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tility at the slightest rebuff. Vance wasn't worried about the imminent and unpredictable danger; he had been taught how to deal with them when they got aggressive. Trying to match a Narn blow-for-blow would be futile, as their dense bone structure and thick skins made it almost impossible for a human to do much damage with fists or feet. A piercing weapon or chokehold was the only way to bring a Narn down effectively. Vance's standard issue combat knife was tucked away in the duffle bag under his seat. As he began to reflect on the variety of chokeholds he knew, mostly from ju-jitsu, the shuttle slowed to a stop once more. With another smile the Narn exited. Again, Vance smiled back, feeling slightly foolish for his overcautious attitude.

One stop later, the shuttle arrived at his stop in Green Sector. The girl from security waiting to greet him chatted politely as she guided him through Green 3 to his quarters. She smiled all the way, recommending a few eateries in the Zocalo, and then she handed him a passkey for his room. Vance returned the smile, having neither the opportunity nor the inclination to answer her in anything other than a polite grunt.

His quarters were small but functional, with what looked like a comfortable bed and even a shower, a luxury he hadn't expected on a ship where fresh running water must be a scarce commodity. The air, on the other hand, was thick and stale, and Vance could almost taste the recycled bodily odours of a thousand fellow passengers. Nevertheless, he had far more space than in his EarthForce bunk - and best of all, Randell wasn't here to keep him up all night with his snoring.

Vance dumped his bag on the bed. The winking of the BabCom unit in the corner of the room caught his eye, and 'Saved Message' flashed at him with
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