My mother always used to hold my hand when I hurt myself.  Then
she'd wipe the tears away, brush me off, and send me on my way. 
Sometimes, she'd give me a mug of hot chocolate and a cookie, then
everything would be all right.  Or Da...he'd hug me so hard I couldn't
breathe, and whatever was wrong would be fine.

	I wish my parents were here.

	I don't know how long I've been here.  The only one I've been in
touch with is Ariana.  She's been talking to me through a computer that
we've been linked to.  She hasn't told me who else is here.  I woke up for
the first time this afternoon.  There were people in the room.  I'm not
sure how many there were.  I pretended to be asleep - I didn't want them
to know that I was awake.  I didn't want to find out what they might do to
me.  I felt the straps around my arms and legs.  I thought it wise to stay
still.  It's amazing the things that you think about when you are strapped
to a table.. things people don't necessarily want to think about.  The
voices mentioned exploratory surgery scheduled for tomorrow morning.  We
need to be out by tomorrow.  I don't even want to know what they've done
to me already.

	I can feel the tubes sticking into me, and I can't do a thing
about it...  I tried to force one of the bands, but I saw a spike on one
of the graphs by my bed.  I haven't the faintest idea what kind of alarm
it might set of.  I'm naked with tubes stuck into me, waiting for Shadow
dwellers to vivisect me.  I want to go home.

	Ariana said that she was blocking the AI from noticing me somehow,
and that I could free myself.  "Do not remove the cable attached to your
head," she said.  It's almost like talking through Trump, but with no
picture - and it's all done through the computer.  I've used them before,
but never ones this advanced.  I never thought that Shadow dwellers would
do this to us.  I never thought that they could.  Ariana said that most of
the others are here - except Laughter and Rinaldo.  Foster is in a
different wing - we're in some sort of research facility - and Ariana
cannot reach him.  She doesn't know where Rinaldo is.  The other strange
thing is...well...Ahab is in Martin's body, and whomever had possession of
it earlier feels that Ahab's is a better model.

	Mum looked worried when I called.  We've been missing a week... 
Ariana said that we've been under for almost two weeks.  They've been
conducting "standard medical tests" on us for the past two weeks.  They've
been doing horrible things to my son.  They've been trying to harvest "his
unique alien metabolism" to cure all the petty diseases that this Shadow
is afflicted with.  As if animal testing didn't have its own problems -
doing it to a sentient being is inexcusable.  Doing any of the stuff they
did to's all inexcusable.  The "doctor" that we kidnapped didn't
have any comment.  "We thought that you were the first wave of an invading
force..." she says to me.  If we were going to invade, they would know it. 
Damn her and her research team.

	I found out why the enemy took Ahab's body - seems Ahab has a
unique power.  He has the power of compulsion.  He can make anyone with
Pattern do whatever he wants.  I wish I had known this when I spoke with
Mum earlier.  Everyone was worried about this guy in Ahab's body, so of
course I call Mum.  I was worried about Da, and I could tell from what
people said that it effects people with Pattern, so I didn't want to talk
to Da.  Mum was pretty confused when I spoke with her.  I guess I wasn't
being very clear myself.  If only I had known.

	The things they have done to Foster.  He's covered in sores, stuck
in a big plastic bag.  Da says he's too contagious to let out.  I can't
help him at all.  Ariana was able to find Laughter.  She escaped with us. 
She's been in contact with the enemy.  She hasn't said much about
him...not to me at least.  I'm glad that Laughter is not dead.  Loosing
Murine - both times - was hard enough for me.  I hope Foster doesn't have
to go through the same thing.

	We got most of our stuff back...most of it.  I think that I was
the only one with anything missing.  The bastard took my pin.  Cue voice
over:  "The villain's psychic barrier is provided today by Felix.  This
beautiful kilt pin will also warn the bad guy of impending danger.  Just
steal stuff from Felix for all of your material needs."

	Riftvan was able to able to remove the socket from my neck.  He
worked on Laughter and Usires as well.  I'm thinking about having Vetch do
some more 'work' on me, if he wouldn't mind...  When the children were
kidnapped, he had to shapeshift us so we could get into the Shadow.  I
wasn't particularly fond of the form, but it did "cut us off" from the
Pattern somehow.  If it worked then, maybe it could protect us from Ahab's
power.  It might be worth a try.. but I don't know if want to owe that
much to Vetch...but if it protects us...

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