[Author's Note: While Zen Master did all the typing here, this is not a 'Zen Master BDSM story set in the Swarm universe'. If you are looking for that, please check out his "Independent Command" or even "Ending This Mess" if it ever got finished. Rather, this is more of a primer about how things work in the Swarm universe but it has been thinly disguised as a ZM story so that people will read it. It is not the product of his fertile if demented imagination. Well, it is, partly. Mostly, though, it is the product of endless discussions -and arguments- on the Swarm authors' mailing list about the various things described here.
What that means for you, Dear Reader, is that when my proofreaders told me "Hey, uh, Zen, old buddy, you're getting kinda wordy here, can you trim it a bit?" I got to answer "Nope! I'm SPOSTABE describing everything imaginable. This is supposed to be the background for all the Swarm stories. It HAS to have the kitchen sink in it." So, yes, I tend to yammer, and this time my yammering has a purpose. It stays in.]