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in love, that she had loved him, and that they had been happy, even for a short time.

She had believed there was an order to the universe, a design. She had thought the design was revealed through scientific law, the order created by God. She'd hoped her research into the tech would give her greater insight into that order. She'd never known that their powers had not arisen through the design of any god, but through the design of the Shadows.

If she'd known, she would have told him that the Shadows' design could be transcended, that he needn't destroy.

He was trying, had been trying for a long time now. It seemed like forever.

But the tech wanted only to kill, and he was tired of fighting it.

Only two more need die, if he could just get free of this place.

Galen accessed the healing organelles moving through his body. He selected one in his spinal cord, directed it down a capillary that wound around the transceiver and the surrounding nerves. The organelle's sensors created a visual image in his mind's eye, showing him the clear plasma streaming through the narrow capillary, the line of large, lozenge-shaped red blood cells tumbling ahead of and behind the organelle. Through the transparent wall of the capillary, he could see the thick golden rope of tech, and at its end, the swollen cluster like a bunch of grapes that formed the transceiver.

Reflecting variations in energy, the golden skin pulsed lighter and darker as the tech cycled through its processes. It was alive, was part of him. Carrying his DNA along with other, unknown DNA, it had intertwined with his systems, insinuating its way deep into him, growing to reflect him, to echo his thoughts. Microcircuitry directed its growth and functioning, carrying the purpose of its creators, the programming
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