Post-Contact Hilarity

Here’s the fun thing: a whole lot of identical clear, colorless liquids look remarkably different in the ultraviolet.

This is the sort of thing that may pass unmentioned in casual conversation, but makes any unusual chemistry slipped into one’s drink look real obvious.

And then someone gets to have a knife day…

(As a side note, our television all looks fucked up because it’s missing three entire colors from the visible spectrum.)


“Admiral Prael.”
“Miran Valden Prime Caledex-ith-Kaveve isil-Naboo ion-Kaveve iel-Caledex mis-Eliera-en-Dexte Mim, a pleasure.”
Ah, she thought, it was going to be one of those conversations.
In all fairness, the human looked reasonably good on all standards. The United States Navy had won probably the most hardest fought war it had ever faced in the existence of the nation, fighting like mad bastards to be finally in control of whatever military organization would control the United States’ need for a space military. And, like all things, it was a compromise-the newly formed “Space Navy” would draw from the Navy and Air Force as needed, while the Marine Corps began training as an espatier force (mostly because nukes were involved, the Marines handle nuclear security on a regular basis, and that “nukes” covered everything from warheads to ship engines was a minor technicality), and the Army would handle any long-term occupation missions.
Admiral Charles Prael seemed odd to Valden’s eyes-like an increasing number of the United States military personnel, he had been alpha-genome and spacer augmented, and that just made his height and bulk seem odd. A phrase that her muse brought up-uncanny valley-made the most sense. He didn’t seem like a baseline human, and he didn’t seem like an Imperial. He should have seemed like one or the other, and the fact that he wasn’t…she wasn’t disconcerted, nobody that worked at her level for Islien Yards was ever disconcerted, but… “Tea, coffee?” he asked, waiting for her to sit down at the table.
“Coffee, please-two cubes of sugar and a small amount of real cream if you have it,” she nodded as she sat down. The chairs were unpowered, but reasonable for an office this far out from the Core Worlds. “I just received a message from the home office. Not so much a question as a query for curiosity’s sake. Your government has ordered a half dozen retrofitted destroyers and a dozen frigates from the Voniensa Republic’s older hulls, left over after the Core War.”
“Is there a problem with delivery,” he asked, putting down the coffee cup prepared just the way she had requested. “Congress did make the payment schedule as requested, along with the UNREP-equipped freighters.”
“Not at all. It’s more curiosity than an issue,” Valden noted after taking a sip of the coffee. It was rather good, better than she expected from a military facility at this level. “Several of your other powers are taking delivery of larger ships. Not in as good shape, their credit doesn’t extend that far, but I do know that the People’s Republic of China Army Space Forces is about to receive four or five light cruiser hulls. I admit, from definitely third-rate powers, but still light cruisers. And yet, your nation hasn’t and Islien Yards was wondering why.”
Admiral Prael settled into his chair and considered that for a moment. “There’s a policy issue involved,” he replied, sipping at his own coffee-made black if Valden’s nose was right. “The issue is the simplest one-mission. After First Contact, there were a lot of discussions and one of the biggest ones was an odd understanding of risk and reward.”
He took another sip, and thought for a moment. "All of the forming space fleets, the PRCSF, the Royal Space Forces, the Russian one if they can ever decide on who’s going to be in charge of it, even the Japanese Space Self-Defense Forces, are going to be a massive outlay of our respective military budgets for years and decades. Our decision was that we are not…immediately in need of capital ships. Oh, we’ll be ready to slot them into our force structure as soon as possible, but right now, we don’t need capital ships.
“What we need is to develop the institutional knowledge and infrastructure of military space operations. You’re an Imperial citizen, who’s navy has active duty warships that are older than the colonization of the United States. You have that institutional knowledge and infrastructure, built up over centuries. We don’t. We have to learn it, and while we can learn a lot from research and contractors, we need to build up the traditions. And, eighteen warships with twenty-five transports and freighters can be worked and risked a lot more than eight or nine warships and maybe that many military freighters.”
Valden took another sip of her coffee. “You can risk eighteen ships and the relatively lower percentage of their cost and capabilities than eight or so ships that other navies are buying.”
“And, the United States Navy started out with four frigates and a lot of smaller sailing ships,” Admiral Prael agreed. “We were small back then, and had to build ourselves up over the decades. It’s almost traditional at this point.”

