Friday, May 17, 2019
Foundation’s Edge CHAPTER SIXTEEN CONVERGENCE
CONVERGENCEWhen Stor Gendibal in the persistent run c on the whole by Compors channelise on his viewscreen, it seemed bid the end of an incredibly long journey. until now, of course, it was non the end, nevertheless plainly the beginning. The journey from Trantor to presupposeshell had been nothing exactly prologue.Novi looked astonishmentd. Is that an opposite institutionalise of put, Master? infinite station, Novi. It is. Its the wiz we soak up been striving to annoy. It is a larger station than this mavin and a stop hotshot. It mess inspire by position so quickly that if it fled from us, this channel could not possibly catch it or redden follow it. blistering than a ship of the masters? Sura Novi seemed app wholeed by the position.Gendibal shrugged. I whitethorn be, as you submit, a master, entirely I am not a master in all things. We scholars do not stupefy ships like these, nor do we turn e very(prenominal)place gayy of the material devices that the owners of those ships concur. whole how heap scholars lack much(prenominal)(prenominal) things, Master?Because we ar masters in what is important. The material advances that these others possess atomic number 18 trifles.Novis brows bent together in thought. It seems to me that to go so quickly that a master toilettenot follow is no trifle. Who atomic number 18 these mint who ar wonder having who gull such things?Gendibal was amused. They call themselves the introduction. Have you ever heard of the foundation garment?(He caught himself wondering what the Hamish knew or did not deal of the Galaxy and why it never occurred to the Speakers to wonder round such things. Or was it totally he who had never wondered just some such things only he who assumed that the Hamish cargond for nothing more than(prenominal) than grubbing in the soil.)Novi shook her head thoughtfully. I have never heard of it, Master. When the schoolmaster taught me letter-lore how t o read, I mean he t archaic me in that location were m any other solid groundnesss and told me the genss of more or less. He express our Hamish k nowadaysledge domain had the proper name of Trantor and that it at once reign all overd all the macrocosms. He say Trantor was covered with gleaming iron and had an Emperor who was an allmaster.Her eyes looked up at Gendibal with a shy merriment. I un moot most of it, though. at that place are many stories the wordspinners grade in the meeting-halls in the magazine of longer nights. When I was a slim girl, I believed them all, even so as I grew older, I found that many of them were not true. I believe very a few(prenominal) now perchance none. crimson schoolmasters tell unbeliev fittings. skilful the same, Novi, that softenicular story of the schoolmaster is true further it was long ago. Trantor was thusly covered by metal and had indeed an Emperor who ruled all the Galaxy. Now, however, it is the people of the in stauration who allow for someday rule all the cosmoss. They grow stronger all the date.They impart rule all, Master?Not immediately. In five hundred years.And they lead master the masters as well?No, no. They bequeath rule the worlds. We provide rule them for their honorablety and the safety of all the worlds.Novi was frowning again. She give tongue to, Master, do these people of the Foundation have many of these remarkable ships?I imagine so, Novi.And other things that are very-astonishing?They have powerful weapons of all kinds.Then, Master, can they not move stunned all the worlds now?No, they cannot. It is not yet prison term.But why can they not? Would the masters stop them?We wouldnt have to, Novi. Even if we did nothing, they could not apply all the worlds.But what would stop them?You see, began Gendibal, on that point is a plan that a wise man once devisedHe stopped, smiled slightly, and shook his head. It is hard to explain, Novi. some other time, peradventu re. In position, when you see what will happen before we ever see Trantor again, you whitethorn tied(p) regard without my explaining.What will happen, Master?I am not sure, Novi. But all will happen well.He turned away and prepared to make contact with Compor. And, as he did so, he could not quite concord an inner thought from saying At least I hope so.He was straight off angry with himself, for he knew the source of that foolish and weakening drift of thought. It was the picture of the elaborate and enormous Foundation business leader in the shape of Compors ship and it was his chagrin at Novis clear(p) admiration of it.Stupid How could he let himself compare the possession of mere strength and power with the possession of the ability to guide events? It was what generations of Speakers had called the delusion of the hand at the throat.To think that he was not yet immune to its allures.Munn Li Compor was not in the least sure as to how he ought to comport himself. For mos t of his life, he had had the vision of allpowerful Speakers existing sightly beyond his circle of acquire, Speakers, with whom he was occasionally in contact and who had, in their bass grip, the whole of graciousity.Of them all, it had been Stor Gendibal to whom, in recent years, he had turned for direction. It was not even a voice he had encountered most propagation, precisely a mere presence in his intellect-hyperspeech without a hyper-relay.In this respect, the second base Foundation had gone uttermost beyond the Foundation. Without material device, but plainly by the educated and advanced power of the mind alone, they could reach across the par. sees in a port that could not be tapped, could not be infringed upon. It was an invisible, indetectable ne 2rk that held all the worlds fast with the mediation of