By Murray Leinster
"Nobody ever observed the message-torp. It wasn't to be anticipated. It got here in on a direction that prolonged backward to someplace close to the Rift—where there was Huks—and for a really, very good way it had traveled as basically message-torps do commute. It hopped part a light-year in overdrive, and got here again to normality lengthy adequate for its photocells to examine the star-filled universe all approximately. Then it hopped one other part light-year, and so forth. For an extended, very long time it traveled during this jerky fashion."
A compelling brief tale via Murray Leinster.
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Extra info for A Matter of Importance
36] THE TRU TH ABOU T HISTORY Where Were You? ” The room feels mufﬂed as he details the May 4 Movement, Mao’s rise, the Japanese War, Liberation. We nearly fall asleep, but we wake up when he reaches the Gang of Four, nearing that day we saw on television, Tiananmen Square. He stops before he gets there. We ask him why. He clears his throat, pronounces the incident too new to be history. Then he offers what he insists is only his personal opinion: Lawless elements, vandals to blame. We glance at each other.
Observe the wet pines, raven in mist, waterfalls lighting the monk’s smile. A courtier imagined this wilderness among tassels and brocade. Did either painter or painted hear the mufﬂed weeping in the narrow passageways that twisted into the city’s heart?  F U L L M O O N H A R V E S T F E S T I VA L AT T H E S PA C I T Y In the restaurant and all over China tonight there are millions of mooncakes, ﬂat and round, white with mysterious dark centers. Here in this luxury retreat built for him, aging moon-faced Mao never quite arrived, never climbed the three hills or dipped in the seventy-two springs that dried up, or swam in the Olympic pool still waiting without ripples behind glass walls.
We push away peddlers with bloody ﬁnger-puppets, refuse to heed forecasts of happiness depending on how we cross a bridge, balance on a wooden ball. Where’s our sense of humor? Gone. And when we come down to the river again, a family at the crowded dock presents their prize boy with legs twisted backward, a blind mother clamps her snot-streaked child between her knees, all stretching out their arms with trinkets. Hello! Why do the people of Fengdu seem more desperate than those of a dozen other  Chinese cities we have seen?