"Will you give us access to your work?" Galen asked. "Perhaps we can find some way to help."
"Get me a screen." The last word was slurred. Burell was exhausted. Her body had slumped further in the chair. She no longer tried to look up at them. "I will give you the key to all my work. Which I keep in my place of power. But I do not give it for you to help me. I am beyond help. I give it to aid in your own work."
Isabelle laid a screen in her lap and pressed a stylus into her hand. Burell jerked it onto the screen, so she could draw the diagram that was the key to her most secret places. Her emaciated hand shook as she labored to form the symbols precisely. Her breath sounded heavily in the silence.
At the top she rendered a simple drawing of a solar system, and below wrote several lines of text. Galen recognized the letters from the alphabet of the native Wychad.
As Burell finished, Isabelle expelled a short breath.
"What does it mean?" he asked.
Isabelle recited the words. " 'I do not believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.' "
Galen recognized the quote. It was Galileo.
Isabelle took the screen and stylus from her, and as she turned to put them down, Burell began to crumble forward. Galen rushed up and grabbed her shoulders, holding her upright.
"I'm all right," Burell said.
"That's it! I don't care what you say." Isabelle snatched something from her pocket and grabbed Burell's head in her hands. A crystal on a chain dangled from between her fingers.
"I have to try to heal you." Isabelle closed her eyes, and her fingers moved slightly against Burell's skin.
"Galen, stop her!" Burell batted an arm at Isabelle. "If she connects with my implants, hers may become