I decided we would show Ludwig the cave. He doesn't seem to have any bad effects from exposure to The Sick Land, and I'd like to get some idea of how strong his resistance is. We drove out to the cave, and all three of us went in. It was a breach of protocol, but no harm was done.
The cave seemed undisturbed. Ludwig was fascinated, taking photos and making notes. We carried armfuls of stuff from the cave and into the Jeeps. I was standing staring into the darkness when Ludwig came up behind me. He asked me if I wanted to explore the cave. I said I did, but I knew it wasn't safe. I told him I wanted to know how deep the cave went, whether there was anything living in the depths. He nodded his head and said he felt it too, the need to know. He said he thought we would work well together. I said we were getting on well, but I got the impression that wasn't what he meant.
Val came in, and said we ought to get going. She seemed mildly peeved that we were standing at the edge of the cave instead of helping her. When she left, I started to turn, but Ludwig grabbed my arm and told me to wait. He reached into his pocket and passed me a small, silver square. It was a packaged pill. He told me that if I really needed to know, I should take the pill tonight, just before bed. If I decided I didn't, I should give it back to him. I asked him what it was, but he just shook his head and said I should take the pill if I wanted to know.
I want to know. I've taken the pill.