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Shadows in Flight
by Orson Scott Card
Concept Art by Nick Greenwood
In the Giant's Shadow
The starship Herodotus left Earth in 2210 with four passengers. It accelerated
nearly to lightspeed as quickly as it could, and then stayed at that speed, letting
relativity do its work.
On Herodotus, just over five years had passed; it had been 421 years on Earth.
On Herodotus, the three 13-month-old babies had turned into six-year-olds, and the
Giant had outlived his life expectancy by two years.
On Earth, starships had been launched to found 93 colonies, beginning with the
worlds once colonized by the formics and spreading to other habitable planets as
soon as they were found.
On Herodotus, the six-year-old children were small for their age, but brilliant
beyond their years, as the Giant had been when he was little, for in all four of them,
Anton's Key had been turned, a genetic defect and a genetic enhancement at the
same time. Their intelligence was beyond the level of savants in every subject
matter, without any of the debilitations of autism. But their bodies never stopped
growing. They were small now, but by age 22, they would be the size of the Giant,
and the Giant would be long dead. For he was dying now, and when he died, the
children would be alone.