As she climbed down the ducts, she was surprised to hear her father’s voice over the corridor leading to the industrial quadrant. She slowed, and peered down through the duct grate to see.
Her father stood off to one side, with a man whose shiny bald head caught the light from above. He had a large nose, and what appeared to be a bristling moustache sticking out on either side of it. His skin was not as pale as that of most Chronorians, and his voice, deep and slightly accented, was a measured contrast against her father’s clipped tones. She leaned down to hear what they were saying.
“…if the weather holds, we can harness the lightning to conduct the experiment tonight. If it succeeds, the machine should be ready in time for tomorrow,” her father said.
The other man nodded. “Splendid!”
His voice rose, so excited that Shy had to fight to stifle a laugh. “Finally, after all this time…my friend, you truly are a treasure to our society. Without your knowledge, who knows how long this might yet have taken?”
Her father inclined his head. “I could never have gotten this far without the aid of all those who undertook the journey before me. I am honored to continue their work.”
The other man laughed. “You are too modest. Your accomplishment is most remarkable. I look forward to seeing how it will change our world. How it will change all of us.”
Her father was still. “I would prefer to wait until the test results were favorable before looking to the future.”
“You have not long to wait.” The strange man clapped her father on the shoulder with a large hand. “Tonight, my friend, you will succeed. And the future will be ours.”