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sent Mary to Galen to help him overcome his problem. He raised his head. Her face was inches from his. "You said that I had some problem to transcend."

Her lips pressed together in a smile.

"Must I guess?"

"Problem is not the right word." Her rich voice wrapped around him. "But if I were telling your fortune, I would tell you that you must transcend yourself in three ways."

"So I have three problems?"

"First, you must open yourself to others." Her head darted forward, and her lips met his. The touch was soft, her heat and nearness intoxicating. She pulled back, her face flushed, searching for his reaction.

"What is second?" he asked breathlessly.

She shook her head. Her lips came to him again, and he brought his hand this time to the side of her face. His finger traced a line down her scalp, along the curve of her ear. He drank in the chemical composition of the subtle oils and perspiration sheening her skin, her unique formula of attraction. He inhaled and captured her essence. He had never wanted anything so much.

She drew his hand down to her neck, to the artery there. Her pulse pounded in time with his.

First things first, her message read.

It was magic.

* * *

"That shirt is definitely you, Mr. Wilcox," Isabelle said.

"Why thank you, Mrs. Wilcox," Galen replied. "And may I say that's a lovely frock you're wearing."

"You may."

Packing up their few belongings, they prepared to disembark on Brensil 4. They had spent the last two days being extremely silly, and extremely happy. They had put everything aside for the duration of the trip, knowing that they would have to deal with reality soon enough, when they returned to the Circle.

Galen felt strange. His face seemed caught in a constant smile, and the undercurrent
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