If you were housed in a synthmorph expecting to be abandoned on a random asteroid, and had an extremely limited amount of cargo you could bring with you - a couple of kilograms on the outside, and probably a lot less - what are the most mass-efficient tools you could pack? The most obvious way to get around the mass limit are, of course, specialized hives with Protean swarms; for the mass of an object the size of a shotgun shell, you can, with a few hours of letting the machines loose, end up with almost any device you want. However, it seems likely that there are a few limitations here that aren't explicitly in the rulebook's text; to start with, a given Protean swarm has a cost of High, so it seems to break what little economics still exists in EP if a Protean swarm could assemble a device with a cost of Expensive. Do small synthmorphs (with costs of Moderate) count as single 'devices' for the purpose of whether or not a Protean swarm can build one? How many stages of 'build one type of fabber to build a tool to build another fabber' would it take until you could end up with the equivalent of a desktop cornucopia machine? Rephrased, if you wanted to end up with a DCM, what's the smallest package you could start with?
—Thank you for your time,