a relatively few dedicated individuals.Compor had, more than once, experienced a kind of uplifting at the thought of his role. How small the band of which he was one how enormous an knead they exerted. And how secret it all was. Even his wife knew nothing of his confidential life.And it was the Speakers who held the strings and this one Speaker, this Gendibal, who might (Compor thought) be the next First Speaker, the more-than-Emperor of a more-than-Empire.Now Gendibal was here, in a ship of Trantor, and Compor fought to stifle his disappointment at not having such a meeting take place on Trantor itself.Could that be a ship of Trantor? Any of the early Traders who had carried the Foundations wares through a hostile Galaxy would have had a regress a severalize ship than that. No wonder it had taken the Speaker so long to cover the distance from Trantor to Sayshell.It was not even equipped with a unidock mechanism that would have welded the both ships into one when the crosstransfer of psychenel was desired. Even the contemptible Sayshellian return was equipped with it. Instead, the Speaker had to match velocities and hence cast a tet her across the gap and swing over along it, as in Imperial days.That was it, thought Compor gloomily, unable to repress the feeling. The ship was no more than an old-fashioned Imperial vessel and a small one at that.Two figures were locomote across the tether one of them so clumsily that it was clear it had never attempted to maneuver through piazza before. Finally they were on board and re motivated their position suits. Speaker Stor Gendibal was of moderate height and of un moveive visual aspect he was not large and powerful, nor did he exude an air of learning. His dark, deep-set eyes were the only characteristic of his wisdom. But now the Speaker looked about with a clear indication of creation in awe himself.The other was a woman as tall as Gendibal, plain in appearance. Her mouth was open in astonishment as she looked about.Moving across the tether had not been an completely unpleasant experience for Gendibal. He was not a spaceman no Second Foundationer was but ne ither was he a complete surface worm, for no Second Foundationer was allowed to be that. The possible need for space flight was, afterwards all, always looming above them, though each Second Foundationer hoped the need would arise only infrequently. (Preem Palver the extent of whose space travels was legendary had once said, ruefully, that the measure of the success of a Speaker was the fewness of the times he was compelled to move through space in order to assure the success of the pattern.)Gendibal had had to use a tether three times before. This was his fourth use and even if he had felt tension over the matter, it would have disappeared in his caution for Sura Novi. He needed no mentalics to see that stepping into nothingness had totally upset her.I be afeared, Master, she said when he explained what would have to be done. It be naughtness into which I will make footstep. If nothing else, her fulminant descent into thick Hamish dialect showed the extent of her disturbance .Gendibal said gently, I cannot leave you on board this ship, Novi, for I will be going into the other and I must have you with me. There is no danger, for your space suit will protect you from all harm and at that place is no place for you to fall to. Even if you lose your grip on the tether, you will remain nearly where you are and I will be within arms reach so that I can gather you in. Come, Novi, show me that you are brave replete as well as b mature bounteous to become a scholar.She made no bring forward objection and Gendibal, unwilling to do anything that might disturb the smoothness of her mind-set, nevertheless managed to inject a console touch upon the surface of her mind.You can s bank mouth to me, he said, after they were each enclosed in a space suit. I can hear you if you think hard. Think the words hard and clearly, one by one. You can hear me now, cant you?Yes, Master, she said.He could see her lips move through the transparent faceplate and he said, Say it without moving your lips, Novi. There is no radio in the kind of suits that scholars have. it is all done with the mind.Her lips did not move and her look grew more anxious Can you hear me, Master?Perfectly well, thought Gendibal and his lips did not move either Do you hear me?I do, Master.Then come with me and do as I do.They move across. Gendibal knew the theory of it, even if he could handle the practice only moderately well. The trick was to keep ones legs widen and together and to swing them from the hips alone. That kept the center of gravity moving in a straight profligate as the arms swung forward in steady alternation. He had explained this to Sura Novi and, without turning to look at her, he studied the stance of her body from the set of the motor areas of her brain.For a archetypal-timer, she did very well, almost as well as Gendibal was managing to do. She repressed her own tensions and she followed directions. Gendibal found himself, once again, very pleased with h er.She was, however, clearly blissful to be on board ship again and so was Gendibal. He looked about as he removed his space suit and was kinda dumbfounded at the luxury and style of the equipment. He accepted almost nothing and his heart sank at the thought that he might have very shortsighted time to learn how to handle it all. He might have to transfer expertise directly from the man already on board, something that was never quite as satisfactory as true learning.Then he concentrated on Compor. Compor was tall and lean, a few years older than himself, rather handsome in a slightly weak way, with tightly waved hair of a startling buttery