The lingua franca of the Orion Arm is Trade. The Covenant originally developed it as a stripped-down trading language. However, over tens of millennia, Trade has accreted words and slang from the many sapient species and cultures both within and without the Covenant.
Trade is a living, growing language. It is spoken on a thousand worlds and more, and no one book or document could possibly catalog or even contain it. What follows is only a very brief introduction.
- A Bad Case of the (name) (Covenant, slang): The psychological fragility of recent immigrants to the Covenant. Many suffered precarious lives in their original homes. They coped either by turtling up with learned helplessness or by suppressing their emotions and adopting aggressive, often bigoted personalities. Unfortunately, they often carry these coping mechanisms with them to the Covenant.
- A Bad Case of the Dominions: For anyone from the Dominion
- A Bad Case of the Libertarians: For anyone from the Archimedean Confederation
- A Bad Case of the Feddies: For anyone from the Terran Federation
- A Bad Case of the Empires: For anyone from Old Empire
- Abi Gezunt (chiroptim, slang): “At least you have your health.” Usually said ironically after hearing bad news. From Yiddish.
- Abi Me Lebt (chiroptim, slang): “At least I’m alive.” From Yiddish.
- AC/DC (aco, slang): Bisexual. From British Polari.
- Aco (general, species): A sapient species of Artificially Created Organisms that were designed as toys, tutors, and friends for the children of wealthy humans. Acoes have numerous “skins” – including dinosaurs, ponies, unicorns, and soldiers – that give them extra abilities (e.g., armored skins, cybernetic wings, weapons for protecting their charges, etc.). Inspired by the Richard Chwedyk novella The Measure of All Things, originally published in the Jan. 2001 edition of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. There are two types of aco:
- Generation 1 or “Gen-One”: Vat-grown and asexual, with cybernetic brain implants to for day-one skills and indoctrination
- Generation 2 or “Gen-Two”: Reproduce sexually, born without brain implants but also without human indoctrination
- Aetherwing (technology, term): Covenant spaceship drive that combines hard light emitters and Lorentzian distorters to create massive wings that “bite” into the fabric of spacetime. This allows a spaceship to maneuver like a winged animal in atmosphere.
- Aetherwing Vestments (technology, term): A personal scale aetherwing that fits into a bulky harness. Capable of near-luminal speed like a full-scale aetherwing. Aetherwing vestments are usually unarmed, so the Covenant’s Mutual Aid Force trains its Defense Agents to use them to board enemy vessels or plant explosives during massive wave attacks.
- Ajax (aco, slang): Nearby. From British Polari.
- Akhwem (chiroptim, term): Literally “Endless Sky”. One conception of chiroptim heaven, with neverending clear skies and endless thermals. Here, the chiroptim goddess Lady Danaïn is thought to be the sun and not a black-furred chiroptim.
- Akhyuzh Shakhyas (chiroptim, term): Phoenix. The holy animal of the chiroptim goddess Lady Danaïn and a creature that holds a special place in the hearts of chiroptim.
- “Alamo!” (aco, slang): “Sexy!” From British Polari.
- “And it exploded” (human, slang): Overkill or an unforeseen, usually bad consequence. The source of this saying has been lost in the sands of time.
- “And the student was enlightened” (chiroptim, slang): A phrase that rounds out many Zen koans and Discordian sayings. When a chiroptim says it, though, they’ve made a point or won an argument (or think they have, at least).
- Archimedean Confederation (general, domain): A confederation of corporate states with laissez faire economics. The Archimedean Confederation (AC) was originally a group of worlds colonized by humans fleeing the destruction of Earth. They in turn were invaded by scientists fleeing Slice o’Heaven, the thk’kok homeworld. The scientists had been wrongly blamed for the destruction of Slice o’Heaven’s capital city, and they vowed to create a home ruled by rationality and science where that would never happen again. It’s all right if you’re a corporate employee. However, life outside the walled company cities is dangerous, especially if you’re a “free agent” contract worker, and the corporate mercenaries are no match for the hordes of slavers and pirates that call the AC home. The AC supplies arms and technology to anyone who can afford it but has it in for the “socialists” of the Covenant.
- Archipelago (Covenant, slang): One of many fleets of human refugees in known space. Archipelagoes often have old, broken-down ships, but still rarely if ever stop in one place for any length of time. Many are remnants of evacuation fleets from the destruction of Earth, though some are from more recent disasters. See also gypsy fleet and refugee nation.
- Arva (aco, slang): Fuck, have sex.
- A Schande (chiroptim, term): Something or someone disgraceful or shameful. From Yiddish.
- Assed Out (Covenant, slang): Spent, empty, nothing left.
- “Aunt Nell!” (aco, slang): “Listen!” From British Polari.
Note: Some of these terms are original, but the rest are gathered from numerous sources. This is only a partial list of these sources.
- Santa Barbara Jewish Connection: The First Words You Learn
- Military.com: Glossary of Military Terms & Slang
- Glossary of Military Terms & Slang from the Vietnam War
- Hobo Terminology
- In the 70s
- 60s Slang
- 1940s Slang: Hepcats and All That Jive
- 1930s Slang
- Sage Dragonfly – 1930’s Sayings/Slang
- Dirty 30s! – Slang of the 30s
- 1920’s & 1930’s Slang
- Life of Boris
- Molls and Dolls: 1920 Slang Dictionary
- Soomka.com – Nadsat Dictionary (reprinted from the novel
“A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess
- Wikipedia: Polari
- Wikipedia: Yiddish Words Used in English
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