среда, 31 июля 2019 г.

Forward the Foundation Chapter 10

6 The weather was holding up over the undomed area of the Imperial Palace grounds-warm and sunny. It didn't often happen. Hari remembered Dors telling him once how this particular area with its cold winters and frequent rains had been chosen as the site. â€Å"It wasn't actually chosen,† she said. â€Å"It was a family estate of the Morovian family in the early days of the Kingdom of Trantor. When the Kingdom became an Empire, there were numerous sites where the Emperor could live-summer resorts, winter places, sports lodges, beach properties. And, as the planet was slowly domed, one reigning Emperor, living here, liked it so much that it remained undomed. And, just because it was the only area left undomed, it became special-a place apart-and that uniqueness appealed to the next Emperor†¦ and the next†¦ and the next†¦ And so, a tradition was born.† And as always, when hearing something like that, Seldon would think: And how would psychohistory handle this? Would it predict that one area would remain undomed but be absolutely unable to say which area? Could it go even so far? Could it predict that several areas would remain undomed or none-and be wrong? How could it account for the personal likes and dislikes of an Emperor who happened to be on the throne at the crucial time and who made a decision in a moment of whimsy and nothing more. That way lay chaos-and madness. Cleon I was clearly enjoying the good weather. â€Å"I'm getting old, Seldon,† he said. â€Å"I don't have to tell you that. We're the same age, you and I. Surely it's a sign of age when I don't have the impulse to play tennis or go fishing, even though they've newly restocked the lake, but am willing to walk gently over the pathways.† He was eating nuts as he spoke, which resembled what on Seldon's native world of Helicon would have been called pumpkin seeds, but which were larger and a little less delicate in taste. Cleon cracked them gently between his teeth, peeled the thin shells and popped the kernels into his mouth. Seldon did not like the taste particularly but, of course, when he was offered some by the Emperor, he accepted them and ate a few. The Emperor had a number of shells in his hand and looked vaguely around for a receptacle of some sort that he could use for disposal. He saw none, but he did notice a gardener standing not far away, his body at attention (as it should be in the Imperial presence) and his head respectfully bowed. Cleon said, â€Å"Gardener!† The gardener approached quickly. â€Å"Sire!† â€Å"Get rid of these for me,† he said, tapping the shells into the gardener's hand. â€Å"Yes, Sire.† Seldon said, â€Å"I have a few, too, Gruber.† Gruber held out his hand and said, almost shyly, â€Å"Yes, First Minister.† He hurried away and the Emperor looked after him curiously. â€Å"Do you know the fellow, Seldon?† â€Å"Yes, indeed, Sire. An old friend.† â€Å"The gardener is an old friend? What is he? A mathematical colleague fallen on hard times?† â€Å"No, Sire. Perhaps you remember the story. It was the time when†-he cleared his throat, searching for the most tactful way to recall the incident-â€Å"the sergeant threatened my life shortly after I was appointed to my present post through your kindness.† â€Å"The assassination attempt.† Cleon looked up to heaven, as though seeking patience. â€Å"I don't know why everyone is so afraid of that word.† â€Å"Perhaps,† said Seldon smoothly, slightly despising himself for the ease with which he had become able to flatter, â€Å"the rest of us are more perturbed at the possibility of something untoward happening to our Emperor than you yourself are.† Cleon smiled ironically. â€Å"I dare say. And what has this to do with Gruber? Is that his name?† â€Å"Yes, Sire. Mandell Gruber. I'm sure you will recall, if you cast your mind back, that there was a gardener who came rushing up with a rake to defend me against the armed sergeant.† â€Å"Ah yes. Was that fellow the gardener who did that?† â€Å"He was the man, Sire. I've considered him a friend ever since and I meet him almost every time I am on the grounds. I think he watches for me, feels proprietary toward me. And, of course, I feel kindly toward him.† â€Å"I don't blame you. And while we're on the subject, how is your formidable lady, Dr. Venabili? I don't see her often.† â€Å"She's a historian, Sire. Lost in the past.