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Title:3001Thefinalodissey

Author:ArthurC.Clarke
3001ThefinalOdissey
PROLOGUE
TheFirstborn

CallthemtheFirstborn.Thoughtheywerenotremotelyhuman,theywere
fleshandblood,andwhentheylookedoutacrossthedeepsofspace,theyfelt
awe,andwonderandloneliness.Assoonastheypossessedthepower,they
begantoseekforfellowshipamongthestars.
Intheirexplorations,theyencounteredlifeinmanyforms,andwatchedthe
workingsofevolutiononathousandworlds.Theysawhowoftenthefirstfaint
sparksofintelligenceflickeredanddiedinthecosmicnight.
Andbecause,inalltheGalaxy,theyhadfoundnothingmorepreciousthan
Mind,theyencourageditsdawningeverywhere.Theybecamefarmersinthefields
ofstarstheysowed,andsometimestheyreaped.
Andsometimes,dispassionately,theyhadtoweed.
Thegreatdinosaurshadlongsincepassedaway,theirmorningpromise
annihilatedbyarandomhammerblowfromspace,whenthesurveyshipenteredthe
SolarSystemafteravoyagethathadalreadylastedathousandyears.Itswept
pastthefrozenouterplanets,pausedbrieflyabovethedesertsofdyingMars,
andpresentlylookeddownonEarth.
Spreadoutbeneaththem,theexplorerssawaworldswarmingwithlife.For
yearstheystudied,collected,catalogued.Whentheyhadlearnedallthatthey
could,theybegantomodify.Theytinkeredwiththedestinyofmanyspecies,on
landandintheseas.Butwhichoftheirexperimentswouldbearfruit,they
couldnotknowforatleastamillionyears.
Theywerepatient,buttheywerenotyetimmortal.Therewassomuchtodo
inthisuniverseofahundredbillionsuns,andotherworldswerecalling.So
theysetoutoncemoreintotheabyss,knowingthattheywouldnevercomethis
wayagain.Norwasthereanyneed:theservantstheyhadleftbehindwoulddo
therest.
OnEarth,theglacierscameandwent,whileabovethemthechangelessMoon
stillcarrieditssecretfromthestars.Withayetslowerrhythmthanthepolar
ice,thetidesofcivilizationebbedandflowedacrosstheGalaxy.Strangeand
beautifulandterribleempiresroseandfell,andpassedontheirknowledgeto

theirsuccessors.
Andnow,outamongthestars,evolutionwasdrivingtowardsnewgoals.The
firstexplorersofEarthhadlongsincecometothelimitsoffleshandblood
assoonastheirmachineswerebetterthantheirbodies,itwastimetomove.
Firsttheirbrains,andthentheirthoughtsalone,theytransferredintoshining
newhomesofmetalandgemstone.Inthese,theyroamedtheGalaxy.Theyno
longerbuiltspaceships.Theywerespaceships.
ButtheageoftheMachineentitiesswiftlypassed.Intheirceaseless
experimenting,theyhadlearnedtostoreknowledgeinthestructureofspace
itself,andtopreservetheirthoughtsforeternityinfrozenlatticesoflight.
Intopureenergy,therefore,theypresentlytransformedthemselvesandona
thousandworlds,theemptyshellstheyhaddiscardedtwitchedforawhileina
mindlessdanceofdeath,thencrumbledintodust.
NowtheywereLordsoftheGalaxy,andcouldroveatwillamongthestars,
orsinklikeasubtlemistthroughtheveryintersticesofspace.Thoughthey
werefreedatlastfromthetyrannyofmatter,theyhadnotwhollyforgotten
theirorigin,inthewarmslimeofavanishedsea.Andtheirmarvellous
instrumentsstillcontinuedtofunction,watchingovertheexperimentsstarted
somanyagesago.
Butnolongerweretheyalwaysobedienttothemandatesoftheircreators
likeallmaterialthings,theywerenotimmunetothecorruptionofTimeandits
patient,unsleepingservant,Entropy.
Andsometimes,theydiscoveredandsoughtgoalsoftheirown.

I
STARCITY

1
CometCowboy

CaptainDimitriChandler[M2973.04.21/93.106//Mars//ISpaceAcad3005]or
'Dim'tohisverybestfriendswasunderstandablyannoyed.Themessagefrom
EarthhadtakensixhourstoreachthespacetugGoliath,herebeyondtheorbit
ofNeptuneifithadarrivedtenminuteslaterhecouldhaveanswered'Sorry

can'tleavenowwe'vejuststartedtodeploythesunscreen.'
Theexcusewouldhavebeenperfectlyvalid:wrappingacomet'scoreina
sheetofreflectivefilmonlyafewmoleculesthick,butkilometresonaside,
wasnotthesortofjobyoucouldabandonwhileitwashalfcompleted.
Still,itwouldbeagoodideatoobeythisridiculousrequest:hewas
alreadyindisfavoursunwards,throughnofaultofhisown.Collectingicefrom
theringsofSaturn,andnudgingittowardsVenusandMercury,whereitwas
reallyneeded,hadstartedbackinthe2700sthreecenturiesago.Captain
Chandlerhadneverbeenabletoseeanyrealdifferenceinthe'beforeand
after'imagestheSolarConserverswerealwaysproducing,tosupporttheir
accusationsofcelestialvandalism.Butthegeneralpublic,stillsensitiveto
theecologicaldisastersofpreviouscenturies,hadthoughtotherwise,andthe
'HandsoffSaturn!'votehadpassedbyasubstantialmajority.Asaresult,
ChandlerwasnolongeraRingRustler,butaCometCowboy.
SoherehewasatanappreciablefractionofthedistancetoAlphaCentauri,
roundingupstragglersfromtheKuiperBelt.Therewascertainlyenoughiceout
heretocoverMercuryandVenuswithoceanskilometresdeep,butitmighttake
centuriestoextinguishtheirhellfiresandmakethemsuitableforlife.The
SolarConservers,ofcourse,werestillprotestingagainstthis,thoughno
longerwithsomuchenthusiasm.Themillionsdeadfromthetsunamicausedbythe
Pacificasteroidin2304howironicthatalandimpactwouldhavedonemuch
lessdamage!hadremindedallfuturegenerationsthatthehumanracehadtoo
manyeggsinonefragilebasket.
Well,Chandlertoldhimself,itwouldbefiftyyearsbeforethisparticular
packagereacheditsdestination,soadelayofaweekwouldhardlymakemuch
difference.Butallthecalculationsaboutrotation,centreofmass,andthrust
vectorswouldhavetoberedone,andradioedbacktoMarsforchecking.Itwasa
goodideatodoyoursumscarefully,beforenudgingbillionsoftonsofice
alonganorbitthatmighttakeitwithinhailingdistanceofEarth.
Astheyhaddonesomanytimesbefore,CaptainChandler'seyesstrayed
towardstheancientphotographabovehisdesk.Itshowedathreemasted
steamship,dwarfedbytheicebergthatwasloomingaboveitas,indeed,
Goliathwasdwarfedatthisverymoment.
Howincredible,hehadoftenthought,thatonlyonelonglifetimespanned
thegulfbetweenthisprimitiveDiscoveryandtheshipthathadcarriedthesame
nametoJupiter!AndwhatwouldthoseAntarcticexplorersofathousandyears
agohavemadeoftheviewfromhisbridge?Theywouldcertainlyhavebeen
disoriented,forthewalloficebesidewhichGoliathwasfloatingstretched
bothupwardsanddownwardsasfarastheeyecouldsee.Anditwasstrange
lookingice,whollylackingtheimmaculatewhitesandbluesofthefrozenPolar

seas.Infact,itlookeddirtyasindeeditwas.Foronlysomeninetypercent
waswaterice:therestwasawitch'sbrewofcarbonandsulphurcompounds,most
ofthemstableonlyattemperaturesnotfaraboveabsolutezero.Thawingthem
outcouldproduceunpleasantsurprises:asoneastrochemisthadfamously
remarked,'Cometshavebadbreath'.
'Skippertoallpersonnel,'Chandlerannounced.'There'sbeenaslight
changeofprogramme.We'vebeenaskedtodelayoperations,toinvestigatea
targetthatSpaceguardradarhaspickedup.'
'Anydetails?'somebodyasked,whenthechorusofgroansovertheship's
intercomhaddiedaway.
'Notmany,butIgatherit'sanotherMillenniumCommitteeprojectthey've
forgottentocancel.'
Moregroans:everyonehadbecomeheartilysickofalltheeventsplannedto
celebratetheendofthe2000s.Therehadbeenageneralsighofreliefwhen1
January3001hadpasseduneventfully,andthehumanracecouldresumeitsnormal
activities.
'Anyway,itwillprobablybeanotherfalsealarm,likethelastone.We'll
getbacktoworkjustasquicklyaswecan.Skipperout.'
Thiswasthethirdwildgoosechase,Chandlerthoughtmorosely,he'dbeen
involvedwithduringhiscareer.Despitecenturiesofexploration,theSolar
Systemcouldstillproducesurprises,andpresumablySpaceguardhadagood
reasonforitsrequest.Heonlyhopedthatsomeimaginativeidiothadn'tonce
againsightedthefabledGoldenAsteroid.IfitdidexistwhichChandlerdid
notforamomentbelieveitwouldbenomorethanamineralogicalcuriosity:
itwouldbeoffarlessrealvaluethantheicehewasnudgingsunwards,to
bringlifetobarrenworlds.
Therewasonepossibility,however,whichhedidtakequiteseriously.
Already,thehumanracehadscattereditsrobotprobesthroughavolumeofspace
ahundredlightyearsacrossandtheTychoMonolithwassufficientreminder
thatmucholdercivilizationshadengagedinsimilaractivities.Theremight
wellbeotheralienartefactsintheSolarSystem,orintransitthroughit.
CaptainChandlersuspectedthatSpaceguardhadsomethinglikethisinmind:
otherwiseitwouldhardlyhavedivertedaClassIspacetugtogochasingafter
anunidentifiedradarblip.
Fivehourslater,thequestingGoliathdetectedtheechoatextremerange
evenallowingforthedistance,itseemeddisappointinglysmall.However,asit
grewclearerandstronger,itbegantogivethesignatureofametallicobject,
perhapsacoupleofmetreslong.Itwastravellingonanorbitheadingoutof

theSolarSystem,sowasalmostcertainly,Chandlerdecided,oneofthemyriad
piecesofspacejunkthatMankindhadtossedtowardsthestarsduringthelast
millenniumandwhichmightonedayprovidetheonlyevidencethatthehumanrace
hadeverexisted.
Thenitcamecloseenoughforvisualinspection,andCaptainChandler
realized,withawedastonishment,thatsomepatienthistorianwasstillchecking
theearliestrecordsoftheSpaceAge.Whatapitythatthecomputershadgiven
himtheanswer,justafewyearstoolatefortheMifiermiumcelebrations!
'Goliathhere,'ChandlerradioedEarthwards,hisvoicetingedwithprideas
wellassolemnity.'We'rebringingaboardathousandyearoldastronaut.AndI
canguesswhoitis.'

2
Awakening

FrankPooleawoke,buthedidnotremember.Hewasnotevensureofhis
name.
Obviously,hewasinahospitalroom:eventhoughhiseyeswerestill
closed,themostprimitive,andevocative,ofhissensestoldhimthat.Each
breathbroughtthefaintandnotunpleasanttangofantisepticsintheair,and
ittriggeredamemoryofthetimewhenofcourse!asarecklessteenagerhe
hadbrokenaribintheArizonaHangglidingChampionship.
Nowitwasallbeginningtocomeback.I'mDeputyCommanderFrankPoole,
ExecutiveOfficer,USSSDiscovery,onaTopSecretmissiontoJupiterIt
seemedasifanicyhandhadgrippedhisheart.Heremembered,inslowmotion
playback,thatrunawayspacepodjettingtowardshim,metalclawsoutstretched.
Thenthesilentimpactandthenotsosilenthissofairrushingoutofhis
suit.Afterthatonelastmemory,ofspinninghelplesslyinspace,tryingin
vaintoreconnecthisbrokenairhose.
Well,whatevermysteriousaccidenthadhappenedtothespacepodcontrols,
hewassafenow.PresumablyDavehadmadeaquickEVAandrescuedhimbefore
lackofoxygencoulddopermanentbraindamage.
GoodoldDave!Hetoldhimself.Imustthankjustamoment!I'm
obviouslynotaboardDiscoverynowsurelyIhaven'tbeenunconsciouslong
enoughtobetakenbacktoEarth!

HisconfusedtrainofthoughtwasabruptlybrokenbythearrivalofaMatron
andtwonurses,wearingtheimmemorialuniformoftheirprofession.Theyseemed
alittlesurprised:Poolewonderedifhehadawakenedaheadofschedule,andthe
ideagavehimachildishfeelingofsatisfaction.
'Hello!'hesaid,afterseveralattemptshisvocalcordsappearedtobe
veryrusty.'HowamIdoing?'
Matronsmiledbackathimandgaveanobvious'Don'ttrytotalk'commandby
puttingafingertoherlips.Thenthetwonursesfussedswiftlyoverhimwith
practisedskill,checkingpulse,temperature,reflexes.Whenoneofthemlifted
hisrightarmandletitdropagain,PoolenoticedsomethingpeculiarItfell
slowly,anddidnotseemtoweighasmuchasnormal.Nor,forthatmatter,did
hisbody,whenheattemptedtomove.
SoImustbeonaplanet,hethought.Oraspacestationwithartificial
gravity.CertainlynotEarthIdon'tweighenough.
HewasabouttoasktheobviousquestionwhenMatronpressedsomething
againstthesideofhisneckhefeltaslighttinglingsensation,andsankback
intoadreamlesssleep.Justbeforehebecameunconscious,hehadtimeforone
morepuzzledthought.
Howoddtheyneverspokeasinglewordallthetimetheywerewithme.

3
Rehabilitation

Whenhewokeagain,andfoundMatronandnursesstandingroundhisbed,
Poolefeltstrongenoughtoasserthimself.
'WhereamI?Surelyyoucantellmethat!'Thethreewomenexchanged
glances,obviouslyuncertainwhattodonext.ThenMatronanswered,enunciating
herwordsveryslowlyandcarefully:'Everythingisfine,MrPoole.Professor
AndersonwillbehereinaminuteHewillexplain.'
Explainwhat?thoughtPoolewithsomeexasperation.Butatleastshespeaks
English,eventhoughIcan'tplaceheraccent.
Andersonmusthavebeenalreadyonhisway,forthedooropenedmoments
latertogivePooleabriefglimpseofasmallcrowdofinquisitiveonlookers
peeringinathim.Hebegantofeellikeanewexhibitatazoo.

ProfessorAndersonwasasmall,dappermanwhosefeaturesseemedtohave
combinedkeyaspectsofseveralracesChinese,Polynesian,Nordicina
thoroughlyconfusingfashion.HegreetedPoolebyholdinguphisrightpalm,
thendidanobviousdoubletakeandshookhands,withsuchacurioushesitation
thathemighthavebeenrehearsingsomequiteunfamiliargesture.
'Gladtoseeyou'relookingsowell,MrPoole...We'llhaveyouupinno
time.'
Againthatoddaccentandslowdeliverybuttheconfidentbedsidemanner
wasthatofalldoctors,inallplacesandallages.
'I'mgladtohearit.Nowperhapsyoucananswerafewquestions...'
'Ofcourse,ofcourse.Butjustaminute.'
AndersonspokesorapidlyandquietlytotheMatronthatPoolecouldcatch
onlyafewwords,severalofwhichwerewhollyunfamiliartohim.Thenthe
Matronnoddedatoneofthenurses,whoopenedawallcupboardandproduceda
slimmetalband,whichsheproceededtowraparoundPoole'shead.
'What'sthatfor?'heaskedbeingoneofthosedifficultpatients,so
annoyingtodoctors,whoalwayswanttoknowjustwhat'shappeningtothem.'EEC
readout?'
Professor,Matronandnurseslookedequallybaffled.Thenaslowsmile
spreadacrossAnderson'sface.
'Ohelectro...enceph..alo...gram,'hesaidslowly,asifdredgingthe
wordupfromthedepthofmemory,'You'requiteright.Wejustwanttomonitor
yourbrainfunctions.'
Mybrainwouldfunctionperfectlywellifyou'dletmeuseit,Poole
grumbledsilently.Butatleastweseemtobegettingsomewherefinally.
'MrPoole,'saidAnderson,stillspeakinginthatcuriousstiltedvoice,as
ifventuringinaforeignlanguage,'youknow,ofcourse,thatyouwere
disabledinaseriousaccident,whileyouwereworkingoutsideDiscovery.'
Poolenoddedagreement.
'I'mbeginningtosuspect,'hesaiddryly,'that"disabled"isaslight
understatement.'
Andersonrelaxedvisibly,andaslowsmilespreadacrosshisface.

'You'requitecorrect.Tellmewhatyouthinkhappened.'
'Well,thebestcasescenarioisthat,afterIbecameunconscious,Dave
Bowmanrescuedmeandbroughtmebacktotheship.HowisDave?Noonewilltell
meanything!'
'Allinduecourse...andtheworstcase?'
ItseemedtoFrankPoolethatachillwindwasblowinggentlyonthebackof
hisneck.Thesuspicionthathadbeenslowlyforminginhismindbeganto
solidify.
'ThatIdied,butwasbroughtbackherewherever"here"isandyou've
beenabletoreviveme.Thankyou...'
'Quitecorrect.Andyou'rebackonEarth.Well,verynearit.'
Whatdidhemeanby'verynearit'?Therewascertainlyagravityfieldhere
sohewasprobablyinsidetheslowlyturningwheelofanorbitingspace
station.Nomatter:therewassomethingmuchmoreimportanttothinkabout.
Pooledidsomequickmentalcalculations.IfDavehadputhiminthe
hibernaculum,revivedtherestofthecrew,andcompletedthemissiontoJupiter
why,hecouldhavebeen'dead'forasmuchasfiveyears!
'Justwhatdateisit?'heasked,ascalmlyaspossible.
ProfessorandMatronexchangedglances.AgainPoolefeltthatcoldwindon
hisneck.
'Imusttellyou,MrPoole,thatBowmandidnotrescueyou.Hebelieved
andwecannotblamehim thatyouwereirrevocablydead.Also,hewasfacinga
desperatelyseriouscrisisthatthreatenedhisownsurvival...'
'Soyoudriftedonintospace,passedthroughtheJupitersystem,andheaded
outtowardsthestars.Fortunately,youweresofarbelowfreezingpointthat
therewasnometabolism butit'sanearmiraclethatyouwereeverfoundat
all.Youareoneoftheluckiestmenalive.Noevertohavelived!'
AmI?Pooleaskedhimselfbleakly.Fiveyears,indeed!Itcouldbeacentury
orevenmore.
'Letmehaveit,'hedemanded.
ProfessorandMatronseemedtobeconsultinganinvisiblemonitor:whenthey

lookedateachotherandnoddedagreement,Pooleguessedthattheywereall
pluggedintothehospitalinformationcircuit,linkedtotheheadbandhewas
wearing.
'Frank,'saidProfessorAnderson,makingasmoothswitchtotheroleof
longtimefamilyphysician,'thiswillbeagreatshocktoyou,butyou're
capableofacceptingitandthesooneryouknow,thebetter.'
'We'renearthebeginningoftheFourthMillennium.Believemeyouleft
Earthalmostathousandyearsago.'
'Ibelieveyou,'Pooleansweredcalmly.Then,tohisgreatannoyance,the
roomstartedtospinaroundhim,andheknewnothingmore.

Whenheregainedconsciousness,hefoundthathewasnolongerinableak
hospitalroombutinaluxurioussuitewithattractiveandsteadilychanging
imagesonthewalls.Someofthesewerefamousandfamiliarpaintings,others
showedlandandseascapesthatmighthavebeenfromhisowntime.Therewas
nothingalienorupsetting:that,heguessed,wouldcomelater.
Hispresentsurroundingshadobviouslybeencarefullyprogrammed:he
wonderediftherewastheequivalentofatelevisionscreensomewhere(howmany
channelswouldtheFourthMillenniumhave?)butcouldseenosignofany
controlsnearhisbed.Therewassomuchhewouldhavetolearninthisnew
world:hewasasavagewhohadsuddenlyencounteredcivilization.
Butfirst,hemustregainhisstrengthandlearnthelanguagenoteven
theadventofsoundrecording,alreadymorethanacenturyoldwhenPoolewas
born,hadpreventedmajorchangesingrammarandpronunciation.Andtherewere
thousandsofnewwords,mostlyfromscienceandtechnology,thoughoftenhewas
abletomakeashrewdguessattheirmeaning.
Morefrustrating,however,werethemyriadoffamousandinfamouspersonal
namesthathadaccumulatedoverthemillennium,andwhichmeantnothingtohim.
Forweeks,untilhehadbuiltupadatabank,mostofhisconversationshadto
beinterruptedwithpottedbiographies.AsPoole'sstrengthincreased,sodid
thenumberofhisvisitors,thoughalwaysunderProfessorAnderson'swatchful
eye.Theyincludedmedicalspecialists,scholarsofseveraldisciplines,and
ofthegreatestinteresttohim spacecraftcommanders.
Therewaslittlethathecouldtellthedoctorsandhistoriansthatwasnot
recordedsomewhereinMankind'sgiganticdatabanks,buthewasoftenableto
givethemresearchshortcutsandnewinsightsabouttheeventsofhisowntime.
Thoughtheyalltreatedhimwiththeutmostrespectandlistenedpatientlyashe

triedtoanswertheirquestions,theyseemedreluctanttoanswerhis.Poole
begantofeelthathewasbeingoverprotectedfromcultureshock,andhalf
seriouslywonderedhowhecouldescapefromhissuite.Onthefewoccasionshe
wasalone,hewasnotsurprisedtodiscoverthatthedoorwaslocked.
ThenthearrivalofDoctorIndraWallacechangedeverything.Despiteher
name,herchiefracialcomponentappearedtobeJapanese,andthereweretimes
whenwithjustalittleimaginationPoolecouldpictureherasarathermature
GeishaGirl.Itwashardlyanappropriateimageforadistinguishedhistorian,
holdingaVirtualChairatauniversitystillboastingrealivy.
ShewasthefirstvisitorwithafluentcommandofPoole'sownEnglish,so
hewasdelightedtomeether.
'MrPoole,'shebegan,inaverybusinesslikevoice,'I'vebeenappointed
yourofficialguideandlet'ssaymentor.MyqualificationsI've
specializedinyourperiodmythesiswas"TheCollapseoftheNationState,
200050".1believewecanhelpeachotherinmanyways.'
'I'msurewecan.FirstI'dlikeyoutogetmeoutofhere,soIcanseea
littleofyourworld.'
'Exactlywhatweintendtodo.ButfirstwemustgiveyouanIdent.Until
thenyou'llbewhatwastheterm?anonperson.Itwouldbealmostimpossible
foryoutogoanywhere,orgetanythingdone.Noinputdevicewouldrecognize
yourexistence.'
'JustwhatIexpected,'Pooleanswered,withawrysmile.'Itwasstarting
togetthatwayinmyowntimeandmanypeoplehatedtheidea.'
'Somestilldo.Theygooffandliveinthewildernessthere'salotmore
onEarththantherewasinyourcentury!Buttheyalwaystaketheircompakswith
them,sotheycancallforhelpassoonastheygetintotrouble.Themedian
timeisaboutfivedays.'
'Sorrytohearthat.Thehumanracehasobviouslydeteriorated.'
Hewascautiouslytestingher,tryingtofindthelimitsofhertolerance
andtomapoutherpersonality.Itwasobviousthattheyweregoingtospend
muchtimetogether,andthathewouldhavetodependuponherinhundredsof
ways.Yethewasstillnotsureifhewouldevenlikeher:perhapssheregarded
himmerelyasafascinatingmuseumexhibit.
RathertoPoole'ssurprise,sheagreedwithhiscriticism.
'Thatmaybetrueinsomerespects.Perhapswe'rephysicallyweaker,but

we'rehealthierandbetteradjustedthanmosthumanswhohaveeverlived.The
NobleSavagewasalwaysamyth'.
Shewalkedovertoasmallrectangularplate,setateyelevelinthedoor.
Itwasaboutthesizeofoneofthecountlessmagazinesthathadproliferatedin
thefaroffAgeofPrint,andPoolehadnoticedthateveryroomseemedtohave
atleastone.Usuallytheywereblank,butsometimestheycontainedlinesof
slowlyscrollingtext,completelymeaninglesstoPooleevenwhenmostofthe
wordswerefamiliar.Onceaplateinhissuitehademittedurgentbeepings,
whichhehadignoredontheassumptionthatsomeoneelsewoulddealwiththe
problem,whateveritwas.Fortunatelythenoisestoppedasabruptlyasithad
started.
DrWallacelaidthepalmofherhandupontheplate,thenremoveditaftera
fewseconds.SheglancedatPoole,andsaidsmilingly:'Comeandlookatthis.'
Theinscriptionthathadsuddenlyappearedmadeagooddealofsense,when
hereaditslowly:WALLACE,INDRA[F2970.03.11:31.885//HIST.OXFORD]'Isuppose
itmeansFemale,dateofbirth11March2970andthatyou'reassociatedwith
theDepartmentofHistoryatOxford.AndIguessthat31.885isapersonal
identificationnumber.Correct?'
'Excellent,MrPoole.I'veseensomeofyouremailaddressesandcredit
cardnumbershideousstringsofalphanumericgibberishthatnoonecould
possiblyremember!Butweallknowourdateofbirth,andnotmorethan99,999
otherpeoplewillshareit.Soafivefigurenumberisallyou'lleverneed...
andevenifyouforgetthat,itdoesn'treallymatter.Asyousee,it'sapart
ofyou.'
'Implant?'
'Yesnanochipatbirth,oneineachpalmforredundancy.Youwon'teven
feelyourswhenitgoesin.Butyou'vegivenusasmallproblem...'
'What'sthat?'
'Thereadersyou'llmeetmostofthetimearetoosimplemindedtobelieve
yourdateofbirth.So,withyourpermission,we'vemoveditupathousand
years.'
'Permissiongranted.AndtherestoftheIdent?'
'Optional.Youcanleaveitempty,giveyourcurrentinterestsandlocation
oruseitforpersonalmessages,globalortargeted.'
Somethings,Poolewasquitesure,wouldnothavechangedoverthe

centuries.Ahighproportionofthose'targeted'messageswouldbeverypersonal
indeed.
Hewonderediftherewerestillselforstateappointedcensorsinthisday
andageandiftheireffortsatimprovingotherpeople'smoralshadbeenmore
successfulthaninhisowntime.
HewouldhavetoaskDrWallaceaboutthat,whenhegottoknowherbetter.

4
ARoomwithaView

'FrankProfessorAndersonthinksyou'restrongenoughtogoforalittle
walk.'
'I'mverypleasedtohearit.Doyouknowtheexpression"stircrazy"?'
'NobutIcanguesswhatitmeans.'
Poolehadsoadaptedtothelowgravitythatthelongstrideshewastaking
seemedperfectlynormal.Halfagee,hehadestimatedjustrighttogivea
senseofwellbeing.Theymetonlyafewpeopleontheirwalk,allofthem
strangers,buteveryonegaveasmileofrecognition.Bynow,Pooletoldhimself
withatraceofsmugness,Imustbeoneofthebestknowncelebritiesinthis
world.ThatshouldbeagreathelpwhenIdecidewhattodowiththerestof
mylife.Atleastanothercentury,ifIcanbelieveAnderson.
Thecorridoralongwhichtheywerewalkingwascompletelyfeaturelessapart
fromoccasionalnumbereddoors,eachbearingoneoftheuniversalrecogpanels.
PoolehadfollowedIndraforperhapstwohundredmetreswhenhecametoasudden
halt,shockedbecausehehadnotrealizedsomethingsoblindinglyobvious.
'Thisspacestationmustbeenormous!'heexclaimed.Indrasmiledbackat
him.
'Didn'tyouhaveasaying"Youain'tseenanythingyet"?'
'"Nothing",'hecorrected,absentmindedly.Hewasstilltryingtoestimate
thescaleofthisstructurewhenhehadanothersurprise.Whowouldhave
imaginedaspacestationlargeenoughtoboastasubwayadmittedlyaminiature
one,withasinglesmallcoachcapableofseatingonlyadozenpassengers.

'ObservationLoungeThree,'orderedIndra,andtheydrewsilentlyand
swiftlyawayfromtheterminal.
Poolecheckedthetimeontheelaboratewristbandwhosefunctionshewas
stillexploring.Oneminorsurprisehadbeenthatthewholeworldwasnowon
UniversalTime:theconfusingpatchworkofTimeZoneshadbeensweptawaybythe
adventofglobalcommunicationsTherehadbeenmuchtalkofthis,backinthe
twentyfirstcentury,andithadevenbeensuggestedthatSolarshouldbe
replacedbySiderealTime.Then,duringthecourseoftheyear,theSunwould
moverightroundtheclock:settingatthetimeithadrisensixmonthsearlier.
However,nothinghadcomeofthis'EqualtimeintheSun'proposalorof
evenmorevociferousattemptstoreformthecalendar.Thatparticularjob,it
hadbeencynicallysuggested,wouldhavetowaitforsomewhatmajoradvancesin
technology.Someday,surely,oneofGod'sminormistakeswouldbecorrected,
andtheEarth'sorbitwouldbeadjusted,togiveeveryyeartwelvemonthsof
thirtyexactlyequaldays.
AsfarasPoolecouldjudgebyspeedandelapsedtime,theymusthave
travelledatleastthreekilometresbeforethevehiclecametoasilentstop,
thedoorsopened,andablandautovoiceintoned,'Haveagoodview.Thirtyfive
percentcloudcovertoday.'
Atlast,thoughtPoole,we'regettingneartheouterwall.Butherewas
anothermysterydespitethedistancehehadgone,neitherthestrengthnorthe
directionofgravityhadaltered!Hecouldnotimagineaspinningspacestation
sohugethatthegeevectorwouldnotbechangedbysuchadisplacement...could
hereallybeonsomeplanetafterall?Buthewouldfeellighterusuallymuch
lighteronanyotherhabitableworldintheSolarSystem.
Whentheouterdooroftheterminalopened,andPoolefoundhimselfentering
asmallairlock,herealizedthathemustindeedbeinspace.Butwherewerethe
spacesuits?Helookedaroundanxiously:itwasagainstallhisinstinctstobe
soclosetovacuum,nakedandunprotected.Oneexperienceofthatwasenough...
'We'renearlythere,'saidIndrareassuringly.
Thelastdooropened,andhewaslookingoutintotheutterblacknessof
space,throughahugewindowthatwascurvedbothverticallyandhorizontally.
Hefeltlikeagoldfishinitsbowl,andhopedthatthedesignersofthis
audaciouspieceofengineeringknewexactlywhattheyweredoing.Theycertainly
possessedbetterstructuralmaterialsthanhadexistedinhistime.
Thoughthestarsmustbeshiningoutthere,hislightadaptedeyescouldsee
nothingbutblackemptinessbeyondthecurveofthegreatwindow.Ashestarted
towalktowardsittogetawiderview,Indrarestrainedhimandpointed

straightahead.
'Lookcarefully,'shesaid'Don'tyouseeit'
Pooleblinked,andstaredintothenight.Surelyitmustbeanillusion
even,heavenforbid,acrackinthewindow...
Hemovedhisheadfromsidetoside.No,itwasreal.Butwhatcoulditbe?
HerememberedEuclid'sdefinition'Aliehaslength,butnothickness'.
Forspanningthewholeheightofthewindow,andobviouslycontinuingoutof
sightaboveandbelow,wasathreadoflightquiteeasytoseewhenhelooked
forit,yetsoonedimensionalthattheword'thin'couldnotevenbeapplied.
However,itwasnotcompletelyfeaturelesstherewerebarelyvisiblespotsof
greaterbrillianceatirregularintervalsalongitslength,likedropsofwater
onaspider'sweb.
Poolecontinuedwalkingtowardsthewindow,andtheviewexpandeduntilat
lasthecouldseewhatlaybelowhim.Itwasfamiliarenough:thewhole
continentofEurope,andmuchofnorthernAfrica,justashehadseenthemmany
timesfromspace.Sohewasinorbitafterallprobablyanequatorialone,at
aheightofatleastathousandkilometres.
Indrawaslookingathimwithaquizzicalsmile.
'Goclosertothewindow,'shesaid,verysoftly.'Sothatyoucanlook
straightdown.Ihopeyouhaveagoodheadforheights.'
Whatasillythingtosaytoanastronaut!Pooletoldhimselfashemoved
forward.IfIeversufferedfromvertigo,Iwouldn'tbeinthisbusiness...
Thethoughthadbarelypassedthroughhismindwhenhecried'MyGod!'and
involuntarilysteppedbackfromthewindow,Then,bracinghimself,hedaredto
lookagain.
HewaslookingdownonthedistantMediterraneanfromthefaceofa
cylindricaltower,whosegentlycurvingwallindicatedadiameterofseveral
kilometres.Butthatwasnothingcomparedwithitslength,forittaperedaway
down,down,downuntilitdisappearedintothemistsomewhereoverAfrica.He
assumedthatitcontinuedallthewaytothesurface.
'Howhigharewe?'hewhispered.
'Twothousandkay.Butnowlookupwards.'
Thistime,itwasnotsuchashock:hehadexpectedwhathewouldsee.The

towerdwindledawayuntilitbecameaglitteringthreadagainsttheblacknessof
space,andhedidnotdoubtthatitcontinuedallthewaytothegeostationary
orbit,thirtysixthousandkilometresabovetheEquator.Suchfantasieshadbeen
wellknowninPoole'sday:hehadneverdreamedhewouldseetherealityand
belivinginit.
Hepointedtowardsthedistantthreadreachingupfromtheeasternhorizon.
'Thatmustbeanotherone.'
'YestheAsianTower.Wemustlookexactlythesametothem.'
'Howmanyarethere?'
'Justfour,equallyspacedaroundtheEquator.Africa,Asia,America,
Pacifica.Thelastone'salmostemptyonlyafewhundredlevelscompleted.
Nothingtoseeexceptwater...'
Poolewasstillabsorbingthisstupendousconceptwhenadisturbingthought
occurredtohim.
'Therewerealreadythousandsofsatellites,atallsortsofaltitudes,in
mytime.Howdoyouavoidcollisions?'
Indralookedslightlyembarrassed.
'YouknowIneverthoughtaboutthatit'snotmyfield.'Shepausedfor
amoment,clearlysearchinghermemory.Thenherfacebrightened.
'Ibelievetherewasabigcleanupoperation,centuriesago.Therejust
aren'tanysatellites,belowthestationaryorbit.'
Thatmadesense,Pooletoldhimself.Theywouldn'tbeneededthefour
gigantictowerscouldprovideallthefacilitiesonceprovidedbythousandsof
satellitesandspacestations.
'Andtherehaveneverbeenanyaccidentsanycollisionswithspaceships
leavingearth,orreenteringtheatmosphere?'
Indralookedathimwithsurprise.
'Buttheydon't,anymore,'Shepointedtotheceiling.'Allthespaceports
arewheretheyshouldbeupthere,ontheouterring.Ibelieveit'sfour
hundredyearssincethelastrocketliftedofffromthesurfaceoftheEarth.'
Poolewasstilldigestingthiswhenatrivialanomalycaughthisattention.

Histrainingasanastronauthadmadehimalerttoanythingoutoftheordinary:
inspace,thatmightbeamatteroflifeordeath.
TheSunwasoutofview,highoverhead,butitsraysstreamingdownthrough
thegreatwindowpaintedabrilliantbandoflightonthefloorunderfoot.
Cuttingacrossthatbandatananglewasanother,muchfainterone,sothatthe
frameofthewindowthrewadoubleshadow.
Poolehadtogoalmostdownonhiskneessothathecouldpeerupatthe
sky.Hehadthoughthimselfbeyondsurprise,butthespectacleoftwosunsleft
himmomentarilyspeechless.
'What'sthat?'hegasped,whenhehadrecoveredhisbreath.
'Ohhaven'tyoubeentold?That'sLucifer.'
'Earthhasanothersun?'
'Well,itdoesn'tgiveusmuchheat,butit'sputtheMoonoutof
business...BeforetheSecondMissionwenttheretolookforyou,thatwasthe
planetJupiter.'
IknewIwouldhavemuchtolearninthisnewworld,Pooletoldhimself.But
justhowmuch,Ineverdreamed.

5
Education

Poolewasbothastonishedanddelightedwhenthetelevisionsetwaswheeled
intotheroomandpositionedattheendofhisbed.Delightedbecausehewas
sufferingfrommildinformationstarvationandastonishedbecauseitwasa
modelwhichhadbeenobsoleteeveninhisowntime.
'We'vehadtopromisetheMuseumwe'llgiveitback,'Matroninformedhim.
'AndIexpectyouknowhowtousethis,'
Ashefondledtheremotecontrol,Poolefeltawaveofacutenostalgiasweep
overhim.Asfewotherartefactscould,itbroughtbackmemoriesofhis
childhood,andthedayswhenmosttelevisionsetsweretoostupidtounderstand
spokencommands.
'Thankyou,Matron.What'sthebestnewschannel?'

