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targets destroyed," said Marlette. "You'd better get someone down to Maintenance, find out what the hell happened."

"We're on it," came the reply from C&C.

Zack was so tired that he hadn't even managed to, or bothered to, take off his uniform. He'd pulled off his jacket and sat down on the edge of his bed with the intention of removing his shoes. Unfortunately for him, as he leaned back he'd sort of tumbled backward onto the bed and discovered that lying there, arms outstretched, was far preferable to doing just about anything else. He'd actually drifted off to sleep for five minutes. And it was the first five minutes he'd had since he'd gotten off the transport when he wasn't feeling like a complete jerk for the way he'd mishandled the business with Lyta. Had he actually managed to reach full REM sleep and lapse into dreams, he probably would have dreamt of Lyta standing over him laughing contemptuously, pointing and sneering. So it was probably better that he wasn't asleep long enough for that to happen. The sharp beep from his link jolted him awake. He moaned softly as he tapped it, not even bothering with a response much beyond, "Yeah?"

"Security, this is C and C," came over the link. "We have a problem with the 'bots."

"And why isn't this a Maintenance problem?" he asked, looking for any excuse to fob it off onto someone else so he could get some sleep.

"Because a group of 'bots went berserk and attacked the artifact, and our calls to Maintenance aren't being responded to. Sabotage hasn't been ruled out."

That bit of news instantly snapped Zack to full wakefulness. At night, the Maintenance control room was more or less unattended, left to run on automatic systems. However, in order to avoid any potential security problems, a night-shift security
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