enough to take risks when the time was right, we might not have heeded his message. But we did
heed it; we studied it and found from our government sources that the Japanese influence on
Starways Congress was and continues to be pivotal on this issue in particular. And in our judgment
there is no time for us to try to build a coalition of other companies or to change public opinion.
The fleet might arrive at any moment. Our fleet, if Aimaina Hikari is correct; and even if he is not,
it is a human fleet, and we are humans, and it might just be within our power to stop it. A
quarantine will easily do all that is necessary to protect the human species from annihilation by the
descolada virus. Therefore we wish to inform you, Yasujiro Tsutsumi, that you have proven
yourself worthy of the name that was given you at birth. We will commit all the resources of the
Tsutsumi family to the task of convincing a sufficient number of Congressmen to oppose the fleet--
and to oppose it so vigorously that they force an immediate vote to recall the fleet and forbid it to
strike against Lusitania. We may succeed in this task or we may fail, but either way, our younger
brother Yasujiro Tsutsumi has served us well, not only through his many achievements in company
management, but also because he knew when to listen to an outsider, when to put moral questions
into a position of primacy over financial considerations, and when to risk all in order to help
Tsutsumi be and do what is right. Therefore we summon Yasujiro Tsutsumi to Honshu, where he
will serve Tsutsumi as my assistant." At this Eiichi bowed. "I am honored that such a distinguished
young man is being trained to be my replacement when I die or retire."
Yasujiro bowed gravely. He was relieved, yes, that he was being called directly to Honshu-- no
one had ever been summoned so young. But to be Eiichi's assistant, groomed to replace him-- that
was not the life's work Yasujiro had dreamed of. It was not to be a philosopher-cum-ombudsman
that he had worked so hard and served so faithfully. He wanted to be in the thick of management of
the family enterprises.
But it would be years of starflight before he arrived on Honshu. Eiichi might well be dead. Yes Sir
would surely be dead by then as well. Instead of replacing Eiichi, he might as easily be given a
different assignment better suited to his real abilities. So Yasujiro would not refuse this strange gift.
He would embrace his fate and follow where it led.
"O Eiichi my father, I bow before you and before all the great fathers of our company, most
particularly Yoshiaki-Seiji-san. You honor me beyond anything I could ever deserve. I pray that I
will not disappoint you too much. And I also give thanks that at this difficult time the Yamato spirit
is in such good protecting hands as yours."
With his public acceptance of his orders, the meeting ended-- it was expensive, after all, and the
Tsutsumi family was careful to avoid waste if it could help it. The ansible conference ended.
Yasujiro sat back in his chair and closed his eyes. He was trembling.
"Oh, Yasujiro-san," said the ansible attendant. "Oh, Yasujiro-san."
Oh, Yasujiro-san, thought Yasujiro. Who would have guessed that Aimaina's visit to me would
lead to this? So easily it could have gone the other way. Now he would be one of the men of
Honshu. Whatever his role, he would be among the supreme leaders of Tsutsumi. There was no
happier outcome. Who would have guessed.
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Before he rose from his chair beside the ansible, Tsutsumi representatives were talking to all the
Japanese Congressmen, and many who were not Japanese but nevertheless followed the
Necessarian line. And as the tally of compliant politicians rose, it became clear that support for the
fleet was shallow indeed. It would not be all that expensive to stop the fleet after all.
The pequenino on duty monitoring the satellites that orbited Lusitania heard the alarm going off
and at first had no idea what was happening. The alarm had never, to his knowledge, sounded. At
first he assumed it was some kind of dangerous weather pattern that had been detected. But it was
nothing of the kind. It was the outward-searching telescopes that had triggered the alarm. Dozens of
armed starships had just appeared, traveling at very high but nonrelativistic speeds, on a course that
would allow them to launch the Little Doctor within the hour.
