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not stand that, could not keep it all within. Yet he could not leave them to die.

He closed the air lock and raised the ramp. As the ship sealed, it lifted off.

But that was impossible. Who was flying it? Galen looked down to Alwyn at his feet, found the place where he had lain now bare. Alwyn was not there.

A few feet away, Blaylock slowly pushed himself up, using elbows rather than hands. The black burn of plasma had vanished from his jacket. He paused a moment to rest, breathing heavily, then climbed to his feet. His severe gaze met Galen's. "A small deception was necessary to get you on the ship. I feared that would be so. We need you, Galen."

Alwyn, Galen realized, was fine. He was flying the ship. The deception had been flawless, fitting perfectly into the situation, allowing him no time to think but only to react. Blaylock had used Galen's own loyalty against him.

The ship was rising higher and higher, taking him farther and farther from Elizar. The energy raged through him. "You need me. What about what I need?"

"I could not allow you to stay and waste your life in useless vengeance. You can do much more. You can be much more."

"How can you say that? How can you spout those fairy tales about God and the will of the universe? I can be only what the Shadows made me to be."

Blaylock was silent for a moment, his pale face revealing no reaction. Yet something in that unyielding expression made Galen think his words had hurt, and he took satisfaction in that. "That is not so," Blaylock said. "I believe everything I profess. Those who created the tech are irrelevant. It is greater than they know. Only we can find its truth."

The floor shook, and Blaylock took a few stumbling steps. The ship had been hit.

A message came from Alwyn. I could use
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