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A Voyage to Arcturus

"You must have cultivated a new form of humour, Krag. "I am glad if I can amuse you,
Maskull, if only for a few days."
"I meant tor ask you - how do you know my name?"
"It would be odd if I didn't, seeing that I only came here on your account. As a matter of
fact, Nightspore and I are old friends."
Maskull paused with his suspended match. "You came here on my account?"
"Surely. On your account and Nightspore's. We three are to be fellow travellers."
Maskull now lit his pipe and puffed away coolly for a few moments.
"I'm sorry, Krag, but I must assume you are mad."
Krag threw his head back, and gave a scraping laugh. "Am I mad, Nightspore?"
"Has Surtur gone to Tormance?" ejaculated Nightspore in a strangled voice, fixing his
eyes on Krag's face.
"Yes, and he requires that we follow him at once."
Maskull's heart began to beat strangely. It all sounded to him like a dream conversation.
"And since how long, Krag, have I been required to do things by a total stranger....
Besides, who is this individual?"
"Krag's chief," said Nightspore, turning his head away.
"The riddle is too elaborate for me. I give up."
"You are looking for mysteries," said Krag, "so naturally you are finding them. Try and
simplify your ideas, my friend. The affair is plain and serious."
Maskull stared hard at him and smoked rapidly.
"Where have you come from now?" demanded Nightspore suddenly.
"From the old observatory at Starkness.... Have you heard of the famous Starkness
Observatory, Maskull?"
"No. Where is it?"
"On the north-east coast of Scotland. Curious discoveries are made there from time to
time."
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