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“Fiction of the last century often posited that mannequins were in some way trapped,” says Volure, “that they longed for freedom of movement, or left their pedestals to creep about at night. Of course the Book of Stillness teaches otherwise.”

Pearl looks carefully at the bare-chested jeans-wearer gazing flatly out the window. “But they use subjective time dilators, right?”

“Only when they’re starting out. The professionals are in deep trance.”

“How much do you have to pay them?”

He laughs. “They pay us.

Pearl thinks she catches the mannequin breathing, but it might just be the sun going down.