Assignment to White Planet 8069 Chapter two A DOUBTFUL WELCOME
Star Dust Tabloid, September 27, 197
NEW YORK, New York, Earth-- In a surprising turn of events, IGNN’s Damon Slayer will be returning from his recent investigation into the success of White Planet 8069 without even setting foot on the soil of the planet. The cause of this change in plans is unknown, but many rumors are abounding, including ones saying Slayer was involved in some illegal activity and is being force to return for questioning. It was found that he has links to a highly destructive religious group, though involvement in the black market has also been suggested as a possibility. But there are some who say Slayer simply has decided to retire, and is returning to a quiet life outside of the news spotlight. The leader of the White Planet investigation, Commander Randstat, did not respond to our request for more information.
Narrator: The surface of the white planet could be seen clearly from the huge glass window of the shuttle. The hills and valleys were jagged with ice crystals and fascinating frozen formations, but one spot just next to the massive space station was completely smooth and slick. But then the shuttle shifted position a bit and zeroed in on the space station. Now the sight that filled the window was the oddly-colored glass domes that roofed the many connecting areas that formed White Planet’s space station.
Engineer: ::over the intercom:: Prepare for landing! Please find a seat with a lap straps and secure yourself immediately.
Jade: ::surveys the planet with disinterest::
AJ: ::straps in::
Gabrielle: ::straps in and grabs the armrests, holding so tightly that her knuckles turn white. Beads of sweat form on her brow::
Jade: ::leans back in her seat lazily but doesn\'t strap in::
Damian Raen: ::steps into the room lazily; takes a seat that happens to be next to Jade::
Engineer: Ok, people, we can\'t get clearance to land until everyone is strapped in.
Jade: ::rolls her eyes and straps in::
AJ: ::looks around::
Jade: ::ignores Damian::
Engineer: One more belt needs strapped.
Damian Raen: ::straps in::
Engineer: Ok, here we go!
Gabrielle: ::gulps and tries to keep her stomach where it belongs::
Narrator: The shuttle lands with a bump and soon the door opens.
AJ: ::wakes up after hearing the door open::
Meinta: ::stands outside shuttle looking nervous::
AJ: ::gets her gear and stands stretching::
Jade: ::waits for Damian to get up::
B>Damian Raen: ::gets up and strolls to a window::
Jade: ::gets her gear and leaves the shuttle::
AJ: ::walks out to the landing area::
Meinta: Welcome to White Planet! My name is Meinta.
AJ: Hello, I\'m AJ.
Meinta: It\'s nice to meet you.
Damian Raen: ::walks outside carrying his backpack::
Karrina Calloway: And I\'m Karrina, one of the governor\'s assistants. I\'m here to help show you all around.
Allara: ::arrives, puffing, red faced. She stops near a pole and leans on it for support:: Sorry I\'m late, Meinta, Karrina. Hello, Group T19. I\'m Allara.
Damian Raen: ::looks around::
Jade: ::lights a cigarette::
Meinta: Are there four of you? ::looks around, trying to count and see if anymore are in shuttle:: How many are in Group T19?
Jade: ::drops her cigarette and crosses her arms as she waits::
Gabrielle: ::in the shuttle, sweating and can hardly stand up. starts to walk toward the door, but collapses into a chair rubbing her temples and panting. a groan escapes her lips.:: O.K., Elle, pull yourself together. You have to do this! ::puts a hand to her forehead:: Who am I kidding? I\'m burning up!
Meinta: Alright, the first thing on the schedule is to get you all medical check ups.
Jade: ::rolls her eyes::
Meinta: I\'m sure you got them on Earth before you go, but our doctors want to see you again, just to make sure you don\'t have something that we aren\'t used to here on WP.
Allara: ::lumbers up the shuttle ramp and peers inside at Gabrielle:: Honey, are you alright?
Gabrielle: I really don\'t think I can make it right now. I feel awfully bad and I think I have a fever.
Allara: Oh, dear! Do you need me to go get a doctor to come to you?
Meinta: ::peeks her head in, looks concerned:: It isn\'t far to the medical office. Do you think you can make it just a little ways?
Gabrielle: So sorry to be a bother, really. If you would just help me I could walk with you.
Allara: Oh, you poor dear. Lean on me.
Gabrielle: I\'m sure I just picked up something from my baby. You know how kids are always catching something.
Narrator: The group walks slowly to the far side of the space port, to a small medical office.
Meinta: Here we are! ::checks in at the front office:: Gabrielle, we\'ll get you in first.
Gabrielle: So sorry about the bad timing. I mean being sick and all.
Allara: Well, it certainly isn\'t your fault! I\'m sure the doctor will fix you right up.
