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He had only the bare beginnings of an answer. And for now, that was enough. For the full answer to that question, he hoped, would not be written for some time.

As for what he was, he learned more about that every day.

He and the tech were discovering their capabilities together. At times, Galen felt that the tech was as much a part of him as his heart or his brain, and that it was meaningless to think of them as separate, of one part as "him" and another part as "the tech." Collectively, he carried the traits and desires of both, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish them. Yet at other times the tech's still, pervasive warmth seemed a distinct presence within him, communicating a thought, or a desire.

With each day, they grew in strength. Galen looked down at his arms, which lay flat against the blanket. Much of the black had flaked away, and the skin beneath was a mottled red, tender and swollen. All over his body, burns were healing. Within, the organelles told him that most of the cellular damage and internal injuries had been repaired. The only area that seemed resistant was the bright red bull's-eye over his heart, which throbbed with each breath he took.

But they were eager to pursue their purpose. There were so many questions still to be asked. And there was so much tech still to be freed, if only the mages could free it.

His door chime rang twice-Fed's signal-and after a moment, the door slid open. Fed entered quickly with a tray of food, while other mages crowded behind him. The door closed them out.

Over the past weeks, aside from Fed, Galen remembered seeing only Herazade, who had questioned him perhaps five days ago about what had happened, receiving answers he feared were incoherent.

Galen was surprised that Blaylock
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