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Asimov, Isaac - Foundation 2 - Forward the Foundation

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Asimov, Isaac - Foundation 2 - Forward the Foundation

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     Title Forward the Foundation Author Isaac Asimov Genre Science

    Fiction Scanner Barley Bearhorn Relased 5/4/2001 Version 1.0 Series

    Last in the Foundation Series

     -----------------------------------------------------

     —— Dustjacket information ——

     For nearly fifty years Isaac Asimov thrilled millions of readers with his internationally bestselling Foundation Series a spell-binding tale of the future that spans hundreds of years and dozens of worlds. Here now is Forward the

    Foundation the seventh and final volume in the series. Completed just before his death it is the Grand Masters last gift to his legions of admirers. Here at

    last is the story Asimov fans have been waiting for an exciting tale of danger

    intrigue and suspense that chronicles the second half of hero Hari Seldons life

    as he struggles to perfect his revolutionary Theory of Psychohistory and establish

    the means by which the survival of humanity will be ensured Foundation. For as

    Seldon and his loyal band of followers know the mighty Galactic Empire is crumbling

    and its inevitable destruction will wreak havoc Galaxy-wide „„

     A resounding tour de force Forward the Foundation brings full circle Asimovs renowned Foundation epic. It is the crowning achievement of a great writers

    life and a stunning testament to the creative genius of Isaac Asimov. Isaac Asimov

    began his Foundation Series at the age of twenty-one not realizing that it would one day be considered a cornerstone of science fiction. During his legendary career

    Asimov penned over 470 books on subjects ranging from science to Shakespeare to history though he was most loved for his award-winning science fiction sagas which

    include the Robot Empire and Foundation series. Named a Grand Master of Science Fiction by the Science Fiction Writers of America Asimov entertained and educated readers of all ages for close to five decades. He died at the age of seventy-two

    in April 1997.

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     —— Back Cover information ——

     I could not have written this book forty-or thirty twenty or even tenyears

    ago. That is because piece by piece over the years I have been working back

    to Foundations source Hari Seldon. Today I enjoy the gift given to me by time

    Experience some might call it wisdom but I will refrain from such bald self-aggrandizement(。 For it is only now that I am able to give my readers Hari Seldon during the most crucial creative years of his life „„You see over time Hari

    Seldon has evolved into my alter ego„„ In my earlier books Hari Seldon was the stuff of legend-with Forward the Foundation I have made him real.-Isaac Asimov June

    1991

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     DEMERZEL ETO- . While there is no question that Eto Demerzel was the real

power in the government during much of the reign of Emperor Cleon I historians are

    divided as to the nature of his rule. The classic interpretation is that he was another in the long line of strong and ruthless oppressors in the last century of the undivided Galactic Empire but there are revisionist views that have surfaced and that insist his was if a despotism a benevolent one. Much is made in this view of his

    relationship with Hari Seldon though that remains forever uncertain particularly

    during the unusual episode of Laskin Joranum whose meteoric rise- ENCYCLOPEDIA

    GALACTICA

     All quotations from the Encyclopedia Galactica here reproduced are taken from the 116th Edition published 1020 F.E. by the Encyclopedia Galactica Publishing

    Co. Terminus with permission of the publishers.

     Part 1 ETO DEMERZEL 1 Hari,“ said Yugo Amaryl that your friend Demerzel is

    in deep trouble. He emphasized the word friend very lightly and with unmistakable

    air of distaste. Hari Seldon detected the sour note and ignored it. He looked up from his tricomputer and said I tell you again Yugo that thats nonsense. And

    then-with a trace of annoyance just a trace-he added Why are you taking up my

    time by insisting~”“Because I think its important. Amaryl sat down defiantly.

