Wednesday, April 03, 2013
I mentioned the Arbitrary collected snowflakes. Actually it was searching for a pair of identical ice crystals. It had - has - a collection; not holes or figure break-downs, but actual samples of ice crystals from every part of the galaxy it has ever visited where it found frozen water.

It only ever collects a few flakes each time, of course; a saturation pick-up would be ... inelegant.

I suppose it must still be looking. What it will do if it ever does find two identical crystals, it has never said. I don't know that it really wants to find them, anyway.

But I thought of that, as I left the glittering, grumbling city beneath me. I thought - and I still dream about this, maybe once or twice a year - of some drone, its flat back star-dappled, quietly in the steppes or at the edge of a polynya off Antarctica, gently lifting a single flake of snow, teasing it away from the rest, and hesitating perhaps, before going, displaced or rising, taking its tiny, perfect cargo to the orbiting starship, and leaving the frozen plains, or the waste of ice, once more at peace.

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