part 2: author reading
[00:10:52] Hello, everybody. Look at you all. It’s wonderful to see you. It’s so wonderful to be
here. I thought if you all were interested, I would read the beginning of a short story. There is
an anthology coming out September 3rd, edited by Navah Wolfe and Dominik Parisien called
The Mythic Dream. And it’s an anthology full of amazing people, and then me. It’s all retellings
reinterpretations of various myths. So I thought maybe I would read the first part of that if if
that’s OK with you that.
[00:11:33] It’s called the “Justified.”
[00:11:36] Het had eaten nothing for weeks but bony gape-mawed fish, some of them full of
neurotoxin. She’d had to alter herself so she could metabolize it safely, which had taken some
doing so when she ripped out the walsel’s throat and its blood spurted red onto the twilit ice,
she stared, salivary glands aching, stomach growling. She didn’t wait to butcher her catch, but
sank her teeth into skin and fat and muscle, tearing a chunk away from its huge shoulder.
Movement caught her eye and she sprang upright. Walsel blood trickling along her jaw to see
Dihaut black and silver walking toward her across the ages packed snow and ice. She’d have
known her sib anywhere, but even if she hadn’t recognized them, there was no mistaking their
crescent topped standard. Months and years tottering behind them on two thin insectile legs.
But sib or not, familiar or not, Het growled, heart still racing, muscles poised for flight or attack.
She had thought herself alone and unwatched had made sure of it before she began.
[00:12:42] Her hunt. Had Dihaut been watching her all this time? It would be like them. For a
brief moment, she considered dissembling Dihaut leaving them dying on the ice. Months and
years in pieces beside them. But that would only put this off until her sib took a new body.
Dihaut could be endlessly persistent when they wished.
[00:13:02] And the fact that they had come all this way to the frigid desert at the farthest
reaches of Nu to find her suggested that the ordinary limits of that persistence, such as they
were, could not be relied on.
[00:13:15] Besides, she and Dihaut had nearly always gotten along well. Still, she stayed on
the alert and did not shift into a more relaxed posture. This is the eye of Merur, the Nobel
Dihaut, months and years as Dihaut drew near its high, thready voice cut startlingly through
the silence of the snowy waste.
[00:13:35] I know who they are, snarled Het. The standard made a noise almost like a sniff. I
only do my duty, Noble Het.
[00:13:44] Dihaut hunched their shoulders, their face, arms, torso and legs were covered with
what looked like long fine fur. But this being Dihaut was likely feathers, mostly black. But their
left arm and leg and part of their torso were silver-white.
[00:13:58] Hello, Sib, they said, sorry to interrupt your supper. Couldn’t you have fled
someplace warmer? Het had no answer for this. She’d asked herself the same question many
times in the past several years.
[00:14:11] I see you’ve changed your skin. Dihaut continued. It does look odd, but I suppose it
keeps you warm. Would you mind sharing the specs?
[00:14:19] They shivered. It’s clothes, said Het. A coat and boots and gloves. Clothes. Dihaut
peered at her more closely. I see. They must be very confining. But I suppose it’s worth it to be
warm. Do you have any you could lend me? Or could whoever supplied you with yours give
me some, too. Sorry, growled Het, not introducing you. Actually, she hadn’t even introduced
herself. She’d stolen the clothes when the fur she’d grown hadn’t kept her as warm as she
hoped. Dihaut made a wry, huh? Their warm breath puffing from their mouth in a small cloud.
Well, I’m sorry to be so blunt. They gave a regretful smile. All Dihaut in its acknowledgment of
the pointlessness of small talk. I’m very sorry to intrude on whatever it is you’re doing down
here. I never was quite clear on why you left. No one was, except that you were angry about
something which… they shrugged. If it were up to me, they raised both finely feathered hands,
gesturing vaguely to the dead walsel at the silver one. I’d leave you to it, would you? She didn’t
even try to sound as though she believed them. Truly, sib, but the ruler of Hehut, the founder
and origin of life on Nu, the one sovereign of this world, wishes for you to return to Hehut. At
this months in years waved its thin sticklike arms, as though underlining Dihaut’s words she’d
have sent others before me.
[00:15:41] But I convinced her that if you were brought back against your wishes, your
presence at court would not be as delightful as usual.
