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a full corn station.

"Captain Hidalgo."

After a few moments, he appeared on the screen.

"Hidalgo here."

"The corn system says communications are off line."

"Yes, communications went down a few minutes ago. We're looking into it."

"What happened?"

He shot her an irritated look.

"We'll know that after we look into it."

"Right. Thank you."

She ended the communication. She wondered if her message to John had gotten through. The system had said "Message sent" first. She wasn't sure if there was some way to find out whether the message was stuck in the system or not. She certainly didn't want the mushy message floating around in Dr. Chang's mailbox.

"Corn system check unsent mail, access code Idol Worshipper."

"Two messages."

Two? Perhaps Chang had sent a message as well that didn't get through.

"Play message one."

She recognized herself instantly, hated hearing the sound of her own voice.

"Stop. Transfer message one to mailbox access code 120349."

Her wedding date. Once the communications were back on line, she could use Chang's access to send it. At least this way it wouldn't be floating around for him to find until then. She wondered what the second message was. Of course, it was private, but she should make sure that it wasn't some duplicate of her own message, created through the malfunction in the system.

"Com system who is sender of message two?"

"Mission Commander Chang."

As she'd suspected. But for the sake of completeness...

"Who is recipient of message two?"

"Mission Supervisor Galovich."

Chang's boss at IPX. The fact that it hadn't been sent was curious. Either the message had been caught by the same malfunction as hers, which meant the attempt to send it had been in the last few minutes, during the
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