Disclaimer: JMS hopefully has better things to do than persecute people who praise his creation to the skies. I burn incense to his characters and try not to claim them for my own. Except Lennier. He's an honorary Reedie, so I get first dibs.

Thanks: Adi, who gives me pointers which are vectors and not just scalars.

The council meeting was in less than an hour, but he had to know.

Garibaldi looked up in surprise as he entered security. "Mr. Lennier. What can I do for you?"

"I need to see the prisoner, please," Lennier replied. "Deathwalker."

Garibaldi whistled softly. "Be careful," he said. "She'll bite if given half a chance."

No questions, then. Lennier bowed in thanks, then followed the security chief toward the cell.

She was there, wearing the uniform of an alyt; mockery. Lennier couldn't stop his mouth from tightening in anger, or in shame. The woman looked up, cats-eyed, grinning. Warmaster Jha'dur.

"So. The Minbari ambassador comes to see their pride and joy." She spoke the language of the warrior caste, with only a slight accent.

Lennier shook his head. "I am only an aide."

She laughed. "And religious caste to the core. Meek. Your ambassador is to vote in the council meeting?"

"Ambassador Delenn is off station at the moment. I have been instructed by the Council--"

"Including your Satai Delenn, I assume. And I also assume that the religious caste voted to throw me to the dogs, the warrior caste to keep me, and the worker caste for what would cause them the least embarrassment."

It was disgraceful. She should not know so much about the Council, should not speak of them so roughly, should not be sitting here, addressing him in his race's own language.

He should not be here.

"Do you know the history of the Wind Swords, aide?"

"My name," he said softly, "is Lennier."

"Lennier, then."

"Yes, I do. They were formed as a clan almost a thousand years ago--"

"At the end of the last Shadow war." Jha'dur grinned as he flinched. "You may be afraid to speak the name of your enemy, but give them their due."

Lennier swallowed, hard. "Shai Alyt Angiri of the Sun Lances took a small fleet of ships to the... the homeworld of the Shadows. They bombarded the surface with mass drivers for hours. It turned the tide of the war. Angiri asked Valen for permission to start his own clan, and Valen granted it."

"Yes." Jha'dur's smile was not a pleasant sight. Not when it appeared she was ready to pounce. "The lesson they learned was that the best strategies are those which produce results. I produce results beyond any race's wildest dreams."

"Nightmares," Lennier murmured.


"Why did they let you go?"

Jha'dur stopped smiling. She studied him, carefully, for long moments. Her concentrated attention was worse than her smile.

"Watch that human, Commander Sinclair," she finally said. "He has a hole in his mind."

And that was no answer at all.