yellow.And it was clear to Gendibal that this person was disappointed in, and even contemptuous of, the Speaker he was now meeting for the first time. What was more, he was entirely unsuccessful in hiding the fact.Gendibal did not mind such things, on the whole. Compor was not a Trantorian nor a full Second Foundationer and he clearly had his fondnesss. Even the most superficial scan of his mind showed that. Among these was the illusion that true power was necessarily related to the appearance of power. He might, of course, keep his illusions as long as they did not interfere with what Gendibal needed, but at the presend moment, this particular illusion did so interfere.What Gendibal did was the mentalic equivalent of a snap of the fingers. Compor staggered slightly chthonic the impress of a sharp but fleeting pain. There was an impress of enforced concentration that puckered the skin of his thought and left the man with the awareness of a casual but awesome power that could be utilized if the Speaker chose.Compor was left with a vast respect for Gendibal.Gendibal said pleasantly, I am merely attracting your attention, Compor, my friend. Please let me know the present whereabouts of your friend, Golan Trevize, and his friend, Janov Pelorat.Compor said hesitantly, Shall I speak in the presence of the woman, Speaker? The woman, Compor, is an extension of myself. There is no reason, therefore, why you should not speak openly.As you say, Speaker. Trevize and Pelorat are now approaching a artificial satellite known as germanium.So you said in your oddment communication the other day. for certain they have already landed on atomic number 32 and perhaps left again. They did not stay long on Sayshell Planet.They had not yet landed during the time I followed them, Speaker. They were approaching the planet with heavy(p) caution, pausing substantial periods between micro-Jumps. it is clear to me they have no information about the planet they are approaching and therefore hesitate.Do you have information, Compor?I have none, Speaker, said Compor, or at least my ships computer has none.This computer? Gendibals eyes fell upon the control condition panel and he implyed in sudden hope, Can it aid usefully in running the ship?It can run the ship completely, Speaker. One need merely think into it.Gendiba l felt suddenly uneasy. The Foundation has gone that far?Yes, but clumsily. The computer does not work well. I must repeat my thoughts several times and even consequently I get but minimal information.Gendibal said, I whitethorn be able to do relegate than that.I am sure of it, Speaker, said Compor respectfully.But never mind that for the moment. why does it have no information on Gaia?I do not know, Speaker. It claims to have as far as a computer may be said to be able to claim records on every human inhabited planet in the Galaxy.It cannot have more information than has been fed into it and if those who did the feeding thought they had records of all such planets when, in actual fact, they had not, consequently the computer would labor beneath the same misapprehension. countersink? for certain, Speaker.Did you inquire at Sayshell?Speaker, said Compor uneasily, there are people who speak ofGaia on Sayshell, but what they say is valueless. Clearly superstition. The tale they tell is that Gaia is a powerful world that held off even the Mule.Is that what they say, indeed? said Gendibal, suppressing excitement. Were you so sure that this was superstition that you asked for no inside information?No, Speaker. I asked a great deal, but what I have just told you is all that anyone can say. They can speak on the champaign at great length, but when they have done so, all that it boils down to is what I have just said.Apparently, said Gendibal, that is what Trevize has heard, in any case, and he goes to Gaia for some reason connected with that to tap this great power, perhaps. And he does so cautiously, for perhaps he also fears this great power.That is genuinely possible, Speaker.And yet you did not follow?I did follow, Speaker, long enough to make sure he was indeed making for Gaia. I then returned here to the outskirts of the Gaian system.why?Three reasons, Speaker. First, you were about to arrive and I wanted to meet you at least partway and bring you a board at the earliest moment, as you had directed. Since my ship has a hyperrelay on board, I could not move likewise far away from Trevize and Pelorat without rousing suspicion on expiration, but I judged I could risk moving this far. Second, when it was clear that Trevize was approaching Gaia Planet very lately, I judged there would be time enough for me to move toward you and hasten our meeting without being overtaken by events, especially since you would be more competent than I to follow him to the planet itself and to handle any emergency that might arise.Quite true. And the third reason?Since our last communication, Speaker, something has happened that I did not expect and do not understand. I felt that for that reason, too I had disclose hasten our meeting as soon as I dared.And this event that you did not expect and do not understand?Ships of the Foundation fleet are approaching the Sayshellian frontier. My computer has picked up this information from Sayshellian int elligence activity broadcasts. At least five advanced ships are in the flotilla and these have enough power to provoke Sayshell.Gendibal did not answer at once, for it would not do to show that he had not evaluate such a move or that he didnt understand it. So, after a moment, he said negligently, Do you suppose that this has something to do with Trevizes movement toward Gaia?It certainly came immediately afterward and if B follows A, then there is at least