Subject:    Darkness Assending, the Missing Scene
From:       Illusion@world.std.com (Illusion)
Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5,alt.fan.tom-servo,rec.arts.sf.tv,alt.tv.babylon-5
Date:       Sun, 7 Jun 1998
Message-ID: <3583d181.15802679@news-f.std.com>

Lennier and Ship slipped through hyperspace, following               *
a tachyon beam which would lead them either to Truth,                %
or to Death.  Possibly both.  It did not matter.  "I                 *
live for the One," he thought, "I die for the One."                  %
                                                                     *
A secret voice deep within his soul added a third line               %
to the incantation; "I love the One."                                *
                                                                     %
Such a thing could never be said aloud, of course, and               *
this thought sent a small ache of regret through him.                %
"It may already be too late," he thought, "to reveal this            *
secret.  But perhaps it is no secret at all.  Perhaps."              %
                                                                     *
                                       "Oxygen level now at twenty one
                               percent and falling," Ship said to him,
                           its calm mechanical voice                 %
                   slicing through his distracted                    *
         emotional drift like a                                      %
straight razor through an eyeball.                                   *
                                                                     %
He tried to regain focus.  He mentally moved the                     *
thought aside, and returned his attention to his                     %
C'hak'ra, the center of his soul.  He envisioned                     *
a glowing dot at the core of his being, watched it                   %
swirl and pulsate.  He let his mind drift within                     *
the shell of his body, much as his body drifted                      %
within the shell of his Ship.  He watched with                       *
detached awareness as his body functioned, and                       %
examined his inner systems with awe and curiosity.                   *
                                                                     %
                               Ship monitored the swirling insanity of
                              hyperspace with no regard for its beauty
                                       or its madness.  The flashes of
                                        impossible color, the twisting
                              distortions of reality, the mix of light
                                   and shadow where such concepts were
                                     impossible...none of these things
                                mattered in any way other than as mere
                               packets of data to be noted and stored.
                                                                     *
With the calm unemotional power of his mind, Lennier                 %
watched his heart beat, saw his lungs expand and contract.           *
With deliberate care and consideration, he caressed his              %
heart, and willed it to slow.  With the innate love for              *
his "self", he quieted his lungs, minimizing their                   %
expansion.  He watched the oxygen molecules cross the                *
lung/blood barrier, followed their journey through the               %
stream to his heart, to his brain.  With his mind he                 *
directed the molecules to where they were needed most,               %
urged them to separate and nourish vital organs.                     *
                                                                     %
                              Ship noted that the Operator had reduced
                                     the levels of oxygen he required.
                               Automatically, it changed the flow rate
                                  of the recycling systems to maintain
                                      equilibrium with the new levels.
                                                                     *
When this was accomplished, he drifted, and placed                   %
trust in his body to follow his directions. He had                   *
trained his body to function as a finely tuned                       %
instrument.  He had no fear that it would obey.                      *
                                                                     %
                                        Ship hummed, rhythmically, the
                              persistent drone changing tone only when
                               relays switched as new external sensory
                                data arrived.  Internal sensors showed
                                that the Operator's life functions had
                                       not changed in quite some time.
                                                                     *
Hours later, as he drifted, he became aware of a                     %
discomfort.  Deep within him there was a buildup of                  *
forces he could not have predicted.  His detached mind               %
slowly recognized an inner rumbling.  Puzzled, he                    *
allowed himself to direct a focused attention, to                    %
determine the cause of the internal disturbance.                     *
                                                                     %
                                     Sensors monitored a slight change
                                   in the Operator's respiratory rate.
                                      Ship adjusted the recycling flow
                                                       to accommodate.
                                                                     *
Below the heart...below the lungs...behind the diaphragm.            %
In the bowels.  Pressure...movement...flow.  A buildup               *
of gasses, needing release.                                          %
                                                                     *
He mentally cursed, coming close to full awareness.                  %
"This is the worst possible time for such an event!"                 *
                                                                     %
                                Ship's sensors monitored the Operator.
                                   Muscular activity had occurred; the
                               Operator had shifted position slightly.
                                                                     *
But it was too late now, and there was nothing that                  %
could be done for it.  He mentally tasted the oxygen                 *
content of the air he was inspiring.  Very low                       %
percentage, he discovered, much more carbon dioxide                  *
than he had predicted.  He knew he was in trouble.                   %
                                                                     *
He forced his mind to find the center again. Worrying                %
would not help the situation.  Whatever happened,                    *
happened, and there was nothing he could do abut it.                 %
                                                                     *
And then it happened.                                                %
                                                                     *
                               "Warning.  Environmental sensors detect
                                 the presence of new gaseous chemicals
                                          within the atmospheric mix."
                                                                     *
"I know," Lennier thought. "I know."                                 %
                                                                     *
                                "Automatic adjustment of environmental
                              filters now occurring.  Unable to filter
                              all new chemicals from environmental mix
                                   as per standard programming, due to
                                          insufficient oxygen supply."
                                                                     *
He tried to block his consciousness of the diabolical                %
mix his lungs were now absorbing.  He tried to maintain              *
an emotional detachment.  He mentally played with the                %
methane molecules now mixed in with the oxygen, trying               *
to direct them within his lungs.  He almost, but not                 %
quite, managed to ignore the alarms set off in the                   *
sensory cells of his nasal passages.  He felt his                    %
nostrils flare, and momentarily considered moving his                *
hands off his chest and stuffing his fingers up his nose.            %
                                                                     *
                               As environmental adjustments were made,
                                 another portion of Ship's programming
                               continued to sweep the swirls and wisps
                                                        of hyperspace.
                                                                     *
Unexpectedly and unwanted, he broke out in a sweat.                  %
For some reason he could not fathom, the beads rolled                *
down his forehead and cheek, instead of lying                        %
motionless against his skin, pooling, as would be                    *
expected in weightless space.  He tried to ponder this               %
mystery, but was unable to ignore the stench which now               *
engulfed him.                                                        %
                                                                     *
                             "Ship detected on approach vector, coming
                                  up from behind.  Angle of deflection
                                 indicates it is following the tachyon
                                                      stream.  Orders?
                                                                     *
"Thank Valen!" he thought.  "Thank Selene!  Thank                    %
God!  Thank whoever, just get me some fresh air!"                    *
                                                                     %
"Engage full stealth mode." he gasped, trying to                     *
pronounce the command without breathing in any of the                %
foul, rancid air.                                                    *
                                                                     %
                                  Ship followed its Operator's orders.
                                             "Stealth mode confirmed."
                                                                     *
"Move ten degrees off beacon.  Slow..." (but not TOO                 %
slow, his mind screamed) "...and allow the ship to                   *
pass."                                                               %
                                                                     *
                                    Ship adjusted the flight vector as
                                  directed.  It adjusted the recycling
                                flow for the now increased respiration
                                        of its Operator.  "Confirmed."
                                                                     *
As ship followed his commands, Lennier made a promise                %
to himself.  "If I live through this...if I ever manage              *
to get back to Babylon 5," he vowed, "I will personally              %
break the neck of the McBari waiter who talked me                    *
eating Human food.  What did he call it?  Oh, yes...                 %
a 'beef&bean burrito'"                                               *



_.~`'`~._ Illusion _.~`'`~._
 This came to me in a dream


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