A Priori

Alarick cursed the Sterno pot as it failed to ignite, resigning himself to another frozen stew. Hans was better at lighting the stove, but he was off gathering data.

He elected to conserve the matches, beginning instead to search the corners of the tent for a stash of energy bars. As he dug behind the file drawers, he heard a buzzing like a distant fan. The low volume and mundanity of the noise made it easy to ignore, but as Alarick kept searching, the whirring grew louder.

He abandoned the search and ran outside, throwing open the flaps of the tent. Overhead a giant dirigible lumbered through the sky, appearing to angle for the horizon. Hans, having followed it for the last few minutes, came running across the ice.

Alarick was stunned. “What is -”

“I don’t know!” Hans yelled. “Started descending a few miles ago!”

The two watched in amazement as the craft soared into the distance and plunged into the ice, collapsing hypnotically into a greenish-blue cloud of crystal.

“So it was to be,” Hans muttered.

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