    It was a gesture that indicated he was not going to be moved easily. Here he was and here he would stay. Eight years before he had been a heatsinker in the Dahl Sector-as

    low on the social scale as it was possible to be. He had been lifted out of that position by Seldon made into a mathematician and an intellectual-more than that into a

    psychohistorian. Never for one minute did he forget what he had been and who he was now and to whom he owed the change. That meant that if he had to speak harshly to Hari Seldon-for Seldons own good-no consideration of respect and love for the older man and no regard for his own career would stop him. He owed such harshness-and much more-to Seldon.Look Hari,” he said chopping at the air with his left hand

    for some reason that is beyond my understanding you think highly of this Demerzel

    but I dont. No one whose opinion I respect-except you-thinks well of him. I dont care what happens to him personally Hari but as long as I think you do I

    have no choice but to bring this to your attention.Seldon smiled as much at the

    others earnestness as at what he considered to be the uselessness of his concern. He was fond of Yugo Amaryl-more than fond. Yugo was one of the four people he had encountered during that short period of his life when he was in flight across the face of the planet Trantor-Eto Demerzel Dors Venabili Yugo Amaryl and Raych-four

    the likes of which he had not found since. In a particular and in each case different

    way these four were indispensable to him-Yugo Amaryl because of his quick

    understanding of the principles of psychohistory and of his imaginative probings into new areas. It was comforting to know that if anything happened to Seldon himself before the mathematics of the field could be completely worked out-and how slowly it proceeded and how mountainous the obstacles there would at least remain one good mind that would continue the research. He said Im sorry Yugo. I dont mean

    to be impatient with you or to reject out of hand whatever it is you are so anxious to make me understand. Its just this job of mine its this business of being

    a department head-Amaryl found it his turn to smile and he repressed a slight

chuckle. Im sorry Hari and I shouldnt laugh but you have no natural aptitude

    for the position.“”As well I know but Ill have to learn. I have to seem to be

    doing something harmless and there is nothing-nothing-more harmless than being the head of the Mathematics Department at Streeling University. I can fill my day with unimportant tasks so that no one need know or ask about the course of our psychohistorical research but the trouble is I do fill my day with unimportant

    tasks and I have insufficient time to- His eyes glanced around his office at the

    material stored in computers to which only he and Amaryl had the key and which even

    if anyone else stumbled upon them had been carefully phrased in an invented symbology that no one else would understand. Amaryl said Once you work your way further

    into your duties youll begin to delegate and then youll have more time.”“I

    hope so,” said Seldon dubiously. But tell me what is it about Eto Demerzel that

    is so important~”“Simply that Eto Demerzel our great Emperors First Minister

    is busily creating an insurrection.Seldon frowned. Why would he want to do that~

    “”I didnt say he wants to. Hes simply doing it-whether he knows it or not-and with considerable help from some of his political enemies. Thats all right with

    me you understand. I think that under ideal conditions it would be a good thing

    to have him out of the Palace off Trantor . beyond the Empire for that matter.

    But you think highly of him as Ive said and so Im warning you because I

    suspect that you are not following the recent political course of events as closely as you should.”“There are more important things to do,” said Seldon mildly.Like

    psychohistory. I agree. But how are we going to develop psychohistory with any hope of success if we remain ignorant of politics~ 1 mean present-day politics.

    Now-now-is the time when the present is turning into the future. We cant just study

    the past. We know what happened in the past. Its against the present and the near

    future that we can check our results.”“It seems to me,” said Seldon that I have

    heard this argument before.”“And youll hear it again. It doesnt seem to do me

    any good to explain this to you.Seldon sighed sat back in his chair and regarded

    Amaryl with a smile. The younger man could be abrasive but he took psychohistory

    seriously-and that repaid all. Amaryl still had the mark of his early years as a heatsinker. He had the broad shoulders and the muscular build of one who had been used to hard physical labor. He had not allowed his body to turn flabby and that was a good thing for it inspired Seldon to resist the impulse to spend all of his time at the desk as well. He did not have Amaryl sheer physical strength but he still

    had his own talents as a Twister-for all that he had just turned forty and could not keep it up forever. But for now he would continue. Thanks to his daily workouts

    his waist was still trim his legs and arms firm. He said This concern for Demerzel

    cannot be purely a matter of his being a friend of mine. You must have some other motive.”“Theres no puzzle to that. As long as youre a friend of Demerzel your

    position here at the University is secure and you can continue to work on psychohistorical research.”“There you are. So I do have a reason to be friends with him. It isnt beyond your understanding at all.“”You have an interest in cultivating

    him. That I understand. But as for friendship-that I dont understand. However-if

    Demerzel lost lower quite apart from the effect it might have on your position

    then Cleon himself would be running the Empire and the rate of its decline would increase. Anarchy might then be upon us before we have worked out all the implications of psychohistory and made it possible for the science to save all humanity.”“I see.

