Spherical, predictable, much a reflection of the heavens beyond is the temple of this observatory dedicated to the continued survey of the skies. Constructed sturdily and lined with shelves and cabinets necessary for equipment storage, nearly every available space on the smooth plastered walls is hidden by the arrangement of charts, maps and diagrams. A high ceiling arches above, contrived to be fitted with the portals necessary for viewing and carefully fabricated sliding shutters to protect the delicate sky-ward pointed lenses when not in use. On the wall opposite the door, so that all who enter may see it, is a 'mural' of the Rukbat system.
It is a winter midmorning.
On the cast-iron railings around the great viewer are Pilot, Loki, Tanis, and Blair.
You see Observatory DistanceViewer, Jayde's Distanceviewer, and Mural of the Rukbat System here.

Wintermute glides in from the Main Hall Balcony.

Cress moves slowly in from the Main Hall Balcony.

Linora is still peering into the Observatory distanceviewer, obviously fascinated by whatever she sees.

Cress comes in following a chittering and chirping 'Mute. "What is it, 'Mute? What do you me to see... Oh! Hi, Lin," he says as he sees Linora here. Apparently 'Mute wanted him to come to her for some reason?

Linora blinks and tears herself away from the distanceviewer, turning to see Cress. She greets him with a wide grin. "Hi!" A quick glance back at the distanceviewer. "Hey, haveya /looked/ through this thing yet? I'm just figuring it out..." Excitement just radiating off the girl.

Cress blinks. One, twice. Looked through it? "Well, no I haven't actually," he says, wondering /why/ he hadn't done that, or considered doing it.

Standing at only 5'5 this young man's size is not impressive. His blond hair is bleached by the Istan sun, which has also darkened his skin to a bronze color. Narrow gray eyes are framed by light-colored lashes and brows, and his cheekbones are angular as is his chin. His muscles are hardened, from long hours of hard work, done in his previous life as a trader. A scar runs along the right side of his neck and his most obvious feature is a missing inch of his right little finger.
A brand new midnightblue shirt with draw-strings at the V-neck is worn loosely over charcoal-colored trouser, which are hardly new by the look of them. Having been patched in several places these trousers look as if they've been handed down for generations. A shine on his black wherhide boots doesn't hide the fact that these are also hand-downs from someone who's grown out of them. Perched on Cress's shoulder is Dixie. Cress' Pack hangs heavily from Cress's shoulder.
Red and silver in a double cord and single loop appoints him as apprentice to the Star Craft.
Cress is 18 Turns, 10 months, and 18 days old.

Linora goes over and tugs at Cress's sleeve to bring him closer. "It's /amazing/. You put your eye here..." she points at the appropriate lens, "... and /look/."

Cress grins as he's fair shoved into looking through the lense. He looks at her and sees her excited face, "anything to see?"

Linora nods earnestly. "You can see both moons, like they were right in front of you." Her voice drops to an awed hush. "I even saw the Red Star!"

Looking up from the eyepiece Cress smiles at Linora. "This is amazing," he says, blinking as if to remove the image of the Red Star from his corneas.

Linora nods again, her eyes dancing. "I can't /wait/ to take that optics class, and find out what makes it /work/." She's dying for another look, but she waits, fidgeting only a little bit. "What did you see?"

Cress takes Linora by the shoulders, as he sees that she's almost jumping to get another look, and exchanges places with her. "I saw the Red Star. Almost scary, so close it gets..."

Linora peeks again, she only took a quick look the first time, really. A soft exclamation escapes her as the viewer comes into focus.

"You okay?" Cress says, not being able to discern whether it was an exclamation of surprise or one of fright.

Linora nods slowly, turning amazed eyes to face her friend. "It's really actually beautiful." Her face changes, she can't believe she really said that... or even thought it. She turns for another look. "How can Thread come from a place like that?" Almost a whisper.

The Red Star, a many-hued globe, like a child's miggsy, swims in a lush black background. Odd, whitish-pink masses swirl over it, almost like clouds, while grey masses appear where the cover is pierced: a lively grey with glints and sparkles. Darker masses punctuate the greys, but whether they are land or seas is unknown, and the ends of the slightly ovoid planet are completely white without any cloud cover, like ice caps.

Cress shrugs, then shakes his head, "I dunno, but it's scary to think about isn't it?" He looks her in the eye. He approaches her to give her a hug. "That's something I'd like to know too," he mumbles into her hair.

Linora returns the hug, looking thoughtfully past Cress's shoulder. He /did/ look scared... She holds onto him for just a minute longer, loving the way it feels to be right there at that exact moment... then reluctantly draws back. "I know you'll find out," she says. "You're really smart and stuff. And you got a good mentor."

Cress nods, more to the statement about his mentor than him being smart. "She great," he say, keeping his hands on her shoulders even as she draws back. Not wanting to harass her about the subject of specialties he grins and says, "you think I'm smart?"

Linora grins widely. "Sure." Her eyes turn teasing. "Some reason I shouldn't?"

Cress smiles a halfsmile, then looks down at the floor, "well, I've spent /weeks/ trying to finish my project, and it seems like I haven't gotten anywhere with it," he says, thinking that he's not smart at all.

