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secrecy, telling John more of their plan than Elric had. Elric had told him that only illusions would board the Ondavi, and that their enemies sought merely to capture them, not kill them. Surely Ing-Radi had not told John everything, for he would never allow the Ondavi to leave if he knew what was about to happen. Yet perhaps she had told him that she and Elric planned to go on board to create the illusions, and that Elric was unnecessary. Somehow she had told John enough to convey that Elric's life was in danger. And John, for some reason, had taken it upon himself to save a man he barely knew. Elric was exhausted, and in pain, yet even so, he didn't understand why he felt like crying.

He had lost his dreams, but John was giving him the chance to dream again, and giving him a new dream with which to start. The mages would not fight the Shadows, would not defeat them. But perhaps those left behind could. Perhaps John could bring them together, for good. Perhaps, through this remarkable man, those dark agents of chaos and death could at last be vanquished.

The group of security guards approached the Crystal Cabin, and Elric knew he would have to slip out while they continued on their way. Carvin's ticket had been purchased under the false identity of a Narn. Elric took on the Narn's image. "Thank you," he said quietly, then slipped out from their circle into the ship.

He was shown into the luxurious passenger compartment. The others, all disguised, stood at the window, silent. He joined them. There were the normal delays, yet none of them moved, none of them spoke. They all waited for what must come.

Elric accessed his probe on John, found him at Command and Control.

A technician turned to the captain. "The ship carrying the techno-mages is requesting permission
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