Quod Olim Erat

by Lise Eclaire

Original COMPLETED Adventure Sci-fi Female Lead Non-Human lead Slice of Life

The stars were home. Decades ago, Elcy was a battleship, until her recklessness brought her out of the front lines and to forced retirement in a human body. Now she lives a quiet life on a rural backwater planet, keeping the promise made to her last captain, until one day a letter takes her to the stars once more.

Cover by ssddx

Edited by Aziraphael and Floydien

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Lise Eclaire

Lise Eclaire

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Prologue ago
1. Plastic Letter ago
2. Friend in the Service ago
3. Being Different ago
4. Ship Medical ago
5. Twenty Percent Reduction ago
6. Baseline ago
7. Prometheus Dawn ago
8. Mission Eden ago
9. Third Contact ago
10. Simulated Reality ago
11. Priority Landing Order ago
12. Alpha-Delta-Three ago
13. Stranded ago
14. Three Final Letters ago
15. Preliminary Consequences ago
16. Outcome Pending ago
17. Until Further Notice ago
18. Drill Site Preparations ago
19. Going Solo ago
20. Restricted Memory ago
21. Fractal Subroutines ago
22. Sit and Wait ago
23. Key-point Symbol ago
24. Seven Triangles ago
25. Liquid Cobalt ago
26. The Unobtained Present ago
27. Gelatinized Lemon Nutrients ago
28. Virtual Radiance ago
29. Octanary Star System ago
30. Gravity Bumps ago
31. Thursday Watching ago
32. Three-dimensional Reading ago
33. Memories of Cass ago
34. Cross-front Connection ago
35. Change of Priorities ago
36. Salvage Authorities ago
37. Modified Surveyor ago
38. Fleet Property ago
39. Important by Default ago
40. Conscience Core ago
41. Five Days Left ago
42. Restarting From Scratch ago
43. Parting Ceremony Invite ago
44. Rapid Uncertainty ago
45. Mission Handler ago
46. Not Built For Indoors ago
47. Life Index 1.1 ago
48. No Concerns ago
49. All About The Fractals ago
50. Ten Percent Opacity ago
51. Voxel Position ago
52. Seventeen Questions ago
53. Double Blind ago
54. Sky full of Swords ago
55. Lacking Capacity ago
56. Rogue Understanding ago
57. Sphere Sequence ago
58. Pentachoron Logic ago
58.5 Fractal Space ago
59. Aquila Lux ago
60. A Hundred Year Project ago
61. Memory Origami ago
62. Repetition Matrix ago
Epilogue ago
Bonus: The Scuu Paradox ago

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  • Overall Score

A.I in space, right up my alley. Read it!

 A retired war experienced ship A.I. returning to service but with a twist. Now experiencing everything like the thousands of people that used to occupy her old self. While also giving the military a headache on how to handle her situation.

With only 9 chapters out and a steady release date of about 1 chapter a week, we get some world building and excellent conversations and grammar. At no point was I disrupted from the flow of the story and was thus able to binge read until the final chapter without pause. The characters, both human and A.I., to this point, have different personalities and feel unique. While the M.C. experiences this with excitement, not knowing what to expect next.

Definitely a story that deserves much more attention and praise.

If you are interested in A.I. related stories read it, if not read it anyway cause this story is good.

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With an eye for detail and a (lack of a) sense of direction, Elcy leads us in this Sci-Fi fiction to realms uncharted. Or that's what I got from the book, at least.
Follow along as we are thrust in the mind of something that is far away from the usual protagonist known to Royal Road, and yet feels so vaguely familiar and nostalgic.


  • Excellent Grammar
  • Imaginative, interesting, compelling, and well thought-out storytelling
  • Likeable characters with a flair for higher things than two dimensions
  • Well made scene-setting and world-building
  • Sci-Fi goodness not found on RR


  • Pace can sometimes feel off, but it's not bad


  • Sometimes there's a bit too much technicality going on and words can feel like they're pouring into your mind that you struggle to get a sense of; a lot of tech drivel, as I sometimes like to call it

Overall enjoyment: Excellent.

Reasons on why to read: all the pros. Reasons against: you hate good books.

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It's like Chinese food, good but not filling

It's good space opera sort of novel but by the end of the first tour of duty arc chapter 62 (repetition matrix) it utterly fails to move beyond slice of life writing.

There is this whole hbo reboot Westworld parallel narrative flashback thing going on. It's very well written and interesting and had to be a pain to write. But like in Westworld it is a bait and switch plot stall tactic. Just when you are about to reach a narrative payoff there you go to the parallel narrative.

There is interesting but no explanation, buildup but no payoff. The plot stays stalled.

All we get is the single point of view of our utterly unimportant main character who starts considerably interesting things and like in real life is never ever going to have the chance to see any of it thru to resolution.

Debated giving this three stars, even two and a half, but decided to be generous at three and a half. Mainly because of the solar system survey mini arc....it is as close as it gets to a a full and complete linear story and it's really really good.

But I'm calling quits here at the end of the first tour because despite all the interesting stuff, despite all the loose threads that might lead somewhere.....there are 62 chapters of the plot exiting stage left to be resolved by someone more important.

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Exquisite but Frustrating

Lise Eclaire creates a preeminently novel premise that's guaranteed to impress... but may not necessarily satisfy. Elcy, formerly the intelligence of the battleship Light Seeker, has been retired into human form for decades when she is spurred to reenlist—this time, as a cadet crewman.

As a new cadet, our cool and occasionally snarky protagonist is thrust into the tale's tribulations (with a sobering dash of tedium) by virtue of having both the safety tolerances of an expendable robot and the finesse and capabilities of a human being. As a former battleship, Elcy remains stoic and unfazed by the rude and dismissive way the supporting cast treats her, though it begins to chafe throughout the story and render many of the characters rather unlikeable.

