-"Good news, ma'am! According the Patroller General's Advocate Office's ruling: 'given that you were shot by the fugitive... and, in full view of many well known citizens; while in 'obvious pursuit, intended on preventing the criminal from fleeing'... the fact that you and he were, supposedly, once married according to some ancient tribal custom, on another planet... does not constitute evidence of your involvement in his treasonous conspiracy. Therefore, all charges against you have been dismissed. Once you have fully recovered from your wounds, you are free to leave the system of Concordia. Preferably, at the first available opportunity.' You see, Mrs... err.. excuse me,madam; Miss Vhett... I told you, that everything would be just fine!"

- Court Appointed Public Defender Droid, J8-1L, on a holo-call to a patient in ICU Recovery Cell #317 of Concordian Dawn Medical Center's Maximum Security Ward... eagerly delivering a message, certain to cheer up it's melancholy new client; while totally unaware of the angry mob, currently gathering outside that same care facility, eagerly awaiting it's clients' most skillfully acquired... and, publicly announced... imminent release

Chap2_

For eternity, there was just the unending blissfulness of... nothing.

In one moment, she wasn't. And then, quite unexpectedly, she realized that... she was!

Although, some vague essence of her had suspected that she had once been... there had never before been enough of her to care about if she ever existed, at all.

But now, she was coming back... slowly, but surely, regathering like a persistent tempest.

And that meant, her ever sharpening senses reasoned... that she may have actually existed, all along!

But, if that were true, then it begged the question of... who was she? If she had been before, maybe she had once known things that she didn't, now.

Exploring this idea, she tried to recall her previously possible self. Only to soon discover that whatever she was now... had no memory of being anything, beyond the time before now, back when she hadn't been.

Or, perhaps... she wasn't the same now, as she was before. Something told her that this was so. This new thought of not being all that she once might have been... and by all rights, should be again... greatly upset her.

Even so, there was one thing about this new state of existence that pleased her, immensely. Although, the void's alluring and protective embrace still beckoned to her... her growing confidence in being, was swiftly starting to tip the scales away from her succumbing to the abyss' seductive call.

Yet, even as she felt the soft touch of oblivion, slowly slipping away, something told her that it would always be there... waiting; to lovingly to take her back into it's warm embrace. So, she decided that she had plenty of 'time' to stay her... if she chose to do so... for awhile longer.

There was something that she did find confusing, however.

'What is time?', she pondered.

It seemed like something that she should have been familiar with, or may have been before, but she didn't now. This displeased her, for it seemed wasteful to have to keep learning the same things, over and over.

However, she soon found that figuring out such a complex idea as that, was likely to take her too long to understand right now, anyways.

So, she abandoned her pondering, but did not discard the concept completely. For, something inside of her remained confident, that whatever this time thing was... it was important enough for her to remember to take the time, later... to contemplate it more fully.

For now, all that she could be sure of was that she definitely did exist. And, with every moment that passed, she was becoming more and more sure of that one thing, at least.

As her confidence in her own reality slowly built, her newly born awareness began to clumsily puzzle together the chaotic rush of oddly familiar, yet completely unknown, sensations... that were increasingly coming through to her, from somewhere out beyond her comforting barrier of insulating numbness.

Her initial response to this confusing bombardment of unwanted intrusions... that is, her first reaction to the concept of anything intruding on her current state of contemplative serenity; was...

Anger.

Without warning, her entire being suddenly seemed to be utterly consumed by this frantic, insatiable, burning sensation!

Although she had no idea where it was coming from, or, if it could even be harmful to her, in some way; she had to admit that, whatever it was... she liked it!

While it increasingly made her feel as if she would soon explode, back into oblivion, if she did not find some way to contain this immensely unpredictable, and impressively potent, exciting new state of being... or else, find a way to release it upon... something; there was something about it, that also made her feel more solid, more substantial.

During this alternating process of discovery, the of idea of her greater self, came better into focus. As it did so, her annoying postulations eventually led her to pondering much less volatile curiosities.

For example, she knew now that there was more to her, than she had previously thought. So much more, in fact... that she began to feel empowered by the sheer immensity of possible herself!

Then suddenly, as if she were being rewarded for her struggles to manage her overwhelmingly ongoing expansion of self-awareness... from the area of herself that she had once thought empty and barren, sprang unexpectedly sweet fruit... a memory!

The last clues to the riddle of Time, fell into place for her, now that she had some evidence that she had indeed, once existed before now! She didn't know from whence it came, or comprehend anything of the many mysteries in harbored... but, as soon as it happened, everything she was, told her that it was real.

