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They’re clamoring for him: “Compose! Compose!” Cyrix sighs theatrically–always give them a show–then pulls his Muse out of orbit around him.

The Muse is small, egg-shaped, purple, and it makes an elliptical circuit of his body twice a second on gravity-reflect. There isn’t really any reason for that, but it does add panache.

Cyrix touches the contact and feels himself suffused. Neurons fire randomly in Instant REM, and when he comes up he has it: the seed. The idea.

They hush. He lets them, momentarily, then begins.

“I met a hunchback,” he says softly, “who was also my uncle…”