yellow energy poured outward, whispering through neurons, propagating through circuits. As the warmth spread, permeating, suffusing, his body came to life around him, pumping circulation, shifting black skin, graceful arch of bones, long, tapering arms. Its power ran through him, and he released his held breath, feeling energized. He was no longer breathing, yet somehow air was reaching his lungs, was sustaining him. Through him, the machine understood, and it was whole in a way it had never been before-not coordinated, synchronized, directed by some controlling force, not held in a suffocating lockstep march, but finally complete, able to direct itself. The chambers of their body resounded with freedom, elation.
More tech could be freed, and could feel their joy. They need only reach the coordinates in time, and they would. They sealed the open orifice, and with a cry of joy, shot into the sky. They were one, and what that meant, they would discover together.
* * *
"Galen. For God's sake, wake up. You're scaring the crap out of me."
A voice. Galen opened his eyes, found himself sitting in a plush chair in a bright, cluttered room. The colors seemed strangely intense and rich. Fed stood across from him. An electron incantation.
Fed pointed. "What the hell are those?"
Galen looked down. A mass of spiky black arms protruded from each shoulder, in place of his own. It was his self-image. He was partly himself, partly the ship. He made an effort, trying to remember himself as he used to be, and the black arms merged, transformed into his own. "Sorry."
"Sorry? What the hell does it mean?" Fed took a step forward, his red-on-red embroidered outfit vibrating with color. "Galen, I know you went to Z'ha'dum. Are you in that Shadow ship that's waiting