In Passing
(First posted May 6, 2007)
Rating:  G.
Disclaimer:  The characters and universe of Farscape are the property of the Henson Co.  I have not made
any profit off this little tale … with the possible exception of having a ton of fun writing it.    
Time Frame:  Future Fic.  
Test Driver:  PKLibrarian test drove this just prior to the final edit.  I have made a very few changes since
then.  Any errors, omissions, or typogoofical errors are all mine.    

Starburst Challenge 4 (hosted by Nanse):  Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to choose a character
that you either do not like, or you don't normally write and craft a story from their point of view.  This can be first
person or third person as long as we get a peek into the character's head.  Main characters are not just
welcomed they are encouraged.  The only requirement is that the character you choose is someone you
normally don't write about.

Note to the reader:  I combined two writing challenges into one with this small tale.  I have wanted to tackle a
story written in
second person for a very long time.  Nanse’s challenge and my own personal challenge came
together.  I hope it works for you.  

*  *  *  *  *

So many souls.  So many voices.  Talking, shouting, singing, gibbering, crying, wailing, weeping, rejoicing,
recanting, chanting, each one screeching out a tale of life, love, and eventual loss.  Each one clamoring for
attention.  Tens of thousands of life energies, the chaotic harvest of more than five hundred cycles awash with
life and death.  A furious chorus, gravel-throated and scaly-hided, rises above the swelling tide of confusion,
shouting louder, making more strident demands, insisting that you give them ascendancy over all the rest.

“So many,” a voice croons.  “So many, so many, so many.”  It takes several microts to realize that it is your own
voice; your own vocal chords that slide easily into a repetitive rhythm when you would have preferred that they
stay silent.  That has been happening too often over the past several cycles.  

“So, so, so many.  Many, many, many, many.”  It becomes your mantra.  The words roll from tongue to lips in
comforting rhythms, gradually rising to a chant.  They soothe your soul, exerting some small measure of order
over the bedlam inside your mind.  

“Be calm,” a different voice says.  

You remember that you are not alone.  There are others gathered in this place, living beings made of flesh and
blood … not mental specters, not remembrances of lives long past.  They stand in silent, respectful attendance,
waiting to witness your final moments.  

“So, so many,” you say again, this time in a whisper.  You want them to understand the storm of souls raging
inside your mind.  You want them all to know why it is so difficult to understand what they want of you.  What
they -- the host of living, sentient creatures who have traveled from more than a dozen different galaxies to
witness this moment -- want of you.  You want them to understand the chaos.

“Yes, Stark.  Many have gathered.  They are here to help you cross over to the next realm.”  

“No.  No, no, no, no.  You must listen.  Listen to me.”  You grab at the front of his clothing, pulling him close.  He
is Stykera, as are all who fill the chamber.  This one looks familiar.  He does not wear the mask of the Stykera.  
None of them do.  

This is your gift to them -- the gift you bestowed on your entire race.  It was you who discovered the secret to
spiritual calm.  The memories come back in a rush, pushing the psychic mayhem to one side for the moment.  
You clutch more fiercely at the attendant’s robes, hoping he will understand.  “Crichton!  It was Crichton who
forced me to do it.  It was Crichton who gave us our future.”  

“Rest,” he says gently, trying to calm you.  “It is part of our history.  No Stykera will ever forget.”  

It was Crichton who had demanded that you become a repository for Yondalao’s special abilities; Crichton who
forced you to find strengths within yourself that you never knew could exist.  You found new balance, shared
the knowledge with the others, and in the end, an entire race cast off the mark of their servitude.  Baniks are
still a slave race, but they are the mostly highly valued slaves in over four dozen galaxies.  Your people
command inconceivable power, influencing the rulers of dozens of empires, all from a spot at the foot of the

“It was him,” you hiss to whoever is beside you.  Your voice shifts from whisper to a shriek.  “Salvation through
violation!”  They have to make an exception.  You have to make them understand.  “You must, you must, you
must,” you sing to him.  “I promised.  I promised them.”  

“You promised what, Stark?”  

“You have to take them.  Someone … someone has to take them.  You must.”  

“We cannot.  We will ease your passage, but we cannot touch the spirits that you carry within.”  

You are Stykera, too full of the remnants of life energies for even the most powerful of the priestly ranks to risk
opening their minds to the potential deluge.  It is too dangerous.  It is forbidden.  But if they do not, the secret
you have carried for over four hundred cycles will die with you.  You must make them understand.  