The duty officer gave the urgent message to his colleagues, and very quickly the mayor of Milagre
was notified and the rumor began to spread throughout what was left of the village. Anyone who
doesn't leave within the hour will be destroyed, that was the message, and within minutes hundreds
of human families were gathered around the starships, anxiously waiting to be taken in.
Remarkably, it was only humans insisting on these last-minute runs. Faced with the inevitable
death of their own forests of fathertrees, mothertrees, and brothertrees, the pequeninos felt no
urgency to save their own lives. Who would they be without their forest? Better to die among loved
ones than as perpetual strangers in a distant forest that was not and never could be their own.
As for the Hive Queen, she had already sent her last daughter-queen and had no particular interest
in trying to leave herself. She was the last of the hive queens who had been alive before Ender's
destruction of their home planet. She felt it fitting that she, too, should submit to the same kind of
death three thousand years later. Besides, she told herself, how could she bear to live when her
great friend, Human, was rooted to Lusitania and could not leave it? It was not a queenly thought,
but then, no hive queen before her had ever had a friend. It was a new thing in the world, to have
someone to talk to who was not substantially yourself. It would grieve her too much to live on
without Human. And since her survival was no longer crucial to the perpetuation of her species, she
would do the grand, brave, tragic, romantic, and least complicated thing: She would stay. She rather
liked the idea of being noble in human terms; and it proved, to her own surprise, that she had not
been utterly unchanged by her close contact with humans and pequeninos. They had transformed
her quite against her own expectations. There had been no Hive Queen like her in all the history of
<I wish you would go,> Human told her. <I prefer the thought of you alive. >
But for once she did not answer him.
Jane was adamant. The team working on the language of the descoladores had to leave Lusitania
and get back to work in orbit around the descolada planet. Of course that included herself, but no
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one was foolish enough to begrudge the survival of the person who was making all the starships go,
nor of the team that would perhaps save all of humanity from the descoladores. But Jane was on
shakier moral ground when she also insisted that Novinha, Grego, and Olhado and his family be
taken to a place of safety. Valentine, too, was informed that if she did not go with her husband and
children and their crew and friends to Jakt's starship, Jane would be forced to waste precious mental
resources by transporting them bodily against their will, sans spacecraft if necessary.
"Why us?" demanded Valentine. "We haven't asked for special treatment."
"I don't care what you do or do not ask for," said Jane. "You are Ender's sister. Novinha is his
widow, her children are his adopted children; I will not stand by and let you be killed when I have
it in my power to save the family of my friend. If that seems unfairly preferential to you, then
complain about it to me later, but for now get yourselves into Jakt's spaceship so I can lift you off
this world. And you will save more lives if you don't waste another moment of my attention with
Feeling ashamed at having special privileges, yet grateful they and their loved ones would live
through the next few hours, the descoladores team gathered in the shuttle-turned-starship, which
Jane had relocated away from the crowded landing area; the others hurried toward Jakt's landing
craft, which she had also moved to an isolated spot.
In a way, for many of them at least, the appearance of the fleet was almost a relief. They had lived
for so long in its shadow that to have it here at last gave respite from the endless anxiety. Within an
hour or two, the issue would be decided.
In the shuttle that hurtled along in a high orbit above the planet of the descoladores, Miro sat
numbly at his terminal. "I can't work," he said at last. "I can't concentrate on language when my
people and my home are on the brink of destruction." He knew that Jane, strapped into her bed in
the back of the shuttle, was using her whole concentration to move ship after ship from Lusitania to
other colony worlds that were ill-prepared to receive them. While all he could do was puzzle over
molecular messages from inscrutable aliens.
"Well I can," said Quara. "After all, these descoladores are just as great a threat, and to all of
humanity, not just to one small world."
"How wise of you," said Ela dryly, "to take the long view."
"Look at these broadcasts we're getting from the descoladores," said Quara. "See if you recognize
what I'm seeing here."
Ela called up Quara's display on her own terminal; so did Miro. However annoying Quara might
be, she was good at what she did.
