Al spotted Aster across the room, although he didn't know who she was. This was his first BADGES dinner and he didn't know many of the geocachers there, but he couldn't keep his eyes off the slender form and warm smile of the young woman talking to Jif, Daryl, and Marky. Al wondered if he could find a way to introduce himself, but he was a bit on the shy side.
"I said, have you seen this one? Another one of those 2-number caches from The Rat." It was Fy. Al realized he had not been upholding his end of the conversation. He had totally missed what Fy was saying to him. He focused on the printout. The text contained nothing but two numbers printed in a large font, but there were graphics of a nasty looking black snake in the background. The numbers read:
"You know, there is something about this that looks familiar, but I can't quite place it," he replied absent-mindedly, glancing again toward the group of men who were obviously charmed by their companion. Fy immediately perceived what was distracting him. With a twinkle in her eye, she said softly, "You know, my husband is good at this kind of thing. Let's go get his thoughts." Without waiting for an answer, she led him with a gentle tug on his shirtsleeve across the room and introduced him. "Jif, Marky, Daryl, Aster, I want you to meet Al. He's new to the group and wants to consult with the puzzle-cache experts about The Rat's new one." They all looked at his name tag, which read, "Hi, I'm Al (Nytroen)."
Aster was the first to extend her hand. With a gracious warmth that set Al's head spinning, she said, "Nytroen, yes, I've seen your logs on some of the tough puzzles. I'm Aster." She pointed to the name tag on her chest. Al glanced where she pointed, then suddenly blushed crimson as he realized his eyes had lingered a little too long on her shapely torso. As he brought his eyes up to meet hers, he saw an expression of dubious amusement. He quickly shook hands all around and brought out the cache page printout, mumbling something about those confounding Rat puzzles. Out of his field of vision, Fy waved to Dina and Joani. They arrived, and following Fy's lead, they all retrieved their husbands and went back to their tables. Al and Aster found themselves sitting together studying the two numbers.
Finally, Al worked up the courage to stammer, "Umm, Aster, would you like to go out geocaching with me tomorrow? I'd like to find this cache." Aster looked him over with careful scrutiny. He was athletic and lean, with a goofy sort of lopsided smile and a pair of really cute dimples that she found hard to resist. Seeing her hesitate, he began to apologize, "I know we just met, and it's something of a risk ..." "Risk is my game ... and my name," she cut him off. She pulled out a business card and scribbled her home number on the back. Al was amazed to see that Aster was a professional stunt woman. The card read, "Risk, Inc."
The rest isn't hard to guess. They solved the puzzle quickly and found the cache the next day. The sparks flew, and Al and Aster fell in love.