Overhead imagery in central China is terrible. Street View doesn’t exist. No surprise, of course.
For the technically minded, information about EAST is here. Otherwise, I wrap all of this up *cough cough* tomorrow.
Tamera took that moment to look around. They had ended their journey in the middle of a parking lot. About a hundred locals in business suits or the same plus lab coats stared at them. About two dozen police or military watched much more closely. Office buildings or labs to the north, east, and south. Past some trees to the west was a much larger structure, maybe six stories tall but with no windows except for some on the ground floor.
“And that’s where we are going now, Nurse Keynes,” the young demi-human announced. “But first, how are you doing, cousin? Enjoy your trip here?”
“I just slept, I guess,” Lem managed, still tired, blinking at her through his thick glasses. “Not seen you in forever, Miss Ildi.”
“We’re family, silly! It’s just Ildi, Lem. I just told your Grandma Henge you’re here with me. She’ll say ‘hi’ before we get started.”
“Is…” he looked a little scared, “is it going to hurt?”
“Nope! ‘Prolly just tickle a little, like when Dorina looked inside you,” Ildi said. “Let’s go!”
His mother stayed to the bed’s left and Tam on the right, glancing at her tablet to the real-time tele data from her patient. Pushed by the empress’ men, they were at the building in moments, with the local cops close behind. No signs were in English so Tamera hoped their guide was fluent.
“I am, as of a couple of days ago,” the girl laughed, picking up the nurse’s thoughts from the tiny motions of her body. Even after twenty years, it’s just creepy when they do that.
“It can be, right? To us, it’s just who we are.” She and a legionary held the double doors open. “In and right, please.”
They did but were almost immediately stopped by an older man, also in a lab coat, flanked by a man and woman, similarly dressed. Tamera watched him scan their little group before settling his eyes on her and speaking. In Chinese.
“Uhh…” Keynes began.
“<Oh, Miss Hartmann,>” he said as Ildi stepped around Tamera, “<thank the heavens. Our team has been working with Miss Dorina and cycling the magnets for about three hours, now. She said she would need your help too, quote, pin it down. I confess I do not know what that means.>”
“<I do. Thank you, Professor Doctor Li, for your time and letting us foreign devils utilize your wonderful facility,>” she replied with a slight bow, playing her role.
“<I think professionals of any nation can collaborate in a task to save a child’s life,>” he replied. Ildi’s eyes twinkled that he didn’t refute the “foreign devils” clause. “<This is the lad in question? Please tell him it is our pleasure to aid a member of your imperial family. Then, please follow me.>”
Switching to English, this Hartmann introduced Li first, Tamara also bowed at that, and what he had said about Lem. The head of EAST had already turned about, expecting them to follow.
A series of locked doors, most with Radiation Danger trefoils on them, led them to one of the single largest rooms Tamera had ever seen. An insanely complex maze of pipes and conduits was everywhere in the five-story space, a space so vast, she could not see the far walls. The woman, Li’s assistant, took out an old-fashioned stopwatch and clicked it.
“Lots of residual radiation in here,” Ildi explained. “Time is short. Hi, there!”
Dorina’s translucent form stood before them, grinning hugely.
“Hi, Lem! Let’s have lots of fun today, okay!” she shouted.