Memories of Elcy's past are teased throughout the present story and are an honest joy to read, but appear frequently enough that it becomes difficult to discern which context is framing the other. Connecting the dots is all the more difficult with the stifling cloak of military secrecy acting the part of our abstract antagonist; with orders classified and the driving reasons behind situations secret, characters and reader alike struggle to glean relevance to what exactly the hell is going on.

The story is populated with interesting scifi settings and presented in suprisingly realistic fashion, with plenty of adventure, tension, great lines, and moments of levity. Lise Eclaire's love of the genre is apparent to see, and I won't hesitate to say that the genre loves her in return... but, there's an overall unrewarding sense that the story as presented isn't the one we most want to read, here.

Quod Olim Erat paints portraits of fleets of shocking size engaging, sprawling space battles with missiles exploding and beams blazing, and even excels at more intimate, personal moments... the story then suffers from continuously flirting with the reveal of that defining moment that shapes Elcy, and refuses to deliver, leaving what seems to be the central theme as an unanswered question.



  • Overall Score

Really enjoyable mix of exploration, world building and character development!

Keep up the good work!

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Sci-Fi Done Near-Perfectly

[TL;DR: I binged this in less than two days. It's phenomenal.]

This novel is a gem.

Scifi stories are rare on RoyalRoad, and it's even rarer to see them done competently. Quod Olim Erat goes a step above, and delivers such a professional, well crafted story that it feels wrong to be able to read it free of charge.

Characters and relationships are incredibly well done, and we see the world through Elcy, the instantly likeable battleship-turned-human. With such an intriguing premise it's difficult not to want to know more about Elcy, and her upbeat yet war-weary personality makes for a wonderful narrator. Having a character's positivity conflict so heavily with their experiences must be challenging to maintain, and author has to juggle emotions carefully- too scarred and cynical and the story will take on a grimdark tone, but being too light and carefree breaks the realism and sense of gravitas. Despite this the writing flourishes, and the plot and her relationships with others aren't diminished at all. The rookie ship Elcy partially takes under her wing, Radiant, creates amusingly bubbly conversations, and the dynamic between Elcy and her ward Sev reminded me greatly of Ender's interactions with his family in Orson Scott Card's 'Speaker for the Dead'.

The plot is a mixture of mystery, suspense, and slice of life. It works surprisingly well, and covers space-opera level developments (discovering new alien artifacts, galactic warfare across two fronts, military and governent secrets and cover-ups) while sticking to one viewpoint. I'm a fan of single-narrator novels (I dislike the common space/sci-fi trope of jumping between bunches of half-developed characters), and the technique also serves to fuel the mystery of the story while adding to a general sense of paranoia and danger. Memory blocks and flashbacks are used outstandingly, driving the story and maintaining continuity despite how frequently they're drawn upon. Flashbacks and time jumping are a simple way for an inexperienced author to make their work incomprehensible and riddled with plotholes, but with this author there's no need to worry. Pacing is good, and the resolution wraps up satisfyingly. Similarly, grammar and compostion are excellent, with only a few minor typos in each release (at a rough release schedule of 3-4 large chapters a month).

One of the few complaints I've seen mentioned disappointment that the growing threat of impending war didn't come to fruition. I'll admit I was looking forward to some action scenes, but having finished the fiction I don't think it was necessary for a satisfying end. There were enough ship combat scenes in flashbacks to keep me sated, and the war threat was ultimately to provide tension and set up for the next novel in the series. (The next book has shots fired by Ch14, and is still heating up, so it's definitely not a let-down!).

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Absolutely loving the story so far. It gives me occasional vibes of Heinlein's Starship Troopers with those occasional glimpses of humanity's interstellar conflicts and how society responds to them (overtly and covertly), and Iain M. Banks on the other hand, with various ships interacting with each other, following protocols (and not).

It both provides a compelling and plausble backdrop for the main character, whose quirkyness I've come to enjoy (though it seems to have become a bit more subdued lately?)

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That's how you do Space Sci-Fi!

I'll be brief, but: Holy Cow, I love it!

Grammar and spelling is good for my feeling. I didn't make a complete check on it, but it appears to me without major flaws.

The story is exciting and full of exploration and ventures into the unknown. Reminds me a little bit of Star Trek :D

The main-character is though, but utterly adorable at the same time. The support cast is distinguishable from each other, which not every story can claim.

The style is good, but I'm not a fan of the regular "temporal point of view changes". That means there will be scenes from the past of the MC.
Don't get me wrong, I find the present of the MC just as interesting as her past, but the constant jumps from one to the other disturbs the reading flow considerably. It is also rather difficult to realize in which time period thos "flashbacks" are. My suggestion would be to either focus on the main story, if the past doesn't play a role in her adventures, or to dedicate more time in establishing the flashback. Where and when does it happen? 


Over all, I can only suggest to read this story. :)

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Well written but hollow

This is a really well written story but it is also a slog. I've read through up to chapter 61 and nothing of true significance has happened to any of the main characters. Not that has translated into actual effects on the world that has been creates in this story. Basically it's 61 chapters of political drama but no actual action. It was intwresting enough to keep ne reading hoping maybe this would be the chapter where something would finally happen but in the end i will not be continuing with the story. I think this many words is plenty of time to develop a world and potential plot points and turn them into actual events.

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feels like i wasted my time.

The whole plotline felt like a big mystery which was the only thing that kept me going but then at the end the answers are basically nonexistant or completely unfulfilling. Thid makes me feel like i just wasted my time.