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"See this? Whatever else this molecule does, it's exactly designed to work at precisely the same
location in the brain as the heroin molecule."
It could not be denied that the fit was perfect. Ela, though, found it hard to believe. "The only way
they could do this," she said, "is if they took the historical information contained in the descolada
descriptions we sent them, used that information to build a human body, studied it, and found a
chemical that would immobilize us with mindless pleasure while they do whatever they want to us.
There's no way they've had time to grow a human since we sent that information."
"Maybe they don't have to build the whole human body," said Miro. "Maybe they're so adept at
reading genetic information that they can extrapolate everything there is to know about the human
anatomy and physiology from our genetic information alone."
"But they didn't even have our DNA set," Ela said.
"Maybe they can compress the information in our primitive, natural DNA," said Miro. "Obviously
they got the information somehow, and obviously they figured out what would make us sit as still
as stones with dumb, happy smiles."
"What's even more obvious to me," said Quara, "is that they meant us to read this molecule
biologically. They meant us to take this drug instantly. As far as they're concerned, we're now
sitting here waiting for them to come take us over."
Miro immediately changed displays over his terminal. "Damn, Quara, you're right. Look-- they
have three ships closing in on us already."
"They've never even approached us before," said Ela.
"Well, they're not going to approach us now," said Miro. "We've got to give them a demonstration
that we didn't fall for their trojan horse." He got up from his seat and fairly flew back down the
corridor to where Jane was sleeping. "Jane!" he shouted even before he got there. "Jane!"
It took a moment, and then her eyes fluttered open.
"Jane," he said. "Move us about a hundred miles over and drop us into a closer orbit."
She looked at him quizzically, then must have decided to trust him because she asked nothing. She
closed her eyes again, as Firequencher shouted from the control room, "She did it! We moved!"
Miro, drifted back to the others. "Now I know they can't do that," he said. Sure enough, his
display now reported that the alien ships were no longer approaching, but rather were poised warily
a dozen miles off in three-- no, four now-- directions. "Got us nicely framed in a tetrahedron," said
"Well, now they know that we didn't succumb to their die-happy drug," said Quara.
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"But we're no closer to understanding them than we were before."
"That's because," said Miro, "we're so stupid."
"Self-vilification won't help us now," said Quara, "even if in your case it happens to be true."
"Quara," said Ela sharply.
"It was a joke, dammit!" said Quara. "Can't a girl tease her big brother?"
"Oh, yeah," said Miro dryly. "You're such a tease."
"What did you mean by saying we're stupid?" said Firequencher.
"We'll never decipher their language," said Miro, "because it's not a language. It's a set of
biological commands. They don't talk. They don't abstract. They just make molecules that do things
to each other. It's as if the human vocabulary consisted of bricks and sandwiches. Throw a brick or
give a sandwich, punish or reward. If they have abstract thoughts we're not going to get them
through reading these molecules."
"I find it hard to believe that a species with no abstract language could possibly create spaceships
like those out there," said Quara scornfully. "And they broadcast these molecules the way we
broadcast vids and voices."
"What if they all have organs inside their bodies that directly translate molecular messages into
chemicals or physical structures? Then they could--"
"You're missing my point," insisted Quara. "You don't build up a fund of common knowledge by
throwing bricks and sharing sandwiches. They need language in order to store information outside
their bodies so that they can pass knowledge from person to person, generation after generation.
You don't get out into space or make broadcasts using the electromagnetic spectrum on the basis of
what one person can be persuaded to do with a brick."
"She's probably right," said Ela.
"So maybe parts of the molecular messages they send are memory sets," said Miro. "Again, not a
language-- it stimulates the brain to 'remember' things that the sender experienced but the receiver
"Listen, whether you're right or not," said Firequencher, "we have to keep trying to decode the
"If I'm right, we're wasting our time," said Miro.
"Exactly," said Firequencher.
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"Oh," said Miro. Firequencher's point was well taken. If Miro was right, their whole mission was
useless anyway-- they had already failed. So they had to continue to act as if Miro was wrong and
the language could be decoded, because if it couldn't, there was nothing they could do anyway.
