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engulfed in flame. It moved no more.

Smoke billowed out of the wall, and with the sizzle and pop of melting machinery, the smell of charred meat carried on the air. He recognized the smell from when he'd burned Elizar's arm. It was the smell of his old friend's flesh.

If only he had killed Elizar then. If only he had burned Elizar to a handful of ash.

Galen's hands had tightened into quivering fists. He realized with surprise that he was crying, wiped impatiently at his eyes with the back of his fist. Smoke was filling the interior. He knew he should leave. Yet the fire that raced through him would consume him if he did not release it. These small conjuries had only increased its pressure.

He thought of letting it all come out, of making the ship into an inferno, destroying it from the inside out, with him still inside.

But that would kill Elric.

He had to leave. He had to leave before he lost all control. He stumbled to the air lock.

He would get into his ship. He would retreat to a safe distance. He would fire at Elizar's ship, destroying it. And he would bury these thoughts of destruction once again. He would not feel. He would not remember.

But he would remain vigilant. He could not allow himself to retreat completely to that place deep inside, to fade into transparency, to haunt the living like a ghost. It was too dangerous. For in the blaze of fire, he had revealed himself. He was no insubstantial ghost, but a monster, one who would kill in a moment if he did not hold tightly to the tech.

So he would maintain his focus. He would stay in control. He would go with the techno-mages to their hiding place. And he would hide.

Chapter 4

Galen entered the squat, rectangular structure through an air lock marked with the rune signifying
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