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controlled the machine.

She realized how much she had missed the sensation, how much she longed for it. This was but a poor imitation.

The ship's signal bell chimed. They had reached the end of their hyperspace route.

"Looks like we're here," John said, lifting his arm to allow her to rise.

At first, she didn't want to move. Then she realized how close she was to gaining all that she desired.

For they had reached Z'ha'dum.

* * *

Galen jerked awake, his forehead slamming into something, hard. Rock. The tunnels. Z'ha'dum.

He lay back a moment in the close darkness, working to slow his breathing. The fire had gone from his body, leaving the side of his neck a great throbbing mass of pain. He felt dizzy and hungry and sick all at once.

He brought his hand to the wound. Skin covered a hemispherical depression. Dried streams of blood crusted his neck and back. The organelles had been at work while he slept, saving him from bleeding to death. The Shadows had designed their agents well. But it would take more time to reconstruct the muscle and tissue he had destroyed.

He found that he had received a series of messages, all from Elizar.



I know you're receiving my messages, so I know you're still alive.

We could spend weeks playing hide-and-seek in these tunnels. Why bother, when we both want the same thing? Meet me at the opening of the Eye, and we can be done with each other.

Galen began a mind-focusing exercise, slowly hunched into a sitting position. Instant headache. He checked the time. Checked again. He had lost an entire day.

With growing anxiety, he accessed John's probe.

"We only need breathers on the surface," Anna said, fitting one of the clear masks over her face.

John did the same. They entered
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