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It was hard to make it look like you had nothing to hide when a universe writhed with secrets in the back of your mind. But Lyta somehow managed it, scan after scan after scan. Her throat was raw from screaming and her head pounded, but at least the officers had finally given up, leaving her slumped over and feeling like hell. 


She could barely get up from the chair they'd strapped her into ("Standard procedure," the man had said unapologetically) even with her limbs now free. She resisted the urge to rub her marked wrists and tried once again to stand. With her legs were too wobbly to support her weight, she fell back against the seat. 


After everything they'd done, she just wanted some privacy away from this sterile hell, so she would really appreciate it if her body would cooperate and she could pass out in her room. Plus, the aide was getting visibly impatient. Clenching her teeth, she finally stood steady, refused the aide’s annoyed help, and managed a zombielike stroll beneath her exhaustion. 


The white lights in the hallway blinded her, but she knew the aides were eyeing her with their usual inquisitive squint. They probably had to hope she was hiding something. She was their only chance to find out anything about the Vorlons, and they were intent on killing her if it meant dissecting every neuron they could pry. But there was no going back from death so keeping her alive, at least until the constant deep scans killed her, was an insurance of sorts. 


It was also, Lyta guessed, a form of insanity. They did the same thing over and over and over again with the same results and still decided there was more to find. They weren't wrong, but Lyta hadn’t once given them reason to think so. She supposed she was fortunate, really, since at least their insanity kept her alive. But she was certain her own would've threatened the opposite by now if she didn't really have something to hide. 


They silently led Lyta back to her cell, gloved hands at their sides to give the favored illusion of freedom before locking her away. She crumbled to the floor as soon as they did.


It was hard to say how long she'd been imprisoned here. Deep scans were supposed to be kept a distance apart to avoid permanent damage to the person's brain, so if she'd had any faith that the Corps was maintaining those protocols she could've been keeping track. But at this point, it all blurred together in a muddy haze of pain, their greedy hooks digging into her mind and snapping synapses apart.


Despite what she was up against, she never did let them in on her secret. They were doing their best to wring every memory out of her until her brain shriveled up beyond repair. And if it weren't for him… there wouldn't be anything left of her by now.


It was an odd little paradox. She was only in this situation because of Kosh, technically, but he was the only thing getting her through it alive.


She fell back onto the bed, a cheap frame creaking beneath her dead weight, and let out a sigh. On cue, Kosh poured himself from his box and curled into her wounds, gently piecing her back together where the Corps had ripped her apart. Her breathing steadied in his warm glow, giving her just enough relief to feel human again. 


Or… something like it, anyway. She was certain most humans didn't have a piece of a Vorlon lodged in their mind, infusing them with a melody urging them to dive head first into an alien Homeworld’s atmosphere. Maybe that was the trade-off: the insanity of isolation for the insanity of that constant drive, an unscratchable itch buried deep within her gut. 


But for now, it'd do. After all, it made the pain go away, made her feel less alone, and gave her a way to cope. She'd survive now, worry about the rest later...


Assuming later ever came.