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 THE DARKNESS

Writer- Debbie Ray
Screenplay- Debbie Ray
Script Editor- Kevin McCorry

The blips and bleeps of Command Centre didn't distract Maya at all. Moonbase
Alpha's Science Officer from the extinct planet of Psychon stared at her
computer console. Tony Verdeschi watched her. His interest in her had long
been romantic, but on this occasion it was one of concern for her health. He
knew she wasn't well. Her behavior seemed strange since the incident days
ago with the Dorcons. Alpha was still being repaired after incurring heavy
attack by the militaristic Dorcons, Maya having been the Dorcons' aim. They
wanted her Psychon brain stem, the only means by which their elderly Archon
could attain immortality. Alpha's strong-willed leader, Commander John
Koenig, rescued Maya from the Dorcons before the Dorcon medico could begin
brain stem transfer surgery, and internal power struggles among the Dorcons
caused the destruction of the Dorcon spaceship that had ravaged Moonbase
with meson laser energy. The Alphans considered themselves fortunate that
the toll in their lives and equipment had not been worse. Damage assessment
of Command Centre was thought to have been thorough, but, alas, it was not.
Maya's console's circuitry suddenly started to smoke, and sparks flew
dangerously close to the Psychon's face.
"Maya! Watch out!" Tony cried as he grabbed her and pulled her away from
her desk. The incident caused looks of astonishment on the rest of the
Command Centre crew, including Commander Koenig. A rescue team promptly
arrived and quickly worked to extinguish the fire as Tony decided to help
Maya to Medical Centre.
"Well, care to tell me what happened?" Dr. Helena Russell asked after
running a routine check on Maya.
"I don't know." She seemed genuinely baffled.
"Don't know?! How could you not know?! The thing almost blew up in your
face, and you don't know?!" Tony raved hysterically.
"Tony, please," Helena said firmly in an attempt to calm him down.
Maya switched her gaze from Tony back to Helena. "A lot of things
similar to the incident in Command Centre have happened in the last couple
of days. I can't see myself clearly in my mirror, or I can't see what I'm
writing in my reports. Everything is so blurry sometimes."
Helena looked at the silent Dr. Ben Vincent and then at the astonished
Tony. Maya knew they thought the same thing that she did. Helena said,
"Maya, I want to run another test on you." She looked over at her colleague.
"Ben, get her ready." Then, she soundlessly pronounced the words, "eye
examination".
Ben took Maya out of the room as Tony approached Dr. Russell. "What's
going on, Helena? Why another test? What's wrong with her?" he demanded.
"I'm not sure, Tony. That's why I ordered another test. I fear something
is dreadfully wrong with her sight," Helena explained.
"You think she's going blind?"
Helena nodded.
"How? What could cause it?" Tony was growing more upset.
"Tony, we don't know just what damage the Dorcons could have done before
John rescued her."
"Oh, my God!" Tony felt weak as he sank against Dr. Russell's desk.
Helena put her hand on Tony's shoulder. "We're not sure."
Tony looked at Helena and asked, "When?"
"I'll let you know."

In a trance, Tony walked down a corridor. He didn't even see Alan Carter
until he bumped into him.
"Hey, brewmaster. What's up?"
"She's going blind," he said, still staring out into space.
"What? Who?" Alan didn't understand his friend's strange statement.
"Maya," Tony said.
"Maya!" Alan echoed. "Tony, I think you and I better have a little
talk." Alan led him off.

"Oh, God. I had hoped my fears wouldn't turn into real-life nightmare,"
Helena sighed, staring at the computer readout of Maya's eye exam.
Ben echoed her thoughts. "The part of her brain that controls her sight
is just too weak. And, that substance is deeply intertwined." He asked, Will
you try surgery?"
"Certainly not. It would kill her."
Ben's tendency to acknowledge the worst-case scenario was manifest
again. "Perhaps she'd rather be dead than lose her sight."
"I'm going to leave the final decision up to her, if that's what you're
wondering. I hate giving news like this." Helena paused as if praying she'd
wake up in bed to find it was all a bad dream. "Call her in, Ben."

"Helena said she wasn't sure. Maybe it's just eyestrain."
"Alan, for God's sake, she couldn't see her desk blow up right in front
of her."
"We'll soon know."

"There must be some mistake. It can't be true!" Tears welled up in
Maya's eyes as she absorbed the news of her examination.
"What choice are you going to take?" Helena asked before she lost her
nerve.
"What choice do I have?! Die or go blind?!" Maya cried. "Helena,
I........ I want to live."
Helena hugged her as Tony and Alan entered.
"Oh, no!" Tony cried, realizing the results of the eye test. He ran to
Maya and held her as tightly as he could.
"Tony, I'm going to be blind!" Maya cried in fright.
"I know, honey." He tried to sound brave through his tears. "But we'll
all be here with you."

