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the walls like blood, its power whispering through her with the faintest, most desirable touch. A machine. The most powerful she had ever sensed. She must join with it.

She needed to coordinate, to synchronize, to strike, to fulfill the needs of the machine, to follow the direction of the Eye. She needed to incorporate herself once again into its perfection, to beat out the flawless march, to swoop down on the enemy, to shriek the red ecstasy of fire.

She remembered again. When she had been separated from the machine, she had sensed another one inside a wall, like this one, only much less powerful. For a short time, she had joined with it.

Whether joining her with the machine was the technicians' intention, she didn't know. But she'd had enough of their interfering. This was her purpose. She must become one with it.

The closest wall lay just beyond the tool-covered tray, and it appeared composed of removable panels. Anna explored the sensations of her reduced body. She had four limbs, two of which possessed well-articulated grasping mechanisms at their ends. They would not flow, as the machine's skin did, but she could move them. She made a slight trial motion when she wasn't observed. A crude, mechanical effort was required, but she could control the limb.

She waited until the technician arranging the tools looked away, then shot her limb out. Her grasping mechanism, she was shocked to see, looked very much like the hand of a Human, the pale skin branching into five small appendages. Long, horny extrusions extended from the end of each. As she stretched to reach her goal, the limb trembled with weakness. The horny extrusions barely brushed the wall.

The technician reached for some item on the tray, knocking her limb into the instruments. He looked down
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