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Software Evolution

by John Fajo Smashwords Edition Copyright 1995, !1 Proofreading: Corrin Pitluck (2012) Cover design, editing and short intro: Csaba Mengyan (2012) For corres ondence !rite to "ohnfa"o#$oho%co& "i#ense $otes 'hank you for do!nloading this free ebook% (lthough this is a free book, it re&ains the co yrighted ro erty of the author, and &ay not be re roduced, co ied and distributed for co&&ercial or non)co&&ercial ur oses% *f you en"oyed this book, lease encourage everyone to do!nload their o!n co y% Chapter 1& 'he (nspe#tor 'he train !histled as it arrived at its destination% +e looked out of the co& art&ent,s !indo!, !atched the grey skyscra ers in the distance as the train rolled into the huge rail!ay station% 'his !as the city, indeed, he thought !hile feasting his eyes on the surroundings% 'he rail!ay station !as a city inside the city !ith its o!n rules and inhabitants% 'he train disa eared in a forest of other trains% +e could see nothing but the sides of trains on the left and on the right, and an intricate and so histicated glass roof through !hich he believed to have gli& sed the sun% -ther!ise he couldn,t see anything, he felt as if he !as in a tunnel% +e heard the &uffled sounds of the louds eakers as arrivals and de artures !ere announced incessantly% +e !asn,t able to understand the announce&ents !ord for !ord but he gathered the one relating to his train,s arrival &ust have been a&ong the&% +o!ever, he !asn,t allo!ed to d!ell on that sub"ect, for he had a tre&endous trunk to take care of% +e felt the train slo!ly decelerating, and finally, !ith a "erk, co&ing to a halt% +e struggled to lo!er the trunk fro& the storage rack situated above his head, and had at the end, succeeded% 'hen he seated hi&self and tried to catch his breath !hile observing the s.uare) like latfor& s!ar&ing !ith eo le outside% +e !asn,t used to all the co&&otion he no! erceived% For a &o&ent, he had the sensation of being a tiny ant of no &ore i& ortance than the others but then he re&inded hi&self that he !as the ins ector% 'he tu&ult !ithout certainly had a negative effect on hi&, and his self)estee& !as brought to ground level fro& great heights% 'o ierce through this cro!d !ith the trunk successfully see&ed an i& ossible feat, he thought, and thus decided to first seek out a trolley% (fter closing his co& art&ent, he ste ed do!n onto the ave&ent to be i&&ediately absorbed by a train of hu&an &ass flo!ing o osite the direction he had !ished to go% +e !as a atient fello! and reali$ed there !as no use ushing against the cro!d% +e could only get hurt% 'hus, he aligned hi&self !ith the &asses and ho ed that an o ortunity !ould resent itself !hereby he could turn back% +e sa! a nu&ber of trolleys along the !ay/ they !ere usually acked in grou s at the &iddle of the latfor&% 0ut there !as no !ay he could get to the&, the tide ushed hi& for!ard, and he could advance but a fe! &eters diagonally% *t !as therefore to his astonish&ent that suddenly the cro!d dis ersed near the &ain entrance of the rail!ay station% +e !as free to navigate any!here, and after securing a trolley, he headed back to his co& art&ent for his trunk% *n it, he had all the necessities of life and all his

ossessions% 'herefore, he !as eager to get back as soon as ossible and ushed his !ay through the cro!d aggressively% 'his haste !as in vain though, for he found his co& art&ent e& ty% +e stood there not being able to co& rehend the entirety of the blo! he had suffered% +e hadn,t the faintest idea ho! long he grieved over the disa earance of his trunk% Certainly, it &ust have been so&e ti&e, for a rail!ay !orker entered his co& art&ent and said: 12ir, you &ust dise&bark%3 'hen seeing his countenance he added: 14id so&ething ha en5 Can * assist you in any !ay53 1My trunk,3 he &ur&ured% 1* !as in search of a trolley and !hen * got back it !as gone% *t &ust have been stolen,3 he said sadly, si& ly staring ahead% 16ot necessarily,3 ans!ered the rail!ay !orker% 1'here is a good chance that it &ight have been taken by the attendants seeing the trunk deserted% 'here is a central in.uiry hall for lost ob"ects%3 'he rail!ay !orker hesitated for a &o&ent% 1* could take you there%3 'his gave hi& so&e ho e and he finally gathered hi&self% +e thanked the rail!ay !orker% 'hey !ent together to the central in.uiry hall% 'here the rail!ay !orker said: 1* &ust get back to &y !ork3, and looked at hi& !ith de&anding eyes% +e ti ed his guide and groaned for a !hile even though he had kno!n since his de arture that this !ould be !hat he could e7 ect% *n the &eanti&e he !ent to an attendant, !ho sat by a desk dressed cons icuously in a red suit ty ical of attendants, and see&ed to be rofoundly absorbed doing a er!ork% +e couldn,t hide a haughty s&ile at the &anifestation of such idleness% 'he attendant gli& sed at hi& reali$ing that he !as a roaching and seeing that lofty e7 ression on his face dived into a er!ork !ith an even greater intensity% +e coughed in order to dra! the attendant,s attention% 0ut the red suited erson !as too busy doing nothing% Finally, he broke the deadlock by lacing a certain a&ount of &oney in front of the attendant, !ho beca&e all ears at once% 1* a& looking for a huge blue trunk, !hich &ight have been taken by your co)!orkers,3 he said briefly and full of e7 ectation% 'he attendant .uickly ty ed so&ething into a co& uter on the desk% +e a!aited the result !ith tre&bling heart% 'hen, after a short !hile, the attendant infor&ed hi& !ith a dubious and rather &enacing s&ile that his trunk, indeed, had been taken by rail!ay !orkers on a re.uest fro& the olice de art&ent% +e looked er le7ed% 1-n !hat grounds53 he asked angrily% 1* haven,t the faintest idea,3 re"oined the attendant% 18hen and !here can * get it back53 he sounded &ore deferential no!% ( shrug of the shoulders !as the ans!er fro& the attendant% +e shook his head in co& lete frustration% +e aced out of the in.uiry hall, beaten before he could start his !ork% 'here !as no doubt in his &ind that the baron !as behind this trunk business% 'he very &an he had to find% +e couldn,t resist a s&ile% *t see&ed the baron had &anaged to trace hi& !ithout delay% -f course, the &an could use all his connections and vast resources% +e laughed in a&use&ent at hi&self% +e had been nothing but a fool, he thought, to have believed that he could even cause a slight headache for the baron% 6o! it see&ed to hi& that the baron could dis ose of hi& if he !anted% (s he !atched the s!irling &asses, he felt as if he !ere nothing but a tiny dust article, !hich could easily be blo!n a!ay !ith a gust% +e couldn,t re are hi&self enough in advance to !hat he had to face% 'his !orld !as so &uch different fro& his% 'he baron had the u er hand !ith all the advantages the big city could yield% (t last, he sighed as he sauntered out of the rail!ay station% +e had all the ti&e in the !orld% -r erha s, he thought, no ti&e at all% +e looked around and cursed as so&e eo le bu& ed into hi& fro& behind% +e !as slightly annoyed but re&ained sur risingly listless% 'hen he sighted so&e cabs and thought he !ould stay a night in a hotel, until he decided !hat to do% +e hurried for!ard and !as about to sit into a ta7i but a hideous character th!arted his

!ay, and so&eone else ni&bly took advantage of the situation by taking the cab% +e &u&bled so&ething in des air% 9uckily, there !as another ta7icab, !hich sto ed beside hi&% +e got into it and !as about to tell the driver his destination !hen the hideous character seated hi&self beside hi&% 1'his is &y cab,3 he roclai&ed% 16ot any &ore,3 said the hideous character and sho!ed a revolver !hile laughing "oyfully% 1*,ll get out,3 he screa&ed as the cab started &oving% 1-h, no you don,t,3 the hideous character en"oyed every second of terrori$ing hi&, 1you are the &an * a& after%3 1'hat can,t be,3 he disagreed% 1* have "ust arrived%3 12o !e kno!,3 re lied the hideous character and looked at hi& see&ingly a ologetically% 0ut nothing could be further fro& the truth% +e shrank back% 18here are !e going53 he asked !ith fear% (s an ans!er, the hideous character lashed out at hi& and he fell on his side% 1'hat !ill be enough for no!,3 the cabdriver told the hideous character% 1-ur orders !ere to take hi& alive% *f you continue like that, you,ll kill the bastard% 9et the others do that if the leaders !ant it so%3 'he hideous character &oaned and see&ed to be offended% 'he ins ector !as !i ing his face, es ecially his bloody nose and thought the end !as a roaching% +e gli& sed at the bulky figure of the hideous character !ith dis&ay telling hi&self that this !asn,t ha ening to hi&, it !as nothing but a dreadful night&are% +e felt s&all and hel less, a &an !hose destiny it !as to end u in a deserted ditch% +e shivered and sat &otionless lest the hideous character &ight find a lively target &ore attractive and forget the cabdriver,s !arnings% +e didn,t even look out the !indo!/ he thought it !as ur oseless% 0ut des ite all his fears the rest of the ride !as uneventful% 'he ta7i sto ed in the &iddle of a deserted &eado! fro& !here he could only see the contours of the skyscra ers/ nothing else of the city could be seen% 'he hideous character dragged hi& out of the cab and held one of his ar&s tightly% +e !asn,t able to &ove an inch% 'here they !aited until a black li&ousine arrived% 1+ere he is,3 the cabdriver ointed to hi&, !hen three &en e&erged fro& the dark car% 1Can * "oin53 asked the hideous character% 1:ou should have ta&ed hi& by no!,3 said one of the three to the cabdriver% 'he hideous character !as too du&b to co& rehend the &eaning of that sentence% 1:our ne7t assign&ent is at the seventh la$a at half ast nine% 'his is the erson,3 the cabdriver !as given a hotogra h% 'hen his t!o earlier ac.uaintances left hi& !ith the three &en% +e looked after the receding cab !ith the unreasonable atience of a dying being% 18hat no!53 he shrieked% For the second ti&e that afternoon, he received a terrible unch in ans!er to his .uestion% +e lost a tooth in the "olt% +e tried to get u fro& the ground, !here he had been thro!n% 0ut this had been only the beginning% +e !as kicked and unched% +is nose started bleeding again and he !ished they !ould be done !ith hi& soon% +e had received at least a do$en lo! blo!s before the &en called it a day% +e thought the beating lasted an eternity% 16e7t ti&e you,ll think t!ice before &essing around !ith us again,3 one of the& said and took his !allet% 'hey left hi& there in a ile of grass% For so&e ti&e he didn,t dare &ove% 'hen slo!ly, as if being afraid he &ight fall a art, he struggled to his feet% +e !as in a itiful state% (ll his "oints ached% +e !inced in sorro! and ain and atte& ted to locate his osition% Finally, he reali$ed there !as a narro! road to his right% 'his road headed to!ards the city as far as he could tell fro& !here he stood% 'here !as

at least one good thing about skyscra ers, he thought% -ne could see the& fro& great distances and they could sho! one the !ay% +e li& ed to the road and started an arduous !alk back to the city% Certainly, the beating had done hi& so&e good for he no longer feared his attackers% +e !as deter&ined to find the baron &ore than ever% 'here !as no &ister nice guy any longer% +e !ould crush the baron and the organi$ation, he thought, as he arrived at crossroads% 'he skyscra ers sho!ed hi& the !ay% )))) *t !as lucky that he, out of rudence, had ut a large su& of &oney in his shoes, !hen he had e&barked on his &ission% 'hat !as ho! he could afford to stay in a central hotel, after having !alked all the !ay fro& the &eado!% *n his &iserable state, there had been no one to give hi& a ride% ;ven the rece tionist had looked at hi& !ith shar and investigating eyes and had de&anded an advance ay&ent% 0ut no! as he rolled in his bed, after having a bath, he !as in good &irth% +e !as still alive and this in itself &ade hi& ha y% *t !as late afternoon and he !atched the sun go do!n% 'hen suddenly he re&e&bered !hat had been said before his beating: 1%%%ne7t assign&ent at seventh la$a half ast nine%%%,3 he re eated% 2o it !ould be, he thought, a leasure to ay back so&e of the disco&forts he had suffered% +is hands !ere itching for a fight% 'his ti&e ho!ever he had the advantage of sur rise% +e got dressed and called a ta7i% 0y eight o,clock he reached the seventh la$a% 'hen again, his self)assuredness !as gone% +e had never seen anything of the si$e of the s.uare, !hich e&erged in front of hi&% 'he la$a !as s!ar&ing !ith eo le and he couldn,t see fro& one end to the other/ not even fro& the to of an artificial hill% (nd he had only a little ti&e left% 8here on earth could the o eration take lace5 +e ran u and do!n for a !hile% 'hen a sudden thought ca&e to his &ind% +e !as often i& ulsive% -n such occasions, he !as brilliant and diligent, other!ise he !as retty la$y% 6o! this si7th sense led hi& to an infor&ation booth situated at the edge of the s.uare% 12ay,3 he asked, 1is there a bus station or the sort any!here around here5 9ong distance,3 he added% 1:es, indeed,3 the erson in the booth ans!ered% 1<ust follo! the edge of the s.uare to the right, and you can,t &iss it%3 1'hank you,3 he said and hurried a!ay% 6o!, if he !as right, he ondered, that !as !here his t!o adversaries !ould a!ait their target% Probably so&eone arriving fro& far a!ay, so&eone as una!are and naive as he had been% (lthough it !as a ri&itive &ethod they e& loyed in &aking their oint, he thought, it !as certainly successful and efficient% 'he hideous character and the cabdriver !ere the first line of defence of the baron% 'hey !ere rough and uneducated/ therefore, he being a savant didn,t fear the& any longer% +e !as afraid of the baron though% 'he baron ulled all the strings and !as the brain behind the actions% :et the baron did see&ingly nothing illegal% +e &ust have been living the life of a venerable citi$en, he thought, kind, res ectable and =od)fearing% -f course, in the background he &ade sure that no transaction, ho!ever trivial, &ight roceed !ithout his consent% 'he baron,s gri on society !as co& lete% +e !as feared and cursed% :et no one kne! hi&, but a dedicated fe! !ho !ere &e&bers of the =rou of Five headed by the baron hi&self% 'his s&all gathering voted on &atters% 'hen these decisions !ere carried out to the oint by faithful servants like the hideous character% 0ut the baron !as s&art, he often used eo le outside his organi$ation !ho !ere una!are that they abetted the very erson they loathed% *t !as, therefore, es ecially difficult to reveal hi&% 'he baron had re&ained, above all, inscrutable%

+e looked at his !atch% *t !as nearly half ast nine and he ran as fast as he could, yet the station !as no!here% For a &o&ent, he believed he had been &isled% +e !as about to give u !hen he sa! a broad stair!ay leading to an underground station "ust ahead% +e sighed in relief and e7cite&ent and thundered do!n the stair!ay% +e trod three ste s at a ti&e% (t the botto& of the stair!ay, he found a bus station congruent to the city, huge and chaotic% +e !asted no ti&e and continued running, crossed several lanes before slo!ing do!n% ( cou le of ta7is !ere ahead and a&ong the&, he could see the cab he !as after/ the driver !as leaning against the vehicle% 'he hideous character !asn,t resent though/ he &ust have been after the ne7t victi&, &aking sure that the oor thing !ould end u in the right ta7icab, he thought !ith sarcas&% (nd, indeed, so it !ould be% ;7ce t that in the &eanti&e he !ould overtake this very ta7icab% *n an instant, he elaborated a lan that !as si& licity itself% +e stalked in front of the cabdriver, !aved his hand and said: 1'here is so&ething * have to tell you% (bout the baron,3 he !his ered% 'he cabdriver see&ed stunned and !as unable to co& rehend the &eaning of this re osterous state&ent% +e !as nearly as &uch a si& leton as the other, he thought% +e started strutting to!ards a &en,s roo& he had chosen beforehand/ the cabdriver follo!ed hi& in astonish&ent, so&e!hat hesitantly and !ith distrust% 6evertheless, he could lure hi& to !here he !anted at the end/ there a .uick unch !as follo!ed by a s!ift change of dress% *n a short !hile, he a eared as a !ell tri&&ed cabdriver, e7ce t for the tooth he !as &issing% +e !alked back to the ta7i and sat in the driver,s seat% +e !aited atiently observing every little detail and &ove&ent around hi&, !hile dru&&ing !ith his fingers in antici ation% 'hen suddenly he sa! the bulky figure of the hideous character in the rear)vie! &irror% *t !asn,t yet clear to hi& !ho the ne7t victi& !as to be% 'here !as a cro!d in front of the hideous character and the she herd didn,t &ake his &ove thus far% 'hen as the cro!d !as about to ass by the cab so&eone !as forced into the ta7i in haste% +e had to ad&it that the hideous character !as good at !hat he !as doing/ no one could have noticed the cri&e unfolding/ the sheer brutality taking lace% 'he victi& !as ushed on the back seat% 'he hideous character !as holding so&ething dishevelled and thread)like, !hich &ade the unkno!n victi& !his er in ain% 'hen he reali$ed that the victi& !as choked and her hair ulled% +e feared that the hideous character &ight suffocate her, coughed and said trying to i&itate the cabdriver,s voice: 1'hat,s enough%3 12tart driving, !ould you,3 res onded the hideous character angrily% +e heeded these !ords and turned to the e7it lane% +e !ondered !here they !ere su osed to go% Perha s to the sa&e &eado!, he thought% 6ot that he could find the !ay there nor that he !ished to return% +e !as afraid the hideous character &ight get sus icious if he headed in the !rong direction, but as he looked over his shoulders, he could see that the t!o !ere busy behind his back% 'he victi& endeavoured to esca e the hideous character,s gri in vain, !hile the bulky erson see&ed to en"oy his su eriority% +e !as satisfied !ith the !ay things had develo ed/ he didn,t run the risk of being revealed as long as the hideous character occu ied hi&self !ith his victi&% 'hey cruised along a broad street !hen he !as struck by another i& ulsive idea% +e drove to the side!alk% 1=et out,3 he said% 18hat53 asked the hideous character% 1-rders,3 he said laintively and ointed !ith his finger outside% 'he hideous character &oved !ith disbelief and indignation and cursed as he ste ed a&ong the other edestrians% 'he ins ector s&iled and drove off !ith his assenger leaving the staring bulky figure behind% *t !as easier to dis ose of the baron,s t!o servants than he had i&agined, he thought% 'hen he asked: 18hereto53 For a !hile, he didn,t receive an ans!er, then a faint voice said: 1<ust let &e out here%3

+e sto hotel%

ed by a corner and she got out% +e !ished her luck, and then !ent back to his ))))

+e rolled in his bed for so&e ti&e and then sat u % +e si& ly couldn,t slee % +e !as too e7cited and roud of hi&self% Finally, he had been ca able of an act of brilliance, roving that he had deserved to beco&e the ins ector, he thought% +e a&used hi&self !ith the unish&ent he i&agined the cabdriver and the hideous character !ere given for the blunder they had &ade% +e didn,t feel a bit sorry for the&, though% +e felt it !as a "ust revenge on his art to th!art their lans% 'he hideous character &ust have raged after finding out that he had been so &ischievously deceived, the ins ector thought% (ny!ay, he !ouldn,t have roble&s !ith the& any &ore% 'he first line of defence of the baron !as beaten and he kne! there !ould be a change in tactics% 'here !ould be no &ore unching brigades% ( &ore so histicated tea& !ould continue trying to hinder hi&% 0ut he !as confident no!% (nd he reali$ed that he !ould have to change his tactics as !ell in order to fulfil his &ission% ( single day in the city roved enough for hi& to reali$e that it !ould take &uch &ore to reveal the identity of the baron than he could &uster% 'herefore, he had to &ake the baron co&e to hi& instead of the other !ay around% 0ut he !as a!are that the baron !ould only co&e to hi& as a last resort% 'he ins ector kne! this !as a oker ga&e, in !hich he !ould have to risk everything% *f the baron &anaged to gli& se any of his cards, the &atch !ould be over% *t !as therefore vital that he ke t his lack of kno!ledge concerning the baron a secret% +e sighed in satisfaction and atte& ted to slee % +e !as do$ing !hen the tele hone rang une7 ectedly% +e icked u the receiver% 1+ello,3 the ins ector said inarticulately% 16ever do that again,3 said a voice he couldn,t recognise% 16ever do !hat53 he asked% 16ever ta& er !ith our affairs% :ou hear53 1-h, get lost,3 he shouted and ended the conversation% 2o the second line of defence !as in &otion, he thought% (t least the baron no! kne! !here he resided, he &used% 'he ins ector !as co& lacent% ;verything !as !orking out the !ay he had !ished% +e eered out of his roo&,s !indo! at the city and felt hi&self as far fro& the bu$$ing around hi& as he could be% +e heard the &uffled noises of the nocturnal life of the &etro olis, sa! the lights shining and shado!s changing lace constantly on the ceiling% :et as he sat there, as &uch as he !as unused to city life, he felt cal&% Cal&er than ever before% Perha s this !as si& ly the relude of the i&&inent confrontation, he thought% Perha s he !as satisfied &ore than ever% 8hatever it !as, he had a sensation of being on an island, deserted and uninhabited, far a!ay fro& all the co&&otion and danger% 2o&e!here, !here fear did not e7ist% *t !as an ideal lace% 6evertheless, so&ething !as &issing% -r rather so&eone% 2uddenly the countenance of his assenger e&erged before his half)closed eyes% +e hadn,t given it too &uch thought earlier, but no! he had to ad&it that she had been very attractive% ;s ecially as vulnerable as she had been% *t &ight have been a &istake to leave her in the &idst of one of the city,s uncountable s.uares% Maybe they could have united forces against the baron, he &used% *f it !as the baron she had been after, he added% 'hen he shook his head% (fter all, he thought, the ti&e of chivalry !as over, and he certainly !asn,t the knight !ho !ould save the !orld% +e !asn,t about to &ake useless ac.uaintances% 0esides, he liked to !ork alone, to be alone% +e couldn,t tolerate detours that could "eo ardi$e his success% 8ith this thought, he leaned back and turning fro& the glo!ing lights !ent to slee %

)))) +e a!oke !ith an ingenious idea that &atched the overtaking of the ta7icab in si& licity% +e .uickly got u and arranged his thoughts% +e !ould forge a docu&ent indicating that i& ortant eo le stood behind hi&% 'hen he !ould &ake sure that this docu&ent ended u in the baron,s hands% +e "ust had to &ake sure of its credibility% 'his could rove difficult though% +e couldn,t afford sli u s/ it had to be erfect% 6ot too detailed yet believably &eaningful% 6o na&es could be &entioned% 'his !ould discredit the docu&ent at once, he thought% 0esides the baron had agents every!here, na&ing one of the& !ould have been un!ise% (lso, to indicate so&eone not involved see&ed to hi& abhorrent% +e didn,t !ant innocent eo le to get hurt because of his oker ga&e if things !ent !rong% *t !as his fight, he had to fight alone% +e set to !ork% +e !orked diligently throughout the day, iecing together the docu&ent &eticulously/ it !as late afternoon !hen he finished !ith it% 'hen he ordered a satchel, a handbook and a &a of the city fro& the rece tionist% 8hen he received these ite&s, he ut the docu&ent, the book and the &a in the bag% +e !as al&ost ready to go% 'here re&ained, ho!ever, one i& ortant detail unsolved% +e didn,t entirely kno! ho! he should organi$e &atters% +e !as sure that he !ould be follo!ed as soon as he left his roo&/ no doubt his hone !as already ta ed% 0ut ho! should he lose his bag after!ards5 +e couldn,t "ust dro it so&e!here, he thought% 'hat !ould be too obvious, so&ething the baron !ouldn,t buy% +e had to &ake it see& as if he had to de art fro& the satchel in haste and un!illingly% +e aced the roo& u and do!n !hile getting dressed% +e tried to find the solution% +e !as utting on his shoes !hen it occurred to hi&% +e sighed in satisfaction% +e left the hotel, his bag laced under his ar&% 'he ins ector noticed the &en follo!ing hi& instantly% 'here !ere t!o of the&, one carrying a ne!s a er, the other retending as if looking in the sho !indo!s% (t the beginning, one of the& !as follo!ing hi& on the other side of the street, but soon the road broadened to ten lanes and both of the &en had to kee ace !ith hi& on the sa&e side!alk% +e thought he !ould test the skills of the baron,s servants before actually i& le&enting his lan% 'herefore, he entered a huge sho ing &all and got lost in the cro!d% +e !ent u t!o flights !ith escalator% 'hen, &aking a detour he ca&e do!n again and e7ited the &all% 'here !as no trace of his follo!ers and this !orried hi& because he needed the& to ick u the satchel he !anted to lose/ it see&ed he had &anaged too !ell in getting rid of the&% +e !as confused !hat to do for so&e ti&e, !aited for his follo!ers a block fro& the &all, then retraced his ste s stunned and u set% 'he ine titude of his follo!ers angered hi&% +e felt unchallenged% +e thought the baron !ould have sent &ore ca able &en if he !as &ore i& ortant% 6o! he had to find the& in the &all% +e hurried fro& floor to floor% (t the to , he finally found the &en/ they !ere si ing coffee in a cafeteria and it see&ed to hi& that they had given u the chase% +e looked at the& des isingly and i&agined his fingers folding around the baron,s neck% +e sat do!n by a table so that the &en could see hi&, ordered a cu of tea and ta ed !ith his fingers in antici ation% +e !as !aiting to be seen% 0ut the &en !ere occu ied% +e thought their !orking hours &ust have been over or so&ething% +e drank his tea and still nothing ha ened% +e !as beco&ing unnerved% (t last, he decided to take charge of the situation, boldly !ent for!ard, and as if by chance, ushed one of the &en off his chair% 1* beg your ardon,3 he said, and acting on instincts rather than co&&on sense unched the other &an !ith full strength% 'hen the ins ector ran% Finally, the &en !ere on his tail% +e ushed his !ay through the cro!d, and headed to!ards an underground station% +e had to descend fifteen flights% +e

stu&bled here and there, but ke t his &eagre lead% *n the &eanti&e, he looked back several ti&es not trusting his follo!ers, follo!ing ability, so they could kee hi& in sight% (fter he had arrived at the underground station he "u& ed in a sub!ay car that !as about to de art% 'he &en follo!ed close behind% 'hen "ust before the doors !ould have closed, he dise&barked% *t !as erfect ti&ing% 'he door closed on his bag and clutched it% +e retended to be trying to free it in vain% 'he sub!ay began to roll and he gave u % -r so his follo!ers !ere &eant to believe% (s the car receded he could see the& taking ossession of his satchel and felt satisfied% )))) 'he ins ector !as beginning to get used to the city and !as sur rised ho! &uch the city gre! on hi&% +e felt as if he had lived there for an eternity% +is earlier life see&ed distant and uni& ortant/ he didn,t feel ho&esick% (ctually, the city !as his ho&e no!% +e looked out of his roo&,s !indo! and eered into the distance and !ondered if it !as !orth it at all to e&bark on his &ission% 2o far he had gotten no!here% 4ays assed on and all he could do !as to !ait atiently/ the baron hadn,t &ade his &ove yet% (nd as ti&e !ent it see&ed &ore and &ore unlikely that his lan !ould !ork% 0ut he hadn,t given u ho e "ust yet% *n the &eanti&e, he !ent sightseeing, at ti&es acco& anied by follo!ers% 6evertheless, he got the i& ression that he could do anything he !anted unhindered as these follo!ers !eren,t too eager and he could esca e fro& the& any ti&e% +e &used !hether this &eant that he !as seen si& ly as an annoyance by the baron or .uite the o osite, so&eone to recon !ith% +e !as certainly !orried that his cards had been revealed% 8as the docu&ent he had forged believable, he asked hi&self% >ncertainty !as frustrating% +e !as fed u !ith the !hole ga&e and the retension, but he had to go on/ he had no other choice% +e had to kee retending that everything !ent the !ay he !anted, !orking on the assu& tion that he !as still erceived as a dangerous antagonist by the baron% 6o! he looked at the night sky, but there !ere no stars to be seen% 'he city !as too bright and he !as in the &iddle of it% 'he only star he could erceive !as a bleached yello! decoration on the !all of a cine&a that !as a shabby lace ne7t to one of the skyscra ers% 4es ite its s.ualidity, there !as a continuous cro!d in and out of the &ovie theatre% +e thought this contrast bet!een the skyscra er and the cine&a !as ertinent to the city% +e could never understand ho!, if in any !ay, the &etro olis !as organi$ed% 'here !ere the large a art&ent blocks built of concrete and scattered a&ong the&, s&all !ooden houses could be found as if hiding in the shado!s of the giants% +e thought this &ade the city look ragged and in disarray, yet it certainly added so&e flavour% +e often looked at the city at night% +e believed it !as &ore interesting then than in daylight, it had so&e &ysterious and &es&eri$ing aura% 0ut he thought he !asn,t about to !atch enchantedly for &uch longer for he !as running out of &oney% +e only ho ed the baron !ould &ake his &ove soon% )))) Finally, the baron &ade his &ove% 'he ins ector sto ed in front of his roo&, taking a dee breath before entering% +e had been visiting &useu&s earlier in the day and !hen he had returned to his hotel he noticed at once on the face of the orter that so&ething !as about to go do!n% +e hadn,t been able to tell !hat &ade hi& convinced of that% 0ut he had been certain% 6o! he stood in the hall!ay and could hear so&e strange noises e&anating fro& his roo&% +is conviction turned out to be true !hen he ste ed inside the roo&%