† â€Å"She doesn't frighten you? She'd frighten me. I've been told how she treated that sergeant. One could almost be sorry for him.† â€Å"She grows savage on my behalf, Sire, but has not had occasion to do so lately. It's been very quiet.† The Emperor looked after the disappearing gardener. â€Å"Have we ever rewarded that man?† â€Å"I have done so, Sire. He has a wife and two daughters and I have arranged that each daughter will have a sum of money put aside for the education of any children she may have.† â€Å"Very good. But he needs a promotion, I think. Is he a good gardener?† â€Å"Excellent, Sire.† â€Å"The Chief Gardener, Malcomber-I'm not quite sure I remember his name-is getting on and is, perhaps, not up to the job anymore. He is well into his late seventies. Do you think this Gruber might be able to take over?† â€Å"I'm certain he can, Sire, but he likes his present job. It keeps him out in the open in all kinds of weather.† â€Å"A peculiar recommendation for a job. I'm sure he can get used to administration and I do need someone for some sort of renewal of the grounds. Hmmm. I must think upon this. Your friend Gruber may be just the man I need. By the way, Seldon, what did you mean by saying it's been very quiet?† â€Å"I merely meant, Sire, that there has been no sign of discord at the Imperial Court. The unavoidable tendency to intrigue seems to be as near a minimum as it is ever likely to get.† â€Å"You wouldn't say that if you were Emperor, Seldon, and had to contend with all these officials and their complaints. How can you tell me things are quiet when reports seem to reach me every other week of some serious breakdown here and there on Trantor?† â€Å"These things are bound to happen.† â€Å"I don't recall such things happening so frequently in previous years.† â€Å"Perhaps that was because they didn't, Sire. The infrastructure grows older with time. To make the necessary repairs properly would take time, labor, and enormous expense. This is not a time when a rise in taxes will be looked on favorably.† â€Å"There's never any such time. I gather that the people are experiencing serious dissatisfaction over these breakdowns. It must stop and you must see to it, Seldon. What does psychohistory say?† â€Å"It says what common sense says, that everything is growing older.† â€Å"Well, all this is quite spoiling the pleasant day for me. I leave it in your hands, Seldon.† â€Å"Yes, Sire,† said Seldon quietly. The Emperor strode off and Seldon thought that it was all spoiling the pleasant day for him, too. This breakdown at the center was the alternative he didn't want. But how was he to prevent it and switch the crisis to the Periphery? Psychohistory didn't say. 7 Raych Seldon felt extraordinarily contented, for it was the first dinner en famille that he had had in some months with the two people he thought of as his father and mother. He knew perfectly well that they were not his parents in any biological sense, but it didn't matter. He merely smiled at them with complete love. The surroundings were not as warm as they had been at Streeling in the old days, when their home had been small and intimate, a virtual gem in the larger setting of the University. Now, unfortunately, nothing could hide the grandeur of the First Minister's Palace suite. Raych sometimes stared at himself in the mirror and wondered how it could be. He was not tall, only 163 centimeters in height, distinctly shorter than either parent. He was rather stocky but muscular-and not fat, with black hair and the distinctive Dahlite mustache that he kept as dark and as thick as possible. In the mirror he could still see the street urchin he had once been before the chanciest of great chances had dictated his meeting with Hari and Dors. Seldon had been much younger then and his appearance now made it plain that Raych himself was almost as old now as Seldon had been when they met. Amazingly, Dors had hardly changed at all. She was as sleek and fit as the day Raych had first showed Hari and Dors the way to Mother Rittah's in Billibotton. And he, Raych, born to poverty and misery, was now a member of the civil service, a small cog in the Ministry of Population. Seldon said, â€Å"How are things going at the Ministry, Raych? Any progress?† â€Å"Some, Dad. The laws are passed. The court decisions are made. Speeches are pronounced. Still, it's difficult to move people. You can preach brotherhood all you want, but no one feels like a brother. What gets me is that the Dahlites are as bad as any of the others. They want to be treated as equals, they say, and so they do, but, given a chance, they have no desire to treat others as equals.