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TITLE: Hold Back The Night
AUTHOR: Gray
TYPE: Story
RATING: R
DISCLAIMER: All Earth: Final Conflict characters is the property of Tribune Entertainment and all related affiliations
(Kirshner-Roddenberry, Atlantis, etc.)
SPOILERS: Minor references to "Live Free or Die", "If You Could Read My Mind" and "Wrath of Achilles".
NOTES: See end of text for notes. Warning on violence and some mature themes.
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Hold Back The Night
by Karolyn Gray <kmgray3@aol.com>

Part 1

"I believe no one's pure.
I believe no one's pure.
You're so greedy.
Your soul lies told a thousand times
Your soul lies told a thousand times"--Greedy

William Boone stood silently watching the street below his office. Behind him he could hear the news. Another victim of the so called Samhain Slasher had been found last night. In the back of his mind his CVI tallied the total to thirty victims in as many days. He sighed and shook his head sadly, a part of him wishing he was still a cop so he could hunt this new lunatic down. 'Does it ever end?' He wondered gloomily.

Inspite of the fear the had seemed to grip the city tonight seemed to be the exception. Dozens upon dozens of people strode up and down the street attired in all forms of dress. Not surprising really, considering it was Halloween. Most of those he observed were children and their adult escorts. Quite a surprising number had actually dared to venture to his office. More than he thought might show up.

He was glad he had convinced a skeptical Lili that they would need at least a small bag of treats for unexpected visitors. She had teased him about it all week with claims that it was his skrill that wanted the candy. An hour ago it had been his turn to laugh as a sizable contingent of kids and their adult escorts showed up to the traditional chants and phrases of the season. Lili had graciously admitted she was wrong and the pair of them had held an impromptu costume contest with the group of kids.

He chuckled lightly as he remembered both he and Lili doing a double take at a set of twins' costumes. One had done an astonishing job in making herself look like a Taelon while her twin had done equally well in creating a plastic skrill. Needless to say everyone agreed they won the contest. All of their visitors had particularly enjoyed actually seeing Wil's own skrill.

Soon enough they were gone. A few other small groups showed up intermittently. As with the first group he was pleasant enough, but he had lost much of his enthusiasm. He could tell even Lili had noticed by an occasional odd look she gave him.

He knew perfectly well why he had suddenly lost his enthusiasm for the season. 'I miss Kate.' She had wanted to have children so badly. *He* had wanted a family even more so.

----Flashback----

Katie laughed gently and hugged him close. He returned the embrace more than willingly and kissed her gently on the cheek.

"I love you," He murmured softly.

"I love you, too." Katie squeezed him harder for an instant before relaxing and pulling back still comfortably encircled in his arms.

They were standing in the park, next to the pond. Katie's favorite place. *Their* favorite place. The sun was shining, the sky an almost unbelievable azure blue, the nearby grass an almost emerald green and the flowers in full bloom filling the air with their sweet scents. Even the temperature was perfect. A picturesque day.

"What if it's true?" She asked, almost shyly, as she cast her head down unable to look into his eyes.

He smiled gently and softly caressed her chin with his fingers, lifting it after a moment until her eyes met his own. He kissed her gently, savoring the moment. "Then we'd better start thinking of some names. Right,...Mom?"

Katie laughed lightly and kissed him quickly. "I guess so......Dad."

He grinned back at her. After a moment of staring at one another they kissed again and simply held one another oblivious to the amused looks of passerbys.

----Present----

The day at the park had been six months before Kate's death.The test results had been wrong. Kate hadn't been pregnant. Though they both were disappointed they were also relieved to learn that there was no foreseeable physical reason for them to not have children. They had both looked forward to that prospect.

'Now she's gone.' He sighed again, catching Lili's attention.

"Hey, Wil. Are you OK?" Lili asked reclining on the small couch as she watched the news.

"Yeah, I'm OK." He managed to get out, cringing inwardly at the subdued tone.

Lili eyed him closely for a moment. "Well, come on over and sit down for awhile at least. Da'an's got a busy night prepared for us."

Wil complied unable to think of any plausible reason not to do as Lili suggested. They had finished all the

paperwork of the day several hours earlier and has been enjoying a few moments of peace, with no worries about Taelon conspiracies and Liberation activities to worry about for once.

'Might as well enjoy it while I can.' He thought to himself, settling into the cushion next to her. He sighed in exasperation as he straightened his dark coat, realizing as he did so he had dressed in dark colors: blacks, greys and blues. He merely shook his head.

"What's wrong?" Lili asked seeing his bemused expression.

Wil glanced at her noting the she too had dressed in dark tones, her being black, grey's and browns. Not the typically favored dress for either of them for such a simple function as Da'an had planned for this evening. "Is it me or are we taking tonight a little too seriously?" He asked.

"What do you mean?" Lili asked, completely baffled.

"Umm. Well, our clothes for one thing." Wil gestured vaguely.

Lili looked at her own attire and then at Wil before actually giggling. " 'Tis the season I guess."

"Wrong holiday." He noted.

"Whatever." She groused.

"I guess." Wil agreed, staring to grin inspite of himself. "You know I have got to wonder at Da'an's sudden interest in the occult. I mean, why a seance? Why tonight?"

"Talk shows." Lili said evenly. Wil actually burst out laughing, earning him a glare from Lili. "I'm serious." Lili protested. "All of them have been doing a bunch of shows on occult stuff. Satanists, witches, channeling, psychics. All that sort of thing."

"Psychic ability has nothing to do with the occult." Wil noted. Lili rolled her eyes, having had this debate with Wil many times before since the incidents with Lucas Johnson and later Katya Patrenko.

"And how exactly do you know this stuff was on anyway?" Wil teased her, earning him an offended huff from her.

"Fine. Don't listen to me." Lili raised her hands in an exasperated gesture before looking pointedly at him. "Besides you were the one who thought he was talking to Captain Johnson."

"Hey now. That was psychic ability." Wil pointed out.

"I'm still not certain I believe that, despite what you and Da'an say." Lili commented, skeptically. Despite her experience with Augur's friend, Marie, she still wasn't entirely convinced of the extent of psychic ability in humans as Wil seemed to be. Then again Wil had seemed rather unorthodox at times.

Wil shrugged. "I can't explain it either."

"What did you ever tell Doors anyway?" Lili asked, reminded that Wil never did tell her how that particular conversation had gone.

"Only enough to satisfy him." Wil replied, turning his gaze momentarily to the television coverage of the latest victim of the serial killer.

"But not about the..uh... psychic thing?" Lili asked, carefully.

"Would you?" Wil gave her a sly smile.

"Nope." Lili returned the grin. Overtime she and Wil had come to understand each other well. She had also come to the realization while working with him that Jonathan Doors could be a completely paranoid beyond reasons at times. Especially when it concerned the Taelons. She had come to trust Wil's instincts about the Taelons more often than Doors lately. The older man had seemed more and more argumentative and irrational of late.

"Wonder when we'll get the call from Sandoval?" Lili asked after several moments of silent companionability between them as they watched the news. No sooner had she asked the question the Wil's global beeped.

"Speak the devil's name..." Wil said with chuckle as he opened the global to reveal the impassive face of Ronald Sandoval. By the background Wil could tell he was at the Companion's D.C. embassy. "Sandoval." He said by way of greeting.

"Called that one." Lili whispered, grinning as Wil's face twitched once as he fought off his own smile at her comment.

"Boone, Da'an wishes you and Captain Marquette to come to Washington." The former FBI agent ordered, never noticing Wil's warning glance at Lili.

"Are the security arrangements in place?" Wil asked, knowing it was unnecessary to do so but deciding the other implant needed a reminder of Boone's status. He wasn't some lap dog to be used whenever it was convenient and then ignored the rest of the time. Times like these were where Wil walked the dangerous line between the Companions and the Liberation. Sandoval needed a reminder that he wasn't always at the FBI agent's beck and call.

Besides, the theft at a nearby Taelon lab two months ago still troubled him. The Taelons did not seem to wish to discuss what was stolen. Sandoval had suggested he drop the matter. Even Da'an evaded the question whenever he brought it up. He had finally stopped asking and turned the theft over to the local authorities to handle, despite his misgivings in doing so.

He could see Sandoval glance to his right, irritation momentarily crossing his face at Boone's question. Nodding once to some unseen person, he turned his attention back to Wil. "Everything is as you have requested though Da'an has indicated some reluctance these measures."

