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recruits were waiting. As they passed, each spoke a word of comfort or simply touched the Rangers in a conciliatory gesture. Vance noticed that William was not amongst the waiting Anla'shok. He realised his friend had probably been sent on a mission of his own. Wondering when he would see William again, he continued until the now-welcome sight of his slanted bunk greeted him.

* * *

Vance woke to Jerklenn's smiling face staring down at him. 'It is time for us to see the Anla'shok Na,' she said.

His wounds were all but healed. Vance was amazed how the Minbari healers had managed to fix his shoulder and the various cuts and bruises in almost no time. He ran his fingers through his messy hair and stood, flattening the creases in his uniform, which he hadn't thought to remove before collapsing in a heap. Merreck was waiting for them, standing to attention as usual, jaw jutting and chest suitably puffed.

Turval was also in the Anla'shok Na's office when they arrived. Sinclair forced a smile as they entered, but his strain could not be masked. His eyes were ringed dark red, and he looked more ashen than ever. Vance found it hard to believe how much Sinclair had changed, especially since he had seen him a few short days ago.

'Please sit,' said Sinclair. 'This won't take long. Hadan has already relayed most of what you reported, so we just need your take on events. Obviously we also need to make sure you're all okay.'

Sinclair proceeded to question the three Rangers. To Vance, it seemed to be a full debrief rather than an informal chat, but he was happy to repeat details of the entire event. For his part, Merreck remained silent, only filling in any details or correcting Vance's errors in memory when necessary. The Minbari seemed to be able to remember every event
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