Communications Relay Station keep the galaxy in contact. Amongst some of the most common sights in the galaxy, communications relay stations handle HyperCOMM messages, sending them to the next relay station until they get to their destination.
The relay stations are like a large grid. If, for example, a civilian (since government channels are kept permanently open, see "Communications Relay (Military and Government)") on Beta Hydrae Prime sends a message to another civilian on Earth, then the communication is routed through the large network along the most expedient course to Earth. The message is broadcast along HyperCOMM to one station, which broadcasts it to the next, and so the chain continues.
The effect of this is that it can take up to one week for messages to cross from one side of a galactic power to the other.
In the event of the destruction of a communications relay, the HyperCOMM message is rerouted to another station, and the destroyed "link in the chain" is bypassed.
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