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Ice groans like a great door opening, and Ashlock realizes that above her, things in the darkness are unfurling their batlike claws.

How do you apply kung fu to non-Euclidean anatomy? She’s wondered before, but perhaps it’s not the day for an empirical test. She hauls Tach’s rigorous body into the center of the star.

“Here’s where I bet on you being in trance,” she says, “so don’t make me wrong, you Japanese motherfucker.” The steel of the drive burns through her mitten. ¬†Ashlock unreels its cable with woolbound fingers and finds the USB port at the base of Tach’s skull.

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