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magnetic stabilising arms grasped the shuttle. Neon lights winked on in the bay area, bathing the cabin in a weird infrared glow. Vance sighed; the worst part was over. Within seconds, the shuttle came to rest and the bustle began, the crew busying themselves with unloading supplies.

Vance wasted no time unbuckling himself, and then he grabbed his bag from a secured locker behind his seat. All he received was a curt nod of acknowledgment from the captain, who was busy directing his crew, and Vance made his way down the shuttle's gantryway.

Two grey-suited security guards waited by the exit, and Vance produced his orders and identicard, emblazoned with the EarthForce insignia. One of the security guards scanned it with a handheld reader. After a brief wait, he handed the card back and dismissed Vance with a satisfied wave. 'Enjoy your visit, Corporal Vance. Quarters have been made ready for you, courtesy of the Colonel. If you make your way to Green 3, a security officer will show you to your room.'

Vance nodded in acknowledgment and hustled past the guards. His position as an EarthForce corporal did come with its privileges, but being given such preferential treatment made him uncomfortable.

He made his way along a corridor and followed a sign reading "All Sectors". After finding the main transport tube, he climbed aboard and read the coloured map on the wall. Green Sector was two stops away, and it couldn't come soon enough.

The shuttle slowed to a halt after one stop, and a large figure boarded. Vance recognised him as a Narn, although he had never encountered one in the flesh before. The mottle-skinned alien smiled at Vance as it entered, and he smiled back. He learned in basic training how the Narn could go from a state of quiet contemplation to open hos
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