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"If you don't care about science enough to be interested in it on its own, you shouldn't try to write hard science fiction."
- Frederik Pohl

Mini-Sneaker  
  A small, airborne surveillance device.  

'A-L-I-E-N,' Stetson spelled it out. 'A species and a culture we've never before contacted. That language you were force-fed on the way out here, that's an alien language. It's not complete, but all we have off the minis. And we didn't give you the basic data, what little we have, on the natives, because we've been hoping to scrub this place and nobody the wiser.'

'Holy mazoo! Why?'

'Twenty-six days ago an I-A sector searcher came on this planet, made a routine mini-sneaker survey. When he combed in his net of sneakers to check their data, lo and behold he had a little stranger.'

'One of theirs?'

'No, one of ours. It was a mini off the Delphinus. Rediscovery. The Delphinus has been unreported for eighteen standard months. Cause of disappearance unknown.'

'You think it cracked up here.'

'We don't know. If it did crash on Gienah, we haven't been able to spot it. And we've looked, son. Believe me, we've looked.'

From The Godmakers, by Brian Herbert.
Published by Berkley Medallion in 1972
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