We gave Our word to the peoples of Ildathach, Llorallin, and Marblyngrann… the Empire may survive a limited nucleonic conflict with Cerenaith. It can not survive a breach of Our word. Take us to strategic condition two. Deploy the orbital defenses.
And prepare for Our immediate transport to Kyo Kanatai. We must direct this personally.Alphas III Amanyr, 3060, two days before the first strikes of the Eclipse War
The most popular dynamic sense-filter UI is Bozo Bit™️, an augmented reality package to add people or objects to your cutfile¹ which by default is skinned as an antique dueling pistol. Simply point and click to enjoy confrontation-free social events!
(Also available is its big brother, the Bozooka™️, designed to edit entire classes of annoyances at once, from the sound of lawnmowers on quiet evenings to a super-bozo’s entire rep proximity group.)
While Bozo Bit™️ can operate within whatever parameters your sense-filter configuration prefers, its standard configuration deletes removed objects entirely from your sensorium, replacing them when strictly necessary (outwith emergency situations) with the “grayshade” removed-object symbol from the VIML Common Symbologia, and inventing neutral actions to cover interactions of third parties with them.
Additionally, while Bozo Bit™️ exerts no control over the AR environment of filtered objects, it provides a courtesy v-tag on the public annotations channel informing them and other nearby entities that their appearance and communications privileges with you have been denied; their own sense-filters and other exoself software may handle this as desired.
– Social Exoselves For Beginners
- Not “killfile”; see cut direct and automated deathlist management.
The Anti-Antipyrian Act, introduced to the Senate on 7284 Yrnaes 11 by Senator Samív Ollianos (Chamber of the People; 1001ﬆ Century; Ascended Illuminance of Ancas Iliaster) with the sponsorship of Senator Verloc mor-Kjan (Chamber of the People; 1450th Century; Imperium Bellipotent) and Senator Diracháné 0xCDEE998A (Chamber of the People; 888th Century; Rationalist Stringency) was today debated by the Committee of the Whole.
The proposal, as in its previous five recensions debated over the past millennium, proposed the reclassification of all individuals adhering to metaphysical determinism as objects rather than persons, citing classical definitions of sophoncy as the capacity for choice, and addressing themselves in particular to such outworld groups as the Antipyrianists and their promotion of toxic memes derived from this viewpoint.
With pause for a brief interruption by Senator Korathly min Ilmar (Chamber of Demesnes; District of Úneï; Alliance for Balance), observing that Senate protocol called for a Harmonious Proposal of Unquestionable Justice and Incontrovertible Benignity, not one of Incontrovertible Hilarity, the now-traditional rebuttal was delivered by Senator Chloé Leiravál (Chamber of Counselors; Alliance for Balance), declaring that however frustrating it might be dealing with individuals sufficiently deranged as to consider themselves soulless automata and their ratiocinations around the point, going so far as to concur with them – even only for legal purposes – would be neither true nor kind, and thus in exceptionally poor accord with the sacred values of the Empire.
In the absence of further comment, the proposal was then placed before the Chamber of the People for a vote, that Chamber being quorate, and failed of enacture in that Chamber, three Senators voting for and 1,422 against.
In later debate, Senator Leiravál accepted without condition a reprimand jointly submitted on behalf of the Speaker of Starlight, the Functionality of Mechanicians and Clockwork Engineers, the Sanctified Order of Theurgists and Shrine Maidens, et. al., with regard to her use of the phrase “soulless automata”, which many automata and their associates believe to be both demeaning and inaccurate in contexts in which it might be interpreted as applying to all automata.
– Proceedings of the Senate, 7284, Issue DXIV
The air whirred when she stepped into the room.
That wasn’t all that unusual. Lots of bravos would spin a sphere or two around their heads as an impromptu weapon or threat display. Some of the more dangerous ones could manage three, with a coin-flip chance on whether what made them dangerous was the odds of them losing their grip on the third.
She had twelve.
Not sharing a track, either, like an idiot’s shotgun. She had them spinning at different angles, weaving in and out of intersecting orbits, in what was on one hand a breathtaking display of psychokinetic prowess, and on the other hand was a blatant statement that she could kill everyone in the bar between one breath and the next.
Cocky bastard, thought I. Then again, I bought her a drink.
