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gasped. He looked as if he'd just awoken, as if he were seeing Elric for the first time, and the sight was not a pleasant one. "I can explain everything."

"I do not like being used," Elric said. "You must learn manners and respect. And from this moment on, you will." He shoved the butcher away, and Londo stumbled back, caught himself on a chair.

John's voice was harsh. "I think you should leave, Ambassador, before I decide to report your attempt to bug my office and send you back home on the slowest transport I can find."

Londo spread his hands before him. "Of course. My apologies." He turned and, with a glance toward the smoking device, made a quick exit.

That had gone perfectly. The mages now had every reason to strike at Londo, and Londo, in his anger, would want to strike back. He would turn to his powerful allies for assistance, and they would eagerly take advantage of the opportunity. Elric believed they had probably been anticipating it, just as he had.

Now he must repair his relationship with John. "You see how some seek to exploit us. I wish I could say he is an isolated case, but he is not."

John nodded. "I'm afraid we got off on the wrong foot. Could we start again?" Smoke lingered in the air, and John waved his hand at it. "Would you like to go for a walk?"

"Very well."

John led the way. Elric realized the throbbing in his head had lessened somewhat. He must make the most of this opportunity to win the captain over. The mages must not be detained. He and John came out into the Zocalo, the largest marketplace on Babylon 5, crowded with shoppers and stalls of merchandise.

"I apologize for that incident with Ambassador Mollari," John said, "but there are still some questions that I need answered-where you're going, what this group is all
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