[00:15:48] They shivered again. Is there somewhere warmer we can talk? Not really. I don’t
mean any harm to the people you’ve been staying with, said Dihaut. I haven’t been staying
with anyone. She gestured vaguely around with one blood-matted hand, indicating the
emptiness of the ice.
[00:16:06] You must have been staying with someone, sib. I know there are no approved
habitations here, so they must be unauthorized, but that’s no concern of mine unless they
should come to Merur’s attention or if they have animas. Please tell me, sib, that they don’t
have unauthorized animas here because, you know, we’ll have to get rid of them if they do.
And I’d really like to just go right back to Hehut where it’s actually warm.
[00:16:28] Unbidden, her claws extended again just a bit. She had never spoken to the people
who lived here.
[00:16:33] But she owed them. It was by watching them that she learned about the poisonous
fish. Otherwise, the toxin might have caught her off guard, even killed her. And then she’d have
found herself resurrected again in Hehut in the middle of everything she’d fled.
[00:16:47] They don’t have animas, she told Dihaut. How could they? When their bodies died.
They died. Thank all the stars for that. Dihaut gave a relieved, shivery sigh.
[00:16:57] As long as they stay up here in this freezing desert with their single cold lives, we
can all just go on pretending they don’t exist. So surely we can pretend they don’t exist in their
presumably warmer home.
[00:17:10] Your standard is right behind you, Het pointed out, listening. It is, Dihaut agreed. It
always is. There is nowhere in the world we can really be away from Merur. We always have to
deal with the one ruler. Even in the end, the benighted, unauthorized souls in this forsaken
place. They were by now shivering steadily. Can’t she leave anyone, even the smallest space?
Asked Het. Some room to be apart without her watching for just a little while? It’s usually us
watching for her, put in Dihaut. He waved that away.
[00:17:43] Not a single life anywhere in the world that she doesn’t claim is hers. She makes
certain there’s nowhere to go.
[00:17:49] Order, sib said Dihaut. Imagine what might happen if everyone went running around
free to do whatever they liked with no consequences. And she is the founder and origin of life
on Nu. Come on, Dihaut. I was born Aeons just before Merur left the ship and came down to
Nu. There were already people living here. I remember it. And even now, it depends on who
you ask. Either Merur arrived a thousand years ago in Aeons and set about pulling land from
beneath the water and creating humans. Or else she arrived and brought light and order to
humans she found living in ignorance and chaos. I’ve heard both from her own mouth at
different times, and you know better. You are the historian.
[00:18:28] They tried that regretful half smile again, but they were too cold to manage it.
[00:18:32] I tell whatever story is more politic at the moment and there are, after all, different
sorts of truth.
[00:18:39] But please, they spread their hands placatory. I beg you, come with me back to
Hehut. Don’t make me freeze to death in front of you. Noble Dihaut, piped their standard. Eye
of Merur, I am here. Your anima is entirely safe. Yes, shivered Dihaut. But there isn’t a new
body ready for me yet. And I hate being out of things for very long. Please, sib. Let’s go back to
my flier. We can argue about all of this on the way back home. And well, now that Dihaut had
found her, it wasn’t as though she had much choice. She said with ill grace. Well, fine then.
Where’s your flier?
[00:19:17] This way, said Dihaut, shivering and turned. They were either too cold or too wise to
protest when Het bent to grab the dead walsel’s tusk and drag it along as she followed.
[00:19:28] It rained in Hehut, but barely more often than it snowed in the icy waste Het had left,
but rivers and streams veined Hehut under the bright, uninterrupted blue of the sky, rivers and
streams that pooled here and there, into lotus-veiled lakes and papyrus marshes. And the land
was lush and green. The single-lived working in the fields looked up as the shadow of Dihaut’s
flier passed over them. They made a quick sign with their left hands and turned back to the
machines they followed. Small boats, dotted the river that snaked through the fields, singlelived fishers hauling in nets here and there. The long gilded barque of one of the justified
shining in the sun.
[00:20:05] The sight gave Het an odd pang. She had not ever been given much to nostalgia, or
to dwelling on memories for her various childhoods, none of which, to her recall, had been
particularly childish. But she was struck with a sudden, almost tangible memory of sunshine on
her skin, and the sound of water lapping at the hull of a boat.