1Co&e in,3 said so&eone rela7ing in his easychair and !atching television% 1(nd you are53 the ins ector in.uired% 'he &an turned a!ay fro& the television set% +e could see a bulky figure dressed in a !ork&an,s suit% +e grinned% +e could tell the baron fro& anyone% 1:ou should kno! !ho * a&,3 said the baron loftily% 'he ins ector si& ly nodded in ans!er to this and seated hi&self% 12tate your business,3 the ins ector said, !hile looking at the baron in disgust, !ho !as eating eanuts and drinking beer% *nstead of ans!ering, the baron tossed a bo!l full of eanuts to!ards hi& and continued !atching television% +e looked in a&a$e&ent and ondered !hether he should turn the table on his visitor or not% 'hen he decided not to% (fter so&e ti&e the baron said: 1(n interesting ga&e, isn,t it5 * bet a hundred on the tea& in the blue%3 1(re they !inning53 18hat a .uestion% 6aturally% 0ut either !ay * !in% 'hat,s the !ay it al!ays goes%3 'he baron glanced at hi&% 1Perha s !e can &ake a deal as !ell%3 1Perha s not,3 he re"oined% 'he baron shook his head and drank his beer% 1* ho e you don,t think that * believe that the docu&ent is genuine%3 1'hen !hat on earth are you here for53 the ins ector asked% 'he baron didn,t ans!er% For so&e ti&e they !ere silent% +e stared at the baron% 'hen he said: 1* thought you !ere so&eone% 0ut * !as !rong% :ou are "ust a &easly creature%3 1(n interesting thought%3 'he baron laughed, then !aved his hands% 10ut you aren,t the tough guy * i&agined you to be either% * ho e you are not trying to inti&idate &e !ith your &uscle o!er%3 'he baron laughed heartily again% 1Perha s not,3 the ins ector said% 'he baron nodded haughtily% 19isten%%%,3 he crunched so&e eanuts, 1* could use a &an like you% :oung, strong, intelligent and eager% :ou kno! !hat * &ean%3 1:es,3 the ins ector ans!ered% 10ut there is only one !ay you can sto &e% (nd that ain,t &oney%3 1*f you force &e to%%%3 1Maybe that is !hat you are su osed to do% * have no idea !hat the Co&&ission,s lans are%3 1-f course% 'here !e have it% 'he &ysterious Co&&ission you &entioned in your docu&ent%3 1* didn,t &ention anything,3 the ins ector said kno!ing that the baron !as atte& ting to reveal his cards% 12o you say% 0ut there isn,t anyone !ho has heard of this Co&&ission !hatsoever%3 1*t,s secret,3 the ins ector e7clai&ed% 1(nd it shall deal !ith you%3 'he baron flicked a eanut into his &outh% 1*s that so5 (nd ho! shall they,3 he accentuated the they 1deal !ith &e, &ay * ask5? 2kyscra ers don,t co&e tu&bling do!n, you kno!%3 1* disagree%3 1'hen !e have nothing else to discuss unfortunately% *f, ho!ever, you change your &ind "ust say so to &y &en,3 the baron got u % 1*,ll leave the eanuts and the beer here% 'hey !ould do you good%3 'he baron e7ited the roo&% ))))

1%%%no! that !e have discussed the &ost urgent transactions, * !ould like to infor& you of a ossible cons iracy unfolding,3 said the baron% +e !as s eaking in a large cave far beneath the surface% +is voice echoed in the distance% ( creek !as flo!ing close by% 'here !as a round table laced in the &iddle of the cave, it !as here the =rou of Five !as seated% *t !as here that they voted on &atters% 2ecluded fro& the !orld% >ndisturbed% 1'here is a &an calling hi&self the ins ector,3 the baron continued% 18e have found a docu&ent connecting hi& to so&e unna&ed highly ranked individuals% * !onder if you kno! anything about this &atter%3 1* haven,t heard of any unna&ed individuals,3 the general &oaned% 6or had the secretary of o erations, the business&an or the la!yer% 'he baron looked at the& !ith shar eyes% *t !as clear that he !as dis leased% 1* don,t like double crossers,3 the baron shouted and "u& ed out of his chair% 1*f * find out that any one of you is involved in the cons iracy you !ill ay% 4early%3 For a ti&e there !as silence in the cave, only the s lashing !ater could be heard% 'hen the la!yer said: 1Could * see the docu&ent you have been referring to53 'he baron tossed the docu&ent angrily to the other end of the table% +e started to circle around the other four &e&bers of the =rou of Five% (fter a !hile the la!yer said: 10ut this contains absolutely nothing% * say it,s a hoa7%3 12o it,s you, is it5?3 the baron e7clai&ed in rage% 18hat53 the la!yer in.uired% 1* don,t understand any of this,3 the business&an told the baron% 1(re you trying to fra&e so&eone based on a iece of a er53 'he baron looked at the four of the& !ith hate% 12o&eone is atte& ting to under&ine &y o!er% 8ho else !ould dare to try if not one of you5 -r is it all of you53 'he secretary of o erations couldn,t o en his &outh, the baron didn,t allo! hi&% +e continued loudly and !ith athos: 1* ro&ise you there !ill be a urge% ( urification% (nd all those !ho have changed sides !ill be dealt !ith%%%3 )))) 'he ins ector didn,t kno! !hat to &ake of the baron,s visit% +e had been ho ing to get &ore out of it but the baron had rovided hi& !ith no lead% +e analy$ed the events over and over again% 'he baron had &entioned nothing, nor did his hysical features distinguish hi& fro& others/ he could see countless !orkers looking like hi& day after day% 'hus, the baron see&ed to hi& "ust as inscrutable as before% +e felt his &ission had beco&e &eaningless and he didn,t kno! !hat he should do% +e !as achieving nothing% +e got &ore and &ore frustrated and !as close to ad&itting failure% 0ut then so&ething une7 ected ha ened !hich gave hi& the lead he so &uch desired% +e !as !alking along one of the &ain avenues near the centre of the city% *t !as late afternoon and the sun glittered in uddles left after a thunderstor&% +e !inked !ith his eyes as he took dee breaths of the fresh air he so &uch &issed since he had arrived% 'he !ind ble! &ildly over his face% +is cheeks !ere ruby for he had "ogged a cou le of streets% 'here !as little traffic and the stor& had cleared the city of eo le and rubbish, !hich had filled the side!alks earlier% +e !as strolling at a co&fortable s eed and en"oyed the sunrays% 'hen a sudden thunderbolt sto ed his sauntering% +e had never e7 erienced anything like it and thought the entire city had colla sed u on hi&% (n echoing crash filled his senses and ran through his bones% +e fell to the ground and thought that he !ould never get u % 'hen the thundering noise subsided, though it left his ears tingling% +e looked around fro& his rostrate osition and sa! a large cloud of dust s!irling that !as about to engulf everything a cou le of blocks ahead% +e ke t staring at the sight for a !hile in absolute astonish&ent, although there

!asn,t &uch to be seen% Perha s this !as the &ost disturbing% +e re&e&bered that a reno!ned skyscra er had been standing !here no! the cloud of dust eddied% 'hen he started to run% +e reali$ed that this event held the clue% +is &ission !as saved after all% +e entered the vorte7 of dust% +e stu&bled ahead% +e could see very little but erha s it !as all the better% (&ong the rubble of the colla sed skyscra er, there !ere body arts scattered around% *t !as an abhorrent scene% +e !as horrified% +e sto ed and looked around% 'he devastation !as co& lete% 'he skyscra er &ust have de&olished at least a do$en other buildings and colla sed the road% 'here !asn,t anything he could do% 6o one could have survived% +e turned around and li& ed out of the dust% +e could do nothing to save the victi&s no!, he thought, but he had the o!er to revent any such events fro& occurring again% (ll he had to do !as to destroy the baron% 12kyscra ers don,t co&e tu&bling do!n%%%,3 the baron had said% 0ut it see&ed to hi& no! that they did indeed% (nd he !as !ithout a doubt that the baron had been involved in their construction% 'his !as the lead he had been looking for for so long% )))) 1%%%our situation is aggravating,3 the baron cried out loudly, !hile getting hit by so&e gravel)si$ed rocks on the head% 'he cave !as colla sing on the =rou of Five% 14o so&ething,3 the baron !hined and looked like a s here !ith five e7tensions as he tried to out&anoeuvre the falling rocks% 'he baron danced a long forgotten dance of cave&en around the round table% 'he other &e&bers of the =rou of Five asse&bled and !ere "a&&ed belo! the table% >nfortunately, for the baron there !asn,t enough roo& left for hi&% 1* kno! that you !ant &y de&ise,3 he said, his voice full of fear% 18hich one of you sent that ins ector5 * !ant to kno!%3 'he baron raged like a child% 1* !ant to kno!?3 'he others didn,t ans!er% 'he rocks ke t falling% 1*,ve lost,3 the baron uttered and sat do!n looking beaten as &uch as one could% 1'he ins ector has the contracts roving our involve&ent in the construction of so&e of the faulty skyscra ers%3 1*,ve told you that !e shouldn,t have overruled the safety standards,3 the secretary of o erations said% 10ut you !ouldn,t listen%3 12hut u ? :ou little cree % :ou !ould still be in the slu&s if * had not hel ed you out,3 the baron said angrily% 'hen he added: 12ilence, let &e think%3 0igger and bigger rocks !ere falling and the !hole cave !as cru&bling% 'he hideout could disintegrate at any &o&ent% :et the baron si& ly sat there &otionless% 'here !as no!here he could go% 'hen suddenly the baron s&iled and told the secretary of o erations: 1=et out, you cree ?3 (nd !ith this said the baron dragged the secretary fro& belo! the table and rolled in his lace and knocked the la!yer out in the o en as !ell% <ust a second later, the cave colla sed, and only those under the table survived% )))) 'he ins ector !atched television% +e !atched the ne!s% +is &ission had floundered% +e kne! that he !as tackling the baron in the !rong !ay% +e closed his eyes and listened to the ne!s for the tenth ti&e% 1%%%t!o eo le !ere arrested this &orning in relation to the colla se of the %%% skyscra er% 'he olice have not yet na&ed these individuals% 'hey face the life sentence if found guilty% *n the &eanti&e the investigation continues% 'he olice re.uests%%%3

'he ins ector turned off the television% +e looked at the letter he had received a short ti&e ago% +e bro!sed through it once again% *t !as an invitation% Fro& the baron% )))) 1%%%* very &uch regret !hat ha ened to our oor fello! &e&bers,3 the baron told the general and the business&an% 10ut it !as inevitable% 'he strong survive, the !eak erish%3 'here !as great co&&otion in the hideout/ countless !orkers !ere renovating the cave% 'he rubble !as cleared, the table restored to its original sha e% 'he fountain once again rushed to the surface% 'he baron see&ed blessed% 19ook,3 he said and ointed around the cave% 1*t !ill be better than ever% (nd only the three of us have to share it fro& no! on%3 'hen seeing the frightened countenance of the business&an the baron said: 14on,t you !orry% 'he urge is over% 'he traitors aid dearly%3 'he baron sat do!n by the table% 1Co&e, "oin &e%%%3 )))) 'he ins ector looked out of the train,s !indo!% +e had a co& art&ent all for hi&self/ he travelled in lu7ury% +e could thank the baron for all this% 'he very &an he !as to visit% (s he leaned back in the seat, he !ondered !hether the baron lived in a &ansion of so&e sort or erha s in a castle% +e thought it &ust have been so&ething elegant and so histicated fit for a king !ith at least a do$en servants attending on the baron% Maybe it !as only used on !eekends, he ondered% 'hen suddenly he "u& ed u % +e !as furious and kicked the seat in rage% +e !as angry !ith hi&self% +e had lost, and the best he could think of !as !here and ho! the baron lived, he thought% +ad the baron been there the ins ector !ould have certainly torn hi& to ieces in that instant, instead, he disasse&bled the seat% 'he ins ector !as still kicking the re&ains !hen a conductor entered his co& art&ent% 1'he ne7t station is your sto ,3 said the conductor, and shrank back i&&ediately !hen seeing the ravages% 'he ins ector ulled hi&self together, arranged his clothes% 'hen he said dignified: 1+ere,3 and handed the conductor a large su& of &oney, 1the baron ays for everything%3 +e s&iled% 'he conductor took the &oney and looked at hi& sus ecting so&e &ental illness !as res onsible for such irrational behaviour% 'he ins ector nodded, and left the co& art&ent% +e could see the conductor !atching hi& as he dise&barked the train% (s the train rolled a!ay, he looked around% +e !as an hour,s drive fro& the city centre at a s&all, but tidy rail!ay station% 'here !as no one !aiting for hi&% (ccording to the letter there !as su osed to be so&eone guiding hi& fro& here on% +e !aited so&e ti&e, and then as nothing ha ened !alked out of the station% 6ot a soul !as around any!here% +e sto ed in the arking lot and thought that the baron !as ulling his leg, sho!ing hi& ho! &uch he !as in control% +e stared at the ground !ith his hands in his ockets% +e didn,t kno! ho! &uch ti&e assed% 'hen suddenly a car sto ed in front of hi&% +e didn,t have ti&e to take his eyes off the ground for so&eone ushed hi& on the back seat% +e !as abducted again% 'he car started to accelerate% 1*t see&s !e al!ays &eet at a station,3 said the cabdriver% +e recognised the voice i&&ediately% +e sat u % 'he hideous character s&iled at hi& in a !ay that &ade hi& shudder% 18hich &eado! !ill it be no!53 he asked% 1* don,t kno!,3 ans!ered the cabdriver% 18e are only taking you to a certain erson% 0ut don,t ask &e !ho, because * don,t have the faintest idea%3

10esides !e !ouldn,t tell hi& any!ay, !ould !e53 'he hideous character ut his hands on his shoulder% 'he cabdriver said !hen looking in the rear)vie! &irror: 16o violence, re&e&ber53 1@ight,3 &oaned the hideous character% 16ever &ind hi&,3 the ins ector told the cabdriver and !ith a sudden "erk hit the hideous character on the "a!% 'he latter erson fell for!ard unconsciously% 1'hat !asn,t nice,3 the cabdriver said% 1* kno!,3 he re&arked% 19ife is often harsh%3 +e looked out of the !indo!% 'hey !ere crossing a little village !ith brick houses and large gardens% 2 reading trees surrounded the road% Children bicycled here and there/ there !as little traffic% ;verything !as cal& and see&ed very cosy% 'his village certainly re resented a different lifestyle than the city, he thought% -ne could see the sky/ hear the chir ing of birds% 1*s it far off53 he asked the cabdriver% 16o, !e,ll be there in a &o&ent%3 'he baron couldn,t ossibly be living in a castle here, he thought% 0ut that he, ruler of &inds and souls could be living in an ordinary brick house see&ed to the ins ector er le7ing at least% 1+ere !e are,3 the cabdriver told hi& and ointed at an ordinary brick house, 1that,s the house you are su osed to visit%3 1'hat,s !here the baron lives53 the ins ector asked in a&a$e&ent% 1'he baron5?3 the cabdriver sounded sur rised, then said !ith des ise: 1:ou,re not that i& ortant% 0esides the baron &ust live in a castle or the sort%3 'he ins ector nodded and got out% +e !ent around the car and told the cabdriver: 1convey &y greetings to hi&%3 'he ins ector ointed to!ards the unconscious hideous character% 1* !ill,3 said the cabdriver and drove a!ay% +e sto ed for a second before advancing to his destination% +e looked around, but sa! no one% +e investigated !hether there !ere hidden baron servants behind the bushes, in the tree cro!ns or erha s in the se!er% +e found no one% +e !ent to the entrance of the house and rang the doorbell% *n a short !hile, the door o ened% 1* !as en"oying the sho! you rovided through the !indo!,3 said the baron% 1*t,s a sha&e that it,s over%3 12ho!5 8hat sho!53 the ins ector babbled% 16o! really% * can assure you there aren,t any of &y &en here% ;s ecially not in that rose) bush%3 'hen baron looked at a bush he had ainstakingly searched% 1(ren,t you afraid of &e53 the ins ector in.uired% 'he baron si& ly s&iled and said: 1Co&e in%3 +e entered the ordinary house% +e thought the inside !as even &ore &iddle)classed% 18ell, this doesn,t a bit rese&ble a castle * i&agined to be your style,3 the ins ector &uttered, after having sat do!n% 1* a& a si& le &an,3 the baron told hi&% 1( son of the &asses% +o! !ould * look like in a castle5 * refer beer to !ine% 0esides, no one believes that the baron lives in such an average !ay% *t,s safer% * can go out in the yard and rela7 at night%3 1* don,t understand,3 the ins ector said% 1*f you are satisfied living an ordinary lifestyle !hy do you hold on to o!er so vehe&ently53 1+aven,t you heard the saying that o!er corru ts53 12o you feel corru ted53 the ins ector asked%

16o% * si& ly !on,t give u the rivileges * have !orked for so hard, because so&e &aniac co&es along, and thinks he can do it better, !ithout actually roving that he can, indeed, do it better%3 1:ou are referring to &e, are you not53 1'hat,s right,3 the baron said% 1:ou attacked &e !hen * a roached you as a friend% 8hen * offered you a art of o!er%3 1Maybe * didn,t !ant any art of your kind of o!er,3 the ins ector shouted% 16onsense,3 the baron said% 1:ou didn,t !ant a art of o!er% :ou !anted it all for yourself "ust as * do% 8e aren,t as different as you !ish to think% 8e are very &uch alike%3 1* disagree%3 1:ou are the &irror i&age of &e as a young &an% * !as e7actly like you% (&bitious and idealistic, and e7tre&ely stubborn% * believed * !as right and everyone else !asn,t% * !orked &y !ay u &eticulously and !ith tre&endous effort% 'hat !ay !as filled !ith hitches% (nd no! that * finally &ade it to the very to , * !ill hold on to o!er%3 1For ho! long5 >ntil the ne7t skyscra er you have built co&es tu&bling do!n53 the ins ector asked% 10ecause sooner or later they !ill colla se% -ne after the other%3 1* think they !ill outlast &y lifeti&e,3 the baron said% 0efore he could re ly, the baron left the tiny living roo&, then to e&erge !ith eanuts, chi s and beer on a tray% 1+ave so&e%3 16o, thank you% * ho e you don,t think you can bribe &e !ith those%3 10ribe you5 8hat a silly thought% * don,t bribe eo le% * buy the&% 0ut there is no reason !hy * should !ant to ac.uire you% :ou re resent no &ore threat to &e%3 1@eally53 1-f course% 4id you believe that you could u set the order of the day alone5 (t first * !as convinced that your secret Co&&ission e7isted, but then &y agents resented your biogra hy !hich clearly indicated that you have al!ays been a no one%3 1'hat is very flattering,3 said the ins ector, his cheeks starting to get ruby% 1(ny!ay, your a earance and &ani ulations resented &e !ith a erfect rete7t to get rid of the secretary of o erations and the la!yer% 'hey took the bla&e for the accident% 'hey !ere too strong and an increasing annoyance% 'hey even dared to challenge &e lately%3 12o you dis osed of the&% 0rilliant,3 said the ins ector% 1* have to give it to you/ you are an a!fully good dictator%3 14ictator5 * don,t like that !ord% *,& the &ildest and &ost enlightened organi$er of all ti&es% >nder &y rule living standards increased% Peo le never lived as !ell as no!%3 10ut you are still a dictator% Mild or not, it doesn,t &atter% 'here is only one right% :our right% :ou don,t tolerate differing vie!s% :ou re ress anyone !ho thinks differently than you%3 'he baron stared at the ins ector for a !hile% 'hen he said: 1:ou still haven,t learned, have you5 :ou,re a great de&ocrat? 'he s okes&an of the &asses% 0ut * kno! you &ore than you do yourself% :ou do not tolerate &y vie!s and you do not care about the &asses a bit% 9et &e challenge you% *f you can &anage better than &e * !ill disa ear fro& the scene%3 1(ll right,3 the ins ector said% 1*t,s a deal%3 'hey shook hands% (fter!ards the baron s oke of his favourite s ort tea&% 'he ins ector listened in ho e of understanding !hat &ade the baron the strong &an of the day% 0ut he sa! only an ordinary &an telling hi& of ordinary things% ( fat &an% +e thought that !as a sign of co& lacency, la$iness and !eakness% +e certainly !asn,t i& ressed% +e thought he could easily out&atch the baron% 9ater the baron invited the ins ector for a &eal% 'he ins ector acce ted the offer/ he !as getting hungry% 'hey !ent to the diner together, !here he &et the baron,s !ife% 'he ins ector

felt sorry for the baron for a &o&ent, but he couldn,t hide a "oyful e7 ression fro& e&erging on his face% 'he baron noticed this and !his ered to hi&: 12he !as Miss >niverse once, you kno!%3 'he ins ector laughed and asked loudly: 1*n !hich >niverse !as that53 'he baron,s !ife, ugly as she !as, didn,t co& rehend !hat the discussion !as about% 0esides, she !as used to being told !hat to do% 2he !as an obedient creature% 'he baron and the ins ector sat do!n by the dining table% 2oon the house!ife served the &eal, !hich !as in a big cauldron% *t !as so&e sort of a ste! as far as he could tell% 1*t,s &y favourite,3 the baron told hi&, and ladled out a ortion for both of the&% 'he ins ector looked at the ste! and his sto&ach turned u side do!n% +e forced a cou le of bites into hi&self% *nstead, he broached a to ic !hen the baron,s !ife left the&% 1:our !ife doesn,t kno! !ho you really are, does she53 16o% 2he believes that *,& a broke business&an, !ho no! !orks as a truckdriver%3 1'hat,s interesting%3 16ot really% * a& often a!ay for there are al!ays roble&s to be solved%3 'he baron finished his third ortion% 12ince *,& ostensibly a truckdriver * can be a!ay !ithout her sus ecting anything%3 'he baron tucked his bread into the ste!% 'he ins ector felt nausea% 1Finish u your food,3 he !as told% 1:ou,re skinny%3 +e didn,t agree% +e didn,t think that he !as skinny% +e believed he !as strong% 2trong enough to deal !ith the baron% Chapter & 'he s#ientist 1'he baron truly believes that !ith &oney he can solve everything% 0uy everyone% :ou see, he is convinced that no one is irre laceable% +e thinks he can treat eo le as statistical figures, as so&e sort of !ares% 2hi the& here and there, &ani ulate the&% (nd !hen he,s done !ith so&eone, the erson ends u beneath ten feet of earth% 0ut * can tell you he,s !rong% 'here are eo le !ho are si& ly not re laceable% Peo le !ho can influence our !orld through their !ork, ersonality or !hatever% *f they are gone, centuries &ay ass before so&eone of si&ilar calibre sho!s u % 'hat is !hy * need you% :ou are a uni.ue erson% :ou are ca able of e7 ressing your feelings like no one can% :ou are i& ulsive% 'hat is so&ething * co& letely lack% 8hat do you say53 the scientist e7tended his hand to!ards 6a&eless (ndre!% 1(ll right,3 he ans!ered, and shook hands !ith the scientist% 1(lthough * find it hard to see in !hat !ay * &ay be of use to you% 0ut !hatever% *,& interested in your !ork and * &ust say your flattery took &e off &y feet%3 1=ood,3 said the scientist% 1'hen co&e, *,ll sho! you the island%3 +e nodded and looked intently at the scientist% +e didn,t think too &uch of hi&% 'he scientist !ore thick glasses, had a ale and sickly face, the eyes sho!ing &arks of rolonged reading% 'he forehead !as !rinkled, and he !as so&e!hat balding% 'he scientist hid his &eagre body behind a !hite rotecting cloak, the u er ockets filled !ith ens and calculating devices% 'he only thing that he found interesting in the hysical a earance of his ne! e& loyer !as his eyes% 'hey had a silvery tint, shining as light reflected on the& at certain angles% +e follo!ed the scientist% 'hey !ent through laboratories of &any kinds in an underground co& le7% 'hey !ere &ostly deserted, only a fe! eo le !ere around% 'hey didn,t look u fro& !hat they !ere doing as they assed by, "ust uttered a !ord of greeting to!ards the scientist% 1'his is !hat * call being reoccu ied,3 he said%

1:es, as you see they are !orking% 6othing can be !orse for a scientist than to lose his line of thoughts% * therefore beg you not to disturb the&%3 1* thought there !ere &ore nuts !orking at such laces,3 he said as they !alked through a great hall fully furnished !ith &easuring instru&ents, but co& letely e& ty of hu&ans% 12o that is !hat you think of us5 6uts5?3 1:es,3 he said laintively% 1(t least you are honest% 'hat,s !hy * hired you% Perha s you are right% (ny!ay, there aren,t &any eo le !ho undertake a "ob as ours% *t &eans slee less nights, frustration and endless battles in order to have your results acce ted% (nd the baron uses all the &eans he has to discredit and ridicule you in the &eanti&e% 6o !onder then that not too &any e&bark on such a &ission as ours% 'his is the reason you sa! only a handful of the &ost daring !ho follo! their drea&s%3 18ho is the baron53 he in.uired% 1+aven,t you heard of hi& before53 the scientist asked astonished% 16o,3 he said% 1+ave !e been living on the sa&e lanet53 1* don,t kno! about you, but * have been living on this one%3 'he scientist looked !ith shar eyes at hi&, his silvery eyes iercing through his body% 'hey sto ed for a &o&ent and then continued their !alk% +e thought the scientist sa! into his &ind, unravelled his thoughts% 'he scientist coughed no! and then% Finally, they e&erged at the surface, after having ascended fro& the underground co& le7% (s he ste ed out fro& the elevator, he sa! a heart)!ar&ing ark !ith huge trees and flo!ers% *t !as a &agnificent sight, very different fro& the grey and de ressing laboratories% 'he grass !as fresh and green, the flo!ers colourful% ( grou of s.uirrels fled and hid in the tree cro!ns as they sa! the& a earing fro& a hollo! tree)trunk, !hich hid the elevator% 2o&ething &ooed in the distance% 1'ake a dee breath,3 said the scientist% +e ignored hi& for a &o&ent% +e !as &ore interested in the ark% 'hen he said: 1* thought there !ere no such laces any &ore%3 1(nd you !ere right% 'here !as no such lace% 'his island !as a !asteland until * ca&e%3 +e sat do!n beneath a tree leaning against it% +e !as che!ing a stalk he had icked u under the tree% 'he scientist stood beside hi&, his back crooked% +e felt the scientist stoo ed over hi&, cast a shado! over hi&% +e !as annoyed% 12o&eti&es * feel that ti&e stands still,3 the scientist suddenly said% 1(nd that *,& not getting any!here% *,& s!i&&ing against the tide% * a& engaged in a !ar against the baron, a &an !ho controls everything% 2o far, * have achieved fairly little% * had the baron cornered once for a short ti&e, but he &anaged to stay intact% +e sacrificed t!o of his closest associates, bla&ing everything on the&% 'he truth is that * did hi& a favour% My doings !ere a good e7cuse for the baron to do his urge% Many faulty skyscra ers have been built since%3 +e looked at the scientist, and s at out the stalk% +e didn,t really care about !hat the scientist had been saying, it &ade no sense to hi&% +e hadn,t heard of any baron, besides he !as used to choosing si& le &ethods for solving his roble&s% 1*f this baron bothers you so &uch,3 he asked, 1!hy don,t you do so&ething about it5 *f * !ere you, * !ould have hired &yself to break the ribs or s ine of this baron% 'hat,s the !ay * have al!ays dealt !ith &y ene&ies%3 'he scientist s&iled aternally% +e !as angered, and conte& lated for a &o&ent !hether to hit his e& loyer on the chin or not% 'hen he decided not to% 1*,& sorry if * offended you,3 the scientist said% 1Can you read other eo le,s &inds or !hat,3 he !as shocked%

