Osgood was far from alone in the clouds: the skies were filled with airships. Spread below him Osgood could see bustling roads and a delicate lacework of monorail tracks leading here and there across the city and beyond its borders - its very distant borders, now - to the lands beyond. They have spent so much energy, he thought, on getting from place to place. It wasn't surprising, he decided; it was something to which he himself had devoted a great deal of work. But it did leave him wondering what all these people did when they arrived where they were going. Did they just turn around and go back again? From his place in the clouds, he couldn't tell.
The air up here seemed thinner and colder than he remembered. Osgood pulled his thin coat more tightly about his old, gaunt frame.
The other airships were quite different from anything he'd seen. They were sleek, streamlined bullets that ought to have been too heavy to fly. His mind began to churn on the problem of how they stayed aloft. Certainly not hydrogen, he decided. No, there was something else at work.
Osgood's airship was slowly approaching the city's limits when he heard a siren behind him. He could tell by the sound that it was approaching rapidly. Marvelous! he thought. Such wonderful propulsion! He turned to watch a strange craft approach from behind him and waved happily at its pilots.
And here, what was that? Another ship was coming up fast behind them! It was wailing an eerie sound, and brilliant lights flashed from its wings; clearly this was some sort of sporting event or festival. Osgood uncoiled a long grappling line. He might as well join in the festivitie