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helps a lot."

"I didn't have much time."

Elizar's eyes were fixed on Kell. "Anything else?" he asked.

"Mmmm, well"-Bunny twirled her hair-"I found out where they're gathering now. At least, where he thinks they're gathering. Someplace called Selic 4."

"You got that?" Tilar said.

"Got it."

Tilar snorted. "He couldn't keep his secrets better than anyone else."

Bunny tossed her head. "You could give me some credit."

Anna considered the possibility that Bunny might be at fault for Kell's death, but her passengers seemed satisfied with the telepath's actions.

Tilar's foot nudged again at Kell. "The leader of the Circle. He wasn't so great. He was easy enough to kill."

Elizar looked to Tilar. "He killed himself."

"Now we can send the message the Shadows directed," Tilar said. "Right, Elizar?"

"Straighten his limbs," Elizar said, "and I will begin."

Anna had little interest in the technical work that followed. Kell's skin was sliced open; blood flowed out over her. It was time for her systems check, and she was simply glad that she had completed her unfamiliar duties successfully. She had obeyed both the Eye and Elizar, and she had delivered the required torturings without killing. She had furthered their path to victory. The greatest joy was the ecstasy of victory.

Soon she would return these passengers to the planet below. She would be glad to have them gone from her body. The Eye had told her she would have to stay nearby and carry them again when there was need; they were critical to victory. Anna hoped the need never again arose. She would prefer to go on to other duties, to use the machine as it was meant to be used.

The machine was so beautiful, so elegant. Perfect grace, perfect control, form and function integrated into the
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