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The astronomer watched them gather around the gallows: Pistachio People filled with vitriol, roaring with savage anticipation, weighing rotten vegetables in their hands. Longtail’s influence was no longer even thinly hidden. Each member of the crowd bore a whispering rodent on his shoulder.

“Might I smoke my pipe as I die?” he asked. The executioner was not a bad fellow, and in fact a foreigner himself. He even used a pinch of his own tobacco.

“Ah, would that I were at home in Nuremberg!” puffed the astronomer, and closed his eyes–just as a great shadow fell over the city square.