"Hi, Shan! We were beginning to wonder if you were coming at all."

"I know--sorry I'm late, but I have someone I wanted you all to meet, and she wasn't ready on time. Everybody, this is Kaarin-Anne Hansine."

"Just call me Kaarin."

"The guy standing by the juicer is Hildric."

"How do you do, Kaarin."

"Hi, Hildric. What is that?"

"It's a kumquat. I'm doing an experiment, to break in Demi's new juicer, to see just how many different kinds of fruit we can get in here. So far we've got about seventeen. Any ideas for more?"

"Well, let's see. Pomegranates aren't really that about a mango?"

"Got that."

"Hmmm...nectarines? Papaya?"

"Papaya! That's good. Got any papayas, Demi?"

"In the fridge, behind the passionfruit."


"Sorry, Shan, carry on."

"The one with three kittens on her lap is Demi. This is her house."

"Aw, they're so cute! Do they have names yet?"

"Well, their mother was named Esque, so we're naming the kittens Carassoesque, Picassoesque, and Daliesque. And Hemingwayesque, that Brad's got."

"That's Brad with the other kitten. He lives here as well. Where's your snake?"

"She doesn't like it when there's too many bipedal life forms around. She can handle cats and their kin, but most people she's a bit shy of."

"What kind of snake?"

"She's an anaconda. She was born with two heads, but the other one was surgically removed."

"Oh. That must have been expensive."

"They got a government grant to do it. They tried to graft the head onto another snake but that wasn't as successful."

"And over there by the stereo is Milos Kuofogiannakis. He's a Greek exchange student, and a big fan of Squeeze, as you can tell. He's staying here for the summer while Tong, their other roommate, is away."

"Nice to meet you, Kaarin."

"I've always wanted to go to Greece, but never managed it."

"It's okay--it's so cold up here, in comparison."

"Better enjoy it while it lasts, Milos--this is summer."


"Well, gang, what do you think?"

"She'll fit."



"By all means."

"Okay. What kind of mask do you want?"

<Christopher Williams gave me the assignment


I elected not to do it in all caps, though.>

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