Glory and Hilarity

Glory

Interestingly, it’s not so much the massive and beautiful station that really impresses.

It’s the question of “Where all that water is going?” That’s some serious engineering there!

Hilarity

All the risks and dangers and gambles, taken to gain La Glorie.

And there are the cheerleaders… who will root for you far, far, far from the field of fire.

If you lose, expect to be swiftly forgotten by all.

If you win, expect lots of sudden close friends, palms open.

Posted in Jumpspace Transmission

Onion Nonsense

This is exactly the kind of hare-brained scheme – the kind of profitable hare-brained scheme – I expect PCs to get involved with.

Just remember: the furious onion farmers aren’t going to Appeal to the Emperor, like in real life.

They’re going to tender a mercenary contract.

Posted in Jumpspace Transmission

Fascism vs. National Socialism

Ultra-condensed summary: Italian Fascists (and Spanish fascists!) are nationalist collectivists who idolize and worship the State, but are not very concerned about genetics.

National Socialists are race-based nationalist collectivists that also idolize and worship the State, but are seriously into racism.

(To the extent of pouring men and resources into simply killing civilian Jews and Slavs as fast and as much as possible. As opposed to, say, holding the line at the Eastern Front against the Red Army.)

Marxists are international, class-based collectivists who believe in the strictly temporary dictatorship of the proletariat to drive forward the Revolution, and the temporary nature of the State, under the Leadership of the Party.

(Remember: the People’s Liberation Army does not swear allegiance to the State, nor to the People, and certainly not to God, nor to a Constitution.

They swear allegiance to the Party, who Speaks for the People.

As for the relationship between the Race, the People, the State, and the Party… that, I leave for you to investigate.)


Note that the Solomani Party is all about genetics and racial superiority. The power of the Confederation government is important – it’s a one-party state, after all! – but quite a broad spread of cultures, ideologies, and law levels are permitted, even libertarianism… so long as Pure Race Solomani humans are above all the others, in custom and law.

I would peg the Solomani Party a National Socialist group, but not a very unified one: there’s lots of infighting under the covers.


Is the Solomani Party as murderous as the National Socialists? Often enough: but Solomani ideology is more about the Solomani right to rule all sophonts in the galaxy, than the innate evil of all non-Solomani, and the need to Kill Them All Right Now.

More humiliation and supremacy, subjugation and power-flexing against the Inferiors. Less extermination and concentration camps.

The death camps for uppity genetic minorities definitely do exist… although they are rarely needed for more than a decade, say. Like the Marxists (and unlike the National Socialists), the Solomani understand that starvation (and drought, if you can artificially create one) is the best way to kill millions and millions, quickly.

“Poison works just as well. Which is why the Vargr are careful to sniff out any food the Smiling Solomani have to offer. Surprising, how poisonous raisins can be to canines, and how often they are accidentally found in food prepared for the Vargr.”

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Captain Tylor

I am a grim realist when it comes to sci-fi fiction.

But, you don’t have to be.


I have a suspicion that King Solomon and Captain Tylor would have got along splendidly. Both are way smart, way wise, and way too horny for human civilization.

But unlike ‘Good’ King David, they aren’t going to flat-out murder the husbands/lovers of the women they are chasing.

So there’s that.

Posted in Jumpspace Transmission

Wash Your Rice

In the Imperium, multiple trillions strongly and aggressively believe in Proper Food Preparation.

This includes washing your rice.

Yes, despite loud grumbling to this day, the Vilani have integrated Terran grains into their diet: rice, wheat, corn (and the soy bean!) provide too many cheap-to-grow safe calories for the pragmatic Vilani to suppress forever.

But most still offer yearly ceremonial apologies for such a violation of The Tradition.

Vaughn B.
As a Filipino, it’s really strange to me that there are people who don’t have a huge sack of rice in their homes

Isn’t that part of the Mandatory Prepared Reserves for every Vilani home in Charted Space?

Seigi Yokota
I live in America, and I wash my rice because I have found live rice weevils in my rice.