AJ: ::sits and waits, shaking foot impatiently::
Gabrielle: ::disappears through the door to the examining room::
Jade: ::eyes AJ oddly::
AJ: ::legs crossed::
Damian Raen: ::slumps against the doorframe and waits::
Gabrielle:::re-enters the waiting room::
Meinta: Gabrielle, what did the doctor say?
Gabrielle: I guess I have some kind of infection or something. He gave me these and told me to stay put for 24 hours. ::shakes a bottle of pills::
AJ: Sounds like a good idea, rest as much as you can
Allara: Come, we\'ll put you right to bed! ::they lead the team to their rooms::
Gabrielle: I guess it\'s nightie night, all! Catch ya, later.
Meinta: We will show the rest of you to your lodgings, if you are ready.
AJ: As ready as we can be.
Meinta: Come right this way!
Karrina: ::smiles and follows::
Meinta: ::leads them toward a big building right on the edge of the dome. One side of the hotel is connected to the glass of the dome, allowing the bedroom windows to look out over the planet::
Jade: ::shuffles her gear over one shoulder and follows::
Allara: ::follows last, huffing, and observing the team in front of her with a keen eye::
Meinta: This is our hotel. You each have a room with a kitchenette, a sitting room and a bathroom, of course.
Jade: A private room, right?
Jade: ::sighs with relief::
Meinta: ::unlocks the first room::
Jade: ::nonchalantly observes the other passengers::
Meinta: There you are, Jade.
Jade: Thank you.
Jade: ::closes the door behind her::
Meinta: And here you are, Damian, and you, AJ.
Damian Raen: ::steps into his room::
Allara: Why don\'t we come back for you in 15 minutes. You could all use a shower. ::Smirks a little::
Meinta: ::raps on Jade\'s door:: We\'ll be back shortly to take you on the tour!
Jade: ::doesn\'t answer::
Narrator: Allara, Karrina, and Meinta are now alone. Group T19 is in their rooms, resting.
Allara: Motley bunch, aren\'t they?
Karrina: I\'ll say.
Meinta: Well, I\'ve never met anyone from Earth before. Maybe that is how they dress there.
Allara: I knew some Earthlings once, a long time ago, but that\'s another story. ::pauses:: So, what do you think?
Karrina: I think they seemed a little annoyed.
Meinta: ::laughs:: Well, it might have been close quarters. They have been on a shuttle for three days.
Allara: You\'d think they could have showered and changed in that time! ::pauses again:: So, what are you planning to do with them now?
Meinta: Well, I\'m just going to show them the greenhouses. I don\'t know what all else.
Karrina: Maybe the planetarium and farming dome, also. ::shrugs::
Narrator: In each passenger\'s room while Allara, Karrina and Meinta talk:
AJ: ::tosses and turns on her bed, then sits up. She gets out of bed and wanders around her room, examining things closely. Not seeing anything out of the ordinary, she showers and dresses in jeans and a gray t-shirt with hiking boots on her feet. She leaves to room.::
Jade: :: Jade drops her gear on the floor and plops on the bed. Stares at the ceiling. She drags herself off the bed, showers, and changes into a long skirt, sleeveless blouse, and knee-high boots. She then leaves the room and to join everyone else.::
Narrator: Back with Allara, Karrina and Meinta...
Meinta: Think they are ready yet?
Allara: They should be, bad luck if they aren\'t!
Damian Raen: ::walks into the hall, past Meinta::
Meinta: ::looks embarrassed to be talking about him:: Uh, hi. Are you ready to see the greenhouse?
Damian Raen: I don\'t want to see a greenhouse.
Meinta: Oh. Well, what did you come to see?
Damian Raen: ::doesn\'t answer Meinta::
Allara: So, sir, are you the reporter?
Damian Raen: ::doesn\'t answer Allara::
Karrina: ::Looks annoyed.::
Jade: ::enters the common area. She leans against the wall and evaluates everyone with her eyes::
Meinta: Uh, sir? Mr. Raen? What did your group come to see?
Damian Raen: ::glances at Jade::
Allara: Talkative lot, aren\'t you?
Jade: ::gives Damian a scary look::
Meinta: I understood that Group T19 was here to learn about the planet\'s industry?
AJ: ::enters the Common Area::
Jade: ::looks AJ up and down::
Allara: Captain, do you know what you are here to do? Your friends seem a little confused...
Meinta: ::whispers to Allara:: Who is the Captain?
Allara: Captain AJ?
AJ: Yes? You don\'t have to use my rank, I\'m retired now.
Allara: OK, what shall we call you then?
