Sometimes the most diligent and loyal thing an old man can do is fumble, drink beer, and let a young man get into trouble....
We're almost there, my boy." The big, gray-haired man who would be Lieutenant Dale Hunter's superior-Strategic Service's Special Agent, George Rockford-opened another can of beer, his fifth. "There will be intrigue already under way when this helicopter sets down with us. Attempted homicide will soon follow. The former will be meat for me. You will be meat for the latter."
Rockford was smiling as he spoke; the genial, engaging smile of a fond old father. But the eyes, surrounded by laughter crinkles, were as unreadable as two disks of gray slate. They were the eyes of a poker player-or master con man.
"I don't understand, sir," Hunter said.
"Of course not," Rockford agreed. "It's a hundred light-years back to Earth. Here on Vesta, to make sure there is an Earth in the future, you're going to do things never dreamed of by your Terran Space Patrol instructors there. You'll be amazed, my boy."