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ever so slightly with the palms of her hands on the tabletop. "I'll need the balance of my fee deposited by morning." That was an understatement. The rent on her quarters was due in the afternoon.

He wasn't even looking at her. The only acknowledgment she had that he'd heard her was vague nodding. But he was busy murmuring to himself, "Twenty years ... how could I have been so stupid?"

She did him the courtesy of assuming that it was a rhetorical question, because what she really wanted to do was say that she had no idea how he could possibly have been that stupid. What sort of deep emotional problems had he carried that brought him to that place in his mind? How incredibly inadequate had he felt compared to his brother, that he was so certain his own wife preferred her brother-in-law over her own husband. He clearly had many issues to deal with, and the tragedy was that the time for dealing with them was long past. All he really had left to consider at this point was a life wasted. A life that would be ending....

[It is all ending.]

And once more she is in hyperspace, and there is something there, something ... impossible, something massive, something frightening that should not, cannot be here. It is.. .a mistake, yes, that is it. It can only be some sort of mistake.

A mistake, and danger, terrible danger... and...

... It sees her. It has noticed her, oh God, she must get away, but it is everywhere...

"I'm picking something up." A transmission, and for a second she thinks she sees other shapes, the familiar outlines of Starfuries, and she wants to scream, Getaway, you have no idea, no idea, and neither do I, but we have to get away....]

Lyta slammed her knee against a table, stumbling, and was catapulted out of her vision. Her breathing was ragged
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