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ARBITRON

“Nobody get excited,” says Dr. Johnson, pacing the stateroom, “but I’m starting to think we may be in danger on this boat.”

“You mean Mr. Boswell–that wasn’t an accident?” says Augustine, stunned, still grieving.

“POOR OLD BOSWELL WAS PUSHED OVERBOARD,” says ARBITRON.

“No!”

“ARBITRON is infallible,” says Dr. Johnson. “But none of us were on deck when it happened!”

“DR. JOHNSON’S POINT IS WELL TAKEN.”

Augustine is shaking; one of the machine’s tubular arms proffers a hot drink. “Thanks,” she says, taking it.

“AUGUSTINE WAS COMFORTED.”

As one, they pause, then turn slowly toward the glowing terminal.

“WHAT,” it says.

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