Sunday, October 10, 2010

Some Sci-Fi Help

I need some ideas, so I thought I'd ask everyone for some help. What I'm looking for is a term (or terms) for a psi-powered special operative/soldier, like the Lensmen. I'd prefer if the term were "generic," which is to say, isn't some weird made-up word (like "Jedi"), but I'm open to that possibility if the word is sufficiently evocative. Bonus points to anyone who comes up with a term that works in or riffs off the classic SF term "esper."

If someone comes up with a term I like, I'll give them credit and some other goodies to show my appreciation.

Thanks in advance.

108 comments:

  1. One I like to use.. not sure if I heard it somewhere:
    Psyker

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  2. I sat here in thought for a few minutes and the best I could come up with is Mind-Walker.

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  3. Psipol (sigh-pole). Combines the Greek words for mind (psyche) and warrior (polemistis). Has the added benefit of sounding like "disciple" if you wanted to make them a quasi-religious order

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  4. - Jannissary
    - Psychonaut
    - Psychologist (stolen from Christopher Moeller's comic, Iron Empires)
    - Espertan, 'Spertan (esper-Spartan)

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  5. paras (paracorps?), geists, synners, axons, exos, neuros, tespers, teeks and peeks

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  6. Here's a list, some are stolen from other games and novels, but I think that they are evocative.

    Psi-ops
    Mind Benders
    Reality Deviants
    Big Brothers
    Third Eye
    Special Services
    The Lobotomies
    Sixth Estate
    Enhanced Agents
    Brain Weasels
    Intelligentsia
    Cognitive Dissonance

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  7. I suppose if airborne troops attack from the sky then something like "psiborne" might fit.

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  8. "Esperian?" (And I do like "Psipol.")

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  9. Psentries
    Psycheteers
    Cogknights
    Psi-corpsmen
    Cerebronauts
    When I brainstorm, it's always cloudy with a 90% chance of silly.

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  10. Well after some thought & a perusal of the old thesaurus all I could come up with was a riff on adversary: Esperary

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  11. I like Cerebronauts, as I've long been a fan of the -nauts suffix (in fact, I had it as a suggestion, but in the time it took me to type it up and sign in, I saw Dr. Burton's post!). Alternatives:

    Espernauts
    Esperionauts
    Egonauts

    Or, with a very different feel:

    Homunculords

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  12. Is there a reason you don't just go with "esper"?

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  13. The best I'm coming up with is "Espari" (plays off Arabic/African "askari", local soldier for colonial power), or "Espnatz" (a bit like "spetsnaz", Russian special forces).

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  14. Psion maybe? It's the name of a computer company among other things but it's short and reasonably familiar. There's also ESPecial Forces but that doesn't roll of the tongue.

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  15. Hey James, since it's related to TS, I was finding a few inspiring things in the Esperanto dictionary: mensa (mental), menso (mind), cerbo (brain), psika (psychic), kognitiva... give it a try: http://www.dicts.info/dictionary.php?l1=english&l2=esperanto

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  16. Hmmm...

    Psi-ranger, psi-agent, psi-soldier, psi-specialist, collectively known as psi-forces.

    Mentalist, Dreamwarrior, Psi-knight (someone already said Mind Knight), Dream Thief, Mind-cracker.

    Good luck!

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  17. from an enemies perspective- "those bloody MindF**ers"

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  18. Space cop? Psi cop? Space Knight? Green Lantern?

    Isn't part of the flavor of a Lensman/Jedi/Green Lantern/Space Knights idea that what they are is at least partially defined by the order they belong to? They're not just generic operatives with psi-powers - they've been chosen by fate/destiny/genetics/psychological disorder/whatever to be members of an elite corps of galactic protectors. They're not just soldiers or guards or beat cops, they're knights or samurai or special forces elite soldiers.

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  19. I used the term "Jankers" for psi operatives in a Traveler campaign once.

    Jankers is a British military term for minor official trouble, and in my campaign people in the military with psi talents were considered trouble and shuffled around to be as far as possible from any political harm they could do to their superiors. They were forever "on jankers," so in time the name stuck. It made a great background for a team of travelers.

