Rebel forces are on the winning side against a great but decadent interstellar empire. This coming-of-age story follows a girl on the last retreat. Stampeding crowds and dead relatives contrast a wish-fulfilling ancient superweapon in the form of a mindship.
Be careful, what you wish for. This short story is set in the same Chinese future history universe called „Xuya“ which is populated by many other of Bodard’s stories. (A lot of them are freely available @Bodard’s website) Having not read any of those, I probably miss a lot of context in this 10 pages. I’m impressed by the density that Bodard puts into those few pages. But I didn’t quite understand why only one of those over-potent mindships capable of blowing away whole fleets remained.
Ship and child are born for each other, but we don’t understand the reasons. I probably should read a couple of those Xuyan stories to get the gist of it.