-->''This is the tale as told, not by Rennhl and those on whom she drew for the 'Sky Book', but by Terrans who walk the earth. Hloch will [[HumansThroughAlienEyes seek to explain what is alien]]; though only by swinging your mind into that same alienness may you hope to seize the knowledge behind.''
-->''Then read-Hloch of the [[TheClan Stormgate Choth]] [[EncyclopediaExposita The Earth Book of Stormgate]]''
-->''From 'The Van Rijn Method'''

The Technic History is a SpaceOpera setting featured in many short stories and novels written by Creator/PoulAnderson from the 1950s through to the 1980s.

It spans many centuries of future history, but most of the stories are set in one of two periods:

!!! The Polesotechnic League period (25th century).
Most of the stories set in this period feature IntrepidMerchant Nicholas van Rijn, and/or his protege David Falkayn. They include the novels ''The Man Who Counts'' (aka ''War of the Wing-Men''), ''Satan's World'', ''Mirkheim'', and the {{Hugo|Award}}-nominated ''The People of the Wind'', as well as many short stories.
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!!! The Terran Empire period (31st century).
Most of the stories set in this period feature Imperial Intelligence agent Dominic Flandry, including the novels ''Ensign Flandry'', ''A Circus of Hells'', ''The Rebel Worlds'', ''A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows'', and ''A Stone in Heaven'', as well as many short stories. Novels in this era that ''don't'' feature Flandry include ''The Day of Their Return'', ''The Game of Empire'', and ''Let the Spaceman Beware''.
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Not to be confused with Anderson's Psychotechnic League series, an entirely separate future history deliberately named in a parallel fashion.

Most of the Technic History stories have been re-released in {{omnibus}} editions.

!!The Technic History provides examples of:

* AnAesop: Anderson is seldom as sentimental as the trope implies, his Aesops don't have a "cuddly" feel and are usually muddled by realistic-feeling messiness. Nonetheless there is a prejudice toward libertarianism as well as the respect for other people's ways of life.
* AffablyEvil: Meresians glorify conquest and are determined to win as great a share of the universe as they can at the expense of everyone else. But that doesn't stop them from being polite.
* AlienArtsAreAppreciated: Christopher Holm is an admirer of Ythrian poetry, historical work and culture in general and helps write the Earthbook of [[TheClan Stormgate]] which is a history of the founders of the colony of Avalon.
* AllPlanetsAreEarthlike: Many planets are anyway.
* ApeShallNeverKillApe: Dominic Flandry is kidnapped by an alien race, who assert that they are far more civilized than the Terran Empire, as they would never betray an oath or otherwise be dishonest (except to other, lesser, races, like humans). He soon has the entire leadership of the planet backstabbing each other, noting that their refusal to admit that they, too, can betray each other if the price is right, is what enabled him to succeed in destroying them.
* TheAtoner: A Terran POW on Avalon [[TheOathbreaker breaks parole]] and betrays an Avalonian woman he loved to [[IDidWhatIHadToDo get vital information to the Terran fleet]]. He asks to fly in the first assault essentially because he feels the Avalonians deserve a crack at him.
* BirdPeople: Ythrians, which are a carnivorous eaglelike race. The author considered them a puzzle in how to make a winged creature capable of carrying a sentient brain and came of with the solution of an organ which pumps oxygen into their wings. Ythrians are often [[WarriorPoet Warrior Poets]] who talk much of HonorBeforeReason(deathpride in their tongue). They live in a tribal society which governs it's affairs with a loose judicial system similar to Medieval Iceland, and they are obsessed with territory because of the needs of hunting. They divide up the planet Avalon with the human colonists; the Ythrians usually getting the heights and the humans the valleys.
* BittersweetEnding: Lots. Especially the Dominic Flandry stories; Flandry succeeds, but [[CartwrightCurse loses any woman he truly loves]], feels guilt at hurting the feelings of the others, and in one story is troubled by the contrast between several honest, decent rebels, who are ''at best'' going to be locked up for the rest of their lives, and the decadent, despicable Emperor. The prequel novel had a back-cover blurb which summed up:
-->Though through this and his succeeding adventures he will struggle gloriously and win (usually) mighty victories, Dominic Flandry is essentially a tragic figure: a man who knows too much, who knows that battle, scheme, and even betray as he will, in the end it will mean nothing. For with the relentlessness of physical law the Long Night approaches. The Terran Empire is dying...
