After a moment Saul looked up at the ceiling.
Oh, I know you, Ado-Shem, he thought at the bearded, fierce-eyed God of Abraham. This morning I opened your gift, tore off the wrapping paper, and looked inside. And just now I showed its frightening beauty to a man who was once a friend.
It looks, at first, like a fine gift. Like the rock that flowed with water for the Hebrew children in the desert. But you and I know that inside the box is another box, and another, and more ad infinitum.
And I'm still no closer to an answer to the basic questions, am I? Where did Halley-Life come from? Did comets seed the Earth, long ago? Or are we only the latest invaders of this little worldlet? How could all of this have happened in the first place?
There was no reply, of course.
He smiled upward, through half a mile of rocky ice, at the stars.
Oh yes. You will have your joke.
David Brin and Gregory Benford
Heart of the Comet