The Money, The Principle, or The Trouble

“Context is important.”

“Take, for example, this syringe. From an objective perspective, it contains a small quantity of greyish fluid, a suspension of nanoviruses and proto-cytomachines in impure saline. Not the most commonplace of objects, but hardly a rarity, either.”

“A pharmacist, however, would recognize it as an alpha-baseline corpus-editor, which while delightfully sophisticated in its own way, is a simple proteus treatment; one which you could well purchase on the open market for a few selenis, were it not that our desire that neither the newly born nor the newly immigrated should walk around crippled in mind and body ensures that every medical facility from the homeworld to the Exclaves has gallons of the stuff on hand.”

“And off in the more backward parts of the Expansion Regions, those in a position to know would recognize it as an object of great value indeed; an object of delight and terror and desire and horror, to be bought with the wealth of nations, fought over, warred over, controlled, proscribed, smuggled, praised, condemned, and worshipped. Out there it makes heroes, villains, supermen, devils, and gods.”

“To reiterate, then, an object’s context is important. Especially when you find yourself with a few displacement-tons of them on an unfamiliar world, and a pressing need for hold-space.”