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what you're going to say."

"I don't think you do," Anna said.

"I think Petrovich and Standish are here to keep an eye on you, make sure you maintain IPX's priorities."

He shot her a sharp smile.

"Very good, Sheridan. You're almost ready to swim with the sharks."

"Ms. Donne I know is bad news, and I resent the fact that she's taking a slot we needed for an archaeologist. But I think Dr. Morden may be an asset. I don't know how he got on the team or what his agenda is, but he certainly knows his stuff. What's your take on him?"

"I haven't even met the man. But if I were you, on this trip I would trust no one. You care about people, Sheridan, and on this trip caring is a liability. The only one I trust is you."

"I trust you," Anna said.

"Well, maybe you shouldn't," Chang said.

"I invited you into this madness."

On that they entered the conference room, and the conversation of the archaeologists inside graded into silence.

"If everyone will collect their coffee and donuts and take a seat, we will begin."

The conference room was little more than a cube, barely big enough for the rectangular table, a com station against one wall and a data-processing station and view screen against another. But it was nicer than the facilities they'd had on any other trip. Chang stood at the head of the table, and sitting to his right looking up at him, Anna felt some of the old awe that had faded over the years. Chang was like the old lecturer she knew back at the University of Chicago, his gestures sharp, his voice vibrant, compelling. He knew this was the find of a lifetime, as they all did. Politics couldn't change that. And once the news of their discovery got out, it would become bigger than politics, beyond its influence.

Listening to him lay out the
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