I.T. isn’t better in the future.


“Apparently, they use some kind of subspace.”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“Ugh. No. Wrong word. More like, spacetime is some . . . thing, kindof? Since it has all these associated properties. Think of it like a ribbon. The thing they use is sortof like the ‘hangers’ that the ribbon is hanging on. See?”

“Vaguely. What’s the effect, anyway?”

“The effect is they can project radio-band white noise, from any point, to any point, using a ‘sublight’ wave traveling about one light-year per second.”

“‘Point!’–Ha!–Try: ‘a planet!‘ . . . Why white noise, though?”

“Yeah. Apparently that’s about the only thing. Anything structured gets scrambled immediately. Not especially useful, although you could probably rig some kind of ansible.”

“Doesn’t that violate something?”

“Sortof, but nothing is going faster than light; it’s just there’s less distance it has to cover in ‘subspace’.”

“Regardless, this interstellar denial-of-service attack is pretty awful, I’ll say. Can’t we send some spaceship back the other way? Make them stop?”

“It’s hard because subspace is seething with activity. That’s what corrupts any heterodyned signal. However, we tried sending a one kilogram test mass through.”

“. . . and?”

“Sir, I know you have family in Pittsburgh . . .”

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