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This article is about a Heterodyne creation. For other uses, see Heterodyne (disambiguation).
The Heterodyne Device is an unusual object of unknown purpose which Gil had picked up in a "great curiosity shop near the university" in Paris and on returning to the Castle Wulfenbach, kept in one of his labs..
While Gil knew that it's a genuine Heterodyne artifact, none of his fiddling had given him any clues as to its use, and he didn't want to disassemble it.
The visible features of the device are a blue sphere about 20cm in diameter; a brass band that encircles the globe longitudinally; a ring at the top and the Heterodyne trilobite at the equator are attached to the band; and other brass knobs, buttons, or ports (it's unknown what they are) protrude from or adhere to the globe. Attached to the lower part of the globe is a bust (or waist up statue) of the Titan Atlas as he may sometimes be depicted holding the globe of the sky. The statuette has an inverted-saucer-shaped base with at least two holes, as if it were designed to bolt onto something.
Agatha later uses it to power a pair of electric swords for her and Gil to use in fighting off slaver wasps, demonstrating that it functions pretty well as a power source, at least. The unanswered questions about this device, especially its apparent "invisibility device" function suggests some foreshadowing.Theo's arrival marked the return of the "Little invisibility lamp dingus" where he and Sleipnir had used it to rescue Gil from Captain Vole's squad, once more relying on its invisibility function. After the trio's somewhat nostalgic , Gil was once more in possession of the
Based on Theo's, it apparently has a limited battery life of greater than one hour and may need to be recharged periodically or be allowed to recharge itself.
It should be noted that a Heliotrope is, according to some ancient poets, an object that can make one invisible. As the Heliotrope Family has probably been in the service of the Heterodyne family for a very long time, they may have some relation to this device.
Speculation on the further nature of the device and its eventual use can be found on the Forums.