[00:20:23] No, not, she was sure, a single moment, but a composite of all the times she’d fled
to the river to fish, or walk, or sit under a tree, and stare at the water flowing by, to be by
herself as much as she could be anyway.
[00:20:38] Almost there, said Dihaut reclined in their seat beside her. Are you going to
change? They had shed their feathers on the flight here and now showed black and silver skin,
smooth and shining. Het had shed her coat, boots and gloves, but left her thick and shaggy fur.
It would likely be uncomfortable in the heat, but she was reluctant to let go of it. She couldn’t
say why. I don’t think I have time. Noble Eyes of Merur said months and years upright at D
house elbow. We will arrive at Tjenu in fifteen minutes. The one sovereign will see you
immediately. Definitely no time to change. So urgent, asked Het. Do you know what this is
about? I have my suspicions. Dihaut shrugged. One silver shoulder. It’s probably better if
Merur tells you herself.
[00:21:23] So this was something that no one, not even Merur’s own Eyes could safely talk
about. There were times when Merur was in no mood to be tolerant of any suggestion that her
power and authority might be incomplete. And at those times, even admitting knowledge of
some problem could end with one’s anima deleted altogether. Tjenu came into view. It’s gold
covered facade shining in the hot sun. A wide dark avenue of smooth granite stretching from
its huge main doors straight across the gardens to a broad entrance in the polished white
walls. The Road of Souls, the single-lived called it, imagining that it was the route traveled by
the animas of the dead on their way to judgment, Dihaut’s hands. As large as the building, was
a good kilometer on each of its four sides and three stories high. Most of Tjenu was
underground or so Dihaut had told her. Het had only ever been in the building sunlit upper
reaches, at least while she was alive, and not merely an anima waiting resurrection Dihaut’s
flier set down within Tjenu’s white walls beside a willow edged pond. Coming out Het found
Great Among Millions her own standard waiting, hopping from one tiny foot to the other,
feathery fingers clenched into miniscule fists. Still, the next moment, its black pull pointing
perfectly upright, the gold cow horns at its top, polished and shining. Eye of Mirror, it said, its
voice high and thin.
[00:22:44] Noble Het, the justified, the powerful, servant of the One Sovereign of Nu, the ruler
of all in her name of self created, in her name of she caused all to be, in her name of she
listens to prayers, in her name of sustain, or of the Justified, in her name… Stop! Het
[00:23:00] Just tell me what she wants. Your presence, gracious Het, it said, with equanimity
Great Among Millions, had been her standard for several lifetimes and was used to her
immediately. Do forgive the appearance of impertinence noble Het. I only relay the words of
the One Sovereign. I will escort you to your audience. Months and Years coming out of the flier
piped Great Among Millions. Please do not forget the noble Het’s luggage. What luggage? Jest
Het. Your walsel Noble Eye, replied Months and Years, waving a tiny hand. What’s left of it. It’s
starting to smell. Just dispose of it, said Het. I’ve eaten as much of it as I’m going to. Great
Among Millions gave in a tiny, almost hop from one foot to the other, and stilled again. Noble
Het, you have been away from Tjenu, from Hehut itself, without me for 53 years, two months
and three days. It almost managed to sound as though it were merely stating a fact and not
making a complaint. But not quite. It’s good to see you again, too, Het said. Her standard
unclenched its little fists, and gestured toward the golden massive Tjenu. Yes. Het
acknowledged. Let’s go.
[00:24:08] The vast audience chamber of the One Sovereign of Nu was black, ceilinged, inlaid
with silver and copper stars that shown in the light of lamps below. Courtiers, officials and
supplicants alone or in small, scattered groups murmured as Het passed. Of course, there was
no mistaking her identity, furred and unkempt as she was Great Among Millions followed her.
She crossed the brown gold flecked floor to where it changed brown shading to blue and green
and Merur’s near presence where one never set foot without direct invitation.
