Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 16 16:25:27 PDT 2010

As I implied over in the thread for MY FATHER'S SON # 1, the addition
of Saxon Brenton's excellent bit of jargon, "black cape", to the
Eightfold Universe led me to write the following.

(JUNE 16, 2010)

The world we live in is full of jargon, classifications, cultural
touchstones, and verbal short-hand; it follows then that the presence
of such things in a fictional world lend that setting greater
verisimilitude.  This is doubly true if said jargon is deployed in a
realistic way-- that is, if a usage of the word isn't immediately
followed by a comma, a coordinating conjunction, and a definition (as
in, "I was at the supermarket and I saw a four-colour, or brightly-
clad heroic adventurer who may or many not have powers beyond that of
mortal man").

A good bit of jargon, to my mind, is either one that doesn't have to
be explained or that begs to be, a dichotomy which I'm sure will
require, well, an explanation.  A piece of jargon that doesn't need to
be explained is one that's readily apparent from either the word or
the usage; a piece that begs to be explained is one that creates some
sense of mystery, that makes you wonder what the characters are
talking about, that makes you anticipate the next episode or usage,
and that provides you with some satisfaction once you've come to
understand what it is.  (It's for that reason that this particular
version of this document won't be explaining, for example, exactly
what the AATS stands for in Dr. Fay's AATS group, though I think
there's enough context in issues eighteen and nineteen of JOLT CITY to
facilitate some guesses.)

And though I think the jargon that is explained in this document is
good jargon-- that is, that explanations aren't really necessary-- I
am, at heart, a geek, and geeks love to make lists and FAQs and
checklists and what-have-you.  And so, without any further ado, we
present this very brief (but surely soon-to-be-expanded) and
alphabetized guide to Eightfold jargon for readers and perspective
writers alike.


BLACK CAPE. Also, BLACK MASK. A super-villain or costumed criminal.  A
useful and evocative piece of jargon from Saxon Brenton.

DOC-CLASS. A being with super-powers that make them nearly as powerful
as Docrates, the so-called most powerful mammal in the universe.
Think Superman-tier and you won't go wrong; naturally, there aren't
very many beings with this designation.  This one was actually pretty
explicitly explained in JOLT CITY # 19, so I guess it kinda fails the
"comma, coordinating conjunction, definition" test.

FIRST-APP. A hero's (or villain's) debut in costume: their first
adventure, case, or battle.  Comes, naturally, from "First
Appearance", that seeming holy grail of the comic collector.

FOUR-COLOUR. Any costumed adventurer, with or without powers, whether
fighting for the side of justice or crime.  That said, when it's used
as a singular or plural noun, it's almost always in reference to a
hero; when it's employed as a mass noun, referring to the entire
culture, "world", or history of super-conflict, it encompasses both
sides of the law.  In reference to villains specifically, use black
cape.  The connotation of the word is brightly-coloured, day-time-y; a
costumed vigilante like the mask with no name is less likely to be
called a four-colour.

MASK STATEMENT. A statement made by any four-colour upon retirement,
in which they reveal (and shed) their secret identity.  This can take
the form of a simple declaration or a lengthy document.  It's very
unusual for a black cape to make a mask statement, because their
identities are often made public upon their capture/trial.  According
to the traditional, unwritten "code" of conduct observed by black
capes, once a hero has made a mask statement, he or she and his or her
family are off-limits for revenge plots and the like.  This is,
unfortunately, honoured as often in the breach as the observance.
Four-colours with secret identities cannot testify in court, and so
they will in very extreme and rare cases reveal their identities so
that they can help put a particularly nasty villain behind bars.

SOA CARD.  An identity card given to four-colours by representatives
of the local or sometimes state government, basically authorizing them
to do their thing.  Not in common use-- many four-colours do their
thing without any official permission and are tolerated by officials.
Extremely hard to forge, they could be used to differentiate between a
hero and an impostor, though it should be said that such
impersonations are extraordinarily rare: honourable black capes
wouldn't dream of it, and even the dishonourable ones are still very
unlikely to do so, whether it's because of all the work involved or
whether it's because they'd rather bask in the glory of defeating
their nemesis in their own costume.  In the year or so since this term
was introduced in JOLT CITY # 18, I've actually completely forgotten
what the acronym stands for, and am open to universe-specific
suggestions (i.e., let's stay away from the word "superhero" or a
convoluted/silly one).

UNION.  A costume, or "union suit", as in: "He doffed his civvies and
pulled on his union".


Anything missing?  Any questions? Reply below or send me an e-mail and
we'll try to fix it.

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