Sheseemedpuzzledbyhisquestion,thenbrightened.
'OhIseewhatyoumean.ButProfessorAndersonthinksyou'renotquite
readyyet.SoArchiveshasputtogetheracollectionthatwillmakeyoufeelat
home.'
Poolewonderedbrieflywhatthestoragemediumwasinthisdayandage.He
couldstillremembercompactdisks,andhiseccentricoldUncleGeorgehadbeen
theproudpossessorofacollectionofvintagevideotapes.Butsurelythat
technologicalcontestmusthavefinishedcenturiesagointheusualDarwinian
way,withthesurvivalofthefittest.
Hehadtoadmitthattheselectionwaswelldone,bysomeone(Indra?)
familiarwiththeearlytwentyfirstcentury.Therewasnothingdisturbingno
warsorviolence,andverylittlecontemporarybusinessorpolitics,allof
whichwouldnowbeutterlyirrelevant.Thereweresomelightcomedies,sporting
events(howdidtheyknowthathehadbeenakeentennisfan?),classicaland
popmusic,andwildlifedocumentaries.
Andwhoeverhadputthiscollectiontogetherhadasenseofhumour,orthey
wouldnothaveincludedepisodesfromeachStarTrekseries.Asaverysmall
boy,PoolehadmetbothPatrickStewartandLeonardNimoy:hewonderedwhatthey
wouldhavethoughtiftheycouldhaveknownthedestinyofthechildwhohad
shylyaskedfortheirautographs.
Adepressingthoughtoccurredtohim,soonafterhehadstartedexploring
muchofthetimeinfastforwardtheserelicsofthepast.Hehadread
somewherethatbytheturnofthecenturyhiscentury!therewere
approximatelyfiftythousandtelevisionstationsbroadcastingsimultaneously.If
thatfigurehadbeenmaintainedanditmightwellhaveincreasedbynow
millionsofmillionsofhoursofTVprogrammingmusthavegoneontheair.So
eventhemosthardenedcynicwouldadmitthattherewereprobablyatleasta
billionhoursofworthwhileviewing...andmillionsthatwouldpassthehighest
standardsofexcellence.Howtofindthesefewwell,fewmillionneedlesin
sogiganticahaystack?
Thethoughtwassooverwhelmingindeed,sodemoralizingthataftera
weekofincreasinglyaimlesschannelsurfingPooleaskedforthesettobe
removed.
Perhapsfortunately,hehadlessandlesstimetohimselfduringhiswaking
hours,whichweresteadilygrowinglongerashisstrengthcameback.
Therewasnoriskofboredom,thankstothecontinualparadenotonlyof
seriousresearchersbutalsoinquisitiveandpresumablyinfluentialcitizens

whohadmanagedtofilterpastthepalaceguardestablishedbyMatronand
ProfessorAnderson.Nevertheless,hewasgladwhen,oneday,thetelevisionset
reappeared,hewasbeginningtosufferfromwithdrawalsymptomsandthistime,
heresolvedtobemoreselectiveinhisviewing.
ThevenerableantiquewasaccompaniedbyIndraWallace,smilingbroadly.
'We'vefoundsomethingyoumustsee,Frank.Wethinkitwillhelpyouto
adjustanyway,we'resureyou'llenjoyit.'
Poolehadalwaysfoundthatremarkarecipeforguaranteedboredom,and
preparedfortheworst.Buttheopeninghadhiminstantlyhooked,takinghim
backtohisoldlifeasfewotherthingscouldhavedone.Atonceherecognized
oneofthemostfamousvoicesofhisage,andrememberedthathehadseenthis
veryprogrammebefore.Couldithavebeenatitsfirsttransmission?No,hewas
onlyfivethen:musthavebeenarepeat...
'Atlanta,2000December31.'
'ThisisCNNInternational,fiveminutesfromthedawnoftheNew
Millennium,withallitsunknownperilsandpromise...'
'Butbeforewetrytoexplorethefuture,let'slookbackathousandyears,
andaskourselves:couldanypersonslivinginAd.1000evenremotelyimagine
ourworld,orunderstandit,iftheyweremagicallytransportedacrossthe
centuries?'
'Almostthewholeofthetechnologywetakeforgrantedwasinventednear
theveryendofourMillennium thesteamengine,electricity,telephones,
radio,television,cinema,aviation,electronics.And,duringasinglelifetime,
nuclearenergyandspacetravelwhatwouldthegreatestmindsofthepasthave
madeofthese?HowlongcouldanArchimedesoraLeonardohaveretainedhis
sanity,ifsuddenlydumpedintoourworld?'
'It'stemptingtothinkthatwewoulddobetter,ifweweretransporteda
thousandyearshence.Surelythefundamentalscientificdiscoverieshavealready
beenmade,thoughtherewillbemajorimprovementsintechnology,willtherebe
anydevices,anythingasmagicalandincomprehensibletousasapocket
calculatororavideocamerawouldhavebeentoIsaacNewton?'
'Perhapsourageisindeedsunderedfromallthosethathavegonebefore.
Telecommunications,theabilitytorecordimagesandsoundsonceirrevocably
lost,theconquestoftheairandspaceallthesehavecreatedacivilization
beyondthewildestfantasiesofthepast.Andequallyimportant,Copernicus,
Newton,DarwinandEinsteinhavesochangedourmodeofthinkingandouroutlook
ontheuniversethatwemightseemalmostanewspeciestothemostbrilliantof

ourpredecessors.'
'Andwilloursuccessors,athousandyearsfromnow,lookbackonuswith
thesamepitywithwhichweregardourignorant,superstitious,diseaseridden,
shortlivedancestors?Webelievethatweknowtheanswerstoquestionsthat
theycouldnotevenask:butwhatsurprisesdoestheThirdMillenniumholdfor
us?'
'Well,hereitcomes'
Agreatbellbegantotollthestrokesofmidnight.Thelastvibration
throbbedintosilence...
'Andthat'sthewayitwasgoodbye,wonderfulandterribletwentieth
century...'
Thenthepicturebrokeintoamyriadfragments,andanewcommentatortook
over,speakingwiththeaccentwhichPoolecouldnoweasilyunderstand,and
whichimmediatelybroughthimuptothepresent.
'Now,inthefirstminutesoftheyearthreethousandandone,wecananswer
thatquestionfromthepast...'
'Certainly,thepeopleof2001whoyouwerejustwatchingwouldnotfeelas
utterlyoverwhelmedinourageassomeonefrom1001wouldhavefeltintheirs.
Manyofourtechnologicalachievementstheywouldhaveanticipatedindeed,they
wouldhaveexpectedsatellitecities,andcoloniesontheMoonandplanets.They
mightevenhavebeendisappointed,becausewearenotyetimmortal,andhave
sentprobesonlytotheneareststars...'
Abruptly,Indraswitchedofftherecording.
'Seetherestlater,Frank:you'regettingtired.ButIhopeitwillhelp
youtoadjust.'
'Thankyou,Indra.I'llhavetosleeponit.Butit'scertainlyprovedone
point.'
'What'sthat?'
'IshouldbegratefulI'mnotathousandandoner,droppedinto2001.That
wouldbetoomuchofaquantumjump:Idon'tbelieveanyonecouldadjusttoit.
AtleastIknowaboutelectricity,andwon'tdieoffrightifapicturestarts
talkingatme.'
Ihope,Pooletoldhimself,thatconfidenceisjustified.Someoneoncesaid

thatanysufficientlyadvancedtechnologyisindistinguishablefrommagic.Will
Imeetmagicinthisnewworldandbeabletohandleit?

6
Braincap

'I'mafraidyou'llhavetomakeanagonizingdecision,'saidProfessor
Anderson,withasmilethatneutralizedtheexaggeratedgravityofhiswords.
'Icantakeit,Doctor.Justgiveittomestraight.'
'BeforeyoucanbefittedwithyourBraincap,youhavetobecompletely
bald.Sohere'syourchoice.Attherateyourhairgrows,you'dhavetobe
shavedatleastonceamonth.Oryoucouldhaveapermanent.'
'How'sthatdone?'
'Laserscalptreatment.Killsthefolliclesattheroot.'
'Hmm...isitreversible?'
'Yes,butthat'smessyandpainful,andtakesweeks.'
'ThenI'llseehowIlikebeinghairless,beforecommittingmyself.Ican't
forgetwhathappenedtoSamson.'
'Who?'
'Characterinafamousoldbook.Hisgirlfriendcutoffhishairwhilehe
wassleeping.Whenhewokeup,allhisstrengthhadgone.'
'NowIrememberprettyobviousmedicalsymbolism!'
'Still,Iwouldn'tmindlosingmybeard.I'dbehappytostopshaving,once
andforall.'
'I'llmakethearrangements.Andwhatkindofwigwouldyoulike?'
Poolelaughed.
'I'mnotparticularlyvainthinkitwouldbeanuisance,andprobably
won'tbother.SomethingelseIcandecidelater.'

Thateveryoneinthiserawasartificiallybaldwasasurprisingfactthat
Poolehadbeenquiteslowtodiscoverhisfirstrevelationhadcomewhenboth
hisnursesremovedtheirluxurianttresses,withouttheslightestsignof
embarrassment,justbeforeseveralequallybaldspecialistsarrivedtogivehim
aseriesofmicrobiologicalchecks.Hehadneverbeensurroundedbysomany
hairlesspeople,andhisinitialguesswasthatthiswasthelateststepinthe
medicalprofession'sendlesswaragainstgerms.
Likemanyofhisguesses,itwascompletelywrong,andwhenhediscovered
thetruereasonheamusedhimselfbyseeinghowoftenhewouldhavebeensure,
hadhenotknowninadvance,thathisvisitors'hairwasnottheirown.The
answerwas:seldomwithmen,neverwithwomenthiswasobviouslythegreatage
ofthewigmaker.
ProfessorAndersonwastednotime:thatafternoonthenursessmearedsome
evilsmellingcreamoverPoole'shead,andwhenhelookedintothemirroran
hourlaterhedidnotrecognizehimself.Well,hethought,perhapsawigwould
beagoodidea,afterall...
TheBraincapfittingtooksomewhatlonger.Firstamouldhadtobemade,
whichrequiredhimtositmotionlessforafewminutesuntiltheplasterset.He
fullyexpectedtobetoldthathisheadwasthewrongshapewhenhisnurses
gigglingmostunprofessionallyhadahardtimeextricatinghim.'Ouchthat
hurt!'hecomplained.
Nextcametheskullcapitself,ametalhelmetthatfittedsnuglyalmost
downtotheears,andtriggeredanostalgicthoughtwishmyJewishfriends
couldseemenow!Afterafewminutes,itwassocomfortablethathewasunaware
ofitspresence.
Nowhewasreadyfortheinstallationaprocesswhich,herealizedwith
somethingakintoawe,hadbeentheRiteofPassageforalmostallthehuman
raceformorethanhalfamillennium.
'There'snoneedtocloseyoureyes,'saidthetechnician,whohadbeen
introducedbythepretentioustitleof'BrainEngineer'almostalways
shortenedto'Brainman'inpopularusage.'WhenSetupbegins,allyourinputs
willbetakenover.Evenifyoureyesareopen,youwon'tseeanything.'
Iwonderifeveryonefeelsasnervousasthis,Pooleaskedhimself.Isthis
thelastmomentI'llbeincontrolofmyownmind?Still,I'velearnedtotrust
thetechnologyofthisageuptonow,ithasn'tletmedown.Ofcourse,asthe
oldsayinggoes,there'salwaysafirsttime...
Ashehadbeenpromised,hehadfeltnothingexceptagentleticklingasthe

myriadofnanowireswormedtheirwaythroughhisscalp.Allhissenseswere
stillperfectlynormalwhenhescannedhisfamiliarroom,everythingwas
exactlywhereitshouldbe.
TheBrainmanwearinghisownskullcap,wired,likePoole's,toapieceof
equipmentthatcouldeasilyhavebeenmistakenforatwentiethcenturylaptop
computergavehimareassuringsmile.
'Ready?'heasked.
Thereweretimeswhentheoldclicheswerethebestones.
'ReadyasI'lleverbe,'Pooleanswered.
Slowly,thelightfadedorseemedto.Agreatsilencedescended,andeven
thegentlegravityoftheTowerrelinquisheditsholduponhim.Hewasan
embryo,floatinginafeaturelessvoid,thoughnotincompletedarkness.Hehad
knownsuchabarelyvisible,nearultraviolettenebrosity,ontheveryedgeof
night,onlyonceinhislifewhenhehaddescendedfurtherthanwasaltogether
wisedownthefaceofasheercliffattheouteredgeoftheGreatBarrierReef.
Lookingdownintohundredsofmetresofcrystallineemptiness,hehadfeltsuch
asenseofdisorientationthatheexperiencedabriefmomentofpanic,andhad
almosttriggeredhisbuoyancyunitbeforeregainingcontrol.Needlesstosay,he
hadnevermentionedtheincidenttotheSpaceAgencyphysicians...
Fromagreatdistanceavoicespokeoutoftheimmensevoidthatnowseemed
tosurroundhim.Butitdidnotreachhimthroughhisears:itsoundedsoftlyin
theechoinglabyrinthsofhisbrain.
'Calibrationstarting.Fromtimetotimeyouwillbeaskedquestionsyou
cananswermentally,butitmayhelptovocalize.Doyouunderstand?'
'Yes,'Poolereplied,wonderingifhislipswereindeedmoving.Therewasno
waythathecouldtell.
Somethingwasappearinginthevoidagridofthinlines,likeahuge
sheetofgraphpaper.Itextendedupanddown,rightandleft,tothelimitsof
hisvision.Hetriedtomovehishead,buttheimagerefusedtochange.
Numbersstartedtoflickeracrossthegrid,toofastforhimtoreadbut
presumablysomecircuitwasrecordingthem.Poolecouldnothelpsmiling(did
hischeeksmove?)atthefamiliarityofitall.Thiswasjustlikethecomputer
driveneyeexaminationthatanyoculistofhisagewouldgiveaclient.
Thegridvanished,tobereplacedbysmoothsheetsofcolourfillinghis
entirefieldofview.Inafewseconds,theyflashedfromoneendofthe

spectrumtotheother.'Couldhavetoldyouthat,'Poolemutteredsilently.'My
colourvision'sperfect.Nextforhearing,Isuppose.'
Hewasquitecorrect.Afaint,drummingsoundaccelerateduntilitbecame
thelowestofaudibleCs,thenracedupthemusicalscaleuntilitdisappeared
beyondtherangeofhumanhearing,intobatanddolphinterritory.
Thatwasthelastofthesimple,straightforwardtests.Hewasbriefly
assailedbyscentsandflavours,mostofthempleasantbutsomequitethe
reverse.Thenhebecame,orsoitseemed,apuppetonaninvisiblestrig.
Hepresumedthathisneuromuscularcontrolwasbeingtested,andhopedthat
therewerenoexternalmanifestations,iftherewere,hewouldprobablylook
likesomeoneintheterminalstagesofStVitus'sDance.Andforonemomenthe
evenhadaviolenterection,butwasunabletogiveitarealitycheckbeforehe
fellintoadreamlesssleep.
Ordidheonlydreamthatheslept?Hehadnoideahowmuchtimehadelapsed
beforeheawoke.Thehelmethadalreadygone,togetherwiththeBrainmanandhis
equipment.
'Everythingwentfine,'beamedMatron.'Itwilltakeafewhourstocheck
thattherearenoanomalies.Ifyourreading'sKOImeanOKyou'llhaveyour
Braincaptomorrow.'
PooleappreciatedtheeffortsofhisentouragetolearnarchaicEnglish,but
hecouldnothelpwishingthatMatronhadnotmadethatunfortunateslipofthe
tongue.
Whenthetimecameforthefinalfilling,Poolefeltalmostlikeaboy
again,abouttounwrapsomewonderfulnewtoyundertheChristmasfree.
'Youwon'thavetogothroughallthatsettingupagain,'theBrainman
assuredhim.'Downloadwillstartimmediately.I'llgiveyouafiveminutedemo.
Justrelaxandenjoy.'
Gentle,soothingmusicwashedoverhimthoughitwassomethingvery
familiar,fromhisowntime,hecouldnotidentifyit.Therewasamistbefore
hiseyes,whichpartedashewalkedtowardsit...
Yes,hewaswalking!Theillusionwasutterlyconvincinghecouldfeelthe
impactofhisfeetontheground,andnowthatthemusichadstoppedhecould
hearagentlewindblowingthroughthegreattreesthatappearedtosurround
him.HerecognizedthemasCalifornianredwoods,andhopedthattheystill
existedinreality,somewhereonEarth.

Hewasmovingatabriskpacetoofastforcomfort,asiftimewas
slightlyacceleratedsohecouldcoverasmuchgroundaspossible.Yethewas
notconsciousofanyefforthefelthewasaguestinsomeoneelse'sbody.The
sensationwasenhancedbythefactthathehadnocontroloverhismovements.
Whenheattemptedtostop,ortochangedirection,nothinghappened.Hewas
goingalongfortheride.
Itdidnotmatterhewasenjoyingthenovelexperienceandcould
appreciatehowaddictiveitcouldbecome.The'dreammachines'thatmany
scientistsofhisowncenturyhadanticipatedoftenwithalarm werenowpart
ofeverydaylife.PoolewonderedhowMankindhadmanagedtosurvive:hehadbeen
toldthatmuchofithadnot.Millionshadbeenbrainburned,andhaddropped
outoflife.
Ofcourse,hewouldbeimmunetosuchtemptations!Hewouldusethis
marvelloustooltolearnmoreabouttheworldoftheFourthMillennium,andto
acquireinminutesnewskillsthatwouldotherwisetakeyearstomaster.Well
hemight,justoccasionally,usetheBraincappurelyforfun...
Hehadcometotheedgeoftheforest,andwaslookingoutacrossawide
river.Withouthesitation,hewalkedintoit,andfeltnoalarmasthewater
roseoverhishead.Itdidseemalittlestrangethathecouldcontinue
breathingnaturally,buthethoughtitmuchmoreremarkablethathecouldsee
perfectlyinamediumwheretheunaidedhumaneyecouldnotfocus.Hecould
counteveryscaleonthemagnificenttroutthatwentswimmingpast,apparently
oblivioustothisstrangeintruder...
Then,amermaid Wellhehadalwayswantedtomeetone,buthehadassumed
thattheyweremarinecreatures.Perhapstheyoccasionallycameupstream like
salmon,tohavetheirbabies?Shewasgonebeforehecouldquestionher,to
confirmordenythisrevolutionarytheory.
Theriverendedinatranslucentwallhesteppedthroughitontotheface
ofadesert,beneathablazingsun.Itsheatburnedhimuncomfortablyyethe
wasabletolookdirectlyintoitsnoondayfury.Hecouldevensee,with
unnaturalclarity,anarchipelagoofsunspotsnearonelimb.Andthiswas
surelyimpossibletherewasthetenuousgloryofthecorona,quiteinvisible
exceptduringtotaleclipse,reachingoutlikeaswan'swingsoneithersideof
theSun.
Everythingfadedtoblack:thehauntingmusicreturned,andwithitthe
blissfulcoolnessofhisfamiliarroom.Heopenedhiseyes(hadtheyeverbeen
closed?)andfoundanexpectantaudiencewaitingforhisreaction.
'Wonderful!'hebreathed,almostreverently.'Someofitseemedwell,
realerthanreal!'

Thenhisengineer'scuriosity,neverfarfromthesurface,startednagging
him.
'Eventhatshortdemomusthavecontainedanenormousamountofinformation.
How'sitstored?'
'Inthesetabletsthesameyouraudiovisualsystemuses,butwithmuch
greatercapacity.'
TheBrainmanhandedPooleasmallsquare,apparentlymadeofglass,silvered
ononesurfaceitwasalmostthesamesizeasthecomputerdiskettesofhis
youth,buttwicethethickness.AsPooletilteditbackandforth,tryingtosee
intoitstransparentinterior,therewereoccasionalrainbowhuedflashes,but
thatwasall.
Hewasholding,herealized,theendproductofmorethanathousandyears
ofelectroopticaltechnologyaswellasothertechnologiesunborninhisera.
Anditwasnotsurprisingthat,superficially,itresembledcloselythedevices
hehadknown.Therewasaconvenientshapeandsizeformostofthecommon
objectsofeverydaylifeknivesandforks,books,handtools,furniture...and
removablememoriesforcomputers.
'What'sitscapacity?'heasked.'Inmytime,wewereuptoaterabytein
somethingthissize.I'msureyou'vedonealotbetter.'
'Notasmuchasyoumightimaginethere'salimit,ofcourse,setbythe
structureofmatter.Bytheway,whatwasaterabyte?AfraidI'veforgotten.'
'Shameonyou!Kilo,mega,giga,tera...that'stentothetwelfthbytes.
Thenthepetabytetentothefifteenththat'sasfarasIevergot.'
'That'saboutwherewestart.It'senoughtorecordeverythinganyperson
canexperienceduringonelifetime.'
Itwasanastonishingthought,yetitshouldnothavebeensosurprising.
Thekilogramofjellyinsidethehumanskullwasnotmuchlargerthanthetablet
Poolewasholdinginhishand,anditcouldnotpossiblybeasefficienta
storagedeviceithadsomanyotherdutiestodealwith.
'Andthat'snotall,'theBrainmancontinued.'Withsomedatacompression,
itcouldstorenotonlythememoriesbuttheactualperson.'
'Andreproducethemagain?'
'Ofcoursestraightforwardjobofnanoassembly.'

SoI'dheard,PooletoldhimselfbutIneverreallybelievedit.
Backinhiscentury,itseemedwonderfulenoughthattheentirelifeworkof
agreatartistcouldbestoredonasinglesmalldisk.Andnow,somethingno
largercouldholdtheartistaswell.

7
Debriefing

'I'mdelighted,'saidPoole,'toknowthattheSmithsonianstillexists,
afterallthesecenturies.'
'Youprobablywouldn'trecognizeit,'saidthevisitorwhohadintroduced
himselfasDrAlistairKim,DirectorofAstronautics.'Especiallyasit'snow
scatteredovertheSolarSystem themainoffEarthcollectionsareonMarsand
theMoon,andmanyoftheexhibitsthatlegallybelongtousarestillheading
forthestars.Somedaywe'llcatchupwiththemandbringthemhome.We're
particularlyanxioustogetourhandsonPioneer10thefirstmanmadeobject
toescapefromtheSolarSystem.'
'IbelieveIwasonthevergeofdoingthat,whentheylocatedme.'
'Luckyforyouandforus.Youmaybeabletothrowlightonmanythings
wedon'tknow.'
'Frankly,IdoubtitbutI'lldomybest.Idon'trememberathingafter
thatrunawayspacepodchargedme.ThoughIstillfindithardtobelieve,I've
beentoldthatHalwasresponsible.'
'That'strue,butit'sacomplicatedstory.Everythingwe'vebeenableto
learnisinthisrecordingabouttwentyhours,butyoucanprobablyFastmost
ofit.'
'Youknow,ofcourse,thatDaveBowmanwentoutintheNumber2Podto
rescueyoubutwasthenlockedoutsidetheshipbecauseHalrefusedtoopen
thepodbaydoors.'
'Why,forGod'ssake?'
DrKimwincedslightly.ItwasnotthefirsttimePoolehadnoticedsucha
reaction.

(Mustwatchmylanguage,hethought.'God'seemstobeadirtywordinthis
culturemustaskIndraaboutit.)
'TherewasamajorprogrammingerrorinHal'sinstructionshe'dbeengiven
controlofaspectsofthemissionyouandBowmandidn'tknowabout,it'sallin
therecording...
'Anyway,healsocutoffthelifesupportsystemstothethreehybernauts
theAlphaCrewandBowmanhadtojettisontheirbodiesaswell.'
(SoDaveandIweretheBetaCrewsomethingelseIdidn'tknow...)
'Whathappenedtothem?'Pooleasked.'Couldn'ttheyhavebeenrescued,just
asIwas?'
'I'mafraidnot:we'velookedintoit,ofcourse.Bowmanejectedthem
severalhoursafterhe'dtakenbackcontrolfromHal,sotheirorbitswere
slightlydifferentfromyours.JustenoughforthemtoburnupinJupiter
whileyouskimmedby,andgotagravityboostthatwouldhavetakenyoutothe
OrionNebulainafewthousandmoreyears...'
'Doingeverythingonmanualoverridereallyafantasticperformance!
BowmanmanagedtogetDiscoveryintoorbitroundJupiter.Andtherehe
encounteredwhattheSecondExpeditioncalledBigBrotheranapparenttwinof
theTychoMonolith,buthundredsoftimeslarger.'
'Andthat'swherewelosthim.HeleftDiscoveryintheremainingspacepod,
andmadearendezvouswithBigBrother.Foralmostathousandyears,we'vebeen
hauntedbyhislastmessage:"ByDeusit'sfullofstars!"
(Herewegoagain!Pooletoldhimself.NowayDavecouldhavesaidthat...
Musthavebeen'MyGodit'sfullofstars!')
'ApparentlythepodwasdrawnintotheMonolithbysomekindofinertial
field,becauseitandpresumablyBowmansurvivedanaccelerationwhich
shouldhavecrushedtheminstantly.Andthatwasthelastinformationanyone
had,foralmosttenyears,untilthejointUSRussianLeonovmission...'
'WhichmadearendezvouswiththeabandonedDiscoverysothatDrChandra
couldgoaboardandreactivateHal.Yes,Iknowthat.'
DrKimlookedslightlyembarrassed.
'SorryIwasn'tsurehowmuchyou'dbeentoldalreadyAnyway,that'swhen
evenstrangerthingsstartedtohappen.'

'ApparentlythearrivalofLeonovtriggeredsomethinginsideBigBrother.If
wedidnothavetheserecordings,noonewouldhavebelievedwhathappened.Let
meshowyou...here'sDrHeywoodFloydkeepingthemidnightwatchaboard
Discovery,afterpowerhadbeenrestored.Ofcourseyou'llrecognize
everything.'
(IndeedIdo:andhowstrangetoseethelongdeadHeywoodFloyd,sittingin
myoldseatwithHal'sunblinkingredeyesurveyingeverythinginsight.And
evenstrangertothinkthatHalandIhavebothsharedthesameexperienceof
resurrectionfromthedead...)
Amessagewascoiningupononeofthemonitors,andFloydansweredlazily,
'OK,Hal.Whoiscalling?'
NOIDENTIFICATION.
Floydlookedslightlyannoyed.
'Verywell.Pleasegivemethemessage.'
ITISDANGEROUSTOREMAINHERE.YOUMUSTLEAVEWITHINFIFTEENDAYS.
'Thatisabsolutelyimpossible.Ourlaunchwindowdoesnotopenuntil
twentysixdaysfromnow.Wedonothavesufficientpropellantforanearlier
departure.'
IAMAWAREOFTHESEFACTS.NEVERTHELESSYOUMUSTLEAVEWITHIN
FWFEENDAYS.
'IcannottakethiswarningseriouslyunlessIknowitsorigin...whois
speakingtome?'
IWASDAVIDBOWMAN.ITISIMPORTANTTHATYOUBELIEVEME.LOOKBEHIND
YOU.
HeywoodFloydslowlyturnedinhisswivelchair,awayfromthebankedpanels
andswitchesofthecomputerdisplay,towardstheVelcrocoveredcatwalkbehind.
('Watchthiscarefully,'saidDrKim.
AsifIneededtelling,thoughtPoole...)
ThezerogravityenvironmentofDiscovery'sobservationdeckwasmuch
dustierthanherememberedit:heguessedthattheairfiltrationplanthadnot
yetbeenbroughtonline.Theparallelraysofthedistantyetstillbrilliant

Sun,streamingthroughthegreatwindows,litupamyriadofdancingmotesina
classicdisplayofBrownianmovement.
Andnowsomethingstrangewashappeningtotheseparticlesofdustsome
forceseemedtobemarshallingthem,herdingthemawayfromacentralpointyet
bringingotherstowardsit,untiltheyallmetonthesurfaceofahollow
sphere.Thatsphere,aboutametreacross,hoveredintheairforamomentlike
agiantsoapbubble.Thenitelongatedintoanellipsoid,whosesurfacebeganto
pucker,toformfoldsandindentations.Poolewasnotreallysurprisedwhenit
startedtoassumetheshapeofaman.
Hehadseensuchfigures,blownoutofglass,inmuseumsandscience
exibitions.Butthisdustyphantomdidnotevenapproximateanatomicalaccuracy
itwaslikeacrudeclayfigurine,oroneoftheprimitiveworksofartfoundin
therecessesofStoneAgecaves.Onlytheheadwasfashionedwithcareandthe
face,beyondallshadowofdoubt,wasthatofCommanderDavidBowman.
HELLO,DRFLOYD.NOWDOYOUBELIEVEME?
Thelipsofthefigurenevermoved:Poolerealizedthatthevoiceyes,
certainlyBowman'svoicewasactuallycomingfromthespeakergrille.
THISISVERYDIFFICULTFORME,ANDIHAVELIITLETIME.IHAVEBEEN
ALLOWED
TOGIVETHISWARNING.YOUHAVEONLYFIFFEENDAYS.
'Whyandwhatareyou?'
Buttheghostlyfigurewasalreadyfading,itsgrainyenvelopebeginningto
dissolvebackintotheconstituentparticlesofdust.
GOODBYE,DOCTORFLOYD.WECANHAVENOFURTHERCONTACT.BUT
THEREMAYBEONE
MOREMESSAGE,IFALLGOESWELL.
Astheimagedissolved,PoolecouldnothelpsmilingatthatoldSpaceAge
cliche.'Ifallgoeswell'howmanytimeshehadheardthatphraseintoned
beforeamission!
Thephantomvanished:onlythemotesofdancingdustwereleft,resuming
theirrandompatternsintheair.Withaneffortofwill,Poolecamebacktothe
present.
'Well,Commanderwhatdoyouthinkofthat?'askedKim.
Poolewasstillshaken,anditwasseveralsecondsbeforehecouldreply.

'ThefaceandthevoicewereBowman'sI'dsweartothat.Butwhatwasit?'
'That'swhatwe'restillarguingabout.Callitahologram,aprojection
ofcourse,thereareplentyofwaysitcouldbefakedifanyonewantedtobut
notinthosecircumstances!Andthen,ofcourse,there'swhathappenednext.'
'Lucifer?'
'Yes.Thankstothatwarning,theLeonovhadjustsufficienttimetoget
awaybeforeJupiterdetonated.'
'Sowhateveritwas,theBowmanthingwasfriendlyandtryingtohelp.'
'Presumably.Anditmayhavebeenresponsibleforthat"onemoremessage"we
didreceiveitwassentonlyminutesbeforethedetonation.Anotherwaning.'
DrKimbroughtthescreentolifeoncemore.Itshowedplaintext:ALLTHESE
WORLDSAREYOURSEXCEPTEUROPA.ATTEMPTNOLANDINGSTHERE.The
samemessagewas
repeatedaboutahundredtimes,thenthelettersbecamegarbled.
'Andweneverhavetriedtolandthere?'askedPoole.
'Onlyonce,byaccident,thirtysixyearslaterwhentheUSSSGalaxywas
hijackedandforceddownthere,andhersistershipUniversehadtogotothe
rescue.It'sallherewithwhatlittleourrobotmonitorshavetoldusabout
theEuropans.'
'I'manxioustoseethem.'
'They'reamphibious,andcomeinallshapesandsizes.AssoonasLucifer
startedmeltingtheicethatcoveredtheirtwholeworld,theybegantoemerge
fromthesea.Sincethen,they'vedevelopedataspeedthatseemsbiologically
impossible.'
'FromwhatIrememberaboutEuropa,weren'ttherelotsofcracksintheice?
Perhapsthey'dalreadystartedcrawlingthroughandhavingalookround.'
'That'sawidelyacceptedtheory.Butthere'sanother,muchmore
speculative,one.TheMonolithmayhavebeeninvolved,inwayswedon'tyet
understand.WhattriggeredthatlineofthoughtwasthediscoveryofTMAZERO,
righthereonEarth,almostfivehundredyearsafteryourtime.Isupposeyou've
beentoldaboutthat?'
'Onlyvaguelythere'sbeensomuchtocatchupwith!Ididthinkthename

wasridiculoussinceitwasn'tamagneticanomalyanditwasinAfrica,not
Tycho!'
'You'requiteright,ofcourse,butwe'restuckwiththename.Andthemore
welearnabouttheMonoliths,themorethepuzzledeepens.Especiallyasthey're
stilltheonlyrealevidenceforadvancedtechnologybeyondtheEarth.'
'That'ssurprisedme.Ishouldhavethoughtthatbythislimewe'dhave
pickedupradiosignalsfromsomewhere.TheastronomersstartedsearchingwhenI
wasaboy!'
'Well,thereisonehintandit'ssoterrifyingthatwedon'tliketotalk
aboutit.HaveyouheardofNovaScorpio?'
'Idon'tbelieveso.'
'Starsgonovaallthetime,ofcourseandthiswasn'taparticularly
impressiveone.Butbeforeitblewup,NScorpwasknowntohaveseveral
planets.'
'Inhabited?'
'Absolutelynowayoftellingradiosearcheshadpickedupnothing.And
here'sthenightmare...'
'Luckily,theautomaticNovaPatrolcaughttheeventattheverybeginning.
Anditdidn'tstartatthestar.Oneoftheplanetsdetonatedfirst,andthen
triggereditssun.'
'MyGah...sorry,goon.'
'Youseethepoint.It'simpossibleforaplanettogonovaexceptinone
way.'
'Ioncereadasickjokeinasciencefictionnovel"supernovaeare
industrialaccidents".'
'Itwasn'tasupernovabutthatmaybenojoke.Themostwidelyaccepted
theoryisthatsomeoneelsehadbeentappingvacuumenergyandhadlost
control.'
'Oritcouldhavebeenawar.'
'Justasbadwe'llprobablyneverknow.Butasourowncivilizationdepends
onthesameenergysource,youcanunderstandwhyNScorpsometimesgivesus
nightmares.'

'Andweonlyhadmeltingnuclearreactorstoworryabout!'
'Notanylonger,thankDeus.ButIreallywantedtotellyoumoreaboutTMA
ZERO'sdiscovery,becauseitmarkedaturningpointinhumanhistory.'
'FindingTMAONEontheMoonwasabigenoughshock,butfivehundredyears
latertherewasaworseone.Anditwasmuchnearerhomeineverysenseofthe
word.DownthereinAfrica.'

8
ReturntoOlduvai

TheLeakeys,DrStephenDelMarcooftentoldhimself,wouldneverhave
recognizedthisplace,eventhoughit'sbarelyadozenkilometresfromwhere
LouisandMary,fivecenturiesago,dugupthebonesofourfirstancestors.
Globalwarming,andtheLittleIceAge(truncatedbymiraclesofheroic
technology)hadtransformedthelandscape,andcompletelyaltereditsbiota.
Oaksandpinetreeswerestillfightingitout,toseewhichwouldsurvivethe
changesinclimaticfortune.
Anditwashardtobelievethat,bythisyear2513,therewasanythingleft
inOlduvaiundugbyenthusiasticanthropologists.However,recentflashfloods
whichwerenotsupposedtohappenanymorehadresculptedthisarea,andcut
awayseveralmetresoftopsoil.DelMarcohadtakenadvantageofthe
opportunity:andthere,atthelimitofthedeepscan,wassomethinghecould
notquitebelieve.
Ithadtakenmorethanayearofslowandcarefulexcavationtoreachthat
ghostlyimage,andtolearnthattherealitywasstrangerthananythinghehad
daredtoimagine.Robotdiggingmachineshadswiftlyremovedthefirstfew
metres,thenthetraditionalslavecrewsofgraduatestudentshadtakenover.
Theyhadbeenhelpedorhinderedbyateamoffourkongs,whoDelMarco
consideredmoretroublethantheywereworth.However,thestudentsadoredthe
geneticallyenhancedgorillas,whomtheytreatedlikeretardedbutmuchloved
children.Itwasrumouredthattherelationshipswerenotalwayscompletely
Platonic.
Forthelastfewmetres,however,everythingwastheworkofhumanhands,
usuallywieldingtoothbrushessoftbristledatthat.Andnowitwasfinished:
HowardCarter,seeingthefirstglintofgoldinTutankhamen'stomb,hadnever
uncoveredsuchatreasureasthis.Fromthismomentonwards,DelMarcoknew,

humanbeliefsandphilosophieswouldbeirrevocablychanged.
TheMonolithappearedtobetheexacttwinofthatdiscoveredontheMoon
fivecenturiesearlier:eventheexcavationsurroundingitwasalmostidentical
insize.AndlikeTMAONE,itwastotallynonreflective,absorbingwithequal
indifferencethefierceglareoftheAfricanSunandthepalegleamofLucifer.
Asheledhiscolleaguesthedirectorsoftheworld'shalfdozenmost
famousmuseums,threeeminentanthropologists,theheadsoftwomediaempires
downintothepit,DelMarcowonderedifsuchadistinguishedgroupofmenand
womenhadeverbeensosilent,forsolong.Butthatwastheeffectthatthis
ebonrectanglehadonallvisitors,astheyrealizedtheimplicationsofthe
thousandsofartefactsthatsurroundedit.
Forherewasanarchaeologist'streasuretrovecrudelyfashionedflint
tools,countlessbonessomeanimal,somehumanandalmostallarrangedin
carefulpatterns.Forcenturiesno,millenniathesepitifulgiftshadbeen
broughthere,bycreatureswithonlythefirstglimmerofintelligence,as
tributetoamarvelbeyondtheirunderstanding.
Andbeyondours,DelMarcohadoftenthought.Yetoftwothingshewas
certain,thoughhedoubtedifproofwouldeverbepossible.
Thiswaswhereintimeandspacethehumanspecieshadreallybegun.
AndthisMonolithwastheveryfirstofallitsmultitudinousgods.

9
Skyland

'Thereweremiceinmybedroomlastnight,'Poolecomplained,onlyhalf
seriously.'Isthereanychanceyoucouldfindmeacat?'
DrWallacelookedpuzzled,thenstartedtolaugh.
'YoumusthaveheardoneofthecleaningmicrotsI'llgettheprogramming
checkedsotheydon'tdisturbyou.Trynottostepononeifyoucatchitat
workifyoudo,itwillcallforhelp,andallitsfriendswillcometopickup
thepieces.'
Somuchtolearnsolittletime!No,thatwasn'ttrue,Poolereminded
himself.Hemightwellhaveacenturyaheadofhim,thankstothemedical

scienceofthisage.Thethoughtwasalreadybeginningtofillhimwith
apprehensionratherthanpleasure.
Atleasthewasnowabletofollowmostconversationseasily,andhad
learnedtopronouncewordssothatIndrawasnottheonlypersonwhocould
understandhim.HewasverygladthatAnglishwasnowtheworldlanguage,though
French,RussianandMandarinstillflourished.
'I'veanotherproblem,IndraandIguessyou'retheonlypersonwhocan
help.WhenIsay"God",whydopeoplelookembarrassed?'
Indradidnotlookatallembarrassedinfact,shelaughed.
'That'saverycomplicatedstory.IwishmyoldfriendDrKhanwashereto
explainittoyoubuthe'sonGanymede,curinganyremainingTrueBelievershe
canfindthere.Whenalltheoldreligionswerediscreditedletmetellyou
aboutPopePiusXXsometimeoneofthegreatestmeninhistory!westill
neededawordforthePrimeCause,ortheCreatoroftheUniverseifthereis
one...'
'TherewerelotsofsuggestionsDeoTheoJoveBrahmatheywereall
tried,andsomeofthemarestillaroundespeciallyEinstein'sfavourite,"The
OldOne".ButDeusseemstobethefashionnowadays.'
'I'lltrytorememberbutitstillseemssillytome.'
'You'llgetusedtoit:I'llteachyousomeotherreasonablypolite
expletives,tousewhenyouwanttoexpressyourfeelings...'
'Yousaidthatalltheoldreligionshavebeendiscredited.Sowhatdo
peoplebelievenowadays?'
'Aslittleaspossible.We'realleitherDeistsorTheists.'
'You'velostme.Definitions,please.'
'Theywereslightlydifferentinyourtime,butherearethelatest
versions.Theistsbelievethere'snotmorethanoneGodDeiststhatthereis
notlessthanoneGod.'
'I'mafraidthedistinction'stoosubtleforme.'
'Notforeveryoneyou'dbeamazedatthebittercontroversiesit'saroused.
Fivecenturiesago,someoneusedwhat'sknownassurrealmathematicstoprove
there'saninfinitenumberofgradesbetweenTheistsandDeists.Ofcourse,like
mostdabblerswithinfinity,hewentinsane.Bytheway,thebestknownDeists

wereAmericans Washington,Franklin,Jefferson.'
'Alittlebeforemytimethoughyou'dbesurprisedhowmanypeopledon't
realizeit.'
'NowI'vesomegoodnews.JoeProf.Andersonhasfinallygivenhis
whatwasthephrase?OK.You'refitenoughtogoforalittletripupstairs...
totheLunarLevel.'
'Wonderful.Howfaristhat?'
'Oh,abouttwelvethousandkilometres.'
'Twelvethousand!Thatwilltakehours!'
Indralookedsurprisedathisremark:thenshesmiled.
'Notaslongasyouthink.Nowedon'thaveaStarTrekTransporteryet
thoughIbelievethey'restillworkingonit!Butyou'llneednewclothes,and
someonetoshowyouhowtowearthem.Andtohelpyouwiththehundredsof
littleeverydayjobsthatcanwastesomuchtime.Sowe'vetakenthelibertyof
arrangingahumanpersonalassistantforyouComein,Danil.'
Danilwasasmall,lightbrownmaninhismidthirties,whosurprisedPoole
bynotgivinghimtheusualpalmtopsalute,withitsautomaticexchangeof
information.
Indeed,itsoonappearedthatDanildidnotpossessanIdent:wheneverit
wasneeded,heproducedasmallrectangleofplasticthatapparentlyservedthe
samepurposeasthetwentyfirstcentury's'smartcards'.
'Danilwillalsobeyourguideandwhatwasthatword?Icannever
rememberrhymeswith"ballet".He'sbeenspeciallytrainedforthejob.I'm
sureyou'llfindhimcompletelysatisfactory.'
ThoughPooleappreciatedthisgesture,itmadehimfeelalittle
uncomfortable.Avalet,indeed!Hecouldnotrecallevermeetingoneinhis
time,theywerealreadyarareandendangeredspecies.Hebegantofeellikea
characterfromanearlytwentiethcenturyEnglishnovel.
'Youhaveachoice,'saidIndra,'thoughIknowwhichoneyou'lltake.We
cangouponanexternalelevator,andadmirethevieworaninteriorone,and
enjoyamealandsomelightentertainment.'
'Ican'timagineanyonewantingtostayinside.'

