"We follow the scientists around and look over their shoulders. They're watching their feet: provable mistakes are bad for them. We're looking as far ahead as we can, and we don't get penalized for mistakes."
The fatline is an artifact served up to humanity by The Core, a group of artificial intelligences that have effectively divorced themselves from human control. The term derives from the common acronym for faster-than-light, FTL.
I've included the reference here because I like the word and it's derivation; other earlier examples of faster-than-light communication include the ansible from Rocannon's World by Ursula LeGuin, ultrawave relay from the Foundation stories by Isaac Asimov and taprisiots from Whipping Star by Frank Herbert.
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