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he forced them, finger by finger, to open. He must hold to his task, above all. Without that, there was only chaos.

Alwyn took another step to stand over him, and the tight brown jacket revealed the rise and fall of his rapid breaths. "I regretted the way we parted. I thought I was too hard on you, calling you a zombie and saying you didn't care about Isabelle. But it was all true. If you wanted to honor her death, and Burell's, you would defy the Circle, as they did. They died fighting the opening skirmishes of this war, but apparently that doesn't matter to you. You've become this... You're even worse than when I last saw you. You used to care about things, Galen. You used to laugh, and cry. When you were young, you used to run to me and beg me to teach you tricks. Even at the convocation-I remember how nervous you were, how excited to be initiated and finally get your own ship. And now-I don't know what happened. I feel like I'm talking to a wall. I look in your eyes, and the boy I knew, the boy I loved, isn't there anymore. I'm not even sure you're quite Human."

3.74166. "I control myself," Galen said.

"At what price?"

"At whatever price is required," Galen said.

Alwyn turned away, went to the refrigerator, took out a beer. In one long gulp he drank down half of it.

G'Leel shook her head. "That's going to help."

"I know you've been through some hard times," Alwyn said to Galen. "We all have." He lowered his head. "Not a day passes that I don't think of Carvin. Her laugh. Her incredible grace." He met Galen's gaze. "But I honor her by fighting the Shadows. And by living my life as she would have wanted me to live it."

He guzzled the rest of the beer, slammed down the empty bottle. "You and I together-we could have stopped this war by now. Instead
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