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a step forward, and Vance saw him more clearly. He was dressed in black robes, which framed his slender figure. The only adornment was a single brooch on his left breast. Vance couldn't quite see what it depicted, only that it bore a large, smooth jewel at its centre.

'I will wait outside while you bid farewell to your father.' With that, Turval bowed once more and left the room. Vance noticed that as he moved, the Minbari made no sound, despite the long robes.

The room became uncomfortably silent as soon as Turval left. The Minbari obviously overestimated the affection that Vance and his father felt towards one another. The Colonel made to speak, but before he could Vance gave him a curt nod and turned on his heel. The door opened as he approached it, and Vance left without looking back. Turval was waiting for him outside but did not seem surprised by Vance's quick arrival. The Minbari gave a knowing nod and led the way to the hangar.

Vance had never seen a ship like it. He had seen schematics of Minbari vessels, studied their propulsion and weapons systems, and even entered a simulation of a Minbari cockpit, but none of it did justice to the real thing.

This flyer was a basic model, not really designed for combat, yet it outclassed anything EarthForce had available. As Vance followed Turval down the sloping walkway to the hangar, his jaw dropped in awe.

Turval approached the ship, and its side hatch opened. The Minbari made no move, spoke no command word nor signalled in any way. He didn't break step as he approached and entered the ship. Vance, excitement overcoming trepidation, eagerly followed.

The inside of the Minbari Flyer was more impressive than the outside. Vance studied the vessel but saw no conventional controls. The front of the cockpit held
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