You try to tell them about the quiet core that rests deep within, about how it harbors strength, fortitude, a quiet
sense of humor, and unquenchable love.  When the shrieking inside your mind becomes too much, it offers you
solace; when your grasp on reality begins to slip, it provides a peaceful respite.  Without it, you never could
have taught the others how to curb their energies, cast off their masks, and step out from beneath the weight of
slavery.  There is a debt that must be paid.    

Your words tangle into senseless rhythm and rhyme, devoid of reason, empty of sentience.  Heads shake; eyes
are downcast.  They don’t comprehend what you are talking about.  Your wail of despair echoes about the
chamber, startling all who are gathered to witness your departure from this realm.  Mutters, grumbles, sibilant
whispers.  They think you are insane.  It is nothing new.  

“You must,” you cry out.  “Just two!”  

“It will destroy whoever attempts it,” says the Stykera at the side of the bed.  “No one has learned how to select
the essence of just one or two individuals from amidst the thousands that we carry.”

You pull yourself up, leaning close to whisper to him.  “I can protect you.  I can.  I will hold the rest back.  I know
a way.  I have” -- you fight down a giggle -- “a plan.”  

He gets to his feet, unconvinced, and turns toward the assembly.  Several others approach; they join the
hushed, conspiratorial discussion.  They discuss the matter for what feels like arns.  Finally, one of them kneels
down.  “If you do this, you may be trapped between realms.”

You don’t care.  As your death approaches, you want this one thing more than you wanted anything throughout
your entire life.  The debt must be paid.

A young one comes forward, full of vitality and strength, reeking of youthful confidence.  He is willing to make
the attempt.  

“It is time,” someone says.  

There is no fanfare, no announcement.  All draw near.  Your world turns to pale spun yellow, suffused with a
wondrous, spiritual light.  You concentrate, remembering, drawing out the moments of laughter and strife from
amidst the jumbled chaos.  Thousands of others are held back.  Only two are allowed to fly free.  The plan is

“There is only one,” the youngster says.  “I can find only one.”

“It is two,” you assure him.  “It only feels like one.  Take them.  Take them now.”

Crichton had passed over first, tens of cycles before Aeryn.  She had sought you out when her time drew near.  
She had searched the galaxy for nearly two cycles just to be sure you would be there when she finally gave in
to the passage of time.  You remember it as clearly as if you had helped her pass over just yesterday:  the
rightness; the peace; the perfect, eternal melding of two souls into a single entity.  The happiness.  The love.  

They will be united forever this way, sustained through eternity by the energy of the Stykera, transferred from
one generation to the next.  They sing to you as they make the transition, an entire symphony of gratitude and
hope enfolded into a single two-microt burst of joy.  “Thank you.”

You look upward into the eyes of the young one.  Success.  He has them.  He knows.  He understands.  

“Promise,” you tell him.  It is so difficult to speak.  You are spent.  You have nothing left to give but the promise
of the future.  “When it is your time, you must --”

“-- pass them on to another.”  He smiles.  “You have my word as a Stykera.  Be at peace, Stark.”  

You can let go then.  

The corporeal world fades from your senses, losing substance, releasing its grip for what you know will be the
last time.  Your mortal body dissolves into fizzing energy and light, and then … nothing more.  No transition, no
journey to the next existence.  You have not passed over.  The golden hued glow that represents the neither
here nor there that exists in the tenuous space between realms begins to fade.  As warned, you have become
trapped, forever suspended between one life and the next, stripped of the energy to complete the transition.  

The emptiness turns your shriek to silence; absent a body, you cannot flail in despair.  Handless, faceless,
bodiless, you drift, dissipating into nothingness.  Everything you ever were will soon be lost, dispersing into an
ever expanding cloud of separate twinkling energies until those too, at last, die out and go dark.  With the
knowledge of irrevocable death comes peace.  The soundless hum of your energies shifts downward, becoming
calmer, more at rest with what lies ahead.  

Gold turns to pale yellow, darkens to gray, fades toward the first hint of black.  But then, just as you are
reaching outward into the void with acceptance, deliberately hastening your dissolution, your surroundings
brighten.  Black turns to shimmering cobalt, lightens to luminescent blue shot through with gold.  You are
gathered up, enfolded, gently coalesced into permanence and then firmly drawn through to the next realm by a
force that you have only been able to dream about for hundreds of cycles.   

“Stark … my beloved.”  

                                                                          * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
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