Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019

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Issue 24
Stories
Under the Shield
by Stephen Kotowych
Old Flat Foot
by Ross Willard
Whiteface Part I
by Jared Oliver Adams
Tales for the Young and Unafraid
The Floating Statue
by David Lubar
Orson Scott Card - Sneak Preview
Shadows in Flight - Chapter 1
by Orson Scott Card
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews

Shadows in Flight
    by Orson Scott Card
    Concept Art by Nick Greenwood

Shadows in Flight

Chapter 1
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.


In the ansible room of Herodotus, Andrew "Ender" Delphiki sat perched on three books atop a seat designed for adults. This was how the children operated the main computer that processed communication through the ansible, the instant communicator that kept Herodotus linked to all the computer networks of the 94 worlds of Starways Congress.

Ender was reviewing a research report on genetic therapy that showed some promise, when Carlotta came into the ansible room. "Sergeant wants a sibmoot."

"You found me," said Ender. "So can he."

Carlotta looked over his shoulder at the holodisplay. "Why do you bother?" she said. "There's no cure. Nobody's even looking for it anymore."

"The cure is for us all to die," said Ender. "Then Anton Syndrome disappears from the human species."

"We'll die eventually," said Carlotta. "The Giant is dying now."

"You know that's all Sergeant wants to talk about."

"Well, we have to talk about it, don't we?"

"Not really. It'll happen, and then we'll deal with it." Ender did not want to think about the Giant's death. It was overdue, but as long as the Giant lived, Ender could hope to save him. Or at least bring him good news before he died.

"We can't talk in front of the Giant," said Carlotta.

"He's not here in the ansible room," said Ender.

"You know he can hear us here if he wants."

The more time Carlotta spent with Sergeant, the more she sounded like him. Paranoid. The Giant is listening.

"If he's hearing us now, he knows we're having a meeting, and what it's about, and so he'll listen wherever we are."

"Sergeant feels better about it when we take precautions."

"I feel better when I'm allowed to do my work."

"Nobody in the universe has Anton syndrome except us," Carlotta said, "so the researchers have all stopped working on it even though there's perpetual funding. Get over it."

"They've stopped and I haven't," said Ender.

"How can you research it without lab equipment, without test subjects, without anything?"

"I have this incredibly brilliant mind," said Ender cheerfully. "I look at all the genetic research they're doing and I'm connecting it with what we already know about Anton's Key from back in the days when top scientists were working hard on the problem. I connect things that the humans could never see."

"We're humans," said Carlotta wearily.

"Our children won't be, if I can help it," said Ender.

"'Our children' is a concept that will never have a real-world example," said Carlotta. "I'm not mating with either of my male sibs, which includes you. Period. Ever. It makes me want to puke."

"The idea of sex is what makes you puke," said Ender. "But I'm not talking about 'our children' in the sense of any of us reproducing together. I'm talking about the children we'll have when we rejoin the human race. Not the normal children, like our long-dead sibs who stayed with Mother and mated and had human children of their own. I'm talking about the children with turned Keys, the children who are little and smart like us. If I can find a way to cure them --"

"The cure is to discard all the children like us, and keep the normal ones, and poof, Anton syndrome is gone." Carlotta always came back to the same argument.

"That's not a cure, that's extinction of our new species."

"We're not a species if we can still interbreed with humans."

"We're a species as soon as we find a way to pass along our brilliant minds without the fatal giantism."

"The giant's supposedly as brilliant as we are. Let him work on Anton's Key. Now come along so Sergeant doesn't get mad."

"We can't let Sergeant boss us around just because he gets so angry when we don't obey."

"Oh, brave talk," said Carlotta. "You're always the first to give in."

"Not at this moment."

"If Sergeant walked in here himself, you'd apologize and drop everything and come. You're only delaying because you're not afraid to annoy me."

"Just as you're not afraid to annoy me."

"Come on."

"Where? I'll join you later."

"If I say it, the Giant will listen in."

"The Giant will track us anyway. If Sergeant is right and the Giant spies on us all the time, then there's nowhere to hide anyway."

"Sergeant thinks there is."

"And Sergeant's always right."

"Sergeant might be right and we can humor him and it costs us nothing."

