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thick haze of smoke seemed to be everywhere around her. "Yeah ... yeah, we hear you," she said with ill-concealed impatience. "What is it?"

Delenn could tell from Ivanova's tone of voice that she was so busy battling the alien vessels that she hadn't noticed their latest problem. "Look at the artifact, Susan."

"Put it on screen," ordered Ivanova.

Delenn wasn't sure what Ivanova was going to say when she saw it. A profanity, a prayer... what would her comment be in the face of approaching Armageddon.

"Give me a breakl" came the annoyed reaction. Delenn shook her head, and she was stunned to realize that inwardly, she was smiling. The commander sounded as if the entire cosmos had arranged this business for the single and sole purpose of pissing off and inconveniencing one Susan Ivanova.

For all anyone knew, she was absolutely right.

Within the artifact, knowing that the countdown was in progress and his time was limited, Sheridan was moving as quickly as he could. Having seen the mother ship, he now regretted setting any sort of timer at all. Sheridan was not suicidal by nature; he desired to live every single day that might be allotted to him. But considering the soul-shaking thing he had just witnessed, which was in the process of emerging from its realm, he'd have felt better if he'd simply blown it back to hell without any hesitation at all. Every moment he had given himself to reach safety was another moment that the mother ship and its armada had to make it through the portal.

"You have two minutes to reach safe distance," his onboard computer told him.

Then he heard a roar.

There was absolutely no way that he should have been able to hear it. He was in the airlessness of space. An entire pride of lions should have been able to unleash a chorus
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