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“My friend,” said the astronomer, struggling for civility in the midst of the battlefield, “sometimes I think you throw us both behind a cause without consulting for consequences.”

“We cannot wait for the stars to align,” said Drosselmeier. “If we are to finish our search–”

“Is that your intention? To finish it?” said the astronomer, his color high. “I am not at all sure!”

“Of course!”

“There is no hard nut here, Drosselmeier!” A dull and deafening mark of punctuation; brick shards kissed their cheeks. “Only cold, and soldiers we do not know, and death in the mouth of the cannon!”