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Equation of motion. Galen jigged around the worker. Something stung him in the cheek.

He crouched lower over Isabelle and flew away from the promenade. Her back fluttered with rapid breaths. Galen's body surged with frantic, desperate energy.

He was losing his ability to focus. He could feel it slipping away. He could find no help. He could find no escape.

He would hide them, hide them where Elizar could not find them.



* * *



Galen sent more organelles into Isabelle's body, feeling them tingle through his fingertips.

"It's no use," Isabelle said. "This is not a wound you can heal. It is a weapon inside me."

Galen ignored her. He was shaky, his body fighting shock, his mind exhausted from the constant, single-minded focus required to control the tech. But he could not give up. He could not lose her.

He picked up his staff from the cold stone floor where he knelt and held it over her. He had no crystal to aid in directing the organelles. He was trying to make his staff serve the same purpose. He remembered again Ing-Radi's words: You must understand the damage. You must find the shape of what needs to be done. And you must become that shape.

He understood the damage. In fact, when he had first seen it through his sensors, it had done more to make him still, and clear, than any mind-focusing exercise. The spike had penetrated her side and worked its way inward, puncturing the small intestine as it entered, puncturing it again as it left. It had found its way to the spine, its head slipping between a vertebra and a disk into the spinal cord itself, where it had begun to work its way upward, severing nerve roots and artery branches along the way.

The perforations of the small intestine had caused a rapid onset of peritonitis. Isabelle's temperature
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