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Part of Her World

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An Investigation into the Lyn Reef, Idris,
and its Effect on Marine Life in the Surrounding Area

Magnus Bane, PhD & Maia Roberts, MSc

This report will explore the results of a six-month study into the Lyn Reef, located along the eastern coast of Idris. Compared to surrounding areas in the region, marine life around Idris has been reported to be more resilient to the effects of climate change and other environmental factors. The coral reef has also shown considerable signs of resilience and recovery for a formation of this type. This study aims to explore the causes for this phenomenon, and conclude whether or not this recovery could be replicated in other locations across the world.

Supporting Documentation:

Video Diaries (REDACTED)

Accessing Drive…

Recovering Video Logs…

Playing 1 / 257 ...

“We have to start now, Maia, we’re on the way there,” Magnus protested softly, holding the camera aloft in the air. Maia rolled her eyes, pointedly looking out of the airplane window. The sea below was a bright, vibrant blue. It was nothing like home, where the ocean was always a little cold and a little grey or so it felt. All of a sudden she’d been whisked away to a tropical paradise, miles away from all of her problems.

But then, that was what she’d wanted, wasn’t it?

“At least say hi,” Magnus cajoled gently. She waved half heartedly, eyes still on the ocean.

“Hi,” she answered flatly, mostly talking to the perspex window.

“Okay, so today is April 18th, and Miss Roberts here and I are currently on the flight out to Alicante, which is the main settlement and airport for the island of Idris. We had to fly to Miami to get a plane out here, and by the time we arrive we’ll be about 1,320 miles away from home,” Magnus introduced easily.

“I thought this was meant to be a scientific journal, not a blog for your Instagram followers,” Maia commented.

“Firstly, I’m offended that you think this isn’t scientific. Secondly, I think my Instagram followers are more interested in my eyeshadow techniques than my work as a scientist.”

“Then stop making it sound like a holiday diary!”

“How does it sound like a holiday diary?!”

“Okay, so, as I was saying, we’re about thirty minutes outside of Idris,” Magnus started again. Maia resisted rolling her eyes, instead turning back to the magazine she’d pulled out of the seat pocket in front of her. She did her best to tune out Magnus describing the basics of their expedition to the camera. It wasn’t anything she didn’t already know. And really, she liked Magnus. He was fun, and far more respectful than half of the children she’d been forced to work with over her academic career. The people - usually men - that she'd worked with over the years had ranged from insensitive to just plain old misogynistic. Compared to all that, she'd never felt happier about her lab partner, especially someone she'd been spending so much time with.

Magnus had always been good to her. He specialised in biochemistry, and since he was the one with the doctorate, he was technically her supervisor. She was still studying for her own PhD, and she hoped that if everything went well with this trip, she might be able to use to the resulting paper in her thesis. The Lyn Reefs had become a point of interest for her ever since she’d started talking about it with the lead researcher at the marine unit on Idris. The unit was mostly funded by her college, which was why the trip hadn’t been too hard to pitch. It wasn’t exactly a great expense to have them down here for a while.

Plus, there was something genuinely interesting going on down in that reef. All across the planet, people in her field had been finding instances of pollution and climate change. Reefs dying off in rising temperatures and oil spills, and a whole host of other things inflicted on the oceans by the human race. But Idris was different. Idris wasn’t dying. It was flourishing , and no one could really explain why.

Maia wanted to explain why. If it was something they could replicate, if she could somehow help save the oceans that humanity had managed to break… well, maybe she’d be doing something worthwhile with her life then. And she needed worthwhile right now. She needed to do something good , and frankly, if this was it, she’d be happy for the rest of her days.

At least, that was what she told herself. She hadn’t even hit thirty yet, so maybe it was a little early to talk about being happily ever afters.

The travel magazine on the plane was filled with the usual adverts for a hundred different travel locations across the world. Tropical islands and far away lands, places Maia had only ever dreamed of. Her first and only flight before this had been when her mother and father had forced her to go on a family vacation to Minnesota.

