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cºntinuum glossary



Time travel is supposed to make a hash of human language, as tenses and terminology become entangled with describing actions out of their usual sequence, by people who move outside of the normal bounds of time.
However, the reality is very simple. Everyday words, in Modern English at least, already provide all the information a spanner needs, as well as being an excellent cover for any prying leveller ears.
Consistent use of present and present perfect tense solves most traditional confusions about time travel, especially when explaining things in the third person: "Pam is in 1534." "Ted is going from April 1830 to March 2010." "Pam meets Ted in 2010, and then visits Ted's junior in 1830." Individual spanners might use past and future tense– but they would always be discussing their own or a fellow spanner's Age or Yet (see below).
Only a few of the words below will seem unfamiliar to the average English speaker. It simply becomes a matter of understanding how they've been used by the spanners around us throughout history.
Cross-references are in boldface with the exception of repeated terms in the same listing, and "span" and "spanner" due to their frequency.

PRINTABLE VERSION PDF [52k]   (AD 2003.06.28)

Age n. (Latin "Middle English < Old French aage < Vulgar Latin < Latin aetas "age")
The period of spacetime during which someone exists. How old a spanner is, and also the events he has already experienced; these events of course do not come in the natural sequence levellers experience events. Sometimes referred to as the 'Required Past', but only in comparison to the Yet (see).
Antedesertium n. (Latin "the land before the time of the desert")
The worldwide narcissist empire posing the greatest threat to the Continuum. Called by many natives Yrnë. Flourishes to c. 18000 - 13557 BC.
as/as not The point during an incident of frag beyond which natural paradoxes do not heal by themselves, but collapse the universe, instead. Sentient force is applied at this point to heal frag.
Atlantean Councils n. The 117 sessions at the beginning of the Societies that determined membership, and many rules of conduct for spanners within Societal spacetime. Held every five or six years on Atlantis, beginning in 12969 BC.
Atlantis n. (Greek Atlas "Titan supporting the heavens" < ProtoIndoEuropean [PIE] tel "to lift, support, weigh") Battle station that can span; modeled after certain Inheritor designs. A city of spanners, it is the largest of several stations allotted for the Societies' defense against Antedesertium. Host to the Atlantean Councils.
chrony n. (Modern English Slang "old companion" < Greek khronios "long-lasting" < chronos "time" < Uncertain)
A fellow spanner one considers a close friend.
civilization n. (Middle English < Old French < Latin civis "citizen" < "member of a household" < PIE keiwi)
To spanners, the overarching period dominated by a particular species or subspecies, as opposed to merely a culture. Examples of civilizations: Antedesertium, the Societies, the Inheritors.
Continuum n. (Latin continuus [neuter form] "continuous" < continere "to hold together, restrain" < tenere < PIE ten "to stretch")
1. Humanity (and all nonhuman sentience) that can span, and social framework that holds it together.
2. The entirety of sentience throughout spacetime, most specifically that which is used to maintain existence.
corner n. (Middle English < Old French corniere < Vulgar Latin cornarium < Latin cornu < "horn, extremity" < PIE ker "horn")
1. A homestead or equivalent establishment where spanners of a particular locality can be themselves without leveller scrutiny. Essentially, a local safe house or home base for spanners.
2. By extension, the locality around the home base.
adv. (Middle English doun < Old English dune < of dune "from the hill" [of "off" + dun "hill"] < Germanic dunaz "hill" < Protoceltic dhuno "fortified, enclosed")
Towards the past from one's current position in spacetime. Pastward. Normally capitalized to differentiate it from a mere direction in space. Compare Up and Level.
dreamtime n. (dream + time [dream < Middle English drem < Old English "joy, music" < Germanic draugma < PIE dhreugh "to deceive"] + [time < Old English tima < Germanic dimon < PIE da "to divide"])
A state wherein people with the Dreaming skill, primarily spanners, encounter one another to exchange information; a state of consciousness equivalent to Plato's World of Ideas. Named for the dream-state of Australian aboriginal myth.
  elder self
n. The later, older self in a gemini incident (see below), that has experienced the incident before. See also junior.
era See zodiac, below.
Exalted n. (Middle English exalten < Old French exalter < Latin exaltare < "[to lift] up high")
sing. or pl.
– Spanner(s) of such skill that they can easily travel the length of the Societies, and beyond. Considered authorities and intermediaries with other civilizations, especially with the Inheritors.
(Modern English Slang "to blow up [someone surreptiously]" < fragment "to break" < Middle English < Latin fragmentum < frangere < PIE bhreg "to break")
1. n. The state of inconsistency with the universe, corrected at the as/not by proper application of sentient force. (See CºNTINUUM, ppg. 53-54.)
2. adj. The state of experiencing that inconsistency.
3. v. to frag. To use sentient force to cause such inconsistency.
fraternity n. (Middle English fraternite < Old French < Latin fraternitas < frater "brother" < PIE bhrater)
A group of spanners of like mind, usually performing a unique service to other spanners and/or the Continuum. Like a medieval guild, a Fraternity is the profession of a spanner, when among spanners. There are ten primary Fraternities; since they are different professions, and must cooperate for the good of the Continuum, there are rarely any rivalries between them.
Members of any given Fraternity can be found throughout the spacetime of the Societies, and often beyond.
v. (Old English gefrunen)
To find out by asking questions.
This is distinct from other forms of information, and gathering information. Frooning implies the knowledge of others, with its consequences, and the advertising that you are aware of certain events.
This is also distinct from merely asking, which is just the expression of the desire for information. Frooning emphasizes sentient force applied to the discovery of information from other sentience.