    -But you know I honestly dont think that were going to work out psychohistory

    in time to prevent the Fall of the Empire.”“Even if we could not prevent the Fall

    we could cushion the effects couldnt we~“”Perhaps.“”There you are then.

    The longer we have to work in peace the greater the chance we will have to prevent the Fall or at least ameliorate the effects. Since that is the case working

    backward it may be necessary to save Demerzel whether we-or at least I-like

    it or not.“”Yet you just said that you would like to see him out of the Palace and away from Trantor and beyond the Empire.“”Yes under ideal conditions I said.

    But we are not living under ideal conditions and we need our First Minister even

    if he is an instrument of repression and despotism.“”I see. But why do you think

    the Empire is so close to dissolution that the loss of a First Minister will bring it about~“”Psychohistory.“”Are you using it for predictions~ We havent even

    gotten the framework in place. What predictions can you make~”“Theres intuition

    Hari.“”Theres always been intuition. We want something more dont we~ We want

    a mathematical treatment that will give us probabilities of specific future developments under this condition or that. If intuition suffices to guide us we

    dont need psychohistory at all.”“Its not necessarily a matter of one or the other

    Hari. Im talking about both the combination which may be better than either-at

    least until psychohistory is perfected.”“If ever,” said Seldon. But tell me

    where does this danger to Demerzel arise~ What is it that is likely to harm him or overthrow him~ Are we talking about Demerzels overthrow~“”Yes,“ said Amaryl

    and a grim look settled on his face.Then tell me. Have pity on my ignorance.Amaryl

    flushed. Youre being condescending Hari. Surely youve heard of Jo-Jo Joranum.

    “”Certainly. Hes a demagogue- Wait wheres he from~ Nishaya right~ A very

    unimportant world. Goat herding I think. High-quality cheeses.“”Thats it. Not

    just a demagogue however. He commands a strong following and its getting stronger.

    He aims he says for social justice and greater political involvement by the people.“”Yes,“ said Seldon. Ive heard that much. His slogan is `Government belongs

    to the people.”“”Not quite Hari. He says `Government is the people.“”Seldon

    nodded. Well you know I rather sympathize with the thought.”“So do I. Im

    all for it-if Joranum meant it. But he doesnt except as a stepping-stone. It

    s a path not a goal. He wants to get rid of Demerzel. After that it will be easy to manipulate Cleon. Then Joranum will take the throne himself and he will be the people. Youve told me yourself that there have been a number of episodes of this sort in Imperial history-and these days the Empire is weaker and less stable than it used to be. A blow which in earlier centuries merely staggered it might now

    shatter it. The Empire will welter in civil war and never recover and we wont have

    psychohistory in place to teach us what must be done.“”Yes I see your point

    but surely its not going to be that easy to get rid of Demerzel.”“You dont know

    how strong Joranum is growing.“”It doesnt matter how strong hes growing. A

    shadow of thought seemed to pass over Seldons brow. I wonder that his parents

came to name him Jo-Jo. Theres something juvenile about that name.“”His parents

    had nothing to do with it. His real name is Laskin a very common name on Nishaya.

    He chose Jo-Jo himself presumably from the first syllable of his last name.“”

    The more fool he wouldnt you say~”“No I wouldnt. His followers shout it

    Jo . JJJJJJJJJJo . JJ-over and over. Its hypnotic.“”Well,“ said Seldon

    making a move to return to his tricomputer and adjust the multidimensional simulation it had created well see what happens.”“Can you be that casual about it~ I

    m telling you the danger is imminent.“”No it isnt,” said Seldon eyes steely

    his voice suddenly hardening. You dont have all the facts.“”What facts don

    t I have~”“Well discuss that another time Yugo. For now continue with your

    work and let me worry about Demerzel and the state of the Empire.Amaryls lips

    tightened but the habit of obedience to Seldon was strong. Yes Hari.But not

    overwhelmingly strong. He turned at the door and said Youre making a mistake

    Hari.Seldon smiled slightly. I dont think so but I have heard your warning

    and I will not forget. Still all will be well.And as Amaryl left Seldons smile

    faded. -Would indeed all be well~

     2 But Seldon while he did not forget Amaryls warning did not think of it

    with any great degree of concentration. His fortieth birthday came and went-with the usual psychological blow. Forty He was not young any longer. Life no longer stretched before him as a vast uncharted field its horizon lost in the distance. He had been

