idea of someone destroying the mice infuriated Anna. They might be the only such devices remaining in existence. One of the first lessons archaeologists learned was that they had only one chance to discover the secret history buried by time.
If the data taken during an excavation were incomplete, or an artifact was damaged, there was no way to put everything back the way it had been. The mice were precious. Anna hoped that if Donne was somehow responsible, she had hidden them in hopes of smuggling them back to Psi Corps with the help of Captain Hidalgo. Anything would be better than their destruction.
"All right," she said, "they're not here. Let's move on."
"But where could they have gone?" Favorito asked.
"It's not like somebody could have come by and taken them."
Anna exchanged a glance with Morden. Then she pressed a control on the arm of her suit to link to her party outside.
"Razor here," came the response, again as if he were standing right beside her.
"I'm about thirty feet into the cave. How's my transmission?"
"Clear as a bell."
This had been where the probe's safety lock had engaged as it had begun to lose contact with the orbiter.
"Keep talking for a minute."
She walked further into the cave.
"I don't know what to say."
"That's got to be a first."
"What was that?"
His voice was breaking up. She stopped.
"Can you still hear me?"
She checked her position, backed up a step.
Backed up another.
The reply was faint and crackly.
She checked her position, took another step back.
"Sheridan. I read you."
"It looks like our communications are only good up to thirty-six feet inside the major cave. After that, we're going