"Better to be prepared for the worst than not at all." Wil replied earning an agreeing nod from Sandoval. "We're on out way." With that will snapped the global closed and nodded to Lili, who had been grinning during the whole exchange.

"Let's go."

Part 2

"Evil man with an evil plan
You try to justify everything you've learned.
Stereotype. Mediahype.
Your golden dreams of your fantasies."--Greedy

"The device is in place?" The Taelon asked with a small contemptuous sneer.

The human nodded slowly, uncertain in his choice to accept this contract. He had on one or two occasions eliminated problems for the Companions before. Not that he particularly cared about what the Taelons wanted. All he cared about was the money and the chance to use his skills. But this particular job had creeped him out from the start.

"It's all set." The man replied. "Nothing can be traced back to you. Not even the theft."

"And what leads you to believe I have any responsibility in the theft at the research center?" Zo'or asked suspiciously. This human was too perceptive for his taste.

The human smiled knowingly at the Companion. "Nothing. Just one of my hunches."

"Human precognative ability is inaccurate, if it even exists at all." Zo'or dismissed derisively.

"Maybe." The human conceded too easily, rankling the Taelon with his condescending tone.

"And the other item in question?" Zo'or asked, refusing to allow a mere human to get to him.

"Also ready. He has the device and was most willing to use it." The human said, with some disapproval. He stared at the Taelon for a moment before making his decision. "He's crazy you know. Hates your people."

"His opinions do not concern me."

"Suit yourself then." The man replied with a shrug.

Zo'or smiled unpleasantly. "Good. The fee for your services has been deposited in your account."

The man ignored the distasteful look the Taelon gave him, instead smiling. "A pleasure doing business." He replied, deciding now was his chance to get away from the Taelon while he could. He had a bad feeling about all this. He quickly turned on his heels only to stop as the Companion gestured to him.

"It would be unfortunate if you we're to have an accident. Humans can be prone to carelessness when they believe themselves inviolate." Zo'or spoke.

The human cast him a long, hard look. "It is a good thing I never take anything for granted then, isn't it?"

Zo'or narrowed his eye dangerously at the challenge in the human's voice. "Yes, it is. See that your remain that way."

The man just looked at him silently, before quickly leaving the building. He knew it was time for him to disappear for good. The business he operated had become far to deadly for his tastes this past year.

----------------------------------

Arriving several minutes later by shuttle to the D.C. Embassy, Lili and Wil strode up the arcing incline to Da'an's audience chamber to find the American Companion seated upon his thronelike chair discussing something with Quo'on via datastream. To the right of Da'an patiently waited Sandoval and Lassiter. Lili and Wil joined the pair, giving each a silent nod in greeting. Both returned the silent greeting in much the same manner.

"Some have indicated an interest in observing this event though many doubt the claimants abilities." Quo'on was saying.

"They may freely observe if they so desire. I merely wish to investigate this phenomenon myself." Da'an said.

"The Synod shall expect an evaluation of this occurrence." With that the datastream dissolved.

Da'an rose from his seat and started to walk down to the floor when he stopped apparently noticing Wil and Lili's appearance. More than that was Boone's apparent demeanor. While as businesslike and attentive as Sandoval and Lassiter, just underneath the surface he could almost sense something out of place. What it was he could not be sure.

"Commander?" Da'an asked as he turned his head slightly to the side in puzzlement.

"Yes, Da'an." Wil replied neutral, noting the sudden intent look focused on him.

"Are you well?" Da'an asked, surprising all in the room with his inquiry.

Wil exchanged a look with Lili before turning his eyes back to the Companion. "Yes, Da'an. May I ask why..."

"Why I am concerned?" Da'an finished the question with a small smile. Wil merely nodded in response. "You seem troubled by something."

"I can't think of anything that would give you that impression, Da'an." Wil said. The stare Da'an gave him in reply to his observation for some inexplicable reason made Wil feel guilty as if he had lied to the Companion. Why? Even he wasn't sure.

After a moment more of the uncomfortable silence that filled the chamber, Sandoval politely cleared his throat to gain the attention of the American Companion. "Perhaps we should be on our way to resort?" Ron asked, catching the thankful look Wil gave him for the distraction.

"Of course, Agent Sandoval."

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Wil Boone casually strolled the edge of the gathered crowd, trying for all the world to look like he belonged with the gathering. In the past he had felt perfectly at ease in such gatherings. Unfortunately it was hard to look like you belonged when a skrill was occasionally visible at your cuff, a security microphone in your ear, and skimming through a crowd of rather rude and obnoxious people with all the subtlety of a shark through water. A small smile creeped onto his face at that thought. 'At least they leave me alone.' Sometime since leaving the embassy to now he had lost any and all enthusiasm he had for tonights event.

He passed by Lili, amazed how she was able to seemingly blend into the posh crowd dressed as she was. He felt like a hick, while she seemed to glide through the crowd easily. He wondered briefly if all those who tried to gain her attention would be so willing to do so if they knew her opinion on tonights event. He shook his head in bemusement as he continued his patrol.

He would have preferred to remain beside Da'an, but the American Companion had made it clear that he desired some space between himself and his security personnel. Boone had felt fortunate that the Taelon had agreed to Sandoval and Lassiter remaining at his side after several minutes of what could have been considered by some to be an argument between himself and the Taelon. In the end he had actually been grateful to get away from the Companion, more to avoid Sandoval's questioning gaze than anything else.

Wil found himself reapproaching the Companion having completed his third circuit through the building's upper and main floors. He stopped beside Da'an, clasping his hand in front of him and patiently awaited the Companion's notice. He did not have to wait long as the older woman Da'an spoke with seemed unnerved at Boone's blank expression as he silently observed the room. Excusing herself, the woman quickly left.

Da'an turned his head to observe Wil from the corner of his eye. "You have a report?" The Companion asked, his tone clipped in apparent disapproval of his implant's behavior.

"The room is clear. All security personnel report no unusual activity. All entrance and egress points are secured." The implant reported crisply, maintaining the formality Da'an had addressed him in. The Companion merely nodded his head once in acknowledgement of the implant's words, his action indicating his annoyance with the human. Wil mentally sighed to himself and remained standing where he was.

----------------------------------

The man grinned to himself as he tested the handle to the balcony door easily opening it. This was too simple. They believed themselves inviolate. But he would show Them the error of Their ways. That one of Them had given this opportunity to him, did not surprise him. He had known since the first time he had witnessed Them that They were evil incarnate. They would learn otherwise.

'There's always a serpent in the garden.' He mused to himself. It mattered to him not. He would carry out God's Will as the opportunity presented itself.

He quickly closed the door behind him, careful to ensure none of Their spawn saw him. This was harder than it sounded, he knew from personal experience. Their chosen ones were easy to spot, carrying the marks of the Beast upon their forearms. Marks that granted them terrible destructive power.

But it was the others, their hidden servants he needed to be cautious of. Pitiful fools who had sold their souls to Them. They were the hardest to spot, for they appeared no different than he. But he knew them, could sense their presence. He had realized only recently the calling God had given him. He had spent the last thirty days preparing, training, planning. Now he was ready.

He carefully searched up and down the short hall for the hidden servants. Seeing none he quickly trotted down the hall. One of Their servants turned the corner. Without thinking he lashed out, subduing the surprised blond man quickly and without a sound. He dragged him from the site of the others gathered below in the main room.

He considered the man for a moment, deciding what he should do with him. After a moments consideration he nodded once, crossing himself as he came to his decision. He quickly withdrew a slim, almost pencil-like dirk. Lifting the man's head he quickly shoved the blade into the back of the man's neck, angling the blow up into the blond man's brain. He had heard it was one of the least painful and quick ways to die. Their servants did nor deserve such considerations from him, but he remembered God was merciful. So then should he.

He turned away from the man and unslung the pack he carried as he tread back softly to a pillar. He smiled appreciatively at the object he pulled from pouch. Cylindrical in shape and made of obvious materials not of Earth. Eunioa and english characters adorned the controls near its grip. He nodded once to himself in satisfaction. What better way to judge Them to use their own instruments of terror against They and their evil spawn.

