Glossary / Reference
Occupations / avocations / social roles / titles / etc.
Aquammando – Any member of the special forces (in law enforcement or the military) that is trained primarily for water or amphibious missions. Although they are often combat personnel, rescue and salvage personnel also fall under the category of aquammando.
Bond Hunter – A bounty hunter that is licensed through a government agency or economic/merchanter consortium.
Civil Arbiter – Usually employed as part of a government agency (though there are some private and charitable civil arbiters), these individuals assess complaints of mistreatment against a person or group by an organized entity (government agencies, churches, companies, etc.)
Constable – The general term used for most kinds of local law enforcement officers (i.e. police).
Contract Investigator – What we would think of as a private investigator or private detective.
Demi-uncle/aunt and Demi-niece/nephew – These terms define what we would call a second cousin relationship. If you have a cousin, and that cousin has children, those children are your demi-nieces or demi-nephews and you are their demi-aunt or demi-uncle.
Deum/Deia – A title of respect (male/female) for a person who has significant religious, theological or philosophical education or extensive related experience. Used in the same manner one would use Mr. or Ms./Mrs./Miss.
Doman/Domis – A title of respect (male/female) for a person with extensive education in a highly placed kind of occupation (medicine, law, etc.). Used in the same manner one would use Mr. or Ms./Mrs./Miss.
Dowry-boy / Dowry-girl – In the culture of the Shared People (the Ishmaeli and Isaacians), it is traditional for at least one dowry-boy or dowry-girl to be presented to a couple that is entering into a formal pair-bond (i.e. marriage). The dowry-boy or dowry-girl is almost always an Ishmaeli or Isaacian who has just reached age of maturation or recently did so. When presented, the dowry-boy or dowry girl is always bound in colored ribbons, fabrics and cords and taken to the marital bedchamber in that state. The reason is, however, not one of fetishism or bondage but to be a gift that in unwrapped, in a sense. Within certain bounds, the newly wedded couple may use their dowry-boy(s)/dowry-girl(s) in any way they choose over the span of the four-day pair-bond consummation period, though tradition generally dictates that the couple will provide initial sexual experience(s) for the young adult(s) by the time the four-day period has expired.
Dry Sister – A designation that was originally a colloquial term for any member of the Benevolent Sisterhood of St. Portia, an order of female clerics (nuns) in the Terran Catholic Church. “Dry Sister” has, however, been more or less adopted as the primary term, used even by most of the sisterhood itself except when strict formality is required. The Dry Sisters fall under the jurisdiction of the White Pope and could be considered the medical equivalent of the templars; almost a sort of healthcare militia. They tend to be based in areas where disease or other forms of ill health are pervasive or very threatening to public safety. All ordained members of the sisterhood undergo medical alterations that saturate their bodies with synthetic hormones and install a wide array of nanotech colonies inside them—all of which is mostly to grant them superior disease resistance (immunity to almost every disease, actually), recuperative and healing powers, but which also gives them enhanced agility compared to normal humans and enhanced senses. A side effect, generally considered a welcome one by the Vatican, is a complete loss of the ability to achieve sexual arousal or orgasm among the sisters, which makes them almost uniformly loyal to their vows of chastity. Because of the heavy physical/biochemical alterations they undergo, particularly the large number of permanent nanocolonies in their bodies, the Dry Sisters have shorter lifespans than most humans—usually reduced by between 15% and 30% compared to norms.
Field Marshal – A high-ranking field officer in law enforcement who oversees a team of lesser law enforcement officers during an operation. Generally this title/position is most closely associated with the templars.
Ghouler – A very rarely practiced occupation, and considered by many to be an unsavory one. Ghoulers are individuals who have had significant cybernetic enhancements that allow them to directly interface with the brains of recently deceased individuals to try to extract final thoughts or images at or around the time of death. Ghoulers are generally used by law enforcement agencies and contract investigators, though they are sometimes used by others, such as healthcare institutions that want to get a more thorough understanding of an individual’s cause of death. Ghoulers can, theoretically, access the brains of living persons, but this tends to be very damaging to the victim and such actions are considered a high crime in most jurisdictions.
