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Subspatial Sonde

The subspatial sonde was originally developed to help the Stenza explore the then-newly discovered Subspace, around the year 1033. The sondes were massive tetrahedral structures with a computer and a subspace drive at the center, designed to regularly report back to a Stenza vessel (any vessel) about current conditions surrounding the device. The legs were webbed with either solar panels, solar sails, or both.   As so happens, all of the sondes first deployed were, often after a year, listed as missing when they failed to report back. Ten years later, the first fell out of subspace somewhere near the galactic rim and was recovered almost a year later. Since then, almost a dozen additional sondes have fallen into regular space, broadcasting their signals before being swiftly (or somewhat less so, depending on location) picked up by Stenza craft. Some have sustained damage from assorted space debris upon their reentry, but many others are still in almost perfect working order, and are kept as museum pieces today.   The interval at which the sondes reappear seems to be random, or at least subject to laws which the Stenza do not yet understand.


Once the Stenza realized that subspace is a functional part of their surrounding universe, the next question was, can it be traversed? The Stenza took a two-pronged approach to this question, and in conjunction with testing the subspace drive on their existing interplanetary craft, they developed devices that could, hypothetically, monitor the conditions of this newly discovered layer of the universe. (As it happens, that was not to be; the Stenza did not yet know that time either does not exist in subspace, or exists in a truly eldritch way.)   While work on subspace-traversable craft went smoothly, the sondes ran into a lot of trouble. All of the devices launched into subspace failed to report back by the one-year mark following their release. Then the two year mark. Then the three year mark. In fact, the first device would not resurface until ten years after launch, where it was picked up by an exploratory vessel near the edge of Kuieræ and then brought home for analysis. It was found to be in almost perfect order save for slight damage from roving particles in space, and was studied intently. By every possible metric the sonde appeared not to have recognized that ten years have passed, or that it found its way billions of miles from home. By this point the Stenza were pretty well aware of how subspace travel affected them, and could couple that with the data gleaned from the sonde.   Over the next 1500 years, Stenza understanding of subspace progressed mainly through mathematics and personal experience. However, in that time frame, a dozen additional sondes spontaneously appeared out of subspace at random intervals, bearing the same tell-tale markers as the first (minimal damage in many cases, a badly out of date computer, and so forth). The attitude shifted from learning from the sondes and their systems to cleaning and preserving them as an emblem of a unique moment in Stenza history.
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Initially, 100 units were produced for experimental purposes. A dozen have been recovered.


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