He could easily see his target, standing before those foolish enough to flock to Them in their ignorance. Even better was their great Light Bringer, the ultimate betrayer of humanity, was also present obediently awaiting his master's orders. Surely the others could see the evil in the man, dressed as he was in the colors of the Serpent. Even his hair was the color of the infernal flames. And the other. He was harder to spot, harder to see the evil spawn that he was until you looked into his almond eyes. Eyes of the Serpent were they not? Could they not see what he saw?

He shook his head sadly. Not for They and their Servants but for the fact that he would only be able to carry out God's Will against these damnable creatures but once. He raised the weapon carefully setting the crosshairs on the ghostwhite creature before him.

He widened his eyes suddenly as he saw the red haired servant raise his head, their eyes locking, For a moment his nerve left him as he stared into those eyes. Eyes not empty like the other. One who understood? 'Could He have sent one of the Avenging Angels? Perhaps Satqi'el himself from the 5th Heaven to hide amongst their numbers and judge these foul creatures?' He wondered.

Seeing the mark upon the red haired man begin to glow, he knew They had tricked him for they were masters of evil shrouded in innocence. Furious that they would use one of God's Archangeloi he pulled the trigger, as he felt himself struck by the hellfire of the Dark Lord. Pain engulfed him followed by the sensation of falling as he toppled over the railing. He smiled knowing God would not let him fail as he sank into oblivion, never feeling his body shatter the table beneath him.

Part 3

"It's the end of the world."--Greedy

"Da'an!" Boone yelled as he sprinted towards the Taelon. A few feet from the he launched himself at the American Companion, tackling him as the weapon was discharged. A searing light seemed to fill the room as the implant and Companion slammed into the wall.

Da'an watched as as the discharge struck the human implant, causing Boone to jerk backwards and cry out in pain. Da'an too felt the pain as residuals energy bled over onto him from the human implants hands. The instant the energy touched him Da'an lost control of his human facade and returned to his natural state feeling a momentary loss with the Commonality that was back as quickly as it had been severed.

Da'an quickly reasserted his facade feeling strange presence amongst his thoughts, intrusive, uncontrolled, terrified. The Commonality was crying out to him! Another incursion had just occurred, this time perhaps a deadly one. Da'an suddenly realized he recognized the presence and opened his eyes, not realizing he had even closed them during the ordeal. A definitely human thought echoing in his mind as he did so.

"Oh, my God."

Da'an didn't even realize he spoke the words echoing in his thoughts the same moment William Boone whispered them himself. The look of mixed joy, terror and incomprehension on the implants face sparked a fear in Da'an. He could feel the same thoughts and emotions echoing out into the Commonality, sending a shock wave through all the Taelons.

He had never seen his implant like this. Boone's scream was now a strangled, pitiful moan. His face was extremely pale, his eyes fearful and wild. Da'an saw a momentary spark in the humans eye, begging him for help before the implant forcibly shoved the Companion away from him and started shaking uncontrollably. An instant later Boone collapsed.

"Da'an! Da'an, are you all right?" Sandoval asked, having instantly scrambled to the American Companion's side while Lili Marquette had rushed to Boone. Da'an merely stared at the red haired implant, too stunned by the events before him and their reverbations into the Commonality, to pay any attention to Sandoval and his attempts to help the Companion to his feet.

Lili flipped Boone onto his back and checked his respiration and heartbeat. She detected neither. "Call an ambulance!" She ordered Agent Lassiter who stood nearby. The agent quickly pulled out his global and dialed for assistance.

"Commander Boone?" Da'an asked slowly, watching as Lili quickly gave Boone to quick breath of air and then, forcibly calming herself, began CPR on the implant. She glanced up at Da'an's question shaking her head before returning her attention to Boone.

"Assist Captain Marquette. I will be well." Da'an ordered Sandoval.

Ron could see the former Marine Captain was trying to remain in control but was slowly losing as her efforts seemed to do nothing for the implant. He quickly moved to Lili's side intending to take her place when he noticed the pool of blood underneath his fellow implant.

Kneeling, he quickly lifted a piece of Boone's now tattered coat and shirt, trying to ignore the smell of charred cloth and burned skin. He blanched slight at what he saw, quickly removing his own heavy coat. Wadding it up into a tight ball that still allowed the sleeves to hang free he positioned the make shift compress as best he could.

"Lift him up." Ron directed. Lili looked up from her work quizzically. Understanding dawned as she saw the blood. Both were surprised to see Da'an suddenly there grasping Boone's shoulders.

"I shall lift him. Do what you require." Da'an said. Seeing both humans nod, he lifted the human with little apparent difficulty.

The two humans quickly positioned the makeshift bandage into place, Lili tying the arms tightly around Boone tightly while Sandoval held it in place. Finishing quickly the trio laid the injured man back down. Lili again started CPR on Boone.

"Come on, Boone. You can't die on us now." She unknowingly murmured after another minute of work without any apparent effect on the dying implant. As if in response, he suddenly gasped. It was soft, barely audible to all present but to Lili she recognized it instantly, bringing an instant hopeful smile to her face. She quickly checked his pulse. It was weak and thready, but there.

All attention was fixated on the effort to save Boone. No one noticed Da'an's sudden grimace of pain as he felt the intrusion into the Commonality forced itself free of the Taelon collective consciousness. The Commonality was too disrupted to stop the intruder's departure.

Da'an opened his eyes again to fund himself staring at William Boone's face. For a moment he felt something. A familiar presence, almost phantom-like. As quickly as he felt it, the mental apparition was gone. As he stared at the implant before him he suddenly realized he could not feel Boone's presence anymore.

From the instant he had met Boone he had felt a 'presence' about the human. How? Even the Taelons weren't sure, but some humans seemed more closely attuned to the Commonality than others. Katya Patrenko and other psychics like her had been a prime example of this. Da'an suspected Ma'el's influence had extended through the centuries to his own implant and protector. These thoughts he kept to himself, unsure how they would be received by the Synod.

Now, there was nothing. It was if he were simply looking at another of faceless millions of humans he had met and known. Da'an became concerned, but his attention was being diverted by the crisis he could feel emanating from the Commonality itself. Dozens, perhaps even hundreds, had been affected by the intrusion. Some had even lost consciousness, too closely observing the event Da'an had openly allowed the Commonality to see through his eyes.

Ronald Sandoval pushed Lili back forcing the exhausted ex-Marine to relax for a moment while Lassiter took over watching the injured implant carefully. Lili was too tired to argue, relieved and happy that Boone was back with them even as unsteady as he seemed.

Moments later the emergency medical technicians arrived, taking over from there. Lassiter quickly had the other Companion security agents disperse the crowd around the medical crew, without even waiting for Sandoval to direct him to. Ronald Sandoval watched all of this for a moment before turning back to Da'an satisfied with what he had seen. He frowned in concern as the Companion seemed to have a distant look in his eye. "Da'an?"

The North American Companion blinked as if startled to find Sandoval waiting for him. "Yes, Agent Sandoval." Da'an said, accepting the implants help in standing. Da'an could not remember feeling this weak since Boone had attempted to rescue him from Major MacIntyre some time before, but did his best not to let his weakness show.

"The EMTs are working on Boone now. It appears he has stabilized as far as I can tell." Sandoval reported.

"And our assailant?" Da'an asked.

"He is dead." Sandoval gestured over to a tarp covering a form at the far side of the room. "The device has already been secured and is under constant guard."

"Good. See that it is returned to the facility, immediately." Da'an instructed, truly relieved that the weapon was in Companion possession.

"Of course, Da'an." Sandoval replied, casting a glance towards the injured implant. They were loading him onto a cart.

"Have Boone transported to Doctor Belman's clinic immediately." Da'an answered before the implant could even ask the question.

Lili instantly was on her feet, having heard the entire conversation. "I'll get the shuttle ready." She informed them as she trotted off. Da'an smiled slightly at the ex-Marine, pleased to have so many dedicated individuals working for him.

Ron signaled the remaining security agent and quickly escorted Da'an to the injured implant. Their sudden arrival stopped the EMTs from moving the cart. "Companion Security." Ron stated coldly. "Please follow us." Seeing one of the EMTs give him a defiant look, Ron tugged at his sleeve to reveal his already glowing skrill. "That was not a request. Your delay is threatening the life of a Companion agent." He growled menacingly, in no mood to tolerate insubordination from anyone.

The EMT's eyes widened as he saw the skrill. He quickly nodded in silence. "Where to?" The other EMT asked.

