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Shadow Tide [IC]
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  1. #1

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    A light mist of snow is thrown up by the shuttle's engines as it slows in its vertical descent upon the Kartketh Rift Research Facility's landing platform. The viewscreens mounted in the main cabin began to cast a cerulean light into the room upon first approach of Ando Prime's icy expanses, and now this light has become quite stark. On the starboard screens, one can see the immense transparasteel dome of the KRRF rising like a bubble in the surrounding immense ice sheet.

    The landing mechanisms can be heard faintly, the struts descending, the wings lifting. Renna Mave,stands up and moves toward the screen. Speaking for the first time since the two new researchers had embarked at Fallen, she points at the viwescreen, indicating the ion charges winding about above the dome, "Atmospheric condensers.... Dr. Halkus' idea. See, AP's ice is oceanic. You can't drink the water. There's fresh water, but it's all locked up in ice, too -- dry as Tatooine out there. That condenser charges the water in the air, drawing it down over the dome like a miniature thunderstorm. All that water rolls down the dome to collectors that channel it through a filtration process. The mechanism has a bit too much poetry to it, if you ask me, but it tastes great."

    There is a smile in her voice, but not on her face, as she says this. Slim, she moves within her parka as if it were a shell. Her hair is tied in a tight bun on top of her head, and a rusty-wire of it has come loose to fall to her left eye. She tucks it behind her ear, and moves toward the rear of the craft.

    "Okay, boys, this is it," she says, and the passengers feel the landing struts touchdown. "Grab your things. Welcome to paradise."

    The loading ramp descends, and a sharp gust blows in on the disembarking passengers. Though not opulent, the shuttle's cabin seems especially comfortable now at the prospect of stepping onto the awaiting world of ice, stone ridges, and metal structures.
    Last edited by Aluco; 5 December 2011 at 09:30 PM.

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    Since graduation, Calisia had been busy working aboard an observatory array orbiting on the dark side of Byblos' moon, the satellite's shadow shielding it from the deafening EM noise pumped out by a population of one hundred and sixty-four billion. The array was welcomingly peaceful - the press of bodies on Byblos itself stirring up uncomfortable childhood memories he seldom visited - and while the small installation lacked a pool he got plenty of swimming practice in the zero-G sections and was able to focus on the application of all he had studied. Or that had been the idea. In practice it was routine work and little actual research was done: all the data the observatory gathered being streamed back via the moon's relays to the planet itself. Thankfully it wasn't dark: the corridors kept well lit and warm to ward off madness that might set in in such a remote installation. Thus he jumped at the offer of a transfer, especially to work under the eminent doctor Gregor Halkus, and soon found himself aboard a transport to Falleen.
    He passed the time during transit making short diary entries with his holorecorder (an activity which had helped him maintain his sanity aboard the Byblos observatory) and studying in his quarters: reading up on both Falleen and his ultimate destination of Ando Prime. Falleen was an alien homeworld: humanoid in form yet a reptilian breed, they had taken part in the alien rebellion against the Old Republic and it set his heart at ease to see the wedge-shaped Imperials vessels hanging in high orbit over the planet, now a member of the First Galactic Empire. He found he had no time to put any of his research on Falleen into use (no great loss, he surmised) as, almost as soon as he docked, he had to grab his kit-bag and rush to catch the shuttle on to Ando Prime, flashing his credentials to the security officers at the shuttle's bay.
    Dumping his bag on the chair next to him he strapped himself in before looking up to take in his surroundings: particularly the other two passengers. One - who would prove to be a woman of few words until just before their landing - was copper-haired and went by the name of Renna Mave. Calisia nodded to her and to the other [Rick] before introducing himself.
    "Calisia Aramathus. Until recently of the University of Byblos, astrophysics faculty. "

    Calisia is a little under six foot, athletically built, with cropped black hair and brown eyes, currently clad in plain trousers, boots and a white and red U-of-B jacket.

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    Rick walks into his dissertation advisers office with rather less confidence than usual. He had received a call from Dr. Amanda Amherst to come to her office as soon as he could. The call surprised him becuase he was just going to her office to deliver his dissertation, which although he had finished it about year early he had been working on it since halfway through the masters degree program. So he had spent 2 years working on it, although many of the other grad students thought he was nuts, the hard work was paying off now.