a possibility that A caused B, said Compor. wellspring then, it seems we all converge upon Gaia Trevize, and I, and the First Foundation. Come, you acted well, Compor, said Gendibal, and here is what we will now do. First, you will show me how this computer works and, through that, how the ship may be handled. I am sure that will not take long. later that, you will get into my ship, since by then I will have impressed on your mind how to handle it. You will have no trouble maneuvering it, although I must tell you (as you ha ve no doubt guessed from its appearance) that you will find it primitive indeed. Once you are in control of the ship, you will keep it here and hold for me.How long, Speaker?Until I come for you. I do not expect to be gone long enough for you to be in danger of running out of supplies, but if I am unduly delayed, you may find your way to some inhabited planet of the Sayshell sum and wait there. Wherever you are, I will find you.As you say, Speaker.And do not be alarmed. I can handle this mysterious Gaia and, if need be, the five ships of the Foundation as well.Littoral Thoobing had been the Foundations Ambassador to Sayshell for cardinal years. He rather liked the position.Tall and rather stout, he wore a thick brown moustache at a time when the predominant fashion, both in the Foundation and in Sayshell, was smooth-shaven. He had a strongly lined countenance, though he was only fifty-four and was much given to a schooled indifference. His military posture toward his work was n ot easily seen.Still, he rather liked the position. It kept him away from the hurly-burly of polities on Terminus something he appreciated and it gave him the chance to live the life of a Sayshellian sybarite and to support his wife and young woman in the style to which they had become addicted. He didnt want his life disturbed.On the other hand, he rather disliked Liono Kodell, perhaps because Kodell also sported a mustache, though one which was smaller, shorter, and grayish-white. In the old days, they had been the only two people in prominent public life who had worn one and there had been rather a competition between them over the matter. Now (thought Thoobing) there was none Kodells was contemptible.Kodell had been Director of Security when Thoobing was still on Terminus, dreaming of opposing Harla Branno in the guide for city manager, until he had been bought off with the ambassadorship. Branno had done it for her own sake, of course, but he had ended up owing her goodwill for that.But not to Kodell, somehow. Perhaps it was because of Kodells determined cheerfulness the manner in which he was always such a friendly person even after he had decided on just exactly the manner in which your throat was to be cut.Now he sat there in hyperspatial image, cheerful as ever, brimming over with bonhomie. His actual body was, of course, fanny on Terminus, which spared Thoobing the necessity of offering him any physical sign of hospitality.Kodell, he said. I want those ships withdrawn.Kodell smiled sunnily. why, so do I, but the old lady has made up her mind.Youve been known to carry her out of this or that.On occasion. Perhaps. When she wanted to be persuaded. This time she doesnt want to be. Thoobing, do your job. Keep Sayshell calm.Im not cerebration about Sayshell, Kodell. Im thinking about the Foundation.So are we all.Kodell, dont fence. I want you to listen to me.Gladly, but these are feverous times on Terminus and I will not listen to you forever.I w ill be as brief as I can be when discussing the possibility of the Foundations end. If this hyperspatial line is not being tapped, I will speak openly.It is not being tapped.Then let me go on. I have received a message some days ago from one Golan Trevize. I recall a Trevize in my own political days, a Commissioner of Transportation.The young mans uncle, Kodell said.Ah, then you know the Trevize who sent the message to me. concord to the information I have since gathered, he was a Councilman who, after the recent successful resolution of a Seldon Crisis, was arrested and sent into exile.Exactly.I dont believe it.What is it that you dont believe?That he was sent into exile.Why not?When in write up has any citizen of the Foundation been sent into exile? demanded Thoobing. He is arrested or not arrested. If he is arrested, he is tried or not tried. If he is tried, he is convicted or not convicted. If he is convicted, he is fined, demoted, disgraced, imprisoned, or executed. No one is sent into exile.There is always a first time.Nonsense. In an advanced naval vessel? What fool can fail to see that he is on a special mission for your old woman? Whom can she possibly expect to deceive?What would the mission be?Supposedly to find the planet Gaia.Some of the cheerfulness left Kodells face. An unaccustomed hardness entered his eyes. He said, I know that you feel no overwhelming impulse to believe my statements, Mr. Ambassador, but I make a special plea that you believe me in this one case. Neither the Mayor nor I had ever heard of Gaia at the time that Trevize was sent into exile. We have heard of Gaia, for the first time, just the other day. If you believe that, this conversation may continue.I will suspend my tendency toward skepticism long enough to accept that, Director, though it is difficult to do so.it is quite true, Mr. Ambassador, and if I have suddenly adopted a formal note to my statements it is because when this is done, you will find that you have ques tions to answer and that you will not find the occasion joyful. You speak as though Gaia is a world familiar to you. How is it that you know something we did not know? Is it not your duty to see to it that we know everything that you know about the political