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I have a theory. What is it? It is my theory (and so on and so on, and if you don't like Monty Python I'm sorry).

Ahem. I have a theory, which is that nodegel must come from somewhere. In various chatterbox conversations I've had, the most plausible source I've heard is that the Gods create it with their immense godly powers. But then I thought: if Gods are creatures of the Nodegel, whose powers are derived from, and are functional only in the gel, then how was the first nodegel made, before the Gods were born? Whilst I could have called this 'Whence came the first nodegel', I firmly believe that there must be a constant and perpetual source of the life-giving gel, above and beyond even the powers of the Gods to create.

Thus I present to you my hypothesis: that deep in the heart of the earth, beyond even the cavernous moss-blackened halls that are the home of EDB, there are seams of pure nodegel. In its ore state, nodegel is faintly luminescent, glowing with all the shades and hues of the spectrum. Polished nodegel ore, which forms the lighting system chez EDB, is iridescent, lighting the depths with the reflections of eir red eyes. This ore is mined by the nodegel gnomes.

A nodegel gnome is between 3'6" and 4' tall. They are stocky, but not the extent dwarves are. They live in clans, led by a Forgemaster, of around 150 to 300 individuals, of which only 35% are male, due to frequent mining accidents. There is an ancient caste system among the gnomes, the lowest of which is 'borg bait', the highest of which is miner. Ahem. Enough geeking.

Nodegel ore can be mined out in quite large chunks. It is significantly softer than the surrounding rock,however, so great care must be taken not to damage it. Although light imperfections can be removed in the refining process, severe imperfections will remain in it, leading to bizarre preconceptions and false assumptions within the node it eventually forms. The standard mining method is to chip away the rock above and below the seam, and then to slice off the protuding sliver of ore. However, chipping away at the rocks has been known to cause large-scale cave-ins.

The ore is then processed in the forges. These forges form the centrepiece to every gnomish villages and can be spotted from afar by their thick black plumes of smoke rising from the smokestacks. Inside, the nodegel ore is carefully sorted by levels of quality before refining. Higher quality nodegel is supplied to higher level users, with the very finest reserved for Nate himself. The nodegel ore, thus sorted, is heated in giant furnaces. This heating process burns out the impurities of staleness of thought, spelling and grammatical errors, and above all dullness. These imperfections (which are actually viewed as the world's greatest sins by the gnomish religion) burn away as the black smoke.

Although the nodegel, when it is taken up by noders, is fresh and clean and receptive only to good ideas, careless handling by an inexperienced user can scratch or otherwise flaw it, causing the ideas held within it to become warped. So use your nodegel wisely, and respect the lives of the gnomes who died that you might have it. Above all, handle it carefully, and ensure that what you do with your portion is the best it can be.

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