Kirsten thinks of how much the world has changed in her lifetime, which makes her think of Alexandra. There’s a chance, Kirsten thinks, that Alexandra will live her life without having to kill another person. A rainstorm starts, after which the Symphony pitches their tents for the night.
Civilization has changed from modernity to chaos, and then to a semblance of calm or normalcy. During the first years following the collapse, the violence required many to kill in order to stay alive. Young people like Alexandra never lived through that time, and might be able to live a full life without being placed in a kill or be killed situation.
In their tent, Dieter whispers to Kirsten that the night before he dreamed he saw an airplane. Kirsten does not remember airplanes well since she was so young when the collapse happened, but Dieter remembers everything with perfect clarity. He tells Kirsten that after the collapse he would look up to the sky searching for airplanes, knowing that if he saw one, it would mean that somewhere civilization still existed.
Though Kirsten has very little memory of planes, to Dieter they symbolize civilization and the hope that it will one day return. Air travel is one of the most taken-for-granted examples of our technological advancement. The network of humans required for commercial flight is vast, and so the plane symbolizes a return to the possibility of globalization as opposed to the localized foot travel that currently limits the Symphony.
After this conversation about airplanes, Kirsten and Dieter take their turn as second watch. Dieter and Sayid scout the road behind the camp, August and Kirsten keep watch of the camp, and the fourth guitar and oboe walk ahead. Kirsten and August circle the camp and discuss the possibility of stopping their constant traveling and settling down, but then they hear a disturbance. They wake the third watch so they can go investigate, but they’re unable to find Dieter and Sayid, who seem to have vanished.
While survival alone is insufficient, the Symphony must still take precautions and efforts to remain alive. The night watches are a key aspect of this precaution. Just as Kirsten and August discuss making a major lifestyle change and settling into a small town, drama unfolds, reminding readers of the harsh reality and dangers of living on the road in the post-collapse world.