Uncoverings, Part 2

Characters: Ryath Oaks

Her face felt cold on one side, and every other second, pain wracked her body. “Strange,” she thought, “I would have thought pain and feelings unneeded when one passes Beyond.”

This calm line of thought was quickly replaced with another bout of pain and thoughts of curses for being a servant of the Darkness. “No!…no, that can’t be true. Our Order hasn’t been slaves for a long time. Surely the Universe would have forgiven them, if not actually forgotten them?”

Another tremor of pain, and then she realized, “I’m a Techno-mage. I can stop this pain. But will it work in the Beyond?”

She didn’t know the answer, but hoped it would, for each burst of pain was gaining in strength.

She concentrated on the spell to access her internal sensors. The immediate echo she was expecting didn’t happen, but she did not panic. This had happened once before she remembered, but couldn’t remember when, or why.

She tried opening her eyes, and realized they had been open for sometime. Where she lay was pitch black, not a single source of light impinged on this complete blackness. Once more she tried the spell to her internal sensors. The echo was slow and faint, but there. Fewer than a third of the organelles responded, but that would have to be enough. She directed them to her pain receptors, to dim the level of pain she was feeling. That done she kept perfectly still, waiting for the next wave of burning pain.

It hit her, and felt little relieved in spite of the organelles’ efforts. “No, if I’m to pass this, then I must move. I must find someone to help me Beyond,” she thought.

But even her thoughts were becoming confused. “If there is no-one here, then am I truly Beyond? Or is this all an illusion? A very good illusion, if it is. For I cannot find the usual flaw in it. Am I imagining this? Is it all in my head? Is my body acting normally somewhere, and no-one knows I’m mad inside?” These thoughts went round and round her head, crossing and overlapping each other.

“No! No! This can’t be true!” she grasped onto the final sane thought she had and gripped tightly. “No. I’m not mad! I must keep control.”

You must get control first, her inner voice whispered.

Ryath tried to nod, but found her body would respond only with burning pain that threatened to make her unconscious. With more control over her thoughts, she once more focused on the spell for control of her internal sensors. This time the echo was instantaneous and nearly full strength. As the pain left her, she noticed that her body shook about every other second, and perspiration was running down her body and face. “A fever,” was all she thought.

With the organelles numbing the pain, Ryath was free to focus on getting moving. Slowly, her limbs numb and shaky, she righted herself onto her hands and knees. Her face warmed slightly where it had been laying on the floor. Her clothes were soaked, and her body kept perfect time, shaking then burning up on alternate moments. She knew she had to take control of her endocrine system, but that would have to wait until she was….was somewhere else!

In the darkness she crawled in one direction, and hoped it was the right one. Each movement was slow, numb, and would have been otherwise painful. She didn’t know how much damage she was doing to her body, forcing it to move like this, but whatever the damage she would mend.

Slowly she moved and a light began to creep into the darkness. She could make out some shapes, and she remembered where she had been…before.

“Cargo-bay,” she thought and internally smiled.

Memories drifted through her mind, she had been meditating. “So that explained the cargo-bay. Maybe I had meditated for several hours?” That would explain the fevered state she was now in, the stiff and painful muscles and joints.

The light got brighter and she could make out the short flight of steps up to the main area of her Flyer. Yes, she knew she was still on her Flyer. At the bottom of the steps she stopped. Slowly she gripped the railings on either side of the steps. Her muscles shaking with effort, she managed to get herself upright.

Steadily she made her way up the five steps. “Damn!” she thought. “Not many of them, but if I fall back down, I’ll never make it back up.”

She reached the top step and sighed, resting against the railing. Having gotten up the stairs on her feet, she tried to make it the rest of the way to her sleeping quarters on her feet. She took one step–

“Arrrrgg!”

–fell against the wall and slid down. That had been the first sound she had heard since waking and it made her ears ring. “Stop!” she said with a hoarse voice, clutching her hands over her ears. She sat there, waiting for the chaos in her head to stop.

At least here, her body had stopped its regular shaking. Reading her internal temperature, she noted it had begun to level out. “Maybe the fever is diminishing,” she said, her voice still strange to her ears.

Her sleeping quarters were no more than ten steps away, and yet the thought of moving again right now made her feel sick. Resigning herself to the fact that for now, she wasn’t going to get to a comfortable place to go over her meditation, she tried to make herself as comfortable as possible and closed her eyes.

The first image to come to her was that of her Mother. A tall, slightly built woman, with blonde hair and light blue eyes. Her Father always called her his Goddess. She had fair features and a fairer personality.

