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forever among the stars.' With that he walked back to his place, and the nine blue lights winked out as suddenly as they had illuminated. The field of stars disappeared from around Vance, and complete darkness enveloped him once more.

Again, Vance knew his next move instinctively and walked forward with confidence, despite the dark. Ahead was a tall figure he recognised. Turval's face was stern, but his eyes still smiled in their usual fatherly way. 'Congratulations, Anla'shok.'

'Thank you, Sech Turval,' replied Vance.

'Unfortunately, you will not be joining the rest of you brothers and sisters for the celebration.'

'Is there something wrong?' Vance asked, sure it could be nothing he had done.

'No, but we must return to Tuzanor immediately. You are about to begin your first mission.'


Sinclair's office was still sparse. The last time Vance had been there, three months before, the room had been bare, and it was little different now. Vance was ordered to sit. Durhan and Turval, as well as another Minbari Vance didn't recognise, stood silently behind him. The stranger was obviously Anla'shok - his uniform gave that away - but this Minbari was like no other Vance had ever seen. Facially, he more resembled a Drazi than anything else. The front of his face was flat, as though he had been repeatedly beaten with an array of blunt objects. His skin was criss-crossed with scars, although one stood out more than the others, running from the right side of his mouth to his right ear. Vance was sure that, when fresh and laid open, the wound would have exposed the inside of his mouth.

'This is Bakkatt,' said Sinclair, 'one of our most experienced Anla'shok.' Vance bowed his head respectfully and was surprised when Bakkatt reciprocated. 'He is to lead
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