And I found myself back in the New Stanley, standing at the bar, my untouched drink before me. I no longer waited for Vivaldi, as strains of jazz now streamed into my ears. I was not alone; there were several people standing at the bar, couples dressed for dinner, sitting at tables, people talking and laughing. There was no mini-ship, no Resettlement Plan, no Joracian Empire. I took a sip of my drink—it tasted like formaldehyde. My cigarettes looked back at me with murderous intent; somehow, I didn’t want them anymore. The bartender stopped wiping a glass and looked at me: “About time to bring in the replacement humans, don’tcha think?” Nodding, I stepped outside into the brisk air of an early autumn evening, and decided to call Sylvia and find my copy of the Atlantic Monthly.
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