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Shadows in Flight (Chapter 1)
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 thirteen-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 ninety-three 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 twenty-two, they would be the size of the Giant, and the Giant would be long dead. For he was dying, and when he died, the children would be alone.
Shadows in Flight Copyright © 2012 by Orson Scott Card