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group that advocated the complete extermination of the Centauri. "As a member of the Kha'dai, he eats a morning meal of acotu as a reminder of the deprivations they suffered as slaves."

"How long has that couple been married?" Blaylock indicated them with a subtle turn of his hand.

Galen had accessed data on the man earlier, when they had passed in the corridor. His name was Trent Barkley. Galen wondered what relevance his marriage could have to their task. "Twelve years," he said.

Blaylock's hand tapped against the table. "You look but you do not see. Look. And see."

Galen studied the couple. Trent Barkley was the head of a large datasystem corporation. He wore an expensive suit, his wife a tight-fitting black dress. She fiddled with the hair above her ear, and Galen noticed a delicate diamond bracelet on her wrist. When she lowered her hand, she adjusted the bracelet.

They sat close in a corner booth, her foot, shoe discarded, rubbing against his ankle. Two Bloody Marys sat on the table before them. As he spoke to her, his lips paused in a half smile. They were obviously in love. Was that what Blaylock wanted him to see? He didn't care to see it.

Perhaps the information he had accessed on the date of marriage had been incorrect or incomplete. He could check her records and see if they showed the same.

"Don't search the databases. I asked you to look."

Galen would not watch them further. "I did. I have given you my answer."

Blaylock studied him. "I have often tried to convince the Circle that we should cloister ourselves from the outside world, its petty distractions, and pleasures, so that we can concentrate on the inner life and fulfill our destiny. But if one is raised in a shelter, one must take great care in leaving that shelter."

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