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with photographic precision, but he allowed Vance to do most of the talking. Vance was also surprised when Merreck pointed out the specific occasions when Vance had shown bravery and initiative during the mission, playing down his own part in events.

'It appears you've all been through the mill,' said Sinclair when they had finished. 'The loss of Bakkatt is one we can barely afford right now, and I'm sorry to say things are only going to get worse before they get better.'

'We are Anla'shok,' said Jerklenn. 'It is our purpose.'

Sinclair smiled. There was a hint of sadness behind his eyes, as though he appreciated Jerklenn's words but wished she had not said them.

'What about the Drazi?' asked Vance. 'We got the impression that Musan Volt's involvement with the Ky'Thain was only the tip of the iceberg.'

'The Drazi, and particularly the Thath Vorak, are being closely monitored as we speak. For now the Ky'Thain have retreated to lick their wounds, and we could find no trace of them or their ships around Zhabar.'

'Do we know who the Ky'Thain are? I've never come across anything like them before in any texts or data crystals.'

'Little is written about them, even in our oldest manuscripts,' said Turval. 'They were wiped out by civil war, and we had thought them extinct. It appears the Shadows must have found the remnants of their race. Appealing to their base nature, they have seduced the Ky'Thain to their cause. It is a talent of theirs we will have to learn to deal with. Many more long-forgotten races may be working for the Shadows in secret, with powers and skills we are unable to prepare for. At least now we have intercepted one of their targets. The Drazi will be tough to subvert into a Shadow servitor race. Especially with the Anla'shok monitoring their
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