12o&e!hat% 0ut * !asn,t s&iling at you% * !as rather s&iling at &yself% * had such a &istaken idea as !ell, that * could crush the baron hysically% ;7ce t that * should have kno!n better% * arrived in the city full of ho e and high)flo!n notions% * thought * !ould deal !ith the baron .uickly% * !as !rong% :ou see, the baron is !ell rotected% 0esides, he,s only a s&all art of a great &achine% 'ake hi& out of the e.uation and the &achine !ill still roll further% -ne has to destroy the &achine% (nd that is ainstaking, difficult and re.uires enor&ous atience and endurance%3 12o, !hat is this &achine, so&ething hysical or %%%53 10oth hysical and &ental%3 +e hu&&ed trying to look intelligent% +e still couldn,t gras the essence of the !ar the scientist clai&ed to !age% +e thought his e& loyer certainly !asn,t a fool, this struggle &ust have had so&e great i& ortance% (lthough the goal see&ed to hi& obscure and, lacking a good fistfight, unins iring% 6evertheless, he thought he !ould have a go at the baron if the occasion resented itself% ( cou le of body unches !ould no doubt do, he ondered% (fter a !hile, the scientist asked: 12hall !e go53 +e en"oyed rela7ing in the fresh grass, in a lace he had believed didn,t e7ist any &ore% 'herefore, he asked sourly: 18hereto53 'he scientist shook his head% 14on,t tell &e you,re like the crafts&en * had here once% 'hey thought of nothing either than taking it easy on &y e7 ense% 'here is !ork to be done% (nd you, &y friend, are &y e& loyee% 2o, follo! &e%3 6a&eless (ndre! nodded, and did as the scientist had suggested% 'hey !alked to the end of the island, to a shallo! lagoon% 'he island itself !as round and lain, surrounded by large artificial cliffs, !hich !ere there to rotect against the !hi&sical sea% 'he reci ice constituted a !all re&inding 6a&eless (ndre! of fortresses% 'he cliffs !ere high and unassailable, !ith shar edges &aking cli&bing i& ossible% 18as all this recaution necessary53 6a&eless (ndre! asked !hile ointing at the !all% 1(bsolutely,3 the scientist ans!ered% 1'his is a desolate lace far fro& any!here/ a stor& could easily s!ee the island off the &a % 'he sea can be dangerous no! and then% 0esides, this gave &e an o ortunity to test so&e of &y theories%3 18hat theories53 1'heories about currents and tides,3 said the scientist% 1* !ill tell you &ore about it later%3 'his e7 lanation roved ade.uate for 6a&eless (ndre! for he !asn,t too interested in scientific things any!ay% 'he little interest rising in hi& at ti&es concerning such to ics .uickly di&inished to nought% *t !asn,t different no! either% +e rather !atched so&e odd) looking seabirds, ondering !hat &ethod of hunting !ould rove to be &ost successful in attaining the&% 14o you see those birds53 asked the scientist reali$ing that 6a&eless (ndre! !as looking at a grou of such creatures residing on one of the cliffs% 1'hey !ere native to this island% -nce long ago% 8hen * ca&e here, only their skeletons !ere to be found% 0ut then * revived the&% 'hey are invaluable% 'hey ossess a uni.ue ability to fly against the !ind% ;ven in the !orst !eather%3 1(nd * !as i&agining the& in a nice hot oven%3 6a&eless (ndre! s&iled% 'he scientist didn,t% 6a&eless (ndre! couldn,t read his e& loyer,s face, there !ere no e&otions resent% +e thought the scientist !ould have &ade a great oker layer% 9ater on, they returned to the underground co& le7% )))) 6a&eless (ndre! !as sitting on the gravel se arating the cliffs fro& the ark% +e listened to the ocean, gli& sed at it bet!een the reci ices% +igh !aves !ere continuously co&ing,

but the cliffs s read the& and &ini&i$ed their effects% *t see&ed to hi& that the !all ta&ed the ocean% *n fact, everything !as so&eho! unnaturally eaceful on the island% 'a&ed and controlled% -utside the ocean !hirled, on the island eace revailed% +e began to feel a cal&ness ervading even hi&self, flooding his senses% +e e7hibited un recedented self) control and atience% +e felt ta&ed% +e !ould have raged if he had felt so before, but no! he si& ly acce ted it as an unalterable !ay of life% +e got used to eace% +e got used to not !anting to hunt the strange seabirds any &ore, to being told !hat to do and !hat not to do% 'he scientist e7 ected order, and so he beca&e organi$ed% +e didn,t !ant to let his e& loyer do!n, es ecially since he felt useless% 'he scientist al!ays ke t telling hi& that soon he !ould &ake use of his uni.ue abilities, but that soon see&ed rather distant% -f course, 6a&eless (ndre! thought, ti&e didn,t e7ist on the island in the sa&e !ay as in other laces, regularity &ade no &o&ent &e&orable% For the scientist holidays !ere a !aste of ti&e and totally irrelevant% 'he scientist had so&e great &ission 6a&eless (ndre! couldn,t define% (t ti&es, he !as convinced that neither !as the scientist able to in oint !hat he really !anted to achieve% +is e& loyer !as al!ays &entioning the baron as the one res onsible for all !rongdoings and suffering, res onsible for things he didn,t e7 erience on the island% +e found it hard to understand ho! the scientist could s eak of so&ething he didn,t e7 erience% 0ut then again, 6a&eless (ndre! !as a &an of senses, and the scientist !asn,t% 'he scientist,s actions !ere conte& lated, rational and logical% 6a&eless (ndre! looked at the ocean, as &uch as he could see of it% +e !ished there !eren,t any cliffs breaking his vision to frag&ents% +e re&e&bered that he had asked the scientist once if he could be so&eho! elevated to a height fro& !here he could see the ocean% 'he scientist had ans!ered lainly that there !as nothing to be seen surrounding the island% 6o! 6a&eless (ndre! thought his e& loyer !as !rong, the ocean !as certainly so&ething to look at% +e !ould have continued his line of thoughts, but suddenly the scientist a eared beside hi&% (fter a &utual greeting, the scientist said: 1* had a night&are yesterday% *t !as all the &ore frightening, because it see&ed so real% ;verything * feared to be !as there in the night&are% * drea&ed of the future%3 12o you,re afraid of the future53 1-h, no%3 'he scientist shook his head% 10ut * dread !hat our future &ay turn out to be !as * not able to influence it%3 1'ell &e about this night&are,3 6a&eless (ndre! said as he let a handful of gravel trickle through his hands% 1*t all started in the &orning% * !oke u % 'he first thing * noticed !as that * couldn,t stretch out &y hands, nor straighten out% My bed !as too s&all and &y fingers hit the kitchen table and the bathroo& door, res ectively% -f course, then * reali$ed that &y bed !as situated bet!een the kitchen and the bathroo&% *t !as a foldable bed, flat and thin% (fter a &o&ent,s hesitation, * reali$ed that it could be ivoted u !ards to the !all, !here it co& letely disa eared in its lace% *t for&ed a art of the !all actually% 6o !onder all &y li&bs !ere nu&b% *t !as the &ost unco&fortable bed * could i&agine% (ny!ay, it !as ti&e that * got dressed and !ent to the office% My !ife had already gone to !ork%3 1:ou !orked in an office and you had a !ife,3 6a&eless (ndre! re eated% 1:es, * !as a etty bourgeois% ( sort !ho al!ays does !hat is said to be right% 0y that ti&e, * !as entirely en&eshed in the drea&% * took a sho!er before heading to the office% *t !as a cold and short e7 erience% ;nergy, s ace and ti&e !ere in short su ly% * !as in the future% 'he a art&ent contained all the things * could reach !hen * !oke u , na&ely: the kitchen, a &iserably s&all area, the bathroo&, an even &ore &iserably s&all area and the living roo&% 'he living roo& !as the lace bet!een the kitchen and the bathroo&% (bove the entrance of the a art&ent, !hich faced the bed !hen unfolded, !as a screen and a controlling

unit% 'his !as the &ulti&edia latfor&% 'here !ere ten thousand channels to choose fro&% ( good source of argu&ent !ith &y !ife% Make no false assu& tions though, * did love her% 8e !ere ne!ly !ed% Co& letely in love% * !as so &uch in love that * !orked overti&e to be able to afford our lu7urious a art&ent, !hich !as on the seventy seventh floor of a hundred and t!enty storey skyscra er in the &idst of a housing estate co& rising of si&ilar buildings and units% 8hen * ste ed into the elevator situated on the outside !all of the skyscra er and looked do!n &y body started to shake% 'his !as usual% * had high an7iety% * !as a lo! ranked bureaucrat after all% * had asked for an a art&ent on the botto&, but * still couldn,t co& lain% Many eo le had only a ca sule to slee in% 'his !as all because of the o ulation e7 losion% My !ife and * !ould have had children, but there !as a shortage of certain vital ele&ents%3 18hat ele&ents53 6a&eless (ndre! asked% 19ike carbon% 6early all carbon on the lanet !as contained in hu&ans and hu&an related roducts, there !ere so &any of us% 'here !as a o ulation control centre to deal !ith this issue% 'his is !here * !orked%3 1* don,t .uite gras this art,3 6a&eless (ndre! said% 1:ou are saying that there !asn,t enough of the vital ele&ents to build u a ne! hu&an body53 1'hat,s right,3 the scientist ans!ered% 1-f course, this sounds rather ridiculous, a short calculation can sho! ho! &uch so% 0ut then again, this !as a ridiculous drea&% (ny!ay, * rushed to the office on foot for * !as late, even though * have been in charge of a local ca& aign called: Citi$ens against e7cess e7ertion% 'he ca& aign highlighted the fact that by not running, "ogging, or training one could save large a&ounts of energy% 'his in effect !ould have &eant less carbon and o7ygen u take, a better lifestyle and &ore children% * had invented this brilliant idea &yself, and !as very roud of it% *t !as a cul&ination of &y life, finally the long years of studying aid off% * felt * re aid the great invest&ent society had ut in &e !ith this ingenious ca& aign% ;ven so, * !as u to a sur rise% 8hen * arrived at &y office, or erha s it is better to say &y little desk, a delegation of five of the &ost restigious individuals of the o ulation control centre greeted &e% * received a golden &edal for &y !ork and a ro&ise that the ca& aign !ould not re&ain local, but e7 and and beco&e a &a"or &ove&ent% 6aturally, the delegation could not overlook the ers iration on &y forehead, and so * had to e7 lain !hy * had run to the office% 'his in turn &ade the head of the delegation .uestion &y sincerity and resolve concerning the ca& aign% Finally, the great five decided * shouldn,t be leading the &ove&ent due to &y regrettable attitude% -f course, they ro&ised &e that locally * !ould still re&ain res onsible for the develo &ent and fulfil&ent of the ca& aign% 'hey !ere very kind% 'hey gave &e the day off on condition that * !ould !ork the hours * so &issed in overti&e the ne7t days to co&e% * thanked the&, roudly !earing the golden &edal on &y su er thin cloak% *t !as so thin that so&eti&es * !ondered if * had it on &e at all% * certainly believed at that oint that it couldn,t hide &y e&barrass&ent and anger% * had al!ays looked u to &y su eriors% * had trusted the&, res ected the& and yes, even adored the&% 0ut even * had a little ego in &e% (nd it burst to the o en like a geyser% * !ould have shouted aloud, but ro riety and the ossible unish&ent deterred &e fro& doing so% * !alked out of the office instead, dis leased and u set, and headed to a lace !here shouting !asn,t rohibited% :ou see, such &easures !ere necessary% *&agine all the hu&ans crying out at the sa&e ti&e% 'his !ould have led to a disaster un aralleled in hu&an history, the cries echoing for years before eventually subsiding% *t !as therefore necessary to create sites for raging% 'hese !ere s ecially sealed roo&s, !hich one could rent for a &ere day,s !age for half an hour% (rriving at &y destination, * leased one such roo&, and ha ily shouted &y anger a!ay% (fter the half hour !as over, * no longer had any resent&ent% * !as freed fro& tor&enting ain, &y res ect to!ards &y su eriors revitali$ed% * en"oyed cruising along a road, !atching the !ealthy !ith so&e envy as they bicycled !ith ease% * couldn,t afford a bicycle nor had * the right to urchase one% 2uddenly, a fa&iliar face dre! &y

attention a!ay fro& the bicycles% *t !as &y !ife% 2he !as carrying a big bag under her ar& it% * !aved to her, but she didn,t see& to notice &e% * ondered about !hat she !as doing so early in the day on the sa&e street * !as acing% * !as co&ing nearer and nearer to her and yet she ignored &e% * !as at a loss !hy% 'hen she si& ly assed by &e% * turned around and ran after her% * guess &y su eriors !ere right about &e after all% * caught her ar& and ulled her back% 2he see&ed sur rised and frightened, and dro ed the bag she !as carrying% +aven,t you seen &e, * asked her% 2he uttered so&ething, but * couldn,t hear !hat% * icked u the bag% 8hat are you doing out so early, * asked% Finally, she res onded and told &e that * !as confusing her !ith so&eone, and looked at &e angrily% 2he literally tore the bag out of &y hands% 6o! leave &e alone, she said and hurried a!ay% * stood there e&barrassed and stunned% 'hen * re&e&bered that * had heard of si&ilar incidents before% 0ecause there !ere so &any hu&ans, &any of the& looked totally alike% * &ust have bu& ed into one of &y !ife,s look)alikes% 6evertheless, to &ake sure, * honed &y !ife% 2he !as !orking indeed% * sighed in relief for this &eant that at least &y &arriage !as intact% 8hile * !as in a blissful &ood, * decided to visit the nearest ark% * had !ith &e a cou le of ta7i tickets% * had s ared the& over the years, and * thought this !as "ust as good a ti&e to use the& as any other% 'aking a ta7i !as a lu7ury, even though one could see do$ens of the& standing e& ty at every street corner% 'his !as a result of a olicy invented to reduce social tensions% ;very one had the right to !ork, even if this &eant standing beside a bicycle the !hole day long and !aiting for a custo&er !ho never actually sho!ed u % 'his ti&e one of the& !as lucky% * sat in the back seat, and !e began to edal har&oniously, &y cab!o&an steering the bicycle at the front% * liked bicycling% * !ished * had one% :es, * !anted one so &uch that * had even conte& lated stealing one% 0ut * !as afraid of the unish&ent, so * had not done so% 0esides then * !ould have &ade so&eone else unha y% * had been taught that the !elfare of society !as above all else, and being an obedient erson * did as * !as told% * al!ays did as * !as told% 6ever .uestioning anything% 'his is as far as * can go, &y cab!o&an told &e !hen !e arrived at a &a"or crossroads% :ou can take one of the cabs on the other side of the road to continue your voyage, she said% * got off the bicycle, aid the cab!o&an, and !ent across the street%3 18hy did you have to get off53 6a&eless (ndre! asked% 1* !as getting to that% ;verything !as controlled by different guilds% 'he guilds divided u the so)called $ones a&ong the&selves% 'hese !ere the areas !here they could o erate% *nside their o!n territory, they had &ono oly in their ertinent o erational fields% 'his !as so for the ta7is as !ell% ( cab&an of one guild couldn,t cross the $one of an other guild% 'his is !hy * had to get off% (nd do that for three &ore ti&es to get to the ark%3 'he scientist !ent silent for a &o&ent% +e !as looking in the distance see&ingly distracted% 6a&eless (ndre! thought he couldn,t ossibly have seen anything for he hadn,t his glasses on% 8ithout the&, he !as virtually blind% 1(nd there you !oke u ,3 6a&eless (ndre! asked% 16o% * strolled in the ark% * !as thinking% * !as asking &yself !hy a ten)year training !as needed for one to beco&e a cab&an%3 1:ou &ean to ride a bicycle53 6a&eless (ndre! laughed% 1*t isn,t as funny as you &ay think% 'he guilds are beco&ing the greatest obstacle in the develo &ent of societies% 'hey are rotectionists and &ono olistic% 'hey are not built on real values like co& etition% 'hey can e7clude anyone they dislike% 'he baron re resents the guild% 9et &e enlighten you !ith an e7a& le% *f * !ished to beco&e a cab&an in &y night&are, the drea& !hich unfortunately very &uch rese&bled reality, * !ould then had to undergo a ten)year training regardless the fact that * !as ca able of bicycling% *f, after having received the right of being a cab&an * had decided to include other services than trans orting eo le or lo!ered rices * !ould have lost &y right of being a cab&an i&&ediately% * !ould

have beco&e an intolerable co& etitive force reducing the ros ects of other fello! cab&en !ho "ust en"oyed the co&forts of idleness% 0esides the guild !ould have lost its control over &e%3 10ut couldn,t you beco&e a cab&an !ithout beco&ing &e&ber of a guild53 16o% * could not% 'here !ere la!s against that%%% 'here are la!s against that% 2ay, !hy do you think *,& on this island5 'his is the only lace !here the rules created by the baron cannot reach% 8here * can be !hat * !ant to be !ithout anyone deciding if * a& a t or not, if *,& allo!ed to erfor& so&e e7 eri&ents or not% :es, the guilds !ere the causes !hy there !as no develo &ent in &edieval cities% 'hey !ere the greatest obstacles of develo &ent% 'hey create a society of classes% 'hat is !hy the baron &ust be dealt !ith%3 6either of the& said a !ord for a !hile% 6a&eless (ndre! &ade runes in the sand !ith a branch underlying the greatly hiloso hical state he had been in% 1(ny!ay,3 the scientist said, 1the night&are didn,t end there% *t continued although it see&ed less co& osed% * !as robably !aking u % * re&e&ber !alking in the ark, but * haven,t the faintest idea ho! * got ho&e% * suddenly found &yself in the a art&ent% *t !as late afternoon, * !as eating so&e beans% 'hen une7 ectedly * fell on &y side% * tried to get u , but reali$ed it !as i& ossible% 'he skyscra er !as colla sing% * thought * !ould be buried beneath a &ountain of concrete% (t that oint, * see&ed to be able to distinguish drea& fro& reality, * !asn,t frightened at all% *nstead, * !as curious ho! things &ight turn out% 0ut *,ll never kno!% <ust before the skyscra er * lived in colla sed, &y night&are abru tly aused% 'hen it continued% * don,t kno! ho! &uch ti&e could have assed, !hat ha ened to &y !ife or to &e for that &atter in)bet!een% * !as bicycling do!n a road at a frantic s eed% Peo le looked at &e !ith un ronounced dislike% * didn,t care% * didn,t care about anyone, not even about &y !ife% * felt free as * thre! the golden &edal * !as still !earing a&ong a cro!d of s ectators% * edalled faster and faster% * !as still edalling !hen * !oke u %3 )))) 6a&eless (ndre! looked at the receding i&age of the island, !hich see&ed as a si& le blotted sand corn fro& the distance surrounded by !ater% 2tanding alone, ta&ing the !aves% *t !as the first ti&e he left the island since he had arrived% +e sat in an old and shabby air lane, the best the scientist could afford% 0y his side, the scientist !as steering the air lane% +e !as to &eet the baron% 'hat,s all the scientist had told hi&% +e !asn,t e7cited% +e thought that if the baron !as really as o!erful as he had been told the scientist couldn,t have been &aking a too good i& ression arriving !ith an air lane that !as about to fall a art% *f this !ere the case, he ondered, they !ould be no &atch% +e gli& sed at the scientist !ith so&e des ise% +is e& loyer !as occu ied by flicking the instru&ent anel, atte& ting to get it to !ork% For a &o&ent, he doubted they !ould successfully land, because the instru&ents !ent berserk% 'hey began to lose altitude% 'he scientist cursed% 6a&eless (ndre! eered at the dee blue sea into !hich he believed he soon !ould lunge% 0ut after so&e hesitation the engines started to function again% 1( sensitive little scra !e have here,3 6a&eless (ndre! said% 1:es,3 the scientist ans!ered% 1-ne "ust has to rioritise% (nd a ne! air lane isn,t at the to of the list%3 1* get the idea,3 6a&eless (ndre! said sarcastically% 18e,ll crash right do!n at the baron%3 'he scientist didn,t ans!er, sho!ed no e&otions as usual% 10ecause as * see it,3 6a&eless (ndre! continued, 1other!ise !e,ll si& ly be the laughing stock of the !orld% -r is it that the baron is intended to die fro& laughing53 16ot a bad idea,3 the scientist said% 1(s fat as he is he &ight even burst%3 'he scientist s&iled at hi&% *t !as a s&ile sho!ing su eriority and confidence% 1'he greatest &istake one

can &ake is to underesti&ate a erson% 'he baron has &ade that &istake once regarding &e, and al&ost aid the full rice for it% +e !on,t &ake such a blunder again, !hether * arrive !ith the ne!est or the oldest air lane on the lanet% (t this oint, &y &a"or roble& is that * cannot selectively eli&inate the un!anted hindrances% * can no! co& letely destroy the baron, but that is an off li&it o tion, because it !ould in effect &ean an end to order% 'he baron kno!s that% +e also kno!s that soon * !ill gain the so histication re.uired to deal solely !ith hi& and his closest associates% 'his is !hy he !ants to negotiate%3 1(nd you !ill%%% negotiate53 1:es, * don,t see !hy * shouldn,t%3 6a&eless (ndre! shook his head% +e often found it difficult to co& rehend the scientist% +e, for his art, !ould never have co& ro&ised !ith eo le he kne! he could !aste% 'o negotiate !hen one !as sure of victory see&ed to hi& ointless% *t "ust gave ti&e for the o onent to recover and take offensive actions, co& licating &atters% 18e,ll soon arrive at our destination,3 the scientist said% 14o you see,3 the scientist ointed ahead, 1that bro!n blot e7tending as far as you can see53 6a&eless (ndre! nodded% +e could erceive the continent long before the scientist% +e !as so&e!hat relieved, because this &eant there !as less ti&e for the engines to fail again% -n the other hand, he felt e&barrassed, and !ished he could &ake a &ore honourable entrance on the !orld scene% -f course, he thought, for the scientist it !as all the sa&e !hether he arrived in rags or in style% 'he scientist had no sense for the little details concerning ublic affairs% +e rather s ent the &oney he had on so&e dubious e7 eri&ents, !hich often yielded nothing% 6aturally, he thought, these e7 eri&ents &ust have had so&e i& ortance, if no other than to find out that one could gain nothing fro& the&% 6a&eless (ndre! liked !hat the scientist dee&ed as su erfluous things% (&ong all things, he liked !o&en% (fter so&e ti&e the scientist declared their arrival% (nd !ith this said he landed the air lane, !hich ca&e to a halt after so&e do$en "erks on a see&ingly desolate airfield% 'he scientist looked at hi&, his silvery eyes reading his &ind as a te7tbook% 16o! that !e arrived in one iece you can,t co& lain% 'he baron isn,t going to see us for the si& le reason that he isn,t here%3 10ut then%%%3 1+e has so&e servants !aiting for us, !ho !ill take us to the &eeting%3 6a&eless (ndre! re&ained &otionless% +e !as starting to get angered% 4o this, do that and don,t do that !as all he heard since he &et the scientist% +e never kne! !hat the scientist had in &ind or !hat his intentions !ere% +e al!ays had to follo! regulation, !hich re&inded hi& of his childhood% 'hat !as a eriod of his life he utterly disliked, and he could hardly !ait till it !as over% +e didn,t !ish to endure a renaissance of that eriod% 2o there !as only one ossible thing to do, he thought% 1(re you co&ing or not53 the scientist asked and !aved his hands as he !as !alking to!ards a ta7i% 6a&eless (ndre! didn,t ans!er% +e !as still sitting in the air lane, conte& lating !hat to do% 0ut the scientist had so&e gri on hi&, so&e control beyond his understanding% 'hus, he follo!ed the scientist% +e thought he !ould have gone any!here the scientist told hi& to go% +e overtook the scientist !hen his e& loyer seated hi&self in the cab% 'here !as a tall and hideous character and the cabdriver besides the& in the ta7i% 18ho,s that ugly looking fello!53 !his ered 6a&eless (ndre! and nudged the scientist% 1<ust a u& ed u no)one !ho looks even &ore abhorrent no! than before% 4o you see the scar around his nose5 * gave that to hi& once u on a ti&e%3 6a&eless (ndre! gli& sed at the scientist, "ust to be affir&ed of his disbelief% @ight, he thought, once u on a ti&e even iggy !as able to subdue and outs&art the !olf% 0ut he

!asn,t a child any &ore, he didn,t believe in fairy tales longer% +e shook his head and s&iled !hile !atching the traffic on the high!ay leading to the &etro olis% 12o,3 asked the cabdriver, 1!hat is it that you have done that &akes the baron so interested in you53 1+e fears &e,3 the scientist said briefly% 'he hideous character laughed loudly% 6a&eless (ndre! looked at the scientist% 'his ti&e they !ere clearly on the sa&e !avelength% 6a&eless (ndre! could hardly !ait till they arked inside a skyscra er located at the centre of the city% +e s!iftly got out of the cab, and o ened the door for the hideous character% 'he hideous character glanced distrustfully at hi&, nevertheless !as about to atte& t leaving the car% +o!ever, the door got in his !ay, !hich 6a&eless (ndre! &ade sure hit hi& in the u er body as he !as trying to straighten out% 'he hideous character fell back on his seat obviously in ain and not entirely conscious% 8as it not for the scientist 6a&eless (ndre! !ouldn,t have sto ed there% +e !as "ust starting to get !ar&ed u % 'he relude !as set for a good fight, he thought% 1'hat,s enough% 9et,s go%3 'he scientist ulled 6a&eless (ndre! a!ay% 6a&eless (ndre! !asn,t too disa ointed, he still ho ed he could have a go at the baron later in the day% +e felt good% Finally, he could do so&ething he !as very good at% +e even sa! a da!ning res ect e&erging in the scientist,s eyes% +e felt i& ortant and this &ade hi& think he !as ca able of doing anything% 'he ta7i driver !as certainly afraid of hi& after the door incident, and al!ays &ade sure the scientist !ould stand bet!een the&% )))) Fro& the garage, they ascended to the to of the skyscra er, and dise&barked in a conference hall% 'he cabdriver courteously took fare!ell fro& the& for the ti&e being, not being allo!ed a&ong the great decision &akers% 6a&eless (ndre!, !hile ste ing out of the elevator, grabbed the ta7i driver,s right hand and shook it% +e also crushed it so&e!hat, "ust for the fun of it% 'he ta7i driver .uietly &oaned, and thereafter disa eared as fast as he could% 6a&eless (ndre! !as roud of hi&self% +e sat do!n beside the scientist by the side of a long elli tic table, !hich itself see&ed to re resent o!er !ith its black and shiny surface% -f course, 6a&eless (ndre! couldn,t resist trying to scratch it% *n the &eanti&e, the scientist discoursed !ith so&e eo le he couldn,t care less for% 'here !as a fat eanut eater o osite to the scientist, !ho see&ed to be the su re&e in arguing !ith his e& loyer% For so&e ti&e 6a&eless (ndre! said nothing, but then his atience e7 ired: 12hut u fat ass,3 he shouted and leaned to!ards the eanut eater% +e could see the scientist si& ly s&iling% 1* believe * haven,t introduced you,3 the scientist said "erking 6a&eless (ndre!,s s!eater% 16a&eless (ndre!% 'he baron%3 6a&eless (ndre! sat back in his chair and laughed heartily% 'he baron !as .uick to res ond: 1* don,t kno! !here you got this na&eless haru&)scaru&, but * think he needs ta&ing%3 ( bra!l !as in the &aking, 6a&eless (ndre! !asn,t the &an !ho allo!ed others to inti&idate hi&, nor !as the baron kno!n for his tolerance% 'he scientist !as hel less/ the situation !as definitely getting out of his hands% 0ut the .uarrel !as not to be, because "ust as 6a&eless (ndre! !as about to lean for!ard again and grab the baron by the hair, the general arrived% For a second everyone looked at the general% 16o! that everybody is here,3 the scientist reali$ed this !as the erfect &o&ent to bring the situation under control, 1the for&al discussions can begin%3 6a&eless (ndre! !as stunned and etrified, and his eyes !ere glued to the general% +e literally fell back into his chair% +e never sa! anything like the general in real life before% 2he !as the !o&an of his drea&s sitting !ithin striking)distance% +e looked around and

!ondered !hat !ould ha en if he "ust &ade his strike% 'he scientist and the do$en or so delegates !ere dee ly en&eshed in so&e astonishingly boring and detailed lans for the future% +e heard the scientist &irthfully telling the baron: 1%%%it see&s the !hole !eight of the future is on &e% * have to ull !hile you sit and rela7%%%3 +e couldn,t understand !hat &ade the scientist so ha y about having to ull so&ething heavy alone% -r !as it that this !ay he believed he could ull all the strings, he asked hi&self% 8hatever, he thought% +e stared at the general, but she never !anted to look hi& back in the eyes% 2he !as, "ust as the others, reoccu ied !ith the conference% 'hen the ti&e ca&e !hen suddenly everyone !as silent in the roo&, only the chairs creaked under the bulky delegates% *t !as a too a ealing an o ortunity for 6a&eless (ndre! that he couldn,t &iss% 16o! that you have re)divided the lanet,3 he said and looked at the general, 1ho! about dinner53 'he silence !as co& lete this ti&e% 6a&eless (ndre! gli& sed around !ith a look innocent enough to rese&ble an angel,s% 'he general blushed, and then furiously rebuked hi&% 6a&eless (ndre! !as sur rised% 'his hadn,t been the !ay she had treated hi& in his drea&s% +e o ened his ar&s sho!ing his co& lete innocence% 'he scientist a ologi$ed in his na&e% 'he baron si& ly laughed at hi&% 6a&eless (ndre! didn,t like to be laughed at or to be &ade e&barrassed% +e felt as a fool% +e !ondered ho! to retaliate% 0ut then the general started laughing as !ell% +er &es&eri$ing voice overshado!ed the other delegates, inarticulate giggling% +is confidence in hi&self returned% 12o ho! about it53 6a&eless (ndre! asked% >ndoubtedly, this !asn,t !hat the conference &e&bers had e7 ected he !ould utter% 'he general !as caught in a sli ery osition% 2he said slo!ly as if talking to a &aniac: 1(ll right% 8e,ll do as you say%3 2he sighed after having said this, and fro& then on sho!ed al!ays her lateral vie!% 6a&eless (ndre! didn,t &ind, he got !hat he had !anted% +e sat back and didnAt interru t the discussion fro& thereon% 16o! as * see it,3 the scientist said !ith so&e athos inherent in his voice, 1there &ust be a redefinition of hu&an rights and !elfare% * think%%%3 'he baron disagreed acco& anied by a loud outcry% 'his !as the oint !here 6a&eless (ndre! sli ed into a do$e% +e could hear !ords being ronounced but !as unable to connect the& in any &eaningful !ay/ !ords !ere flying around in his head% 'he only thing he could see clearly !as the general% 2he !as dressed in fe&inine dress, not in the unifor& she !as !earing in real life% 2he !as in the &idst of a rose garden blurry in a earance% 2he !as in focus% +e !anted to tell her that he loved her, but the scientist inched hi& and the rose garden !as gone% 0ut she !as there% *n unifor&% 19ook,3 the scientist !his ered to hi& and &ade hi& look to!ards t!o ne!ly arrived delegates% +e thought there !as nothing unusual about the&, they !ere as languid and slack looking as the rest% 0esides the general, of course% 1'hey are the beggars,3 the scientist said% 1'hey look retty !ell fed and tri&&ed to &e,3 6a&eless (ndre! disagreed% 1'hat,s not the !ay * have &eant it% 'hey are eo le !ho once stood u against the baron but failed &iserably% *n fact, they beca&e tools the baron no! utili$es% 'hey are abetting hi&% 'hey ca&e here to critici$e &e% 'hey have a see&ingly fool) roof !ea on% *t,s the ast% <ust listen%3 1+ere are the t!o &ost reno!ned s ecialists,3 the baron said ointing to the t!o delegates% 18hat can you tell us after reading the re ort resented by our honourable scientist53 6a&eless (ndre! could tell a folly !hen he sa! one% (nd the baron !as definitely one% ;ven his sole&n voice !asn,t able to hide the hate he &ust have felt concerning the scientist%

