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in her lungs, and she stumbled out of the Zocalo as others watched her go and mused over the fact that apparently the strawberry blonde telepath was completely incapable of holding her liquor.



Chapter 4



The roiling existence of hyperspace was a navigational challenge no matter how experienced one became. Without beacons to guide travellers or instrumentation to lock on and help people through, becoming lost forever in hyperspace was a very real, and very dangerous, possibility.

In other words, the hyperspace travel for the squadron of returning Starfuries was routine enough. But there was nothing routine about hyperspace itself.

This truism was brought home for Marlette as he glanced once again at his instrumentation. What he saw even made him tap on the panel-as absurd as that action was-to see if that altered the readings. When they didn't change, he opened his com channel to Ivanova, the Delta leader, and said, "I'm picking something up..."

Ivanova picked up the transmission, but the unpredictability of hyperspace played havoc with the quality of the sound. "Say again, Delta Seven," she told him. "You're breaking up."

He double-checked his instruments and nodded to himself. "I'm getting a reading on the long-range scanners. It's way off the beacon. Transferring the data to your system."

Ivanova studied the transmission as it came in. Her array momentarily disappeared, to be replaced by the input from Delta 7. She studied the enhanced image, her eyes narrowing with a mixture of concern and curiosity. Delta 7 hadn't been exaggerating. It was definitely on the fringe, at the outermost edge of their readings. Anyone less sharp-eyed than Marlette probably would have missed it completely. But he'd run it through the enhancing program, and now the
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