Glossary

Warning: This page may contain spoilers. Read at the risk of spoiling those installments you haven't read.

508th Vanguard. A mercenary outfit on the up and up in the Martian Sphere.

Ares. The head of the International Mars Development Corporation (IMDC). The director of the IMDC is a powerful political and economic figure within the Martian Sphere.

Book of the Faithful. Also known as “the Book” or the “Good Book.” Read by devout followers of the Brethren and Sistren of the Abrahamic Faiths. Said to be the longest religious text in existence, spanning tens of thousands of pages. Written by the Committee of Seventy Elders.

Brethren and Sistren of the Abrahamic Faiths (A.K.A. the Church). A religious organization that battles those artificial intelligences it deems as a threat to the human species. The order believes in the subservience of machines and machine intelligences to the human species—their so-called creators. The organization is made up of those who are followers of the so-called true Abrahamic faiths: e.g., Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc. They have five ranks within the order proper: elders, chaplains, judges/qadi, healers/menders, and zealots/ghazi.

City of Crystal. An underwater metropolis comprised of onion-shaped domes. Dominated by a central dome, which supports a spire, piercing into the darkness above to reach to ocean’s surface. The spire allows people and material to move to and from the City of Crystal.

Concerned Citizenry. An underground group founded on Mars in direct violation of the First Martian Accords for Peace (MAP-1). Founded by Dr. Zeyk Duval, Dr Olivia Abel, Dr. Andre Smith, and James Rodriguez.

Familiar. A personalized machine intelligence often attached to a particular personality, piece of equipment, ship, etc.

First Martian Accords for Peace (MAP-1). Used to establish political order after the Unpleasantness or the First Martian Political Crisis. MAP-1 have severely limited free speech, political organization, and petitioning and oversight of government (and corporate) organizations, until such time the IMDC have determined the Martian Sphere is ready for the steady hand of liberalization. The punishment for violating MAP-1 is serious and often life-threatening, with sentences carried out through hard labor on the Martian surface, or elsewhere within the Martian Sphere.

(The) Founder. The mysterious character whose influence is still felt within the Subaru Collaborative and its proxy organizations. No one knows who the Founder was or if s/he still lives.

Fuzzie. They sound like they’re cute and cuddly—that is until they rip your arm off and beat you to a bloody pulp with it. Fuzzies are genetically engineered gorillas that have been developed for military operations. They take orders and perform menial tasks with little effort. Some have managed to increase their cognitive abilities to that of baseline humans.

Ghosting. A process in which the consciousness is transferred into another shell, body, skein, or some environment suited to host the consciousness.

Green Thumb. A large international conglomerate operating on Mars; one of the major movers and shakers within the Martian Sphere. Responsible for helping negotiate MAP-1, and Green Thumb happens to be a major financial supporter of the IMDC.

Hephaestus. Ares' second-in-command in the International Mars Development Corporation (IMDC). Plays important negotiation roles within the Martian Sphere.

Hotel California. The colloquialism referring to Valles Marineris, Mars. This is one of the oldest (and continually) inhabited human megacities on Mars. Last International Mars Development Corporation census placed the total populations within Hotel California at one-hundred million.

Imago. A large DNA repository that stores vast amounts of information using DNA storage technologies. Newcomers are required, as part of their entrance fees, to donate a sampling of their DNA to the Imago, in order to help it expand and remain relevant.

International Mars Development Corporation (IMDC). Essentially runs Martian political and economic development, and the organization is used to (primarily) build infrastructure and assist Martian settlements, cities, towns, etc., in becoming independent/self-sufficient and economically viable projects in the long-term.

Lab-Grown Silks. These are another sign of one's wealth in cities like Shanghai. Wealthy businesspeople often wear these suits, having them specially grown to fit their body types. Lab-grown silk was developed as an alternative to traditional silks, which have grown to be expensive commodities that few can afford.

Martian Sphere. Name for the Martian planetary system, which includes Mars and surrounding celestial and man-made bodies.

PAN. Stands for Pacific Aquatic Nations. Not exactly a reality, but the City of Crystal's Coalition is looking to make PAN a reality.

Parable of the Golem. A passage from the Book of the Faithful. Used to convert synths, specifically those synths who do not have human origins, to the Brethren and Sistren of the Abrahamic Faiths.

Ration Coins. These are coins given to people on a daily basis in countries like China, where populations need to be kept fed in order to ensure that social order is maintained. Ration coins are bought and sold on the black markets. While it is technically illegal to sell these ration coins or use them on anything other than food purchases from state-owned food dispensaries and restaurants, the laws (and the police) haven't kept regular folks from finding alternative uses for them.

Seastead. Individual settlements established by individuals, families, extended families, or even communes. There are said to be a hundred million known seasteads in the Pacific Ocean region of Earth.

Skein. A shell in which one's consciousness can be uploaded to or have temporary hold over. Usually amorphous and sexless in shape.

Sprawl. The name for a solar system-wide Internet. It is often called different things. The term “Sprawl” is an English colloquialism, which refers to the sprawling length of the network itself.

(Subaru) Collaborative. A secretive organization located deep inside the Oort Cloud. Founded by the mysterious Founder, who has been lost to the obscurity of history.

Synth. Synths or synthetics are machines with human occupants inside or human-like intelligence. Although synthetics are protected persons under International Law, they are not necessarily treated as such.Synths who were once human often have to deal with the stigma of being synthetic, something they are unaccustomed to.

Synthmilk. As the name suggests, this is synthetic milk that has the same taste, texture, and nutrients as real milk, and it happens to be a rather expensive commodity, especially in those countries with larger populations. It is said that the rich in Shanghai bathe in synthmilk, as a sign of their opulence.

Triggers. Members of the 508th Vanguard.

(The) Unpleasantness. The name given to the First Martian Political Crisis. Ended with the passage of MAP-1.

Verse. An English colloquialism used to describe the solar system. The Verse extends from the closest reaches of the sun to the farthest reaches of the Heliopause.