You may run into unfamiliar terms in the story, and I do not want to derail or have the characters explain through dialogue, so I will provide explanations here.


The status of equal-hood in the Dominion.  “Respect is granted, Equality is earned,” is the motto of the Dominion.  Everyone is born with the right to life’s necessities; the state provides health care and supplies for the needy.  However, certain rights are reserved for the worthy.  The status of Aequalis must be earned through proving proficiency and value to society in a given field.  It can be done through academia, military service, trade skills, the arts, and many other ways.  

Aequalis confers the right to:  father or mother children, vote for Parliament, and own real estate property.

Incidentally, it has long been argued that achieving Aequalis is much more difficult for Primals due to prejudices in the system which place a preference on certain phenotypes as the ideal human.  Resistance movements and activists call this prejudice “phenoism”.



An individual whose phenotype expresses the desired human traits of the Dominion as it currently exists.  According to Optimist Theory, this is to eliminate racial disparity, long a source of conflict for humans.  An Optimal human has:

1. No discernible Old Earth Racial features
2. Brown or green eyes
3. Medium to dark brown or black hair
4. Medium tan to dusky tan skin
5. 5’10”-6’4″
6. Body mass appropriate to height.  (Un-remedied obesity results in permanent revocation of Aequalis.)



An individual whose phenotype expresses significant now recessive human traits (not 2020 recessives, we’re many generations in the future!), such as blue eyes, dark skin, or light hair.  Primality is therefore seen as an “older genetic model”.  Displaying traits of a certain “race” implies that the individual’s genes are not sufficiently homogenized to be a composite of all races.  It can manifest as a great many different phenotypes or combinations thereof.  Some people wish to see Primals excluded from Aequalis altogether.   Primals (Kiva) make up about 10% of the Dominion’s population, and are reducing every generation. Minor Primal traits such as blue eyes are not uncommon in otherwise-Optimals.

Sometimes called Sub-Ops, but that term is usually reserved for those in between Optimal and Primal.


Short for Shadow Sovereign.  The Shadow Sovereign is the Emperor, or Empress, or Thempress of the Dominion.  No one has seen Them in living memory, but Their word is absolute.



A rude term for Primals.  Used as an insult and epithet.

“Look at that fucking Throwback, people like that shouldn’t be allowed to eat in the same restaurants as the rest of us.  So unevolved they’re practically animals.”