    He walked into Dr. Amherst's office and surprised her by turning in his dissertation. she smiled and had told him that this was actually a rather good coincidence as she had just come across a opportunity to get your field work done. she smiled when I rolled my eyes, since I had contested that since I did field work regularly at the site I had found when I was a kid. But for some reason they had told me that did not count. Although he had appealed the decision to the Corelian System University
    Panel on Graduation requirements. Which was a big deal and everyone was surprised at since I was usually the laid back type.

    Dr. Amherst had went on to tell me that an opportunity had come up for an expedition on Ando Prime. That the Empire had not said what is was but that they needed an archaeologist preferably a grad student. Although some other faculty have wanted to send a couple of others none of them could go becuase of dissertation work. I had smiled at that point, becuase Dr. Amherst had been the only faculty adviser that was willing to take me on becuase of the Topic of my dissertation. Since then Dr.Amherst had been Promoted to the head of the archaeology Department at the university mainly becuase of my interesting work on the "Commonalities of the Creation of the Universe according to the cultures and religions that Populate it". I had also manage to tie it in to the Intelligent Design Theory that some other people in other disciplines had come up with.

    "Well" I had said " Sure, why not, Although it was once told to me by a cargo captain that it was, and I quote "A cold icy hell hole with absolutely no redeeming features at all", I have nothing else to do and I would like to see it for myself if only to see if that captain was right"

    At that Point she had smiled really big and I heard some people behind me. When I turned around I saw the entire panel that I had appealed to. The Head of the panel stepped up and said "Congratulations Doctor Richard Johnson, you just graduated" after being stunned I had said "But I just Turned in my Dissertation how could I be a doctor already?" The panel head smiled and said "Your last draft was entered as your final dissertation draft and now that you have passed this test you are now a doctor"

    After that it was a whirl wind of activity to finish things up, pack for the trip and a short visit to his parent and siblings on Corelia before catching a transport to Falleen.

    He Passed the time researching Ando Prime, major cities, demographics, starports, maps, industries, major new projects, and the like things he downlaoded into one of his data-cards, just in case. Once on the shuttle to Ando Prime, with his kit bag and satchel. once he had a seat on the shuttle, he listened politely while the guy introduced himself and then he said "Nice to meet you, I'm Richard Johnson, and until I got on a transport to get here, a grad student and now graduate of the University of Duros in archaeology."

    [Richard is lanky with toned muscles and just shy of 6 feet tall. He has short coppery brown brown hair and deep Emerald green eyes. He is wearing Black trousers, brown utility belt, a Blue pullover shirt, Cold weather boots, and a Black leather Jacket with its zip-in cold weather lining currently zipped out.]

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    Cali smiled in a friendly manner at the other's greeting.

    He moved over to the view screen as Renna explained about the towers above the domelike structure they approaching. He understood the principles she was explaining, but had never seen them put to use. The information on the planet's atmosphere was surprising too and he filed it away mentally.

    "Okay, boys, this is it. Grab your things. Welcome to paradise."
    He shivered involuntarily as the chilling gust swept into the passenger cabin, and zipped up his jacket, hoping that the facilities were well heated...if not then he'd need some proper cold weather kit. Quickly.
    Blowing out his cheeks, he descended the ramp.

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    Rick stood and listened intently on the what Renna said. He smiled on the part about the atmospheric condensers. He understood somewhat how they worked, having built several water collectors back home for farmers in more arid regions, although he had never seen it implemented in quite this way. If that was anything to go by then this cold would be a freezing cold, which would mean...
    "I am going to need better cold weather gear" Rick said as he collected his kit bag and satchel and followed the other two down the ramp onto the landing pad.

  6. #6

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    Dull needles of cold prick at the exposed surfaces of your skin as you step from the ramp onto the landing platform and step toward the facility entrance. The dome is a slightly green translucent immensity that stands in contrast to the white dusted grand and dark stone outcroppings. These mountainous protrusions are actually the tops of colossal rises that form the walls of the undersea canyon -- the walls of the Kartketh Rift.

