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for the Razvedchik application were unparalleled.'

Vance wasn't surprised by his father's inside knowledge. His contacts in every regiment of EarthForce kept him well informed, and Vance imagined the Colonel knew about his transfer before anyone. 'But now that has to wait. From here, you'll fly directly to Minbar and begin your training. I need you to decline your acceptance to the Raz-vedchiks, but it doesn't have to be permanent. If: when you graduate as Anla'shok and other humans have been accepted, you can leave and return to EarthForce.'

'You have all this planned, don't you? Do you know how long it's taken me to crawl from beneath your shadow? To prove myself? That I'm not just the son of some war hero colonel? I've earned my stripes, and I made it on my own. Now you just want to destroy all that and plan my future for me.'

'James, listen to me. I understand why you didn't want to follow me and go into a Military Academy, but this is bigger than our: disagreement. You need to rise above it. You are smart enough to know that I wouldn't ask this of you unless it was important. I need you, James. Please: help me.'

Vance could not believe his ears. Despite the tall story his father had been telling him since he arrived at the restaurant, to hear him utter the word "please" was the most shocking thing of all. He had waited his entire 23 years to hear those words. Now that he had, it just made him feel sad. This had to be true. He refused to believe his father was under some kind of Minbari influence. The man had fought them for years, had forgotten more about counter-interrogation and torture techniques than most men could ever learn. For him to sound so desperate, this had to be true and so serious that he had no choice but to offer his only son.


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