Lance came out of the shop with a new robotic arm. He was looking at it like a baby. I smirked, a cover-up for a smile that I never allowed to penetrate my shield of nonchalance, even in Lance's presence.

"How does it feel to be in one piece again?" I asked.

"Great. It's better than the old one. More indestructable and..." I tuned out. I was rather more listening to everything around us. The science team was chattering excitedly over a rock they had in a sealed plastic bag. They were scanning it with a strange, beeping, flashing device.

I meandered over, watching. Then they picked a strange flower from between the cracks in the sidewalk. One of them took a scalpel-like instrument and cut it along the side. A clear ooze dribbled from out of it. Then they got all excited. They were talking over one another, but finally I heard some of the conversation.

"Yes, yes, try it!"

"Of course it'll work!"

"What are the dangers?"

And before I could stop them, one had held the dribbling plant over their mouth, and drank some of the liquid. "Stop!" I cried. "We're supposed to protect you from those that could cause you harm, but we can't really protect you from being stupid."

"I'm sorry, but any clear sap from a plant means it's drinkable and may provide nutrients."

"This ain't home. And that is not certain for here, is it?" I said, but again they were talking to one another. I walked over to Lance, who was trying out his new robotic arm.

"So, anything else we have to do, other than babysit stupid scientists?" I asked. "They just think that everything can be solved by research and peace. It irks me."

The End

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