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"Yes." He would study them with the detachment of an astronomer cataloging remote galaxies. He would allow nothing to break through his defenses.

"You must remain focused on your task, above all. Do not stray. You have three to kill, and only three. The Circle will not overlook another loss of control. Accomplish the task you have been set, and return to us."

"I will accomplish it."

Blaylock was silent for a few steps. Then he continued. "We have arranged for you to retain access to our probe network while you are outside." Galen received a message with several files attached. "Those are Elric's reports from his time on Babylon 5, including what information he gathered on Morden. Know that when you are in Morden's presence, you are in grave danger." Blaylock stopped beside the air lock, and as they faced each other, Galen was startled to see a hint of stubble on Blaylock's cheeks. He must have been so upset with Elric's and Gowen's deaths that he had forgotten to scour himself. The gray bristles made him look vulnerable and aged. "The Shadows believe most of us dead. But they know that I, too, may be alive. This task demands the skills of one of the Circle. I should be the one to go."

"The mages cannot spare you. Besides, this is what I want. It is my fault that Elizar may have the spell of destruction. My arrogance. And I must stop Morden, for Elric's sake."

"Elric desired only that you find happiness."

"If I am able to kill Elizar, Razeel, and Morden, I will be happy. I require nothing further."

"You may believe so now. Yet once you have left here, everything will change. I wish you were not the one to go. The outside is filled with temptations."

The tech echoed Galen's unease. "If you believe in my control, then you have nothing to fear."

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