"I hate crawling through the air ducts," said Ender. "You two love it, and that's fine, but I hate it."

"Sergeant is being so nice today that he picked a place we can get to without going through ducts."

"Where?"

"If I tell you, I have to kill you," said Carlotta.

"Every minute you take me away from my genetic research you're bringing us that much closer to death."

"You already made your point, and it's an excellent point, and I'm ignoring you because you are coming to our meeting if I have to drag you there in small pieces."

"If you regard me as expendable, have the meeting without me."

"Will you abide by whatever Sergeant and I decide?

"If by 'abide by' you mean 'ignore completely,' then yes. That's what your plans deserve."

"We haven't made plans yet."

"Today. You haven't made plans yet today."

"Our other plans all failed because you didn't follow them."

"I followed every plan I agreed with."

"We outvoted you, Ender."

"That's why I never agreed to majority rule."

"Who's in charge, then?"

"Nobody. The Giant."

"He can't leave the cargo bay. He's not in charge of anything."

"Then why are you and Sergeant so afraid he might be listening in?"

"Because all he cares about is us, and he has nothing to do but spy on us."

"He does research, just like me," said Ender.

"That's what I'm afraid of. Results: zero. Time wasted: all of it."

"You won't feel that way when I come up with the invasovirus that carries the cure to our giantism into every cell of your body and allows you to reach a normal human height and stop growing."

"With my luck, you'll switch off Anton's Key and make us all stupid."

"Normal humans aren't stupid. They're just normal."

"And they forgot us," said Carlotta bitterly. "If they saw us again, they'd think we were nothing but children."

"We are children."

"Children our age are just learning to read and write and do their numbers," said Carlotta. "We are more than a quarter of the way through our expected life span. We're the equivalent of twenty-five years old, in their species."

Ender hated it when she threw his own arguments back at him. He was the one who argued that they were a new species, the next stage in human evolution, Homo antoninis, or perhaps Homo leguminensis, after the Giant, who had used the name "Bean" for most of his childhood. "They won't see us again, so they won't treat us like children," said Ender. "I'm not content with a lifespan of twenty years, nor with death by overgrowing the capacity of our own hearts. I don't intend to die gasping for breath while my brain dies because my heart can't get enough blood to it. I have work to do and an absolute deadline for doing it."

Carlotta apparently was tired of bandying words. She leaned in close and whispered. "The Giant is dying. We have things to decide. If you don't want to be included in the decisions, ever, then by all means skip this meeting."

Ender hated thinking about the Giant's death. It would mean that Ender had failed, that whatever he learned later would have come too late.

And something else, too. A deeper feeling than frustration at failing to reach a goal. Ender had read about human feelings, and the words he thought came closest were anguish and grief. He could not speak of this, however, because he knew what Sergeant would say. "Why, Ender, I believe you're saying that you love the old monster." And love, they knew, was a thing that came from the human side, from Mother, and Mother had chosen to stay behind on Earth so her ordinary human children could lead ordinary human lives.

If love meant anything, the children had long ago concluded, it would have kept Mother with them, and their ordinary siblings, all of them on this ship, all of them looking together for a cure, for a new world, for a life together as a family.

When they were not yet two years of age, they said this to Father. He was so angry he forbade them to criticize their mother again. "It was the right choice," he said. "You have no understanding of love."

That was when they stopped calling him Father. As Sergeant said, "It was their decision to break the family. If we have no mother, then we have no father, either." He was the Giant from then on. And they did not speak of Mother at all.

But Ender thought of her. Did she feel, when we left, what I feel now, thinking of the Giant's dying? Anguish? Grief? They decided what they thought was best for their children. What would the life of the normal siblings be on this ship, if they had kept the family together? They would be larger than Sergeant, Carlotta, and Ender, but they would feel like great stupid oafs, never able to keep up with the antonines, the leguminotes, whatever they decided to call themselves. Mother and the Giant were right to divide the family. They were right about everything. But Ender could never say that to Sergeant.

You could never say anything to Sergeant that he didn't want to hear.

It was a recapitulation of human history, right here on the Herodotus, that the most angry, aggressive, and violent of the three children was the one who always got his way. If we're a new species, we're only somewhat improved. All the alpha-male nonsense of the chimps and gorillas is still preserved in us.

