Ships were living, breathing beings. Dac Kien had known this even before she’d reached the engineering habitat, even before she’d seen the great mass in orbit outside, being slowly assembled by the bots.
Her ancestors had once carved jade, in the bygone days of the Lê Dynasty on Old Earth: not hacking the green blocks into the shape they wanted, but rather whittling down the stone until its true nature was revealed. And as with jade, so with ships. The sections outside couldn’t be forced together. They had to flow into a seamless whole – to be, in the end, inhabited by a Mind who was as much a part of the ship as every rivet and every seal.
Winner of a British Science Fiction Association Award, 2010