The HUB is an ethereal data storage center located deep within extra-dimensional space accessible only through the Sigil Train System. The HUB allows for both remote storage and access of data in many different formats. However, like everything in Sigil, accessing this data is subject to a retinue of seemingly complex rules.
Open Access Information
- Directions to major locations
- Rail information
- Public records
- Posted warnings/announcements
- Wanted postings/warrants/rewards
- Shopping districts/hours/wares
- Sage/Research Information
Not all of this information is necessarily available at every kiosk. For instance, information on shopping districts/hours/wares can primarily be found in the kiosks of the Great Bazarre while research information can be found in kiosks at the Hall of Information or other private libraries. Furthermore, some of these specialized services come with a cost charged directly to your "tax fund" via your magnetite railpass, which doubles for most residents as their personal identification.
Legal Access Information
Members of law enforcement agencies (such as the Harmonium and even the LIT) have additional data access known simply as "legal-access". This allows for access to an additional level of information, typically for the purposes of enforcing the law or solving crime. Some examples of "legal-access" information include:
- Rail routes of an individual
- Proximity of an individual through time to kiosks (kiosks log a record of everyone's railpass that comes within 50m of a kiosk). This is used to give approximate traveling routes by foot
- The specific kiosks and information accessed on those kiosks by an individual
- Sending Stone messages (both live and past) sent from a location or individual
- Any manner of private record
Not all of this information is necessarily available to every law enforcement agency all of the time. For instance, the LIT are limited to legal-access information that involves the Lawshredder murders only, while the Fated are limited to those records that involve tax cases (e.g. financial records, purchases, messages involving purchases, etc).
All information requests are made to the HUB in the form of simple queries. For instance, those with only "open-access" rights may query a kiosk in the Market Ward asking for directions to or hours of a particular shop. For a nominal fee, those directions may even be printed and distributed to the customer. All queries are phrased similar to those posed to a Mimir.
Many organizations with legal-access rights have dedicated kiosks for legal access queries. Those that do not, travel to the HUB central database location hidden deep within an otherwise unaccessible portion of UnderSigil. Regardless, most legal-access queries must first be approved by a judge, typically from either the Lady's Court or the Court of Law, depending on the case being investigated. The vast majority of these query requests are accepted ipso facto. Those that are rejected are typically done so as a result of gross violations of what is permitted within purview of that organization's charter. Furthermore, most organizations are limited to a specific number of legal-access queries per day. This number varies from organization to organization. The limit was presumably put in place to avoid any unforeseen overload on the HUB system.
Since they are based on similar technology, a HUB query is typically framed in the same manner as one questions a Mimir. For instance, an individual with open-access could approach a kiosk with their railpass and query it in the following manner:
- "What is the address of Parts and Pieces"
Of course this is one of the simplest forms of HUB queries, and they can become much more complex. However, there is a limit to what the system can return. Take for instance a legal-access query such as the following:
- "Print all Sending Stone messages with the word 'Lawshredder'"
Since there would potentially be hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of these messages over the years, this query would likely return no results. If the query were limited, however, to messages on a single day, within a week, or from a single person, this would be a much more manageable task for the HUB.
Particularly complex legal-access queries actually require the individual to travel to the central HUB database even in they have a dedicated kiosk. This is because complex queries require skilled HUB technicians to write queries in complex language that the HUB can understand. Therefore, it is the skill of the individual interacting with the HUB that often determines the success of the search. Those with a knowledge of the subject they are searching for (i.e. appropriate knowledge skill or gather info), those with the ability to assert themselves over the machine (i.e. intimidate), and those with the ability to filter massive amounts of information (i.e. search), typically interact well with the HUB. In general, however, it is said that those with an affinity for machines are not as overwhelmed (i.e. Artificers). A warning offered by those most experienced in the intricacies of the HUB is that those who are unprepared for its complexities often leave a data query feeling exhausted, drained, and even somewhat lost within themselves.
- Although not the primary party responsible for maintaining the complex technology of the HUB, their faction status has drastically increased their involvement in its upkeep.
- As the faction responsible for the dissemination of information throughout the city, they oversee the storage and distribution of the vast majority of the system's information.
- Not only are the judges of this faction involved in the approval of legal-access information, they also ensure that the various law enforcement agencies reciprocate by storing their private records.
- Since there are "taxes" levied on many of the queries made, it would be unthinkable for the Fated not to be involved.
- The original founders of the HUB, they still are the primary party responsible for its maintenance.
- This guild provides a healthy source of outsourced labor for upgrade and maintenance of the HUB.
The HUB data storage system suddenly became a possibility after the invention of reusable ethereal energy by Dr. Vrinn in 4 HR and the later reinvention of the Mimir by Grundelthum in 7 HR. It was finally completed in 12 HR by the Mathematicians Guild, an organization to which both Vrinn and Grundelthum belonged. In 30 HR, Dr. Vrinn presumably attempted to destroy his creation. After hijacking a train from the Angel line, he seemingly attempted to crash it and its deadly contents into the HUB central database. Fortunately (perhaps) the Azrai, who had temporarily traveled to the past, foiled Vrinn's plot preventing the likely destruction of the HUB and at least a good part of Sigil. This had unforeseen consequences for the present of the Azrai, as technologies such as Sending Stones, ethereal energy, the train system, and the HUB all currently exist where they did not previously (see Episode: Gateway of Mystery).