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One small hatchway provided the only opening. Once inside, she could not straighten up. She had to squeeze into the control chair-how she could have done it if she were Churlstein's size she didn't know-then fit her legs into the two hollows nearly straight in front of her and bend her arms up at an awkward angle to reach the keypad and other controls.

Once she was in contact with the probe, she had to put on a helmet to get the full holographic visual the probe was transmitting, and when she wanted to use any of the tester arms, she had to wriggle her hands into the thick moisture-retentive gloves whose movement controlled them. Once she was controlling the probe, caught up in its movements and perceptions, the claustrophobia faded away. But before and after, her skin crawled with the closeness of the module.

She noticed that Chang hadn't bothered to close down his session, so she could just operate the probe under his access code. She fitted on the snug helmet, found herself in the landscape she'd been observing down in the conference room with the rest of the team, jagged, harsh, the dust and the distance of the sun making the light appear dusky, even in the midday. The lights on the probe gave her a visibility of perhaps fifty to seventy feet. She and the rest of the team had observed as Chang ran the probe through its paces, making sure all the manual systems were operational and getting a sense for the slight time delay remaining between the issuing of an order and the executing of it. He'd run a few new tests on the egg, then turned the probe over to her.

"Plot a course to cave 3A, sector 3," Anna ordered the probe.

A visual of the projected course appeared below the landscape. The probe had discovered the first cave almost a week ago, and since then
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