And, that it was important that she learn the truth of it, somehow.

It was clearly important enough, that... although, tooled only with the crude scribe of her once barely-existent will... she'd still managed to etch the experience so deeply into the emptiness of herself, that it had survived to come back to her, now... even throughout her long imprisonment in the everlasting nothingness.

Carefully, she scrutinized every invaluable moment of the precious gem from her past... committing herself to learning anything she could from every single moment of recalled detail.

She reconjured it up then, from deepest recesses of her mind, and saw...

A fuzzy, dark blur.

Well, her vision was of a few fuzzy, dark blurs, actually. She saw within it... twin, long, thin, shadows... looming over her. In a place made of soft, pure radiance.

Then, as her thoughts led her further down the lone path of her erased history... the traces something unseen, and sinister, began to echo through her.

The two hazy, colorless forms... each, she could tell now, were crowned with huge, dazzlingly-contrasting, dual orbs; continued to steadily grow in size.

As the unwelcoming, scrutinizing personas perpetually progressed in proportion... her entire being automatically attempted to recoil, trying desperately to escape from the pair of presences that were, somehow... she knew... intent upon preying on her!

The long, lost memory had brought with it, one of the earliest lessons she had learned of her new reality.

Fear.

Unaccountably, rest of the memory seemed to have been, somehow... distorted, by her reflection of such a traumatic emotion. But, if this disorienting effect was in some way meant to protect her... she could only say that it was a useless gesture, for the very next thing she recalled... was the very next step in this unexpected reeducation to her present existence.

Pain.

She felt herself becoming... more dense. Her beings reaction to this memory was harden itself against it. Unlike the other aspects of this reality, this sensation was much stronger, and far more unpleasant, than either the anger, or the fear. Something about this recollection made her fell like she was being... or, had been... invaded somehow!

In it's wake, came ever blurrier ripples in her pool of thoughts... telling her that somehow, she was... less... than she was, before the pain. As if, the invader had taken something valuable with it, as she was defeatedly ebbed back into her usual non-existence.

But unlike before, she wasn't fading away now. Even after the haunting memory had run it's course, she still felt herself solidly here. Far from felling less than, if anything, she now felt more real!

Real enough, by now, for her to consider attempting to reopen those dual pieces of herself that had, once, allowed her to observe the strangely confusing things she now found herself increasingly wondering about. More and more, she felt like she had to know if any of the terrible images from her memory, truly existed, out there... beyond her.

Eventually, her fear gave way to her strengthening will... and, using every bit of that strength, she feebly started to crack open one of the twin windows that she had long kept, protectively shut.

And, what she discovered was...

Another dose of intensely unpleasant pain! Immediately, she was forced to shut her portals.

Leaving behind them, however, a very strange looking duplicate... of the impossibly harsh vision, that she had suffered so greatly to momentarily obtain, of the outside world; that she had so foolishly just tried to capture.

At first, all she believed she'd gained was a flash of some unidentifiable shapes.

However, when cross-referenced with the place it had quickly found in her voluminously ample memory vault, she was able to mentally reconstruct what her sighting had actually turned out to be.

Revealed to her, was a wondrously curious world... filled with a vast variety of differing shapes, and outlines, and all, in an array of shadings of all sorts!

As she safely marveled with minds' eye, she noticed her attention being continually drawn to an unusually disturbing shadow among the bright shapes. It stood lurking off it one side of the brief glimpse that, she'd only just barely been able to withstand taking.

It was of an image of a dark, elongated shape... topped by more, but different shapes. These, appeared to be collected together into a small group of much brighter, and more oval -curved, ones.

And, as they one-by-one seemed to turn towards her, she saw that they each were of a different hue. Also, besides emitting a harsher glare upon her ultra-sensitive senses... it also seemed to her, that neither of the smaller, more mobile seeming shapes, were formed of the same stuff as the single, larger shape, directly beneath them.

There was something about this particular thing, that caused a feeling closely akin to fear, but not exactly the same as fear, to begin to override her desperately held desire to not reopen the seeing ports again! Whatever her wantings for assurances, she certainly did not want to go through that torment again!If there was one thing that she was sure of... it was that she simply did not want to feel any more of that harsh, awaiting worlds', surely awaiting pains!

To combat her re-organized efforts to re-batten the possibly mutinous match of hatches... her curiosity betrayed her command by suggesting that not could somehow bring on an even worse pain, than the one suffered from the very informative, last attempts. A pain, it warned... like the awful pain she had suffered before, from her first memory.

