A: By a process of gradual division. Her
first conception of the object may be no more than that its surface
curves, that it is portable and compounded of some mineral substance.
While "curved, portable, mineral"
conjures a pretty nebulous image to the average consciousness, Maud
senses only its potential which is naturally very high. The energy
thus generated engages the next in a series of circuit "levels"
on each of which Maud's choices get correspondingly more specific.
After a tedious ascent through at least 20 such levels Maud prints
out a finished recipe - for example: VII - a3. Mn. XXX B-43ff.22gr.
HHf ++Pk. This code describes a manganese puck and specifies
its circumference, thickness, weight, texture and temperature.
may arise as an object approaches definition. Maud may decide that
a hemisphere, say, of cellophane must not be empty. So the process
begins again to determine precisely what it should contain.
Finished objects are presented to Maud for a critical "scan". 9
times out of 10 she can discern in them no virtú and so destroys
them. Occasionally she senses numinosity latent in one and this
is perctptible only to her. Twice we have had objects invested with
so active that goggles and asbestos suits were required in order
to stand in the same room with them.