Bringing the what-the to warfare once again, and following on from both the unquestionable success of Nuclear War In A Can™, and their earlier semi-portable combat drone product Janissary In A Drum™, Eye-in-the-Flame Arms, ICC once again provides a new terror to the battlefield with the release of Brigade In A Bottle™.
Another in their line of self-decompressing nanopaste products, Brigade In A Bottle™ is a pre-programmed assembler system designed to be supplied with raw materials (chiefly metals and industrial plastics, although the paste is designed to forage; the accompanying manual suggests junkyards, disused factories, and captured enemy equipment as potential sources) and electrical power in the field. When these are supplied, the paste uses fast-burn nanoassembly techniques to manufacture, in a matter of hours, a brigade-sized mixed unit (a fighting strength of 4,664) of Jaeger 4400 mechagrunts and Warg 216-A hunter-killer houndbots, primed with command codes ready to join your tactical mesh.
The experienced reader may perceive the single flaw in the product: these are last-generation combat mechanicals, rather than the sleek leading-edge machines you might expect from a company with Eye-in-the-Flame’s reputation. As the product developer explains, though, this is a side-effect of the rough and ready, error-prone nature of field nanoconstruction, which cannot accurately reproduce recipes with the fine tolerances and exacting detail available in commercial nanofacture. As Brigade In A Bottle™ is chiefly intended for use in the creation of disposable shock troops for use in on-alert security systems, diversionary maneuvers, emergency reinforcement, and asymmetric warfare, this may not prove too great an impediment to its success.
– product announcements column, “Destruction Review”
IMS Sukórya’s Joy, Cerulean Ocean, 1340 Gradakhmath 3
It began with a signal.
We were three days out of the White Silver Gates when the signal came in. It was late, but while I would have usually been manning the wireless office alone, my junior, Shioi Morotai, was working with me that evening. We had a full load of moguls aboard on the Sybarite Deck keeping in touch with their offices, and a fever for the novelty of a wirelessgraph had swept the rest of the ship, keeping us working at the message backlog.
The hour was rising into Candleglass when the alerter rang. I glanced by instinct over at the dedicated set tuned to the distress frequency, but it was cold, with nothing but a soft hiss coming from the monitor. Next to it, though, the company set was lit up and blatting out our callsign.
I gestured Shioi to take over the message I was transmitting, and she slipped into my place in a moment, picking up in mid-word without hesitation, while I grabbed a message pad and shifted my headset’s plug to the company set, just in time for the callsign to break into a high-speed spatter of dits and dahs.
Looking back on it, that should have been suspicious. I knew the hand of all the company operators, and this was none of them. More than that, Shioi had the finest and fastest hand of them all, and even she couldn’t have produced a signal so perfectly regular, or transmitted the meaningless cipher-groups as quickly and cleanly as a message in clear.
The message repeated twice, then came to an end. I checked my transcription against itself, then ran it through the cipherwheel, and gaped at the result:
EX ILDATHACH / FARCANTER LINES / COMMODORE — IN SUKÓRYA’S JOY / MASTER — PRIORITY — BE ADVISED WE HAVE RECEIVED THREAT TO VESSEL — MEASURES UNDERWAY TO NEUTRALIZE — PROCEED TO POSITION 077.4 DEGREES 2,320 MILES FOR RENDEZVOUS WITH SUPPORT — MARIATIS — ESSENTIAL ONLY NECESSARY CREW INVOLVED AND PASSENGERS NOT INFORMED OF THIS — MAKE NO FURTHER COMMUNICATIONS REGARDING THIS MATTER — THESE INSTRUCTIONS HIGHEST MANDATORY PRIORITY — ENDS.
The message made no sense on its face. I looked again at the nonsense word in the middle, though, spun the locks on the safe by my knee, and pulled out the envelope inside, the code words shared only between Farcanter Line ships and the fleet commodore. The red card within bore a single word.
– Olivét Cendriane, wireless second, eighteen hours before the event
roidsteel: The worst metal in space.
Roidsteel is spacefarer’s pot metal, refined using crude field techniques from sideritic asteroids. (The term roidsteel derives from the largely nickel-iron composition of such bodies.) The “classic”, if such a term applies, refinement of roidsteel calls for melting the body using a solar mirror, while spinning it to concentrate and rake off stony slag, and finally forming it into ingots or sheets by thrust-forging. In practice, the production method varies widely, since roidsteel is a staple of field repairs carried out with inadequate equipment.
