Rapid communication ships which are designed to make optimum use of jump
technology in communicating information within the Imperium. Because the Imperium is
so large, ordinary communication must depend on ships travelling along established
trade routes, making Regina nearly 4 years out from the
The primary means of interstellar communication within the Imperium is the
express boat - a small, fast, information carrying ship. Outlying worlds
of the Imperium stand nearly four years from Capital,
and express boat links have been established to insure the rapid transmission
of messages (governmental, commercial, and private) with a maximum of efficiency.
The express boat (abbreviated xboat) system,
established originally in 624 and expanded to cover the entire Imperium by
718, cuts this communication time by nearly 75 percent. Selected locations
along major trade routes are established as sites for express stations, which
are orbital facilities which service and refuel the xboats on their communications
As an xboat arrives in a system, it beams its
recorded data to the express station, which then retransmits it to an xboat
standing by for a jump outsystem. Time
between jumps is almost always less than four hours and has been recorded
at under seven minutes, making the speed of communication nearly the speed
of jump (since xboats carry jump-4 drives, speeds near four parsecs per week).
In practice, this speed is somewhat reduced by the fact that trade
routes do not follow straight lines and that not all jumps are made at jump-4.
Nonetheless, the system achieves approximately jump-2.6 per week.