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government was that which governed least.

Something a
step or two above anarchy would be ideal.

Now there was a power-hungry Emperor running things.


Both history and personal experience had taught Atour
that in as little as a few years, or as much as a few
centuries, there would come evolution-or revolution-and
this, too, would pass. The new rulers would start out full
of promise and hope and good intentions, and gradually
settle into mediocrity. A benevolent but inept king was as
bad as a despot.

The warning bell chimed, and the pilot's voxcast said,


"Attention all passengers, docking will be complete in five
minutes. Please check and make sure you have all your
belongings before debarkation."

Atour Riten chuckled softly. There was a word you didn't


hear that often.

Debark, from Old Low Frusoise, meaning "to leave a


small sailing ship's secondary boat." Who on board knew
that, save for himself and perhaps the pilot?

Probably no one. And probably no one cared in the least.


When you got to be Atour's age, you had to take your
amusements where you could.

Especially with a seatmate nattering on and on about


hypermat-ter reactions.

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