    on Trantor for eight years and the time had passed quickly. Another eight years and he would be nearly fifty. Old age would be looming. And he had not even made a decent beginning in psychohistory~ Yugo Amaryl spoke brightly of laws and worked out his equations by making daring assumptions based on intuition. But how could one possibly test those assumptions~ Psychohistory was not yet an experimental science. The complete study of psychohistory would require experiments that would involve worlds of people centuries of time-and a total lack of ethical responsibility. It posed an impossible problem and he resented having to spend any time whatever on departmental tasks so he walked home at the end of the day in a morose mood. Ordinarily he could always count on a walk through the campus to rouse his spirits. Streeling University was high-domed and the campus gave the feeling of being out in the open without the necessity of enduring the kind of weather he had experienced on his one and only( visit to the Imperial Palace. There were trees lawns walks

    almost as though he were on the campus of his old college on his home world of Helicon. The illusion of cloudiness had been arranged for the day with the sunlight no sun

    of course just sunlight( appearing and disappearing at odd intervals. And it was a little cool just a little. It seemed to Seldon that the cool days came a little more frequently than they used to. Was Trantor saving energy~ Was it increasing

    inefficiency~ Or and he scowled inwardly as he thought it( was he getting old

    and was his blood getting thin~ He placed his hands in his jacket pockets and hunched up his shoulders. Usually he did not bother guiding himself consciously. His body knew the way perfectly from his offices to his computer room and from there to his apartment and back. Generally he negotiated the path with his thoughts elsewhere

    but today a sound penetrated his consciousness. A sound without meaning.Jo .

    JJJJJJJJJJo . JJ . It was rather soft and distant but it brought back a memory. Yes Amaryls warning. The demagogue. Was he here on campus~

     His legs swerved without Seldons making a conscious decision and brought him over the low rise to the University Field which was used for calisthenics sports

    and student oratory. In the middle of the Field was a moderate-sized crowd of students

    who were chanting enthusiastically. On a platform was someone he didnt recognize

    someone with a loud voice and a swaying rhythm. It wasnt this man Joranum however.

    He had seen Joranum on holovision a number of times. Since Amaryls warning Seldon

    had paid close attention JJranum was large and smiled with a kind of vicious

    camaraderie. He had thick sandy hair and light blue eyes. This speaker was small

    if anything-thin wide-mouthed dark-haired and loud. Seldon wasnt listening

    to the words though he did hear the phrase power from the one to the many and

    the many-voiced shout in response. Fine thought Seldon but just how does he intend to bring this about -and is he serious~

     He was at the outskirts of the crowd now and looked around far someone he knew.

    He spotted Finangelos a pret-math undergraduate. Not a bad young man dark and

    woolly-haired.Finangelos,” he called out.Professor Seldon said Finangelos after a moment of staring as though unable to recognize Seldon without a keyboard at his

    fingertips he trotted over. Did you come to listen to this guy~”“I didnt come

    for any purpose but to find out what the noise was. Who is he~“”His name is Namarti

    Professor. Hes speaking for Jo-Jo ”“I hear that said Seldon as he listened to the chant again It began each time the speaker made a telling point apparently.

    But who is this Namarti~ I dont recognize the name. What department is he in~

    “”Hes not a member of the University Professor. Hes one of Jo-Jos men

    If hes not a member of the University he has no right to speak here without a permit. Does he have one do you suppose~“”I wouldnt know Professor

    Well then lets find out Seldon started into the crowd but Finangelos caught his sleeve. Dont start anything Professor. Hes got goons with him There

    were six young men behind the speaker spaced rather widely legs apart arms folded

    scowling.Goons~“”For rough stuff in case anyone tries anything funny “”

    Then hes certainly not a member of the University and even a permit wouldnt cover

    what you call his `goons“。 -Finangelos signal through to the University security officers. They should have been here by now without a signal ”“I guess they don

    t want trouble,“ muttered Finangelos. Please Professor dont try anything

    If you want me to get the security officers I will but you just wait till they come ”“Maybe I can break this up before they come He began pushing his way through It wasnt difficult. Some of those present recognized him and all could see the professorial shoulder patch He reached the platform placed his hands on it and

    vaulted up the three feet with a small grunt. He thought with chagrin that he

    could have done it with one hand ten years before and without the grunt. He straightened up. The speaker had stopped talking and was looking at him with wary

    and ice-hard eyes. Seldon said calmly Your permit to address the students sir.

