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he found the whole thing fairly juvenile.

What Sheridan did find amusing, though-downright funny, in fact-was the manner in which one man, presumably the hero since he was dressed in white, calmly and serenely walked right through the pie fight and remained untouched. The strategist in Sheridan could appreciate the choreography and careful planning involved to carry off such a visual stunt, but on a basic level he also simply found it funny that the imperturbable hero was spared, until the very end, the indignity of getting plastered with a pie. Yes, very funny, in fact.

Sheridan found it substantially less funny now.

For in the life and death struggle that was raging around the artifact, that was exactly the situation in which Sheridan found himself. Blasts, Starfuries, Minbari cruisers, White Stars, and alien invaders, all hurtled about him with reckless abandon.

In what seemed an endless journey from the station to the far side of the artifact, Sheridan had been nearly pulped at least half a dozen times. And yet he had managed to remain miraculously unscathed. Not a lot of laughs to be had, unfortunately, although he tried to tell himself that at some point in the future, he would indeed be able to look back on all of this and garner a chuckle or two.

Then he looked up at the massive artifact which floated in front of him, and decided that probably wasn't going to be the case after all. Look back on it and laugh? He'd be lucky if, every so often, he didn't wake up screaming.

His view of the battle up front was obscured as he moved around back of the artifact. Next came another daunting unknown with which he was going to have to deal. He had to let Ivanova know that it was time to move ahead with the plan. That yielded two problems. First, for all he
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