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By C. J. Cherryh

They named him Thorn. They informed him he was once in their humans, even though he was once so diversified. He was once gruesome of their eyes, unusual, sleek-skinned rather than furred, clawless, diversified. but he used to be in their energy type: judge-warriors, the elite, the warring parties, the defenders.

Thorn knew that his distinction was once in some way vitally important - yet now not very important adequate to avoid murderous conspiracies opposed to him, opposed to his protector, opposed to his citadel, and maybe opposed to the peace of the area. but if the crunch got here, while Thorn eventually discovered what his precise function in existence was once to be, that on him may well grasp the way forward for worlds, then he needed to stand by myself to justify his very lifestyles.

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This one used to be broaderhipped, walked another way, had a quiet, smaller voice. girl, Thorn proposal, listening to that, and his center picked up its beats. ("Women are," Duun had informed him, while he was once small, "us and various. ") ("How varied? " Thorn requested. ) ("Inside. outdoors, in a few issues. they've got a spot inside of they make infants. males placed them there; girls lead them to. ") ("How? child-Thorn requested. "That does it," Duun acknowledged, and confirmed him what this used to be. "I do not have that," Thorn had stated, taking a look at himself. "Duun, i don't have that. Mine's all outdoor. ") ("You're different," Duun had acknowledged. ) ("Am I a lady? ") ("No," Duun acknowledged. "You're a toddler. you are going to be a guy. ") sixty four Cuckoo's Egg ("How do girls make infants? ' ") Duun had now not replied then. Or he had forgotten. Thorn knew the reply later. ("See this," Duun had acknowledged. confirmed him the younger within a deiggen Thorn had killed. "They're infants. You ought to not kill the does. See the eartips. do not hunt that sort. ") Thorn remembered that. yet he had gotten a deiggen-baby out of its womb and laid it out on a flat rock to determine it. It used to be now not the dying he remembered most powerful, or the blood. It used to be that it had had no hair, was once naked-skinned like him. (I was once born and grew fallacious. They acquired me out too quickly. ) He watched the foenin mate. (That's how? He used to be appalled and without delay within the black our bodies one at the other's again, the curious spasms they made as though one in every of them have been unwell. ) ("Shonun do it head to head, usually," Duun acknowledged. Thorn used to be two times appalled. It was once ordinary adequate to do from the rear. Having anyone looking at again correct in one's face—) This— girl— had a gun on her hip. She swayed whilst she walked. She had a brilliant white crest yet she had shaved it a ways again as did all of the cityfolk, in contrast to Duun's, which was once black and lengthy and swung freely while he walked. Thorn considered the foenin. Clenched his hand to force that proposal away. He had made adequate trouble for Duun. It used to be now not spring. It used to be no longer acceptable. there has been anything approximately scent, yet Duun refused to debate this with him. They walked out onto the flat towards the desktop and foenin blurred within the drift of oil and hot steel. The copter. they'd cross up within the air in that. It appeared too heavy. Thorn forgot approximately girls. His center started to beat in terror. (Fool, he informed himself. Duun had warned him. the item had gotten the following, it will escape back with them within. He wouldn't be afraid in entrance of strangers. He wouldn't stink of worry the place others no longer sixty five Cuckoo's Egg scent-blind may possibly scent it. He wouldn't disgrace Duun. i'll beat you, Duun had acknowledged, to get his realization; now Thorn remembered that and knew why Duun had threatened him. to not be shamed by way of him. He wouldn't balk after they led him in. ) *** It was once the countryfolk Duun watched, the spectators the guards had saved far flung at the different street. He stored his ears aslant, shutting out what phrases the wind could carry him. He smelled the odor of them even at this diversity. His brain painted him hate; and worry. He was once a idiot to close down his listening to; one in all them may have introduced a gun.

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