Author: David K Scholes

“It’s the third time this week I’ve tried to put through holographic calls via the real-time galactic link,” Mary sounded frustrated. “Nor have I done any better using instantaneous or delayed messages on the Universe Net. I can’t run a business this way!”

“What’s happening?” I asked.

“With the holographic calls I can’t get through to a physical being or an AI or even a limited intelligence, limited response AI. If I’m lucky I get a mindless pseudo-sympathetic automatic audio-only response which won’t let me leave a message. If not there’s either the most eerie silence or some very scary run-arounds.

“With the Universe Net,” Mary continued “I get the response that my message cannot be delivered within a meaningful time frame. Or I get a message undeliverable response. Or the e-mail gets re-routed to some exotic planet the other side of the Universe and if I get a reply it’s too weird to understand. Even with advanced Universe translation software”.

Have you considered the Universe Dark Net or even the Extra-Dimensional Dark Net?” I asked. “The criminal elements have a vested interest in keeping communications reliable.”

Mary looked at me with distaste. “I wouldn’t be caught dead using the Universe Dark Net, all those vile alien criminals nosing into my business and as for the Extra-dimensional Dark Net – who knows but I might unwittingly bring down an extra-dimensional alien invasion upon us.”

“If it’s important enough could you try teleporting to a world where galactic communications are more reliable?” I asked.
“Teleportation links are down for most places of worth,” responded Mary.

“A crude tele-shunt would be out of the question?” I enquired receiving no reply other than another look of distaste.

“I suppose you could actually go there – to some of your more important business locations using a transportation of last resort mechanism. If you can communicate from one of these locations then you won’t need to actually visit the rest of them.

“Dismissing any suggestion of the mystical approach I assume you are talking about virtual reality travel which is just that!” Mary was dismissive.

“A sufficiently advanced mind can re-program the travel machines so they can’t tell the difference between real and virtual locations,” I responded. “Also with the inbuilt fail-safe switch if you did “accidentally” go to the real rather than virtual destination you can always hit the switch and return to your real point of origin”.

“These are desperation measures not to be seriously considered!” Mary lectured me. “For mystics and thrill-seekers only and not the way to run off-system businesses. It’s getting so you can’t run a business off-system anymore,” she sighed.

I wondered if this increasing unreliability might spell the death knell for intergalactic commerce. It vastly increased the opportunities for fraud on a galactic level.

“You might have to consider more limited near-space investments in the future. Such as within Sol including the outer Sol stations. Where both the galactic link and physical transportation still seem reliable.” This was the only sound advice I could provide to Mary.

How strange I thought. Back in the day when communications and many forms of transportation here on Earth were unreliable. Telephone failures, mobile phone black spots and network failures, problems with access to the internet, early problems with holographic calls and local teleportation. Now in a world of near-perfect on Earth planetary communications and transportation it seems that all the problems have gone off-planet.

Perhaps, as we did on Earth, they will iron out these bugs.

It was a big perhaps.