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said.

Johnny vanished, and the other images returned to the screen.

"His face..." Galen said.

"Yes, he is a beauty, isn't he? The body is Tidor Puentes, Human bodybuilding champion. The face and voice belong to a military man from the newsfeeds who caught my fancy. EarthForce Captain John Sheridan."

The newsfeeds had called him the hero of the Earth-Minbari War. Galen remembered Elric saying he was "a noble man fighting an ignoble war." And Burell had grafted his head onto the torso of a bodybuilder. Galen must have looked shocked, because Burell let out a sharp laugh.

"Even older women need to have their fun."

"Burell," Isabelle said, "why don't you show him the Strauss Hotel?"

"Yes, yes." The images on the screen changed. "Isabelle and I used to visit the Strauss often. Most of their guests are ships' crews or those doing trade with the ships. For a while I even did some fortune-telling in their lounge. It was a great way to pick up information." Different images showed the hotel's lobby, lounge, restaurant, and various guest rooms. They changed quickly as Burell flipped through them. "These days I mainly work from here, watching through the probes and receiving gossip from the manager, Cadmus Wilcox. Cadmus is a bit of a ninny, but he has a good eye for detail. He's one of the few who have realized that something has changed in the last several months."

Burell pressed her palms against the arms of the chair and pushed herself up, readjusting her position. "He contacted me just a few weeks before the convocation and begged me to put a spell of protection on the hotel. He was afraid of some of the dangerous-looking clientele checking in. I sent Isabelle down to plant probes, sensors, and sonic generators throughout the hotel. We told Cadmus she had
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