At first, you make it easy for yourself. You possess a member of a clade on the outskirts, away from the dark, looming presence of the London Mind. You barely have to stretch yourself: the clade’s small village is halfway to your boundaries, and your ride ­– a woman named nDevan323 – shares genetic material with the last Receptive you’ve colonised. As you slip into her bloodstreams, assimilating nanite after nanite, you taste familiar code, with the slightly acrid aftertaste of decay – the never-ending fight of the immune system against cancerous, decaying cells, the hundred infections dormant in the

I cannot remember my name, nor am I certain that I actually ever possessed one, except… Except for the most darnedest thing – the print from the newspaper had adhered itself to my fingers, clutching at my skin in a manner that determined to create a new onyx black finger print. The swirls and whirls of my index finger seemingly smudged with a black letter, both indelible and yet illegible. A letter that was so permanently imprinted and yet meaningless. It was the letter of my first name, my Christian name. Back when I had a name, back when I