Origin: Cold Comfort

“The Institute for Advanced Study…” announced Harry Shaw, with a sweeping gesture, “Gyotnysk.”

Carter, hearing the death rattle of the ancient bus as it disappeared along the empty highway, observed the dilapidated complex before him. Half a dozen low, shabby structures the colour of burnt bread, scattered like dog droppings in the snow.

“Well…” he muttered, feeling something slowly capsize within him, “it certainly is a long way from Princeton.”

“Appearances can be deceiving” replied Shaw, without much conviction, as as a gust of wind engulfed them in a flurry of ice particles. “Jesus! Cold. Let’s get inside.”

“Inside?” Carter peered doubtfully at the dark buildings in the gathering dusk.

Shaw laughed explosively. “Of course! Good god, Pip, you don’t think I’d have dragged us both four thousand miles without an appointment? We’re expected.”

“By whom?”

“The only surviving member of the expedition. He was there when he made the dive.”

“What? Who…”

“The great exobiologist: Iosif Praesbytch”

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