November 22 , 2008

The Lani People


The boxed ad in the opportunities section of the Kardon Journal of Allied Medical Sciences stood out like a cut diamond in a handful of gravel. "Wanted," it read, "Veterinarian—for residency in active livestock operation. Single recent graduate preferred. Quarters and service furnished. Well-equipped hospital. Five-year contract, renewal option, starting salary 15,000 cr./annum with periodic increases. State age, school, marital status, and enclose recent tri-di with application. Address Box V-9, this journal." Jac Kennon read the box a second time. There must be a catch to it. Nothing that paid a salary that large could possibly be on the level. Fifteen thousand a year was top pay even on Beta, and an offer like this for a new graduate was unheard of—unless Kardon was in the middle of an inflation. But Kardon wasn't. The planet's financial status was A-1. He knew. He'd checked that immediately after landing. Whatever might be wrong with Kardon, it wasn't her currency. The rate of exchange was 1.2-1 Betan. A five-year contract—hmm—that would be seventy-five thousand. Figure three thousand a year for living expenses, that would leave sixty-plenty of capital to start a clinic. The banks couldn't turn him down if he had that much cash collateral. Kennon chuckled wryly. He'd better get the job before he started spending the money he didn't have. He had 231 credits plus a few halves, tenths, and hundredths, a diploma in veterinary medicine, some textbooks, a few instruments, and a first-class spaceman's ticket. By watching his expenses he had enough money to live here for a month and if nothing came of his efforts to find a job on this planet, there was always his spaceman's ticket and another world
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