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She shrieked again, her voice growing hoarse. "Gale. Gale."

He had to try it.

He selected the option, and the tech echoed his command.

Fa gasped, and her body bucked in a single, convulsive jerk. As the ring's image jumped, Galen saw the blur of Razeel's pale hand flying up, Razeel's cape billowing as she fell away. Then he was looking up at Fa, her neck muscles standing out in spasm, her eyes wide in terror and agony.

In his mind's eye, a schematic of Fa's body appeared beside her image. The ring's sensors showed a massive electric shock pumping through her, running up her arm, down her chest, and out through her buttocks into the ground. It was a high-voltage, low-frequency alternating current, the most lethal kind. The muscles of her arm and chest had frozen in tetany; she couldn't breathe.

As one second passed into the next, Fa's mouth opening wider and wider for air that would not come, tears running down her face, inside her heat built, tissues shriveled, burns spread down nerves, blood vessels, and muscles. Veins coagulated, blood clotted. With the internal resistance of her body breaking down, the current poured through even stronger.

The image shook as Fa went into seizure. The schematic flashed, signaling ventricular fibrillation. Fa's heart was failing.

And then, it stopped. Cardiac arrest.

The electric storm died. As her muscles went slack, a long, soft sigh whispered from her mouth. She fell back onto the mak, still.

The ring's sensors confirmed that Fa's heart remained in arrest. No further shock was necessary. The schematic vanished.

In one corner of the probe's image, he could see Elizar holding Razeel in a sitting position, examining her palm. She was still alive. She'd received a brief shock from her skin-to-skin contact
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