|The Memory of Fimel|
The Chieftain of the Spherical Housing Complex (Part 2)
Kira of Windy Hill
The Conductor suspects an old woman calling herself Fimel who has just boarded the train is his high school sweetheart Marvelous. He and Marvelous had promised each other that they would reunite after he had become a conductor on the Galaxy Railways and she had graduated university as a technician specializing in machine-human maintenance.
Fimel asks the Conductor if his salary had been enough to build up his savings. When he answers weakly that it had not, she flies into a rage, loudly denouncing the food, the service and his competence. Shortly afterward, Tetsuro tries to strike up a conversation with her. She tells him she is returning home having just graduated from university, and she cryptically asks if he had ever been hungry. He answers that there were times in his life that he had gone for weeks without eating, leading her to remark that money would have saved him from having to endure such horrors.
Suddenly, the train derails. Fimel denounces the Conductor for incompetence again, leading Maetel to announce that the train had been sabotaged. (At this point, Tetsuro notices an odd device attached to Fimel's belt.) After Fimel storms out demanding that the Conductor apprehend the culprit, Maetel asks the conductor if he knows that it was Fimel herself who derailed the train. He acknowledges that he does, but he simply stalks away and sulks.
Testuro confronts Fimel and demands that she explain why she would try to destroy the very train she was riding on, and she replies that it would have been for the best had they all died together. Things escalate and Tetsuro fires at Fimel, however her device somehow deflects the blasts from his gun. Fimel then begins repeatedly striking Maetel, which brings the Conductor out of his funk and he asks her to stop. She lambastes him and he punches her, leaving her shaken. He confiscates her device and tells her that he will leave her alone until the train arrives but will eject her from the train if she causes another disturbance. The train docks at the station, and as Fimel steps onto the platform she pulls off a mask and wig, revealing that she is indeed the Conductor's girlfriend Marvelous—and that she is still a young woman. (And by extension, that the never-seen Conductor is still a young man.)
Marvelous ridicules the Conductor for being satisfied with having achieved his youthful aspiration of joining the Galaxy Railways, a career that will likely never earn him more than subsistence wages. She leaves the station, the Conductor making no attempt to hinder her. Tetsuro is appalled that the Conductor of all people is willing to turn a blind eye to a capital offense, but Maetel suggests that he is too young to understand what the Conductor is going through.
The story is reminiscent of the contemporaneously popular Harry Chapin ballad Taxi, however rather than failing to achieve their dreams and losing touch for years like Harry and Sue in the song, the Conductor and Marvelous achieve theirs and reunite shortly thereafter but the result is still a catastrophe. (Chapin's much less well-known sequel to the song, called, imaginatively enough, Sequel, actually takes a similar tack. Harry achieves his dreams but finds he is still unhappy, while Sue finds happiness despite abandoning her own dreams.)