his kin, and nearly overlooked one of its victims. The hybrid had killed many, just like him. Its carnage could just as easily have been his carnage. This Matthew Gideon could just as easily have been one of his victims. But this victim wasn't dead yet.
Galen directed his ship to starboard, breaking from the other mages.
He had hoped only to do no more harm. But perhaps, just this once, before he left it all behind, he could do something good. Perhaps he could save without killing. Perhaps he could bring light, rather than darkness. If he did have a choice, then let him, this last time, choose well.
He received a message from Blaylock. Galen, we dare not delay. This may be a trap. The ship may detect and attack us. It may inform others.
Then I will stop it.
It can destroy you long before you are in range to use your weapon.
That, in all likelihood, was true. But he did not want to destroy it. He still wished simply to stop it. And if he could not, then he would have to become its victim. For under no circumstance could he use his spell of destruction. He feared that once he cast it, he would not be able to stop. He would become just like the ship he destroyed.
Then leave without me, he wrote. I must do this.
He realized the truth of it as he sent it. He could not make the murder of this man his final act. After all he had killed, he could not bear the weight of one more.
The distress beacon was now only moments away. In his mind's eye he saw Matthew Gideon, illuminated by distant starlight, a lone floating figure in a grey EarthForce EVA suit. If this was a trap, there was no sign of it.
Energy surged through him, burning along the meridians of his tech, and he held it tightly, determined to retain control. The mage ships were receding into