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nugget of gold ore. When they were gifted with the ore, Tallka smiled and bowed, thanking them for their labours. With that, Vance and his fellow acolytes walked back to the ship.

The journey back to Tuzanor did not seem half as long as the journey to the mine, but Vance's exhaustion allowed him to sleep for most of the trip. While he was awake, he could not help but stare at the ore, wondering about its significance. The acolytes debated that significance upon their return. What was the ore actually for? There was no way they could use it as currency. Late into the night, William came up with the answer.

'The symbol!' Vance almost leapt from his slanted bed to find William crouching by his side.

'Huh? What?' replied Vance, still groggy and finding it difficult to breath with all the mine dust that clogged his nostrils.

'The gold is for our symbols, the Ranger pins. All the Anla'shok wear them, the gold pins. The gold must be to craft them.'

'And this important information couldn't have waited until tomorrow?' said Vance. William nodded sheepishly and slid off back to his bunk. Despite Vance's curt reaction, he was grateful to William for putting that quandary to rest.

The next morning, when they went for prayers, Turval was waiting for them yet again. 'Some of you realise why you were assigned your most recent task. The rest of you will discover it in time. Now, a similar task awaits. Good luck.'

Turval left the acolytes in the care of the Anla'shok once more. Again the acolytes followed the Anla'shok out of the academy and onto a transport. This time, though, they did not cruise within Minbar's atmosphere but shot beyond it, breaking the planet's invisible boundary and lurching into the blackness of space.

In scant minutes the ship slowed to landing
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