The properties of roidsteel cannot be given exactly, since the composition of each sideritic asteroid differs, and the production of roidsteel rarely makes any attempt to control its composition beyond basically nickel-iron; substantial quantities of various impurities – often valuable metals in their own right – are always present. Thus unreliable, the accepted uses of roidsteel are cobbling together an emergency hull patch, armor plate, or spar to enable one to limp to a nearby cageworks, at which point the roidsteel can be sold at average-density value to a refiner and a proper repair be implemented.
Should someone attempt to sell you goods made from roidsteel, take your leave and don’t look back.
– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary
There are those who have commented extensively on the military advantages, when considering the rise of the Empire, of highly disciplined legionaries able to cast obstacles aside or strike down enemies with lightning, all through force of will.“From the Mud to the Stars: An Agricultural History”, Ailil Ophris-ith-Ophris
Far fewer have considered the greater advantage, in economic terms, of the humble farmer who, from his hilltop, may plough and seed a hundred furrows with a gesture.
This is a little pastiche of Plutarch on Alexander the Great that I hacked together as a brief illustration of attitudinal differences. I like it enough to share it:
“Alphas smiled when he heard from his astronomers that there were billions of worlds in the heavens; and when his friends asked him the cause of his mood, he answered: do you not think it a worthy challenge that there are billions of worlds to conquer, when we have not yet conquered one?”Synnas Anaxianos, The City and the World
DORJE (FREE VERGE) – In a punitive innovation repugnant to all civilized polities, Corporate Fejj-Doval (a major corpclan on Dorje, an associate world of the Rim Free Zone, specializing in deprecated media) has posted the mind-state of one Parden il Vrane par tak, formerly par Fejj-Doval, for public extranet download. Fejj-Doval alleges that il Vrane had been maintaining a blacknet publishing intellectual property held by them, although in accordance with Dorjan custom, they were not required to demonstrate this in order to secure an arrest order against il Vrane, and goes on to state that in accordance with the principle that “he who obstructs trade becomes trade”, he who appropriates their intellectual property becomes their intellectual property, to dispose of as they will.
It is estimated that up to eight million copies of il Vrane’s mind-state have been downloaded thus far.
While no official action has yet been taken by any star nation of the Worlds in response to the condemnation of Corporate Fejj-Doval by the Conclave of Galactic Polities, the Warden-Bastion Compact of private law providers, and treaty bodies in the Free Zone, at the time of writing no fewer than seven sequestered claims-of-responsibility have been deposited with Imperial banking institutions (most under 24 year expiration-disclosure) for eleemosynary hunter-killer worms designed to euthanize non-self authorized il Vrane instances.
– from the Independent Worlds Router, early 7131
In the Thousand Precise Protocols of the Integral Accountant, opportunity profits are defined as effectively the opposite of opportunity costs,
Opportunity costs represent the potential value one misses out upon when choosing one alternative over another. Because opportunity costs are, by definition, unseen, they can be easily overlooked. Understanding the potential missed opportunities when one chooses one path, or one investment, over another allows for better decision-making.
Opportunity profits, therefore, represent the value one gains from choosing and acting upon an alternative, which, implicitly, other people have thus far chosen not to pursue. For example, an odocorp which constructs a bridge over a river reaps, in addition to the profits deriving directly from the construction and operation of the structure, but also an opportunity profit; their legitimate reward for having demonstrated foresight in seeing the need, willingness to accept the risks involved in the investment, and the boldness to seize the opportunity.
Perhaps the most famous example of opportunity profits (other than the Empire’s major odocorps) would be those of Ring Dynamics, ICC, whose seizure of the opportunity of the moment to parlay their development of stargate technology into a long-lasting dominance of interstellar transport is, if you will pardon the expression, textbook; although this also provides an example of a lost opportunity profit, since the Laserider Network lost its investment in the deep space lasers rendered obsolete by the advent of the stargates.
– from an introductory Imperial economics textbook, circa 3000
Why aren’t artificial intelligences programmed for honesty and loyalty?Cyberethics in Koans, Airil Konohana
So that they may be honest and loyal.