'You'dbesurprised.It'stoovertiginousforsomepeopleespecially
visitorsfromdownbelow.Evenmountainclimberswhosaythey'vegotaheadfor
heightsmaystarttoturngreenwhentheheightsaremeasuredinthousandsof
kilometres,insteadofmetres.'
'I'llriskit,'Pooleansweredwithasmile.'I'vebeenhigher.'
Whentheyhadpassedthroughadoublesetofairlocksintheexteriorwall
oftheTower(wasitimagination,ordidhefeelacurioussenseof
disorientationthen?)theyenteredwhatmighthavebeentheauditoriumofavery
smalltheatre.Rowsoftenseatswerebankedupinfivetiers:theyallfaced
towardsoneofthehugepicturewindowswhichPoolestillfounddisconcerting,
ashecouldneverquiteforgetthehundredsoftonsofairpressure,strivingto
blastitoutintospace.
Thedozenorsootherpassengers,whohadprobablynevergiventhematter
anythought,seemedperfectlyatease.Theyallsmiledastheyrecognizedhim,
noddedpolitely,thenturnedawaytoadmiretheview.
'WelcometoSkylounge,'saidtheinevitableautovoice.'Ascentbeginsin
fiveminutes.Youwillfindrefreshmentsandtoiletsonthelowerfloor.'
Justhowlongwillthistriplast?Poolewondered.We'regoingtotravel
overtwentythousandklicks,thereandback:thiswillbelikenoelevatorride
I'veeverknownonEarth...
Whilehewaswaitingfortheascenttobegin,heenjoyedthestunning
panoramalaidouttwothousandkilometresbelow.Itwaswinterinthenorthern
hemisphere,buttheclimatehadindeedchangeddrastically,fortherewaslittle
snowsouthoftheArcticCircle.
Europewasalmostcloudfree,andtherewassomuchdetailthattheeyewas
overwhelmed.Onebyoneheidentifiedthegreatcitieswhosenameshadechoed
downthecenturiestheyhadbeenshrinkingeveninhistime,asthe
communicationsrevolutionchangedthefaceoftheworld,andhadnowdwindled
stillfurther.Therewerealsosomebodiesofwaterinimprobableplacesthe
northernSahara'sLakeSaladinwasalmostasmallsea.
Poolewassoengrossedbytheviewthathehadforgottenthepassageof
time.Suddenlyherealizedthatmuchmorethanfiveminuteshadpassedyetthe
elevatorwasstillstationary.Hadsomethinggonewrongorweretheywaiting
forlatearrivals?
Andthenhenoticedsomethingsoextraordinarythatatfirstherefusedto
believetheevidenceofhiseyes.Thepanoramahadexpanded,asifhehad
alreadyrisenhundredsofkilometres!Evenashewatched,henoticednew

featuresoftheplanetbelowcreepingintotheframeofthewindow.
ThenPoolelaughed,astheobviousexplanationoccurredtohim.
'Youcouldhavefooledme,Indra!Ithoughtthiswasrealnotavideo
projection!'
Indralookedbackathimwithaquizzicalsmile.
'Thinkagain,Frank.Westartedtomoveabouttenminutesago.Bynowwe
mustbeclimbingat,ohatleastathousandkilometresanhour.ThoughI'm
toldtheseelevatorscanreachahundredgeeatmaximumacceleration,wewon't
touchmorethanten,onthisshortrun.'
'That'simpossible!Sixisthemaximumtheyevergavemeinthecentrifuge,
andIdidn'tenjoyweighinghalfaton.Iknowwehaven'tmovedsincewestepped
inside.'
Poolehadraisedhisvoiceslightly,andsuddenlybecameawarethatthe
otherpassengerswerepretendingnottonotice.
'Idon'tunderstandhowit'sdone,Frank,butit'scalledaninertialfield.
OrsometimesaSharponethe"S"standsforafamousRussianscientist,
SakharovIdon'tknowwhotheotherswere.'
Slowly,understandingdawnedinPoole'smindandalsoasenseofawe
struckwonder.Hereindeedwasa'technologyindistinguishablefrommagic'.
'Someofmyfriendsusedtodreamof"spacedrives"energyfieldsthat
couldreplacerockets,andallowmovementwithoutanyfeelingofacceleration,
Mostofusthoughttheywerecrazybutitseemstheywereright!Icanstill
hardlybelieveit...andunlessI'mmistaken,we'restartingtoloseweight.'
'Yesit'sadjustingtothelunarvalue.Whenwestepout,you'llfeel
we'reontheMoon.Butforgoodness'sake,Frankforgetyou'reanengineer,
andsimplyenjoytheview.'
Itwasgoodadvice,butevenashewatchedthewholeofAfrica,Europeand
muchofAsiaflowintohisfieldofvision,Poolecouldnottearhismindaway
fromthisastonishingrevelation.Yetheshouldnothavebeenwhollysurprised:
heknewthattherehadbeenmajorbreakthroughsinspacepropulsionsystems
sincehistime,buthadnotrealizedthattheywouldhavesuchdramatic
applicationstoeverydaylifeifthattermcouldbeappliedtoexistenceina
thirtysixthousandkilometrehighskyscraper.
Andtheageoftherocketmusthavebeenover,centuriesago.Allhis

knowledgeofpropellantsystemsandcombustionchambers,ionthrustersand
fusionreactors,wastotallyobsolete.Ofcourse,thatnolongermatteredbut
heunderstoodthesadnessthattheskipperofawindjammermusthavefelt,when
sailgavewaytosteam.
Hismoodchangedabruptly,andhecouldnothelpsmiling,whentherobovoice
announced,'Arrivingintwominutes.Pleasemakesurethatyoudonotleaveany
ofyourpersonalbelongingsbehind.'
Howoftenhehadheardthatannouncement,onsomecommercialflight?He
lookedathiswatch,andwassurprisedtoseethattheyhadbeenascendingfor
lessthanhalfanhourSothatmeantanaveragespeedofatleasttwenty
thousandkilometresanhour,yettheymightneverhavemoved.Whatwaseven
strangerforthelasttenminutesormoretheymustactuallyhavebeen
deceleratingsorapidlythatbyrightstheyshouldallhavebeenstandingonthe
roof,headspointingtowardsEarth!
Thedoorsopenedsilently,andasPoolesteppedoutheagainfelttheslight
disorientationhehadnoticedonenteringtheelevatorlounge.Thistime,
however,heknewwhatitmeant:hewasmovingthroughthetransitionzonewhere
theinertialfieldoverlappedwithgravityatthislevel,equaltotheMoon's.
IndraandDanilfollowedhim,walkingcarefullynowatathirdoftheir
customaryweight,astheywentforwardtomeetthenextoftheday'swonders.
ThoughtheviewoftherecedingEarthhadbeenawesome,evenforan
astronaut,therewasnothingunexpectedorsurprisingaboutit.Butwhowould
haveimaginedagiganticchamber,apparentlyoccupyingtheentirewidthofthe
Tower,sothatthefarwallwasmorethanfivekilometresaway?Perhapsbythis
timetherewerelargerenclosedvolumesontheMoonandMars,butthismust
surelybeoneofthelargestinspaceitself.
Theywerestandingonaviewingplatform,fiftymetresupontheouterwall,
lookingacrossanastonishinglyvariedpanorama.Obviously,anattempthadbeen
madetoreproduceawholerangeofterrestrialbiomes.Immediatelybeneaththem
wasagroupofslendertreeswhichPoolecouldnotatfirstidentify:thenhe
realizedthattheywereoaks,adaptedtoonesixthoftheirnormalgravity.
What,hewondered,wouldpalmfreeslooklikehere?Giantreeds,probably...
Inthemiddledistancetherewasasmalllake,fedbyariverthatmeandered
acrossagrassyplain,thendisappearedintosomethingthatlookedlikeasingle
giganticbanyantree.Whatwasthesourceofthewater?Poolehadbecomeaware
ofafaintdrummingsound,andasheswepthisgazealongthegentlycurving
wall,hediscoveredaminiatureNiagara,withaperfectrainbowhoveringinthe
sprayaboveit.

Hecouldhavestoodhereforhours,admiringtheviewandstillnot
exhaustingallthewondersofthiscomplexandbrilliantlycontrivedsimulation
oftheplanetbelow.Asitspreadoutintonewandhostileenvironments,perhaps
thehumanracefeltaneverincreasingneedtorememberitsorigins.Ofcourse,
eveninhisowntimeeverycityhaditsparksasusuallyfeebleremindersof
Nature.Thesameimpulsemustbeactinghere,onamuchgranderscale.Central
Park,AfricaTower!
'Let'sgodown,'saidIndra.'There'ssomuchtosee,andIdon'tcomehere
asoftenasI'dlike.'
FollowedbythesilentbuteverpresentDanil,whoalwaysseemedtoknow
whenhewasneededbutotherwisekeptoutoftheway,theybeganaleisurely
explorationofthisoasisinspace.Thoughwalkingwasalmosteffortlessinthis
lowgravity,fromtimetotimetheytookadvantageofasmallmonorail,and
stoppedonceforrefreshmentsatacafe,cunninglyconcealedinthetrunkofa
redwoodthatmusthavebeenatleastaquarterofakilometretall.
Therewereveryfewotherpeopleabouttheirfellowpassengershadlong
sincedisappearedintothelandscapesoitwasasiftheyhadallthis
wonderlandtothemselves.
Everythingwassobeautifullymaintained,presumablybyarmiesofrobots,
thatfromtimetotimePoolewasremindedofavisithehadmadetoDisneyWorld
asasmallboy.Butthiswasevenbetter:therewerenocrowds,andindeedvery
littlereminderofthehumanraceanditsartefacts.
Theywereadmiringasuperbcollectionoforchids,someofenormoussize,
whenPoolehadoneofthebiggestshocksofhislife.Astheywalkedpasta
typicalsmallgardener'sshed,thedooropenedandthegardeneremerged.
FrankPoolehadalwayspridedhimselfonhisselfcontrol,andnever
imaginedthatasafullgrownadulthewouldgiveacryofpurefright.Butlike
everyboyofhisgeneration,hehadseenallthe'Jurassic'moviesandheknew
araptorwhenhemetoneeyetoeye.
'I'mterriblysorry,'saidIndra,withobviousconcern.'Ineverthoughtof
warningyou.'
Poole'sjanglingnervesreturnedtonormal.Ofcourse,therecouldbeno
danger,inthisperhapstoowellorderedworld:butstill...!
Thedinosaurreturnedhisstarewithapparenttotaldisinterest,then
doubledbackintotheshedandemergedagainwitharakeandapairofgarden
shears,whichitdroppedintoabaghangingoveroneshoulder.Itwalkedaway
fromthemwithabirdlikegait,neverlookingbackasitdisappearedbehind

sometenmetrehighsunflowers.
'Ishouldexplain,'saidIndracontritely.'Weliketousebioorganisms
whenwecan,ratherthanrobotsIsupposeit'scarbonchauvinism!Now,there
areonlyafewanimalsthathaveanymanualdexterity,andwe'veusedthemall
atonetimeoranother.'
'Andhere'samysterythatnoone'sbeenabletosolve.You'dthinkthat
enhancedherbivoreslikeorangutansandgorillaswouldbegoodatthissortof
work.Well,they'renottheydon'thavethepatienceforit.'
'Yetcarnivoreslikeourfriendhereareexcellent,andeasilytrained.
What'smorehere'sanotherparadox!afterthey'vebeenmodifiedthey're
docileandgoodnatured.Ofcourse,there'salmostathousandyearsofgenetic
engineeringbehindthem,andlookwhatprimitivemandidtothewolf,merelyby
trialanderror!'
Indralaughedandcontinued:'Youmaynotbelievethis,Frank,buttheyalso
makegoodbabysitterschildrenlovethem!There'safivehundredyearold
joke:"Wouldyoutrustyourkidstoadinosaur?""Whatandriskinjuringit?"'
Poolejoinedinthelaughter,partlyinshamefacedreactiontohisown
fright.Tochangethesubject,heaskedIndrathequestionthatwasstill
worryinghim.
'Allthis,'hesaid,'it'swonderfulbutwhygotosomuchtrouble,when
anyoneintheTowercanreachtherealthing,justasquickly?'
Indralookedathimthoughtfully,weighingherwords.'That'snotquite
true.It'suncomfortableevendangerousforanyonewholivesabovethehalf
geeleveltogodowntoEarth,eveninahoverchair.Soithastobethisor,
asyouusedtosay,VirtualReality.'
(NowIbegintounderstand,Pooletoldhimselfbleakly.Thatexplains
Anderson'sevasiveness,andallthetestshe'sbeendoingtoseeifI've
regainedmystrength.I'vecomeallthewaybackfromJupiter,towithintwo
thousandkilometresofEarthbutImayneveragainwalkonthesurfaceofmy
homeplanet.I'mnotsurehowIwillbeabletohandlethis...)

10
HomagetoIcarus

Hisdepressionquicklypassed:therewassomuchtodoandsee.Athousand
lifetimeswouldnothavebeenenough,andtheproblemwastochoosewhichofthe
myriaddistractionsthisagecouldoffer.Hetried,notalwayssuccessfully,to
avoidthetrivia,andtoconcentrateonthethingsthatmatterednotablyhis
education.
TheBraincapandthebooksizedplayerthatwentwithit,inevitably
calledtheBrainboxwasofenormousvaluehere.Hesoonhadasmalllibraryof
'instantknowledge'tablets,eachcontainingallthematerialneededfora
collegedegree.WhenheslippedoneoftheseintotheBrainbox,andgaveitthe
speedandintensityadjustmentsthatmostsuitedhim,therewouldbeaflashof
light,followedbyaperiodofunconsciousnessthatmightlastaslongasan
hour.Whenheawoke,itseemedthatnewareasofhismindhadbeenopenedup,
thoughheonlyknewtheyweretherewhenhesearchedforthem.Itwasalmostas
ifhewastheownerofalibrarywhohadsuddenlydiscoveredshelvesofbookshe
didnotknowhepossessed.
Toalargeextent,hewasthemasterofhisowntime.Outofasenseofduty
andgratitudeheaccededtoasmanyrequestsashecouldfromscientists,
historians,writersandartistsworkinginmediathatwereoften
incomprehensibletohim.Healsohadcountlessinvitationsfromothercitizens
ofthefourTowers,virtuallyallofwhichhewascompelledtoturndown.
Mosttemptingandmosthardtoresistwerethosethatcamefromthe
beautifulplanetspreadoutbelow.'Ofcourse,'ProfessorAndersonhadtoldhim,
'you'dsurviveifyouwentdownforshorttimewiththerightlifesupport
system,butyouwouldn'tenjoyit.Anditmightweakenyourneuromuscularsystem
evenfurther.It'sneverreallyrecoveredfromthatthousandyearsleep.'
Hisotherguardian,IndraWallace,protectedhimfromunnecessary
intrusions,andadvisedhimwhichrequestsheshouldacceptandwhichhe
shouldpolitelyrefuse.Byhimself,hewouldneverunderstandthesocio
politicalstructureofthisincrediblycomplexculture,buthesoongathered
that,althoughintheoryallclassdistinctionshadvanished,therewereafew
thousandsupercitizens.GeorgeOrwellhadbeenrightsomewouldalwaysbemore
equalthanothers.
Therehadbeentimeswhen,conditionedbyhistwentyfirstcentury
experience,Poolehadwonderedwhowaspayingforallthishospitalitywould
heonedaybepresentedwiththeequivalentofanenormoushotelbill?ButIndra
hadquicklyreassuredhim:hewasauniqueandpricelessmuseumexhibit,so
wouldneverhavetoworryaboutsuchmundaneconsiderations.Anythinghewanted
withinreasonwouldbemadeavailabletohim:Poolewonderedwhatthelimits
were,neverimaginingthatonedayhewouldattempttodiscoverthem.

Allthemostimportantthingsinlifehappenbyaccident,andhehadsethis
walldisplaybrowseronrandomscan,silent,whenastrikingimagecaughthis
attention.
'Stopscan!Soundup!'heshouted,withquiteunnecessaryloudness.
Herecognizedthemusic,butitwasafewminutesbeforeheidentifiedit
thefactthathiswallwasfilledwithwingedhumanscirclinggracefullyround
eachotherundoubtedlyhelped.ButTchaikovskywouldhavebeenutterly
astonishedtoseethisperformanceofSwanLakewiththedancersactually
flying...
Poolewatched,entranced,forseveralminutes,untilhewasfairlyconfident
thatthiswasreality,andnotasimulation:eveninhisownday,onecould
neverbequitecertain.Presumablytheballetwasbeingperformedinoneofthe
manylowgravityenvironmentsaverylargeone,judgingbysomeoftheimages.
ItmightevenbehereinAfricaTower.
Iwanttotrythat,Pooledecided.HehadneverquiteforgiventheSpace
Agencyforbanningoneofhisgreatestpleasuresdelayedparachuteformation
jumpingeventhoughhecouldseetheAgency'spointinnotwantingtoriska
valuableinvestment.Thedoctorshadbeenquiteunhappyabouthisearlierhang
glidingaccidentfortunatelyhisteenageboneshadhealedcompletely.
'Well,'hethought,'there'snoonetostopmenowunlessit'sProf.
Anderson...'
ToPoole'srelief,thephysicianthoughtitanexcellentidea,andhewas
alsopleasedtofindthateveryoneoftheTowershaditsownAviary,upatthe
onetenthgeelevel.
Withinafewdayshewasbeingmeasuredforhiswings,notintheleastlike
theelegantversionswornbytheperformersofSwanLake.Insteadoffeathers
therewasaflexiblemembrane,andwhenhegraspedthehandholdsattachedto
thesupportingribs,Poolerealizedthathemustlookmuchmorelikeabatthan
abird.Howeverhis'Moveover,Dracula!'wascompletelywastedonhis
instructor,whowasapparentlyunacquaintedwithvampires.
Forhisfirstlessonshewasrestrainedbyalightharness,sothathedid
notmoveanywherewhilehewastaughtthebasicstrokesand,mostimportantof
all,learnedcontrolandstability.Likemanyacquiredskills,itwasnotquite
aseasyasitlooked.
Hefeltridiculousinthissafetyharnesshowcouldanyoneinjure
themselvesatatenthofagravity!andwasgladthatheneededonlyafew

lessonsdoubtlesshisastronauttraininghelped.Hewas,theWingmastertold
him,thebestpupilhehadevertaught:butperhapshesaidthattoallofthem.
Afteradozenfreeflightsinachamberfortymetresonaside,criss
crossedwithvariousobstacleswhichheeasilyavoided,Poolewasgiventheall
clearforhisfirstsoloandfeltnineteenyearsoldagain,abouttotakeoff
intheFlagstaffAeroClub'santiqueCessna.
Theunexcitingname'TheAviary'hadnotpreparedhimforthevenueofthis
maidenflight.Thoughitseemedevenmoreenormousthanthespaceholdingthe
forestsandgardensdownatthelunargeelevel,itwasalmostthesamesize,
sinceittoooccupiedanentirefloorofthegentlytaperingTower.Acircular
void,halfakilometrehighandoverfourkilometreswide,itappearedtruly
enormous,astherewerenofeaturesonwhichtheeyecouldrest.Becausethe
wallswereauniformpaleblue,theycontributedtotheimpressionofinfinite
space.
PoolehadnotreallybelievedtheWingmaster'sboast,'Youcanhaveany
sceneryyoulike',andintendedtothrowhimwhathewassurewasanimpossible
challenge.Butonthisfirstflight,atthedizzyaltitudeoffiftymetres,
therewerenovisualdistractions,Ofcourse,afallfromtheequivalent
altitudeoffivemetresinthetenfoldgreaterEarthgravitycouldbreakone's
neckhowever,evenminorbruiseswereunlikelyhere,astheentirefloorwas
coveredwithanetworkofflexiblecablesThewholechamberwasagiant
trampolineonecould,thoughtPoole,havealotoffunhereevenwithout
wings.
Withfirm,downwardstrokes,Pooleliftedhimselfintotheair.Inalmostno
time,itseemedthathewasahundredmetresintheair,andstillrising.
'Slowdown'saidtheWingmaster,'Ican'tkeepupwithyou,'
Poolestraightenedout,thenattemptedaslowroll.Hefeltlightheadedas
wellaslightbodied(lessthantenkilograms!)andwonderedifthe
concentrationofoxygenhadbeenincreased.
Thiswaswonderfulquitedifferentfromzerogravity,asitposedmoreof
aphysicalchallenge.Thenearestthingtoitwasscubadiving:hewishedthere
werebirdshere,toemulatetheequallycolourfulcoralfishwhohadsooften
accompaniedhimovertropicalreefs.
Onebyone,theWingmasterputhimthroughaseriesofmanoeuvresrolls,
loops,upsidedownflying,hovering.
Finallyhesaid:'NothingmoreIcanteachyou.Nowlet'senjoytheview.'

Justforamoment,Poolealmostlostcontrolashewasprobablyexpected
todo.For,withouttheslightestwarning,hewassurroundedbysnowcapped
mountains,andwasflyingdownanarrowpass,onlymetresfromsomeunpleasantly
jaggedrocks.
Ofcourse,thiscouldnotbereal:thosemountainswereasinsubstantialas
clouds,andhecouldflyrightthroughthemifhewished.Nevertheless,he
veeredawayfromthecliffface(therewasaneagle'snestononeofitsledges,
holdingtwoeggswhichhefelthecouldtouchifhecamecloser)andheadedfor
moreopenspace.
Themountainsvanishedsuddenly,itwasnight.Andthenthestarscameout
notthemiserablefewthousandintheimpoverishedskiesofEarth,butlegions
beyondcounting.Andnotonlystars,butthespiralwhirlpoolsofdistant
galaxies,theteeming,closepackedsunswarmsofglobularclusters.
Therewasnopossiblewaythiscouldbereal,evenifhehadbeenmagically
transportedtosomeworldwheresuchskiesexisted.Forthosegalaxieswere
recedingevenashewatchedstarswerefading,exploding,beingborninstellar
nurseriesofglowingfiremist.Everysecond,amillionyearsmustbepassing...
Theoverwhelmingspectacledisappearedasquicklyasithadcome:hewas
backintheemptysky,aloneexceptforhisinstructor,inthefeaturelessblue
cylinderoftheAviary.
'Ithinkthat'senoughforoneday,'saidtheWingmaster,hoveringafew
metresabovePoole.'Whatscenerywouldyoulike,thenexttimeyoucomehere?'
Pooledidnothesitate.Withasmile,heansweredthequestion.

11
HerebeDragons

Hewouldneverhavebelieveditpossible,evenwiththetechnologyofthis
dayandage.Howmanyterabytespetabyteswastherealargeenoughword?
ofinformationmusthavebeenaccumulatedoverthecenturies,andinwhatsort
ofstoragemedium?Betternotthinkaboutit,andfollowIndra'sadvice:'Forget
you'reanengineerandenjoyyourself.'
Hewascertainlyenjoyinghimselfnow,thoughhispleasurewasmixedwithan
almostoverwhelmingsenseofnostalgia.Forhewasflying,orsoitseemed,at
analtitudeofabouttwokilometres,abovethespectacularandunforgotten

landscapeofhisyouth.Ofcourse,theperspectivewasfalse,sincetheAviary
wasonlyhalfakilometrehigh,buttheillusionwasperfect.
HecircledMeteorCrater,rememberinghowhehadscrambledupitssides
duringhisearlierastronauttraining.Howincrediblethatanyonecouldever
havedoubteditsorigin,andtheaccuracyofitsname!Yetwellintothe
twentiethcentury,distinguishedgeologistshadarguedthatitwasvolcanic:not
untilthecomingoftheSpaceAgewasitreluctantlyacceptedthatall
planetswerestillundercontinualbombardment.
Poolewasquitesurethathiscomfortablecruisingspeedwasnearertwenty
thantwohundredkilometresanhour,yethehadbeenallowedtoreachFlagstaff
inlessthanfifteenminutes.Andtherewerethewhitelygleamingdomesofthe
LowellObservatory,whichhehadvisitedsooftenasaboy,andwhosefriendly
staffhadundoubtedlybeenresponsibleforhischoiceofcareer.Hehad
sometimeswonderedwhathisprofessionmighthavebeen,hadhenotbeenbornin
Arizona,neartheveryspotwherethemostlongenduringandinfluentialof
Martianfantasieshadbeencreated.Perhapsitwasimagination,butPoole
thoughthecouldjustseeLowell'suniquetomb,closetothegreattelescope,
whichhadfuelledhisdreams.
Fromwhatyear,andwhatseason,hadthisimagebeencaptured?Heguessedit
hadcomefromthespysatelliteswhichhadwatchedovertheworldoftheearly
twentyfirstcentury.Itcouldnotbemuchlaterthanhisowntime,forthe
layoutofthecitywasjustasheremembered.Perhapsifhewentlowenoughhe
wouldevenseehimself...
Butheknewthatwasabsurdhehadalreadydiscoveredthatthiswasthe
nearesthecouldget.Ifheflewanycloser,theimagewouldstarttobreakup,
revealingitsbasicpixels.Itwasbettertokeephisdistance,andnotdestroy
thebeautifulillusion.
Andthereitwasincredible!wasthelittleparkwherehehadplayed
withhisjuniorandhighschoolfriends.TheCityFatherswerealwaysarguing
aboutitsmaintenance,asthewatersupplybecamemoreandmorecritical.Well,
atleastithadsurvivedtothistimewheneverthatmightbe.
Andthenanothermemorybroughttearstohiseyes.Alongthosenarrowpaths,
wheneverhecouldgethomefromHoustonortheMoon,hehadwalkedwithhis
belovedRhodesianRidgeback,throwingsticksforhimtoretrieve,asmananddog
haddonefromtimeimmemorial.
Poolehadhoped,withallhisheart,thatRikkiwouldstillbethereto
greethimwhenhereturnedfromJupiter,andhadlefthiminthecareofhis
youngerbrotherMartin.Healmostlostcontrol,andsankseveralmetresbefore
regainingstability,asheoncemorefacedthebittertruththatbothRikkiand

Martinhadbeendustforcenturies.
Whenhecouldseeproperlyagain,henoticedthatthedarkbandoftheGrand
Canyonwasjustvisibleonthefarhorizon.Hewasdebatingwhethertoheadfor
ithewasgrowingalittletiredwhenhebecameawarethathewasnotalone
inthesky.Somethingelsewasapproaching,anditwascertainlynotahuman
flyer.Althoughitwasdifficulttojudgedistanceshere,itseemedmuchtoo
largeforthat.
Well,hethought,I'mnotparticularlysurprisedtomeetapterodactylhere
indeed,it'sjustthesortofthingI'dexpect.Ihopeit'sfriendlyorthat
Icanoutflyitifitisn't.Oh,no!
Apterodactylwasnotabadguess:maybeeightpointsoutoften.Whatwas
approachinghimnow,withslowflapsofitsgreatleatherywings,wasadragon
straightoutofFairyland.And,tocompletethepicture,therewasabeautiful
ladyridingonitsback.Atleast,Pooleassumedshewasbeautiful.The
traditionalimagewasratherspoiledbyonetriflingdetail:muchofherface
wasconcealedbyalargepairofaviator'sgogglesthatmighthavecomestraight
fromtheopencockpitofaWorldWarIbiplane.
Poolehoveredinmidair,likeaswimmertreadingwater,untiltheoncoming
monstercamecloseenoughforhimtoheartheflappingofitsgreatwings.Even
whenitwaslessthantwentymetresaway,hecouldnotdecidewhetheritwasa
machineorabioconstruct:probablyboth.
Andthenheforgotaboutthedragon,fortheriderremovedhergoggles.
Thetroublewithcliches,somephilosopherremarked,probablywithayawn,
isthattheyaresoboringlytrue.
But'loveatfirstsight'isneverboring.

Danilcouldprovidenoinformation,butthenPoolehadnotexpectedanyfrom
him.Hisubiquitousescorthecertainlywouldnotpassmusterasaclassic
valetseemedsolimitedinhisfunctionsthatPoolesometimeswonderedifhe
wasmentallyhandicapped,unlikelythoughthatseemed.Heunderstoodthe
functioningofallthehouseholdappliances,carriedoutsimpleorderswith
speedandefficiency,andknewhiswayabouttheTower.Butthatwasallitwas
impossibletohaveanintelligentconversationwithhim,andanypolitequeries
abouthisfamilyweremetwithalookofblankincomprehension.Poolehadeven
wonderedifhetoowasabiorobot.
Indra,however,gavehimtheanswerheneededrightaway.

'Oh,you'vemettheDragonLady!'
'Isthatwhatyoucallher?What'sherrealnameandcanyougetmeher
Ident?Wewerehardlyinapositiontotouchpalms.'
'Ofcoursenoproblemo.'
'Wheredidyoupickupthat?'
Indralookeduncharacteristicallyconfused.
'I'venoideasomeoldbookormovie.Isitagoodfigureofspeech?'
'Notifyou'reoverfifteen.'
'I'lltrytoremember.Nowtellmewhathappenedunlessyouwanttomake
mejealous.'
Theywerenowsuchgoodfriendsthattheycoulddiscussanysubjectwith
perfectfrankness.Indeed,theyhadlaughinglylamentedtheirtotallackof
romanticinterestineachotherthoughIndrahadoncecommented,'Iguessthat
ifwewerebothmaroonedonadesertasteroid,withnohopeofrescue,wecould
cometosomearrangement.'
'First,youtellmewhosheis.'
'Hername'sAuroraMcAuleyamongmanyotherthings,she'sPresidentofthe
SocietyforCreativeAnachronisms.AndifyouthoughtDracowasimpressive,wait
untilyouseesomeoftheirotherahcreations.LikeMobyDickandawhole
zoofulofdinosaursMotherNatureneverthoughtof.'
Thisistoogoodtobetrue,thoughtPoole.
IamthebiggestanachronismonPlanetEarth.

12
Frustration

Untilnow,hehadalmostforgottenthatconversationwiththeSpaceAgency
psychologist.

'YoumaybegonefromEarthforatleastthreeyears.Ifyoulike,Ican
giveyouaharmlessanaphrodisiacimplantthatwilllastoutthemission.I
promisewe'llmorethanmakeitup,whenyougethome.'
'Nothanks,'Poolehadanswered,tryingtokeephisfacestraightwhenhe
continued,'IthinkIcanhandleit.'
Nevertheless,hehadbecomesuspiciousafterthethirdorfourthweekand
sohadDaveBowman.
'I'venoticedittoo,'Davesaid'Ibetthosedamndoctorsputsomethingin
ourdiet...'
Whateverthatsomethingwasifindeedithadeverexisteditwas
certainlylongpastitsshelflife.Untilnow,Poolehadbeentoobusytoget
involvedinanyemotionalentanglements,andhadpolitelyturneddowngenerous
offersfromseveralyoung(andnotsoyoung)ladies.Hewasnotsurewhetherit
washisphysiqueorhisfamethatappealedtothem:perhapsitwasnothingmore
thansimplecuriosityaboutamanwho,foralltheyknew,mightbeanancestor
fromtwentyorthirtygenerationsinthepast.
ToPoole'sdelight,MistressMcAuley'sIdentconveyedtheinformationthat
shewascurrentlybetweenlovers,andhewastednofurthertimeincontacting
her.Withintwentyfourhourshewaspillionriding,withhisarmsenjoyably
aroundherwaist.Hehadalsolearnedwhyaviator'sgoggleswereagoodidea,
forDracowasentirelyrobotic,andcouldeasilycruiseatahundredklicks.
Pooledoubtedifanyrealdragonshadeverattainedsuchspeeds.
Hewasnotsurprisedthattheeverchanginglandscapesbelowthemwere
straightoutoflegend.AliBabahadwavedangrilyatthem,astheyovertookhis
flyingcarpet,shouting'Can'tyouseewhereyou'regoing!'Yethemustbea
longwayfromBaghdad,becausethedreamingspiresoverwhichtheynowcircled
couldonlybeOxford.
Auroraconfirmedhisguessasshepointeddown:'That'sthepubtheinn
whereLewisandTolkienusedtomeettheirfriends,theInklings.Andlookat
theriverthatboatjustcomingoutfromthebridgedoyouseethetwo
littlegirlsandtheclergymaninit?'
'Yes,'heshoutedbackagainstthegentlesussurationofDraco'sslipstream.
'AndIsupposeoneofthemisAlice.'
Auroraturnedandsmiledathimoverhershoulder:sheseemedgenuinely
delighted.
'Quitecorrect:she'sanaccuratereplica,basedontheReverend'sphotos.I

wasafraidyouwouldn'tknow.Somanypeoplestoppedreadingsoonafteryour
time.'
Poolefeltaglowofsatisfaction.
IbelieveI'vepassedanothertest,hetoldhimselfsmugly.RidingonDraco
musthavebeenthefirst.Howmanymore,Iwonder?Fightingwithbroadswords?
Buttherewerenomore,andtheanswertotheimmemorial'Yourplaceor
mine?'wasPoole's.

Thenextmorning,shakenandmortified,hecontactedProfessorAnderson.
'Everythingwasgoingsplendidly,'helamented,'whenshesuddenlybecame
hystericalandpushedmeaway.IwasafraidI'dhurthersomehow'Thenshe
calledtheroomlightwe'dbeenindarknessandjumpedoutofbed.IguessI
wasjuststaringlikeafool...'Helaughedruefully.'Shewascertainlyworth
staringat.'
'I'msureofit.Goon.'
'AfterafewminutessherelaxedandsaidsomethingI'llneverbeableto
forget.'
AndersonwaitedpatientlyforPooletocomposehimself.'Shesaid:"I'm
reallysorry,Frank.Wecouldhavehadagoodtime.ButIdidn'tknowthatyou'd
beenmutilated."
Theprofessorlookedbaffled,butonlyforamoment.'OhIunderstand.I'm
sorrytoo,FrankperhapsIshouldhavewarnedyou.Inmythirtyyearsof
practice,I'veonlyseenhalfadozencasesallforvalidmedicalreasons,
whichcertainlydidn'tapplytoyou...'
'Circumcisionmadealotofsenseinprimitivetimesandeveninyour
centuryasadefenceagainstsomeunpleasantevenfataldiseasesin
backwardcountrieswithpoorhygiene.Butotherwisetherewasabsolutelyno
excuseforitandseveralargumentsagainst,asyou'vejustdiscovered!'
'IcheckedtherecordsafterI'dexaminedyouthefirsttime,andfoundthat
bymidtwentyfirstcenturytherehadbeensomanymalpracticesuitsthatthe
AmericanMedicalAssociationhadbeenforcedtobanit.Theargumentsamongthe
contemporarydoctorsareveryentertaining.'
'I'msuretheyare,'saidPoolemorosely.

'Insomecountriesitcontinuedforanothercentury:thensomeunknown
geniuscoinedasloganpleaseexcusethevulgarity"Goddesignedus:
circumcisionisblasphemy".Thatmoreorlessendedthepractice.Butifyou
want,itwouldbeeasytoarrangeatransplantyouwouldn'tbemakingmedical
history,byanymeans.'
'Idon'tthinkitwouldwork.AfraidI'dstartlaughingeverytime.'
'That'sthespirityou'realreadygettingoverit.'
Somewhattohissurprise,PoolerealizedthatAnderson'sprognosiswas
correct.Heevenfoundhimselfalreadylaughing.
'Nowwhat,Frank?'
'Aurora's"SocietyforCreativeAnachronisms".I'dhopeditwouldimprovemy
chances.Justmylucktohavefoundoneanachronismshedoesn'tappreciate.'

13
StrangerinaStrangeTime

Indrawasnotquiteassympatheticashehadhoped:perhaps,afterall,
therewassomesexualjealousyintheirrelationship.Andmuchmoreserious
whattheywrylylabelledtheDragonDebacleledtotheirfirstrealargument.
Itbeganinnocentlyenough,whenIndracomplained:
'PeoplearealwaysaskingmewhyI'vedevotedmylifetosuchahorrible
periodofhistory,andit'snotmuchofananswertosaythattherewereeven
worseones.'
'Thenwhyareyouinterestedinmycentury?'
'Becauseitmarksthetransitionbetweenbarbarismandcivilization.'
'Thankyou.JustcallmeConan.'
'Conan?TheonlyoneIknowisthemanwhoinventedSherlockHolmes.'
'NevermindsorryIinterrupted.Ofcourse,weinthesocalleddeveloped
countriesthoughtwewerecivilized.Atleastwarwasn'trespectableanymore,

andtheUnitedNationswasalwaysdoingitsbesttostopthewarsthatdidbreak
out.'
'Notverysuccessfully:I'dgiveitaboutthreeoutoften.Butwhatwefind
incredibleisthewaythatpeoplerightuptotheearly2000s!calmly
acceptedbehaviourwewouldconsideratrocious.Andbelievedinthemostmind
boggled'
'Boggling.'
'nonsense,whichsurelyanyrationalpersonwoulddismissoutofhand.'
'Examples,please.'
'Well,yourreallytriviallossstartedmedoingsomeresearch,andIwas
appalledbywhatIfound.Didyouknowthateveryyearinsomecountries
thousandsoflittlegirlswerehideouslymutilatedtopreservetheirvirginity?
Manyofthemdiedbuttheauthoritiesturnedablindeye.'
'Iagreethatwasterriblebutwhatcouldmygovernmentdoaboutit?'
'Agreatdealifitwished.Butthatwouldhaveoffendedthepeoplewho
supplieditwithoilandboughtitsweapons,likethelandminesthatkilledand
maimedciviliansbythethousand.'
'Youdon'tunderstand,Indra.Oftenwehadnochoice:wecouldn'treformthe
wholeworld.Anddidn'tsomebodyoncesay"Politicsistheartofthe
possible"?'
'Quitetruewhichiswhyonlysecondratemindsgointoit.Geniuslikes
tochallengetheimpossible.'
'Well,I'mgladyouhaveagoodsupplyofgenius,soyoucanputthings
right.'
'DoIdetectahintofsarcasm?Thankstoourcomputers,wecanrun
politicalexperimentsincyberspacebeforetryingthemoutinpractice.Lenin
wasunluckyhewasbornahundredyearstoosoon.Russiancommunismmighthave
workedatleastforawhileifithadhadmicrochips.Andhadmanagedto
avoidStalin.'
PoolewasconstantlyamazedbyIndra'sknowledgeofhisageaswellasby
herignoranceofsomuchthathetookforgranted.Inaway,hehadthereverse
problem.Evenifhelivedthehundredyearsthathadbeenconfidentlypromised
him,hecouldneverlearnenoughtofeelathome.Inanyconversation,there
wouldalwaysbereferenceshedidnotunderstand,andjokesthatwouldgoover

hishead.Worsestill,hewouldalwaysfeelonthevergeofsome"fauxpas"
abouttocreatesomesocialdisasterthatwouldembarrasseventhebestofhis
newfriends...
Suchastheoccasionwhenhewaslunching,fortunatelyinhisownquarters,
withIndraandProfessorAnderson.Themealsthatemergedfromtheautochefwere
alwaysperfectlyacceptable,havingbeendesignedtomatchhisphysiological
requirements.Buttheywerecertainlynothingtogetexcitedabout,andwould
havebeenthedespairofatwentyfirstcenturygourmet.
Then,oneday,anunusuallytastydishappeared,whichbroughtbackvivid
memoriesofthedeerhuntsandbarbecuesofhisyouth.However,therewas
somethingunfamiliaraboutbothflavourandtexture,soPooleaskedtheobvious
question.
Andersonmerelysmiled,butforafewsecondsIndralookedasifshewas
abouttobesick.Thensherecoveredandsaid:'Youtellhim afterwe've
finishedeating.'
NowwhathaveIdonewrong?Pooleaskedhimself.Halfanhourlater,with
Indraratherpointedlyabsorbedinavideodisplayattheotherendoftheroom,
hisknowledgeoftheThirdMillenniummadeanothermajoradvance.
'Corpsefoodwasonthewayouteveninyourtime,'Andersonexplained.
'Raisinganimalstougheatthembecameeconomicallyimpossible.Idon't
knowhowmanyacresoflandittooktofeedonecow,butatleasttenhumans
couldsurviveontheplantsitproduced.Andprobablyahundred,withhydroponic
techniques.
'Butwhatfinishedthewholehorriblebusinesswasnoteconomicsbut
disease.Itstartedfirstwithcattle,thenspreadtootherfoodanimalsa
kindofvirus,Ibelieve,thataffectedthebrain,andcausedaparticularly
nastydeath.Althoughacurewaseventuallyfound,itwastoolatetoturnback
theclockandanyway,syntheticfoodswerenowfarcheaper,andyoucouldget
theminanyflavouryouliked.'
Rememberingweeksofsatisfyingbutunexcitingmeals,Poolehadstrong
reservationsaboutthis.Forwhy,hewondered,didhestillhavewistfuldreams
ofspareribsandcordonbleusteaks?
Otherdreamswerefarmoredisturbing,andhewasafraidthatbeforelonghe
wouldhavetoaskAndersonformedicalassistance.Despiteeverythingthatwas
beingdonetomakehimfeelathome,thestrangenessandsheercomplexityof
thisnewworldwerebeginningtooverwhelmhim.Duringsleep,asifinan
unconsciousefforttoescape,heoftenrevertedtohisearlierlife:butwhenhe
awoke,thatonlymademattersworse.