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  20. Espeteer

    ExtraSensory Perception Extra Technology
    Musketeer, Grenadier.

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  21. I was going to suggest "Esperdrille" as a reference to the American pilots in WWI, but then I realized it was a bit too close to a type of shoe...

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  22. The Omega Knights.


    Why should P have all the fun?

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  23. Adept
    Ascetic
    Espmando
    Esperative

    Ed Green

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  24. One could always go with Vespers...has the "Esper" element, also the Roman god of evening, the planet Venus, religious services references, a Bond girl and a cocktail...hard to go wrong there.

    Psykers is commonly used in Warhammer40k. Drawing on that, I think there are a lot of terms from that game that could fill the roll: Adepts, Inquisitors, Pariahs, Harlequins, Reapers, Assassins, Mandrakes, Seers...

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  25. Mind Dancers
    Thought Police
    Psynapse
    Psipol (someone else suggested this, but my take is Psi + Interpol)
    Psyberati

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  26. Gest-men
    Middle English root word for "ghost", "host", and "guest"

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  27. as well as "poltergheist", "zeitgeist" and "gestapo" (sorry for the double post!)

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  28. Thinkers
    Psi-Fighters
    Social Security
    Psychos
    Id-killers

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  29. If they are commando-types that rely on stealth and getting behind enemy lines then how about:
    Ghost
    Ghost-walker
    Psicommando
    Infiltraor
    Quiet Men
    Shadows

    If they are a main battle unit that uses psionics for coordination on the battlefield:
    Templar
    Bretheren
    Vanguard-soldier or just Vanguard


    If they are wizard types that use psionics to mass effect or for interrogation or otherwise avoid direct contact with the enemy:
    Psionic Adept/Psychic Adept
    Mind master
    Mentat
    Mentalist

    ("Ghost" and "Templar" should be credited to Cyber-Dave, creator of the Land Of Nod alternate setting for the Star Wars Saga Edition rules. Link: http://community.wizards.com/thelandofnod/wiki/The_Land_of_Nod_Campaign_Guide_(For_Star_Wars_Saga_Edition) )

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  30. Apologies to The Myth for using "Templar".

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  31. Asparagus
    Defenestration
    Diaphanous
    Fahrvergnügen
    Osmosis
    Subsistence

    What are we talking about? ;P

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  32. Noemancer (noh-eh-mancer)
    Noe/Noetic/Noema are all terms relating to thought, cognate with Nous or universal thought- mental processes seperate from sensation. Mancer derives from mantike or 'divination' and has been corrupted in popular usage to mean practicioner of an art. Technically, the suffix should be - ologist but mancer has a better ring to it. Of course, you could try it with some variations of nous: noueticologist, nousologist... but they seem to dry.

    Esper is good but - all apologies to haruhi - doesnt really work in this context. It's a little too general; it describes too wide a range of abilities.

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  33. Hhhhmmm... what about Psi-stalker? I don't think thats been thrown into the ring. If they use cybernetics you could call them psiborgs.

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  34. Thought of another. more generic term. The Elites, or perhaps the Psi-elites, the best of the best. Of course that doesn't really roll off the tongue.

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  35. The new XO, sir. He's... well, from Esper Ops.

    Don't tell me we got another one of those Goat Starers in this unit. You remember what happened when the last one cracked?

    Please, sir. Esper Ops. He'll know if we've called him anything else.

    Fine, "Esper Ops." Back when I joined the Corps every Marine was a rifleman. Now... no need for a rifle when you can stare your enemy to death, is there? It's not my father's Corps.

    No sir. He did rank Expert, sir.

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  36. If you can read Spanish, I recommend you "Mutantes en la Sombra", a RPG about mutants in a secret war agains soviet and american governments.

