I wonder if you need anything."
"I don't need anything," a high voice called.
Galen bent and slipped through the opening. "I don't mean to intrude," he said. "I seem to be trapped."
The room was small and irregularly shaped, an overlooked spot within the shifting structure of the tents. One person sat on the damp ground, shrouded in a cape and hood. The only light leaked through from the passage behind him.
"I can get you a better room to work," Galen said.
The figure looked up, the hood fell back. Isabelle gave him that lips-pressed-together smile. "You're trapped, and you're going to find me a better room?" She'd been disguising her voice at first.
He was glad that she still smiled at him. "The passage outside seems to have turned into quite a nice room, for now."
"I like my privacy."
"I am sorry. I'll be out in a minute." Galen ran his hands over the walls, searching for another way out. He felt like a clumsy fool.
After an awkward minute of silence, Isabelle spoke. "Burell is on our ship. Elizar has been following me everywhere I go. I thought this place seemed safe."
"Safe for what?" Another silence followed. At last she continued.
"Do you believe that what we do can be explained scientifically?" Her deliberate tone betrayed the importance of the question to her. Galen stopped his examination of the tent but kept his back to her, afraid she might turn silent if he faced her.
"Not by us. Not yet."
"But someday, do you believe it may be possible for us to understand the tech scientifically, as its inventors did?"
"And what of the effort to achieve that understanding? Is it a mistake to examine that which we have received?"
Galen believed the knowledge far beyond their reach, and so had not considered studying