† Dors said, â€Å"It's all but impossible to change people's minds and hearts, Raych. It's enough to try and perhaps eliminate the worst of the injustices.† â€Å"The trouble is,† said Seldon, â€Å"that through most of history, no one's been working on this problem. Human beings have been allowed to fester in the delightful game of I'm-better-than-you and cleaning up that mess isn't easy. If we allow things to follow their own bent and grow worse for a thousand years, we can't complain if it takes, say, a hundred years to work an improvement.† â€Å"Sometimes, Dad,† said Raych, â€Å"I think you gave me this job to punish me.† Seldon's eyebrows raised. â€Å"What motivation could I have had to punish you?† â€Å"For feeling attracted to Joranum's program of sector equality and for greater popular representation in government.† â€Å"I don't blame you for that. These are attractive suggestions, but you know that Joranum and his gang were using it only as a device to gain power. Afterward-â€Å" â€Å"But you had me entrap him, despite my attraction to his views.† Seldon said, â€Å"it wasn't easy for me to ask you to do that.† â€Å"And now you keep me working at the implementation of Joranum's program, just to show me how hard the task is in reality.† Seldon said to Dors, â€Å"How do you like that, Dors? The boy attributes to me a kind of sneaky underhandedness that simply isn't part of my character.† â€Å"Surely,† said Dors with the ghost of a smile playing at her lips, â€Å"you are attributing no such thing to your father.† â€Å"Not really. In the ordinary course of life, there's no one straighter than you, Dad. But if you have to, you know you can stack the cards. Isn't that what you hope to do with psychohistory?† Seldon said sadly, â€Å"So far, I've done very little with psychohistory.† â€Å"Too bad. I keep thinking that there is some sort of psychohistorical solution to the problem of human bigotry.† â€Å"Maybe there is, but, if so, I haven't found it.† When dinner was over, Seldon said, â€Å"You and I, Raych, are going to have a little talk now.† â€Å"Indeed?† said Dors. â€Å"I take it I'm not invited.† â€Å"Ministerial business, Dors.† â€Å"Ministerial nonsense, Hari. You're going to ask the poor boy to do something I wouldn't want him to do.† Seldon said firmly, â€Å"I'm certainly not going to ask him to do anything he doesn't want to do.† Raych said, â€Å"It's all right, Mom. Let Dad and me have our talk. I promise I'll tell you all about it afterward.† Dors's eyes rolled upward. â€Å"You two will plead ‘state secrets.' I know â€Å"As a matter of fact,† said Seldon firmly, â€Å"that's exactly what I must discuss. And of the first magnitude. I'm serious, Dors.† Dors rose, her lips tightening. She left the room with one final injunction. â€Å"Don't throw the boy to the wolves, Hari.† And after she was gone, Seldon said quietly, â€Å"I'm afraid that throwing you to the wolves is exactly what I'll have to do, Raych.† 8 They faced each other in Seldon's private office, his â€Å"thinking place,† as he called it. There, he had spent uncounted hours trying to think his way past and through the complexities of Imperial and Trantorian government. He said, â€Å"Have you read much about the recent breakdowns we've been having in planetary services, Raych?† â€Å"Yes,† said Raych, â€Å"but you know, Dad, we've got an old planet here. What we gotta do is get everyone off it, dig the whole thing up, replace everything, add the latest computerizations, and then bring everyone back-or at least half of everyone. Trantor would be much better off with only twenty billion people.† â€Å"Which twenty billion?† asked Seldon smiling. â€Å"I wish I knew,† said Raych darkly. â€Å"The trouble is, we can't redo the planet, so we just gotta keep patching.† â€Å"I'm afraid so, Raych, but there are some peculiar things about it. Now I want you to check me out. I have some thoughts about this.† He brought a small sphere out of his pocket. â€Å"What's that?† asked Raych. â€Å"It's a map of Trantor, carefully programmed. Do me a favor, Raych, and clear off this tabletop.