Authors: Vernor Vinge
Tags: #Fiction, #Science Fiction, #Hard Science Fiction
As received by:
Language path: Optima
From: Society for Rational Investigation
Key phrases: Help me!
Summary: Has there been a network partition, or what?
Threat of the Blight, Society for Rational Network Management, War Trackers Interest Group
Date: 0.412 Msec since loss of contacts
Text of message:
I have still not recovered contact with any network site known to be spinward of me. Apparently, I am right at the edge of a catastrophe.
If you receive this ping, please respond! Am I in danger?
For your information, I have no trouble reaching sites that are antispinward. I understand an effort is being made to hop messages the long way around the galaxy. At least that would give us an idea how big the loss is. Nothing has come back as yet -- not surprising, I guess, considering the great number of hops and the expense.
In the meantime, I am sending out pings such as this. I am expending enormous resources to do this, let me tell you -- but it is that important. I've beamed direct at all the hub sites that are in range to the spinward of me. No replies.
More ominous: I have tried to transmit "over the top", that is by using known sites in the Transcend that are above the catastrophe. Most such would not normally respond, Powers being what they are. But I received
replies. A silence like the Depths is there. It appears that a portion of the Transcend itself has been engulfed.
Again: If you receive this message, please respond!