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he served, on his ship. He was the master, she the slave. Yet she was not some artificially produced technology, like the chrysalis. She was a living being.

He wished he could have brought her from Thenothk. But he'd been in too great a rush to find Elizar, to kill Elizar, to take the time to free her.

Following the rest of the mage ships, he passed through the black heart of the vortex into the roiling red currents of hyperspace.

The energy inside him continued to build, the cold to grow, and he found himself thinking of the cold, wire-thin strands of tech that had wormed inside of him at initiation, contracting and relaxing, insinuating their way down his arms, across his shoulders, along his spine, driving in intricate coils through his brain and settling there. They had carried the Shadows' programming into his body, where it grew and intertwined with him.

Burell, he realized now, had discovered that programming. Within each cell of the tech, she had found microcircuitry: some in the cytoplasm, more on the cell membrane itself. The microcircuitry seems to direct the growth and functioning of the implants, to impose control on each cell. She had compared the tiny dot clusters of microcircuitry on the cell membrane to the stippled discoloration that formed along each mage's spine and shoulder blades. The microcircuitry imposed its programming on the cell; the tech imposed its programming on the mage.

They could resist that programming, of course. But to control it every minute of every day for the rest of their lives- How many could say chaos had not slipped out?

Galen crossed his arms over his chest. He had done much more than slip. He was drawn to destruction. He realized he'd known that, on some level, since he'd first attacked Elizar at the convocation.
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