piggies, the truth about ourselves. Somehow this ancient man is able to see the truth and it doesn't
blind his eyes or drive him mad. I must listen to this voice and let its power come to me so I, too,
can stare at the light and not die.
"Novinha knew what she was. An adulteress, a hypocrite. She knew she was hurting Marc o, Libo,
her children, Bruxinha. She knew she had killed Pipo. So she endured, even invited Marc o's
punishment. It was her penance. It was never penance enough. No matter how much Marc o might
hate her, she hated herself much more."
The Bishop nodded slowly. The Speaker had done a monstrous thing, to lay these secrets before
the whole community. They should have been spoken in the confessional. Yet Peregrino had felt
the power of it, the way the whole community was forced to discover these people that they thought
they knew, and then discover them again, and then again; and each revision of the story forced
them all to reconceive themselves as well, for they had been part of this story, too, had been
touched by all the people a hundred, a thousand times, never understanding until now who it was
they touched. It was a painful, fearful thing to go through, but in the end it had a curiously calming
effect. The Bishop leaned to his secretary and whispered, "At least the gossips will get nothing
from this-- there aren't any secrets left to tell."
"All the people in this story suffered pain," the Speaker said. "All of them sacrificed for the people
they loved. All of them caused terrible pain to the people who loved them. And you-- listening to
me here today, you also caused pain. But remember this: Marc o's life was tragic and cruel, but he
could have ended his bargain with Novinha at any time. He chose to stay. He must have found
some joy in it. And Novinha: She broke the laws of God that bind this community together. She has
also borne her punishment. The Church asks for no penance as terrible as the one she imposed on
herself. And if you're inclined to think she might deserve some petty cruelty at your hands, keep
this in mind: She suffered everything, did all this for one purpose: to keep the piggies from killing
The words left ashes in their hearts.
Olhado stood and walked to his mother, knelt by her, put an arm around her shoulder. Ela sat
beside her, but she was folded to the ground, weeping. Quara came and stood in front of her
mother, staring at her with awe. And Grego buried his face in Novinha's lap and wept. Those who
were near enough could hear him crying, "Todo papai ‚ morto. Nao tenho nem papai." All my
papas are dead. I don't have any papa.
Ouanda stood in the mouth of the alley where she had gone with her mother just before the
Speaking ended. She looked for Miro, but he was already gone.
Ender stood behind the platform, looking at Novinha's family, wishing he could do something to
ease their pain. There was always pain after a Speaking, because a Speaker for the Dead did
nothing to soften the truth. But only rarely had people lived such lives of deceit as Marc o, Libo,
and Novinha; rarely were there so many shocks, so many bits of information that forced people to
revise their conception of the people that they knew, the people that they loved. Ender knew from
the faces that looked up at him as he spoke that he had caused great pain today. He had felt it all
himself, as if they had passed their suffering to him. Bruxinha had been most surprised, but Ender
knew she was not worst injured. That distinction belonged to Miro and Ouanda, who had thought
they knew what the future would bring them. But Ender had also felt the pain that people felt
before, and he knew that today's new wounds would heal much faster than the old ones ever would
have done. Novinha might not recognize it, but Ender had stripped from her a burden that was
much too heavy for her to bear any longer.
"Speaker," said Mayor Bosquinha.
"Mayor," said Ender. He didn't like talking to people after a Speaking, but he was used to the fact
that someone always insisted on talking to him. He forced a smile. "There were many more people
here than I expected."
"A momentary thing, for most of them," said Bosquinha. "They'll forget it by morning."
Ender was annoyed that she was trivializing it. "Only if something monumental happens in the
night," he said.
"Yes. Well, that has been arranged."
Only then did Ender realize that she was extremely upset, barely under control at all. He took her
by the elbow and then cast an arm over her shoulder; she leaned gratefully.
"Speaker, I came to apologize. Your starship has been commandeered by Starways Congress. It
has nothing to do with you. A crime was committed here, a crime so-- terrible-- that the criminals
must be taken to the nearest world, Trondheim, for trial and punishment. Your ship."
Ender reflected for a moment. "Miro and Ouanda."
She turned her head, looked at him sharply. "You are not surprised."
"I also won't let them go."
Bosquinha pulled herself away from him. "Won't let them?"
"I have some idea what they're charged with."
