To requisition anything at all required an act of skilful and aggressive diplomacy in handling the administrators.
All they could obtain was a double-beam oscilloscope and an audio-frequency Hewlett-Packard oscillator.
They even had to fight for this, first being fobbed off with an inferior one, and having to demand something better from SCU3's Controller, Colonel Maltby.
For Alan, the process was as baffling as it ever was for Alice in the Looking Glass shop, trying to locate what she needed on the White Queen's shelves.
Dealing with Maltby on the telephone drove Alan to extremes of nervousness, and people remarked upon how his speech, halting at the best of times, was on these occasions an almost indecipherable scrambling operation itself.
He hated the showmanship that was required in negotiating for equipment.
It was forever his bitter complaint that more adept players—'Charlatans', 'Politicians', 'Salesmen'—would get their way not through expertise but through clever talk.
He still tended to expect reason to prevail as if by magic.