Samantha stepped out of the portal, and the stench of the corrupt sea hit her. The ancient Viking longboat was like an old friend that she would have been happy never to see again. There was a chill in the air she hadn't expected. The Five Burroughs were sweltering in the dog days of July, but the Fog had somehow locked Kingsmouth Town in an eternal October. She walked down the draw, sighting Boone's camp just off the road.
"Dr. Hawthorn!" he greeted her as she approached. "Long time, no see."
"I'm surprised you remember me, Mr. Boone," she replied.
"Call it a knack. It's my business to remember folks. How've you been? Looks like your adventures have taken you to sunnier climes."
"I've been everywhere, it seems. Ms. Geary keeps me busy."
"And how is Kiki these days?"
"She's fine, I suppose—as long you don't call her that to her face."
"Fair enough," Boone smiled.
"Well, I want to check in on the folks in town before . . . Say, you don't happen to have seen a new group of Orochi agents around, have you?"
"Not any new ones. Just the folks out on the bridge north of town, and at the airport. And at the base camp. Y'know? There are an awful lot of those corporate types around. But I haven't seen any new ones. Of course, you don't all come by here to chat."
"True. All right, then. I'll see you 'round, I guess."
"Keep your head down," Boone tipped his hat, and Sam returned the gesture with a smile as she strode off toward town.~~~
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