Requiem for a Ruler of Worlds
gentlemen, shall we begin?" Alacrity decided that, if the opportunity should ever present itself, he would knock Chief Behavioral Engineer Skinner's dong to the deck.
    "You've both been briefed on the therapy you're to undergo here," Skinner began. He ignored the breakabout's bitter snort of derision. "Basically, it's a standard procedure. Citizen Floyt, you're aware of how common its use is in, ah, somewhat different circumstances here on Terra. Alacrity, you have no doubt encountered standard conditioning techniques, eh?"
    Alacrity scowled. "I roger 'techniques', all right." He also knew of places where it was possible to have behavioral programming erased or counteracted. He grinned wolfishly.
    "Good!" Skinner replied, too genially. "Now, the one major problem we have is that of time. The provisions of Weir's will require that all Inheritors be present for the reading; this means that you must depart for Epiphany in slightly over two days.
    "So instead of a full course of treatment, you'll only have time for a rather abbreviated conditioning, concentrating on your task. That is, going to Epiphany, claiming the inheritance, and returning with it to Earth. Obviously, this involves certain priorities."
    Alacrity made a sour face, glancing aside at a reproduction of a Remington painting. One of the priorities would not be his own welfare.
    Floyt was expressionless; Skinner looked forward to analyzing the readings being recorded by Subutai and Seism, to find out just what it was the man was feeling.
    "Priorities. You, Alacrity, will see to it that Hobart performs his mission and returns safely, Hobart, it's necessary to place all emphasis on your mission. Understand, please, both of you: this will not make you feel like some sort of automaton. It will seem reasonable and desirable that you do what is required."
    "How about him ?" Alacrity broke in with a head motion at Floyt. "How do I keep him from doing some vapor-brained damn fool Earther thing or other and getting us into trouble. Who's gonna be in charge?"
    Floyt went rigid with anger; he gave the breakabout a direct and unswerving stare. Embarrassed, Skinner hastened to add, "Er, you'll both be enjoined against provocative conduct. But this is hardly the time to go into that, eh?"
    Alacrity's eyes dropped first, away from Floyt's unwavering glare. Maybe there was a little something to the guy after all. Too, he was disturbed by what Skinner had said. He had a premonition that, in a typical Earthservice reflex, the two unwilling companions were to be turned into some sort of committee.
    "And now to work!" Skinner trumpeted, clapping his hands. Floyt looked back to Alacritywanting to clarify matters then and there, but the breakabout was fast asleep in his chair, Subutai and Seism having cut in its soporific field.
    Floyt spent the better part of two days in conditioning-pseudosomnolence while Earthservice told him what he was to do. His loyalty to Terra and long-fostered resentment of things alien were bent toward a commitment to mission completion.
    Motivation was hardly a problem for the behavioral engineers; it was more a matter of fine-tuning Floyt's xenophobia so that he could endure offworld travel and contacts. His conscious acceptance of the idea was fragile enough; his underlying fear and aversion were nearly off the scale.
    While he was under, they brought in medical teams for his immunization and adaptive treatments, from Earthservice's point of view, the most expensive part of the mission. It might prove needless, in which case it would be eliminated from future Project Shepherd missions, but Supervisor Bear could not afford to have anything go wrong. Alacrity, of course, had received equivalent or superior treatment long ago.
    Floyt did spend some waking time. A little groggy, he was given general orientations on interstellar travel and conditions in human space, those in the realm of the late Weir in particular.
    He was also lectured on the reasons for

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