Bulvenorg sighed deeply. "So," he said sweetly, "the dispatch of eighteen ships to such a distance, and their deployment over such a peri...
Bulvenorg sighed deeply. "So," he said sweetly, "the dispatch of eighteen ships to such a distance, and their deployment over such a period of time, has demonstrated one thing, clearly, at least: that instrumentation is a waste of time. For, if a vice-admiral knows so handily which instrument recordings are valid and which invalid—even though the instruments have been very carefully chosen by experts for the particular conditions of that time and place—why do we not simply let vice-admirals, or perhaps even second helpers to janitors, sit at home and prognosticate what the instruments are going to record?"
The officer trembled with rage. "Sir, I appeal to any competent judge—"
Bulvenorg controlled his own anger and leaned forward across the desk. "You have already set yourself up as the judge, in your own mind at least. But let us not waste time on detours. Did the instrument not record quite properly the subsequent passages on patrol of several of your own ships?"
"And did it not yield correct data as to their size, speed, and altitude?"
"It did, sir. However—"
"And had it not, during your precious patrols over the planet, worked perfectly?"
The officer stirred in his chair as if he could hardly keep himself in it.
Bulvenorg spat out, "True?"
"True, sir. Sir, if I may speak—"
Bulvenorg spread his arms apologetically. "Pardon me if I gave you the impression that you did not have permission to speak! Indeed, I have been trying for a quarter of a sheg to get you to utter one word of sense!".