In a world where communications must be extended beyond the reach of Earth, and out into the stars, numerical phone numbers can get to be quite extensive. In the case of the Union of the Terran Colonies, phone numbers can end up in excess of eighteen digits, up to a maximum of twenty-two, if an extension number is added. An example, which here would be the phone number for the New Washington branch of the Office of Defense Intelligence, is as follows:
This may look daunting, but when broken down to it's components, it can be much easier to translate.
02 | This is the colony number. Here, it shows that the directed colony is New Washington
0656 | This number set is the coding that directs the call to a specific city or area. This code is for the Greater Harrington County
7374 | This set is the number of the service carrier. Colonial Telecommunications is the primary carrier for the Terran Government.
8739 | This set is the main phone number, first block
5877 | This set is the main phone number, second block
Major service companies in the colonies include:
CT&W (Colonial Talk & Wireless)
Enfield Wireless (Owned under Enfield Computer Technologies)
Aboard Federal Ministry of Defense ships, such as carriers, scouts, or warships, contact numbers are run a little differently.
The numerical format is different from the standard inter-colonial calling system. Utilizing the ship's ID code, and a location code that tells the system where to direct the call. Because ships have varying layouts internally, different locations can often have different location codes, depending on the class of ship. Ships of the same class typically have the same layouts, making direct calls easier, however common protocol dictates that ALL incoming communications be routed from the Communications Center in the given ship/station's Command/Situation Center. As a convenience, the CSC is always set as xxx-001. An example, when attempting to contact Battleship Ironclad (TBS-873), one would call in using the number 873-001, if attempting to contact the CSC of the Ironclad. The communications officer would then route the call to where it's needed, or, if needed, patch it to the PA system. When a call is placed internally, from one area of the ship to another, the same protocol is used, however, calls may be made directly. In this case, one may be in the captain's office, xxx-002 (Another permanent code), and picks up the phone to contact the FTL control center, which is set as xxx-034 in this instance, aboard an Athena class ship. Closely located/related departments will typically have similar numbers.
Additionally, internal communications among ships may be carried by typed message, through the ship's "Email" system, to put it in today's terms, where a specific address is required. Typically, the address consists of a user's name, and the suffix "FedMinDef" followed by @[Ship ID number]ShipNet
An example here would be:
Because this system is used typically for reports and private messages, it is allowed that crew and officers send these between ships. This system is used more for transmiting detailed reports that would be difficult to send by word of mouth, or to allow the users to read at their own time. A user of the system is able to log in from any terminal aboard ship, or from any authorized computer running the programming. Provided by the system when a user receives a message is also the sender's name, and other information, presented as such:
Commanding Officer, Battleship Reloran
Federal Ministry of Defense
This information provides the receiver with information that can be useful in knowing who sent it, and who they are. Because this system is restricted to Federal Ministry of Defense employees, there is little chance of a forged message, unless it comes from within the system, or, the rare chance that the 512 bit encryption systems are hacked into.
Civilians are able to use a similar system, albeit not as official.