Hirebrand – A kind of mercenary. The vast majority of hirebrands are either Ishmaeli or Isaacians. It is rare that the Shared People will allow any other race into the ranks of the hirebrands. Groups of hirebrands are organized like clans/small families. They follow a very strict code of conduct and honor, and have never been known to break a contract with a client.
Inquisitioner / Inquisitor – The Inquisitioner is a singular position, being the person in charge of the entire Office Inquisitorial. An inquisitor, on the other hand, is a member of the Office Inquisitorial with specialized training in interrogation and torture. Inquisitors of the highest caliber may also have espionage training, but most Vatican spies are part of a separate order and office, also overseen by the Black Pope.
Justicar – A judge (of legal, contractual or similar matters). Justicars are often employed by government agencies but private justicars also exist.
Maidwife – In the Catholic Union, it is legal to have a second wife. In fact, in the early days of repopulation, taking a second wife was encouraged. Now, it is a practice generally only among men of means (the wealthy or well-connected). The second wife is referred to as a maidwife, and she has lesser status and rights compared to the first wife. Having more than two wives is a serious crime, however, in the Catholic Union.
Meat Puppet – A colloquial term for a Non-Autonomous Genetic Automaton (NAGA). A meat puppet is a manufactured human that has no higher brain functions or autonomy and is fitted with a sliptrans-accessed control system. A normal human (or neo sapien) operator “pilots” the body remotely, having full access to its senses and full control of its actions, though he or she is mostly shielded from sensations of discomfort or pain. The death of a meat puppet, however, causes a certain psychic backlash, and is sometimes fatal for the operator as well. In most nations of the solar system, meat puppets are illegal, except for very strictly regulated functions.
Medtech – A general term for any highly trained medical person who is not actually a fully qualified and certified physician.
Merchanter – Any person dealing in trade/commerce at a high level (as opposed to a small businessperson such as a shop owner, who might be called a merchant) is termed a merchanter. In many nations, merchanters are almost nobility.
NAGA – See “meat puppet” above.
Peteris/Paulis – In the UFC Church, the papal leaders are always a married couple. One (the Peteris) is stationed primary on Mars and mostly handles the day-to-day operations of the UFC on Mars and overall operations of the wider UFC church while the other (the Paulis) is charged with traveling outside Mars to deal with local UFC issues of importance, to directly interface with organizations or groups outside Mars and to protect the UFC from harm. In a sense, the Peteris is a combination theologian/administrator/diplomat while the Paulis is a combination evangelist/emissary/general. The Peteris and Paulis serve a 20-year term. There is no prohibition against multiple terms, though it has not happened as yet. If one member of the couple dies, the other must remarry a suitably experienced person to serve in the other papal role within 90 days, or else step down to make room for a new papal couple.
Popes – The Terran Catholic Church and the Catholic Union are run by three human popes and the artificial intelligence system known as the Godhead, which contains the memories and personalities of all popes who have held office since it was created, merged into a single personality. The three human popes are known as the White Pope, Black Pope and Red Pope. They serve for life, but it is rare for any man to be chosen to serve as a pope who is younger than 150. The White Pope (currently Pope Eric Vergosian, age 291), is in charge of medicine/healthcare, public health, agriculture, environmental issues and related areas throughout the Catholic Union, a well as the high-level legislative bodies, such as the Senate. The Black Pope (currently Pope Paresh Chopra, age 223) is in charge of matters related to the military branches, espionage, interrogation/inquisition, most penal institutions and related areas, as well as the high-level political administrative offices like governorships. The Red Pope (right before of the start of the events of the novel and before his untimely and suspicious death, it was Pope Tommis Rendquist, age 215) is in charge of social welfare matters (law enforcement, civil and criminal judicial matters, education, social services, moral standards, etc.), as well as a few select penal institutions.
