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Chapter Fifteen

Two months later, Zipo Bibrok 510^8 had cut the bottoms off his Galactic State jeans, and was spending part of the enormous fee his judgments commanded lying on a jewelled beach having Essence of Qualactin rubbed into his back by the same rather nice member of the jury. She was a Soolfinian girl from beyond the Cloudworlds of Yaga. She had skin like lemon silk and was very interested in legal bodies.

``Did you hear the news?'' she said.

``Weeeeelaaaaah!'' said Zipo Bibrok 510^8, and you would have had to have been there to know exactly why he said this. None of this was on the tape of Informational Illusions, and is all based on hearsay.

``No,'' he added, when the thing that had made him say ``Weeeeelaaaaah'' had stopped happening. He moved his body round slightly to catch the first rays of the third and greatest of primeval Vod's three suns which was now creeping over the ludicrously beautiful horizon, and the sky now glittered with some of the greatest tanning power ever known.

A fragrant breeze wandered up from the quiet sea, trailed along the beach, and drifted back to sea again, wondering where to go next. On a mad impulse it went up to the beach again. It drifted back to sea.

``I hope it isn't good news,'' muttered Zipo Bibrok 510^8, ``'cos I don't think I could bear it.``

``Your Krikkit judgment was carried out today,'' said the girl sumptuously. There was no need to say such a straightforward thing sumptuously, but she went ahead and did it anyway because it was that sort of day. ``I heard it on the radio,'' she said, ``when I went back to the ship for the oil.''

``Uhuh,'' muttered Zipo and rested his head back on the jewelled sand.

``Something happened,'' she said.

``Mmmm?''

``Just after the Slo-Time envelope was locked,'' she said, and paused a moment from rubbing in the Essence of Qualactin, ``a Krikkit warship which had been missing presumed destroyed turned out to be just missing after all. It appeared and tried to seize the Key.''

Zipo sat up sharply.

``Hey, what?'' he said.

``it's all right,'' she said in a voice which would have calmed the Big Bang down. ``Apparently there was a short battle. The Key and the warship were disintegrated and blasted into the space-time continuum. Apparently they are lost for ever.''

She smiled, and ran a little more Essence of Qualactin on to her fingertips. He relaxed and lay back down.

``Do what you did a moment or two ago,'' he murmured.

``That?'' she said.

``No, no,'' he said, ``that.''

She tried again.

``That?'' she asked.

``Weeeeelaaaaah!''

Again, you had to be there.

The fragrant breeze drifted up from the sea again.

A magician wandered along the beach, but no one needed him.


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