Leavitt and Stone are examining a tiny pebble they’ve spotted in the Scoop probe.
“Go to sixty,” says Stone. Leavitt punches a button, and the display screen switches to a higher magnification.
“Jeremy, do you think maybe –” begins Leavitt.
“Maybe it’s just a grain of sand,” says Stone. “Go to eighty.”
The micro camera blurs and magnifies more. now, the copper screen mesh is a large wicker lattice on the screen. The pebble is now a craggy rock, with fluorescent green patches.
“What about the bits of green?” asks Leavitt.
“Paint,” says Stone.
“For God’s sake!” says Leavitt, dismissively.
“Pistachio ice cream – there’s no basis to assume it’s anything yet!” says Stone.
“You’re too good a scientist not to be thinking the same thing I am,” says Leavitt. “If this is really something new, some brand new form of life…”
“Our best hope of cracking it is to be grindingly thorough – – with the help of computer number one,” says Stone, tapping Leavitt lightly on the head. “Okay? Now let’s get on with it.” Leavitt glares at him for a moment, then looks back at the monitor.
More green patches are seen on the screen mesh.