No one understands what has happened to Sayid and Dieter. They have vanished from their watch without a trace. The conductor reminds everyone that there have been other times when Symphony members have been separated, and every time they’ve followed the protocol and been reunited at the destination. Alexandra repeats the protocol that everyone has memorized: never travel without a destination; if you’re separated on the road, go to the destination and wait. Thus the Symphony decides to continue to the Museum of Civilization at the Severn City Airport in the hopes that Sayid and Dieter will meet them there.
The disappearance of Sayid and Dieter is so complete that it seems surreal. The Symphony, though, has a plan in place for this type of situation, which is why they always travel with a destination in mind, never wandering. Memory here plays an important role in survival, since it is remembering the destination and separation policy that can keep Symphony members alive when they have been separated from the group.
After more travel, Kirsten says to August that she thinks Sayid and Dieter have been taken. She can’t stop thinking about what the prophet was saying about light. He said if you are the light, then your enemies are the darkness, and that means (Kirsten says) there is nothing you can’t justify, which in turn means “there’s nothing you can’t survive, because there’s nothing that you will not do.”
Kirsten suspects the prophet has taken her friends. She sees in his faith the scary truth which the novel projects: since the prophet believes himself to be a messenger of God, anything is justifiable. This faith enables survival, because it removes any limitations or actions that for many would be unjustified, even in a struggle to survive the post-collapse world. It also makes the prophet unpredictable and even more dangerous.
Four teams of people are sent out to look for dinner, but only three and a half return, as Jackson reports that the clarinet has vanished. The oboe notes that the clarinet was close with Dieter, as the Symphony wonders whether they were taken or if there is something else mysterious going on. Later that day, someone finds a note in the clarinet’s belongings, which reads “Dear friends, I find myself immeasurably weary and I have gone to rest in the forest.” The Symphony wonders whether this is a suicide note or not.
Though they travel in pairs, somehow another Symphony member is taken without her partner realizing. The clarinet’s strange letter could be a suicide note expressing weariness with the life of travel and a constant struggle to survive, resulting in the clarinet deciding to “take a rest in the forest” and kill herself. However, this is up for debate in the Symphony, and is by no means conclusive.
Since they are both terrified, August writes Kirsten a small poem to comfort her. As the Symphony moves onward, fallen trees block them. While they clear the trees, August and Kirsten discover a golf course, which they loot, since they once found a bottle of scotch and a jar of olives in a similar location. Here they discover a pond filled with fish, which are so plentiful that they are able to catch them with nets alone. They clean the fish as it begins to rain, but when they return to the Symphony they find that it has already left. Kirsten and August make the difficult decision of eating the fish before it goes bad and finding a place to rest for the night. They have been separated from the Symphony.
August shares a small piece of personal art with Kirsten in a moment of comfort and closeness between the two. Just as they find good luck in the golf course and the fish they catch, they encounter the bad luck of being separated from the Symphony. Now the two must journey alone with hopes of reuniting with the Symphony at their destination as dictated by the separation policy. Their fear in this situation quickly goes from losing their friends one by one to suddenly losing all their friends at once.