HehadtravelledacrosstoAmericaTowerandlookeddown,inrealityandnot
insimulation,onthelandscapeofhisyouth andithadnotbeenagoodidea.
Withopticalaid,whentheatmospherewasclear,he'dgotsoclosethathecould
seeindividualhumanbeingsastheywentabouttheiraffairs,sometimesalong
streetsthatheremembered...
Andalways,atthebackofhismind,wastheknowledgethatdowntherehad
oncelivedeveryonehehadeverloved,Mother,Father(beforehehadgoneoff
withthatOtherWoman),dearUncleGeorgeandAuntLil,brotherMartinand,
notleast,asuccessionofdogs,beginningwiththewarmpuppiesofhisearliest
childhoodandculminatinginRikki.
Aboveall,therewasthememoryandmysteryofHelena...
Ithadbegunasacasualaffair,intheearlydaysofhisastrotraining,but
hadbecomemoreandmoreseriousastheyearswentby.Justbeforehehadleft
forJupiter,theyhadplannedtomakeitpermanentwhenhereturned.
Andifhedidnot,Helenawishedtohavehischild.Hestillrecalledthe
blendofsolemnityandhilaritywithwhichtheyhadmadethenecessary
arrangements...
Now,athousandyearslater,despiteallhisefforts,hehadbeenunableto
findifHelenahadkeptherpromise.Justastherewerenowgapsinhisown
memory,sotherewerealsointhecollectiverecordsofMankind.Theworstwas
thatcreatedbythedevastatingelectromagneticpulsefromthe2304asteroid
impact,whichhadwipedoutseveralpercentoftheworld'sinformationbanks,
despiteallbackupsandsafetysystems.Poolecouldnothelpwonderingif,among
alltheexabytesthatwereirretrievablylost,weretherecordsofhisown
children:evennow,hisdescendantsofthethirtiethgenerationmightbewalking
theEarthbuthewouldneverknow.
IthelpedalittletohavediscoveredthatunlikeAurorasomeladiesof
thiseradidnotconsiderhimtobedamagedgoods.Onthecontrary:theyoften
foundhisalterationquiteexciting,butthisslightlybizarrereactionmadeit
impossibleforPooletoestablishanycloserelationship.Norwasheanxiousto
dosoallthathereallyneededwastheoccasionalhealthy,mindlessexercise.
Mindlessthatwasthetrouble.Henolongerhadartypurposeinlife.And
theweightoftoomanymemorieswasuponhimechoingthetitleofafamousbook
hehadreadinhisyouth,heoftensaidtohimself,'IamaStrangerina
StrangeTime.'
Therewereevenoccasionswhenhelookeddownatthebeautifulplaneton
whichifheobeyeddoctor'sordershecouldneverwalkagain,andwondered

whatitwouldbeliketomakeasecondacquaintancewiththevacuumofspace.
Thoughitwasnoteasytogetthroughtheairlockswithouttriggeringsome
alarm,ithadbeendone:everyfewyears,somedeterminedsuicidemadeabrief
meteoricdisplayintheEarth'satmosphere.
Perhapsitwasjustaswellthatdeliverancewasonitsway,froma
completelyunexpecteddirection.

***
'Nicetomeetyou,CommanderPooleforthesecondtime.'
'I'msorrydon'trecallbutthenIseesomanypeople.'
'Noneedtoapologize.FirsttimewasoutroundNeptune.'
'CaptainChandlerdelightedtoseeyou!CanIgetsomethingfromthe
autochef?'
'Anythingwithovertwentypercentalcoholwillbefine.'
'AndwhatareyoudoingbackonEarth?Theytoldmeyounevercomeinside
Marsorbit.'
'AlmosttruethoughIwasbornhere,Ithinkit'sadirty,smellyplace
toomanypeoplecreepinguptoabillionagain!'
'Morethantenbillioninmytime.Bytheway,didyougetmy"Thankyou"
message?'
'YesandIknowIshouldhavecontactedyou.ButIwaiteduntilIheaded
sunwardsagain.SohereIam.Yourgoodhealth!'
AstheCaptaindisposedofhisdrinkwithimpressivespeed,Pooletriedto
analysehisvisitor.BeardsevensmallgoateeslikeChandler'swerevery
rareinthissociety,andhehadneverknownanastronautwhoworeone:theydid
notcoexistcomfortablywithspacehelmets.Ofcourse,aCaptainmightgofor
yearsbetweenEVs,andinanycasemostoutsidejobsweredonebyrobotsbut
therewasalwaystheriskoftheunexpected,whenonemighthavetogetsuited
inahurry.ItwasobviousthatChandlerwassomethingofaneccentric,and
Poole'sheartwarmedtohim.
'You'venotansweredmyquestion.Ifyoudon'tlikeEarth,whatareyou
doinghere?'

'Oh,mostlycontactingoldfriendsit'swonderfultoforgethourlong
delays,andtohaverealtimeconversations!Butofcoursethat'snotthe
reason.Myoldrustbucketishavingarefit,upattheRimshipyard.Andthe
armourhastobereplacedwhenitgetsdowntoafewcentimetresthick,Idon't
sleeptoowell.'
'Armour?'
'Dustshield.Notsuchaprobleminyourtime,wasit?Butit'sadirty
environmentoutroundJupiter,andournormalcruisespeedisseveralthousand
klicksasecond!Sothere'sacontinuousgentlepattering,likeraindropson
theroof.'
'You'rejoking!'
'CourseIam.Ifwereallycouldhearanything,we'dbedead.Luckily,this
sortofunpleasantnessisveryrarelastseriousaccidentwastwentyyears
ago.Weknowallthemaincometstreams,wheremostofthejunkis,andare
carefultoavoidthem exceptwhenwe'rematchingvelocitytoroundupice.
'Butwhydon'tyoucomeaboardandhavealookaround,beforewetakeoff
forJupiter?'
'I'dbedelighted...didyousayJupiter?'
'Well,Ganymede,ofcourseAnubisCity.We'vealotofbusinessthere,and
severalofushavefamilieswehaven'tseenformonths.'
Poolescarcelyheardhim.
Suddenlyunexpectedlyandperhapsnonetoosoon,hehadfoundareason
forliving.
CommanderFrankPoolewasthesortofmanwhohatedtoleaveajobundone
andafewspecksofcosmicdust,evenmovingatathousandkilometresasecond,
werenotlikelytodiscouragehim.
HehadunfinishedbusinessattheworldonceknownasJupiter.

II
GOLIATH

14
AFarewelltoEarth

'Anythingyouwantwithinreason,'hehadbeentold.FrankPoolewasnot
sureifhishostswouldconsiderthatreturningtoJupiterwasareasonable
requestindeed,hewasnotquitesurehimself,andwasbeginningtohavesecond
thoughts.
Hehadalreadycommittedhimselftoscoresofengagements,weeksinadvance.
Mostofthemhewouldbehappytomiss,butthereweresomehewouldbesorryto
forgo.Inparticular,hehatedtodisappointtheseniorclassfromhisoldhigh
schoolhowastonishingthatitstillexisted!whentheyplannedtovisithim
nextmonth.
However,hewasrelievedandalittlesurprisedwhenbothIndraand
ProfessorAndersonagreedthatitwasanexcellentidea.Forthefirsttime,he
realizedthattheyhadbeenconcernedwithhismentalhealthperhapsaholiday
fromEarthwouldbethebestpossiblecure.
And,mostimportantofall,CaptainChandlerwasdelighted.'Youcanhavemy
cabin,'hepromised.'I'llkicktheFirstMateoutofhers.'Thereweretimes
whenPoolewonderedifChandler,withhisbeardandswagger,wasnotanother
anachronism.Hecouldeasilypicturehimonthebridgeofabatteredthree
master,withSkullandCrossbonesflyingoverhead.
Oncehisdecisionhadbeenmade,eventsmovedwithsurprisingspeed.Hehad
accumulatedveryfewpossessions,andfewerstillthatheneededtotakewith
him.ThemostimportantwasMissPringle,hiselectronicalteregoand
secretary,nowthestorehouseofbothhislives,andthesmallstackofterabyte
memoriesthatwentwithher.
MissPringlewasnotmuchlargerthanthehandheldpersonalassistantsof
hisownage,andusuallylived,liketheOldWest'sColt45,inaquickdraw
holsterathiswaist.ShecouldcommunicatewithhimbyaudioorBraincap,and
herprimedutywastoactasaninformationfilterandabuffertotheoutside
world.Likeanygoodsecretary,sheknewwhentoreply,intheappropriate
format:'I'llputyouthroughnow'ormuchmorefrequently:'I'msorryMr
Pooleisengaged.Pleaserecordyourmessageandhewillgetbacktoyouassoon
aspossible.'Usually,thiswasnever.
Therewereveryfewfarewellstobemade:thoughrealtimeconversations
wouldbeimpossibleowingtothesluggishvelocityofradiowaves,hewouldbe
inconstanttouchwithIndraandJosephtheonlygenuinefriendshehadmade.

Somewhattohissurprise,Poolerealizedthathewouldmisshisenigmatic
butuseful'valet',becausehewouldnowhavetohandleallthesmallchoresof
everydaylifebyhimself.Danilbowedslightlywhentheyparted,butotherwise
showednosignofemotion,astheytookthelongrideuptotheoutercurveof
theworldcirclingwheel,thirtysixthousandkilometresabovecentralAfrica.

'I'mnotsure,Dim,thatyou'llappreciatethecomparison.Butdoyouknow
whatGoliathremindsmeof?'
TheywerenowsuchgoodfriendsthatPoolecouldusetheCaptain'snickname
butonlywhennooneelsewasaround.
'Somethingunflattering,Iassume.'
'Notreally.ButwhenIwasaboy,Icameacrossawholepileofold
sciencefictionmagazinesthatmyUncleGeorgehadabandoned"pulps",they
werecalled,afterthecheappapertheywereprintedon...mostofthemwere
alreadyfallingtobits.Theyhadwonderfulgarishcovers,showingstrange
planetsandmonstersand,ofcourse,spaceships!
'AsIgrewolder,Irealizedhowridiculousthosespaceshipswere.Theywere
usuallyrocketdrivenbuttherewasneveranysignofpropellanttanks!Some
ofthemhadrowsofwindowsfromstemtostem,justlikeoceanliners.Therewas
onefavouriteofminewithahugeglassdomeaspacegoingconservatory...
'Well,thoseoldartistshadthelastlaugh:toobadtheycouldneverknow.
Goliathlooksmoreliketheirdreamsthantheflyingfueltanksweusedto
launchfromtheCape.
YourInertialDrivestillseemstoogoodtobetruenovisiblemeansof
support,unlimitedrangeandspeedsometimesIthinkI'mtheonewho's
dreaming!'
Chandlerlaughedandpointedtotheviewoutside.
'Doesthatlooklikeadream?'
ItwasthefirsttimethatPoolehadseenagenuinehorizonsincehehad
cometoStarCity,anditwasnotquiteasfarawayashehadexpected.After
all,hewasontheouterrimofawheelseventimesthediameterofEarth,so
surelytheviewacrosstheroofofthisartificialworldshouldextendfor
severalhundredkilometres...

Heusedtobegoodatmentalarithmeticarareachievementeveninhis
time,andprobablymuchrarernow.Theformulatogivethehorizondistancewas
asimpleone:thesquarerootoftwiceyourheighttimestheradiusthesort
ofthingyouneverforgot,evenifyouwantedto...
Let'sseewe'reabout8metresupsoroot16thisiseasy!saybigR
is40,000knockoffthosethreezerostomakeitallklicks4timesroot40
hmmjustover25...
Well,twentyfivekilometreswasafairdistance,andcertainlynospaceport
onEarthhadeverseemedthishuge.Evenknowingperfectlywellwhattoexpect,
itwasuncannytowatchvesselsmanytimesthesizeofhislonglostDiscovery
liftingoff,notonlywithnosound,butwithnoapparentmeansofpropulsion.
ThoughPoolemissedtheflameandfuryoftheoldtimecountdowns,hehadto
admitthatthiswascleaner,moreefficientandfarsafer.
Strangestofall,though,wastosituphereontheRim,inthe
GeostationaryOrbititselfandtofeelweight!Justmetresaway,outsidethe
windowofthetinyobservationlounge,servicingrobotsandafewspacesuited
humanswereglidinggentlyabouttheirbusinessyethereinsideGoliaththe
inertialfieldwasmaintainingstandardMarsgee.
'Sureyoudon'twanttochangeyourmind,Frank?'CaptainChandlerhadasked
jokingly,asheleftforthebridge.'Stilltenminutesbeforeliftoff.'
'Wouldn'tbeverypopularifIdid,wouldI?Noastheyusedtosayback
intheolddayswehavecommit.Readyornot,hereIcome.'
Poolefelttheneedtobealonewhenthedrivewenton,andthetinycrew
onlyfourmenandthreewomenrespectedhiswish.Perhapstheyguessedhowhe
mustbefeeling,toleaveEarthforthesecondtimeinathousandyearsand,
onceagain,tofaceanunknowndestiny.
JupiterLuciferwasontheothersideoftheSun,andthealmoststraight
lineofGoliath'sorbitwouldtakethemclosetoVenus.Poolelookedforwardto
seeing,withhisownunaidedeyes,ifEarth'ssisterplanetwasnowbeginningto
liveuptothatdescription,aftercenturiesofterraforming.
Fromathousandkilometresup,StarCitylookedlikeagiganticmetalband
aroundEarth'sEquator,dottedwithgantries,pressuredomes,scaffolding
holdinghalfcompletedships,antennas,andothermoreenigmaticstructures.It
wasdiminishingswiftlyasGoliathheadedsunwards,andpresentlyPoolecould
seehowincompleteitwas:therewerehugegapsspannedonlybyaspider'sweb
ofscaffolding,whichwouldprobablyneverbecompletelyenclosed.
Andnowtheywerefallingbelowtheplaneoftheringitwasmidwinterin

thenorthernhemisphere,sotheslimhaloofStarCitywasinclinedatover
twentydegreestotheSun.AlreadyPoolecouldseetheAmericanandAsian
towers,asshiningthreadsstretchingoutwardsandaway,beyondthebluehazeof
theatmosphere.
HewasbarelyconsciousoftimeasGoliathgainedspeed,movingmoreswiftly
thananycometthathadeverfallensunwardsfrominterstellarspace.TheEarth,
almostfull,stillspannedhisfieldofview,andhecouldnowseethefull
lengthoftheAfricaTowerwhichhadbeenhishomeinthelifehewasnow
leavingperhaps,hecouldnothelpthinking,leavingforever.
Whentheywerefiftythousandkilometresout,hewasabletoviewthewhole
ofStarCity,asanarrowellipseenclosingtheEarth.Thoughthefarsidewas
barelyvisible,asahairlineoflightagainstthestars,itwasaweinspiring
tothinkthatthehumanracehadnowsetthissignupontheheavens.
ThenPoolerememberedtheringsofSaturn,infinitelymoreglorious.The
astronauticalengineersstillhadalong,longwaytogo,beforetheycould
matchtheachievementsofNature.
Or,ifthatwastherightword,Deus.

15
TransitofVenus

Whenhewokethenextmorning,theywerealreadyatVenus.Butthehuge,
dazzlingcrescentofthestillcloudwrappedplanetwasnotthemoststriking
objectinthesky:
Goliathwasfloatingaboveanendlessexpanseofcrinkledsilverfoil,
flashinginthesunlightwitheverchangingpatternsastheshipdriftedacross
it.
Poolerememberedthatinhisownagetherehadbeenanartistwhohad
wrappedwholebuildingsinplasticsheets:howhewouldhavelovedthis
opportunitytopackagebillionsoftonsoficeinaglitteringenvelope...Only
inthiswaycouldthecoreofacometbeprotectedfromevaporationonits
decadeslongjourneysunwards.
'You'reinluck,Frank,'Chandlerhadtoldhim.'ThisissomethingI've
neverseenmyself.Itshouldbespectacular.Impactdueinjustoveranhour.
We'vegivenitalittlenudge,tomakesureitcomesdownintherightplace.

Don'twantanyonetogethurt.'
Poolelookedathiminastonishment.
'YoumeantherearealreadypeopleonVenus?'
'Aboutfiftymadscientists,neartheSouthPole.Ofcourse,they'rewell
dugin,butweshouldshakethemupabiteventhoughGroundZeroisonthe
othersideoftheplanet.OrIshouldsay"AtmosphereZero"itwillbedays
beforeanythingexcepttheshockwavegetsdowntothesurface.'
Asthecosmiciceberg,sparklingandflashinginitsprotectiveenvelope,
dwindledawaytowardsVenus,Poolewasstruckwithasudden,poignantmemory.
TheChristmastreesofhischildhoodhadbeenadornedwithjustsuchornaments,
delicatebubblesofcolouredglass.Andthecomparisonwasnotcompletely
ludicrous:formanyfamiliesonEarth,thiswasstilltherightseasonfor
gifts,andGoliathwasbringingapresentbeyondpricetoanotherworld.
TheradarimageofthetorturedVenusianlandscapeitsweirdvolcanoes,
pancakedomes,andnarrow,sinuouscanyonsdominatedthemainscreenof
Goliath'scontrolcentre,butPoolepreferredtheevidenceofhisowneyes.
Althoughtheunbrokenseaofcloudsthatcoveredtheplanetrevealednothingof
theinfernobeneath,hewantedtoseewhatwouldhappenwhenthestolencomet
struck.Inamatterofseconds,themyriadoftonsoffrozenhydratesthathad
beengatheringspeedfordecadesonthedownhillrunfromNeptunewoulddeliver
alltheirenergy...
Theinitialflashwasevenbrighterthanhehadexpected.Howstrangethata
missilemadeoficecouldgeneratetemperaturesthatmustbeinthetensof
thousandsofdegrees!Thoughthefiltersoftheviewportwouldhaveabsorbed
allthedangerousshorterwavelengths,thefierceblueofthefireball
proclaimedthatitwashotterthantheSun.
Itwascoolingrapidlyasitexpandedthroughyellow,orange,red...The
shockwavewouldnowbespreadingoutwardsatthevelocityofsoundandwhata
soundthatmustbe!soinafewminutesthereshouldbesomevisible
indicationofitspassageacrossthefaceofVenus.
Andthereitwas!Onlyatinyblackringlikeaninsignificantpuffof
smoke,givingnohintofthecyclonicfurythatmustbeblastingitsway
outwardsfromthepointofimpact.AsPoolewatched,itslowlyexpanded,though
owingtoitsscaletherewasnosenseofvisiblemovement:hehadtowaitfora
fullminutebeforehecouldbequitesurethatithadgrownlarger.
Afteraquarterofanhour,however,itwasthemostprominentmarkingon
theplanet.Thoughmuchfainteradirtygrey,ratherthanblackthe

shockwavewasnowaraggedcirclemorethanathousandkilometresacross.Poole
guessedthatithadlostitsoriginalsymmetrywhilesweepingoverthegreat
mountainrangesthatlaybeneathit.
CaptainChandler'svoicesoundedbrisklyovertheship'saddresssystem.
'PuttingyouthroughtoAphroditeBase.Gladtosaythey'renotshoutingfor
help'
'shookusupabit,butjustwhatweexpected.Monitorsindicatesomerain
alreadyovertheNokomisMountainsitwillsoonevaporate,butthat'sa
beginning.AndthereseemstohavebeenaflashfloodinHecateChasm toogood
tobetrue,butwe'rechecking.Therewasatemporarylakeofboilingwater
thereafterthelastdelivery'
Idon'tenvythem,PooletoldhimselfbutIcertainlyadmirethem.They
provethatthespiritofadventurestillexistsinthisperhapstoocomfortable
andtoowelladjustedsociety.
'andthanksagainforbringingthislittleloaddownintherightplace.
Withanyluckandifwecangetthatsunscreenupintosyncorbitwe'll
havesomepermanentseasbeforelong.Andthenwecanplantcoralreefs,tomake
limeandpulltheexcessCO2outoftheatmospherehopeIlivetoseeit!'
Ihopeyoudo,thoughtPooleinsilentadmiration.Hehadoftendivedinthe
tropicalseasofEarth,admiringweirdandcolourfulcreaturessobizarrethat
itwashardtobelieveanythingstrangerwouldbefound,evenontheplanetsof
othersuns.
'Packagedeliveredontime,andreceiptacknowledged,'saidCaptainChandler
withobvioussatisfaction.'GoodbyeVenusGanymede,herewecome.'

MISSPRINGLE
FILEWALLACE
Hello,Indra.Yes,youwerequiteright.Idomissourlittlearguments.
ChandlerandIgetalongfine,andatfirstthecrewtreatedmethiswill
amuseyouratherlikeaholyrelic.Butthey'rebeginningtoacceptme,and
haveevenstartedtopullmyleg(doyouknowthatidiom?).
It'sannoyingnottobeabletohavearealconversationwe'vecrossedthe
orbitofMars,soradioroundtripisalreadyoveranhour.Butthere'sone
advantageyouwon'tbeabletointerruptme...

EventhoughitwilltakeusonlyaweektoreachJupiter,IthoughtI'dhave
timetorelax.Notabitofit:myfingersstartedtoitch,andIcouldn't
resistgoingbacktoschool.SoI'vebegunbasictraining,alloveragain,in
oneofGoliath'sminishuttles.MaybeDimwillactuallyletmesolo...
It'snotmuchbiggerthanDiscovery'spodsbutwhatadifference!Firstof
all,ofcourse,itdoesn'tuserockets:Ican'tgetusedtotheluxuryofthe
inertialdrive,andunlimitedrange.CouldflybacktoEarthifIhadto
thoughI'dprobablygetrememberthephraseIusedonce,andyouguessedits
meaning?'stircrazy'.
Thebiggestdifference,though,isthecontrolsystem.It'sbeenabig
challengeformetogetusedtohandsoffoperationandthecomputerhashad
tolearntorecognizemyvoicecommands.Atfirstitwasaskingeveryfive
minutes'Doyoureallymeanthat?'IknowitwouldbebettertousetheBraincap
butI'mstillnotcompletelyconfidentwiththatgadget.NotsureifI'llever
getusedtosomethingreadingmymind.
Bytheway,theshuttle'scalledFalcon.It'sanicenameandIwas
disappointedtofindthatnooneaboardknewthatitgoesallthewaybackto
theApollomissions,whenwefirstlandedontheMoon...
UhhuhtherewasalotmoreIwantedtosay,buttheskipperiscalling.
Backtotheclassroom loveandout.
STORE
TRANSMIT

HelloFrankIndracallingifthat'srightword!onmynew
Thoughtwriteroldonehadnervousbreakdownhahasobelotsofmistakes
notimetoeditbeforeIsend.Hopeyoucanmakesense.
COMSET!Channeloneohthreerecordfromtwelvethirtycorrection
thirteenthirty.Sorry...
HopeIcangetoldunitfixedknewallmyshortcutsandabbrievesmaybe
shouldgetpsychoanalysedlikeinyourtimeneverunderstoodhowthatFraudian
meanFreudianhahanonsenselastedaslongasitdidRemindsmecame
acrosslateTwentiethdefinotherdaymayamuseyousomethinglikethis
quotePsychoanalysiscontagiousdiseaseoriginatingViennacirca1900now
extinctinEuropebutoccasionaloutbreaksamongrichAmericans.Unquote.Funny?

SorryagaintroublewithThoughtwritershardtosticktopointxz12w
8885*****js98l2yebdcDAMN...STOPBACKUP
DidIdosomethingwrongthen?Willtryagain.YoumentionedDanil...sorry
wealwaysevadedyourquestionsabouthim knewyouwerecurious,butwehad
verygoodreasonrememberyouoncecalledhimanonperson?...notbad
guess...!
OnceyouaskedmeaboutcrimenowadaysIsaidanysuchinterest
pathologicalmaybepromptedbytheendlesssickeningtelevisionprogrammesof
yourtimeneverabletowatchmorethanfewminutesmyself...disgusting!
DOORACKNOWLEDGE!OH,HELLOMELINDAEXCUSESITDOWNNEARLY
FINISHED...
Yescrime.Alwayssome...Society'sirreduciblenoiselevel.Whattodo?
Yoursolutionprisons.Statesponsoredperversionfactoriescostingten
timesaveragefamilyincometoholdoneinmate!Utterlycrazy...Obviously
somethingverywrongwithpeoplewhoshoutedloudestformoreprisonsThey
shouldbepsychoanalysed!Butlet'sbefairreallynoalternativebefore
electronicmonitoringandcontrolperfectedyoushouldseethejoyfulcrowds
smashingtheprisonwallsthennothinglikeitsinceBerlinfiftyyears
earlier!
YesDanil.Idon'tknowwhathiscrimewaswouldn'ttellyouifIdid
butpresumehispsychprofilesuggestedhe'dmakeagoodwhatwastheword?
balletno,valet.Veryhardtogetpeopleforsomejobsdon'tknowhowwe'd
manageifcrimelevelzero!Anywayhopehe'ssoondecontrolledandbackin
normalsociety
SORRYMELINDANEARLYFINISHED
That'sit,FrankregardstoDimitrjyoumustbehalfwaytoGanymedenow
wonderifthey'lleverrepealEinsteinsowecantalkacrossspaceinreal
time!
Hopethismachinesoongetsusedtome.Otherwisebelookingroundfor
genuineantiquetwentiethcenturywordprocessor...Wouldyoubelieveonce
evenmasteredthatQWERTYIYUIOPnonsense,whichyoutookacoupleofhundred
yearstogetridof?
Loveandgoodbye.

***

HelloFrankhereIamagain.Stillwaitingacknowledgementofmylast...
StrangeyoushouldbeheadingtowardsGanymede,andmyoldfriendTedKhan.
Butperhapsit'snotsuchacoincidence:hewasdrawnbythesameenigmathat
youwere...
FirstImusttellyousomethingabouthim.Hisparentsplayedadirtytrick,
givinghimthenameTheodore.Thatshortensdon'tevercallhimthat!to
Theo.SeewhatImean?
Can'thelpwonderingifthat'swhatdriveshim.Don'tknowanyoneelsewho's
developedsuchaninterestinreligionno,obsession.Betterwarnyouhecan
bequiteabore.
Bytheway,howamIdoing?ImissmyoldThinkwriter,butseemtobe
gettingthismachineundercontrol.Haven'tmadeanybadwhatdidyoucall
them?bloopersglitchesfluffssofaratleastNotsureIshouldtell
youthis,incaseyouaccidentallyblurtitout,butmyprivatenicknameforTed
is'TheLastJesuit'.Youmustknowsomethingaboutthem theOrderwasstill
veryactiveinyourtime.
Amazingpeopleoftengreatscientistssuperbscholarsdidatremendous
amountofgoodaswellasmuchharm.Oneofhistory'ssupremeironiessincere
andbrilliantseekersofknowledgeandtruth,yettheirwholephilosophy
hopelesslydistortedbysuperstition...
Xuedn2k3jndeer2leidjdwpp
Damn.Gotemotionalandlostcontrol.One,two,three,four...nowisthe
timeforallgoodmentocometotheaidoftheparty...that'sbetter.
Anyway,Tedhasthatsamebrandofhighmindeddeterminationdon'tgetinto
anyargumentswithhim he'llgooveryoulikeasteamroller.
Bythewaywhatweresteamrollers?Usedforpressingclothes?Canseehow
thatcouldbeveryuncomfortable...
TroublewithThinkwriters...tooeasytogooffinalldirections,nomatter
howhardyoutrytodisciplineyourself...somethingtobesaidforkeyboards
afterall...sureI'vesaidthatbefore...
TedKhan...TedKhan...TedKhan

He'sstillfamousbackonEarthforatleasttwoofhissayings:
'CivilizationandReligionareincompatible'and'Faithisbelievingwhatyou
knowisn'ttrue'.Actually,Idon'tthinkthelastoneisoriginalifitis,
that'sthenearestheevergottoajoke.HenevercrackedasmilewhenItried
oneofmyfavouritesonhim hopeyouhaven'thearditbefore.Itobviously
datesfromyourtime.
TheDean'scomplainingtohisFaculty.'Whydoyouscientistsneedsuch
expensiveequipment?Whycan'tyoubeliketheMathsDepartment,whichonly
needsablackboardandawastepaperbasket?Betterstill,liketheDepartment
ofPhilosophy.Thatdoesn'tevenneedawastepaperbasket...'Well,perhapsTed
hadhearditbefore...Iexpectmostphilosophershave...
Anyway,givehimmyregardsanddon't,repeatdon't,getintoany
argumentswithhim!

LoveandbestwishesfromAfricaTower.
TRANSCRIBESTORE
TRANSMITPOOLE

16
TheCaptain'sTable

Thearrivalofsuchadistinguishedpassengerhadcausedacertain
disruptioninthetightlittleworldofGoliath,butthecrewhadadaptedtoit
withgoodhumour.Everyday,at18.00hours,allpersonnelgatheredfordinner
inthewardroom,whichinzerogeecouldholdatleastthirtypeopleincomfort,
ifspreaduniformlyaroundthewalls.However,mostofthetimetheship's
workingareaswereheldatlunargravity,sotherewasanundeniablefloorand
morethaneightbodiesmadeacrowd.
Thesemicirculartablethatunfoldedaroundtheautochefatmealtimes
couldjustseattheentiresevenpersoncrew,withtheCaptainattheplaceof
honour.Oneextracreatedsuchinsuperableproblemsthatsomebodynowhadtoeat
aloneforeverymeal.Aftermuchgoodnatureddebate,itwasdecidedtomakethe
choiceinalphabeticalordernotofpropernames,whichwerehardlyeverused,
butofnicknames.IthadtakenPoolesometimetogetusedtothem:'Bolts'

(structuralengineering)'Chips'(computersandcommunications)'First'(First
Mate)'Life'(medicalandlifesupportsystems)'Props'(propulsionand
power)and'Stars'(orbitsandnavigation).
Duringthetendayvoyage,ashelistenedtothestories,jokesand
complaintsofhistemporaryshipmates,Poolelearnedmoreaboutthesolarsystem
thanduringhismonthsonEarth.Allaboardwereobviouslydelightedtohavea
newandperhapsnavelistenerasanattentiveonemanaudience,butPoolewas
seldomtakeninbytheirmoreimaginativestories.
Yetsometimesitwashardtoknowwheretodrawtheline.Noonereally
believedintheGoldenAsteroid,whichwasusuallyregardedasatwentyfourth
centuryhoax.ButwhatabouttheMercurianplasmoids,whichhadbeenreportedby
atleastadozenreliablewitnessesduringthelastfivehundredyears?
Thesimplestexplanationwasthattheywererelatedtoballlightning,
responsibleforsomany'UnidentifiedFlyingObject'reportsonEarthandMars.
Butsomeobserverssworethattheyhadshownpurposefulnesseven
inquisitivenesswhentheywereencounteredatclosequarters.Nonsense,
answeredthescepticsmerelyelectrostaticattraction!
Inevitably,thisledtodiscussionsaboutlifeintheUniverse,andPoole
foundhimselfnotforthefirsttimedefendinghisowneraagainstits
extremesofcredulityandscepticism.Althoughthe'Aliensareamongus'mania
hadalreadysubsidedwhenhewasaboy,evenaslateasthe2020stheSpace
Agencywasstillplaguedbylunaticswhoclaimedtohavebeencontactedor
abductedbyvisitorsfromotherworlds.Theirdelusionshadbeenreinforcedby
sensationalmediaexploitation,andthewholesyndromewaslaterenshrinedin
themedicalliteratureas'Adamski'sDisease'.
ThediscoveryofTMAONEhad,paradoxically,putanendtothissorry
nonsense,bydemonstratingthatthoughtherewasindeedintelligenceelsewhere,
ithadapparentlynotconcerneditselfwithMankindforseveralmillionyears.
TMAONEhadalsoconvincinglyrefutedthehandfulofscientistswhoarguedthat
lifeabovethebacteriallevelwassuchanimprobablephenomenonthatthehuman
racewasaloneinthisGalaxyifnottheCosmos.
Goliath'screwwasmoreinterestedinthetechnologythanthepoliticsand
economicsofPoole'sera,andwereparticularlyfascinatedbytherevolution
thathadtakenplaceinhisownlifetimetheendofthefossilfuelage,
triggeredbytheharnessingofvacuumenergy.Theyfoundithardtoimaginethe
smogchokedcitiesofthetwentiethcentury,andthewaste,greedandappalling
environmentaldisastersoftheOilAge.
'Don'tblameme,'saidPoole,fightingbackgamelyafteroneroundof
criticism.'Anyway,seewhatamessthetwentyfirstcenturymade.'

Therewasachorusof'Whatdoyoumean?'saroundthetable.
'Well,assoonasthesocalledAgeofInfinitePowergotunderway,and
everyonehadthousandsofkilowattsofcheap,cleanenergytoplaywithyou
knowwhathappened!'
'Oh,youmeantheThermalCrisis.Butthatwasfixed.'
'Eventuallyafteryou'dcoveredhalftheEarthwithreflectorstobounce
theSun'sheatbackintospace.Otherwiseitwouldhavebeenasparboiledas
Venusbynow.'
Thecrew'sknowledgeofThirdMillenniumhistorywassosurprisinglylimited
thatPoolethankstotheintensiveeducationhehadreceivedinStarCity
couldoftenamazethemwithdetailsofeventscenturiesafterhisowntime.
However,hewasflatteredtodiscoverhowwellacquaintedtheywerewith
Discovery'slog,ithadbecomeoneoftheclassicrecordsoftheSpaceAge.They
lookedonitashemighthaveregardedaVikingsagaoftenhehadtoremind
himselfthathewasmidwayintimebetweenGoliathandthefirstshipstocross
thewesternocean...
'OnyourDay86,'Starsremindedhim,atdinneronthefifthevening,'you
passedwithintwothousandkayofasteroid7794andshotaprobeintoit.Do
youremember?"
'OfcourseIdo,'Pooleansweredratherbrusquely'Tome,ithappenedless
thanayearago'
'Um,sorry.Well,tomorrowwe'llbeevencloserto13,445.Liketohavea
look?'Withautoguidanceandfreezeframe,weshouldhaveawindowalloften
millisecondswide.'
Ahundredthofasecond!ThatfewminutesinDiscoveryhadseemedhectic
enough,butnoweverythingwouldhappenfiftytimesfaster.
'Howlargeisit?'Pooleasked.
'Thirtybytwentybyfifteenmetres,'Starsreplied.'Lookslikeabattered
brick.'
'Sorrywedon'thaveaslugtofireatit,'saidProps.'Didyoueverwonder
if7794wouldhitback?'
'Neveroccurredtous.Butitdidgivetheastronomersalotofuseful
information,soitwasworththerisk...Anyway,ahundredthofasecondhardly

seemsworththebother.Thanksallthesame.'
'Iunderstand.Whenyou'veseenoneasteroid,you'veseenthem '
'Nottrue,Chips.WhenIwasonEros'
'Asyou'vetoldusatleastadozentimes,Poole'smindtunedoutthe
discussion,sothatitwasabackgroundofmeaninglessnoise.Hewasathousand
yearsinthepast,recallingtheonlyexcitementofDiscovery'smissionbefore
thefinaldisaster.ThoughheandBowmanwereperfectlyawarethat7794was
merelyalifeless,airlesschunkofrock,thatknowledgescarcelyaffectedtheir
feelings.ItwastheonlysolidmattertheywouldmeetthissideofJupiter,and
theyhadstaredatitwiththeemotionsofsailorsonalongseavoyage,
skirtingacoastonwhichtheycouldnotland.
Itwasturningslowlyendoverend,andthereweremottledpatchesoflight
andshadedistributedatrandomoveritssurface.Sometimesitsparkledlikea
distantwindow,asplanesoroutcroppingsofcrystallinematerialflashedinthe
Sun...
Heremembered,also,themountingtensionastheywaitedtoseeiftheiraim
hadbeenaccurate.Itwasnoteasytohitsuchasmalltarget,twothousand
kilometresaway,movingatarelativevelocityoftwentykilometresasecond.
Then,againstthedarkenedportionoftheasteroid,therehadbeenasudden,
dazzlingexplosionoflight.ThetinyslugpureUranium238hadimpactedat
meteoricspeed:inafractionofasecond,allitskineticenergyhadbeen
transformedintoheat.Apuffofincandescentgashaderuptedbrieflyinto
space,andDiscovery'scameraswererecordingtherapidlyfadingspectrallines,
lookingforthetelltalesignaturesofglowingatoms.Afewhourslater,back
onEarth,theastronomerslearnedforthefirsttimethecompositionofan
asteroid'scrust.Therewerenomajorsurprises,butseveralbottlesof
champagnechangedhands.
CaptainChandlerhimselftooklittlepartintheverydemocraticdiscussions
aroundhissemicirculartable:heseemedcontenttolethiscrewrelaxand
expresstheirfeelingsinthisinformalatmosphere.Therewasonlyoneunspoken
rule:noseriousbusinessatmealtimes.Iftherewereanytechnicalor
operationalproblems,theyhadtobedealtwithelsewhere.
Poolehadbeensurprisedandalittleshockedtodiscoverthatthe
crew'sknowledgeofGoliath'ssystemswasverysuperficial.Oftenhehadasked
questionswhichshouldhavebeeneasilyanswered,onlytobereferredtothe
ship'sownmemorybanks.Afterawhile,however,herealizedthatthesortof
indepthtraininghehadreceivedinhisdayswasnolongerpossible:fartoo
manycomplexsystemswereinvolvedforanymanorwoman'smindtomaster.The

variousspecialistsmerelyhadtoknowwhattheirequipmentdid,nothow.
Reliabilitydependedonredundancyandautomaticchecking,andhuman
interventionwasmuchmorelikelytodoharmthangood.
Fortunatelynonewasrequiredonthisvoyage:ithadbeenasuneventfulas
anyskippercouldhavehoped,whenthenewsunofLuciferdominatedthesky
ahead.

III
THEWORLDSOFGALILEO

(Extract,textonly,Tourist'sGuidetoOuterSolarSystem,v219.3)

Eventoday,thegiantsatellitesofwhatwasonceJupiterpresentuswith
majormysteries.Whyarefourworlds,orbitingthesameprimaryandverysimilar
insize,sodifferentinmostotherrespects?
OnlyinthecaseofIo,theinnermostsatellite,isthereaconvincing
explanation.ItissoclosetoJupiterthatthegravitationaltidesconstantly
kneadingitsinteriorgeneratecolossalquantitiesofheatsomuch,indeed,
thatIo'ssurfaceissemimolten.Itisthemostvolcanicallyactiveworldin
theSolarSystemmapsofIohaveahalflifeofonlyafewdecades.
Thoughnopermanenthumanbaseshaveeverbeenestablishedinsuchan
unstableenvironment,therehavebeennumerouslandingsandthereiscontinuous
robotmonitoring.(Forthetragicfateofthe2571Expedition,seeBeagle5.)
Europa,secondindistancefromJupiter,wasoriginallyentirelycoveredin
ice,andshowedfewsurfacefeaturesexceptacomplicatednetworkofcracks.The
tidalforceswhichdominateIoweremuchlesspowerfulhere,butproducedenough
heattogiveEuropaaglobaloceanofliquidwater,inwhichmanystrangelife
formshaveevolved.
In2010theChineseshipTsientoucheddownonEuropaononeofthefew
outcropsofsolidrockprotrudingthroughthecrustofice.Indoingsoit
disturbedacreatureoftheEuropanabyssandwasdestroyed(seeSpacecraft
Tsien,Galaxy,Universe).
SincetheconversionofJupiterintotheminisunLuciferin2061,virtually
allofEuropa'sicecoverhasmelted,andextensivevulcanismhascreated

severalsmallislands.
Asiswellknown,therehavebeennolandingsonEuropaforalmosta
thousandyears,butthesatelliteisundercontinuoussurveillance.
Ganymede,largestmoonintheSolarSystem(diameter5260kilometres),has
alsobeenaffectedbythecreationofanewsun,anditsequatorialregionsare
warmenoughtosustainterrestriallifeforms,thoughitdoesnotyethavea
breathableatmosphere.Mostofitspopulationisactivelyengagedin
terraformingandscientificresearchthemainsettlementisAnubis(pop
41,000),neartheSouthPole.
Callistoisagainwhollydifferent.Itsentiresurfaceiscoveredbyimpact
cratersofallsizes,sonumerousthattheyoverlap.Thebombardmentmusthave
continuedformillionsofyears,forthenewercratershavecompletely
obliteratedtheearlierones.ThereisnopermanentbaseonCallisto,but
severalautomaticstationshavebeenestablishedthere.