1(fter having read the &aterial and after long and arduous considerations !e ca&e to the conclusion that !e cannot reco&&end it,3 said one of the delegates% 1*t lacks the ro er scientific a roach and roofs%3 1* &ust .uestion your sincerity% * !ould like to kno! !hat your connection is to our dear baron,3 the scientist in.uired% 18e !ill not stand such allegations,3 both delegates began to rese&ble ri ened to&atoes in colour% 18e are inde endent observers% 8e are also kno!n for having challenged the baron once, but that !e did not succeed roves all the &ore ho! easily false conclusions &ay be dra!n%3 12o you are clai&ing that &y !ork is based on false &ethods53 asked the scientist% 1;7actly%3 1:our re ort is based on half truths, the !orst ty e of lies% 'hey are lies, but very believable ones% *n addition%%%3 'he scientist took out a docu&ent fro& a briefcase he had !ith hi&% 18hat is interesting,3 the scientist s&iled, 1is that although you resent yourselves as inde endent observers the baron ays your bills% 9ike buying this nice house here%3 +e sho!ed around a icture of the house, and handed the docu&ent to the baron% 'he baron &ade gestures a ologetically, clai&ing to have had no rior kno!ledge that the s ecialists !ere in his service% 1+o! do you like the develo &ent of things53 the scientist asked 6a&eless (ndre! .uietly% 1Buite entertaining,3 6a&eless (ndre! ans!ered% 'he s ecialists didn,t see& e&barrassed having been unravelled nor did this &ake the& reticent% 'he scientist fell under a vicious barrage acco& anied by vociferous e7cla&ations fro& the baron% 'he scientist si& ly sat there, said only a fe! !ords% 6a&eless (ndre! thought he !as cal&ness hi&self% +is cal&ness sho!ed either strength or !eakness% 6a&eless (ndre! !asn,t able to tell !hich% 'hen after so&e ti&e the s ecialists ceased their attacks, and the delegates consented to having a short break% Most of the& .uickly left the roo&% 'he scientist turned to the baron% 1-nce you told &e that * like o!er,3 the scientist said% 14o you re&e&ber53 'he baron nodded% 1-f course, !hen * told you that * didn,t !ant any art of your kind of o!er you didn,t believe &e% 8e have t!o different definitions of !hat o!er really &eans% My definition of o!er is self)deter&ination% * believe that the first stage in beco&ing o!erful is gaining control over one,s &ind and body% -n the other hand, you are convinced that o!er is control you have over others% :ou can tell the& !hat to do, !hat not to do% * think your inter retation of o!er ste&s fro& our co&&on ri&itive ast% 0ut no! it,s ti&e to build the future, and to leave your definition to oblivion%3 1:ou are an idealist and a regrettably naive fool,3 the baron lashed back% 1:our assu& tion is that things have changed% 8ell, they haven,t% <ust look at your na&eless friend, bodyguard or !hatever beside you% +e hasn,t changed% +e never !ill% +e,s as brutal and unintelligent as the early cave&en%3 6a&eless (ndre! decided not to engage !ith the baron in a scuffle, !hich !ould only have roven the baron right% 0esides there !as no !ay he could get angry% +e !as ha y in advance for the ti&e he !ould s end !ith the general% (lthough she still refused to look at hi&% +e gave it his best shot though% +e coughed, "u& ed fro& his chair, &ade silly noises% 2he still didn,t condescend to his level% 0ut he !as deter&ined% +e !ent around the table and sat beside her% 1* a& (ndre!,3 he said% Finally, she gli& sed at hi&% 'here !as a vague s&ile e&erging on her countenance% 1* a& the general,3 she said and they shook hands% 1:ou are the &ost beautiful !o&an * have ever seen,3 6a&eless (ndre! uttered%

1'hank you,3 the general said% 1(lthough * consider being called &any things a greater co& li&ent than retty%3 18hat do you &ean53 1:ou kno! !hat * &ean,3 she said !ith so&e resent&ent% 0ut 6a&eless (ndre! didn,t kno!% 'he only thing he kne! !as that he !anted the general% (s a beautiful, flesh and blood !o&an% (nd he !as in a hurry% +o!ever, everyone else see&ed to be in a hurry too% 0efore 6a&eless (ndre! could atte& t kissing the general the break !as over% 'he delegates returned, and the discussion continued% 6a&eless (ndre! sha&bled back to his chair in des air% 0ut he kne! he !ould eventually have his !ay% )))) 12o ho! !as dinner53 the scientist asked% 6a&eless (ndre! s&iled co& lacently as he eered into the darkness surrounding the air lane% +e couldn,t even hear the rattling sounds of the engines% 1*t !as absolutely%%%,3 he searched for the right !ord, 1 heno&enal%3 'he scientist glanced at hi&, the lights of the instru&ent anel reflecting on his glasses% 1* hate to ad&it it but * guess the baron !as right% * have al!ays been naive% For !hat is the first thing you do !hen seeing a good looking erson of the o osite se75 :ou "u& on her% *t,s all very ri&itive%3 1'hat,s not even true% * a& not interested in other !o&en%3 1For the ti&e being%3 6a&eless (ndre! shook his head% +e !as too &uch in the throes of love to argue% 1:ou kno! * had a drea&,3 the scientist said% 1( drea& that all &y ancestors shared, but none of the& had the o ortunity to fulfil% *t is an age old drea&% 2ince the develo &ent of life, evolution has al!ays occurred in the sa&e &anner% ( s ecies survived if the best characteristics of its &e&bers !ere lucky to revail% *t !as all a &atter of robability% Mostly hysical changes occurred due to hysical incentives fro& the environ&ent% 'his is !hat * call hard!are evolution% 0ut no! the ti&e has co&e for the ne7t stage of evolution% 2oft!are evolution% 8hen it isn,t the hysical influences !hich deter&ine the develo &ent of a race, but the &ind and thoughts% 8e can fulfil the drea&% For the first ti&e !e can deter&ine our o!n fate, !e can control our bodies% 8e can &ove for!ard% For the ast &illennia, our s ecies barely changed% (nd no! !e can suddenly achieve a so histication that !ould take &illions of years if it occurred through hard!are evolution% *t is soft!are evolution that creates the ne! hard!are% 6o &ore &alfunctions, no &ore of these da&ned glasses% 4o you get &y oint53 the scientist asked% 6a&eless (ndre! looked at hi& sus iciously% +e had heard of &en !anting to create a su er race, !anting to harness the forces of nature for their o!n interests% (nd these atte& ts had al!ays led to tragedy and disaster% +e liked things as they !ere% +e !as young, healthy and no! had a &istress% +e thought there !as nothing else he had ever !anted out of life% 1(re you a cra$y &aniac53 6a&eless (ndre! asked, although he ad&itted the scientist !as everything but a &aniac% +e looked cal& and controlled as al!ays% 16o,3 the scientist ans!ered% 1My ob"ective is to &ake the !orld a better lace to live in, and not to destroy anything%3 +e had again read the thoughts of 6a&eless (ndre!% 1* &yself look !ith great scrutiny at &y !ork% * reali$e ho! easily things &ight get out of hand, ho! easily eo le !e kno! could use &y results for their o!n interests% -f course, a transition like this, na&ely soft!are evolution !ill by its nature &eet great resistance% For fear is associated !ith change% 2uddenly current lifestyles !ill be challenged% 2uddenly the baron !ill disa ear fro& the scene% (nd even though &ost eo le dislike hi& they !ill !ee for hi&%

(nd they !ill curse &e until they reali$e ho! beneficial this change really is to the&% 0ut soft!are evolution &ust occur or there is no future for our s ecies%3 6a&eless (ndre! hu&&ed in distress% +is &istress had !arned hi& about the scientist% +e !as unnerved% 2he had told hi& of the scientist,s ast, a story he had refused to acce t at the ti&e% 0ut no! he !as in doubt concerning !hat the general had said% Perha s she had been right% Perha s he !as sitting ne7t to a dangerous &asochist, !ho had re"ected life,s little leasures "ust because they had &ade hi& feel good or s ecial, and no! !anted others to do the sa&e% 2he held a lecture after they had dinner and so&e hanky) anky% +e had been e7hausted by the latter engage&ent so she could bulldo$er hi& !ith her &alicious re&arks% +e felt like he !as tra ed bet!een t!o fires, both of !hich tried to e7tinguish the other, in the &eanti&e killing oor hi&% 8ho !as he to trust5 'he general !as one of the three re resentatives of the order of the day, the scientist her &ain adversary% +e !as lost% +e !anted si& le ans!ers to the &ost co& licated .uestions% (nd he !anted the& fast% )))) +e &et the scientist in one of the hall!ays of the great underground co& le7% 1(re things !orking out53 6a&eless (ndre! asked% 1Perha s,3 re"oined the scientist see&ing dee ly in thoughts% 18e have a nice !eather outside, don,t !e53 1Possibly,3 ans!ered the scientist% 1Can * "oin you53 1Perchance%3 6a&eless (ndre! !as close to raging% 1Can * kill you53 he in.uired .uickly losing his te& er% 1Maybe,3 said the scientist and left hi& in the hall!ay banging his head against the !all% )))) 'he scientist sat on a bed staring at the clean !hite floor !hen he entered the roo&% +e seated hi&self beside hi&% (fter!ards they !atched the floor together in silence% Certainly, there !as nothing interesting about the floor, 6a&eless (ndre! thought% 0ut there &ust have been so&e reason !hy the scientist eered at it% (fter all he !as a &an of reason, he ondered% 'hus, he continued staring at the floor% 'hen une7 ectedly the scientist asked: 14o you kno! !hat * fear the &ost53 6a&eless (ndre! didn,t ans!er, this !as a .uestion he felt the scientist had asked of hi&self% 1* fear failure% * a& afraid that one day * &ay a!aken to the fact that * have gro!n old% 8hen not only &y body, but &y &ind !ill start to break do!n% (nd there * !ould be, all alone% 2itting on the bed "ust as * a& no!% @e enting all the things * didn,t do, and all the things *,ve done% (nd feeling sorry for &yself% *&agining ho! it !ould have been to have a fa&ily * never had, love * never had% (nd bla&ing all this on !hat * fought for, !hat * have been%3 'he scientist !ent silent for a !hile% 1(nd re&e&bering% 'hat,s the !orst art% For there is no resent, only the ast and the future% 'he ast is so&ething that has taken lace, so&ething you cannot alter% 0ut the future is so&ething you can influence% @e&e&bering things you cannot alter &akes one less than a &ere observer% ( shado! in a drea&% ( tarnishing shado!% * can i&agine &yself sitting on the bed as an old &an, re&e&bering that not so long ago !hen * sat on the sa&e bed * could get u % * can i&agine &yself in the future seeing &yself in the resent% (nd it is the &an of the future !ho feels sorry for the &an of today% * refuse to re are &yself for gro!ing old% Perha s because for so&e reason * don,t think * !ill%3 'he scientist sto ed for a &o&ent, and then si& ly said: 14eath is failure%3

6a&eless (ndre! looked at hi& and !ondered% 18hy isn,t there any resent53 he in.uired% 1Present is nothing but a erce tion% For can * say that this oint in ti&e is the resent5 6o, because by the ti&e * uttered the end of the sentence it has already beco&e the ast% 'i&e doesn,t co&e in .uanta, it is an abstract invention% 'he &eaning of ti&e beco&es useless if you don,t define it as a line% 'hat is &y vie! any!ay%3 6a&eless (ndre! really couldn,t care less if ti&e !as a blo!n u balloon% +e thought if this !as the reason !hy the scientist !as looking at the floor, then he certainly needed hel % +el 6a&eless (ndre! !as unable and un!illing to rovide% 'herefore, he s!iftly left the re&ises% )))) 'he scientist !as reoccu ied by looking at a "elly)like bluish substance in a narro! tube !hen 6a&eless (ndre! a eared% (gain, he !as er le7ed by ho! the scientist found interest in so&ething of no value to hi&% 18hat is it that is so e7citing about this blue substance53 he asked% 'he scientist glanced at hi&, looking distant and dis leased for being disturbed% 1'he sha e,3 he briefly co&&ented% 1*t,s highly unusual% 'his &ight be the key%3 6a&eless (ndre! sighed% +e couldn,t recollect ho! &any ti&es before the scientist had said this very last sentence% 0ut the key !as never found% (nd over and over again the scientist stoo ed over tables and figures until his eyes !ent each in a different direction% *f he only kne!, 6a&eless (ndre! thought, that there !ere so &any different kinds of figures and sha es !orthier to !atch% *f he kne!% 6a&eless (ndre! s&iled, and began to rese&ble the !ay the scientist looked !hen about to &ake an earthshaking discovery% 1Co& letely in love,3 the scientist suddenly said% 1* can hardly believe it% 9oving a !o&an !ho !anted to !i e the floor !ith hi& not so long ago%3 12he did not,3 6a&eless (ndre! said in a childish &anner% 14id too,3 the scientist re"oined sarcastically% 1* al!ays thought &utuality !as the &ost vital thing if a relationshi !as to !ork% (ny relationshi for that &atter% 0ut you roved &e !rong again%3 6a&eless (ndre! !anted to say so&ething, but the scientist,s countenance &ade hi& change his &ind% 18hen !ill you learn5 2he,s "ust using you% (gainst &e% *t,s all art of the sche&e% 2he doesn,t really !ant you% 2he,s the general%3 12o !hat53 12he is the syste&%3 12he is a beautiful !o&an,3 6a&eless (ndre! shouted angrily% 'hey stared at each other in silence for a !hile% 'hen the scientist said cal&ly: 1*,& sorry% *t,s si& ly that * cannot forget the !ay she treated you% 'he !ay she treats you%3 1(nd ho! is that53 6a&eless (ndre! asked% 1:ou kee sending flo!ers to her% :ou kee s oiling her% 'hat isn,t the !ay it should !ork% 8as there or !asn,t there an e&anci ation5 -r !as it an e&anci ation !ithout &utuality5 :es to everything that !as favourable, no to everything that !asn,t, that,s the !ay she thinks% 8e,ll take revenge on &en for the sufferings and all the su ression in the ast% 8e,ll do that on today,s &en% 6ot for a &o&ent reali$ing that conditions !ere different altogether in the ast% 'here !ere no &achines, brute force !as necessary for the si& lest of tasks% 'hat is !hy &en !ent to !ork and !o&en stayed at ho&e% (fter all, &en are stronger by nature% (nd if * re&e&ber correctly there !ere !o&en leaders in the ast as !ell, "ust think of the countless .ueens !ho ruled for decades%3 'he scientist sto ed s eaking for a second% 10ut you had to fall for her% 8hy5 8hat is her secret5 *s it that she,s so distant53 16o,3 6a&eless (ndre! ans!ered% 12he is retty, char&ing, intelligent, funny%%%3

'he scientist laughed loudly interru ting his enu&eration% 6a&eless (ndre! !as sour% 1Buite an a&using &odel,3 the scientist said% 1( !hat53 1( &odel% -f course, * guess * can,t say that &y &odel of her is &uch better than yours%3 1* think you,re co& letely &ad,3 6a&eless (ndre! re&arked listlessly% 16o% :ou see, !hen one thinks of so&ething or so&eone one creates an i&age of the ob"ect or erson% 'his i&age is al!ays sub"ective, as there is no ob"ectivity, and an oversi& lified version of the real thing% (n abstract% 'hat is !hat a &odel is% * think of the general as an ene&y, you as an adorable !o&an% 8e have t!o co& letely conflicting &odels of the sa&e erson% Probably !e are both &issing so&e details% * believe *,& right, and so do you that you,re right%3 1* don,t believe in anything,3 6a&eless (ndre! said% 10ut naturally * a& right%3 'he scientist started !i ing his s ectacles% 'his !as a sign of a rolonged debate% 1;veryone believes in so&ething% *f in nothing other than e7isting% * have heard the sentence you "ust said &any, &any ti&es before% Fro& eo le !ho, * thought, should have kno!n better% *, for instance, believe that !hat * observe is real% * believe the baron is &y adversary% * believe in the &odel * have created for &yself about the >niverse% 0ut it is only a belief, a &odel, for roof * have none% :ou see, a given &odel &ight be &ore efficient than another &ight be at a given ti&e in describing or solving a given roble&% 0ut that does not &ean it is &ore right than the other% For !hat is the essence of science5 * believe it is to rovide alternatives, different !ays and &ethods to solve a roble&% (lternatives are the key issue in &y vie!% Models seek to rovide alternatives% 9et &e illustrate &y oint% (ssu&e there is a atient !ho is sick% *n the ast this atient,s disease !ould have been deadly% 'hus in the ast there !as only one alternative for the atient, na&ely to die% *n the &eanti&e, a cure !as found, but it caused great ain% (t this oint a atient !ith this disease could have chosen t!o alternatives, na&ely to die or to suffer, but survive% 0ut no!,3 the scientist raised his voice and ointed a finger u !ards, 1a cure !as found !ithout causing ain% 'his yielded a su& of three alternatives for the atient% +o!ever the search still goes on to find &easures to revent the disease fro& occurring or develo ing in the first lace% -ther alternatives are sought% (nd to find the different alternatives &odels are created of the disease% 0ut re&e&ber, &odels are all bound to fail% ;ven if there !as a erfect &odel available, !e robably !ouldn,t be able to recognise that !e had a erfect &odel nor rove it% 'ake another e7a& le% 'here is an ongoing search to find a very s&all article that &akes u the >niverse% (ssu&e it !as found% Could !e then clai& that !e had the ulti&ate substance that is the basis of everything5 6o, absolutely not% (ll !e could say !ould be that !e have found a article that &akes u the >niverse according to our currently a lied and acce ted &odel% 'hat,s all%3 1'hen there is no erfect &odel%3 1@eally5 0ut by saying that there is no erfect &odel you created, indeed, a erfect &odel co& letely negating your o!n state&ent% 2uch .uestions and state&ents constitute vicious circles in our logic, and !hen atte& ting to ans!er such a .uestion you are confronted by another .uestion and so on% Finally, you arrive back at your original .uestion, solving nothing% 'here are .uestions !hich are better to be left untouched%3 1*sn,t that in essence an esca e5 (n esca e fro& the great .uestions53 1:ou &ay believe that it is an unscientific attitude% 0ut tell &e then this,3 the scientist ut on his glasses, 1!hat are the great .uestions53 6a&eless (ndre! !as in thoughts for a !hile% 'hen he said: 18ho are !e5 8hat is the i& ortance of our lives5 *s there a =od5 8here do !e co&e fro&53 1* can ans!er the .uestions only fro& &y oint of vie!,3 the scientist ans!ered% 18e are !hat !e believe !e are% :ou have heard the saying that the insane are the truly ha y and satisfied, have you not5 'hey are insane because they entirely believe in their convictions%

>nalterably% (s for !hat the i& ortance of our lives is, * don,t kno!% 2o&eti&es * see no ur ose of &y life% 'he battle !hich goes on see&s re&ote and uni& ortant, or at best boring% :ou see, science can be very boring at ti&es% 0ut it is i& ortant to generate interest at such ti&es% 'o achieve anything one needs to !ork constantly and aggressively% 'here can be no u s and do!ns% *f one loses the gri it !ill take a long ti&e to re!ind% 8asted ti&e% (nd right no! * a& running out of ti&e%%% *s there a =od5 'here is in as &uch !e cannot dis rove +i&% * ho e there isn,t a =od as de icted by so&e religions, because then he !ould be the ulti&ate dictator% (s for the last .uestion, * never cared too &uch !here * ca&e fro&% * have al!ays felt that it !as &ore i& ortant !here one !as going than !here one ca&e fro&%3 10ut aren,t you then saying that the ast is uni& ortant5 0ut don,t our roots deter&ine !ho !e are5 Can !e entirely disconnect ourselves fro& our surroundings53 16o,3 the scientist ans!ered, sus ecting that 6a&eless (ndre! has not yet finished% 14o you think that !e can co& letely change over ti&e5 8hat are !e !ithout our ast5 4o you think there is a future !ithout the ast5 8hat &atters if not the ast53 'he scientist !as silenced% +e rather gli& sed at his tube containing the "elly)like substance, ostensibly occu ied !ith it% 0ut then suddenly he said, evading 6a&eless (ndre!,s .uestions: 1Perha s !e are both right about the general% 8e have t!o see&ingly conflicting ideas of her%%%3 1'hen ho! can both of us be right53 asked 6a&eless (ndre! interru ting the scientist% 'he scientist fro!ned% +e didn,t like to be interru ted% 1*t is ossible,3 he said% 19et us, once again take an e7a& le% 8hat is ti&e5 2o&eone &ay clai& that ti&e is a &easure of changes% 8ith this definition in &ind !e can securely conclude that ti&e asses &ore .uickly !here &ore changes occur% -n the other hand, one &ay ostulate ti&e to be a constant throughout the >niverse% (lthough these t!o definitions see& to contradict each other, * see no reason !hy both couldn,t hold si&ultaneously% 'he correctness and falsehood of these state&ents de end u on !hat &odel one uses% (gain, one of these definitions &ight be &ore convenient to solve a given roble& than the other% 8hat * cannot say is that one of the& is &ore correct than the other% 'his !ould lead to another vicious circle% 'here !as a ti&e, !hen * !as younger, !hen * sa! things differently% * had a &aths teacher &ore ious than anyone * have &et since% * thought this !as an i& ossibility% +o! could so&eone believe in =od and also believe in logic5 'his !as a arado7 to &e% * erceived logic as the absolute &ethod% 0ut then one day * asked &yself: isn,t logic illogical itself5 *sn,t it illogical that it !orks so brilliantly in so&e cases and fails so &iserably in others5 Perha s these .uestions see& rather absurd and irrelevant% 'he oint * !ould like to convey to you is that although &anifestations &ight be different, the causes, reasons or hysical la!s governing the& are the sa&e% 0ut the latter are like infinity, one can never reach the&, it is only through the &anifestations that one tries to infer !hat they &ay be%3 'he scientist let the "elly)like substance slide out of the tube right into his hands% 1*f they e7ist at all,3 he added% 1*t all co&es do!n to beliefs, drea&s and e&otions% 'hose are the real driving forces behind any hu&an endeavour%3 'he scientist !ent silent for a short !hile% 1'he roble& confronting us today is that there is only one acce ted &odel of the >niverse, the others are all said to be incorrect% 'here is only one correct !ay of life% *t is the baron,s &odel% *t is the baron,s lifestyle%3 )))) 6a&eless (ndre! could hardly believe that he had survived% +e lay unconscious for so&e ti&e after hitting his head on the control anel% 6o! he !as floating in the air lane, !hich by so&e une7 lainable luck re&ained in one iece% +e thought this crash !as inevitable, it !ould have occurred eventually% 'he engines !ere old and rusty, and !ith each flight less

reliable% 'hen they finally had given !ay so&e!here bet!een the &ainland and the island% +e !as returning to the island after a hectic night !ith the general% +e often visited her no!adays% +e thought she !as char&ing and intelligent, a !o&an !ho kne! recisely ho! to satisfy hi&% 'he only thing he disliked about her !as the unending s eeches she gave !hile he lay half)conscious, and si& ly !anted to e&brace her% -f course, the the&e al!ays concerned the scientist of !ho& she s oke !ith little regard% +e !ished he !as able to re"oin her state&ents if only for once, but he !as la&ed and nu&bed% +e !as sure this !as all art of an elaborate lan% +e eered out of the shattered !indshield and thanked +eaven for the cal& ocean% *t !as da!ning% 'he early sunlight lit u the !illo!s, and he rocked very gently !hile !atching the disarrayed control anel% 6one of the devices !orked, he !as unable to call for hel % +e drifted !ith the ele&ents% +is thoughts !andered back to her% +e thought she !as too s&art, too inde endent, see&ingly in no !ay vulnerable% +e liked that, and yet !as bothered by it% +e felt he had only a &inor role in her life% ( nightti&e leasure or erha s a tool against the scientist% 6othing &ore% +e al!ays noticed a cool reserve in her eyes% +e !anted to o en u to her, but her iercing and investigating look al!ays changed his &ind% 'his !as a different look than the scientist,s, in so&e !ays &ore disco&forting, because he erceived a hidden grudge de icted in the general,s &es&eri$ing eyes% +e had .uestioned her about this, but she &anaged to evade ans!ering by talking about so&ething entirely different% 8hen he !as fretted due to her silence or disa ointing re lies, she tried to satisfy and cal& hi& in other !ays% (fter a !hile, he had gro!n used to being angered in order to collect the re!ard% +e began to retend% +is in.uiries had lost their vigour/ he staged the& &ore for the sake of !ont than for truly e7 ecting ans!ers% *n addition, they had de leted all ossible to ics e7ce t the one relating to the ongoing negotiations bet!een the scientist and the baron, !hich the general al!ays atte& ted to broach% >nsuccessfully% +e didn,t understand the negotiations !holly, and he feared he &ight s.ueal so&ething that could have ut his e& loyer in an a!k!ard situation% 'herefore, he had held his tongue% 'hus, they had had fairly little to s eak about, their relationshi had foundered% 0ut he couldn,t hel going back to her, the general,s eyes co& elled hi&% 0ut he didn,t kno! !hat co& elled her% +e !ondered% +e could never be sure !hether she !as to co&e to &eet hi& or not% 2he !as un redictable% +e !as "ealous of her ar&ada of friends, !ho& she al!ays had to kiss all over !hen they &et% (t such ti&es he had si& ly stood by refraining hi&self fro& using so&e brute force, because des ite all his differences !ith the general he loved her% 0ut did she love hi&5 -r !as he all art of her "ob5 +e si& ly couldn,t kno! for sure% +is o!n identity had suffered greatly !hile !orking for the scientist, or rather listening to the scientist, and he !as nearly de rived of it !hen she lectured hi&% +e felt like a bouncing ball, !hich everyone kicked a little, but no one kne! !here it !ould end u % 8hat !orried hi& !as that he ersonally had no idea in !hich direction he !as heading% ;ven the scientist had begun to re&ark that he had changed fro& a brute to a se&i)intelligent erson% +e had to thank hi& for these co& le&ents, although he had been keener to unch hi& or grab hi& by the throat% +e thought the scientist had aristocratic and snob tendencies that &ade hi& sound and act e7travagantly &ad no! and then% 'he scientist had e7 lained this had been due to hi& absorbing 6a&eless (ndre!,s lost i& ulsiveness and !as not at all s&ugness% :et, the scientist reasoned, he hadn,t been able to acco&&odate this gained ersonality into his o!n, and thus the tur&oil involved !ith acco&&odation turned outside and resulted in raging% 'his had been un leasant for everyone and everything unfortunate enough to e7ist in the vicinity at such ti&es, because the scientist !as reternaturally strong des ite his &eagre body% +e crushed chairs, the laboratory e.ui &ent !as shattered, and co)!orkers scarred% -thers, including 6a&eless (ndre!, had

accounted successive failures for the scientist,s behaviour% *t see&ed the scientist !as unable to digest failure% 6a&eless (ndre! scra&bled out of the cock it onto the to of the air lane, and basked in the &orning sun, !hile &assaging his forehead% 'he !eather !as e7cellent, a slight bree$e steered his craft% +e felt secure and at ease% +e !ouldn,t have &inded to starve to death right there, or to be dehydrated by the sun% 'he ongoing !ar !as far, the ocean !as kind% +e let hi&self be rocked into a do$e% *n the &eanti&e, he !as un!ittingly floating a!ay fro& land, advancing dee er and dee er to!ards the o en sea% 6or !as he a!are of the sharks, !hose interest had been attracted by the shabby craft and ke t circling it% 'hey had a eared all of a sudden out of the blue% 'here !ere a lot of s&all fish a&ong the&, no doubt e7 ecting so&e cru&bs of &eat fro& the sharks% 0ut, at resent, they had to !ait% 'he rey lay safely and soundly on to of the air lane for the ti&e being unconscious of the fact that te& est clouds !ere gathering on the hori$on% 'he sharks kne! though% 'hey !ere also sure once the stor& arrived they could have their feast% 'hey !ere very s&art, atient and !ell organi$ed creatures% 8hen 6a&eless (ndre! a!oke and first s otted the sharks he !as a&used and &istakenly believed the& to be dol hins% 'hey had a dol hin)like a earance indeed% +e !as certainly easily fooled% 0ut then one of the& &ade an a&bitious "u& to!ards hi&, and its teeth left no doubt as to its being% 6a&eless (ndre! groaned% +is fists !ere useless against such adversaries, sli ery and beyond his reach, nor had he any !ea ons% 'he only thing he could do !as to shrink hi&self on the to of the lane and !atch as the clouds slo!ly stained the sky grey)!hite% 2o&eho!, the thought of being sunk a&ong a do$en or so sharks &ade hi& shiver% *t !as an un!orthy death against !hich he couldn,t rotect hi&self in any !ay% 'he situation started to look ho eless% 'he craft !as continuously filling !ith !ater, flo!ing through s&all chinks and cracks, the results of the crash% Conse.uently, the lane !as sinking% +e !as angered, because there !asn,t anything he could do, he !as left to the &ercy of the ele&ents and the sharks, both of the& &erciless% +e had been &isled by the cal&ness of the ocean earlier, and this dis leased hi& the &ost% 'he scientist had been roven to be right, he !as easily &ani ulated, he believed the a arent% 8as this so concerning the general as !ell5 +e dreaded to think her love !as retended, that she had a greater devotion to her cause than to hi&% 0ut it !as ossible% (s &uch a fool he had been everything !as ossible% (nd !hat about the scientist5 8hat !as his role in his lans5 Perha s bait for the baron% Certainly, the concocted e7 lanations of the scientist regarding his e& loy&ent see&ed at best ludicrous to hi& no!% +e !as su osed to be the sensitive and i& ulsive right ar& of the scientist% 8hat a "oke, he thought% Maybe no one had been telling hi& the truth% 'hen again, the scientist detested using !ords like good, evil, truth, right, absolute etc% 2o he had been telling hi& the truth satisfying one &odel, but not another, 6a&eless (ndre! argued% Considering these details his light see&ed no longer &iserable, at least he kne! !hat to e7 ect fro& the sharks% 'heir retension of being dol hins !as si& ly revealed, their lans !ere obvious% 6a&eless (ndre! thought it !as better to die this !ay after all than to serve as a tool in so&eone,s hand for so&e obscure and abstract reason he couldn,t care for any less% +ere he kne! the ur ose he !as serving in for& of a good &eal% *t !as co&forting to kno! the ur ose% +is ur ose% 'his !as the first ti&e in his life he believed to have kno!n% 0ut he couldn,t fulfil his ur ose% (s the clouds gathered into a stor& and the first dro s of rain &erged !ith the grey sea the scientist e&erged !ith a ne! cata&aran% 6a&eless (ndre! conte& lated before eventually ste ing into the shi % ))))