* BlueBlood:
** David Falkayn in the ''Polesotechnic League'' stories is actually an aristocrat on his home world.
** There are a lot of titled characters in the Flandry stories. He's an aristocrat himself.
*** Not really, as he is on the bar sinister side. "You see, my father walked into this sinister bar...."
* BoldExplorer: David Falkayn is an aristocrat who would rather be out exploring new worlds than sitting in comfort on his home planet.
* TheCavalry: Saves Falkayn in ''Three-Cornered Wheel.''
* TheClan: Notably the Ythrian clan of Stormgate Choth which adopts the human writer Christopher Holm.
* CanonWelding: The Nicholas van Rijn stories and Dominic Flandry stories weren't, originally, part of the same universe. But a bit of prodding by fans, and he wrote some bridging so that now they are.
* TheCasanova: Flandry. Generally loses the girl when she realizes he's not going to be able of anything permenant.
* ChivalrousPervert: Nicholas van Rijn. If you are an attractive woman, expect to have him make constant references to your looks as well as many passes. But should danger appear, you couldn't have anyone better at your side.
** Flandry too.
* CityOfSpies: Flandry meets Aycharaych at one of these and figures out a way to [[CrowningMoment deceive a telepath.]]
* CombatPragmatist: Nicholas van Rijn frequently uses sneaky methods. On one occasion, he taunts an alien prince into biting his behind; the alien prince realizes too late that human biochemistry is toxic to his people.
* CoolVersusAwesome: The Terran Empire vs Avalon in ''People of the Wind''.
* CrowdSong: The Ythrian hunting song translated by Christopher Holm.
* CrushBlush: In "Lodestar." van Rijn mentions Falkayn to Coya, and then teased her with being red-shifted.
* CrystalDragonJesus: In "The Problem of Pain", a BoldExplorer working with Ythrians tells how they worship "God the hunter" who they picture as a big-game hunter who [[DeliberateValuesDissonance delights in hunting them]] as they delight in hunting animals. They consider it their duty to give a good chase which means facing fate with honor and stoicism.
* TheCycleOfEmpires: A theme of the series as a whole.
* DidNotGetTheGirl: "The Star Plunderer" features the founding of the empire -- told by the narrator whose girlfriend left him to become empress. In "The Rebel Worlds" Dominic Flandry falls very deeply in love with Kathryn MacCormac, the wife of the rebel Admiral Hugh MacCormac, and for once in his relations with women does not want a passing affair but a lifetime together - but though far from indifferent to Flandry's charms, she remains loyal to her husband and finally goes off to share the failed rebel's exile far outside the Empire, leaving Flandry heartbroken. Accidentally or not, in both of these Anderson works the name of the forever lost girl is Kathryn.
* EncyclopediaExposita: The Earthbook of Stormgate.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: In ''People of the Wind'' the Terrans are willing to commit an war of aggression but not to engage in genocide.
* EvilPowerVacuum: The Long Night, and the "little night" between the League and the Empire.
* TheEpic: ZigZagged. While the whole history could be considered an epic and some individual stories can, others have more of a pulp-literature feel.
* EvenMooksHaveLovedOnes: One of the Dominic Flandry stories ended with Flandry successfully killing a Merseian agent - a giant aquatic monster able to smash a human with one blow, who was also a very intelligent and capable schemer - who'd been stirring up rebellion on a Terran world. Then Flandry wondered if the agent had some children who couldn't understand why their father hadn't come home.
* {{Expy}}: Nicholas van Rijin = [[Theatre/HenryIV Sir John Falstaff.]]
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: Several
** The 'Tinerents on Aeneas are recognizably similar to Roma, to the point of having totem pets, much like the way Roma once had hunting hounds as the symbol of a chief(although in the case of the 'Tinerents, the "pets" turn out to be less innocuous and are a devious and rather cruel trap for the 'Tinerents).
** The Polesotechnic League is similar to the HanseaticLeague in some ways. It is also compared to Elizabethan seafarers in-verse.
