ENTRY 014: The Far Voyager Network
Transhumanity has been sending probes into the Big Black since long before the Fall—and they are still out there, still sending back data at the speed of light. While we may have found ways to sidestep the laws of physics with quantum communication and gates, the trailing edge of transhumanity into the galaxy will always be those distant probes, spread out like a chain of broken lights in the darkness between the stars.
Some transhumans continue to push the envelope, to go voyage beyond the rim in sturdy, ego locked in self-sufficient morphs aimed at far stars that will take centuries or millennia to reach, sending back pictures and data. They are the members of the Far Voyager Network, contemporary adventurers inspired by the strange old signals coming from old Earth probes, scouting the darkness for transhumanity.
Of course, the modern Far Voyager morph is not a one-way trip. While varying widely in design, each contains multiple redundant back ups of the transhuman’s ego tied to a one-shot farcaster powered by a uranium isotope battery. While designed primarily to allow an ego to resleeve back in their home system (the signal is captured and boosted by a series of relayes), or permit another ego to resleeve into a vacant Far Voyager, these emergency systems will also hopefully transmit the Far Voyager’s fork back to their home system even in the event of catastrophic equipment failure in the rest of the morph. Given the distances Far Voyagers are from the solar system, this egocasting can take months from start to finish.
Because of the power constraints, quantum farcasters in the Far Voyager Network are reserved almost exclusively for resleeving attempts. For regular communication between Network members, Far Voyagers rely on far slower lightspeed protocols. Given that each member may be light minutes away from any other, this is a very slow method of communication; a single message broadcast from Neptune can take over a month to disseminate to the fringes of the Far Voyager Network, and even longer for those distant morphs to respond as they continue to speed away from their home star.
- Far Voyager 1 is the most distant of the Far Voyagers, about 0.33 light years on the way to Alpha Centauri. It has relayed a message from an even older, more distant probe of transhuman manufacture—an ancient binary string. Now parties around the solar system are clamoring to decipher what this means. Firewall is concerned it may be an automated command that will activate something better left undisturbed, a forgotten fragment of tech from before the Fall…
- A criminal fleeing Extropia has resleeved into Far Voyager 13—hoping to escape the reach of the people they ripped off. Unfortunately for Far Voyager 13, it was locked into a parallel course with Far Voyager 12. Now a bounty-hunter has resleeved into 12 and is coming in for the kill—a process that will take weeks, but will cripple both morphs. The Far Voyager Network’s Sol representative asks for help in resolving the situation.
- A digital virus has begun decimating the Far Voyage Network—and none of the Far Voyagers know it, because the virus is transmitted on light-speed protocols, and by the time they would receive the warning they are already infected. FVN support staff in the Solar system can broadcast an antivirus program that will protect the remaining Far Voyagers using the Quantum farcast equipment, but first they need the antivirus software. Can the player characters get it in time?