Lance wandered through dreary landscapes of steel and rain. His heart pulsed violently in his chest. He saw in the distance an old man walking with a cane - the only humanlike figure in this vast, frighteningly ancient city. He tried to follow the man, but lost him amid the tall spires of rusting steel. Frantic, he searched for the Old One. He was the only one who could stop Lance's violent heartbeat.
He moved beneath vast arches and through dank tunnels, heart still pounding. Tiny bugs scuttled around his feet, going about whatever business it was that tiny bugs go about. He stopped and kneeled, picking up one of the bugs between the fleshy fingers of his left hand. He tried to focus on the bug with his cybernetic eye, but belatedly remembered that he didn't have one of those. Pity. He had hoped that the bug had seen the old man.
He looked up at the face above him. The giant's fingers held him tight, and there was no possibility of escape. His heart pounded at a frantic rate as he hoped for the huge alien to put him down so that he could return to searching for the old, old man. Finally the giant did put him down and he ran, finding a convenient hole to crawl down. Underground he would be safe from giant aliens. Through miles and miles of tunnels dug from rich loam he crawled, for what seemed an eternity. Occasionally he passed another bug, but they all seemed to be motionless - as though frozen in time. Finally he emerged into a chamber, where a wooden mask floated in midair, surrounded by wisps of power. Its eyes glowed with a baleful green light.
"More," it intoned. An arc of pure light leapt to his chest. He stiffened and his heartbeat stopped for a moment, then started up again harder and faster than before.
"More," said the huge mask. Its rough countenance filled his field of vision as another blast of lightning hit him in his chest. Again his heart stopped, for longer this time, before thumping to life again. It felt like his heart was about to burst from his chest.
"MORE!!!" cried the mask once again.
He woke with a start. He was back in his bunk, and Unity was asleep in a chair by his bed. Quietly, so as not to disturb him (Unity needed his rest), Lance rose from his bed and left the cabin. He started out for the head - he really needed a good shit - but somehow found himself entering the bridge. Relena sat at the helm station, her left arm plugged into the cybernetic controls. That's odd, he thought, as she turned to look at him.
"You're useless," she said. "I can pilot the ship. You're fired."
Stunned, he staggered back. In confusion he returned to the common room, headed for the cargo bay. Maybe one of the other crew could help him convince Relena that she shouldn't fire him - especially in deep space. She'd probably charge him passenger's rates, and right at the moment he couldn't afford that. He needed the money for a cybernetic arm so that he could pilot the ship. He reached the stairs, descended, and entered the Shark's cargo bay.
Kelda was across the bay, waiting for him. Slowly she raised her rifle. He raised his hands as though to ward off her inevitable attack and crossed the cargo bay. Kelda seemed to be moving in slow motion. Her rifle wasn't even raised to horizontal before he reached her, and it was an easy task to draw his knife across her throat. He watched, fascinated, as a fountain of blood slowly arced - a perfect parabola - and fell to the floor. It pulsed exactly in time with his own heartbeat.
He let Kelda's body slump to the floor, in real time now. I'll clean that up later, he thought.
Realising that Kelda was no longer in a position to help him with the Captain, he headed towards Engineering. At first he couldn't find Noumalia, but she was probably curled up asleep somewhere. He searched Engineering without success. With a sigh, he turned to leave, and was caught in those glowing cat's eyes. Noumalia had paralysed him with her mind. Desparately he tried to struggle, but he simply couldn't control his muscles. His heart started to pound again, faster and faster, as he heard Noumalia's strangely-accented voice booming in his head:
"You have more to do!"
He woke with a scream. Unity was suddenly awake also, reaching for his scanner.