† Seldon placed the sphere more or less in the middle of the table and placed his hand on a keypad in the arm of his desk chair. He used his thumb to close a contact and the light in the room went out while the tabletop glowed with a soft ivory light that seemed about a centimeter deep. The sphere had flattened and expanded to the edges of the table. The light slowly darkened in spots and took on a pattern. After some thirty seconds, Raych said in surprise, â€Å"It is a map of Trantor.† â€Å"Of course. I told you it was. You can't buy anything like this at a sector mall, though. This is one of those gadgets the armed forces play with. It could present Trantor as a sphere, but a planar projection would more clearly show what I want to show.† â€Å"And what is it you want to show, Dad?† â€Å"Well, in the last year or two, there have been breakdowns. As you say, it's an old planet and we've got to expect breakdowns, but they've been coming more frequently and they would seem, almost uniformly, to be the result of human error.† â€Å"Isn't that reasonable?† â€Å"Yes, of course. Within limits. This is true, even where earthquakes are involved.† â€Å"Earthquakes? On Trantor?† â€Å"I admit Trantor is a fairly nonseismic planet-and a good thing, too, because enclosing a world in a dome when the world is going to shake itself badly several times a year and smash a section of that dome would be highly impractical. Your mother says that one of the reasons Trantor, rather than some other world, became the Imperial capital is that it was geologically moribund-that's her unflattering expression. Still, it might be moribund, but it's not dead. There are occasional minor earthquakes-three of them in the last two years.† â€Å"I wasn't aware of that, Dad.† â€Å"Hardly anyone is. The dome isn't a single object. It exists in hundreds of sections, each one of which can be lifted and set ajar to relieve tensions and compressions in case of an earthquake. Since an earthquake, when one does occur, lasts for only ten seconds to a minute, the opening endures only briefly. It comes and goes so rapidly that the Trantorians beneath are not even aware of it. They are much more aware of a mild tremor and a faint rattling of crockery than of the opening and closing of the dome overhead and the slight intrusion of the outside weather-whatever it is.† â€Å"That's good, isn't it?† â€Å"It should be. It's computerized, of course. The onset of an earthquake anywhere sets off the key controls for the opening and closing of that section of the dome so that it opens just before the vibration becomes strong enough to do damage.† â€Å"Still good.† â€Å"But in the case of the three minor earthquakes over the last two years, the dome controls failed in each case. The dome never opened and, in each case, repairs were required. It took some time, it took some money, and the weather controls were less than optimum for a considerable period of time. Now, what, Raych, are the chances that the equipment would have failed in all three cases?† â€Å"Not high?† â€Å"Not high at all. Less than one in a hundred. One can suppose that someone had gimmicked the controls in advance of an earthquake. Now, about once a century, we have a magma leak, which is far more difficult to control-and I'd hate to think of the results if it went unnoticed until it was too late. Fortunately that hasn't happened and isn't likely to, but consider-Here on this map you will find the location of the breakdowns that have plagued us over the past two years and that seem to be attributable to human error, though we haven't once been able to tell to whom each might be attributed.† â€Å"That's because everyone is busy protecting his back.† â€Å"I'm afraid you're right. That's a characteristic of any bureaucracy and Trantor's is the largest in history. But what do you think of the locations?† The map had lit up with bright little red markings that looked like small pustules covering the land surface of Trantor. â€Å"Well,† said Raych cautiously, â€Å"they seem to be evenly spread.† â€Å"Exactly-and that's what's interesting. One would expect that the older sections of Trantor, the longest-domed sections, would have the most decayed infrastructure and would be more liable to events requiring quick human decision and laying the groundwork for possible human error. I'll superimpose the older sections of Trantor on the map in a bluish color and you'll notice that the breakdowns don't seem to be taking place any oftener on the blue areas.† â€Å"And?