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Late in the next morning when Ithuriel was quite recovered from hyz stint at the telescope, Yomyael fetched the crew of Exiler and brought them to a sitting room on the third ring where the seraph and his family were waiting. Ithuriel opened a shield to allow the light of Proxima to enter as well. Sunrise in the third system, hy said.

Are you well, sir? Lahatiel asked. It did not seem so yesterday.

Quite well, although this morning I have been listening to my wife and son. They tell me Marou owes his very life to your risky disobedience.

Sir, my orders from Emperor Abaddon were specifically to destroy the Iron Hand organization on Xanthos without regard to the safety of your son, then proceed here to pressure you to finish your work. During the mission I deemed that the Emperor had not carefully considered hyz orders. They seemed tailored for lesser vessels than the Exiler and her crew. We were able to destroy the Iron Hand without killing Marou.

And you, Marou, you will not consider entering the emperor's military?

Father, it is bad enough to know that Belial's twisted religion and his madhouse world will soon be replicated everywhere in the universe, I will not lift a finger to help that come to pass and beg you to reconsider.

Pardon me for asking, sir, but what is so important to the emperor that hy would order me to kill your son to get you to resume work on it?

Something so secret hy pulled everyone out of this station except Yomyael, myself, and my wife, and if there was still fold-door access back to Binah's temple in Menkal this thing would be in hyz hands today, for I am quite finished with it. But it requires a bit of preparation to explain. Tell me, Lahatiel, have you ever heard of the weapon that Lilith wields?

I have seen hem use that weapon with my own eyes, to terrifying effect.

It works by turning everything it touches into dark matter for about seven seconds. Suppose Lilith sliced your head off. The subatomic particles in your neck, vibrating at a temperature of 98.6 degrees, are individually moving at about a mile per second. When the business end of her weapon intersects your neck, those protons and neutrons fly off on their current direction and speed for seven seconds, interacting with nothing else, and end up as anti-protons and anti-neutrons somewhere in a sphere about seven miles in radius. What we call "matter flippers" do the same thing but we flip a sample of material that is chilled to almost absolute zero so the particles move very sluggishly, and when they revert from dark matter they are still contained in our apparatus. We collect the anti-particles and use them as fuel for your own warship, for example. Or bombs. What do you suppose would happen if we flipped an object that was under acceleration?'

I imagine the object would be destroyed just like a slice of my neck.

No, ophan! That's the thing we discovered. The object remains entirely intact, but pops out a very long distance away, according to the acceleration it started with. And it is flipped into antimatter, of course. A second flip will make it normal matter again. And these repeated hops aren't limited by the velocity of light by any means. In the week since our access to the Temple of Binah has been cut off, Yomyael has been all the way to Toliman and back in a shuttle. Radio would have taken six months.

That is very frightening, sir. Aside from your son's concerns about Belial's laws being propagated across the universe, Belial could destroy a planet simply by flipping an asteroid once and letting it strike.

Then I believe we understand each other perfectly, Ophan Lahatiel.

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