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the fire down again, again. Something warm spread over his forearm, dampness stinging exposed nerve endings. From the sleeve of his coat a trickle of blood ran out onto his hand. He felt warmth on his back now too, and his side. He would not lose control again. He would not hurt anyone else again.

He called the fire down. The dampness spread, warmth enveloping him. He found himself fading into that warmth. It was hard to focus. But he knew there was one thing he must do, and he held fiercely to that one thing. And as consciousness left him, he brought the fire down one last time.



Chapter 4



Anna closed her orifice and, with a cry of joy, shot up into the sky. The gases of the atmosphere, layers of moisture and dust pressed against her, fighting her forward motion. She strove upward. Beneath her, cities had been flattened to desolate plains, life exterminated. A great victory.

The atmosphere thinned, her weight grew light, and the cold sent exhilarating tingles across her skin. Then she was free, cutting through the invigorating vacuum of space.

Her sisters had taken flight, speeding to Z'ha'dum to drop off their prisoners, so they could return to this sector and wait in delicious anticipation of the next attack. For Anna there would be no such joy. She must remain with her passengers on Z'ha'dum.

She had extended chairs and benches from the walls of her largest chamber, and there they sat, heat and oily excretions soaking into her. Through her skin, she watched them. The hated Bunny sat apart from the others, with a screen on her lap. Using a stylus, she dashed off line after line of strange symbols.

Even occupied as she was, Bunny challenged Anna's ability to concentrate, to carry out her tasks. The pressure of Bunny's thoughts pushed at Anna's
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