Яппаньки вам,уважаем(ый)(ая)(ое)!

thinks the tech is a gift from God, so if she can hear it, maybe she can get the winning New Vegas lottery numbers from it."

Galen sat in the empty space on the bench.

Fed squeezed in on his left. "I've been thinking of doing a study of lottery numbers, nonrandom factors in random number generation, get a drop on those losers who play."

Fed was always thinking of different research projects. As far as Galen knew, he hadn't yet completed any.

"There should be some sort of payoff for all the work we've gone through, don't you think? And the pain. I hear the initiation hurts a lot. I'm warning you right now, I may scream like a girl. But if it were painless, then everyone would want to do it, right?"

"I suppose."

Fed kept talking. Kell called Elizar into the training area, and the shield went back up. It made a faint hum, almost below the level of hearing. Elizar began with some simple exercises. Whatever Elizar thought the Circle was withholding, he wouldn't do anything to jeopardize his initiation.

With the shield just in front of him, Galen studied it for the first time. It was uniform, solid, well constructed. He had met with only mediocre success in creating shields. He'd managed a few times to conjure the simplest type, one that mimicked the contours of his body like a second skin. It had been only weakly protective, though, and unstable. After a few minutes, the energy in his floppy shield had streamed down to pool along the floor. He'd never been able to perform more advanced tasks, such as unfolding the shield from around his body and sustaining it at a distance. This one might teach him something.

He took out his sensor-pad, magnified his view of the shield by ten thousand. At this scale, he ought to be able to see the shield structure, its
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