“I hope this does not disturb you.” Goqowy preferred to keep his eye tentacles withdrawn when they were thinking, only extending them from their central mass and taking in visual information when they had a question or were ready to make a statement. “I’ve been told that some do not know where to look when I have withdrawn my eyes. I personally suggest looking at my center of mass, but I make no judgments if you choose to look elsewhere. After all, how would I know?”

“It’s less a question of where to look than it is a question of what to do, Dr. Goqowy,” Célia said. “I hope you understand that these ethical charges are very serious.”

“And I hope you understand the value of the work we are doing here,” Goqowy replied. “Myopic focus on research and development is the only way to progress understanding. All other considerations are secondary. I can also function as a convenient scapegoat, if you like. Blame me for any ethical oversights, and I will not be perturbed in the least.”

“But this is the sort of thing that gets people up in arms,” said Célia. “Vivisection of sentient beings? Lack of informed consent? Pressure testing, and-”

“Very well, I see that you are going to insist on being tiresome.” Goqowy extended his tentacles, displaying both his color eyes and his light/dark eyes. “If your people are not interested in my research, I have an offer on file from Rigel IX. They have offered me a lab with full equipment and leave to continue any research. Only inertia and the bother of moving have kept me here. If you like, I can take them up on this offer, which includes my staff and in-progress data.”

Célia, flabbergasted, could only stutter “B-but…!”

“I learned long ago that the ignorant are constantly interested in betraying the best interests of science and learning,” Goqowy continued. “I never start a new position without a firm offer for another in reserve. It’s hoe I came to be here. Now, if there’s nothing else, I have to dissect someone in an hour.”

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