She still didn’t understand why they’d picked Minnesota. But then, she didn’t understand a lot about her family.

Really, it was about time she went a little further than Minnesota. She wanted to see the Great Barrier Reef one day, wanted to study the sea turtles and tropical fish across the globe. She might have always loved her field, but something about working somewhere warm and sunny for a while sounded attractive.

But then, that was why she was going to Idris, wasn't it?

Maia closed the magazine gently as the cabin steward announced they would be landing shortly. Magnus was still recording, explaining the previously observed patterns of behaviour seen in the area around the reef. She leaned over towards the window a little, practically pushing her nose against the window to try and catch a glimpse of the island.

And there it was.

“Magnus, look,” Maia said, her enthusiasm breaking through as Magnus cut off from his explanation and leaned a little closer. He frowned, peering as best he could.

“I don't see anything,” he said, and the disappointment was evident. She sighed, tugging on his sleeve slightly and leaning into the corner. It was as good an invitation to invade her personal space as anyway.

“Get in here, look,” Maia said, pointing as best she could. The edge of the island was just visible in the distance, as was the obvious pattern of the reef, just below the surface of the water. Magnus stretched over with the camera, and after a moment Maia rolled her eyes and took it from him, trying to angle it better to capture the view of the reef from the air. It was huge. And it was the most beautiful thing Maia had ever seen.

“It's more incredible than I thought,” Magnus sighed happily. Maia smiled.


Home for six months. She'd felt nervous when she'd originally agreed to this assignment. She'd never been outside of the Tri-state area for more than a couple of weeks. Six months in Idris felt daunting. But looking down at the island and the reef, all Maia saw was the opportunity for the study of a lifetime.

The excitement bubbled out of her a little, and she couldn't help but smile.

“Here we go.”

When they finally walked through the airport and out into the arrivals hall, Maia couldn’t help but break into a grin as she saw who was waiting for them. He was holding a handmade sign that just said “NYU Marine Biology Lab”, as if she would need it to find him. Maia couldn’t help but reach out to hug him as soon as she was close enough. There was something reassuring about having Luke’s arms around her again. Luke Garroway had always been more of a father figure to her than her own parents. They’d met when she was a little kid, and her parents had taken her to the aquarium every couple of weeks. Eventually they’d indulged her interests and let her take extra study sessions with Luke, who’d been a Marine Biology student at the time. She’d been heartbroken when he moved to Idris with his family about five years ago, but she’d been proud of him too. The unit out here was undeniably Luke’s, and it had been a move he needed to make. He’d achieved so much since then, and the chance to spend a few months out here on the project, working with Luke as well as Magnus…it had been too good a chance for Maia to resist.

She pulled back after a moment, smiling up at her former mentor, realising just how much she’d missed him in the last few years. “You got taller,” was all he said to her, and Maia couldn’t help but laugh.

“It happens,” she replied with a slight shrug. “How are you? How’s Clary?”

“Good,” Luke said without hesitation, and Maia could tell that he meant it. “This place has been good to us.”

“It looks beautiful,” Maia agreed, making sure not to linger on anything too painful. She knew exactly what had driven Luke to move an ocean away from New York with almost no hesitation, and she wasn’t going to reopen old wounds. Things had been hard for him. But she had never been happier to see someone bounce back from some of their darkest moments.

Whatever Luke had done, she could really use a little of that magic for herself right now.

“Wait until you see your place. You’re going to love it,” Luke promised solemnly, and Maia couldn’t help but smile. After a moment, Magnus stepped forward, letting go of his suitcase to hold out his hand.

"Luke. It's been too long," Magnus offered warmly, and Luke smiled. Maia had been vaguely aware the two of them knew each other Magnus had been the one who'd made all the arrangements to come out to Idris for an extended period, and she also knew Magnus had been on extensive Skype calls with Luke to get an idea of what they were going to find before they even got on the plane. The two of them had been working together quite closely on the paperwork and research proposals, trying to work out what would have the most benefit for the academic community and the preservation of such precious coral reefs across the world.