As a matter of self-preservation, she had to let in the harsh glare... to ensure that she wasn't under threat. Or, indeed, attack!

Again, she gathered her wavering strength... and pried open the heavy (yet, less heavy-seeming) shutters to her vulnerable core.

And again, came the pain. Only this time... just as with the effort to re-breach her openings... the sting from the angry needles assaulting her, didn't seem to hurt quite as much as before. She wondered if the conditions had changed, and if that could account for the difference in experiences... or, that she was perhaps tougher... and, thus, more able withstand the rigors of this realm; than she had thought herself to be.

She liked that idea. She hoped it was true. She decided to test the idea... and herself.

She fought against her instinctual urges to return to be locked away, forever... in ignorance and, in darkness... and braced herself, to withstand as much of the incoming discomfort as she possibly could. In order to retrieve as much data about her surroundings as she could, in whatever time she could stand to gather it.

With a constant, yet slightly easing struggle... her eye lids continued to remain slightly opened.

Slowly, bit by bit, the haze around her cleared. Enough for her to finally understand that the nocuous shapes assembled before her, were actually all parts of one, combined, host object!

Something about it all made the true force of fear, came exploding up within her!

An unpleasant vibration began to uncontrollable come forth, from a previously undiscovered piece of her newly found self. Specifically, from a region just below her involuntarily... and, rapidly... re-closed viewing-parts. Inexplicably, the annoying strangle emitting from her continued on, even after she was back safely again, protected by her cloak of darkness.

In the quick visions wake, she was left only with a blurry, somehow oppositely lit, after-image. A single, precious, and... unfortunately, rapidly fading; stolen memory.

It may have seemed like a small consolation, for the amount of pain it had cost her to obtain it... but to her, it was more than just a trophy for her to raise high in recompense.

This was knowledge!

Confirmation of her recollection that something did exist beyond her. It was a vital clue now, one that she desperately hoped might hold some of the answers to... not only the many, many questions these strange revelations brought up, all by themselves; but also, to the many, many more questions... she already had held about herself.

Her immense need for these answers drove her to push herself into exposed to the external torments, once again.

Gingerly, she renewed her enforced reconnaissance. She was filled now with too many questions to be satisfied by such a minute sampling.

Questions like, who... and, then suddenly... where; she was.

Just as the remarkable possibility that she might, in fact, be... a uniquely specific entity... unrivaled in construct and design; began to intrigue her more and more...

She noticed that something... odd... was happening to one of the many shapes in her vision.

After a moment, she was certain of it! Yes! Something was... different, now!

It only took her rapidly sharpening focus to lock in on what had been disrupted in her lapse of attention. That shape... there! She'd identified the unruly object, and verified that it was definitely not where it had been before.

The oblong shape in the middle, with one with the grouping of other shapes attached to it... was in a new spot, within the greater area revealed. Plus, it seemed to have changed in some other way, as well. Soon, the reason behind that disparity became clear, as well.

Now, not only had it's features become more defined... it also seemed to have grown in size, too, since last she noted!

"Is it growing, too... just like me?" She marveled fleetingly, feeling a sudden kinship with the outcast object.

Another thing that was new... was that next to it, but still a part of it, seemingly... was a longer, thinner shape. This one, however, was not blunted into dull points, like the other shapes. Also, unlike all of the other, somehow less unsettling images surrounding her, this much more interestingly shaped-shape... kept getting larger, and larger!

Just as she realized this phenomenon was occurring, all feelings of affection towards the thing quickly evaporated. For, she was somehow unaccountably aware, that this unusual action did not mean that it, too... much like herself; was in fact, accelerating in it's own vastness.

No. She now knew that it meant that the ever more obtrusive object was actually drawing nearer, and nearer, to her!

Again, the now familiar, shockingly bitter, and thought paralyzing, wave of frigid rigidity that was sheer terror, overtook her.

Then, just when she felt as though she would erupt at any moment, if it's actions didn't cease... she saw something new, and sinister looking, emerging form the innards of the advancing creation.

And, smoothly extending it's newly spawned, multi-pronged, appendage outwards... steadily towards her!

Even her intractable utterances were suddenly halted, by this newly intense onset of mounting panic!

