Inquiring Mind
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"Do you want some more coffee?", asked a voice behind Dr. Olga Derminov. Tired as she was, she lifted her eyes from the photo that has been chasing her mind for days. She looked behind her at the door and saw the blonde hair of her assistant Loewen, who was standing in the door frame and apparently wanted to continue running straight on. Olga already knew this behaviour of the girl, she could never really stand still or sit down for a moment.
"I think I already had a questionable amount of caffeine, thank you, Loewen," she only answered and went back to her work. She heard a sigh and the footsteps of Loewen's boots that continued down the hall.
These damn drawings. Olga wasn't thinking about anything else for days now. Even if she switched on the television in her quarters, lit her evening cigarette and really only wanted to switch off, the strange symbols and fish drawings reappeared in her head over and over again. What was that all about?
She woke from her brooding when Sarah's voice sounded behind her again. "Hey, uhm, don't you want to go home?"
Annoyed, Olga turned around and wrinkled her freckled nose. "Do you really want me off my ass every five minutes now?"
A look at the clock to the right of the study door told her that it hadn't been just five minutes. It was already midnight. She had stared at the photo for more than five hours. Loewen's face in the doorframe spoke volumes; she had already put on her jacket and thrown the strap of her backpack over one shoulder. Olga shook her head and managed to smile. "Ah, excuse me, I am probably overworked a little. I'll go right away, just cleaning up the stuff. See you tomorrow, okay?"
Her assistant didn't look too convinced, but she knew there was no power in the world that could take Olga away from her work, except for herself. So the girl said goodbye and left through the hallway of the researchers' study. Only now did Olga notice the silence that had spread through the building. She was really the last researcher still here tonight. But she wasn't really tired either. Maybe just half an hour more…

She reached for her pen and traced the contours of the symbols again. In the cold blue light of the lamp above her, the drawing looked almost as if it was immersed in ice water, as if it could melt through Dr. Derminovs body heat alone and flood the room. Wait, what the hell are you dreaming about now?! You are acting just like the girl! Olga wrinkled her nose again, a thing she often did when something bothered her or when she couldn't get her own thoughts straight. Perhaps she should talk to a linguist, ask him how these characters, which looked almost identical except for some slightest differences, could make sense. But then it would no longer be her job. Maybe they would hand the shard over to another location and they would have to dig up mud and mudflats in the North Sea again, to catalog any finds that were of no value to the Foundation, in order to be passed on to local museums. No, not this time. Olga just knew that there was more to this thing. It just didn't match the rest of the objects they found in the remains of the lost city. And her fascination for it couldn't be by chance. Her intuition never betrayed her. Not once.
She looked at the photo of the shard and started pondering again, the hand with the pen scratching over the sheet next to it as if alive on its own. It was drawing small figures, mustaches, genitals. Olga yawned heartily and suddenly her ears felt as if they had a cotton ball in them. The feeling of pressure on the ears wasn't unknown to her, but this time it was unusually sudden and intense. She tried to balance the pressure by closing her nose with one hand and suddenly it felt like she was in a swimming pool. Her body felt light, carried by the water around her. Her vision was clouded, but she still saw the photo of the shard clearly in front of her on the table - only around her wasn't her work space anymore, but the ocean! It was not deep, a little bit above her she saw the rippling water surface in which the light of the moon diffracted. Though, beneath her was nothing but blackness. The hand on her nose, which had been there just to balance the pressure, now kept her nose and mouth closed shut out of pure reflex to hold her breath. Was she in a dream? It didn't feel like a dream in the slightest, she was aware of everything, but that's usually how it was while dreaming lucid, wasn't it? She noticed that she was slowly sinking, so she made pedaling movements, which was not particularly easy due to the heavy overalls that she wore out of habit and her shoes that were soaked with water. To hell, now I can forget my cigarettes, was all she thought, before the fear came. She was not afraid of this condition, not of drowning. The fear that rolled over her like a wave, threatening to overpower her, was different. It was like a primal fear, something that was hidden deep within her; released by an approaching evil. She felt the monster deep within her before she saw it. Two beaming headlights in the distance, yellowish and menacing, came closer at an insane pace. A frenzied train that drove fear like the blast of an explosion. Dr. Dermoniv's thoughts were empty. She could only face the horror of this figure, which was approaching in a twitching movement pattern, a mountain of scales, mouths and spikes. When it came close enough to see the eyes that had pierced the water so brilliantly, the beast suddenly stopped. It was very far away still, yet the god-like being seemed to be watching the woman floating in the water, seemed to be weighing up her life. And then, suddenly, it was over.

Olga opened her eyes, finally took her hand from her nose and breathed in so deeply and loudly that it hurt. It tokk her a moment before she realized that she was no longer in her study room. She was standing infront one of the small windows on the upper floors of the site. In front of her she saw the black surface of the North Sea, amazingly calm, illuminated by the moon; the night was slowly coming to an end. The sky was already beginning to turn slightly lighter again, but it was not yet morning.
The pressure on Olga's ears slowly subsided, making room for a strange cacophony of sounds that she had never heard since she started working here. An intoxicating noise, which consisted of sirens - which she knew from exercises -, an automatic emergency announcement and calling people, hurt her eardrum after this strange silence. What the hell… She rushed down to where her documents were in the researcher's rooms, but was picked up by security personnel and escorted out of the building to a collection point with other people who had still worked in the power plant.
From the excited chatter of those present, she could catch some information. It seems that there had been a flood. In her wing. Goosebumps crept over her back when she realized what that might mean. While everyone else was still arguing wildly, her gaze wandered away from the blocky building and the fields with electricity pylons and all the other technical buildings that disguised the location as a power plant, towards the water surface. The oppressive feeling immediately had her chest in its grip again, but not as bad as in her… vision before. However, when she let her gaze wander and finally looked south, there was no denying in it anymore - whatever she felt, was coming from that direction.

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