The next she expected to be her Father, but it was instead Olyn. This shocked her, and she opened her eyes, the darker blue orbs seeming almost black against her pale skin in the dim light. Usually her Father followed her Mother in meditations. That was the way she would meditate, to go back to where she began. She closed her eyes again, and focused on the image of Olyn.

Quickly his image was replaced by another man. It was someone she felt she should know but in truth did not. His short stature and dark looks made him seem like a dwarf from the ancient tales her Mother would read to her at bedtime. Even in this image she could sense more than see the evil in him. His dark uniform didn’t help either. She didn’t know his name, but knew he was from Earth, and that he was special in some way.

She let the images come. They always made sense eventually, but right now she couldn’t see the connection.

The next image shocked her more than Olyn’s did. A Vorlon. She had met one once with Olyn. The Vorlon was cautious, but not completely unpleasant with them. She tried to remember his name–it might help with the connection–or maybe it represented all Vorlons.

“Kosh. Yes, Kosh, that was it,” she smiled. Somehow the mention of his name eased her soul a little.

The next image she had been waiting for. The Centauri hybrid…Turth was what he was called. The data from Lord Cheys’ residence had led her to records on Centauri Prime…and to that name. What Cheys’ connection with the Drakh was, would have to wait.

The next image confused her. A cell. A living cell, similar to one she had seen many, many years ago. When she had first joined Olyn. Olyn had managed to reproduce a cell from within her brain. He had told her it was a special one. One that had forced her parents to send her away.

It isn’t that they don’t love you Ryath. It is that they love you so much that they are prepared to sacrifice living with you to keep you safe and free. This cell… he pointed to the holo-image in his palm, …is why you left. Certain people on Earth treasure this cell, and will do anything to keep those that have them close by.

But the cell she saw today also had the classic Shadow tech style too. This cell was one from the Centauri.

“Damn! Damn….damn!” she cursed, trying to raise herself from the floor. The rest had proved worthwhile. Her legs didn’t shake so much as she stood.

“Damn. That tech….that tech is…no it can’t be! How could the Shadows have tech like that, but still have needed the Human Teeps?” She stumbled along the wall towards her quarters, bouncing off the walls. The clothes on her still dripping wet.

Turning into her room a thought flashed across her mind. “What if the Drakh engineered it?” She shivered, not from cold but the thought that the Drakh had the ability to change Shadow tech. She reached her bathroom, and stripped off. If she was to get to the bottom of this, she would have to be fresh and awake.

Standing in the real water shower, the warm water running down her head and body, washing the turmoil away for now, another thought came to her. “What had all those images to do with her?” Shaking her head at the obvious reply. “No, that can’t be true. I’d have known about it. There’s no way to block out everything, unless you’re a very powerful Teep.”

The word from her mouth confirmed her thoughts. She was telepathic! That was why her parents sent her away. The man in the dark uniform….a Psi-cop. The Vorlons, that kind of made sense. She had heard the rumors about Vorlons messing with Human DNA.

“But what of Olyn?” she whispered, “Was it only that he rescued me from a life my parents didn’t want for me? or is there more?”

She stepped from the shower, dried and dressed into black cotton pants, white vest and white silk shirt. Running a brush quickly through her hair, she made a slow and steady way towards the bridge. Slouching in the chair, Ryath began to access some of the probes on Abbai, and the Phoenix. She felt more like her old self, just a little tired. The organelles had done their work well in restoring her body. She saw the traffic to and from the Phoenix slow to a trickle, officials on Abbai begin their daily duties, and rectify the petty crimes committed on all worlds. “At least now there should be a semblance of peace for them,” she smiled.

The smile froze on her face. A long forgotten memory burned into her mind’s eye. Olyn had stood over her. His face full of anger and, and something else, regret. She had screamed out as he reached for her. Put his hand over her mouth and the other on the side of her head, just above her right ear.

Subconsciously her hand went to the very spot.

He held her tightly…she couldn’t move, but kept on screaming through his hand. She was scared, didn’t know what he wanted, what he was going to do. Then she felt it. A great burning inside her brain. As though some of it were being consumed. She passed out from the pain. Waking in the middle of the night, she had crept over to the mirror, expecting to see herself deformed, the burning pain had been so bad. When she finally had the courage to look at herself, there was no mark, not even a mark where his hand had been. There was however an emptiness inside her. As though some of her had been removed. Why had he done this to her. She had been too afraid to ask directly, even as an apprentice Mage.

Now, of course she knew. Olyn had done it to protect her from the other Mages, and to protect them from her. But if he had intended to remove that part of her brain, he had not done a good job. That’s why the Centauri sought her out. The tech in his head felt the connection, the kinship. They are both Shadow tech–and Teeps.


Copyright (c) 2002 Niki Hipwood. All rights reserved.