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think you had something to do with his disappearance.'

As Bakkatt spoke, Vance saw Rottik becoming more and more agitated. At the academy, he had been taught how to spot liars and deceivers and, despite the lack of telltale signs allowed by Rottik's Drazi features, he obviously had something to hide.

Rottik's chair creaked backward. Before he could make a break for it, Merreck grabbed his arm. Vance stood as inconspicuously as he could and surveyed the rest of the drinking den. The patrons were too interested in becoming inebriated to care about someone being strong-armed in the corner.

'Tell me what you know, Rottik, or you will suffer as you cannot imagine,' said Bakkatt.

'May the sic-tari strike me early if I am lying to you, please-'

'Alright, we take him with us,' said Bakkatt, nodding to Merreck, who dragged the Drazi to his feet.'

'May Droshalla strike me down, Bakkatt, please see reason.'

'I think I have shown great restraint with you. That time is over.'

'Wait: wait. You don't know what you're getting into. I can't tell you anything about them. You have no idea what they can do.'

'Believe me, Rottik, I do.'

As Bakkatt grabbed Rottik's free arm, Vance saw the Drazi bartender disappear into the back of the drinking den. His movement did not look out of the ordinary, but something about it made Vance nervous. 'Wait,' he said to Bakkatt. 'Something is wrong.'

'The bartender?' asked Bakkatt, obviously sensing the same danger. Vance nodded. 'Is there another exit from here?' The Drazi shrugged, his eyes already wide with fear. 'Alright,' said Bakkatt. 'We'll walk straight out of the front door. Not a sound from anyone,' he directed his comment at Rottik. 'If anyone looks at us twice, hit first, make apologies later.'

They moved quickly
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