I get large bags of rice because its more economical. I put this rice in those airlock plastic tubs for easy use. Sometimes I go at large lengths without eating rice and the rice sits in the containers for a long period of time.

One time the rice was probably about 5 months old and my wife sees that the rice has black specs everywhere inside of it. and we determine that they are bugs. Now these bugs could not have come into the container as it was airtight, and looking it up we found that this is the rice weevil, the eggs are clear, are often found on rice and can live through extreme conditions, only to hatch later. We really needed to make the rice and so, I washed the rice. The bugs will naturally float to the top and will pour off easily.

We now make sure to throw the 20Lb bag into our deep freezer (5 degrees F) for a week, which from what I have researched will kill the eggs, but we still wash our rice to try and rinse off the eggs.

I do it mostly for culinary reasons though. Getting rid of the starches or keeping the starches is what motivates my decision. Often times if I am making a lot of rice in my small rice cooker, I will have to wash well or else the bubbles will build up so much from the thick starchy boiling water that my rice cooker will start overflowing and making a big sticky starchy mess on my counter and throwing off the water ratio.

This man knows how to purify his food The Vilani Way.

“There’s hope for you Silly people after all!”

Peek-A-Boo
My ancestors that I don’t even know are gonna travel back to the mortal realm and twist my neck 180° clockwise/anti-clockwise if I don’t wash my rice

Vilani. Obviously.

chouseification
Former QA Manager at a huge factory that made flour tortillas (among many other things) here. When you called out the part about flour and there might be bugs in the flour, you need to truly understand you have been misled.

Indeed, there were always bugs in the flour, and it was a persistent complaint of ours that the flour industry more or less accepted as something they couldn’t really fix without using irradiation or something that could affect the nutritional values as well.

We had a big box silo for our flour, and we used enough of it to require a bulk tanker (semi trailer with a few big compartments holding bulk flour, not pallets of 50 pound bags) every weekday, so we weren’t just sitting on it or anything… we were using it nearly as fast as it came in; yet bulk systems like this (pneumatic distribution from the silo to the various weight scales near the mixers in the production rooms) always come with a screener/sifter that comes on when the system is pumping flour to a scale – one of the daily tasks of the QC or QA teams are to empty the tailings from that sifter box; and on a weekly basis open it up and check all of the screens.

The tailings box contains some flour mixed in with bugs, lots of little tiny beetles. Always.

We would take the tailings and run them through some box screens we had in our lab and it wasn’t to see if there were bugs but to specifically make sure there were only a few. Really.

Every single bit of flour comes with beetle poop. Yummy. Luckily we’re used to it.

“confused flour beetle” is one of the typical variants we would see, but there were other species as well.

I have a suspicion, that mass-produced agricorp flour is a good deal cleaner than most privately-grown crops.

There are specialty, “hypoallergenic, ultra-clean, grown-in-a-sterile-lab environment” food sources, grown in domed, sealed farms or isolated agricultural space stations… with price tags to match.

Austin Han
I wash my rice because I don’t want my Korean mom to fly over to my house in the middle of a pandemic and beat me with her spare sandal. Is that not a good enough reason for you?

Or to cross three sectors in the middle of the massive War of the Rebellion… slipper in hand.

Atomic Shrimp
There you go being all balanced and factual and reasonable – you think this will stop people angrily correcting you in food related videos? 😁

<Exhausted Imperial Peace-broker collapses on the antigrav sofa.>

Posted in Jumpspace Transmission

Land Navigation and the New Recruits

You could do a quick adventure with Imperial basic training, with stock characters:

The slow and powerful Heavy Worlder
The Zero-G kid who never saw rain before, and is terrified by the wind.
(“Hull breech! HULL BREECH!”)
The guy Raised in the Woodlands
The guy Raised in the Desert
The guy Raised by Vargr
The guy from the Sprawling Megalopolis
The low-tech guy: “Electricity? What’s that?”
The Pre-Stellar tech guy: “Antigrav? Battledress? Whats that?”
The Race Warrior: “So Solomani”
The Corporate Conformist: “So Vilani”
The Roaring Imperial Patriot
The Low-tier Blueblood
The Mass-Produced Clone
The guy “Just here for three hots and a cot”
The Eager-beaver Conscript
The Star Dreamer
The Handy Technician
The guy from the ‘Hood (Escapee or Gang-banger)
The Peddler/hawker/pusher/trader (depending on his wares and style)
The guy who never saw an alien before
The guy who never left his homeworld before

There are more you can come up with, but this will do for now.

