The dormitory reminded him of something between his childhood and his days at university. There was the same jocular brotherhood of close quarters that he remembered from his early school years, but although he guessed most of the men he shared the space with to be a few years younger than himself, they were definitely adults.
They were housed comfortably at four men to a room, each with his own bed and trunk at the foot. The other men were friendly, although he felt like perhaps he got a bit more space than they gave each other, marking him an outsider but not unwanted. When he first arrived at the facility, Annette had been greeted by Chloe, and then left him in the custody of her servants with no indication of what his purpose for being there was.
Chloe was a Foreigner, whose presence only emphasized the educational atmosphere. Like most of his teachers and caretakers at his childhood school, she had skin the colour of molasses and wore her hair in an un-restructured halo, cloud like curls coiled about by a single braid that went around the crown of her head. She was dressed as a lady, trim and tight waisted in a suit of grey charcoal wool, a bit boxier in the shoulder than the current fashion, but giving an affect of gravitas that extended into her obvious leadership of the place that now housed him. He guessed, by her face, she might be in comfortable middle age, but then again it was hard to tell with Foreigners, who lived as they pleased. Unlike the rest of her kind, she affected not specialness from the social protocol, even going as far as wearing the gold band of a marriage on her hand and none of the other symbols they used to indicate the complicated interpersonal relationships of Foreigner culture, although Annette and the Foreign woman’s staff addressed her as Dr. and not Mrs. Dr.
When she had departed, Annette had taken a moment to put her hands up on his shoulders and remind him to mind himself and look to how he was taught. Then, one of Chloe’s servants led him to the dormitory, and there he’d been housed for the last 36 hours. His box of things was delivered, and he discovered, packed in it, someone had put the book of photographs from the colony in with the paper and pencil box that Annette let him have.