“I kind of can’t believe it either,” said Ben. He shivered in the darkness. Jun plucked the air near him and a warm wind passed over their bodies. “Thanks,” Ben said.
“Dude, no problem,” said Jun.
“Save your energy,” said Rice. She sighed. “Aren’t we in enough trouble with the governor already?”
“It’ll be fine,” Ben said. “We go in, see a flower, and leave quickly. They’ll never even know we were here.”
“Dude,” said Jun. “I think this is awesome.”
“You would,” Rice said.
Ben cleared his throat. “The next guard should pass in a few minutes, then we can go.”
“You’re sure you know their rhythm after just half a day of watching them?” Rice asked.
“Yes,” Ben said, his voice firm. “They aren’t very alert.” He shrugged. “Who would break into an arboretum?”
“Idiots,” Rice said with another sigh. “Only idiots.”
Ben peeked over the wall. A low line of hardy shrubs grew just past the wall, and beyond that the dome rose from a expansive platform of wood that covered multiple submerged buildings. Guards patrolled the exterior. “Okay,” he said. He held his hand up, open. The guard passed. Ben closed his fist and pointed. He led them over the wall and Jun brought up the rear.
Pausing at the glass dome, Ben swirled metals from the canisters on his hip, diamond crystals and tungsten. He formed a cutting tool barely bigger than the size of a fingernail and sliced through the glass in a roughly circular shape big enough for a human to pass through. He pressed the cut glass with some platinum, and grimaced as it slid into the dome. Neck muscles straining, he used tungsten and platinum to lower the glass silently to the floor.
The hole in the glass dome puffed warm humid air on their faces. The sound of birdsong and falling water filtered through.
Darting into the glowing dome, Rice and Jun secured the entrance. Ben followed and lifted the glass with his hands. His metals helped him steady it, and he slid it back over the opening he had made, using some microscopic tungsten wedges to hold it firmly. He gasped and nodded to Rice and Jun.
“I can’t believe that actually worked,” Rice said.
“Hopefully nobody notices it,” said Ben.
“They won’t, man,” said Jun. “Perfect cut.” He grinned. “Let’s go find some flowers.”