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them down. Those tutors they passed in the corridors regarded their wards with looks of sad seriousness, which Vance likened to those given to the terminally ill or condemned.

By the time breakfast ended, Vance had reached his limit. Donning his thin training pants and vest, he headed off to the small gymnasium. This was all he could think of to try and cheer himself up. Even more importantly, the Minbari rarely used the gym. Apparently Sinclair had it installed just before the new recruits arrived, much to the chagrin of the other Anla'shok. With no sullen Minbari faces around, maybe a workout could lift the dour atmosphere.

Like many things Minbari, the gym was small but perfectly formed. Vance wasted no time: after a quick stretch, he started with some bench press. The weight was light; there weren't enough plates in the gym to make the bar really heavy. Consequently his reps were slow and controlled, squeezing every ounce of effort out of his chest and arms.

Vance sat up after the first set, beginning to feel better. The general disquiet had not penetrated this little room until the door opened. Merreck stood there in his full robes. Vance's stomach turned, though he was more annoyed than scared. The Minbari might be here looking for another fight, but Vance was more bothered that his workout was now ruined.

'We are all summoned to the main hall,' said Merreck without expression. After a curt bow he left. Vance felt cheated. Merreck had the audacity to stalk into the gym, intimidate him, and not even have the decency to provoke a fight. Jumping to his feet, Vance suddenly realised Merreck had actually done him a favour. Now at least he was no longer infected by depression; his anger had seen to that. Why had this sworm enemy done him this service?

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