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of the Army of Light. Their words faded in and out as he formulated equation of motion after equation of motion.

He would be dead ten times over if not for the fact that Elizar had been ordered to spare him. That was the great unknown-what they might want him for.

It had been the purpose behind everything: the bombing of Soom, the interrogation and torture of Fa. Perhaps Elizar had wanted the spell of destruction, but that had merely been a bonus. The Shadows had pulled Elizar's strings; Elizar had pulled his strings. And like a fool, he had come.

"Back a million years ago," Justin said, "there were forces prowling around the galaxy beyond anything that we can understand."

Galen swerved down another tunnel. He had to get back to the Eye, and he had to get there alone. He was deeper now than he'd ever been, and he'd passed no one in the last minute or two. No machine people were near to aid Elizar. This passage was narrow and straight.

He conjured the spell of destruction once, twice, three times in the ceiling above Elizar, the tech flaring with brilliant heat.

His sensors showed spherical concentrations of energy building within the rock. Then those spheres began to move, drifting back through the ceiling until they were behind Elizar. With a firecracker-quick series of booms they imploded, and great boulders and slabs of stone cascaded down. A rush of dirt and rocks flew out at them, peppering Galen's back.

Within that billowing cloud, Elizar lifted a palm as if in good-bye, and a red plasma beam shot out from it. Galen juked to the right, the beam streaming past his left shoulder and down the tunnel. But as Elizar adjusted his aim, the beam rose, cutting into the ceiling ahead of Galen. Elizar hadn't meant to hit him. Elizar wanted to block him in.
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