"Clearly, Protoculture and Energon Cubes are made of the same substance," he said to me, "and I'm pretty sure that this same substance is found in the Locknar, and also inside Marcellus Wallace's briefcase. But those all glowed, and the Maltese Falcon didn't glow, but the One Ring of Mordor may or may not have glowed, so I need to perform further experiments."
"But why do you care?" I asked, just to give him a chance to scoff.
He took it, of course.
"Because if I can isolate this unknown factor, perhaps I can distill it! Then I can use it to create things that everyone is seeking -- and perhaps even abstract principles!"
"Like justice?" I suggested.
(Because that's the Holy Grail of MacGuffins, right?)
He rolled his eyes and said, "Dr. Meticulous has no patience for running gags."