This was important work. The fact that it was happening in a beautiful location under the supervision of an old friend was just a bonus for Maia. She couldn't forget she had a goal here. If this went well, she could have her own PhD in what felt like no time at all. The board wouldn't be able to deny her if this paper went as well as she hoped.

Of course, they needed to actually work out what to put in the paper before any of that would happen.

"Nice to finally meet in person," Luke responded. He reached out for Magnus' abandoned suitcase, gesturing towards the exit on the other side of the small terminal building. It wasn't as if Idris got a lot of flights. It was blessedly free of tourism for the moment, or so Luke promised her.

She had high hopes for this place, and the excitement bubbling inside her was something she didn't want to contain. She was ready to get started, and forget all about what she'd left behind in the city. This was a real chance for her to do something good and valuable. She wasn't about to waste it.

"The car's outside. I've got the afternoon free, so I can help you two get settled in," Luke offered, and Maia nodded, hitching her backpack over her shoulder a little tighter.

This was what she'd dreamed of for so long, and she was ready. Magnus, true to form, used his now free hand to unlock his phone and immediately begin filming.

"Really, again?" Maia asked, rolling her eyes a little.

"Document everything, Miss Roberts. First rule of being a scientist. Isn't that right, Luke?"

Luke chuckled, shrugging idly. "Oh, don't involve me in this. But I can tell you a little more about the island on the way over, so you've got something useful on that recording."

"See, this is what being helpful looks like," Magnus teased her gently. Maia just rolled her eyes, making a vague sound of disgust as she walked ahead of the two men towards the exit.

Idris as an island was fairly small: the main hub of civilisation was Alicante, which was only a twenty minute drive away from the Marine Biology unit, as well as Maia's new home. The island could be driven from side to side in a little under two hours, which meant it wasn't difficult to get around. There were various ports and fishing villages littered around the coast, mostly made up of locals and Idris natives. One of the island's biggest industries was fish, along with the harvest of some of the rare fruits that only seemed to grow in places like this. It was hardly a bustling hive of activity, and having just left New York, the island almost felt empty. But Maia found herself enjoying the silence.

The house they would be staying in was a five minute walk away from the Marine Biology unit, nestled at the top of the beach. Luke had explained the house had been purchased as part of the site when they'd built the unit. It was small, but looked sturdy enough. It was nestled in the embrace of palm trees and soft grass, which ran off into sand in what could only be about twenty or thirty paces. There was a decked porch out the front of the building, spilling out of the lounge, and the french doors stood open to allow the tropical breeze to drift through the building.

Luke had been right the view was truly incredible.

She was sharing the two-bed house with Magnus, which was definitely a new experience for her. She hadn't had a housemate in a long time, not since she'd gotten herself out of the terrible student accommodation she'd used in her first years of college. Sure, the rent was higher, but there was no price Maia could put on her privacy. Having Magnus just next door was definitely an odd feeling to get used to, after so many years of living alone.

The only bonus was there were two bathrooms. She'd ended up taking the much smaller one, allowing Magnus the bathtub, but it suited her. The room was more than big enough, the bed looked comfortable, and the view out of her window was of palm trees, blue skies and a hint of the ocean in the distance.

Maia didn't think she'd be exaggerating if she called it paradise. It certainly felt like a paradise.

She'd taken only about twenty minutes to unpack her suitcase of clothes, and set up the tiny window desk with her laptop and notebooks she'd brought along with her. Luke had warned her the internet wasn't the best at the house, but apparently they'd had a higher speed link installed at the Marine Biology unit, for sending huge batches of research notes and video logs out. If Maia abused that to download a little Netflix every now and again...well, no one would notice, right?

From the sounds of things next door, Magnus was taking a lot longer to unpack, so Maia decided to take the chance to explore for herself. They didn't start work until tomorrow, Luke encouraging them to enjoy the day and rest up after all the travelling they'd done. Maia knew she should probably be resting, but the last thing she wanted to do right was sit in her room and think.

