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on it." Vir followed. "But I can't understand why you went back to gamble with her. I told you she was a techno-mage."

Londo turned to him. "I was-talked into it. I thought I couldn't lose."

"Londo, how many times-"

Londo held up his hands. "Don't say it, Vir. Don't say it. I was a fool, I was used, and now I'm trapped in a situation that is beginning to look very bad. It's beginning to look very bad indeed."

"What do you mean?"

Londo shook his head. "I have no time to explain it all to you. But these techno-mages have powerful enemies. I am afraid... I am afraid this may not end well."

As much as Londo might wish it, he could not blind himself entirely to the truth. Morden would not have confided the Shadows' intentions, yet Londo could easily deduce them. Nevertheless, he would do nothing to stop the Shadows' plan.

Londo reached with irritation to the back of his head, pulled out a hair clip. The drooping lock of hair fell free. "If you can stop badgering me with questions for a few moments, Vir, perhaps you can make yourself useful and do something about this embarrassment."

In Elric's mind's eye, he saw John Sheridan coming down the hall toward his office. The Drazi had been taken to the brig, and the Zekhite sealed off until further notice. John had met with Susan Ivanova, then headed tiredly back.

Elric straightened, acutely aware of how little time was left. He believed John would not detain them, yet he could not be certain. In any case, he needed more than that. Again he must ask for a favor. And he could not tell John the whole truth of it, or the captain would surely refuse.

John hesitated in the doorway as he saw Elric, then continued to his desk. "Elric. I'm sorry to have kept you waiting. I would have understood if you'd left."

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