"Follow us." Ron ordered as the security team escorted Da'an quickly from the scene.

Part 4

"Your try to understand why you hear those screams"

--Greedy

Da'an gently brushed his hand against the implants forehead, feeling a great amount of trepidation at what he was about to do. He shook his head slowly, resolving himself to what was coming. If he failed, William Boone would die. The intrusions into the Commonality were becoming more violent and aggressive. Several had been injured in attempts to cease the incursions, but would recover.

One Taelon scientist, El'han, had died in the last intrusion when he had attempted to stop the intrusion alone. It was only a matter of time before more were killed as the violence and hostility grew.

Da'an had successfully kept his knowledge of the intruder's identity from the Commonality, though he was certain the Synod suspected of this information. He had gotten the impression from Quo'on that the Synod leader also knew who caused the intrusions given Quo'on's strong support for Da'an's request.

Da'an had successfully argued to the Synod that he could use Boone's latent psychic ability to expunge the presence of the intruder from the Commonality. Many had seemed skeptical at his proposed plan noting his implant had only recently shown any level of psychic ability. The Synod had acquiesced only after the mortal provision had been added to Da'an request. They feared what Boone could possibly learn when mentally linked to Da'an.

The Synod had been unanimous in this decision. While Da'an understood the reasoning behind it, he wasn't sure he would be able to live with himself if he failed. He could not fail both the Taelons and humanity, but it was more than that. He did not wish to fail the bond of trust and friendship that had been growing between himself and his sometimes odd behaving implant.

"Da'an?" Doctor Bellman asked, feeling sudden concerned at the look on the Companion's face.

"I am fine, Doctor." Da'an reassured her and the others, still tracing a small pattern on Boone's forehead. "I am merely preparing myself. No Taelon has ever done this with another species before."

Da'an heard Lili shift slightly in the seat next him, sensing her discomfort at the situation in that single movement. He looked at her to see a worried expression on her face. Da'an had explained to all of them the Synods decision in allowing this procedure. Of the three humans present, Lili had seemed to be the only one upset with the provision, but had remained silent.

Turning his eyes back to Boone, he gently took the implants hand and rested it upon his own. Fleeting memories of when he had shared with Lili flashed in his mind, but Da'an quickly pushed them aside. He needed to concentrate fully on what he was about to do. The unexpected unfiltered thoughts from the Commonality had caused this situation to occur. He could not afford to allow even the slightest errant thought to slip free for fear it would do more harm.

Da'an closed his eyes, allowing his human facade to slip as he gently and slowly entered the humans mind. Unexpectedly, a flash of sounds, images, words, and thoughts crashed against his mind. A strong presence was pushing him away and at the same time seeming to try and invade his own thoughts. Da'an struggled which only seemed to increase the invasive thoughts into his mind. Reflexively, Da'an reached out for the Commonality, their ever so slight presence instantly chasing away the presence in his mind. Da'an gasped and released the implants hand as he staggered away.

Lili grabbed the Companion before he could fall. "Da'an, what happened? Are you all right?"

The Taelon blinked rapidly for a moment as he returned to his human facade. The flood of thoughts were gone. "Yes. I am fine." He replied as he stood again, eyeing the unconscious implant with a mixture of fear and respect upon his features. "He is keeping me out."

Seeing the looks the humans gave him Da'an gestured towards the unconscious implant. "Commander Boone experienced the totality of the Commonality, something that no human could possibly comprehend even with one such as myself being there to guide him. In Boone's case he received all the Commonalities thoughts without any understanding of what the Commonality means. His mind was not able to comprehend this information and thus almost caused his own death."

"In otherwords, he was basically overloaded?" Lili asked.

Da'an nodded slowly. "It is far worse than that. Millions of voices are within the Commonality. It is my fear that he has lost himself in his own mind as he tried to flee what would seem to him to be a myriad of thoughts, emotions, and experiences of all Taelons."

"If he's lost, as you say, then how is he keeping you out?" Dr. Belman asked in complete fascination.

"I believe it is humanity's natural instinct to survive that allows him to keep me from finding him. He is confused and afraid, perhaps even feeling trapped and unable to comprehend a way out of this situation. Perhaps he realizes my presence as Taleon. As such I am viewed as simply another threat and he lashes out." Da'an offered. "I can not say."

"How did he keep you out?" Lili asked.

"I do not know. I saw a number of images...thoughts. I did not understand them as they are beyond the realm of Taelon experience, but they were violent and destructive. This I am certain." Da'an answered.

"Then there is no way to help him?" Lili asked, looking crestfallen.

Da'an tilted his head sideways for a moment in consideration. "Perhaps there is a way you could assist me Captain."

"Anything, Da'an." Lili said quickly.

"If I were to anchor myself to your mind, perhaps I would be able to understand Commander Boone's thoughts and be able to interact with him better." Da'an said. "Would you be willing to do this? It could perhaps prove extremely dangerous."

Lili looked at Boone for a moment before nodding. "If it'll help him, I'll do it. He's my friend."

Da'an smiled at this and offered his hand to Lili much in the same manner he had done some months before when they had shared. Lili instantly placed her own hand to his, palm to palm. Da'an quickly established a connection between them, sensing Lili's nervousness.

'Calm yourself, Captain. We both need to be focused on the task at hand.' Da'an cautioned her gently with his thoughts. Instantly Lili's mind settled, surprising Da'an momentarily at the tranquility he found there. "Excellent, Lili.'

Lili did not respond mentally or verbally, but merely nodded once as Da'an watched her open her eyes slowly.

Da'an slowly rested his palm against Boone's own. This time he went more slowly in his attempt to connect to Boone's mind. The connection established the imagery was there again, but muted as if no more palpable than a whisper. Da'an could feel Lili's nervousness but quickly centered her thoughts in the farthest corner of his mind, using only what was absolutely necessary to understand the bizarre realm of the human mind.

After a mere moment everything around him changed, seeming to solidify into easily recognizable features. Da'an was surprised to actually feel received as he now found himself standing in an barren and rocky open field. Looking up he could see the sky was blue, but of an odd hue he could not recall ever seeing on Earth. The sun was bright but not in such a way that, were Da'an human, he could not look upon it.

Hearing a distant rumble Da'an surveyed the terrain around him. Closest to him seemed to be a bank of thunderclouds, lightening flashing followed by thunderous rumbles that seemed to shake the Taelon to his core. Under these clouds he could see the land was twisted, burning. Indefinable shapes appearing and then gone in a blink of an eye. He could see fires and explosions. As he listened he realized he could hear voices, crying out.

But most terrifying to Da'an was the emotion of the place. Such great hatred and anger. If a life had not hung in the balance Da'an would have fled instantly to the safety of the Commonality. He had never realized how brutal and primitive humanity could truly be until this moment. Here, in the mind of a human, the veneer of civilization did not exist.

Da'an slowly traversed around this dark and terrible place, noting with some alarm that the chaotic mass seemed to expand towards him slowly. At one point he brushed against the shadowed ground, instantly jerking away as an image of a badly charred human body filled his mind. Da'an shuddered, repulsed at the ever so brief contact.

When he recovered he realized the clouds were now over head of him. He slowly looked around to find himself in what appeared to be the remains of a city. Walls and building were crumbled, blasted away by some violent force. He could see human limbs in the rubble and in the more darker corners, the silhouettes of bodies. Smoke filled the air with a stench Da'an had never experienced, but Lili's mind provided him the understanding.

Death.

Da'an again shuddered in revulsion. How could humans brutalize one another so? That so much destructiveness could exist in such small, fragile beings? Forcibly calming himself, Da'an looked to the horizon, seeing his intended goal. A picturesque expanse of grass and trees, sunlit and untouched by the violence Da'an now found himself in.

He took a single step and felt it. Another presence. One he recognized instantly from his younger days. Cautiously he turned to his left to see his hunter. A skrill. Not the bio-engineered variants the humans used, but a skrill as they had once been. The dark, armored carapace of the skrill's natural form lent it a menacing air that Da'an had rarely felt from such creatures.

The skrill skittered towards him a few steps, its movement reminding Da'an of an earth scorpion, as it hissed softly. He could feel it's thoughts probing, assessing his threat potential. It's thoughts were primitive. It's aggression currently restrained only by its apparent curiosity.