[00:24:39] Unless, of course, one was an Eye in which case one’s place in the bright lit vicinity
of Merur was merely assumed a privilege of status. Stepping into the green, Great Among
Millions tottering behind her, Het cast a surreptitious glance, habitual even after so long away
at those so privileged. And stopped, and growled. Among the officials standing near Merur,
three bore her Eye. There were four Eyes; Het herself was one. Dihaut, who Het had left with
their flier, was another. There should only have been two Eyes here. Don’t be jealous, Noble
Het, whispered Great Among Millions. It’s thready voice sounding in her ear alone. You were
gone so very long. Almost accusing that sounded. She replaced me, Het snarled. She didn’t
recognize whoever it was who, she saw now, held an unfamiliar standard. But the Justified
changed bodies so frequently. If there was a new Eye, why should Merur call on Het? Why not
leave her be? And you left me behind, continued Great Among Millions. Alone, they asked and
asked me where you were, and I did not know though I wished to. It made a tiny, barely
perceptible stomp. They put me in a storeroom, in a box. Het, my Eye approach! Merur calling
from where she sat under her blue canopied pavilion. Alone, but for those three Eyes and the
standards and smaller lotus and lily-shaped servants that always attended her. And now, her
attention turned from Merur’s other Eyes. Het looked fully at the one sovereign herself, armless
legless. Her snaking body, cased in scales of golden lapis, Merur, circled the base of her
polished granite chair of state. Her upper body leaning onto the seat, her head standard
human, her hair in dozens of silver plated braids falling around her glittering gold face. Her
dark eyes were slit-pupiled. Het had seen Merur take such a shape before, as well as taking
new bodies at need or at whim. The Justified could to some degree alter a currently held body
at will. But there were limits to such transformations and it had been long, long centuries since
Merur had taken this sort of body.
[00:26:47] She should have concealed her surprise and prostrated herself, but instead she
stood and stared as Great Among Millions announced in a high carrying voice.
[00:26:56] The fair, the fierce, the Burning Eye of the One Sovereign of Nu, the Noble Het.
[00:27:01] My own Eye, said Merur, I have need of you! Het could not restrain her anger, even
in the face of the One Sovereign of Nu. I count four Eyes in this court. Sovereign, those three
over there, and the Noble Dihaut. There have always been four. Why should you need me to
be a fifth? Behind her, Great Among Millions made a tiny noise. I shed one body, admonished
Meror, her voice faintly querulous, only to reawaken and find you gone. For decades, you did
[00:27:32] Why, no one accused you of any dereliction of duty, let alone disloyalty. You had
suffered no disadvantage. Your place is my favorite Eye was secure. And now, returning, you
question my having appointed someone to fill the office you left empty. You would do better to
save your anger for the enemies of Nu.
[00:27:50] I can’t account for my heart, said Het crossly. It is as it is. This seemed to mollify
[00:27:56] Well, you always have had a temper, and it is very honesty that I have so missed.
Indeed, it is what I require of you! Here, Merur lowered her voice and looked frightfully from
one side to the other.
[00:28:07] And the standards and flower-form servitors scuttled back a few feet. Het, my Eye.
This body is imperfect. It will not obey me as it should, and it is dying far sooner than it ought. I
need to move to a new one. Already? Het’s skin prickle with unease.
[00:28:25] This is not the first time a body has grown imperfectly, Merur said, her voice low.
But I should have seen the signs long before I entered it. Someone must have concealed them
from me. It is impossible that this has happened through mere incompetence. I have dealt with
the technicians. I have routed out any disloyalty in Tjenu. But, I cannot say the same of all
Hehut, let alone of Nu. And this body of mine will last only a few months longer, but no suitable
replacement, one untampered with by traitors will be ready for a year or more. And I cannot
afford to leave Nu rulerless for so long! My Eyes I trust, you and Dihaut, certainly after all this
time. The Justified, are for the most part, reliable and the single-lived know that Dihaut will
judge them. But I have never been gone for more than a few days at a time. If this throne is
empty longer, it may encourage the very few wayward to stir up the single-lived. And if in my
absence, even among the Justified can be led astray – no. I cannot be gone so long unless I
am certain of order.
[00:29:25] Dismayed, Het snarled. Sovereign, what do you expect me to do about any of this?
What you’ve always done! Protect Nu. All trace of unrest, of disorder must be prevented.
You’ve rid Nu of rebellion before. I need you to do it again. That shining silver river, the fishers,
the lilies and birds had all seemed so peaceful so much as they should be. When Het and
Dihaut had flown in. Unrest? What’s the cause this time?
[00:29:53] The cause? Merur exclaimed, exasperated. There is no cause. There never has
been. The worthy I give eternal life and health. They need only reach out their hands for
whatever they desire. The unworthy are here and gone, and they have all they need an
occupation enough. Or if not, well, they seal their own fate. There has never been any cause,
and yet it keeps happening. Plots, rumors, mutterings of discontent. My newest Eye, Merur did
not notice, or affected not to notice, Het’s reaction to that, is fierce and efficient.