Pulling off her trainers at the veranda, she stepped onto the little decked path towards the beach, breathing a sigh of relief when she finally sunk her toes into the warm sand. She’d never been on a real beach before. Not one like this. Not one where the sea was impossibly blue and the sand actually felt soft and warm and gorgeous. The wind whipped through her hair, and she closed her eyes and just inhaled, taking the scent of the salt into her lungs. It was a dream, to get the chance to be here. An incredible, impossible dream. But it was real, and she was here, and she’d earned it.

As she stood there, soaking in the sun, Maia took a second to breathe. She had earned this, she reminded herself. It wasn't a fiction, she hadn't imagined it. She'd worked hard on her studies. She'd been a poor scholarship kid when she'd started out. She'd fought for her place at college, and spent every second she had studying and making sure she was going to use this chance she had. People like her didn't get many second chances. Failure wasn't an option. When most people had been out partying, Maia had been in the library, pouring over books and learning everything she could. It was that dedication that had gotten her a postgrad study, and it was that dedication that had gotten her here, now, on this project. She was good at what she did. She was good . She deserved this.

Just as the peace started to settle in her bones, her phone vibrated violently in her pocket, breaking her reverie. She frowned, reaching for it, checking her notifications briefly. Clearly the internet at the house couldn't be too bad, because her social media notifications for the day had popped through, along with a couple of messages. It had been a long flight, and she'd kept her phone on airplane mode for most of the day, only using it for music and a few rounds of Candy Crush.

The most interesting notification was the third one down - a message from her old lab partner, Bat. He'd been sweet and confused by everything, and had eventually switched majors. But that didn't mean Maia had stopped being friends with him. If anything, he was one of the closest friends she had back home. She didn't really have a lot of friends, when she thought about it. She'd been too busy for it. Maybe that was a little sad, but she'd made her choices.

Thought you should know before someone else sprung it on you. Hope you're okay and arrived safe.

Bat's message concluded with a link to a tweet, which she clicked without hesitation. The text loaded in a heartbeat, but the image was a little more reluctant. As she was waiting, her eyes skimmed the short message.

"Romantic weekend with the bae!!" it read, with copious use of heart eye emojis. And then... oh. Jordan was tagged.

He had a new girlfriend then. That was... probably for the best.

Thanks. Arrived safe, will call when I can.

Maia tapped out the message to Bat blindly before putting her phone back to sleep, clutching it tight in her hand. She resisted the desire to throw it into the ocean, her knuckles stretching white as she gripped the device a little harder than she probably should. It shouldn't hurt her anymore. Jordan had been... terrible. She was better off without him. And honestly, she'd never really loved him. Sure, she'd liked him, but when she watched romance movies, read the stories about how love was supposed to make you starry eyed and thrilled to be around that person, Maia knew she'd never felt that. Jordan had never been her world. Not the way other boys had been the entire lives of her classmates. She'd accepted Jordan, and she'd thought he'd accepted her. She'd thought he had the same respect and affection for her that she had for him.

She'd been wrong. But hey, that was her own stupid fault, wasn't it?

But she was here. In Idris. She was an ocean away from New York, and any mention of Jordan Kyle. Bat had done what he thought was right. And on some level, she knew he was right. If Luke or someone had asked her about it, if they somehow found out, or if her parents bothered to call... she didn't want to be blindsided by the news. At least this way she had the time to process and deal with it on her own terms.

But she didn't have to deal with Jordan Kyle, and that was another reason everything about this island was a paradise.

"Everything alright?"

Maia jumped violently at the voice behind her, turning to find Magnus standing on the end of the boardwalk. He arched an eyebrow at her, looking her over. Maia exhaled shakily, sweeping her hair out of her eyes as she tucked her phone away.

"Yeah. Everything's fine," she promised him. He seemed to examine her closely for a second, looking her over. Magnus paused for a moment before leaning against the post at the end of the boardwalk.

"So... family, friends or romance?"

"What?" Maia asked with a frown, shaking her head a little.