    “”Who are you~“ said the speaker. He said it loudly his voice carrying.I

    m a member of the faculty of this University,” said Seldon equally loudly. Your

permit sir~”“I deny your right to question me on the matter. The young men behind

    the speaker had gathered closer.If you have none I would advise you to leave the

    University grounds immediately.”“And if I dont~“”Well for one thing the

    University security officers are on their way. He turned to the crowd. Students

     he called out we have the right of free speech and freedom of assembly on this campus but it can be taken away from us if we allow outsiders without permits

    to make unauthorized-A heavy hand fell on his shoulder and he winced. He turned around and found it was one of the men Finangelos had referred to as goons.The

    man said with a heavy accent whose provenance Seldon could not immediately identify Get out of here fast. “”What good will that do~“ said Seldon.

    The security officers will be here any minute.“”In that case,“ said Namarti with

    a feral grin therell be a riot. That doesnt scare us.“”Of course it wouldn

    t,” said Seldon. Youd like it but there wont be a riot. Youll all go

    quietly. He turned again to the students and shrugged off the hand on his shoulder.

    Well see to that wont we~“Someone in the crowd shouted Thats Professor

    Seldon Hes all right Dont pound him!”Seldon sensed ambivalence in the crowd. There would be some he knew who would welcome a dust-up with the University security officers just on general principles. On the other hand there had to be some who

    liked him personally and still others who did not know him but who would not want to see violence against a member of the faculty. A womans voice rang out. Watch

    out Professor!“Seldon sighed and regarded the large young men he faced. He didn

    t know if he could do it if his reflexes were quick enough his muscles sturdy

    enough even given his prowess at Twisting. One goon was approaching him

    overconfidently of course. Not quickly which gave Seldon a little of the time his aging body would need. The goon held out his arm confrontationally which made it

    easier. Seldon seized the arm whirled and bent arm up and then down with

    a grunt why did he have to grunt~(, and the goon went flying through the air

    propelled partly by his own momentum. He landed with a thump on the outer edge of the platform his right shoulder dislocated. There was a wild cry from the audience at this totally unexpected development. Instantly an institutional pride erupted.Take them Prof!” a lone voice shouted. Others took up the cry. Seldon smoothed back his hair trying not to puff. With his foot he shoved the groaning fallen goon off the platform.Anyone else~” he asked pleasantly. Or will you leave quietly~”

    He faced Namarti and his five henchmen and as they paused irresolutely Seldon said

    I warn you. The crowd is on my side now. If you try to rush me theyll take you

    apart. -Okay whos next~ Lets go. One at a time.He had raised his voice with

    the last sentence and made small come-hither motions with his fingers. The crowd yelled its pleasure. Namarti stood there stolidly. Seldon leaped past him and caught his neck in the crook of his arm. Students were climbing onto the platform now

    shouting One at a time One at a time!“ and getting between the bodyguards and Seldon. Seldon increased the pressure on the others windpipe and whispered in his

    ear Theres a way to do this Namarti and I know how Ive practiced it

    for years. If you make a move and try to break away Ill ruin your larynx so that

    youll never talk above a whisper again. If you value your voice do as I say. When

I let up you tell your bunch of bullies to leave. If you say anything else they

    ll be the last words youll say normally. And if you ever come back to this campus again no more Mr. Nice Guy. Ill finish the job.He released the pressure momentarily. Namarti said huskily All of you. Get out. They retreated rapidly helping their

    stricken comrade. When the University security officers arrived a few moments later