"You've been here four days, and you already know something that even I never suspected?"
"Sometimes the government is the last to know."
"Let me tell you why you will let them go, why we'll all let them go to stand trial. Because
Congress has stripped our files. The computer memory is empty except for the most rudimentary
programs that control our power supply, our water, our sewer. Tomorrow no work can be done
because we haven't enough power to run any of the factories, to work in the mines, to power the
tractors. I have been removed from office. I am now nothing more than the deputy chief of police,
to see that the directives of the Lusitanian Evacuation Committee are carried out."
"The colony's license has been revoked. They're sending starships to take us all away. Every sign
of human habitation here is to be removed. Even the gravestones that mark our dead. "
Ender tried to measure her response. He had not thought Bosquinha was the kind who would bow
to mindless authority. "Do you intend to submit to this?"
"The power and water supplies are controlled by ansible. They also control the fence. They can
shut us in here without power or water or sewers, and we can't get out. Once Miro and Ouanda are
aboard your starship, headed for Trondheim, they say that some of the restrictions will be relaxed."
She sighed. "Oh, Speaker, I'm afraid this isn't a good time to be a tourist in Lusitania."
"I'm not a tourist." He didn't bother telling her his suspicion that it might not be pure coincidence,
Congress noticing the Questionable Activities when Ender happened to be there. "Were you able to
save any of your files?"
Bosquinha sighed. "By imposing on you, I'm afraid. I noticed that all your files were maintained
by ansible, offworld. We sent our most crucial files as messages to you."
Ender laughed. "Good, that's right, that was well done."
"It doesn't matter. We can't get them back. Or, well, yes, we can, but they'll notice it at once and
then you'll be in just as much trouble as the rest of us. And they'll wipe out everything then."
"Unless you sever the ansible connection immediately after copying all my files to local memory."
"Then we really would be in rebellion. And for what?"
"For the chance to make Lusitania the best and most important of the Hundred Worlds."
Bosquinha laughed. "I think they'll regard us as important, but treason is hardly the way to be
known as the best."
"Please. Don't do anything. Don't arrest Miro and Ouanda. Wait for an hour and let me meet with
you and anyone else who needs to be in on the decision."
"The decision whether or not to rebel? I can't think why you should be in on that decision,
"You'll understand at the meeting. Please, this place is too important for the chance to he missed."
"The chance for what?"
"To undo what Ender did in the Xenocide three thousand years ago."
Bosquinha gave him a sharp-eyed look. "And here I thought you had just proved yourself to be
nothing but a gossipmonger."
She might have been joking. Or she might not. "If you think that what I just did was gossip-
mongering, you're too stupid to lead this community in anything." He smiled.
Bosquinha spread her hands and shrugged. "Pois ‚," she said. Of course. What else?
"Will you have the meeting?"
"I'll call it. In the Bishop's chambers."
"The Bishop won't meet anywhere else," she said, "and no decision to rebel will mean a thing if he
doesn't agree to it." Bosquinha laid her hand on his chest. "He may not even let you into the
Cathedral. You are the infidel."
"But you'll try."
"I'll try because of what you did tonight. Only a wise man could see my people so clearly in so
short a time. Only a ruthless one would say it all out loud. Your virtue and your flaw-- we need
Bosquinha turned and hurried away. Ender knew that she did not, in her inmost heart, want to
comply with Starways Congress. It had been too sudden, too severe; they had preempted her
authority as if she were guilty of a crime. To give in smacked of confession, and she knew she had
done nothing wrong. She wanted to resist, wanted to find some plausible way to slap back at
Congress and tell them to wait, to be calm. Or, if necessary, to tell them to drop dead. But she
wasn't a fool. She wouldn't do anything to resist them unless she knew it would work and knew it
would benefit her people. She was a good Governor, Ender knew. She would gladly sacrifice her
pride, her reputation, her future for her people's sake.
He was alone in the praqa. Everyone had gone while Bosquinha talked to him. Ender felt as an old
soldier must feel, walking over placid fields at the site of a long-ago battle, hearing the echoes of
the carnage in the breeze across the rustling grass.
"Don't let them sever the ansible connection."
The voice in his ear startled him, but he knew it at once. "Jane," he said.
