Jane sat at her desk, staring down at the console in front of her. Blue and green holographic images moved around above the console display panel. She stared at them glumly, her head propped on one hand. She’d been staring at the same damn images for the past hour, and now her eyes were losing focus.

Around Jane, her co-workers chatted, laughed, and socialized. Mandy – a beautiful blue-skinned Hoya who sat alongside Jane – kept chortling as she talked loudly about everything other than work.

“You should have seen what he said to those new recruits.” She laughed, her lips spreading wide as her large eyes sparkled.

“Well, I suppose the rookies weren’t expecting a lesson from a professional,” noted Tarta. He came from an insect-like race, and he spread his pincers as he chuckled wildly.

Jane knew who they were talking about, because there was only one person they ever talked about: Lucas Stone. The shining star of the Security Division of the Galactic Force. When he’d been a student, he thwarted an attack on the Galactic Union Senate. That same rookie had once single-handedly saved an entire battle cruiser by heroically plugging an engine leak with his own armor. He was also the man who’d practically rewritten the book on security procedures throughout the Galactic Force. Most importantly, he was the guy everybody knew would be picked to lead the new expedition to the outer rim. It felt like when it came to the Galactic Force, he was the only one anybody ever talked about or acknowledged. The legendary Lucas Stone.

As for Jane – she was just plain. She was also getting bored; the strain of focusing so hard was giving her a headache.

“I heard from one of the med students that they’re just going to give the new expedition to him. They’re going to let him pick whatever ship he wants and whatever crew he wants, too,” Mandy continued, her long tail flicking around as she gesticulated with it.

Tarta nodded soberly. “Of course, that makes perfect sense. Lucas is the best we’ve got. He’ll know how to make that mission a success.”

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