Linora reaches up with both hands to redirect his gaze to her face. Her eyes are soft, concerned. "I thought you were almost finished?"

Cress almost jumps as he feels her hands on his face. Looking her in the eyes he shrugs and tilts his head. "Well, I should be... But all I've got is a bunch of notes that I need to put together for the finished project."

Linora nods, her eyes big. "So most'a the hard stuff's done, right?" She smiles, not bothering to move her hands.

Cress nods, feeling her warm hands on his cheeks. "I s'pose. All I have to do now is write it up, and hope it'll be approved." Which he's not sure of at all. "In fact, I should probably start on it now." Even if he likes standing here with her hands on his face, and doesn't feel like moving an inch.

Linora grins as Cress doesn't move to go. She doesn't really want him to go, either. But he's going to. Eventually. She drops her hands to his shoulders, still looking up into his eyes. "So go.," she says finally. "I'm sure it'll be great."

Cress smiles, while backing toward the door, slowly ever so slowly. One step at a time, still looking into her eyes. "Yeah, I s'pose I should, right?" Why couldn't he just stay here? Forget about that project and stay here with Linora. Then he sighs as reality comes to him and he decides that it's time to get something done about that project. A wave to Linora as he tears himself away, and goes to devote some time to his project.

Cress moves slowly to the Main Hall Balcony.


Cress moves slowly in from the Main Hall Balcony.

"You're still here," Cress says, more as a question than a statement, wondering what she's been doing here all that time.

Linora looks up from the book in her hands, momentarily forgetting to close her mouth. Then she grins. "Yeah. How's the project coming?"

Cress shrugs, "can't really seem to concentrate," he says. And there's certainly a reason for that, isn't there? Although he would never tell her that, fearing that she'd take it the wrong way and start worrying again.

Linora closes the book and gives Cress a long look, for once not stating the obvious - that he'll never get it finished if he can't concentrate... So she tries smiling instead. "So you came back for another look?" Meaning the distanceviewer, of course...

Cress grins, "I s'pose you could say that," he says, eyes teasing. You could also say he came to see if she'd still be here... He goes to the distance viewer and takes a peek, then shrugs, and gives her a grin. "It's light out..."

Linora giggles. "Yeah, I know. You oughta still be able to see the moons, though, if they're in the right part'a the sky." She hugs the book to her chest, not really feeling like opening it again right now.

"Really?" Cress says and takes another peek through the eyepiece, trying to find something to look at on the daytime sky. "You tried it?"

Linora tilts her head to look at him. "Well, sure. Sometimes they're still in the sky in the daytime." She's not sure if they are right now, but she's definitely sure she's seen them. She smiles broadly, watching Cress at the viewer.

"Interesting," Cress mumbles as he looks through the eyepiece, then tears himself away to look at Linora instead, a much more interesting sight, and he smiles back at her. "What've you been doing here all this time," he asks.

Linora doesn't miss the look in Cress's eyes as he turns to face her, and even though she quickly looks down at the book in her arms, a smile lights her face. "I couldn't wait for the optics class... I went and got the book outta the archives to see if I could figure it out myself." She smiles up at him. "It's kinda complicated."

Cress nods, knowingly, "yeah it is... You know it's the class I've had the most trouble with," he says, knowing full well that /she/ know that. "I'm probably not the right person to ask about it."

Linora's smile doesn't fade, and a twinkle lights her pale eyes. "Complicated... not really confusing. I wanna take the class first, but... I think I kinda understand it. A little."

Cress raises an eyebrow, "You do? That's great," he says as his smile broadens. He doesn't want to push her, so he doesn't say anything about the thought coming to his mind, but maybe she's found her specialty. "Maybe you can help me, when you've taken the class?"

Linora nods earnestly. "Sure... soon as I make sure I got it right." A little shyly, she turns her gaze to the mural. "I wouldn't wanna tell ya the wrong thing or anything like that."

Cress shakes his head grinning as he comes closer to her and puts his hand on her shoulder, "wouldn't wanna make me even more confused than I am now, right?" He squeezes her shoulder and gives her a wink.

Linora swings her head back to look at him wide-eyed, not sure at first if he's serious... then catches the wink and grins, a slight flush spreading under her tan. Then she just looks at him, unable to hide just how much she likes him, and not even really caring.

Cress is speechless. He may be dense, but he /is/ able read that look in her eyes, and can't think of anything to say to her. Her blushing seems to be inficting him, since a red color spreads across his cheeks to his forehead, and all he manages to do is give her a smile.

At Cress's reaction, Linora suddenly lowers her gaze. She hadn't meant to make him uncomfortable... a quick peek back up... he's smiling. She doesn't know what to say either.

Cress' stomach saves him by suddenly giving a loud rumble. He laughs at the sound and looks at her to see if she heard too. "Wanna go get something to eat?"

Linora grins, as relieved as he is for the distraction. "Sure. Just let me put this book back in the archives?" She's already halfway to the door before he can answer.

"Okay," Cress says, a little taken aback, by her quick exit, and hurries after her.