Neither somewhere you can visit, nor even somewhere you can see up close – it being found deep within a restricted system – it would nonetheless be remiss to omit Ómílarith, the 14th moonlet of the gas giant Bunker (Arvael IV), in the Palaxias (Imperial Core) system.
It should be obvious from the massive docking facilities built into the moonlet’s northern pole and the radiator structures of its southern tip that it has long been converted to military purposes, as has much of the Palaxias System, but Ómílarith, unlike much of the Bunker sub-system, has not been converted for gas mining, nor for antimatter storage, and nor is it a simple warehouse like the structures that surround Depot (Arvael III) with a set of metallic rings.
It is, however, a cryonic storage facility, and one dedicated to a single good.
Milspec bodies? No.
Ómílarith is home to the miles and miles of tunnels lined with cryocels, each holding in perfect preservation one more ton of the seed, the fruit-pip, of the Esklavea sendaren plant.
It is, after all, well-established that the Imperial Navy runs on esklav to a far greater extent that it does on deuterium, antimatter, or even paperwork. No-one is entirely certain what would happen should the beverage cease to flow – whether the Empire’s military operations would simply grind to a grouchy halt, or contrariwise, whether the Navy would sweep through known space like an angry, migrainous wildfire – but even fewer are willing to take the chance of finding out.
Against such mischance, the Imperial Strategic Bean Reserve stands ready.
– Around the Worlds on ¤1,000 per Sol
The Habtech’s Peace referred originally to an agreement brokered between the various mercenary companies engaged on each side during the months of drift-habitat fighting that characterized the latter phase of the Black Web War, and continues to refer to similar agreements (again, usually between mercenary groups) up to the present day.
Under a Habtech’s Peace, all combatants engaged in extended combat operations aboard a drift-habitat or other hostile-environment shelter agree to
- refrain from using control over or sabotage of structural, main power, thermal control, life support, attitude control, or orbital maneuvering systems as a weapon of war;
- refrain from conducting operations in such a way as to impair the operation, repair, or maintenance of these systems, or in a manner that places key elements of them at risk;
- permit the passage of identified habitat technicians through and between the combat zone and occupied areas as necessary, without let or hindrance;
- refrain from making use of identified habitat technicians as agents of sabotage or espionage;
- actively refuse any offers of intelligence from identified habitat technicians;
- and so forth.
The purpose of such an agreement should be obvious: operations in such environments offer all too many scenarios in which all sides of the conflict lose, in the destruction of the asset over which they are fighting and/or a mass-death event which destroys or renders combat-incapable both sides. Death for death’s sake is in no-one’s interest.
While combatants often cut a course very close to the line, a Habtech’s Peace is rarely violated, and in such cases mercenaries and mercenary-support organizations adherent to the Iron Concord will often join forces to punish the offender. (It is widely believed that the lack of participation of polity forces in these arrangements is due to the lack of ability – in most cases – to punish defectors.)
– from an article in Blood Cheques and Bullets, 7282Q1 issue
“Okay, let’s go over how the traffic priority controls work. You can up-priority by paying a small fee, with a promise to pay more if your higher priority becomes relevant. The fee goes to us, the later charges to every vehicle that’s inconvenienced by yours. Or you can down-priority, which is free, but nets you a small payment every time the road-grid can pick you to ‘lose’ rather than another vehicle.
“But people don’t understand how the vehicle priority algorithm works underneath.
“It doesn’t affect vehicle speed, or routing, or any such. We can’t run vehicles efficiently at multiple speeds over the same roads, after all. No, what the traffic priority setting does is affect the way the road-grid handles resource-contention decisions where two vehicles require the same resource – odoblock, say – simultaneously, and resolving this deadlock require that one vehicle be selected to ‘lose’, which we define as a set of parameters including increased travel time, increased travel cost, vector changes outside the passenger comfort envelope, user preference deviations, and so forth. In those cases, the lowest priority ‘loses’, and where multiple vehicles share the same priority, a random function decides the loser.
“That’s a simplification, but it’s close enough to true. It’s most visible with emergency response vehicles, which naturally have a hard-coded top priority, but if you carefully study the patterns of traffic around some other vehicles over time, you can see the algorithm at work. Sleeper cars and fragile cargoes, for example, have their comfort envelopes weighted higher so other vehicles ‘lose’ to them when a maneuver is required. Bulk freight without deadlines is usually deprioritized for the potential savings, so statistically speaking, robotrucks ‘lose’ more than regular traffic.
