It did occur to him that perhaps he’d gone to the wrong Academy – the guys in the Space Fleet always had more interesting stories to tell at the spaceport bars. You know, tales about the dude who got vaporized in a plasma accident in the engineering section, or the fella who got turned into a blob of weird space jelly by some alien virus – or the time someone flew a starship into an astor-field at warp four by mistake (they were still trying to find the black box on that one). The Imperial Space Fleet’s recruiting office sure didn’t go around advertising ‘Join up, see the universe, meet interesting aliens and die screaming’, but it was known there were risks involved. It was part of the job after all, and yet somehow, they still got recruits signing up in droves. Yes, indeedy – the stories were far more interesting than his – took a load of ore to Gorda, took a load of mining equipment back to Tordrazil. Took a load of Florpavian Flame-birds to a zoo on Deanna, took a load of machinery to Salus. Picked up and dropped off a few passengers on the way. Still, Florpavian Flame-birds were a risky cargo… and damned tricky to transport – which is probably the only reason he’d had any entertainment at all on the last trip.

~ Christina Engela