MESSAGE BOX

                    Copyright  c  1991 by Gregory P. Lee


MAIN STATISTICS

  TL  Type                     Volume(L)  Weightt(Kg) Price(Cr)
O 11  Message Box Minor        .10        .10         1000
O 11  Message Box Major        .30        .75         3000
O 13  Message Box Minor        .10        .10         1500
O 13  Message Box Major        .30        .75         3500
O 15  Message Box Minor        .30        .75         3000
O 15  Message Box Major        .40        .80         3500


SECONDARY STATISTICS

  TL  Hours      Noise    Power Use Comments
O 11  360        None     .01 Kw    1 optical datadisk
O 11  360        None     .01 Kw    3 optical datadisks
O 13  360        None     .01 Kw    1 holocrystal
O 13  360        None     .01 Kw    3 holocrystals
O 15  360        None     .01 Kw    3 holocrystal
O 15  360        None     .01 Kw    5 holocrystals


USAGE RECORD

Each circle represents 1 hour of use:

O TL ____      OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
               OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
               OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
               OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
               OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
               OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
               OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
               OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO


TEXT

The Message Box is used to send  private messages over long  distances with
great security.   It is used by corporations,  military units, governments,
and other organizations needing to send private messages securely over long
distances.  It has an internal battery allowing 15 days (360 hours) of use;
the battery can be recharged from standard power sources.

Often little more than a computerized  dictaphone using  a  sealed internal
memory  source,  the Message Box  is a completely integrated  recording and
playback   system.  It can also be multiplexed to a computer to accept data
instead of/in addition to voice.   A small pack of incendiary explosives is
integrated into the device.

The security of the Message Box is provided  by a thumbprint/body-chemistry
analysis pad,  which is covered by a safety shield until someone decides to
play the message.   The  sender  of  the message encodes  the  box  for the
thumbprint  and  body  chemistry  of  a  known  recipient.   If  the  wrong
thumbprint  is   later  pressed  against  the  pad,  the  machine  will not
function.   If a second  unauthorized  attempt  is  made,  the  Message Box
explodes  (the  explosives  are  incendiary)  and  releases  caustic  acid,
destroying the holocrystal and causing 2 points of damage to anyone holding
the unit.

The security pad can be over-ridden by  an individual knowing  a programmed
safety code;  a second code is required to  actually play the  message.  If
more than four failed attempts  are made to punch in  a security  code, the
message box explodes, with the same results.

A security check is required at the beginning of  each  access session.  If
the user has a third special security over-ride code (programmed  in by the
sender  of  the box),  the  security  feature can be  over-ridden  to allow
general access of the box, shutting down the security systems.

A fourth code (again  programmed in by  the originator)  allows the message
box to be reprogrammed for a new use.

Occasionally (as with any high-tech equipment) the code system fails.  This
usually cvauses injury  to the unsuspecting.   In one case,  it resulted in
diplomatic difficulties; the sender of the box was accused of attempting to
murder its recipient.  A war was almost fought as a result.

Obvious uses for message boxes include:  sending messages  and instructions
to covert operatives; sending highly confidential commercial information to
trade  partners;   sending  highly  confidential  or  important  diplomatic
instructions;   sending  important  legal  documents/instructions  such  as
wills,  trusts, and title to property;  sending confidential reports (e.g.,
from Scouts who have  discovered an Ancient site)  and  sending secret love
letters  to  hide  an  affair.   Less  obvious  uses  include assassination
(although in such cases the box is usually  a decoy,  with almost no memory
and far more explosives packed inside).

Anyone on board a ship to a particular destination may be  asked to deliver
a  message box.   The fee for the  delivery varies,  and is negotiable; the
referee  should  set the  price  accordingly.   Normal  commercial traffic,
however,  is most often given  to the ship's captain to  be  carried in the
ship's safe (and thus becomes ship's revenue).


TASKS

To properly operate a Message Box:
Simple, Computer, Intelligence (Unskilled Okay)
Referee:   Failure to operate the box is  a safe  mishap--unless it happens
the second time as well.

To circumvent the security on a Message Box:
Formidable, Electronic, Intelligence, 1 hour (Fateful).
Referee:   This task requires  proper electronic tools and  facilities.  If
attempted under field conditions,  this task is Impossible.  On any mishap,
the security circuit triggers the incendiary  explosives.   A fumble always
triggers the explosion.

To repair a broken message box:
[Varies], Electronic, Computer or Education, [Varies].
Referee:  Difficulty depends on the damage level of the item.  The time for
shop repairs:
     Superficial:  2 min
     Minor:  8 min
     Major:  2 hours
     Destroyed:  4 hours
For field repair, apply the standard difficulty increases.

(c) Gregory Lee