Vocabulary of the Orion Arm: The J’s and K’s

(Don’t forget to tune in to the latest episode of the Radio Free Covenant podcast!)

Acoes are one of two artificial species in the Orion Arm. However, unlike SADEs, they are organic, not electronic.

“Aco” is an acronym of Artificially Created Organism. They were originally designed to be toys and tutors for the children of wealthy human parents, but have since found their way into nearly every economic niche outside the Covenant.

Each aco consists of a “chassis” (the skeleton and organs) and a “skin” (which includes hair, fur, feathers, horns, and claws), both of which can be customized for a specific job. Most acoes are designed as toys or maintenance workers in spaceships and machinery and so are around 18 inches tall. Popular skins include ponies and unicorns for girls, soldiers and spacers for boys, and dinosaurs for pretty much everyone. However, more exotic models exist, including ones with more than four limbs and specialized organs.

The very first acoes, known as Generation One or Gen-1, were vat-grown and asexual. They were usually installed with cybernetics for specific jobs in vitro. These included brain implants that gave them skills and indoctrination as soon as they were decanted.

Acoes are not recognized as sapient beings or even as pets outside the Covenant, however, and many are horribly mistreated. There’s even a market in acoes designed specifically as sex toys. Life as an aco can get very dark very fast.

To give them greater control over their own destinies, an aco rights group developed Generation Two or Gen-2 acoes. These individuals reproduce sexually and have none of the implants – or conditioning – of their vat-grown peers.

Aco culture is marked by both resilience and resistance, as well as a thirst for freedom. Those who can’t make it to the Covenant escape into the countryside or the bowels of cities to create their own societies. They bring to Trade the language of marginalized human cultures, most notably the Polari from Britain’s homosexual and entertainment cultures and the slang of American slaves.

(Acoes are based on Richard Chwedyk‘s novella The Measure of All Things and Robert C. O’Brien’s Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH)

Read on to learn common Trade words that start with the English letters J and K.

  • Jarry (aco, slang): Food. From British Polari.
  • Jeezny (valka, slang): Life. From Nadsat, derived from zhizn (life).
  • Jubes (aco, slang): Breasts, tits. From British Polari.
  • Kalekweth (chiroptim, term): 1. A time of rapidly falling air pressure, which is intoxicating but often is the harbinger of storms and bad flying weather. 2. Not caring what happens. 3. A deteriorating condition or situation. 4. Deterioration, things turning out for the worst.
  • Kalshaksekh (chiroptim, term): Burning at the stake, a common death for thousands of chiroptim during various inquisitions and pogroms back on the Old World.
  • Kaltakhnef, The (chiroptim, term): The closest thing the chiroptim have to a god of evil. “Kaltakhnef” is more a description than a name. The Lady Danaïn fights the kaltakhnef and Its minions on behalf of Her children, the chiroptim. To humans, the kaltakhnef is a demiurge that looks like a large snake, similar to Egypt’s Apep or Greece’s Apophis. Chiroptim, on the other hand, believe the kaltakhnef to be more a force of nature than a god – something that was either left behind from the chaos of pre-creation or that survived the death of whatever came before our universe. They depict It as a long tentacle of indeterminate length. See also Lady Danaïn, The.
  • Kalweth (chiroptim, term): 1. Downdraft. 2. A turn for the worse, a streak of bad luck, hard going. Also kulweth.
  • Kakweth (chiroptim, term): 1. A headwind that slows you during flight. 2. Any kind of obstruction, usually an unexpected or unnecessary one or one that wastes resources.
  • Kamshakh (chiroptim, term): Bonfire.
  • Kartoffel (valka, slang): Food. From Nadsat, derived from kartofel (potatoes).
  • Kayfabe (Covenant, slang): Being insincere. Keeping up a lie. Believing one thing while doing another. Doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. This term comes from the humans, but its origins have been lost.
  • Kentucky Windage (spacer, slang): Eyeballing a course or trajectory. The term comes from the humans, but its origins have been lost.
  • Keshagh (chiroptim, term): Literally “sweet truth.” Humor or comedy.
  • Keshaghos (chiroptim, term): Comedian or clown.
  • Ketapam (chiroptim, term): Palm-sized spellbooks used by chiroptim witches. See also ketalos.
  • Ketalos (chiroptim, term): A chiroptim “witch”, or anyone who follows the traditions of chiroptim witchery. Witches, who can be male or female, usually hold great political power in chiroptim communities, although their power may be waning in the Covenant.
  • Ketalhal (chiroptim, term): Chiroptim witch coven. There is usually only one in a chiroptim community, and only in the larger ones.
  • Ketovpahk, The (chiroptim, term): The secret use of chiroptim witches and mercenaries in human wars and politics back in the Old World, dating from about 500 BC. Also the Shadow Wars.
  • Ketsefos (chiroptim, term): Any psychiatrist who supplements his therapy with magical rituals or folk remedies. Carl Jung was supposedly a big fan of ketsefos methods back in the Old World, despite his strong anti-chiroptism.
  • Khayef (chiroptim, term): Blood candy, usually crystallized honey mixed with blood or a candy shell filled with liquid blood.
  • Klootch (valka, slang): 1. Password or key. 2. Any kind of hack or jury-rig, whether to hardware, software, or a process. From Nadsat, derived from klyuch (key).
  • Knife-Fighting Range (spacer, slang): Approaching within one-tenth of a light second (30,000 km) of an enemy ship. Also stupid close.
  • Knopka (valka, slang): Push-button. From Russian.
  • Known Space (term, general): The portion of the Orion Arm that includes the Covenant and her rivals, as well as a vast area of unclaimed space, stars, and planets. Most of known space has been explored or surveyed by telescope or automated probes, but there are still unexplored pockets.
  • Kopat (valka, slang): 1. To understand or appreciate. 2. To decrypt. From the Rusian kopat’ (dig).
  • Krovvy (valka, slang): Blood. From Nadsat, derived from krov (blood).

See Also:

Note: Some of these terms are original, but the rest are gathered from numerous sources. This is only a partial list of these sources.

Published by radiofreecovenant

A podcast about the science-fiction roleplaying game "Covenant" and the urban fantasy novel "Crossing the Line", soon to be published by Black Opal Books.

Join the Conversation


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: