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Every country has its own constitution; ours is absolutism moderated by assassination.

'An intelligent Russian'in Count Münster's Political Sketches of the State of Europe, 1868


The decision had been to stay. The lieutenant was disappointed. In fact, when Annie and Whitey arrived back at the parking lot, the ossifer could be seen by the psychic to be foaming at the mouth and tearing out his well-groomed hair. Less gifted or more mechanical eyes would simply have noticed him pacing and turning and pacing and turning like a speedfreak on a coke jag. He was not, in short, a happy unit.

Patrick, as was his style, was restraining his satisfaction and acting as if nothing could be more normal and predictable than to spend a night on the threshold of the military's offices. He was organizing take-out food from Dharma's, the conveniently situate vegan eatery (which solved one of Patrick's problems by donating a spread), and being lugubriously practical in his best Witness manner.

The crowd was seriously diminished, the announced all-nighters being slightly fewer than the previously announced Willing to Risk Arrest volunteers, since several of the WRAs had intended to sign out all along and had expected to be home by now; one or two were mildly aggravated that they wouldn't be busted this time. Their day would come.

Once the ossifer had walked off his tantrum, he confirmed that Policy had decreed that the cops would hold off at least for the night, as long as the peace was not obviously breached. "But that's what we want to prevent," some buffoon interjected, and even then the lieutenant kept his cool, admittedly only by grasping it with both hands.

The Occupation was now officially an Expression of Free Speech and as such a Constitutionally Protected Right. Subject to revocation in the public interest, of course.