The young woman looked vastly out of place standing in the line of people waiting to file through the debarkation gate and receive their billeting assignments. Tall and lithe, beautiful and dignified, she stood out like a tulip growing in a cactus garden. The rest of her queue-mates were the scum of a dozen worlds. Virtually all of them, male and female alike, were graduates of the roughest schools in the galaxy—the imperial prison system. They were tough and, for the most part, ill-educated. You could tell their planets of origin by the brand of slang they spoke and the choice of obscenities with which they peppered their conversation.