"Well, Evald, what do you think? Does it strike you that Kennon's sincere or does it sound as though he has something up his sleeve?" "If he does," Blalok said, "I don't know what it could be. I wouldn't take a job on Olympus if you gave it to me." "If he doesn't know about the place," Alexander said thoughtfully, "it's probable that his suggestion was honest. I think it is but I'm not sure.

Working in the fields were dozens of brown-skinned Lani who paused to look up and wave as the jeep sped by. Occasional clusters of farm buildings and the low barrackslike stations appeared and disappeared behind them. "There's about twenty Lani at each of these stations," Blalok said, "They work the farm area under the direction of the stationmaster." "He's a farmer?" "Of course.

There is a special providence that looks over recent veterinary graduates, Kennon reflected as he checked the monthly reports from the Stations. Since the time he had laid down the law to Judson and Blalok, he had had no trouble from the production staff. And for the past four months there had been no further trouble with Hepatodirus. That unwanted visitor had apparently been evicted.

Tell Blalok I'll be seeing him at nine. That's all." "Yes, sir," Goldie said and left the room, her tail curling buoyantly. "A good Lani," Alexander commented. "One of the best. Loyal, trustworthy, intelligent. She's been running Alexandria for the past ten years, and should be good for at least ten more." "Ten? how old is she?" "Thirty." "Thirty years?" Alexander nodded. "Good Lord Lister!

He had no desire for Copper to appear and offer to scrub his back. In his present state of mind he couldn't take it. Possibly he'd get used to it in time. Perhaps he might even like it. But right now he wasn't acclimatized. "Man Blalok called," Copper said as she removed the breakfast dishes. "He said that he'd be right over to pick you up. He wants to show you the operation." "When did he call?"

Lights flared on the deep porch, and the old-fashioned iris door dilated to frame the black silhouette of a stocky, broad-shouldered man. "Good evening, sir," he said. "I was expecting you. That the new vet with you?" "Your pipeline's still working, I see," Alexander said. "Yes, this is Dr. Kennon Evald Blalok I wanted you two to meet." Kennon liked the gray middle-aged man.

"There are differences," the redhead admitted. "After all, we aren't quite alike." "Perhaps I'd better do some reading," Kennon said. "You need me any more?" Jordan asked. "No I think not." "Good. I'll get back. Frankly, I don't like this any better than Blalok or the boss, but I'm low man on that pole. See you later." Kennon chuckled as Jordan left.

There was plenty of work to do if he was going to prepare an adequate plan for utilizing Olympus Station. Jordan went with him, but Blalok stayed behind. It was natural enough. Blalok was the administrator, but Kennon felt uneasy. Nor would he have felt any better if he could have heard what went on after he left. Alexander looked quizzically at Blalok after the door closed behind the two men.

Blalok waved a friendly good night and left the lights on long enough for Kennon to make his way to his quarters. Alexander was seated in a heavily upholstered chair listening to a taped symphony in the stereo, his eyes half closed, an expression of peace on his face. An elderly Lani stood beside him. It was a comfortable picture.

Or has Alexander dragged you into keeping an eye on me because I don't like someone snooping inside my skull?" "It's not that," Blalok said. "It's just " "Oh, don't make excuses. You know and I know the Boss-man is suspicious." Kennon shrugged. "Normally I wouldn't blame him but it's a damned nuisance with things the way they are. All we have is one more bay and a hall to finish but if "