The slicked grate rattled him awake with scattered taps of freefalling, unfiltered fog. The miniscule leak, which helped regulate pressures in the system, prioritized instead the slow harassment of Jera’s circadian rhythm. It was a three-day conveyor to the fog site—riding slow enough to avoid detection, he learned how commanding the substrate of a soggy heel could be. Only a few hours ago his boots were melting into the summer’s noon asphalt while waiting in line for this recruitment lottery. Now numb to the cold on his way to catch cloud, he became a foreigner to his own foot. The stranger looking down at some aggregate of static parts. It was this first flicker of dread that all excitement for the contract was snuffed.