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others are going to figure out what we've got here and they'll try to take it away from us. We need to get there first, crack this thing and get out. The only way to do that is for us to turn it on."

"Well, assuming it still works after all this time."

"It works," she said with confidence. "I can feel it. Bill..." and she took him firmly by the shoulders, trying with all her might to convey to him the enormity of the moment"-this is the big one.... This one puts us in the history books for the next thousand years. Can I count on you? Can I?"

He wanted to shout, No! Maybe it was shut down for some other reason! Maybe a weapon that dangerous should be lost again, forever! Maybe instantaneous travel isn't worth the risk!

It was basic physics that, for every action, there was an equal and opposite reaction. The results that could stem from their starting up a machine as powerful as this one could be mind-boggling in the level of jeopardy they presented. Incredible power opened the door for incredible danger.

But the temptation was overwhelming. This was what his line of work was all about: exploration, discovery, the desire to know more and more. How could he pass it up? It was like a surgeon being presented his first real opportunity to save a life, looking down at his hands to discover that they were trembling, and then bolting from the room. Wasn't this what he was supposed to be all about?

As for his own suspicions as to how people were reacting on the station ... they were all unfounded. Not a shred of genuine proof, or reasonable speculation based upon empirical evidence. She'd laugh at him, sneer at his base cowardice.

Finally he nodded and said, very reluctantly, "Okay."

If she saw any hint of the hesitation in him, she gave no sign. "Good," she
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