Dittocube
The dittocube is a clarketech device of unknown origin.

Cubic in form, approximately 1.3125 centimeters to a side, with edges and corners rounded, or perhaps concaved. Texture resembles that of natural wood. Appears for all the world like a child's old-fashioned wooden building block. However, Dittocube has power to duplicate itself, in response to conscious will of subject (SI:<1 or higher sophont) holding it in eir hand, creating copies of itself along all three axes, remaining connected to the original cube, then branching out and forming structures of varying levels of complexity (ladders, bridges, columns, archways, shacks, warehouses, cathedrals), all formed from cubes identical and remaining connected to original. Only static structures (those that can hypothetically be formed from 1.3125 x 1.3125 x 1.3125 cm cubes) can be produced. No complex machines with moving parts, or structures requiring angles greater or less than 90 degrees can be formed (Though other angles or continuous curves can be approximated on a large scale by many small duplicate cubes).

Origin/designer of Dittocube unknown at present time. Intended purpose also unknown. Speculation ranges from advanced construction device (Though no one has experimented with this yet, it has been postulated that Dittocube-formed structures can flex over great distances, thereby forming a continuous curve or sphere, and perhaps enveloping a star to form an effective Dyson sphere; Dittocube-formed structures appear absolutely rigid and nearly impervious at smaller scales), to an actual toy for juveniles of some high level sophont species (Though appears to work for any sophont individual of any S-level, probably unintentionally). Composition of Dittocube unknown. Material of both original and duplicates appears impenetrable. Could hypothetically resist close thermonuclear detonation (Again, no one has taken it upon emselves to experiment with this yet). Mass indeterminate. Dittocube often suspends self in air, defying gravity, after receiving instructions from bearer to form structure before proceeding. Dittocube appears (highly speculative) to utilize virtual matter (energy-to-matter) technology to construct solid physical structures out of apparent nothingness.

When user wishes, entire structure, no matter how expansive, can retract back to single cube. Any cube in structure, no matter how vast or complex the structure, effectively becomes original Dittocube if user touches and wills structure to retract back to single cube.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Mike Parisi

Initially published on 18 June 2002.