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the facility, covering several square miles. The crudeness of the illusion was apparent, the artificial simulation of ice too shiny, angular, and uniform. It was impossible to create such a vast illusion and retain realistic quality. Yet from a distance, the illusion would be convincing to both observers and instruments.

Kell's ship set down about a mile from the facility. Elric landed a short distance away, and Galen directed his ship down beside Elric's.

To leave the ship, Elric would probably conjure a containment shield around his body that would hold within it enough of the heat and oxygen from his ship so that he could walk a short distance outside. Assuming he was not too weakened.

But Galen had never been skilled with shields of any kind. He would need a breather and something warm to wear.

He had only a lightweight coat, long and black. The temperature seldom fell to freezing on the mak. He dug the coat out of his valise, slipped the breather over his face, and hurried into the air lock. As he descended the ramp, he had to shade his eyes. The sun was too bright, the landscape too clear. No comforting mist enfolded the land; no buildings obscured the landscape. He could see miles across the barren ice sheet to the ragged mountains.

As soon as he was clear of the ship, he visualized the equation to dissociate. Twin echoes from the tech and the chrysalis confirmed the conjury, then his connection to the ship broke; the second echo faded into silence.

Yet the undercurrent of energy from the implants remained with him, and it felt stronger than ever. It was restless and endless, quick to respond. And there was no dissociating from it. He was determined to remain in control, no matter what happened.

He jammed his cold hands into his pockets and tramped
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