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' said Vance, unable to meet his father's gaze. 'We'll go to Minbar and meet with Sinclair and these: Anla'shok, but on my terms. If I start to get a bad feeling, if they even look at me wrong, I'm out of there.'

'I won't be going, James. This one you'll have to do alone. One of them is already here waiting to transport you to Minbar. I have to go to Earth and prepare further recruits. And trust me, they will look at you wrong. That's the point. You need to make them look at you right.'

'This just keeps getting better. What do I do if I run into trouble? Who's my point of contact?'

'Sinclair knows who you are. He'll take care of you. No harm will come to you - except the rigors of Anla'shok training. It'll be a challenge, James. Embrace it.'

Vance fell silent once more. Too many things could go wrong. Unfortunately for him, he felt he had little choice. Between his father, Sinclair and the Minbari, he was well and truly outclassed. And he was certainly not in control of the situation. Someone else was flying, yet again.

'Fine. I'll need to contact EarthForce to let them know-'

'Let me handle that,' said the Colonel. 'The less they know about the reasons for your absence, the better. I can smooth things over with Major Cleaver and handle the Raz-vedchiks. I know a few people. Now, eat up. That veal is a much better meal than you'll be given by the Anla'shok.'

The Colonel was suddenly smiling. Vance never appreciated his idea of humour. Without another word the two men ate.

* * *

Vance stood outside the Colonel's quarters, his bag already packed. Under the circumstances, he'd thought it best if he kept his civvies on. The crisp EarthForce uniform was neatly folded in his bag.

No sooner had he raised his hand to touch the comm unit than the door
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