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I have stayed with the Cabal, even as the Light in me dims - I have been too far from the Traveler for too long. If I am not destined to find my own Guardian, at least I can inform the City of what I've learned.

I thought Mars would be the place to find a Guardian. The sand preserves everything well, and Clovis Bray had been famous for attracting talent. The brave, the brilliant, the footloose, those restless on Earth and itching for fame. I stowed away aboard a Mars scout ship, hoping.

No luck. The sand ate everything. Clothes from skin, skin from bone. It was as if there were never any people here at all. I have been through every broken window in every building. Nothing. That is, no Guardian material. And no ride back to Earth. The scout was long gone.

What I did find, however, was a way into the Cabal Warbase. Their runty piggish eyes are too dull to see me, as long as I stay out of their defense systems. The Psions are a different matter: Too quick, too clever, throwing their minds around like hammers. I creep around walls, or dig into a heap of canisters and watch from there.

There is a vast Empire behind these creatures, many star systems away. Some pledge allegiance to that far Empire, obeying their ancient marching orders. Some do not. They disagree among themselves about the answers. I wish arguing Cabal on no one. They slam their plated bodies into each other with horrendous roars. Intelligence gathering has never been so painful.