"Science and science fiction, how do you even distinguish the two?"
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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