Skrills were predators, and quite adept ones at that. Aggressive and tireless. Da'an remembered well the wrath a small numbers could inflict when they had been angered, wishing for a moment his people had never discovered this species.

But Da'an listed to the skrill's thoughts. Infantile compared to the skrill in its natural predatory state. Protection. Concern. Affection.

Da'an turned his head in surprise at this last impression he received from the skrill. Affection? How could that be? The skrills were not supposed to be sentient, not in the sense of humans and Taelons. A tremor of fear passed through Da'an as he realized that here in Boone's mind the CVI did not control the creature. 'The skrill is unfettered.'

After a moment more the creature seemed to relax its vigil, but kept close watch on him. Da'an slowly continued towards his destination, ghosted by the skrill as he tread along. The creatures clicking pace unnerved him slightly, but he did his best to project an air of concern and desire to help the skrill's host. So far the creature seemed to accept Da'an's actions.

A few short meters from entering the lighted and grassy plain before him, an explosion knocked Da'an too his knees. WHen he recovered he was shocked to find himself in the middle of what appeared to be a battle of some sort. A handful of humans wearing what he identified as the uniform of the U.S. military were scattered about him. Most were gesturing wildly to a large number of asian civilians in torn and stained clothes while a hand full of others fired their weapons in the direction the civilians had fled from.

Another explosion sent Da'an scurrying to the safety of a nearby wall. In horror he watched as a number of the civilians fell screaming as the stacatto sounds of machinegun fire could be heard. Another explosion caused Da'an to duck as debris covered him. An instant later he realized someone was tugging on his arm.

He looked up surprised to see the face of William Boone. A face younger than the one he had known and yet far more wise and world weary than one so young should have been. He realized Boone had said something, noticing the double black bards on his uniform indicating his rank of Captain. He shook his head and focused.

"Are you all right? Are you hurt?" He asked. Da'an merely nodded.

This Captain Boone shoved him roughly. "Then get going. Follow the road south. You'll be safe there." Boone ordered, obviously not recognizing who he was speaking to. The human quickly trotted over to another civilian who had fallen dragging them to their feet and shoving them towards the road, coldly. Confused at the lack of recognition Da'an looked at himself to find himself dressed similarly to the civilians fleeing for safety. 'The S.I. War.' Da'an realized. Humanity's latest atrocity against itself.

Da'an quickly followed the Ranger Captain. Underneath the seeming indifferent and heartless facade the human had projected towards the civilians Da'an could see the human he had come to know so well dying as pushed crying family members away from the mutilated, dead bodies of their loved ones.. For the first time Da'an understood why Boone and Marquette avoided the subject of the S.I. War. This was too painful to speak of. It was soul destroying.

Da'an soon found himself next to the Ranger Captain again. Boone was firing his weapon over the wall, ducking down once again when their unseen assailants returned fire. Boone glared at Da'an. "I told you to get the hell out of here!"

Da'an nodded, an odd smile creeping to his face. "Yes, you did. But I can not leave with out you William Boone. Your life depends upon this."

Wil suddenly pushed the Taelon aside and fired a quick burst from his weapon. Da'an turned to see what the human had been shooting at. He blushed blue in disbelief as he saw a young teenage asian boy on his knees grasping his stomach. Blood freely flowed between the boy's fingers. Beside the boy Da'an could make out what appeared to be an assault rifle. Da'an turned back to Boone to see pure horror on the man's face.

"Oh, my God." Wil was instantly scrambling towards the boy, catching his as he fell forward. He quickly flipped the boy over, but Da'an could tell instantly the child had journeyed to the next level by the glassy emptiness of his eyes. Da'an watched helplessly as Boone tore open the boy's shirt to reveal a mangled mess of blood and tissue. He could hear Boone whispering over and over the same words he spoken mere moments before.

A nearby explosion caused Da'an to wince. He quickly joined the man still trying to help the dead child.

"Boone." The human ignored him, continuing to try and bring life back to the boy.

After being ignored a second time, Da'an grabbed the human's arms and dragged them away, earning himself a furious glare from Boone as the man shoved him away. Da'an maintained his grasp and shook the man before him once, sensing the overwhelming flood of guilt, fear and shame within him.

"He is dead, Captain." He stated reasonably. "We must go now."

Da'an watched recognition come to the human's eyes raising his hopes. Just as quickly the recognition was gone replaced by rage.

"No!" Boone screamed, raising his arm to reveal the skrill glowing brightly. Da'an could feel the rage of the creature and its human host engulf his mind as it fired, engulfing the Taelon in a bright blinding light.

Part 5

"Why you see those girls
I'll tell you what they mean."
 --Greedy

Da'an opened his eyes, stunned at the sudden silence around him. Cautiously he looked around, finding himself standing in an unfamiliar hallway, of human design. He was in his normal facade favored by the Taelons amongst humans. Out through a nearby window the storm he had been in now lay in the distance, threatening rumbles echoing ominously. The sky still held an erie blue.

'What happened? Why am I in a human domicile?' Da'an wondered, as he turned to what was rapidly becoming a familiar presence. The skrill was no were to be seen, but Da'an wasn't fooled into thinking it wasn't around, waiting to destroy him should he harm Boone. The skrill was extremely protective of its host. Of that Da'an had no doubt.

He heard a small sound he could not identify coming from a partially closed door down the hall. Curious, Da'an strode to the door to peek in, feeling somewhat ashamed at what he was doing. Seeing two humans, a male and female, inside Da'an started to leave back the way he came until he heard a laugh he recognized from the male. He quickly turned back to the room and took a closer look.

Da'an felt a jolt of shock run through him as he recognized William Boone's dead wife, Kate, as being the female he embraced. He stood there stunned as he watched Wil trail his tongue along his wife's bare abdomen towards her neck, stopping once to nuzzle her breast. Kate sighed in obvious pleasure as Wil finally claimed her mouth with his own.

Though deeply embarassed at witnessing this intimate moment Da'an found himself unable to look away from the couple lying in the bed, kissing passionately. A small groan of satisfaction escaped from Kate as Wil shifted her until they lay side by side. Wil kissed her again quickly and then kissed the tip of her nose with a warm grin.

"I love you, Kate." He whispered softly as he brushed a strand of hair from her face.

Kate Boone opened her eyes and smiled langorously as she snuggled closer to him to rest her cheek on his shoulder. She kissed his jaw line gently. "I love you, too." Wil hugged her even tighter, obviously savoring the moment.

Da'an couldn't help but feel guilty for intruding on such a tender moment between Boone and his deceased wife. He had no desire to disrupt any of his implants memories of her. He quickly turned to leave stopping once to look back at the happy couple, feeling a wave of unexpected guilt wash over him. He had unwittingly robbed William Boone of these precious memories and now found himself wishing that he had never made the journey to that fateful gathering that had brought their lives together.

As he watched sadly, both humans visibly jumped as a global went off somewhere on the farside of the bed. Wil groaned as Kate started to laugh lightly. Wil started to get up only to have Kate grab him and try to pin him to the bed.

"Wil, it's your day off!" She protested.

"Come on, Kate. You know it might be important." Wil reminded her, though Da'an could tell it was only half heartedly, as he kissed his wife again. The kiss ended after two more beeps from the global ensued. Wil gently pushed his wife away and sat up, rubbing his close cropped hair into some semblance of respectability.

Kate sighed and lie back, allowing him to get up. She giggled a bit as he leaned over her to dig around in a small pile of clothing as he searched for the incessantly beeping device. "Got it." Wil muttered as he grabbed the global and sat back on the bed.

"If it's Bob tell him he's in big trouble." Kate teased as she got out of bed, hastily wrapping her body in a robe against the slightly chill air, as she pad her way to the bathroom.

Wil gave his wife what could only have been considered a lecherous grin as he activated the Global. "Yeah." He smiled as Bob Morovsky's visage filled the screen. "Bob? What is it? Kate's not happy with you about now, you know?"

Bob smiled apologetically, truly sorry at disturbing his friends day off. "Sorry, Wil. But you better get down here."

"What is it?" Wil asked in concern as he shifted himself to the side of the bed to start fishing through the drawers for his clothes.

"The mayor wants to see you. It's a meeting with the FBI, Secret Service and Companion Security." Bob said.

"Companion Security? What for?" Wil asked in surprise.

"Apparently in two weeks the American Companion is coming to our city." Bob replied, earning a surprised look from Wil.

