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of Minbari fighters. "Hold the line. No one gets through, no matter what!"

"Understood," came Mitchell's voice again, then a burst of static and "Alpha Leader! You've got a Minbari on your tail!"

But Sinclair had already seen it, and was about to initiate a defensive response within the formation when he saw Mitchell's Starfury break formation to loop up and back, over Sinclair's head and toward his pursuing attacker. Other members of the squadron followed Mitchell's lead.

"I'm on him."

"No! Mitchell! Stay in formation! It might be a-"

Sinclair's instrument panel indicated a massive jump point opening behind him, right out of the blinding glare of the sun. "Oh my God. It's a trap!"

It shouldn't have been possible. Assurances had been made that a widespread pattern of vortex frequency interference would be broadcast continuously, making it impossible for the enemy to open jump points within the Line. But a shadow fell across Sinclair's ship as a massive Minbari cruiser, larger than any he'd seen before, came out of a jump point behind him. The only chance for escape was to outrun it and regroup, but what was left of his squadron had been lured into heading full speed right at the cruiser.

"Mitchell! Break off! Break off!"

It was too late. He saw Bill Mitchell's ship blown to bits. Devorah Eisenstadt's Starfury cut in two. Jake Owasaka's ship sent tumbling wildly to smash into Alo Makya's Starfury, destroying both. Within a few seconds, every ship of his squadron and all the ships around him were destroyed.

An energy beam from the Minbari cruiser sliced through the skin of Sinclair's upper starboard engine, spinning his craft out of control. His computer gave him the bad news as he fought to regain control of his ship.

"Aft stabilizers hit. Weapons
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