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want you to come with me."

Churlstein stood with Anna, tentatively grabbing her elbow as if he would help her along, when Donne turned on him.

"I will talk to Dr. Sheridan alone."

"I'll see you back at the office," Anna said, starting toward the cubicle with Donne.

She turned back and noticed Churlstein staring after them, his round face wrinkled in frustration.

"Tell them not to touch anything at the lab," Anna said.

"I want to record it all before it's cleaned up."

As they approached the curtained-off cubicle, the sound of the doctors, the nurses, the equipment, the bustle, all seemed to fade under the whisper of Terrence's voice. Donne followed behind, as if Anna were some prisoner who might try to escape. Anna pulled the curtain aside, and the words enveloped her. He lay still in the bed, quiescent, reminding Anna of the mouse. Only his lips moved, in a dull, careless way, lines of spittle running down his chin, and his eyes, searching-for something.

"I am the machine. I am the machine."

Beside Terrence's bed stood a doctor, studying the readout on a monitor.

"His physical injuries are superficial. I've treated them. But his mental condition... I've never seen anything like it."

He pointed to the monitor.

"His brain waves show a rigid, perfectly cyclical pattern, totally unlike human brain waves. Yet there is no physiological reason for this abnormality. There is no damage from the explosion to the skull or brain that could possibly be responsible. Is there anything more you can tell me about what happened?"

"Thank you, Doctor," Donne said.

"Psi Corps will transfer him shortly to one of our facilities. See that he is accompanied by a complete report of your findings."

The doctor hesitated.

"Yes, of course. You'll need to
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