[00:30:23] I do not doubt her loyalty, but I’m afraid she doesn’t have your imagination, your
vision, your anger. Two years ago I sent her out to deal with this, and she returned, saying
there was no trouble of any consequence. She doesn’t understand. Where does this keep
coming from? Who is planting such ideas in the minds of my people? Root it out, Het. Root it
out from among my people. Trace it back to its origin and destroy it so that Nu can rest secure
while my next body grows so that we can at last have the peace and security.
[00:30:53] I have always striven for. Sovereign of Nu, growled Het. I’ll do my best. What choice
did she have after all?
[00:31:02] She should have gone right to Dihaut. The first place to look for signs of trouble
would be among the animas of the recently dead, but she was still out of sorts with Dihaut, still
resented their summoning her back here.
[00:31:13] They’d made her share their company on the long flight back to Hehut and never
mentioned that Merur had replaced her. They might have warned her, and they hadn’t. She
wasn’t certain she could keep her temper with her sib just now, which maybe was why they
kept silent about it. But still. Besides, that other Eye had doubtless done the obvious first thing
and gone to Dihaut herself. And to judge from what Merur had said, Dihaut must have found
nothing or nothing to speak of. They would give Het the same answer, no point asking again.
She wanted time alone. Time that was hers. She didn’t miss the cold, already
[00:31:48] Her thick fur was thinning without any conscious direction on her part. But she did
miss the solitude and the white landscape stretching out seemingly forever silent except for the
wind and her own heart. The hiss of blood in her ears. There was nothing like that here. She
left Jjenu and walked down to the river in the warm early evening sunlight. Willows shaded the
banks and the lilies in the occasional pool, red and purple and gold, were closing. The scent of
water and flowers seized her plucking at the edges of some memory. Small brown fishing
boats sat in neat rows on the opposite bank, waiting for morning. The long, sleek shape of
some Justified Noble’s barque floated in the middle of the channel leaf green, gilded, draped
with hangings and banners of blue and yellow and white. She startled two children chasing
frogs in the shallows. Noble, the larger of them, said bowing, pushing the smaller child beside
them into some semblance of a bow.
[00:32:42] How can we serve you? Don’t notice my presence, she thought.
[00:32:46] But of course, that was impossible. Be as you were. I’m only out for a walk and then
considering the time, shouldn’t you be home having dinner? We’ll go right away. Said the older
child. The smaller voice trembling, said, Please don’t kill us, Noble Het. Het frowned and
looked behind her, only to see Great Among Millions a short way off. Peering at her from
behind a screen of willow leaves. Why would I do such a thing? Het asked the child. Are you
rebels or criminals? The older child grabbed the younger ones arm and held it tight. The Noble
Het kills who she pleases, they said. The smaller child’s eyes filled with tears. Then both
children prostrated themselves.
[00:33:25] How fair is your face, beautiful Het. The older child cried into the mud, the powerful,
the wise and loving Eye of the One Sovereign. You see everything and strike where you wish.
You were gone for a long time. But now you’ve returned, and Hehut rejoices.
[00:33:39] She wanted to reassure them that she hadn’t come down to the river to kill them.
That being late for dinner was hardly a capital offense. But the words wouldn’t form in her
mouth. I don’t strike where I wish, she said. Instead, I strike the enemies of Nu. May we go,
[00:33:54] Asked the elder child and now their voice was trembling too. You commanded us to
go home to dinner and we only want to obey you. She opened her mouth to ask this child’s
name seized as she was, with a sudden, inexplicable desire to mention it, to Dihautt, to ask
them to watch for this child when they passed through judgment, to let Dihaut know she’d been
favorably impressed. So well spoken. Even if it was just a hasty assemblage of formulaic
phrases of songs and poetry, they must have heard.
[00:34:21] But she feared asking would only terrify the child further. I’m only out for a walk,
child, she growled, uncomfortably resentful of this attention, even as she’d enjoyed the child’s
eloquence. Go home to dinner. Thank you, beautiful one. The elder child scrambled to their
feet, pulled the smaller one up with them. Thank you.
