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the door behind him. "The passage outside is filled with Drakh. The Shadows won't let you leave this room. They know what you can do, better than you know it. They've been especially patient with you, because they wanted you fighting on their side. But they've made you their last offer. Submit to scanning. Give us what you know."

Something fell behind him with a heavy metallic ring. Galen looked back. The gurney had brought Anna to rest against the far wall. She had pried a panel off it. Within the wall, something soft and black glistened, shot through with veins of silver. She thrust her emaciated hand into it. She had found another machine with which to connect. It was all that mattered to her. She was a slave to the Shadows' programming, just as he was. Galen turned back to Elizar.

"Open the door."

Elizar pressed several buttons on the door's keypad.

There was no response. Was it some trick? Or could Anna somehow be affecting it?

"Open it," Galen said.

Elizar pressed the buttons again. Still the door did not move.

The lights went out, plunging them into darkness. Galen feared he had missed his only chance. Crying out, he fired at the spot where Elizar had stood, filling the area with plasma bolts. Each recoil spiked pain down his leg.

The door opened, and in the dim light of the tunnel he saw the craggy silhouettes of Drakh filling the doorway. He shot at them with the crude weapon.

The Drakh fell back with the impact of his blasts, but their armor, he suspected, protected them from any serious injury. In another second or two, he would surely be shot. He must throw himself at them. If he got out of the room, perhaps his power would be restored. That was his only chance of escape.

Firing, he stumbled toward the doorway. But the shapes there
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