And through the drifts the snowy clifts
Did send a dismal sheen;
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken
The ice was all between.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
PART I: THE WAIT
Lying prone on an unforgiving bed of powdered ice, kneading his bad hip with one gloved hand as he squinted through a shifting curtain of CO2 sleet, Lawson reflectednot for the first timethat the environmental extremes werent the hardest part to deal with. Not the crushing pressure, nor the bone-deep ache of the relentless gravity, nor the stinging lash of the dry ice particles that was diminished