The Variance - Express Communications Closets


Express Communications Closets are small rooms dedicated to short-range communications on the Variance space station. They are nicknamed closets due to their small, usually single-occupant size. The strange thing about these communication rooms is that they were not built by anyone currently living on the stations and no one knows who did.   Strangely, these communications closets, much like other rooms and sections of the Variance, will randomly and suddenly appear. The rooms will be fully operational, and will always be able to operate at full capacity and connect with any other Express Communications Closet on the Variance.  
Their discovery came in the early days after the Variance was founded when various explorers and settlers would wander the ever-expanding hallways looking for new areas to potentially settle or loot.   During this time, numerous rooms that would eventually become known as Express Communications closets would be discovered. However, at the time their function would be unknown.   The deciphering of their communications abilities wouldn't be discovered until well over a hundred years after their initial discovery. And by complete happenstance at that.
  Two explorers of the Variance were wandering through a newly apparated portion of the space station when they stumbled upon two closet-sized rooms. These two rooms were across the hall from each other and were within maybe ten feet. While the two were investigating one of these rooms they happened to press a button on the keyboard. And in response, the closet behind them blinked to life and made a small dinging sound.   Curious, the two went over to the other closet and realized it was a very similar design to the first. Pressing a similar button on a slightly different keyboard the screen blinked on and played a record message. The message was the pair talking and messing around in the first closet. They realized that the closets had communicated with each other and their excitement grew as they knew other similar closets had been found in the recent past.   
Scrambling they ran back to the area of the Variance in which they were settled and gathered a few cohorts, about a dozen in all.   Each wandered to the location of a known closet that had stayed in place over the years, instead of disappearing like other rooms on the Variance.   It took some time, and some messing around since each closet operates differently but soon they were able to not only send recorded messages, but live calls as well without fail to every single closet they were currently working within.
  Through arguably dubious reasoning, these dozen or so friends would take ownership of these closets, naming them the Express Communications Closets, and began to advertise their use to all of the residents of the Variance. Over time, they and others would find additional closets and a communications economy would develop on the Variance.   This original group is long gone but a diverse range of communications companies run these closets to this day, allowing for easy communications across the Variance space station. Nowadays these services come at a premium, due in part to "maintenance" costs and because each closet needs to be researched and deciphered since they all function differently.

What is the Variance?

The Variance is an enormous diamond-shaped space station that was discovered in the exact center of the Delta Space several thousand years ago. No one knows its origins, and to this day its mysteries have yet to be solved. The station itself welcomes any ship that approaches it, automatically opening a docking bay for the ship to land. The inside of the station has a full life support system and has areas that can support any sort of known life that has visited its halls.   The station is odd because its interior seems to be ever-expanding and shifting, with new rooms and hallways suddenly appearing at random times. You could be walking down a well-known corridor only to turn a corner and find a brand new door that leads to an unknown and potentially massive new space. And these spaces can vary drastically, from a ship hangar to a new Express Communications Closet, to a room fully designed to support a Gasloid without the need for their Life Sustainment Suits. Though these rooms and doors just as often disappear, which can pose a danger for anyone residing within them at the time.   Despite these dangerous oddities, the Variance is one of the most populated places in all of the Delta Space. The central docking bay and regions of the Variance have been the only stable areas of the station for hundreds of years now. And as such a massive multi-layered city has sprung forth with shops, houses, entertainment, and anything one could need.

Appearance and Operation

On average an Express Communications Closet is not much larger than a mid-sized room closet, being about six feet wide, eight feet tall, and two to three feet deep.  
Most of the closet's space is occupied by the various machinery that allows the closets to function. The significant difficulty with these communications rooms is that each one operates differently than its sibling closets.   Usually, they are slight differences, a pulling of a lever instead of a turning of a dial, or a vertical keyboard instead of a horizontal one.   But other times the differences are so significant that archaeologists specializing in ancient communications and technology have to be hired in order to decipher how to operate that particular communications closet.
  One closet may be filled with various tubes and wires all hanging from the ceiling, bunched up together in tangles, with a small seat and a computer terminal at its center. The operation of that particular closet being completed by plugging and unplugging various wires into various inputs.   While another closet may be filled with eight feet tall computer servers that take up the majority of the room. This room may function simply by speaking into a microphone using specific keywords and commands. Or, the room could be bare with long plastic-looking pipes and a terminal with various levers and knobs that have to be pulled and spun in a certain pattern to send the correct messages to the correct destinations.    All of this makes for a very confusing and long period between the discovery of a new closet and it becoming fully operational. As the people who discover them must decipher how they function, and how to properly connect with the other already operating closets.   
Most people who work in the field of archaeology or the study of historical artifacts have to decipher languages written on stone walls or crumbling pieces of paper. I have to decipher what these funky-looking levers and dials do when you fiddle with them.
— An archaeologist hired to decipher the inner workings of a newly found Express Communications Closet
The Express Communications Closets are small, usually single-occupant, sized rooms found solely on the Variance space station. These communications rooms are not built, but discovered, and much like other areas on the Variance seem to appear out of thin air at random.   These rooms all allow for the sending and receiving of short-range pre-recorded and live communications with one another. Though how they operate varies from room to room.   These rooms are hunted for by various communications companies who wish to operate them for profit. This has caused a communications war on the Variance for control of the closets. Many civilians believe that the closets should be a free service since the Variance seems to create them for public use.

Over the years the people that have discovered these Express Communications Closets have not only learned how to use them but have successfully turned them into a huge money-making business. Charging people to use its services for live and quick communication across the station.   This has become a controversial practice amongst many customers, as the closets are merely found, not built by their operators. And ownership is often argued as a founders keepers style situation. So it is argued that the closets should be run as a free public service since the Variance is providing these rooms free of any sort of builder's cost.   Though those that operate the closets argue that they spent time and money learning the technology upon each discovery, and often assist in their and upkeep and maintenance and hence should be allowed to charge their fees.

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