A scholar is an individual who is educated in one or more academic fields, generally focusing their efforts on one particular field of study. Their research is committed towards authenticity, reasonable deduction and formulating a practice or series of guidelines aimed at validating the scope and reliability of their work. Scholarly pursuits apply to various different sub-groups including philosophy, art, religion, history and the sciences. Educators of different scholarly concerns hold distinct titles, each one germain to his or her chosen profession. These titles include Doctors, Professors and Librarians. Religious scholars may hold the title of Father, Sister, Mother Superior, Reverend, Rev or Rabbi. One scholar of note was Jedi Master Jocasta Nu from the Star Wars film franchise. She was seen in the 2002 film Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
(See Also: Known scholars)
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A secretary is an individual who provides organizational support to a manager, director, corporate officer or business owner. The term is considered old form by today's standards, and those who serve in this capacity are now commonly referred to as administrative assistants or personal assistants. The functions of a secretary include basic office organization, such as arranging her manager's business schedule, travel arrangements, booking meetings, taking telephone calls, etc.
One example of a secretary is the character of Pepper Potts, who is the secretary to Tony Stark in the Iron Man comics published by Marvel Comics. The character has also been adapted in the Marvel Movies Universe, where she is played by actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
(See Also: Secretary)
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A security guard is usually a privately and formally employed person who is paid to protect property, assets, or people. Often, security officers are uniformed and act to protect property by maintaining a high visibility presence to deter illegal and inappropriate actions, observing (either directly, through patrols, or by watching alarm systems or video cameras) for signs of crime, fire or disorder; then taking action and reporting any incidents to their client and emergency services as appropriate.
Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organizations around the world and on other planets. In most armies, the rank of sergeant corresponds to command of a squad. In Commonwealth armies it is a more senior rank, corresponding roughly to a platoon second-in-command. In the United States Army, sergeant is a more junior rank, corresponding to a five-man fireteam leader.
(See Also: Sergeant)
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Serpentine describes any organism or item that possesses characteristics similar to that of a snake or serpent. In science fiction, there are literally hundreds of alien life forms, alien species and exotic animals that possess serpentine features. Life forms that possess tentacles of any kind could also be said to have serpentine qualities.
(See Also: Serpentine)
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A Shaman is someone who practices Shamanism. These are beings who are mystically attuned to the spirit world and can commune with and channel spiritual energy, often times interpreting the thoughts and desires of beings from other dimensions. Depending upon an individual's power level, a Shaman may even transcend the limitations of his own corporeal form and travel into the spirit world itself. There are many Asian and Native American cultures that employ the use of Shamans to see to their spiritual needs.
(See Also: Shaman)
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Shiny is a term used in the Firefly mythos. It is an adjective used to describe something with positive values. If someone thinks a person is likeable, they would be described as Shiny. It can also be used to describe the ease with which certain tasks are accomplished.
(See Also: Firefly/Glossary)
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The Shōwa period (昭和時代), or Shōwa era, is the period of Japanese history corresponding to the reign of the Shōwa Emperor, Hirohito, from December 25th, 1926, through January 7th, 1989. For purposes of this database, it refers to the Showa series of daikaiju (giant monster) that became popular in Japan since the release of Gojira in 1954. The final Godzilla film in the Shōwa series Terror of MechaGodzilla in 1975.
(See Also: Heisei period)
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A slave is an individual who is considered the legal property of another person. In the United States, slavery was a common practice, particularly amongst Southern land owners up until the mid 19th century. Slave owners made slaves work on plantations, usually under harsh and violent conditions. All of the slaves in the United States at this time were of African descent, though most of them were actually born in the country. Slavery was abolished following the American Civil War. In sci-fi, slavery is a common practice among many alien cultures. In the Star Wars franchise, young Anakin Skywalker was a child slave before earning his freedom at the Boonta Eve Podrace in 32 BBY. In a later film, Princess Leia was briefly a slave for alien gangster Jabba the Hutt. She was freed when she used her slave chain to strangle him to death. In the Star Trek mythos, courtesans known as the Orion slave girls are auctioned off by members of the Orion Syndicate.
A slipstream is a region behind a moving object in which a wake of fluid (typically air or water) is moving at velocities comparable to the moving object (in comparison to the ambient fluid through which the object is moving). The term slipstream also applies to a form of FTL travel featured in the sci-fi television series Andromeda. Many of the starships featured in the series are equipped with Slipstream drives, which allows them to travel at subluminal velocity. A Gravity Field Generator drastically reduces the mass of the ship and then a slipstream drive opens a slippoint which the ship enters. The pilot then navigates the series of slipstream "strings" until they reach the desired slippoint where they exit the slipstream.
A smuggler is one who engages in the illegal transportation of goods, usually contraband to different ports of call. Smugglers are generally hired by underworld figures such as crime bosses and is considered to be an extremely dangerous profession.
