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Ensign John Grimes of the Federation Survey Service is fresh out of the Academy and as green as they come. After boarding the Interstellar Transport Commission's merchant spaceship Delta Orionis as a passenger bound for deep space, Grimes finds himself involved, reluctantly, in salvaging another ship which has been attacked by space pirates. It doesn't help that his decision-making process has been influenced by the more than attractive Jane Pentecost (and Grimes is as green with women as his he is as a spaceman), or as a consequence of having been put under guard as a mutineer. As much as the odds will be stacked against him, Grimes soon begins to earn his infamous reputation as a 'lucky bastard.'