"I can make them think you've cut off your ansible, but if you really do it then I won't be able to
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"Jane," he said, "you did this, didn't you! Why else would they notice what Libo and Miro and
Ouanda have been doing if you didn't call it to their attention?"
She didn't answer.
"Jane, I'm sorry that I cut you off, I'll never--"
He knew she knew what he would say; he didn't have to finish sentences with her. But she didn't
"I'll never turn off the--"
What good did it do to finish sentences that he knew she understood? She hadn't forgiven him yet,
that was all, or she would already be answering, telling him to stop wasting her time. Yet he
couldn't keep himself from trying one more time. "I missed you. Jane. I really missed you."
Still she didn't answer. She had said what she had to say, to keep the ansible connection alive, and
that was all. For now. Ender didn't mind waiting. It was enough to know that she was still there,
listening. He wasn't alone. Ender was surprised to find tears on his cheeks. Tears of relief, he
decided. Catharsis. A Speaking, a crisis, people's lives in tatters, the future of the colony in doubt.
And I cry in relief because an overblown computer program is speaking to me again.
Ela was waiting for him in his little house. Her eyes were red from crying. "Hello," she said.
"Did I do what you wanted?" he asked.
"I never guessed," she said. "He wasn't our father. I should have known."
"I can't think how you could have."
"What have I done? Calling you here to Speak my father's-- Marc o's-- death. " She began
weeping again. "Mother's secrets-- I thought I knew what they were, I thought it was just her files--
I thought she hated Libo. "
"All I did was open the windows and let in some air."
"Tell that to Miro and Ouanda."
"Think a moment, Ela. They would have found out eventually. The cruel thing was that they didn't
know for so many years. Now that they have the truth, they can find their own way out."
"Like Mother did? Only this time even worse than adultery?"
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Ender touched her hair, smoothed it. She accepted his touch, his consolation. He couldn't
remember if his father or mother had ever touched him with such a gesture. They must have. How
else would he have learned it?
"Ela, will you help me?"
"Help you what? You've done your work, haven't you?"
"This has nothing to do with Speaking for the dead. I have to know, within the hour, how the
"You'll have to ask Mother-- she's the one who knows."
"I don't think she'd be glad to see me tonight."
"I'm supposed to ask her? Good evening, Mamae, you've just been revealed to all of Milagre as an
adulteress who's been lying to your children all our lives. So if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to ask
you a couple of science questions."
"Ela, it's a matter of survival for Lusitania. Not to mention your brother Miro." He reached over
and turned to the terminal. "Log on," he said.
She was puzzled, but she did it. The computer wouldn't recognize her name. "I've been taken off."
She looked at him in alarm. "Why?"
"It's not just you. It's everybody."
"It isn't a breakdown," she said. "Somebody stripped out the log-on file."
"Starways Congress stripped all the local computer memory. Everything's gone. We're regarded as
being in a state of rebellion. Miro and Ouanda are going to be arrested and sent to Trondheim for
trial. Unless I can persuade the Bishop and Bosquinha to launch a real rebellion. Do you
understand? If your mother doesn't tell you what I need to know, Miro and Ouanda will both be
sent twenty-two lightyears away. The penalty for treason is death. But even going to the trial is as
bad as life imprisonment. We'll all be dead or very very old before they get back."
Ela looked blankly at the wall. "What do you need to know?"
"I need to know what the Committee will find when they open up her files. About how the
Descolada works. "
"Yes," said Ela. "For Miro's sake she'll do it." She looked at him defiantly. "She does love us, you
know. For one of her children, she'd talk to you herself."
"Good," said Ender. "It would be better if she came herself. To the Bishop's chambers, in an
"Yes," said Ela. For a moment she sat still. Then a synapse connected somewhere, and she stood
up and hurried toward the door.
She stopped. She came back, embraced him, kissed him on the cheek. "I'm glad you told it all,"
she said. "I'm glad to know it."
He kissed her forehead and sent her on her way. When the door closed behind her, he sat down on
his bed, then lay down and stared at the ceiling. He thought of Novinha, tried to imagine what she
was feeling now. No matter how terrible it is, Novinha, your daughter is hurrying home to you right
now, sure that despite the pain and humiliation you're going through, you'll forget yourself
completely and do whatever it takes to save your son. I would trade you all your suffering,
Novinha, for one child who trusted me like that.
