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that could vanish instantly when his anger was aroused. His receding silvery hair was covered with his own wig, black hair short and slicked back. He had darkened his eyebrows as well, giving himself a more severe and dramatic look. Prosthetics gave him a sharper nose, squarer chin. He wore a subdued brown business suit, which snugged around his middle.

Alwyn looked toward the security checkpoint where passengers entered the station, and an expectant half smile lit his face.

Galen broke the contact. Whatever warm reunion Alwyn was anticipating, he would be disappointed. Galen had changed too much, and no longer had the ability to be close to anyone, nor the desire to be.

Alwyn would not make the encounter easy. He restrained himself for no one, spewing out his feelings and opinions without regard for his audience. He was sure to bring up the past. But Galen would not revisit it.

The air lock's control panel showed that the docking bay was fully pressurized. Galen took up his valise and left the ship behind, passed out of the docking bay, into the corridor that led to the security checkpoint. Passengers from other ships joined him. After spending so much time among mages, he found them strange and unsettling. Their words were poorly chosen, their conversations loud, overlapping, their movements erratic, ill-considered. A woman with a large embroidered bag banged into him and continued, not pausing in her monologue to her companion. A boy broke out in a high-pitched laugh and raced ahead of his parents. A tall Narn limped ahead, his clothes hanging off his frail body.

As they neared the security checkpoint, they formed into an unruly line, most gazing eagerly toward the customs area beyond. A security officer ran each passenger's identicard through a scanner.
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