"See anything in there?" Emil waited in the doorway with a clipboard.

"Nope!" Leon replied.

"Pick up whatever you can get your hands on. The space food should be at the front anyways."


The rookie felt around in the darkness until he encountered a box. It felt pretty large, and there were two more boxes of equal size on top of it.

"These look pretty heavy… I don't know if I'll be able to lift any of them."

"Give it a try! You can do it!" Emil cheered.

Leon shrugged. "Well, okay! I'll try the one up top."

"No, lift the whole stack!" encouraged the lieutenant. "You got this, Rookie!"

"O...Okay!" Leon was bewildered by Emil's confidence in him. He wouldn't call himself weak, but lifting the whole stack at once would be nothing short of superhuman. Either way, he tried lifting up the bottom box.

It wasn't heavy! None of them were. After all, everything was weightless in zero gravity. Leon slapped his forehead.

"Did'ja pick them up?" Emil's voice rang with glee.

"I… completely forgot about the gravity!" Leon laughed at himself. "Thanks for not making fun of me, it must've sounded like the most obvious thing in the world."

"Nah, I figured you were still thinking in Earth logic." Emil began to clap as Leon approached the doorway. "Yaaay, you did it!"

"I did!"

"You did it! Yaaaaay!"

The new voice startled both Emil and Leon. Roxie peeked down from the top of the doorway.

"What'cha doooin'~?"

Leon held two of the boxes in each hand. "Look, Roxie, I'm as strong as you!" He noticed the third box floating away just in time for him to catch it.

Roxie giggled.

"He's getting food." Emil answered.

"Ahh, sustenance!" Roxie rubbed her hands together. "So that's why the captain told me to tell you not to put anything in the refrigerator yet."

"He did?"

"That's the order!"

"Where do I put these, then?" asked Leon.

The blond stretched out one of his curls and let go of it. To Leon's surprise, it bounced back. "Hmmm, you can probably just leave 'em in the kitchen for now. Here, I'll get the door."

Emil opened the door to the kitchen, allowing Leon and Roxie to enter.

"Just put them over there." He pointed toward the back-right corner.

Just as Leon was about to propel himself and the boxes in that direction, the lieutenant stopped him.

Leon noticed the boxes left his hands. "Ah, the boxes!"

"Don't panic. Just sit back and watch."

The rookie followed Emil's advice and watched in awe as the boxes drifted toward their destination on their own.

"A big part of operating in zero G is learning how to do things the laziest way possible." informed Emil.

"It's important knowledge to have on your travels. The knowledge of efficiency!" Roxie agreed. "Use it wisely and you will go far! But-!"

Roxie propelled herself over to the boxes. When she reached them, she pushed down on the topmost one.

"-Always make certain that heavy objects are on the ground when you're done moving them. That way disaster won't strike someone on the head when the gravity comes back!"

Leon lifted his head. "Oh yeah, I remember learning that! Thanks for reminding me!"

"You're welcome~!" Roxie chimed. "Remember not to forget it!"

"I will… won't?" Leon found himself confused on how to answer to that. "I'll do the safe thing!"

"Yeah, do that!" added Emil. "And while we're at it, let's break open one of these bad boys!"

They opened one of the boxes. A wide variety of food and drink packets filled the interior.

Emil sighed. "It looks like we're gonna be here for a while..." He pulled out a slip of paper tucked into one side of the box. It looked like a list of some sort. "We have to check inventory for every item on the list. Luckily, this looks like it'll last us at least a few days. Leon, hand me one of the packets."

"Sure thing!" Leon obeyed.

"Can I help?" Roxie asked.

"This is supposed to be part of Leon's punishment, but technically all he was supposed to do was bring the boxes in here and put stuff in the fridge, and since we're not supposed to put stuff in the fridge, I'd say he's done his time." Emil winked.

"But it doesn't feel like I've done much at all!"

"It's your first day, you were just excited." the blond waved a hand. "If it makes you feel better, I woulda let Mia off the hook too."

"Punished?" Roxie cocked her head to one side. "Punishment for what? Being a ray of sunshine?" She turned to Leon. "You know, Jun told me they- Jun took the seat by you specifically to watch your reaction when we got to space."


"I'm glad I wasn't the only one watching him!" blurted the lieutenant. "When you've been up here so many times, one of the best things is seeing how new people react. I may've not been able to see you that well, but you were so excited! It was-" he kissed his fingers, "-magnifique!"

"Oh, wow…" Leon felt flustered. So many people were watching him and he didn't even notice!

"Awwww! I wish I could've seen it!" Roxie handed another packet to Emil. "Sadly, I had to choose between you and Mia. But her reaction was also really cute, so I'm not too sad! I've never seen her eyes get so big!"

"It was her first time in space, too?" That didn't make sense to Leon. Didn't she say she was from Lunaria?

"Sorta." answered Roxie. "That was her first time on Earth, so it was also her first time taking off from Earth."

"Whoaaa. She'd never been to Earth?" Leon couldn't imagine living life without ever having stepped foot on Earth. This opened up so many questions to ask her!


"That's pretty rare." Emil noted. "Most people I've met from Lunaria either moved from Earth or at least visited."

