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through a crack in the wooden doors. They had entered through a side door in a back alleyway. Stairs led down from the side door into the safe house, and Jerklenn posted herself at the top of these, listening for anyone approaching.

Bakkatt found a chair that wasn't smashed to pieces and sat Musan Volt down roughly. Vance stood to one side, watching the senior Ranger at work. Volt was still dazed. He did not seem to notice the Rangers around him, his mind obviously elsewhere. 'Who are the Ky'Thain?' said Bakkatt, his voice low so as not to echo in the ramshackle chamber.

Volt shook his head. Vance at first thought he was refusing to answer, but Volt looked up, tears welling in his deep-set eyes. 'I only did as they said to aid the Drazi. You understand that, don't you?'

Bakkatt nodded, his scarred face managing somehow to look sympathetic. 'Nobody blames you, Musan. I know of the Ky'Thain's masters. They have sweet tongues and whisper a thousand promises, but in the end they just use you to further their own ends. Now, who are the Ky'Thain? I need to know as much about them as you can tell me.'

'They came to me several weeks ago. They said they were servants of a great master who would soon be unleashed upon the galaxy. They showed me such things - you have no idea.' As he spoke, Volt clawed at Bakkatt's robes. The Ranger made no attempt to stop him, patting the old Drazi on the back as he wept.

'Believe me, my friend. We know what horrors you have seen. We also know the "masters" the Ky'Thain speak of. We have come to stop them.'

'You can stop them? You have seen their power? There were two of you, plus two of my guards, and still you could not defeat it. And it is not alone. Soon it will return, bringing more of its kind with it.'

'You are safe here,
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