"'No matter what romantics may think, traders do not go on quests. What you ask ... is impossible, mere Beyonders seeking to subvert a Power.'
"Yet that was a risk you signed for. But Ravna didn't say it aloud. Perhaps Greenstalk did: her fronds rustled, and Blueshell scrinched even more. Greenstalk was silent for a second, then she did something funny with her axles, bumping free of the stickem. Her wheels spun on nothing as she floated through a slow arc, till she was upside down, her fronds reaching down to brush Blueshell's. They rattled back and forth for almost five minutes.
"Blueshell slowly untwisted, the fronds relaxing and patting back at his mate.
"Finally he said. 'Very well.... One quest. But mark you! Never another.'"
--Vernor Vinge: A Fire Upon the Deep
My favorite moment in all science fiction: a potted plant on a skateboard decides to be very brave.
Vernor Vinge's Children of the Sky is published today...