** Avalon is like Medieval Iceland, being founded by human dissidents who wanted to get away from government and Ythrians who always had a low government level anyway. Ythrian laws are rather like Iceland; Humans have a more conventional [[TheRepublic Republic]]. Also Avalonians have a poetic culture though it has a different flavor then that of the saga writers.
* FateWorseThanDeath: For a Ythrian to be injured in it's wings is this. Ythrians only do this deliberately to slaves and criminals.
* FeudalFuture: The Terran Empire is more recognisable as using this trope, but the late Polesotechnic league is more literally feudal.
** Many planets and races are feudalistic or tribalistic or some combination thereof.
* FloatingWater: Justified in one of the Flandry novels, with an artificial zero-g environment.
* FounderOfTheKingdom: David Falkayn retires from his life as an IntrepidMerchant to lead the Ythrian-Human colony of Avalon.
* FriendlyEnemy: Sort of. The Terran Empire never had a [[NothingPersonal grudge against Ythrians]] as such and many Terran officers admired them. Ythrians and Avalonian Humans resented Terran aggression but even so the war was [[LetsFightLikeGentlemen civilized as wars go]], and the memory didn't leave as much bad blood as might have been.
* FramingDevice: The whole history is the common variation of this trope in SpaceOpera and HighFantasy whereby the history of a fictional civilization is used as the FramingDevice. The ''Earthbook of Stormgate'' can also be thought of as the conventional "story about someone telling a story" version.
* GoodVersusGood: More light grey(Terran Empire)versus lighter grey(Avalon). Ythrians from Avalon emphasize that the main reason for their stubborness was not an evil intention but a right of Terran citizens that would have hurt them. In principle, being LibertariansInSpace they are indifferent to government that leaves them alone. However the Terrans demand that any citizen live where they want. And the Avalonians insist that this would mean they would be flooded with migrants they have no way to control and who would wreck their way of life. They continue to fight because both have an uncompromisable principle.
* GoingNative: The Human writer and poet Christopher Holm in ''People of the Wind.'' A number of humans and Ythrians on Avalon have gone native with each other.
* GoodIsNotNice: Nicholas van Rijn from the Polesotechnic League novels is a greedy, sloppy, cynical, womanizing corporate executive. He also constantly saves his employees from death and disaster, often with an elaborate BatmanGambit that involves using evolutionary psychology to psychoanalyze whatever alien race is giving their interstellar trading company trouble. He is also merciful towards his enemies and tries to create win-win situations for them.
** Flandry is a charming CulturedWarrior, and in his own way an idealist. He is also an [[CombatPragmatist unscrupulous]] spy.
** Both the Terran Empire and the Polesotechnic League have large traits of this in general.
* GrayAndGrayMorality: While most sympathy is on the Ythrians in the Terran-Ythrian war, the Ythrians and Terrans had engaged in violent territorial clashes before the war, some of which was the Ythrians fault. Mostly light grey versus light grey as both the Terrans and the Ythrians are presented as civilized and reasonably decent polities.
** In general most struggles have both virtues and flaws on both sides.
* GuileHero: Nicolas van Rijn, very much. Large and fat--though strong and fast--he takes great joy in outthinking and outwitting his enemies.
* HadToBeSharp: Several cultures are described as this, notably the ones that managed to survive between the downfall of the Polesotechnic League and the rise of the Terran Empire. It is also hinted once or twice that ''any'' race that has managed to get into space, [[HadToBeSharp has to be pretty sharp.]]
* HonorBeforeReason: Ythrians call this "Deathpride". When they say something is a matter for this, you know they consider it SeriousBusiness.
* HumansAreWarriors: "That race still bears the chromosomes of conquerors. There are still brave men in the Empire, devoted men, shrewd men ... with the experience of a history longer than ours to guide them. If they see doom before them, they'll fight like demons."
** The general Merseian attitude seems to be that while they may despise the Terran Empire as senile they regard humans as a species for as a [[FriendlyEnemy fellow]] ProudWarriorRace.
* HumansThroughAlienEyes: The Earthbook of Stormgate which is supposedly a Ythrian record of the deeds of Van Rjn and Falkayn. Played with in that one of the chief writers is a human who has [[GoingNative Gone Native.]]
