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fused. Inoperative. If the bombs had caused you that much internal damage, you'd be dead." He rolled the small blue lump between his fingers. "Your organelles must have destroyed it..."

The Circle, fearing the Shadows' power over his tech, had required their own power over him. He would be ruled by neither. As the Shadows' seven basic postulates no longer defined him, neither did the seven elements of the Circle's Code. "I am under no one's control."

Fed looked up at Galen, and his beard shifted in concern. "The Circle isn't going to like-" He glanced at the device. "Why are there explosives in here?"

"Tell the Circle I will report to them at their convenience, and give them that. Now, I must see Blaylock."

After Galen was dressed, Fed went out into the hall to clear the way. Apparently he was unsuccessful, for when he called Galen out, the corridor was lined with mages. Fed led the way toward Blaylock's room, and Galen glided after. At first the mages watched him silently. Then one touched his arm, startling him. Then another. Finally, someone spoke.

"Glad to have you back." That was Ak-Shana.

"Good to see you." Kane.

Then Fed stopped. Ahead, several mages blocked the passage. At their front, Chiatto called out in an angry voice. "No one told you to wage war against the Shadows."

Fed waved him back.

Chiatto's Centauri crest trembled. "How are any apprentices to be initiated? You've destroyed our order!"

"I told you," Fed said, "the time for all this is later. Galen hasn't even spoken to the Circle yet."

"Whatever he says doesn't matter. We all know what happened, though the Circle is holding back the details. He blew up Z'ha'dum. The Shadows will never give us tech now-if any of them are still alive."

Galen thought of the Drazi shrouded
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