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"I have to see him."

"I don't think you want to go out there. Some of the mages think you're the best thing since Wierden and you've finally realized our great destiny. Others think you've succumbed to some trick of the Shadows and we're all about to be annihilated. And then there are the ones who hate you for destroying Z'ha'dum, thinking you killed any future for our order."

Galen bent his platform further, straightening himself into a sitting position. "I need a robe. Will you help me?"

And then the pressure was closing again around his heart. A sharper pain sliced through him, and as he fell forward, Fed jumped up and caught him. A spot of blood seemed to have magically appeared on the front of his sleeping gown, centered over his heart.

"Whoa!" Fed said. "What is that? What's happening?"

Galen couldn't catch his breath. It felt as if his heart was being squeezed out through his ribs.

The red spread slowly outward.

Fed grabbed the neck of the gown and ripped it down. At the center of his mottled chest was the bright red bull's-eye, and across it, a slit leaking blood. As the pressure increased, Galen's gasp rose into a dry, hollow rattle. A small blue lump slipped through the slit, ran with a trickle of blood down his chest.

Then the pressure released him, and he was swallowing air in great gulps. After a minute, he could speak. "I'm okay," he said in a whispering voice. "I'm okay." The pain already was fading. He extricated himself from Fed, leaned back against the platform. Now he understood.

"What is that?" Fed was trying to locate the blue lump among the gown and blankets.

"The device-from the Circle."

"That tracking device they gave you? What the hell was it doing?" Fed picked it out of the blankets, studied it. "It's totally
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