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As Vance skidded on his rump, he saw the line of warriors advancing. His tentative attempt at breaking through was their signal to move in. Jumping to his feet, Vance flicked on the shockstick. A quick twist of his wrist extended his own fighting pike. His sudden move did nothing to slow the steady Anla'shok advance, and he skipped backward, hoping to buy some time as he planned his next move. In the short time it took them to close, Vance had no flashes of inspiration. All he could do was charge.

With no gap to run into, Vance tried to aim for the adjacent shoulders of two of the warriors. He attempted to block each of their weapons, a speculative double parry at best. He was surprised as his raised denn'bok deflected the Anla'shok to his right. Instantaneously the second incoming blow glanced off his shockstick and hit his shoulder. As though an iron girder had fallen on him, a numbing pain coursed through his body, and he couldn't tell whether his collarbone had been fractured or not. Either way his left shoulder was useless.

Despite the blow, Vance kept moving forward. He barrelled through the two warriors, who tried to flatten him rather than halt his advance. He could see the other side of the platform ahead! Two double doors sat there, beckoning him forward.

Without looking back, Vance pumped his legs and left the line of Anla'shok behind him. He kept hold of the denn'bok, despite its weight. Past experience taught him never to relinquish a weapon when it might be needed, no matter how slim the chance.

Adrenaline coursed through him as he realised nothing stood between him and his goal. A hundred metres away sat victory! If he could sprint the distance faster than the Minbari, the Mark of Fire would be his!

A swooping noise preceded a solid
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