"The American Companion?" Wil asked in wonder. "I'll be right down Bob."

"We'll be waiting Wil." Bob said and cut the link.

Da'an watched as Wil sat staring off at the wall, shaking his head slightly in bemusement. A moment later Kate came back out of the bathroom and sat next to her husband. "Was it Bob?" She asked.

"Yeah." Wil said as he hugged her. "Look, I've got to go back to the office for a little while."

"Wil!" Kate started to complain, as he headed towards the bathroom to grab a quick shower.

"Kate, it's important."

"How important?" She asked, starting to become upset.

Wil smiled slightly in anticipation to her reaction. "The American Companion."

Kate jumped up in delighted surprise. "Da'an is coming here?"

"Is that ....its... name?" Wil asked, his question unheard by his wife as she hugged him.

"This is great!" Kate said. "Why do they want you there?"

"It's just another security detail probably." Wil said, sounding completely unconcerned.

"William Boone, what does it take to impress you? It's a Taelon coming to our city!" Kate said. She huffed in disgust at his apparent lack of interest or concern.

"It's just another security nightmare for me, if you want me to be honest about it." Wil replied. He waved his hand. "Sorry, Kate. I just can't get into this hype around the Companions. They've done a lot for us, but I just wonder at why they even bother. They're so much more technologically advanced than us. I doubt we have anything they really need."

Da'an wasn't sure to be amused or offended at knowing that William Boone had been remarkably unconcerned and uninterested about the event that had changed both of their lives. Perhaps he was even a bit critical of the Taelons. Then again perhaps it had been his objectiveness that had sparked his interest in the former police Captain anyway. Da'an wasn't sure.

In retrospect, that was exactly how Boone had behaved before his implantation. This same objectiveness had seemingly survived against the motivational imperative imparted by the CVI. Da'an wondered briefly if it was this behavioral quirk that made Boone so different then the other implants he had encountered.

Kate sighed and strolled over to her husband. "I know. I know." She kissed him quickly. "You better get your shower."

Wil smiled, hugging her close as he planted a light kiss on her neck. As he looked up, he froze as he noticed Da'an's presence.

"You bastard!" Da'an saw the spark of recognition again. Da'an jolted at the gravelly tone. And a sudden rage that seemed to emanate in cold waves from the implant. Boone quickly crossed the room striking the Companion in such fury, Da'an could do little but realize he was falling to the carpeted rug he stood on.

Part 6

"One day soon when you were fast asleep
You'll be buried deep in your deserved grief."--Greedy

A pair of hands caught the Companion just before he struck the tiled floor.

'Tile?' Da'an wondered staring at the floor in amazement. Realizing he was being spoken to Da'an looked up to see the concerned face of Bob Morovsky.

"Are you all right, ma'am?" The police officer was asking, as he helped Da'an to his feet.

"Yes. Yes I am fine. Thank you." Da'an was a bit chagrined to hear the higher, softer tone in his voice he associated with most human females. He looked himself over not surprised to see that he now appeared as a human woman, dressed in a dark skirt and blouse that seemed to mimic his normal jumpsuit when he took on his human facade.

"You're sure?" Morovsky asked again.

"I am quite sure." Da'an assured, as he noted Morovsky give him a decidedly unfriendly look. Probing gently with his mind, Da'an realized the it was Boone's skrill before him using this persona to cover its passage. But he also sensed a part of Boone's mind there, watching cautiously.

"You should be careful. It isn't safe here." Morovsky warned, a hissing sound entering his voice.

"You must come with me Boone. Before it is too late." Da'an warned, knowing the implant was listening. The avatar narrowed it's eyes, phasing briefly from Morovsky to Boone and back. It regarded him coldly, no humanity in the eyes, before turning away from him.

"Good night, Mrs. Boone."

Da'an immediately turned his head to those words to see Captain Boone escorting his wife through the police precinct towards an exit. The human's eyes flicked over to him in seeming recognition but quickly turned away as soon he made contact Da'an's own gaze.

Da'an was surprised at the relief he felt at not seeing any anger or hatred lurking there. If anything he was certain he had felt dread from the man. He quickly followed the couple out of the building, finding himself back in his preferred form when dealing with humans as he stood next to William Boone on the darkened street.

Boone was waving to his wife with a smile as she drove off. Da'an turned to speak only to be cutoff by the implant. "You shouldn't be here." He said, his voice hollow and lifeless.

"Do you know who I am? You recognize me?" Da'an asked, deciding to err of the side of caution given his past failed attempts to reason with the implant.

"I know what you represent." The implant turned to him, seeming somehow younger than Da'an remembered him being when they had first met.

"But you do not recognize who I am?" Da'an pressed gently, seeing a sudden spark of fear enter the implants eyes. Wil started to step away from him, but Da'an grasped his arm preventing his retreat. "I have no intention of harming you, William Boone."

The implant slowly relaxed, staring at the Companion distrustfully. "It's too late for your intentions." He spoke slowly, a defiant, accusing tone clearly in his words.

Da'an blushed blue at the accusation, unable to deny what he knew was true nor hide his discomfiture that his implant knew of this unpleasantness. He carefully withdrew his hand from the implants arm and gestured lightly. "I can not change the past, and for that I am sorry. But it is your present condition that I am here to help rectify."

"I don't want you here." He protested, a hint of desperateness in his voice.

"I know." Da'an reassured the implant. "But you are causing dangerous incursions in the Commonality. Your unintended presence there has cost us the life of one Taelon already."

Wil shook his head in disbelief. "No. Y-you're lying." He backed away. "Just leave me alone."

"I can not." Da'an said firmly. "If you do not awaken and soon from your psychic plane, your body will be terminated to prevent further incursions." Da'an gently touched the human's arm again. "You will die."

"I-I can't." Wil stuttered slowly. Da'an realized how tired the implant now seemed before him. Tired and afraid. "I've tried. I can't find my way."

"But you are here, are you not?" Da'an asked.

"I'm here because I want to be. Because I need to be here." The implant replied. Da'an cocked his head to the side at these words trying to comprehend what Wil had meant. He could see the implant was near tears. He was surprised that the skrill wasn't present at its hosts obvious pain.

"Condor's here." Wil said, answering Da'an's thoughts, surprising the Companion that he had heard them. The implant pointed to the skrill hissing soothingly on his arm. Da'an looked at the human more closely, a startling realization forming in his mind.

"Where are you?" Da'an asked. The question elicited a not quite sane laugh from the image before him. The laughter quickly subsided into giggles but Da'an instantly felt a touch from the Commonality not from his own mind, but from the human before him.

"I'm.... everywhere." The implant dissolved into giggling fits at his own words. Da'an knew the human was rapidly going insane as he was bombarded by the full force of Taelon communal thought. Humans were not ready for such an experience. A dreamy, far away look quickly overtook the man before him as he slumped to his knees.

"She...Lili....never....told me..." The implant breathed in a shuddered breath. "...so...beautiful...."

Da'an grabbed the implant, shaking him forcefully to gain his attention. "Where are you, William?"

The implant looked up at Da'an with a smile but remained silent. Da'an suddenly felt the all too familiar ripple of the Commonality surrounding them. The images were rapidly warping into the comforting thoughts and images Da'an recognized as his fellow Taelons.

"Where?" Da'an demanded. Wil slowly lifted his hand

"It doesn't matter." Wil said sorrowfully. As Da'an grabbed his hand he felt as if he were being torn apart molecule by molecule. The Companion stifled his moans until the pain could no longer be bared, screaming as he felt himself pulled into darkness.

Part 7

"And you can't buy my soul
No.  No.
It's the last thing I'll need."--Greedy

Da'an jerked as he found himself leaned against a stark white concrete wall. He looked around cautiously in the dim lighting just barely able to make out the shapes of a few chairs At the far end of the hall he could see form huddled and seeming to shiver near a darkened door. Da'an slowly approached the figure, noting it seemed to jerk with each echo of his footsteps.

Da'an stopped a mere meter from the red haired implant, clearly seeing the tattered and bloody remains of the jacket and shirt that Boone had been wearing when he was injured. After a moment the implant slowly raised his head, timidly peering at the Taelon.

"Commander?" Da'an inquired carefully, unsure of the reaction he would receive. For the first time since he had entered the implants mind he clearly felt the man's presence. This alone reassured Da'an that he had finally reached his goal.

