Relay Wreck

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Doggerel that crossed my desk. The melody is as yet a mystery. - Morgan

I’ll tell you a tale of the bottomless black

Where the skyways are loaded with wreckage and flak

Where voyaging hosts

Of scholars and ghosts

Cause wary space-sailors to pivot and tack.

I’ll tell you a tale of a comm channel’s luck

For a scientist waving at some passing truck

But at the same time,

(Was it fate? Was it crime?)

Another star’s scholar was calling home stuck.

As it happened, both spacemen used Relay Hex-Two,

And the frequency hopping that served for each crew

Blew circuits galore,

(Next time use Hex-Four…)

And sent ships careening – well, what you can do?

From there it got worse. Navigation suggestions

Sent more and more scientists asking their questions.

A gravity field

To which lesser ships yield

Soon grew to expand to some big-ship ingestion.

Now some of these ships carried Infomorph crew,

As people who thrive with AI tend to do,

But then came a surge,

A Spontaneous Merge,

Linked databanks making a mind partly new.

The upshot, they tell me the analysts say,

Is junk you can see thirty parsecs away.

The Merged one remains,

A scavenger’s bane;

The relay still works with Hex-Four anyway.

Explorers from distant out-Nebula lands,

Take care when you’re studying Nebula bands.

For bandwidth is finite:

Divide up the pie right

Or face interference much worse than you planned.