"Science Fiction is speculative fiction in which the author takes as his first postulate the real world as we know it, including all established facts and natural laws."
This item is a data storage device, capable of storing all of the information in a planetary datasphere in just a very small (cubic inch) space. This item reminds me of the small USB data devices that plug into PCs for quick download and storage - this is basically how the device is used in the novel.
In the novel, the device is implanted in one of the characters as a storage device; the character cannot access the data.
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