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to explore the crack. Farther on, in the row closest to her, was Scott. Tightness closing around her throat, she counted the rows of tubes.

Fourteen rows, with ten in each row. One hundred forty people on the Icarus. About two-thirds of the tubes were already filled. On the near side of the chamber, below Anna's parapet , the egg sat in muddy light, a smooth, innocuous shape, bloated, waiting. The top of it was only about ten feet below the parapet. Movement below made Anna duck her head back, and Anna's faceplate knocked up against Morden's. His calm was gone now, eyes wide, lips tight with fear, a mirror into her soul. She found his hand, cold and clammy with shock, took it, and they both looked over again. Three aliens of humanoid shape stood beside the egg. Their skin was a bluish gray, and they had ungainly large heads. She couldn't make out their features from above, but as one extended an arm, she saw long, thick grasping fingers. These were not like the creature she had seen in the nodule. A ripple ran through the egg, and with a shift of the thready light, the egg seemed to have been in a slightly different position than she'd previously thought. Occupying the space where the egg had been and now wasn't, lay a human body in a breather and jumpsuit.

Anna recognized the coarse black ponytail, the comp-pad hanging from his belt: Razor. The aliens seized him immediately.

"No, I won't!" Razor yelled.

"No, I won't! No, I won't!" he repeated and repeated, struggling as they pulled him into a room below the parapet, one she couldn't see.

After a minute or so the scream of the drill echoed out into the chamber, drowned out almost instantly by Razor's scream. Anna's gaze locked onto Scott lying peacefully in the tube, her head tilted slightly to one side as
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