* InHarmonyWithNature: Ythrians are In Harmony With The Atmosphere for [[BirdPeople obvious reason]]. This has effects; they are able to make sailboats better then humans.
* InsufficientlyAdvancedAlien: The Dominic Flandry series has many examples of "barbarians" -- primitive alien species given spaceships and high-tech weaponry by more a advanced civilization, generally for use as expendable mercenaries and deniable proxies.
* IntrepidMerchant: Nicholas van Rijn, and his protege David Falkayn.
* {{Irony}} : Several times used to connect one book in the series to another. For instance David Falkayn saves an alien race, the Meresians, from extinction. They turn out to be the [[NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished Terrans greatest enemies]] in Flandry's time.
* ItIsBeyondSaving: Dominic Flandry has noted that he's just doing his best to stave off the inevitable collapse of the Empire.
* TheJeeves: Dominic Flandry's valet, Chives.
* KlingonsLoveShakespeare: The alien Adzel (who looks like a large centauroid dragon) is a Buddhist (which naturally he learned about from humans). He spent some time on Earth studying human culture.
** In a diplomatic visit, a Meresian tells a Terran how much he loves Myth/HinduMythology. Especially the [[ProudWarriorRace bloodier parts]], naturally.
* KnowYourVines: The Avalonians let a prisoner escape [[FeedTheMole with the knowledge]] that a large plateau is unguarded. That area is filled with plants that emit semi-toxic gas that incapacitate the Terran invasion force while they prepare an invasion. As the Terrans were never willing to [[EvenEvilHasStandards blow up Avalon anyway]], were even more unwilling with most of their army captive, and were out of troops, they had to accept Avalonian stubbornness.
* LastOfHisKind: The character [[spoiler:Aycharaych, recurring archvillain of the Dominic Flandry stories, is the last survivor of his long-lived, telepathic species]]. But he keeps it a secret for a long time.
* LetsFightLikeGentlemen: Both the Terrans and the Ythrians were civilized and when they fought they respected TheLawsAndCustomsOfWar.
* LoopholeAbuse: David Falkayn in The Three Cornered Wheel is stranded on an alien planet and needs a wagon to carry supplies. The problem is that circles are holy on that planet and therefore one cannot use a wheeled vehicle. The local chief is sympathetic and helps him arrange to build a wagon that has wheels that are technically three cornered rather then round.
* LongDeadBadass: Falkayn becomes this on Avalon and is ShroudedInMyth by the time of ''People of the Wind.''
** On Aenaes Adzel has a monument to him.
** In The Plague of Masters, Van Rjn is a saga hero on a planet Flandry visits.
* LoveAcrossBattleLines: An Avalonian woman and an Imperial Naval officer in ''People of the Wind.'' Subverted in that both are [[DuelOfSeduction trying to manipulate each other]] for the benefit of their respective causes. DoublySubverted because they really have feelings for each other and have [[WorthyOpponent no]] [[NothingPersonal resentment]] after the war.
* MeaningfulName: The [[FounderOfTheKingdom founder]] of a planet settled partly by humans and partly by the [[BirdPeople winged, carnivorous, Ythrians]] is named David ''Falkayn.''
* MeaningfulRename: Christopher Holm is named Arinnian when he is adopted by [[TheClan Stormgate Choth]].
* MerchantPrince: Nicholas van Rijn is the head of the Solar Spice and Liquors Company, one of the several conglomerates that make up the Polesotechnic League, an interstellar trading group more powerful than any planetary government. Van Rijn is a classic self-made man, and he is more powerful and influential than many ''actual'' princes.
* TheMigration: To Avalon by both humans and Ythrians.
* MixedMetaphor: Nicholas van Rijn, along with [[{{Malaproper}} malapropisms]], often mixed metaphors. Particularly appealing was his reference to forcefully seeking something he wanted "like a bulldozer going after a cowdozer."
* MulticulturalAlienPlanet: Most of the planets they spend much time on whether human or alien are multicultural.
** Avalon is probably the most important of these being a profound study in the difficulties of bringing about friendship between cultures.
** It is a notable fact that the political geography does not correspond exactly to the racial geography. Thus there are some Meresians on Terran dominated worlds and vice-versa, and the same goes with Terrans and Ythrians. In their relations to more minor races the Terran Empire and the Polisotechnic League often have no more then an outpost on any given world which otherwise runs itself. And most races are themselves divided among their various cultural and political lines.
