ERVs are useful during viviparous development. They help us subdue our mothers’ immune systems. Otherwise, her lymphocytes would kill the embryos, because in part they type for the father’s tissue.

had believed-until the past couple of weeks-that the world was his personal puzzle, and that any riddlings and unravelings he could perform, including computer hacking, were simply part of his nature.

He had performed this ritual before, getting into trouble and then coming to his mother, uneasy and uncertain, not sure precisely what sort of trouble he was in. With uncanny regularity, she had seemed to jump onto a higher plane of reasoning and identify his problems, laying them out for him so they became unavoidable. This was not a service that made him love her any more, but it did make her invaluable to him.

Having undergone that disintegration and dying of past individuals and rebirth into something vastly more powerful, all these creatures had joined millions of years before into its own early Gravemind, far more than the sum of its parts.

He looked at his frayed sports coat and his worn-out running shoes, decided he was easily ten years behind the times and thousands of dollars short in refurbishing his wardrobe, and sighed as he entered the elevator.

Some adopted new strategies for survival; they went dormant. Others became dust that could regenerate our past forms; time rendered this dust defective. It brought only disease and misery; but that was good, we saw the misery and found it good.

This is solute, which will cause every animal killed by Halo action to instantly decay into component molecules. This will avert an ecological miasma. But it could also be construed as a way to hide a tremendous crime from later investigators.

1 2 3