaptured fragmentation. Embedding within the adhesive body should in itself cause significant disruption to the operation of the target, but for maximal effect, after the adhesive sphere has set (either by passage of time or injection of a catalyst), the multiple-burn capability of the Firehawk can be used to perform a controlled deorbit and destruction of the captured satellite.

For further details of our proposal, please see the enclosed technical documentation.

Submitted for your consideration,

Vidal Amnestrianos

for and on behalf of

Firefly Aerospace, ICC

Location, Location, Location

The only permanently cold regions on Eliéra are the lands near its hub. On Upperside, divided by the grinding bergs of the Kjavalaer, the outer reaches of this region belong to the Icemarch, on the Alténiän continent, and to the Winter Principality elsewhere.

The outermost of these reaches are relatively clement windswept taiga, but as one advances towards the center, this soon gives way to cruel winter tundra. The land beyond the Frozen Gates is dominated by glaciers and permanently frozen ice fields, leading upwards to the barren, wasted foothills of the Talíär – or the Dalthíär, on the Underside – where endless ice storms and glaciers render the land nigh-impassable. The only successful settlements in this region are the siphon-towns of the Icemarch, buried deep beneath ice and rock, and accessed by ice tunnels leading far to the south.

Many explorers were nonetheless drawn to these regions, pulled onwards by the curious regularity and sixfold symmetry around the hub of the Talíär and Dalthíär mountain ranges. The most notable of these expeditions were those led by Nimínes Dalastel, whose third expedition reached the base of the Talíär proper, and whose sixth expedition, making use of base camps and caches established by the fourth and fifth, successfully ascended to one of the passes of the Talíär.

Had the expedition not correctly deduced the cause of the note resounding through the pass, it would undoubtedly have come to a fatal end after surmounting its narrow summit. Thus forewarned, however, the expedition proceeded with caution, and heavily secured by ropes, were the first to lay eyes upon the shaft within the Talíär; a near-vertical, artificially smooth descent plummeting not merely to the bottom of the mountains, but deep within the main body of the world itself.

(And so, the expedition solved a speleological puzzle of long standing. It had been observed that caves tended to “breathe”, and the predominant observation was that strongly connected caves – i.e., those leading into the network of deep-crust passages referred to as the Beneath – exhaled drafts of warmer-than-ambient air on a near-continuous basis.

We now know the source of this air is the Talíär and Dalthíär shafts. Cold stratospheric air pours through the passes of the mountains and descends rapidly into the bowels of the planet, where it serves to carry away the waste heat generated by the computation and matter editation layers of the machinery at its core. The then-heated air is vented into the Beneath, within which it cools and expands, and from which it eventually emerges at the surface as warm cave-breath.)

It is despite all this, then, that the Talíär was selected as the site for Eliéra’s first orbital elevator. While the difficulties involved in building a jack directly above a gale-force air intake in the middle of the arctic were indeed considerable, this is merely to say that the other two possible sites were worse…

– World on a String: A History of Early Orbital Elevators

The Truth Is In Here

True Tales of the Worlds: Recently selected as the Least Truthful Newsbytes for the 69th year in succession, True Tales of the Worlds is the Associated Worlds’ longest-running comedic-speculation journal, memetic experiment, and/or example of untreated delusions. Having recently turned 4,000, we present here a selection of recent headlines, all of which, we feel, live up to the standard set by the front-page story of their first ever issue, “Holy Shit, Planets Actually Spherical”.

