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conjured an image he had previously designed: the city of Ka'Pul on the Narn homeworld, its massive, plain stone structures tinted copper by the red sun. Narns moved between the buildings, going about their business. Yet as the vision drew closer, some of the Narns stopped, looked up at the sky. One let out a cry. A shadow spread across their faces. The vision focused on two figures within the crowd. They were G'Leel's parents, their faces filled with terror.

With a wave of his hand he made the image vanish.

G'Leel took a deep breath. "Is that the future?" she asked Isabelle.

"It's a possible future."

"Is it too late to ask for the version where you just tell me what I want to hear?"

Isabelle smiled. "Take the step. You're a good person. You want to do it."

G'Leel lowered her head. Her gloved hands closed around the broken chair back. "I've been to the Thenothk system on the rim three times. That name appears on none of our charts. Only our captain knows the system's coordinates. I have no idea which of the thousands of systems on the rim it might be.

"When we reach the last jumpgate on the line, he sends us all to our quarters. We travel four days, until we're far from everything, and then another ship meets us. It forms a jump point, and we travel with it through hyperspace to the Thenothk system. I figured that much from the sounds of the ship. But I had to see what Captain Ko'Vin was hiding from us. On our last run, I left my quarters. The ship that came for us-I could swear it screamed, though I know that's impossible. It was black as space, and bristled with arms."

Galen held up his hands, visualized the equation to create an image between them. He made the image black with many arms.

G'Leel looked up, saw it. "No. The arms to the side and
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