On the alien planet he’d been banished to, former Chiron scientist Scott D’Amour marvelled at what the Fabarian scientist was telling him. “I can’t believe you have so much freedom. You can research whatever you want? You work in, like, a giant playground here.”
“Not quite,” the alien said with an amused flick of the tail. “As you know, Living Machine research was outlawed, and a few other things.”
“But you can think of any idea and just start dong it. No slogging through a funding proposal and waiting for permission.”
“Funding proposal? Do you mean you have to guess how much money your experiments will take ahead of time?”
“Yeah, and more than that. Someone has to decide that what you want to work on will pay off. A certain amount of what we call basic research is allowed, but mostly it’s up to the scientist to prove that their proposed line of experiments will be useful.”
“Wow.” Savna twirled her tail in wonder beside her. “That doesn’t seem like efficient use of brain power. You’re right, here we have other people who look at what we’ve discovered and find uses for it. We focus on the actual science.”
“I wish that before I got kicked off Chiron, I could have just gotten whatever supplies I needed from a huge equipment room whenever I wanted,” D’Amour said, shaking his head.
Savna waved a hand in front of her face as negation. Fabaris didn’t have many face muscles to make expressions with, so Scott knew to watch what her tail and hands were doing. With a weird sort of stiff grin, Savna said, “Well, it’s not quite that good here. Supplies come in four times a year. Get ready for some fist fights in the supply room when the load is dropped. “
“Um – do you mean that literally?”
“Of course. I was in the hospital one time last year fighting for a nano mass spec.”
D’Amour leaned forward. “Did you get it?”
“Yes, I and my colleague got it all right. A lecture on bad behaviour and sharing. We were forced to work out a schedule.”
“Ok, I see where this is going,” Scott said.
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