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the walls up tighter, squeezing the fist of his will until there was no past, no future, no universe, nothing but a ship, and within the ship a body, and within the body a heart, a dark heart, beating, beating, beating.



* * *



When John Sheridan came from the other room, the first thing Anna felt was surprise. In his loose robe, with his dark-blond hair in disarray, he looked so unremarkable, so pathetic and Human. Was this the nexus, whose influence and control stretched across the galaxy?

As his sharp gaze found her, though, she did sense something, a power she hadn't detected in any other Human. He carried some of the authority of the techno-mage Elizar, but more than that. Anna couldn't say what. A strange flutter of excitement passed through her. It felt as if the machine's beat had stumbled. He was no ordinary Human. No wonder he had been able to murder so many of her sisters. He was dangerous.

She had reached her target. Now she must gain control of him.

"Anna, my God, what are you doing here?"

He called her Anna. Was he really her friend, or just pretending to be? He wasn't smiling; she couldn't identify the expression on his face. He glanced toward the other room, where Delenn's figure moved behind frosted glass. Delenn had no place here. Anger filled Anna.

" 'What are you doing here?' " she said. "After five years that's the best that you can do?" Delenn came from the other room, dressed in new clothes, and stopped beside John. Anna's eyes narrowed on her. "Though under the circumstances, I can understand."

"I-I should go," Delenn said, and started toward the door.

"No-Delenn, wait," John said.

Delenn brushed past Anna, left. The door swung closed behind her.

"It's all right, John. Let her go. You can talk to her later. This
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