    Renna stops and points back, past where you've come, at something in the distance beyond the shuttle. "See where the rises come together. You can see why a structure would be placed there, back when this was all jungle. "

    Looking at the place she has indicated, it is impossible to miss the drilling platform, roughly 600 meters out on the ice. There are a dozen, exceptionally large, humanoids moving about on the drilling stage. Several are harnessed and pulling large crates to a waiting speeder skiff. Though it's difficult to determine at this distance, the large humanoids could be wearing brown fur jumpsuits, or are covered in hair. Exceptionally large in contrast to the other humanoids that can be seen moving around and among the furred beings. These human-sized individuals carry batons that occasionally crackle with blue threads of light, echoes in miniature of that storm contained in the horns rising in arcs over the KRRF.

    "It's a very defendable position," Renna continues. There's a hint of Coruscant in her accent, and something else. "A ground force could enter from the mouth of the rift," pointing her gloved hand in the direction of the dome, toward the mouth of the rift. "But, reaching their objective -- our discovery -- would still require a seven-hundred meter climb up one meter wide stairs. And, of course with the technology of the time, the structure was unreachable from the other side of those peaks." She's pointed to the rises beyond the former drilling platform, her breath is a string of mist, and she looks at the landscape perhaps admiringly.

    "Beneath that drilling platform.... I'm not sure if it's a temple or a fortress, but what we've found, what's down there.... Well, you'll just have to see it." She begins walking toward the dome's entrance again. "Sorry," she says. "You two must be freezing. You will find cold weather gear in your quarters."

    Another twenty paces before you is a four-by-four meter blast door.

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    Calisia gritted his teeth against the chill of the wind, suppressing a curse.

    His attention was taken from the cold by Renna's explanations of their surroundings, and the confusion they elicited in him...

    That there was a drilling platform upon the icy field was no great surprise, but his eyes lingered on the tall, lumbering aliens - for what else could they be? - which worked upon it, under the eyes of more reasonably-sized figures. The occasional actinic flash from these smaller beings suggested to Cali either photography or, considering the presence of the colossi, stun weapons.
    He hoped his work wouldn't take him too close to whatever was happening on that structure.



    "It's a very defendable position. A ground force could enter from the mouth of the rift, but, reaching their objective -- our discovery -- would still require a seven-hundred meter climb up one meter wide stairs. And, of course with the technology of the time, the structure was unreachable from the other side of those peaks."
    Defendable position...reach their objective...one meter wide stairs...this last comment brought the drilling platform colossi back to his mind. What had he gotten himself into?

    "Beneath that drilling platform.... I'm not sure if it's a temple or a fortress, but what we've found, what's down there.... Well, you'll just have to see it."
    Well that confirmed it: they would be heading over to the drilling platform. This sent a chill up Calisia's spine which wasn't a result of the weather.
    He found himself speaking, stopped upon the threshold.
    "Defendable positions? One meter wide steps? A temple under...under there? Excuse me, Renna, but just what is going on here? What are we getting into?"

  8. #8

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    "Defendable positions? One meter wide steps? A temple under...under there? Excuse me, Renna, but just what is going on here? What are we getting into?"
    "Oh! When the structure we've been excavating was built, none of this ice was here. In fact, the water that forms the ice in this whole region was someplace else on the planet.... Continental drift, climate evolution, that kind of thing. I leave the planetology to people on the information processing team.

    And there's nothing for us to defend down there," she says, reaching out as if to pat Calisia's shoulder reassuringly. "It's just that the position they chose.... The builders of the structure we've been excavating chose an excellent position for the safety of who and whatever they'd housed. See, that platform is almost directly above the structure.

    And you can see the rocky points coming up through the ice just behind it," she indicates with her gloved hand. "Well, those little hills are the tops of some pretty substantial mountains. They are also the enclosure, a point, or bottom of the V-shape of this canyon."

    Ando, the planet's single life-giving star, is making it's way across a pale sky to the horizon, and by its position, you can see that the drilling platform is almost directly south of the KRRF dome.

    "Now, see those stony teeth pointing up from the ice out there? About a kilometer apart?" She points a bit northwest, then quickly northeast. "Those are the top of the V. See how the peaks come closer together as they reach that point just behind the drilling platform?" She indicates the jutting stone protrusions that border left and right of the KRRF. "Well, whoever built the structure down there, back when this was all jungle -- before AP feel into a permanent ice age -- they planned for a strategic position. Which tells us that -- back when the planet was more temperate -- the prehistoric inhabitants of the structure beneath the ice had to worry about defending themselves from ground assaults. So, it could be a temple -- judging from the artifacts we've been finding in the upper rooms -- or, it could be a fortress, judging by its position. Could be both." She shrugs, smiling at the possibilities.

    "I can promise you that we will find out," she says turning back toward the dome. "Dr. Halkus has had engineering teams here for nearly four months. In that time the KRRF has been put up, and 'the lattice' was put up around the structure below. It holds the water back. You'll be able to explore the place as if it were on the surface, first thing in the morning, actually. It's been a lot of work, but we've had the right kind of help, and," she says matter-of-factly, "well, Halkus is a genius."
    Last edited by Aluco; 10 December 2011 at 09:15 PM.

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    Rick Looked over at the large humanoids, poor souls, he thought, to bad I can't do anything for them right now.

    He listened to both Cali and Renna while they talked about the structure they where going to investigate. It made sense he thought, even against troops armed with muskets or rifle would have a very hard time assaulting it heck even canons or artillery would not be much good. Very interesting.

    Just then another blast of colder air came across and sent chills down his spine.

    "That is very interesting, but for now can we get inside before we turn into a Popsicle. Also we can get things planed out and briefed?" Richard said this hoping to get some kind of action going.

  10. #10

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    You smell ozone as you come closer to the four-by-four meter blast door that opens into the KRRF dome. The foyer is perhaps an inactive airlock in which you face an interior three-meter-by-three-meter blast door. When on the foyer, the large exterior door slides downward, it's hydraulics exhale smoothly, and its seals can be heard locking when it has slid into place.

    The three-by-three door before you whooshes upward and open onto six permacrete steps descending onto a capacious, well lit, open work space. The warmth of this interior space is immediately refreshing. Upon first glance it could be a promenade, or commons, at any Core University. Soon, though, it is evident that all those briskly milling about are busy at work: exchanging ideas under knit brows, showing one another data, walking purposefully from one table to another with flimsi missives in hand or underarm, the glow of data screens uplighting inquisitive faces. Only a few of these people working under the dome are wearing white coats.

    The space under the dome would be perfectly round if not for the wall on the other side of the expanse of floor, computer terminals, work tables, and eager young thinkers. That wall in the distance is obviously the exterior of a two-story room. The upper level is enclosed by a glass wall, and a catwalk balcony extends its length to wind down on each side to the main floor with half-spiral steel grate steps. The lower floor of this structure is faced by seven evenly spaced doors -- probably lift entrances; one might be a stairwell.

    A tall, lean, white-haired man of strong carriage is reading from a datapad while descending the right half-spiral stairs. He wears blue slacks, and an immaculately clean and pressed collareless, fully-buttoned, double-breasted lab coat.

    Renna, indicating the doors beneath the glass enclosure, says, "Those are lifts, or you can use the stairwell, to get to the labs and dormitories below."

    Rain has been pouring steadily onto the dome that is, at its apex, more than thirty meters above. The white-haired man looks up from his datapad, waves at Renna. She waves back. He stops at one of the consuls where a white smocked woman sits , and he presents her a view of his datascreen, points out something on her screen, and then points back at his own to offer a comparison on some intricacy of data or another. They each smile. He turns from this worker and begins walking in Renna's direction. It's a whole eighty paces to Renna, and he is cordial with all he passes. Reaching her, his smile widens.

    "Welcome back, Renna," his long fine fingers give her shoulder a warm squeeze. He then looks from her to each of you, and says, "So, who are our two new friends?" His face is hard angles, but there is a warmth of sincerity, perhaps a practiced triage-manner in his eyes that conveys ease and self-assurance.

    She introduces each of you, saying, "This is Dr. Halkus," And he offers his hand in greeting.