AJ: AJ is fine. :: small smile::
Allara: AJ, I\'m Allara, old friend and advisor to Meinta\'s father. ::Extends her hand::
AJ: ::shakes hand:: Part of the problem is our team has had no training together, beyond a short briefing.
Karrina: Well, that would explain some things.
Damian Raen: ::to Jade:: Crazy bunch we\'re here with, huh?
Jade: ::smiles:: That would be my evaluation exactly.
Meinta: ::hears Damian and Jade. She turns to Allara:: WE look crazy? What\'s crazy about us?
Karrina: ::gives Meinta and Allara knowing look::
AJ: I think some time to adjust to our surroundings is a good idea.
Meinta: ::hopeful:: Alright, would you like me to do anything to help or show you around?
Allara: Now, Meinta suggested the greenhouse, does that suit you?
AJ: A basic tour of the facilities is a start, then we can decide what we\'d like to see in more detail later. And then maybe a meal.
Karrina: Let\'s go then.
Narrator: Meinta leads the group on a tour of the station.
Jade: ::arches a brow:: Kid, do I look like I need someone following me around?
Damian Raen: ::angry:: Who\'s following?
AJ: ::takes in the surroundings, memorizing the path back to their quarters:: The shuttle food was almost on par with military rations.
Meinta: Well, the hotel cook is splendid! She serves hot betooms and cold teuns and the best cookies I\'ve ever had! ::smiles proudly:: The cook is my aunt.
Damian Raen: ::whispering to Jade:: That shuttle stuff was supposed to be food?
Jade: ::to Damian:: Kid, I didn\'t eat the food.
Damian Raen: You better not call me \"kid\" again.
Jade: ::her first genuine smile:: All right, kid, I won\'t.
Damian Raen: Shut up! ::looks away::
Meinta: ::looks at Damian with surprise::
Allara: ::Watches Jade and Damian, raises one eyebrow, and laughs to herself::
Meinta: ::to Jade:: You haven\'t eaten in three days?
Jade: ::laughs:: I don\'t like food.
AJ: ::to WP folks:: What do each of you do?
Allara: ::Looks to Meinta and waits for her to answer first::
Meinta: Well, you probably guessed, I work in the greenhouse. I am a soil engineer. I prepare the soil for planting and oversee the crop planting.
Damian Raen: ::under his breath:: Kill people…
Allara: ::Looks at Damian:: What?
Jade: ::looks at Damian with sudden interest::
Damian Raen: ::trying to look innocent:: Nothing.
Allara: ::Smiles to self::
Jade: Sit with me, kid, I won\'t let the crazy people get you.
Damian Raen: ::under his breath:: That\'s so cool, Teacher.
::to Jade:: Sure.
Meinta: ::doesn\'t notice Damian\'s comment and chatters on about the plants:: The ground here is rather odd, but with certain nutrients added, it is extremely productive!
Allara: Without Meinta, we would have nothing to eat around here. She\'s doubled our edible plant life.
Meinta: ::smiles a little embarrassed:: Thank you. It is just fertilizer, but I have researched exactly what the soil needs and even found a few special metals that enhance the soil
AJ: Fertilizer is nothing new.
Allara: This is more advanced than cow manure, I assure you, AJ.
Damian Raen: ::under his breath:: Meinta doubled the plant life, right. She must be one big vegetable.
Allara: ::snickers despite herself::
AJ: So, are you growing all native plants or transported in? Or both?
Meinta: They are all descendents of transferred-in plants. This planet is too cold to grow anything much but certain algaes. Some of these algaes have been found to be helpful medicines.
Jade: ::whispers to Damian:: You have a lot of deep rooted anger. Would you like to talk about it?
Damian Raen: :: casts a sideways look at Jade:: What\'s that supposed to mean? You some kind of therapist?
Jade: I\'m a retired doctor of Abnormal Psychology.
Damian Raen: Sounds like a fun job.
Jade: If it was fun, I wouldn\'t be retired.
Damian Raen: ::turns to her:: I\'m a gambler.
Jade: ::jokingly:: And how does that make you feel?
Damian Raen: Rich, sometimes. ::smirks::
Allara: AJ, to answer your question for myself, I spend most of my time at home. I dabble in a few special projects for the governor, who is a long time friend of mine. When I was younger and could get about more easily, I was one of his advisors.
Meinta: My father is the governor. Allara is kind of like an aunt to me.
Allara: ::Smiles warmly at Meinta::
Karrina: Yes, we\'re all fairly close friends and all assist the governor, as well as my husband Mikko.
Jade: ::laughs:: I like you, kid.
Damian Raen: ::rolls his eyes:: I\'m 18. I\'m not a kid.
Jade: ::to Damian:: If I had to take my guess, I would say you were underage -- 16, maybe 17…
Damian Raen: How \'bout you don\'t guess, then?