1Co&e on,3 she said% +e still hesitated for a &o&ent, but the general in a !hite trans arent cloak !as hardly a !o&an he could refuse% 2he kne! ho! to turn hi& on/ she kne! that she !as beautiful% *t !as a dangerous co&bination, 6a&eless (ndre! thought as he !as dragged along by her holding hand% 'here !as no esca e for hi& no!/ he ste ed inside the to&b of the sect of love% *t !as the &eeting lace for an organi$ation reno!ned and notorious for the brutal e7ecutions its &e&bers co&&itted in the na&e of love% 'hey s eciali$ed in killing the fa&ous, the rich or anyone !ith differing olitical vie!s% *t had been an un leasant sur rise !hen the general told hi& that she !as the leader of the sect% +e asked her right after!ards !hether she !ould have eli&inated hi& as !ell if he called the olice% 2he si& ly s&iled at hi& and ans!ered that no one !ould have believed his story any!ay% 0esides, she robably !ould have eli&inated hi&, because no love could be strong enough to endure a treachery like that% For so&e reason he hadn,t &ade any hone calls on that day% -n the other hand, he felt that entrusting hi& !ith this secret !as truly roof of her devotion and love, because this infor&ation could have destroyed the general% 'he baron, unnerved of the disa earance or &urder of his best agents, had ut unravelling the sect on to of his agenda, second only to the negotiations !ith the scientist% 'he secret thus bound 6a&eless (ndre! and the general together by "eo ardi$ing their e7istence if found out% 'his !asn,t a bond 6a&eless (ndre! !ished for, but he !as left !ith no other alternatives than to acce t the situation as it !as at resent% +is relationshi !ith the general led to unforeseen de ths of &isery and dark corners he didn,t kno! ho! to avert% 'he to&b !as occu ied by lightly dressed individuals, their faces sho!ing signs of rolonged e7 osure to the narcoti$ing s&oke filling the lace% 'heir eyes rotruded and !ere s!ollen, and re&inded 6a&eless (ndre! of a ilot he had seen, !hose features !ere distorted beyond recognition after e7cessive acceleration% +e ho ed the cere&ony, or as the general had called it, the &eeting, !ould be .uickly over% 'hey cut through the cro!d, the &e&bers for&ing a !all on both sides !hile cla ing their hands% ( odiu& stood o osite fro& !here they had entered to !hich they ascended% 6a&eless (ndre! noticed the s&oke didn,t rise beyond his feet once u there% *t gave hi& the i& ression as if being above the clouds, !hich he deduced, &ust have been the idea% 'he &e&bers looked u at the half)=oddess, unattainable and beautiful beyond i&agination, the effect enhanced by the narcoti$ing agent% 6a&eless (ndre! gli& sed at the general,s victorious countenance and thought this !asn,t the !o&an he had fallen in love !ith% +is &odel !as inade.uate to describe her, he ondered sarcastically, as the scientist !ould have ut it !ith his usual lack of enthusias& concerning such &atters% *t !as a &o&ent of disillusion &eant for 6a&eless (ndre!% +e could overlook the general,s co.uettishness, but not the bloodthirstiness no! sho!ing on her cheeks% +e beca&e aloof !hen she started addressing the gathering, !atching the events fro& an insu erable distance% +e !ished he !ere far a!ay, beyond the reach of the baron, the general and the scientist% 0ut he kne! of no such lace% 8herever he !ent, he !as confronted !ith at least one of the&% +e !ished he lived in rehistoric ages, !hen brute force and si& le cunning had decided life and death% +e !ould have folded the baron into a cylinder, rolled hi& do!n a &ountainto , kicked the scientist off his artificial cliffs into the sea filled !ith sharks, and beaten the hell out of the general% +e i&agined her in rehistoric clothing !ith rehistoric intelligence &eaning neither lectures nor slyness enough to rule a sect% 2he !as adorable and desirable that !ay% -n the other hand, !ithout her lectures and slyness, she !as nothing &ore than a skeleton, a se7ual ob"ect, he thought% (t this oint 6a&eless (ndre! discovered that his affection for the general !as no longer there, he sa! only a !o&an !ith no res ect for others, !ho used her hysical char& to achieve her selfish ob"ectives% :et, !hen the general held his hand and raised it above their

heads !hile continuing s eaking, he felt an urge to e&brace her and never let go% +e gathered this !as a se7ual i& ulse he had no control over% +e looked do!n at the cro!d and des ised those &ore than he had ever thought !as ossible% 'heir deliriu&)filled eyes sho!ed no signs of intelligence/ they !ere the lo!est kind he had seen so far% 'hey did as they !ere told !ithout any .uestions asked, co&&itting suicide !ith &irth if re.uired by their =oddess% 2uddenly the general released his hand, and kissed hi& theatrically% 1'he o!er of love,3 she shouted hoarsely and e& hatically, 1!ill &ake this &an strong enough to deal !ith his o ressor once and for all%3 +e !as stunned that she had called hi& a &an, as if he had "ust o ed into her life% (nd !hat o ressor !as she talking about5 1'he scientist &ust be eli&inated, because he hates love and everyone !ho loves% Cill +i&?3 she stirred u the cro!d !ith success% *n a &o&ent, the athetic figures all shouted: 1Cill +i&, Cill +i&?3 'he general !his ered into his ears: 14o it for &e3, and s&iled at hi& the !ay she kne! &ade hi& shiver in e7cite&ent% 1Cill +i&, and *,ll al!ays be yours%3 6a&eless (ndre! !as silent, the cro!d &ore and &ore aggressive% 12ay yes,3 the general told hi& and stared at hi& su&&oning all her char& in one blink% +e shook his head% *n res onse, she looked at hi& !ith hate% 12ay yes, or the cro!d !ill grind you to dust% 4o it,3 the general ordered hi&% 1-bey%3 6a&eless (ndre! looked around, sa! &aniacs and uttered in des air: 1:es, * !ill do it%3 )))) +e collided !ith the scientist in one of the hall!ays% +e !as about to ascend to the surface !hen this incident occurred% +e al&ost banned being entirely under the influence of the sect e isode, !hich he tried not to deal !ith in vain, because not thinking of it didn,t allo! hi& to think of anything else either% +e beca&e so&e!hat araly$ed and dis atched of the !orld,s ha enings% 1+o! are you53 the scientist asked &ore out of oliteness than of interest% 1Fine,3 he &ur&ured &orosely% 1+eard the ne!s on the ne!s channel5 'hey finally found a flying saucer they clai&ed%3 16o, have heard nothing of it,3 6a&eless (ndre! said, !hile definitely not looking at the scientist% 1'his is a ty ical baron trick% Dery soon the !hole affair !ill be denied by the &ilitary and high)ranking officials% :ou see, so&eti&es the baron tells the truth he believes in !hen he denies things% 0ut he denies the& so vehe&ently that eo le start to think% (nd they think e7actly !hat the baron !ants the& to think% *t,s an indirect control% 0rilliantly a lied% -f course, * do not deny the ossibility of e7traterrestrial life, in fact, robability indicates its e7istence si& ly because the >niverse is so i&&ense, but * doubt any of these ne!s could be true% For if * a& so develo ed as to traverse s ace fro& one lanet to the other then hiding &yself should be a triviality% 0esides, !hy should these highly develo ed creatures care about us5 Perha s they are already here, and !e si& ly do not recognise the&, because they look "ust like us% ;ither due to natural evolution or self)construction%3 1Perha s you are one of the&,3 6a&eless (ndre! said% 'he scientist laughed, then continued acing along the corridor% )))) ( historic &o&ent !as in the &aking% 'he conference hall !as filled !ith ro&inent delegates once again, all sitting around the oval table in great antici ation% 'he baron and the scientist had dra!n the outlines of a co& ro&ise, a draft docu&ent that !as &eant to end the raging battle% *t had been astonishing that the baron had been !illing to yield i& ortant

concessions literally fro& one &o&ent to the ne7t% 'he scientist had argued the baron had reali$ed o!er had been sli ing out of his hands, and the best he could do !as to co& ro&ise% 'hat is, give u so&e o!er to retain the re&aining% 'here !ere &any contestants for the baron,s osition lately, attacking hi& fro& all sides% +e see&ed less and less able to rotect hi&self, although &ust have believed an alliance !ith the scientist !ould have given hi& the u er hand again% ;ven no! there !as a vice sitting ne7t to hi&, .uite different in character, being lean and !ith hooked nose% ( vice character indeed% 0ut !hat &ade the scientist co&&it hi&self to a co& ro&ise !hen victory !as so close5 'he foundations of the baron,s e& ire !ere cru&bling/ cracks !ere e&erging on the !alls of the skyscra ers% *t !as "ust a &atter of ti&e before the baron !ould go under% -bviously, the scientist !asn,t interested in destruction, he didn,t !ish the skyscra ers to colla se% 6a&eless (ndre! looked at the vice on one side of the baron o osite to hi&, and then at the general on the other side% For a &o&ent, he felt sy& athy for the bulky eanut eater, and agreed fully !ith the scientist,s decision% 'he baron !as still the best o tion for a s!ift and eaceful transition, one re.uiring no &artyrs or heroes% +e !as still the &ost decent of the lot a&ong the vultures and sect leaders, !ho !ould have torn everything to ieces once he !as gone, good or bad, useful or !aste% 'o the& only o!ered &attered, o!er, !hich they could use to control others% 6either the scientist nor the baron !anted a disasse&bling of order and la!, this !as one of the fe! co&&on vie!s they shared% 'he baron, old and !eakened, beca&e a &ild dictator fearing anarchy% Fear &ade hi& hesitant and disorgani$ed, attracting nu&erous ossible usur ers% 'he baron relied &ore and &ore on the general and the vice seeing in the& his only allies% *f he kne!, 6a&eless (ndre! thought% (nd if the scientist kne!% 6a&eless (ndre! !anted to tell hi& about the sect, about her, but he had been stunned that each ti&e he broached this to ic the scientist si& ly ignored hi&% *n fact, the scientist,s dislike of the general had da& ened !ith ti&e/ he had sto ed critici$ing hi& for his relationshi !ith her% *t see&ed he had acce ted the ostensible state of affairs% 6a&eless (ndre! resented the scientist,s attitude, he felt his e& loyer beca&e less !ary and rudent, overlooking vital details% 'his !as true also for the research the scientist conducted/ he began to neglect it% +e didn,t rage any &ore over failures in the laboratory and had even elaborated a syste&atic lan to lo!er the artificial gates and let the ocean into the lagoon% 6a&eless (ndre! had tried to oint out the sharks s!i&&ing by the cliffs, a!aiting a chink to a ear, clearing their !ay in to the shallo! !ater, but the scientist never heeded his !arnings% +e !as sure of hi&self% 'oo sure% 6a&eless (ndre! !as .uite confused for his art, deadlocked over !hat to do or !hat not to do% 0ut he reali$ed he had to do so&ething before it !as too late% +e stared at the general, !ondering% 2he looked at hi& and there !as a glance of a s&ile on her face% +er eyes told a different story though, stained !ith anger and de&and% +e could al!ays hear her telling hi&, !his ering into his ear: 1Cill +i&? Cill?3 2he !as !aiting% 'he sect !as !aiting% +is ti&e !as running out, he could read it in her eyes as she fro!ned% +o!ever, he had no intentions of kee ing his ro&ise, a ro&ise he had &ade under enor&ous ressure% +e !as about to kill no one% >nless%%%, he couldn,t believe he !as thinking this, if not her% -n the other hand, she !as hardly an angel/ her hands !ere &arked by blood% 0ut had he the right to "udge others5 2he !asn,t erfect, but erha s there !ere details unkno!n to hi&, !hich could e7 lain her actions, and &itigate her sentence% (s long as she didn,t attack hi& overtly, he decided not to take any hasty action against her% 1* suggest,3 the scientist said, his silvery eyes filled !ith the e7 ression of "oy, 1that !e advance the deadline set for!ard in the docu&ent regarding its i& le&entation%3 1* agree,3 ans!ered the baron% 1* see no reason%%%3 1* can,t believe this,3 the general eered at the baron scoldingly% 1=ive even &ore concessions and get nothing in return5 * a& afraid * can,t ratify the docu&ent as it is% *

certainly disa rove of any &ore changes contrary to our interests% 0ut you are right in that changes are needed, changes in our favour%3 16aturally the general is right,3 said the vice/ the business&an nodded in agree&ent% (fter this there !as a sudden &o&ent of silence follo!ed by agitation un aralleled and not e7 erienced on earlier &eetings% 'here !ere &ore than t!o tea&s this ti&e, everyone !as his o!n tea&% ;veryone had an idea of his o!n% 'he delegates gesticulated, articulated, s at inco& rehensible !ords or half)sentences at each other or for that &atter !hatever they had in their &ouths% 'he scientist and the baron looked at each other disa ointed% 6a&eless (ndre! kne! they !ere disa ointed of the&selves, the ongoing shouting !as roof in itself of the i&&inent tur&oil% 'hey !ere both o!erless% +e tried to .uiet the delegates and return order, but his efforts !ere in vain% 'he roo& !as soon in disarray, a er, ens and other articles covering the floor, so&e eo le grabbing others, hair and fighting it out to the last dro of blood% 1Call &e,3 the scientist told the baron% 1'hat,s all53 the baron asked% 1'hat,s all,3 the scientist said before he and 6a&eless (ndre! left the re&ises% )))) 6a&eless (ndre! !as !andering in the underground co& le7% +e still couldn,t &a it entirely, it see&ed to hi& that it !as in continuous enlarge&ent% +e o ened door after door, assed hall!ay after hall!ay, but there !as no end to the labyrinth% *t !as difficult, if not i& ossible to tell !hich hall!ay he had been in earlier, because there !ere no signs, everything !as of the sa&e si$e and sha e% +e didn,t kno! !hat ur ose this labyrinth had served, there !ere no instru&ents or laboratories e7ce t for a s&all inner circle% 2o&eti&es he got lost, and the scientist had to co&e to his rescue% 'he scientist kne! his !ay around, kne! the recise location of every nook, corner and hall!ay% +e gave no infor&ation though ho! such a &a ing !as ossible !ithout any gadgets% Perha s the scientist &e&ori$ed the details of the co& le7, 6a&eless (ndre! thought% -n the other hand, this notion a eared rather i& lausible to hi&, because the scientist found cra&&ing to be absolutely undesirable and counter effective% +e believed that useful ideas !ere the ones derived fro& si& le co&&on sense, and relied heavily on &athe&atics in everything he did% (nd &athe&atics see&ed to !ork alright in the laboratory% 19ost again53 the scientist in.uired, une7 ectedly e&erging at a crossing of t!o hall!ays, cutting his thread of thoughts% 1Follo! &e,3 he said, and 6a&eless (ndre! did so as a robot, no .uestions asked% (lthough una!are of the e7act location they !ere heading, 6a&eless (ndre! !as certain they !ere advancing to an outer ring he had never been to before% 'here !as nothing to distinguish this art fro& the others of course/ it !as "ust his si7th sense telling hi& so% +e also felt they !ere descending dee er and dee er, ossibly to the dee est region of the labyrinth% (t the end of their "ourney, a large and conical s ace a!aited the&, totally e& ty e7ce t for a stand in the &iddle% 'heir ste s echoed fro& the !alls as they !ent to this stand% 1+ere it is,3 the scientist ointed to a red button on the surface of the rack% 1'he red button%3 'he scientist looked at hi&, his eyes sho!ing o&inous signs% 'hey stared at each other for a !hile% 'his !as the scientist he had seen raging% (s he e7a&ined the s&allest details of hi&, he !as shaken to discover that this !as a different erson than the one !ho had drafted the co& ro&ise% >nrelenting and dangerous% 1:ou think * a& cra$y, don,t you53 he asked% 18ell, * a& not% -nly &y atience is running out% * stretch out &y hand and all they do is s it in it% 4o you see that button5 *t

decides bet!een life and death% * unch it and it,s all over% 'he baron, the general and you vanish forever% ;veryone disa ears%3 10ut then you !ill be alone,3 6a&eless (ndre! re"oined% 1* have al!ays been alone,3 the scientist hissed% 16o &atter !hat * did, no &atter ho! good * !as * have al!ays been un!anted,3 he said !ith sorro!% 12o &uch about being alone%3 'he scientist stoo ed over the red button, olished it !ith his sleeve% 6a&eless (ndre! !as ready to ush hi& a!ay before he could unch the button, if it !as necessary% +o!ever, after circling the stand a cou le of ti&es, the scientist,s face lightened and his crooked back straightened% +e !asn,t as frightening any &ore% 1(ny!ay, * still haven,t given u ho e% 2trange, isn,t it5 * still have ho e, des ite !hat * erceive as reality has rovided &e !ith no ositive signs%3 'his !as the countenance of the scientist &ore fa&iliar to hi&, generously so&bre, a &an &ore likely to co&&it suicide than ho&icide% 'he e&otionless character of his truly develo ed into a &a$e since they had first &et, 6a&eless (ndre! thought% 8as he in any !ay res onsible for this, or !as he only an ade.uate sca egoat5 *t !as certainly correct to say that his aggressiveness decreased drastically, but ho! this could be linked to the scientist,s &ood s!ings see&ed to hi& obscure% Perha s he had al!ays been like that, 6a&eless (ndre! si& ly hadn,t noticed it in the beginning% *n any case !ith the o!er the scientist !as endo!ed these &ood fluctuations re resented a frightening ossibility of destruction% 6a&eless (ndre! thought he !as surrounded by &aniacs, de ressed individuals !ith a great a&ount of self)loathing% 'hey even &ade hi& consider things &aking hi& rofoundly des ise hi&self% 1* have created so&ething brilliant,3 the scientist e7clai&ed s&iling, his voice echoing, and then slo!ly dying a!ay in the distance, re&inding 6a&eless (ndre! of a creek,s lashing% 1* call it the erfect &achine% 4o not be &isled by the !ord erfect% *t isn,t su osed to &ean a fla!less &achine% *t is rather so&ething ca able of achieving its goals by trial and error, eventually succeeding% *t can ada t to any situation%3 'he scientist !i ed his glasses, allo!ed a light strea& to be scattered on their surface, and then dro ed the& and ste ed on the& acco& anied by a sigh of relief% +e then said: 1* a& the erfect &achine%3 'he scientist looked at 6a&eless (ndre! e7 ecting an e7 ression of sur rise, instead finding one of astonish&ent and fright% 'hey stared at each other for a !hile% 1My eyes !ill soon ada t,3 the scientist said% 1:ou see, * a& not bound to &y body longer, or to its deficiencies% 'his is the &ost ri&itive and inefficient lifefor& * e7ist in% 'he others are &uch better%3 1'he others53 1:es% 6o! * can e7ist at different laces si&ultaneously, sha e &yself as * !ill% * can attend conferences and at the sa&e ti&e !ork% * don,t need slee % * have an ar&y of &yselves%3 'he scientist !ent silent for an instant% 1'o destroy the erfect &achine one has to destroy all its subunits si&ultaneously% *f one unit survives, the &achine continues to function nor&ally and regenerates itself, because all its subunits contain the co& lete kno!ledge of the !hole% * a& thus relatively invincible and i&&ortal%3 10ut then !hy co& ro&ise53 6a&eless (ndre! asked% 1:ou can do anything you !ish%3 16ot entirely% * have never so far sacrificed &y notions for any ob"ective% 'hat is !hy * !as ready to co& ro&ise% 6ot co& ro&ising !ould have &eant that in order to achieve &y ai&s * !ould have had to overrule &y o!n rules of conduct, !hich !ould have had catastro hic conse.uences% (s a erson * !ould have been no longer%3 'he scientist sto ed !inking !ith his eyes% 1'he cul&ination of the erfect &achine is that it can do anything it can i&agine, but not necessarily doing everything it can i&agine% * look at destruction as ur oseless and abhorrent, yet !hen * erceive the !ay *,& treated * begin to !onder%3 'he scientist e7ceeded his ar&s to!ards hi& theatrically% 1'hey refused the co& ro&ise% *,ve got another no% *,& tired of getting nos% 'hat,s !hat * get all the ti&e% 6o, no, no, no% 6o &ore

nos%3 'he scientist !ent around the stand, his !hite cloak see&ingly tightening on his body% 6ot .uite, it !as rather the other !ay around/ the scientist !as beco&ing bulkier, but still re&aining very lean% 6a&eless (ndre! !atched in disbelief as his e& loyer began to rese&ble hi& in hysical a earance &ore and &ore, !hile treading on the shattered glasses as he !as circling hi&% 8hat if the scientist !as to be stronger than hi&, 6a&eless (ndre! asked hi&self, a fearful vision assing through hi&% *t !as an idea co& letely novel to hi&/ he had never been !eaker than anyone before% +e had al!ays been hysically su erior% 'he scientist looked dee into his eyes and s&iled aternally% 1:ou fear, you,re afraid all the ti&e% Fear is an integral art of your e7istence% (nd you even acce t it so% * don,t% Fear and ain &ust be dealt !ith% 'he erfect &achine &eans no ain and no sorro!%3 'he scientist !as nearly of his si$e no!% 1'his is &y only lifefor& !hich feels ain and fear% * fear * shall eventually give u &y notions, because * !ill have no other alternative to i& le&ent &y ideas% * feel ain, because * a& a &an on the outside, a &an !ho !as e7cluded fro& society% :ou see, * did not search nor !ant loneliness, it !as so&ething inflicted u on &e% * al!ays tried to &ake the best use of !hat *,ve got, * gre! on &y !eaknesses so to say% 'his !as !hat * told &yself for a long ti&e% * also told &yself that the day !ould co&e !hen * !ould be acce ted and res ected, even if not loved% 'he latter is so&ething * believe * !ill never receive% 0ut fro& the ers ective of the erfect &achine it doesn,t &atter, since it is the one) &an)state% ;very function is fulfilled by it, it needs no one% 'his is the &ain reason !hy * called it erfect% *n &y ast life * couldn,t rely on anyone, * !as al!ays cheated and fro& this &y desire ste&&ed to beco&e inde endent in every ossible !ay% * created the island, the co& le7, energy sources% ;verything% >ntil recently, * thought the ayday !ould co&e sooner or later, * even agreed to a co& ro&ise% 0ut no! the likelihood of &y acce tance is fading, and !ith it the &achine is shifting fro& this lifefor& in front of you to others, !hich are in no !ay attached to society nor !ish to be nor de lore destruction% -f course, those lifefor&s are &e as !ell% Funny, isn,t it53 16ot e7actly3, 6a&eless (ndre! said, ascertaining that the scientist ceased gro!ing% 16aturally it isn,t funny% *t,s rather angering% 6ot as angering though as the !ay those little u ets handled the co& ro&ise%3 6a&eless (ndre! babbled so&ething inco& rehensible% +e !anted to tell the scientist about the general, but found his tongue la&ed% +e reali$ed this !as so for !hatever he !ould have said the scientist !ouldn,t have listened, being greatly biased% 0esides, his e& loyer didn,t see& to be a erson one could feel sorry for, no! he !as strong, vital and dangerous% 6a&eless (ndre! stood &otionless and o!erless/ he !as drifting on an unkno!n ath to!ards an unkno!n location% )))) 'he baron looked sur rised and confused !hen seeing the ne! scientist barely leaner than 6a&eless (ndre!% +e hi&self had lost !eight in the &eanti&e/ there !ere neither eanuts nor chi s in front of hi& resently% +is eyes !ere !rinkled/ his forehead creased sho!ing ho! little slee he had had since their revious &eeting% 6a&eless (ndre! thought he rese&bled a !ithered a le fro& !hich the substance !as co& letely gone% 'he baron re&inded hi& of the !ay he had visuali$ed great e& erors of the ast right before their e7ecution% 'he glo!ing and sus icious eyes vibrating left to right, the shaking hands and the irregular breathing !ere all signs of total &ental and conse.uently hysical colla se% 'he baron folded his fingers to kee the& fro& tre&bling and said hoarsely, &aking hi& sound al&ost as !his ering: 1(fter long and arduous negotiations, checking and double checking * have &anaged to convince all &a"or arties about the necessity, urgency and

correctness of the draft docu&ent !e had &ade% +o!ever, there are so&e &inor details !hich &ust be clarified, because of their a&biguous nature%3 'he baron,s scarlet eyes gra$ed on the fe! delegates, including the general, the business&an and the vice before continuing% 1(lso, in the first art relating to ast activities one &ust &ake recise distinctions bet!een the conduct of the =rou of Five, later 'hree and the i& le&entation by other subdivisions% 'hese &ust not be &i7ed%3 'he scientist laughed heartily, his teeth shining !hite, not at all si&ilar to the cavity stricken "a! he had been once so keen to hide% 1'hat is to say you re"ect sharing bla&e for causing illegalities, constructional blunders and the like% :ou thereby !ant to achieve i& unity, not only in a legal, but also in a &oral sense% * a& afraid * cannot agree to such a &otion%3 'he baron,s cheeks lost the little ruddiness they still had, it see&ed all the blood !as u& ed to his eyes due to the res onse fro& the scientist he hadn,t e7 ected% Pale !hite, his !hole career and re utation !as in sha&bles% 'he general, .uite alive and agile, !as re ared o ortunistically for this ossibility, and sa! her chance for tu&bling the baron had arrived% 1*n that case,3 she said char&ingly in her &ost seductive &anner, 1*,& sorry, but the !hole future of the co& ro&ise is in danger% 8e, and here * s eak in the na&e of the !hole organi$ation, have already sacrificed so &uch that any &ore !ould "eo ardi$e our future% 'he alteration of the first art of the docu&ent &ust therefore ha en before !e give our consent%3 'he rest of the delegates &inus the baron nodded in agree&ent% 'he scientist &ade a !hole range of faces, fro& listless to annoyed, his silvery eyes scanning the roo&, !hile his fingers ta ing on the table% 6a&eless (ndre! glanced at the general to discover no kind e7 ressions on her countenance to!ards hi&% *n fact she !as as cold and distant as if they !ere total strangers% +e felt sadness, so&ething lost he could not retrieve% 1* think, des ite of the fact the conference has "ust co&&enced, holding a break no! !ould be a very !ise thing,3 the scientist said, to !hich everyone consented% 6a&eless (ndre! !anted to have so&e fresh air and so left the re&ises% +e cli&bed to the to of the skyscra er, !here the !ind layed a er etual sy& hony% 'he roof !as barren, there !ere only a fe! re&nants of an atte& t to cultivate so&e flo!ers or bush here/ but the altitude !as too great and the !ind fro& the o en sea too revailing for the sa lings to survive% 6a&eless (ndre! gli& sed do!n at the &obile &etro olis belo!, there !as an effervescence of lights in the night sky and the blo!ing sound of !ind% 'hen after a !hile !ith his teeth chattering, he returned to the conference hall "ust to e7 erience the greatest disa oint&ent of his lifeti&e% 'he general and the vice !ere having a very sensual chat% 2he !as laughing and occasionally !his ering into his ears, both of the& very &uch en"oying the&selves% 'he silence and tension around the& !ere accentuating their blissful &ood even &ore% 6a&eless (ndre! felt he !as losing his te& er% +e staggered to his chair !hile !atching the t!o lovebirds very carefully% 'he general !as frivolous and sha&eless% 2o, this !as the !ay it !as, he thought nearly s!allo!ing his tongue% 'he scientist noticed hi& being u set i&&ediately and told hi&: 1Peo le like o!er% 'hey can hardly define !hat they &ean by it, it,s so&ething i& al able and yet &ighty and a!eso&e% 'he general sees o!er in the vice, and this &akes hi& se7ually very interesting%3 6a&eless (ndre! nodded, infuriated/ he tolerated re"ection even less than the scientist did% (nd clearly, he !as du& ed by the general% +e felt like a fool, a lay doll, that once satisfied its user, but !as no! thro!n a!ay by the bored rincess, !ho sought other adventures and challenges% 'heir relationshi turned sour since the sect incident, that !as true, but 6a&eless (ndre! believed it could be revived so&eho!, in the !orst case they !ould take fare!ell in dignity% *t see&ed the general had thought it out differently% *n the &iddle of her love chat !ith the vice, she gli& sed at hi& conveying a &essage he could not

