Beyond the Black
The Long Array
Jointly operated by the argonauts and Titanians, the Long Array is designed to send and receive everything from long-wave radio to t-rays. Radio astronomers and SETI researchers seeking sapient life love this bad boy, and it has enough spare capacity to keep most of these scientists very busy. So far, there have been no conﬁrmed SETI radio sources, but I don’t pretend to understand much about cutting-edge radio astronomy; I’ll leave that to my fellow argonauts who are more versed in those areas. However, the Long Array also has some far more immediate uses. First, it can broadcast signals that are easily received anywhere in the solar system. More importantly, it can receive radio signals from all across the solar system, including signals that are normally far too weak for anyone who’s further than a few thousand or so klicks away to receive.
There are two primary uses for this sort of reception: discovering emergency broadcasts and spying. The ﬁrst is a bigger deal than you’d imagine. I was surprised how often someone ends up on some asteroid, comet, or distant moon with a damaged ship and no one looking for them. If a particular portion of the sky is largely clear of radio trafﬁc, the Long Array can pick up a radio booster at ﬁve billion klicks. There’s money to be made in rescue and salvage. Even if no one is close enough to get there before someone’s biomorph croaks from lack of air, everyone appreciates having their stack retrieved. That appreciation can equal some signiﬁcant rep. The crew that operates the Long Array send out bulletins whenever they hear a distress signal. Two outer-system transport microcorps, headquartered on the moon Helene, at Dione’s L4 point, are in the search-and-rescue business and contract with freelancers throughout the system to respond to these emergency signals.
Of course, the big news on Dione isn’t astronomy or distress signals, it’s spying. Most of what gets received here is never made public, but there are lots of rumors. Since most highly secure long-distance data either goes via QE comms or entangled farcasters, the Long Array usually intercepts trafﬁc that no one really cares about. Sometimes the collected information is interesting, but just having access to the signals isn’t enough, since they’re usually encrypted, and to get at the good stuff you need to break that encryption. Other intercepts are fragmentary, with only parts of the conversation or data burst received.
The partnership that runs the array makes all of the collected data publicly available to anyone on Dione that’s interested in it. They are sometimes accused of hiding data on behalf of allies or of being inﬁltrated by one of many intelligence services.