    Seldon said Sorry gentlemen. False alarm.He left the Field and resumed his walk home with more than a little chagrin. He had revealed a side of himself he did

    not want to reveal. He was Hari Seldon mathematician not Hari Seldon sadistic

    twister. Besides he thought gloomily Dors would hear of this. In fact hed

    better tell her himself lest she hear a version that made the incident seem worse than it really was. She would not be pleased. 3 She wasnt. Dors was waiting for

    him at the door of their apartment in an easy stance hand on one hip looking very

    much as she had when he had first met her at this very University eight years before

    slim shapely with curly reddish-gold hair-very beautiful in his eyes but not very beautiful in any objective sense though he had never been able to assess her objectively after the first few days of their friendship. Dors Venabili Thats

    what he thought when he saw her calm face. There were many worlds even many sectors

    on Trantor where it would have been common to call her Dors Seldon but that he

    always thought would put the mark of ownership on her and he did not wish it even

    though the custom was sanctioned by existence back into the vague mists of the pre-Imperial past. Dors said softly and with a sad shake of her head that barely disturbed her loose curls Ive heard Hari. Just what am I going to do with you~“”A kiss would not be amiss.“”Well perhaps but only after we probe this a little. Come in. The door closed behind them. You know dear I have my course

    and my research. Im still doing that dreadful history of the Kingdom of Trantor

    which you tell me is essential to your own work. Shall I drop it all and take to wandering around with you protecting you~ Its still my job you know. Its

    more than ever my job now that youre making progress with psychohistory.“”

    Making progress~ I wish I were. But you neednt protect me.”“Neednt I~ I sent

    Raych out looking for you. After all you were late and I was concerned. You usually tell me when youre going to be late. Im sorry if that makes me sound as though Im your keeper Hari but I am your keeper.”“Does it occur to you Keeper Dors

    that every once in a while I like to slip my leash~”“And if something happens to you what do I tell Demerzel~”“Am I too late for dinner~ Have we clicked for kitchen service~”“No. I was waiting for you. And as long as youre here you click it.

    Youre a great deal pickier than I am when it comes to food. And dont change the

    subject.“”Didnt Raych tell you that I was all right~ So whats there to talk

    about~“”When he found you you were in control of the situation and he got back here first but not by much. I didnt hear any details. Tell me-What-were-you-doing~”

    Seldon shrugged. There was an illegal gathering Dors and I broke it up. The

    University could have gotten a good deal of trouble it didnt need if I hadnt.

    And it was up to you to prevent it~ Hari. youre not a Twister anymore. Youre an-He put in hastily An old man~”“For a Twister yes. Youre forty.

    How do you feel~“”Well- A little stiff.“”I can well imagine. And one of these

days when you try to pretend youre a young Heliconian athlete youll break

    a rib. -Now tell me about it.“”Well I told you how Amaryl warned me that Demerzel was in trouble because of the demagoguery of Jo-Jo Joranum.“”Jo-Jo. Yes I know

    that much. What dont I know~ What happened today~”“There was a rally at the Field.

    A Jo-Jo partisan named Namarti was addressing the crowd-”“Namarti is Gambol Deen

    Namarti Joranums right-hand man.“”Well you know more about it than I do. In

    any case he was addressing a large crowd and he had no permit and I think he was hoping there would be some sort of riot. They feed on these disorders and if he could close down the University even temporarily he would charge Demerzel with the

    destruction of academic freedom. I gather they blame him for everything. So I stopped them. -Sent them off without a riot.“”You sound proud.“”Why not~ Not bad for

    a man of forty.“”Is that why you did it~ To test your status at forty~“Seldon

    thoughtfully clicked the dinner menu. Then he said No. I really was concerned

    that the University would get into needless trouble. And I was concerned about Demerzel. Im afraid that Yugos tales of danger had impressed me more than I realized. That was stupid Dors because I know that Demerzel can take care of himself. I couldnt explain that to Yugo or to anyone but you.He drew in a deep breath. It

    s amazing what a pleasure it is that I can at least talk to you about it. You know and I know and Demerzel knows and no one else knows-at least that I know of-that

    Demerzel is untouchable.Dors touched a contact on a recessed wall panel and the dining section of their living quarters lit up with a soft peach-colored glow. Together she and Hari walked to the table which was already set with linen crystal

    and utensils. As they sat the dinner began to arrive-there was never any long delay at this time of evening-and Seldon accepted it quite casually. He had long since grown accustomed to the social position that made it unnecessary for them to patronize the faculty dinners. Seldon savored the seasonings they had learned to enjoy during their stay at Mycogen-the only thing about that strange male-dominated

    religion-permeated living-in-the-past sector they had not detested. Dors said softly How do you mean `untouchable“~”“Come dear he can alter emotions.

