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consistently. Some of the pieces had become inert, while others worked fine. I thought perhaps it was the long-term effects of having implants outside the body. I'd had the tech about three years by then.

"I fought my curiosity for as long as I could. I think I lasted almost a year. Then I had to try it. I sent the radio signal to my own transceiver."

Isabelle's head turned slightly back and forth.

"The rest, as they say, is stupidity. The first time I sent the signal, my implants sent the answering signal. The second time-and I held off a month before trying it again-about a third of my implants went inert. That's when I sent you off on that silly research project. I was a bit panicked. I couldn't use any of the implants for a while. Although some were still active, I had to relearn how to access them.

"The control has not come naturally, though. And it is not without cost. Some of my own systems have had to carry signals meant for the tech. My body isn't equipped to do that. It's been getting harder and harder to make the tech respond."

Galen realized his first impression of her condition had not been far off. Like a stroke patient, she'd been partially paralyzed, and had regained some ability only by relearning how to use her body, how to bypass those pathways that had become inert.

He remembered the sickening feeling of paralysis when Elric overrode his control of the chrysalis. That must reflect only a small hint of what Burell suffered. "There must be some way to undo the effect of the signal," he said.

Burell's head rose and fell with each breath. "I've experimented with Craiselnek's implants for the past four years. Nothing works. I must have overloaded the transceiver with that signal. It froze up the system. There's no way now to unfreeze it.
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