"It's really you. Isn't it?" The implant asked cautiously. He slowly slid up himself to his feet, levering himself against the wall.

"Do you really doubt it is me?" Da'an asked.

Wil slowly circled the Companion looking him up and down. "I don't know. I've....seen things that don't make much sense. There was one... I thought...it was you."

"But something happened?" Da'an asked, already guessing at what the implant meant.

Wil looked away walking himself into a darkened corner near the door. "It hurt so much." He whispered so softly Da'an wasn't even sure he spoke. The voice was unsteady. "I made it go away." The implant turned to face Da'an, a haunted look on his face. "I made it go away." He restated more firmly, though a thread of guilt wound its way into the implants voice.

"Do you know what happened do him?" Da'an asked, already knowing the answer.

Wil slid down to the floor again, wrapping his arms around himself. His shivering increased dramatically. "Yes." Da'an noticed the implant refused to look at him. "I'm sorry." He whispered.

Da'an remained silent, knowing there was nothing he could say to alleviate the guilt he felt from the human. Nothing he could say to convey his own regrets to the implant. He turned to survey his surroundings again.

"Why do you remain here in this place?" Da'an asked after a moment, turning to find the implant watching him.

Wil shrugged and gestured towards the door. "It's the way out."

"And yet you do not leave." Da'an noted. He tilted his head to the left curiously eyeing the human. "Why?"

The implant squeezed his eyes closed tightly for a moment as he shivered violently in apparent pain. After a moment he subsided, the tension draining from his posture and reopened his eyes. "It hurts too much."

"The Commonality overwhelms you preventing you from severing the link?" Da'an asked, quickly considering what he could do.

After several moment the implant nodded. "Yes."

Da'an got the distinct impression that Boone was not just answering his question, but another he did not yet comprehend. "I see."

Da'an approached the implant, offering his hand. "It's time to end this ordeal. For all of us."

Wil looked at the hand for a moment, before flicking his eyes up to Da'an. "I can't."

"I shall make it possible for you to endure." Da'an stated.

"How?" The human asked suspiciously.

"By sharing with you, I will be able to keep the Commonality from your mind, and your mind from the Commonality." Da'an replied. The implant stared at him uncertainly.

"You have trusted me this far, Commander. Would you not do so now?"

Wil swallowed and grasped the Taelon hand, allowing Da'an to pull him too his feet. Da'an felt the waves of gratitude from Boone as Da'an initiated the sharing.

"Thank you."

Part 8

"You're so greedy.
I believe no one's pure."--Greedy

Da'an opened his eyes slowly, feeling far more drained than he could ever remember feeling. Glancing towards Lili, he saw her smile wanely at him as she released his hand.

"You're back." She mumbled, half asleep.

Da'an smiled. "Yes. We both are."

Da'an felt Wil squeeze his hand weakly, instantly gaining the Companion's attention. Lili leaned over at Da'an reaction. Both smiled as Wil's eyes blinked opened slowly. A ghost of a smile crossed the man's face in return.

"Welcome back, Commander." Da'an greeted his implant.

"Th..." Wil coughed unable to voice his words.

"Don't try to speak." Doctor Belman was instantly at Wil's bedside checking his vitals and the equipment he was hooked up to.

Wil nodded once, squeezing Da'an's hand again before releasing it.

'Thank you.'

Da'an smiled as the thought echoed in his mind. He kept this thought from the Commonality, deciding the others would not understand the accompanying emotions of such a simple phrase. "You are welcome." The Companion replied, touching Boone's forehead. The others in the room looked questioningly at one another but made no comment.

"I'll have to ask you all to leave. Boone needs his rest." Dr. Belman ordered.

"Of course, Doctor." Da'an nodded gesturing for the others to join him.

"Dah...hn" A rasped, barely audible voice spoke.

Da'an instantly turned his attention to the recovering implant to find Wil smiling weakly at him, his eyes barely cracked open enough to see the color. Wil swallowed hard and tried again but no sound came from him. Da'an placed his hand on Boone's arm. "Rest, Commander. We shall speak later."

Da'an was not surprised to see the implant had fallen asleep before he had even finished speaking. The Companion gestured to the others once more and left the room. Once in the hall, he noticed Lili's haggard expression. "Agent Sandoval, please have Captain Marquette taken home. She is to be relieved of duty for the next two days so she may recover her strength." Da'an ordered the implant.

"Of course, Da'an." Ron replied, gesturing for Lassiter who awaited nearby with two other Companion security agents. "See that the Captain gets home."

"Yes, sir." Lassiter said, gesturing for Lili to follow him. Lili cast Da'an a protesting look but followed Lassiter down the hall to the awaiting shuttle.

"Captain Marquette seems ungrateful for your concern." Da'an turned to find Zo'or watching him.

"She is more concerned with Commander Boone's condition than her own. She is very loyal to those she serves with. Is that now an undesirable trait?" Da'an replied coolly.

Zo'or smiled at this. "Of course not. She is to be commended." Zo'or glanced towards the room Boone rested in. "And the threat to the Commonality?"

"Can you not tell for yourself that the incursion point has been eliminated." Da'an asked in a biting tone. Sandoval raised a questioning eyebrow at this but remained silent. He had rarely seen Da'an irritated by anything, but knew better than to bring any undue attention to himself.

"Of course." Zo'or replied haughtily. "But you know what still remains. He must remember nothing."

"Even if he were to remember the experience, would it matter? His motivational imperative assures his loyalty is to the Companions." Da'an countered.

"Perhaps." Zo'or stated evenly. "If he does remember anything I shall request that the Synod order his immediate termination."

"And I shall fight you on any such measure introduced to the Synod." Da'an said with an air odd defiance that seemed to surprise Zo'or.

<"Why do you protect these humans, Da'an? They are of little value to us outside of our mission here."> Zo'or asked, switching to Eunioa.

<"For the very same reason you manipulate them, Zo'or."> Da'an said turning to look into the room he had moments before been in. He allowed himself to gaze upon the peaceful face of his implant for a moment before turning back to his adversary. <"They are a unique species that we would be better off cultivating rather than subjugating them in the manner you subscribe to.">

<"I have seen nothing to warrant such praise from you or any other Taelon, Da'an. I used to know you. We understood one another and agreed on much. I cannot fathom your unnatural interest in these creatures."> With that Zo'or stalked off.

"Then perhaps you never truly knew me." Da'an spoke more to himself, saddened at the growing rift between himself and Zo'or. He only hoped that someday that the rivalry between them would end in a beneficial manner.

"Come, Agent Sandoval. The Synod awaits my report." Da'an stated, casting another look in on the red headed implant, before proceeding down the hall.

----------------------------------------

The following morning Da'an found himself walking down what was becoming the all too familiar corridors of Doctor Belman's clinic. As usual, Sandoval ghosted his Companion's steps keeping an ever watchful eye. Da'an was eager to speak to the recovering implant for several reasons.

He had spent several hours explaining his report to the Synod members. The most trying had been defeating Zo'or's measure for Boone's termination. While not entirely pleased with all the Synod's decisions, Da'an was willing to accept some of the provisions they had assigned him regarding Boone's recovery. He had succeeded in protecting his implant as well as protecting the Commonality. This private knowledge was all the thanks needed.

The coming inquiry was one of the requirements imposed upon him but he suspected Quo'on knew that he did not consider it a mere chore to be done as some in the Synod had expressed. For Da'an it was an opportunity to learn more about humanity, and in particular William Boone.

"Doctor, may I inquire as to the status of my implant, Boone?" Da'an asked as he noticed Dr. Belman leaving the Boone's recovery room.

"He's recovering well, Da'an. The burns on his back are healing quickly, though he'll be a little sore and stiff for a week or so. He's still a little tired and I've noted a few areas of elevated neural activity, but otherwise he seems fine." The Doctor reported.

"I am pleased to hear this. May we see him?" Da'an asked.

"Of course." Dr. Belman nodded. "Captain Marquette is already with him. Please don't cause him any undue stress."

"Thank you, Doctor." Da'an said, sincerely. "Agent Sandoval, I wish to speak with the Commander alone." Da'an instructed the implant before entering the room. Sandoval merely nodded and left the way he had come.

