The Merrin, part 28

Story by Sovereign Kyle on SoFurry

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#28 of Merr

Last of the preparations, a few final truths...

Next: Part 29

The outside temperature seems to have stabilized at 143 below. Inside the cave, it's holding around 95 below. Not cold enough for cryo, but too cold to spend much time outside.

Avy, having wrapped herself around Key, sleeps. Key, on the other hand, has taken to writing a paper journal. He's already had Drudge make a printed text of all the life-form data that they've collected. Now, it's time for the personal data, and Key wants to pen that himself.

He started with what happened on the ship, explaining in detail about the damage, the few survivors, and what they did to try to save the ship. He follows that with the evacuation and planet fall. He cries as he recounts how he lost Alice.

When Avy snuggles in closer to him, he wonders just how asleep she really is. With a sigh, he hugs her. It's doesn't matter. She had felt his sorrow and responded by trying to comfort him, and to a degree, it worked.

He lightly kisses the top of her head, and returns to his writing. As he recounts his introduction to Avy, he smiles, and quickly realizes that she's smiling too.

She's awake.

Knowing that Drudge already put all the observational data about her in his journal, Key decides to put his own feelings and speculations about her in his. As he does, he spends some time reflecting back on how she acted, and often smiles.

Feeling her tail side away, he pulls it back and re-tucks the blanket. He's comfortable like this, and he knows she is too.

He continues on to write about the challenges of staying warm, and also makes a few recommendations for shelters, mostly the addition of wind generators as a standard feature.

When he gets current, he puts the pen in the book and sets it aside. After adjusting his pillows, he relaxes and lets sleep take him.

* * *

Avy has started nesting, preparing for her coming hibernation. With what's planned, she's gathered a small cache of cleaning supplies, and has started cleaning the area of the room around the bed.

She's also taken to eating in excess in preparation for her hibernation. Key's not sure where she's storing the extra nutrients, but she's eating nearly four times what she was a few days ago.

Key had tried to help her, but she insisted on doing it herself. So now, he sits and writes in the journal, waiting to see if she needs any help.

She works within the limits of her reach, which isn't much since she can't move her tail.

When she starts trying to move her tail, Key offers to help. she has him move her tail from the bed to the floor where she's already cleaned. He soon realizes where all the excess nutrients have gone. Her tail feels like a large water balloon.

Using the blanket like a sling, he slowly helps her move.

When she goes back to cleaning, he sits back down and continues with his journal. As she finishes her cleaning, she stands back and admires her work. The bed is nearly sterile again, as is much of the surrounding area.

Key slowly steps up to her. "Is it ready?"

She nods. I will need to clean you before you enter my cnolee'a.

"You need to?"

Normally, I would help you shed your shell, but...

Key chuckles. "Fresh from the shower clean, or sterile clean?"

Preferably sterile.

Key sighs. "What about when we go to sleep tonight?"

Your normal shower is fine. I will clean again before we start.

* * *

He stands just outside the cave, staring up into the sky. They still have all three moons, and they're still in orbit, or at least some semblance of. The thing that he doesn't quite understand is why it's gotten so cold so fast.

Drudge has a theory about the lack of stuff in the air, combined with the snow, is letting most of the heat escape. Without any proper knowledge of climatology, they can't be sure.

With a heavy sigh, he turns his attention back to the wind generators. They've been icing up. With a few taps from a rock in the right places, the ice falls off, and the arms start moving freely again.

After making sure they're all free, he heads back into the cave. entering the shelter, he drops his armor in the outer chamber.

With a tired sigh, he says, "Shower."

Water falls like rain in the small outer chamber. Since it's no longer needed to keep things out, he's converted it to an entry shower.

While he gets clean, Avy waits inside. She's fixed another dinner for him. They'll need to have plenty of stores for the hibernation. For this reason, Key has had his AIs stop consuming his excess body fat till they start.

Avy though, is eating almost constantly, building up her own stores in hopes that her body doesn't try to absorb Key while they sleep. She's been awake more now than she has over the last few weeks. During that time, she's also been reading everything she can, including Key's journal.

Key hasn't minded. After all, how do you keep secrets from a mind reader?

As he steps into the room, a familiar smell. Mouth watering, he sits at the table across from Avy. "What's on the menu for today?"

She pulls the cover off his plate and he smiles. There sits a cheeseburger and fries.

"That's what I thought I smelled. I haven't had one of these in years."

Avy smiles and uncovers a second plate. I made another if you think you can hold it.

Key eyes the second cheeseburger. "You really want to fatten me up."

We don't know how long we'll be asleep.

He frowns, and the food doesn't look very appetizing anymore. "...right."

The Merrin, part 29

With another drop in outside temperature, they've decided they can't wait any longer. As Avy cleans the bed again, Key heads outside to check the wind generators. It's too cold for him to walk to the com shelter, so he can't check on that anymore. Not...

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The Merrin, part 27

Key sits in the com shelter, trying to warm himself. It's nearing cryo temp outside, and the limit for his suit. He's managed to setup a second wind generator, but the available wind is nearly half of what it was. "All right, Drudge. New message for...

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The Merrin, part 26

Key sips at his soup. Avy's curled up around her tail, asleep. With addition of the wind generators, they've been able to keep it a little warmer in the shelter. At only 15 degrees, it's still cool for his liking, but it's tolerable without his armor...

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