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    Rick looks around the dome taking it all in and noted the place where the stairwell is, might be useful later. Rick smiles as he is introduced to Dr. Halkus. "It is nice to get to meet you in person." Rick says. although he was only heard about him from others it was easy to pick up on all the good work he had done.

    Still this whole thing seems to be much bigger than most are letting on. Especially since getting me from Corellia to here is expensive and by the looks of things, all around the galaxy. And only humans, maybe things will get better. Yeah right. Almighty be with me now he thought.

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    The temperature within was a great relief and the atmosphere was more familiar to Calisia. He wasn't totally unaccustomed to snow: he and his family had taken holidays in the lake district of Naboo during the winter in his youthcbefore the Occupation. But the look of the interior was more welcoming and reminded him of the U-of-B.
    Calisia swept his gaze over the interior of the dome, the air of academia-at-work bringing a smile to his face. He could feel this was a place where discoveries were made, science advanced. Something at the back of his mind made him pay particular attention to the other scientists, taking in their heights, builds and - where possible - checking species.
    He recognized Dr. Halkus from his studies and Cali's pulse accelerated a little as the famous scholar advanced toward them. He waited patiently before giving the doctor's hand a firm but warm shake, smiling as he spoke, "It is an honour to meet you, doctor."

  13. #13

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    Halkus shakes hands with each new arrival in turn.
    Rick:"It is nice to get to meet you in person."
    "Yes," he begins, kindly, and almost nervously.
    Calisia:"It is an honour to meet you, doctor."
    "Yes," with a hint of apology in his tone as he speaks to each. "The honor is all mine, really. I'm far more comfortable in an anatomy lab or at work in surgery. It's the engineers, the builders; and those who can read the past from stones who make our work matter here. I'm sure we'll talk more about that soon enough. We're glad you're here. Please enjoy a productive stay at our facility," he says, and steps away -- though it seems more that he is being pulled away by the force of some invisible obligation -- with his hand raised in farewell.

    "Let's get you to your rooms," Renna says. Halkus has left her in a kind of glow, and her smile remains as she leads you to the lifts. Once in the car she explains, "The dome is the hub for information processing. All of the data from the dig site is collected and synthesized there, under the real light. Your labs will get scant light from Ando, and most from tubes."

    You are now well-beneath Ando Prime's ocean surface. The car stops, and though she's told you you're rooms are on level thirty-seven, she steps out on thirty-eight into another large circular room. The square footage of this room is considerably smaller than that under the dome, though an echo of the perimeter now well above. Round tables, each with eight chairs, populate this room, and the service counter to the far right confirms this to be the cafeteria. It is easily over two-hundred meters in diameter, and the encircling outer wall is transparasteel.

    "Meals are also part of your contract," she reminds you, "and the mess is open ten hours a day." She walks just ahead of you between tables, moving toward a second lift door on the opposite side of the room. However, when she nears the center, she veers left, and heads all the way to the outer wall. The space beyond is a slightly cloudy blue-green that is darkening with Ando's setting. There is a deeper darkness further out.

    "That's the V of the rift," Renna states. "On clear days, you can see the outline of the 'lattice,' the other dome that holds the water back from the temple."

    The second door does not open onto a lift tube at all, but rather a well-lit stairwell by which Renna leads you down yet another floor. The door slides open silently onto a narrow hallway that takes you to the center of the tower, a circular space surrounded by twenty-seven doors. Renna indicates two, numbers eight and nine, saying, "These are yours. Your labs are directly below. You can reach them by lift, or the stairs. Though, you're expected to meet with the retrieval team in the Level-One bays -- ocean floor--" she says with a what might have been a wink, "at zero-eight-hundred tomorrow, so I'll leave you to settle in. Welcome to the KRRF! We are glad you're here." She departs.

    The tile floor of the entrance of each room is also that of a kitchenette, complete with a small conservator, small two-burner gasser, and sink. This tile gives way to the white-ish shallow pile carpet of the living space, where there is a sofa doubling as a bed, a desk with a chair and pop-up computer consul. There is also a tightly-spaced refresher with a sonic shower off of this room. The room is wedge-shaped. Narrow at the entrance, it expands as you cross its fourteen meter length to the farthest wall of the living space, a wall which is entirely transparasteel. Without the lights on, a dim aqua glow shimmers over the whole space.
    Last edited by Aluco; 13 December 2011 at 09:38 PM.

