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the platform down through the largest of the fissures and found himself in a vast storage area. The area directly below him was unoccupied. Farther away, workers in coveralls drove lifts filled with crates. The workers were looking up, afraid that the spaceport was collapsing.

Galen skimmed past them, following the trail of lifts and workers backward, toward the promenade that lay below the one where they had disembarked. That was where the freighter was being unloaded.

He came out of the storage area onto the promenade. The captain was standing beside the large cargo air lock as a lift drove out filled with supplies. Galen scanned the promenade for any sign of Elizar or the others. Nothing. He formed an equation of motion, raced toward the captain.

As the lift moved out of the air lock, a tongue of fire licked out after it. Galen thought he must have seen incorrectly. Then a huge concussion rumbled out from the ship across the promenade. Galen's ears popped, and across the floor one ring of stone tiles after another jumped up in a rapidly expanding wave. The air was sucked out of him, and for a strange moment the walls seemed to undulate.

The air lock belched a stream of fire. It shot out across the promenade, instantly incinerating the lift. Galen wheeled the platform to the left, crouched to cover Isabelle's body with his own. How could it be? Would they kill all these people, just to make sure he and Isabelle did not escape? Just to make sure she died?

As he sped away from the ship, a second concussion spewed huge pieces of metal and fiberboard out across the promenade. The platform surged ahead on the shock wave, and shrapnel peppered Galen's back. A flap of metal slammed into a worker ahead of them and swept him into Galen's path. Equation of motion.
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