Distress call

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A distress call is any signal that requests assistance. It is typically sent by an individual or group that encounters a problem they cannot handle on their own. The purpose of the signal is to summon those who can help.

A widely known distress signal is "SOS", which dates back to the early 20th century Earth, when broadcast signaling was still a new science. An international convention met to debate and select a "universal" distress call, and "SOS" was selected by most. It would not truly become universal until after the year 1912, when the RMS Titanic, an ancient Earth water-going vessel, sank after striking an iceberg. Her radio operators were forced to send several types of distress signal to ensure the meaning would not be lost.

In the 23rd and 24th centuries, starships, starbases, and colonies can emit distress signals which are carried in space or through subspace to anything which can receive it. This can include other ships, bases, and colonies.