(Lars) #1
Itwassometimelater,andTayhadtalkedherselfhoarse.
“No.Noonecame.”Shestaredoutoverthewater.“It’sfunny,really.
Imean,weallknowthestory,but...thecrewoftheMacmillannever
seemed very real. Even after we’d seen the picture and heard them on
theVideo,itwasstilljustastory.ItwasOKtohearaboutwhathap-
pened,andmaybeshiveralittle.Andfeelsorryforthem.Theymust
havebeensosad....ButIneverfeltasifIhadanythingincommon
withthem,really.Theywerejustabunchofancienttravelerswith
muddyskinandhorrible,tinylittleeyes—”
“‘Muddyskinandhorrible,tinylittleeyes.’Thankyouverymuch,”
muttered Franck.
Tayputherhandtohermouth.“Ididn’tmean...Imean,you’re
not...Sorry!”
Franck grinned. “Don’t worry, I’m not allthatvain,” he assured her.
Helaughedoutloudatthelookonherface.
Shewasdressedinsomeofhisspareclothes.Beingpracticallynaked
before hadn’t seemed to bother her, but it was cold in the air after sunset.
Itwasalmostdarkondecknow,exceptfortheeerieglowthatcamefrom
herfaceandhands—andfeet.Franckhadbeendisappointedtodiscover
shehadlegsandfeet.Notamermaid,afterall.Butjustasfascinating...
“Whydidn’tanyonetrytorescueus?”She’dturnedandwaswatch-
inghimintentlynow.“Imean,itmusthavebeenahugeefforttocome
allthewayouthereinthefirstplace,withallthatequipmentandall
thosepeople,andthen—howcouldyoujustforgetabout us?”
Hehelduphishandsdefensively.“Itwasn’tme!Ididn’t forget—and
thepeoplebackthendidn’t,either.Notreally.ItwasjustthattheWar
startedrightaroundthattime,andwell,youknow...”It didn’t sound
very convincing, he realized.
She frowned. “What war is that?”
Now, there was a question! How do you go about explaining the sin-
gle most important event in the history of the known universe, an event
that lasted a century and affected everyone and everything within thou-
sands of light-years, to someone who, bizarrely, completely missed it?
He didn’t know where to begin. The Planets War had come out of
the usual murky soup of past greed and need, and had been the only

“AND NO ONE came to the rescue,” said Franck quietly.