“Captain Yassal?” The Terran commander offered a polished grin and his hand. “Commander Jack Forester. Friends call me Jack.”
She took his hand, making her handshake firm. “Lahn. Captain Evlyn Lahn. Good to meet you, Commander Forester.” They froze a second as Lahn didn’t reciprocate the offer to be addressed informally. The commander let the expectation dissolve with an easy chuckle.
“The Admiral was just sitting down for lunch, Captain. Care to join us for a bite?”
“Thank you, I already ate.” But he was already guiding her out of the foyer into a small dining room, seating her in a free chair between two other brass in uniform. The array of food -- enough to feed twice again the number that sat at the table – was heaped on a crowd of delicate blue-veined Deferi porcelain platters. The matching place settings were framed by polished silverware that reflected the ornate glitter of a small chandelier. The officers introduced themselves between mouthfuls of food with names like Buck, Scooter, and Ace. Only the man at the head of the table, lean and sandy-haired, paused to carefully assess Lahn. His infectious quiet silenced the table, broken only as they all stood when he did, facing Lahn.