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releasing one hand from his own denn'bok and grabbing Vance's. With his own fighting pike flat against his forearm, he managed to get Vance in a chokehold.

Vance could do nothing. His stronger opponent held his weapon while the cold ferricite pushed against his windpipe. He could not even wriggle free. Merreck was silent, every muscle tensed. Vance could feel his opponent's quick breaths in his ear as he slowly passed out from lack of oxygen. The last thing he heard before lapsing into uncon sciousness was Durhan's powerful voice ordering Merreck to release him.


The now-familiar sight of the infirmary ceiling greeted him when he woke. This time though, he was the only occupant. His neck was tender to the touch, and clearing his throat sent a sharp pain down his windpipe. Anger flared within him as he jumped out of the bed onto unsteady legs. He had done everything he could. Made every concession and accepted the Anla'shok in the spirit he thought they would have wanted. And this was how he was repaid. It just wasn't fair!

But what could he do? Normally when he was treated like this he would lash out, but Merreck seemed invincible. What was he supposed to do, shoot the guy? Vance realised the person he used to be would have seriously entertained that option, even though he knew he could not carry out the plans. Now, though, he immediately dismissed the thought before it formulated itself into a real idea.

He left the infirmary still angry, pushing past the startled Minbari healer and marching down the corridor to the dorm. Thoughts of packing and leaving entered his head, but like his murderous thoughts they were extinguished quickly - like the immediate flash of the flames that had consumed everything he owned upon his arrival here. Besides,
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