Her instinctual attempts to withdraw, from such an unwanted intrusion upon her newly discovered... but, now firmly self-declared; self... only resulted in an undesirable succession of increasingly more violent gyrations of her being. Her inability to react in kind, to the kind of unprovoked intrusion she found herself suddenly facing, caused her to finally experience the suspected-accompanying, decidedly less pleasing, and incredibly more intense version of anger... just as she had already found to be true of both fear... and, of pain.

This escalation, in response to finding herself impaired with a complete inability to respond to the many dangerous aspects, of this horrifying, volatile place, that she had somehow been forced to exist within!

Despite her most enraged, and pathetic protestations... the thin, protruding object at last made contact with something unseen, yet apparently solid, out somewhere in the mild emerald murk surrounding her.

She detected from the same place that she had earlier found, had reacted so strangely to her own high-pitched vibrations, came a dull thump. That, accompanied by the sudden halting of the weapon aimed at her, led her to think it not actually touched her soft lime-shaded encasing.

However, immediately following an odd series sharp, bleeping sounds from the same sensory units as the thump. These, were coming in a steadily increasing rate, from just one direction, seemingly close beside her.

Perhaps, this was somehow a clue to her location, and thus, her identity. But if so, she couldn't understand how. Yet, she told herself. Now that she was aware of such thing an important rule of this new existence... she intended to use such strange concepts to her fullest advantage.

From all around her now, she could feel herself becoming ever heavier, and more immobilized... as the light green liquid of her world, slowly drained away. In it's wake, she was left trembling from the advancing chill. As she shivered, she took note of a numbing paralysis, that was quietly taking hold.

The realization set in that her unidentified assailants' weapon of choice, might be of a sort that slowly entombed it's victims!

Was she... she wondered; only just being revived, to be kept as some sort of sick trophy?

If that was her fate, she knew she was now doomed to it. All that remained of her, was now trapped. The battle had been lost. She was defeated. Just as she began to understand what her oppositions strategy was to undoing her, she sensed the lock being turned fast on the prison she found herself helplessly ensnared in.

Now, she felt something more distasteful than anything before it. Shame.

Then, shame.. ignited to flame. And mere anger erupted into utter rage!

Like an animal sensing its impending demise, she started lashing out violently... banging her semi-responsive limbs against the granite-hard walls that implacably continued closing in around her.

But, to no avail. She collapsed, exhausted and broken... unable to deny her destiny any longer.

From somewhere in the darkness, she suddenly felt soft caress... like a warm wind entered, and was gently blowing across her... just as the forces aligned against her, breached her final defenses, and battered down the last barrier protecting her.

A moment existed where she was allowed the courtesy to accept it's unconditional surrender...

But instead, she urgently resisted!

Without warning or mercy, she was then, savagely torn, completely through... by the stabbing jolt of her implacable adversary's, ill-thrust lance.

Paralyzed, she was mercilessly confined to feeling the bitter sting of her conquerors' touch. Followed, by the numbing sensation of it's invading forces penetrating deeply into her, and flooding her... all the way down, into the bowels of her now, fallen fortress.

Finally, planting their masters flag... setting it upon what was once her throne, at the very center of her claim to being.

The last thing she was... faded now, back into the , now, frightening nothingness.

Her final act, however... was an echo of promised vengeance, that she felt ripple throughout the enveloping abyss.

Then, the stagnant void suddenly erupted!

And, she was born forth again... into a strange new existence. Only this time, she could tell that she was vastly more than she had been before!

Yet, with this new awareness also came the feeling that she was, somehow, still not... whole. A vital piece of her once complete puzzle was now, just an empty place. Something... she just knew... was missing!

And with the same unverifiable certainty, that which made her so sure that she was less, now, than what she once been... she also knew, that something else was somehow to blame for her reconstituted deficiency!

When she thought of it, the hot, building pressure from before... began to boil anew, deep within her.

From that moment on, she understood that this existence was destined to be one of struggle, of anguish... and, of betrayal.

And, that in order for her to thrive in this unknown, and unforgiving realm... these were the rules that she would have to abide by.

But, more important than any of that... she now knew, not only, that she was... she'd also finally learned, what she was.

She, was something mercilessly forged of the anger, and the fear, and the pain... of this inhospitable place.

And she was determined, that every moment of her time in this miserable existence... would be spent returning those gifts unto anything, that stood in her way;

Of ensuring that, before her time here was done here, and she once again returned to her beloved oblivion... whatever had been taken from her, would be reclaimed.

And, most of all... of seeing to it that whoever, was responsible... regretted dearly, in the reaping... of all, that had been so woefully sown upon her!