Thursday, December 18, 2014

Return to Origin (Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge)

Diamonds are a rare gem indeed. Even though they can now be man-made, there is evidence that they are far more abundant in the Earth's mantle. They may be original star-stuff, existing unchanged from the coalescence of the planet.

In the 1970s, I worked in a diamond lab in South Africa. Here industrial diamond was made, and its quality tested. In the small lab off the main lab, where I worked, diamond was also tested for the parameters that made it excel as a heat-sink in electronic equipment.

Diamond heat-sinks were essential components in satellites. The product of this smaller lab, carefully tested, tumbled to a perfectly-spherical shape, and then ground to have two perfectly-parallel faces, was not man-made. It was gem diamond, selected from the stream of crystals that were otherwise shipped to Antwerp.

In these days of apartheid, our product was shipped to Dublin, where, marked "Product of Ireland", it could be sold past the embargo on goods from South Africa. From there, it went into satellites launched into orbit.

So you can see the reason behind Return to Origin, my response to this week's Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge:

In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about rare gems. It can be treasure, rough or twinkling, an object, place or person. Go on an adventure, let your imagination fly and kick perfectionism to the curb. You are in pursuit of something greater!
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Return to Origin


Star-stuff, deep within the mantle, immeasurable pressures keep it liquid. One crystal among billions, it rises. 

One crystal among millions, it breaks through almost to the surface. Others re-submerge, re-liquify, but this one endures millenia of weathering.

A lucky pick breaks the surface. Kimberlite is eagerly sought, but one crystal in thousands is pure, gem. This one survives the gleaning to arrive in a lab.

One crystal in hundreds has the right composition for the electronics. This one joins its brothers to be ground. Afterward, only one meets specifications for a satellite heat-sink.

Installed, it rises to orbit, star-stuff.