object, which he occasionally struck with a wooden block. Depending on where he struck the instrument, a different note emerged.
The rest of the Ranger recruits fell into line behind the robed figure. Obviously they knew something that Vance didn't, so he followed them. A brief twinge of relief passed through Vance when he noticed some of the recruits looking as bewildered as he felt, equally confused by this weird waking ceremony. Vance looked around and confirmed that the Minbari who threatened him the night before was not present.
The line of recruits followed the sound of the chime down a long corridor. Vance noticed several more dorms set off from the corridor, all empty. He also realised his fellow Rangers were an equal mix of humans and Minbari, and some of them looked distinctly non-military. Four or five of the faces yawned widely as though unused to being deprived of sleep and rising early. Others trudged along, slump-shouldered and shambling. Never in a million years would such a slovenly gait be tolerated in EarthForce.
They finally entered an open area. A huge statue of a noble-looking Minbari, dressed in Ranger attire, dominated the centre. The white-robed figure stopped in front of the statue, still ringing his bell, which was now beginning to annoy Vance ever so slightly. The Minbari recruits instinctively spread out into two rows behind the figure and dropped to one knee, right hand placed over the left side of their chest. Most of the human recruits, Vance included, gingerly followed suit, assuming this was expected of them. When they all assumed the proper position, the robed figure began to chant. Vance couldn't understand all the words, since they were in what seemed an archaic form of Adrenato, the Religious Caste language, but the gist was