"Whatever's got you so upset," Magnus prodded a little. Maia sighed, looking back out to the ocean. It looked so perfect out there. She'd always loved the water, but this was nothing like the Atlantic shores she knew back home. It was so much cleaner, fresher. Something about it was alluring.

At that particular, Maia wanted to walk into the waves and never come back out. Life must be better as a fish.

"Old boyfriend. Jordan," Maia grumbled in response. She'd spent plenty of time with Magnus before flying out here, but they'd been mostly managed to keep things professional. She knew he lived next door to someone called Elias, and she knew when he was going for dinner with friends or with his boyfriend, when he was working the weekend. Just like he knew when she was meeting Bat after a lab, or spending the weekend curled up with a good book. But they didn't get too personal. Not with the intimate details, anyway.

But she was going to be living with Magnus for the foreseeable future, Maia reminded herself. Those boundaries just weren't going to hold up. They would be working together every day whilst they were out here, more or less. She relied on Magnus for company, and the success of this trip. She couldn't hold everything back forever. That was why she decided to be honest.

It had nothing to do with the fact that she just needed to complain at someone about how love sucked.

“Ah,” Magnus said knowingly, and Maia exhaled heavily. She folded her arms around her body, almost as if she was trying to comfort herself. That was nothing new, though. She'd had to fend for herself for a long time. It just… sucked realising how truly alone she was.

“Why do men suck?” Maia complained a little, before looking over her shoulder. “No offense.” Magnus, to his credit, just chuckled softly.

“None taken,” he told her calmly. They stood like that for a moment, in blissful peace and silence. Maia took in the gentle lap of the waves against the shore, watching the motion. It looked so simple out there. So easy.

Life as a fish was definitely looking more attractive by the second.

After a moment she felt more than heard someone approaching behind her. Magnus’ shoes had been abandoned on the boardwalk as he walked out onto the sand himself. His pants were turned up at the ankles, presumably to avoid some sort of fashion disaster. He stopped beside her, breathing for a moment before seeming to come to some sort of decision. And then…

“Imasu dumped me.”

“I'm so sorry,” Maia replied instinctively. She'd heard the name mentioned around the lab when they'd had their meetings. He was some sort of artist, maybe a musician. Maia wasn't aware of it being a terribly long term thing, but now that she actually thought about it, she wasn't aware of a lot of things about the life of Magnus Bane.

Maybe this was her chance to fix it.

“It's not your fault,” Magnus reassured her. “And it was hardly ever going to be a long term thing. He wasn't best pleased with the idea of me being here for months on end and wanted his ah…. Freedom .”

“That still sounds awful,” Maia pointed out. She didn't know why she was pushing, especially when she knew how raw her own wounds were. But maybe they just needed something stupid like this to bond over.

“Some people can't handle long distance. It's fine. It's hardly the first time,” Magnus told her. Maia glanced over at him. She didn't exactly know the full picture of Magnus’ dating history. He was proudly bisexual, which was probably one of the first things Magnus had told her about himself. He helped out at the LGBT+ society on campus sometimes, supporting events whenever he was required. Imasu was hardly his first relationship, but his tone betrayed just how hurt he'd been before.

It was a sentiment Maia couldn't help but understand. Getting hurt was never fun, especially when it came to matters of the heart.

“My Mom said I was running away from my problems,” Maia whispered softly. She didn't have the best relationship with her parents, but they still called every couple of months, and she'd made sure to call before she got on the plane to Idris. Her mother hadn't been best pleased to hear about her breakup. But then, her mother had also been Jordan's biggest fan, so it made sense that she was upset with her only daughter.

“Deciding to move across an ocean to a place you don't know, to live with a bunch of relative strangers isn't running away, Maia. If anything, it's incredibly brave. You're doing something you love. You should be proud.”

It was an odd feeling, to have someone so supportive of her, especially when it felt like they didn't know her that well. Maybe that was just an upshot of her history. She'd always been second best to her parents, and Jordan had never exactly been the supportive kind. She'd gotten used to being alone. She knew that. Even when she'd been surrounded by people, she'd always had to fend for herself, be her own inspiration. She'd gotten good at it too.