(See Also: Smugglers)
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A socialite is someone who participates in social activities and spends a significant amount of time entertaining and being entertained at fashionable events attended by others of similar standing. Socialites date to the 18th and 19th century. Most of the earliest socialites were wives or mistresses of royalty or nobility, but being a socialite was more a duty and a means of survival than a form of pleasure. Bashful queens were often forced to play gracious and wealthy hostess to people who despised them. Mistresses had to pay for their social reputation and had to use their social skills to obtain favor in the court and retain the interest of their lovers.
(See Also: Socialite)
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A soldier is a member of the land component of national armed forces; whereas a soldier hired for service in a foreign army would be termed a mercenary. In most languages, "soldier" includes commissioned and non-commissioned officers in national land forces.
(See Also: Soldier (1998))
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A space agency is a national or global organization responsible for the development of travel and exploration in outer space. Space agencies may either be privately funded or supplemented by funds from government grants, corporate sponsors or military organizations. Space agencies govern the operation of , manned space flights, lunar exploration, astro-navigation, extraterrestrial probes, and the construction and maintenance of shuttlecraft, satellites and space stations. Two examples of fictional space agencies found in popular culture are Starfleet from the Star Trek mythos and to a lesser extent Stargate Command from the Stargate franchise. The most famous "real-world" space agency is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, more commonly known as NASA.
A space portal is an aperture in the spacetime continuum that enables immediate point-to-point transportation without having to traverse the entire route of a path. Wormholes can often be stabilized and used as a type of natural space portal. Artificial constructs may be developed, which can also serve a similar function.
(See Also: Space portal)
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A space station is an artificial structure designed for humans to live and work in outer space for a period of time. A space station is distinguished from other manned spacecraft by its lack of major propulsion or landing facilities—instead, other vehicles are used as transport to and from the station. Space stations are used to study the effects of long-term space flight on the human body as well as to provide platforms for greater number and length of scientific studies than available on other space vehicles. Some stations also serve as space ports where manned vessels may dock, take-off, discharge and pick-up passengers or affect repairs. Advanced space stations are usually equipped with some form of artificial gravity, allowing visitors and workers the ability to move about freely without having to endure the rigors of a zero-g environment. Stations that are open to a variety of clientele, such as extraterrestrial life forms, will also maintain amenities and accommodations befitting their culture and/or physiological needs. One of the most famous space stations in science fiction history is the Death Star, a moon-sized spherical station from the Star Wars franchise that is one of the few stations capable of interplanetary travel. The original Death Star was first seen in the 1977 film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, but a second, more powerful Death Star was also featured in the final film in the franchise, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Another infamous space station is Deep Space Nine, an orbital space station that was once under the control of a conquering race known as the Cardassians, but had since been acquired by the United Federation of Planets to monitor the nearby Bajoran wormhole.
A spacecraft is any vehicle capable of traveling independantly through outer space. Spacecraft come in all shapes and sizes to suit a variety of needs including communications, planetary observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and space tourism. Some spacecraft may be small, single-person fighter craft or survey vehicles, while other may be capital ships in a space fleet. Many spacecraft serve a specific function such as scientific analysis. Some spacecraft may even be large enough to sustain an entire population of living beings. These types of vessels are generally referred to as generational ships.
Spacetime is a term used in relatavistic physics to describe the relationship between space and time and how they function within a single continuum. It is often referred to as the Space-Time continuum. Spacetime is usually interpreted with space as a three-dimensional concept and time playing the role of a fourth dimension that is of a different sort from the spatial dimensions. Spacetimes are the arenas in which all physical events take place; an event being a point in spacetime specified by its time and place.
Spacetime compression refers to the compression of spacial distance in the spacetime continuum and its relationship to normal space. Spacetime compression can occur through natural phenomena, such as wormholes or may be achieved through technological processes, which replicate the properties of a wormhole. Spacetime compression enables travelers to journey to distant locations in a fraction of the time that it would take were they to attempt the feat using conventional means of travel. Spacetime compression is the key plot device behind the Stargate film and television franchise and has also been used extensively in the Star Wars mythos. In Star Wars, the compression of spacetime takes the form of an alternate state of existence known as Hyperspace, in which faster than light travel (FTL) is possible.
Spacer was a generic term which referred to an individual who spent the majority of their lives in outer space. In most cases, Spacers were pilots more at home in the vast sea of space than on any planet or space station. Spacers were not always known to form tight knit communities, but those that did often held their own strict code of honor and values. Though uncommon, some spacers did take to living on colonized worlds. The spacers known to reside on the planet Aduba-3 lived by a very stringent code of ethics and were known to harbor a strong resentment for droids and cyborgs. Shortly after the Battle of Yavin, a group of Spacers attempted to prevent a Verpine priest from burying a deceased cyborg on Spacers' Hill. Han Solo and his friend Chewbacca tried to help the priest and entered into a firefight with the locals, killing several spacers in the process.
