The evening’s warm breeze flowed into the former Khedivial palace from the Egyptian desert, it shook the palm’s fronds, which gently brushed against the lofty ceiling.
A gentleman dropped his napkin upon his table and hurriedly stood-up.
“Mlle. de Saint-Exupéry,” he called, “je serais très heureux si vous voulez dîner avec moi?”
Thérèse accepted the invitation.
She extended a hand. “Your accent is almost perfect, sir.” She smiled mischievously. “And you have troubled to find out my name?”
“I stand convicted, quite literally; but only of a casual interest in my fellow guests.” He looked around at middle-aged Germans and Russians, feeding noisily. “I have not introduced myself. George Isley.” Sitting, “May I ask why you are in sleepy Helouan—a resort for invalids on doctors’ orders?”
“I had a disappointment.” She accepted a glass of Pinot Noir, “I wished to lose myself and forget.”
Thérèse smiled thinly—George wondered if she was sighing inwardly.
“My cousin argued that to fly mail across the Sahara is no job for a woman, so he had my contract with the Latécoère Company cancelled. If my ship were forced down upon the sand, he said, I would suffer a lonely death.”
George Isley didn’t know what to make of Thérèse de Saint-Exupéry. He watched her intently as she sipped at her wine. Was she making fun of him?
“Quite so,” he said lamely, aware that it was the wrong answer, but perplexed by the woman and “all at sea.”
A stout burgher at the next table slurped his soup.
“But I want to be alone, Monsieur Isley.”
In Case of Crippling Injury, Death, Insanity or Other Psychosis.
“Where is she?” you ask.
“Down there,” the nurse points to the end of the ward. “She’s tied—secured for her own safety.”
You find Thérèse de Saint-Exupéry alone in a bay, her cot is ringed by curtains. Straps, made of webbing, pin her down upon a mattress.
She is awake and seems pleased to see you. Before you have a chance to greet Thérèse she says, as if continuing a conversation:
“I flew the post down to Casablanca one autumn evening, it was dark and I became lost in cloud. When at last it did clear I realised I had strayed out over the ocean.”
You pull up a chair and gently take hold of her hand. You smile reassuringly and with your other hand brush, with your fingers, her damp hair off of her forehead.
“My ship was low on gas; I knew I’d crash and sink. …And then I saw a point of light—a house!” she says with joy. “I was saved, or so I hoped, and immediately pointed my ship’s nose at safety. And then it disappeared? But I saw another light and headed for that one instead, only it, too, disappeared. It dawned upon me then that these lights had fallen beneath the horizon: I was flying to the stars!”
Thérèse pauses for a long time, breathing horribly slowly, before adding in a barely audible murmur: “Do you think I’ll get there… to the stars, I mean?”
“Yes, yes of course,” you answer.
She stares at the ceiling, her lips slowly spreading to a happy smile. You glance upward and see a naked light bulb, and grip her hand a little tighter.
“How does somebody who was so vital become reduced like this?” Take all of her possessions. Test (Will), if you pass reduce Doom by 1, fail and you fall into a decline and gain a Paranoia Condition. Whether you pass or not, discard her Investigator token.