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of them seemed to fit right in - even smile. At one point Vance observed one of them dancing. For the first time since he arrived, Vance felt like he belonged with these people. He regarded them as his new comrades-in-arms, and as he looked across the crowded hangar, he saw Jerklenn smiling at him.

The side door to the hangar suddenly flew open. A collective intake of breath filled the room as a Minbari figure stepped through. When it was obvious the figure was not one of their tutors, or another member of the Anla'shok, the group relaxed somewhat. Vance remained tense as he watched Merreck survey the festivities taken place in the hangar.

The Minbari had taken a real beating, much worse than Vance, but the obvious pain could not obscure his proud bearing. Vance stood and walked toward him, fully intending to invite him in, but before he could speak Merreck turned and left. As quickly as he could manage, Vance followed. It didn't take him long to catch the limping figure. 'Merreck,' he called, his voice echoing along the sparse corridor.

The Minbari stopped in his tracks, pausing for several long seconds before turning to face Vance. The look on his face wavered somewhere between disgust and hatred. 'I gave you a chance,' said Merreck. 'I gave you a chance to show your true colours, and this is what you do. Encouraging my people to indulge in your human pleasures. The very things that make your race so weak! To think, I would have insulted my father and my uncle by befriending you. I should thank you for showing me the error of my ways.'

'What are you talking about?' asked Vance. 'We don't have to be enemies. We cannot be enemies.'

'We are not enemies. Soon we will be Anla'shok. We will be brothers. But we will never be friends.' With that Merreck limped away.
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