Vance could see the grim face of his tutor, Kattak.
'As I said, you were never in danger. Sech Kattak was shadowing you the whole time. Quite literally at certain points. Had you succumbed, he would have ensured you came to no harm.'
Stunned, Vance turned, his eyes low to the ground, waiting for Turval to lead him out of the tunnels. He was beaten. He thought himself a good soldier, but these Min-bari proved at every turn he was wholly inadequate. At no time had he sensed Kattak, and the old Minbari had been with him every step of the way.
Turval led them through the darkness. As they went, a conciliatory hand patted Vance's shoulder. Glancing back, no one was there. He told himself that from now on he would make it his mission to learn everything about the Code of Tuvor.
Back at the dorm, he collapsed on his bunk, which was still at the forty-five-degree angle. The other faces wore a bewildered sense of relief, and Vance wondered if he bore the same look.
As he drifted off to sleep, Merreck entered, his head held high as though he was returning from a gentle evening stroll. He lay on his bed and regarded Vance, a smile slowly crossing his face. Another victory for the Minbari, thought Vance, irritated at how unaffected his rival looked.
* * *
In his fitful dreams, something was coming after him in the dark, something fast and silent that stank like hell. Every time he turned, he expected to see Kattak, but he saw only the terrible darkness. As he turned back, he was pursued again, but his legs failed to carry him away from the danger.
The morning chimes woke him once more. The prospect of food allowed him to drag his still-fatigued body into what resembled a standing position. The other recruits took several seconds to rouse themselves - all but