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as he tapped the comm switch : and suddenly Pellaeon realized who it must be aboard that ship. "This is Thrawn," the Grand Admiral said. "Master C'baoth, I presume?"

"You presume correctly," C'baoth's voice boomed from the speaker. "I would speak with you, Grand Admiral. Now."

"We're on our way to assist the aJudicator," Thrawn said, his eyes flicking to the still-motionless nav officer. "As you perhaps already know. When we return-"

"Now, Grand Admiral."

Moving quietly in the brittle silence, Pellaeon keyed for a course projection on C'baoth's ship. "It'll take at least fifteen minutes to bring him aboard," he murmured.

Thrawn hissed softly between his teeth; and Pellaeon knew what he was thinking. In the fluid situation of a spontaneous battle, a fifteen-minute delay could easily be the difference between victory and defeat. "Captain, order the Peremptory to assist the Judicator," the Grand Admiral said at last. "We'll remain here to consult our ally."

"Thank you, Grand Admiral," C'baoth said; and abruptly, the nav officer gasped and slumped in his chair. "I appreciate your generosity."

Thrawn reached to his board, and with a vicious flick of his wrist cut off the comm. He looked down into the crew pit and motioned to two bridge guards. "Sick bay," he told them, indicating the now-shivering nav officer.

"Where do you suppose C'baoth found that Lancer?" Pellaeon murmured as the guards helped the nav officer out of his seat and carried him aft.

"He most likely hijacked it," Thrawn said, his voice tight. "He's been sending messages for us over distances of several light-years, and he certainly knows how to take control of people. Apparently, he's learned how to meld the two abilities."

Pellaeon looked down into the crew pit, a shiver running
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