17
Ganymede

ItwasunusualforFrankPooletooversleep,buthehadbeenkeptawakeby
strangedreams.Pastandpresentwereinextricablymixedsometimeshewason
Discovery,sometimesintheAfricaTowerandsometimeshewasaboyagain,
amongfriendshehadthoughtlongforgotten.
WhereamI?heaskedhimselfashestruggleduptoconsciousness,likea
swimmertryingtogetbacktothesurface.Therewasasmallwindowjustabove
hisbed,coveredbyacurtainnotthickenoughtocompletelyblockthelight
fromoutside.Therehadbeenatime,aroundthemidtwentiethcentury,when
aircrafthadbeenslowenoughtofeatureFirstClasssleepingaccommodation:
Poolehadneversampledthisnostalgicluxury,whichsometouristorganizations
hadstilladvertisedinhisownday,buthecouldeasilyimaginethathewas
doingsonow.
Hedrewthecurtainandlookedout.No,hehadnotawakenedintheskiesof
Earth,thoughthelandscapeunrollingbelowwasnotunliketheAntarctic.But
theSouthPolehadneverboastedtwosuns,bothrisingatonceasGoliathswept
towardsthem.
Theshipwasorbitinglessthanahundredkilometresabovewhatappearedto
beanimmenseploughedfield,lightlydustedwithsnow.Buttheploughmanmust

havebeendrunkortheguidancesystemmusthavegonecrazyforthefurrows
meanderedineverydirection,sometimescuttingacrosseachotherorturning
backonthemselves.Hereandtheretheterrainwasdottedwithfaintcircles
ghostcratersfrommeteorimpactsaeonsago.
SothisisGanymede,Poolewondereddrowsily.Mankind'sfurthestoutpost
fromhome!Whyshouldanysensiblepersonwanttolivehere?Well,I'veoften
thoughtthatwhenI'veflownoverGreenlandorIcelandinwintertime...
Therewasaknockonthedoor,a'MindifIcomein?',andCaptainChandler
didsowithoutwaitingforareply.
'Thoughtwe'dletyousleepuntilwelandedthatendoftrippartydid
lastlongerthanI'dintended,butIcouldn'triskamutinybycuttingit
short.'
Poolelaughed.
'Hasthereeverbeenamutinyinspace?'
'Oh,quiteafewbutnotinmytime.Nowwe'vementionedthesubject,you
mightsaythatHalstartedthetradition...sorry perhapsIshouldn'tlook
there'sGanymedeCity!'
Comingupoverthehorizonwaswhatappearedtobeacrisscrosspatternof
streetsandavenues,intersectingalmostatrightanglesbutwiththeslight
irregularitytypicalofanysettlementthathadgrownbyaccretion,without
centralplanning.ItwasbisectedbyabroadriverPoolerecalledthatthe
equatorialregionsofGanymedewerenowwarmenoughforliquidwatertoexist
anditremindedhimofanoldwoodcuthehadseenofmedievalLondon.
ThenhenoticedthatChandlerwaslookingathimwithanexpressionof
amusement...andtheillusionvanishedasherealizedthescaleofthe'city'.
'TheGanymedeans,'hesaiddryly,'musthavebeenratherlarge,tohavemade
roadsfiveortenkilometreswide.'
'Twentyinsomeplaces.Impressive,isn'tit?Andalltheresultofice
stretchingandcontracting.MotherNatureisingenious...Icouldshowyousome
patternsthatlookevenmoreartificial,thoughthey'renotaslargeasthis
one.'
'WhenIwasaboy,therewasabigfussaboutafaceonMars.Ofcourse,it
turnedouttobeahillthathadbeencarvedbysandstorms...lotsofsimilar
onesinEarth'sdeserts.'

'Didn'tsomeonesaythathistoryalwaysrepeatsitself?Samesortof
nonsensehappenedwithGanymedeCitysomenutsclaimedithadbeenbuiltby
aliens.ButI'mafraiditwon'tbearoundmuchlonger.'
'Why?'askedPooleinsurprise.
'It'salreadystartedtocollapse,asLucifermeltsthepermafrost.You
won'trecognizeGanymedeinanotherhundredyears...there'stheedgeofLake
Gilgameshifyoulookcarefullyoverontheright'
'Iseewhatyoumean.What'shappeningsurelythewater'snotboiling,
evenatthislowpressure?'
'Electrolysisplant.Don'tknowhowmanyskillionsofkilogramsofoxygena
day.Ofcourse,thehydrogengoesupandgetslostwehope.'
Chandler'svoicetrailedoffintosilence.Thenheresumed,inanunusually
diffidenttone:'AllthatbeautifulwaterdownthereGanymededoesn'tneed
halfofit!Don'ttellanyone,butI'vebeenworkingoutwaysofgettingsometo
Venus.'
'Easierthannudgingcomets?'
'Asfarasenergyisconcerned,yesGanymede'sescapevelocityisonly
threeklickspersecond.Andmuch,muchquickeryearsinsteadofdecades.But
thereareafewpracticaldifficulties..
'Icanappreciatethat.Wouldyoushootitoffbyamasslauncher?'
'OhnoI'dusetowersreachingupthroughtheatmosphere,liketheoneson
Earth,butmuchsmaller.We'dpumpthewateruptothetop,freezeitdownto
nearabsolutezero,andletGanymedeslingitoffintherightdirectionasit
rotated.Therewouldbesomeevaporationlossintransit,butmostofitwould
arrivewhat'ssofunny?'
'SorryI'mnotlaughingattheideaitmakesgoodsense.Butyou've
broughtbacksuchavividmemory.Weusedtohaveagardensprinklerdriven
roundandroundbyitswaterjets.Whatyou'replanningisthesamethingona
slightlybiggerscale...usingawholeworld...'
Suddenly,anotherimagefromhispastobliteratedallelse.Pooleremembered
how,inthosehotArizonadays,heandRikkihadlovedtochaseeachother
throughthecloudsofmovingmist,fromtheslowlyrevolvingsprayofthegarden
sprinkler.
CaptainChandlerwasamuchmoresensitivemanthanhepretendedtobe:he

knewwhenitwastimetoleave.
'Gottagetbacktothebridge,'hesaidgruffly.'Seeyouwhenwelandat
Anubis.'

18
GrandHotel

TheGrandGanymedeHotelinevitablyknownthroughouttheSolarSystemas
'HotelGrannymede'wascertainlynotgrand,andwouldbeluckytogetarating
ofoneandahalfstarsonEarth.Asthenearestcompetitionwasseveralhundred
millionkilometresaway,themanagementfeltlittleneedtoexertitselfunduly.
YetPoolehadnocomplaints,thoughheoftenwishedthatDanilwasstill
around,tohelphimwiththemechanicsoflifeandtocommunicatemore
efficientlywiththesemiintelligentdeviceswithwhichhewassurrounded.He
hadknownabriefmomentofpanicwhenthedoorhadclosedbehindthe(human)
bellboy,whohadapparentlybeentooawedbyhisguesttoexplainhowanyofthe
room'sservicesfunctioned.Afterfiveminutesoffruitlesstalkingtothe
unresponsivewalls,Poolehadfinallymadecontactwithasystemthatunderstood
hisaccentandhiscommands.Whatan'AllWorlds'newsitemitwouldhavemade
'Historicastronautstarvestodeath,trappedinGanymedehotelroom'!
Andtherewouldhavebeenadoubleirony.Perhapsthenamingofthe
Grannymede'sonlyluxurysuitewasinevitable,butithadbeenarealshockto
meetanancientlifesizeholoofhisoldshipmate,infulldressuniform,ashe
wasledintotheBowmanSuite.Pooleevenrecognizedtheimage:hisown
officialportraithadbeenmadeatthesametime,afewdaysbeforethemission
began.
HesoondiscoveredthatmostofhisGoliathcrewmateshaddomestic
arrangementsinAnubis,andwereanxiousforhimtomeettheirSignificant
Othersduringtheship'splannedtwentydaystop.Almostimmediatelyhewas
caughtupinthesocialandprofessionallifeofthisfrontiersettlement,and
itwasAfricaTowerthatnowseemedadistantdream.
LikemanyAmericans,intheirsecrethearts,Poolehadanostalgicaffection
forsmallcommunitieswhereeveryonekneweveryoneelseintherealworld,and
notthevirtualoneofcyberspace.Anubis,witharesidentpopulationlessthan
thatofhisrememberedFlagstaff,wasnotabadapproximationtothisideal.
Thethreemainpressuredomes,eachtwokilometresindiameter,stoodona

plateauoverlookinganicefieldwhichstretchedunbrokentothehorizon.
Ganymede'ssecondsun
onceknownasJupiterwouldnevergivesufficientheattomeltthepolar
caps.ThiswastheprincipalreasonforestablishingAnubisinsuchan
inhospitablespot:thecity'sfoundationswerenotlikelytocollapseforat
leastseveralcenturies.
Andinsidethedomes,itwaseasytobecompletelyindifferenttothe
outsideworld.Poole,whenhehadmasteredthemechanismsoftheBowmanSuite,
discoveredthathehadalimitedbutimpressivechoiceofenvironments.Hecould
sitbeneathpalmtreesonaPacificbeach,listeningtothegentlemurmurofthe
wavesor,ifhepreferred,theroarofatropicalhurricane.Hecouldfly
slowlyalongthepeaksoftheHimalayas,ordowntheimmensecanyonsofMariner
Valley.HecouldwalkthroughthegardensofVersaillesordownthestreetsof
halfadozengreatcities,atseveralwidelyspacedtimesintheirhistory.Even
iftheHotelGrannymedewasnotoneoftheSolarSystem'smosthighlyacclaimed
resorts,itboastedfacilitieswhichwouldhaveastoundedallitsmorefamous
predecessorsonEarth.
Butitwasridiculoustoindulgeinterrestrialnostalgia,whenhehadcome
halfwayacrosstheSolarSystemtovisitastrangenewworld.Aftersome
experimenting,Poolearrangedacompromise,forenjoymentandinspiration
duringhissteadilyfewermomentsofleisure.
Tohisgreatregret,hehadneverbeentoEgypt,soitwasdelightfulto
relaxbeneaththegazeoftheSphinxasitwasbeforeitscontroversial
'restoration'andtowatchtouristsscramblingupthemassiveblocksofthe
GreatPyramid.Theillusionwasperfect,apartfromthenoman'slandwherethe
desertclashedwiththe(slightlyworn)carpetoftheBowmanSuite.
Thesky,however,wasonethatnohumaneyeshadseenuntilfivethousand
yearsafterthelaststonewaslaidatGiza.Butitwasnotanillusionitwas
thecomplexandeverchangingrealityofGanymede.
Becausethisworldlikeitscompanionshadbeenrobbedofitsspinaeons
agobythetidaldragofJupiter,thenewsunbornfromthegiantplanethung
motionlessinitssky.OnesideofGanymedewasinperpetualLuciferlightand
althoughtheotherhemispherewasoftenreferredtoasthe'NightLand',that
designationwasasmisleadingasthemuchearlierphrase'Thedarksideofthe
Moon'.LikethelunarFarside,Ganymede's'NightLand'hadthebrilliantlight
ofoldSolforhalfofitslongday.
Byacoincidencemoreconfusingthanuseful,Ganymedetookalmostexactly
oneweeksevendays,threehourstoorbititsprimary.Attemptstocreatea
'OneMededay=oneEarthweek'calendarhadgeneratedsomuchchaosthatthey

hadbeenabandonedcenturiesago.LikealltheotherresidentsoftheSolar
System,thelocalsemployedUniversalTime,identifyingtheirtwentyfourhour
standarddaysbynumbersratherthannames.
SinceGanymede'snewbornatmospherewasstillextremelythinandalmost
cloudless,theparadeofheavenlybodiesprovidedaneverendingspectacle.At
theirclosest,IoandCallistoeachappearedabouthalfthesizeoftheMoonas
seenfromEarthbutthatwastheonlythingtheyhadincommon.Iowasso
closetoLuciferthatittooklessthantwodaystoracearounditsorbit,and
showedvisiblemovementeveninamatterofminutes.Callisto,atoverfour
timesIo'sdistance,requiredtwoMededays orsixteenEarthonesto
completeitsleisurelycircuit.
Thephysicalcontrastbetweenthetwoworldswasevenmoreremarkable.Deep
frozenCallistohadbeenalmostunchangedbyJupiter'sconversionintoamini
sun:itwasstillawastelandofshallowicecraters,socloselypackedthat
therewasnotasinglespotontheentiresatellitethathadescapedfrom
multipleimpacts,inthedayswhenJupiter'senormousgravityfieldwas
competingwithSaturn'stogatherupthedebrisoftheouterSolarSystem.Since
then,apartfromafewstrayshots,nothinghadhappenedforseveralbillion
years.
OnIo,somethingwashappeningeveryweek.Asalocalwithadremarked,
beforethecreationofLuciferithadbeenHellnowitwasHellwarmedup.
Often,Poolewouldzoomintothatburninglandscapeandlookintothe
sulphurousthroatsofvolcanoesthatwerecontinuallyreshapinganarealarger
thanAfrica.Sometimesincandescentfountainswouldsoarbrieflyhundredsof
kilometresintospace,likegigantictreesoffiregrowingonalifelessworld.
Asthefloodsofmoltensulphurspreadoutfromvolcanoesandvents,the
versatileelementchangedthroughanarrowspectrumofredsandorangesand
yellowswhen,chameleonlike,itwastransformedintoitsvaricoloured
allotropes.BeforethedawnoftheSpaceAge,noonehadeverimaginedthatsuch
aworldexisted.Fascinatingthoughitwastoobserveitfromhiscomfortable
vantagepoint,Poolefoundithardtobelievethatmenhadeverriskedlanding
there,whereevenrobotsfearedtotread...Hismaininterest,however,was
Europa,whichatitsclosestappearedalmostexactlythesamesizeasEarth's
solitaryMoon,butracedthroughitsphasesinonlyfourdays.ThoughPoolehad
beenquiteunconsciousofthesymbolismwhenhechosehisprivatelandscape,it
nowseemedwhollyappropriatethatEuropashouldhangintheskyaboveanother
greatenigmatheSphinx.
Evenwithnomagnification,whenherequestedthenakedeyeview,Poole
couldseehowgreatlyEuropahadchangedinthethousandyearssinceDiscovery
hadsetoutforJupiter.Thespider'swebofnarrowbandsandlinesthathad

oncecompletelyenvelopedthesmallestofthefourGalileansatelliteshad
vanished,exceptaroundthepoles.Heretheglobalcrustofkilometrethickice
remainedunmeltedbythewarmthofEuropa'snewsun:elsewhere,virginoceans
seethedandboiledinthethinatmosphere,atwhatwouldhavebeencomfortable
roomtemperatureonEarth.
Itwasalsoacomfortabletemperaturetothecreatureswhohademerged,
afterthemeltingoftheunbrokeniceshieldthathadbothtrappedandprotected
them.Orbitingspysats,showingdetailsonlycentimetresacross,hadwatchedone
Europanspeciesstartingtoevolveintoanamphibiousstage:thoughtheystill
spentmuchoftheirtimeunderwater,the'Europs'hadevenbegunthe
constructionofsimplebuildings.
Thatthiscouldhappeninamerethousandyearswasastonishing,butnoone
doubtedthattheexplanationlayinthelastandgreatestoftheMonolithsthe
manykilometrelong'GreatWall'standingontheshoreoftheSeaofGalilee.
Andnoonedoubtedthat,initsownmysteriousway,itwaswatchingoverthe
experimentithadstartedonthisworldasithaddoneonEarthfourmillion
yearsbefore.

19
TheMadnessofMankind

MISSPRINGLE
FILEINDRA
MydearIndrasorryI'venotevenvoicemailedyoubeforeusualexcuse,
ofcourse,soIwon'tbothertogiveit.
Toansweryourquestionyes,I'mnowfeelingquiteathomeatthe
Grannymede,butamspendinglessandlesstimethere,thoughI'vebeenenjoying
theskydisplayI'vehadpipedintomysuite.LastnighttheIofluxtubeputon
afineperformancethat'sakindoflightningdischargebetweenIoandJupiter
ImeanLucifer.RatherlikeEarth'saurora,butmuchmorespectacular.
DiscoveredbytheradioastronomersevenbeforeIwasborn.
AndtalkingaboutancienttimesdidyouknowthatAnubishasaSheriff?I
thinkthat'soverdoingthefrontierspirit.Remindsmeofthestoriesmy
grandfatherusedtotellmeaboutArizona...Musttrysomeofthemonthe
Medes...

ThismaysoundsillyI'mstillnotusedtobeingintheBowmanSuite.I
keeplookingovermyshoulder...
HowdoIspendmytime?MuchthesameasinAfricaTower.I'mmeetingthe
localintelligentsia,thoughasyoumightexpectthey'reratherthinonthe
ground(hopenooneisbuggingthis).AndI'veinteractedrealandvirtual
withtheeducationalsystem verygood,itseems,thoughmoretechnically
orientedthanyou'dapprove.That'sinevitable,ofcourse,inthishostile
environment...
Butit'shelpedmetounderstandwhypeoplelivehere.There'sachallenge
asenseofpurpose,ifyoulikethatIseldomfoundonEarth.
It'struethatmostoftheMedeswerebornhere,sodon'tknowanyother
home.Thoughthey'reusuallytoopolitetosayso,theythinkthattheHome
Planetisbecomingdecadent.Areyou?Andifso,whatareyouTerries asthe
localscallyougoingtodoaboutit?OneoftheteenageclassesI'vemet
hopestowakeyouup.They'redrawingupelaborateTopSecretplansforthe
InvasionofEarth.Don'tsayIdidn'twarnyou...
I'vemadeonetripoutsideAnubis,intothesocalledNightLand,wherethey
neverseeLucifer.TenofusChandler,twoofGoliath'screw,sixMedeswent
intoFarside,andchasedtheSundowntothehorizonsoitreallywasnight.
AwesomemuchlikepolarwintersonEarth,butwiththeskycompletelyblack...
almostfeltIwasinspace.
WecouldseealltheGalileansbeautifully,andwatchedEuropaeclipse
sorry,occultIo.Ofcourse,thetriphadbeentimedsowecouldobserve
this...
Severalofthesmallersatelliteswerejustalsovisible,butthedouble
starEarthMoonwasmuchmoreconspicuous.DidIfeelhomesick?Frankly,no
thoughImissmynewfriendsbackthere...
AndI'msorryIstillhaven'tmetDrKhan,thoughhe'sleftseveral
messagesforme.IpromisetodoitinthenextfewdaysEarthdays,notMede
ones!
BestwishestoJoeregardstoDanil,ifyouknowwhat'shappenedtohim
ishearealpersonagain?andmylovetoyourself.
STORETRANSMIT

BackinPoole'scentury,aperson'snameoftengaveacluetohis/her
appearance,butthatwasnolongertruethirtygenerationslater.DrTheodore
KhanturnedouttobeaNordicblondwhomighthavelookedmoreathomeina
VikinglongboatthanravagingthesteppesofCentralAsia:however,hewouldnot
havebeentooimpressiveineitherrole,beinglessthanahundredandfifty
centimetrestall.Poolecouldnotresistalittleamateurpsychoanalysis:small
peoplewereoftenaggressiveoverachieverswhich,fromIndraWallace'shints,
appearedtobeagooddescriptionofGanymede'ssoleresidentphilosopher.Khan
probablyneededthesequalifications,tosurviveinsuchapracticallyminded
society.
AnubisCitywasfartoosmalltoboastauniversitycampusaluxurywhich
stillexistedontheotherworlds,thoughmanybelievedthatthe
telecommunicationsrevolutionhadmadeitobsolete.Instead,ithadsomething
muchmoreappropriate,aswellascenturiesolderanAcademy,completewitha
groveofolivetreesthatwouldhavefooledPlatohimself,untilhehad
attemptedtowalkthroughit.Indra'sjokeaboutdepartmentsofphilosophy
requiringnomoreequipmentthanblackboardsclearlydidnotapplyinthis
sophisticatedenvironment.
'It'sbuilttoholdsevenpeople,'saidDrKhanproudly,whentheyhad
settleddownonchairsobviouslydesignedtobenottoocomfortable,'because
that'sthemaximumonecanefficientlyinteractwith.And,ifyoucountthe
ghostofSocrates,itwasthenumberpresentwhenPhaedodeliveredhisfamous
address...'
'Theoneontheimmortalityofthesoul?'
KhanwassoobviouslysurprisedthatPoolecouldnothelplaughing.
'ItookacrashcourseinphilosophyjustbeforeIgraduatedwhenthe
syllabuswasplanned,someonedecidedthatwehairyknuckledengineersshouldbe
exposedtoalittleculture.'
'I'mdelightedtohearit.Thatmakesthingssomucheasier.YouknowI
stillcan'tcreditmyluck.Yourarrivalherealmosttemptsmetobelievein
miracles!I'deventhoughtofgoingtoEarthtomeetyouhasdearIndratold
youaboutmyahobsession?'
'No,'Pooleanswered,notaltogethertruthfully.
DrKhanlookedverypleasedhewasclearlydelightedtofindanew
audience.
'Youmayhaveheardmecalledanatheist,butthat'snotquitetrue.Atheism
isunprovable,souninteresting.Equally,howeverunlikelyitis,wecannever

becertainthatGodonceexistedandhasnowshotofftoinfinity,whereno
onecaneverfindhim...LikeGautamaBuddha,Itakenopositiononthis
subject.MyfieldofinterestisthepsychopathologyknownasReligion.'
'Psychopathology?That'saharshjudgement.'
'Amplyjustifiedbyhistory.Imaginethatyou'reanintelligent
extraterrestrial,concernedonlywithverifiabletruths.Youdiscoveraspecies
whichhasdivideditselfintothousandsnobynowmillionsoftribalgroups
holdinganincrediblevarietyofbeliefsabouttheoriginoftheuniverseand
thewaytobehaveinit.Althoughmanyofthemhaveideasincommon,evenwhen
there'saninetyninepercentoverlap,theremainingonepercentisenoughto
setthemkillingandtorturingeachother,overtrivialpointsofdoctrine,
utterlymeaninglesstooutsiders.'
'Howtoaccountforsuchirrationalbehaviour?Lucretiushititonthenail
whenhesaidthatreligionwasthebyproductoffearareactiontoa
mysteriousandoftenhostileuniverse.Formuchofhumanprehistory,itmayhave
beenanecessaryevilbutwhywasitsomuchmoreevilthannecessaryand
whydiditsurvivewhenitwasnolongernecessary?
'IsaidevilandImeanit,becausefearleadstocruelty.Theslightest
knowledgeoftheInquisitionmakesoneashamedtobelongtothehumanspecies...
OneofthemostrevoltingbookseverpublishedwastheHammerofWitches,
writtenbyacoupleofsadisticpervertsanddescribingthetorturestheChurch
authorizedencouraged!toextract"confessions"fromthousandsofharmless
oldwomen,beforeitburnedthemalive...ThePopehimselfwroteanapproving
foreword!'
'Butmostoftheotherreligions,withafewhonourableexceptions,were
justasbadasChristianity...Eveninyourcentury,littleboyswerekept
chainedandwhippeduntilthey'dmemorizedwholevolumesofpiousgibberish,and
robbedoftheirchildhoodandmanhoodtobecomemonks...'
'Perhapsthemostbafflingaspectofthewholeaffairishowobviousmadmen,
centuryaftercentury,wouldproclaimthattheyandtheyalone!hadreceived
messagesfromGod.Ifallthemessageshadagreed,thatwouldhavesettledthe
matter.Butofcoursetheywerewildlydiscordantwhichneverpreventedself
styledmessiahsfromgatheringhundredssometimesmillionsofadherents,who
wouldfighttothedeathagainstequallydeludedbelieversofamicroscopically
differingfaith.'
Poolethoughtitwasabouttimehegotawordinedgeways.
'You'veremindedmeofsomethingthathappenedinmyhometownwhenIwasa
kid.Aholymanquote,unquotesetupshop,claimedhecouldworkmiracles

andcollectedacrowdofdevoteesinnexttonotime.Andtheyweren'tignorant
orilliterateoftentheycamefromthebestfamilies.EverySundayIusedto
seeexpensivecarsparkedroundhisahtemple.'
'The"RasputinSyndrome",it'sbeencalled:therearemillionsofsuch
cases,allthroughhistory,ineverycountry.Andaboutonetimeinathousand
thecultsurvivesforacoupleofgenerations.Whathappenedinthiscase?'
'Well,thecompetitionwasveryunhappy,anddiditsbesttodiscredithim.
WishIcouldrememberhisnameheusedalongIndianoneSwamisomethingor
otherbutitturnedouthecamefromAlabama.Oneofhistrickswastoproduce
holyobjectsoutofthinair,andhandthemtohisworshippers.Asithappened,
ourlocalrabbiwasanamateurconjuror,andgavepublicdemonstrationsshowing
exactlyhowitwasdone.Didn'tmaketheslightestdifferencethefaithful
saidthattheirman'smagicwasreal,andtherabbiwasjustjealous.'
'Atonetime,I'msorrytosay,Mothertooktherascalseriouslyitwas
soonafterDadhadrunoff,whichmayhavehadsomethingtodowithitand
draggedmetooneofhissessions.Iwasonlyaboutten,butIthoughtI'dnever
seenanyonesounpleasantlooking.Hehadabeardthatcouldhaveheldseveral
birds'nests,andprobablydid.'
'Hesoundslikethestandardmodel.Howlongdidheflourish?'
'Threeorfouryears.Andthenhehadtoleavetowninahurry:hewas
caughtrunningteenageorgies.Ofcourse,heclaimedhewasusingmysticalsoul
savingtechniques.Andyouwon'tbelievethis,
'Tryme.'
'Eventhen,lotsofhisdupesstillhadfaithinhim.Theirgodcoulddono
wrong,sohemusthavebeenframed.'
'Framed?'
'Sorryconvictedbyfakedevidencesometimesusedbythepolicetocatch
criminals,whenallelsefails.'
'Hmm.Well,yourswamiwasperfectlytypical:I'mratherdisappointed.But
hedoeshelptoprovemycasethatmostofhumanityhasalwaysbeeninsane,at
leastsomeofthetime.'
'RatheranunrepresentativesampleonesmallFlagstaffsuburb.'
'True,butIcouldmultiplyitbythousandsnotonlyinyourcentury,but
alldowntheages.There'sneverbeenanything,howeverabsurd,thatcountless

peopleweren'tpreparedtobelieve,oftensopassionatelythatthey'dfightto
thedeathratherthanabandontheirillusions.Tome,that'sagoodoperational
definitionofinsanity.'
'Wouldyouarguethatanyonewithstrongreligiousbeliefswasinsane?'
'Inastrictlytechnicalsense,yesiftheyreallyweresincere,andnot
hypocrites.AsIsuspectninetypercentwere.'
'I'mcertainthatRabbiBerensteinwassincereandhewasoneofthe
sanestmenIeverknew,aswellasoneofthefinest.Andhowdoyouaccountfor
this?TheonlyrealgeniusIevermetwasDrChandra,wholedtheHALproject.I
oncehadtogointohisofficetherewasnoreplywhenIknocked,andI
thoughtitwasunoccupied.'
'Hewasprayingtoagroupoffantasticlittlebronzestatues,drapedwith
flowers.Oneofthemlookedlikeanelephant...anotherhadmorethanthe
regularnumberofarms...Iwasquiteembarrassed,butluckilyhedidn'thearme
andItiptoedout.Wouldyousayhewasinsane?'
'You'vechosenabadexample:geniusoftenis!Solet'ssay:notinsane,but
mentallyimpaired,owingtochildhoodconditioning.TheJesuitsclaimed:"Give
meaboyforsixyears,andheismineforlife."Ifthey'dgotholdoflittle
Chandraintime,he'dhavebeenadevoutCatholicnotaHindu.'
'Possibly.ButI'mpuzzledwhywereyousoanxioustomeetme?I'mafraid
I'veneverbeenadevoutanything.WhathaveIgottodowithallthis?'
Slowly,andwiththeobviousenjoymentofamanunburdeninghimselfofa
heavy,longhoardedsecret,DrKhantoldhim.

20
Apostate

RECORDPOOLE
Hello,Frank...Soyou'vefinallymetTed.Yes,youcouldcallhimacrank
ifyoudefinethatasanenthusiastwithnosenseofhumour.Butcranksoften
getthatwaybecausetheyknowaBigTruthcan,youhearmycapitals?
andnoonewilllisten...I'mgladyoudidandIsuggestyoutakehim
quiteseriously.

YousaidyouweresurprisedtoseeaPope'sportraitprominentlydisplayed
inTed'sapartment.Thatwouldhavebeenhishero,PiusXXI'msureI
mentionedhimtoyou.Lookhimuphe'susuallycalledtheImpius!It'sa
fascinatingstory,andexactlyparallelssomethingthathappenedjustbeforeyou
wereborn.YoumustknowhowMikhailGorbachev,thePresidentoftheSoviet
Empire,broughtaboutitsdissolutionattheendofthetwentiethcentury,by
exposingitscrimesandexcesses.
Hedidn'tintendtogothatfarhe'dhopedtoreformit,butthatwasno
longerpossible.We'llneverknowifPiusXXhadthesameidea,becausehewas
assassinatedbyadementedcardinalsoonafterhe'dhorrifiedtheworldby
releasingthesecretfilesoftheInquisition...
ThereligiouswerestillshakenbythediscoveryofTMAZEROonlyafew
decadesearlierthathadagreatimpactonPiusXX,andcertainlyinfluenced
hisactions...
Butyoustillhaven'ttoldmehowTed,thatoldcryptoDeist,thinksyoucan
helphiminhissearchforGod.Ibelievehe'sstillmadathimforhidingso
successfully.BetternotsayItoldyouthat.
Onsecondthoughts,whynot?
LoveIndra.
STORE
TRANSMIT

MISSPRINGLE
RECORD
HelloIndraI'vehadanothersessionwithDrTed,thoughI'vestillnot
toldhimjustwhyyouthinkhe'sangrywithGod!
ButI'vehadsomeveryinterestingargumentsno,dialogueswithhim,
thoughhedoesmostofthetalking.NeverthoughtI'dgetintophilosophyagain
afteralltheseyearsofengineering.PerhapsIhadtogothroughthemfirst,to
appreciateit.Wonderhowhe'dgrademeasastudent?
YesterdayItriedthislineofapproach,toseehisreaction.Perhapsit's
original,thoughIdoubtit.Thoughtyou'dliketohearitwillbeinterested

inyourcomments.Here'sourdiscussionMISSPRINGLECOPYAUDIO94.
'Surely,Ted,youcan'tdenythatmostofthegreatestworksofhumanart
havebeeninspiredbyreligiousdevotion.Doesn'tthatprovesomething?'
'Yesbutnotinawaythatwillgivemuchcomforttoanybelievers!From
timetotime,peopleamusethemselvesmakinglistsoftheBiggestsandGreatests
andBestsI'msurethatwasapopularentertainmentinyourday.'
'Itcertainlywas.'
'Well,therehavebeensomefamousattemptstodothiswiththearts.Of
coursesuchlistscan'testablishabsoluteeternalvalues,butthey're
interestingandshowhowtasteschangefromagetoage.'
'ThelastlistIsawitwasontheEarthArtnetonlyafewyearsagowas
dividedintoArchitecture,Music,VisualArts...Irememberafewofthe
examples...theParthenon,theTajMahal...Bach'sToccataandFuguewasfirst
inmusic,followedbyVerdi'sRequiemMass.InarttheMonaLisa,ofcourse.
ThennotsureoftheorderagroupofBuddhastatuessomewhereinCeylon,
andthegoldendeathmaskofyoungKingTut.
'EvenifIcouldrememberalltheotherswhichofcourseIcan'tit
doesn'tmatter:theimportantthingistheirculturalandreligiousbackgrounds.
Overall,nosinglereligiondominatedexceptinmusic.Andthatcouldbedue
toapurelytechnologicalaccident:theorganandtheotherpreelectronic
musicalinstrumentswereperfectedintheChristianizedWest.Itcouldhave
workedoutquitedifferently...if,forexample,theGreeksortheChinesehad
regardedmachinesassomethingmorethantoys.
'Butwhatreallysettlestheargument,asfarasI'mconcerned,isthe
generalconsensusaboutthesinglegreatestworkofhumanart.Overandover
again,inalmosteverylistingit'sAngkorWat.Yetthereligionthatinspired
thathasbeenextinctforcenturiesnooneevenknowspreciselywhatitwas,
exceptthatitinvolvedhundredsofgods,notmerelyone!'
'WishIcouldhavethrownthatatdearoldRabbiBerensteinI'msurehe'd
havehadagoodanswer.'
'Idon'tdoubtit.IwishIcouldhavemethimmyself.AndI'm gladhenever
livedtoseewhathappenedtoIsrael.'
ENDAUDIO.
Thereyouhaveit,Indra.WishtheGrannymedehadAngkorWatonitsmenu
I'veneverseenitbutyoucan'thaveeverything...

Now,thequestionyoureallywantedanswered...whyisDrTedsodelighted
thatI'mhere?
Asyouknow,he'sconvincedthatthekeytomanymysteriesliesonEuropa
wherenoonehasbeenallowedtolandforathousandyears.
HethinksImaybeanexception.HebelievesIhaveafriendthere.Yes
DaveBowman,orwhateverhe'snowbecome...
WeknowthathesurvivedbeingdrawnintotheBigBrotherMonolithand
somehowrevisitedEarthafterwards.Butthere'smore,thatIdidn'tknow.Very
fewpeopledo,becausetheMedesareembarrassedtotalkaboutit...
TedKhanhasspentyearscollectingtheevidence,andisnowquitecertain
ofthefactseventhoughhecan'texplainthem.Onatleastsixoccasions,
aboutacenturyapart,reliableobservershereinAnubishavereportedseeingan
apparitionjustliketheonethatHeywoodFloydmetaboardDiscovery.Though
notoneofthemknewaboutthatincident,theywereallabletoidentifyDave
whentheywereshownhishologram.Andtherewasanothersightingaboarda
surveyshipthatmadeacloseapproachtoEuropa,sixhundredyearsago...
Individually,noonewouldtakethesecasesseriouslybutaltogetherthey
makeapattern.Ted'squitesurethatDaveBowmansurvivesinsomeform,
presumablyassociatedwiththeMonolithwecalltheGreatWall.Andhestillhas
someinterestinouraffairs.
Thoughhe'smadenoattemptatcommunication,Tedhopeswecanmakecontact.
HebelievesthatI'mtheonlyhumanwhocandoit...
I'mstilltryingtomakeupmymind.Tomorrow,I'lltalkitoverwith
CaptainChandler.Willletyouknowwhatwedecide.Love,Frank.
STORE
TRANSMITINDRA

21
Quarantine

'Doyoubelieveinghosts,Dim?'

'Certainlynot:butlikeeverysensibleman,I'mafraidofthem.Whydoyou
ask?'
'Ifitwasn'taghost,itwasthemostvividdreamI'veeverhad.Lastnight
IhadaconversationwithDaveBowman.'
PooleknewthatCaptainChandlerwouldtakehimseriously,whentheoccasion
requirednorwashedisappointed.
'Interestingbutthere'sanobviousexplanation.You'vebeenlivinghere
intheBowmanSuite,forDeus'ssake!Youtoldmeyourselfitfeelshaunted.'
'I'msurewell,ninetyninepercentsurethatyou'reright,andthe
wholethingwaspromptedbythediscussionsI'vebeenhavingwithProf.Ted.
HaveyouheardthereportsthatDaveBowmanoccasionallyappearsinAnubis?
Aboutonceeveryhundredyears?JustashedidtoDrFloydaboardDiscovery,
aftershe'dbeenreactivated.'
'Whathappenedthere?I'veheardvaguestories,butnevertakenthem
seriously.'
'DrKhandoesandsodoII'veseentheoriginalrecordings.Floyd's
sittinginmyoldchairwhenakindofdustcloudformsbehindhim,andshapes
itselfintoDavethoughonlytheheadhasdetail.Thenitgivesthatfamous
message,warninghimtoleave.'
'Whowouldn'thave?Butthatwasathousandyearsago.Plentyoftimeto
fakeit.'
'Whatwouldbethepoint?KhanandIwerelookingatityesterday.I'dbet
mylifeit'sauthentic.'
'Asamatteroffact,Iagreewithyou.AndIhaveheardthosereports...'
Chandler'svoicetrailedaway,andhelookedslightlyembarrassed.
'Longtimeago,IhadagirlfriendhereinAnubis.Shetoldmethather
grandfatherhadseenBowman.Ilaughed.'
'IwonderifTedhasthatsightingonhislist.Couldyouputhimintouch
withyourfriend?'
'Errathernot.Wehaven'tspokenforyears.ForallIknow,shemaybeon
theMoon,orMars...Anyway,whyisProfessorTedinterested?'
'That'swhatIreallywantedtodiscusswithyou.'

'Soundsominous.Goahead,'
'TedthinksthatDaveBowmanorwhateverhe'sbecomemaystillexist
upthereonEuropa.'
'Afterathousandyears?'
'Welllookatme.'
'Onesampleispoorstatistics,mymathsprof.usedtosay.Butgoon.'
'It'sacomplicatedstoryormaybeajigsaw,withmostofthepieces
missing.Butit'sgenerallyagreedthatsomethingcrucialhappenedtoour
ancestorswhenthatMonolithappearedinAfrica,fourmillionyearsago.It
marksaturningpointinprehistorythefirstappearanceoftoolsand
weaponsandreligion...Thatcan'tbepurecoincidence.TheMonolithmusthave
donesomethingtoussurelyitcouldn'thavejuststoodthere,passively
acceptingworship...'
'Ted'sfondofquotingafamouspalaeontologistwhosaid"TMAZEROgaveus
anevolutionarykickinthepants".Hearguesthatthekickwasn'tinawholly
desirabledirection.Didwehavetobecomesomeanandnastytosurvive?Maybe
wedid...AsIunderstandhim,Tedbelievesthatthere'ssomethingfundamentally
wrongwiththewiringofourbrains,whichmakesusincapableofconsistent
logicalthinking.Tomakemattersworse,thoughallcreaturesneedacertain
amountofaggressivenesstosurvive,weseemtohavefarmorethanisabsolutely
necessary.Andnootheranimaltorturesitsfellowsaswedo.Isthisan
evolutionaryaccidentapieceofgeneticbadluck?
'It'salsowidelyagreedthatTMAONEwasplantedontheMoontokeeptrack
oftheprojectexperimentwhateveritwasandtoreporttoJupiterthe
obviousplaceforSolarSystemMissionControl.That'swhyanotherMonolith
BigBrotherwaswaitingthere.Hadbeenwaitingfourmillionyears,when
Discoveryarrived.Agreedsofar?'
'YesI'vealwaysthoughtthatwasthemostplausibletheory.'
'Nowforthemorespeculativestuff.Bowmanwasapparentlyswallowedupby
BigBrother,yetsomethingofhispersonalityseemstohavesurvived.Twenty
yearsafterthatencounterwithHeywoodFloydinthesecondJupiterexpedition,
theyhadanothercontactaboardUniverse,whenFloydjoineditforthe2061
rendezvouswithHalley'sComet.Atleast,sohetellsusinhismemoirsthough
hewaswelloverahundredwhenhedictatedthem.'
'Couldhavebeensenile.'