† â€Å"And what I think it means, Raych, is that the breakdowns are not of natural origin but are deliberately caused and spread out in this fashion to affect as many people as possible, thus creating a dissatisfaction that is as widespread as possible.† â€Å"It don't seem likely.† â€Å"No? Then let's look at the breakdowns as spread through time rather than through space.† The blue areas and the red spots disappeared and, for a time, the map of Trantor was blank-and then the markings began to appear and disappear one at a time, here and there. â€Å"Notice,† said Seldon, â€Å"that they don't appear in clumps in time, either. One appears, then another, then another, and so on, almost like the steady ticking of a metronome.† â€Å"Do ya think that's on purpose, too?† â€Å"It must be. Whoever is bringing this about wants to cause as much disruption with as little effort as possible, so there's no use doing two at once, where one will partially cancel the other in the news and in the public consciousness. Each incident must stand out in full irritation.† The map went out and the lights went on. Seldon returned the sphere, shrunken back to its original size, to his pocket. Raych said, â€Å"Who would be doing all this?† Seldon said thoughtfully, â€Å"A few days ago I received a report of a murder in Wye Sector.† â€Å"That's not unusual,† said Raych. â€Å"Even though Wye isn't one of your really lawless sectors, there must be lots of murders there every day.† â€Å"Hundreds,† said Seldon, shaking his head. â€Å"We've had bad days when the number of deaths by violence on Trantor as a whole approaches the million-a-day mark. Generally there's not much chance of finding every culprit, every murderer. The dead just enter the books as statistics. This one, however, was unusual. The man had been knifed-but unskillfully. He was still alive when found, just barely. He had time to gasp out one word before he died and that word was ‘Chief.' â€Å"That roused a certain curiosity and he was actually identified. He works in Anemoria and we don't know what he was doing in Wye. But some worthy officer managed to dig up the fact that he was an old Joranumite. His name was Kaspal Kaspalov and he is well known to have been one of the intimates of Laskin Joranum. And now he's deadknifed.† Raych frowned. â€Å"Do you suspect another Joranumite Conspiracy, Dad? There aren't any Joranumites around anymore.† â€Å"It wasn't long ago that your mother asked me if I thought that the Joranumites were still active and I told her that any odd belief always retained a certain cadre, sometimes for centuries. They're usually not very important, just splinter groups that simply don't count. Still, what if the Joranumites have kept up an organization, what if they have retained a certain strength, what if they are capable of killing someone they consider a traitor in their ranks, and what if they are producing these breakdowns as a preliminary to seizing control?† â€Å"That's an awful lot of ‘what if ‘s,' Dad.† â€Å"I know that. And I might be totally wrong. The murder happened in Wye and, as it so happens, there have been no infrastructure breakdowns in Wye.† â€Å"What does that prove?† â€Å"It might prove that the center of the conspiracy is in Wye and that the conspirators don't want to make themselves uncomfortable, only the rest of Trantor. It also might mean that it's not the Joranumites at all but members of the old Wyan family who still dream of ruling the Empire once again.† â€Å"Oh boy, Dad. You're building all this on very little.† â€Å"I know. Now suppose it is another Joranumite Conspiracy. Joranum had, as his right-hand man, Gambol Deen Namarti. We have no record of Namarti's death, no record of his having left Trantor, no record of his life over the last decade or so. That's not terribly surprising. After all, it's easy to lose one person among forty billion. There was a time in my life when I tried to do just that. Of course, Namarti may be dead. That would be the easiest explanation, but he may not be.† â€Å"What do we do about it?† Seldon sighed. â€Å"The logical thing would be to turn to the security establishment, but I can't. I don't have Demerzel's presence. He could cow people; I can't. He had a powerful personality; I'm just a-mathematician. I shouldn't be First Minister at all; I'm not cut out for it. And I wouldn't be-if the Emperor weren't fixated on psychohistory to a far greater extent than it deserves.† â€Å"You're kinda whipping yourself, ain't you, Dad?