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level of power and influence without having been a formidable warrior, even in the merchant's guild. Seeing such a character reduced to a simpering coward was hard to watch.

'I know I was their tool, but I was a willing tool. They offered power but not what you think. Personal power means nothing to me. What they offered was far more valuable. Through their masters, the Drazi would become one of the most powerful empires in the galaxy. We would no longer be among the League of Non-Aligned Worlds, no longer grouped with the rest of the minor powers. We would be able to stand beside the Centauri and the Minbari, equals: no, betters!' Volt's rant had grown steadily more shrill, but Bakkatt allowed him to continue despite the danger of being heard. Now Volt made a visible effort to calm himself.

'I was supposed to influence the Thath Vorak. Subtle persuasion here, stern guidance there. Enough to bring people to my side but not enough to make them think I was power-mongering. It wasn't until the bodies began to pile up that I realised I was in too deep. I thought I could control the Ky'Thain - they seemed primitive and unintelligent - but they are nothing of the sort, and their masters even less so.'

'Do you know who their masters might be?' asked Bakkatt. He once more affected a sympathetic tone.

'I never saw them. I asked and they did indeed promise, but a meeting never happened.'

'And what of Keldulan?'

Volt looked confused, but then an expression of understanding crossed his face. 'You mean the other Minbari? I knew he must have had something to do with you. After all, how many Minbari do you ever see in Torvag?' He paused when he realised the unpleasantness of what he would have to say next, continuing in a much more subdued voice. 'I never meant anything
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