"I didn't really want to know," Grissom growled, cutting him off.
They were almost at their destination. The Arcturus space station dominated the entire window now, blocking out everything else. The docking bay loomed before them, a gaping hole in the gleaming hull of the station's exterior.
"I should go," Grissom said with a weary sigh.
"They'll want to see me come marching down the gangway as soon as we touch down."
"Take it easy on those recruits," Eisennhorn suggested, only half joking. "Remember, they're barely more than kids."
"I didn't come here to meet with a bunch of kids," Grissom replied. "I came here looking for soldiers." The first thing Grissom did when he arrived was request a private room. He was scheduled to address the entire graduating class at 14:00. In the four hours between then and now he planned to conduct private interviews with a handful of the recruits.
The brass at Arcturus weren't expecting his request, but they did their best to accommodate it. They set him up in a small room furnished with a desk, computer workstation, and a single chair. Grissom was sitting behind the desk reviewing the personnel files on the monitor one last time. Competition to be accepted into the N7 specialist training program at Arcturus was fierce. Every recruit on the station had been handpicked from the best young men and women the Alliance had to offer. Yet the handful of names on Grissom's list had distinguished themselves from the rest of the elite; even here they stood out from the crowd.
There was a knock at the door-two quick, firm raps.
"Come in," the admiral called out.
The door slid open and Second Lieutenant David Edward Anderson, the first name on Grissom's list, walked in. Fresh out of training, he had already been marked for the ranks of junior officers, and looking at his file it was easy to see why. Grissom's list was arranged alphabetically, but based on Anderson's marks at the Academy and the evaluations of his training officers, his name would probably have been right at the top regardless.
The lieutenant was a tall man, six foot three according to his file. At twenty years old he was just starting to fill out his large frame, still growing into his broad chest and wide, square shoulders. His skin was dark brown, his black hair cut high and tight in accordance with Alliance regulations. His features, like most citizens in the multicultural society of the late twenty-second century, were a mix of several different racial characteristics. Predominantly African, but Grissom thought he could see lingering traces of Central European and Native American ancestry as well.
Anderson marched smartly across the floor and stopped directly in front of the desk, standing at attention as he snapped off a formal salute.
"At ease, Lieutenant," Grissom ordered, instinctively returning the salute.
The young man did as he was told, relaxing his stance so that he stood with his arms clasped behind his back and his legs spread wide.