Carlotta turned her back on him and started out of the room.

"Wait," said Ender. "Can't you tell me what this is really about? Why are you always in on it, and I get things sprung on me with the two of you already in agreement, and no time for me to research anything or even come up with a decent argument?"

To her credit, Carlotta looked a little embarrassed. "Sergeant does what he wants."

"But he always has you for an ally," said Ender.

"He could have you, too, if you didn't always resist him."

"He doesn't give me a chance to resist, he doesn't listen. I'm the other male, don't you see? He has you under his control and me off-balance because he intends to be the alpha."

Carlotta frowned. "Mating is still a long way off."

"It's already being determined by our choices now. Do you think Sergeant will take no for an answer?"

"We won't let him have his way on that."

"We?" said Ender. "What's this we? There's you and him, and then there's me. Do you think you and I will suddenly become we just because you don't want to have his incestuous babies? If we're not we now, not ever, then why do you think I'll risk my own survival to save you then?"

Carlotta blushed. "I will not talk about this."

But you'll think about it, Ender said silently. I made you think about it, and you won't let go of it. The alliances we make now will be the alliances then. He'll be the alpha male, you'll be the devoted mate, and I'll be the non-mating subjugated male, powerless to do anything but what the alpha commands. If he hasn't killed me first. That's the choice you're making now.

"Let's go hear what Sergeant has to say," said Ender. "Not that you don't already know."

"I really don't," said Carlotta. "He doesn't let me in on what he's thinking any more than he does you."

Ender didn't bother arguing with her, but it simply wasn't true. Or if she really didn't know, then she was always quick to come up with arguments to justify whatever nonsense Sergeant was trying to put forward. She always sounded as if she had agreed with Sergeant's program even before he presented it.

We're still primates, only a few genes away from the hairless chimps that began to cook their food so that women stayed by the fire to do the cooking while their monogamous mates ranged and hunted to bring home meat. And only a few genes farther from the hairy chimps that mated whenever they could, usually by force, and lived in terror of displeasing the alpha male.

The main difference is we come up with justifications and explanations, and we manipulate each other with words instead of violent displays or affectionate grooming. Or rather, our violent displays and affectionate grooming are words, so they take less energy, but do the same job.

"I'll pretend to believe you," said Ender aloud, "in order to pretend that I think my presence at Sergeant's meeting will do anything but prove his dominance of our pathetic little tribe."

"We're a family," said Carlotta.

"Our species hasn't existed long enough to evolve the family yet," said Ender. But it was mere grumbling. He followed her into the bridge, where she pushed the manual lever to open the trap down to the maintenance shafts surrounding the plasma conductors, the ramscoop collector, and the gravity lens.

"Yes, let's spend hours here, and the whole question of founding a species becomes moot," said Ender.

"The shielding works, we're not scooping much anyway, and shut up," said Carlotta.

They went on down to engineering, which was Carlotta's bailiwick. While Ender persisted with the genetic research that was the whole reason for this voyage, Carlotta had become the onboard expert on mechanics, plasmatics, gravity lensing, and everything else to do with the workings of the ship. "It's our world," she often said, "we might as well know how it works." And more recently she had bragged, "If I had to, I could build the whole thing from scratch."

"From parts, you mean," Sergeant had said.

"From ore in the mountains of some undiscovered planet," said Carlotta. "From the metals in two asteroids and a comet. From the wreckage of this ship after a collision with a meteor." Sergeant had laughed, but Ender believed her.

Carlotta led the way back to the lower lab.

"We could have walked down the corridor to the upper lab and skipped the whole trap door business," Ender pointed out.

"The Giant can hear our footsteps from the upper lab."

"Do you think he can't hear everything, everywhere?"

"I know he can't," said Carlotta. "There are dead spots all over the ship where he can't hear anything."

"That you know about."

Carlotta didn't bother to answer. They both knew that Ender didn't actually care whether the Giant heard them or not -- it was Sergeant who had to conceal everything, or at least believe that he was concealing himself.

Aft of the lower lab was the elevator shaft that led back to life support. During strong acceleration phases, the back of the ship became the bottom of a deep well, and the elevator made it possible to go down to life support at the base -- and back up again. But in flight, gravity was polarized the other direction, so that the elevator became a simple walkway, at ten percent of Earth normal, leading aft to life support.

