M.T. finishes reading as dawn is about to break. He finds the door to the stranger’s room ajar. Inside, the stranger (Hank) lies in bed, talking to himself in an animated and delirious manner. He hears the narrator and misidentifies him as Sandy. He asks after Hello-Central and complains of terrible dreams about the king’s death and a terrible war. Worse, he has dreamed that he was pulled from their century into the future and abandoned 13 centuries distant from her. His words become incoherent, and the narrator knows his death is immanent. Suddenly, he cries out for people to “man the battlements” in his final, unfinished “effect.”
M.T.’s postscript pulls back from Hank’s narrative and plants doubt in the reader’s mind. The impositions of Arthurian mythology and the apparent deliriousness of the stranger in his bed suggest that the story might be entirely fictional. Ultimately, the power of Hank’s story lies in his ability to make M.T.—or the modern reader—believe him. Both his death and M.T.’s assurance that this is another “effect” or attempted trick suggest the ultimate insubstantiality of Hank’s power.