The anagathics intention form I had to file as well. I debated about it but then I simply decided to head over to the Anagathics Research Project people and ask for some direction. My problem was normal anagathics treatments can be taken as early as age 30. This retards the aging process and allows people to live longer. The downside is that organizations do not offer mustering out benefits for the terms that one is on anagathics. You get longer life but lose benefits and on top of all that anagathics are expensive. The thing is that I would not have the expense for purchasing anagathics but losing the benefits would be a little concerning. The people at the Project however eventually put it this way what better way to keep my cover on my condition than to say I am using anagathics. I could simply tell people I had been remarkably well-preserved before I started and they had a good affect on me. I filed the form with the Scout Service stating my intention to use anagathics.
This lead me to enter into a second agreement with the Anagathics Research Project. They would allow me to come in once a year to pretend to get anagathics treatments, I would allow them to probe and prod me again and in return they would make up for whatever benefits I would lose from the Scout Service for using anagathics. I signed the dotted line and went back to work which the Republic Scout Service decided to honor my transfer and I found myself in the Exploration sub-branch. Exploration is probably the most dangerous of the sub-branches of the Field branch of the Scout Service. They are the sub-branch that goes into the unknown or mostly unknown to take a look. Exploration teams have to be self-sufficient and ready for anything.
Much like when I entered Survey from Communications, I was assigned to a training school where I spent the first year of my term. This time I did not fight the assignment to Contact School which is basically about first contact with new groups, societies and alien races. The training was pretty intense for a year and what it involved was a lot of different and odd social interactions and situations. You might find yourself dealing with local sub-cultures one day trying to infiltrate a gang of smugglers and the next day you would be the guest at a state dinner having to be on your best manners and rubbing shoulders with aliens. You had to be flexible. I learned to maneuver in society and that was very helpful in my next year of service.
I found myself as a Scout Liaison to a world that had very interesting customs. I spent the entire time using all my skills to basically engage in a special mission to gain some information the Republic was after. In short I was a spy and I loved every minute of it. The only thing that was tricky about this assignment was that the planet’s society was absolutely steeped in bribery. I learned to bribe with the best of them and even though I took a lot of risks I was never once suspected of being what I was. I was never really close to danger but I had a lot of fun. I was pulled out of the assignment when I accomplished most of the objectives.
My third year of the term I found myself back on a ship. I was truly now exploring as the ship I was assigned to was a team of explorers scheduled to hit six systems over the year. It was an exploratory sweep of the edge of the subsector and I was captain and team leader. I was still pretty young at the time for a team leader, so I actually picked people who were similar age to myself. My assistant team leader was a man who had been in the scouts for three terms and Exploration his whole career and so was my exploration expert. I found a young engineer who was very knowledgeable and quite pretty when I met her. Finally I selected my scientist who was an expert in both alien environments and linguistics. He was a young guy fresh out of college and his first term barely complete. He was also somewhat knowledgeable in medicine and that gave me a ship’s medic. We were thankful for all that though when we had a very close brush with death.
We were in our third month looking at a system that was quite hostile. The main planet possessed a tainted atmosphere so a breathing mask was required. It had once been industrialized and then abandoned by someone. Who we could not tell at first but then my scientist figured out that it had been a human society but they had basically destroyed themselves in a war whose weapons were biologically but had played out long ago. What we didn’t know was that they had left behind several surprises and one of them was simply a conventional explosive that went off near our ship. It hit us with enough concussive force that it took the grav modules struggled for several seconds to compensate. I decided to investigate so we could avoid these things in the future and I ordered Vacc Suits on and I was glad I did because almost immediately as we approached the crater, our scientist began to pick up biological threats. We made it back to the ship airlock and went through decontamination and got the hell out. The rest of the sweep was a challenge in Navigation skills and I definitely improved on that.
My team credited my quick thinking for being saved and included it in their reports. I had maintained a professional relationship with all of them but my engineer and explorer expert coupled up pretty early on. The problem with my scientist from a lust point of view was that he was married to his work. I spent the enter year celibate with the exception of servicing myself from time to time to keep the edge off. The last week though I insisted my young scientist get a proper sendoff and showed up at his door wearing only an overcoat which I promptly removed once inside and ordered him to engage in an important sendoff tradition of Scout Service teams. He complied and then the rest of the week he was noticeably less interested in his work, at least at night before he went to sleep. My good relationships with my crew and quick thinking got me a promotion to Assistant Supervisor (RS-7).
My last year of my term was a little involved. I wasn’t contacted for a couple of weeks about my last assignment but then I was ordered to report to the base commander’s office. He announced that given my last two years service, he had been authorized to offer me a position in the Bureaucracy Branch. I could refuse this time but if I was offered it again, I could not refuse. I took the offer right then and there and was promoted based my previous two years of service to full Administrator (RS-12). I was then assigned temporarily for the last year of my term to the Technical sub-branch of the Bureaucracy. This kept me on Aurora for the next year as they sent me to technical school. I spent the year learning computers and electronics. Which was good because it took me that much closer to being a complete starship operator. Now all I needed was some knowledge of gravitic and communication technology.
I signed my re-enlistment papers without a second thought. I just wanted out of the Technical Branch so I applied for a transfer. I was now thinking that I might be able to use some of my skills in Operations but you never know. In any case, I found myself with more responsibility but that came with more pay and more opportunity. The problem was I was even more at the whims of the Scout Service. Those in the Bureaucracy are not as numerous as those in the Field so it is much more of need based assignment process. The Scout Service would place me where they wanted me.