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one final roar as it bounced off a near wall and closed the distance between itself and Sheridan, its arms/tentacles outstretched. Sheridan fancied that he could sense it touching him, just barely drawing within reach of him...

... and then, miraculously, he was through the access panel, hurtling out into space. The monster pursuing him banged up against the opening, unable to continue the pursuit. Its furious howling propelled Sheridan toward ...

... the force field.

He'd forgotten the force field. He was still going to be trapped within the sphere of the damned thing. He'd been so concentered on how to get in, that he'd given only minimal thought to how to get out. That's what happens when you toss together a plan on the fly.

Sheridan prepared himself to give the all-clear, even though he wasn't going to be clear at all. Still, if he didn't say anything, Ivanova, Delenn-dear God, let them still be alive-and the fleet wouldn't know to pull back. While dying at the brink of pulling off the save seemed a depressing fate indeed, it sure beat allowing those creatures to break through.

But the force field wasn't there. The mother ship was so vast that it apparently required dropping the field entirely. The Babylon 5 fleet had been so hideously depleted by that point that the artifact had been able to lower its guard with impunity. In perfect irony, the advent of invading forces might very well have proven to be Sheridan's salvation.

"Sheridan to assault fleet... I'm clear!" he shouted as he put distance between himself and the artifact. "Break off!"

"All ships, break off! Get the hell out of the way!" came Ivano-va's voice, and Sheridan felt partial relief flood through him. Ivanova was safe. Now if only ...

... and then he heard Delenn's voice as she
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