“So, what happened?”
“We had this particular waste of space try to roofie an Imperial citizen.”
“She didn’t even take a sip, saw the composition changed, hacked the club’s cameras to figure out who did it, filed charges, her muse called 911 and filed a full report, and zapped him with a space tazer. Waited until we showed up with him bio-cuffed to the bar rail.”
“With video?”
“From four different angles.”
“At least she didn’t stab him.”
“It was a near-run thing. And, she’s already filing civil charges against him. Having him spend a deuce in prison might be the best possible thing for his bank account.”

Hilarious note! Back in the days when the transition from regular-resolution to HD-resolution cameras was happening, I got a chance to talk with someone who’s job was filming porn.

His complaint-the increase in video resolution was making it harder to film porn because they could do a lot of “gloss” work with minimum makeup with regular resolution. Now, they had to use a lot of makeup and quite a few porn stars did not film well under the new regime, especially during closeups and looking at body parts. There were resolutions to the issues, of course, but it was a big problem at the time.

And, since porn is the source from where a lot of media technology flows…how much do you want to bet in a few years after First Contact that we’ll have to throw out all of our nice flat-panel TVs to get new TVs that can broadcast those three colors and receive those signals-and extrapolate in older programming?

Honestly? Not going to go down that way. If you check out the Imperial table of crimes, you won’t find sexual assault on there, because under their law as written, it all counts as rape, which is capital crime. And they don’t make a legal distinction between “attempted” and “completed” crimes either, 'cause failure is not a mitigating circumstance. So, while Mister Handsy might get away with an educational stabbing, this scenario is probably more like:

“There’s been another incident?”

“Someone tried to roofie an Imperial citizen.”

“Well. Shit. How many pieces, and have we found them all yet?”

“Just one. Apparently she saw the drug in her drink, pretended to be affected, went back to his place… then rather efficiently gelded him. He got to watch his bits go up in smoke as an offering to Ejavóné --”


“Their goddess who looks after vengeance, protection of the innocent, and extralegal killings of assholes when the legal system can’t be trusted, apparently. Then she slapped some trauma gel on as a quote concession to local sensibilities unquote and dumped him in front of the station house with a polite note explaining the circumstances.”

“So we’ve got a warrant out on her?”


“Wait, what?”

“Word came down from State. It would be ‘diplomatically inadvisable’. Confidentially, they added that ‘diplomatically inadvisable’ in this case means ‘expect everyone from the President down to you to be individually named in the next year’s worth of galactic news stories declaring us barbarians running a haven for rapists and slavers’, and that in the opinion of our bosses, one asshole’s balls aren’t worth the shitstorm and the loss of all that trade.”

“You can’t be serious!”

“They also suggested, off the record, that if we elected to pursue the case anyway, we could expect to spend the rest of our careers issuing parking tickets in Seldovia, Alaska. Where they don’t have any roads. I looked it up.”

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There’s a flipside to this. For all of it’s sins, the purpose of the Western judicial system is to service as a (theoretically) neutral third party in two-party affairs to allow for the parties to have an equality of disaffection at the results. Even if this disaffection is “he didn’t get impaled on a short stake” for the prosecution and “I didn’t get off scott free” from the defense.

It also (in theory) provides a buffer that prevents multi-generational feuds of one kind or another from going on again and again and again.

In addition, most abusers are not caught the first time they commit abuse. These idiots like to claim trophies. And, they’re cunning, but they aren’t smart. Bust him for one, go for a full search and disclosure of everything, and I’d be willing to bet there’s a baker’s dozen cases, minimum, that can be prosecuted and the nearest possible thing to a plea bargain is “we won’t let you face Imperial justice, which will probably either be a complete mental restructuring or execution.”

It’s not really the theory of the system (and only partly the implementation of the process, terrible as it is) that’s the problem, so much as the legally defined intended outcomes.

The Curia would take one look at our typical sentencing guidelines for this sort of thing and deliver a legal opinion to the effect of, heavily paraphrased, “this isn’t justice; make your own”.

(The above is really the good ending. The bad ending is the one in which the courts deliver some single-digit year sentence as the guidelines consider appropriate, word gets back to Calmiríë, and, well, quoting Palmerston:

“As the Roman, in days of old, held himself free from indignity, when he could say, Civis Romanus sum, so also a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England will protect him from injustice and wrong.”

…the Ministry of State and Outlands sends their gunboat of the day out to collect some heads, starting with the miscreant in question.

