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pronouncement did throw him slightly off step. "It's that big?"

"Bigger," Corwin told him.

Sheridan was about to continue the conversation when he saw Vir Cotto heading his way, exuding that familiar dogged determination intermingled with what was a clear reluctance to bother anyone. Apparently Vir had him in his sights, and Sheridan knew better than to try and stall him. Still, he could try and keep it as brief as possible. "Yes, Mr?" he said, anticipating Vir's speaking to him.

"Ah ... Captain, yes," Vir replied, "I was wondering if I could have a minute of your time..."

"Thirty seconds."

"That's even better," Vir told him. "The League has asked me to speak with you about taking definitive action toward these Raiders..."

It took a moment for Sheridan to realize that word had not spread about Ivanova's successful trap, nor of the fact that the Raiders had just taken a major hit. To Vir's surprise, Sheridan clapped a hand on his shoulder and said, "Mr. Cotto ... you can go back to the League and inform them that, thanks to your strident urging and persuasiveness, the Raiders problem has been attended to."

"It has?" said a mystified Vir.

"Even as we speak, the core of the Raiders' operation is being shipped to a Drazi penal colony. Good work, Vir," and Sheridan nodded once more in approval. "Anything else?"

"Well, uhm... no! No, I guess not! And... thank you." He gestured widely. "If there's anything else I can do ..."

"If there is, we'll be in touch," Sheridan said, and he walked away with Corwin at his side, leaving Vir to head off with uncharacteristically jaunty step to report back to the League.

The jumpgate struts were normally kept closer together for the sake of energy conservation. The farther apart the struts, the more energy was
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