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"...science fiction is sort of like a sociological genome. It's a huge range of possible futures, most of them useless; some vital. You never really know in advance."
- Peter Watts

Messagecraft  
  An autonomous spacecraft and drone that serves as a communication node in a network that spans star systems.  

“Aerial craft approaching, non-Terran, non-Federation.” The Scoutcraft’s computer shifted from its flash-message to its emergency tone of voice...

“Unknown is apparently computer-directed,” the Scoutcraft computer went on in its priority-message tone of voice. “Programming includes a Ianguage-learning-and-translation program of Extraordinary adaptability...”

A spot in the sky quickly grew, resolved itself into an oblong, tarnished spacecraft some ten meters long that settled almost to the ground some distance from the two Scouts and their ship...

I am message 1859Q047 — I have translated the number from base twelve to your number system — of the Goarrn Region, Messagetransport Department, of Tam-Raken, with rush and ordinary messages from the regional center.” The tarnished spacecraft paused, then added, “I am on the Realm’s business.”

"I would,” said the tarnished messagecraft as Jon slowly stepped from his ship with an armload of message text, "have given you my messages by voice, only I understand from your ship’s computed that you read faster than you listen. If you will check the messages now? I have translated them, of course, with the data from your computer.”

Jon handed Rolf half the stack of freshly printed paper, then began to read the top page himself.

From The Faithful Messenger, by George Scithers.
Published by If in 1969
Additional resources -

Compare to Interplanetary Radiograph Station from On The Martian Way (1907) by Harry Gore Bishop and the Venus Equilateral Relay Station from QRM - Interplanetary (1942) by George O. Smith

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Faithful Messenger
  More Ideas and Technology by George Scithers
  Tech news articles related to The Faithful Messenger
  Tech news articles related to works by George Scithers

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