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But he now recognized the radical change his body had undergone since initiation. The tech had spread itself through all of his systems, had become a part of him. Without it, he was no longer complete.

Galen had thought at first that Elizar had cast a spell to deactivate his tech. But he realized that Elizar's tech was turned off too. That was why Elizar appeared weakened. That was why Elizar had not used his powers to attempt to revive Blaylock or to torture him. That was why Tilar had forgone his chrysalis. Without it, he would not feel the disorienting effects.

Some external device had deactivated the tech in all of them. But how could that be so? How could there be such a device?

Tilar shoved Blaylock over onto his side and stood. Galen vaguely realized Elizar and the others had been bickering, but he didn't know what had been said. He'd been concentrating so hard, he'd lost track of them. He had to regain his bearings.

"I'm getting tired of being treated like an inferior," Tilar said. "I bet I could get more out of him than you."

"You've certainly proven that with Blaylock," Elizar said.

"At least I tried something." Tilar stepped over Blaylock's body and came toward Galen and the door. As he passed by, something thin and wet fell on Galen's cheek. "A souvenir," Tilar said, "and token of things to come."

Galen shook his head and it fell to the floor, a golden filament of tech coated in tissue and blood.

Tilar left with Bunny and Rabelna. The door slid closed behind them.

Whatever device overrode their tech, it seemed to operate only within this room. If he could get himself and Blaylock out of here, perhaps their power would return.

Fighting disorientation, he crawled toward Blaylock, his leg dragging behind him. Thick streaks of red were
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