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a collection of light pads but lacked instrument panels. Turval sat in the pilot seat and cast his hands over a number of the flashing panels. Although he had not been invited, Vance stood near the Minbari, fascinated to see the ship in action.

The voice of Babylon 5 command and control resonated through an invisible speaker, and Turval confirmed his take-off plan. In seconds, the hangar hatch opened and the flyer glided out of the huge station, headed straight for the nearby jumpgate. The inaudible engines and the smooth flight made it seem as though the ship were stationary. Vance could not stop a smile from spreading across his face.

Spinning blue light enveloped them as they neared the jumpgate, and within seconds they slipped through. As they sailed effortlessly through the grey mist of hyperspace, Turval reclined in his seat, once again pressing his thumbs together and crossing his hands in that strange Minbari gesture. Vance realised he had been involved in a take-off that he himself had not piloted, but it was without the usual dis comfort. It seemed that in the presence of Turval there was nothing to fear.

Leaning forward slightly, he opened his mouth, eager to question Turval on the ship's propulsion system and the lack of turbulence. Then he noticed Turval's eyes were closed. Thinking the Minbari asleep, he settled back into his seat.

'Ask your question. It is obvious you are curious about something.'

Vance hadn't spoken or made a sound. 'Er, it doesn't matter,' he replied.

'Very well.'

For the rest of their journey through hyperspace, both remained silent.

* * *

Leaving hyperspace was as smooth as entering it. As soon as the flyer hit realspace, Vance could see Minbar. The small, unremarkable planet was home to the most advanced and
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