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pushed the call button. In the other he made a six-word statement summing up his feelings. They were unfortunate words to become famous for. He wasn't exactly Churchill or Sheridan, he thought wryly.

He had hoped to hear from Sheridan, but the president of the Interstellar Alliance seemed to have dropped out of known space again. He had a way of doing that.

"Well. I'm glad I found you here, and not in the morgue, at least."

Lise stood in the doorway, more beautiful than ever.

"Hi, honey." He tried to look calm.

Her lips compressed, and he prepared for the worst, but after a moment or two, she walked over to his bed and took his hand. "Are you okay?"

"Broken ribs, shattered scapula, ruptured spleen. Bester in custody. Never felt better."

"You left without telling me where you were going. You won't do that again." She didn't qualify it. She didn't even say "or else," but he was left without any doubts.

"I won't do that again," he said, and meant it.

She nodded, then smiled, briefly. "You didn't kill him."

"No. I couldn't."

"The Michael Garibaldi I love wouldn't kill him. I'm glad to know you're the man I thought you were."

"I try to be, Lise. The man you see in me is the best of me. It's just the rest that's a mess."

"Not a mess-just a little untidy."

"Where's Mary?"

"Outside. I wanted to see you first. I wasn't sure how you would be, how I'd react." She brushed his cheek. "Now that this is over-"

"It's not over yet. There's still the trial, and the sentencing, all that good stuff. I want to stay for the trial."

"But for you, it's over," she said, firmly. "And now that it's over there's going to be a hole in your life, Michael. You'll have to be ready to deal with that."

"No hole. Just a wound, finally closing up. I knew
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