&isunderstand% 'he &a"estically condescending look, 1the you !anted it so,3 s&ile butchered his still e7isting ho e, and incited aggressiveness in hi& not felt since he had beco&e e& loyed by the scientist% +e !as the &an of yesterday, an ancient figure !ho resolved his differences !ith others by brute force, and ke t his !o&en under close surveillance% 2o&eone !ho dealt !ith creatures believing they could lay ga&es !ith hi&% +e !anted to kill the vice and &ake the general suffer% 1(fter careful considerations,3 the scientist said after all the delegates had found their !ay back, 1* have co&e to the conclusion that a slight alteration of the no! e7isting docu&ent !ould still be a better alternative than no co& ro&ise !hatsoever% 'herefore%%%3 6a&eless (ndre! !as etrified% +e could hardly believe !hat the scientist !as saying% +o! could he hu&ble hi&self so &uch !hen he had the u er hand, the erfect &achine5 8hy didn,t he use the erfect &achine5 6a&eless (ndre! certainly !ouldn,t have conte& lated unching the red button that instant% +e !anted revenge, !hich !as as s!eet to hi& as a se7ual intercourse% +e stood u , leaned on the table and stuttered inarticulately: 16o co& ro&ises, you little shit? :ou,ll ay%3 'he you,ll ay art !as intended for the general and the vice, !ho certainly turned ale at once% 1'he erfect &achine !ill take care of you%3 (t this stage so&ething utterly une7 ected ha ened% 'he scientist ulled 6a&eless (ndre! back!ards and then unched hi& on the chin% Merely a &o&ent later, he landed on the floor, his nose bleeding% 6a&eless (ndre! could have averted the blo! undoubtedly, but it !as so sudden and an action so unlike the scientist that he si& ly couldn,t believe it% +e lay on the floor in a ool of blood !ith a so&e!hat shaken &ind% )))) 'he co& ro&ise !as signed des ite 6a&eless (ndre!,s atte& t to sto it% +e, for his art, !as recu erating fro& the unch he had received for .uite so&e ti&e, resting in bed and &using about his life% ;ven no!, he had drea&s of the general no! and then, although he thought the rese&blance !as only hysical bet!een drea& and reality% For his reality !as very &urky% +e !as out of touch !ith the rest of the !orld/ the island !as a sanctuary and a rison as !ell% +e felt like a foreigner every!here for he belonged no!here% +is roots had been cut off including the ones he tried to strike in the &eanti&e% +e !as a tuber, !hich had sto ed short of beco&ing a real lant% +e bla&ed hi&self for everything that had or hadn,t occurred to hi&, and s ent his ti&e glaring at the rigid !alls as if he !as sentenced% 0ut eventually he got tired of resting and thus !andered off in the labyrinth once again% (nd as usual he got lost, he couldn,t find his !ay back des ite dra!ing a sketch of the ath he had taken, the hall!ays see&ed to have changed location relative to each other% :et, he could erceive no signs of &ove&ent, there !as no noise or tre&bling or a si7th sense feeling% 'here !as, indeed, a roo& !here his !as su osed to be, but it certainly !asn,t his% *t !as &uch bigger, and the !alls !ere covered by osters of all si$es% +e !as a&a$ed, and !ondered !hy he hadn,t stu&bled u on this roo& before% 'hen he concluded the ans!er to be obvious, it !as definitely not a roo& the scientist !ould have !ished to be discovered by anyone% Perha s his e& loyer thought he !as resting, and allo!ed hi&self so&e carelessness% 6a&eless (ndre! !alked around, looked at the osters of loosely dressed and naked !o&en, and then noticed a glass)fronted cabinet containing do$ens of &aga$ines and other articles of unkno!n nature% +e !as interested, his &elancholy suddenly disa eared% +e !ent to the glass)fronted cabinet and took out a &aga$ine fro& the &iddle% +e bro!sed for a !hile and !as disgusted by the violence and erversity of the ictures he !as looking at% +e had never seen anything like the& before, and he had certainly never thought he !ould find such things on the island% +e ut do!n the &aga$ine and e7a&ined the countless gadgets scattered around, !hich roved to be sti&ulators of different kinds% Fro& a &echanical oint of vie!,

they !ere brilliant constructions, finely !orked out to the s&allest detail, and no doubt each one of a kind, not &ass roducts% -n the other hand, they !ere disturbing in that they indicated a sick &ind, !hich 6a&eless (ndre! ha ened to kno! !as also a great &ind% +e turned on so&e of the devices and listened to their gargling, !hile he sat do!n% +e !as .uite una!are of the ti&e that assed/ he do$ed% 'hen une7 ectedly: 18hat%%%5 is going on%%%53 he heard the scientist e7clai& and "u& ed to his feet at once% 1*t,s only &e,3 he said a!k!ardly% 'he scientist gli& sed at hi& sur rised and e&barrassed% *n fact, they !ere both e&barrassed% 18ell,3 the scientist re"oined, 1here you have it% :ou found out !hat an abhorrent erson * a&% 0ut before you &ake any re"udge&ents you should kno! about the reason for this lace% :es, everything in this labyrinth has a reason% 8here should * start53 'he scientist thought for a !hile% 1* told you once of the i& ortance of continuous !ork in science, the need for generating interest at ti&es% *t is also i& ortant not to allo! any e&otions to ervade one,s !ork or anything that can distract one,s attention% -ther!ise all the !ork to be done !ill never really get done% * have, as any other &e&ber of our s ecies, certain needs des ite the fact that no! * a& also art of the erfect &achine, that * a& the erfect &achine% :es, this lifefor& in front of you needs slee , nourish&ent and tender love% >nfortunately, * could never en"oy the latter, but the desire still lingers% (t ti&es, * lose concentration, * si& ly cannot hold &y ti&e schedule, it affects &e so &uch% 'hen * co&e here% 'his roo& is a necessity% *t satisfies &y needs%%% My se7ual needs% * have never done it !ith a%%%,3 the scientist ursed u his li s and bent his head, 1a real !o&an% * have al!ays failed% Perha s it !as &y fault% * haven,t been the blond fairy tail rince and yet * have ai&ed at the &ost inaccessible !o&en, and naturally got no!here% 6ot that the others !ould have referred &e, of course% 0esides, &y relationshi !ith !o&en has al!ays been a&biguous, * !asn,t sure * !anted to get involved, * could never o en u % 'hat !as one of the reasons !hy * hired you% * thought * could learn it fro& you% <ust like learning ho! to ride a bicycle% -r rather to revive it% *t !asn,t al!ays like this% 8hen * !as young, * !as like you% 8ild and instinctive% (ggressive% * had &any friends, they see&ed to like this vitality% 0ut then * beca&e too civili$ed, full of inhibitions and certainly &y hysical a earance hasn,t hel ed either% * found &yself left out% *t !as then that * beca&e a scientist% (t least nu&bers don,t discri&inate, only !e do% * tried to reconcile &yself !ith the situation by retending to be unaffected, as if * didn,t need a !o&an% * talked &yself into the idea that a fa&ily !ould only be a hindrance to &y !ork, !hich !as the &ost i& ortant thing to &e% 9oneliness surely &akes one think, but it hardly lets one fly% (nd then,3 the scientist !inked, 1and then * started to hate !o&en% :ou see, hate is one of the best driving forces, it &otivates% 9oneliness and hate &akes one ca able of flying% Possibly not in the right direction, but still%%% * hated the&, because they re"ected &e, hu&iliated &e, because it !as better than hating &yself% *t !as a oint of no return, * !as e7cluded fro& society and * e7cluded &yself even further% 6aturally, &y a&bitions and battle against the baron co& licated things, and also occu ied &e%3 'he scientist o ened his ar&s, fla ed the& together, and then syste&atically turned off the gadgets 6a&eless (ndre! had s!itched on% 'hereafter he continued% 1(nd then * sa! you hu&iliate yourself for the general, and reali$ed it !asn,t so&ething * could do% * !ill never genuflect for anything or anyone% * !ill not beg for &y life, and * !ill definitely not court like an overse7ed gorilla in the !oods% *t,s so ri&itive% *t has al!ays been so ri&itive% * !anted change/ * !anted to change this and &any other things%3 10ut courting is a re.uire&ent in a certain !ay% -ne has to rove oneself,3 6a&eless (ndre! said%

1'hat is%%% no doubt correct% 0ut the &anner in !hich it is done is the roble&% *t is a &atter of the ro&antic &odel%3 1'he !hat53 1*t is so&ething !o&en see in, learn in childhood% 'he fairy tail% 'he blond rince !ho saves the& and rides off !ith the& to !onderland% 'he fall in love at first sight conce t% 'his latter is so&ething * co& letely discard as nonsense% (nd the &ake hi& suffer as ect% (nd !hen a boy co&es to you, dear, don,t give yourself easily, lay !ith hi&, hu&iliate hi&% *f he does cra$y things for you then and only then can you be sure of his true affection% 2ay no even if you !ant to say yes, and if you ha en to be retty use the idiots, &ake the& do things for you, and !hen they !ould finally think they have &ade it, say no% Fun and ga&es%3 'he scientist !as sarcastic and angry% +e s.uashed so&e devices, folded a &aga$ine and tore it to ieces% 'hen suddenly he !as cal& and listless% 1'he ro&antic &odel dangerously oversi& lifies the !orld/ it creates a eu horia !hich can be s!e t a!ay in a bare &o&ent leaving nothing% *t is also a &odel, along !ith &odels on !hich &ost religions are based on that !as created a long, long ti&e ago, and not at all a lied or tested by their creators% ( a er &odel% 2ee&ingly, it !orks brilliantly, but !hen you ut it to the test, it roves co& letely inade.uate% 'here are no fairy tail rinces, !ho never age and never have a bad day nor are there houses &ade of honey and chocolate% ( ro&antic erson erceives everything rosy% 'he roble& lies in the eventual discovery that not all things are rosy% -ne has to !ork on a relationshi continuously% *t is all about &aking co& ro&ises% * re&e&ber a co&edy series * once liked about eo le !ho al!ays fell out of love because of trivial things, like ho! the other kisses, laughs, !alks, !ears a shirt or the sort% *n the &eanti&e, they gro! old% 'hen the &odel co&es tu&bling do!n, and it usually ends !ith suicide%3 'he scientist sighed and un!ra ed hi&self of his !hite cloak, he !as, indeed, as &usculous as 6a&eless (ndre!% +e thre! the rotective clothing on a chair and folded his hands% 1(s * &entioned * had believed &y looks !ere the &ain cause of &y failures !ith !o&en% 'he da&ned glasses, the &eagre body% 0ut no! * have to conclude that * thought !rong% * got rid of the s ectacles, &y once sli& body is strong, and yet * never succeed%3 12o you have tried since%%% changing53 6a&eless (ndre! !as sur rised% 1-h, yes% * stole into the city at night, !ent fro& bar to bar in search% * ut u &y best faces, sho!ed off &y al&ost erfect body and%%%,3 the scientist strangely couldn,t find the right !ord, 1they still said no to &e% 8hat do you think, !as this because * actually i& ersonated so&eone !ho !asn,t really &e53 1* don,t kno!,3 6a&eless (ndre! said% 1* haven,t the faintest idea !ho you are% -r for that &atter !ho * a&% :ou are a versatile &an, this roo& clearly indicates it% Perha s the &an you felt you !ere i& ersonating !as you after all% * gather your roble& is to be found so&e!here else%3 18here53 the scientist looked eagerly at hi& de&anding an ans!er% 1+ave you ever been nice to eo le other than !ho& you !ere interested in53 1* !anted an ans!er, not a .uestion,3 the scientist said &orosely, and then see&ed to think for a !hile% 'hen he e7clai&ed loudly: 18hy should * have been5 *t,s a !aste of ti&e% 8hat ur ose !ould that serve53 1* a& sure you can find a suitable &odel !here it does serve a ur ose% 0esides it !ould solve your roble&s,3 6a&eless (ndre! said% 1:ou,re attacking the roble& incorrectly and so you fail%3 14o you really think so5 Can it be that53 the scientist asked hi&self% 1*t is like this,3 6a&eless (ndre! e7 lained% 1:ou !alk into so&e!here/ stare at best !ithout any e7 ression at eo le, and then you atte& t to co&&unicate by silly dialogues% :ou have to use your eyes, and s&ile% 2&iling is the key to success% *f you see an elderly, fat

and bald lady you can still s&ile at her, she !ill no doubt re&e&ber you for the rest of her life% *t doesn,t cost anything and you can achieve great things% :ou can &ake others ha y%3 1* !onder,3 the scientist said% +e silenced for a second% 1* don,t think * can do it%3 1-f course, you can,3 6a&eless (ndre! re"oined% 12ee,3 6a&eless (ndre! !as all s&iles, his eyes glittering% 1- en your &outh like this and let your teeth shine% 'ell yourself that they should be ha y to have a &an like you around%3 6a&eless (ndre! !ent silent% 1'hat,s all53 the scientist asked% 1(bsolutely% 'he rest should develo by itself% 9et the action guide you% 4on,t force things%3 1'he advice you have given see&s valuable, but rather vague on the a lication art%3 1* can,t ossibly give you a fool) roof &ethod/ it all de ends on the situation and at&os here%3 1=reat,3 the scientist &ur&ured% 'hey didn,t say a !ord for a !hile% 'hen the scientist broke the silence% 18hat ha ened bet!een you and the general5 :ou haven,t been to the city for a long ti&e%3 1*t,s over%3 6a&eless (ndre! conte& lated if he should say anything else% 12he sure !as a retty creature,3 the scientist re&arked% 1:ou !ere right about her% 2he !as evil,3 6a&eless (ndre! said in sorro!% 1@eally5 * !as beginning to like her% 2he !as artly the reason the baron bent%3 16o doubt% 2he also%%%3 6a&eless (ndre! !as !ondering !hether he should tell the scientist about the general% (fter all, it had been his rivate affair, !hich eventually turned into an e&barrassing relationshi % +e !ished he had never &et the general, or for that &atter the scientist% +e had such a si& le and cosy life before they o ed u % 'he scientist &ight not have believed hi&, but laughed at hi& or erha s unleashed his other lifefor&s, !hich !ould have fried hi& alive% *t &ight have even corroborated his earlier vie!s of !o&en and for all this, he, 6a&eless (ndre!, !ould have been res onsible% 6o! he, 6a&eless (ndre!, !as certainly tired of being a sca egoat% 1(lso !hat53 the scientist asked% 18anted &e to kill you%3 'he scientist looked at hi& sus iciously% 1*s that so5 (nd !hy &ay * ask53 6a&eless (ndre! s&iled for a second% 'he latter .uestion !as so &uch like the scientist% (l!ays !hy, for !hat ur ose, to !hat end etc% 'he iercing eyes of his e& loyer, ho!ever, fro$e his countenance% 18hy53 12he leads the sect of love% :ou are, in her belief, the arch ene&y, because you hate love and everyone !ho loves,3 he cited the general% 1(nd no! * a& a traitor of course% 2he ro&ised &e she !ould kill &e if * told you%3 1+&&,3 the scientist hu&&ed% 18e,ll see !ho,s going to be eli&inated% Finally, * understand !hy the baron,s osition deteriorated so .uickly% +e,s surrounded by villains% 0y his greatest ene&ies and an ar&y of bootlickers% * ity hi&%3 'he scientist !as once again a dangerous &an, his !hole body s arkling in anger% +e stoo ed over a chair turning to!ards the !all% 6a&eless (ndre! s.uatted in one corner% 1* !as right about her% * !as blind, she even fooled &e% 0ut no roble&%3 'he scientist looked at hi&% 1* !ill &ake sure she,ll have no say in the future%3 6a&eless (ndre! shrank back, he !anted to get out of the roo& and yet !as curious of !hat the scientist !as about to say% 1* kne! it% 'hey are all like that% 8o&en% :ou can never trust the&% 'he little snakes% 2he !anted to &urder &e, did she5? 8ell, !ell, !ell% *,ll "ust crush the&,3 and !ith that said the scientist crushed a gadget% 'hen there !as a eriod of silence% 16ot all !o&en are like her,3 6a&eless (ndre! uttered%

1:ou better not say another !ord,3 the scientist told hi&% 1(nd no! get the hell out of here% :ou have no right to be in this roo&% *t,s &y ro erty% Move?3 6a&eless (ndre! !asted no ti&e in doing so% )))) +e didn,t kno! !hat to think% 'he general,s lea see&ed believable and sincere, but he !as cheated and deluded so &any ti&es by her earlier that he !as confused% 2hould he res ond5 (nd if he should, ho!5 'he general had asked hi& to &eet her on the outskirts of the city, and she had sounded very frightened% +e !ondered !hether to infor& the scientist of events unfolding, but then decided not to% 'he scientist !as occu ied by asse&bling data of a lanet he called the =reen Planet, !here he thought he had found evidence of lifefor&s distinct fro& all his lifefor&s% 0esides, the scientist dived into scientific research after the se7 roo& incident, and &ade great rogress% *t looked as if he once again closed hi&self off fro& the !orld surrounding hi&% +e certainly hadn,t follo!ed 6a&eless (ndre!,s advice, and for all this 6a&eless (ndre! felt res onsible% *t !as strange, because the scientist hadn,t the least bla&ed hi& in any !ay% *t !as true, ho!ever, that they barely &et% 6a&eless (ndre! still felt res onsible for being frank and for telling the scientist things, !hich !ould have been better unsaid% Perha s his e& loyer had been right about certain .uestions that one should not try to ans!er/ there !as clearly a rela se or rather a vicious circle in the behaviour of the scientist% +e definitely returned to his original vie!s, there !ere no signs of e&otion sho!ing on hi&% +e !as listless, so&bre and olite as usual% 6a&eless (ndre! resu&ed there !as fervour hidden inside the scientist that he feared &ight e7 losively burst into the o en in a huge detonation at any &o&ent% +e thought of his e& loyer as a tank being continuously filled !ith gas !ithout any valve to let the e7cess out% (nd then eventually%%% 6a&eless (ndre! finally decided to &eet the general at the given lace at the given ti&e, des ite the ossibility of ste ing into an elaborate tra % +e ho ed this ti&e his intuition !as correct and the general !as really in trouble% +e didn,t ad&it it even to hi&self, but he !as counting on a revival of their relationshi % +e &issed her, her endless lectures and her co.uettish chitchat% 0ut &ost of all he &issed her body% +e could forgive her if he could "ust hold her tight again% (nd of course, if she ceased as the leader of the sect of love% 6a&eless (ndre! !ent to the harbour of the island/ it !as a lagoon only the cata&aran could cross !ithout foundering% 'here !ere gates connecting it !ith the ocean, !hich could be o ened if re.uired% +e seated hi&self in the shi and navigated to sea% 'hen he set the coordinates and leaned back hardly noticing the rhyth&ical bu$$ing of the engines% *t took so&e!hat longer to reach his destination !ith the cata&aran than by lane, but the scientist referred it nevertheless, because he could travel !ithout actually needing to let others kno! of his !hereabouts% +e could easily by ass the light coast guard shi s surrounding the &etro olis and thus the baron couldn,t trace hi&% 'he harbour of the city rovided &any shady docks, !here one could fish out a !hole variety of things fro& the !ater e7cluding fish% 2o&e of these !harfs !ere .uite close to the skyscra ers of interest to the scientist, and &ade this trans ortation &ode .uite convenient% +o!ever, 6a&eless (ndre! headed in a different direction than usual/ he assed under bridges ainted reddish)bro!n by rust and deterioration% =rey !arehouses &ottled the !ay, &ost of the& e& ty, !ith shattered !indo!s% 'he outskirts !ere a no)&an,s)land, !here the o ortunistic and unscru ulous could &ake .uick bucks% 6a&eless (ndre! looked out of the shi and felt glad he !as in the safety of bullet roof !indshields% +e al!ays avoided these arts before/ his strength !as useless in the &urky alleys%

'here !as a shabby rail!ay station ahead, !here he !as su osed to &eet the general% 2he !as !aiting for hi& dressed in a dark cloak, standing beside a la& ost, ostensibly an old !o&an% ( ri ed hood covered her head, her hands dee in her ockets% +e thought this disguise could hardly fool anyone/ her figure !as straight and sha ely% +e left the cata&aran so&e distance fro& the rail!ay station, and before actually frightening the general by e&bracing her fro& behind, investigated the surroundings% 2he see&ed to be alone/ the station !as .uiet, only a ho&eless &an !as slee ing soundly on one of the benches, his hands gras ing a bottle% 1+ere * a&,3 he said after the general recognised hi&% +e s&iled at her% 2he shook her head in disbelief: 1:ou "ust "u& on &e, and this is all you can say%3 2he sighed and !aved her hands% 6a&eless (ndre! &used !hat he should have said% 1+o! about: * love you5 *s that better53 he asked% 1Please,3 she said loftily, 1* asked your hel % 2o don,t try to take advantage of the situation%3 1* don,t,3 he re"oined offended% 1:ou &ade &e co&e here in the &iddle of the night !ithout telling &e anything% (nd this is !hat * get5 :ou,re .uite so&ething%3 +e turned a!ay fro& her, to!ards the harbour% 2he took hold of his sleeve% 1*,& sorry,3 she said taking his right hand close to her breasts, he could feel the tre&bling of her heart% 2he kne! ho! to reconcile hi& fast% 1'he train !hich !e &ust get on !ill be here soon%3 1Must53 he asked% 1:es,3 she said% 1* think the baron,s life is in danger% 'here are eo le !ho !ant to%%%3 1Cill +i&,3 he finished the sentence% 1* thought you !ere very &uch interested in getting rid of hi& as !ell% 0ut not any &ore5 -r is it rather &e you !ant to get out of the !ay53 16o, no,3 she said% 1* like you%3 1'hat,s good%3 1:ou have al!ays been !rong about &e% *,& not as bad as you think% * &ay have &ade so&e &istakes no! and then, but * re ent nothing%3 6a&eless (ndre! laughed and unched the general on the shoulder slightly% 2he e7clai&ed in ain: 1:ou brute%3 2he !ent inside the station resentful/ he follo!ed shortly thereafter% 12o !hoAs trying to do the baron53 he asked her, but instead of ans!ering, she looked at hi& in hate% 1* can go if that,s !hat you !ant,3 he said% +e started acing outside until she called hi&, then changed his direction and sat do!n on a bench% 2he soon seated herself beside hi&% 'hey sat in silence eering at everything around e7ce t each other% 6a&eless (ndre! !as in dee thoughts% +e !as !ondering ho! to break the silence, but couldn,t decide% (nd !hy should he al!ays be the one !ho reached out to others, he asked hi&self% 8hy couldn,t she for once say so&ething like: 1&y dear, * kno! * acted rotten, lease do forgive &e3, or erha s not as high)flo!n, 1the train !ill be here, so !e better go3% 0ut no% 2he "ust sat beside hi& staring at the !alls covered !ith the la&entable signs of oblivion, a schedule ages old yello!ish fro& the fu&es of close)by factories, !hich had been closed for so&e ti&e the&selves% Puddles gathered on the floor, !here the ceiling !as disintegrating, everything !as !et% 6a&eless (ndre! could sense fishy s&ells taken by a bree$e fro& the harbour% :et this lace !ould have see&ed to hi& as nice as any other !ould, if he could "ust lay his head in the general,s la % +e felt tired% +e !anted her to run her fingers through his hair, to at his cheeks% 0ut he feared if he told her !hat he longed for she !ould refuse hi&% 0esides, he thought, she had cheated hi&% +e didn,t need a liar like her, he didn,t need so&eone to take advantage of his !eaknesses once he had o ened u % -n the other hand, it !ould have been nice to kiss her% 6a&eless (ndre! !as er le7ed% 'herefore, he &ade no

breakthroughs/ the differences bet!een the& !ere unbridgeable% +e &used !hether she felt the sa&e !ay% 'hen the train arrived% *t !as rainbo! ainted, so&e!hat rese&bling a sub!ay train in its a earance, a trans ort &ediu& referred greatly by co&&uters fro& the villages and outskirts surrounding the city as to the acked high!ays% (t such a late hour, it !as e& ty ho!ever, only a conductor fiddling !ith ennies by a s&all desk inside% 8hen they aid the fare, he !as finally infor&ed as to their destination% 'hey !ere going to an area about an hour fro& the centre of the &etro olis% +e leaned back on a seat o osite to the general and glanced at the foggy lights shooting through the darkness% +e !as co& letely detached fro& his surroundings, and hadn,t the slightest desire to get involved in anything that night% 'he general, on the other hand, !as restless, her eyes circled the !agon, and she !as clearly overe7cited% 2he changed her osition, occu ied her hands in all sorts of confor&ations, her beautiful countenance overshado!ed by gri&aces% +e gli& sed at her no! and then, and felt sorry for her, yet at the sa&e ti&e thought she deserved to be an7ious% 6ot long ago she had !anted to &urder the baron/ she &ade &any successful attacks, !hich under&ined the o!erbase of the baron% +e could hardly believe her concern !as sincere for the &an she had !ished to oust% 2he !e t ossibly for so&e other reason, he thought% Maybe%%% &aybe, he continued ondering, she couldn,t connect !ith the vice% Perha s the baron !as si& ly a unching bag no!, on !hich the different ossible redecessors tried their strength and endurance% *n that case saving the baron fro& the others !as a victory, "ust as killing hi&% 'his idea &ight have see&ed to hi& absurd if he hadn,t been introduced reviously to the true character of the o onents% ;gois& and intolerance reflected in everything they have done% 'he general !as selfish beyond li&its/ she called hi& only !hen she needed so&ething% (nd this ti&e obviously she re.uired hi&% (nd he had run like a little oodle once again ho ing to be able to lick &iss rincess, toes% +e clicked his tongue not as &uch in des air as to break the &onotone "olting sounds of the train% :es, yes, he told hi&self% 6othing had changed% 6othing had changed since ancient ti&es% 'he scientist had been right, it !as ti&e for change% *t !as ti&e for soft!are evolution% 1*t,s the ne7t sto ,3 the conductor suddenly said% 1'hat,s !here you have to get off%3 6a&eless (ndre! looked at the general% 12o, do you have so&ething to tell &e5 +o! long are you going to kee &e blindfolded53 'he general conte& lated for a short !hile, then !his ered leaning close to hi&: 1*t,s the vice% +e !ants to do it% 0ut !e got to th!art hi&%3 18e53 he asked% 14on,t start again,3 the general ans!ered angrily !hich al&ost &ade hi& laugh% +e !anted to start a .uarrel, but they arrived before he could% +e thought she deserved to be hu&iliated if only for once, to feel lonely and des erate% 0ut instead of saying anything, he !as on the heels of the general, and before he kne! it they !ere seated in a ta7i% 'he driver !as a fa&iliar face, the &an !hose hands he had crushed !ith "oy% 'hey &oved !ith a frantic s eed, the at&os here tense% 'he roads !ere e& ty, there !ere no lights e&anating fro& the houses, all decent citi$ens !ere at slee % 'he general !as s!eating, ers iration settling on her &a"estic nose% +e thought about licking it off% *t !as no doubt an abhorrent notion regarding evolution, he i&agined, but he "ust couldn,t hel !anting to do it% *n fact, he !anted to lick her every!here, s&ell and taste her, the !o&an he at the sa&e ti&e hated so &uch% +e !as interested in this duality/ the cons iracy against the baron !as irrelevant to hi&% 8hat if he did it, he asked hi&self% 8hat !ould ha en if he bent to!ards the general and kissed her on the nose5 8ould she sla hi&5 +e thought it !as !orth a try to find out% +e stoo ed over the general, slo!ly advanced, and then hit the seat in front of her%

'hey ca&e to a co& lete halt, they arrived and so he !as thro!n for!ard% +e felt there !as a bu& develo ing on his head% +e !as certainly &ore disa ointed though about the fact that his e7 eri&ent thereby couldn,t even co&&ence than his head aching% 0y the ti&e he gathered hi&self, the cabdriver and the general !ere no!here to be seen% 'he car,s doors !ere o en on their sides/ they &ust have been in a great hurry% +e turned around a cou le of ti&es atte& ting to see !here they could have gone, but no one !as in sight, and everything !as .uiet e7ce t for a dog,s barking% 'he hound,s ho!ling re&inded hi& of the dogs of !ar% +e thought he ought to find the& before they !ould converge on the oor baron% 0ecause !ho kne! !hat &ight have ha ened if the baron !ere eli&inated, he &used% (narchy !as a likely candidate to follo!, and he thought the scientist !ould then have surely e7 loded, unleashing all his lifefor&s in one final battle% 'he conse.uences being disastrous, he decided to save the baron,s life if he could even though he !asn,t fond of the &an% +e de arted the vehicle after closing the doors, and relying on his instincts, !ent in one direction% +e cut through bushes and undergro!th in the t!ilight of a street la& alongside the road advancing to!ards a house% (s he distanced hi&self fro& the light source darkness fell on hi&, and !hen about to arrive at a clearance stu&bled on so&ething% *t !as a big bundle of so&e sort, he couldn,t &ake it out, the la& !as too far and too !eak% +o!ever the bundle &oaned, and this gave hi& so&e idea as to its being% +e investigated the tied erson, and after so&e !hile concluded that it !as the hideous character% +e thought it !as a nasty thing to do to anyone, that is, to tie hi& and then leave hi& in the foliage on a cool night like that% -n the other hand, he felt he co&&itted no cri&e if he left things as they !ere% (fter all, the hideous character !ould have been no doubt nothing but a hindrance on his &ission% +e atted the bundle on the shoulder encouragingly, and continued advancing on the house% +e sensed he !as at the right lace, although all the houses in the street !ere si&ilar% 6evertheless, this one !as different, this one had a hideous character tied and hidden in its back garden% 'his &ust have &eant so&ething/ he !as al&ost roud of his o!n ingenuity and reasoning skill% +e eered through a !indo!, but erceived only darkness% +e had to get inside the house so&eho!% +e tried to force the !indo! o en, but it !as tightly closed, and he !as una!are of its &echanis&% *t certainly see&ed co& le7 and thick, not a !indo! one !ould e7 ect to find on a &iddle class ho&e, he ventured to think% +e stole along the !all u to the front of the house% <ust for the sake of co& leteness, he checked !hether the door !as locked% *t !as, so he cre t further% -n the other side, he found a base&ent !indo! shattered% +e !asn,t sur rised% 'he er etrators had to get in so&eho! earlier% +e had an eerie feeling as he s.uee$ed hi&self into the house% +e scented blood and felt nausea% +e searched for a light s!itch, and in doing so once again stu&bled on so&ething% *n this case, the so&ething correctly described the three bodies lying in a great ool of blood he had tri ed into% (fter turning the lights on, he sa! the baron, an elderly fat lady and the cabdriver dead on the floor% 'hey all had &ulti le shot !ounds to the head% +e leaned on a desk and hadn,t the faintest idea !hat to do ne7t% +e stared at the cor ses% 'he baron lay in an a!k!ard osition, one of his ar&s beneath hi&, his !ide)o en eyes reflecting fear% 8ith a sudden thought, he !ent to the body and ulled the ar& fro& underneath it% 'he baron,s fingers !ere clutching so&ething% *t !as s&all and darkened by blood% 'he baron,s fingers !ere still res onsive, they released the ob"ect% 6a&eless (ndre! carefully e7a&ined it, and reali$ed it &ust have been so&e sort of a !ea on% +e had been .uite fond of guns in his youth, had kno!n all the e7isting ty es, but this !as entirely different% +e !ondered if this !as the &urder !ea on or erha s so&ething the baron had grabbed ho ing to rotect hi&self in the last &o&ents of his life% *n any case the result !as the sa&e, the ruler of the day !as no &ore%

