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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.