Chapter 16 -- The Fence
A great rabbi stands teaching in the marketplace. It happens that a husband finds proof that
morning of his wife's adultery, and a mob carries her to the marketplace to stone her to death.
(There is a familiar version of this story, but a friend of mine, a Speaker for the Dead, has told me
of two other rabbis that faced the same situation. Those are the ones I'm going to tell you.)
The rabbi walks forward and stands beside the woman. Out of respect for him the mob forbears,
and waits with the stones heavy in their hands, "Is there anyone here," he says to them, "who has
not desired another man's wife, another woman's husband?"
They murmur and say, "We all know the desire. But, Rabbi, none of us has acted on it."
The rabbi says, "Then kneel down and give thanks that God made you strong." He takes the
woman by the hand and leads her out of the market. Just before he lets her go, he whispers to her,
"Tell the lord magistrate who saved his mistress. Then he'll know I am his loyal servant."
So the woman lives, because the community is too corrupt to protect itself from disorder.
Another rabbi, another city, He goes to her and stops the mob, as in the other story, and says,
"Which of you is without sin? Let him cast the first stone."
The people are abashed, and they forget their unity of purpose in the memory of their own
individual sins. Someday, they think, I may be like this woman, and I'll hope for forgiveness and
another chance. I should treat her the way I wish to be treated.
As they open their hands and let the stones fall to the ground, the rabbi picks up one of the fallen
stones, lifts it high over the woman's head, and throws it straight down with all his might. It crushes
her skull and dashes her brains onto the cobblestones.
"Nor am I without sin," he says to the people. "But if we allow only perfect people to enforce the
law, the law will soon be dead, and our city with it."
So the woman died because her community was too rigid to endure her deviance.
The famous version of this story is noteworthy because it is so startlingly rare in our experience.
Most communities lurch between decay and rigor mortis, and when they veer too far, they die.
Only one rabbi dared to expect of us such a perfect balance that we could preserve the law and still
forgive the deviation. So, of course, we killed him.
-- San Angelo, Letters to on Incipient Heretic, trans. Amai a Tudomundo Para Que Deus Vos Ame
Crist o, 103:72:54:2
Minha irma. My sister. The words kept running through Miro's head until he didn't hear them
anymore, they were part of the background: A Ouanda ‚ minha irma. She's my sister. His feet
carried him by habit from the praqa to the playing fields and over the saddle of the hill. The crown
of the higher peak held the Cathedral and the monastery, which always loomed over the Zenador's
Station, as if they were a fortress keeping watch over the gate. Did Libo walk this way as he went
to meet my mother? Did they meet in the Xenobiologist's Station? Or was it more discreet, rutting
in the grass like hogs on the fazendas?
He stood at the door of the Zenador's Station and tried to think of some reason to go inside.
Nothing to do there. Hadn't written a report on what happened today, but he didn't know how to
write it anyway. Magical powers, that's what it was. The piggies sing to the trees and the trees split
themselves into kindling. Much better than carpentry. The aboriginals are a good deal more
sophisticated than previously supposed. Multiple uses for everything. Each tree is at once a totem, a
grave marker, and a small lumber mill. Sister. There's something I have to do but I can't remember.
The piggies have the most sensible plan. Live as brothers only, and never mind the women.
Would have been better for you, Libo, and that's the truth-- no, I should call you Papai, not Libo.
Too bad Mother never told you or you could have dandled me on your knee. Both your eldest
children, Ouanda on one knee and Miro on the other, aren't we proud of our two children? Born the
same year, only two months apart, what a busy fellow Papai was then, sneaking along the fence to
tup Mamde in her own back yard. Everyone felt sorry for you because you had nothing but
daughters. No one to carry on the family name. Their sympathy was wasted. You were brimming
over with sons. And I have far more sisters than I ever thought. One more sister than I wanted.
He stood at the gate, looking up toward the woods atop the piggies' hill. There is no scientific
purpose to be served by visiting at night. So I guess I'll serve an unscientific purposelessness and
see if they have room for another brother in the tribe. I'm probably too big for a bedspace in the log
house, so I'll sleep outside, and I won't be much for climbing trees, but I do know a thing or two
about technology, and I don't feel any particular inhibitions now about telling you anything you
want to know.