6a&eless (ndre! ut the sus ected &urder !ea on on the desk and conte& lated% 'he baron,s death had far)reaching conse.uences% 'he co& ro&ise !ould be the first victi&, he thought, and the scientist !ould be certain to retaliate i&&ediately% +e didn,t kno! if that !ould be an all out offensive or a si& le unitive action% +e ho ed the erfect &achine !ouldn,t start rolling, de&olishing everything on its !ay eventually leading to co& lete destruction% 0ut after having observed the scientist,s state of &ind he could i&agine all ossible &easures% +e !atched the blood coagulate on the floor in thin sheets% 'i&e assed in coagulating thin sheets of blood, the only changes taking lace in the roo&/ other!ise, everything !as fro$en and i&&obile% 6a&eless (ndre! !as tired, his consciousness so&e!here bet!een drea& and reality% +is eyes !ere heavy !ith slee / everything see&ed to hi& to be out of ro ortion and floating% 'he !hole situation !as so&eho! inco& rehensible and unreal, the baron, the &an feared, hated and envied by the !orld !as dead, his unhealthy aunch slackly s reading, for&ing a circle around hi&% +e !as a la&entable sight !ithout any &a"estic or a!eso&e features% 'he re&nants of the baron re&inded hi& of a slaughtered household ig, one !hich .uickly inflated to a ro&inent si$e, but lacking any essence% 6a&eless (ndre! !ondered ho! the baron could ac.uire so &uch o!er in the first lace !ith such .ualities% +e had certainly not been a genius or a great organi$er as far as he could tell, and still%%% 8hat !as o!er about, he asked hi&self% 8hy !asn,t it the scientist !ho held o!er over others5 *t !as he !ho !as the genius, !as the erfect &achine, had visions of the future and ca&e u !ith solutions% 4elivered results on ti&e% 'he baron had never done that% (nd yet the baron had been the baron% 8as the .uestion of !ho held o!er a &atter of robability5 ( chance event, he thought% -r !as it so&e hidden .uality, char&, or charis&a he had overlooked5 *n any case, he and the scientist definitely hadn,t ossessed that so&ething, they !ere outsiders, &en !ho drifted to the eri hery of society% (nd even though they &ustered &uch &ore than the baron and his organi$ation, they !ere si& ly unaccounted for% 2uddenly he heard sirens and then a "olting noise, the front door !as torn do!n% +e erceived the sounds of hurrying footste s above hi&% 2oon the general and so&e olice officers descended the staircase leading to the base&ent% 'he general shrieked and looked at hi& .uestioningly seeing the cor ses% 'he olice officers .uickly scouted the roo&% 18hat ha ened53 the general asked fro& 6a&eless (ndre!% 1'hey got killed,3 he said sarcastically% 1'hey !ere retty &uch alive !hen * left the&,3 she said angrily% 1(re you trying to say so&ething53 'he general looked at hi& distrustfully% 18hat53 he asked in a&a$e&ent% 1+o! did you get in here53 1*s this an in.uisition53 1(ctually !e !ould like to kno! that as !ell,3 one of the olice officers said% 1'hrough the shattered !indo!,3 6a&eless (ndre! ans!ered% 1* ca&e in, found the& dead% +aven,t touched anything e7ce t that thing on the desk%3 1'hat thing see&s to be the &urder !ea on% *t robably has your finger rints all over it% * think you,d better find yourself an a!fully good la!yer, &y cha ,3 the olice officer said% 1*s this a set)u 5 (re you trying to fra&e &e53 he asked the general% 2he didn,t res ond, so he continued, 1so they !ere alive !hen you left the&53 1:es,3 she said% +e !as starting to lose his te& er% 'his !as the general he kne! !ay too !ell, to !ho& he !as si& ly a stranger% +e !as about to say so&ething insulting, !hen the hideous character follo!ed by other olice officers ca&e do!n to the base&ent%

18e found this &an tied outside, and hidden in a bush%3 1+e,s okay, a bodyguard,3 the general e7clai&ed% 2o he !as okay, but he, 6a&eless (ndre! !asn,t, 6a&eless (ndre! thought sourly% Miss sect leader ca&e through once again% 1*,& terribly sorry,3 the hideous character said% 1* !as knocked do!n fro& behind as * !as investigating the garden% * &ust have lain unconscious for .uite so&e ti&e% (nd then%%% *t,s hi&, da&n it,3 the hideous character ointed at hi&% 1*t &ust have been hi&%3 6a&eless (ndre! reali$ed it !as about ti&e he left the re&ises, before the lynching, that is% +e ushed the olice officers for&ing a ring around hi& in their res ective directions, kicked the hideous character belo! the belly, and ran% )))) 1:ou,ve got &e into a very recarious situation,3 the scientist said% 1* can,t i&agine ho! you &anaged to be such an idiot% :ou set a ne! record even for your standard% :ou !alked right into the tra % :ou &ade yourself into the erfect sca egoat% 6o! tell &e, !hat should * do5 ;7tradite you53 'he scientist !as understandably in a &orose &ood% 6a&eless (ndre! felt as a child, rebuked and at the &ercy of gro!nu s% 1*f * hand you over, you !ill at best rot in rison for the rest of your life for a cri&e you did not co&&it% 'his !ould be contrary to &y &oral beliefs% -n the other hand, if * don,t e7tradite you * rovide the vice, !ho is on the verge of beco&ing the ne! baron !ith the erfect rete7t to re"ect the co& ro&ise% +e !ould do so any!ay, but !ith the e7cuse, he doesn,t run into the trouble of &aking u one hi&self% 8hich &ay have roved to be very difficult, erha s i& ossible because other contesters to the throne could have used it against hi&% 'hus to beco&e the baron he !ould have had to bargain% 0ut thanks to you he,s no! free to declare the co& ro&ise as dead% (nd !here does that lace &e5 (ll * have achieved goes do!n the drain% * !ish%%% * !ish * never e& loyed you%3 'he scientist cla ed his hands together% 12o no! it,s back to the dra!ing board% 2tart everything all over again%%%3 'he scientist continued nagging, re eating the sa&e things over and over again, accentuating his terrible light% *f 6a&eless (ndre! !ere una!are of the erfect &achine and other scientist created scientific >to ias erha s, he !ould have felt asha&ed or do!n) stricken% 0ut he kne! very &uch about the abilities and o!er the scientist ossessed, the red button !as as real as the sharks lurking in the lagoon !here the artificial cliffs had been torn do!n% 6a&eless (ndre! couldn,t understand !hy he !as retending to be so&ething else than he !as, na&ely the erfect &achine% (nd assu&ing the correctness of his state&ents, the erfect &achine feared nothing, res ected nothing and definitely didn,t nag% 2o&eho!, 6a&eless (ndre! thought, the scientist couldn,t entirely control his o!n creation, it got out of hand and ca&e alive by itself% +is e& loyer ulled in one direction, the rest of the &achine in another, in fact each lifefor& in its res ective direction% 'he result !as a stale&ate% -f course, it !as tre&endously difficult to govern so &any vie!s the erfect &achine re resented, 6a&eless (ndre! thought% *n order to i& le&ent anything each decision had to get a &a"ority vote% 6o !onder the scientist ke t re eating hi&self, the &achine couldn,t agree on !hether to e7tradite hi& or not% >ntil the deadlock !as resolved, he had to say so&ething, even if it !as unscientifically dull% 18hat should * do53 the scientist asked for the tenth ti&e% 6a&eless (ndre! s&iled &ischievously% +e thought about saying so&ething insulting, but then didn,t% +e !as co&fortably seated in a chair, had a nice vie! of the sand dunes of the island and the gli&&ering lagoon% 0ranches rotruded above hi& shading hi& fro& the sun% +e en"oyed things as they !ere, and had no intention to get involved in a rolonged argu&ent

!ith the scientist over an issue of no interest to hi&% 'he !orld !as far, only the billo!ing sounds of the ocean could be heard and the chir ing of the strange seabirds that fle! against the !ind% (s he sat there, si ing le&onade, he !ondered about the reason the scientist !asn,t satisfied !ith things as they !ere% *t see&ed he al!ays !anted so&ething unattainable/ it see&ed to be inherent in his character% *t ke t hi& going% 0ut he !as never ha y% 9istless !as the best state of &ind 6a&eless (ndre! had seen hi& in, and the &ost fre.uent% 'his gave hi& a su ernatural character, only occasionally disru ted by his &ood s!ings% (t least !hen raging he see&ed al&ost nor&al, 6a&eless (ndre! thought% 'he erfect &achine !as abnor&al% 'his !as the reason for the al&ost% 6a&eless (ndre! had been furious at ti&es as !ell, es ecially in his youth% 0ut there had been no red buttons to be unched% 6o erfect &achine behind hi&% 'he scientist !as dangerous in hindsight of his ca abilities, !hich he had never actually used% 'he o!er he held over others, o!er he had clai&ed to disregard% -f course, others !ere una!are of hi& and his resources, so he !asn,t o!erful in ter&s of the o ulist baron% 2till he could sha e the future% +e could decide if there !as to be any future% 6a&eless (ndre! let his fingers run through the dark green grass% *t gave hi& a leasant feeling/ the s&ell of nature !as e&otionally tran.uillising% 8hat a difference co& ared to the cold realities of the erfect &achine and the &athe&atical &odels, he thought% 0ut then he suddenly discovered so&e fla! in his reasoning% 'he island he so &uch en"oyed rela7ing on !as itself artificial, so&ething the scientist had created fro& sand and dust% +e had done so !ith the hel of uninteresting algorith&s, yet the result !as very different fro& the origins% Perha s it !as only the scientist !ho couldn,t en"oy the benefits of his o!n achieve&ents, but 6a&eless (ndre! could% Maybe the erfect &achine !as also so&ething interesting and sensual, not so&ething distancing &ankind fro& nature, but doing .uite the o osite% 6a&eless (ndre! felt eager to find out% Perchance he could erceive and e7 erience things he never could before !ithout e7cluding anything he !as able to feel reviously% Perha s there !ere &ore alternatives% 6a&eless (ndre! thought, being a &an of instincts and i& ulsiveness that once alive the best thing one could do !as to see and e7 erience as &uch as one could, thereby getting the &ost out of it% 0ut could he beco&e a art of the &achine5 *t see&ed very doubtful considering his unfortunate role in recent events% 'he &achine !as dis leased !ith hi&, this he could gather fro& the scientist,s nagging, !hich didn,t !ant to end% )))) 'hey !ere a roaching the shi steadily% *t !as a big lu7ury yacht anchored in international !aters near shallo!s% *t !as here, on neutral ground the ne! baron and the scientist !ere to &eet% *t !as here 6a&eless (ndre!,s fate !as to be decided% +e had been charged !ith &ass &urders, all the killed eo le of the &etro olis of the ast t!o decades !hose cases had been unsolved no! suddenly !ere given an assassin, to the "oy of their relatives and satisfaction of the olice de art&ent% 6a&eless (ndre! roved to be the greatest and &ost brutal of &urderers of all ti&es% +is cri&es also included ra e, dealing in illegal co&&odities like drugs and firear&s, and not the least destruction of ublic eace and !elfare% 'he latter see&ed rather vaguely defined, but in any case even !ithout it 6a&eless (ndre! had &ore than enough to i& rison hi& for longer than all the scientist,s lifefor&s could live co&bined% +e !as the erfect sca egoat once again% +e !as cursed, !hile the true assassin(s) could rela7 and en"oy the untold benefits of &urder% 8ould the scientist trade hi& for a better deal, he asked hi&self% -r for any co& ro&ise for that &atter5

'he cata&aran easily navigated by the side of the shi and attached to it% 'hey ascended to the stern, !here a big s!i&&ing ool !as located !ith do$ens of slack, !ealthy citi$ens surrounding it% (&ong the& !ere guards !aiting for the&% 'hey !ere escorted into a conference hall and !ere &et by fa&iliar faces% 'he for&er vice, no! baron !as co&fortably seated in an easy chair at least three ti&es of the si$e of the t!o other chairs% 'o his left, the general ordered so&e notes/ to his right, the business&an chatted !ith a !aiter holding a glass full of !hisky in one hand% 'he roo& !as e7travagant, fa&ous and invaluable aintings decorating the !alls, the car et hand !oven, the round table &ade of centuries old oak covered !ith ivory% 'he ne! baron obviously didn,t constrain hi&self in any !ay, he lived life according to a baron% 6a&eless (ndre! thought he !as the s.uanderer heir !ho !ould .uickly consu&e the !ealth and credit of his ost% 1+ere !e are,3 the scientist said% 'he baron didn,t care to ans!er, he si& ly looked at his !atch% 1:ou are t!o &inutes late,3 the general e7clai&ed in a sonorous and lofty &anner% 1+ardly our fault,3 the scientist re"oined not !anting to discuss their delay any further% 1'his is the recision you,re so fa&ous for53 the baron t!isted his li and fli ed a coin, clearly trying his best to annoy and offend the scientist% 1:ou beg &e to &eet you, and then you fail to sho! u in ti&e%3 'he scientist !as annoyed all right% +e looked around, but it !as obvious there !ere no chairs &eant to be there for the&% +e leaned !ith t!o ar&s onto the table% 19et,s leave the cra % 8e have a deal to negotiate%3 'he baron s&iled &ischievously% 1@eally5 6o! is that so53 +e glanced at his t!o aids by his side, his eyes suggesting an 1*,ll sho! the& !ho,s the boss,3 attitude% 'hen he sighed, shook his head dis leased and said: 1(s far as * can re&e&ber you,re hel ing,3 he ointed at 6a&eless (ndre!, 1a dangerous cri&inal, !ho is believed to be res onsible for the deaths of do$ens of decent and innocent citi$ens% :ou are thereby co&&itting a cri&e yourself% -f course, * a& sure, if you hand hi& over to the authorities they !ill turn a blind eye to your coo eration !ith this individual%3 'he baron,s voice !as getting &ore and &ore hleg&atic and aristocratic% 6a&eless (ndre! !ondered ho! long the scientist !ould allo! this to continue% +e glanced at hi& and to his sur rise sa! hi& listless% 'hen he tried to get in eye contact !ith the general% *t !ould have been better if he didn,t, the hate and des ise she felt for hi& &ade her shiver, one shock!ave assed after the other in her body% +e thought if she had a s oonful of !ater, she !ould have dro!ned hi& in it% 1(ll right,3 the scientist said% 18hat kinds of assurances can you give that he,s going to get a fare trial if * e7tradite hi&53 10aah,3 the baron uttered% 1My !ord of honour%3 6a&eless (ndre! laughed, the scientist shook his head% 1*,& afraid that,s not good enough%3 'he baron suddenly see&ed angered% 1'hat,s not good enough, is it5 8hat a& * then5 ( liar53 +e stood u % 'he scientist si& ly nodded% 1:ou are a liar,3 he ans!ered% 'he baron stared at the scientist &otionless and silent for a !hile% 'hen he again beca&e a s oiled aristocrat, he leaned back to his chair and de&onstratively looked a!ay, ostensibly at an old vase !orthy enough to ay for the boat they !ere rocking in% (fter so&e ti&e the baron asked slightingly: 12o, !hat the fuck have you co&e here for then53 1* ca&e here to negotiate a ossible e7tradition% Further&ore to discuss and ascertain the fulfil&ent of the co& ro&ise, !hich the deceased baron has started%3 1'he !ho53 the baron in.uired% 18hat deceased baron are you talking about53

14on,t give &e that shit,3 the scientist said furiously% 1;7cuse &e,3 the baron re"oined% 1+ave you heard of any deceased baron53 he asked fro& the business&an and the general% 'heir ans!er !as a clear indication of a ne! hase in the relationshi of the t!o sides% 16o,3 they e7clai&ed% 1(nd there !as no co& ro&ise either, !as there53 16ot that !e kno! of,3 the baron said% 16ot that !e kno! of%3 1=ood day then,3 the scientist said, and they left, leaving a victorious s&ile on the ne! baron,s countenance, !ho& the general &ade sure !as not left !ithout !o&anly love% )))) 1'hey have cheated &e% * kne! it% 'hat little !or&% *t !as !ritten all over hi& fro& the beginning% 'hey si& ly denied that a co& ro&ise has ever e7isted% <ust &y luck,3 the scientist said% 1* !as ho ing the baron, that is the &urdered one, could hold out until the co& ro&ise has been ut to !ork, !hich !ould have eli&inated ossibilities such as the one !e encountered% 0ut the vice killed hi&% 'here can be no doubt about that% *t !as in his interest to do so% 'he little s oiled brat%3 'hey !ere !alking along a hall!ay inside the underground co& le7% 6a&eless (ndre! had no idea !here they !ere going, but the scientist had insisted u on having his co& any% +e !as reluctant to follo! his e& loyer/ he feared there !as so&e un leasant sur rise a!aiting hi& at the end of their "ourney% 1+e !ill obviously,3 the scientist continued his &onologue, 1not negotiate anything% -f course, the death of our oor baron could have been averted !ere you good enough to tell &e about develo &ents% * have trusted you% (nd you have betrayed &e% :ou, of all eo le%3 1* didn,t betray you,3 6a&eless (ndre! disagreed% 1'here are &any for&s of betrayal,3 the scientist said% 14e ending on the &odel one uses%3 14on,t try to get scientific !ith &e,3 the scientist !as losing his te& er% 2o !as 6a&eless (ndre!% 1:ou cannot ossibly bla&e &e for !hat has ha ened% >se the &achine% * can,t see your roble&%3 1:ou are &y roble&% ( roble& *,& about to solve% :ou see, you,re leaving &e%3 1Fine !ith &e,3 6a&eless (ndre! said% 1* !as going any!ay% * had enough of your bullshit%3 1'o the =reen Planet% :ou,re going to the =reen Planet% For a long, long ti&e%3 'hey arrived in a big hall at the &idst of !hich a s aceshi could be seen% 6a&eless (ndre! !as u$$led for a &o&ent% 8hat !as the ur ose of travelling to the =reen Planet5 'hen a sudden reali$ation shook hi&, and he said agitated: 1:ou can,t &ake &e go there%3 'he scientist s&iled viciously% 1Can,t *5 -f course * can% :ou,ll go% (nd that,s that% :our unish&ent for not thinking before acting% *t,s still better than rotting in a rison or getting e7ecuted% 'his !ay * can also !ork in eace% :our influence had done &e great har&, but no! * shall be free of you%3 6a&eless (ndre! looked at the scientist and &used% +e !as al&ost as big as hi&% (l&ost% 6a&eless (ndre! !as still stronger, and he thought it !as ti&e he returned the blo! he received earlier% +e certainly !as deter&ined not to bo! to ressure and undertake the tri devised for hi& under any circu&stances% *t !as a lunatic idea, only ossible to have co&e fro& the scientist% +e glanced at the s acecraft/ it !as a shiny iece of terror% 8hen he turned back to the scientist, he noticed he !asn,t alone% 'here !ere t!o ugly creatures standing beside hi&, t!ice as tall as hi&, and they !ere looking intensely at 6a&eless (ndre!% +e reali$ed they &ust have been t!o other lifefor&s he e7isted in%

12o !hat do you say no!5 * see you,re s eechless,3 the scientist said victoriously% 6a&eless (ndre! atte& ted an esca e% +e ran to the entrance of the hall, but as he arrived there it suddenly sealed, no signs left that there had ever been a door there% +e !as tra ed inside% 12to acting so ridiculously%3 'he scientist laughed !atching 6a&eless (ndre!,s actions !ith the greatest of a&use&ent, es ecially since they ended in failure% +e !as o!erful and &ighty% 1*t,s futile to resist, you should have reali$ed it by no!% :ou are going% ;ither by your o!n !ill or so,3 the scientist looked at hi&self, 1by force% :ou decide%3 6a&eless (ndre! sto ed tracing the !all for a !ay out, he kne! there !asn,t any% 'he scientist had al!ays been a thorough erson, not leaving anything to chance% 1* guess%%% * have no other choice% 0ut before * !ould e&bark u on this cra$y &ission, &y e7ile, tell &e !hat you !ill do about the baron%3 6a&eless (ndre! ho ed in the occurrence of so&e &iracle, or at least in delaying his i&&inent de arture% 'he scientist shook his shoulders% 1*,ll think of so&ething% 0ut * doubt that concerns you% :ou !ill be a safe distance a!ay% (nd !hen there, do send &e a ostcard%3 'he scientist giggled sarcastically% 14on,t get any strange ideas into your head,3 he !as reading his thoughts once again, 1you have but one alternative no!% *t !on,t be too bad, you !ill have al&ost an eternity to think% :ou !ill be forced to think% (nd you &ust agree, that,s so&ething very ositive% 0esides, you can see a !orld entirely different fro& ours% :ou !ill see so&ething even * haven,t%3 6a&eless (ndre! bo!ed in gratitude for getting such an o ortunity% 'hen he charged% 0ut he couldn,t reach the scientist, the t!o ugly creatures !ere .uicker than he had believed, and they e&braced hi&% +e !as in a living vice and all his struggling to break out !as in vain% 'he scientist shook his head% 18hy fight53 18hy not53 6a&eless (ndre! asked% 1(t least * fight% :ou%%% you "ust lie do!n and let everyone tread on you% (nd !hen that naturally annoys you, you take out your anger on &e% 8hy don,t you si& ly unch that da&n button5 'hen at least for once you !ill feel so&ething, the e7cite&ent of revenge% 'hat,s the closest you,ll ever co&e to se7ual e7cite&ent any!ay%3 'he scientist !as angered/ 6a&eless (ndre! !as deliberately hitting hi& on his !eakest s ot% 1:our great visions? 8hat good did they do you53 6a&eless (ndre! continued% 1(ll these great visions are res onsible for the building of greater and greater skyscra ers, covering everything !ith concrete% *,& sick of your visions, and so are you% 'hey brought you nothing but &isery% 2o go, and unch the red button% =et it over !ith% 'his !orld deserves it% ;volution, re&e&ber5? ( society unable to distinguish bet!een .uality and inferiority &ust not survive%3 1;nough,3 the scientist shouted, his eyes reddened% 6a&eless (ndre! kicked into the air as he !as dragged to the s aceshi by the &achine, !here they forced hi& inside% +e didn,t have a chance against the&% 'hen the doors closed, and his tri co&&enced% Chapter *& (n deserted nowhere 6a&eless (ndre! eered out of the s acecraft/ he could still see the island in the distance% +e !as sur risingly cal&, having disbelief in his o!n destiny and destination% 'hat he !as heading to so&e re&ote corner of the >niverse see&ed fascinatingly odd, the events !ere unfolding too s!iftly for hi& to fully co& rehend his a!k!ard situation% 'he s aceshi started to ascend stee ly and icked u s eed/ he !as s.uee$ed to his chair and could hardly

breathe% 'he island disa eared fro& his vie!, and &o&ents later, he !as around orbit in s ace% +ere the acceleration ceased for a !hile, at least that !as !hat he thought and felt% +e couldn,t actually be sure, because there !as no instru&ent anel or anything in his co& art&ent, solely the chair he sat in and a s ace barely enough for hi& to stretch out his li&bs% (t resent, the continents and !onders of the ;arth he !as circling occu ied hi&% +e had drea&ed about being u there, he had a ro&antic lust for the stars shining in the night sky i& lanted in hi& by his childhood &ovies and co&ics% Fantasies of discovering strange and so&eti&es dangerous things and creatures o ulating e& tiness% +e re&e&bered !hat the scientist had thought ro&anticis& &eant and of its results once discovered to be !rong% +e ho ed he could survive a tri that had an unkno!n duration, kee ing his sanity, although he reali$ed he !as in no !ay re ared% 0ut he thought as long as he stayed in orbit there !as still a ossibility the scientist !ould change his &ind and change his course% Continents assed beneath hi&, night and day altered% +e ke t track of ti&e by observing the change of dayti&e on the continents% *t !as astonishing for hi& to learn that the short ti&e he had already s ent in orbit according to indications fro& the lanet,s surface felt as an eternity% *t !as frightening, disco&forting and de&orali$ing% 8hat !ould ha en out in dee s ace, he asked hi&self% 'he silence !as deafening% 0ut the silence around hi& !as also e7citing in as &uch as e7as erating% +e !as e7 eriencing so&ething ne!, so&ething he hadn,t seen or sensed before% 6ot feeling anything !as interesting in itself, he certainly couldn,t feel the !eight of his body or s&ell anything% +e could only see, and vision gave hi& an observer status !here see&ingly there !as nothing to observe% Fro& his orbit, a great distance a!ay fro& the surface none of life,s daily changes !ere a arent, only the fro$en crust of the lanet, !hich transfor&ed little over the ages% +e !as looking at a re etitive &otion icture in slo! &otion, getting a bare &o&ent,s insight into the lanet,s e7istence% (t the sa&e ti&e, he thought of the contrast bet!een the lanet,s e7istence and his, his !as short and uncertain !hile the lanet,s !as a re etitive slo! &otion icture never changing% -f course, it !as all a &atter of ers ectives, he thought, his lifes an !as too short to observe alterations taking lace on the lanet% +e knocked on the chair !ith his fingers to break the silence, but the sound &ade !as strange and disturbing% +e tried to hu& a &elody and heard the sa&e noise/ he !histled and observed the sa&e &onotonous beating% 8hatever he did, the result !as e7actly the sa&e sound% +e thought the scientist had been very careful and &eticulous in devising his unish&ent% +e abandoned his atte& ts at sti&ulating his ears/ silence !as a better alternative than the &onotonous beating% +e once again eered at the lanet searching for the a ro7i&ate location of the island% *t !as too s&all to be seen out in the o en sea, but it !as do!n there so&e!here% +e !ondered !hat the scientist !as u to no! that the co& ro&ise clearly !as shattered% 8as there to be a !ar or another ullback, victory or another defeat5 'he scientist !as ca able of both, his only real ene&y being hi&self% +i&selves, 6a&eless (ndre! corrected hi&self% )))) +e a!oke after do$ing for a !hile, losing co& letely track of ti&e% +e !as still in orbit though, &oving !ith the sa&e velocity and at the sa&e height as far as he could tell% 'he er&anence !as er&anent, nothing had changed since he fell aslee , the slo! &otion icture continued rolling, sho!ing the sa&e ictures re eatedly% 6a&eless (ndre! ya!ned, he !ished he !ere able to dro!se through his !hole e7ile, turn hi&self off at !ill% 0ut this !asn,t so, he very &uch stayed conscious% +e needed so&ething to occu y his &ind !ith, so&ething to divert his attention fro& the &addening re etition do!n belo!% +e closed his

