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“All right, Tikal,” says Mother, “you’re thirteen now! Time to choose whether to Buy In to the Great Collective.”

“Is that a real choice?” asks Tikal. “Everyone I know–”

Father frowns. “It wouldn’t be much of a Collective if we were forced to join!”

“What if I refuse?”

“You get thirteen thousand thalers,” says Mother.


“And nothing else, ever again,” says Father. “Also, you can’t work, or invest, or actually spend it at any Collective institution.”

Tikal considers it. “I think,” he says, “I’ll Buy In.”

Mother claps happily. “Splendid! Let’s pick your new middle name off the approved list.”