NaNoWriMo: The Plot So Far.

November 7, 2008

Now that I’m caught up on my word count, I need to get back to summarizing this thing, or I’m never going to get back up to date on the plot.  So here we go:

After meeting Keller, Stevens heads home for the day.  The next morning, he receives a call from Miron, telling him that the fossil’s been unpacked and he can come check it out.  He hauls his rear to work, despite the fact that he slept poorly the night before, and shows up at the lab.  Things are going all right until he makes physical contact with the fossilized object and suffers a psychic flash, at which point Miron orders him to take some time off and sort himself out.

* * *

Stevens looked much better by Monday morning.  His hair was cut short and neatly groomed, he had on appropriate work clothes, and he’d even managed to find a tie and lab coat somewhere.  Aside from the mug of coffee he toted everywhere, Miron could hardly believe he was working with the same man.

They met up in the hallway outside the lab; the men inside were currently busy with a very touchy part of the extraction process, so Miron had been rather unceremoniously given the boot.  He wasn’t too bothered; this would give him time to catch up with his erstwhile subordinate.

“So, what do we have?” Stevens asked.  That was Stevens for you, getting straight to business.  Then again, Miron reasoned, if he’d been away from work for that long he’d be anxious to get back to work.  He supposed socialization would have to wait.

“Well,” he began, but paused, not entirely sure how to phrase his statement.  “I’m afraid I owe you an apology.”

The eyebrows popped.  “What for?”

“My initial assumption as to the nature of this creature was a bit hasty.  Now that we’ve exposed more of its bodily structure, I’m quite certain that you are correct and the wings are, in fact, a part of its body.”

Stevens nodded appreciatively.  “Well, that’s good.  Anything else new?”

“Not much.  The guys are working on a virtual model of the creature based on the bone structure they’ve got so far, but since most of it is still encased in rock it’s been slow going.”

“What about the e- the round thing?”

“It’s in the back room for now.  We plan on getting to it in the near future, but at the moment all our resources are concentrated on your dragon.”

“Hmm.”  Stevens nodded, more a gesture of understanding than agreement.  “Can I see it?”

“The dragon?”

“No, the other thing.”

Miron frowned.  “Why?”

“You remember when I mentioned that I was hearing messages from something buried with the fossil?”

“…Yes.”  Miron didn’t admit as much, but he found himself a bit skeptical about Stevens’ claims.  He hadn’t had a lot of experience with necropathy, but as far as he could tell it wasn’t too far a throw from insanity.  He hoped that Stevens wasn’t insane, but given that the younger man was claiming to hear voices in fossils he found himself a bit dubious.

“Well,” said Stevens, “I’ve got a hypothesis going about it.  But in order to confirm it, I need to be able to see inside the block containing the object.  Do you have an X-ray machine in here?”

“There’s one inside, but we can’t use it right now,” Miron answered.  Then, quickly manipulating the conversation, he asked, “So how have you been?  Sleeping better?”

Stevens nodded.  “Much better, since I got the dead mouse out of my fridge.  What about you, how’ve you been?”

“Fine.  Just keeping work up.  Speaking of which, I found your latest report on my desk this morning.  Good piece of work; very informative.”

“Thanks.”  Stevens frowned, giving Miron the impression that he wasn’t too interested in small talk.  Though perhaps that impression was wrong, as he continued: “So where’d you find your secretary?”

Miron laughed.  “Oh, so you met Miss Keller.  Handful, isn’t she?  I picked her up earlier this summer.  She’s working her way through college, and since I was just fresh out of a secretary, I thought I’d try her on for size.  It’s working out pretty well.  She’s a great typist, and she’s not even too crazy once you get to know her.  But you know how it is with students.  They’re easily intimidated by doctorates.”

“Ah… I see.”

* * *

Meanwhile, at the dig, the men are bored, despite Iverson’s recent discovery of a large male dragon skull.  Maria gives Thatcher a pep talk.

Back at the museum, the men in the laboratory have been hard at work removing the fossil — particularily Ian Moon, who has received the task of working with the skull.  While extracting the fossil from its stone casing, he discovers a substance on the surface of a cavity that ignites when exposed to oxygen, and is forced to continue his work in a vacuum chamber for fear of destroying the skull.

Stevens attempts to return to work, but finds himself absorbed by the impressions of flight coming from the object in the laboratory.  He nearly passes out, and Keller is forced to carry him outside.  Stevens learns that Keller is a nursing student, and they decide to work together on his problem.  Later that evening, Stevens and Keller meet in Stevens’ apartment; they eat dinner and discuss politics.

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