Chapter 6: Thaw
The news that the planet's Stargate is functional travels through the camp like any well-guarded state secret; that is, rapidly and with a surprising degree of accuracy. While everyone from the lowest airmen to the captains in supply and medical have their own opinions on how a time-traveling gate might be used to get out of the current situation, the science team continues to struggle in private against the limits of physics and their own understanding in roughly equal measure.
Despite the setback with Lockley out of action, the military team moves swiftly over the next day to implement a security perimeter around the Stargate and its attendant transport rings using the sonic beacons developed by Findy. Their pace is brought on by several factors: First, the activity offers something to do that doesn't involve wearing both body armor and a full winter suit. Second, the defense against the stinging dragon-flies appears to be more straightforward to manage than the voracious predators of the cold south. Third, and perhaps most pressing, is Captain McNamara's rather grim assessment that despite the austere conservation methods, the ice camp only has enough energy reserves left for a few weeks--a month at the most.
Morning on the second day after the ring experiment dawns cold, but perhaps a few degrees warmer than the past fortnight. The frigid air does not sting the eyes quite so much, nor does the wind bite at every inch of exposed skin. It might not be much of a reprieve, but every erg counts when you're stranded on a strange planet somewhere in the universe, grasping at scant clues that might offer a way home...
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