“So why do people think that these don’t do anything?
“Well, how often do you think the road-grid system needs to make resource-contention decisions?”
– Eimil Murianos, odocorp engineer, IBC live interview
CUSTOMER CONFIDENTIALITY IS NOT GUARANTEED
BUT MAY BE PURCHASED AS A RANGE OF AFFORDABLE OPTIONS
Hush (Ex. 16)
No-one will be told that you were here, but your information will be retained in my records.
Shopper? I Hardly Know Her! (ExV. 256)
I will forget that you were here, and identifying information will be removed from my ledger; the purchase will be attributed to “Some One”. Your presence will also be deleted from security footage et al. Warning: control of your presence information with regard to infrastructure not owned by me is outside the scope of this option.
Passing Without Trace (ExV. 384)
As above, except that both identifying information and the item(s) in question will be removed from my ledger; the purchase will be listed as “Some One bought Some Thing”. To maintain ledger consistency, the identity of the items will also be removed from their record of purchase.
Concealing The Backtrail (ExV. 512)
As above, except that the identity of the supplier(s) of the item(s) will also be removed from the record of purchase.
As an extra-cost option to the above, I will also undertake to contact my supply chain for these items and purchase similar confidentiality services on your behalf. Pricing for such additional services will begin at cost plus ExV. 128 for the first hop (per item), with the per item charge doubling for each additional hop. Undertaking to purchase such confidentiality services does not imply that such services are or will be available, or that they are or will be effective; no warranty is implied.
SPECIAL OPTION: AUTOCONFIDENTIALITY
That’s Not Mine, Officer (ExV. 128)
Your purchase of these item(s) will be redacted from your memory and transaction records will be anonymized. (Custom inoffensive false-purchase records can be added as an extra-cost option. Memories not included.)
I Was Never Here (ExV. 256)
Your purchase of these item(s) and your presence here surrounding this transaction will be redacted from your memory. (Custom inoffensive false-purchase and false-supplier records can be added as an extra-cost option. Memories not included.)
A 12% discount applies if this option is purchased in combination with “Shopper? I Hardly Know Her!” or any of the options above which include it.
Most bionic implants are designed to be controlled by simple mental commands in the same way as natural body parts; originally by painstaking training of the sensory and motor cortices to recognize the device and its functions, and in more recent times by engraving neuralware device drivers into the augmentee’s neural net. Either technique permits the use of an implanted device to be as easy and unconscious as flexing a muscle, rather than requiring the clumsy use of mnemonic sequences, narrative command phrases, or entoptic interfaces.
The problem with this, on the other hand, is that it bypasses the brain’s normal learning-to-mastery sequence, and until one is accustomed to the operation and functionality of such a device, it really shouldn’t be quite so easy and unconscious to use. That twitchy reflex that causes you to drop your drink and knock over your chair is merely a cause for mild embarrassment, whereas that twitchy reflex that causes you to pop off a cluster of micro-missiles and burn down the bar with your laser eyes is a cause for significantly more embarrassment, not to mention substantial liability and criminal charges.
Thus, induced startup dysphoria. This piece of neuralware exists to partially counter the effect of the neuralware drivers and make the implant feel unnatural and/or uncomfortable – to a mild degree, and continuously diminishing on a curve – for an appropriate acclimation period (usually defined in terms of a number of activation cycles) – in a manner which deters the brain from incorporating it into reflexive or non-deliberative-cognition-based actions until the augmentee has had the opportunity to properly internalize its functions. Mayhem beyond this point can safely be assumed to be intentional.
(Often, less scrupulous augmenteries in the black and red market segments omit the provision of an ISD module. It is unknown how many unintentional firefights this practice has started, but since many of these augmenteries leave the client’s new implant disabled until they have left the back office, it seems certain that they’re aware of the issue. As in every other business, you get what you pay for.)
