• Lucy

4: Chance Holland, Space Cadet

A couple dozen cadet recruits for the Martian special forces line up, rigid and silent, facing their new instructor who paces in front of them. Titanium-clad boots tap the bio-concrete that forms the floor of the combat training dome, and every sound echoes.

“My name is Daniel Zaveri, but you will call me sir. You are here today because you were selected by myself to join the elite Space Cadet program. You will be trained intensely and held to the highest standards. You are the future of our planet’s security, and pioneers in humanity’s coming expansion throughout the galaxy. Holland!”

“Yes sir!”

“Are you yawning?”

“No sir.”

Chance Holland clenches his jaw and tries to yawn through his nose.

“I know some of you are here because you just want to fly spaceships.” Zaveri fixes his gaze on a handsome young man, who Holland has been watching from the corner of his eye. “You will eventually do so, Green, but that is not your purpose. You must develop discipline, not just physical strength and piloting skill. We want to cultivate sharp minds, quick decision-making under stress, independent thinking while also working as a flawless team.”

The instructor continues, going on about the prestige of his program and the Olympus Military Academy at large. He lists hero