'Notaccordingtoallthecontemporaryaccounts!Alsoperhapsevenmore
significanthisgrandsonChrishadsomeequallyweirdexperienceswhenGalaxy
madeitsforcedlandingonEuropa.And,ofcourse,that'swheretheMonolith
oraMonolithis,rightnow!SurroundedbyEuropans...'
'I'mbeginningtoseewhatDrTed'sdrivingat.Thisiswherewecamein
thewholecycle'sstartingoveragain.TheEuropsarebeinggroomedfor
stardom.'
'Exactlyeverythingfits.Jupiterignitedtogivethemasun,tothawout
theirfrozenworld.Thewarningtoustokeepourdistancepresumablysothat
wewouldn'tinterferewiththeirdevelopment...'
'WherehaveIheardthatideabefore?Ofcourse,Frankitgoesbacka
thousandyearstoyourowntime!"ThePrimeDirective"!Westillgetlotsof
laughsfromthoseoldStarTrekprogrammes.'
'DidIevertellyouIoncemetsomeoftheactors?Theywouldhavebeen
surprisedtoseemenow...AndI'vealwayshadtwothoughtsaboutthatnon
interferencepolicy.TheMonolithcertainlyviolateditwithus,backtherein
Africa.Onemightarguethatdidhavedisastrousresults...'
'SobetterlucknexttimeonEuropa!'Poolelaughed,withoutmuchhumour.
'Khanusedthoseexactwords.'
'Andwhatdoeshethinkweshoulddoaboutit?Aboveallwheredoyoucome
intothepicture?'
'Firstofall,wemustfindwhat'sreallyhappeningonEuropaandwhy.
Merelyobservingitfromspaceisnotenough.'
'Whatelsecanwedo?AlltheprobestheMedeshavesenttherewereblown
up,justbeforelanding.'
'AndeversincethemissiontorescueGalaxy,crewcarryingshipshavebeen
divertedbysomefieldofforce,whichnoonecanfigureout.Veryinteresting:
itprovesthatwhateverisdownthereisprotective,butnotmalevolent.And
thisistheimportantpointitmusthavesomewayofscanningwhat'sonthe
way.Itcandistinguishbetweenrobotsandhumans.'
'MorethanIcando,sometimes.Goon.'
'Well,Tedthinksthere'sonehumanbeingwhomightmakeitdowntothe
surfaceofEuropabecausehisoldfriendisthere,andmayhavesomeinfluence
withthe'powersthatbe.'

CaptainDimitriChandlergavealong,lowwhistle.
'Andyou'rewillingtoriskit?'
'Yes:whathaveIgottolose?'
'Onevaluableshuttlecraft,ifIknowwhatyouhaveinmind.Isthatwhy
you'vebeenlearningtoflyFalcon?'
'Well,nowthatyoumentionit...theideahadoccurredtome.'
'I'llhavetothinkitoverI'lladmitI'mintrigued,buttherearelots
ofproblems.'
'Knowingyou,I'msuretheywon'tstandinthewayonceyou'vedecidedto
helpme.'

22
Venture

MISSPRINGLELISTPRIORITYMESSAGESFROMEARTH
RECORD
DearIndraI'mnottryingtobedramatic,butthismaybemylastmessage
fromGanymede.Bythetimeyoureceiveit,IwillbeonmywaytoEuropa.
Thoughit'sasuddendecisionandnooneismoresurprisedthanIam
I'vethoughtitoververycarefully.Asyou'llhaveguessed,TedKhanislargely
responsible...lethimdotheexplaining,ifIdon'tcomeback.Pleasedon't
misunderstandmeinnowaydoIregardthisasasuicidemission!ButI'm
ninetypercentconvincedbyTed'sarguments,andhe'sarousedmycuriosityso
muchthatI'dneverforgivemyselfifIturneddownthisonceinalifetime
opportunity.MaybeIshouldsayonceintwolifetimes...
I'mflyingGoliath'slittleonepersonshuttleFalconhowI'dhaveloved
todemonstratehertomyoldcolleaguesbackattheSpaceAdministration!
Judgingbypastrecords,themostlikelyoutcomeisthatI'llbedivertedaway
fromEuropabeforeIcanland.Eventhiswillteachmesomething...
AndifitpresumablythelocalMonolith,theGreatWalldecidestotreat

meliketherobotprobesit'szappedinthepast,I'llneverknow.That'sarisk
I'mpreparedtotake.
Thankyouforeverything,andmyverybesttoJoe.LovefromGanymedeand
soon,Ihope,fromEuropa.
STORE
TRANSMIT

IV
THEKINGDOMOFSULPHUR

23
Falcon

'Europa'saboutfourhundredthousandkayfromGanymedeatthemoment,'
CaptainChandlerinformedPoole.
'Ifyousteppedonthegasthanksforteachingmethatphrase!Falcon
couldgetyouthereinanhour.ButIwouldn'trecommendit:ourmysterious
friendmightbealarmedbyanyonecominginthatfast.'
'AgreedandIwanttimetothink.I'mgoingtotakeseveralhours,atleast.
AndI'mstillhoping...'Poole'svoicetrailedoffintosilence.
'Hopingwhat?'
'ThatIcanmakesomesortofcontactwithDave,orwhateveritis,beforeI
attempttoland.'
'Yes,it'salwaysrudetodropinuninvitedevenwithpeopleyouknow,let
aloneperfectstrangersliketheEurops.Perhapsyoushouldtakesomegifts
whatdidtheoldtimeexplorersuse?Ibelievemirrorsandbeadswereonce
popular.'
Chandler'sfacetioustonedidnotdisguisehisrealconcern,bothforPoole
andforthevaluablepieceofequipmentheproposedtoborrowandforwhich
theskipperofGoliathwasultimatelyresponsible.

'I'mstilltryingtodecidehowweworkthis.Ifyoucomebackahero,I
wanttobaskinyourreflectedglory.ButifyouloseFalconaswellas
yourself,whatshallIsay?Thatyoustoletheshuttlewhileweweren'tlooking?
I'mafraidnoonewouldbuythatstory.GanymedeTrafficControl'svery
efficienthastobe!Ifyouleftwithoutadvancenotice,they'dbeontoyou
inamicrosecwell,amillisecond.NowayyoucouldleaveunlessIfileyour
flightplanaheadoftime.'
'SothisiswhatIproposetodo,unlessIthinkofsomethingbetter.'
'You'retakingFalconoutforafinalqualificationtesteveryoneknows
you'vealreadysoloed.You'llgointoatwothousandkilometrehighorbitabove
Europanothingunusualaboutthatpeopledoitallthetime,andthelocal
authoritiesdon'tseemtoobject.'
'Estimatedtotalflighttimefivehoursplusorminustenminutes.Ifyou
suddenlychangeyourmindaboutcominghome,noonecandoanythingaboutit
atleast,nooneonGanymede.Ofcourse,I'llmakesomeindignantnoises,and
sayhowastonishedIambysuchgrossnavigationalerrors,etc.,etc.Whatever
willlookbestinthesubsequentCourtofEnquiry.'
'Woulditcometothat?Idon'twanttodoanythingthatwillgetyouinto
trouble.'
'Don'tworryit'stimetherewasalittleexcitementroundhere.Butonly
youandIknowaboutthisplottrynottomentionittothecrewIwantthem
tohavewhatwasthatotherusefulexpressionyoutaughtme?"plausible
deniability".'
'Thanks,Dim Ireallyappreciatewhatyou'redoing.AndIhopeyou'll
neverhavetoregrethaulingmeaboardGoliath,outroundNeptune.'

Poolefoundithardtoavoidarousingsuspicion,bythewayhebehaved
towardshisnewcrewmatesastheypreparedFalconforwhatwassupposedtobea
short,routineflight.OnlyheandChandlerknewthatitmightbenothingofthe
kind.
Yethewasnotheadingintothetotallyunknown,asheandDaveBowmanhad
doneathousandyearsago.Storedintheshuttle'smemorywerehighresolution
mapsofEuropashowingdetailsdowntoafewmetresacross.Heknewexactly
wherehewishedtogoitonlyremainedtoseeifhewouldbeallowedtobreak
thecenturieslongquarantine.

24
Escape

'Manualcontrol,please.'
'Areyousure,Frank?'
'Quitesure,Falcon...Thankyou.'
Illogicalthoughitseemed,mostofthehumanracehadfounditimpossible
nottobepolitetoitsartificialchildren,howeversimplemindedtheymight
be.Wholevolumesofpsychology,aswellaspopularguides(HowNottoHurtYour
Computer'sFeelingsArtificialIntelligenceRealirritationweretwoofthe
bestknowntitles)hadbeenwrittenonthesubjectofManMachineetiquette.
Longagoithadbeendecidedthat,howeverinconsequentialrudenesstorobots
mightappeartobe,itshouldbediscouraged.Alltooeasily,itcouldspreadto
humanrelationshipsaswell.
Falconwasnowinorbit,justasherflightplanhadpromised,atasafetwo
thousandkilometresaboveEuropa.Thegiantmoon'screscentdominatedthesky
ahead,andeventheareanotilluminatedbyLuciferwassobrilliantlylitby
themuchmoredistantSunthateverydetailwasclearlyvisible.Pooleneededno
opticalaidtoseehisplanneddestination,onthestillicyshoreoftheSeaof
Galilee,notfarfromtheskeletonofthefirstspacecrafttolandonthis
world.ThoughtheEuropanshadlongagoremovedallitsmetalcomponents,the
illfatedChineseshipstillservedasamemorialtoitscrewanditwas
appropriatethattheonly'town'evenifanalienoneonthiswholeworld
shouldhavebeennamed'Tsienville'.
PoolehaddecidedtocomedownovertheSea,andthenflyveryslowly
towardsTsienvillehopingthatthisapproachwouldappearfriendly,orat
leastnonaggressive.Thoughheadmittedtohimselfthatthiswasverynave,he
couldthinkofnobetteralternative.
Then,suddenly,justashewasdroppingbelowthethousandkilometrelevel,
therewasaninterruptionnotofthekindhehadhopedfor,butonewhichhe
hadbeenexpecting.
'ThisisGanymedeControlcallingFalcon.Youhavedepartedfromyour
flightplan.Pleaseadviseimmediatelywhatishappening.'
Itwashardtoignoresuchanurgentrequest,butinthecircumstancesit
seemedthebestthingtodo.

Exactlythirtysecondslater,andahundredkilometresclosertoEuropa,
Ganymederepeateditsmessage.OnceagainPooleignoreditbutFalcondidnot.
'Areyouquitesureyouwanttodothis,Frank?'askedtheshuttle.Though
Pooleknewperfectlywellthathewasimaginingit,hewouldhaveswornthere
wasanoteofanxietyinitsvoice.
'Quitesure,Falcon.IknowexactlywhatI'mdoing.'
Thatwascertainlyuntrue,andanymomentnowfurtherlyingmightbe
necessary,toamoresophisticatedaudience.
Seldomactivatedindicatorlightsstartedtoflashneartheedgeofthe
controlboard.Poolesmiledwithsatisfaction:everythingwasgoingaccordingto
plan.
'ThisisGanymedeControl!Doyoureceiveme,Falcon?Youareoperatingon
manualoverride,soIamunabletoassistyou.Whatishappening?Youarestill
descendingtowardsEuropa.Pleaseacknowledgeimmediately.'
Poolebegantoexperiencemildtwingesofconscience.Hethoughthe
recognizedtheController'svoice,andwasalmostcertainthatitwasacharming
ladyhehadmetatareceptiongivenbytheMayor,soonafterhisarrivalat
Anubis.Shesoundedgenuinelyalarmed.
Suddenly,heknewhowtorelieveheranxietyaswellastoattempt
somethingwhichhehadpreviouslydismissedasaltogethertooabsurd.Perhaps,
afterall,itwasworthatry:itcertainlywouldn'tdoanyharm anditmight
evenwork.
'ThisisFrankPoole,callingfromFalcon.IamperfectlyOKbutsomething
seemstohavetakenoverthecontrols,andisbringingtheshuttledowntowards
Europa.IhopeyouarereceivingthisIwillcontinuetoreportaslongas
possible.'
Well,hehadn'tactuallyliedtotheworriedController,andonedayhe
hopedhewouldbeabletofaceherwithaclearconscience.
Hecontinuedtotalk,tryingtosoundasifhewascompletelysincere,
insteadofskirtingtheedgeoftruth.
'ThisisFrankPooleaboardtheshuttleFalcon,descendingtowardsEuropa.I
assumethatsomeoutsideforcehastakenchargeofmyspacecraft,andwillbe
landingitsafely.'

'DavethisisyouroldshipmateFrank.Areyoutheentitythatis
controllingme?IhavereasontothinkthatyouareonEuropa.
'IfsoIlookforwardtomeetingyouwhereverorwhateveryouare.'
Notforamomentdidheimaginetherewouldbeanyreply:evenGanymede
Controlappearedtobeshockedintosilence.
Andyet,inaway,hehadananswer.Falconwasstillbeingpermittedto
descendtowardstheSeaofGalilee.
EuropawasonlyfiftykilometresbelowwithhisnakedeyesPoolecouldnow
seethenarrowblackbarwherethegreatestoftheMonolithsstoodguardif
indeeditwasdoingthatontheoutskirtsofTsienville.
Nohumanbeinghadbeenallowedtocomesocloseforathousandyears.

25
FireintheDeep

Formillionsofyearsithadbeenanoceanworld,itshiddenwaters
protectedfromthevacuumofspacebyacrustofice.Inmostplacestheicewas
kilometresthick,buttherewerelinesofweaknesswhereithadcrackedopenand
tornapart.Thentherehadbeenabriefbattlebetweentwoimplacablyhostile
elementsthatcameintodirectcontactonnootherworldintheSolarSystem,
ThewarbetweenSeaandSpacealwaysendedinthesamestalematetheexposed
watersimultaneouslyboiledandfroze,repairingthearmourofice.
TheseasofEuropawouldhavefrozencompletelysolidlongagowithoutthe
influenceofnearbyJupiter.Itsgravitycontinuallykneadedthecoreofthe
littleworldtheforcesthatconvulsedIowerealsoworkingthere,thoughwith
muchlessferocity.Everywhereinthedeepwasevidenceofthattugofwar
betweenplanetandsatellite,inthecontinualroarandthunderofsubmarine
earthquakes,theshriekofgasesescapingfromtheinterior,theinfrasonic
pressurewavesofavalanchessweepingovertheabyssalplains.Bycomparison
withthetumultuousoceanthatcoveredEuropa,eventhenoisyseasofEarthwere
muted.
Hereandthere,scatteredoverthedesertsofthedeep,wereoasesthat
wouldhaveamazedanddelightedanyterrestrialbiologist.Theyextendedfor
severalkilometresaroundtangledmassesofpipesandchimneysdepositedby
mineralbrinesgushingfromtheinterior.Oftentheycreatednaturalparodiesof

Gothiccastles,fromwhichblack,scaldingliquidspulsedinaslowrhythm,as
ifdrivenbythebeatingofsomemightyheart.Andlikeblood,theywerethe
authenticsignoflifeitself.
Theboilingfluidsdrovebackthedeadlycoldleakingdownfromabove,and
formedislandsofwarmthontheseabed.Equallyimportant,theybroughtfrom
Europa'sinteriorallthechemicalsoflife.Suchfertileoases,offeringfood
andenergyinabundance,hadbeendiscoveredbythetwentiethcenturyexplorers
ofEarth'soceans.Heretheywerepresentonanimmenselylargerscale,andin
fargreatervariety.
Delicate,spiderystructuresthatseemedtobetheanalogueofplants
flourishedinthe'tropical'zonesclosesttothesourcesofheat.Crawling
amongthesewerebizarreslugsandworms,somefeedingontheplants,others
obtainingtheirfooddirectlyfromthemineralladenwatersaroundthem.At
greaterdistancesfromthesubmarinefiresaroundwhichallthesecreatures
warmedthemselveslivedsturdier,morerobustorganisms,notunlikecrabsor
spiders.
Armiesofbiologistscouldhavespentlifetimesstudyingonesmalloasis.
UnlikethePalaeozoicterrestrialseas,theEuropanabysswasnotastable
environment,soevolutionhadprogressedwithastonishingspeed,producing
multitudesoffantasticforms.Andallwereunderthesameindefinitestayof
executionsoonerorlater,eachfountainoflifewouldweakenanddie,asthe
forcesthatpowereditmovedtheirfocuselsewhere.AllacrosstheEuropansea
bedwasevidenceofsuchtragediescountlesscircularareaswerelitteredwith
theskeletonsandmineralencrustedremainsofdeadcreatures,whereentire
chaptersofevolutionhadbeendeletedfromthebookoflife.Somehadleftas
theironlymemorialhuge,emptyshellslikeconvolutedtrumpets,largerthana
man.Andtherewereclamsofmanyshapesbivalves,andeventrivalves,aswell
asspiralstonepatterns,manymetresacrossexactlylikethebeautiful
ammonitesthatdisappearedsomysteriouslyfromEarth'soceansattheendofthe
CretaceousPeriod.
AmongthegreatestwondersoftheEuropanabysswereriversofincandescent
lava,pouringfromthecalderasofsubmarinevolcanoes.Thepressureatthese
depthswassogreatthatthewaterincontactwiththeredhotmagmacouldnot
flashintosteam,sothetwoliquidscoexistedinanuneasytruce.
There,onanotherworldandwithalienactors,somethinglikethestoryof
EgypthadbeenplayedoutlongbeforethecomingofMan.AstheNilehadbrought
lifetoanarrowribbonofdesert,sothisriverofwarmthhadvivifiedthe
Europandeep.Alongitsbanks,inabandnevermorethanafewkilometreswide,
speciesafterspecieshadevolvedandflourishedandpassedaway.Andsomehad
leftpermanentmonuments.

Often,theywerenoteasytodistinguishfromthenaturalformationsaround
thethermalvents,andevenwhentheywereclearlynotduetopurechemistry,
onewouldbehardputtodecidewhethertheyweretheproductofinstinctor
intelligence.OnEarth,thetermitesrearedcondominiumsalmostasimpressiveas
anyfoundinthesinglevastoceanthatenvelopedthisfrozenworld.
Alongthenarrowbandoffertilityinthedesertsofthedeep,whole
culturesandevencivilizationsmighthaverisenandfallen,armiesmighthave
marchedorswum underthecommandofEuropanTamberlanesorNapoleons.And
therestoftheirworldwouldneverhaveknown,foralltheiroaseswereas
isolatedfromoneanotherastheplanetsthemselves,Thecreatureswhobaskedin
theglowofthelavarivers,andfedaroundthehotvents,couldnotcrossthe
hostilewildernessbetweentheirlonelyislands.Iftheyhadeverproduced
historiansandphilosophers,eachculturewouldhavebeenconvincedthatitwas
aloneintheUniverse.
Yeteventhespacebetweentheoaseswasnotaltogetheremptyoflifethere
werehardiercreatureswhohaddareditsrigours.SomeweretheEuropan
analoguesoffishstreamlinedtorpedoes,propelledbyverticaltails,steered
byfinsalongtheirbodies.Theresemblancetothemostsuccessfuldwellersin
Earth'soceanswasinevitablegiventhesameengineeringproblems,evolution
mustproduceverysimilaranswers.Witnessthedolphinandtheshark
superficiallyalmostidentical,yetfromfardistantbranchesofthetreeof
life.
Therewas,however,oneveryobviousdifferencebetweenthefishofthe
Europanseasandthoseinterrestrialoceanstheyhadnogills,fortherewas
hardlyatraceofoxygentobeextractedfromthewatersinwhichtheyswam.
LikethecreaturesaroundEarth'sowngeothermalvents,theirmetabolismwas
basedonsulphurcompounds,presentinabundanceinthisvolcanicenvironment.
Andveryfewhadeyes.Apartfromtheflickeringglowoflavaoutpourings,
andoccasionalburstsofbioluminescencefromcreaturesseekingmates,or
huntersquestingprey,itwasalightlessworld.
Itwasalsoadoomedone.Notonlywereitsenergysourcessporadicand
constantlyshifting,butthetidalforcesthatdrovethemweresteadily
weakening.Eveniftheydevelopedtrueintelligence,theEuropansweretrapped
betweenfireandice.
Barringamiracle,theywouldperishwiththefinalfreezingoftheirlittle
world.
Luciferhadwroughtthatmiracle.

26
Tsienville

Inthefinalmoments,ashecameinoverthecoastatasedatehundred
kilometresanhour,Poolewonderediftheremightbesomelastminute
intervention.Butnothinguntowardhappened,evenwhenhemovedslowlyalongthe
black,forbiddingfaceoftheGreatWall.
ItwastheinevitablenamefortheEuropaMonolithas,unlikeitslittle
brothersonEarthandMoon,itwaslyinghorizontally,andwasmorethantwenty
kilometreslong.Althoughitwasliterallybillionsoftimesgreaterinvolume
thanTMAZEROandTMAONE,itsproportionswereexactlythesamethat
intriguingratio1:4:9,inspirerofsomuchnumerologicalnonsenseoverthe
centuries.
Astheverticalfacewasalmosttenkilometreshigh,oneplausibletheory
maintainedthatamongitsotherfunctionstheGreatWallservedasawindbreak,
protectingTsienvillefromtheferociousgalesthatoccasionallyroaredinfrom
theSeaofGalilee.Theyweremuchlessfrequentnowthattheclimatehad
stabilized,butathousandyearsearliertheywouldhavebeenasevere
discouragementtoanylifeformsemergingfromtheocean.
Thoughhehadfullyintendedtodoso,Poolehadneverfoundtimetovisit
theTychoMonolithstillTopSecretwhenhehadleftforJupiterandEarth's
gravitymadeitstwinatOlduvaiinaccessibletohim.Buthehadseentheir
imagessooftenthattheyweremuchmorefamiliarthantheproverbialbackof
thehand(andhowmanypeople,hehadoftenwondered,wouldrecognizethebacks
oftheirhands?).Apartfromtheenormousdifferenceinscale,therewas
absolutelynowayofdistinguishingtheGreatWallfromTMAONEandTMAZERO
or,forthatmatter,the'BigBrother'MonoliththatDiscoveryandtheLeonov
hadencounteredorbitingJupiter.
Accordingtosometheories,perhapscrazyenoughtobetrue,therewasonly
onearchetypalMonolith,andalltheotherswhatevertheirsizeweremerely
projectionsorimagesofit.Poolerecalledtheseideaswhenhenoticedthe
spotless,unsulliedsmoothnessoftheGreatWall'stoweringebonface.Surely,
aftersomanycenturiesinsuchahostileenvironment,itshouldhavecollected
afewpatchesofgrime!Yetitlookedasimmaculateasifanarmyofwindow
cleanershadjustpolishedeverysquarecentimetre.
ThenherecalledthatalthougheveryonewhohadevercometoviewTMAONE
andTMAZEROfeltanirresistibleurgetotouchtheirapparentlypristine
surfaces,noonehadeversucceeded.Fingersdiamonddrillslaserknives

allskitteredacrosstheMonolithsasiftheywerecoatedbyanimpenetrable
film.Orasifandthiswasanotherpopulartheorytheywerenotquitein
thisuniverse,butsomehowseparatedfromitbyanutterlyimpassablefraction
ofamillimetre.
Hemadeonecomplete,leisurelycircuitoftheGreatWall,whichremained
totallyindifferenttohisprogress.Thenhebroughttheshuttlestillon
manual,incaseGanymedeControlmadeanyfurtherattemptsto'rescue'him to
theouterlimitsofTsienville,andhoveredtherelookingforthebestplaceto
land.
ThescenethroughFalcon'ssmallpanoramicwindowwaswhollyfamiliarto
himhehadexamineditsoofteninGanymederecordings,neverimaginingthat
onedayhewouldbeobservingitinreality.TheEurops,itseemed,hadnoidea
oftownplanninghundredsofhemisphericalstructureswerescatteredapparently
atrandomoveranareaaboutakilometreacross.Someweresosmallthateven
humanchildrenwouldfeelcrampedinthemthoughotherswerebigenoughtohold
alargefamily,nonewasmorethanfivemetreshigh.
Andtheywereallmadefromthesamematerial,whichgleamedaghostlywhite
inthedoubledaylight.OnEarth,theEsquimauxhadfoundtheidenticalanswer
tothechallengeoftheirownfrigid,materialspoorenvironmentTsienville's
iglooswerealsomadeofice.
Inlieuofstreets,therewerecanalsasbestsuitedcreatureswhowere
stillamphibious,andapparentlyreturnedtothewatertosleep.Also,itwas
believed,tofeedandtomate,thoughneitherhypothesishadbeenproved.
Tsienvillehadbeencalled'Venice,madeofice',andPoolehadtoagree
thatitwasanaptdescription.However,therewerenoVenetiansinsightthe
placelookedasifithadbeendesertedforyears.
AndherewasanothermysterydespitethefactthatLuciferwasfiftytimes
brighterthanthedistantSun,andwasapermanentfixtureinthesky,the
Europsstillseemedlockedtoanancientrhythmofnightandday.Theyreturned
totheoceanatsunset,andemergedwiththerisingoftheSundespitethe
factthatthelevelofilluminationhadchangedbyonlyafewpercent.Perhaps
therewasaparallelonEarth,wherethelifecyclesofmanycreatureswere
controlledasmuchbythefeebleMoonasthefarmorebrilliantSun.
Itwouldbesunriseinanotherhour,andthentheinhabitantsofTsienville
wouldreturntolandandgoabouttheirleisurelyaffairsasbyhuman
standards,theycertainlywere.Thesulphurbasedbiochemistrythatpoweredthe
Europswasnotasefficientastheoxygendrivenonethatenergizedthevast
majorityofterrestrialanimals.EvenaslothcouldoutrunaEurop,soitwas
difficulttoregardthemaspotentiallydangerous.ThatwastheGoodNewsthe

BadNewswasthatevenwiththebestintentionsonbothsides,attemptsat
communicationwouldbeextremelyslowperhapsintolerablytedious.
Itwasabouttime,Pooledecided,thathereportedbacktoGanymedeControl.
Theymustbegettingveryanxious,andhewonderedhowhiscoconspirator,
CaptainChandler,wasdealingwiththesituation.
'FalconcallingGanymede.Asyoucandoubtlesssee,Ihaveerbeen
broughttorestjustaboveTsienville.Thereisnosignofhostility,andas
it'sstillsolarnightherealltheEuropsareunderwater.Willcallyouagain
assoonasI'montheground.'
Dimwouldhavebeenproudofhim,Poolethought,ashebroughtFalcondown
gentlyasasnowflakeonasmoothpatchofice.Hewastakingnochanceswith
itsstability,andsettheinertialdrivetocancelallbutafractionofthe
shuttle'sweightjustenough,hehoped,topreventitbeingblownawaybyany
wind.
HewasonEuropathefirsthumaninathousandyears.HadArmstrongand
Aldrinfeltthissenseofelation,whenEagletoucheddownontheMoon?Probably
theyweretoobusycheckingtheirLunarModule'sprimitiveandtotally
unintelligentsystems.Falcon,ofcourse,wasdoingallthisautomatically.The
littlecabinwasnowveryquiet,apartfromtheinevitableandreassuring
murmurofwelltemperedelectronics.ItgavePooleaconsiderableshockwhen
Chandler'svoice,obviouslyprerecorded,interruptedhisthoughts.
'Soyoumadeit!Congratulations!Asyouknow,we'rescheduledtoreturnto
theBeltweekafternext,butthatshouldgiveyouplentyoftime.'
'Afterfivedays,Falconknowswhattodo.She'llfindherwayhome,withor
withoutyou.Sogoodluck!'

MISSPRINGLE
ACTIVATECRYPTOPROGRAM
STORE
Hello,Dim thanksforthatcheerfulmessage!Ifeelrathersillyusing
thisprogram asifI'masecretagentinoneofthespymelodramasthatused
tobesopopularbeforeIwasborn.Still,itwillallowsomeprivacy,whichmay
beuseful.HopeMissPringlehasdownloadeditproperly...ofcourse,MissP,
I'monlyjoking!

Bytheway,I'mgettingabarrageofrequestsfromallthenewsmediainthe
SolarSystem.PleasetrytoholdthemoffordivertthemtoDrTed.He'll
enjoyhandlingthem...
SinceGanymedehasmeoncameraallthetime,Iwon'twastebreathtelling
youwhatI'mseeing.Ifallgoeswell,weshouldhavesomeactioninafew
minutesandwe'llknowifitreallywasagoodideatolettheEuropsfindme
alreadysittingherepeacefully,waitingtogreetthemwhentheycometothe
surface...
Whateverhappens,itwon'tbeasbigasurprisetomeasitwastoDrChang
andhiscolleagues,whentheylandedhereathousandyearsago!Iplayedhis
famouslastmessageagain,justbeforeleavingGanymede.Imustconfessitgave
meaneeriefeelingcouldn'thelpwonderingifsomethinglikethatcould
possiblyhappenagain...wouldn'tliketoimmortalizemyselfthewaypoorChang
did...
Ofcourse,Icanalwaysliftoffifsomethingstartsgoingwrong...and
here'saninterestingthoughtthat'sjustoccurredtome...Iwonderifthe
Europshaveanyhistoryanykindofrecords...anymemoryofwhathappened
justafewkilometresfromhere,athousandyearsago?

27
IceandVacuum

...ThisisDrChang,callingfromEuropa.Ihopeyoucarthearme,
especiallyDrFloydIknowyou'reaboardLeonov...Imaynothavemuchtime...
aimingmysuitantennawhereIthinkyouare...pleaserelaythisinformationto
Earth.
Tsienwasdestroyedthreehoursago.I'mtheonlysurvivor.Usingmysuit
radionoideaifithasenoughrange,butit'stheonlychance.Pleaselisten
carefully...
THEREISLIFEONEUROPA.Irepeat:THEREISLIFEONEUROPA...
Welandedsafely,checkedallthesystems,andranoutthehosessowecould
startpumpingwaterintoourpropellanttanksimmediately...justincasewehad
toleaveinahurry.
Everythingwasgoingaccordingtoplan...itseemedalmosttoogoodtobe
true.ThetankswerehalffullwhenDrLeeandIwentouttocheckthepipe

insulation.Tsienstandsstoodaboutthirtymetresfromtheedgeofthe
GrandCanal.Pipeswentdirectlyfromitanddownthroughtheice.Verythin
notsafetowalkon.
Jupiterwasquarterfull,andwehadfivekilowattsoflightingstrungupon
theship.ShelookedlikeaChristmastreebeautiful,reflectedontheice...
Leesawitfirstahugedarkmassrisingupfromthedepths.Atfirstwe
thoughtitwasaschooloffishtoolargeforasingleorganism thenit
startedtobreakthroughtheice,andbeganmovingtowardsus.
Itlookedratherlikehugestrandsofwetseaweed,crawlingalongthe
ground.LeeranbacktotheshiptogetacameraIstayedtowatch,reporting
overtheradio.ThethingmovedsoslowlyIcouldeasilyoutrunit.Iwasmuch
moreexcitedthanalarmed.ThoughtIknewwhatkindofcreatureitwasI've
seenpicturesofthekelpforestsoffCaliforniabutIwasquitewrong.
Icouldtellitwasintrouble.Itcouldn'tpossiblysurviveata
temperatureahundredandfiftybelowitsnormalenvironment.Itwasfreezing
solidasitmovedforwardbitswerebreakingofflikeglassbutitwasstill
advancingtowardstheship,ablacktidalwave,slowingdownallthetime.
IwasstillsosurprisedthatIcouldn'tthinkstraightandIcouldn't
imaginewhatitwastryingtodo.EventhoughitwasheadingtowardsTsienit
stillseemedcompletelyharmless,likewell,asmallforestonthemove.I
remembersmilingitremindedmeofMacbeth'sBirnamWood...
ThenIsuddenlyrealizedthedanger.Evenifitwascompletelyinoffensive
itwasheavywithalltheiceitwascarrying,itmusthaveweighedseveral
tons,eveninthislowgravity.
Anditwasslowly,painfullyclimbingupourlandinggear...thelegswere
beginningtobuckle,allinslowmotion,likesomethinginadream ora
nightmare...
NotuntiltheshipstartedtotoppledidIrealizewhatthethingwastrying
todoandthenitwasfartoolate.Wecouldhavesavedourselvesifwe'd
onlyswitchedoffourlights!
Perhapsit'saphototrope,itsbiologicalcycletriggeredbythesunlight
thatfiltersdownthroughtheice.Oritcouldhavebeenattractedlikeamoth
toacandle.Ourfloodlightsmusthavebeenmorebrilliantthananythingthat
Europahaseverknown,eventheSunitself...
Thentheshipcrashed.Isawthehullsplit,acloudofsnowflakesformas
moisturecondensed.Allthelightswentout,exceptforone,swingingbackand

forthonacableacoupleofmetresabovetheground.
Idon'tknowwhathappenedimmediatelyafterthat.ThenextthingI
remember,Iwasstandingunderthelight,besidethewreckoftheship,witha
finepowderingoffreshsnowallaroundme.Icouldseemyfootstepsinitvery
clearly.Imusthaverunthereperhapsonlyaminuteortwohadelapsed...
TheplantIstillthoughtofitasaplantwasmotionless.Iwonderedif
ithadbeendamagedbytheimpactlargesectionsasthickasaman'sarms
hadsplinteredoff,likebrokentwigs.
Thenthemaintrunkstartedtomoveagain.Itpulledawayfromthehull,and
begantocrawltowardsme.ThatwaswhenIknewforcertainthatthethingwas
lightsensitive:Iwasstandingimmediatelyunderthethousandwattlamp,which
hadstoppedswingingnow.
Imagineanoaktreebetterstill,abanyanwithitsmultipletrunksand
rootsflattenedoutbygravityandtryingtocreepalongtheground.Itgotto
withinfivemetresofthelight,thenstartedtospreadoutuntilithadmadea
perfectcirclearoundme.Presumablythatwasthelimitofitstolerancethe
pointatwhichphotoattractionturnedtorepulsion.
Afterthat,nothinghappenedforseveralminutes,Iwonderedifitwasdead
frozensolidatlast.
ThenIsawthatlargebudswereformingonmanyofthebranches.Itwaslike
watchingatimelapsefilmofflowersopening.InfactIthoughttheywere
flowerseachaboutasbigasaman'shead.
Delicate,beautifullycolouredmembranesstartedtounfold.Eventhen,it
occurredtomethatnoonenothingcouldeverhaveseenthesecolours
properly,untilwebroughtourlightsourfatallightstothisworld.
Tendrils,stamens,wavingfeebly...Iwalkedovertothelivingwallthat
surroundedme,sothatIcouldseeexactlywhatwashappening.Neitherthen,or
atanyothertime,hadIfelttheslightestfearofthecreature.Iwascertain
thatitwasnotmalevolentifindeeditwasconsciousatall.
Therewerescoresofthebigflowers,invariousstagesofunfolding.Now
theyremindedmeofbutterflies,justemergingfromthechrysaliswings
crumpled,stillfeebleIwasgettingcloserandclosertothetruth.
Buttheywerefreezingdyingasquicklyastheyformed.Then,oneafter
another,theydroppedofffromtheparentbuds.Forafewmomentstheyflopped
aroundlikefishstrandedondrylandandatlastIrealizedexactlywhatthey
were.Thosemembranesweren'tpetalstheywerefins,ortheirequivalent.This

wasthefreeswimminglarvalstageofthecreature.Probablyitspendsmuchof
itsliferootedontheseabed,thensendsthesemobileoffspringinsearchof
newterritory.JustlikethecoralsofEarth'soceans.
Ikneltdowntogetacloserlookatoneofthelittlecreatures.The
beautifulcolourswerefadingnow,toadrabbrown.Someofthepetalfinshad
snappedoff,becomingbrittleshardsastheyfroze.Butitwasstillmoving
feebly,andasIapproachedittriedtoavoidme.Iwonderedhowitsensedmy
presence.
ThenInoticedthatthestamensasI'dcalledthem allcarriedbright
bluedotsattheirtips.Theylookedliketinystarsapphiresortheblueeyes
alongthemantleofascallopawareoflight,butunabletoformtrueimages.
AsIwatched,thevividbluefaded,thegemsbecamedull,ordinarystones...
DrFloydoranyoneelsewhoislisteningIhaven'tmuchmoretimemy
lifesupportsystemalarmhasjustsounded.ButI'vealmostfinished.
IknewthenwhatIhadtodo.Thecabletothatthousandwattlampwas
hangingalmosttotheground.Igaveitafewtugs,andthelightwentoutina
showerofsparks.
Iwonderedwhetheritwastoolate.Forafewminutesnothinghappened.SoI
walkedovertothewalloftangledbranchesaroundmeandkickedit.
Slowly,thecreaturestartedtounweaveitself,andtoretreatbacktothe
Canal.Ifolloweditallthewaybacktothewater,encouragingitwithmore
kickswhenitsloweddown,feelingthefragmentsoficecrunchingallthetime
beneathmyboots...AsitnearedtheCanal,itseemedtogainstrengthand
energy,asifitknewitwasapproachingitsnaturalhome.Iwonderedifit
wouldsurvive,tobudagain.
Itdisappearedthroughthesurface,leavingafewlastdeadlarvaeonthe
alienland.Theexposedfreewaterbubbledforafewminutesuntilascabof
protectiveicesealeditfromthevacuumabove.ThenIwalkedbacktotheship
toseeiftherewasanythingtosalvageIdon'twanttotalkaboutthat.
I'veonlytworequeststomake,Doctor.Whenthetaxonomistsclassifythis
creature,Ihopethey'llnameitafterme.
Andwhenthenextshipcomeshomeaskthemtotakeourbonesbackto
China.
I'lllosepowerinafewminuteswishIknewwhetheranyonewasreceiving
me.Anyway,I'llrepeatthismessageaslongasIcan...

ThisisProfessorChangonEuropa,reportingthedestructionofthe
spaceshipTsien.WelandedbesidetheGrandCanalandsetupourpumpsatthe
edgeoftheice

28
TheLittleDawn

MISSPRINGLERECORD
HerecomestheSun!Strangehowquicklyitseemstorise,onthisslowly
turningworld!Ofcourse,ofcoursethedisc'ssosmallthatthewholeofit
popsabovethehorizoninnotime...Notthatitmakesmuchdifferencetothe
lightifyouweren'tlookinginthatdirection,you'dnevernoticethatthere
wasanothersuninthesky.
ButIhopetheEuropshavenoticed.Usuallyittakesthemlessthanfive
minutestostartcomingashoreaftertheLittleDawn.Wonderiftheyalready
knowI'mhere,andarescared...
Nocouldbetheotherwayround.Perhapsthey'reinquisitiveeven
anxioustoseewhatstrangevisitorhascometoTsienville...Iratherhope
so...
Heretheycome!HopeyourspysatsarewatchingFalcon'scameras
recording...
Howslowlytheymove!I'mafraidit'sgoingtobeveryboringtryingto
communicatewiththem...eveniftheywanttotalktome...
RatherlikethethingthatoverturnedTsien,butmuchsmaller...Theyremind
meoflittletrees,walkingonhalfadozenslendertrunks.Andwithhundredsof
branches,dividingintotwigs,whichdivideagain...andagain.Justlikemany
ofourgeneralpurposerobots...whatalongtimeittookustorealizethat
imitationhumanoidswereridiculouslyclumsy,andtheproperwaytogowaswith
myriadofsmallmanipulators!Wheneverweinventsomethingclever,wefindthat
MotherNature'salreadythoughtofit...
Aren'tthelittleonescuteliketinybushesonthemove.Wonderhowthey
reproducebudding?Ihadn'trealizedhowbeautifultheyare.Almostas
colourfulascoralreeffishmaybeforthesamereasons...toattractmates,
orfoolpredatorsbypretendingtobesomethingelse...

