By Ian McDonald.
The Clade Heart-world had engaged its Mach drive and was slowly, slow as a kiss, as an Edda, manipulating the weave of space-time to accelerate away from bloated, burning Seydatryah. Those unharvested must perish with the planet as Seydatryah's family of worlds passed beyond the age of biology. Calls flickered at light-speed across the system. Strung like pearls around the gas giant, the eight hundred half-gestated daughter-habitats left their birthing orbits: half-shells, hollow environment spheres; minor Heart-worlds of a handful of tiers. A quarter of the distance to the next star, the manufactories and system defenses out in the deep blue cold of the Oort cloud warped orbits to fall into the Heart-world's train. The Chamber of Ever-Renewing Waters, the military council, together with the Deep Blue Something, the gestalt uber-mind that was the Heart-world's participatory democracy, had acted the moment it became aware of Rose of Jericho's small secret. Seydatryah system glowed with message masers as the call went out down the decades and centuries to neighbouring Heart-worlds and culture clouds and even meat-planets: after one hundred thousand years, we have an opportunity to finally defeat the Enemy.
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