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He was their enemy, as she had thought all along.

"Just so," Justin said. He stood and walked behind Anna, rested his hands on her shoulders. "You see, when she came here five years ago, she was given a choice. The same choice we're giving you. She made the mistake of choosing badly, and our associates-"

"You stuck her in one of those ships, didn't you," John yelled.

Anna didn't understand. How could Justin say she had chosen badly? He'd told her the liberators had seen her potential, had wanted to free it.

Yet the archaeologist Sheridan had been so full of foolish ideas, perhaps she had resisted. Just as John was resisting. He didn't understand the joys of the machine. It was so beautiful, so elegant. Perfect grace, perfect control, form and function integrated into the circuitry of the unbroken loop, the closed universe. She needed to incorporate herself once again into the machine, to beat out the perfect, flawless march, to coordinate, to synchronize, to strike.

"Once you've been inside one of those ships for a while," Justin said, "you're never quite whole again." He pointed a finger at John, his quavering voice rising. "But you do what you're told. And so will you."

One of the liberators entered the room behind John. It would teach him the principles of chaos. It would teach him obedience. John stood, spun toward the liberator, and raised his arm, and in his hand was a weapon, a gun he had hidden from her. She had failed.

He aimed it at the liberator, fired-again, again. Shrieking, Anna dove at him, seized him in her arms, struck at him. But this body was weak, and she wasn't quite sure how to use it for attack, what areas on John to target. John threw her to the couch, turned the gun on Morden and Justin, and ran for the far door.

As Anna
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