Chronoscope: Not literally possible, but the combination of ubiquitous computer/sensor technology coupled with ridiculously huge amounts of computing power to assemble the evidence into a picture can do a damn good imitation of a past-viewing chronoscope. Doing the same thing with prognostication software is, alas, rather more limited, and becomes extremely unreliable more than a couple of seconds out.
(And with a powerful enough telescope, let’s not forget simply looking into/receiving signals from the past with the able assistance of light-lag.)
(Alternate words: Citadel and Computronium, both of which have been added to the later-consideration list.)
Clothes define the sophont, the sages say.
That the sages are indubitably correct on this point is, however, a distinct trial to those of us addressing a crisis, and so finding ourselves dashing aboard the high-delta shuttle to Ambria without luggage, on-board boutique, or time enough to consult a single epulary, locutor, or designer – and thus facing the inevitable meetings with only what I happens to have left on Ambria Highport in the course of meetings past.
Two hours, with light-lag, to pull this listing, and none of it seems suitable. Discard all of the swarmwear – it’s the windy season downside, and surprise nudity is unprofessional. Much as I’d love a cloak for that, none of these have useful amounts of delta-v, which means they’d be strangling me in microgravity.
I have my old uniform from the Flying Corps. That’s professional enough, but too “darken the sky with missiles to let us fight in the shade” for a project in trouble. Then there are all these evening gowns – not an option for a working visit, and three of them aren’t an option for public viewing – and then…
Three choices left. The eight-layer court robes, too formal for any circumstances likely to arise on that planet, and how did they even get there?; a double-breasted engineer’s work-jacket that is too clean to give me any credibility; and one, bless it, technical style business suit…
…in mourning-skies blue. Also a very bad choice for a troubled project, not to mention in general.
I could give up and go with a spraysuit, but without a lot of AR work, all that signifies is a dreadful hurry or lost luggage, neither conditions one wishes to reflect in front of the people who are counting on you to have it together.
It may be time to consider who there is on Ambria Highport that might care to be owed a favor.
The Alternet: Lots of them, if you will, independently invented on lots and lots of worlds. (The Empire’s version is the Dataweave, operating on IIP and mesh network principles.) And then there’s the extranet, which is the Internet-of-Internets that links all of these internets together, although in practice everyone refers to all the networks that aren’t their specific local one as “the extranet”.
It supports most of the same functionality and more (say, pervasive augmented reality, mindcasting, and exomemory transfer, to name three examples), although with certain limitations that the Internet generally doesn’t have to worry about, like light-lag [and the associated possibilities of fun with ansibles] and planetary alignments…