After all, from their perspective, if you let one set of barbarians get away with issuing barely-a-slap-on-the-wrist sentences to abusers of Imperial citizen-shareholders, sooner or later they’ll all start thinking they can get away with it, and then you’ve got real trouble on your hands.)

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“Oh, she has no idea. If I had a blacklight, this place would look like a Jackson Pollock painting.”

“You’ve got issues, Quill.”

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No mention, I note, of the barely-born U.S. Space Force… guessing they, effectively, become the Orbital Guard, with operational volume out to Earth’s Hill sphere, and maybe a picket at the Sol stargate.

The Chinese will probably name theirs the People’s Liberation Army Space Force (and in our timeline, the same).

I always preferred the Transhuman Space varietal where due to existing interservice foo they named it the People’s Liberation Army Navy Space Force. Not least because the abbreviation became PLAN-SF.

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Oh, absolutely, which is when the whole “think of it as evolution in action” happens. You’re going to have to cull the stupid somehow, which is going to take time. And tech, especially tech that helps take a lot of the positive characteristics of that mentality (risk-taking, boundary pushing, etc, etc, etc) and binds it up carefully into people that you want to live with. Or at least be around with a reasonable degree of safety.

Considering the nature of the politics, somebody from DOJ is going to come in, make it very clear that said abuser is going to spend the maximum time, and if he doesn’t-and they don’t investigate that case to the hilt-said person from DOJ is going to dial a direct phone line to the Attorney General’s office and make the sort of call where the Feds are going to come in and investigate everything. With a scanning electron microscope.

Learning the missions, learning the missions. My logical concept is that they’ll have at least a destroyer and two frigate picket at the Sol stargate, with small task groups working missions and developing doctrine and operational work. The goal of the Space Navy right now developing the institutions, both minor and major. And, getting the infrastructure built up, from basing facilities in the Belt to doing long deployments out of their own resources.

Just t’be clear, though, it’s what the maximum time, though, that’s the problem. I looked up the New York sentencing guidelines:

Class D Violent Felony (Rape in the Second Degree) – At least 2 years, with a maximum of 7 years
Class B Violent Felony (Rape in the First Degree) – At least 5 years, with a maximum of 25 years

Rape in the third degree, a Class E felony, is designated as a non-violent felony. Under certain circumstances, the normal sentence for a Class E non-violent felony can be as low as no prison time at all (with probation), but because rape is classified as a sexually motivated felony, there is a minimum sentence of one and a half years. The maximum sentence for rape in the third degree is four years in prison.

You explain that you’ve found a way to ensure that they get the maximum possible sentence under those guidelines.

They respond “Are you attempting to engage in reproductive behavior with this one?”

(Then they call up Second Directorate, who have an entire black justice working group of assassins who specialize in breaking into other people’s prison systems to carry out death sentences.)

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They may suggest, even if they aren’t seeking capital ships yet, that this in particular is a mission for a monitor. A monitor covering the nominal arrival volume of the gate does give a chap a nice warm fuzzy feeling.

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Aye, you’ve found my inspiration

I’m stuck in the place of trying do two things-
1-Kill monsters, and
2-Properly chastise those that have made a singular mistake and give them the chance to be better people
-in an imperfect world.

I lack omniscience. I understand that the universe is imperfect. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to give up on trying to improve things.

Don’t forget, that is also for a singular act. Most of these idiots haven’t so much been smart enough to evade law enforcement as much as they Haven’t Been Caught Yet™ before this. They’re often repeat offenders, so they no longer fall under “singular mistake” and into “monster” category. They just made the mistake of being an offender-repeat or singular-now, when the courts are less concerned about rehabilitation and more concerned about getting rid of monsters.

They’ll probably be buying a couple of monitors, enough to start out with and work on developing the mission of a space navy. And enough so that they can rotate them back to dock for repairs and upkeep, and still have one or two on station for the mission, and prepare for when more gates are opened in Sol system.

As the old joke there goes:

“What’s the difference between God and the Curia?”

“God forgives.”

  • overheard in an Encystment Facility
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What I’m getting at is that, having gone through all the tussle to get the Space Force mission slotted into the Pentagon structure (as the Department of the Air Force’s specialized space-ops service, the way the Marine Corps is the Navy’s specialized not-floating service), what do they do? The Air Force will not simply and meekly accept their mission being taken away.

A division of labor is the cleanest and simplest solution to that political problem.

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I’d forgotten about that, and yeah, that one’s better. And funnier, but better even without the humor.

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