Space dust (ṣúlê, a portmanteau of the words for "outer space" and "matter") is a hard-to-observe material found in the vacuum of space. The Stenza have studied it extensively for almost two millennia but have been unable to determine more than how to efficiently use it to propel their ships. (Ironically, by use of space-dust-powered craft, they know more about black holes and exotic types of stars than they do about the stuff that gets them place to place. This fact is not lost on them.) While this means that they know more about its properties than other civilizations, some items are still lost on them, such as:
- Where does it come from?
- Why is it here?
- How do basic principles like gravity interact with it?
- How can we observe it better?
- Why do we struggle so hard with question 4?
History & Usage
Space dust powers every Stenza-constructed ship, and many constructed by other species, within the The Nine Systems and beyond.
Space dust can be stored in specially designed barrels, designed to open into the engine of a ship preparing for takeoff. This property was not discovered until just before it was time to launch the stone menace into orbit in the Artificial Moon, which was very much a hit-or-miss endeavor that would never have happened without space dust.
Elemental / Molecular