Mindbridge
superstitious.”
    “Isn’t it, though.”
    It was standing room only in the hyperbaric chamber, some thirty people keeping out of the way of Willard’s Bio Group and the holo team that was setting up to record the dissection.
    A reporter from Science-News TFX asked Dr. Willard whether they would be looking for some particular feature.
    “Actually, we don’t know exactly what we’re looking for. What it’ll look like, that is. Obviously what we want is the organ responsible for its special talent.
    “We’ve done neutron and neutrino scans on the creature; X-ray movies, you name it. As far as we can tell, it has no more nervous system than a grape. It’s little more than a hollow tube that takes food in at one end and expels waste at the other. And lets people read minds.”
    He opened a black case and began to lay out glittering tools on the table in front of him. “There won’t be any anesthetic. If you’ll check your data summary, that’s experiment eleven, twenty-six August. As far as we could tell, nothing causes the creature pain. I don’t have any explanation for this. Even protozoa respond to trauma.
    “Are Jacque Lefavre and Carol Wachal here?” They raised their hands. “Come on up, please. Would you mind helping out a little here?”
    “Not at all,” Jacque said. Carol nodded. “We’re not sterile, though.”
    “That’s all right, neither am I.” To the reporter:
    “Lefavre and Wachal are the two Tamers most sensitive to the bridge effect.
    “This is Dr. Jameson’s suggestion. We want the two Tamers to stay in contact with the bridge as the experiment proceeds. Hopefully, you’ll be able to tell us at what stage of the dissection the creature loses its power. And give us some subjective impression of, oh, the rate at which the power declines, whether it might peak or otherwise fluctuate . . . and so forth. All right?”
    “We’ll try,” Jacque said. Carol was a little pale. As she’d told him on the way back from supper, she had an irrational fear of watching dissections. When she was five or six she’d seen a popular science show where they’d taken the heart out of a living turtle and kept it beating for weeks. She still had nightmares about that heart.
    They positioned the two Tamers so they wouldn’t get in the way of the holo cameras. When they touched the bridge, Jacque caught the racing fear in Carol’s mind. He tried to radiate reassurance, tenderness. He only half-heard what Dr. Willard was saying.
    “Nobody’s ever dissected one of these before, of course. The nudibranch, though, is a close structural analog.” He picked up a scalpel. “Accordingly, I will . . . I . . . will make a sss-will incision, hm. Along the dors-dors’l service. . .”
    “Doctor-“ An aide reached toward him.
    The scalpel clattered on the table. With a puzzled expression on his lined face, Willard clutched his chest and sat down on the floor. He fell over sideways without straightening.
    The aide felt for a pulse. “Heart stopped,” he said. He ripped open the front of Willard’s tunic.
    “Get him out of here!” Dr. Jameson shouted. “Get him out in the hall, oxygen, you-“ He pointed at another aide. “-call a floater!”
    There was a lot of confusion, shouting, shoving through the crowd. Jameson asked that everybody except medical doctors stay inside the chamber until they got Willard on his way to the hospital.
    After a few minutes, Jameson came back inside. He stood in front of the table and addressed the group.
    “This is a terrible . . . thing. I’ve been after Bob-“ He pointed at the reporter. “This isn’t for publication. I’ve been after Bob for ten years or more to go get an implant, a cardiac implant. An eighty-year-old man who smokes and drinks the way he does. . . well, most of you know Bob. He said he’d get an implant the day he stopped playing tennis.
    “They got here in four minutes and there’s a cardiac team scrubbed and waiting back at General. So they

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