By Gregory Benford
A small dice of black rock has been unearthed in a 3500-year-old Mycenaean tomb.
An incomprehensible item in an most unlikely position; its age,its objective, and its origins are unknown.
Its discovery has unleashed an international hurricane of intrigue, robbery and espionage, and is pushing countries to the threshold of war.
Its substance has scientists baffled. And the miracle it includes doesn't belong in this Earth.
It is secret and madness—an enigma without equivalent in recorded background. it's mankind's maximum discovery… and worst nightmare.
It could have already obliterated a global. Ours is next.
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Extra info for Artifact
Glass nodded. "And I like her equanimity, her evenness of temper. If something goes wrong, I tend to swear and get upset by it. She just smiles and does whatever needs to be done to set things right. " Keith paused. " Glass seemed to consider this for a moment. " Keith looked at the transparent man, perplexed. Chapter III A child's blocks. That's the image that had come to' Keith ansmg s mind two years ago, while watching Starplex's components being assembled at the Rehbollo orbital shipyards.
To travel through a shortcut, you set a straight-line path toward the point at the center of the sphere. As you approach that point, you pass through the sphere at a specific latitude and longitude. Those coordinates determine which other shortcut you will exit from: where in the galaxy you come out depends on the direction from which you approached the local shortcut. Of course, to get the ball rolling, there had to be one shortcut on-line at the outset that was not associated with any race--otherwise there'd be no location for the first emerging civilization to travel to with their shortcut.
First, scoop up some of that material that's between the spheres. Then buzz into one of the spheres and get me a sample of the gas, or whatever it is that they're made of. Take some from the top of the clouds, and another sample from about two hundred meters down into the clouds, if the probe can stand the pressure. As you fill them, heat and pressurize the sample compartments to match the ambient at the collection points; I want to minimize chemical changes in the mateLights moved up Rhombus's sensor web, and a few moments later he was launching the probe.