Caspian Trueway was vibrating and only a small part of that was because the ship vibrated as it came in for a landing.
TF-21 was his first job with TerraFCorp and he was eager to be planetside and get his first look at the newly terraformed planet.
He'd just completed three months of training on TF-3, but that had been his first experience off Earth, and he was eager for more. Not only that, TF-21 was his. He'd be the only scientist there; the one testing the soil, the air, making decisions on how to bring water in. He'd read the file a few dozen times. Hell, he had it memorized. There wasn't one thing about TF-21 he couldn't tell you. But that wasn't the same as actually being there.
The ship landed with a thud and a jolt, and Cas practically leaped out of his seat, lining up quickly behind the ten TerraFCorp security guards slated to replace those already planetside. Adriana Moore, who was the doctor, and Gil Peters, the self-proclaimed cook-extraordinaire, joined him at the back of the ramp.
"You're going to be disappointed," Adriana told him with a grin. "It's not nearly as exciting and romantic as you're imagining it to be."
Both the doctor and cook were TerraFCorp veterans and, to Cas' mind, rather blasé about the whole thing.
He found the whole idea of taking an inhospitable planet and turning it into a place where food could be grown, livestock raised, where people could live ... well, that was pretty damned fantastic. He'd wanted to be involved in terraforming ever since he'd been twelve and the idea had first been suggested by a tiny privately owned corporation. Fifteen years later and that tiny corporation was now one of the largest and most influential companies on Earth and beyond.
And here he was, stepping out of the spaceship and into the future.
The first thing that hit him was the heat, a wall of dry hot that almost literally smacked him in the face. It was bright, too, the sun just burning down. He put on his sunglasses and pulled down the brim of his hat, checking out this brand new world.
It was rather disappointing.
There was a cluster of buildings to the left, some sheds, loads of equipment, bulldozers and well-diggers next to tractors and jeeps. And dirt. Lots and lots of dirt as far as the eye could see. No trees, no bushes ... hell, no green of any kind.
He knew intellectually that it was his job to decide what needed to be planted to best get this place grow green, but he couldn't help his disappointment at just how desolate and unfinished TF-21 was. It didn't seem magical at all.
He was still squinting out at the nothing when he realized a group of men were walking toward them, dust kicking up under their boots. Most were the security crew heading out, no doubt eager to get into the relative luxury, not to mention climate controlled air, of the ship, but there were others as well.
A huge man in an orange jumper was more or less barreling down on him and the other arrivals, trailed by a half dozen others who'd stripped off the top parts of their suits to tie the arms around their waists. Even in blinding sun none of them was shiny with sweat--it was so damn hot, the sweat evaporated almost before it was even formed. They were all a little grimy, though, the planet plastered to their skin.
"Moore," the man in orange said, ignoring everyone else. "Nice trip? About time you lot got here--the boys are ready for some real food and a few bandages that aren't made from their own clothes." He ignored Cas utterly.
The doctor just grinned. "Keep your pants on, Trail. I've read the reports. I know there hasn't been any real emergencies. You've worked with Peters before, right? And this," she inclined her head toward Cas. "Is Trueway. Your scientist."
Cas held out his hand toward the big man. "Hi. Caspian Trueway."
Trail looked at him in surprise, and then back at Moore, who only nodded. "Hey," Trail said, taking his hand and shaking it. "Wasn't expecting you for another couple of months, to tell the truth." He grinned suddenly, his teeth flashing white. "But we'll make room, don't worry. Not like there's nothing for you to do around here."
Cas' hand was hot from where Trail had shaken it. The man had solid hands. Like the rest of him. "A couple of months? Well that explains why so little's been done."
That earned him a blink and a look of utter confusion from Trail.
"His first trip," Moore said quietly. "Don't damage him."