Unlucky Empire When perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. We held hands and looked at the stars. Together we discovered the rings of Uranus after discovering the rings of Saturn. They were a significant discovery. We also discovered feelings that might be considered flexible. We now understand that rings are a common feature of planets, not groups of people. Circles are not merely a peculiarity. We choose friends for life. We assume the role of mother, daughter and sister. The empire is showing cracks. Even if we are materialistic, we will be knowledgeable. We will not mind talking about art, psychology, and literature or discussing political, ethical and economic issues. Our lives are constantly presenting us with change and new challenges, but we understand and accept the risk. We continue to hold hands. We continue to kiss on the mouth. We are part of the new diagnostic team assembled after the disbanding of the previous team. Working around the clock, we decipher from examinations of satellite imagery conclusive evidence that a missile base is under construction near our shared home. We envision the encounter and subsequent tension of the Cold War-like rivalry between us and them. We train our bodies. We practice intelligence, resistance to stress, and remain in top physical shape. Mirrors created us, or at least some of us, and there is an unspoken rule to be toughest in the room. Leave no one standing. Challenge the government. The entire world envies our effortless ways. We are slender without dieting. We are attractive without being pretty. We are unapologetically self-assured. We live well, without gross excess. We enjoy great quality without over-consuming. We create quality. Total deprivation has no place in a pleasure filled life. Death is always the co-star. We feel the deadly hands of commitment. A convicted criminal who spends 13 years as a free man because of a clerical error now faces the same amount of time in jail. We uncover this truth more than a decade later. But it is still the truth. We believe in the truth, but we enjoy the lies. We break lies with one single lie. We begin to build lives, learn trades like carpentry or typography, and fall in love. We build boxes. We find friends by finding ourselves. We become comfortable with silence, because no one alone has any significant power.