Charwin leaned over their desk, swirling a beaker full of a viscous amber liquid. It was thicker than the syrup of an elpam tree, but it wasn't sweet. The lab reported the liquid was safe for Qwortarian consumption, but it was so sour Charwin doubted anyone would eat it.
This new discovery from the, yet unamed planet on the edge of Qwortar's galaxy didn't stick to the glass either. Sure, it still took forever to pour, but not a single drop of sticky residue remained when Charwin tilted the beaker upside down and waited nearly half an hour for the liquid to drizzle into another beaker.
"Fascinating." A raspy voice followed a beak click from Charwin's doorway.
"Good afternoon," Charwin lowered their beak and eye stalk in respect to their guest. "Inquirius. It is rare to see you outside your library."
"While there are many things you can learn from words, scrawled on paper or in pixels, one must see the world, or worlds, in some capacity, in order to learn more deeply and apply that knowledge."
“Well,” Charwin reached for a stool along the wall. “What have you come here to learn, or apply?”
“Many things.” Inquirius settled on the stool, dipping a freshly grown thin antenna into the elpam syrup. “I wish to learn more about this, about your knowledge and thirst for adventure, while applying my funds for your furthest trip yet.”
“I have a ship, thanks to a generous donor, and I want you to scout out Earth.”
“The newly discovered habitable planet in the Milky Way?” Charwin whistled. “That’s a far trip. Not sure I’d be alive to learn anything ”
“Thus why I’d supply you with one of the first ships with warp drives.”
“Really?” Charwin lifted their eye. “You’ll give me a ship, for… information about Earth?”
“As much as you can get. Just for my library. And no, you will be captain, but I, and my descendants, will technically be the owners of the ship.” Inquirius lifted their antenna, watching the syrup slowly drip back into the beaker. “And your descendants of course, since even with the warp drive…”
“I might not make it back to Qwortar. Depending on how long I research.” Charwin looked at the other odds and ends of their research, dusty findings no one paid much attention too. “If I do this, will you also put my other projects into your library. Rather than let the government hold onto it for nothing.”
“It would be my honor.”
“Let me guess,” Charwin chuckled. “You have a contract already written?”
“I learned at a young age to always be prepared.” Inquirius held out a tentacle. “It is in my office.”
“Then let us go to the library and make this official.” Charwin and Inquirius shook tentacles and then headed to the library.
Word count: 473