Courage on the Right Hand, Faith on the Left Hand

Characters: Manaar Rashid

Rashid flexed her arms as she got up from her prayer mat. They were still a little stiff. Still, she’d been cleared to fly, and that was the important thing.

Not that she was at all certain, she thought as she rolled the mat up and stowed it away, there would be much flying to do. None of the pilots seemed to know exactly what they would be doing while the Phoenix was stationed at Rolui.

She looked over at her small table, strewn with a porta-comp and data crystals from Cat Rosha’s last visit. As well as playing games, they’d spent some time talking about the planet. Cat had a great interest in the “First Ones” — the first generation of sentients that evolved in the galaxy — and she hoped she could spend time with the science teams, exploring the ruins of the first civilization of Rolui. Cat dreamed of finding more of the First Ones and their many secrets.

Rashid wasn’t sure what to make of Cat’s dreams of the First Ones, but there was no denying it gave her a focus and purpose. So truly, who was Rashid to judge?

Suddenly, Rashid’s link began chirping, loud and persistent. She grabbed it off the table and activated it. There was a message from the bridge — all Desell Squadron pilots to report to the flight deck, urgently.

She hurriedly finished tying back her hair — no fancy knots today, apparently — put on her shoes and sprinted off toward the flight deck and Desell Squadron’s briefing room.

Less than an hour later, Rashid was in her ship, racing away from the Phoenix on full burn, apprehension filling her heart. She, along with the rest of Desell, had been ordered to scan the sector in search of Entil’zha Delenn. She and her White Star were missing.

Rashid remembered the one time she had met the Entil’zha, the One for whom all the Anla’shok promised to live and die. To Rashid’s mind, that meant only Allah Himself and the Prophet ranked ahead of her. And Rashid hadn’t met either of them face to face.

It had happened almost a year ago, when Rashid’s class was completing their training. The Entil’zha had given Rashid the Isil’zha, badge of her new status as a Ranger, bowed — and then shaken her hand. The human gesture seemed awkward to her, and yet, it still fit.

It was in that moment more than any other before or since, that Rashid had truly felt the kinship between Minbari and humankind that the Entil’zha tried to literally embody, the kinship that was now a foundation for the Anla’shok.

As she sent her little ship further into the void, Manaar Rashid prayed again, that Delenn would be found safe.

She was far too precious to lose.

Copyright (c) 2003 Jamie Lawson. All rights reserved.


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