Making a Phone Call in the 26th Century

in Society

hcom

Introduction

Telephone, faxing, cell phones (mobiles, GSM, depending on where you're from!) are all a central part of communicating in the early 21st century. These are the means by which we keep in touch with individuals who are not next door.

In the 26th Century, these needs have not changed and in anything they have become more complicated. Distances have become much larger between individuals. Whereas, in the early 21st century, the furthest an individual could be was on the other side of the planet, in the 26th century the first an individual could be is on the other side of the galaxy!

Interstellar Communications and the role of the OIP

Communication between different alien species has also grown exponentially, communication between, for example, the Terran Democratic Republic and the Rosebourg Monarchy has been estimated to be well over 900 nonillion exchanges per annum. This has given rise to a growing demand during the 23rd century for standardised means of communication between the major powers.

The Organisation for Interstellar Peace was instrumental in revolutionising our means of communications. The creation of ICOM (Internal Communication), LCOM (Local Communication), and HCOM (Hyper Communication) standards allowed a century ago the ability for alien species to converge their telecommunications network thus allowing reliable and comprehensive communication throughout the known galaxy.

The rise of the Personal Communicator Device (PCD)

So-called land-phone lines and cell phones continually evolved to be smaller and smaller until an inventor created the "Personal Communicator Device" the PCD is a small device that can be placed on one's palm of the hand, or in one's ear or in other inconspicuous places.

Depending on the PCD, some are equipped with only audio facilities, whilst others combine audio and visual facilities, and yet others combine audio, visual, and holographic facilities. All are high performance, high-tech devices.

Whereas cell phones were often faulted by the ability of third-parties to over-hear others' communications, incoming PCD communication can only be heard by the person using the PCD. PCD's however, can only accept and make ICOM and LCOM communications. 

Personal Access Networks

PCD's are complemented by Personal Access Networks. Personal access networks are almost exclusively the only service able to accept HCOM communications (due to the facilities required to accept such a communication).

Personal access networks can be accessed through any number of interface panels (both hard-point and holographic) - most private homes have at least one such interface panel, and quite often these are also found easily in most public places.

Depending on the specialisation of the panel, they can relay communications either through text-only mode, audio-only mode, audio and 2-D visual mode, or audio and 3-D visual mode though the last two functions are usually only available on panels with the specific function of relaying communications. 

ICOM, LCOM, and HCOM

In the early 21st century, making a phone call meant usually dialling a pre-defined number. ICOM is in essence destined to users within a company, or a military unit and is rarely complicated. LCOM is used on planets, whereas HCOM is used for interplanetary, intersystem, communications.

HCOM is the most complex form of communications, it is also the fastest. In the 25th century, each star system has a star-system number code decreed by the Interstellar Communications Agency (an agency created by OIP mandate). This star-system number code is then complemented with additional information about the type of communication it is, and the available modes of communication that come with it.

How do 26th Century people make a call?

Depending on the type of communication that is being made (e.g. ICOM, LCOM, or HCOM) the complexity of a dialling number will change. Depending on this code the number can be as short as 3 to 6 numbers (e.g. a starship's ICOM), or can be as long as 25 numbers (the longest HCOM number there is).

Generally, the rule for making a call is:

"Type of Communication" - "Mode of Communication" - "Number Addressed"
Below are examples of numbers which match the standards set by the Interstellar Communications Agency.

ICOM 2354
ICOM communication destined to ICOM user with the number 2354.
This is in fact a dying method of ICOM'ing, now, most ICOM PCD's simply recognise the name of the individual being addressed and can make a connection with that PCD without a number having to be dialled.


LCOM TEXT 33 22 13 31
Local communication destined to LCOM user with that number, message is available only in text-mode.


232 HCOM AU/3DVIS 33 22 13 31
Hyper communication destined to HCOM user in star system 232, with number 33 22 13 31, message is available in Audio & 3D visual.