Thoroughly confused but having trouble putting abstractions into words Tane could interpret, Alex was left with an exasperated fascination. "What might a god--your greatest tiki--do that we cannot?" Tane could have grinned, however, in the dark there was no truth to tell. "Nothing, if you want." The slippery simplicity of his reply further aggravated Alex, who wondered what the reverse of his question would have elicited; he should probe like Nemo. "I can wish as much as anyone for the day to hurry, but night ends only when it will." The blackness spoke softly. "Trying not enough--you must believe your prayer." A clever circle, figured Alex, parrying to open it. "By the time I do that, dawn will have come!" He felt the slightest touch on his shoulder. "Look at my lamps . . . they like to steer me." It took Alex a second to understand he should gaze up; sparks from the Poko's glowing stack swarmed between stars like fluorescent sea creatures. "You have no boat, so your sky just sky. But when water dark I need help to find my way." Celestial knowledge--let alone deciphering waves--was certainly not among Alex's acquired skills, yet Nemo had mentioned the islanders' uncanny talent for stellar reckoning. "That big one, over there. Do not take your eyes from it." Alex rested attention some degrees above the Southern Cross; a steady winking filled his pupils, and he held the focus despite being slowly rocked. Minutes lengthened; was this bright speck another bastion of life, agreed by science fiction and radio astronomers to harbor planets, perhaps hospice for consciousness like his . . . also peering across space--at least eons earlier? He waited as if for a message; Tane's whisper was subtle as the night air. "Now what there?" Widening his sight to take in the neighboring lights, there was nothing save disorder; but like pattern distilling from its opposite (Seurat's very point), Alex thought he could faintly discern a shape, no more than suggestion. And then the random assortment of prominent stars was a constellation clicking into cerebral place: perfectly round, slashed with one jagged letter--personally integral. Alex jerked in recognition. "No!" While he fell, the vertiginous heavens reassembled; yet in that inexplicable instant of shocking clarity Alex had witnessed--as surely as the kaleidoscopic spots whirling before him on an obdurate deck--a symbol not less familiar than the name thus signified . . . an orbed N. It made absolutely no sense, and he expected Nemo, too, would have rejected the vision as a product of hypnosis, though Tane had scarcely prompted the specific form Alex observed. What additionally dismayed him was that in his collapse the ensignia, turning greenish, spun ninety degrees to reveal a merger of those two letters which once captivated an imaginative childhood: Oz. "I was tricked!" Supported to his feet, smelling garlic and stale perspiration, Alex swayed against the greasy taffrail. "You not think so before." "All the same, I have been taught that stars are supposed to stay put . . . ." Well, for the short term, he admitted privately. Tane reached out and tapped Alex's head. "Here is their home--no other place."