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    Though, you're expected to meet with the retrieval team in the Level-One bays -- ocean floor--" she says with a what might have been a wink, "at zero-eight-hundred tomorrow, so I'll leave you to settle in. Welcome to the KRRF! We are glad you're here." She departs.

    The statement that Level One bays where the ocean floor really was interesting. Whoever had this facility built was a more traditional builder, while most human cultures and some alien societies would have labeled the dome level 1 then go down from there leaving the ocean floor the last level, and if there where any beyond that then they would rename it sub level 1 or some such. So this told him something about the people you built this.

    Richard shakes himself out of his thought and looks over at Calisia and says "Hey they probably have some food for us in the conservator, so why so don't we grab our food and drinks and sit down in one and talk a bit before we turn in? I mean I would like to know you better if we are going to be here for any length of time." Hoping he would except simply becuase he was not ready to turn in yet.

    (Edit: I redid the middle paragraph after the clarification from aluco.)
    Last edited by Vice Man; 15 December 2011 at 02:21 PM.

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    Calisia was a little disappointed at doctor Halkus’ rapid departure but Renna was soon guiding them on toward the turbolifts, via which they descended beneath the surface of Ando Prime’s frozen oceanic surface. It immediately brought back childhood memories of tales of the Gungans: the alien species with which the Naboo shared their homeworld. Of course Calisia had never seen Gungan settlements - he had in fact only seen a few Gungan traders in Keren city - but he had heard of their sub-aquatic cities. Vast settlements comprised of bubbles, powered by alien technology. The idea of living in a bubble…a mere membrane of force field…was a disconcerting thought and he was comforted by the thick transparisteel outer walls of the facility.
    As Renna lead them through the mess hall he glanced out at the darkening depths of ocean beyond the windows, half expecting to see some form of life flitter about…small fish or something, but he saw nothing. Perhaps that was reassuring.
    "That's the V of the rift. On clear days, you can see the outline of the 'lattice,' the other dome that holds the water back from the temple."
    Calisia’s brow furrowed slightly at this, but he did not comment. He hoped the dome she spoke of was solid rather than a force field…and if that he hoped it was at least Imperial technology.
    "These are yours. Your labs are directly below. You can reach them by lift, or the stairs. Though, you're expected to meet with the retrieval team in the Level-One bays -- ocean floor--at zero-eight-hundred tomorrow, so I'll leave you to settle in. Welcome to the KRRF! We are glad you're here."
    He nodded and smiled in thanks, his mind already wondering what the current local time was. He’d have to check for a chronometer in his quarters. Hyperspace travel always messed up one’s circadian rhythms and, while he was still young and would adapt quickly enough, the lack of natural light was not going to help.
    "Hey they probably have some food for us in the conservator, so why so don't we grab our food and drinks and sit down in one and talk a bit before we turn in? I mean I would like to know you better if we are going to be here for any length of time."
    He nodded back to Richard before jerking his head toward room 8.
    “Just let me dump my gear. Give me five minutes and I should have something for us to eat.”
    A full stomach would help him sleep and - hopefully - get him adjusted before work started the next day.

    He dropped his bag on the carpet of his room, peering out at the water beyond the windows. He wouldn’t get much swimming done in that water. Have to ask about a gym or a pool tomorrow…thermal hot springs? perhaps that was a bit too much wishful thinking.
    Checking the convervator he found cling-wrapped blue-ringed sea crabs. He tore the packing off one, gave it a careful sniff and stuck it in the reheater in the room’s small kitchenette. He also pulled out a bottle of water for himself - the fizzy root beer wouldn’t help him sleep -, a second bottle and a root beer in case Richard wanted one, and set everything on the small table.
    Lastly he took off his boots and socks and scrunched up his toes in the deep-pile carpet. A tri-D movie he once watched told him that it helped after long flights and, perhaps it was psychosomatic, but it seemed to do the trick.

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