The payload area of the ship, where the Giant lived because he couldn't fit anywhere else, was directly above them. So they walked slowly and lightly, being careful to make no noise. If Sergeant heard them, he'd be furious because it meant the Giant could hear them, too.

Sergeant wasn't in life support, though he had the fans running full blast to pump freshly oxygenated air through the ducts and muffle sound. Ender could never decide whether it smelled like fresh air or decay -- the lichens and algae that lived in hundreds of large trays under fake sunlight were constantly dying, their protoplasm then getting incorporated into the next generation in a continuous cycle.

"You know what this place needs?" said Carlotta. "A dead fish. To improve the smell."

"You don't know what a dead fish smells like," said Ender. "We've never seen a fish."

"I've seen pictures, and all the books say fish smell bad when they rot."

"Worse than rotting algae," said Ender.

"You don't know that," said Carlotta.

"If rotting algae smelled worse, then the saying would be, 'Algae and visitors begin to stink after three days.'"

"None of us knows what we're talking about," said Carlotta.

"And yet we keep talking," said Ender.

Ender expected to find Sergeant in the Puppy -- the maintenance craft that was programmed by the Giant to remain within five meters of the surface of Herodotus no matter what contrary instructions it might be given. Ender knew Carlotta had tried for months to untether the Puppy, but she couldn't defeat the programming.

Things like that made it clear to Ender, if to neither of the others, that the Giant was every bit as smart as they were, and he had years of experience behind him. All of Sergeant's precautions were pointless, because at his oversized console in the payload area, the Giant could do whatever he wanted, hear and see and probably smell whatever he wanted, and his children could do nothing about it, nor even detect his spying.

The others refused to believe it, but Ender understood that they were children. Anton's Key meant their brains were still growing -- and so was the Giant's brain. His capacity was so far beyond theirs by now that it was a joke to think of outsmarting him. But such was Sergeant's competitive nature that he not only believed he could outsmart the Giant, he believed he already had.

Delusional. One of your children is insane, O Giant, and it isn't me and it isn't the girl. What are you going to do about it?

All right, not insane. Just ... warlike. While Carlotta studied the engineering of the ship and Ender studied the human genome and methods of altering it, Sergeant studied weapons, wars, and means of death. He came by it naturally -- the Giant had been a great military commander on Earth, perhaps the best that ever lived, though if he was, Mother had not been far behind him. Bean and Petra -- the most powerful weapons in the Hegemon's arsenal as he united the world under a single government. It was only to be expected that some of their children would be warriors at heart, and that was Sergeant.

Even Carlotta was more warlike than Ender. Ender hated violence, hated confrontation. He just wanted to do his work and be left alone. He could see one of his sibs do something remarkable and he had no urge to match or surpass them -- on the contrary, he was proud of them, or frightened for them, depending on whether he approved of whatever stunt they were attempting.

Carlotta removed a narrow panel from near the ceiling of the access shaft.

"Oh, not really," said Ender.

"We fit just fine," said Carlotta. "You're not claustrophobic, are you?"

"It's the gravity lensing field," said Ender. "And it's active."

"It's just gravity. Ten percent of Earth. And we're sandwiched between two plates, it's not like we can fall."

"I hate the way it feels." They had played in that space when they were two-year-olds. It was like spinning around until you were dizzy. Only worse.

"Get over it," said Carlotta. "We've tested it, and sound really does get nullified in here."

"Right," said Ender. "How are we going to hear each other speak?"

"Tin can telephones," said Carlotta.

Of course they weren't the toy sound transmitters that they had made when they were really little. Carlotta had long since reengineered them so that, without any power source, they transmitted sound cleanly along ten meters of fine wire, even around corners or pinched in doors.

Sure enough, there was Sergeant, his eyes closed, "meditating" -- which Ender interpreted to mean that Sergeant was plotting how he would take over all the human worlds before he died of giantism at age twenty.

"Nice of you to come," said Sergeant. Ender couldn't hear him, but he could read his lips and besides, he already knew it was exactly what Sergeant was likely to say.

