Social Institutions S - U

Businesses, artificial structures, social or political organizations or events, named historical events, etc.

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San Francisco Bay: The city formed by the merger of San Francisco and the surrounding cities. (Red Sky in Mourning)

Sanctuary of Ramunus on Patience: Contains the Sword of Ramunus. The Sanctuary is the safety deposit box room of the First Patience Bank of El Dorado, where the Sword is secured behind a specially locked door. (Grimace)

Sanctuary of Ramunus on Svajone: Contains the Robe of Ramunus at the end of a long tunnel, just past a "bottomless" pit. The tunnel is illuminated by methane burning from cracks in the wall. The floor is covered most of the way by alternating blue and yellow tiles. The shaft of the pit is about twelve feet across and is bridged by a six by six inch timber. A two inch hole bored into the rock at the near end of the timber controls the flames illuminating the grotto on the far side - the flames are brighter when the hole is covered. (The Blue Bird of Harpiness) The shaft is not bottomless. Far enough down not to be illuminated sufficiently to be seen from above, there is a one-inch mesh net which silently catches things which fall down, giving the illusion that the pit is bottomless. (In the Hole of the Mountain King)

SEC: Stellar Economic Community

SEC-Astro: The division of the Stellar Economic Community that assigns interstellar flight paths and compiles data on interstellar hazards

SEC Rules: These three rules form the basis for the way SEC members interact with other sentient beings:

     1) Do not harm other sentient beings.
     2) Do not allow other sentient beings to come to harm.
     3) Use discretion.

"Sentient beings" has a broad definition, and includes artificial intelligences. "Harm" also has a broad definition, and includes causing physical, psychological or economic pain or distress. "Use discretion" may modify the application of the first two Rules.

These rules were inspired by Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics.

SECLingo: Pronounced "sec-lingo" (emphasis on "sec",) not "S-E-C-lingo". It is the official language of the Stellar Economic Community. (Don't Cross the Ls in Tortilla)

SECRIT: Acronym for the Stellar Economic Community Reconnaissance, Intelligence, and Tactics - The part of the SEC which gathers information and takes covert actions.

Security Ace: The crew member of a starship qualified to use the weapons system. May also be the Head of Security. (Raptors of the Depths, Someday My Prints Will Come, Green Jacket Red Cap)

Security One: A construction company on Panjandrum that specializes in security. (The Duck and Doughnut)

Sedona Jack: A virtual reality starfighter game. The game is intended for use with a VR helmet and chair, but versions are available for portable devices like vocophones. The player is a pilot of the starfighter "Sedona Jack." The ship is orbiting the water planet Memm. The peaceful Memmon fish-people are under attack by the aliens of the Kell Empire. The player's mission is to bring medical supplies to the Memmons. The starfighter must evade the blockade by the Kell Empire and  land the ship in the ocean. There it will be met by recovery helicopters from the nearest archipelago. (Sedona Jack and Blood Stone)

SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Information) Society: An organization formed for the purpose of finding homes 'out there' for the billions who must leave Earth and the Moon. (Red Sky in Mourning)

Sheri Safari/Scary Sheri Safari: The safari business owned by Baroo in Roo'eft on Syringo. "Scary" was graffiti painted on the store sign. (Scary Sheri Safari) Scary Sheri Safari is a play on "Scary Harry Safari", a character in the Hanna Barbera animated cartoon series, “Ruff and Reddy.”

Sleeping in the Nude: Skink mythology says that if you sleep in the nude you may wake up with someone of the opposite sex in your bed. (The Centaurian Bud Vase)

Smythe and Wettson: A manufacturer of popular laser pistols (A Many-Splendored Thing)

Spring Fling: A spring festival common in many of Crunk's small communities. (Pushing the Envelope)

Stellar Economic Community (SEC): Group of star systems united by trade. Items traded consists of items unique to a world - such as music, art, cultural artifacts, stories, etc. (The Butler Did It) For more information, see the Stellar Economic Community page.

