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you may pass."

"Thank you," Galen said.

"That is where you belong."

The brilliant light began to fade, Ulkesh retreating.

The faint hum of the ship's song changed, and Galen realized it had received an order. The hold on him loosened, the material softening into a thick ooze. In a dizzying rush the current slammed into him, driving him backward, spinning him head over heels. With a rude sound it ejected him, and he was shooting through frigid blackness, the vacuum sucking the air out of him. He slammed hard into the air lock of his ship.

The rippling cylinder of yellow-green hovered above him, regarding him.

Galen selected the command, and the air lock's outer door slid closed. Then air was rushing back in around him, and he pushed himself up. Beyond the air-lock window the extension retracted, flowing back into the main body of Ulkesh's ship, the mass rippling outward, dissipating.

Galen was left with Ulkesh's final words. When it suits us, you will all die.

The Vorlon ship raced off into blackness.



* * *



Anna handed her identicard to the security officer and looked out at the area beyond the checkpoint. Few beings moved about. It was a time of rest, according to the schedule most kept here. Primitive information screens covered the walls; lights too bright shone down upon rows of rigid chairs. Anna laid her hand against the wall. This machine, Babylon 5, was large and held many lives. But it was soulless, dead.

Justin had told her John controlled it, though not in the way Anna controlled the machine; instead, in the strange, indirect way Humans had of controlling things.

The security officer looked up from his primitive handheld device. "Been out of circulation for a while, haven't you?"

"Is there a problem?" Anna said, tilting
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