DidIsaytheylookedlikebushes?Makethatrosebushesthey'veactually
gotthorns!Musthaveagoodreasonforthem...
I'mdisappointed.Theydon'tseemtohavenoticedme.They'llallheading
intotown,asifavisitingspacecraftwasaneverydayoccurrence...onlyafew
left...maybethiswillwork...
Isupposetheycandetectsoundvibrationsmostmarinecreaturescan
thoughthisatmospheremaybetoothintocarrymyvoiceveryfar...

FALCONEXTERNALSPEAKER...
HELLO,CANYOUHEARME?MYNAMEISFRANKPOOLE...AHEM...ICOMEIN
PEACE
FORALLMANKIND...
Makesmefeelratherstupid,butcanyousuggestanythingbetter?Andit
willbegoodfortherecord...
Nobody'stakingtheslightestnotice.Bigonesandlittleones,theyreall
creepingtowardstheirigloosWonderwhattheyactuallydowhentheygetthere
perhapsIshouldfollow.I'msureitwouldbeperfectlysafeIcanmoveso
muchfasterI'vejusthadanamusingflashback.Allthesecreaturesgoingin
thesamedirectiontheylooklikethecommuterswhousedtosurgebackand
forthtwiceadaybetweenhomeandoffice,beforeelectronicsmadeit
unnecessary.Let'stryagain,beforetheyalldisappear.

HELLOTHERETHISISFRANKPOOLE,AVISITORFROMPLANETEARTH.CAN
YOUHEAR
ME?
IHEARYOU,FRANK.THISISDAVE.

29
TheGhostsintheMachine

FrankPoole'simmediatereactionwasoneofutterastonishment,followedby
overwhelmingjoy.Hehadneverreallybelievedthathewouldmakeanykindof

contact,eitherwiththeEuropsortheMonolith.Indeed,hehadevenhad
fantasiesofkickinginfrustrationagainstthattoweringebonwallandshouting
angrily,'Isthereanybodyhome?'
Yetheshouldnothavebeensoamazed:someintelligencemusthavemonitored
hisapproachfromGanymede,andpermittedhimtoland.HeshouldhavetakenTed
Khanmoreseriously.
'Dave,'hesaidslowly,'isthatreallyyou?'
Whoelsecoulditbe?apartofhismindasked.Yetitwasnotafoolish
question.Therewassomethingcuriouslymechanicalimpersonalaboutthevoice
thatcamefromthesmallspeakeronFalcon'scontrolboard.
YES,FRANK.IAMDAVE.
Therewasaverybriefpause:thenthesamevoicecontinued,withoutany
changeofintonation:
HELLOFRANK.THISISHAL.

MISSPRINGLE
RECORD
WellIndra,Dim I'mgladIrecordedallthat,otherwiseyou'dnever
believeme...
IguessI'mstillinastateofshock.Firstofall,howshouldIfeelabout
someonewhotriedtowhodidkillmeevenifitwasathousandyearsago!
ButIunderstandnowthatHalwasn'ttoblamenobodywas.There'saverygood
pieceofadviceI'veoftenfounduseful'Neverattributetomalevolencewhatis
merelyduetoincompetence'Ican'tfeelanyangertowardsabunchof
programmersIneverknew,who'vebeendeadforcenturies.
I'mgladthisisencrypted,asIdon'tknowhowitshouldbehandled,anda
lotthatItellyoumayturnouttobecompletenonsense.I'malreadysuffering
frominformationoverload,andhadtoaskDavetoleavemeforawhileafter
allthetroubleI'vegonethroughtomeethim!ButIdon'tthinkIhurthis
feelings:Imnotsureyetifhehasanyfeelings...
Whatishegoodquestion!Well,hereallyisDaveBowman,butwithmostof
thehumanitystrippedawaylikeahlikethesynopsisofabookora
technicalpaper.Youknowhowanabstractcangiveallthebasicinformation

butnohintoftheauthor'spersonality?YetthereweremomentswhenIfeltthat
somethingoftheoldDavewasstillthere.Iwouldn'tgosofarastosayhe's
pleasedtomeetmeagainmoderatelysatisfiedmightbemorelikeit...For
myself,I'mstillveryconfused.Likemeetinganoldfriendafteralong
separation,andfindingthatthey'renowadifferentperson.Well,ithasbeena
thousandyearsandIcan'timaginewhatexperienceshe'sknown,thoughasI'll
showyoupresently,he'striedtosharesomeofthemwithme.
AndHalhe'sheretoo,withoutquestion.Mostofthetime,there'snoway
Icantellwhichofthemisspeakingtome.Aren'tthereexamplesofmultiple
personalitiesinthemedicalrecords?Maybeit'ssomethinglikethat.
Iaskedhimhowthishadhappenedtothemboth,andhetheydammit,
Halman!triedtoexplain.LetmerepeatImayhavegotitpartlywrong,but
it'stheonlyworkinghypothesisIhave.
Ofcourse,theMonolithinitsvariousmanifestationsisthekeyno,
that'sthewrongworddidn'tsomeoneoncesayitwasakindofcosmicSwiss
Armyknife?Youstillhavethem,I'venoticed,thoughbothSwitzerlandandits
armydisappearedcenturiesago.It'sageneralpurposedevicethatcando
anythingitwantsto.Orwasprogrammedtodo...
BackinAfrica,fourmillionyearsago,itgaveusthatevolutionarykickin
thepants,forbetterorforworse.ThenitssiblingontheMoonwaitedforus
toclimboutofthecradle.Thatwe'vealreadyguessed,andDave'sconfirmedit.
Isaidthathedoesn'thavemanyhumanfeelings,buthestillhascuriosity
hewantstolearn.Andwhatanopportunityhe'shad!
WhentheJupiterMonolithabsorbedhim can'tthinkofabetterwordit
gotmorethanitbargainedfor.Thoughitusedhim apparentlyasacaptured
specimen,andaprobetoinvestigateEarthhe'salsobeenusingit.WithHal's
assistanceandwhoshouldunderstandasupercomputerbetterthananotherone?
he'sbeenexploringitsmemory,andtryingtofinditspurpose.
Now,thisissomethingthat'sveryhardtobelieve.TheMonolithisa
fantasticallypowerfulmachinelookwhatitdidtoJupiter!butit'snomore
thanthat.It'srunningonautomaticithasnoconsciousness.Irememberonce
thinkingthatImighthavetokicktheGreatWallandshout'Isthereanyone
there?'Andthecorrectanswerwouldhavetobenoone,exceptDaveandHal...
Worsestill,someofitssystemsmayhavestartedtofailDaveeven
suggeststhat,inafundamentalway,it'sbecomestupid!Perhapsit'sbeenleft
onitsownfortoolongit'stimeforaservicecheck.
AndhebelievestheMonolithhasmadeatleastonemisjudgement.Perhaps

that'snottherightworditmayhavebeendeliberate,carefullyconsidered...
Inanyevent,it'swell,trulyawesome,andterrifyinginits
implications.Luckily,Icanshowittoyou,soyoucandecideforyourselves.
Yes,eventhoughithappenedathousandyearsago,whenLeonovflewthesecond
missiontoJupiter!Andallthistime,noonehaseverguessed...
I'mcertainlygladyougotmefittedwiththeBraincap.Ofcourseit'sbeen
invaluableIcan'timaginelifewithoutitbutnowit'sdoingajobitwas
neverdesignedfor.Anddoingitremarkablywell.
IttookHalmanabouttenminutestofindhowitworked,andtosetupan
interface.Nowwehavemindtomindcontactwhichisquiteastrainonme,I
cantellyou.Ihavetokeepaskingthemtoslowdown,andusebabytalk.Or
shouldIsaybabythink...
I'mnotsurehowwellthiswillcomethrough.It'sathousandyearold
recordingofDave'sownexperience,somehowstoredintheMonolith'senormous
memory,thenretrievedbyDaveandinjectedintomyBraincapdon'taskme
exactlyhowandfinallytransferredandbeamedtoyoubyGanymedeCentral.
Phew.Hopeyoudon'tgetaheadachedownloadingit.
OvertoDaveBowmanatJupiter,earlytwentyfirstcentury...

30
Foamscape

Themillionkilometrelongtendrilsofmagneticforce,thesuddenexplosion
ofradiowaves,thegeysersofelectrifiedplasmawiderthantheplanetEarth
theywereasrealandclearlyvisibletohimasthecloudsbandingtheplanetin
multihuedglory.Hecouldunderstandthecomplexpatternoftheirinteractions,
andrealizedthatJupiterwasmuchmorewonderfulthananyonehadeverguessed.
EvenashefellthroughtheroaringheartoftheGreatRedSpot,withthe
lightningofitscontinentwidethunderstormsdetonatingunderhim,heknewwhy
ithadpersistedforcenturiesthoughitwasmadeofgasesfarlesssubstantial
thanthosethatformedthehurricanesofEarth.Thethinscreamofhydrogenwind
fadedashesankintothecalmerdepths,andasheetofwaxensnowflakessome
alreadycoalescingintobarelypalpablemountainsofhydrocarbonfoam
descendedfromtheheightsabove.Itwasalreadywarmenoughforliquidwaterto
exist,buttherewerenooceanstherethispurelygaseousenvironmentwastoo
tenuoustosupportthem.

Hedescendedthroughlayerafterlayerofcloud,untilheenteredaregion
ofsuchclaritythatevenhumanvisioncouldhavescannedanareamorethana
thousandkilometresacross.Itwasonlyaminoreddyinthevastergyreofthe
GreatRedSpotanditheldasecretthatmenhadlongguessed,butnever
proved.Skirtingthefoothillsofthedriftingfoammountainsweremyriadof
small,sharplydefinedclouds,allaboutthesamesizeandpatternedwith
similarredandbrownmottling.Theyweresmallonlyascomparedwiththe
inhumanscaleoftheirsurroundingstheveryleastwouldhavecoveredafair
sizedcity.
Theywereclearlyalive,fortheyweremovingwithslowdeliberationalong
theflanksoftheaerialmountains,browsingofftheirslopeslikecolossal
sheep.Andtheywerecallingtoeachotherinthemetreband,theirradiovoices
faintbutclearagainstthecracklingsandconcussionsofJupiteritself.
Nothinglessthanlivinggasbags,theyfloatedinthenarrowzonebetween
freezingheightsandscorchingdepths.Narrow,yesbutadomainfarlarger
thanallthebiosphereofEarth.
Theywerenotalone.Movingswiftlyamongthemwereothercreaturessosmall
thattheycouldeasilyhavebeenoverlooked.Someofthemboreanalmostuncanny
resemblancetoterrestrialaircraft,andwereofaboutthesamesize.Butthey
toowerealiveperhapspredators,perhapsparasites,perhapsevenherdsmen.
Awholenewchapterofevolution,asalienasthatwhichhehadglimpsedon
Europa,wasopeningbeforehim.Therewerejetpropelledtorpedoeslikethe
squidsoftheterrestrialoceans,huntinganddevouringthehugegasbags.But
theballoonswerenotdefencelesssomeofthemfoughtbackwithelectric
thunderboltsandwithclawedtentacleslikekilometrelongchainsaws.
Therewereevenstrangershapes,exploitingalmosteverypossibilityof
geometrybizarre,translucentkites,tetrahedra,spheres,polyhedra,tangles
oftwistedribbons...ThegiganticplanktonoftheJovianatmosphere,theywere
designedtofloatlikegossamerintheuprisingcurrents,untiltheyhadlived
longenoughtoreproducethentheywouldbesweptdownintothedepthstobe
carbonizedandrecycledinanewgeneration.
HewassearchingaworldmorethanahundredtimestheareaofEarth,and
thoughhesawmanywonders,nothingtherehintedofintelligence.Theradio
voicesofthegreatballoonscarriedonlysimplemessagesofwarningoroffear.
Eventhehunters,whomighthavebeenexpectedtodevelophigherdegreesof
organization,werelikethesharksinEarth'soceansmindlessautomata.
Andforallitsbreathtakingsizeandnovelty,thebiosphereofJupiterwas
afragileworld,aplaceofmistsandfoam,ofdelicatesilkenthreadsand

paperthintissuesspunfromthecontinualsnowfallofpetrochemicalsformedby
lightningintheupperatmosphere.Fewofitsconstructsweremoresubstantial
thansoapbubblesitsmostawesomepredatorscouldbetorntoshredsbyeven
thefeeblestofterrestrialcarnivores.
LikeEuropa,butonavastlygranderscale,Jupiterwasanevolutionarycul
desac.Intelligencewouldneveremergehereevenifitdid,itwouldbedoomed
toastuntedexistence.Apurelyaerialculturemightdevelop,butinan
environmentwherefirewasimpossible,andsolidsscarcelyexisted,itcould
neverevenreachtheStoneAge.

31
Nursery

MISSPRINGLERECORD
Well,IndraDim IhopethatcamethroughingoodshapeIstillfindit
hardtobelieve.Allthosefantasticcreaturessurelyweshouldhavedetected
theirradiovoices,evenifwecouldn'tunderstandthem!wipedoutina
moment,sothatJupitercouldbemadeintoasun.
Andnowwecanunderstandwhy.ItwastogivetheEuropstheirchance.What
pitilesslogic:isintelligencetheonlythingthatmatters?Icanseesomelong
argumentswithTedKhanoverthisThenextquestionis:willtheEuropsmake
thegradeorwilltheyremainforeverstuckinthekindergartennoteven
thatthenursery?Thoughathousandyearsisaveryshorttime,onewouldhave
expectedsomeprogress,butaccordingtoDavethey'reexactlythesamenowas
whentheyleftthesea.Perhapsthat'sthetroubletheystillhaveonefoot
oronetwig!inthewater.
Andhere'sanotherthingwegotcompletelywrong.Wethoughttheywentback
intothewatertosleep.It'sjusttheotherwayroundtheygobacktoeat,
andsleepwhentheycomeonland!Aswemighthaveguessedfromtheirstructure
thatnetworkofbranchesthey'replanktonfeeders...
IaskedDaveabouttheigloosthey'vebuilt.Aren'ttheyatechnological
advance?Andhesaid:notreallythey'reonlyadaptationsofstructuresthey
makeontheseabed,toprotectthemselvesfromvariouspredatorsespecially
somethinglikeaflyingcarpet,asbigasafootballfield...
There'sonearea,though,wheretheyhaveshowninitiativeeven
creativity.They'refascinatedbymetals,presumablybecausetheydon'texistin

pureformintheocean.That'swhyTsienwasstrippedthesamething's
happenedtotheoccasionalprobesthathavecomedownintheirterritory.What
dotheydowiththecopperandberylliumandtitaniumtheycollect?Nothing
useful,I'mafraid.Theypileitalltogetherinoneplace,inafantasticheap
thattheykeepreassembling.TheycouldbedevelopinganaestheticsenseI've
seenworseintheMuseumofModemArt...ButI'vegotanothertheorydidyou
everhearofcargocults?Duringthetwentiethcentury,someofthefew
primitivetribesthatstillexistedmadeimitationaeroplanesoutofbamboo,in
thehopeofattractingthebigbirdsintheskythatoccasionallybroughtthem
wonderfulgifts.PerhapstheEuropshavethesameidea.
Nowthatquestionyoukeepaskingme...WhatisDave?Andhowdidheand
Halbecomewhateveritistheyarenow?
Thequickanswer,ofcourse,isthatthey'rebothemulationssimulations
intheMonolith'sgiganticmemory.Mostofthetimethey'reinactivatedwhenI
askedDaveaboutthis,hesaidhe'dbeen'awake'hisactualwordforonly
fiftyyearsaltogether,inthethousandsincehisermetamorphosis.
WhenIaskedifheresentedthistakeoverofhislife,hesaid,'Whyshould
Iresentit?Iamperformingmyfunctionsperfectly.'Yes,thatsoundsexactly
likeHal!ButIbelieveitwasDaveifthere'sanydistinctionnow.
RememberthatSwissArmyknifeanalogy?Halmanisoneofthiscosmicknife's
myriadofcomponents.
Buthe'snotacompletelypassivetoolwhenhe'sawake,hehassome
autonomy,someindependencepresumablywithinlimitssetbytheMonolith's
overridingcontrol.Duringthecenturies,he'sbeenusedasakindof
intelligentprobetoexamine,Jupiterasyou'vejustseenaswellas
GanymedeandtheEarth.ThatconfirmsthosemysteriouseventsinFlorida,
reportedbyDave'soldgirlfriend,andthenursewhowaslookingafterhis
mother,justmomentsbeforeherdeath...aswellastheencountersinAnubis
City.
Anditalsoexplainsanothermystery.IaskedDavedirectly:whywasI
allowedtolandonEuropa,wheneveryoneelsehasbeenturnedawayfor
centuries?Ifullyexpectedtobe!
Theanswer'sridiculouslysimple.TheMonolithusesDaveHalmanfrom
timetotime,tokeepaneyeonus.
DaveknewallaboutmyrescueevensawsomeofthemediainterviewsI
made,onEarthandonGanymede.ImustsayI'mstillalittlehurthemadeno
attempttocontactme!ButatleastheputouttheWelcomematwhenIdid
arrive...

Dim IstillhavefortyeighthoursbeforeFalconleaveswithorwithout
me!Idon'tthinkI'llneedthem,nowI'vemadecontactwithHalmanwecankeep
intouchjustaseasilyfromAnubis...ifhewantstodoso.
AndI'manxioustogetbacktotheGrannymedeasquicklyaspossible.
Falcon'safinelittlespacecraft,butherplumbingcouldbeimprovedit's
beginningtosmellinhere,andI'mitchingforashower.
LookforwardtoseeingyouandespeciallyTedKhan.
Wehavemuchtotalkabout,beforeIreturntoEarth.
TRANSMIT
STORE

V
TERMINATION
Thetoilofallthatbe
Healsnottheprimalfault
Itrainsintothesea,
Andstilltheseaissalt.
A.E.Housman,MorePoems

32
AGentlemanofLeisure

Onthewhole,ithadbeenaninterestingbutuneventfuldecades,punctuated
bythejoysandsorrowswhichTimeandFatebringtoallmankind.Thegreatest
ofthosehadbeenwhollyunexpectedinfact,beforeheleftforGanymede,Poole
wouldhavedismissedtheveryideaaspreposterous.
Thereismuchtruthinthesayingthatabsencemakestheheartgrowfonder.
WhenheandIndraWallacemetagain,theydiscoveredthat,despitetheir
banteringandoccasionaldisagreements,theywerecloserthantheyhadimagined.
Onethingledtoanotherincluding,totheirmutualjoy,DawnWallaceandMartin
Poole.

Itwasratherlateinlifetostartafamilyquiteapartfromthatlittle
matterofathousandyearsandProfessorAndersonhadwarnedthemthatit
mightbeimpossible.Orevenworse...
'Youwereluckyinmorewaysthanyourealize,'hetoldPoole.'Radiation
damagewassurprisinglylow,andwewereabletomakeallessentialrepairsfrom
yourintactDNA.Butuntilwedosomemoretests,Ican'tpromisegenetic
integrity.Soenjoyyourselvesbutdon'tstartafamilyuntilIgivetheOK.'
Thetestshadbeentimeconsuming,andasAndersonhadfeared,further
repairswerenecessary.Therewasonemajorsetbacksomethingthatcould
neverhavelived,evenifithadbeenallowedtogobeyondthefirstfewweeks
afterconceptionbutMartinandDawnwereperfect,withjusttherightnumber
ofheads,armsandlegs.Theywerealsohandsomeandintelligent,andbarely
managedtoescapebeingspoiledbytheirdotingparentswhocontinuedtobe
thebestoffriendswhen,afterfifteenyears,eachoptedforindependence
again.BecauseoftheirSocialAchievementRating,theywouldhavebeen
permittedindeed,encouragedtohaveanotherchild,buttheydecidednotto
putanymoreofaburdenontheirastonishinglygoodluck.
OnetragedyhadshadowedPoole'spersonallifeduringthisperiodand
indeedhadshockedthewholeSolarcommunity.CaptainChandlerandhisentire
crewhadbeenlostwhenthenucleusofacomettheywerereconnoitringexploded
suddenly,destroyingGoliathsocompletelythatonlyafewfragmentswereever
located.Suchexplosionscausedbyreactionsamongunstablemoleculeswhich
existedatverylowtemperatureswereawellknowndangertocometcollectors,
andChandlerhadencounteredseveralduringhiscareer.Noonewouldeverknow
theexactcircumstanceswhichcausedsoexperiencedaspacemantobetakenby
surprise.
PoolemissedChandlerverybadly:hehadplayedauniqueroleinhislife,
andtherewasnoonetoreplacehim noone,exceptDaveBowman,withwhomhe
hadsharedsomomentousanadventure.HeandChandlerhadoftenmadeplanstogo
intospacetogetheragain,perhapsallthewayouttotheOortCloudwithits
unknownmysteriesanditsremotebutinexhaustiblewealthofice.Yetsome
conflictofscheduleshadalwaysupsettheirplans,sothiswasawishedfor
futurethatwouldneverexist.
AnotherlongdesiredgoalPoolehadmanagedtoachievedespitedoctor's
orders.HehadbeendowntoEarth:andoncewasquiteenough.
Thevehicleinwhichhehadtravelledlookedalmostidenticaltothe
wheelchairsusedbytheluckierparaplegicsofhisowntime.Itwasmotorized,
andhadballoontyreswhichallowedittorolloverreasonablysmoothsurfaces.
However,itcouldalsoflyatanaltitudeofabouttwentycentimetresonan
aircushionproducedbyasetofsmallbutverypowerfulfans.Poolewas

surprisedthatsoprimitiveatechnologywasstillinuse,butinertiacontrol
devicesweretoobulkyforsuchsmallscaleapplications.
Seatedcomfortablyinhishoverchair,hewasscarcelyconsciousofhis
increasingweightashedescendedintotheheartofAfricathoughhedidnotice
somedifficultyinbreathing,hehadexperiencedfarworseduringhisastronaut
training.Whathewasnotpreparedforwastheblastoffurnaceheatthatsmote
himasherolledoutofthegigantic,skypiercingcylinderthatformedthebase
oftheTower.Yetitwasstillmorning:whatwoulditbelikeatnoon?
Hehadbarelyaccustomedhimselftotheheatwhenhissenseofsmellwas
assailed.Amyriadodoursnoneunpleasant,butallunfamiliarclamouredfor
hisattention.Heclosedhiseyesforafewminutes,inanattempttoavoid
overloadinghisinputcircuits.
Beforehehaddecidedtoopenthemagain,hefeltsomelarge,moistobject
palpatingthebackofhisneck.
'SayhellotoElizabeth,'saidhisguide,aburlyyoungmandressedin
traditionalGreatWhiteHuntergarb,muchtoosmarttohaveseenanyrealuse:
'she'sourofficialgreeter.'
Pooletwistedroundinhischair,andfoundhimselflookingintothesoulful
eyesofababyelephant.
'Hello,Elizabeth,'heanswered,ratherfeebly.Elizabethliftedhertrunk
insalute,andemittedasoundnotusuallyheardinpolitesociety,thoughPoole
feltsureitwaswellintentioned.
Altogether,hespentlessthananhouronPlanetEarth,skirtingtheedgeof
ajunglewhosestuntedtreescomparedunfavourablywithSkyland's,and
encounteringmuchofthelocalfauna.Hisguidesapologizedforthefriendliness
ofthelions,whohadbeenspoiltbytourists butthemalevolentexpressions
ofthecrocodilesmorethancompensatedherewasNaturerawandunchanged.
BeforehereturnedtotheTower,Pooleriskedtakingafewstepsawayfrom
hishoverchair.Herealizedthatthiswouldbetheequivalentofcarryinghis
ownweightonhisback,butthatdidnotseemanimpossiblefeat,andhewould
neverforgivehimselfunlessheattemptedit.
Itwasnotagoodideaperhapsheshouldhavetrieditinacoolerclimate.
Afternomorethanadozensteps,hewasgladtosinkbackintotheluxurious
clutchesofthechair.
'That'senough,'hesaidwearily.'Let'sgobacktotheTower.'

Asherolledintotheelevatorlobby,henoticedasignwhichhehadsomehow
overlookedduringtheexcitementofhisarrival.Itread:

WELCOMETOAFRICA!
'Inwildnessisthepreservationoftheworld.'
HENRYDAVIDTHOREAU
(18171862)

ObservingPoole'sinterest,theguideasked'Didyouknowhim?'
ItwasthesortofquestionPooleheardalltoooften,andatthemomenthe
didnotfeelequippedtodealwithit.
'Idon'tthinkso,'heansweredwearily,asthegreatdoorsclosedbehind
them,shuttingoutthesights,scentsandsoundsofMankind'searliesthome.
HisverticalsafarihadsatisfiedhisneedtovisitEarth,andhedidhis
besttoignorethevariousachesandpainsacquiredtherewhenhereturnedto
hisapartmentatLevel10,000aprestigiouslocation,eveninthisdemocratic
society.Indra,however,wasmildlyshockedbyhisappearance,andorderedhim
straighttobed.
'JustlikeAntaeusbutinreverse!'shemuttereddarkly.'Who?'asked
Poole:thereweretimeswhenhiswife'seruditionwasalittleoverwhelming,but
hehaddeterminednevertoletitgivehimaninferioritycomplex.
'SonoftheEarthGoddess,Gaea.Herculeswrestledwithhim buteverytime
hewasthrowntotheground,Antaeusrenewedhisstrength.'
'Whowon?'
'Hercules,ofcoursebyholdingAntaeusintheair,soMacouldn't
rechargehisbatteries.'
'Well,I'msureitwon'ttakemelongtorechargemine.AndI'velearnedone
lesson.IfIdon'tgetmoreexercise,ImayhavetomoveuptoLunarGravity
level.'
Poole'sgoodresolutionlastedafullmonth:everymorninghewentfora
briskfivekilometrewalk,choosingadifferentleveloftheAfricaTowereach
day.Somefloorswerestillvast,echoingdesertsofmetalwhichwouldprobably
neverbeoccupied,butothershadbeenlandscapedanddevelopedoverthe

centuriesinabewilderingvarietyofarchitecturalstyles.Manywereborrowings
frompastagesandculturesothershintedatfutureswhichPoolewouldnotcare
tovisit.Atleasttherewasnodangerofboredom,andonmanyofhiswalkshe
wasaccompanied,atarespectfuldistance,bysmallgroupsoffriendlychildren.
Theywereseldomabletokeepupwithhimforlong.
Oneday,asPoolewasstridingdownaconvincingthoughsparselypopulated
imitationoftheChampsElysees,hesuddenlyspottedafamiliarface.
'Danil!'hecalled.
Theothermantooknottheslightestnotice,evenwhenPoolecalledagain,
moreloudly.
'Don'tyourememberme?'
Danilandnowthathehadcaughtupwithhim,Pooledidnothavethe
slightestdoubtofhisidentitylookedgenuinelybaffled.
'I'msorry,'hesaid.'You'reCommanderPoole,ofcourse.ButI'msurewe've
nevermetbefore.'
NowitwasPoole'sturntobeembarrassed.
'Stupidofme,'heapologized.'Musthavemistakenyouforsomeoneelse.
Haveagoodday.'
Hewasgladoftheencounter,andwaspleasedtoknowthatDanilwasbackin
normalsociety.Whetherhisoriginalcrimehadbeenaxemurdersoroverdue
librarybooksshouldnolongerbetheconcernofhisonetimeemployerthe
accounthadbeensettled,thebooksclosed.AlthoughPoolesometimesmissedthe
copsandrobbersdramashehadoftenenjoyedinhisyouth,hehadgrownto
acceptthecurrentwisdom:excessiveinterestinpathologicalbehaviourwas
itselfpathological.
WiththehelpofMissPringle,MkIII,Poolehadbeenabletoschedulehis
lifesothattherewereevenoccasionalblankmomentswhenhecouldrelaxand
sethisBraincaponRandomSearch,scanninghisareasofinterest.Outsidehis
immediatefamily,hischiefconcernswerestillamongthemoonsof
Jupiter/Lucifer,notleastbecausehewasrecognizedastheleadingexperton
thesubject,andapermanentmemberoftheEuropaCommittee.
Thishadbeensetupalmostathousandyearsago,toconsiderwhat,if
anything,couldandshouldbedoneaboutthemysterioussatellite.Overthe
centuries,ithadaccumulatedavastamountofinformation,goingalltheway
backtotheVoyagerflybysof1979andthefirstdetailedsurveysfromthe

orbitingGalileospacecraftof1996.
Likemostlonglivedorganizations,theEuropaCommitteehadbecomeslowly
fossilized,andnowmetonlywhentherewassomenewdevelopment.Ithadwoken
upwithastartafterHalman'sreappearance,andappointedanenergeticnew
chairpersonwhosefirstacthadbeentocooptPoole.
Thoughtherewaslittlethathecouldcontributethatwasnotalready
recorded,PoolewasveryhappytobeontheCommittee.Itwasobviouslyhisduty
tomakehimselfavailable,anditalsogavehimanofficialpositionhewould
otherwisehavelacked.Previouslyhisstatuswaswhathadoncebeencalleda
'nationaltreasure',whichhefoundfaintlyembarrassing.Althoughhewasglad
tobesupportedinluxurybyaworldwealthierthanallthedreamsofwar
ravagedearlieragescouldhaveimagined,hefelttheneedtojustifyhis
existence.
Healsofeltanotherneed,whichheseldomarticulatedeventohimself.
Halmanhadspokentohim,ifonlybriefly,attheirstrangeencountertwo
decadesago.Poolewascertainthat,ifhewished,Halmancouldeasilydoso
again.Wereallhumancontactsnolongerofinteresttohim?Hehopedthatwas
notthecaseyetthatmightbeoneexplanationofhissilence.
HewasfrequentlyintouchwithTheodoreKhanasactiveandacerbicas
ever,andnowtheEuropaCommittee'srepresentativeonGanymede.Eversince
PoolehadreturnedtoEarth,Tedhadbeentryinginvaintoopenachannelof
communicationwithBowman.Hecouldnotunderstandwhylonglistsofimportant
questionsonsubjectsofvitalphilosophicalandhistoricinterestreceivednot
evenbriefacknowledgements.
'DoestheMonolithkeepyourfriendHalmansobusythathecan'ttalkto
me?'hecomplainedtoPoole.'Whatdoeshedowithhistime,anyway?'
Itwasaveryreasonablequestionandtheanswercame,likeathunderbolt
outofacloudlesssky,fromBowmanhimselfasaperfectlycommonplace
vidphonecall.

33
Contact

'Hello,Frank.ThisisDave.Ihaveaveryimportantmessageforyou.I
assumethatyouarenowinyoursuiteinAfricaTower.Ifyouarethere,please
identifyyourselfbygivingthenameofourinstructorinorbitalmechanics.I

willwaitforsixtyseconds,andifthereisnoreplywilltryagaininexactly
onehour.'
ThatminutewashardlylongenoughforPooletorecoverfromtheshock.He
feltabriefsurgeofdelight,aswellasastonishment,beforeanotheremotion
tookover.GladthoughhewastohearfromBowmanagain,thatphrase'avery
importantmessage'soundeddistinctlyominous.
Atleastitwasfortunate,Pooletoldhimself,thathe'saskedforoneof
thefewnamesIcanremember.YetwhocouldforgetaScotwithaGlasgowaccent
sothickithadtakenthemaweektomasterit?Buthehadbeenabrilliant
lectureronceyouunderstoodwhathewassaying.
'DrGregoryMcVitty.'
'Accepted.NowpleaseswitchonyourBraincapreceiver.Itwilltakethree
minutestodownloadthismessage.Donotattempttomonitor:Iamusingtento
onecompression.Iwillwaittwominutesbeforestarting.'
Howishemanagingtodothis?Poolewondered.Jupiter/Luciferwasnowover
fiftylightminutesaway,sothismessagemusthaveleftalmostanhourago.It
musthavebeensentwithanintelligentagentinaproperlyaddressedpackageon
theGanymedeEarthbeam butthatwouldhavebeenatrivialfeattoHalman,
withtheresourceshehadapparentlybeenabletotapinsidetheMonolith.
TheindicatorlightontheBrainboxwasflickering.Themessagewascoming
through.
AtthecompressionHalmanwasusing,itwouldtakehalfanhourforPooleto
absorbthemessageinrealtime.Butheneededonlytenminutestoknowthathis
peacefullifestylehadcometoanabruptend

34
Judgement

Inaworldofuniversalandinstantaneouscommunication,itwasvery
difficulttokeepsecrets.Thiswasamatter,Pooledecidedimmediately,for
facetofacediscussion.
TheEuropaCommitteehadgrumbled,butallitsmembershadassembledinhis
apartment.Thereweresevenofthem theluckynumber,doubtlesssuggestedby
thephasesoftheMoon,thathadalwaysfascinatedMankind.Itwasthefirst

timePoolehadmetthreeoftheCommittee'smembers,thoughbynowheknewthem
allmorethoroughlythanhecouldpossiblyhavedoneinapreBraincapped
lifetime.
'ChairpersonOconnor,membersoftheCommitteeI'dliketosayafewwords
onlyafew,Ipromise!beforeyoudownloadthemessageI'vereceivedfrom
Europa.AndthisissomethingIprefertodoverballythat'smorenaturalfor
meI'mafraidI'llneverbequiteateasewithdirectmentaltransfer.'
'Asyouallknow,DaveBowmanandHalhavebeenstoredasemulationsinthe
MonolithonEuropa.Apparentlyitneverdiscardsatoolitoncefounduseful,
andfromtimetotimeitactivatesHalman,tomonitorouraffairswhenthey
begintoconcernit.AsIsuspectmyarrivalmayhavedonethoughperhapsI
flattermyself.'
'ButHalmanisn'tjustapassivetool.TheDavecomponentstillretains
somethingofitshumanoriginsevenemotions.Andbecauseweweretrained
togethersharedalmosteverythingforyearsheapparentlyfindsitmuch
easiertocommunicatewithmethanwithanyoneelse.Iwouldliketothinkhe
enjoysdoingit,butperhapsthat'stoostrongaword.'
'He'salsocuriousinquisitiveandperhapsalittleresentfuloftheway
he'sbeencollected,likeaspecimenofwildlife.Thoughthat'sprobablywhatwe
are,fromtheviewpointoftheintelligencethatcreatedtheMonolith.'
'Andwhereisthatintelligencenow?Halmanapparentlyknowstheanswer,and
it'sachillingone.'
'Aswealwayssuspected,theMonolithispartofagalacticnetworkofsome
kind.AndthenearestnodetheMonolith'scontroller,orimmediatesuperior
is450lightyearsaway.'
'Muchtoocloseforcomfort!Thismeansthatthereportonusandour
affairsthatwastransmittedearlyinthetwentyfirstcenturywasreceivedhalf
amillenniumago.IftheMonolith'slet'ssaySupervisorrepliedatonce,
anyfurtherinstructionsshouldbearrivingjustaboutnow.'
'Andthat'sexactlywhatseemstobehappening.Duringthelastfewdays,
theMonolithhasbeenreceivingacontinuousstringofmessages,andhasbeen
settingupnewprograms,presumablyinaccordancewiththese.'
'Unfortunately,Halmancanonlymakeguessesaboutthenatureofthose
instructions.Asyou'llgatherwhenyou'vedownloadedthistablet,hehassome
limitedaccesstomanyoftheMonolith'scircuitsandmemorybanks,andcaneven
carryonakindofdialoguewithit.Ifthat'stherightwordsinceyouneed
twopeopleforthat!Istillcan'treallygrasptheideathattheMonolith,for

allitspowers,doesn'tpossessconsciousnessdoesn'tevenknowthatit
exists!'
'Halman'sbeenbroodingovertheproblemforathousandyearsonandoff
andhascometothesameanswerthatmostofushavedone.Buthisconclusion
mustsurelycarryfarmoreweight,becauseofhisinsideknowledge.'
'Sorry!Iwasn'tintendingtomakeajokebutwhatelsecouldyoucall
it?'
'Whateverwenttothetroubleofcreatingusoratleasttinkeringwith
ourancestors'mindsandgenesisdecidingwhattodonext.AndHalmanis
pessimistic.Nothat'sanexaggeration.Let'ssayhedoesn'tthinkmuchofour
chances,butisnowtoodetachedanobservertobeundulyworried.Thefuture
thesurvival!ofthehumanraceisn'tmuchmorethananinterestingproblemto
him,buthe'swillingtohelp.'
Poolesuddenlystoppedtalking,tothesurpriseofhisintentaudience.
'That'sstrange.I'vejusthadanamazingflashback...I'msureitexplains
what'shappening.Pleasebearwithme.'
'DaveandIwerewalkingtogetheroneday,alongthebeachattheCape,a
fewweeksbeforelaunch,whenwenoticedalargebeetlelyingonthesand.As
oftenhappens,ithadfallenonitsbackandwaswavingitslegsintheair,
strugglingtogetrightwayup.'
'Iignoreditwewereengagedinsomecomplicatedtechnicaldiscussion
butnotDave.Hesteppedaside,andcarefullyflippeditoverwithhisshoe.As
itflewawayIcommented,"Areyousurethatwasagoodidea?Nowitwillgooff
andchompsomebody'sprizechrysanthemums."Andheanswered,"Maybeyou're
right.ButI'dliketogiveitthebenefitofthedoubt."
'MyapologiesI'dpromisedtosayonlyafewwords!ButI'mverygladI
rememberedthatincident:IreallybelieveitputsHalman'smessageintheright
perspective.He'sgivingthehumanracethebenefitofthedoubt...'
'NowpleasecheckyourBraincaps.Thisisahighdensityrecordingtopof
theu.v.band,Channel110.Makeyourselvescomfortable,butbesureyou'refree
lineofsight.Herewego...'

35
CouncilofWar

Nooneaskedforareplay.Oncewassufficient.
TherewasabriefsilencewhentheplaybackfinishedthenChairpersonDr
OconnorremovedherBraincap,massagedhershiningscalp,andsaidslowly:
'Youtaughtmeaphrasefromyourperiodthatseemsveryappropriatenow.
Thisisacanofworms.'
'ButonlyBowmanHalmanhasopenedit,'saidoneoftheCommittee
members.'Doeshereallyunderstandtheoperationofsomethingascomplexasthe
Monolith?Oristhiswholescenarioafigmentofhisimagination?'
'Idon'tthinkhehasmuchimagination,'DrOconnoranswered.'And
everythingchecksperfectly.EspeciallythereferencetoNovaScorpio.We
assumedthatwasanaccidentapparentlyitwasajudgement.'
'FirstJupiternowScorpio,'saidDrKraussman,thedistinguished
physicistwhowaspopularlyregardedasareincarnationofthelegendary
Einstein.Alittleplasticsurgery,itwasrumoured,hadalsohelped.'Whowill
benextinline?'
'Wealwaysguessed,'saidtheChair,'thattheTMAsweremonitoringus.'She
pausedforamoment,thenaddedruefully:'Whatbadwhatincrediblybad!
luckthatthefmalreportwentoff,justaftertheveryworstperiodinhuman
history!'
Therewasanothersilence.Everyoneknewthatthetwentiethcenturyhad
oftenbeenbranded'TheCenturyofTorture'
Poolelistenedwithoutinterrupting,whilehewaitedforsomeconsensusto
emerge.Notforthefirsttime,hewasimpressedbythequalityoftheCommittee
Noonewastryingtoproveapettheory,scoredebatingpoints,orinflatean
ego:hecouldnothelpdrawingacontrastwiththeoftenbadtemperedarguments
hehadheardinowntime,betweenSpaceAgencyengineersandadministrators,
Congressionalstaffs,andindustrialexecutives.
Yes,thehumanracehadundoubtedlyimproved.TheBraincaphadnotonly
helpedtoweedoutmisfits,buthadenormouslyincreasedtheefficiencyof
education.Yettherehadalsobeenalosstherewereveryfewmemorable
charactersinthissociety.OffhandhecouldthinkofonlyfourIndra,Captain
Chandler,DrKhanandtheDragonLadyofwistfulmemory.
TheChairpersonletthediscussionflowsmoothlybackandforthuntil
everyonehadhadasay,thenbeganhersummingup.

