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The past is filled with the corpses of the inferior."

He studied her silently. "Sometimes things of great worth can be lost in the past. Ideas, knowledge, people." He took her hand, turned the palm faceup. "Do you see the thickened, hardened skin here? And here?" He ran his finger over her palm, sending a strange sensation shivering up her arm. "These calluses are the result of numerous small injuries you sustained in the course of your work. Friction, pressure, scrapes-this is a map of your past. You gladly accepted these injuries, because they brought you closer to the answers you sought. Answers that you-gave your life for."

She studied her hand, an archaeologist's hand. "This skin is incredibly vulnerable." She looked up at him. "Do you mean my inferior life? Before my potential was released?"

"When we arrived on Z'ha'dum, the liberators offered each of us a choice, to serve them willingly, or to serve them unwillingly. Do you remember what you chose?"

"I remember being born into the machine. I remember its cold, dark embrace." She felt her face deforming into a smile. "It taught me the secret life of circuits, the joys of circulation and cleansing, the elegance of neurons firing in perfect harmony. It revealed the sublime beauty of itself, towering dark in the vault of the universe. And I joined with it." Of course she had joined willingly.

His hand was tight about hers. "You used to want to understand the past. That was your passion. What do you want now? What have they promised you, Anna?"

"Not 'Sheridan'?"

"You're not Sheridan."

She was not. And she had no desire to be. "I want to be joined with the machine, with the greatest of all machines. They will give me control of the Eye if I succeed."

Morden released her, and his hands withdrew
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