responded, genuinely surprised.
"Oh, yes, Ambassador Sinclair. Your presence here is known."
"Well, then you have me at a disadvantage. You know my name and I don't know yours."
"Inesval, of the F'tach Islands."
"And where did you learn to speak English, Inesval? You speak it far better than I can speak your language."
"You honored me with your attempt, Ambassador," the Minbari replied with a bow. "I spent three years on Earth with my father, after the war. He was a merchant. I very much like your world."
Sinclair's watch chimed at him, telling him it was time to head back. For the first time since coming to Minbar, Sinclair was having a real conversation with a Minbari other than a Grey Council member, and he had to break it off, had to get back to his duties. What would Catherine say? He knew only too well.
But he was also keeping the Minbari from his work, and had no idea what the worker might suffer as a consequence.
"It's been a pleasure talking with you, Inesval, but I had better let you get back to your work, and-" Sinclair stopped in mid-sentence. The Minbari had a welder's torch!
"Is it possible," Sinclair asked slowly, "and please tell me if this violates any rules or customs I'm not aware of, but could you perhaps do a job for me?"
Inesval looked amazed.
"I'm afraid I won't be able to pay you for a while, but I assure you that you will be compensated."
"Ambassador, it would be my great pleasure to be of service to you in any way I can, and I do not wish compensation."
Sinclair bowed in delighted gratitude, then explained the job he wanted done.
Sinclair returned to the government palace to find an ashen-faced Rathenn anxiously waiting for him in his office.
"Forgive me, but it is only out of concern when I say that