The sight that greeted Da'an's eyes was that of a wan smiling William Boone and a laughing Lili Marquette. Noticing the Companion's arrival Lili quickly stood. On the small stand next to his bed sat a floral arrangement and a couple of books. "Da'an." She said by way of greeting.

"Captain, did I not dictate that you take a few days respite from your duties?" Da'an asked.

Lili cast a small grin at Wil, who had started to chuckle at the Companion's words. "Yes, Da'an. I am on vacation visiting a sick friend." Lili replied.

Da'an caught the humorous look between the two humans but remained silent on that matter. "I understand."

Lili grabbed her coat from the back of the chair she had been sitting in. "There's a few things I have to do so I'll leave you alone to talk." Lili explained as she put the jacket on. She patted the implants arm seeing his disappointed look. "Catch you later, Wil. Besides, I owe you for our bet."

Wil grinned at that. "Sure, Lili. See ya." Lili nodded her head to Da'an before breezing from the room.

"You seem in high spirits, Commander." Da'an noted carefully gesturing to the seat the former Marine Captain had vacated. Wil smiled and nodded his assent to the Companion's unasked question.

"It's hard not to be when you discover how close to oblivion you were." Wil commented.

"I suppose this is quite true, though we Taelons do not fear death the way humanity does." Da'an nodded.

"Yeah." Wil agreed as an uncomfortable silence settled between them.

After a moment Da'an sat forward in the chair. "Commander, what do you remember from your ordeal?"

Wil shrugged as he furrowed his brow in concentration. "Not much, really. I remember some strange dreams and you, of course."

"And was there anything else?" Da'an prodded, sensing the implant was holding something back.

Wil eyed Da'an carefully, uncertain of just how much he could admit to. If he knew too much he was certain the Taelons would have him killed. Da'an looked away from the Companion's intense gaze. "When we were in....contact...after the attack....w-was that..." Wil sighed, resigning himself to whatever fate his next words may bring.. "Was that the Commonality I experienced?"

"Yes." The Companion replied instantly. Seeing a thoughtful expression cross the implants face, Da'an sat back in the chair. "What do you remember?"

"Voices." Wil replied. "Images, thoughts, I don't know what. It seems all jumbled. Even my CVI is unable to handle the load of information." Wil looked at the Companion with a somewhat embarrassed expression on his face. "The best I've been able to come up with that I can even remotely understand is almost like music."

He shook his head in bemusement. "It's just beyond human experience."

"What would say if I were to tell you I experienced something beyond Taelon experience with you?" Da'an asked cautiously.

Wil looked at the Taelon sharply, feeling a stab of fear he hoped did not show on his face. 'Does he know what I am?'

"You do not seem concerned by this information." Da'an noted.

"I guess I'm not really that surprised." Wil admitted. "When you helped me back here I had the most extraordinary experience of my life. For a brief moment I could see the world through Taelon eyes. I could reflect upon the small bit of the Commonality I could understand."

"And?" Da'an asked as the implant paused to consider.

"It was..." Wil shook his head. "Words just aren't adequate, Da'an. I'm sorry."

"You need not apologize, Commander." Da'an said gently. "I too have had a revelation of sorts because of this incident."

Da'an looked at the human for a long time as if considering something, Wil simply waited patiently. "Could you help me understand some of what I experienced from you? You may not wish to discuss what I have seen." Da'an asked, almost shyly.

Wil smiled. "Will you help me better understand what I experienced from the Commonality? The questions I may ask you will not be easy."

Da'an gave the implant a wry grin. "I shall do what I can, but must warn you to not probe any deeper than you have. It could prove dangerous to do so."

"I won't." Wil assured the Companion catching the implied warning clearly. "Besides even with my CVI I know it would take a hundred lifetimes to even begin to comprehend the most basic imprint I have of the Commonality."

"More like a million, Commander." Da'an corrected, earning an agreeing nod from the implant.

"What did you want to discuss first?" Wil asked.

"Tell me about the S I War." Da'an requested.

Wil looked surprised at the request but considered it carefully. "This could take some time."

"I expect it will, Commander." Da'an agreed, gesturing for the implant to continue.

After a long moment of silence, Wil shook his head apologetically. "I'm sorry. I-I can't."

Da'an wondered at the refusal for a moment. Unbidden, the memory of what he had seen in Boone's mind came to him. Shaken at its intensity, Da'an considered another option. One he was certain the implant would be adverse to given recent events. But Da'an felt compelled to try.

"Perhaps there is a way to remedy this situation." Da'an started cautiously. "For both of us."

Wil tried to sit up straighter, wincing as pain lanced up his back. He returned to his previous pose with a sigh. "What are you suggesting?" He asked.

"There is much that has occurred between us recently. Many question we have about one another and about our experiences. Is this not true?" Da'an said, feeling ashamed at his inability to simply ask the question he intended for the implant.

"Yes." Wil replied with a confused look. 'Da'an stalling?'

Seeing that his evasiveness had not fooled his implant, Da'an smiled to himself. "I would desire to share with you."

"Share?" Wil asked. Seeing the Companion's nod Wil looked down. "Is this what you and Lili did? Uh, what we did...in my mind?"

"She told you?" Da'an asked, not really surprised at this information.

Wil shrugged gently, unsure. "A little. She seemed a bit overwhelmed by it."

"It is...indescribable in your words." Da'an agreed. Sensing the uneasiness from his implant Da'an touched his arm gently. "I assure you that you need not fear what I may see. You will control what I can and cannot see. Just as I can do the same with you."

"Why?" Wil asked. "I mean...I am honored that you would ask this of me, but..."

"But you wonder as to the timing?" Da'an finished. Looking away for a moment Da'an seemed lost in thought. Wil was about to gently prod the Companion when he looked back at the human.

"I can offer no explanation." Da'an said in a somewhat bemused manner. "Your introduction to the Commonality should have been through a Sharing. It should have been a peaceful and harmonious exchange between you and I, not the violent terror you experienced."

"But its more than that. Isn't it?" Wil asked, sensing the Companion's distress behind the explanation.

"I have experienced things in your mind that I can not understand. I do not have the means with which to cope with them on my own. It is my hope to attain the clarity I seek from you." Da'an answered honestly, holding his gaze steadily to the humans.

After a long moment, Wil nodded his head. "How do we do this?"

Da'an smiled reassuringly and extended his hand, palm forward to the implant. Silently Wil mimiced the gesture until their palms touch. Da'an closed his eyes, losing his facade slightly as the Sharing began. Wil felt himself pulled in, gasping in surprised delight at the new experience. For a very long time neither moved, finding compassion and understanding in the other.

Fin.

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Notes on Hold Back the Night:

This story first started out as a simple horror story intended to be sent out when Halloween came around but a sudden (wacky) inspiration made me change the story to the one you now read. The serial killer section was dropped for the most part. This story was originally two separate stories: "Mindscapes" and "Rage". "Mindscapes" originally involved Da'an bringing Lili back from near death with the help of Liam but I hit major writer's block. "Rage" involved Boone and Lili trying to stop a serial killer, not knowing Lili had become the target. Again, writer's block hit on that one. Merging the two together seemed to be the only way to finish them. Sections and ideas from "Rage" are being incorporated into my upcoming story "Revanant", because they fit in better with that story than this one.

The Fifth Heaven (Maon) is where the avenging angels of christian belief reside. The crazed assassin believes Boone is using the image of Satqi'el, the ruler of Maon, to watch over Satan's minion (in this case Da'an) so that they may be judged. 

The crazed assassin was in the original outline also the Samhain Slasher and are one and the same person, storywise.

I have no more knowledge of the events surrounding the SI War than anyone else who has watched the show. What's written here is just my own interpretation of events.

Greedy, by Pure (Copyright 1990)

Beat it.

I believe no one's pure.
I believe no one's pure.
You're so greedy.

Soul lies told a thousand times,
Your soul lies told a thousand times

Beat it.

It's the end of the world.

Evil man with an evil plan
You try to justify everything you've learned.
Stereotype. Mediahype.
Your golden dreams of your fantasies.

Your try to understand why you hear those screams
Why you see those girls
I'll tell you what they mean
One day soon when you were fast asleep
You'll be buried deep in your deserved grief.

You're so greedy. 
But you don't even care
And you can't buy my soul
No.  No.
It's the last thing I'll need.

That's greed.

I believe no one's pure.

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Copyright 1998 Karolyn Gray and Skrillwerks Story Archive