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hear about it. You mundanes at IPX would have the whole thing packaged, marketed, and sold to the highest bidder...

- most likely Morden -

...and we wouldn't find out about it until telepaths' brains started turning to jelly."

Anna's fist came to her mouth.

"How is Terrence?"

"Mr. Hilliard is the way Mr. Hilliard will be for the rest of his life. Mr. Hilliard is jelly."

Donne continued down the passage. Anna had been hoping that they'd been able to break Terrence out of it. Somewhere inside she had even believed it. It seemed impossible that in a few moments the mouse could have so trapped his mind. She brought her fist away from her mouth, opening it to reveal the pattern of calluses that had grown up over years of digs. Climbing in and out of pits, up and down from cliffs, detecting the subtle edges of a buried object, digging carefully into tiny recesses, sensing weaknesses, fractures.

No matter how advanced the tools, there was no substitute for touch, for the sensitivity and delicacy of control of the hand. She'd paid little notice to the injuries to her hands, well willing to trade a little skin and a little sensitivity for the thrill of discovery. She'd even come to see them as badges of knowledge and expertise. A callus was the body's response to repeated injury and irritation. She wondered if the memory of Terrence, over time, would create a new callus, one that would lessen her sensitivity. She didn't know whether to hope for that or not. Perhaps it had already begun. She had surrendered him with relief to Psi Corps.

Her overriding concern had been for her standing at IPX and her continued access to the mouse fragments. And now she'd let Chang and Donne cover up what had happened to him. It was as if he hadn't even existed. She ran her fingers
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