I'm not sure how we're supposed to get even to the "not baffling" stage with this.
I mean, these people are supposed to be coworkers. They all work at the same office, spending days sitting at monitors connected by a LAN (where L is defined as the known galaxy). What possible reason could keep them from knowing each other when they work on the same project
I can grok it would be odd for them to know a random coworker since 2351 in this massive office if the projects weren't related. But that doesn't really happen. They know their bosses, and they know people working on the same sort of ships and assignments. Plus at most one other person in the same overall business, which is in fact rather on the low side.
I can appreciate a game of Six Degrees, but I don't see why such matrix linking would be necessary in this fundamentally hierarchical environment where people are supposed
to know each other.