“Where you from?”
“The Boeshane Peninsula, sir.”
“Boeshane Peninsula. A Shaney from Boe.” The captain grinned. “How’d a nice kid like you come out of a godforsaken salt marsh like Boe?”
He tried not to show that his feathers were ruffled. “Completely by accident, sir.”
The captain looked at him. “We don’t get too many from Boe. Fact, I think you may be the first.” The captain looked at him some more.
He tried not to squirm under the scrutiny.
“How’d you like to be a poster boy?”
He studied the captain’s face to see if he was serious. Seeing he was, he asked, “Any money in it?”
“No. But you’d be famous. Get lotsa tail.”
He couldn’t argue with that. And it didn’t turn out to be that much trouble anyway; some people took some pictures of him in his uniform from several different angles, smiling, stern, hair combed, hair mussed. Then they said Thank You and We’ll Let You Know, and he thought that was the end of it.
The poster started showing up around town a few weeks later; a computer manipulation of him, wearing the Time Agents’ uniform, his jacket unzipped and his hair windblown, grinning rakishly, striking a combat stance that prominently displayed a leather wrist strap. In the background was the ocean and the elegantly designed spaceport/seaport where he had grown up, which also happened to be the only widely-known landmark of the Boeshane Peninsula. It was a very dashing picture, he thought. In it, Boe hardly looked at all like a godforsaken salt marsh.
If he’d known how mercilessly his teammates were going to tease him about being a pretty boy, he might never have agreed in the first place. The almost nonstop ribbing and pranks from the men and women in his barracks grated at first. After a while he learned to give back as good as he got.
Then the poster that featured him began to get international attention. Then the product endorsements started, and after that the money started to come in. The laughter stopped after that.
His image on the poster began to be associated with a devil-may-care attitude, and the Boeshane Peninsula with producing tough, robust young men and women. Actors and models who wanted to cultivate this image for themselves would fake the Shaney accent and say they were from Boe. And the face of Boe himself was the spokesperson for the Time Agency, and people joined up.
And just as his captain had predicted at the very beginning, he did get lots of tail.