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he must leave Babylon 5 soon. If he abandoned his attempt to trace the Shadows' signal, then he could simply proceed with Morden's murder, a much more straightforward task.

But he knew no other way to find Elizar and Razeel quickly, except to go to the shell-shaped region of space, to meet them and the Shadows in battle. That he must not do.

He could not allow them to escape him, to use his spell of destruction.

He had to get past the membrane.

If he touched or manipulated it in any way, he risked detection, yet he could think of nothing else. Galen raised his hand to the shifting surface, hoping to gain some additional information through the sensors in his fingertips.

The membrane's skin was warm, moist, and he detected carbon, oils, organic compounds. As he studied its composition, the membrane swelled against his hand, and with a sudden shift the thick material oozed down over his fingers. Galen started, fighting the urge to yank his arm back. The red membrane spread down his hand, wrist, capturing him as a spiderweb trapped prey. The warmth crawled over the sleeve of his robe, reaching ahead with disconcerting muscular contractions. It was exploring him, subsuming him. Just as it had with Anna.

Anna had gained control of that living machine on Thenothk. Of course, the Shadows had altered her to serve that purpose. Yet he too was a creature of the Shadows. Could he gain control of the membrane?

He focused on the shifting red skin, cast the spell to associate. There was no echo from the tech, no connection to the membrane. He had no method for joining with it.

The warmth oozed over his shoulder, worked its way up his neck. Galen closed his eyes, took a deep breath and held it. He visualized the equation, moved the platform slowly ahead into the
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