So, set the conscripts up, give them the standard land navigation course, give them a compass, and give them a map, a goal, and a deadline.

And see what happens.

Be nice. First test them on a world with breathable atmosphere and liquid water, before testing them on some fearsome hostile deathworld, “Imperial Marine style”.

Posted in Jumpspace Transmission

Diplomatic Immunity

Just another Traveller idea.

Quora: What happened to the US military personnel at the American embassy in Japan, upon Japan declaring war against the US?

M.M. Holmes, Freelance Historical Writer

There were 65 embassy personnel on US Embassy grounds at the start of the Pacific War. This included both US Army and Naval attachés and their assistants. The Japanese honored their diplomatic immunity status and they were allowed to stay with the remaining embassy staff which included Ambassador Grew and his wife.

However as with the British and Dutch embassies, American personnel were restricted to their embassy property and all means of communication to include radios were removed by the Japanese. For the next 6 months, the staff to include military attachés, amused themselves with golf tournaments on a 9-hole course they had set up behind the embassy, along with regular poker and bridge events. They witnessed the Doolittle Raid over Tokyo, but did not understand what had happened until repatriation.

On June 18, 1942, all embassy staff left Yokohama for their exchange with returning Japanese in Mozambique. They were reunited onboard with American reporters who had had it far worse off. Many of the newsmen had been tortured during interrogations and then placed in solitary confinement. They all safely arrived in New York City on August 25, 1942.

In the Imperium, various officers from planetary, corporate, and dynastic governments have diplomatic immunity, as well as Imperial and extra-Imperial diplomats.

So, there’s plenty of scope to move these people around, depending on the circumstances.

Note the hard situations reporters faced. That’s also quite common within the Imperium.

Posted in Jumpspace Transmission

Digging In

For story ideas, naturally.

Note that the Imperium — and a lot of planetary, corporate, and dynastic governments — can dig in far deeper, while the best TL 15 densitometers can only go about one kilometer down.

Posted in Uncategorized

Inspiration from the Eighteenth Century

Burning Ship
By RhysGriffiths

A dramatic episode in the life of many Travellers, both literally — massive wooden ships still exist, within the Imperium — and figuratively.

“Head for the shuttles and air/rafts! It’s our only way out!”

Conquistadors
By RhysGriffiths

You can keep the spirit of things, with Imperial officers strolling through a quiet countryside in full battledress, or in an armoured vehicle.

Or go literally, with an Old School Ruling Family riding in their country estate, discussing a recent victory… and their plans for future conquests.

The Foreign Market
By RhysGriffiths

Inspirational: heading for one of the Startown bazaars.

Actual: “It’s surprising what you can find, when you go far off the beaten track on a low-tech world.”

Posted in Jumpspace Transmission

Making a Name for Yourself

The Love of War

The King of Prussia, Frederick II (“the Great”), confessed that he had seized the province of Silesia from the Empress Maria Theresa in 1740 because, as a newcomer to the throne, he had to make a name for himself. This caused a war with Austria that developed into a worldwide war (in North America, the French and Indian War), and went on to 1763. Of course, many tens of thousands died in that series of wars.

Why Historical Revisionism Matters by Ralph Raico

Very, very Imperial.

Note the need to ‘make a name for himself’. Quite a lot of Noble maneuvers are tied to building up the name of this or that man.

In general, though, states have been much more circumspect about revealing the true reasons for their wars as well as the methods by which they conduct them. Pretexts and evasions have proliferated. In democratic societies, these are endorsed—often invented—by compliant writers and intellectuals.

The bought-out babbling bureaucracy expands.

