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they got it from, they'd put it back there."

"Relax, Sheila," he tried to soothe her. "Do you think they'd be fooling with it if they didn't know what they were doing?"

She looked up at him unwaveringly and said, without hesitation, "Absolutely."

Chapter 8

The comparison to ants drawn by Dr. Franklin had not been far off as the technicians busily constructed their anthill around the artifact.

All the while keeping a safe distance, so as not to have any of their equipment ruined, the IPX personnel were-through a combination of ships and 'bots-constructing a large framework around the alien structure. From that they would be able to hang lights, create close-up watch stations ... even build scaffolding or anchor points that would allow their fellow technicians to walk upon the surface of the artifact. Under ordinary circumstances they might utilize gravity boots, but with the device apparently capable of draining energy, they were going to have to use something as mundane, but reliable, as cables and clasps. In short, they were treating it as if they were preparing to scale a mountain. A totally alien mountain in a zero-g environment, granted, but a mountain nonetheless.

The available light was cast by huge lamps situated in some of the already-in-place rigging. It played off the surface of the artifact, suffusing it with an eerie glow that, at that very moment, was not at all being witnessed by Lyta Alexander. Aside from the fact that Lyta's quarters had no viewing ports, the tele-path had gone to bed.

She was not, however, sleeping soundly. Then again, dreams of approaching death, destruction, and Armageddon will tend to rob even the most deep sleeper of his or her peace of mind.

And Lyta felt. ..


She is floating, and all
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