Maia had never expected Magnus to be anything more than a colleague on this trip, whether they were living together or not. Hearing him be so willing to listen to her silly personal issues, and not only that, give her praise for her choices? It was a completely foreign feeling. She didn't know what to do with it, didn't know what to say in response.

Proving that he was intelligent in more than one way, Magnus seemed to realise that. He stepped further forward onto the sand, walking towards the sea. After a moment he paused, looking back at her. “You up for exploring? I think the lab is this way,” Magnus offered, gesturing down the shore. Maia looked in the direction he'd pointed. The house seemed to be nestled into a cove, so it was impossible to see. But frankly, exploring sounded much better than going back inside right now.

“Sure,” she replied, walking forward to join him, moving out towards the waves.

This paradise was the place she got to call home for the next few months. And she wasn't going to waste a single second of her time here on moping about what she'd left behind. Time to move forward, seize the moment.

This was her paradise. She wanted to make the most of it. No matter what.

In the spirit of hospitality, Luke had invited them both over for dinner that night. Maia was glad for the company, and glad to not need to figure out food for the evening. By the time she and Magnus arrived at the house, the smell of good cooking was pouring out of the windows, and Maia felt her stomach rumble. They were easily at home in the place, Luke’s house feeling every bit as warm, safe and comfortable as she’d felt with the man all those years ago in New York. It was easy to settle into, and after barely an hour Maia felt like she’d been coming to visit for years.

Luke had invited his daughter over, and her friend. Clary and Simon were much closer to Maia’s age, and had moved over when Luke had opened the research unit. Clary was bright and bubbly, an aspiring artist who took her every inspiration from the surroundings she now lived in. She also worked at a lifeguard in Alicante, which helped ends meet. Simon worked on a fishing boat, just a little shallow water thing that he operated alone. The two of them seemed to have quite the idyllic lifestyle. Maia envied them a little. Everything must be so much simpler, when that was the life you led.

After the food was done and dishes cleaned, the group of five ended up on the deck, the cool night breeze soothing after the heat of the day. There was a bottle of wine on the table, which Magnus took the liberty of pouring. Maia swirled her glass idly, watching the moths flutter around the porch lights. There was a lizard clinging to the wall. Maia didn’t think she’d ever seen one in real life before. It felt like there were far too many things she'd never seen before. She was just glad she got the chance to change that.

"So Luke mentioned you guys were out here for a research project?" Clary asked inquisitively, shifting forward on her chair. Maia smiled, nodding. They'd managed to avoid talk of work for most of the evening, instead just catching up. They'd all lived in New York for a time, so they'd had plenty in common to keep them going. Maia had also been interested to catch up with Luke, and how things were for him since he'd left the city he'd called home for so long. But from what she could tell, he was fine. They were all doing just fine.

"We're investigating the coral reef," Maia explained briefly. Simon's eyes seemed to light up a little at that, budging forward in his seat in eagerness.

"Yeah? What are you looking for?"

"We're not sure yet," Maia replied. "That's why it's a research project." After all, if they had all the answers already, then what was the point of doing the paper at all?

"The coral's coping exceptionally well in the environment - thriving even. The reports Luke sends back to the university are fascinating. We just want to see if we can shed some light on why it's doing so well," Magnus said, by way of further explanation. Simon nodded, seeming to be thinking to himself.

"Cool, cool. What makes you think there's a reason though?"

"Simon," Luke sighed, exasperated.

"What? I'm just saying, sometimes stuff just... happens. Like rainbows. Who knows why they show up?"

"Combination of light refraction and reflection in water droplets. Also, every time a new LGBT person gets their wings" Magnus replied easily. Maia could see Clary hiding a laugh behind her glass, and she bit back a smile herself. Simon sputtered a little, trying to recover.

"I mean... I know that , but you know. Some stuff just isn't meant to be explained. Like the Force. You can't science the Force."

"A coral reef isn't the Force, Simon," Clary reminded him gently.

