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sat on his cot, bent forward, rocking back and forth, his hands clenched around the edge of the mattress. His valise and staff lay on the floor beside him. Fed's bizarre, colorful wardrobe and half-assembled inventions surrounded him as if Fed's suitcase had exploded. The air reeked of cologne. The laughing came from outside the door. He heard Fed's voice.

"I didn't realize what a great idea this hiding away was. Once we get there, we're going to have plenty of time, and not much to do with it. Except have fun."

Some muffled sounds followed.

In Galen's mind's eye, Alwyn's cape billowed in a regular rhythm. He seemed to be walking down the hall. His conversation with Elric was over. Galen broke the connection.

"You're very good at that," a woman said, just outside the door. "Did I ever tell you that I had a hiding place of my own? I'd like to show it to you sometime."

"I'm free now," Fed said, and more muffled sounds followed. Galen realized they were kissing, their bodies rubbing against the door. "Want to take a spin on my flying platform of love?"

Galen stood.

Fed could go to the hiding place. Fed could be happy there. But how could Galen stand it?

He pulled open the door, and the two stumbled in, nearly falling on top of him. Fed's companion was Optima, one of the younger members of the Kinetic Grimlis. She pulled down her glowing purple shirt.

"Sorry," Galen said. He started out the door.

They both laughed. "Take your time," Fed said, "wherever you're going."

Galen closed the door behind him. He didn't know how long he could stand to be cooped up here, inside, with so many others. The utilitarian facility packed one tiny room beside the next, with only thin metal walls separating them. There was no privacy, no space.

Giggling sounded
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