* NationalWeapon: The iconic Meresian weapon is their knuckleduster knives.
* NobleSavage: Played with with some of the aliens.
** Subverted with Ythrians. They have the CloserToEarth and the HonorBeforeReason down. However they have a sophisticated intellectual culture, a philosophical sensibility and when first contact is made they are able to comprehend Terran technology well enough to get into the stars. They are called "uncivilized" in the original sense of not being urbanized, but are not uncivilized in any other sense.
* NotAGame: used on van Rijn in "Lodestar"
* NotSoDifferent: When some Meresians visit a Terran outpost for a drinking party Flandry observes that they both have a history of [[ProudWarriorRace war]] and [[ManlyMenCanHunt predation]].
** In ''Day of their Return'' a visiting Meresian emisary observes this to the Imperial representative. When he responds,"I am not a man of war", the Meresian says that that only means he is not fond of ''physical'' violence, but that his [[DoYouWantToHaggle tough negotiations]] prove that he has quite [[WorthyOpponent laudable competitive instincts.]] He then [[KlingonsLoveShakespeare goes into]] a discourse on warlike passages from Myth/HinduMythology.
* OurElvesAreBetter: Averted. Ythrians are a vague analogue to SpaceElves in some ways, but are not particularly better then humans. They are more honorable on the whole then humans(it is specifically said by an official of the Terran Empire that their intelligence could not get a Ythrian mole), and cannot understand random crime and hence the need for government beyond a judicial council. However they are also often more cruel; for instance they are likely to routinely attack trespassers, they become irrational and often violent during mating season, they make less provision for the disabled then humans, and the more old fashioned still maintain slavery and sophant sacrifice for a long time after FirstContact.
** In The Sarragosso of Lost Starships, there are a mysterious band of SpaceElves that act rather like FairFolk. They are not particularly nice to say the least. Nor are they invincible and humans overcome them through sheer [[HumansAreWarriors pugnaciousness]].
* OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions: Definitely not. Religion remains an important part of culture including the religions of the time when the book was written. Wodenites are fond of human religion, Ythrians have their own religions. The planet Aeneas which is inhabited by humans is quite religious.
* ThePardon: Extorted in "The Man Who Counts"
** Given to Ivar in ''Day of their Return.''
* PatronSaint: Nicholas van Rijn swears by Saint Dismas (the Good Thief, appropriately), and has expressed the intention of burning candles in offering (to which another character responded "The Saint had best get it in writing").
* {{Planetville}}: Averted. Planets have highly developed cultures with their own local politics and factionalism.
* PlanetTerra: The Dominic Flandry stories refer to Terra and the Terran Empire.
* PostVictoryCollapse: Falkayn in ''Three-Cornered Wheel.''
* {{Precursors}}: Hinted at in several places.
* ProudWarriorRace: The Ythrians are a downplayed version. They are really no more violent then [[HumansAreWarriors humans]], probably less so though they do have their own history of warfare and feuding and are definitely honorable, poetic, and formidable in combat. And they are at least a proud [[ManlyMenCanHunt hunter]] race.
** Meresians are a straighter example. They glory in conquest and take pride in their military prowess to the point of being [[BloodKnight Blood Knights]].
* TheRemnant: After an attempt at the Imperial throne(frustrated by Flandry), the remaining forces flee into the stars and disappear. Their descendants are found during the Long Night.
* RisingEmpire: In the collection [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Rise of the Terran Empire]]. Also the early stages of the Polesotechnic League.
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: ''People of the Wind'' was based on a German speaking city in France enduring siege from the Prussian army during the FrancoPrussianWar much as the humans on Avalon preferred fighting beside their Ythrian friends against fellow humans in the Terran Empire.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: The Terran Empire is founded by a crew of [[RagtagBandOfMisfits desperate slaves]] captured by aliens raiding Terra. They first take over the ship in a mutiny. Then instead of fleeing home they visit the alien's planet to drop a nuke on them. Then they go back and organize an army of humans and found the Terran Empire to get even and make sure they will NeverBeHurtAgain.
* SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale: Despite their being millions of planets the same ones are visited over and over. Sometimes there is a justification; the Avalonian stories are not only a plot center but a place where the history of Rjn and Falkayn's adventures were written. But sometimes the same planet seems to be visited for no particular reason.
* SettlingTheFrontier
* ShoutOut: A Terran bureaucrat quotes the "old Terran saying"(from StarshipTroopers of course) about two smart tough races(meaning Humans and Ythrians) wanting the same real estate.
* ShownTheirWork: Anderson was both a scientist and a sociologist. [[{{Worldbuilding}} It shows.]]
* TheSiege: Avalon was besieged by the Terran fleet and protected by a wall of robatic [[SpaceMine war-satillites.]]
* SlaveryIsASpecialKindOfEvil: Averted. Slavery is [[DeliberateValuesDissonance part of life.]] However in the Terran Empire it seems to be mostly a judicial punishment, and in the Ythrian Domain it slowly died out with the import of robotics.
* SoldierVsWarrior: Terrans are a bureaucratic empire and fight in a more [[TechnicianVersusPerformer mechanistic way]] for reasons of realpolitic whereas Avalonians especially Ythrians fight for [[HonorBeforeReason Deathpride]].
** The hero of The Sarrogasso of Lost Starships is a downplayed version of warrior, being an aristocratic OfficerAndAGentleman who was a veteran of a war with the more pragmatic Terrans, before teaming up with them on an exploration project.
* SpaceBattle: Several. Most notable is the Terran-Ythrian war in ''People of the Wind.''
** In ''People of the Wind'' war there are scenes where people watch the fighting from the surface of Avalon through the flashes of laser and missile fire in the sky.
* SpaceColdWar: Meresians vs Terrans
* SpaceCossacks: Avalon is settled because of the decay of the Polesotechnic League.
* SpaceOpera
* SpaceWestern: in the sense that a lot is about frontier development.
* SpiceOfLife: Nicholas van Rijn, something of a throwback to the spice traders of the Dutch East India days, is president of the Solar Spice And Liquors Company.
* SpiritualAntithesis: ''Day of their Return'' is in some ways an antithesis of Franchise/{{Dune}}. The hero lives on a provincial semi-arid planet, flees from political troubles and spends time among a series of people. He is told he is chosen to lead a holy war. But instead he discovers this to be a fraud because the the Meresians had hoped to [[ManipulativeBastard exploit]] his world's spiritual enthusiasm. In revulsion he [[KnowWhenToFoldEm surrenders to the Empire]]. And becomes a peacemaker.
* StandardSciFiHistory: With an emphasis on Step 3, "Interstellar exploration and colonization", and Step 5.3, "Decline and Fall of the Empire".
* StoutStrength: Nicholas van Rijn.
* TalkingYourWayOut: Dominic Flandry. Kidnapped by an alien race, who just assumes he is a decadent worthless low level agent, he soon has the entire leadership of the planet backstabbing each other.
* TruceZone: In A Circus of Hells, Flandry and some Imperial officers meet a visiting [[WorthyOpponent Meresian ship]], at a forlorn base and spend time [[FriendlyEnemy getting drunk together.]]
* WalkingTheEarth: Ivar Mac Cormac, a Aenean noble related to the rebellious admiral, and the hero of ''Day of their Return'' spends his time doing this on the planet Aeneas while he is [[NobleFugitive fleeing from]] the empire.
** This seems to be a general habit of Wodenites. We are shown two Wodenite hermits(one Buddhist, one Catholic), who are doing this.
* WarriorPoet: Avalonians in general, especially Ythrians.
** Meresians often have WarriorPoet qualities as well.
** Aycharaych is a villainous WarriorPoet in the service of the Meresians. Or [[DragonWithAnAgenda not...]].
* TheWarOfEarthlyAggression: Several wars during the expansion of the Terran Empire could count.
* WhatTheRomansHaveDoneForUs: Both Flandry and a visiting Ythrian agent in different stories note that if the different worlds of the Terran Empire were independent they would have to pay for their own defense and burdens would be a lot greater.
* WholePlotReference: ''The Game of Empire'' is, as aknowledged in the Author's Note, a {{Gender Flip}}ped, [[RecycledInSpace space opera version]] of ''{{Kim}}''.
* {{Worldbuilding}}
* WorthyOpponent
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