"I know! It's just... you could be wasting your time, is all," Simon finished lamely. Maia could help but feel a little touched at the sentiment. It was sweet of him to bother.

"It's science. Half the time we're doing research projects that don't conclude anything. But it doesn't make it a waste of time."

"But if it doesn't conclude anything then what's the point?" Simon asked, puzzled. Magnus chuckled.

"Sometimes the research speaks for itself. Asking the questions can be enough, even if you don't get a single concrete answer," he explained, looking at Simon over the top of his glass. "We're just hoping to find something that might be able to be replicated elsewhere. There's a lot of sea life in the world in need of a lot of help."

Simon bit his lip slightly before nodding, sitting back in his chair. "Yeah, yeah. That makes sense," he acquiesced, sipping at the wine in the glass. "So when are you guys getting started?"

"Tomorrow," Maia replied immediately. "We'll need to get the lab set up and work out where to start, but hopefully we can make some dives towards the end of the week."

That excitement bubbled up in Maia's chest again, as she remembered exactly what she was here to do. She'd get to actually go into the water, go and see what condition the reef was in. A real life coral reef, with all the things that called it home. She was glad they'd invented the waterproof camera, because she wanted to document every second of what she saw down there.

Huh. Maybe Magnus' videos weren't such a crazy idea after all.

In truth, Maia would spend the entire six months under the waves if she could, but she knew there was work to do in the lab. Magnus specialised in chemistry, so they'd be collecting samples for analysis in the lab. Little bits of coral, water samples, whatever they could get without damaging the environment. Maia might even see if she could borrow a few fish for some study, assuming Luke had the facilities at the lab set up for housing some fish for her. She didn't see why he wouldn't - after all, the university had spent a lot of money of the lab on Idris. It should be able to handle whatever she and Magnus needed of it. It was small, sure, and had a fairly tiny staff. In fact, most of the staff were temporary, like her and Magnus - people who came for short projects and then left again when they were done.

She wondered how often visitors came through the area. Were her and Magnus a local attraction for the next six months? Or maybe this was something the locals were used to. Either way, it didn't really matter. Give her a lab and a boat, and Maia knew she'd be far happier here than she could have been in New York at that moment.

Simon pulled his phone out of his pocket, and after a moment he stood up, putting his glass aside. "Well, I should probably go and check in on my Mom. Thanks for dinner, Luke," Simon said. "You coming Clary?"

She nodded, and after a brief goodbye, the two of them had vanished into the night, with promises of returning soon. They shared an apartment further towards Alicante, since they didn't rely on the Lab in the same way Luke did. Luke slouched back into a chair on the deck, sighing. Maia smiled.

"They seem nice," she offered softly.

"Yeah, they're good kids. Still do their best to give me grey hair though."

"Ah, Luke. You've got nothing to worry about. You don't look a day past thirty five," Magnus reassured him, and Luke chuckled.

"Well, I appreciate the sentiment," Luke said, obviously a little gratified. The smile on his face lit up his eyes as he looked out towards the ocean. "We can go over all the setup tomorrow when you get to the lab, but we've got a couple of boats you can use to go out to the reef. You can get started whenever you like."

"Thanks, Luke."

“No problem,” he assured them. Maia sighed, stretching her legs out a little, looking out into the night. The first day of her journey had felt impossibly long. She’d travelled across an ocean in a day, found her new home and her new world. It was hard to believe it had been barely 24 hours since she’d boarded the plane in New York and set off on this adventure. But now she was here, Maia could hardly picture going back. She wanted to spend time in the lab, wanted to dive in the reef. She wanted to spend as much time as she could with Luke, and with Magnus. Not only could this trip be could for her career, but she had the chance to surround herself with good people.

Having co-workers that cared made all the difference in the world sometimes. And from what Magnus had said on the beach, she knew he cared, at least on some level. She had Simon and Clary too, who whilst not knowing much about her work, seemed warm and friendly enough. They were a part of Luke’s family, which only made her want to know them too.

She was in the land of opportunity. If she was smart, she wouldn’t waste it.

She couldn’t.