Jan. 2nd, 2012

A Quiet Day

Jan. 2nd, 2012 05:31 pm
fiat_knox: silhouette of myself taken at sunrise (Default)
When you've got no time, every moment becomes precious. So it is with me today. I spent so much time either writing or reading, and occasionally heading online. Not much else I could do, really.

But then, I do this every Yuletide - marking the time by tasks done, rather than things acquired.

Damned if last night didn't feel like a Bank Holiday Monday night, though - and tonight has felt like a Tuesday night. I'll expect to find my 2000AD waiting for me in town tomorrow. Of course I'd get it totally wrong - it comes out on Wednesday - but it feels as if I've gained an extra day somewhere.
fiat_knox: silhouette of myself taken at sunrise (Default)
Taking this from my post on the Mongoose Traveller forum:-

The Empress Wave - An Alternative Thought

So, by now, most of you will have had the opportunity to buy Alien Module 4: Zhodani from Mongoose, so you'll know by now of the major spoiler that the Empress Wave is still a part of canon in the Third Imperium setting.

Those who don't know of the Empress Wave - an explanation is given in the book, and summarised here. Basically, the Zhodani have discovered an Ancient device which allows them to see events transpiring in space along a corridor several lightyears wide, and eight thousand parsecs long, aimed right at the galactic core. For centuries, the Zhodani have sent expeditions along that narrow corridor, monitored patiently from the heart of the Consulate. They have founded colonies along the length of that corridor, and settlements formed.

And then something weird started to happen.

Along a flat plane, burning its way along the length of that corridor towards the Consulate like a flame burning on a long fuse, the device began to record things starting to happen. Nobles started going mad, and Proles and Intendants started to, well, dissent.

This phenomenon is known as The Empress Wave. And it looks as if it will be heading towards Charted Space and hitting the Consulate and Imperium in a hundred years or so.

Nobody knows what the cause is - though the Zhodani suspect it's some sort of Ancient Artifact that may have been triggered at the far end of the corridor, and which is expanding outwards in all directions at a frightening speed. Martin J Dougherty described the phenomenon as some sort of psionic shockwave, with images of an imperial - looking human woman, and then a disturbance as if "a trillion voices cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced."

The image of the imperious - looking woman is what gives the Empress Wave its name, but the Zhodani have a different name - "Yonder Chilling Thought."

Yonder Chilling Thought is like some construct out of fantasy. It is "Brace yourselves. Winter is coming." It is the Darkness at Sethanon from Raymond E Feist's novels. The need to stave off Fienzhatshtiavl gives rise to the Fifth Frontier War, at least according to MTAM4 (a chance discovery of a literally mountainous psionic Ancient Artifact on Rhylanor, potentially capable of projecting a psionic wave like theFienzhatshtiavl, and similar to one they have in their possession, gives the Zhodani hope that they may have found something to shield the Consulate from the worst of the Fienzhatshtiavl, but in order to use it ... they have to conquer Rhylanor. No, it doesn't make any sense, no matter what angle you look at it).

But what if the Fienzhatshtiavl has a far more mundane explanation? One so simple that the Zhodani, in their search for a psionic cause, or perhaps a phenomenon caused by an Ancient Artifact, have failed to grasp?

What if the Fienzhatshtiavl is, in fact ... the Zhodani Arab Spring?

With a normal revolution, leaders crop up, and agendas, and a manifesto, and the leadership can identify ringleaders and move in to bust up the party. Particularly in the case of mind readers.

But what if, like the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement last year, they have no defined leadership; no manifesto; no agenda beyond bringing down the Established Order?

What if this is a perfectly ordinary manifestation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, applied on a grand scale not seen for 300,000 years - a Stapledonian crisis for the species a la Star Maker?

In that case ... the player characters' solution is simple, though so far-reaching that the Consulate may tear itself apart anyway from arguing over it.

Allow Proles and Intendants the same voice in politics as the Nobles. Let non-psions speak in the Consulate, and have their voices heard by the high and mighty.

Also, let non-psions join the Tavrchedle' and investigate alongside their psion brethren, and open the doors a little wider towards visitors.

In other words, they've closed the fist too tightly, and now they cannot grasp anything; so in order to survive, they have to present the opened palm instead.


Someone asked about the "imperial human woman" seen in the psionic visions.

I posted the following image:-

It makes more sense than bloody Ancient Artifacts ...

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