Even Rome herself – generally unconcerned with moral justifications – felt the need for a pile of statues of the Divine Caesar (and stamped on all the coins), as well as sophisticated, elegant propagandists (see: Vigil).

In today’s democratic world, a wall-to-wall mass media noise machine is preferred, to direct the masses to Proper Thinking.

The Imperium does use noise machines sometimes, but indifferently and without any great art or sophistication. Of vastly greater interest in an aristocratic society are the social networks of the elites, mainly the interstellar military, economic, and cognitive elites… and the points where they intersect each other.

“Why waste energy beating and bribing the horse, when you can just give a precise little tug at the bit that governs the horse?”

“Or – even more elegantly – direct the exact cluster of neurons that govern a particular horses’ action?”

The Imperium is simply indifferent when it comes to the opinions of the ungovernable and disorganized masses, heavily divided as they are on race, history, lifestyles, natural/supernatural religions, environments, and wealth.

But immense skill is shown when a particular clique wants to persuade a powerful corporate board, the governing elite of an important world, a certain ruling family, the leaders of an influential academy, or the ruling clerics of an important religion.

Who Cares About the Masses

All that being said, there are certain groups who still value the opinions of the masses:

  • Corporations and business, working in the mass market. They don’t want to sell a few expensive items to the top of the economic period, but instead they make their money selling low-cost but useful goods to the masses.
  • Planetary governments remain quite interested in controlling the thoughts of the masses.

    “Poor, angry workers can’t spontaneously cross hard vacuum during a riot. But they can storm a planetary palace or parliament!”
  • Aggressive cultural and religious causes that seek to convert a population to their way of thinking remain committed to the mass media. (See: Gutenberg and his printed, cheap Bibles.) Aging, tamed, broken, and gelded beliefs and ideologies… not so much.

The Love of War, Redux

Castigating the aristocracy for its alleged war lust was standard for liberal writers of earlier generations. But Cobden’s views began to change when he observed the intense popular enthusiasm for the Crimean War, against Russia and on behalf of the Ottoman Turks. His outspoken opposition to that war, seconded by his friend and co-leader of the Manchester School, John Bright, cost both of them their seats in the Commons at the next election.

Why Historical Revisionism Matters by Ralph Raico

Things change.

And it isn’t just a Ruling Aristocracy that loves the use of power.

Instead of a Leader Building His Name, it’s Our Tribe against Their Tribe, the Believers against the Heretics, the Intelligent against the Ignorant, The Superior against the Inferior, the Humans versus the Subhumans.

The older ways were less destructive to the wealth and lives of the masses.

Interstellar Elite, Planetary Elite

The Canon Imperial government is repulsed at the cost of trying to bribe trillions of Imperial Citizens with welfare money. And the cost, power, and size of the massive bureaucracy that will be needed to manage the bribes.

(…The Solomani Nobles give a wary look at the grinning Vilani Nobles…)

But what the Interstellar rulers see as destroying their power and authority, some Planetary rulers see as a great opportunity to extend their control over the masses: be they classical Chinese-style (or Vilani-style) bureaucrats, Bismark-style ‘unite the nation!’ welfare/warfare-state types, the Red Star Aristocrats, or “Soak the Rich” populists.

And of course, just as there are expensive time, space, and cultural complexity costs that cripple the drive of the Imperium to directly rule more than the starports and a few worlds (those under Imperial Occupation, some Nature Reserves, and a few Administrative Centres), the masses can neither unite for a single purpose, nor cross hard vacuum, without a Guiding Hand to lead them.

Finally: note that this only applies to the Third Imperium. The First Imperium had no hesitation in enforcing a seamless Universal Conformity across her domain, regardless of cost. The Second Imperium was not nearly as controlling, but also sought to “shape the thinking of the masses”, attempting to break up the Vilani caste system and various widespread cultural practices.

The Third Imperium just couldn’t care less, so long as the worlds keep sending their tax monies, and don’t challenge the Imperial military.

My money stays in my pocket, while the masses shoulder their own responsibility for their own lives. Just as it should be.”

Posted in Jumpspace Transmission