Todd looks ahead of him and sees an old man greet Hildy with a kiss on the cheek—she's married to someone with Noise. Yay.
His Noise invites Todd to catch up with them and come home for dinner. He introduces himself as Tam, and his Noise is friendly and bright.
Todd questions them about how they can be together since the Noise kills women, and while Tam covers something up in his noise, they assure him that it doesn't kill all women after all.
Todd's world is rocked. This does not make sense—all the women in Prentisstown died from the noise. Hildy and Tam insist on them coming home for some food and rest before the conversation continues.
Todd insists that they aren't safe and have to keep moving, but Tam assures him that they are safe; he's keeper of the gate, and people from the other side don't cross over.
Todd is perplexed by how happy Tam's Noise is compared to his own—it's almost like a completely different germ.
Tam mentions something about war, and when Todd questions him, Tam completely clouds his noise from him.
Hildy and Viola start talking about this weird technical stuff that Todd doesn't understand: X Sevens and X Three 200 and stuff like that—they explain that they're names of settler ships.
It starts to sink in: Viola came as a settler, just like Todd's parents did. Her ship that crashed was just a scout ship, but her real ship, an Expansion Class Seven, is still up in space. In other words, more settlers are coming. Tons more.