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pushed himself to his feet, using the cave wall for support.

"I'm feeling better."

Anna searched for his light, found it and the bag of floodlights crushed flat under a slab of rock. Anna linked off for a moment, turning her face away from Donne. Morden did the same.

"Can you walk?" Anna asked.

"For now."

"I can help you."

"Watch Donne. She wants you for something, but eventually she will try to kill you."

Morden's voice was smooth, his features, though pale and sheened with sweat, relaxed. It was as though the worse things got, the more hopeless they seemed, the more he felt at peace.

"We'll get out of this," she said.

He turned back to Donne. Anna linked back in.

"Lead the way, Ms. Donne."

Morden needed her help at first, to get over the rocks from the cave-in, then, as the way became clearer, he slid his hand from hers, moving with a cautious, controlled gait to the other side of the passage . He was creating two separate targets for Donne. Ahead of them, Donne paused to pick up something. It was an isocase; it looked like one taken from the probe. She continued down the passage.

"Are those the mice?" Anna asked.

"Yes. I found this hidden on the side of the outcropping."

Donne seemed to have recovered from her earlier shakiness. Her stride was confident, strong as she led them deeper and deeper underground. The cave floor here had been artificially polished, and the ceiling was a smooth, uniform eight feet high. If the caves were still inhabited, they were getting closer to the site.

"You shot Dr. Chang, didn't you?"

"Yes."

Donne didn't even bother to turn to face them. She was sure Anna wouldn't shoot her. Anna and Morden needed her to guide them out.

"When I first saw the images of the egg, I felt drawn toward it.
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