5. "there now sat a square package perhaps a cubit on a side, done up in a golden wrapping all spattered with ornamental sparks of brighter and darker gold. She went over to it, picked it up to test the weight: somewhat heavy. Arrhae shook the box, then smiled at herself. Nothing rattled. She wandered back into her chamber with it, pushed her clothes aside, and sat down on the couch. Carefully Arrhae unwrapped the paper without tearing it—the old habit of a household manager, not to waste anything that might be useful later—and set it aside, revealing a plain golden paperboard box inside. A seal held the closing-flap down. She slit the seal with one thumbnail, opened the box, and found inside it some white tissue spangled with more golden spots, all wrapped around something roughly spherical. Arrhae pushed the padding-tissue aside to reveal a smooth clear substance, a glassy dome. Reaching into the box, she brought out what revealed itself as a dish garden of clear glass: the bottom of it full of stripes of colored sand, and rooted in the sand, various small dry-climate plants, spiny or thick-leaved, one or two of them producing tiny, delicate, golden flowers. Attached to the upper dome, instead of a chip or tag, was a small, white, gold-edged printed card that said, FROM AN ADMIRER—WELCOME HOME. Arrhae"
- Diane Duane, The Empty Chair
6. "Mr. Sulu, Jim said, I can’t avoid the impression that you’re counting all the asteroids in this neighborhood. Not counting them as such, Captain. We’re building a recognition database, tagging the asteroids with nominal IDs, and noting their masses for future reference. If you know an asteroid’s mass within a couple of significant figures, you can very quickly calculate what kind of forces would need to be applied to it to make it move. Once Khiy and I get them all tagged, or all the ones in this area, we can get the ship’s computer to alert us when an enemy vessel is getting close enough for one of the asteroids to be a threat. Then either Bloodwing or Enterprise gives the necessary rock a pull with a tractor or a push with a pressor … Jim grinned. In slower-than-light combat, the lightspeedor-faster weapons came into their own, as long as you kept away from the higher, near-relativistic impulse speeds. You’re concentrating on the asteroids nearer to the processing facility, I see. Yes, sir—a sphere about a hundred thousand kilometers in diameter, including almost the entire breadth of the belt in this area. Any ship outside that diameter isn’t going to be a threat to us at subwarp speeds. If they want to engage with us, they’ve got to drop their speed and come inside the sphere. ‘Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly…’ Jim said. Get on with it, Mr. Sulu. In a situation like this, every little bit helps. Are you going to be able to have this ready by the time the ‘flies’ arrive? We’ll do our best, Captain. There are some inconsistencies between the ways Bloodwing’s computer handles large amounts of data like this, and the way ours does. We’ve got to solve them on the fly. And Sulu chuckled."
- Diane Duane, The Empty Chair