"I don't want slaves! It's the power of ideas!" - Trevor Goodchild, Aeon Flux
This lexicon is an invaluable reference to the many strange words and concepts found in Neon Twilight. Please take care not to be offended by any of these concepts, as they are part of a fictional scenario, not a political agenda. A lot of the terms here can be found in actual publications or speculative works.
DENIED AREA : Any place contaminated by chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons, esp. extreme infestations of parasites. Denied areas are contained by a cordon sanitaire of lethal force, but humanitarian missions such as Medicin Sans Frontieres and the Red Cross/Red Crescent often air-drop supplies to any survivors within. Anyone entering a Denied Area is considered a non-citizen (fringer) under Protocol.
GAICA : The Geneva Artificial Intelligence Control Agency, an international organization dealing with what where previously called Artificial Intelligences (see Great Minds). Its powers of enforcement include corrosive and organic softwar methods against Great Minds as well as complete extermination should the need arise. GAICA is based in Geneva and has an extensive multinational secretariat.
GREAT MINDS : 1. Sentient software entities one scale above a Psi. Officially termed Intelligence Class 1.0+ (rated human-equivalent or beyond). 2. Any Psi which develops recognizable personality traits. See also High Automation, Psi.
HIGH AUTOMATION : Sub-sentient adaptable and reactive software automation. High Automation can recognize human commands, perform complex operations with limited fuzzy logic and even do simple guessing, but its capabilities are highly limited. Officially termed Intelligence Class 0.25 under GAICA. See also Psi, Great Minds.
HUMAN CODE : A body of legal material defining what constitutes a human being and the extent to which the human genetic code can be altered. The Human Code is enforced by the Medical Collegium and expressly forbids many types of genegineering, cloning, and transgenic experimentation.
INFOSPHERE : the vast sum of a corporation's (or other group's) knowledge. This knowledge is of the hard-earned type, of personal experience, private hacks, little improvements, and years of accumulated mistakes. In other words, collective wisdom. Being very hard to acquire or digitize, Infospheres are incredibly valuable and very well protected. In the 'global organism' analogy of the webworks, Infospheres are the memories and experiences of human groups.
MEDICAL COLLEGIUM : International organization tasked with standardizing and enforcing global medical codes, esp. concerning biosafety (under the Osaka Biosafety Convention), disease/parasite eradication, and genegineering. Medical Collegiums operate in chapters, one for each sovereign entity, but are composed of medical practitioners who are appointed by the MC Secretariat, based in Atlanta.
MINDER : Xenorganic-cephalic implant which purpotedly combines a bioprocessors and memory crystals with foreign biological material to create an internal head computer. Speculative, but extremely illegal if it actually exists.
NIHILIST : A terrorist who kills indiscriminately and without a clear political or economic agenda. Nihilists differ from classical terrorists in that they don't care about changing the world; they just want to kill and hurt 'The Enemy' as much possible by any means possible. A classical terrorist was more interested in new coverage of his political agenda; a nihilist doesn't care about public support or about the news. Destruction is the nihilist's ultimate goal, and the splintering of most millenarian cults at the turn of the century has allowed many madmen with chemical or biological weapons to cause great damage in major cities.
PROTOCOL : International organization tasked with implementing uniform global trade, competition, economic, technological and other standards, and with handling all forms of negotiation and arbitration, whether political, economic, or military. Formal name Unified Arbitration and Protocol Organization (UAPO).
PSI : 1. acronym for PSeudo-Intelligence, referring to any form of software mimicry which can reasonably pass for human intelligence, but which is not actually intelligent. Also known by the older name of Artificial Intelligence. Officially termed Intelligence Class 0.5. See also High Automation, Great Minds.
PURCHASE GROUPS : an association of consumers designed to get the lowest prices and most protection for its members (and only its members). Purchase groups are different from traditional large-volume retailers in that they encompass global constituencies (such as the Chocolateur's Syndic); only serve their members; are usually specialized in one category of products (eg: white goods); demand loyalty in the form of mandatory weekly purchases; and deliver to your doorstep instead of you having to go out and choose.
PURCHASE NETWORKS : part of the global webworks, the Purchase Networks are vast collections of small suppliers and parts-producers who offer their products for sale to larger corporations on a global basis. This in effect turns all industrial products into commodities and creates massive efficiencies in both scale and scope. For non-economists, this is A Good Thing.
PHARMAS : Legal drugs, usually stimulants or mood-alteration synthetics administered by a central authority, often the Medical Collegium. Pharmas are commonly used by people to deal with problems, as a social anaesthetic (much like tv) and as a cheap thrill.
SEACOM : South-East Asian Community, the new cooperative structure erected by the major powers of that region following the War. Seacom includes economic liberalisation, political discussions, and military cooperation. Nevertheless, Seacom is largely a talking shop and has little global power.
SIMEX : SIMulated EXperience. A form of commercial virtual reality (virrea) environment in which the user experiences simulated entertainment through projected images on the optic nerve and associated aural and tactile stimulation.
SYNDIC : a freelance judge/lawyer who provides legal counsel to Denied Area residents and any other Protocol legal entity which requires it. Syndics live by their reputation, and are generally considered much more trustworthy than common lawyers or police officers.
SYSTEM THREE : An international convention specifying network hierarchies, data exchange protocols, and general informatics standards. So called after the original Big Three subscribers (USA, EU, and Russia). Competes with the Asian Streamlined Format (ASF) network structure, but both systems are highly fluid and - to a certain extent - interchangeable. System-3 is more flexible, but easier to crack.
WAGE SCALE : a standardized form of wage payment which is based on global averages of skill, productivity, marital status, genetic purity, and thousands of other factors. Most people do not have a permanent job, and must use their contacts and personal networks to secure a job every day. Wage scales serve as guaranteed contracts, so that a person receiving a wage-scale IV.4.7 knows exactly what they're getting without having to read a 50-page contract every day. Likewise exployers know what they're handing out without having to negotiate every day. Wage scales can be incremental, exponential, or logarithmic. The last is known as the superstar phenomena, in which the number one professional in his field is often paid ten times the rate of the second-best person.
WEBWORKS : Global computer network which connects together most of the world's sub-nets. The webworks is self-structuring and self-organizing, and mimics a natural ecosystem, complete with natural selection, hyperevolution, and software lifeforms. The webworks 'gave birth' initially to spawn and then later to Great Minds, and has become an uncontrollable flux medium and the locus of human activity.