    You havent forgotten that. If Joranum really became dangerous he could be-he

    made a vague gesture with his hands- `altered made to change his mind.Dors looked

    uncomfortable and the meal proceeded in an unusual silence. It wasnt until it was

    over and the remains-dishes cutlery and all-swirled down the disposal chute in

    the center of the table which then smoothly covered itself over( that she said

    Im not sure I want to talk about this Hari but I cant let you be fooled by

    your own innocence.“”Innocence~“ He frowned.Yes. Weve never talked about this.

    I never thought it would come up but Demerzel has shortcomings. He is not untouchable

    he may be harmed and Joranum is indeed a danger to him.”“Are you serious~”“Of

    course I am. You dont understand robots-certainly not one as complex as Demerzel. And I do.4 There was a short silence again but only because thoughts are silent.

    Seldons were tumultuous enough. Yes it was true. His wife did seem to have an

    uncanny knowledge of robots. Hari had wondered about this so often over the years that he had finally given up tucked it away in the back of his mind. If it hadnt been for Eto Demerzel-a robot-Hari would never have met Dors. For Dors worked

for Demerzel it was Demerzel who assigned Dors to Haris case eight years ago

    to protect him during his flight throughout the various sectors of Trantor. Even though now she was his wife his help-meet his “”better half,“ Hari still

    occasionally wondered about Dorss strange connection with the robot Demerzel. It was the only area of Dorss life where Hari truly felt he did not belong-nor welcome. And that brought to mind the most painful question of all Was it out of obedience

    to Demerzel that Dors stayed with Hari or was it out of love for him~ He wanted to

    believe the latter-and yet . His life with Dors Venabili was a happy one but it

    was so at a cost at a condition. The condition was all the more stringent in that

    it had been settled not through discussion or agreement but by a mutual unspoken understanding. Seldon understood that he found in Dors everything he would have wanted in a wife. True he had no children but he had neither expected any nor to

    tell the truth had greatly wanted any. He had Raych who was as much a son of his

    emotionally as if he had inherited the entire Seldonian genome-perhaps more so. The mere fact that Dors was causing him to think about the matter was breaking the agreement that had kept them in peace and comfort all these years and he felt a faint but growing resentment at that. But he pushed those thoughts the questions away

    again. He had learned to accept her role as his protector and would continue to do so. After all it was he with whom she shared a home a table and a bed-not Eto

    Demerzel. Dorss voice brought him out of his reverie.I said- Are you sulking

    Hari~”He started slightly for there was the sound of repetition in her voice

    and he realized he had been shrinking steadily deeper into his mind and away from her.Im sorry dear. Im not sulking. -Not deliberately sulking. Im just wondering

    how I ought to respond to your statement.“”About robots~“ She seemed quite calm

    as she said the word.You said I dont know as much about them as you do. How do

    I respond to that~” He paused then added quietly knowing he was taking a chance(,

    That is without offense.”“I didnt say you didnt know about robots. If you

    re going to quote me do so with precision. I said you didnt understand about robots.

    Im sure that you know a great deal perhaps more than I do but to know is not

    necessarily to understand.“”Now Dors youre deliberately speaking in paradoxes

    to be annoying. A paradox arises only out of an ambiguity that deceives either unwittingly or by design. I dont like that in science and I dont like it in casual

    conversation either unless it is meant humorously which I think is not the case

    now.Dors laughed in her particular way softly almost as though amusement were

    too precious to be shared in an overliberal manner. Apparently the paradox has

    annoyed you into pomposity and you are always humorous when you are pompous. However

    Ill explain. Its not my intention to annoy you. She reached over to pat his

    hand and it was to Seldons surprise and slight embarrassment( that he found that

    he had clenched his hand into a fist. Dors said You talk about psychohistory a

    great deal. To me at any rate. You know that~“Seldon cleared his throat. I throw

    myself on your mercy as far as thats concerned. The project is secret-by its very nature. Psychohistory wont work unless the people it affects know nothing about it so I can talk about it only to Yugo and to you. To Yugo it is all intuition.

    Hes brilliant but he is so apt to leap wildly into darkness that I must play the

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