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some say in the matter. "May we?"

He shrugged. "Sure. Make yourself at home."

She sat and he settled into the chair opposite her. "Let me get right to the point, Captain," she said, briskly rubbing her palms together as if she were about to do some serious business down in the bazaar.

"I expect nothing less."

She did a quick double take, as if not sure whether he was being sarcastic. Unable to tell, she shrugged it off and said, "We'd like access to the alien artifact parked outside."

Sheridan smiled at her. He wondered if, in her wildest imaginings, she remotely expected that he would just say, Sure, knock yourself out. Instead he said noncommittally, "Well, I'll certainly take your request under consideration."

She wasn't especially fooled. "That's bureaucratese for 'take a hike,' " she observed, dragging out the word as "bee-yoor-oh-crat-eese."

She had a certain degree of charm about her, but Sheridan wasn't about to be dragged in. He preferred to admire it from afar. "It is indeed," he said neutrally.

Trent shook her head in a manner that seemed just a tad patronizing. That caused her to lose the same brownie points she'd just gained, leaving her at dead even in Sheridan's view. All things considered, that was probably preferable. Oddly, she didn't seem the least bit concerned with how she came across in the captain's eyes. Clearly, he mused, there must be something wrong with her. How could she not be obsessed with the need for his approval? After all, she'd known him three whole minutes; that usually was enough time for him to cast the old Sheridan spell. He wondered if he was losing his touch.

"Captain," she said, oblivious to his inner monologue. "You're not set up to investigate a find like this. You don't have the people, the training,
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