I love characters that are enthusiastic about their jobs, especially when it’s areas that most people wouldn’t find interesting. These guys are a lot of fun, simply because they are absolutely fascinated by what they do for a living. No wonder they got chosen for the primary contact team with a new alien race… Vance (the first speaker) is a xenoanthropolgist, Ken is a botanist.
“We’ve arrived just before a period of religious observation. I don’t quite understand the whole concept, but there will be representatives from all the different canajun here. There’s a competitive aspect to it, too. Some sort of goal, or prize, that they all compete for. I can’t get anyone to slow down long enough to explain it all to me, though.”
“That’s gotta be driving you crazy. Crazier.”
“Funny man.” Vance craned his neck to watch the crowd as they laid out what looked like a series of concentric circles surrounding the low pile of wood. “Come on, let’s go up on the hill where I can get a better vantage.” He picked up his equipment and started the trudge back up the hill.
The heavier gravity took its toll before he got to the top. His recorder felt like it had doubled in weight between the start and the finish, and his feet dragged on the ground. At the top of the amphitheatre, he slumped to the ground with a whooshing sound and lay on his back for a minute to catch his breath.
Ken flopped down beside him and brushed his fingers through the ground cover. His eyebrows twitched and he pulled out a sample bag.
Vance propped himself up on his elbows and laughed. “Don’t you already have samples of all this stuff?”
“I don’t recognize this one.” Ken plucked a couple of long, toothed leaves from one plant, then dug into the soil to pull another one in its entirety. “This will do for genetic sampling. I’ll have to come back later and try for enough to transplant in the isolation greenhouse.”
“Next thing, you’re going to be telling us all we have to sleep in the corridors, so you have room for all your plants.”
“Great idea! I’ll let the captain know in tomorrow’s dispatch.”
“Har har.” Vance pushed himself upright, and reached for the video recorder. “Glad I don’t have to lug the other over to its location too. The gravity is killing me.”
“Think of all the muscles you’ll grow.”
“I wish they’d grown in the gym on the way over here.”