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North Dakota

The helicopter descends, but the animals don’t scatter; they turn in place, or take a few steps back and forth, but that’s all. Ned counts eight of them, takes the binoculars from Mackie and looks back: this time there are five. He peers through the lenses.

“No,” he says.

“Must have other ranges elsewhere,” says Mackie, “but this is the only one in North America. They like the terrain in the Badlands.”

“Those are not,” Ned says, with rising uncertainty, “Pushmi-Pullyus.”

“Keep observing, or the waveform could collapse,” Mackie says sharply. “And no, not exactly. We call them Quantum Llamas.”

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