Timothy Zahn’s Soulminder – Excerpt 3 (Sponsored)

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Sommer’s eyes flicked to the main TV monitor, heart pounding in his ears. One look was all it took: the old man was indeed in his last moments. Flicking the selector on his other display to the Kirlian, he watched as the three-dimensional saddleshape began to flatten. “How’s the Mullner?” he asked.

“Coming in strong,” Sands said, a steady excitement creeping into her voice. “Fits the expected pattern: standard plus—oh, lots of embellishments.”

Sommer squeezed the arm of his chair, a fresh wave of acid pain shooting through his stomach. Embellishments. As if the experiences and memories, the joys and sorrows of a lifetime had no more meaning than decoration.

On the monitor one of the old man’s daughters, her back to the hidden camera, had taken his hand. Sommer blinked back tears, glad that he couldn’t see her face. “It’s starting to detach,” he told Sands.

“Right,” she said, an odd tautness in her voice. “Watch real closely, Adrian.”

“What—?”

There was no time to complete the question. On the monitor the old man stiffened…and suddenly the Kirlian trace went flat.

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