Author : Angela Reese

I looked up as the door slammed open. “Boss? Bad news?”

“Oh, just one more set of forms to be filled out and added to the packet,” she grumbled, handing me the folder. “Honestly, it is getting harder and harder to get permission for human drug trials. Every time I blink, there are new regulations and restrictions!”

“What is it this time?” I started looking through the paperwork – nothing too complicated, just several pages of requirements that had to be confirmed. And… “Water contamination? What’s this?”

“Oh, someone on the committee read an earlier study in which the results were questioned due to some trace chemicals in the native water supply. Now we have to supply filtered water in any trials of oral medications.” She sat down at her desk and started pulling up files, smirking. “Luckily, I saw the same study, which is why our budget already includes a supply of filtered water. We do have to get all these forms updated to show that, though.”

“And, of course, no one has made the forms available electronically,” I sighed. “You’d think technology was all in our imagination sometimes, the way it gets ignored.” I started filling in the specifics, then handing the forms over for her to sign. “We should be involved in developing and testing entertainment technology. As long as it isn’t actually useful, it’s hugely popular and gets funded for eons.”

She finished signing the paperwork and took the folder over to the scanning station. “At least we can send them back electronically. Let’s be thankful we don’t have to physically send them several hundred miles; we’d be waiting forever.” The papers finished feeding through the scanner, and I took them back from her for filing.

“How long a wait do you think we’ll have?”

“I was assured that a decision would be made as soon as these additions were submitted. Given how urgently this drug is needed, I’m certain we’ll get approval. After all, it has to pass the human trials before we can move on to the next stage. Are we set to go?”

I nodded. “The water and food supplies were fully stocked as of this morning, and the habitat has been cleared of all workers and debris. We’ve installed tech and entertainment to match their level, and I checked the security system myself yesterday. We can leave for Earth to start collecting human subjects as soon as they sign the approvals.”

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