Winter Storm was gifted to the Chelgrians by another civilization before the Caste War. Chelgrian understanding of its technology remained incomplete some years after the war.
By the closing stages of the Caste War, the privateer was hired by Loyalist Itirewein clan. It took part in a raid on Aorne, and withdrew with a recovered substrate from the Military Technical Institute containing stored personalities of military personnel. The ship was intercepted by an Invisibles fleet a few days later and destroyed by a weapon resembling a gravity-wave impactor. The weapon left the outer, higher-technology hull, practically unscathed, but destructively compacted all of the internal contents; the crew were killed instantly and permanently, with their Soulkeepers being destroyed. The weapon seemed to have been configured to destroy Soulkeeper-scale technology, and left the older-technology and larger substrate from Aorne intact. Neither the ship nor its escort were able to send their coordinates in distress calls before being destroyed, and the wreck was lost.
The wreck was rediscovered a few weeks before the spring of 3455 (Chelgrian reckoning) near Reshref. It was towed into orbit around a moon of Reshref Four. An two-metre wide entry point was created by slicing off the nose. The recovery mission was commanded by Colonel Ustremi. A modified Chelgrian Navy drone located the Aorne substrate within the compacted fused matter, and it was transferred to the temple ship Piety of the Mendicant Sisters religious order. A standard search located no Soulkeepers.
Tibilo Quilan of Itirewein, and participant of the Aorne raid, stopped at Reshref Four en route to the Culture's Masaq' Orbital. The personality of Admiral-General Sholan Hadesh Huyler was extracted from aboard Piety, and uploaded to Quilan's Soulkeeper on the ninth of Spring, 3455 (Chelgrian reckoning). This was in preparation for a covert, but officially-sanctioned, attack on the Masaq' which Quilan would be carrying out while masquerading as an cultural emissary. Quilan's stop at Winter Storm was not originally in the schedule sent to the Culture, and the ROU Nuisance Value sent to carry Quilan on the first leg of the journey to the Orbital detoured to the wreck.
Within two days of finding the substrate, Quilan requested, with the Mendicant Sisters' support, that the Navy drone be modified to carry out a more detailed search for Soulkeepers. The fabric of the hull material could not be scanned by the drone. He hoped to find the Soulkeeper of his wife, Worosei, who had been aboard when the ship was destroyed. There was only time for one sweep; by the time the request was approved and the drone modified, Nuisance Value was already decelerating. The scan was completed shortly before the ROU arrived; no Soulkeepers were found.
Winter Storm was about 140 metres long. Engines may have occupied half of the internal volume. The flyer hangar was at the stern.
The ship's hull was not of Chelgrian manufacture, and was somehow energized, possibly from within the hull. It later defied scanning attempts by a specially modified Chelgrian drone. The interior had sides that bowed outwards before curving back inwards.