A satire of dysfunctional government and economic inequality.
Chapter III: Day/Page 21 CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY. . . .
Sofia feigns a weak smile, remains quiet. (I guess that’s better than nothing.)
“We will coordinate everything from here. You probably know more—No, you do know more than anyone else about the Blue Planet, so your knowledge will be crucial to our success. How does that sound? Are you willing to help me with this project, and then go on your own in the fall?”
“That would be great,” she says cheerlessly, eyes downcast and clearly disappointed. “What would you like me to do?”
“Well, first of all, I’d like you to prepare a brief report, nothing fancy, just an overview of your assessment of the class-1 life there. Oh, and I need it by three o’clock today.”
Sofia stiffens. (By three today!)
“Relax,” he says, seeing her eyes widen. “As I said… nothing fancy. Just jot down some notes on when industrialization started, estimates on their nuclear capabilities, broadcast systems, anything that would help us gauge their technological development. Can you do that, and join us here at three?”
“Sure, but it won’t be much. I’ve mostly only been collecting data so far, not really analyzing it yet, but I’ll do what I can.”
“Thank you, Sofia. I can see you’re disappointed, and again, I’m sorry about that, I wish circumstances were different, but you will be a big help to the team from here. Now if you’ll excuse me, we both have a lot of work to do by three. So I’ll see you back here then.”
He walks around from his desk and escorts her out the door with his arm gently around her shoulder. She feels small in his lanky branching embrace, and he is tempted to kiss her on the top of her head to console her, as he would his granddaughter, but feels it might be misconstrued, so he shakes her hand instead, feels the warm dampness of her slender fingers, notices the gracile talons painted glossy-red. The brilliant light of her emerald eyes sparkles brighter again.
When Sofia returns at three o’clock, the others are already there, seated around the conference table chatting. She slips in quietly, nods to the Professor and his assistant Pils Thornston, then takes a seat near the door.
The Professor begins by saying that, as everyone knows, he has been asked to coordinate the research project to planet 0031929, or, as they now informally call it, the Blue Planet. Everyone there knows each other already, but out of courtesy and habitual procedure he goes through the motion of introducing the various members anyway, beginning with the three people he has asked to go to the planet.
The head of the “away team” is . . .
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW. . . .
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 by Gregory James
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