NaNo background story. A snag during Caroline's grad fieldwork.
Caroline was rocking an incredibly fashionable assortment of layers cobbled together out of what was still clean. Multiple sweaters were almost as good as a proper coat. Not really, but she was going to keep telling herself that. She'd packed knowing that fall might well decide to put in an appearance, but she hadn't planned on winter.
Katelyn, an undergrad who definitely hadn't signed up for this, offered no comment on her outfit. It was apparently quite on trend, since she had resorted to much the same. "Aren't you the one who's always saying that bit about 'Don't like the weather? Wait five minutes, it'll change!'?"
Caroline snorted. "Didn't I ever tell you? There's actually a footnote on that saying. It doesn't count if it's actually snowing."
Katelyn just shook her head. "Prof H is on the phone with the university."
For some reason the university administrators had this thing about wanting to make sure their wayward researchers weren't dead in a ditch somewhere. There would probably be forms once they made it back to campus. There were usually forms. "Well, she'll be a while. That means we should come up with food."
The pair made their way into the cabin's less than amazing kitchen. Caroline's fellow grad student Alex looked mournfully over an assortment of containers he'd spread out on the counter. "Not much left. We were a little too efficient with our last grocery run."
The one that should have seen them through to the end of the work if nature hadn't had other ideas. But Caroline wasn't having that. She strode over to the counter to look for herself. "Nope. I refuse. I am not starving to death when I'm two months away from submitting."
Clearly starving to death years from submitting would be fine. But she hadn't worked this long to let a little thing like food stop her from seeing it through. There had to be something here. Most of it was canned, of course. They'd already used up just about anything fresh. "Okay, we've got rice, that's a start. Honestly Alex, this is basic grad studenting."
Three lasagna noodles were not exactly useful food. But then she hit the jackpot with a can of tuna. "Katelyn, check the freezer, if there's a vegetable this might actually count as a mom approved meal."
Their supervisor was still on the phone with the university by the time they finished preparing a delectable meal of random leftovers seasoned with the bottom dregs of multiple condiments. But they were used to doing most things on their own anyway.
Over dinner there was only one natural topic of conversation. Something Caroline had been giving considerable thought since the first snowflakes fell. "Can you believe that people used to think we'd be able to affect the weather by the time we managed to invent space travel?"
Katelyn laughed. "Maybe people who never studied any science. Physics gets the luxury of making sense."
"And you're just getting started on how little sense biology research actually makes. Wait until you start actually analyzing all the data we collected here."
Alex swallowed a mouthful of his food. "Assuming we get out of here."
"We're botanist. We have roughly five kajillion shovels in the cabin. We'll get the car out. Besides, you have that freshman class to TA next week. You're not getting out of it that easily."
"Damn. It was worth a shot."
Really, who hadn't considered moving permanently into a snowbank to avoid that lab? Caroline didn't mind undergrads. Katelyn had a lot of potential. But until they got close to Katelyn's level, they could be exhausting.
"On the bright side, we can pick up some more samples while we're doing Canadian Archaeology tomorrow. See how the early snowfall affected those vines." The weather had actually calmed down a bit from what it had been doing before they really got onto modern energy sources. But there were always new fluctuations. And that's why they would always have a job.
Or at least their job would always be needed. Funding... well, figuring out that was a job for Future Caroline. For now, she just needed to finish her thesis. And that was going to mean somewhat different digging than usual.