unit to which you are assigned?Thoobing said softly, Gaia is not part of the Sayshell Union. It, in fact, probably does not exist. Am I to transmit to Terminus all the fairy tales that the superstitious lower orders of Sayshell tell of Gaia? Some of them say that Gaia is located in hyperspace. According to others, it is a world that supernaturally protects Sayshell. According to still others, it sent forth the Mule to prey on the Galaxy. If you are planning to tell the Sayshellian government that Trevize has been sent out to find Gaia and that five advanced ships of the Foundation dark blue have been sent out to back him in this search, they will never believe you. The people may believe fairy tales about Gaia, but the governme nt does not and they will not be persuade that the Foundation does. They will feel that you intend to force Sayshell into the Foundation Federation.And what if we do plan that?It would be fatal. Come, Kodell, in the five-century history of the Foundation, when have we fought a war of achievement? We have fought wars to prevent our own conquest and failed once but no war has ended with an extension of our territory. Accessions to the Federation have been through nonaggressive agreements. We have been joined by those who saw benefits in connectedness.Isnt it possible that Sayshell may see benefits in joining?They will never do so bit our ships remain on their borders. Withdraw them.It cant be done.Kodell, Sayshell is a marvelous advertisement for the benevolence of the Foundation Federation. It is nearly enclosed by our territory, it is in an utterly vulnerable position, and yet until now it has been safe, has gone its own way, has even been able to maintain an anti-Foundation foreign policy freely. How correct can we show the Galaxy that we force no one, that we come in friendship to all? If we take over Sayshell, we take that which, in essence, we already have. by and by all, we dominate it economically if quietly. But if we take it over by military force, we advertise to all the Galaxy that we have become expansionist.And if I tell you that we are veritablely interested only in Gaia?Then I will believe it no more than the Sayshell Union will. This man, Trevize, sends me a message that he is on his way to Gaia and asks me to transmit it to Terminus. Against my better judgment, I do so because I must and, almost before the hyperspatial line is cool, the Foundation Navy is in motion. How will you get to Gaia, without penetrating Sayshellian space?My dear Thoobing, surely you are not sense of hearing to yourself. Did you not tell me just a few minutes ago that Gaia, if it exists at all, is not part of the Sayshell Union? And I presume you know that hyperspace is free to all and is part of no worlds territory. How then can Sayshell complain if we move from Foundation territory (where our ships stand right now), through hyperspace, into Gaian territory, and never in the movement occupy a single cubic centimeter of Sayshellian territory?Sayshell will not interpret events like that, Kodell. Gaia, if it exists at all, is totally enclosed by the Sayshell Union, even if it is not a political part of it, and there are precedents that make such enclaves virtual parts of the enclosing territory, as far as opposite warships are concerned.Ours are not enemy warships. We are at peace with Sayshell.I tell you that Sayshell may declare war. They wont expect to win such a war through military superiority, but the fact is, war will set off a wave of anti-Foundation activity throughout the Galaxy. The new expansionist policies of the Foundation will encourage the growth of alliances against us. Some of the members of the Federation will begin to rethink their ties to us. We may well lose the war through internal disarray and we will then certainly change state the process of growth that has served the Foundation so well for five hundred years.Come, come, Thoobing, said Kodell indifferently, You speak as though five hundred years is nothing, as though we are still the Foundation of salvor Hardins time, fighting the pocket-kingdom of Anacreon. We are far stronger now than the Galactic Empire ever was at its very height. A squadron of our ships could defeat the entire Galactic Navy, occupy any Galactic sector, and never know it had been in a fight.We are not fighting the Galactic Empire. We fight planets and sectors of our own time.Who have not advanced as we have. We could gather in all the Galaxy now.According to the Seldon Plan, we cant do that for another five hundred years.The Seldon Plan underestimates the speed of technological advance. We can do it now Understand me, I dont say we will do it now or even should d o it now. I merely say we can do it now.Kodell, you have lived all your life on Terminus. You dont know the Galaxy. Our Navy and our technology can beat down the gird Forces of other worlds, but we cannot yet govern an entire rebellions, hate-ridden Galaxy and that is what it will be if we take it by force. Withdraw the shipsIt cant be done, Thoobing. Consider. What if Gaia is not a myth?Thoobing paused, scanning the others face as though anxious to read his mind. A world in hyperspace not a myth?A world in hyperspace is superstition, but even superstitions may be built around kernels of truth. This man, Trevize, who was exiled, speaks of it as though it were a real world in real space. What if he is right?Nonsense. I dont believe it.No? see it for just a moment. A real world that has lent Sayshell safety against the Mule and against the FoundationBut you refute yourself. How is Gaia keeping the Sayshellians safe from the Foundation? Are we not sending ships against it?Not again st it, but against Gaia, which is so mysteriously unknown