Another alternative I came up with was to use four NeoPixels (as I did for the first one) but use through-hole ones or find some right-angle headers so they could be easily slipped into place on the PCB without a lot of fiddling about. This is mechanically a better idea, and a simpler circuit, but I want to keep exploring the Cree infrastructure...plus the NeoPixels are 20ma a channel versus 300 for the Cree.
Anyhow, test pans out. The lighting coverage is acceptable even without additional diffusors for the LEDs (something I'm still tinkering with, however, since it would be simple to incorporate a sheet of material and some stand-offs within the existing "spider" support for the circuit board.)
Not as much progress on the Wraith Stone. I got out my Sculpy and made an extremely rough test model. It showed me the outer envelope for scale (at 3-3/4 inches long), told me something about the shape of the total artifact (possibly arrowhead, more likely flat-backed), and also gave me a sense of what it would be like to carve by hand (painful but not impossible...but also, understructure is mandatory).
This did lead to some new questions, however. The big one being, what is this thing? Was it made from scratch and then given the power to communicate with/control the Unknown Entity, or did it start as a natural object with those powers and get carved/incorporated into a more elaborate shape?
It is plausible this thing is Atlantean technology, like "Excalibur" and the Galali Key, in which case the shape is simply whatever Natla's people thought made a cool-looking housing. But there's an intriguing irregularity about some of the depictions I've seen around, an irregularity that speaks of a found object that has been hand-shaped to try to bring out certain shapes (like the skull/face) but only within the limits of the existing material/artifact.
And while the depiction I'd been looking at is smooth and precise, I like the idea of something that's a lot more worn and "been around a while" looking. Which is all a way of saying that half-melted, off-center and "primitive" is a lot more interesting to me than seeing it as a machine-neat bas-relief carving.
And speaking of the Atlanteans. I realized two things about my Tomb Raider/SG1 fanfic.
One is that (due to starting without a plan and basically just working it out as I go) it reads a lot more like a serial. Episodic, really. Which is to say, the overarching story is just the MacGuffin or the linking element to connect practically stand-alone sequences like the Giza chapters, her infiltration of Stargate Command, or the Prague adventure. Or the completely independent-but-parallel adventure of Major Carter on her first independent command. Which means I can basically just keep writing new ones until I get bored.
(There's no chance of running out of ideas. There's way too much interesting archaeology in the real world -- even if not all of it lends its way in obvious ways to the climbing-and-shooting approach of the archaeologist least likely to gain tenure since Indiana Jones.)
Anyway. The other realization is I already gave away the Asgard plot. The Frost Giants are simply not enough of a revelation for my final act. So I might as well pretend the effort to stop Horus' plan was going to turn into a sideline all along as I explode some of the illusions about the Ancients and what they were up to around the Dawn of History.