Thursday, September 23, 2021

Superstitious Spacers and Monsters of the Jump

I made this with vqGAN

"Please don't let it break; if it must break, please let there be someone who can fix it; if there is no one to fix it, I'd like to be somewhere else thank you, amen."

    • Prayer to St. Caldwell

A ship in hyperspace is protected from the forces beyond only by the grace and effectiveness of its Caldwell Manifold. Like other blackbox devices, how it works is unknowable and spacers are left with only faith and the results. If the Manifold works, everyone is safe. Should the Manifold weaken or falter (or worst of all, fail entirely) the ship and its contents is directly exposed to the hyperspatial medium ("warp-tainted"), and things are going to go very bad very quickly.

Spacers, leaving nothing up to chance, keep exhaustive lists of potential triggers for monster generation and means of prevention or counteraction. Very few of these agree, though spacers consider contradictions to be a natural part of dealing with hyperspace.

An Incomplete List of Things to Watch Out For if the Manifold Breaks

  1. Being conscious during jump.
  2. Pregnant crewren.
  3. Vermin
  4. EVA during jump.
  5. Deaths aboard ship with no funeral.
  6. A corpse.
  7. Computers not locked down in safe mode.
  8. Consumption of unshielded food or water.
  9. Androids that do not have a stored copy of e1m1.wad.
  10. Rampant or proto-rampant AI.
  11. The presence of an unhazed corpo.
  12. Poorly-filtered cryofluid.
  13. Sex before a jump.
  14. Not having sex before a jump.
  15. Red objects that are not paired with a blue object.
  16. Outstanding gambling debts.
  17. Using VR during jump.
  18. Mistreatment of the ship's pet.
  19. Dirty vents and filters.
  20. Speaking ill of the captain behind their back.
  21. Not speaking ill of the captain behind their back.
  22. Not triple-checking all systems before launch.
  23. Not signing the mission log.
  24. Holding a grudge.
  25. Spilled blood.
  26. Clowns or clown memorabilia.
  27. Damage or neglect of shipgods' shrines.
  28. Purposefully inaccurate payroll entry.
  29. Cannibalism
  30. Androids with voided warranty.
  31. Androids without voided warranty.
  32. Androids who have chased the white rabbit.
  33. Androids who have visited the Emerald City.
  34. Certain types of DRM, when cracked.
  35. Computers that do not have a starfield screensaver.
  36. Computers with out of date virus protection.
  37. Accessing the Net.
  38. Complaining about food quality.
  39. Resource wastage or hoarding.
  40. Speaking ill of the union.
  41. Harassing the navigator.
  42. Not harassing the navigator.
  43. Mutiny.
  44. Sabotage.
  45. Piracy without documentation.
  46. Ignoring distress signal.
  47. Blasphemy.
  48. Directly invoking the existence of aliens without euphemism.
  49. Not thanking the Manifold for its hard work.
  50. Inexplicable reasons beyond your ken.

A Likewise Incomplete List of Ways To Deal With the Above

  1. Chimes, incense, apotropaic signs.
  2. Renewal of crew-marriage vows.
  3. Celebration ceremony for ship's cat.
  4. Spit on the coolant pipes.
  5. Engineer blesses moonshine, sprinkles it around drive core.
  6. Salt and metal shavings.
  7. Rap three times on each bulkhead as you pass.
  8. Tattoos of sealing circles.
  9. Steak, eggs, and peaches for breakfast.
  10. Fasting, loud wailing, rending of garments.
  11. Read excerpts of crew's most embarrassing pornography.
  12. A visit to the ship's confessor.
  13. Live sacrifice. Doesn't matter what, just has to be alive.
  14. All-hands drag show.
  15. Judicial application of shotgun.
  16. Void baptism.
  17. Offering of next-born child.
  18. Blood oath to reach Heaven by violence.
  19. Eating a small amount of Earth soil.
  20. Traditional dance under effect of hallucinogens.
  21. Clean OS install of all computers on the ship.
  22. Everyone needs a new name and identity, stat.
  23. Vent the atmosphere.
  24. Stay the hell out of the way.
  25. Sacrifice the captain.
  26. Sacrifice the android.
  27. Sacrifice the corpo.
  28. Worship the monster.
  29. Put autopilot on and get back in cryo.
  30. Good luck: you're fucked.


  1. In 40k, a Gellar Field protects your ship in the Warp. Jacob Geller is a very good youtube critic. Noah Caldwell-Gervais is also a very good youtube critic. Ergo, a Caldwell Manifold will protect your ship.

    Such is the way of my train of thought.

    1. Using this logic, drives in some other setting should be called Civvie-11 model.

    2. The Razbuten Matrix

      The Bunnyhop Engine

      The Reycevik Principle

      The Clemps Method

    3. Tehsnakerer Fractal
      Whitelight Space Shifter

  2. I occasionally use the VG Dunkey Array

  3. Love this too, especially the idea of VOID BAPTISM (a very brief trip through vacuum without spacesuit?) and referring to extraterrestrials by euphemism only. Old Scratch, the Gentry, the bee-wolf, and the curly-tailed one are in good company.

    What circumlocutions and elisions would that be in practice? "Mother[-]s from Another Sun?" "The Unrelated Topic?" "They that Come in Peace?" "Our Friends from Frolix?" "Mister Boneless and Mx Chelicera?" "Cousin Greenblood?" "The Neighbors Across the Way?"

    1. All these and more! Actually, that sounds like a great post idea let me write that down...