Item Seed: Spray-Sort.

Sometimes I write out the title, and then wait for it to tell me what it is.

Spray-Sort – Google Docs



One of the things that virtually godlike high-tech alien races soon learn to do is to regularly come up with entertaining shiny gimcracks with which to distract the rather less high-tech alien races.  Why? Because the less-advanced races can still be aggravating, or even dangerous; and if you think that technological superiority is a perfect and flawless game-winner, contemplate whether the existence of tanks and nuclear warheads makes you, personally, any safer when somebody comes up and hits you over the head with a rock.

So: shiny gimcracks. Like Spray-Sort: spray some on your loose gear, and watch your pile of stuff writhe and wiggle and deform itself until the gear forms as small a square as possible!  It even safely works on living things (they go into suspended animation for up to a week)! It’s fast! It’s cheap! It’s something that you never, ever want to personally watch a second time!


Which is deliberate. The aforementioned virtually godlike high-tech alien races have mostly discovered that having giant visible war fleets merely makes everybody else want to steal them. So they’ve had to come up with alternate ways to make the other races subtly uneasy.  Creating an ultra-tech substance that can turn a litter of puppies into a vaguely moving square of cheek-to-jowl dog-flesh, suitable for transport, does amazingly well in that regard, really.

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