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heat source. It occupied about a cubic foot. Normally she would have hesitated to dig even a foot below the surface with the probe. No digging should have been done until complete measurements and records had been made. And then the digging should have been done in person, one thin layer at a time, with painstaking care and attention to any changes in the makeup of the deposits. But if she didn't find anything of significance within the cave, Anna knew Chang wouldn't choose it as one of their two initial excavation sites. And they might not have the chance to get back to the caves at all.

Giving them four months to excavate an entire planetary culture was a joke, but then IPX wasn't interested in the whole culture. Only those pieces of it that might prove profitable. They had the mentality of treasure hunters -the enemies of every archaeologist. And Chang, though he would do his best to find out all he could about this culture, would run the dig according to IPX protocol.

Anna felt blindly in front of her, pulled on the thick gloves. She did the digging manually, a necessary precaution to preserve whatever was below. As she moved her arms, the probe's metal arms moved, the flat spatulate hand reaching down, scraping away a thin layer of rock fragments. The resistance of the rock against her hand registered as a dull pressure. It was an odd sensation, as if her body had been replaced by a machine body. She took care to record what she found at different depths, though the jagged fragments appeared fairly uniform.

Occasionally the shifting rocks surrounding the hole ran down inside, contaminating her data, making her wince at the poor procedure. As time wore on, the betting began again, with the most money predicting she would uncover the largest and ugliest bug on
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