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Cortex Lexicon

Anglo-Sino Alliance
The government in charge of... pretty much everything.
atmo
Foreshortening of the word "atmosphere".
black, the
Outer space or perhaps deep space, beyond planetary orbit.
Blackout Zones
Originally areas on Core worlds off the Cortex network, today synonymous with regions where illegal activities, crimes or treason are performed.
Blue Sun
A company that sells food products (and certainly more). Blue Sun logos are seen on food cans and advertisements throughout the 'verse. The motto from their commercials: Live life with Blue Sun. [1]
Bowdens Malady
A degenerative affliction of the bone and muscle. Afflicts the settlers of Paradiso in the Georgia System.
Brown Coats
Referring to the "independents" or rebels against the Alliance, likely in reference to their military uniform.
bughouse
Slang for "mental health facility".
byphodine
A drug which can induce a state of reduced metabolic function. Unexamined, a person under the effects of Byphodine is easily mistaken for a cadaver.
carrion house (a.k.a. scrap shop)
Outlaws set these facilities up and capture space ships with a high-powered electric "Net". These arrangements are used to immobilize a ship and kill or stun its crew, then strip parts off the ship or simply steal the whole thing.
Capture
Video Recording device.
central authority
Judicial courts of the Alliance.
Companion
An academy-schooled prostitute practicing legally as part of The Guild, a socially powerful pseudo-religious organization. Companions are highly respected by almost everyone. Their schooling is long and arduous and covers everything from psychology to sword fighting. They can converse with anyone, and make anyone utterly at ease, from a dirt poor farmer to a planetary president. They live by the Guild code and only engage in transactions with customers of their choice.
core
Refers to any major city/planet in the Alliance.
Cortex
The visual/textual Interactive Network of the 26th century.
credit
A type of currency. Alliance-based, with no 'solid' component, and used to the exclusion of all else for legitimate transactions on all core worlds. I.e.: all standard transactions on the Core worlds are electronic in nature -- no one can physically hand you a credit. Per unit, a credit is worth more than any other type of currency (See *platinum*, below.) (See also: Firefly Money)
cruiser
Type of Alliance military vessel. A very large, vertically-aligned vessel that resembles nothing so much as a small city in space.
cryo
Foreshortening of the word "cryogenic", especially in the context of cryogenic suspension. By the 26th century, cryogenic technology has advanced to the point that suspension can be sustained in a self-contained mobile unit. This makes for an ideal means by which to smuggle living human cargo in a temporary state of suspended metabolic function. Awakening suddenly or prematurely from cryo can result in severe system shock.
dedicated source box
The DSL / Personal File Server of the Firefly setting.
doxy
Slang, a female lover or mistress, or a sexually promiscuous woman. This term is distinct from the word prostitute, which is a profession, and is more similar to courtesan or concubine.
Dermal Mender
A piece of medical equipment used to repair damage to the dermis, skin, and cartilage, and to reatach limbs or smaller appendages. Presumably it uses molecular nanotechnology to reweave the fibres of the dermis at a molecular level. See "weave".
drops
Slang, Drugs. Used in "Heart of Gold."
encyclopedia
A palm-sized reference work. It can display information in hypertext form.
fed squad
A unit of twenty Alliance soldiers.
genseed
A type of genetically engineered crop seed issued to those sent to settle terraformed planets and moons.
gorram
expletive, AKA "god damn", used to express extreme displeasure, anger, or surprise..
grapple
Slang, vulgar. "To have sex with."
grizwald
A grenade about the size of a battery; responds to pressure.
gurtsler
Type of engine used in space ships, considered to be of somewhat shoddy construction.
hover-plane
A mode of transport.
humped
Expletive (depending on context).
hydrozapam
A particularly valuable pharmaceutical.
I.A.V.
Interstellar Alliance Vessel -- standard prefix on all Alliance military craft. (As seen on the IAV Dortmunder in the Serenity Pilot, as well as several others.)
ident card
Alliance identification card carrying personal information in electronic format -- useful for scanning purposes.
Independents
Political/military party opposed to the Alliance. See also: Brown Coats and the Unification War.
isoprobyline
A pharmaceutical used to boost the immune system.
kick
Slang. To die. (As in "kick the bucket".)
medvault
A secure area for the storage of pharmaceuticals.
mei mei
Little sister. Used for sister in blood or sister in spirit.
mule
Four-wheeled all-terrain vehicle used to transport goods and crew. Seats a maximum of two people. Top speed approximately 40 to 50 k/m.
non-progressional evolutionary theory
Creationism. One of the things River finds strange in the Bible. Possibly a (future) expansion of the Darwinian model of natural selection, possibly a neologism invented by River Tam.
Oh-two
Oxygen.
Operative
High-level agent of the Alliance government.
pasceline-d
A type of medicine used to treat the degenerative affliction Bowdens Malady. Pasceline is valuable on the black market. The word Pasceline has its origins in Dutch, a language native to Earth-that-was.
pipeline
A communications channel.
platinum
A type of hard currency, typically used on border worlds and for most clandestine dealings. For the purposes of conversion, a credit (see above) converts to platinum on approximately a 4:1 ratio, and a platinum coin converts to paper scrip (1 "dollar") at approximately 10:1. (1 credit = 4 platinum = 40 bills). (See also: Firefly Money)
propoxin
A pharmaceutical.
purple belly
An Alliance soldier or officer. (Used in reference to an Alliance Captain in Bushwhacked.) The Alliance's official colors include purple and are used on the abdomen (belly) of Alliance troop body armor.
reader
Short for mind reader.
Reavers
Space pirates with a twist -- the twist being they're insane, torture and rape their captives, and practice cannibalism and self-mutilation.
roller
A weapon used in the war, presumably a tank or some other conveyance moving on treads.
rutting
Expletive. Mating or 'to mate'.
seeker
A small heat seeking missile used by the Alliance, that gives off a whining sound when acquiring a heat source, which makes the missile detectable. More likely used to take out infantry than anything else due to the size and the explosive yield of the missile.
shepherd
Term for a religious minister, preacher, or priest.
shiny
Slang. "Good", "great", "neat", "wonderful", etc.
shuffle
Slang. To die. ("Shuffle off this mortal coil...")
sly
Male and homosexually inclined. (May also apply to women who fancy women.)
Sky Plex
A space station that has optimized a large portion of it's habitable space for client services such as shopping, entertainment, and so forth.
Tele Fonix
Name of a telecommunications system, like AT&T or MCI.
terraforming
Means of bestowing a planet or moon with conditions essential to sustain human and nonhuman life.
triplex
A slang term for a planet side shopping and entertainment megaplex.
U-Day
Short for "Unification Day"; the holiday celebrating the Alliance's defeat of the Independents.
'verse
Slang, short for "universe".
vitals
Short for vital signs.
wave
Audio-visual transmission sent over the Cortex. Full waves (audio and visual) are generally only available within major Alliance systems. Once a ship has left a major system (or is traveling in a system too unimportant to have a Cortex beacon), the sender must resort to more primitive means of communication.
weave
Medical term, presumably refering to a skin weave. A skin weave is a highly advanced medical procedure that uses nanotechnology in re-knitting the dermal fibres at a molecular level. Such a procedure is to stitches as stitches are to a bandage.

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