(See Also: Star Wars, Volume 1 #7)
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Staff Sergeant is an E-6 rank in the U.S. Army, just above Sergeant and below Sergeant First Class, and is a non-commissioned officer. Staff Sergeants are generally placed in charge of squads, but can also act as platoon sergeants in the absence of a Sergeant First Class. It is is E-6 rank in the U.S. Marine Corps, just above Sergeant and below Gunnery Sergeant. A Marine staff sergeant is a staff non-commissioned officer rank. It is E-5 in the United States Air Force (U.S. Air Force). It ranks just above Senior Airman (SrA) and below Technical Sergeant (TSgt). It is the Air Force's first non-commissioned officer (NCO) rank, as well as the first Air Force rank to which promotion is attained on a competitive basis. Drill instructors in the United States Army generally hold the rank of Staff Sergeant.
A starship is a manned transport vessel capable of interstellar flight. The term has been used in many science fiction vehicles, but is most popularly attributed to the Star Trek mythos. Starships serve a variety of functions and may be deployed as military vessels, exploratory/research vessels or medical frigates. Some starships may even be sleeper ships or generational ships. Starships generally use propulsion systems that provide them with faster-than-light (FTL) capabilities, often times using warp technology to bridge vast distances in a relatively shortened period of time.
A stellar system or star system is a small number of stars which orbit each other, bound by gravitational attraction. A large number of stars bound by gravitation is generally called a star cluster or galaxy, although, broadly speaking, they are also star systems. Star system may also be used to refer to a system of a single star together with a planetary system of orbiting smaller bodies.
A student is any individual who receives instruction from a learned individual such as a scholar, a teacher, a mentor or an industry professional. In most speculative fiction, student is usually used in reference to elementary schools, high schools or colleges. A high school student is a male or female, usually between the ages of 14-17 who are required by law to attend a school within the zoning district in which they reside. High school generally represents a period of social and physical development in which students not only undergo the advanced stages of puberty, but also develop their core personalities, which will shape their futures. A college student is a male or female, usually between the ages of 17-21 who has enrolled at a college of university. Many students are encouraged to join either a fraternity if they are male, or a sorority if they are female. Outside of their studies, students are often known for partying, particularly during the Spring Break season.
(See Also: Student)
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Subcommander is a military rank most commonly used in the Star Trek mythos. It is used by certain alien organizations such as the Romulan Star Empire and their distant cousins, the Vulcan High Command. The Romulan rank of subcommander is fully equal to a Federation Starfleet captain. In joint operations with Earth Starfleet, a Vulcan subcommander has been treated as being a grade below a Starfleet captain and above a Starfleet commander. The rank was first identified in the season one episode of the original Star Trek series, "Balance of Terror". The rank was also used in the "Space Fall" episode of Blake's 7.
Subliminal stimuli is any sensory stimuli below an individual's absolute threshold for conscious perception. Visual stimuli may be quickly flashed before an individual may process them, or flashed and then masked, thereby interrupting the processing. One application of subliminal stimuli is brainwashing. Brainwashing is a process in which a group or individual "systematically uses unethically manipulative methods to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulator(s), often to the detriment of the person being manipulated". The term has been applied to any tactic, psychological or otherwise, which can be seen as subverting an individual's sense of control over their own thinking, behavior, emotions or decision making.
A supercomputer is a computer that is at the frontline of current processing capacity, particularly speed of calculation. Supercomputers are typically one-of-a-kind custom designs produced by "traditional" companies such as Cray, IBM and Hewlett-Packard. In some cases, supercomputers have been known to advance beyond their own programming, developing artificial intelligence. Such supercomputers, like Skynet, have been known to turn against humanity, sometimes even to the point of subjugation.
(See Also: Computer)
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A superhero is a character who is noted for feats of courage and nobility and who usually has a colorful name and costume which serve to conceal their true identity, and abilities beyond those of normal human beings. A female superhero is sometimes called a superheroine, although this term has fallen out of favor in the modern era.
The word superhero originated with Superman, who debuted in 1938, and the stories of superheroes - ranging from episodic adventures to decades-long sagas - have become an entire genre of fiction that has dominated American comic books and crossed over into several other media.
(See Also: Superhero; Supervillain)
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Suspended animation is the slowing of life processes by external means without termination. Breathing, heartbeat, and other involuntary functions may still occur, but they can only be detected by artificial means. Extreme cold can be used to precipitate the slowing of an individual's functions; use of this process has led to the developing science of cryonics. Cryonics is another method of life preservation but it cryopreserves organisms using liquid nitrogen that will preserve the organism until reanimation.