Military fiction can appear daunting, what with the barrage of acronyms, slang and abbreviations that the genre sometimes employs. Science fiction can be just as tough. As a result, I thought I’d put together a handy reference page for the terms I use throughout my books.
Some of these are in usage in the modern military, whereas others are part of The Lazarus War and The Eternity War. Either way, I hope that you’ll find this page a useful reference.
AA: Anti-air, or anti-aircraft.
AI: “Artificial intelligence”, as in a computer intelligence usually tasked with controlling the overall operation of a starship or space station.
Alliance: The coalition of several Old Earth governments, responsible for maintaining security throughout the thirteen territories. In opposition to the Asiatic Directorate.
Aerospace Force: The military arm responsible for deployment and use of low-orbit and ship-to-ship assets, such as gunships and smaller starships. Usually deployed under the command of, or alongside, the Alliance Navy.
Anti-grav: “Anti-gravity” – tech that defies gravity, or creates an artificial antigravity field.
APC: “Armoured personnel carrier”, as in a transport vehicle (usually ground) deployed to move personnel.
APS: “Armoured personnel shuttle”, as in a flying APC (see above).
Asiatic Directorate: A partnership of numerous Old Earth, such as the People’s Republic of China, Unified Korea, and other Asian states. In opposition to the Alliance, often referred to as simply “the Directorate”.
AWOL: “Absent without leave”.
Birds: Slang for aircraft
Bogey: Hostile target.
Brass: Senior military officers.
Buy the farm: To die in combat, usually for real (as opposed to simulated death).
CAG: Commander of the Air Group, generally leader of a flight wing.
Casevac: “Casualty evacuation”, as in removal of injured personnel from a warzone.
CIA: “Core Intelligence Agency”, responsible for investigating and maintaining security within the Core Systems.
CIC: Shorthand for “combat intelligence centre”, usually the hub of operations aboard a military starship or space station.
CNN: “Core News Network”, a major news agency.
Collective: A general descriptive term for the Krell’s group intelligence, but also the label given to a particular group of Krell (such as the Red Fin Collective). By the time of The Eternity War, several distinct Krell Collectives had been identified.
Core Systems: The Alliance inner systems where most political and economic power is located.
Core Worlds: Worlds within the Core Systems, often referred to as just “The Core”.
CQB: Abbreviation for “close quarters battle”, denoting conflict within a confined area.
DEFCON: “Defence readiness condition”, as ranked from five (peacetime status) to one (extreme and imminent threat).
Drift: A sector of space between the Quarantine Zone and the Maelstrom, which allows safer passage into the Maelstrom. However, this area is still dangerous, with a vast asteroid belt and several pirate groups operating from within (at the time of The Eternity War).
DZ: “Drop zone”, as in landing site for a military operation.
ECM: Electronic counter measures, as deployed by starships and aircraft to disrupt enemy weapons tracking.
EMP: “Electromagnetic pulse”, as in a device or effect that disables the electrical field of electronic equipment.
ETA: “Estimated time of arrival”.
EVA: “Extra vehicular activity”, as in to conduct an operation outside of a transport (often a starship).
EVAMP: An “extra vehicular mobility pack”. This is a backpack mounted flight rig, which allows troopers (usually simulants) to jump short distances, or to act as a thruster pack in space.
Exfil: Exfiltration, or removal, of military or other assets from a theatre of operations.
Extracted or extraction: To break the neural-link between a simulant and operator, resulted in loss of the simulant.
Fish heads: Slang for Krell (see below), based on their appearance.
Frag: Shorthand for “fragmentation”, usually in reference to a grenade (as in “frag grenade”).
FTL: Faster than light, usually with reference to starship flight.
FOB: “Forward operating base”, as in a base located close to or inside enemy territory. Most famously FOB Liberty Point.
Former Quarantine Zone: The area formerly known as the Quarantine Zone, post The Lazarus War.
FQZ: Abbreviation of “Former Quarantine Zone” (see above).
FUBAR: Slang for “fouled up beyond all repair” (or something less polite).
