"Maps are a human thing. They like to make simplified models in which things are labelled, placed on grids and details are glossed over. I assume it is because their minds are spatial and not mathematical. Things to the human mind are defined by there relation to other things. That is why they need two points to draw straight line, whatever that is. Sincerely, though I don't understand the utility of it, but I don't fight it. The Captain says go to grid space 10-K, and I can discern what he means."
-Lagrimal-0201020101, Chief Navigational Program for the FTO freighter Mtuzanizibar.
"I've been tethered to the side of a spaceship, nothing but a thin layer of carbon fabric between my nuts and the vacc, and I've looked up from the panel or whatever is broken and seen all those stars. It use to make me feel small, but not anymore. Cause after a few runs between those stars, it changes. It will change for you. You will realize that the closer you get to those stars the smaller everything gets. You know what I saying? Ain't that many goldilocks worlds, but there are tons of little rocks circling fainter stars. And almost every little rock has a little petty king scraping out a living and fighting with another little king."
- Buck Leftyork, FTO Mission Engineer
Interstellar warfare is logarithmic. The plan for the attack begins by considering questions of hundreds of billions of kilometers. How will we get people and equipment from all over the galaxy to orbit the star of the planet we intend to take? Those logistical threads can get tied into knots that are literally light years long. Then once we have our force in star system it becomes a question of millions of kilometers. How do we get to this planet safely and quietly? Then we have to make the landing, thousands of kilometers. Next there is a question of defending the LZ: hundred of kilometers. Once the air support is dealt with and the artillery is neutralized, we’ve got to reach the objective. Then finally there is the soldiers’ combat. That is when the scale collapses quickly. A fight we started light years away can end because we had to cross two meters of open field or because a piece of shrapnel was a millimeter too close.
-Awl-70000891, Captain, Dynastic Army
"I keep my sanity tied to my hip with very thin thread. Somedays when I am pushing through the throngs of people all staring at tiny screens in their heads or in their hands I start feel that thread slipping. On those days I know that my only salvation is docked at the spaceport. My savior is not some luxury liner or high speed transport filled with perfectly balanced environments and a history of 'punctuality'. This man's spaceport messiah is more often than not a century old craft whose airlock is caked with the mud of a hundred worlds, with a computer programed in a dead language and a captain that makes his living looking for the slimmest trade margins in the most distant stars. When I sign on to the crew of such a craft I feel my thread of sanity tighten. I know that when we break through that blue ceiling we will be passing the soul crushing civilized worlds and heading for the fainter stars."
-J. Mitchell Overnantuck, Unlicensed Jump Drive Navigator
One of the camels in the caravan trips over a dark rock protruding from the sandy dunes. The poor animal has broken its leg and cannot continue. A cacaphony ensues as the animal suffers and the caravan train overseers complain passionately as they redistribute the animal's load across the caravan. (Let's just hope none of the PC's was riding this camel, shall we?)
As the camel is put out of its misery and the camel is skewered over a campfire - waste nothing! - someone takes a minute to inspect the root cause of all the trouble. To their surprise, the upturned rock is worked stone. Some frantic digging may excavate the bottom half of a gorgeously worked1 obelisk, and maybe even the small square forum below; but a more rigorous exploration of the surrounding dunes reveals a buried tomb doorway on each side of the forum.