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  37. Knights Mentlar or Knights Esper

    Veterans of the Psychic Wars (well, that's the retirement organization)

    Psi Sentai (okay, that's the magical girls with mecha)

    Espergrunt

    Brainpounder

    Psi Squaddie

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  38. Psitizen soldier. :)

    Their retirement organization would be the Order of the Psincinnati. :)

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  39. Hesperus or Hesperides
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Hesperus

    Derived from the Greek word for "star", has "esper" embedded in it, used to refer to those who guard a treasure. Don't know how it fits your concept if they are all female though.

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  40. Brainstorming here:
    Espear (conflating esper and spear)
    Overseers
    Psiswords (off sellswords)
    Psiber Knights
    Psibernetics (maybe a tech rather than a group)
    and one malapropism: Esper de Corp...

    Without knowing the intended tone, it's hard to pick generic group names, but perhaps something that doesn't evoke psionics directly like:
    Sentinels
    Overwatch
    Praetorians

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  41. 1st choice: Psimurai! ;)
    and their stealthy assassins: Psinjas!

    Or, to break it down to its core

    The Idmats!
    ...as in Id & somatic...

    Ciao!
    GW

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  42. There are some good suggestions here, but from the original post it was mentioned that they are Special Operations soldiers with psychic powers, which implies a formal military group. Real life Special Operations groups (in the U.S. at least) have that term shortened to SpecOps. Thus, one train of logic suggests EsperOps (already mentioned), ESpecOps, and SperOps as they all have similarity to real life nomenclature. Alternatively, militaries love their acronyms, so an ESP Special Ops unit could be referred to as the ESO, which could be expanded to ESO Corps, or ESO Brigade, or something like that. Such soldiers might just be referred to as "Esos."

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  43. Gutalj-Nibunocats.

    Short for Guys-That-Are-Like-Jedi-Knights-But-Not-Called-That.

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  44. Their unit called be called something like Sixth Corps, as in 'sixth sense'.

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  45. Their nickname could be Goners, as in "I knew you were gonna say that." Or Noseys, or Toms as in peeping tom.

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  46. awkwardg said:
    > "Esperado'

    Dang, came to the comments to say that very thing.

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  47. Like the man sang:

    "Esperado . . . why don't you come to my senses . . ."

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  48. Hummm a bit late to the discussion.
    Psysper hasn't been mentionned.
    Psicop (Babylon 5 FTW!)

    But I really liked Inquisitor.
    Really like the sound of someone saying in a panicked voice "My god they called the Inquisition!"

    Ghost (Starcraft) and Shadows are also pretty good suggestions.

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  49. I like Vespers. Also Expers. Waymen. E-gents. EMPatrol. ESPatrol. 'Grammers. Jammers. Re-Agents.

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  50. Riffing on the RL military theme:

    Psi Operator, Psi Ops, etc.

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  51. We always called them Scanners, but that shows my age (graduated from HS in '84.)

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  52. Esper Secret Police

    Next Men (as in the next step in evolution)

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  53. Just round-up all the answers, and make a d00 table out of it. ;)

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  54. Espion (esper + spion, Dutch for spy)

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  55. Espernatic
    Esperantics
    Espiricals
    S-Men

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  56. Agents Esper (like Attorneys General) -- asps
    Psychistos/as
    E.S.Perceptors -- 'ceptors
    Esperceivers
    Parapsychotropers --pi-psi-taus
    Ears
    Invisible Ops
    Imaginary Ops
    Sci Psi Spies
    Telepathological Troopers
    Black Brains
    Memethieves
    Memory Men

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  57. Psiper

    When you have to eliminate a target through unconventional means you call in a Psiper Unit.

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  58. Ive used "Force Knight" more than once.

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  59. Beware the dreaded "Esperantos" half mind-soldier, half Vaquero, they ride their chrome, rocket-powered mounts through the universe, chasing down interplanetary outlaws, and keeping peace on the galactic borders.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef013485ac8c58970c-350wi

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  60. What do they do? I'd imagine that a military unit of people with ESP would do counter-intelligence and police work behind the lines, rather than being special forces.

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  61. ESPer Investigations - ESPIs
    ESPecial Teams - ESPecT


    I prefer the ESPer Ops mentioned before.

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  62. CorrESPondent

    DESPerado (ESPerado?)