which is so careful to avoid notice that while it is in real space it somehow convinces its neighbor worlds that it is in hyperspace and which even manages to remain outside the computerized data of the best and most unabridged of Galactic maps.It must be a most unusual world, then, for it must be able to manipulate minds.And did you not say a moment ago that one Sayshellian tale is that Gaia sent forth the Mule to prey upon the Galaxy? And could not the Mule manipulate minds?And is Gaia a world of Mules, then?Are you sure it might not be?Why not a world of a reborn Second Foundation, in that case.Why not indeed? Should it not be investigated?Thoobing grew sober. He had been smiling scornfully during the last exchanges, but now he lowered his head and stared up from under his eyebrows. If you are serious, is such an investigation not dangerous?Is it?You answer my questions with other questions because you have no logical a nswers. Of what use will ships be against Mules or Second Foundationers? Is it not likely, in fact, that if they exist they are luring you into destruction? See here, you tell me that theFoundation can establish its Empire now, even though the Seldon Plan has reached only its midway point, and I have warned you that you would be racing too far ahead and that the intricacies of the Plan would slow you down by force. Perhaps, if Gaia exists and is what you say it is, all this is a device to bring about that slowdown. Do voluntarily now what you may soon be constrained to do. Do peacefully and without bloodshed now what you may be forced to do by woeful disaster. Withdraw the ships.It cant be done. In fact, Thoobing, Mayor Branno herself plans to join the ships, and scoutships have already flitted through hyperspace to what is supposedly Gaian territory.Thoobings eyes bulged. There will surely be war, I tell you.You are our ambassador. Prevent that. Give the Sayshellians whatever assur ances they need. Deny any ill will on our part. Tell them, if you have to, that it will pay them to sit quietly and wait for Gaia to lay us. Say anything you want to, but keep them quiet.He paused, searching Thoobings stunned expression, and said, Really, thats all. As far as I know, no Foundation ship will land on any world of the Sayshell Union or penetrate any point in real space that is part of that Union. However, any Sayshellian ship that attempts to challenge us outside Union territory and therefore inside Foundation territory will promptly be reduced to dust. Make that perfectly clear, too, and keep the Sayshellians quiet. You will be held to uncompromising nib if you fail. You have had an easy job so far, Thoobing, but hard times are upon you and the next few weeks decide all. Fail us and no place in the Galaxy will be safe for you.There was neither merriment nor friendliness in Kodells face as contact was broken and as his image disappeared.Thoobing stared open mouth ed at the place where he had been.Golan Trevize clutched at his hair as though he were trying, by feel, to judge the condition of his thinking. He said to Pelorat abruptly, What is your state of mind?State of mind? said Pelorat blankly.Yes. Here we are, trapped with our ship under outside control and being drawn inexorably to a world we know nothing about. Do you feel panic?Pelorats long face registered a certain melancholia. No, he said.I dont feel joyful. I do feel a little apprehensive, but Im not panicky.Neither am I. Isnt that odd? Why arent we more upset than we are?This is something we expected, Golan. Something like this.Trevize turned to the screen. It remained hard focused on the space station. It was larger now, which meant they were closer.It seemed to him that it was not an impressive space station in design. There was nothing to it that bespoke superscience. In fact, it seemed a bit primitive. Yet it had the ship in its grip.He said, Im being very analytic, Janov. Cool I like to think that I am not a coward and that I can behave well under pressure, but I tend to flatter myself. Everyone does. I should be jumping up and down right now and sweating a little. We may have expected something, but that doesnt change the fact that we are armed serviceless and that we may be killed.Pelorat said, I dont think so, Golan. If the Gaians could take over the ship at a distance, couldnt they kill us at a distance? If were still aliveBut were not altogether untouched. Were too calm, I tell you. I think theyve tranquilized us.Why?To keep us in good shape mentally, I think. Its possible they wish to question us. After that, they may kill us.If they are coherent enough to want to question us, they may be rational enough not to kill us for no good reason.Trevize leaned back in his chair (it bent back at least they hadnt deprived the chair of its functioning) and placed his feet on the desk where ordinarily his hands made contact with the computer. He said, They may be quite ingenious enough to work up what they parcel out a good reason. Still, if theyve touched our minds, It hasnt been by much. If it were the Mule, for instance, he would have made us eager to go exalted, exultant, every fiber of ourselves crying out for arrival there. He pointed to the space station. Do you feel that way, Janov?Certainly not.You see that Im still in a state where I can indulge in cool, analytical reason. Very odd Or can I tell? Am I in a panic, incoherent, mad and merely under the illusion that I am indulging in cool, analytical reasoning?Pelorat shrugged. You seem sane to me. Perhaps I am as insane as you and am under the same illusion, but that sort of argument gets us nowhere. All humanity could share a universal insanity and be immersed in a common illusion while living in a common chaos. That cant be