We sat in rapt attention as the lead scientist continued his demonstration.
“At just two millimeters in thickness, the Burgenstar gasket represents the current state of the art in the prevention of dispersed-by-air particles from being transferred across a barrier in either direction. In short, we can’t smell them, which has a positive effect on our quality of life, and they can’t smell us, which has an extremely positive effect on life itself.”
A slender hand shot up from someone seated a few rows ahead of me and to the left, amidst the group from the New Era Examiner, my news agency’s primary rival. After being acknowledged, the hand’s owner stood to ask her question.
“Some have argued that the specimens should just be exterminated or at the very least be placed under more secure conditions. How would you respond to that, sir?”
Certainly one of the questions that was on everyone’s mind so it was no surprise that it was going to be asked by someone here today. I was just glad that I didn’t have to burn my one chance with that one, given that my agency, the Changing Times was typically known for much less mainstream statements.
“Well, we of the scientific community feel that extermination is out of the question, since there is still much that can be learned by examination of the specimens. As for moving them to a more secure facility, that is more in the realm of politicians and, of course, the commerce sector which has built up around the display of the specimens to the curious public.”
No news there, these guys were rolling out the accepted answers.
Over the next half hour we engaged in round after round of dodge and weave as questions were met with the expected, status quo answers. I had been able to work in a question about the little known effects of solar flares which formed the basis for my current assignment. The lead scientist took extra time in answering me, latching on to the fact that it apparently didn’t have anything to do with the specimens at all and was therefore a welcome diversion.
Hah, I guess he didn’t realize that I worked for the Changing Times. I’m sure he cringed and took some heat when my headline ran the next day: “Increase in Burgenstar Failures – Solar Flares May Be to Blame”. I’m sure he would have rather I stuck to questions about the Earth specimens instead.