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endure only a few more minutes; then his task would be completed. In the meantime, his concentration could not flag.

Spread across Elric's mind's eye were the images from numerous probes and security cameras on Babylon 5. They revealed five hundred robed mages, a procession stretching out of Down Below, through corridors, up staircases, into the customs area, past the security checkpoint, and onto the Centauri freighter Ondavi. Of the five hundred, only one in ten was real, each creating the illusions surrounding him. To help maintain those illusions, John had posted security guards periodically along the mages' route, preventing anyone from coming near or interrupting their progress.

The one who absolutely could not approach was Morden, who would be accompanied by Shadows who could see through their illusions. Elric believed Morden would keep away, so that the mages would not grow suspicious of the Ondavi. After all, Morden intended them to believe he knew nothing of the Centauri freighter.

But Elric could not allow the slightest chance that Morden and the Shadows might appear. Conveniently, a section of the hallway ceiling outside Morden's quarters had collapsed, trapping him and his associates inside. Morden would expect a defensive action of this type as the mages departed; it should rouse no suspicions of their true plan.

Morden had protected his interests, though, by sending one of his agents to observe the mages' departure. The maintenance worker stood now across the customs area, watching. That was fine. He would see what Elric wanted him to see.

As the mages approached the Ondavi, one in twenty would step aside before entering the ship, giving the appearance that they were supervising the others. Those were the ones Elric hoped to save, the young
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