    Espial (n. - The act of espying; notice; discovery. n. - One who espies; a spy; a scout.)

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  63. It might be confusing but I'd go with something simple and innocuous. For individuals with a psi predisposition and the ability to use it.

    Talents

    or

    The Willful

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  64. For a sci-fi golden age feel, I'd have to go with Psi-Corps for the army division, with the same name used for individuals (pronounced "sycore").

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  65. How about Psychonaut? It is taken from Peter Carrol and his writings on Chaos Magic.

    Alternately, why not Esperantists? You can play on the Esperantists by having them use Esperanto terms for rank and commands and such.

    All the best!

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  66. "Whesper Ops" - a variation of Whisper. You don't actually hear them, only a "whisper" in your mind that makes you think twice - or not at all....

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  67. Actually, I recant "Waymen" - I want to use it in a cowboy/ninja setting I'm working on. You can have the rest still, though. :)

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  68. Neuro
    Neurat
    Neuromite

    Oraclan (like oracle)
    Deltas (as in the brain wave during sleep cycles)
    Walkers (as in sleep walkers or astral plane walkers)

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  69. I do like "Esperian", but here is what I came up with:

    Sentinel
    The Esper Guard
    The Esper Watch
    Esper Force
    Esper Patrol
    ESPatrol
    ESPer Men
    The Aura Guard
    Talence - The Talent Lance
    The Sixth Guard - from the sixth sense
    Esperactives
    Aegence
    Esperaegis

    As an homage, you could call them Tellurians.

    There you go. That's what I've got.

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  70. Prefects
    Praetor
    Quaestors
    Arbitors
    Interrex
    Vigiles Cerebrum (or however the Latin goes)
    Astra-Sadhu
    Eremite
    Abhaya (as in Abhaya Mudra)
    Alasanda or Yonaka (as per: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharmaguptaka)
    Sri (as in the honorific)

    This might also help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_organisations_in_Wuxia_fiction

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  71. Synapse-Neuron Operatives, or Synneurs ("sinners") for short.

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  72. Also:

    Renunciate
    Ascendant
    Espix

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  73. Mentlars
    Navigators
    Neuromancers
    Neuroknights

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  74. I'm getting into the game late, but one thing I've noticed is that the U.S. Government likes to give innocuous and un-related names to "special" organizations.

    So, the super-secret psychic detachment could very well go by the "Government Services Organization" or "Operational Research Detachment."

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  75. The only term that pops into my head at the description of what you want is 'Professional'. It simultaneously is generic and sounds both competent and a little menacing ;)

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  76. What to call an Extra-Sensory Proficient Operative? Why not just the acronym of that? An ESPO. Or an Espo. Or an espo.

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  77. how about "Psipher". It sounds a bit like esper, but I like the "cypher" connotation of the mysterious and unknown.

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  78. PaladYn


    where the P or the Y actually should be a Psi.

    Are they supposed to be trustworthy, or enforcers of an evil empire?

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  79. I like something along the lines of

    Adept
    Talent
    Special Talent - isn't that what the psionic specialists were called in Starship Troopers?

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  80. Grasper(s), possibly with an appropriate noun (mind, star, sky) based on their activities. It resonates with "Esper" without copying it, and avoids much of the cliche surrounding other names while still being something actual people might call them.
    I also like the image it projects of a psychic cop seizing things with his mighty brains..

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  81. My 2 kopins:

    PsychOp (from Psychic Operative or Operator)

    TelEsperTekes (from Telepaths, ESPers and Telekinetics - the usual varieties of Psy-type manifestations).

    Let us know how you get on!

    Rogue_Lead

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  82. The brain O matic ninja thieves.
    The mind takers
    Mind Breakers
    The invincible
    Super Hypno Dudes
    The Mind Cult
    Visionaries
    Psykadelic Fighters (groovy and psychic)
    Intrusion
    The Mentat (from dune, sounds like someone with mental powers though)
    The Mental Menace

    I dont know If I'm good at this lol.

    If I listed one all ready mentioned sorry, I didnt read the whole post. Thanks!

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