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get them, the future remained uncertain. But somehow struggles with EarthDome were less threatening to her, more manageable. And certainly if, in her imaginings, she mistook a pile of laundry for President Clark, the likelihood of President Clark actually being that pile of laundry was fairly slim.

And so Ivanova slept more peacefully these nights....

The red light pours over your face . . . red as a sun at sunset with the onset of night beckoning .. . red as blood . . .

Ivanova sat up, the sheets falling away from her blue nightgown. The door to her quarters ...

... is open and beckons you. You rise from your bed, step through the door. You emerge from your quarters and find yourself in your full uniform, and this does not seem odd to you. You step out onto dirt, and it seems as if it has been ages since dirt crunched beneath your feet, but that does not seem odd to you either. No, it all seems to make perfect sense to you. The wall through which you've stepped is solid rock, and in the distance you see the Black Tower, the centerpiece of a much larger city, rising into the sky, its spire is a twisted and gleaming darkness which slides off your eye with ease.

You feel a brief chill, and something seems to be tugging at the outer reaches of your consciousness. You ignore it. It calls to you again and you push it away, because this is simply too . . . too incredible. Too beautiful. Too perfect. . . .

Yes . . . too perfect to be true. For your disposition does not permit you to take things at face value, yes, that is understood. Not all come willingly. Some must be forced. You will be forced. It would be preferable if you were not.

Here. Here is someone who has embraced the Tower willingly. Who embraces the vision without question, who understands the
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