Once the shurts are gone, Marge helps Turpin up, drags him into the captain's chair with a frown.

“You been burned… and bad!  Was it on account of that killer all those quaffs were blathering about?”

“Can't remember rawth, just about, since we landed… me and, I dunna faq?  Reg’cy confiscated th’Eegelweissh which I was on… that's funny… Cap'n went bool.  Demons! Lotsa demons.  Remember this other bird, though, something… we done something, me and s’mother jims…”

Turp shakes his head, slaps his head, steadies his voice.

“Transporting frozen shkooks back to Hurt to die?”

Nie, something else.  Something big, something against the Regency.  I was a snaker, registered in the Guild, so it must’ve been intersteallar.  There was… Yeah… sorry…”

He picks up a document atop a pile that Crandall or somebody has left for him - "cargo registry" - runs his finger down it through names… "cryo - mallam, isfaheel"… taps it, trying to remember, shakes his head.  The scapescreen, a sparkling new Antaar flashes into life - a Passport com, some shurt, not Crandall, warns the two of them of impending departure…

“Thirty seconds to automated liftoff.  Please secure yourself in your seats.”

Marge straps herself into the co-pilot's chair beside him…

“Did you really hire wiseguys to mawt your husband?” Turp inquires.

Marge smiles.  “Did you, Frobisher and Broonzy really go through nag to bezend?”

As Turpin frowns… memory flickering just beyond his reach… the Marina shudders on docking station fifteen, belches methane steam, then slowly lifts off… briefly creating a fireball visible to all Die, even the Baawl where, standing by the charred ruins of the Andromeda (which the Regency will get around to cleaning up, one of these days), Al watches what seems a white stone, skipping across the crimson sky.


I do not foresee long life for this Regency… far-flung, yet swollen with self-importance as a wound infected with the gas…spirits apostate, as a poet wrote more than a thousand years ago, his counsel vain as all the teachings of the wise jims in their epochs of makhboolery. Shkook name of Milton, one of the first, so they say, to have given a name to the Milky Way… "a broad and ample road, whose dust is gold and pavement stars, as stars to them appear…a circling zone, thou seest, powdered with stars."


Soaring upwards into space, Marina passes thorugh the procession of quacking ilaams standing watch over Die including, under construction, that for Anus-Best-Us… new and improved, with brighter colors and new, flamboyant gases!  Out of the orbit of Dubankyaia… threading the tripartite stars, red Dhubaaht, Ankhubaaht and the dwarf Yamsu of the system 52 Vespertilio,  Marina, at first, approaches the white hole of the snake, but veers away from it… thrusting on, outward into the void and past a faded poetic ilaam established centuries ago to herald the white hole portal to all of the galaxy in the days when the Regency was young, and kind…

Turp and Marge gaze and frown – the one with only memories of forgetting, the other never having seen, hence, remembered at all, only mouthing the words set down in another place, another time…


                             Witness this new-made world, another heaven

                             From heaven gate not far, founded in view

                             On the clear hyaline, the glassy sea;

                             Of amplitude almost immense, with stars

                             Numerous, and every star perhaps a world

                             Of destined habitation…