Sinclair tried not to sigh. Rathenn had slipped into using the third person, his way of letting him know he knew this was a delicate subject.
"Rathenn, as always, it's a most generous offer, but it would be inappropriate for me to dress in the Minbari fashion. I am the Earth ambassador to Minbar. My job is to represent Earth and all of Humanity to the Minbari people, and to be a link back to Earth for all Humans who come to visit your world.
"When my fellow Humans come to see me here, my being dressed in the familiar clothing of Earth provides an immediate level of comfort and assurance as to who I am and who I represent. When you're a stranger in a strange land, that sort of connection to your home is very important.
"And when I meet with your fellow Minbari, my clothing immediately conveys where I come from and who I represent."
If I meet with your fellow Minbari, Sinclair thought. Every day, he saw Rathenn and perhaps a handful of religious acolytes and members of the worker caste, most of whom avoided speaking with him. But virtually no other important Minbari.
"Speaking of which, how is my request for a meeting with F'hurs Anoon coming along?" On his own, Sinclair had managed to find out the name of Yedor's F'hurs-the Minbari equivalent of mayor-but had not yet been able to get a meeting arranged. "It's important that I establish ties with the local government, open some communication. That is why I'm here."
"That is not possible at this time, Ambassador," Rathenn said with a little bow of his head. "Her duties make her unavailable for several more days. But soon, I assure you, you will be meeting with the appropriate officials."
It was clear to Sinclair that he was deliberately being denied access to other Minbari officials.