Soon they were hooked up in a three-way connection with Carlotta's tin cans. They all had to lie in a line with their heads turned, Ender between Carlotta and Sergeant so he couldn't decide to end the conversation and slither out.

As soon as Ender crept into the gravity field, he had felt that feeling of plunging over the top of a waterfall or leaping off a bridge. Down down down, said his sense of balance. Falling! warned his limbic node, all in a panic. For the first few minutes in the gravity field, Ender couldn't stop himself from flailing about in the startle reflex every ten seconds or so, but that's why Carlotta taped his tin can to his face, so he couldn't knock it away in one of his paroxysms.

"Get on with it," said Ender. "I've got work to do and this place feels like continuous death."

"It's thrilling," said Sergeant. "Humans spend money to get inside a gravity field for the adrenaline rush, and here we get this one for free."

Ender said nothing. The more he demanded that they hurry, the more Sergeant would digress and delay.

"For once I agree with Ender," said Carlotta. "I programmed turbulence into the lens and it's getting to me."

So Ender was right that it felt worse than usual. For only the ten thousandth time in his life, Ender wished he had beaten the kuso out of Sergeant when they first met. It would have established a different pecking order.

Instead, Ender paid attention when Mother kept telling him about how the other kids were "just as much our genuine children as you," even though Ender had actually been born from Mother's body and the other kids had been implanted in the wombs of surrogates.

For the normal kids, that was no big deal -- they would have no memories of living anywhere else. But the antonines, Sergeant and Carlotta, were aware of everything at six months instead of three years. They remembered their surrogate families and felt like strangers with Mother and Father.

Ender could have bullied and bossed them, but he didn't. He tried not to imply that he thought of himself as the "real" child, though at the age of twelve months, of course he felt that way. Sergeant's reaction to the strange situation was to assert himself and try to take control. He must have been hell for his surrogate parents in the first year of his life. They would have had no idea what to do with a child who talked in full sentences by six months, who climbed everywhere and got into everything by nine months, who was teaching himself to read at age one.

Carlotta, on the other hand, was reticent; her surrogate parents might not have known just how much she could do at such an early age. When Father and Mother brought her home, she responded to the new situation with shyness, and she and Ender quickly became friends. Sergeant, feeling threatened, had to turn everything into a contest -- or a fight.

Ender mostly evaded Sergeant's belligerency. Unfortunately, Sergeant took that to mean submission. Except when he took it as arrogance. "You don't compete because you think you've already won everything."

Ender didn't think he'd won. He just thought of competition with Sergeant as a distraction. A waste of time. It's not fun playing with somebody who absolutely has to win, every single time.

"The Giant is taking a long time to die," said Sergeant.

In that instant, Ender understood the entire meeting. Sergeant was getting impatient. He was son of the king and impatient to inherit. How many times had this script been acted out in human history?

"So what do you propose?" asked Ender neutrally. "Evacuate the air from the payload area? Poison his water or his food? Or will you insist we all hold knives and stab him to death in the Senate?"

"Don't be melodramatic," said Sergeant. "The bigger he gets, the harder it will be to deal with the carcass."

"Open the cargo bay and jettison it into space," said Carlotta.

"How clever," said Sergeant. "More than half our nutrients are tied up in his body and it's beginning to affect life support. We have to be able to reclaim those nutrients so we have something to eat and breathe as we get larger."

"So we cut him up into steaks?" asked Ender.

"I knew you'd react that way," said Sergeant. "We won't eat him, not directly, we'll slice him and put him in the trays. The bacteria will dissolve him and the lichen will have a growth spurt."

"And then huzzah, double rations for everybody," said Ender.

"All I propose is that we stop feeding him his full daily calories. By the time he notices, he'll have become so feeble that he can't do anything about it."

"He won't want to anyway," said Ender. "As soon as he realizes we're trying to kill him, he'll want to die."

"Melodrama!" said Sergeant. "Nobody wants to die, unless they're insane. The Giant wants to live. And he isn't sentimental like you, Ender. He'll kill us before he'll let us kill him."

"Don't assume that the Giant is as evil as you," said Ender.

Carlotta tugged on his foot. "Play nice, Ender," she said.