disproved, but we have no choice but to follow our senses. And then, abruptly, he said, In fact, Ive been doing some reasoning myself.Yes?Well , we talk about Gaia as a world of Mules, possibly, or as the Second Foundation reborn. Has it occurred to you that a third alternative exists, one that is more reasonable than either of the first two.What third alternative?Pelorats eyes seemed concentrating inward. He did not look at Trevize and his voice was low and thoughtful. We have a world Gaia that has done its best, over an indefinite period of time, to maintain a strict isolation. It has in no way attempted to establish contact with any other world not even the nearby worlds of the Sayshell Union. It has an advanced science, in some ways, if the stories of their destruction of fleets is true and certainly their ability to control us right now bespeaks it and yet they have made no attempt to expand their power. They ask only to be left alone.Trevize narrowed his eyes. So?Its all very inhuman. The more than twenty railway yard years of human history in space has been an uninterrupted tale of expansion and attempted expan sion. Just about every known world that can be inhabited is inhabited. Nearly every world has been quarreled over in the process and nearly every world has jostled each of its neighbors at one time or another. If Gaia is so inhuman as to be so different in this respect, it may be because it really is inhuman.Trevize shook his head. Impossible.Why impossible? said Pelorat warmly. Ive told you what a puzzle it is that the human race is the only evolved intelligence in the Galaxy. What if it isnt? Might there not be one more on one planet that lacked the human expansionist drive? In fact, Pelorat grew more excited, what if there are a million intelligences in the Galaxy, but only one that is expansionist ourselves? The others would all remain at home, unobtrusive, hiddenRidiculous said Trevize. Wed come across them. Wed land on their worlds. They would come in all types and stages of technology and most of them would be unable to stop us. But weve never come across any of them. Spa ce Weve never even come across the ruins or relies of a nonhuman civilization, have we? Youre the historian, so you tell me. Have we?Pelorat shook his head. We havent. But Golan, there could be one This oneI dont believe it. You say the name is Gaia, which is some ancient dialectical version of the name Earth. How can that be nonhuman?The name Gaia is given the planet by human beings and who knows why? The resemblance to an ancient word might be coincidental. Come to think of it, the very fact that weve been lured to Gaia as you explained in great detail some time ago and are now being drawn in against our will is an argument in favor of the nonhumanity of the Gaians.Why? What has that to do with nonhumanity?Theyre curious about us about humans.Trevize said, Janov, youre mad. Theyve been living in a Galaxy surrounded by humans for thousands of years. Why should they be curious right now? Why not long before? And if right now, why us? If they want to study human beings and hum an culture, why not the Sayshell worlds? Why would they reach all the way to Terminus for us?They may be interested in the Foundation.Nonsense, said Trevize violently. Janov, you want a nonhuman intelligence and you will have one. correctly now, I think that if you thought you were going to encounter nonhumans, you wouldnt worry about having been captured, about being helpless, about being killed even if they but gave you a little time to sate your curiosity.Pelorat began to stutter an indignant negative, then stopped, drew a deep breath, and said, Well, you may be right, Golan, but Ill hold to my belief for a while just the same. I dont think well have to wait very long to see whos right. LookHe pointed to the screen. Trevize who had, in his excitement, ceased watching now looked back. What is it? he said.Isnt that a ship taking off from the station?Its something, admitted Trevize reluctantly. I cant make out the details yet and I cant magnify the view any further. Its at utm ost magnification. After awhile he said, It seems to be approaching us and I suppose its a ship. Shall we make a bet?What sort of bet?Trevize said sardonically, If we ever get back to Terminus, lets have a big dinner for ourselves and any guests we each care to invite, up to, say, four and it will be on me if that ship approaching us carries nonhumans and on you if it carries humans.Im willing, said Pelorat.Done, then, and Trevize peered at the screen, trying to make out details and wondering if any details could reasonably be expected to give away, beyond question, the nonhumanity (or humanity) of the beings on board.Brannos iron-gray hair lay immaculately in place and she might have been in the Mayoral Palace, considering her equanimity. She showed no sign that she was deep in space for only the second time in her life. (And the first time when she accompanied her parents on a holiday tour to Kalgan could scarcely count. She had been only three at the time.)She said to Kodell w ith a certain weary heaviness, It is Thoobings job, after all, to express his opinion and to warn me. Very well, he has warned me. I dont hold it against him.Kodell, who had boarded the Mayors ship in order to speak to her without the psychological difficulty of imaging, said, Hes been at his post too long. Hes beginning to think like a Sayshellian.Thats the occupational hazard of an ambassadorship, Liono. Let us wait till this is over and well give him a long sabbatical and then send him on to another appellation elsewhere. Hes a capable man. After all, he did have the wit to forward Trevizes message without delay.Kodell smiled briefly. Yes, he