"Interesting…" Suddenly, Roxie scrutinized Emil. "You and the captain look pretty young. How old are you guys?"

"I'm 18, he's 19."

"What?" The captain was just a year older than Leon? He would've guessed 22 at least.

"What?" Roxie sounded even more surprised. "You're babies!"

Sure, they were young, but Roxie didn't seem that much older. Then again, Jun did mention meeting her a few years ago...

Even Emil was confused. "Wait, how old are you?"


"Oh!" Both reacted with mild surprise.

"And you are…" Her eyes bored into Leon as she placed her fingers on her temples, like a psychic. "18!"

"Yep! I am!"

"Yaaaaay!" Roxie clapped. "If you were any older, I would've eaten my hat!"

The rookie sighed. "I get that a lot…"

"People are really that willing to eat their hats? I didn't even have one!"

"Everyone still thinks I'm 16." He passed another packet to Emil. "I wouldn't mind so much if they didn't think I was committing fraud. Before I graduated, some of the freshmen used to ask me where I got my ID from. I got it from the DMV. Legally! Stop asking me to help you commit crimes!"

"Aww." Emil checked another packet off the list. "If it makes you feel any better, I don't think you look that young. Or, well-" He stopped to think. "I feel like you could go either way."

"Thank you!" Leon felt much more like the adult man he was.

"Such is the life of us with round faces." Roxie squished her face together. "It is a blessing and a curse. The downside: People think you're lying about your age. On the plus side, you look friendly and adorable, and you can hide food in your cheeks without anyone noticing. Now that I say it out loud, it's more of a blessing than anything!"

"I never thought to smuggle food in my mouth." Leon poked his cheek. He felt like he learned something useful.

The lieutenant laughed. Then, he seemed to realize something. "Oh yeah! Speaking of stuffing your faces, you guys might not wanna eat too much on the first day. Especially you, Rookie, since it's your first time. Space sickness isn't pretty."

"Ohh yeah, I heard about that…" The rookie was not looking forward to that part of space flight. Even now, he still felt lightheaded. "Have you ever gotten space sick?"

"I did!" volunteered Roxie. "It wasn't fun. Make sure to hydrate yourself!"

"I'll keep that in mind! What about you, Emil?"

Emil scoffed. "Me and L-Me and the captain are practically immune to it. Our school had anti-gravity drills all the time. I may've gotten sick the first coupla times, but they usually had barf bags set out for that." He lifted a finger. "That reminds me! Roxie, we should probably get the barf bags out of the infirmary."

"Excellent idea! You never know when space sickness will strike!"

The blond almost propelled himself toward the door, but latched onto one of the boxes at the last moment.

"Shoot! I still gotta take inventory for all this food. Uhhhh." He looked around, before finally stopping on Leon. "You can count, right?"


"Good!" Emil winked and gave him a thumbs up. "Sorry to leave you alone like this, but could'ja count the rest of this stuff and mark it off the list for me?"

"Sure thing!" Leon was more than happy to help.

"Great!" Emil gave him two thumbs up; double the praise! "C'mon, Roxie, let's go to the infirmary."

"Aye aye~"

With those two gone, Leon was left to his own devices. He continued counting and categorizing the packets, putting the ones already accounted for as close as he could to him with the lack of gravity. His lightheadedness developed into a headache the more he continued reading, but he was determined to power through it by thinking about all the good things that happened to him today.

Like going to space! That was most of what he thought about; he almost couldn't stop thinking about it, but when he did, he remembered all the cool people he met today. Captain and Lieutenant Galhardo, one intimidating and the other approachable, both incredibly cool in their own way; Jun Kim, a national celebrity who was nice enough to talk to a humble rookie like him; Roxie Allen, a somewhat odd, but friendly girl; and Mia Wattson, a quiet girl from Lunaria who he hadn't talked to much, but he hoped that would change in the future. The only person he hadn't met yet was…

Floating through the door!

"Something's up." He seemed to be in the middle of a conversation with Jun. "It's really fishy that the chief commander's sons get to be in charge. They're rookies! It's like letting that dorky kid you were talking to run the place."

Leon didn't know who he was talking about, but he felt a little bad for whoever the dorky kid was.

"I mean, I know what it looks like, but like, that chief commander's not the type to-" Jun froze upon seeing Leon. "...Sup?"

"Hi Jun!" The rookie waved, knocking some of the packets in the newcomers' direction. "Ah, could one of you send those back?"

"Sure." Jun batted some of the packets away.

Aiden, instead, caught one. He took note of the straw poking out of it.

"Cool. A drink."

Without hesitation, he opened it up and started drinking from it.

"I-I dunno if we're supposed to open any of these yet!" Leon warned.

The bearded ranger stared at him blankly.


He resumed drinking it.

Leon didn't know what to say or how to react, but before he could even ponder that, Aiden pushed himself toward the back door, and threw the empty packet in the garbage on the way out.

"Uhhhh, so that's Aiden." Jun introduced.

Leon realized two things. One, Aiden was the guy with the scar, the one Leon bumped into at the spaceport.

Two, he was his new roommate.