Jade: I can see it in your eyes and the way you carry yourself.
Allara: So, AJ, what service did you see in the military, were you in Hmgobo?
AJ: I was involved in a few campaigns, mostly smaller one, I was a communications officer, but I also trained with a sharp shooter unit. My father taught me to use a gun almost as soon as I was big enough to hold one
Allara: ::Nods:: Sounds interesting.
AJ: It was, and I\'m glad I had the training.
Damian Raen: ::to jade:: If I had to guess, I\'d say you were a twenty-something control freak who couldn\'t land a steady relationship.
Jade: ::laughs:: Then I would say you don\'t know me at all.
Damian Raen: I hope not.
Jade: ::slightly annoyed:: I could be with anyone I wanted, I choose to be alone.
Damian Raen: Right, they all say that, Jade, but it\'s not as if I care whether you\'re single or not.
Jade: For your information there are 5 guys back on Earth, that\'s why I left.
Damian Raen: Ha!
Allara: Well, I think that\'s it for the tour. Shall we eat, Meinta, Karrina?
Karrina: You don\'t have to ask me twice. ::grins::
AJ: I\'m looking forward to a hot meal.
Damian Raen: I left ST-63 because there were too many guys trying to kill me. ::laughs::
Meinta: ::stops short and turns to stare at Damian:: What did you say?
Damian Raen: ::to Meinta:: What?
Meinta: ::exchanges looks with Allara::
Jade: Hmm, perhaps we have something in common.
Damian Raen: ::curious:: You too? You got people trying to kill you?
Meinta: ::bites her lip and starts walking again::
Jade: No, I left so I wouldn\'t kill them.
Damian Raen: ::laughs:: Same here.
Meinta: ::overly cheerful:: Well are you hungry?!
Allara: ::Rolls her eyes:: Interested in food, Damian? I know Jade doesn\'t eat - perhaps a cup of WP coffee?
Damian Raen: You got something stronger? Kidding, I\'m kidding.
Jade: I eat. I bring my own.
Damian Raen: If I\'m thirsty I\'ll get something, okay?
Meinta: Actually, we have a drink you may be interested in.
Damian Raen: Oh?
Meinta: It is made with minerals and has quite a bite to it.
Damian Raen: Really. Maybe I\'ll try it.
Meinta: It\'s kind of like soda pop.
Damian Raen: Uh huh…
Jade: ::glances at Damian:: Come to my room later.
Damian Raen: ::to Jade:: Sure, anytime.
Jade: ::glares:: If you want something to drink, kid.
Damian Raen: ::to Jade:: Right, right. I knew that. ::smirks::
Jade: ::rolls her eyes::
Allara: ::Eyes twinkle::
AJ: What is on the menu?
Allara: Let\'s go and see...
Meinta: Hot bekru is the main dish, I think.
Jade: ::arches a brow:: What exactly is bekru - WP version of caribou?
Meinta: It is a kind of root that really tastes quite rich and almost meaty.
Jade: A root? That\'s nice. Yeah. ::rolls her eyes:: I have food in my room that I packed if anyone would rather pass.
Meinta: You should try a bit. It is delicious.
AJ: Sounds... interesting.
Meinta: We do have real meat, too. Perhaps there will be chicken.
Jade: Chicken? As in Earth quality, high protein fuel?
Allara: ::Pager sounds::
Jade: For the muscle.
Meinta: High protein--right. And, yes it is the same meat as you have on Earth.
Karrina: Who is it, Allara? Is everything okay?
Allara: ::Removes pager and quickly covers a worried look with a smile::
Jade: Ok, chicken I will eat.
AJ: I\'ll try the root, but I have to agree, real meat would be good. It\'s a rarity at home.
Allara: ::Looks pointedly at Karrina and Meinta:: I\'m afraid I\'m needed, I\'ll have to leave you all to your meal.
Meinta: Ok, I\'ll get these folks settled.
Allara: ::Looks at AJ:: Nice to meet you, I\'m sure our paths will cross again soon.
Karrina: Bye, Allara. See you later.
AJ: I\'m sure they will.
Allara: ::Looks at Jade and Damian:: You two be good until I see you again. ::Smirks::
Damian Raen: I\'m gonna turn in for a while. ::goes to his room::
Allara: ::Looks at Meinta:: See you soon.
Narrator: We leave the group eating their first meal on the White Planet.
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Reader Count & Comments
Wow, I'm amazed at how much more sense if makes now! Great job unscrambling indeed!
The plot is starting to develope. Can't wait to see how it goes next week!
Lauren, great job at unscrambling it--it looks great!
Lauren, great job at unscrambling it--it looks great!
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