The elderly lady took one look at May and Cristo and Cammy standing behind them, and said: "it's taken you long enough, come in, you must be starving," and led them through the house and down some steps to the kitchen, where Oyzell and another woman sat, drinking, and smiled at them: "I'm May," said the woman who had brought them, "Oyzell, you obviously know, and this is my cousin Cristo, sit down and tell us about yourselves, while I finish off this pot of soup," and as they took seats at the table, the elder Cristo said: "my cousin May is a believer in gastrodiplomacy, every important meeting or discussion should take place round a kitchen table with food a-plenty," and May, over her shoulder said: "and Cristo can't cook for toffee, except, maybe, boiled eggs and toast, if you don't mind the eggs rock hard and black toast, but she can harangue the Devil and send him off with a flea in his ear, now, before we start, Oyzell has told us about your world, your dimension or whatever it is, and I have to make one thing absolutely clear—I am a Christian, I believe in the Bible, I believe in one God and that he created everything in the Universe, I'm not a Seventh Day Adventist or a Literalist, but I am a Henotheist, I practised medicine for many years and have always accepted that there are things I didn't know about until I encountered them, and they may challenge my Faith, but my Faith is robust enough to deal with that, so! you, I take it, my dear, are me at, what 18?" and the younger May, addressed directly, blushed to her roots, said: "17, yes Ma'am, err, Miss," and the elder May laughed, said: "gosh, I didn't realise I was so pretty then, here May," and handed her a bowl of steaming broth, and the older Cristo said: "and unlike my delightful cousin, I am a devout Agnostic, which she says means I'm an Atheist without the courage of my convictions, merely a Doubting Thomas, but I argue back that if she or anyone can show me verifiable proof that her God, or anyone else's, exists, I'll be happy to eat my hat, put on sackcloth and ashes and walk on my knees to the church of their choosing, which is I think a rather generous offer, what do you say, young Cristo? was I fiery back then? if she's 17 you are definitely 18, enjoying Uni? don't know why I ask, I know I was, regular at every pub in the Old Town, yes?" and the young Cristo, visibly cursing her hormones, also blushed to her roots and said: "exposed for the lush that I am, no, I'm not quite that bad, but the most interesting people are there, and the same on digs, I'm sure you remember?" and her namesake laughed, "oh, checking that you won't be senile by my age? fear not young 'un, I still do The Scotsman crossword over breakfast, you'll have been doing it for about a year and wondering why, but yes, I found plenty of folk to argue with, challenge, swear undying friendship with and enjoy discreet - or indiscreet - love affairs, in the bars around Potterrow and The Pleasance as I'm sure you have too; but don't worry, I'm not actually who or what you will be in, say, seventy years time, if we are from different or parallel universes, our experiences will not match absolutely, Oyzell tells us that in yours the Germans defeated Britain and it has become part of the Großer Europäer Reich, so five of your important developmental years are very different from ours, and who knows what effect that may have on your lifetime, but anent of that, we are delighted to meet you both and will do anything and everything we can to assist you, if you want to stay here with us, but don't forget, we have another visitor, and Oyzell tells us that you are from Glasgow, like Bernie—where is Bernie?" she asked May, who was just handing the three young people some fresh-baked soda bread, and told her: "he and Teri have popped along to see Rabbi Burns, it seems that Zelda is a distant cousin of his, or his mother's, they actually met just after the war, and I suspect he wants to know something of people who disappeared, there were still a lot of refugees being moved around Europe, desperately searching for family, poor boy, I think Teri's going to stay with him and they'll be back before tea, but I'm so sorry, Mr Loch, Cristo was asking you about yourself," and Campbeltown spread his hands: "to be perfectly honest, ladies, I really don't know whit the fuck's going on, excuse my French, Bernie, Dudd—ma brither—and I were conducting an investigation in Glesca when we were blown up in a tunnel, arrived in the Antarctic, during the war, then went through a portal and cam oot here, in Melrose, in 1950 but the Nazis had won the war, it's aw totally freaked and noo we're in, whitsit? 2020, seventy-three years efter we stertit! ah dunno if am comin or goin, honest but!" and Oyzell handed him a tumbler of whisky, which he accepted gratefully and took a swig: "at least some things never change," he said with an appreciative sigh and everyone laughed with him, so May poured a glass each and handed them round.