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Cristalle was an aptly-named city, its high-rise buildings and street lamps sparkling in the morning light.

Cassandra's heart turned over with excitement as she stepped from the bus onto the smooth paved streets. Drommende was a wilderness, but Cristalle was a metropolis.

On this typical Monday morning, people dressed in business attire walked the streets, stopped at coffee vendors to order lattes and breakfast pastries.

Cassandra remembered the coffee shop where she had had her interview with Dr. Thorn and wondered if it would be close to her laboratory. She would like to be able to go there frequently.

With written instructions curled tightly in her hand, she entered the high-rise building before her. The lower rooms were walled with floor to ceiling windows, and morning light filled them with overwhelming brightness. Solar panels lined the walls to power computers and other equipment.

"May I help you, miss?" A guard standing in the hall smiled at her in a friendly way.

"I'm looking for the elevator."

He gestured with a quick movement down the hallway. "You're on your way." She could tell by the way he looked at her he was accustomed to seeing the same people every day, and she knew she looked like a new employee.

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