[00:34:39] The smaller child, and they both turned and fled. Het watched them go, and then
resumed her walk along the riverside. But the evening had been soured, and soon she turned
back to Tjenu.
[00:34:50] The 36 met her in their accustomed place, a chamber in Tjenu’s walled with
malachite and lapis white lily patterns laid into the floor.
[00:34:59] There were chairs and benches along the edge of the room, but the 36 stood stiff
and straight in the center. Six rows of six white linen kilts perfectly pressed a golden Silver Star
on each brow. Eye have Merur’s, said the first of the 36.
[00:35:12] We’re glad you’re back. They’re glad you’re back, whispered Great Among Millions
just behind Het’s right shoulder. They didn’t spend the time in a box.
[00:35:22] Each of the 36 had their own domain to watch, to protect their own assistance and
weapons to do the job with. They had been asked to do this sort of thing often enough, over
and over. Het had used the walk here from the river to compose herself to take control of her
face and her voice.
[00:35:39] She said, her voice smooth and calm,
[00:35:41] The one ruler of Nu, creator of all life on Nu wishes for us to remove all traces of
rebellion once and for all, to destroy any hint of corruption that makes even the thought of
[00:35:53] No word from the silent and still 36. Tell me, do you know where that lies? No reply.
Either, none of them knew, or they thought the answer so obvious that there was no need to
say it. Or perhaps they were suspicious of Het’s outward calm. Finally, the first of the 36 said,
generally problems begin among the single-lived Noble Het. But we can’t seem to find the
person or the thing that sends their hearts astray time after time, the only way to accomplish
what the one sovereign has asked of us would be to kill every single-lived soul on Nu, and let
Dihaut sort them one from another. Are you recommending that, asked Het. It would be a
terrible disruption, said another of the 36. There would be so many corpses to dispose of. We’d
want more single lived, wouldn’t we? Ask yet another. Grow Nu free of the influence that
corrupts them now? It might. She seemed doubtful. It might take care of the problem. But, Eye
of Merur, I don’t know how many free tanks we have and who would take care of the Nu
children. It would be a terrible mess that would last for decades. And I’m not sure that it just
seems wrong. She cast a surreptitious glance toward the first of the 36.
[00:37:02] And forgive me, Noble Eye of Merur. But surely the present concern of the one
sovereign is to reduce chaos and disorder at the current moment. So that at least was well
enough known or at least rumored. The newest Eye, said Het, closing her still clawed hands
into fists, willing herself to stand still. Willing her voice to stay clear and calm. Briefly. She
considered leaving here, going back to the river to catch fish and listen to the frogs. Did she
request your assistance? And did you suggest this to her? The eradication of the single lived
so that we could begin afresh? She thought it was too extreme, said the first of the 36. Was
that a note of disappointment in her voice? It seems to me that the sovereign of Nu found that
Eye’s service in this instance to be less than satisfactory. You think we should do it? Het asked
her. If it would rid us of the trouble that arises over and over, the first of 36, the first of the 36
agreed. If I order this, then Het persisted, clenching her hands tighter. You would do it? Yes.
The foremost of the 36 agreed. Children as well? Het asked didn’t add even polite, well-spoken
children who maybe only wanted some time to themselves and quiet by the river.
[00:38:14] Of course, the first of the 36 replied, If they’re worthy, they’ll be back eventually.
With a growl, Het sprang forward, hands open, claws flashing free of her fingertips, and
slashed the throat of the first of the 36. As she fell, blood splashed onto the torso and the
spotless linen kilt of the 36 beside her. For a moment Het watch the blood pump satisfyingly
out of the severed artery to pool on the white lilied floor, and thought of the walsel she’d killed
the day before. But this was no time to indulge herself. She looked up and around. Anyone
else? Great Among Millions skittered up beside her, Noble Het, Eye of Merur, there is currently
a backlog of Justified waiting for resurrection, and none of your 36 have bodies in the tanks.
Het shrugged. The 36 were all among the Justified. She’ll be back, eventually. At her feet the
injured 36, breathed her choking last, and for the first time in decades Het felt a sure gratifying
satisfaction. She had been made for this duty, made to enjoy it, and she had nothing left to
herself but that, it seemed. The single lived come and go. She declared to the remaining 36
who has remained the same. All this time.
[00:39:28] Silence. Oh, dear, said Great Among Millions.