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      Erick was silent for a few moments as he considered whether to believe he now had been given the opportunity to make a major decision himself. He decided that he had nothing to lose by letting the situation play out.

      "In that case, I've always wanted to visit Africa, Kenya if possible."

      "Then let us head for the GTS," Samuel said as he glanced around at the interior of the Barracks. Erick thought he saw Samuel had involuntarily shivered for a moment. Erick nodded when Samuel glanced at him and he followed Samuel out. They made their way across the Diamond Field. Erick didn't even gaze at the horticultural arrangements. They were the same that they had been the day that Erick had first arrived and they had never been changed. Nothing seemed to change. Erick could not remember any new Masters arriving while he had been at the Institution. They didn't seem to age and each appeared to wear the same outfit every day.

      They entered the Pantheon and walked across the huge, stark lobby to the stairway. As Erick walked down the stairs to the GTS1 depot, he thought he could smell the stagnancy hanging over the Institution. Erick thought that it was just like the Masters to build the access depot to the GTS in the Pantheon's basement. That way none of us can leave without their knowing about it.

      Erick followed Samuel into the GTS shuttle. Erick had been on the GTS only once before alone when he was coming to the Institution almost six years ago. They sat down opposite one another. Erick noticed that Samuel was very uncomfortable.

      "Why are you wearing that suit? I know that you don't like it."

1Global Transit System. Global Bullet Train Network finished in 2290. Modeled after 20th century subways in that it is mostly subterranean. Made it possible to travel to anywhere in the world in less than eight hours.

Absolut Paradigm

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