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Fallacies are flaws in the operation of the forebrain. Another word for “flaw” is “bug.” Bugs can be exploited. Exploits allow the execution of malicious instructions within the target system.

This is how markets collapse; this is how wars begin. This is how Albion finds himself, after a tricky illicit minor, trying to infect his friends with the same argument.

“But whales are mammals,” he insists, “and mammals are animals. Therefore, we’re all whales, oh God help but whales are mammals, and mammals are–”

“Can we quarantine it?” asks Skroder.

“Maybe,” says Erske. “Start asking him about the King of France.”


It’s harder to see magic in winter, Skroder knows, when space heaters and furnace-vents have their own floating hazes to compete with the ripples in the air of sorcery at work. Neither the wine nor the candle-dim helps.

“Look, Harkins has seen Saigon. We haven’t,” says Albion, earnestly turtlenecked. “If we don’t intervene–”

“Which ‘we’ is that?” murmurs Erske.

Albion flushes, but Skroder steps in. “Well, that’s a good point. ‘We’ Americans or ‘we’ Adepts? Imagine bringing a mass invocation to bear on the insurgency.”

“Are you sure,” says Erske, “nobody has already?” Her tongue shimmers like a summertime road.