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the front of the mages' formation, the ships belonging to the Circle turned and began heading quickly out of the system. The others followed. Though the Circle maintained silence, their intentions were clear. The mages would withdraw to the edge of the system, where the hybrid could not detect their jump point, and then return to hyperspace. The probe was no longer necessary; no further experiments would be conducted here. And they did not want to become the next targets for the ship. Galen realized they might even fear this hybrid could betray them to the Shadows. Perhaps they believed it a Shadow ship, come to destroy the research. Of them all, only he and Blaylock had ever personally encountered one, and Blaylock had been weakened and distracted. He might not notice the anomalous readings the hybrid was producing.

Galen followed the others, troubled by the possibility that there might be an Anna at the center of this ship. Extending his sensors back, he searched the hybrid for life signs. He found elements suggestive of life in the skin and a few sections of the ship, and there, at its center, a living being, a Human.

How could they have done that to one of their own?

The tech echoed his anger, quickening. And then he noticed the energy readings from the ship were changing. With each blast the hybrid fired down at the surface, the Earth tech within it built closer to overload. It would probably keep firing mindlessly, compelled to chaos, until it overheated its systems and self-destructed.

He'd failed to save Anna. His mind raced to find something he could do to save this person trapped at the center of the hybrid.

If he was the master, and Anna the slave, he wondered if he could order the hybrid to stop firing, if he could order it to land. How to communicate
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