“Omega squadron…welcome aboard the T.A.Corvette-Niblack. I’m Commander Harden. We’ll have a formal briefing tomorrow at 0830. For now get acclimated to the Niblack. I’ll have my X-O escort you pilots to the mess hall…we rescued eight slaves from the Altair 7 mining colony…they are helping out in the mess hall until we can transfer them to a colony.
“One last thing …all you new pilots…when you finish your meals; raise your hand…do not… leave …until a steward clears your plate…no talk or eye contact with them…If they ask for your forgiveness…you nod your head… again; don’t… leave… until they take your plate. “ The Colonel chewed his lip, and wiped his eyes. “Or I’ll flush you out of a airlock.”
“Why forgiveness, Sir?”
“They were mining slaves on Altair 7…most of their families died of starvation…they’ll sit down and finish your food for you. But…the waste…they are ashamed… of the hate they feel towards you… Squadron dismissed!”
Commander Harden flipped the intercom switch and walked over to the nav. Station. He was reviewing the course projections when Col. Markson of the newly arrived squadron walked over as well.
“Altair 7 was a mechanized mining operation.”
“It reduces waste.” Harden replied.