"Helena, are you sure nothing can be done for her?" Commander John
Koenig asked upon hearing the news.
"John, I don't know a thing about that foreign substance in her brain.
It could be removed through surgery, but she almost certainly would die."
"Will this alien substance do any other damage?" John tried to sound
impartial and professional even though he worried about the beautiful alien
whose life he had saved first on her home world and again in the realm of
her race's mortal enemies.
"Ben and I don't believe it will. There doesn't seem to be enough of it
to do any recognizable harm."
"How did this happen? I don't understand," John inquired.
"Apparently, the beam they concentrated on her to remove the brain stem
contained a substance which is absorbed into the brain, weakening and
finally eliminating the rest of the brain, leaving the stem," Helena
explained to the best of her limited knowledge of Psychons and Dorcons and
what made them tick.
"Incredible!" John exclaimed.
"You got to her in time to save everything but her eyes"
"Why is it affecting her sight?"
"We probably won't know that until later, if ever."
"I don't know anyone who could replace her. I don't even know how to
tell her she must resign."
"She knows, John. I'm sure," Helena sighed. "I just wish someone around
here knew brail and had some way of converting her computer keys. She could
learn the language fast enough. She's a quick study."
"That would mean changing nearly every computer on the base, which would
take months. No one knows brail. And Maya would still be unable to see the
print-outs."
"Our computers have audio."
"Yeah, but we can't have them speaking every readout. Not in Command
Centre while everyone else is doing their job. It's too distracting.
Besides, the mathematical symbols Maya uses have no aural equivalent."
"Only an idea, John."
John put his arm around her. "I know you're trying to help her adapt to
the situation, but that's something she'll have to do on her own when she's
ready. Right now, she's still in shock, as we all are."
Helena left John's quarters, feeling helpless.

Nightfall came. And Maya rested as comfortably as possible, with Tony
keeping a vigil just outside Medical Centre.
"Tony, depriving yourself of sleep won't make the results happen any
faster." John attempted to pull Tony from his position in front of Medical
Centre.
"John, I told Maya I'd be close by. I just wish they'd let me in there."
"Are you kidding? Maya'd never get any sleep with you staring at her all
night." John touched his shoulder. "You need sleep just like she does. Come
on. I'll get you back here before she wakes up."
Tony finally agreed with John's suggestion and started to leave with
him.

Inside, Maya had become very thirsty as a result of her nervous state.
She cautiously peered around the room as if afraid something were about to
jump her. The room appeared extremely dark. Had it already happened? On
second thought, she probably imagined it. She would turn on the light, and
everything would be there. Dim, but there. She clicked the lamp. Why didn't
the darkness lift? Perhaps the lamp was malfunctioning. But she felt some
warmth. "Helena! Tony!" Maya shrieked.
Helena flew out of her office as Tony and John burst in after hearing
the Psychon scream. Helena held her, trying to convince her everything was a
all right.
"It's so dark! It's so dark! I'm all alone in the dark!" Maya cried,
gripping at air as Helena held her.
"You're not alone," came a familiar voice. A second later, Maya felt the
strong arms of Tony Verdeschi enfold her. She clung to him, believing it
would keep her from falling further into the black hole into which she had
fallen.

"Has there been any change?" Tony asked Helena somberly when she entered
Command Centre.
"No. She still refuses to see anyone but Ben and I," Helena answered.
She turned to John. "Have you been able to find anything she might be able
to do?"
"Helena, finding a worthwhile job for a blind person to do around the
base is just impossible."
"Then look for something that's not worthwhile. Maya won't care, as long
as there's something for her to do."
"Did she say that?" Tony demanded.
"I was only a couple of words off quoting her, if that tells you
anything." Helena's voice contained a harsh tone.
"She's right," Maya said. They turned to see her being escorted in. Tony
rushed to her side and helped her down into her chair. Maya looked in the
direction of John and Helena and said, "The Dorcons only use the brain
neutralizing substance when doing brain stem transfers. It weakens the rest
of the brain and slowly eats it away. The deterioration is slow but
painless. They think of it as a humane process. Usually, it's meant to first
block the part of the brain that controls our transformation powers, to make
doubly sure they're neutralized. The light beam that Varda used to stop my
transformations was a temporary inhibitor. Rather than leave the beam on
through the whole procedure, they preferred to have the neutralizing
substance block our powers. But since the Dorcons hadn't used the technique
for a long time, the substance must have been released at random, and it
affected the part of my brain that controls sight. You reached me in time,
Commander, to prevent it from spreading."
"That's Helena's theory." John said.
"She's right." Maya managed a stoic, good natured smile. "As always."
"Oh, God. Helena, you've got to do the surgery," Tony pleaded. "You've
worked with Maya on surgical techniques."
"Tony," Maya quietly spoke. "I understand Helena's unwillingness to
perform that kind of surgery. I haven't the knowledge to prepare her to do
this operation. Nothing can be done. Face it, Tony. I have."

Later that night, in Medical Centre, as Helena wrote her report in her
log book, Maya began to dream. She was in her quarters on Alpha but was
aware of a presence from her past, from before she arrived on Moonbase. She turned and saw Mentor, her father, standing at the door. He was saying something. He was instructing her to use her Psychon power of molecular metamorphosis! If she were to successfully transform herself, it would
dissolve the foreign substance that impeded her sight. It seemed too facile a solution. But Mentor insisted. Transform. She summoned all of her power, and when she awoke from the dream, she found herself standing, actually
seeing Medical Centre. Helena turned around when she heard footsteps, and
she was greeted by a six-foot-tall alien monster.
"Maya?"
Right before Helena Russell's eyes, the huge monster became Maya, the
beautiful Psychon. "Helena, I can see! I can see you! I can see everything!"
She ran to the doctor, and they embraced. In their excitement, they didn't
notice John and Tony walk in.
"Hey, what's this?" John asked.
"Tony! I can see!" Maya ran into the arms of an elated Tony Verdeschi.
"It's a miracle!" Tony cried. John and Helena looked at each other, then
back at the happy, embracing couple.