in these staid and rigid surroundings. One of the Minbari at their table looked up, throwing a disapproving glance in the man's direction.
Before Vance could reply, all the Minbari in the canteen, and a few of the humans, spoke in unison. 'Ellah'tre,' they said. Vance managed to translate it as a word of thanks as the entire group dug into their slop.
'William Cole,' said the young human, offering his hand. He looked a little sheepish, obviously embarrassed by his faux pas at almost interrupting the giving of thanks.
Vance reached out and brusquely shook William's hand. 'James Vance,' he said in reply, finding it hard to resist the temptation of using his full rank and title. Corporal James Vance just wouldn't have sounded right in a place like this.
'We were told to expect another initiate,' said William. 'Ex-military, aren't you?'
The words struck Vance head on. He hadn't yet considered the fact he was no longer a member of EarthForce. It didn't sit well with his breakfast gruel. 'You make it sound like this isn't a military installation. We're all in the army now, right? Just on Minbar. Surely you have some military training. Hasn't everyone here?'
'Well, no,' answered William. 'Obviously I know how to look after myself,' he feebly feigned a one-two combination with his fists, 'but mainly I was a traveller before I came here. I suppose I've just been looking for a sense of purpose. Most of the humans here are the same.'
'The new Anla'shok Na has invited all Castes to the Rangers,' said a female voice. Vance saw it was one of the Minbari sitting at their table. Even though she joined in their conversation, she kept her eyes fixed on her food. 'Both Worker and Religious Caste have been invited to join. Sinclair believes the Anla'shok should no longer