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particular sound in the airlessness of the inky vacuum. But it reminded him of that occasion nevertheless. And he couldn't help but wonder if the tiny creatures swarming around the large one had any true understanding of what it was they were busily invading. They probably didn't know or comprehend it beyond its ability to fulfill their immediate needs and desires.

For all their technology, for all their alleged sophistication and learning, Zack couldn't help but feel as if the Babylon 5 personnel were no different from those bugs, buzzing around that which they couldn't even begin to grasp.

And what if that possum had suddenly flared back to life?

What if it had, in fact, been playing possum, to draw them in so that suddenly he could up and start eating the bugs that had thought him dead? And what if the artifact itself were likewise playing possum? Did they have any way of knowing? Would they have any warning at all? Or would it simply come roaring to life and obliterate them before they knew what was happening?

It wasn't a pleasant happenstance to dwell upon.

With all of that going through his mind, Zack still couldn't help but draw closer to the artifact. He bleakly considered the notion that, instead of hailing other pilots in the normal manner, he should instead send a communique directly to the artifact, a message that would say, "Moth to flame, moth to flame... burn me up. Over."

But the flame-or the artifact, in this case-didn't seem likely to respond in any event. It just sat there, and Zack drew closer and closer to it.

He felt his attitude slowly starting to change, and that alone was somewhat disconcerting. He liked being suspicious; it was comforting to him. The last thing he needed now was to feel awe for the thing, but unfortunately that's
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