their links couldn't work through more than thirty-six feet of rock.
"Group two report."
She and Morden were totally isolated from the others. 1f anything happened to the techs, she wouldn't know. And if anything happened to her and Morden, the techs wouldn't know. The techs could send a runner, of course, but only if they were able. Anna swept her light ahead. She couldn't see the nodule. They continued farther, the floor sloping down, down. Then the cave started to widen again, the ceiling rising to the point where they could straighten up. They had passed the location of the nodule. It had been at the narrowest point in the cave. And now it was gone. Her breath hitched in relief.
"I've got a clear reading on the energy source."
Morden came over to show her on the scanner.
"It's just ahead."
They moved forward, their flashlights sweeping the ground before them. Anna's flashed over something, and she slowed, bringing the beam back onto it. Morden's beam joined it. It was a piece of machinery, human in origin, a metal box about two feet by two feet that was emitting a low hum. They crouched down over it, the darkness closing around them.
"This looks like a placer generator," Morden said. "I think it might be from the probe."
His tone had an odd quality she couldn't name.
"The probe couldn't have gotten this far. The safety lock wouldn't permit it. Besides, where's the rest of it?"
She cast her light across the cave floor.
"I don't know," Morden said, standing.
Anna remained crouched beside the generator. She realized that the cave floor here was smoother. There were no large rocks in the way and most of the fragments were gone as well, leaving large slabs of stone visible. As she ran her light across the ceiling, she saw