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She looked at her watch again.

"Are you all right? You have blood on your neck."

She touched the area she'd been scratching.

"It's nothing."

He remained in the doorway.

"I know I've screwed up."

"According to them..."

- Chang flashed his eyes skyward, toward the executives -

"...we both did. But truthfully, no one could have known what would happen. And your theory was right. The mechanism was telepathically controlled. I don't think anyone else would have figured that out. At least not so quickly."

"I know we don't have a lot left to work with, but I don't want to give up. Maybe by studying the fragments I can figure out something that might help that telepath to recover."

"I've been asked to take over the testing," he said in his neutral tone.

A thousand objections ran through Anna's mind, but she didn't feel she had the right to utter any of them. She sat.

"I know you're the best person for this job."

Chang came inside, closed the door behind him.

"I meant what I said. But believe me, it's better you're out of this. Nobody's going to come out on top of this thing. I wish I could pass it to someone else."

His thumb scraped at the callus on his index finger.

"This has nothing to do with archaeology anymore, and everything to do with power."

She sighed.

"Why does everything have to be so political?"

"Because man is a political being."

The comer of her mouth went up.

"Did they calculate how strong the blast was?"

"The equivalent of a half-second burst from a pulse cannon."

He raised a hand before she could ask another question.

"I need copies of your notes and records so far."

She nodded and opened up her computer, downloading the files onto a data crystal. Chang knew she kept all her preliminary
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