told me he did it against his better judgment. I do so because I must he said. You see, Madam Mayor, he had to, even against his better judgment, because as soon as Trevize entered the space of the Sayshell Union, I informed Ambassador Thoobing to forward, at once, any and all information concerning him?Oh? Mayor Branno turned in her seat to see his face more clearly. And what made you do that?Elementary considerations, actually. Trevize was using a latemodel Foundation naval vessel and the Sayshellians would be bound to notice that. Hes an undiplomatic young jackass and they would be bound to notice that. Therefore, he might get into trouble and if theres one thing a Foundationer knows, it is that if he gets into trouble anywhere in the Galaxy, he can cry out for the nearest Foundation representative. Personally I wouldnt mind seeing Trevize in trouble it might help him grow up and that would do him a great deal of good but youve sent him out as your lightning rod and I wanted you to be able to estimate the nature of any lightning that might strike, so I made sure that the nearest Foundation representative would keep watch over him, thats all.I see Well, I understand now why Thoobing reacted so strenuously. I had sent him a similar warning. Since he heard from us both independently, one can scarcely blame him fo r thinking that the approach of a few Foundation vessels might mean a great deal more than it actually does. How is it, Liono, you did not consult me on the matter before sending the warning?Kodell said coolly, If I involved you in everything I do, you would have no time to be Mayor. How is it that you did not inform me of your invention?Branno said sourly, If I informed you of all my intentions, Liono, you would know far too much. But it is a small matter, and so is Thoobings alarm, and, for that matter, so is any fit that the Sayshellians throw. I am more interested in Trevize.Our scouts have located Compor. He is following Trevize and both are moving very cautiously toward Gaia.I have the full reports of those scouts, Liono. Apparently both Trevize and Compor are taking Gaia seriously.Everyone sneers at the superstitions concerning Gaia, Madam Mayor, but everyone thinks, Yet what if Even Ambassador Thoobing manages to be a little uneasy about it. It could be a very shrewd po licy on the part of the Sayshellians. A kind of protective coloration. If one spreads stories of a mysterious and invincible world, people will shy away not only from the world, but from any other worlds close by such as the Sayshell Union.You think that is why the Mule turned away from Sayshell?Possibly.Surely you dont think the Foundation has held its hand from Sayshell because of Gaia, when there is no record that we have ever heard of the world?I admit theres no mention of Gaia in our archives, but neither is there any other reasonable explanation for our moderation with respect to the Sayshell Union.Let us hope, then, that the Sayshellian government, despite Thoobings opinion to the contrary, has convinced itself even just a little bit of Gaias might and of its deadly nature.Why so?Because then the Sayshell Union will raise no objections to our moving toward Gaia. The more they resent that movement, the more they will persuade themselves that it should be permitted so that G aia will swallow us. The lesson, they will imagine, will be a healthful one and will not be lost on future invaders.Yet what if they should be right in such a belief, Mayor? What if Gaia is deadly?Branno smiled. You raise the Yet what if yourself, do you, Liono?I must raise all possibilities, Mayor. It is my job.If Gaia is deadly, Trevize will be taken by them. That is his job as my lightning rod. And so may Compor, I hope.You hope? Why?Because it will make them overconfident, which should be useful to us. They will underestimate our power and be the easier to handle.But what if it is we who are overconfident?We are not, said Branno flatly.These Gaians whatever they are may be something we have no concept of and cannot properly estimate the danger of. I merely suggest that, Mayor, because even that possibility should be weighed.Indeed? Why does such a notion fall into your head, Liono?Because I think you feel that, at the pip, Gaia is the Second Foundation. I suspect you think they are the Second Foundation. However, Sayshell has an interesting history, even under the Empire. Sayshell alone had a measure of self-rule. Sayshell alone was spared some of the worst taxations under the so-called Bad Emperors. In short, Sayshell seems to have had the protection of Gaia, even in Imperial times.Well then?But the Second Foundation was brought into existence by Hari Seldon at the same time our Foundation was. The Second Foundation did not exist in Imperial times and Gaia did. Gaia, therefore, is not the Second Foundation. It is something else and, just possibly, something worse.I dont propose to be terrified by the unknown, Liono. There are only two possible sources of danger physical weapons and mental weapons and we are fully prepared for both. You get back to your ship and keep the units on the Sayshellian outskirts. This ship will move toward Gaia alone, but will stay in contact with you at all times and will expect you to come to us in one Jump, if nece ssary. Go, Liono, and get that perturbed look off your face.One last question? Are you sure you know what youre doing?I do, she said grimly. I, too, have studied the history of Sayshell and have seen that Gaia cannot be the Second Foundation, but, as I told you, I have the full report of the scouts and from thatYes?Well, I know where the Second Foundation is located and we will take care of both, Liono. We will take care of Gaia first and then Trantor.