Origin: Ultrastructure

Carter looked up as Shaw staggered into the laboratory.

“Good God, Harry! You look dreadful. Where on earth have you been?”

“Hiding. Avoiding the telephone. Running out of tea…”

Taking the hint, Carter rose and flicked the kettle on. “Hiding from whom?”

“In ascending order of ferocity: the Dean of the Faculty, the President of the Jordanian Portable Antiquities Commission, and my ex-wife. Cheers!” He drew a cigarette from a battered packet and lit up. “You don’t mind, do you?”

Carter, shrugging, thrust a steaming mug towards him. “Now that you’re here, Harry – your mystery objet d’art…”

Shaw was suddenly attentive. “Yes? What did you think?”

He paused. “I think it’s the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever seen. Superficially, it looks Hellenic. Not unlike Antikythera. But then beneath…”

He slid something across the bench to Shaw: a greyscale image of thousands upon thousands of tiny, interlocking cogs. Shaw looked at him questioningly.

“The artefact, under the SEM. Magnification: 500,000 times.”

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