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access to a mage's systems, the tech responded with a request for the key. When Burell sent the initial signal again, the incorrect response activated some sort of safeguard. The tech concluded that the signals were coming from an interloper and not from the Shadows. To prevent further tampering, it shut down the transceiver and sections of the implants connected to it. Burell was crippled by it.

If she'd known the true origins of the tech, she might have deduced the purpose of the transceiver before experimenting on herself. But the Circle had kept its secret, at the same time searching itself for the control mechanism Burell had unknowingly discovered. Only Galen possessed both pieces of the truth.

He had searched for some practical way to stop the Shadow signal from reaching the transceiver, but could find none. That left only the options of destroying the tiny piece of tech or removing it. A few inches above the coccyx, the transceiver nestled within the spinal column itself. It was surrounded by nerve fibers, including the major nerves innervating the legs. Anything powerful enough to destroy it could seriously damage those nerves, and removing it would likely cause inflammation in the spinal cord, leading to temporary or permanent paralysis of the legs.

But that physical danger, Galen suspected, was only a distraction from the real threat. Just as Burell's tampering had been detected and stopped, so would this more radical interference. The Shadows would have set up some fail-safe to prevent a mage from removing his transceiver, some system that, if activity were detected, would either kill him or inactivate his tech permanently. The best evidence that such a failsafe existed was Elizar himself. If there was a way to bypass the nullification signal, then why
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