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said.

"Then I am a friend to you all."

"No," Ulkesh said.

"Last year, I met with Kosh. He said he would help me fight the Shadows. He would allow me to reach Z'ha'dum and tell me how to penetrate its defenses. Now I return for the information, and you stand in his place. Will you give what he promised?"

"No," Ulkesh said.

"Do you protect the Shadows?"

"No," Ulkesh said.

"Then why won't you help me?"

"You cannot fight yourself."

Galen let out a breath. Perhaps there was no difference between him and the Shadows. They both desired chaos and death. If the task was to fight himself, though, Galen believed he was well prepared. That was all he'd been doing for the past two years.

"Only like can fight like," he replied.

Ulkesh's head shifted, the single red eye regarding him more closely. "As you fight, you spread the maelstrom."

"I desire only to find two of my kind who serve the Shadows, and to kill them. They are on Z'ha'dum. If we destroy one another, will that not serve order?"

"Where are the rest?"

"They are dead. Killed by the Shadows."

"Lies."

Galen frantically searched his mind. He sensed no disturbance to his exercises, no sense of intrusion. But how did Ulkesh know?

"You are an abomination." Ulkesh swept past him, continued down the corridor.

Galen realized he would not convince the Vorlon with words. Ulkesh was certain he had all the answers, and Galen must show him otherwise. Galen visualized the equation, conjured an illusion of himself standing where he stood. He retreated down the cross-corridor, accessed the security camera to observe what happened. He composed words for his image to speak, as if writing a message. The illusion spoke.

"If I can destroy two of the Shadows' greatest weapons, is that not good?
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