A satire of dysfunctional government and economic inequality.
Chapter III: Day/Page 22 CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY. . . . The head of the “away team” is Dr. Emeritus Phalan, a molecular biologist specializing in evolutionary genomes, who will be responsible for gathering data on the class-1 life, and other animal life-forms as well, so that LAAC can trace the evolutionary process on the Blue Planet back to the primordial start. Next is Dr. Analore Thrush, a botanist whose pioneering work on plant adaptation, the professor reminds them, earned her the coveted Belon Prize last year. And last is Dr. Livingston Swift, a behavioral and social cosmologist who, as everyone recalls, was one of the Academy’s star pupils not long ago, and recently returned to the Academy as a newly-mint professor. His responsibility is to study the organizational and social structures of the class-1 life-forms.
The head of the “home team,” of course, is the Professor. Joining him as lead technical assistant is Pils Thornston—the bleary-eyed engineer we met earlier in the meeting with the Admiral and IPA Minister—who will be responsible for maintaining the wormhole’s stability, as well as all communication and transportation to and from the Blue Planet. And lastly, he says, but certainly not least, is Sofia Song, who first discovered the missiles and evidence of class-1 life, and who will support the project as lead assistant for all other matters.
Swift—as he preferred to be called, saying the “Doctor” part sounded stuffy—claps his hands gently together in soft applause, smiling at Sofia.
She forces a weak smile back. (I wish he wouldn’t do that.)
There was something about Livingston Swift she disliked. No, not dislike, that is too strong. Something else. He made her uncomfortable, that’s it, even disconcerted at times, though she couldn’t exactly say why.
Most weekends the handsome Harrier, who was a favorite with the students because he was approachable and not much older than them, could be found in the pub off campus sitting like a patrician before plebeians regaling his audience with stories of adventure and intrigue on distant foreign worlds. Sofia saw him at the pub occasionally too, but, unlike the “galactic groupies,” as she called them, who fawned over his every word, she refused to join the beguiled crowd.
He was smart, she conceded that; and after spending the last few years traveling the galaxy, living and working among primitive class-1 life-forms, he certainly knew more about real worlds than most of the ivory-tower professors who were far more versed in the theory of things. He spoke a dozen languages, half of them fluently, and seemed able to learn new ones through osmosis. But there was something about him that rankled and got under her skin.
“Sofia, please come sit here next to me,” the Professor says.
(Oh, no, not right next to Swift.) Sofia takes the empty seat between the Professor and Swift.
Swift leans over, brushes her arm, whispers, “Hi, Sofia. You look nice. How are you doing today?”
“Fine, thanks,” she replies. (Why don’t you just shut up?)
“I’ve asked Sofia to . . .
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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