  • Alleged Leytra Star Just a Blue-White Hallucination
  • Three-Ended Wormhole Discovered: Duplicates Expedition
  • Dropped Comet Made of Cheese: Colonists Surprised, But Surprisingly Delicious
  • Every Star Nation Secretly Ruled by Lizard People (Except the Empire of the Lizard People)
  • Empire of the Lizard People Secretly Ruled by Different Lizard People
  • Transportation Cartel Cover-Up – Galaxy Only Twelve Million Miles Across!
  • Many-Colored Shooting Stars Expected After Explosion of Candy Freighter
  • Universe Not Hollow, Claims Scientist, And We Live On The Outside
  • Giant Space Yeast Found In Beer Nebula
  • Giant Space Yeast More Awesome Than Giant Space Amoeba, Scientists Agree
  • Panspermia: Space Currents or Self-Pleasuring Deity? Very-Large-Baseline Images You Won’t Believe!
  • Conclave Votes To Raise Luminal Limit
  • Let My People Go, Ring Dynamics!: Interview With a Giant Space Worm
  • Lord Blackfall Converting Sun To Private Hyperyacht, Threatens ‘Global Warming’
  • Precursor Artifact Found in Public ‘Fresher: Scientists Now Searching For ‘Hyperspace Poop Moon’
  • Sen Shari Demands Hope Hegemony Dye ‘Eyesore’ Nebula
  • League Treasury Buys Three-Ended Wormhole, Pays Half Price
  • Plans to Soft-Land Moon of Sedria in Original Location Move Forward, Citing Benefits to Science, Tourism
  • Vordon’s Empty: “Detuned Heterodynes” Hire All The Mercenaries As Roadies For Upcoming Galactic Tour
  • Eye-of-Night Spontaneously Emits Mint ’53 Atomo: Science Team Takes Rocket Ride
  • Mermaids Make First Contact, Protest Moon-Landing Plans
  • Eels! Why?

If you are currently asking yourself why, consider the True Tales‘ never-changed masthead:

“The Truth Shall Enrich”

– A Star Travelers’ Dictionary

Why Did I Do That?

Of the various forms of mind control available today, the most subtle and horrible is that of overshadowing.

Overshadowing occupies the middle ground between full possession – in which the invading mind replaces or suppresses the host mind, which is either destroyed or unconscious during the period of possession; and black puppeteering, in which control is asserted at the sensory/motor interfaces, and in which the host is conscious (although not necessarily receiving sensory input) but rendered unable to act.

Sophotechnology recognizes that virtually all forms of cognition function as a society of mind, in which a variety of mental routines, from the primary personality down through subpersonalities, archetypes, self-and-other models, and mere invoked talents interact to create the mentality entire. Selfness – the location of primary executive function – migrates during mental processing between these routines, with that most apt to handle the present situation taking a foreground role under, in healthy minds, the guidance of the primary personality.

Overshadowing functions by introducing one or more additional viral routines (similar to a gnostic overlay) into this chorus, which can take control in unguarded moments and carry out its programmed functions while making full use of its host’s memory base, invoked talents, and in sophisticated examples, even higher-level routines to determine ways and means.

The true horror of this is seen after the fact: in conscious sophonts, the consciousness loop functions as a journal file recording and organizing mental processing into a self-narrative, and such consciousness loops assume that all mental processing is legitimate mental processing. As the cliché goes, you can’t perceive that you’re insane. As such, from the conscious perspective, the host perceives the actions of the viral routine as their own, and will weave them into their self-narrative with such post-hoc rationalizations as are required to make them fit.

As such, while no civilized polity would hold an individual ethically responsible for actions taken while overshadowed, it is often very difficult to persuade overshadowing victims that this is the case, especially since secondary mental structures may have formed to support the rationalizations, leaving behind motivations for a given behavior even after the viral routine which initiated in the past has been removed. For this reason, treatment is a lengthy process requiring sophisticated mind-state analysis, preferably including differential analysis against pre-infection backups.

– Manual of Mental Diagnostics, 271st ed.

The Lover of Money

“How do you make money, the symbol of exchange-value, properly match the actuality of exchange-value? Every civilization struggles with that, except the ones who give up and treat the mismatch as an opportunity to steal from the future… But it turns out that creating a liminal hyperintelligence that indwells your currency such that it can regulate its own value from a fiscally omniscient perspective works modestly well. Once people come to terms with the notion of spending tiny particles of god, anyway.”

Rilia Cheraelar, Economist Excellence,
on Aurifer, the Fiscal Mind