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chosen to represent himself. The rune came from the language of the Taratimude, the ancient, extinct species who had, a thousand years ago, created the tech and made themselves into the first techno-mages. Elric's rune signified integrity.

The familiar symbol offered no reassurance, though. Elric's strength was broken. Their home was destroyed. So much had been lost. Nothing was the same as it had been. Nothing ever would be.

His anxiety was echoed by the ship, echoed again by his tech. His pounding heart quickened.

Again he forced his mind away, focusing instead on the steady stream of data communicated to him by his ship. It fed him information about hyperspace currents, surrounding conditions, thrust output, fuel consumption. It calculated and updated his position. As the ship did all these things, it felt as if he were doing them, as if a part of his mind were engaged in these tasks, just as a part of him might be engaged in walking while the rest of his mind concentrated on other things.

To direct the ship, he selected from a menu of options in his mind's eye. The result was a ship that, while not alive in and of itself, was an extension of him, like an extra limb. The intimate connection allowed him to control the ship more quickly and with greater instinct than any traditional pilot.

Galen had long daydreamed about having his own ship, going on grand quests to restore the glory of the techno-mages, quests he had planned with Elizar. Now he had his ship. But he no longer dreamed of quests. He no longer believed the glory of the techno-mages could be restored. Not when they had decided to turn their backs on the universe.

But they certainly had fast, sophisticated ships in which to flee.

Galen realized that his ship had reached the end of its hyperspace
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