'Theobviousfirstquestionhowseriouslyshouldwetakethisthreat
isn'tworthwastingtimeon.Evenifit'safalsealarm,oramisunderstanding,
it'spotentiallysogravethatwemustassumeit'sreal,untilwehaveabsolute
prooftothecontrary.Agreed?'
'Good.Andwedon'tknowhowmuchtimewehave.Sowemustassumethatthe
dangerisimmediate.PerhapsHalmanmaybeabletogiveussomefurtherwarning,
butbythenitmaybetoolate.'
'Sotheonlythingwehavetodecideis:howcanweprotectourselves,
againstsomethingaspowerfulastheMonolith?LookwhathappenedtoJupiter!
And,apparently,NovaScorpio...'
'I'msurethatbruteforcewouldbeuseless,thoughperhapsweshould
explorethatoption.DrKraussmanhowlongwouldittaketobuildasuper
bomb?'
'Assumingthatthedesignsstillexist,sothatnoresearchisnecessary
oh,perhapstwoweeks.Thermonuclearweaponsarerathersimple,andusecommon
materialsafterall,theymadethembackintheSecondMillennium!Butifyou
wantedsomethingsophisticatedsayanantimatterbomb,oraminiblackhole
well,thatmighttakeafewmonths.'
'Thankyou:couldyoustartlookingintoit?ButasI'vesaid,Idon't
believeitwouldworksurelysomethingthatcanhandlesuchpowersmustalsobe
abletoprotectitselfagainstthem.Soanyothersuggestions?'
'Canwenegotiate?'onecouncillorasked,notveryhopefully.
'Withwhat...orwhom?'Kraussmananswered.'Aswe'vediscovered,the
Monolithisessentiallyapuremechanism,doingjustwhatit'sbeenprogrammed
todo.Perhapsthatprogramisflexibleenoughtoallowofchanges,butthere's
nowaywecantell.Andwecertainlycan'tappealtoHeadOfficethat'shalfa
thousandlightyearsaway!'
Poolelistenedwithoutinterruptingtherewasnothinghecouldcontribute
tothediscussion,andindeedmuchofitwascompletelyoverhishead.Hebegan
tofeelaninsidioussenseofdepression,wouldithavebeenbetter,he
wondered,nottopassonthisinformation?Then,ifitwasafalsealarm,noone
wouldbeanytheworse.Andifitwasnotwell,humanitywouldstillhave
peaceofmind,beforewhateverinescapabledoomawaitedit.
Hewasstillmullingoverthesegloomythoughtswhenhewassuddenlyalerted
byafamiliarphrase.

AquietlittlememberoftheCommittee,withanamesolonganddifficult
thatPoolehadneverbeenabletoremember,stilllesspronounceit,had
abruptlydroppedjusttwowordsintothediscussion.
'TrojanHorse!'
Therewasoneofthosesilencesgenerallydescribedas'pregnant',thena
chorusof'Whydidn'tIthinkofthat!''Ofcourse!''Verygoodidea!'untilthe
Chairperson,forthefirsttimeinthesession,hadtocallfororder.
'Thankyou,ProfessorThirugnanasampanthamoorthy,'saidDrOconnor,without
missingabeat.'Wouldyouliketobemorespecific?'
'Certainly.IftheMonolithisindeed,aseveryoneseemstothink,
essentiallyamachinewithoutconsciousnessandhencewithonlylimitedself
monitoringabilitywemayalreadyhavetheweaponsthatcandefeatit.Locked
upintheVault.'
'Andadeliverysystem Halman!'
'Precisely.'
'Justaminute,DrT.Weknownothingabsolutelynothingaboutthe
Monolith'sarchitecture.Howcanwebesurethatanythingourprimitivespecies
everdesignedwouldbeeffectiveagainstit?'
'Wecan'tbutrememberthis.Howeversophisticateditis,theMonolithhas
toobeyexactlythesameuniversallawsoflogicthatAristotleandBoole
formulated,centuriesago.That'swhyitmayno,should!bevulnerableto
thethingslockedupintheVault.Wehavetoassembletheminsuchawaythat
atleastoneofthemwillwork.It'souronlyhopeunlessanybodycansuggest
abetteralternative.'
'Excuseme,'saidPoole,finallylosingpatience.'Willsomeonekindlytell
mewhatandwhereisthisfamousVaultyou'retalkingabout?'

36
ChamberofHorrors

Historyisfullofnightmares,somenatural,somemanmade.
Bytheendofthetwentyfirstcentury,mostofthenaturalonessmallpox,

theBlackDeath,AIDS,thehideousviruseslurkingintheAfricanjunglehad
beeneliminated,oratleastbroughtundercontrol,bytheadvanceofmedicine.
However,itwasneverwisetounderestimatetheingenuityofMotherNature,and
noonedoubtedthatthefuturewouldstillhaveunpleasantbiologicalsurprises
instoreforMankind.
Itseemedasensibleprecaution,therefore,tokeepafewspecimensofall
thesehorrorsforscientificstudycarefullyguarded,ofcourse,sothatthere
wasnopossibilityofthemescapingandagainwreakinghavoconthehumanrace.
Buthowcouldonebeabsolutelysurethattherewasnodangerofthishappening?
Therehadbeenunderstandablyquiteanoutcryinthelatetwentieth
centurywhenitwasproposedtokeepthelastknownsmallpoxvirusesatDisease
ControlCentresintheUnitedStatesandRussia.Howeverunlikelyitmightbe,
therewasafinitepossibilitythattheymightbereleasedbysuchaccidentsas
earthquakes,equipmentfailuresorevendeliberatesabotagebyterrorist
groups.
Asolutionthatsatisfiedeveryone(exceptafew'Preservethelunar
wilderness!'extremists)wastoshipthemtotheMoon,andtokeepthemina
laboratoryattheendofakilometrelongshaftdrilledintotheisolated
mountainPico,oneofthemostprominentfeaturesoftheMareImbrium.Andhere,
overtheyears,theywerejoinedbysomeofthemostoutstandingexamplesof
misplacedhumaningenuityindeed,insanity.
Thereweregasesandmiststhat,eveninmicroscopicdoses,causedslowor
instantdeath.Somehadbeencreatedbyreligiouscultistswho,thoughmentally
deranged,hadmanagedtoacquireconsiderablescientificknowledge.Manyofthem
believedthattheendoftheworldwasathand(when,ofcourse,onlytheir
followerswouldbesaved).IncaseGodwasabsentmindedenoughnottoperform
asscheduled,theywantedtomakesurethattheycouldrectifyHisunfortunate
oversight.
Thefirstassaultsoftheselethalcultistsweremadeonsuchvulnerable
targetsascrowdedsubways,WorldFairs,sportsstadiums,popconcerts...tens
ofthousandswerekilled,andmanymoreinjuredbeforethemadnesswasbrought
undercontrolintheearlytwentyfirstcentury.Asoftenhappens,somegood
cameoutofevil,becauseitforcedtheworld'slawenforcementagenciestoco
operateasneverbeforeevenroguestateswhichhadpromotedpolitical
terrorismwereunabletotoleratethisrandomandwhollyunpredictablevariety.
Thechemicalandbiologicalagentsusedintheseattacksaswellasin
earlierformsofwarfarejoinedthedeadlycollectioninPico.Their
antidotes,whentheyexisted,werealsostoredwiththem.Itwashopedthatnone
ofthismaterialwouldeverconcernhumanityagainbutitwasstillavailable,
underheavyguard,ifitwasneededinsomedesperateemergency.

ThethirdcategoryofitemsstoredinthePicovault,althoughtheycouldbe
classifiedasplagues,hadneverkilledorinjuredanyonedirectly.Theyhad
notevenexistedbeforethelatetwentiethcentury,butinafewdecadesthey
haddonebillionsofdollars'worthofdamage,andoftenwreckedlivesas
effectivelyasanybodilyillnesscouldhavedone.Theywerethediseaseswhich
attackedMankind'snewestandmostversatileservant,thecomputer.
Takingnamesfromthemedicaldictionariesviruses,prions,tapeworms
theywereprogramsthatoftenmimicked,withuncannyaccuracy,thebehaviourof
theirorganicrelatives.Somewereharmlesslittlemorethanplayfuljokes,
contrivedtosurpriseoramuseComputeroperatorsbyunexpectedmessagesand
imagesontheirvisualdisplays.Otherswerefarmoremaliciousdeliberately
designedagentsofcatastrophe.
Inmostcasestheirpurposewasentirelymercenarytheyweretheweapons
thatsophisticatedcriminalsusedtoblackmailthebanksandcommercial
organizationsthatnowdependedutterlyupontheefficientoperationoftheir
computersystems.Onbeingwarnedthattheirdatabankswouldbeerased
automaticallyatacertaintime,unlesstheytransferredafewmegadollarsto
someanonymousoffshorenumber,mostvictimsdecidednottoriskpossibly
irreparabledisaster.Theypaidupquietly,oftentoavoidpublicoreven
privateembarrassmentwithoutnotifyingthepolice.
Thisunderstandabledesireforprivacymadeiteasyforthenetwork
highwaymentoconducttheirelectronicholdups:evenwhentheywerecaught,they
weretreatedgentlybylegalsystemswhichdidnotknowhowtohandlesuchnovel
crimesand,afterall,theyhadnotreallyhurtanyone,hadthey?Indeed,
aftertheyhadservedtheirbriefsentences,manyoftheperpetratorswere
quietlyhiredbytheirvictims,ontheoldprinciplethatpoachersmakethebest
gamekeepers.
Thesecomputercriminalsweredrivenpurelybygreed,andcertainlydidnot
wishtodestroytheorganizationstheypreyedupon:nosensibleparasitekills
itshost.Buttherewereother,andmuchmoredangerous,enemiesofsocietyat
work...
Usually,theyweremaladjustedindividualstypicallyadolescentmales
workingentirelyalone,andofcourseincompletesecrecy.Theiraimwasto
createprogramswhichwouldsimplycreatehavocandconfusion,whentheyhad
beenspreadovertheplanetbytheworldwidecableandradionetworks,oron
physicalcarrierssuchasdiskettesandCDROMS.Thentheywouldenjoythe
resultingchaos,baskinginthesenseofpoweritgavetheirpitifulpsyches.
Sometimes,thesepervertedgeniuseswerediscoveredandadoptedbynational
intelligenceagenciesfortheirownsecretivepurposesusually,tobreakinto

thedatabanksoftheirrivals.Thiswasafairlyharmlesslineofemployment,
astheorganizationsconcerneddidatleasthavesomesenseofcivic
responsibility.
Notsotheapocalypticsects,whoweredelightedtodiscoverthisnew
armoury,holdingweaponsfarmoreeffective,andmoreeasilydisseminated,than
gasorgerms.Andmuchmoredifficulttocounter,sincetheycouldbebroadcast
instantaneouslytomillionsofofficesandhomes.
ThecollapseoftheNewYorkHavanaBankin2005,thelaunchingofIndian
nuclearmissilesin2007(luckilywiththeirwarheadsunactivated),theshutdown
ofPanEuropeanAirTrafficControlin2008,theparalysisoftheNorthAmerican
telephonenetworkinthatsameyearallthesewerecultinspiredrehearsals
forDoomsday.Thankstobrilliantfeatsofcounterintelligencebynormally
uncooperative,andevenwarring,nationalagencies,thismenacewasslowly
broughtundercontrol.
Atleast,soitwasgenerallybelieved:therehadbeennoseriousattacksat
theveryfoundationsofsocietyforseveralhundredyears.Oneofthechief
weaponsofvictoryhadbeentheBraincapthoughthereweresomewhobelieved
thatthisachievementhadbeenboughtattoogreatacost.
ThoughargumentsoverthefreedomoftheIndividualversusthedutiesofthe
StatewereoldwhenPlatoandAristotleattemptedtocodifythem,andwould
probablycontinueuntiltheendoftime,someconsensushadbeenreachedinthe
ThirdMillennium.ItwasgenerallyagreedthatCommunismwasthemostperfect
formofgovernmentunfortunatelyithadbeendemonstratedatthecostofsome
hundredsofmillionsoflivesthatitwasonlyapplicabletosocialinsects,
RobotsClassII,andsimilarrestrictedcategories.Forimperfecthumanbeings,
theleastworstanswerwasDemosocracy,frequentlydefinedas'individualgreed,
moderatedbyanefficientbutnottoozealousgovernment'.
SoonaftertheBraincapcameintogeneraluse,somehighlyintelligentand
maximallyzealousbureaucratsrealizedthatithadauniquepotentialasan
earlywarningsystem.Duringthesettingupprocess,whenthenewwearerwas
beingmentally'calibrated'itwaspossibletodetectmanyformsofpsychosis
beforetheyhadachanceofbecomingdangerous.Oftenthissuggestedthebest
therapy,butwhennocureappearedpossiblethesubjectcouldbeelectronically
taggedor,inextremecases,segregatedfromsociety.Ofcourse,thismental
monitoringcouldtestonlythosewhowerefittedwithaBraincapbutbythe
endoftheThirdMillenniumthiswasasessentialforeverydaylifeasthe
personaltelephonehadbeenatitsbeginning.Infact,anyonewhodidnotjoin
thevastmajoritywasautomaticallysuspect,andcheckedasapotentialdeviant.
Needlesstosay,when'mindprobing',asitscriticscalledit,started
comingintogeneraluse,therewerecriesofoutragefromcivilrights

organizationsoneoftheirmosteffectivesloganswas'BraincaporBraincop?'
Slowlyevenreluctantlyitwasacceptedthatthisformofmonitoringwasa
necessaryprecautionagainstfarworseevilsanditwasnocoincidencethat
withthegeneralimprovementinmentalhealth,religiousfanaticismalsostarted
itsrapiddecline
Whenthelongdrawnoutwaragainstthecybernetcriminalsended,the
victorsfoundthemselvesowninganembarrassingcollectionofspoils,allof
themutterlyincomprehensibletoanypastconqueror.Therewere,ofcourse,
hundredsofcomputerviruses,mostofthemverydifficulttodetectandkill.
Andthereweresomeentitiesforwantofabetternamethatweremuchmore
terrifying.Theywerebrilliantlyinventeddiseasesforwhichtherewasnocure
insomecasesnoteventhepossibilityofacure
Manyofthemhadbeenlinkedtogreatmathematicianswhowouldhavebeen
horrifiedbythiscorruptionoftheirdiscoveries.Asitisahuman
characteristictobelittlearealdangerbygivingitanabsurdname,the
designationswereoftenfacetious:theGodelGremlin,theMandelbrotMaze,the
CombinatorialCatastrophe,theTransfiniteTrap,theConwayConundrum,the
TuringTorpedo,theLorentzLabyrinth,theBooleanBomb,theShannonSnare,the
CantorCataclysm...
Ifanygeneralizationwaspossible,allthesemathematicalhorrorsoperated
onthesameprinciple.Theydidnotdependfortheireffectivenessonanything
asnaveasmemoryerasureorcodecorruptiononthecontrary.Theirapproach
wasmoresubtletheypersuadedtheirhostmachinetoinitiateaprogramwhich
couldnotbecompletedbeforetheendoftheuniverse,orwhichtheMandelbrot
Mazewasthedeadliestexampleinvolvedaliterallyinfiniteseriesofsteps.
AtrivialexamplewouldbethecalculationofPi,oranyotherirrational
number.However,eventhemoststupidelectroopticcomputerwouldnotfallinto
suchasimpletrap:thedayhadlongsincepassedwhenmechanicalmoronswould
wearouttheirgears,grindingthemtopowderastheytriedtodividebyzero...
Thechallengetothedemonprogrammerswastoconvincetheirtargetsthat
thetasksetthemhadadefiniteconclusionthatcouldbereachedinafinite
time.Inthebattleofwitsbetweenman(seldomwoman,despitesuchrolemodels
asLadyAdaLovelace,AdmiralGraceHopperandDrSusanCalvin)andmachine,the
machinealmostinvariablylost.
Itwouldhavebeenpossiblethoughinsomecasesdifficultandevenrisky
todestroythecapturedobscenitiesbyERASE/OVERWRITEcommands,butthey
representedanenormousinvestmentintimeandingenuitywhich,however
misguided,seemedapitytowaste.And,moreimportant,perhapstheyshouldbe
keptforstudy,insomesecurelocation,asasafeguardagainstthetimewhen
someevilgeniusmightreinventanddeploythem.

Thesolutionwasobvious.Thedigitaldemonsshouldbesealedwiththeir
chemicalandbiologicalcounterparts,itwashopedforever,inthePicoVault.

37
OperationDamocles

Pooleneverhadmuchcontactwiththeteamwhoassembledtheweaponeveryone
hopedwouldneverhavetobeused.Theoperationominously,butaptly,named
Damocleswassohighlyspecializedthathecouldcontributenothingdirectly,
andhesawenoughofthetaskforcetorealizethatsomeofthemmightalmost
belongtoanalienspecies.Indeed,onekeymemberwasapparentlyinalunatic
asylum Poolehadbeensurprisedtofindthatsuchplacesstillexistedand
ChairpersonOconnorsometimessuggestedthatatleasttwoothersshouldjoin
him.
'HaveyoueverheardoftheEnigmaProject?'sheremarkedtoPoole,aftera
particularlyfrustratingsession.Whenheshookhishead,shecontinued:'I'm
surpriseditwasonlyafewdecadesbeforeyouwereborn:Icameacrossit
whilewhenIwasresearchingmaterialforDamocles.Verysimilarproblem in
oneofyourwars,agroupofbrilliantmathematicianswasgatheredtogether,in
greatsecrecy,tobreakanenemycode...incidentally,theybuiltoneofthe
veryfirstrealcomputers,tomakethejobpossible.'
'Andthere'salovelystoryIhopeit'struethatremindsmeofourown
littleteam.OnedaythePrimeMinistercameonavisitofinspection,and
afterwardshesaidtoEnigma'sDirector:"WhenItoldyoutoleavenostone
unturnedtogetthemenyouneeded,Ididn'texpectyoutotakemeso
literally".'
PresumablyalltherightstoneshadbeenturnedforProjectDamocles.
However,asnooneknewwhethertheywereworkingagainstadeadlineofdays,
weeksoryears,atfirstitwashardtogenerateanysenseofurgency.Theneed
forsecrecyalsocreatedproblemssincetherewasnopointinspreadingalarm
throughouttheSolarSystem,notmorethanfiftypeopleknewoftheproject.But
theywerethepeoplewhomatteredwhocouldmarshalalltheforcesnecessary,
andwhoalonecouldauthorizetheopeningofthePicoVault,forthefirsttime
infivehundredyears.
WhenHalmanreportedthattheMonolithwasreceivingmessageswith
increasingfrequency,thereseemedlittledoubtthatsomethingwasgoingto
happen.Poolewasnottheonlyonewhofoundithardtosleepinthosedays,

evenwiththehelpoftheBraincap'santiinsomniaprograms.Beforehefinally
didgettosleep,heoftenwonderedifhewouldwakeupagain.Butatlastall
thecomponentsoftheweaponwereassembledaweaponinvisible,untouchable
andunimaginabletoalmostallthewarriorswhohadeverlived.
Nothingcouldhavelookedmoreharmlessandinnocentthantheperfectly
standardterabytememorytablet,usedwithmillionsofBraincapseveryday.But
thefactthatitwasencasedinamassiveblockofcrystallinematerial,criss
crossedwithmetalbands,indicatedthatitwassomethingquiteoutofthe
ordinary.Poolereceiveditwithreluctancehewonderedifthecourierwhohad
beengiventheawesometaskofcarryingtheHiroshimaatombomb'scoretothe
Pacificairbasefromwhichitwaslaunchedhadfeltthesameway.Andyet,if
alltheirfearswerejustified,hisresponsibilitymightbeevengreater.
Andhecouldnotbecertainthateventhefirstpartofhismissionwouldbe
successful.Becausenocircuitcouldbeabsolutelysecure,Halmanhadnotyet
beeninformedaboutProjectDamoclesPoolewoulddothatwhenhereturnedto
Ganymede.
ThenhecouldonlyhopethatHalmanwouldbewillingtoplaytheroleof
TrojanHorseand,perhaps,bedestroyedintheprocess.

38
PreemptiveStrike

ItwasstrangetobebackintheHotelGrannymedeafteralltheseyears
strangestofall,becauseitseemedcompletelyunchanged,despiteeverything
thathadhappened.PoolewasstillgreetedbythefamiliarimageofBowmanashe
walkedintothesuitenamedafterhim:and,asheexpected,Bowman/Halmanwas
waiting,lookingslightlylesssubstantialthantheancienthologram.
Beforetheycouldevenexchangegreetings,therewasaninterruptionthat
Poolewouldhavewelcomedatanyothertimethanthis.Theroomvidphonegave
itsurgenttrioofrisingnotesalsounchangedsincehislastvisitandan
oldfriendappearedonthescreen.
'Frank!'criedTheodoreKhan,'whydidn'tyoutellmeyouwerecoming!When
canwemeet?Whynovideosomeonewithyou?Andwhowereallthoseofficial
lookingtypeswholandedatthesametime'
'PleaseTed!Yes,I'msorrybutbelieveme,I'vegotverygoodreasons
I'llexplainlater.AndIdohavesomeonewithmecallyoubackjustassoon

asIcan.Goodbye!'
Ashebelatedlygavethe'DoNotDisturb'order,Poolesaidapologetically:
'Sorryaboutthatyouknowwhoitwas,ofcourse.'
'YesDrKhan.Heoftentriedtogetintouchwithme.'
'Butyouneveranswered.MayIaskwhy?'Thoughtherewerefarmore
importantmatterstoworryabout,Poolecouldnotresistputtingthequestion.
'OurswastheonlychannelIwishedtokeepopen.Also,Iwasoftenaway.
Sometimesforyears.'
Thatwassurprisingyetitshouldnothavebeen.Pooleknewwellenough
thatHalmanhadbeenreportedinmanyplaces,inmanytimes.Yet'awayfor
years'?Hemighthavevisitedquiteafewstarsystemsperhapsthatwashowhe
knewaboutNovaScorpio,onlyfortylightyearsdistant.Buthecouldneverhave
goneallthewaytotheNodethereandbackwouldhavebeenaninehundredyear
journey.
'Howluckythatyouwereherewhenweneededyou!'Itwasveryunusualfor
Halmantohesitatebeforereplying.Therewasmuchlongerthantheunavoidable
threesecondtimelagbeforehesaidslowly'Areyousurethatitwasluck?'
'Whatdoyoumean?'
'Idonotwishtotalkaboutit,buttwiceIhaveglimpsedpowers
entitiesfarsuperiortotheMonoliths,andperhapseventheirmakers.Wemay
bothhavelessfreedomthanweimagine.'
ThatwasindeedachillingthoughtPooleneededadeliberateeffortofwill
toputitasideandconcentrateontheimmediateproblem.
'Letushopewehaveenoughfreewilltodowhatisnecessary.Perhapsthis
isafoolishquestion.DoestheMonolithknowthatwearemeeting?Coulditbe
suspicious?'
'Itisnotcapableofsuchanemotion.Ithasnumerousfaultprotection
devices,someofwhichIunderstand.Butthatisall.'
'Coulditbeoverhearingusnow?'
'Idonotbelieveso.'
IwishthatIcouldbesureitwassuchanaveandsimplemindedsuper
genius,thoughtPooleasheunlockedhisbriefcaseandtookoutthesealedbox

containingthetablet.Inthislowgravityitsweightwasalmostnegligibleit
wasimpossibletobelievethatitmightholdthedestinyofMankind.
'Therewasnowaywecouldbecertainofgettingasecurecircuittoyou,so
wecouldn'tgointodetails.Thistabletcontainsprogramswhichwehopewill
preventtheMonolithfromcarryingoutanyorderswhichthreatenMankind.There
aretwentyofthemostdevastatingviruseseverdesignedonthis,mostofwhich
havenoknownantidoteinsomecases,itisbelievedthatnoneispossible.
Therearefivecopiesofeach.Wewouldlikeyoutoreleasethemwhenandif
youthinkitisnecessary.DaveHalnoonehaseverbeengivensucha
responsibility.Butwehavenootherchoice.'
Onceagain,thereplyseemedtotakelongerthanthethreesecondroundtrip
fromEuropa.
'Ifwedothis,alltheMonolith'sfunctionsmaycease.Weareuncertain
whatwillhappentousthen.'
'Wehaveconsideredthat,ofcourse.Butbythislime,youmustsurelyhave
manyfacilitiesatyourcommandsomeofthemprobablybeyondourunderstanding.
Iamalsosendingyouapetabytememorytablet.Tentothefifteenthbytesis
morethansufficienttoholdallthememoriesandexperiencesofmanylifetimes.
Thiswillgiveyouoneescaperoute:Isuspectyouhaveothers.'
'Correct.Wewilldecidewhichtouseattheappropriatetime.'
Poolerelaxedasfaraswaspossibleinthisextraordinarysituation.
Halmanwaswillingtocooperate:hestillhadsufficientlinkswithhis
origins.
'Now,wehavetogetthistablettoyouphysically.Itscontentsaretoo
dangeroustorisksendingoveranyradiooropticalchannel.Iknowyoupossess
longrangecontrolofmatter:didyounotoncedetonateanorbitingbomb?Could
youtransportittoEuropa?Alternatively,wecouldsenditinanautocourier,
toanypointyouspecify.'
'Thatwouldbebest:IwillcollectitinTsienville.Herearetheco
ordinates...

PoolewasstillslumpedinhischairwhentheBowmanSuitemonitoradmitted
theheadofthedelegationthathadaccompaniedhimfromEarth.WhetherColonel
JoneswasagenuineColonelorevenifhisnamewasJoneswereminor
mysterieswhichPoolewasnotreallyinterestedinsolvingitwassufficient
thathewasasuperborganizerandhadhandledthemechanicsofOperation

Damocleswithquietefficiency.
'Well,Frankit'sonitsway.Willbelandinginonehour,tenminutes.I
assumethatHalmancantakeitfromthere,butIdon'tunderstandhowhecan
actuallyhandleisthattherightword?thesetablets.'
'Iwonderedaboutthat,untilsomeoneontheEuropaCommitteeexplainedit.
There'sawellknownthoughnottome!theoremstatingthatanycomputercan
emulateanyothercomputer.SoI'msurethatHalmanknowsexactlywhathe's
doing.Hewouldneverhaveagreedotherwise.'
'Ihopeyou'reright,'repliedtheColonel.'Ifnotwell,Idon'tknow
whatalternativewehave.'
Therewasagloomypause,untilPooledidhisbesttorelievethetension.
'Bytheway,haveyouheardthelocalrumouraboutourvisit?'
'Whichparticularone?'
'Thatwe'reaspecialcommissionsentheretoinvestigatecrimeand
corruptioninthisrawfrontiertownship.TheMayorandtheSheriffaresupposed
toberunningscared.'
'HowIenvythem,'said'ColonelJones'.'Sometimesit'squiteareliefto
havesomethingtrivialtoworryabout.'

39
Deicide

LikealltheinhabitantsofAnubisCity(populationnow56,521),DrTheodore
KhanwokesoonafterlocalmidnighttothesoundoftheGeneralAlarm.Hisfirst
reactionwas'NotanotherIcequake,forDeus'ssake!'
Herushedtothewindow,shouting'Open'soloudlythattheroomdidnot
understand,andhehadtorepeattheorderinanormalvoice.Thelightof
Lucifershouldhavecomestreamingin,paintingthepatternsonthefloorthat
sofascinatedvisitorsfromEarth,becausetheynevermovedevenafractionofa
millimetre,nomatterhowlongtheywaited...
Thatunvaryingbeamoflightwasnolongerthere.AsKhanstaredinutter
disbeliefthroughthehuge,transparentbubbleoftheAnubisDome,hesawasky

thatGanymedehadnotknownforathousandyears.Itwasoncemoreablazewith
starsLuciferhadgone.
Andthen,asheexploredtheforgottenconstellations,Kahnnoticed
somethingevenmoreterrifying.WhereLucifershouldhavebeenwasatinydisc
ofabsoluteblackness,eclipsingtheunfamiliarstars.
Therewasonlyonepossibleexplanation,Khantoldhimselfnumbly.Lucifer
hasbeenswallowedbyaBlackHole.Anditmaybeourturnnext.
OnthebalconyoftheGrannymedeHotel,Poolewaswatchingthesame
spectacle,butwithmorecomplexemotions.Evenbeforethegeneralalarm,his
comsechadwokenhimwithamessagefromHalman.
'Itisbeginning.WehaveinfectedtheMonolith.Butoneperhapsseveral
oftheviruseshaveenteredourowncircuits.Wedonotknowifwewillbeable
tousethememorytabletyouhavegivenus.Ifwesucceed,wewillmeetyouin
Tsienville.'
Thencamethesurprisingandstrangelymovingwordswhoseexactemotional
contentwouldbedebatedforgenerations:
'Ifweareunabletodownload,rememberus.'Fromtheroombehindhim,Poole
heardthevoiceoftheMayor,doinghisbesttoreassurethenowsleepless
citizensofAnubis.Thoughheopenedwiththatmostterrifyingofofficial
statements'Nocauseforalarm'theMayordidindeedhavewordsofcomfort.
'Wedon'tknowwhat'shappeningbutLucifer'sstillshiningnormally!I
repeatLuciferisstillshining!We'vejustreceivednewsfromtheinterorbit
shuttleAlcyone,whichleftforCallistohalfanhourago.Here'stheirview,
PooleleftthebalconyandrushedintohisroomjustintimetoseeLucifer
blazereassuringlyonthevidscreen.
'What'shappened,'theMayorcontinuedbreathlessly,'isthatsomethinghas
causedatemporaryeclipsewe'llzoomintolookatit...Callisto
Observatory,comeinplease...'
Howdoesheknowit's'temporary'?thoughtPoole,ashewaitedforthenext
imagetocomeuponthescreen.
Lucifervanished,tobereplacedbyafieldofstars.Atthesametime,the
Mayorfadedoutandanothervoicetookover:
'twometretelescope,butalmostanyinstrumentwilldo.It'sadiscof
perfectlyblackmaterial,justovertenthousandkilometresacross,sothinit
showsnovisiblethickness.Andit'splacedexactlyobviouslydeliberatelyto

blockGanymedefromreceivinganylight.
'We'llzoomintoseeifitshowsanydetails,thoughIratherdoubtit...'
FromtheviewpointofCallisto,theoccultingdiscwasforeshortenedintoan
oval,twiceaslongasitwaswide.Itexpandeduntilitcompletelyfilledthe
screenthereafter,itwasimpossibletotellwhethertheimagewasbeing
zoomed,asitshowednostructurewhatsoever.
'AsIthoughtthere'snothingtosee.Let'spanovertotheedgeofthe
thing...'
Againtherewasnosenseofmotion,untilafieldofstarssuddenly
appeared,sharplydefinedbythecurvingedgeoftheworldsizeddisc.Itwas
exactlyasiftheywerelookingpastthehorizonofanairless,perfectlysmooth
planet.
No,itwasnotperfectlysmooth...
'That'sinteresting,'commentedtheastronomer,whountilnowhadsounded
remarkablymatteroffact,asifthissortofthingwasaneverydayoccurrence.
'Theedgelooksjaggedbutinaveryregularfashionlikeasawblade...'
AcircularsawPoolemutteredunderhisbreath.Isitgoingtocarveusup?
Don'tberidiculous...
'Thisisascloseaswecangetbeforediffractionspoilstheimagewe'll
processitlaterandgetmuchbetterdetail:'
Themagnificationwasnowsogreatthatalltraceofthedisc'scircularity
hadvanished.Acrossthevidscreenwasablackband,serratedalongitsedge
withtrianglessoidenticalthatPoolefoundithardtoavoidtheominous
analogyofasawblade.Yetsomethingelsewasnaggingatthebackofhis
mind...
LikeeveryoneelseonGanymede,hewatchedtheinfinitelymoredistantstars
driftinginandoutofthosegeometricallyperfectvalleys.Veryprobably,many
othersjumpedtothesameconclusionevenbeforehedid.
Ifyouattempttomakeadiscoutofrectangularblockswhethertheir
proportionsare1:4:9oranyotheritcannotpossiblyhaveasmoothedge.Of
course,youcanmakeitasnearaperfectcircleasyoulike,byusingsmaller
andsmallerblocks.Yetwhygotothattrouble,ifyoumerelywantedtobuilda
screenlargeenoughtoeclipseasun?
TheMayorwasrighttheeclipsewasindeedtemporary.Butitsendingwas

thepreciseoppositeofasolarone.
Firstlightbrokethroughattheexactcentre,notintheusualnecklaceof
Bailey'sBeadsalongtheveryedge.Jaggedlinesradiatedfromadazzling
pinholeandnow,underthehighestmagnification,thestructureofthedisc
wasbeingrevealed.Itwascomposedofmillionsofidenticalrectangles,perhaps
thesamesizeastheGreatWallofEuropa.Andnowtheyweresplittingapart:it
wasasifagiganticjigsawpuzzlewasbeingdismantled.
Itsperpetual,butnowbrieflyinterrupted,daylightwasslowlyreturningto
Ganymede,asthediscfragmentedandtheraysofLuciferpouredthroughthe
wideninggaps.Nowthecomponentsthemselveswereevaporating,almostasifthey
neededthereinforcementofeachother'scontacttomaintainreality.
AlthoughitseemedlikehourstotheanxiouswatchersinAnubisCity,the
wholeeventlastedforlessthanfifteenminutes.Notuntilitwasalloverdid
anyonepayattentiontoEuropaitself.
TheGreatWallwasgone:anditwasalmostanhourbeforethenewscamefrom
Earth,MarsandMoonthattheSunitselfhadappearedtoflickerforafew
seconds,beforeresumingbusinessasusual.
Ithadbeenahighlyselectivesetofeclipses,obviouslytargetedat
humankind.NowhereelseintheSolarSystemwouldanythinghavebeennoticed.
Inthegeneralexcitement,itwasalittlelongerbeforetheworldrealized
thatTMAZEROandTMAONEhadbothvanished,leavingonlytheirfourmillion
yearoldimprintsonTychoandAfrica.

ItwasthefirsttimetheEuropscouldeverhavemethumans,buttheyseemed
neitheralarmednorsurprisedbythehugecreaturesmovingamongthematsuch
lightningspeed.Ofcourse,itwasnottooeasytointerprettheemotionalstate
ofsomethingthatlookedlikeasmall,leaflessbush,withnoobvioussense
organsormeansofcommunication.Butiftheywerefrightenedbythearrivalof
Alcyone,andtheemergenceofitspassengers,theywouldsurelyhaveremained
hidingintheirigloos.
AsFrankPoole,slightlyencumberedbyhisprotectivesuitandthegiftof
shiningcopperwirehewascarrying,walkedintotheuntidysuburbsof
Tsienville,hewonderedwhattheEuropsthoughtofrecentevents.Forthem,
therehadbeennoeclipseofLucifer,butthedisappearanceoftheGreatWall
mustsurelyhavebeenashock.Ithadstoodthereforathousandyears,asa
shieldanddoubtlessmuchmorethen,abruptly,itwasgone,asifithadnever
been...

Thepetabytetabletwaswaitingforhim,withagroupofEuropsstanding
aroundit,demonstratingthefirstsignofcuriositythatPoolehadever
observedinthem.HewonderedifHalmanhadsomehowtoldthemtowatchoverthis
giftfromspace,untilhecametocollectit.
Andtotakeitback,sinceitnowcontainednotonlyasleepingfriendbut
terrorswhichsomefutureagemightexorcise,totheonlyplacewhereitcould
besafelystored.

40
Midnight:Pico

Itwouldbehard,Poolethought,toimagineamorepeacefulscene
especiallyafterthetraumaofthelastweeks.Theslantingraysofanearly
fullEarthrevealedallthesubtledetailsofthewaterlessSeaofRainsnot
obliteratingthem,astheincandescentfuryoftheSunwoulddo.
Thesmallconvoyofmooncarswasarrangedinasemicircleahundredmetres
fromtheinconspicuousopeningatthebaseofPicothatwastheentrancetothe
Vault.Fromthisviewpoint,Poolecouldseethatthemountaindidnotliveupto
thenamethattheearlyastronomers,misledbyitspointedshadow,hadgivento
it.Itwasmorelikearoundedhillthanasharppeak,andhecouldwellbelieve
thatoneofthelocalpastimeswasbicycleridingtothesummit.Untilnow,none
ofthosesportsmenandwomencouldhaveguessedatthesecrethiddenbeneath
theirwheels:hehopedthatthesinisterknowledgewouldnotdiscouragetheir
healthyexercise.
Anhourago,withasenseofmingledsadnessandtriumph,hehadhandedover
thetablethehadbroughtneverlettingitoutofhissightfromGanymede
directlytotheMoon.
'Goodbye,oldfriends,'hehadmurmured.'You'vedonewell.Perhapssome
futuregenerationwillreawakenyou.ButonthewholeIratherhopenot.'
Hecouldimagine,alltooclearly,onedesperatereasonwhyHalman's
knowledgemightbeneededagain.Bynow,surely,somemessagewasonitswayto
thatunknowncontrolcentre,bearingthenewsthatitsservantonEuropano
longerexisted.Withreasonableluck,itwouldtake950years,giveortakea
few,beforeanyresponsecouldbeexpected.
PoolehadoftencursedEinsteininthepastnowheblessedhim.Eventhe

powersbehindtheMonoliths,itnowappearedcertain,couldnotspreadtheir
influencefasterthanthespeedoflight.Sothehumanraceshouldhavealmosta
millenniumtoprepareforthenextencounteriftherewastobeone.Perhaps
bythattime,itwouldbebetterprepared.
Somethingwasemergingfromthetunnel thetrackmounted,semihumanoid
robotthathadcarriedthetabletintotheVault.Itwasalmostcomictoseea
machineenclosedinthekindofisolationsuitusedasprotectionagainstdeadly
germsandhereontheairlessMoon!Butnoonewastakinganychances,however
unlikelytheymightseem.Afterall,therobothadmovedamongthosecarefully
sequesterednightmares,andalthoughaccordingtoitsvideocameraseverything
appearedinorder,therewasalwaysachancethatsomevialhadleaked,orsome
canister'ssealhadbroken.TheMoonwasaverystableenvironment,butduring
thecenturiesithadknownmanyquakesandmeteorimpacts.
Therobotcametoahaltfiftymetresoutsidethetunnel.Slowly,the
massiveplugthatsealedtheVaultswungbackintoplace,andbegantorotatein
itsthreads,likeagiantboltbeingscrewedintothemountain.
'Allnotwearingdarkglasses,pleasecloseyoureyesorlookawayfromthe
robot!'saidanurgentvoiceoverthemooncarradio.Pooletwistedroundinhis
seat,justintimetoseeanexplosionoflightontheroofofthevehicle.When
heturnedbacktolookatPico,allthatwasleftoftherobotwasaheapof
glowingslageventosomeonewhohadspentmuchofhislifesurroundedby
vacuum,itseemedaltogetherwrongthattendrilsofsmokewerenotslowly
spirallingupfromit.
'Sterilizationcompleted,'saidthevoiceoftheMissionController.'Thank
you,everybody.NowreturningtoPlatoCity.'
Howironicthatthehumanracehadbeensavedbytheskilfuldeploymentof
itsowninsanities!Whatmoral,Poolewondered,couldonepossiblydrawfrom
that?
HelookedbackatthebeautifulblueEarth,huddlingbeneathitstattered
blanketofcloudsforprotectionagainstthecoldofspace.Upthere,afew
weeksfrom now,hehopedtocradlehisfirstgrandsoninhisarms.
Whatevergodlikepowersandprincipalitieslurkedbeyondthestars,Poole
remindedhimself,forordinaryhumansonlytwothingswereimportantLoveand
Death.
Hisbodyhadnotyetagedahundredyears:hestillhadplentyoftimefor
both.

EPILOGUE

'Theirlittleuniverseisveryyoung,anditsgodisstillachild.Butit
istoosoontojudgethemwhenWereturnintheLastDays,Wewillconsider
whatshouldbesaved.'