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were of little consequence; it was the events they would trigger that would shift the currents of time and space. And he must follow.

* * *

"Meet you back at the Icarus at seventeen hundred," Chang said through the link in Anna's EVA suit.

"Good luck."

"I read you," Anna said, keeping her tone distant, impersonal.

From the small observation portal beside her seat near the front of the crawler, Anna could barely see the two crawlers carrying Chang's party turn off to the south, toward the egg and the major pillar. They had decided to start the dig with a focus on two sites: the area of the egg and the major pillar, and the area of the major cave Anna had explored with the probe. Since Anna's discovery of the mice, exploring the cave had become a top priority.

Chang headed the pillar group with Churlstein, Scott, Petrovich, and Donne, while Anna headed the cave group with Morden, Favorito, Razor, and Standish. Most of the team was salivating to explore the egg. Between the uniqueness of the find and Donne's constant discussion of it, as if she were its PR agent, excitement was high. She'd questioned them all constantly about what they'd discovered about it, and particularly on their opinions regarding the inscjiption Morden had translated.

Anna had thought it odd that Chang had been willing to give up a space in his party to Donne. His assignment of Donne to his party was even more peculiar given the message Anna had discovered. If Chang knew Donne was planning to smuggle artifacts, why take her to see the most prized find so far?

But Chang had assigned Donne to his party. He probably wanted to keep an eye on her. Anna was grateful. Let them deal with all their plots and counterplots. Maybe she could get some actual archaeology done. Each group
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