Space is not home. It might be where you work or play, but it’s not where you wanna be at the end of the day*.
The year is 2595 in Earth’s calendar, and traveling faster than light is so old news. Humans and ǵnonw are the only two known intelligent species, although they’ve only explored their corner of the galaxy (and come across strange remnants of an earlier civilization called Traces in the process). Most humans and ǵnonw stick to their homeworlds, but the space in between is peopled by a transient mix of tourists, scientists, media and mining corporate workers, etc, who live in space stations and hab domes. Spacers are under the jurisdiction of the Joint-Government, and it’s against the law to interfere with the handful of worlds that have been discovered to harbour unintelligent life. Space has diverse meanings for different people. For some, it is a resource, for others, an environment to be defended from corporate greed. For some, it is a holiday, or the setting of their favourite TV show. For some, it is a wonder, a place to pursue the pinnacle of science. For others, it is an escape.
People have gotten used to grabbing a burger at a Haro’s on an asteroid, catching a show at Sirius, or raising a glass over the rings of Saturn.
But spacers know the vacuum is not to be trifled with. The line between life and death is just a few centimeters wide.
*Apologies to the ǵnonw reading for the human usage of “day”.
Alien Autonomy Act: “Triple A” in common parlance — the law that states that no one can interfere with primitive life, and that lifebearing worlds are not to be messed with, aside from scientific study that impacts the life as little as possible.
Blades of Dust: An action movie franchise filmed in the moons of the Tau Ceti system, where our heroes fight ancient malicious robots.
Blur: A drug that helps people stay up and focus for a very long time. Popular equally among people skipping (see below) in long races, people who need to do delicate and dangerous space work, and people who don’t want to miss a second of their vacation. Miraculously, has very similar effects on ǵnonw and humans. Can cause health problems. Controlled substance, though legal in small quantities.
Co: Slang for “corporation” or “company”.
Eccentric Heavy Industries: A mining co. The most recent space disaster took place a few years ago when one of their ships exploded mysteriously. There was only one survivor, dubbed “the miracle”.
Day: The hemisphere of Tand that permanently faces its sun Tva. Not to be confused with “day”, the period of time a given location on Earth spends facing Sol during one rotation about its axis.
Dr. Sang Will See You Now: An incredibly long-running and complicated medical soap opera that has delved into no less than fifteen genres, and has had three different actors play the lead.
Ǵnonw: People from the planet Tand, in the Tva system.
Gliese 581: The old human name for the system the ǵnonw are from.
Group: This term does not translate well into human languages. It refers to the family/companions/community/collective a ǵnonw belongs to.
Haro’s: A popular fast-food burger restaurant.
Hosklamthud: The only place that might properly be called a city on Tand — where the ǵnonw government is located.
Humans: People from the planet Earth, in the Sol system.
Joint-Government: Joint-Gov or J-Gov, the human-ǵnonw government that oversees anybody not in either the Tva or Sol systems.
Lamth: One of Tand’s moons.
Lightflight: Travel at speeds faster than light.
Ling-chips: Devices that translate between human and ǵnonw languages. Most words are translated, and place and person names are interpreted as closely as possible between languages. Ling-chips come in implant or wearable form.
Luna: The official name for Earth’s moon, though humans have an occasionally frustrating tendency to call it “the moon”, as if it’s the only one.
Makemake: A very popular record label co; also makes listening devices, ling-chips, other audio or music related apparatuses.
Nalska: This band is all the rage on Tand currently — recently signed on with Makemake.
Nevermore: A biomed company.
Night: The hemisphere of Tand that permanently faces away from its sun Tva. Not to be confused with “night”, the period of time a given location on Earth spends facing away from Sol during one rotation about its axis.
People: Species-neutral term for intelligent individuals, be they ǵnonw or human.
Plutonic: A very sketchy budget lightflight co.
Ring on it!: A human reality program about destination weddings of the rich and famous in Saturn’s rings.
Skarg: One of Tand’s moons.
Sirius Spa & Station Resort: A combined science station/concert venue/day spa orbiting the bright star Sirius. They say just the light of Sirius can brighten your mood!
Sol: The host star of Earth. Humans simply call it “the sun”.
Skipping: A hobbyist pursuit to build very fast small spacecraft called skips, and race them in interstellar space. Not technically illegal, but considered very dangerous.
Tand: The planet of the ǵnonw.
Terminator: The ring-shaped zone of permanent dawn/dusk between Day and Night on Tand.
Tidally locked: A planet is tidally locked when its day is the same length as its year, such that the same side of it is always facing its star. Tand is tidally locked with Tva. Luna is tidally locked with Earth.
Traces: Giant, intentionally built constructs and markings left behind by an unknown, ancient civilization. Humans and ǵnonw gained faster lightflight from learning from the Traces.
Tracers: The civilization that left the Traces. Conspiracy theories abound.
Tva: The host star of Tand.
Volatiles: Chemicals that can be vapourized, like nitrogen, carbon dioxide, water, ammonia, methane — Tand has had them delivered via comet impact throughout its history, and they are necessary for life there.
Wander: A journey a young ǵnonw undertakes when they leave the Group they were born into and travel solo, usually until they find a new Group to join.
Ylem Interstellar: This tech co builds many of the AIs found on tourist stations and commercial lightflights.
Zhugg: A communications company, well known for their breakthrough micro-black-hole technology to bring radio to listeners everywhere, faster than the speed of light.
Zolt: A ǵnonw cooking program, half the fun of which is watching contestants race for ingredients.