† â€Å"Yes. I suppose I am, but I have a picture of myself going to the security establishment, for instance, with what I have just shown you on the map†-he pointed to the now-empty tabletop-â€Å"and arguing that we were in great danger of some conspiracy of unknown consequence and nature. They would listen solemnly and, after I had left, they would laugh among themselves about ‘the crazy mathematician'-and then do nothing.† â€Å"Then what do we do about it?† said Raych, returning to the point. â€Å"It's what you will do about it, Raych. I need more evidence and I want you to find it for me. I would send your mother, but she won't leave me under any circumstances. I myself can't leave the Palace grounds at this time. Next to Dors and myself, I trust you. More than Dors and myself, in fact. You're still quite young, you're strong, you're a better Heliconian Twister than I ever was, and you're smart. â€Å"Mind you, now, I don't want you to risk your life. No heroism, no derring-do. I couldn't face your mother if anything happened to you. Just find out what you can. Perhaps you'll find that Namarti is alive and operating-or dead. Perhaps you'll find out that the Joranumites are an active group-or moribund. Perhaps you'll find out that the Wyan ruling family is active-or not. Any of that would be interesting-but not vital. What I want you to find out is whether the infrastructure breakdowns are of human manufacture, as I think they are, and, far more important still, if they are deliberately caused, what else the conspirators plan to do. It seems to me they must have plans for some major coup and, if so, I must know what that will be.† Raych said cautiously, â€Å"Do you have some kinda plan to get me started?† â€Å"Yes indeed, Raych. I want you to go down to the area of Wye where Kaspalov was killed. Find out if you can if he was an active Joranumite and see if you can't join a Joranumite cell yourself.† â€Å"Maybe that's possible. I can always pretend to be an old Joranumite. It's true that I was pretty young when Jo-Jo was sounding off, but I was very impressed by his ideas. It's even sorta true.† â€Å"Well yes, but there's one important catch. You might be recognized. After all, you're the son of the First Minister. You have appeared on holovision now and then and you have been interviewed concerning your views on sector equality.† â€Å"Sure, but-â€Å" â€Å"No buts, Raych. You'll wear elevated shoes to add three centimeters to your height and we'll have someone show you how to change the shape of your eyebrows and make your face fuller and change the timbre of your voice.† Raych shrugged. â€Å"A lotta trouble for nothing.† â€Å"And,† said Seldon with a distinct quaver, â€Å"you will shave off your mustache.† Raych's eyes widened and for a moment he sat there in appalled silence. Finally he said in a hoarse whisper, â€Å"Shave my mustache?† â€Å"Clean as a whistle. No one would recognize you without it.† â€Å"But it can't be done. Like cutting off your-Like castration.† Seldon shook his head. â€Å"It's just a cultural curiosity. Yugo Amaryl is as Dahlite as you are and he wears no mustache.† â€Å"Yugo is a nut. I don't think he's alive at all, except for his mathematics.† â€Å"He's a great mathematician and the absence of a mustache does not alter that fact. Besides, it's not castration. Your mustache will grow back in two weeks.† â€Å"Two weeks! It'll take two years to reach this-this-â€Å" He put his hand up, as though to cover and protect it. Seldon said inexorably, â€Å"Raych, you have to do it. It's a sacrifice you must make. If you act as my spy with your mustache, you may-come to harm. I can't take that chance.† â€Å"I'd rather die,† said Raych violently. â€Å"Don't be melodramatic,† said Seldon severely. â€Å"You would not rather die and this is something you must do. However†-and here he hesitated-â€Å"don't say anything about it to your mother. I will take care of that.† Raych stared at his father in frustration and then said in a low and despairing tone, â€Å"All right, Dad.† Seldon said, â€Å"I will get someone to supervise your disguise and then you will go to Wye by air-jet. Buck up, Raych, it's not the end of the world.† Raych smiled wanly and Seldon watched him leave, a deeply troubled look on his face. A mustache could easily be regrown, but a son could not. Seldon knew perfectly well that he was sending Raych into danger.

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