Stellar Economic Community Reconnaissance, Intelligence, and Tactics - See SECRIT

Subspace Italia: A company in Italy prefecture on Panjandrum that installs and maintains teleportal systems. (A Conversation with Gina Verucchio)

Superb Owl Sunday: A celebration on board the starship White Owl the Sunday before they arrive at their destination. (Superb Owl Sunday) Thanks to my daughter-in-law, Clarissa, for this play on "Super Bowl Sunday."

Superstate: The merged states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Arkansas (Red Sky in Mourning)

Taupiform: To make a planet habitable for the Taupoians. The word is equivalent to our use of the term "terraform."

Three Laws of Robotics:

     1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a
        human being to come to harm.
     2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such
        orders would conflict with the First Law.
     3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does
        not conflict with the First or Second Law.

These "Laws" were created by Isaac Asimov. For more information about these Laws, read the Wikipedia article.

Asimov's Three Laws were the inspiration for the SEC Rules.

Tiki Bar: A small, open-air bar and snack shop on Rochelle Beach. It is known for its Jumbo Double Hamburgers (image) and its Grapette Floats. For an image showing the Tiki Bar, click here. The Tiki Bar in my image is the Tiki Bar 3D model created by AppleJack and available at

Timekeeper: On Fohia, Timekeepers use an accurate porcelain horologe to keep track of each octo of the day. They are sequestered in their horological society's tower for a year in order that they not have any distractions. At the end of each octo, they strike a gong, audible to the community, the number of times corresponding to which octo is beginning. At the Fall Equinox Challenge, Members of the societies present their porcelain horologes and the maker of the best is chosen to spend the next year as the Timekeeper.

A Timekeeper strikes a bong to correspond with each octo past midnight, culminating with eight strikes at midnight. This requires a Timekeeper to be awake to do this, even though sleep is required. One of the many things a Member of a horological society must learn is the sound that sand makes at different times as it flows from one chamber to the other in a porcelain horologe. Learning to wake up when hearing the sound corresponding to an almost empty chamber is a crucial skill required of all Members and must be practiced to perfection between Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice for the Successor Timekeeper.

Treasures of Ramunus: The robe, sword, and crown of King Ramunus. According to legend, these items were hidden among the stars by the goddess Dalia to await the return of Ramunus. (Don't Cross the Ls in Tortilla) Actually, they were hidden by The Kindred. The robe was blue and covered with jewels and gold and silver needle work. The crown was silver and also bejeweled. The sword, called "Grimace," had a bejeweled hilt.

Tree-Ring Circus: A circus and carnival that Dendrology Research establishes wherever it sets up operation in order to ingratiate itself with the native population.

Turquoise Band: The musical group of Milda which Baroo encouraged to sing about the Waxonian monarchy. Their name is tied to the Turquoise ring which each band member wore.

Uni (plural: unees): The uni is the monetary unit of exchange in the Stellar Economic Community.

Kara Tan Bhala was one of the participants at the 2011 Short Fiction Workshop at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. In her critique of one of my stories, she objected to my use of "credit" as a monetary unit because "all" SF stories use "credits." She pointed out that, financially, "credit" means to borrow or make available to borrow. If I use my credit card, I'm not actually paying for an item (one reason that so many people get into financial trouble.) I'm borrowing money to be paid later. With a debit card, I pay now--which is why I don't have a debit card. (Maybe SF writers should be saying that something costs 200 debits instead of 200 credits.)

I thought that she had made a good point, and did a little online research to see what I could learn. Wikipedia had an interesting article, Money. According to the article, the word "money" may be derived from "Juno Moneta," the temple where the mint of ancient Rome was located. The name, "Juno," may be derived from the name of the Etruscan goddess, Uni, whose name meant "the one", "unique", "unit", "union", or "united".

Although a galactic community would be unlikely to choose the name of an ancient terrestrial goddess for its monetary unit, these meanings for "Uni" seemed to be good reasons to use her name as a replacement for the term "credit" in science fiction stories. So, I have.

Other SF writers may do the same if they wish.

University of Milano: The university in Italy prefecture on Panjandrum where Gina Verucchio got her BS in Electronics Engineering. (A Conversation with Gina Verucchio)

Page updated: 04 November 2021
Page created: 19 January 2012