He laid his right hand on the identification box and reached out his left to pull the gate. For a split
second he didn't realize what was happening. Then his hand felt like it was on fire, like it was being
cut off with a rusty saw, he shouted and pulled his left hand away from the gate. Never since the
gate was built had it stayed hot after the box was touched by the Zenador's hand.
"Marcos Vladimir Ribeira von Hesse, your passage through the fence has been revoked by order
of the Lusitanian Evacuation Committee."
Never since the gate was built had the voice challenged a Zenador. It took a moment before Miro
understood what it was saying.
"You and Ouanda Quenhatta Figueira Mucumbi will present yourselves to Deputy Chief of Police
Faria Lima Maria do Bosque, who will arrest you in the name of Starways Congress and present
you on Trondheim for trial."
For a moment he was lightheaded and his stomach felt heavy and sick. They know. Tonight of all
nights. Everything over. Lose Ouanda, lose the piggies, lose my work, all gone. Arrest. Trondheim.
Where the Speaker came from, twenty-two years in transit, everybody gone except Ouanda, the
only one left, and she's my sister--
His hand flashed out again to pull at the gate; again the excruciating pain shot through his arm, the
pain nerves all alerted, all afire at once. I can't just disappear. They'll seal the gate to everyone.
Nobody will go to the piggies, nobody will tell them, the piggies will wait for us to come and no
one will ever come out of the gate again. Not me, not Ouanda, not the Speaker, nobody, and no
Evacuation Committee. They'll evacuate us and wipe out every trace of our being here. That much
is in the rules, but there's more, isn't there? What did they see? How did they find out? Did the
Speaker tell them? He's so addicted to truth. I have to explain to the piggies why we won't be
coming back, I have to tell them.
A piggy always watched them, followed them from the moment they entered the forest. Could a
piggy be watching now? Miro waved his hand. It was too dark, though. They couldn't possibly see
him. Or perhaps they could; no one knew how good the piggies' vision was at night. Whether they
saw him or not, they didn't come. And soon it would be too late; if the framlings were watching the
gate, they had no doubt already notified Bosquinha, and she'd be on her way, zipping over the
grass. She would be oh-so-reluctant to arrest him, but she would do her job, and never mind
arguing with her about whether it was good for humans or piggies, either one, to maintain this
foolish separation, she wasn't the sort to question the law, she just did what she was told. And he'd
surrender, there was no reason to fight, where could he hide inside the fence, out among the cabra
herds? But before he gave up, he'd tell the piggies, he had to tell them.
So he walked along the fence, away from the gate, toward the open grassland directly down the
hill from the Cathedral, where no one lived near enough to hear his voice. As he walked, he called.
Not words, but a high hooting sound, a cry that he and Ouanda used to call each other's attention
when they were separated among the piggies. They'd hear it, they had to hear it, they had to come
to him because he couldn't possibly pass the fence. So come, Human, Leafeater, Mandachuva,
Arrow, Cups, Calendar, anyone, everyone, come and let me tell you that I cannot tell you any more.
Quim sat miserably on a stool in the Bishop's office.
"Estevao," the Bishop said quietly, "there'll be a meeting here in a few minutes, but I want to talk
to you a minute first."
"Nothing to talk about," said Quim. "You warned us, and it happened. He's the devil."
"Estevao, we'll talk for a minute and then you'll go home and sleep."
"Never going back there."
"The Master ate with worse sinners than your mother, and forgave them. Are you better than he?"
"None of the adulteresses he forgave was his mother!"
"Not everyone's mother can be the Blessed Virgin."
"Are you on his side, then? Has the Church made way here for the Speakers for the Dead? Should
we tear down the Cathedral and use the stones to make an amphitheater where all our dead can be
slandered before we lay them in the ground?"
A whisper: "I am your Bishop, Estevao, the vicar of Christ on this planet, and you will speak to
me with the respect you owe to my office."
Quim stood there, furious, unspeaking.
"I think it would have been better if the Speaker had not told these stories publicly. Some things
are better learned in privacy, in quiet, so that we need not deal with shocks while an audience
watches us. That's why we use the confessional, to shield us from public shame while we wrestle
with our private sins. But be fair, Estevao. The Speaker may have told the stories, but the stories all
were true. Ne?"
"Now, Estevao, let us think. Before today, did you love your mother?"
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