Simons – A simon is a person (usually male, but females are also eligible to serve) who is charged with bearing all unpleasant sensations or unwanted physiological effects a pope doesn’t wish to experience. This is in part a way to make a pope’s life more comfortable but is primarily a way to deter torture or interrogation of a pope in the unlikely event that one is captured by a hostile group. Each pope has 12 simons at any given time. If the simon currently assigned to the pope’s side dies, a sliptrans unit embedded in the pope’s brain will link up with the next simon in line and the Vatican will appoint a new person to fill the empty twelfth slot. When a pope dies, all of his simons die within hours as well.
Sisterguard – A person (often a convicted criminal) outfitted with a number of cybernetic additions and alterations to make him (the vast majority of sisterguards are male) stronger, faster and more resilient than an average human or neo sapien. A sisterguard can be assigned to a specific member of the Dry Sisters (see “Dry Sisters” above) or to a compound of the sisterhood or even to a roving tactical team. Sisterguards are stripped of almost all independent will and are under almost complete control of the Dry Sisters.
Sisterhound – Similar to a sisterguard (see above) except that these specialize in tracking and hunting, and are more evenly split between female and male (roughly 60%/40%)
Templar – Falling under the jurisdiction of the Red Pope, members of the Office Templar serve as the highest law enforcement personnel in the Catholic Union. The templars, as a whole, are in a sense almost a combination of a federal bureau of investigation, a special forces unit and an elite security detail. Although any person employed by the Office Templar is technically a templar, the term is generally reserved for those who are actual field officers (whether they have taken formal vows to the Order Juris or not) and those who have taken vows, regardless of whether they are field officers or administrative/support personnel. The templars oversee all law enforcement activities in the Catholic Union though, as a matter of practicality, they rarely involve themselves directly in local law enforcement matters, which are typically the purview of constabularies.
Travs (Travailers) – A curious subpopulation on Mars (human and neo sapien, but mostly composed of baseline humans) who consider it their duty to push themselves to extremes (of performance, risk, entertainment, etc.). They often venture out to the surface of Mars for extended periods, bringing with them only the minimal amount of equipment and protection from the elements considered necessary. All travs are heavily adorned with tattoos, ribbons, piercings, etc. to mark their most notable exploits, meaning that the most daring are the most decorated with such adornments. Not surprisingly, the percentage of travs who reach a ripe old age is very small.
Tripslut – A very particular kind of prostitute that uses drugs and neural interfaces so that he or she can be in more complete sync with a client, physically speaking—and even emotionally. Tripsluts are significantly more expensive than the more common, “street-level” prostitute (pedwhores, carhumps, rounders and grinders, for example), but they are still considered somewhat rough, crude and desperate from a social standpoint, and thus do not command the high rates of courtesans, bondlovers, suiters, dames or dans, and other higher social-class prostitutes. The constant use of stimulant and arousal drugs and the heavy reliance on neural interfaces has an addictive quality, so tripsluts, despite their relatively high cost, are even less respected than most street-level prostitutes and thus the term “tripslut” is a common ephithet to hurl against a person in anger.
Wights – A subpopulation on Mars that is descended from some of the early settlers who refused to leave the original tunnels and warrens. They consider it a mark of honor to remain in the dimmer, colder, less developed parts of Mars’ underground civilization, and even when they expand their territory, they keep a very rough quality to their passages and rooms—though they do make use of high technology and high-grade materials nonetheless. They are pale and thin, and upon adulthood go through nano-alteration procedures to give themselves claws on their fingers. Though they look fearsome to many baseline humans, they are mostly peaceful and wights are, appearances aside, no different than an average human genetically. They tend to shun brightly lit areas and ultraviolet light whenever possible, as part of their cultural norms.