“We ran up the temperature inside the building,” Elaine said, “and have the stack of heated drying cloths that I gather are the Creztailian custom. There is also hot tea.”
“Heated cloths are indeed the custom,” Junichiro said, “and he is fond of your Australian Keemun tea if it can be had.”
“Ready and waiting.” Fortunately, Elaine thought, Mabel Brixton keeps careful notes on these things.
“And here is the Senior Inspector,” Lieutenant Tashiro announced.
Inspector Tzoltzin waddled down the ramp, his batrachian snout pulled back under a long rain hood. “Ah, Great Commander of Building Things Bell. I am of course delighted to see you, despite your sad weather. Though I have read there are places north of here where the rain falls as beautiful white crystals, hopefully only to be seen from the far side of a thick pane of glass.”
“And I greet you also, Senior Inspector,” Elaine answered, her arms outstretched with palms up. The Inspector repeated the gesture. “However, be so kind as to step into the transporter, and we will be in someplace more comfortable in a few moments. Of course, if you ever wish to see a snow storm, you could visit our Polar Coastline.”
“I eagerly endorse this proposal of transport,” Tzoltzin said. “And, while it may surprise you, one of the things I do wish to experience, before I return home, is a polar blizzard. While safe, of course, behind heavy window panes. After all, your planet is something of an extreme, for a place where intelligence developed, in terms of its polar axial tilt.”
The Test Facility foyer was pleasantly warm. Tzoltzin slipped from his raincoat and gratefully accepted the first of a stack of warm towels.
“On my home world,” he said, “at least the parts fit for habitation, rain falls in the warm months, almost always at night. I fear that my weather gear was not intended for such a challenging storm.”
“Apologies,” Elaine said. “And if in the future one of your inspections would coincide with severe weather, we will see if we can adjust to your schedule.”