Iterative Science Fiction

Second Speak

Posted in Info, Uncategorized by Mark on May 12, 2011

I should tell you about Second Speak. It’s easier to hear from another human, rather than Kurt. If Kurt could go more glassy eyed and smile while he drones on, he would when he jabbers on about Second Speak.

Basically, it’s just clicking. Super fast clicking, as in 1000’s of clicks per second. But just clicking. It’s similar to morse code, like you see in ancient war films, but based on those old dial up modems in the pre-space-exploratory era. If you actually ever hear it, it sounds like whirring static. But machines translate it like a modem would and can tell the difference between that 2872 clicks and the other 3274 clicks.

And I didn’t get the reason they use it either when Kurt explained it to me. Data travels so fast nowadays, so resorting to audible sound seemed dumb, really. Why not just wirelessly send stuff to each other, or people’s implants? Apparently Second Men don’t want you to figure out what they’re talking about.

See, brain cycles that could be spent encrypting and decrypting wireless signals could just be used for simple binary translation (since that’s how info is passed inside raw circuits anyways) and sent where you can actually hear it.  Outside the room, it’s almost impossible to hear the static noise, but wireless signals would be broadcast farther and could be intercepted. It’s the difference between you and I using inside voices and screaming at other people standing in front of us with megaphones all the time.

Could I have some kind of transcoder figure it out for me and spit the information in some kind of form I could use? Sure. But Second Men are like servants 500 years ago. Everyone who has one doesn’t care what their helpers think, so no one besides technicians and fake-psychiatrists — I mean, Second Psychiatrists — ever use one.

So most Second Men turn their wireless off and only enable it for a very limited time when they are retrieving specific data off the local ‘Net or if they have to relay complex holo-pics. Saves juice, and people don’t pick up on their conversations 100 feet away. Like background noise: I might not understand all 50 couples in a restaurant, but I have to talk louder to talk to my date.

Out here on the Ship, Kurt keeps his wireless on for convenience most of the time. In Mars orbit, he’d turn it off due to all the scatter traffic drifting out from the planet, but here in Deep space, outside the asteroid belt and between Saturn and Jupiter’s opposing positions, even the SolarNet stuff is diffused enough to get filtered out.

When we first started traveling together, I’d go days without seeing him, but hear him constantly. Then I eventually told him to knock it off, because I didn’t want to talk to Oz or some God-like voice coming out of the air. Then I had to explain why I wouldn’t want to talk to Oz or God.

Second Men, they just don’t know any manners.

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