3- Crin

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I sat at my station, waiting for the rest of the team to show up so we could head to the testing arena. I drummed my fingers and watched Az doodle on his paper. His wrinkled hands never shook or quivered but were dexterous and still. Most people had to be young to be on this squad, if you had an old man's shaky hands then you could blow the lab up. Even Mary was only thirty, and we always teased her about being old. I sometimes wondered if the team despised me for being commander. Being so much younger than them, only seventeen, must be a blow; if it was they never said a word.

I leaned over a bit so I could see what he was drawing and startled to see a quick sketch of the team; Keen, Mary, Jol, even distant Finn, and me. We were all beaming up at Az, I checked his face and he had a small smile lifting his lips. A sudden guilt seeped through me for not talking to Az as much. I scrunched up in my seat, ashamed. I was just about to break the awkward silence when Keen did it for me.

"I have arrived." He walked in dramatically, Mary and Jol tailing him. I let out a deep breath and hopped up.

"Great then we can go. Finn is in the back room, Mary will you grab him?"

"Of course."

"Our shuttle is waiting down at the Dock; we need to be there in ten minutes." I scooped up my journal and tools into a bag and slung it over my shoulder. I glanced over as the team gathered their supplies and necessities. Mary walked in with Finn huddled behind her; she rolled her eyes toward me at his shy nature. Seeing that they were ready, I walked out the door with my team in tow. We walked out into the streets along with a hundred other people, all heading to work. We headed for the Dock that was at the very edge of the protective dome that kept us safe from the harmful environment of Crin. The building that held the shuttles was nearly empty, only a couple of engineers buzzing around some shuttles. It was a quiet morning and we didn't break the silence, even as we loaded into the small shuttle that would take us to the testing arena miles away. I looked out the windows as we huddled in the small vehicle.

Outside it was dark and gray. If we had gone a different direction we would have run into another community but we located the testing arena far away from any human life, lest there be an accident and our species became extinct. This haunted me, the small population on Crin. There is little under 500,000 of us, we could be wiped out so easily. Some scientists suggested that the communities be spread out so that if something happened to one side of Crin than the human race could still go on. But no one wanted to migrate and be so far away from the rest of the world.

We reached the hulking arena after an hour filled with small talk and instructions. We filed out of the shuttle into an air lock room, a white tunnel then led us up a flight of stairs until we reached the over view. I led the way up the winding steps, thankful that we all had to be kept in shape as the steep steps wound around and onto the deck. We were about 100 feet up in a giant observatory deck filled with machines and data. One wall consisted of a giant window that overlooked a mile wide city. There were buildings, streets, homes and even wax bodies positioned in buildings and on benches. Three thousand workers had spent two days working on those fake bodies in order to test this. Those people were under the 5th commander of chemical weaponry. We had all been down at that rank and worked our way up to our small group of six.

I set the team to hooking up the machines to track every body and building to see if any damage came to them at all. Our goal was for every fake bodie's false heart to stop beating, according to the poison t with minimal damage coming to the structures and environment. We quickly set it up and locked in our missile. I looked over the silent city and shivered. It was creepy and alien and left me feeling uncomfortable. I herded my team into the shuttle once more and we headed towards the observatory lab about 20 miles away. This trip was much shorter, about a minute or less.

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