"Further information is not available here." This phrase is used whenever an informative answer cannot be given to a spanner, on the understanding that knowing too much or too little can be burdensome to one's Yet. The sentence is perfectly information-neutral, revealing only that additional information on the subject matter the querant seeks will not be found at that place and time– not whether the respondant knows or doesn't know the answer, nor any clue to its discovery or relevance. See also frune.
The equivalent of history, only in reference to "the future" as understood by levellers; prophecy. Detailed information of upcoming events. Rarely a relevant term for spanners: see the Yet.
gemini incident An event where a spanner meets himself. Such incidents have strict rules of conduct, primarily governed by the Second Maxim: 'Respect your elders, they know more than you.' (See elders and juniors.)
Not to be confused with the Geminid zodiacal era, which is known for its frequency of gemini incidents (see zodiac, below).
  The Hegemony
The name by which many narcissists refer to the Societies. Used derogatorily.
Inheritors n.
1. The people, mostly spanners, who flourish after the spacetime of the Societies.
2. The spacetime of the civilization of the Inheritors.
Interregnum n. (Latin "between reigns")
The spacetime between Antedesertium and the Societies, 13557 - 12969 BC. A time of extreme chaos and frag.
  junior self
n. Any previous version of one's self along one's Age. Especially refers to the earlier, younger self in a gemini incident (see), that has not experienced the incident before.
level The "present" as currently occupied or described. The ordinary passage of time from past to future.
leveller n. A person unaware of spanning, and unable to span. An ordinary human.
locality n.
1. A spanner's original birthplace, especially where he was raised as a leveller. The spacetime most familiar to a spanner by experience and association.
2. The place(s) a spanner has made his home. See corner, above.
  The Maxims
n. pl. (Middle English < Old French maxime < Medieval Latin propositio maxima "greatest proposition" < Latin maximus < PIE meg "great")
The set of axioms spanners loyal to the Continuum follow. The Maxims are believed to be universal throughout all spacetime, with only minor variations.
narcissist n. (Latin narcissus < Greek narkissos < Mediterranean)
A spanner at odds with Continuum, using his ability and sentient force to attempt to alter events, usually for his own aggrandizement. So named after the figure in Greek myth who was so infatuated with himself, that he turned into vegetable.
paradox n. (Latin paradoxum < Greek paradoxos "incredible", conflicting with the expected" < [para "beyond" + doxa "opinion" < dokein "to think" < "to cause to be accepted" < PIE dek "to take or accept"])
1. Any situation of two mutually-exclusive events occuring at the same time; can occur naturally, accidentally, or deliberately. (See CºNTINUUM, ppg. 56-57.)
2. Used by some to refer to the moment of as/as not (see); though properly described, the as/as not contains a near-infinite number of potential paradoxes.
sentient force n. Deliberate act of will, usually in reference to its application in ensuing events, or attempting to change them.
society n.
One of the hundreds of cultures/nations accepted as a cohesive unit by the Atlantean Councils. One of the Societies (see below).
  The Societies
The civilization existing in spacetime between Antedesertium and the Inheritors. Made up of hundreds of individual cultures/nations, which provide the civilization its name. Trade and competition among societies make up much of the political machinations of the civilization. Flourishes 12969 BC - AD 2400.
span (Middle English spanne "short distance or interval" < Old English spann < Germanic spannon < PIE spen "to draw, stretch, spin")
1. n. The distance of spacetime a spanner can travel safely without rest. Often indicative of social status and responsibility.
2. n. A length of time, used especially of the entire duration of a person, object or civilization.
3. v. to span. The act of travelling through time at will.
Most schools of spanner philosophy regard all of the foregoing definitions as facets of the others.
1. A wrench.
2. One who spans; a person that can traverse time at will.
Contrast leveller, above. Natives from localities Down from the Industrial Revolution prefer the related term spinner, as in weaver.
  The Swarm
The name by which many narcissists refer to the Continuum, or any group of loyal Continuum spanners. Used derogatorily.
adv. (Middle English up < Old English uppe "on high" < Germanic upp < PIE upo "under, up from under, over")
Towards the future from one's current position in spacetime. Futureward. Normally capitalized to differentiate it from a mere direction in space. Compare Down and Level.
"What time is it?" This phrase, or obvious variants, is main signal spanners use to identify one another.
The proper response is to repeat the phrase verbatim when asked. Levellers will act confused or annoyed; fellow spanners will expect to lead or be led to a safe area where matters privy to spanners can be discussed without leveller scrutiny.
  the Yet
n. (Middle English yit < Old English giet, gieta "still" < Uncertain )
Information of events that a spanner has not experienced, but will. This is referred to as the Yet to distinguish it from other, especially linear, definitions of a "future" or "past". Usually referred to with an article (the Yet, his Yet, her Yet, etc.) Also referred to as the 'Required Future'. Compare Age.
young gemini The gemini incidents (see above) that occur before a spanner learns to span. Leveller encounters with elder (spanner) selves, nearly always unrecognized for what they are until much later.
  zodiacal era
n. (Middle English < Old French zodiaque < Latin zodiacus < Greek zoidiakos kuklos "circle of carved figures" < zoion "animal" < PIE gwyoyo )
Sections of spacetime of approximately 2000 years each. Each era has special meaning and events relevant to Societal spanners. Spanners often identify themselves to each other by their era before revealing narrower details such as their locality or corner.
The zodiac and its variants exist to assist spanners in understanding their local spacetime; its astrological connotation is the face presented to levellers.


All contents Copyright ©1998-2012 Barbara Manui & Chris Adams, and David Fooden, except as noted.
CONTINUUM™ is a trademark of Aetherco and Dreamcatcher Multimedia for their time travel game. All rights reserved.
NARCISSIST™ is a trademark of Aetherco and Dreamcatcher Multimedia for their alternating history game. All rights reserved.
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Updated 2012.06.16