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learning how to use my equipment,' he gestured over one shoulder towards the Nial, which now sat in the corner of the hangar.

'There is always time to learn how to utilise tools. The lessons of the heart and mind must be mastered first. Once these are second nature to you, the rest will come naturally.' Vance knew the Minbari was making sense in his own way, but as a soldier accustomed to learning tactics rather than ethics, so many years spent learning how to train his body to act and react instinctively, these lessons of the "heart and mind" seemed an aggravating waste of time. He had to will himself to not engage Mishal in a little "philosophical debate", EarthForce-style. Instead, he lowered his head and nodded. Comply for now, he thought, and accept the fact that he was progressing just as the Anla'shok wanted.

Without a word he walked past Mishal toward the main deck area. He could feel the Minbari's gaze follow him as he moved. 'There will come a time, James Vance.' Vance stopped but didn't turn. 'There will come a time when these teachings will make sense. But until that day you would do well to trust us.'

Vance walked onto the main deck. The place seemed so alien, more like a well-lit greenhouse than a military vessel. He couldn't get rid of the feeling he'd made a huge mistake by coming here. Then, as the Morshin carrier headed to Minbar, and as he saw how naturally the Minbari crew worked together in silent discipline, those feelings faded.

* * *

A buzz circulated through the Anla'shok academy when Vance returned. Many of the trainees passed the Mark of the Star, more than pleased with their efforts. Vance could feel the electric atmosphere as he entered the main meeting hall.

William was the first to greet Vance in his irrepressible manner.
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