And yet ...
"We're forgetting something," said Miro.
"I'm not," said Quara.
"Jane. She was created because the hive queens built a bridge between species."
"Between humans and hive queens, not between unknown virus-spewing aliens and humans," said
But Ela was interested. "The human way of communication-- speech between equals-- that was
surely as foreign to the hive queens as this molecular language is to us. Maybe Jane can find some
way to connect to them philotically."
"Mind-reading?" said Quara. "Remember, we don't have a bridge."
"It all depends," said Miro, "on how they deal with philotic connections. The Hive Queen talks all
the time to Human, right? Because the fathertrees and the hive queens already both use philotic
links to communicate. They speak mind to mind, without the intervention of language. And they're
no more biologically similar than hive queens and humans are."
Ela nodded thoughtfully. "Jane can't try anything like this now, not till the whole issue of the
Congress fleet is resolved. But once she's free to return her attention to us, she can try, at least, to
contact these ... people directly."
"If these aliens communicated through philotic links," said Quara, "they wouldn't have to use
"Maybe these molecules," said Miro, "are how they communicate with animals."
Admiral Lands could not believe what he was hearing. The First Speaker of Starways Congress
and the First Secretary of the Starfleet Admiralty were both visible above the terminal, and their
message was the same. "Quarantine, exactly," said the Secretary. "You are not authorized to use the
Molecular Disruption Device."
"Quarantine is impossible," said Lands. "We're going too rapidly. You know the battle plan I filed
at the beginning of the voyage. It would take us weeks to slow down. And what about the men? It's
one thing to take a relativistic voyage and then return to their home worlds. Yes, their friends and
family are gone, but at least they aren't stuck off on permanent duty inside a starship! Keeping our
velocity at near-relativistic speeds, I'm saving them months of their lives spent in acceleration and
deceleration. You're talking about expecting them to give up years!"
"Surely you're not saying," said the First Speaker, "that we should blow up Lusitania and wipe out
the pequeninos and thousands of human beings so that your crews don't get depressed."
"I'm saying that if you don't want us to blow up this planet, fine-- but let us come home."
"We can't do that," said the First Secretary. "The descolada is too dangerous to leave it
unsupervised on a planet that has rebelled."
"You mean you're canceling the use of the Little Doctor when nothing has been done to contain
"We will send a landing team with due precautions to ascertain the exact conditions on the
ground," said the First Secretary.
"In other words, you'll send men into mortal danger from this disease with no knowledge of the
situation on the ground, when the means exist to eliminate the danger without peril to any
"Congress has reached the decision," said the First Speaker coldly. "We will not commit xenocide
while any legitimate alternative remains. Are these orders received and understood?"
"Yes sir," said Lands.
"Will they be obeyed?" asked the First Speaker.
The First Secretary looked aghast. You did not insult a flag officer by questioning whether he
meant to obey orders.
Yet the First Speaker did not withdraw the insult. "Well?"
"Sir, I always have and always will live by my oath." With that, Lands broke the connection. He
immediately turned to Causo, his X.O., the only other person present with him in the sealed
communications office. "You are under arrest, sir," said Lands.
Causo raised an eyebrow. "So you don't intend to comply with this order?"
"Do not tell me your personal feelings on the matter," said Lands. "I know that you're of
Portuguese ethnic heritage like the people of Lusitania--"
"They're Brazilian," said the X.O.
Lands ignored him. "I will have it on record that you were given no opportunity to speak and that
you are utterly blameless in any action I might take."
"What about your oath, sir?" asked Causo calmly.
"My oath is to take all actions I am ordered to take in service of the best interests of humanity. I
will invoke the war crimes clause."
"They aren't ordering you to commit a war crime. They're ordering you not to."
"On the contrary," said Lands. "To fail to destroy this world and the deadly peril on it would be a
crime against humanity far worse than the crime of blowing it up." Lands drew his sidearm. "You
are under arrest, sir."