– Augmentery’s Almanac
Red-Gold Routes: A Red-Gold Route, taking its name from the common practice of coloring the territorial volume of the Empire gold, or gold-bordered, and that of their satrapies and client states shades of red on political maps is, in definition, a long-distance route used by the the Imperial Merchant Navy in which all the ports of call are in Imperial territories, clients, or trade stations. This emphasizes not only the usefulness of the route as a means of connecting the Imperial metropole with the greater galactic empire, but also the strategic security of being able to connect (and travel between) distant possessions without having to rely on making stops in, or passing through the sovereign territory of, another polity. The definitive description of the Red-Gold Routes and their status is to be found in the navigational charts and rutters published by the Imperial Post-Courier Star Packet Company, ICC.
A similar term, the Red-Gold Beam, refers to the dataweave communications routes that allow packets to reach their destinations without ever transiting non-Imperial segments of the extranet (an option for which can be set in the routing headers). The communication lasers themselves, naturally, are frequency-multiplexed and are in any case invisible from off-axis.
See also: arterial; Far Star Station; Golden Band; Golden Interstar; Spice Way Program.
– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary
warmbody: a career that exists in certain “economically quirky” parts of the emerging markets, the warmbody – also sometimes known by the unusual sobriquet “rent-a-squishie” – reflecting an unwillingness to accept the realities of industrial magic and need to preserve “traditional” employment at all costs.
From the corporate perspective, warmbodies serve to pad payrolls, generate the appearance of activity, and most importantly, are living permission slips to do business in polities in the grip of labor-cults.
The actual functions of the warmbody vary widely in accordance with the nexus of corporate policy, regulatory environment, and individual characters involved. At its best, it can function as a form of subsidized training, preparing people for meaningful careers elsewhere in the business, or working as independent associates.
At its worst, by contrast, it constitutes an elaborate shell game in which corporate pretends extremely hard that its workforce is doing something of use – and are not being kept carefully away from anything that might impinge on actual operations – while said workforce hopefully pretends not to notice.
(These arrangements rarely last for long in those circumstances in which they’re unwilling to go along with the pretence.)
But for the most part, it just works out to be a Universal Tedium, in which boredom is inefficiently exchanged for resources. Since it is usually considered important that the public not be aware of the nature of such arrangements, warmbodies do acquire a skillset of some note in fields such as paper-shuffling, beverage-fetching, wall-propping, stealth gaming, and the tactical deployment of bullshit – applicable across a wide range of industries.
– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary
A phenomenon ever worthy of note is how much the overall culture of the Worlds has been shaped less by the direct influence of the Great Powers, or indeed by their cultures in themselves, but rather by misunderstandings of those cultures, in which others grasp the surface forms but not the essence behind them, or the ameliorating factors less visible in society, and not at all in the simplified forms of it depicted in popular culture.
Consider, for one example, the curious institution of the Harúnet heartbreaker.
The freesoil world Harúnet (Promegi Matrix) came to be dominated by noble clans (of unspoken offworld origin) impressed by, and seeking to imitate, not the actuality of Imperial culture, but rather an impression of it they had gained primarily from adventuring parties of young-bloods travelling the Worlds in the early existence of the Accord. The culture this gave rise to, therefore, reflected precisely the funhouse-mirror image one might imagine: hedonistic young noblemen and women filled with vainglory and arrogance, melodramatic, ever-touchy with regard to their honor and any slight to it, and obsessed with their renown and the value of their word above all.
Thus, the heartbreaker. To a Harúnet don, their word is unquestionable and beyond price, and their life the only possible surety for their word. A don who must pledge his word, therefore, offers his heart as surety for it in the most literal of senses, and one who needs must offer some great expiation, or back a gamble otherwise unsecured will make that same pledge. Should that surety be called for, the don will call upon his heartbreaker – typically a sibling or favored cousin – to publicly cut out his heart as payment of the debt. (This is intended to be lethal, and while those who cheat death in various ways are, in law, merely nonpersons on Harúnet thereafter, such wights often find themselves pursued across the World by cousins of the clan seeking to expunge the shade thus cast on the family’s reputation.)
Of course, outside the noble classes and especially where outworlders are concerned, not all may understand the importance of such a pledge made to any of the dons of Harúnet. Thus, a second, less reputable type of heartbreaker has come into existence, one who combines their ritual function with the duties of a skip tracer; to wit, hunting down the forsworn wheresoever they may flee, and collecting their patrons’ owed pound or two of flesh.
– The Sincerest Form of Flattery: Imitiative Sophontologies of the Old Worlds