Star Wars, Tales of the Ruby Queen
The Treel Network
The Treel Network is an automated signal and message relay system used by the Old Republic’s Intelligence Service which combines the idea of “dead letter drops” and blind message couriers.
About 80 BBY, a number of mass purchases of used astromech droids (mostly Industrial Automata’s very popular if now somewhat outdated R2 series) were arranged through secondary offices. Then in small batches the droids were mated to ion drive sleds which also carried enhanced powerplants and potent long and short range communication systems. The Droids themselves were also modified to store greater amounts of raw data in case an operative had to store a really big piece of intel. These pieces of combined technology were dubbed “nodes”. They were seeded all over the galaxy, many in key but out of the way locations. Some were simply deposited in deep space and told to do nothing but listen.
As could easily be imagined, the nodes did their jobs and then some. The sturdy and eager to please R2 units that formed the heart of the network labored diligently and without complaint to make sure that anywhere a contact or operative of R.I. went, they would never be truly alone. For some operatives, the Treel Network was the last thing they would ever interact with, and the R2 units, realizing this lovingly cared for the memories of those who might otherwise go un-remarked into posterity.
As of 15 BBY (the year that Tales of the Ruby Queen is set in), the Empire knows about the Treel Network, but they don’t know its name and more to the point they don’t know where all the nodes are. Not even the Director of Republic Intelligence (D.R.I.) knew exactly where every node was, and certainly none of her subordinates did. So, one by one, mostly by accident, the Empire has been locating and de-activating the nodes, but even after almost six years of trying they’ve still managed to disassemble only about ten percent of the Network…at the most.
In the meantime, certain other individuals have discovered these nodes, some with nefarious goals who see them as little more than salvage and others who would turn the resources of an Old Republic to assist in the hopeful creation of a new one…