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as space, that moved as if alive. I could swear it screamed, she had said.

The ship cruised over the city canyon as if looking down upon them. Strange, intense energies radiated from it. It passed beyond the pinnacle of the City Center, then dove down behind it, out of sight. That would be where the empty Joncorp lot now stood.

Inside, Rabelna stepped from the elevator, walked down a plain, empty hall, and rang the buzzer beside a door. It clicked open, and she went within.

The entrance to the City Center was marked by three tall, golden doors. Beings trickled in and out. The building, Galen saw now, was made of a strange material. It reflected the light in an odd, shifting manner. If he could touch the wall, he could gain additional information through the sensors in his fingertips. Yet he didn't want to draw attention to himself.

The center door opened to admit them, and they passed through. To one side, several guards stood talking, of a species Galen did not know. Ahead was a line of metaglass booths that served as security gates. Beings entered and were sealed inside. They ran their I.D.s through the reader, and once their authorization was confirmed, the far side of the booth opened to admit them to the building.

Blaylock had created false I.D.s for them, and had breached the City Center database and added their information, authorizing them access to the building. If the tampering had been noticed, or had in some way been insufficient, they would be trapped inside the booths.

Galen stepped inside, and the booth sealed behind him. He ran his I.D. through as Blaylock did, held his hand to the scanner to confirm identification. The booth opened, allowing him to pass. Blaylock joined him.

While most were gathered at the near banks of elevators, he
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