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Long-range Communication Beacons

[What are they:]
Long-range communication beacons, not to be confused with faster-than-light (FTL) beacons, are the beacons spread throughout uncharted space that relay communications from point to point. They ensure that both communicators as well as many other technologies continue to speak to one another while not necessarily close by to a numbered sector. Here on in this help file they will be referred to as beacons. You can think of these beacons as cellular towers, in that they are placed every so often to ensure a gridwork of coverage throughout human space and beyond.

[How far do they reach?]
The upper limit of the current communications network is around 8,000 lightyears. It stretches outward from all numbered sectors in any direction; thus, it's coverage is, in reality, much higher when the radius of the beacons is taken into consideration. For our purposes, however, you will lose access to the communications network at a certain point.

Periodically, beacons will be destroyed and repaired. Thus, rarely if ever is the coverage precisely 8,000 lightyears. You will find that the range of the beacons can change somewhat frequently in response to these events. In addition to events triggered by players moving through uncharted space, the range is automatically adjusted to simulate the numerous other starships moving through uncharted sectors as well. To see the last-known range, use the BEACONS MEASURE command from your starship's control room.

[Beacon Defense]
Occasionally, while traveling through uncharted space, you may encounter a beacon under attack by hostile forces. These are commonly smaller beacons that have little-to-no offensive power and, while defense may be on the way, you can choose to help defend the beacon yourself. To be notified of the presence of a beacon, enable notifications for them via the NOTIFICATIONS command. A Galactic Mapping Unit (GMU) is required.

Moving on from the beacon without defending it may result in destruction of that beacon, which will reduce the existing range available to the communications network. Not defending a beacon will not be held against you when applying for advanced starships such as the battlecruiser. Defending the beacon, however, will, if you irradicate all hostile ships in the sector, distribute a reward from High Guard command for your efforts. To receive a reward, you must be present and active.

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