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their final destination lay. Galen and Isabelle had examined the records of the crew, searching for opportunities. They'd found precious little. Of the ten crew members, eight had no family, no ties. They were opportunists and criminals. Some had sold weapons to Earth during the Earth-Minbari War; many had been with the same captain, Ko'Vin, for a long time. They formed a solid group, doing almost everything together.

Tricking them to reveal a connection to the Shadows, when they might not even be aware of it, would be difficult. And if they did know of the connection, how could they possibly be coerced into betraying their wealthy, powerful employers? A simple deception would not work, and a complex deception was impossible, since Galen and Isabelle had so little knowledge of the Shadows and how they worked.

Galen began to realize how ill-prepared they were. Of the steps Elric had taught him-information, preparation, control-they had only superficial information, minimal preparation, and were in a position to control very little.

The lobby was modest in size, with worn furnishings and a dingy flower-patterned carpet. They approached the front desk, a long counter manned by Cadmus Wilcox himself. Cadmus had eyebrows that hung low over his eyes, which gave his face an expression of perpetual fear. His thin, receding hair was combed to the side, and a lock of it curled around onto his forehead. A shaggy, walrus-style moustache completely obscured his lips. He stood in the center of the area circumscribed by the front desk and looked out toward the lounge, as if caught in a position of lonely command behind frontline bunkers.

Galen had studied Cadmus' records and found that he had worked at the Strauss since it changed owners twelve years ago. He'd been manager
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