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Glossary

PhotonKnights

AI: Artificial intelligence. To date, AIs have only ever arisen serendipitously. Modern robots are not sapient, but can (usually) simulate (some) intelligence via a binary decision tree.

Aoife: Someone who alternates between moments of great competence and moments of supreme derpiness.

Atomic furnace: A larger version of a radiothermal generator. It produces large amounts of energy, requires shielding, and takes in radioactive ingots rather than pellets. Can be set up to make RTG pellets as a byproduct.

Biomass: Also used as a generic euphemism for various bodily emissions. Most ships have water recyclers, but few bother carrying greenhouses to recycle food with.

Blackthumb: Long-service ship mechanic. Between ferrofluid, lubricant, and worse, there are plenty of opportunities to get one's hands dirty.

Blanked out: The state of someone whose brain was sufficiently damaged that even after it recovered, they lost their life story, and usually emerged with a different personality. Very hard to fake, since a blanked-up person's ki is very similar to that of a baby. Most governments allow blanked-out people to begin a new life, and some even use it as a supposedly more humane alternative to the death penalty.

Buckler: Used to mean any handheld piece of personal armor. "Shield" refers to active protection systems such as self-healing ferrofluid barriers. Also scutum, roundshield, etc.

Calster: A small self-contained printer that prints out scrip and is recharged at a bank. Calster scrip is accepted in lieu of hard cash in high and some medium integration worlds, and bears the same insignia as coins.

Chunny: Someone who, without resorting to outright deception, makes themselves appear more interesting, competent, or well traveled than they are. Also, the act of keeping up such a pretense. Not necessarily derogative: someone with good chunny can probably take you far if you're trying to solve a problem with social engineering.

Conch: Primary microphone for a PA system, used metaphorically to mean the right to speak at a meeting and so on. "Stealing the conch" is the action of malicious rewiring to hijack a PA system or a radio.

Dick tape: Originally a brand name, now means whatever material is at hand for an emergency fix.

Foma: An explanation, speech, item of data which is deliberately inaccurate for the sake of simplicity, without constituting deliberate deception. "Close enough". For example, Newtonian mechanics is foma.

GGG: The common pseudoinertial drive mounted on spacecraft, it amplifies regular thruster output using a "gravitic gearbox", allowing for superluminal travel.

Goop nap: The medically induced coma after serious wound. The patient is usually enveloped in iatric mold inside an aseptic bath. Usually beats the alternative (the dirt nap).

Goop: Iatric mold, especially the raw stuff that leaves lumps and doesn't have any painkiller in it.

Heading-hold: Temporarily turning a ship's GGG "off" only keeping the internal gravity operating. The ship will move according to its orbit but won't have to spin up the GGG again.

Humanoid: Used to mean sentient species that has two arms, two legs, one head, one torso, no tail or a small tail, and thus requires no special arrangement in terms of life support, nutrition, and so on. The most common shape for sentient beings in the galaxy, by a slim majority.

Iatric mold: A slime mold used in treating wounds rapidly. Since its cells take on the genetic structure of what they touch, it only grows in environments that contain nutrients but no other life. This makes it very difficult to cultivate artificially; planets that have ecosystems where it can grow are considered strategic resources.

Ki: Shorthand for karmatronic influence, specifically in how it relates to daily life.

Klavern: A Black Lance asteroid base. Associated with "cavern" because Black Lancers usually hide their bases so that the only thing visible is a hole in the rock.

Klendature: A category of people within a government who hold various key administrative positions in the bureaucracy, running all spheres of those bureaucracies' activity: generally refers to non-nobility, appointed career positions. Supposedly derived from the name of a hive-mind race defeated by the early Empire.

Klode: An uneducated, untraveled person, especially someone who has never left their home planet. Generally derogatory although some people wear the label with pride.

Lumper: Unskilled laborer in or around spaceports; includes unskilled asteroid mining crew.

Methusilation: An expensive, personalized procedure that includes a goop nap and careful editing of the patient's genetic code using ki, microsurgery and chemistry. The effect is a halting of the patient's aging for a number of years.

Moshed: Dazed, stunned, drunk or high enough to be incapacitated.

Muja, muggia: A situation where a lot of things are moving about and interfering with each other - could be a furball in air or space combat, a traffic jam, an anthill swarming after being poked.

NAVCOM: Navigation/Communication, or Navigation Computer: The main control system of a ship; every sailor knows that ships have souls, and in a sense, the NAVCOM is it. Can be built into the hull or be mobile in a robot chassis. Legend has it that if a ship has accumulated 100 standard years of active service, NAVCOM AIs are more likely than usual to arise, even if the operating system isn't nearly as complex as it ought to be.

ni- : Prefix indicating indirect line of succession. For example, ni-Baron is the appropriate title to use for a Baron's younger son. Nobility out of the line of direct succession often join knightly orders. The term "Knights of Ni" has come to mean a gang of idle nobles, usually young, that just cause trouble for its own sake rather than pledging to a fraternity or cause.

Raspberry: Other than the fruit, it's slang for a radar-jamming chaff pod or a flashbang grenade, anything that interferes with the senses.

RTG: Radiothermal generator. The most common source of electricity in space, due to not needing chemical fuel or proximity to a star. A RTG will not go critical if damaged or overheated, and most commercial off the shelf units incorporate the generator proper and also batteries or capacitors to deal with surges in demand. Fed by uranium or plutonium pellets (don't forget your lead lined gloves!).

Ten-code: A DTMF-based audio communication standard which reaches farther than voice in high noise situations, such as between planets in oppositions. Also useful to issue remote commands when the danger of voice recognition failure are too high, such as when sending coordinates to a torpedo. Some codes (ten-four for example) have entered common use. Setting a ship's NAVCOM to ten-code-only is a common prank to play on the new guy on a work boat, since the uninitiated just hear a cacophony of beeps.

Troq: Generic insult directed at someone not of one's race or species, probably shortened from troglodyte.

VDU: Video display unit. Means any sort of electronic (cathode ray tube) terminal, not just a broadcast TV receiver. Basic cockpits have one VDU, most have two.

Vindicta: Formal private war between two families, companies, or subinfeudations. Code vindicta is as varied as code duello, with some worlds forbidding it and others mainly concerning themselves with ensuring that there is no collateral damage.

World: Generally used in the political rather than physical sense - a "world" can mean a single planet, or a star system with two habitable planets under the same government.

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Page last modified on December 28, 2021, at 10:49 AM