Ender knew how this would play out. Carlotta would express her regret but she'd agree with Sergeant. If Ender tried to give the Giant extra calories, Sergeant would beat him and Carlotta would stand by, or even help hold him. Not that the beatings ever lasted long. Ender just had no interest in fighting, so he didn't defend himself. After a few blows, he always gave in.

But this was different. The Giant was dying anyway. That caused Ender enough anguish that the idea of hastening the process was unbearable.

Nothing unbearable had ever been proposed before. So Ender's reaction surprised even him. No, especially him.

Sergeant's head was right there, just above Ender's own. Ender reached up, and with all the power of his arms, he rammed Sergeant's head into the wall.

Sergeant's hands immediately snaked out to begin the battle, but Ender had taken him by surprise -- no one had ever actively hurt Sergeant before, and he wasn't used to dealing with pain. By the time Sergeant's hands were groping for Ender's arms, Ender's legs were braced on both sides of the field containment shaft and he was ramming the heel of his hand full strength into Sergeant's nose.

Blood sprayed out and floated in globules that "fell" in every direction in the turbulent gravity field.

Sergeant's grip faltered. This was serious pain. Ender could hear him shouting in fury into the tin can.

Ender shaped his hand into a fist and drove a knuck into Sergeant's eye.

Sergeant screamed.

Carlotta twisted on Ender's foot, shouting, "What are you doing? What's going on?"

Ender braced himself against her grip and drove the edge of his hand into Sergeant's throat.

Sergeant choked and gasped.

Ender did it again.

Sergeant stopped breathing, his eyes bugging out in terror.

Ender pulled himself along until his mouth was over Sergeant's. He locked their lips together and blew into Sergeant's mouth, hard. He got blood and snot from Sergeant's nose all over in his mouth when he did, but he hadn't yet decided whether to kill Sergeant. The rational part of Ender's mind, which had always been in control till now, was beginning to reassert itself.

"Here's how it's going to be," said Ender. "Your reign of terror is over. You proposed murder and you meant it."

"He didn't mean it," said Carlotta.

Ender lashed back with his foot and caught her in the mouth. She cried out and then just cried.

"He meant it and you would have helped him with it," said Ender. "I've put up with this goffno till now but now you crossed the line. Sergeant, you're not in charge of anything. If you try to give orders to anybody again, I'll kill you. Do you understand me?"

"Ender, he'll kill you now!" cried Carlotta through her tears. "What's happened to you?"

"Sergeant will not kill me," said Ender. "Because Sergeant knows that I just became his commanding officer. He's been dying to have one, and the Giant wouldn't do it, so I will. Since you don't have a conscience of your own, Sergeant, you will have mine from now on. You don't do anything violent or dangerous without my permission. If you catch yourself thinking about harming me or anyone else, I'll know it because I can read your body like a big-print book."

"No you can't," said Carlotta.

"I can read the human body the way you read the machinery on the ship, Carlotta," said Ender. "I always know what Sergeant's planning, I just never cared enough to stop him until now. When the Giant dies, of his own accord, in his own good time, then we will probably do something like what you proposed, Sergeant, because we can't lose the nutrients. But we don't need those nutrients now and we won't need them for years. Meanwhile, I'll do all I can to keep the Giant alive."

"You would never kill me," croaked Sergeant.

"Patricide is a thousand times worse than fratricide," said Ender, "and I won't even hesitate. You didn't have to cross this line, but you did, and I think you knew what I'd do. I think you wanted me to do it. I think you're terrified by the fact that nobody ever stopped you from doing anything. Well, this is your lucky day. I'm stopping you from now on. You and your weapons and your war games -- I learned how to damage the human body and I can promise you, Sergeant, I have permanently changed your voice and your nose. Every time you look in the mirror, every time you hear yourself talk, you'll remember -- Ender is in charge and Sergeant will do as Ender tells him. Got it?"

As punctuation, Ender wrung Sergeant's nose, which was definitely broken.

Sergeant cried out, but that hurt his throat terribly and he gurgled and choked and spat.

"The Giant's going to ask what happened to Sergeant," Carlotta said.

"He won't have to ask," said Ender. "I'm going to repeat our conversation to him, verbatim, and the two of you will be there to listen. Now, Carlotta, back down this shaft so I can drag Sergeant's miserable body out to where we can get the bleeding stopped."


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