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cameras in the bazaar, continuing to maintain his connection with the probe on the stall. The two images appeared side by side in his mind's eye.

Alwyn and Carvin didn't get far. They ran into a trio of Purple Drazi, who were staring down a group of Green Drazi across the marketplace. The Purples, encouraged by the increase in their numbers, slapped Alwyn on the back and headed toward the Greens, eager for a fight.

Never one to undertake an illusion with anything less than one hundred percent commitment, Alwyn took the lead. He walked up to one of the Greens and rammed his shoulder into the Drazi as he shoved past. Apparently he didn't take the weight of the Drazi into account, for the force of the impact spun Alwyn around, and in that moment of vulnerability, the Green hauled off and punched him.

Alwyn fell stumbling back, and Carvin jumped to his defense, pummeling the Green with a few quick blows. A brawl broke out.

Rabelna turned to the stall's proprietor with a condescending shake of her head. "I'll be moving up my trip," she said in perfect English. "I need to leave immediately. Do you have anything for me?"

Elric relaxed a bit. She'd embraced the deception completely. Their first step had been successful. News that the techno-mages had hired a Drazi freighter, the Zekhite, would reach their enemies when she did. Records would show it could carry over five hundred, promoting the illusion that all five hundred mages were leaving together from Babylon 5.

That was one of three means of transportation Elric had arranged for their departure. In the shell game of his deception, the shells were the three ships, the mages the pea hidden within one of them. The second ship was an Earth transport, the Tidewell. It too was scheduled to arrive in ten days and
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