(The old man paused in the utter silence, while several tears dropped down his cheek. None of Them moved, and at last he went on.)
Near the end of the ten years, I received a package from him in the mail. In it was a letter and the manuscript to the Storm in Space Overture. He wanted me to register the work and get the government fee, and he asked me the only favor he had ever asked of anyone, that I get him the money, because he was going into space.
He came back some weeks later, on foot. I had gotten the money from Rejects--they had heard the Overture--it was enough. He brought Lila with him and was going to make reservations. He was heading, I think, only as far as Alpha Centauri.
It was too late.
* * * * *
They examined him, as someone should have a long time ago, as someone would have if he had only ever asked, but in the end it would have made no difference either way, and it was now that they found out about his lungs.
There was nothing