“Phew! Thank goodness I caught up with you; I thought I’d missed the mail run.”
Akkermesh grinned with relief, as he skilfully flipped his letters into the snail box. Another gentrime, would have been too long to wait for the return trip.
“You are lucky slurped the snail, another three pecsureps and I would have been through the gap. Many Red orbits to wait for my return, had you not caught me in time.”
In ages past, on their once unpolluted crystal planet, Kryx, communications had advanced from wires to wireless over a few short gentrimes. Scientific advances soon allowed sub-atomic particle encoding quark transfer possible. Nothing faster, or more reliable than transfer at thought speed, they had surmised. It even made light, pedestrian by comparison. They were correct regarding the speed, but quite wrong re the reliability.
The Kryxian miners had reached thought speed, with information transfer, which it turned out, surpassed even that of light. Thought transfer had one major flaw though, it could be intercepted by highly trained individuals using intuitive telepathic look and lock techniques. The invisible “ether” of space, the so called empty or dark zones between solid objects was not, it turned out, empty at all. It was, the scientists had discovered, like an invisible elastic blanket, to which all things were connected and from which all things had sprung. This meant that highly trained individuals could, “surf the blanket” with the right clues and be led, also at thought speed, to the information they sought. The focus of energy required to concentrate and transmit the packets of data, created a “heat” signature in the mental ethers which gave them away and allowed interception and decoding. After a few major breaches of their defences and the lucky discovery of an enemy agent at work, the Kryxians searched for a more reliable method of information transfer.
Then, quite by accident, they stumbled upon snail mail. Evolving naturally in the dank, dark, slimy caverns beneath Kryx, the snails had developed an ability to communicate between themselves, using biological wave sensors on their “feet”. Over time they had roamed towards the surface in search of food, and that’s where they found the miners.
As a young free thinking miner hybrid, Akkermesh was first to recognise the special transport abilities of the amazing snails. In collaboration with the gastropods and the top scientific minds on Kryx, they had formulated a process using holographic multiplication, to create gigantic thought bubble transfer domes, which could double as protective bubble shields around their cities. The Kryxians used a recently developed write and memory wipe technique so that traces would not appear in the ethers. Once sealed, the writing was chemically encoded with the paper and vibrationally tuned to the recipient. Should anyone other than the intended receiver, open the letter, the paper would instantly dissolve. Thus the era of “Snailmail” was born on Kryx.