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ahead, and any of you who feel this work beneath you are free to leave.' He paused, waiting for any sign that someone might take him up on his offer. None did. 'You will each swear fealty to the Worker Caste who mine this facility and work with them freely for as long as we deem fit. Good luck.'

With that, he and the rest of the Anla'shok walked back in the direction they came. Immediately, several dust-covered Minbari appeared from large caves set around the mine. They bowed before the trainees and the trainees bowed back - some more readily than others.

One of the Minbari removed a mask that protected his face from the fine dust of the mines. 'I am Tallka. I will be your instructor whilst you are with us. Please, follow me.' Tallka led the trainees to a room where masks and tools for mining were distributed. He explained that for the next week, the would-be Anla'shok would learn how to mine the "old-fashioned way". The prospect of the hard, dirty work seemed a mixed blessing to Vance. While it wasn't fighting the Shadows, it represented a chance to show the Minbari that he, as well as the other humans, willing accepted any challenge or chore.

Over the course of the week, Vance noted with pleasure that Merreck bore no love for the job but nonetheless threw himself into the task. The rest of the trainees did likewise, although some seemed to take to it better than others. The few complaints - besides the occasional grumble that the galaxy was in danger and here they were digging for gold with pickaxes and shovels - were met with encouragement from the other acolytes.

When the week was over, the trainees assembled once again, their uniforms much the worse for wear. Turval and the Anla'shok returned to greet them and, before they left, each trainee received a large
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