An alternate term for a Terran-origin Artificial Intelligence, used primarily by Terrans. The name makes reference to a late-20th-early-21st century author whose writing featured artificial intelligences as helpful companions to Humans, as well as the possibility of one sapient race creating new sapients via technology. -N.L.
An interstellar organization consisting of several constituent sapient species originally founded for military protection from Mauraug aggression. Although that threat has passed, with the main body of the Mauraug species having joined the Collective themselves to help prevent systemic economic collapse, the organization still exists for the mutual benefit of its constituent species. The Collective organizes inter-species efforts at exploration and research, and helps to maintain the precious technology that is the intellectual property of its member species. -L.D.
The Highest Law
The Highest Law of the Collective is a complex code regarding ownership of proprietary technology. As each constituent species of the Collective faced unique challenges in achieving space flight and post-Solar civilization, they developed unique forms of technology. The Highest Law defines appropriate licensing for use of proprietary technology, as well as appropriate punishment for the same. - L. D.
A term used to denote tool-users. Among the Collective, a term used as a mark of respect for a constituent species, as a species must display advanced and unique tools to be considered for membership. - L.D.
A term used to denote conscious, self-aware, intelligent entities. The word is used to identify beings who possess these properties but have not distinguished themselves by the creation of advanced and unique tools, possibly due to inability to manipulate physical tools (as with Terran AIs or unbonded Awakeners) or insufficiently progressed species development. -N.L.
A biological term identifying a type of organism possessing sufficiently distinct genetic and physical traits to separate it from other members of the same genus, usually through evolutionary divergence. Frequently used inaccurately as a colloquial means of distinguishing between sapient types, most of which are members of entirely separate evolutionary processes on separate planets. Sometimes used derisively, as in, "I don't engage in mating rituals outside of my species." -N.L.