The X.O. put his hands on his head and turned his back. "Sir, you may be right and you may be
wrong. But either choice could be monstrous. I don't know how you can make such a decision by
Lands put the docility patch on the back of Causo's neck, and as the drug began feeding into his
system, Lands said to him, "I had help in deciding, my friend. I asked myself, What would Ender
Wiggin, the man who saved humanity from the buggers, what would he have done if suddenly, at
the last minute, he had been told, This is no game, this is real. I asked myself, What if at the
moment before he killed the boy Stilson or the boy Madrid in his infamous First and Second
Killings, some adult had intervened and ordered him to stop. Would he have done it, knowing that
the adult did not have the power to protect him later, when his enemy attacked him again? Knowing
that it might well be this time or never? If the adults at Command School had said to him, We think
there's a chance the buggers might not mean to destroy humanity, so don't kill them all, do you
think Ender Wiggin would have obeyed? No. He would have done-- he always did-- exactly what
was necessary to obliterate a danger and make sure it did not survive to pose a threat in the future.
That is the person I consulted with. That is the person whose wisdom I will follow now."
Causo did not answer. He just smiled and nodded, smiled and nodded.
"Sit down and do not get up until I order you otherwise."
Causo sat down.
Lands switched the ansible to relay communications throughout the fleet. "The order has been
given and we will proceed. I am launching the M.D. Device immediately and we will return to
relativistic speeds forthwith. May God have mercy on my soul."
A moment later, the M.D. Device separated from the Admiral's flagship and continued at just-
under-relativistic speed toward Lusitania. It would take nearly an hour for it to arrive at the
proximity that would automatically trigger it. If for some reason the proximity detector did not
work properly, a timer would set it off just moments before its estimated time of collision.
Lands accelerated his flagship above the threshold that cut it off from the timeframe of the rest of
the universe. Then he pulled the docility patch from Causo's neck and replaced it with the antidote
patch. "You may arrest me now, sir, for the mutiny that you witnessed."
Causo shook his head. "No sir," he said. "You're not going anywhere, and the fleet is yours to
command until we get home. Unless you have some stupid plan to try to escape the war crimes trial
that awaits you."
"No, sir," said Lands. "I will bear whatever penalty they impose on me. What I did has saved
humankind from destruction, but I am prepared to join the humans and pequeninos of Lusitania as a
necessary sacrifice to achieve that end."
Causo saluted him, then sat back down on his chair and wept.
Chapter 15 -- "WE'RE GIVING YOU A SECOND CHANCE"
"When I was a little girl, I used to believe that if I could please the gods well enough, they would
go back and do my life over, and this time they would not take my mother away from me."
-- from The God Whispers of Han Qing-jao
A satellite orbiting Lusitania detected the launch of the M.D. Device and the divergence of its
course toward Lusitania, as the starship disappeared from the satellite's instruments. The most
dreaded event was happening. There had been no attempt to communicate or negotiate. Clearly the
fleet had never intended anything but the obliteration of this world, and with it an entire sentient
race. Most people had hoped, and many had expected, that there would be a chance to tell them that
the descolada had been completely tamed and no longer posed a threat to anyone; that it was too
late to stop anything anyway, since several dozen new colonies of humans, pequeninos, and hive
queens had already been started on as many different planets. Instead there was only death hurtling
toward them on a course that gave them no more than an hour to survive, and probably less, since
the Little Doctor would no doubt be detonated some distance from the planet's surface.
It was pequeninos manning all the instruments now, since all but a handful of humans had fled to
the starships. So it was that a pequenino cried out the news over the ansible to the starship at the
descolada planet; and by chance it was Firequencher who was at the ansible terminal to hear his
report. He immediately began keening, his high voice liquid with the music of grief.
When Miro and his sisters understood what had happened, he went at once to Jane. "They
launched the Little Doctor," he said, shaking her gently.
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