Welcome to the Stasis, the clandestine, near-omnipotent organization that stands at the heart of Charles Stross's Hugo Award-winning novella, Palimpsest. By mastering the mysteries of the Timegate, the Stasis has repeatedly steered mankind away from the brink of utter extinction. Through countless millennia, through the 'mayfly flickerings' of innumerable transient civilizations, its members have intervened at critical junctions, reseeding the galaxy with viable potential survivors. In the process, they have reconfigured the basic structure of the universe, all in the name of human continuity. ierce is a newly recruited member of the Stasis, serving out a complex twenty-year apprenticeship while struggling to find his way through the paradoxical maze of history (and unhistory) that surrounds him. As his once simple existence expands and replicates over vast stretches of time, Pierce uncovers a new and unexpected destiny, one that will embroil him in the larger purposes of the Stasis and in the ultimate, unresolved fate of humanity itself.