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Sam Kent was many things, but she was not a businessperson.


Frankly, she wasn't really that good an actor either, and so she had not been able to help feeling a little unsettled at Captain LoAmi's instructions to Sam SemaJ's away team. The whole idea was to learn about the "Armour" group whom they had followed from Hamaria, find out about the "cannery" business they ran using Hamarian stock, and just generally go undercover and get the facts by pretending to be potential buyers.


Not exactly your typical first contact.


It was hard not to fidget as Sam SemaJ opened discussions with the Armour representative, Morehl, who had been waiting to greet them. Had this been a diplomatic contact, she might have been more comfortable -- she had been indirectly involved in enough of them in her life that she knew that sort of procedure. But it wasn't. It was an undercover operation, it was a business contact, it was a military investigation, it was everything but the things she was used to.


Theoretically the difference between a business contact and a diplomatic contact weren't staggering -- both required a certain guarded openness, negotiation, discussion, exchange of ideas, formality. But it sure felt different. She felt uncomfortable, exposed, like she'd been placed onto the wrong team by accident.


She expected to feel relieved when Morehl finished with any pleasantries and got down to the business of showing them his wares. At least then she'd have a situation to analyze with a scientific eye -- that was something she could handle.


Of course she'd never actually before had to scientifically analyze the remains of a race she knew to be sentient laid out before her in the manner of a pork chop.


It rather startled her how much it upset her actually. It wasn't like the display lacked particularly in the way of taste -- if you assumed you were looking at the same sort of display a butcher back on Earth might have had out. But the knowledge was there and could not be averted -- these had been sentient beings, beings of a race she had spoken to only a few days before. Somewhat naive sentient beings it was true, and ones who saw no harm in this practice, but sentient beings nevertheless.


Perhaps it was the fact that she already had some definite moral ambiguity about their place in this whole situation. Perhaps it was just Morehl's easy manner of greeting them, the careless sort of approach and discussion.


Whatever it was, though Sam kept her face steady and listened with all the poise she could muster, she definitely was feeling distinctly ill.

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