HUD: Heads up display. The display on a visor or helmet faceplate, showing operational data.
Great Barrier: The vast band of asteroids and other stellar debris that circles the Maelstrom, generally making passage into this territory extremely perilous. Several established routes through the Great Barrier have been identified, with the Drift being one such possibility.
Holo: Shorthand for holographic or hologram. See “Tri-D”.
Inertial dampener: Sometimes referred to as an internal damper, this is the technology that enables artificial gravity to function while a starship or station is in a zero-G environment.
IR: Infra red, usually in reference to optical scanning.
Klick: A kilometre.
Krell: The alien species in opposition to all human factions (in The Lazarus War), or allied with humans (in The Eternity War).
LT: Shorthand for lieutenant.
LZ: “Landing zone”. See “drop zone” (above).
Mag-lock: To use magnetic tech to lock to a surface, most commonly boots locked to a starship or space station’s hull.
Mag-lev: “Magnetic levitation”.
Maelstrom: A collection of star systems beyond the Quarantine Zone, claimed by the Krell Empire. The Maelstrom is a very unsafe and unstable area of space, which is blighted by Q-rifts, black holes and stellar storms.
Mili-Intel: Abbreviation of Military Intelligence, the military generally responsible for security and intelligence gathering through Alliance territories.
MP: Shorthand for Military Police.
Mili-Pol: Another abbreviation of Military Police.
NCO: Non-commissioned officer.
Neural-link: The connection between simulant and operator, which allows for operation of the sim. This usually requires a simulator-tank.
Nuke: A nuclear weapon.
Null-shield: A protective energy field that surrounds a starship, station or armoured suit, capable of repelling small arms fire (and ablating energy based weaponry).
POW: Prisoner of war.
Quantum-space: The jump-dimension that allows starships to fly faster than light. There are variations on use of this word, such as “jumping the Q”, “breaching the quantum” and so on.
Quarantine Zone: The safe zone demarking the edge of Alliance territory, bordering the Maelstrom.
Q-Zone: Abbreviation of Quarantine Zone.
REMF: “Rear echelon mother”, usually in reference to those pushing-pens and making decisions from behind the front lines.
RTB: Return to base.
Sci-Div: Shorthand for Science Division, the Alliance agency responsible for scientific and medical research throughout the Alliance armed forces, as well as some civilian sectors.
Scuttlebutt: Gossip, rumour or other unsubstantiated intelligence often distributed among line infantry – a high percentage of which often turns out to be true…
SECDEF: Secretary of Defence, a specialist role within the UA and Alliance government.
Section 8: A category of discharge from the Alliance armed forces, on the basis of being mentally unfit for service.
Shard: An alien species of living machines, largely disappeared from the Milky Way Galaxy by the time of The Lazarus War.
Shard Gates: Wormhole technology left behind by the Shard (see above), which allows almost instant travel between points within the Shard Network (see below).
Shard Network: The connective web of Shard Gates (see above).
Sim: Shorthand for simulant.
Sim Ops: Abbreviation of Simulant Operations Programme (see below).
Simulator-tank: Restricted military-grade hardware, which allows an operator to activate a neural-link.
Sitrep: Shorthand for situation report.
SNAFU: “Situation normal all fouled up”.
SOC: Simulant Operations Centre. Usually located on a starship or space station, the SOC is the centre of operations from which a simulant operator uses a simulator-tank, and remotely operates a simulant.
SOP: Simulant Operations Programme, an agency crossing the boundaries of military service and responsible for research and development of the simulant technology.
Simulant: A bio-engineered clone, capable of being remotely operated by a simulant operator.
Tango: Terrorist or target.
Transition: To establish a neural-link with a simulant.
Tri-D: “Tri-dimensional”, as in a holographic display. Such technology is common throughout the Alliance.
UA: The United Americas, including South American nations, Canada, the United States of America and associated ancillary territories.
UAS: United Americas Starship.
XO: Executive officer, as in a senior officer aboard a Navy starship.
Zero-G: Zero gravity.