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a hole in the ground in back. An excavation. Land inside it. We'll meet you there.

Alwyn replied. You'll find some irony in your choice of landing place when you get here.

Galen traced his way back as quickly as he could. Each moment allowed Elizar to get farther and farther away. But he couldn't get far enough. Galen would find him.

They glided past the two greyish-skinned aliens, still asleep where he'd left them. As they approached the tunnel that led to the excavation, Blaylock gave him a sharp look, and a shield slipped again over him. There was the sound of movement in the tunnel ahead.

His body burned eagerly with the chance to release its energy once again. As the Drakh came into view, he registered their positions one after the next, equations pouring down the screen in his mind's eye, spheres of destruction boiling out of him, enfolding the Drakh in their dark embrace. He didn't know if there were twenty, or fifty, or a hundred. He simply continued until there were none.

They had not fired a single shot.

Blaylock's shield slipped away. The tunnel that led to the excavation was now empty, its surface covered with smooth scallop-shaped depressions. At the far end was the walkway leading to the blackness of the open Shadow ship.

Galen sent them down the tunnel. He realized he was shaking, his heart pounding, breath coming in short gasps. He felt overloaded, accelerated, as if the slightest thing could set him off.

He'd cast more spells in the past hour than he had in the rest of his life. He realized how exhausted he was, beneath the racing energy of the tech. He must marshal his energy; he must remain focused and in control if he was to find Elizar and kill him.

An odd, irregular thumping was coming from the excavation area. They reached
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