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said.

"The captain isn't going to let them pass."

The cruiser's image was growing faster now, as it accelerated. It filled about ten percent of the screen. The fore fighter bay and guns were etched clearly in the starlight, though he could see no identifying markings on the hull.

"Sheridan's not going to commit suicide. When he can't reach you, he'll pull out of the way."

John was communicating with Lieutenant Commander Ving through hand signals. He tapped his wrist, then made his two hands into fists and brought them together. Ving checked the scanners, then raised two fingers.



* * *



The passage led onto a stone parapet overlooking a huge chamber beyond. Holding the carrying case with the mice up off the floor, Donne crawled out to the three-foot-high parapet, and behind her Anna followed. Her heart was pounding, her hard breath creating a recurring circle of fog on her breather. Behind her Morden followed in a crouch, his arm tucked against his body. The whirring noise echoed into silence. The chamber stretched far above them, with rows and rows of parapets above and ramps linking the various levels. The ones she could see appeared unoccupied. The stone of the walls was carved into ornate, spiky patterns and covered with runes.

The great vaulted space and dark, carved surfaces reminded Anna of a cathedral, but this was a cathedral devoted to darkness, not light. Far, far above, she found the sole source of the light: a long, narrow crack in the rock, similar to the one they had seen by the egg. Anna considered the distance they had walked, and the direction, as well as she'd been able to estimate it. The crack could be the one that had been below the egg. Donne was pressed up against the side of the parapet.

"Look over," she whispered, "and
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