eyes and searched for a thread of thought ca able of su lying hi& !ith &aterial for a long ti&e to co&e% 'he finding of such roved to be like striking a needle in a haystack% 0ut he had no other choice, he had to kee trying% -f course, the haystack contained &any hays rese&bling the needle searched for/ they !ere shar and un!ise to touch% +e thought of the general, the luscious ny& h of his drea&s, but then suddenly instead sa! the sect leader covered !ith blood and so had to abandon any threads involving her% *n fact, any events or ersons he had &et or encountered since having been e& loyed by the scientist led to a dead end% 'hey !ere unusable, because although they occu ied hi& they also re&inded hi& eventually of his situation and conse.uently &ade hi& angered and des erate% +e had to avoid &ood s!ings/ he !as entirely on his o!n no!% (lthough he had al!ays felt lonely and could only rely on hi&self in the ast, it had been different fro& the resent solitude% 0efore he had had ho e and belief that in case anything had ha ened to hi& so&eone !ould lend hi& a hel ing hand, but no! there !asn,t even a so&eone !ho !ouldn,t have lent hi& a hel ing hand any!ay% 2 ace !as a gras a!ay, s ace containing nothing% +e had to think of so&ething e7hilarating, a&using and soothing% *t !as best to start as early as ossible% *n the &eanti&e, he gli& sed at the island, !here he believed it !as su osed to be, and to his sur rise sa!, indeed, a dark blot% 'he blot hadn,t been there before nor !as it staying in lace% *t !as s reading and as it did so its trans arency increased% (t the sa&e ti&e, the s acecraft accelerated again, nailing hi& to his chair% 6a&eless (ndre! reali$ed the island had been destroyed as he !as hurled into dee s ace% +e !ondered !hat that could have &eant, !hile the lanet receded and finally disa eared co& letely% )))) *t !as the tenth inhabited lanet he had recon.uered fro& the evil e& ire% *t !as s&all and da& , it er etually rained on land, and he thought it !as an i& ossibility to survive in such a cli&ate% 0ut eo le thrived here as !ell, in fact they !ere taller, stronger and &ore atient than else!here% 'hey &ostly lived off the sea/ the lands !ere barren, the !ater .uickly eroding the soil the natives tried to till% +e !as treated here as a hero, he had got a hero,s !elco&e and everything that ca&e !ith it% (fter all, he !as the liberator, lanting the seeds of de&ocracy every!here he !ent% +e led but a tiny ar&y, yet the e& ire cru&bled !herever his forces struck% 'he adversary had &ore troo s and e.ui &ent, and !as better coordinated% 0ut !hat &ade the difference on the battlegrounds !as the $eal and innovation of his rebel ar&y% 'hey !anted to !in at any rice, because they believed any rice !as better than living under the cruel o ression of the e& ire% 'he local o ulations !ere also behind the&, su orting the& !ith bases !here they could rela7 in)bet!een skir&ishes, and even !ith &an o!er% 0ut &ost i& ortantly there !as great &oral su ort for their cause% 'hey !ere blo!n !ith confidence, and so the battles tilted in their favour, des ite all their discre ancies% 2tarting out only as a fe! fugitives and renegades and as nothing &ore than an annoyance in a s&all sector they evolved as the greatest challenge the e& ire had to face since its e7istence% 2o far, they !ere yet to lose a single scuffle% 'herefore, they had arrived at the tenth lanet in &irth, and boasted a&ong the&selves full)heartedly% +e hi&self !as assured, convinced of his success and about his ai&s% +e kne! it !as enough to &ake a chink and the !hole e& ire !ould crack o en as a shell, falling to ieces% +is &a"or ob"ective !as to sho! that the e& ire !as vulnerable and beatable% -nce this !as done all regions !ould rebel, he thought, and the burden of !aging !ar !ould lessen on the&, in the end leading to victory% +e !as in such an o ti&istic &ood !hen landing on the ne!ly freed lanet% +e !as &et by rain and a s&all delegation there% +e ste ed out of his !ar lane un!ittingly, and !as

struck by lightning at once, !hich had al!ays evaded hi& before% (&ong those &eeting hi&, !as the &ost beautiful !o&an he had ever seen% 'hey looked at each other, and he sa! a &irror i&age of hi&self in her eyes%%% +e !as in dee s ace see&ingly &otionless, but in reality, the rocket !as advancing at its to s eed% ;ternity surrounded the s acecraft, an eternity that had &ade hi& create his little !orld, a ro&antic drea& !orld, !here he !as so&eone% -ut in dee s ace he !as no one, nothing but a s eckle of &ass hurtling through darkness% )))) +e felt so&ething, a !eight ulling hi& for!ard, the belt tightening around hi&% +e o ened his eyes, for the first ti&e since he had started d!elling on his long searched to ic% +e !as annoyed that in doing so the drea& !as gone, the very instant victory !as in his gras , and a feeling of &ighty co&fort disa eared% *nstead, a greenish s arkling lanet glo!ed at hi&, a!eso&e in the distance, a clear indication of his onco&ing arrival at his destination% 'he s acecraft !as decelerating furiously, vibrating in force .uickly de&olishing the re&nants of his confidence incited in hi& by his o!n drea&% 8as this the first sign of colla se of the ro&antic &odel he had indulged in5 +e !as afraid, frightened of having to face an unkno!n !orld alone, fearful of vanishing !ithout a trace% +e !ondered if there !as anyone !ho had noticed his disa earance at ho&e, and sorro!fully thought of the ossibility that no one had had% +e !ished his esca ade !as over, if as abru tly as an e7 loding fireball blo!s to ieces% +is &uscles cra& ed in antici ation, he felt his tongue !as !ay ahead of hi& floating and dragging hi& along% 0ut so&ething ke t hi& in lace, and eventually the .ueer sensation abandoned hi& leaving only a bitter taste in his &outh% 'he =reen Planet !as belo! hi&, all shades of that colour e&erging in front of hi&% 'he s aceshi co& leted its deceleration se.uence/ it !as no! circling the lanet, !hich see&ed as a &onotonous series of &ountain ridges and valleys fro& his out ost% *t !as utter boredo& to hi&, very &uch unlike the ro&antic >niverse of his drea&s% +ere nothing ha ened, the stillness !as absolute and undisturbed, there !ere no skir&ishes nor s ectacular battles !ith glittering horror, only silence% 'he silence of eternity% +e !as a art of it, his body obviously not ageing during the tri % +e !anted it to end/ this !asn,t !hat he had bargained for% 0ut there !as no !ay out, the s acecraft sealed hi& inside% 0esides, outside !as no different% 'he only difference !as !ithin hi&% +e closed his eyes for a second only to o en the& !ith a sudden reali$ation% 'he only difference had al!ays been !ithin hi&% +e thought it !as strange he noticed it only no!% 'his voyage had, indeed, taken hi& to far and reviously unkno!n territory, a terrain reflecting u on his earlier life, !hen he had no ti&e nor desire to reflect u on it hi&self% -n the other hand, everything had its rice, by seeing so&ething differently he had ulti&ately lost another life hiloso hy% 2o&ething gained, so&ething lost% +e thought his innocence had eva orated at childhood,s end, no! the re&nants of his hot)headed fervour !ere close to e7tinction% 6o! that he gave it &ore consideration, it see&ed to hi& absurd to have and a ly &ore than one life hiloso hy at one given ti&e% :et, the &achine !ith its &any different lifefor&s &ust have had &any life hiloso hies, erha s the reason for the obvious conflicts and disagree&ents it had encountered !ithin its o!n ranks, he thought% (fter all, it not only defined one,s outlook on the !orld, but also the rules and conduct by !hich so&eone lived, and adhered to% 'he &achine had been araly$ed !hen the rules !ere in conflict, !hich had clearly been the case% *t had taken ti&e to sort out the differences, and he believed this to be the &achine,s &a"or dra!back% -f course, it had been strong and unsto able once the decisions had been &ade%

8ith one sudden and tre&endous "olt the rocket entered the at&os here% (t least there !as one, he thought as the s acecraft landed on a latfor&, robably of natural &aking, and then ca&e to a halt in front of a ridge% *t !as a nasty landing, for a &o&ent it had see&ed he !ould collide !ith the shar edged green rocks ahead/ a scare that he thought !as utterly ridiculous after!ards, because it !ould have been a solution% 'hat is !hat he !anted% ( solution to his life% ( al able one% (nd floating around ai&lessly he did not consider as a solution% )))) 'he rocket si& ly e"ected hi&% +e !as araly$ed in a force field !hile the s aceshi ga ed its front as if it !as a horrible ani&al !ith an aching sto&ach% +e !atched the events listlessly/ he didn,t !ish to go outside nor to stay inside% :et he !asn,t annoyed any &ore for not being able to &ake decisions hi&self% +e !as assured he could re)enter his drea& !orld at any given &o&ent, and leave the greenness behind% 'he force field &oved hi& outside, and then the s acecraft closed, he !as standing belo! a rotruding ridge and ga$ed around% +e !as uncertain !hether the lanet,s at&os here could bear terrestrial life, the strange state he had e7 erienced in the rocket continued, his only sense at his dis osal !as vision% +e !ondered if the force field !as still around hi&% +e thought it had been brilliantly devised if that !as the case, because he !as able to touch and feel the silkiness of the rocks in his vicinity% 'hey !ere .ueerly soft, al&ost as silk, yet very heavy% 8hat !as he su osed to do here, he asked hi&self% 2hould he !ander off or si& ly s.uat on a rock until he !ould be taken back to !here he had co&e fro&5 *f he !asn,t doo&ed for the rest of his life to live on the =reen Planet% Finally, he decided to e7 lore his surroundings rather than to !ait there% +e cli&bed the ridge, !hich !as full of cavities robably &ade by &eteorite debris, &aking the scra&ble childishly easy, !hile the silky touch gave a co&forting feeling% Fro& the to of the rock, he could see far a!ay into the distance% 'he sight e&erging before hi& !as soothing/ there !as &es&eri$ing &agic in the &otionless silence surrounding the green &ountains and valleys reflecting the rays of the setting sun of that solar syste&% 'here see&ed to be an uncountable nu&ber of hues of green !ith so&e greyness and redness here and there% 4es ite all his dislike of his situation, he had to ad&it, it !as the &ost beautiful sunset he had ever seen% 2o&eho!, the dead surroundings ca&e to life/ there !as a sense of vibration% +e looked around, and !as over!hel&ed by a feeling of co&fort and ease% 'his !as a fairy tail land, !here the nooks and caves hid little and cunning creatures a!aiting the arrival of darkness, !hen they could do nasty things% 0ut a&ong the& !ere also good and !ise ones, kind to a lost traveller% 'he gli&&ering lateaus re&inded hi& of thick forests, the sun,s rays s arkling greenly here and there see&ed like trees% *n these forests lived the fairies and !itches, the for&er in clearings, the latter in the thickest regions% 'hey !ere continuously fighting each other% *n the lo!lands, five giants crouched around a fire, their bulky figures re&inding hi& of so&eone, their nu&ber re&iniscent of the ast% 0ut here all !as but a &ere illusion, for as the sun disa eared belo! the hori$on the giants turned out to be &ountains doo&ed to solitude, and the fire si& ly a reflection of light% (s darkness fell, tran.uillity sei$ed the land once again, holding it fir&ly, &otionless% 'he fairies, !itches and forests !ere gone as s!iftly as the giants !ere, e7ce t that there !as nothing left behind the&, no signs they had ever e7isted% 2oon the stars lit the sky, and he began to !onder !hat to do ne7t% For so&e ti&e he sat on to of the ridge% *t !as difficult to ad"ust back to freedo& after the coerced and regulated tri / he found it hard to believe he could !alk around at his o!n !ill% 'he s acecraft !as located beneath hi&, its contours

visible, but only to so&eone !ho kne! it !as there% (fter a !hile, 6a&eless (ndre! decided to go to slee , and stretched out on the silky rock% )))) +e reali$ed so&ething !as !rong at the &o&ent he a!oke% +e lay aske!/ the ground slanting although !hen he had gone to slee it had been level terrain% +e looked around% 'he s aceshi !as far fro& hi&, shining in the sunlight% 'he terrain further a!ay see&ed the sa&e, yet he had a sus icious feeling about it% *t !as as though everything changed lace, &oved a art% '!o of the &ountains he had i&agined as giants !ere further fro& the other three than before% 'his once again re&inded hi& of the ast, although he kne! it !as nothing &ore than coincidence% +e stood u and considered the situation in its entirety% -f all the ossible reasons for the change, a las&a e7 lanation see&ed to hi& &ost likely% (ccording to this, the =reen Planet !as covered or !as &ade of a las&a)like substance floating around all the ti&e, though slo!ly enough that he hadn,t noticed the &ove&ent at once% 'he change !as only visible if he !asn,t there to observe it, that is if he sle t or si& ly !asn,t resent% +o! long he had been at rest !as .uestionable, but he thought it &ust have been an e7tended eriod, in s ite of being fully a!are of the es ecially relative nature of ti&e in his !orld, !hich !as retty &uch deter&ined by e&otions% *t !as uncertain ho! long night or day lasted, he had no !ay of co& aring it !ith terrestrial conditions% +e slid do!n fro& the ridge on a natural sli !ay to the level of the s acecraft% 'he ridge looked &ore like a hill no! fro& belo!/ it had lost its shar and stee edges% +e !alked back to the rocket, and not being able to enter it, s.uatted do!n beside it% )))) 6ights and days assed by, and by the nu&ber of alterations he counted years !ould have ebbed a!ay on the ;arth% +e !as resigned, and other than going t!ice on longer e7cursions to find nothing of interest, he sat &ostly besides the s acecraft, leaning against it% +e re&e&bered this had been the !ay he had liked to osition hi&self on the island as !ell, under a nice shady tree% +e often called back those ha y days, and all he !anted no! !as to cra!l under a shady tree and listen to the chir ing birds, s&ell the scent of grass% *n those ha y days though he had never considered sitting under a tree as too e7citing or e7hilarating% +e reali$ed only no! ho! &uch he had liked that, and so started &issing it% *n his yearning, he had al&ost sli ed into dee de ression, but once again, i&agination had roved to be his salvation% +e had created the !orld of fairies and !itches, endless forests and i&&ense grassy lains, !here all for&s of life could be found% *n such a !ay, he laced hi&self a&ong fictitious characters, and &ost i& ortantly &entally left the =reen Planet,s boring green reality% +e en"oyed gra$ing his eyes on his ne! !orld, !here the silvery s aceshi transfor&ed into a large iron castle% 'he sky !as covered !ith fleecy clouds and bird flocks occu ied it% 2o&eti&es it even rained, the !ater ouring do!n as during a su&&er stor&% 'his !as another ro&antic &odel% ( ro&antic &odel hel ing hi& survive the absolute e&otional e& tiness of his surroundings% *t had its o!n !ell)definable rules and conse.uently li&itations% 0ut as long as he stayed !ithin this fra&e the birds ke t flying and singing, the grass re&ained green, and the good fairies revailed over the bad% +e ho ed his !orld !ould not colla se due to an inconsistency in the rules it had been defined by% ))))

(nd finally, the ti&e ca&e% +e !as sitting by the side of the rocket !hen the &onster ga ed and the force field sucked hi& inside% (ll ha ened une7 ectedly and !ithout any rior incident, !hich could have indicated a relude to the end of his stay on the =reen Planet% 'he events crushed his idyllic fairy tale !orld, and he suddenly found hi&self inside a de ressing and rigid bo7 e7cluding all instru&ents once again% 6o! he could but barely see the contours of the =reen Planet in the far distance% *t !as slo!ly disa earing, uniting !ith blackness% +e !as surrounded by blackness once again, only here and there variegated by shining s ots% +e thought it !as ti&e he !as going ho&e% 0ut !as he5 'his .uestion barely entered his head and that for t!o reasons% 'he scientist had &entioned only the =reen Planet as his final destination, !here he !ould s end a long ti&e% 'here had been no !ord of hi& going any!here else nor of floating ai&lessly around or bet!een the ;arth and the =reen Planet% 0ut if this latter !as the case it !as better not to consider the .uestion at all, it !ould si& ly have driven hi& cra$y% 2o, for the ti&e being, he assu&ed the s acecraft !as taking the shortest ath ho&e% 0ut !here !as his ho&e5 'his !as another bothering .uestion% +ad been the island his ho&e before5 +e had never thought of it as such earlier% (ny!ay, there !as no island any &ore, he gathered% 4id ;arth e7ist at all, or did it vanish in a colossal !ar5 8as there anything to return to5 (nd if there !asn,t !hat !ould beco&e of hi&5 (nd if there !as, !hat ha ened during the ti&e he had been a!ay5 +o! !ould he ad"ust to the ne! conditions5 (s .uestions like this bo&barded hi& a curtain started rolling do!n in his brain% 'his !as a shield rotecting hi& fro& dangerous thoughts, "ust as a curtain shields fro& light% +e !as on one side of this shield/ the .uestions and darkness !ere on the other% 8hen the curtain rolled do!n co& letely nothing sli ed through fro& the other side, the se aration !as absolute% +e anchored the shield so no hurricane could cut a hole in it% -n his side of the curtain, things !ere colourful, e7hilarating and fast aced% 'he victor over the evil e& ire founded a ne! and de&ocratic inter lanetary union%%% )))) +e !as full of an7iety% 'his !as the &o&ent of revelation% 'he rocket !as co&&encing a landing on ;arth% Perha s it !as the beginning of the end% +e eered out of the !indo!, sa! the continents artly covered by clouds and discovered no change in their a earance% *n any case, this !as reassuring% 'he hori$on turned blue, a richness of colours e&erged un recedented in dee s ace% *t !as nice to be ho&e, he thought, and basked in the sun as the s aceshi descended further over the ocean% +e !as e7cited and felt his heart u& ing in his neck% +e could hardly !ait for the touchdo!n% +is banish&ent see&ed over% +e !as to be free again% 'he s acecraft cast a shado! over the !ater/ ahead land could be seen% +e counted the seconds as &uch as he re&e&bered ho! &uch a second had lasted% ( cou le of &o&ents later he discovered trees blosso&ing% 'he s acecraft landed s&oothly in a &arshy field surrounded by forest% Chapter +& 'he beggar +e stood on to of the craft that !as i&&ersed half!ay in &ud% ( branch stoo ed over his head, the shuttle ca&e to a halt at the edge of the s!a& % 'he choice of landing field &ust have been deliberate on the art of the scientist, and the best ossible alternative in case anything had ha ened to the island, because the rocket !as slo!ly devoured by the &oor% 2oon there !ould have been nothing left as re&inder of his voyage, but his &e&ories% (nd

already no! these recollections see&ed absurd, and as fresh &orning air filled his lungs the !orld of the =reen Planet beca&e a ludicrous drea& dis arate fro& reality% +e stayed on to of the craft as long as !as ossible, but then had to abandon his long rison cell, because the branch !as getting out of his reach% +e ulled hi&self to safety, and !atched the s aceshi vanish in the &arsh !ith &i7ed e&otions% ( eriod of his life ended there% +e could start all over, that !as good, he thought/ on the other hand, the future !as &ore uncertain than ever before% +e still had no idea !hat he !ould find here, erha s only !ilderness% 6evertheless, he !as ha y and relieved/ this !as his !orld after all% +e cli&bed do!n fro& the tree and ste ed onto a !eed and !ater covered ground to be i&&ersed in it i&&ediately% 0ut luckily the &oor !as shallo! here, the &ud only reached to his ankles, and as he advanced dee er into the forest the s!a& gave !ay to solid ground% +e cleaned his shoes !ith leaves, and then "udging by the sun headed off in one direction% For a !hile, the forest !as getting &ore dense, and for this reason, he e7 ected to be &et by a bear or a si&ilar creature any ti&e% +o!ever, this did not ha en, because to his sur rise suddenly a road cut the forest in t!o clearly &arking the end of the !ilderness% -n the other side of the road far&s !ere located, and no! and then trucks assed by% *t !as a fa&iliar scene of his days indicating little had changed since his de arture% 'his obviously &eant the scientist had not succeeded !ith his refor&s/ his ideas !ere not i& lanted in society% ( dog barked nearby, and co!s gra$ed a grassy field, their tails lashing around% +e &used !hat to do% +e !as free to go any!here, but there !as no!here for hi& to go% *t !as a freedo& he couldn,t harness% (s he !ondered rofoundly he !asn,t able to hear a truck honking at hi&% 'he lorry atte& ted to sto in ti&e, but couldn,t% +e !as sur rised !hen he felt the collision, and in &id)air thought that at least no! he didn,t need to ans!er his bothering .uestions% )))) +e a!oke in hos ital% +is head ached, but strangely, that !as all% +e !as in one iece, had broken nothing% ( nurse stood beside hi&% 1Can you understand &e53 the nurse asked% 2ur risingly, he could% +e looked around, and reali$ed he !as in a s&all, but cosy roo&, in as &uch as hos ital roo&s could be hos itable% -n ins ecting his body arts covered by a blanket, he noticed he had his o!n clothes on% 6o! the reason for his survival see&ed clear% +is s ecial outfit saved hi& fro& the devastating effects of the i& act he had &ade !ith the truck and then the as halt !here he landed% 'he scientist,s science had !orked once again, !ithstanding the degradation of ti&e% 1Can you understand &e53 the nurse re eated% +e reali$ed he had forgotten to ans!er before/ he had been too involved !ith utting his situation in ers ective% 1:es, of course,3 he said, and thought his voice sounded different% *t !as a long ti&e ago he had heard his o!n voice, or for that &atter anyone else,s% 2ounds e7isted only in his i&agination% 2trangely enough, he hadn,t consciously erceived the noises of the forest or for that &atter anything else rior to having been run over% Perha s these !ere too versatile in co& arison to the ones he could hear in the controlled environ&ent of the hos ital% -r &aybe he had still been in another lane of e7istence, he thought% 8hatever the reason, he no! erceived everything he had had not for%%% For ho! long, he asked hi&self% 1+o! long have * been unconscious53 he in.uired% 1-nly for a short !hile,3 the nurse said% 1'he truckdriver !ill no doubt be relieved to hear you,re all right% +e !as co& letely trau&ati$ed, he thought you !ere dead% +e told &e you !ere thro!n into the air as a sheet of cru& led u a er% 0ut considering your condition *

believe he greatly e7aggerated% ;7ce t for your clothing, !hich !e couldn,t un!ra you of, you see& .uite fine% *s it so&e novelty53 18hat date is it today53 he asked not !anting to ans!er the nurse,s .uestion% 'he nurse looked at hi& sus iciously% +e gathered the nurse thought so&ething had ha ened to hi& after all involving his head% 'he nurse ointed to a calendar standing on a table ne7t to his bed% *t !as all there% 6o! he kne! for ho! long he had been a!ay% 1(s you can see it,s still today,3 the nurse said shar ly% 8ith a sudden thought 6a&eless (ndre! said: 1* can,t re&e&ber anything%3 'he nurse looked distressed and told hi&: 1*n that case * &ust infor& your doctor at once%3 8ith this said the nurse left hi&% +e thought retending &e&ory loss !as the best ossible solution to his roble&s% +e kne! if he had e7clai&ed the truth, !hich he hi&self found hard to believe, he !ould robably have been forced into so&e kind of &ental institution% 0esides, it !as unclear !hether he re&ained a !anted &an, and he couldn,t kno! about the light of the scientist% *t !as better not to associate hi&self !ith the scientist "ust yet% (nd for that &atter, he thought bitterly, it !as better to forget the erson !ho had banished hi&% *t !as better to forget everything, altogether% 'he doctor entered his roo&, and soon found out 6a&eless (ndre! couldn,t re&e&ber his na&e, his year of birth, !here he !as fro&, that is, anything% 'he doctor and the nurse stood by his bed at a co& lete loss !hat to do% 6a&ely, they had found no identification or docu&entation on hi&% 1:ou,re 6a&eless then,3 the doctor said !ith so&e irony in his voice% 1'he 6a&eless &an fro& outer s ace% <udging fro& your clothes you &ay "ust be a ilot or so&ething like it% -r had been%%% 8e,ll si& ly call you (ndre!%3 1* try to re&e&ber,3 6a&eless (ndre! re&arked, and laughed !ithin, 1but there is nothing in &y ast * can recollect% 2orry%3 (fter a ause, he asked: 18hat !ill ha en to &e53 18e,ll !ait to see if there is anyone !ho co&es for you% *,ll &ake the necessary ste s to find your relatives, fa&ily, !hatever%3 1'hank you,3 he said% 16o! rest,3 the doctor atted hi& on the shoulder% 1;verything !ill be all right%3 :es, he thought, everything !ould turn out fine if it had been as easy as convincing the& of a&nesia% )))) 'he days assed by one after the other% (nd no one ca&e for hi&% 2tunning, he thought sarcastically and couldn,t resist a s&ile% *n the &eanti&e, he !as infor&ed about events he had not been there to !itness% +e !as transferred to a rehabilitation !ard, and as rela7ation in)bet!een catching u !ith recent events, he layed ga&es of logic !ith elderly gentle&en% 0ut then one day, out of no!here, he !as there une7 ectedly% +e looked al&ost as he had seen hi& the last ti&e, strong and good looking% 0ut instead of the !hite cloak he !ore an elegant suit% +e had been the scientist once% 8hat he !as no!, 6a&eless (ndre! did not kno!% 'he !ay he e&erged, he got a first i& ression of a &an !ith considerable !ealth and o!er% -nly the silvery tint !as &issing fro& his eyes% +e sto ed by his bed and stoo ed over hi&% *t !as early &orning, and he got used to going to bed late, and thus !as not yet a!ake% +e could hardly o en his eyes !hen the scientist !oke hi& !ith a sla on the u er body% 'hrough a &ist he sa! an ancient figure !ho had e7isted in his night&ares, and no! ca&e back to haunt hi&% +e !anted the vision to disa ear, and so shoved !ith his hands% 'he i&age retreated a ste , and instead of retaliating

s&iled at hi&% 6a&eless (ndre! told hi&self this !as nothing but a drea&, !hich !ould end any!ay once he a!oke% +e turned on his side% 'hen as if lightening struck hi& he sat u % 'his ti&e he co& letely &astered his senses% +is eyes &et i&&ediately !ith the scientist,s, !ho looked at hi& filled !ith aternal care% 'his al&ost angered 6a&eless (ndre!% *t re&inded hi& of everything he !ished forgotten% 1=ood day, old cha % 9ong ti&e since our last &eeting, no53 the scientist asked and fli ed his nose% 6a&eless (ndre! !as stu efied% ( bare &o&ent,s gli& se &ade hi& conclude the tre&endous changes that &ust have taken lace !hile he had been a!ay% 'he scientist, e7ce t for having struck hi& once, had never been too fond of hysical contact !ith others% Perha s artly because he had been ti&id% 2hy !as the last thing he !as no!% 6a&eless (ndre! even doubted the correct identity of the scientist for a second% +e !as different altogether% 16o greetings5 6o e&otions, no hate, no love, no nothing5? :ou sur rise &e,3 the scientist said% 10efore you acted rior to thinking% 8hat ha ened to your vigour, &an53 1Maybe it !as left at a far a!ay lace, !here a &o&ent see&ed an eternity and vice versa%3 'he scientist fro!ned% 1:ou have changed drastically%3 12 eak for yourself,3 6a&eless (ndre! re lied listlessly% 19et,s not argue,3 the scientist said% 1Buarrels tu&ble e& ires, you kno!%3 1:ou don,t say5?3 he !as annoyed no!% 18hat on earth got into you5 * ca&e to take you ho&e% +o! can you be so angry at &e53 1+o&e5 8here is that5 'he island53 1My =od, no% * have a villa on the coast% -f course, * also o!n a cou le of a art&ents do!nto!n, and other buildings%3 1(nd * assu&e you,re &arried%3 1:es, * a&% +a ily &arried% =ot t!o kids%3 8hile the scientist !as ru&&aging in his ocket searching for a icture of his fa&ily, 6a&eless (ndre! shivered due to a sudden sus icion% 12he,s the general, isn,t she53 he asked% 18ell, that !as her nickna&e, yes%3 6a&eless (ndre! felt nausea% 'his !as too &uch for hi& to s!allo! in such a short eriod% +e thought he should have been ha y that not the original scientist !elco&ed hi&, but his si7th sense suggested differently% 'he scientist had been the scientist, because of all of his shortco&ings, .ueer ideas and !eirdness% 'his &an !as nor&al, giving an i& ression of a careerist !ith considerable success, and as such uninteresting in evolutionary ter&s% +e !as satisfied, 6a&eless (ndre! could see that the !ay he searched for the icture, and therefore had little $eal and a&bition% 0ut above all this, he had &arried the general? 'he very !o&an he had loathed for !hat she al!ays re resented: a calculating and selfish turn)coat% 6a&eless (ndre! couldn,t understand the &otivation behind the scientist &arrying her, and surrendering his ideas and drea&s% 'he for&er event had obviously been a causative for the latter% 'here !as no doubt about that, 6a&eless (ndre! thought% 1*n that case there is no !ay * !ill "oin you%3 1*n !hat case53 the scientist asked !hen he finally found the icture he had been looking for% 6a&eless (ndre! hu&&ed% 1'he general,3 he uttered% 1* don,t !ant to see her again%3 'he scientist !as baffled% 1* thought you liked her%3 1-nce erha s%3 6a&eless (ndre! !as silent for a &o&ent% 1+o! could you53 he shouted% 1Marry your !orst ene&y5 6ot fighting it out to the last5?3 1Buiet,3 the scientist atte& ted to soothe hi&% 1'hink of the other atients%3

1'hat !as the roble&% :ou thought !hen one &ustn,t% :ou started a !ar, and then backed do!n, didn,t you5 'he greatest &istake !as that you !ere al!ays so da&ned considerate% 'ell &e, !hat ha ened% * sa! the island blo!n to dust%3 1*t !asn,t as si& le a decision as you i&agine% :es, * lost that battle% * had to retreat, * had no other choice%3 'he scientist stared out of the !indo!, a cou le of early sunrays s arkling on his countenance% +e see&ed unresolved &o&entarily, or erha s distracted by the blue sky and the singing birds% 0ut then he continued% 1'he &achine%%% it got out of hand% * couldn,t control it% *n the beginning !hen * e7isted in only a fe! lifefor&s it !as easy to rule and assert &y influence over &y other &yselves% 0ut at a certain oint in its e7 ansion it started living on its o!n% *, its creator, beca&e only a little art, a s eckle% My !ord !as one in &any, &y vote counted as &uch as any other lifefor&,s !ithin the &achine% -f course, * have installed a rotective &echanis&, "ust in case% 'his could ter&inate the &achine%3 6a&eless (ndre! nodded ascertaining that he !as listening% 1(fter you left things !ent fro& bad to !orse% 'he baron !as getting &ore and &ore arrogant and careless% +e !anted everything too fast% Po!er, res ect, &oney and !o&en% +e believed he could gain res ect by defeating &e, and also enhance his control over society% 'he events develo ed very .uickly% 'he baron elaborated a brilliant lan ho! to "ustify using &ilitary force against &e% *t !as erfect, e7ce t it cost his life in the end% +e arranged for the island to be na&ed a !ildlife reservation area, and thereby a ro erty of all hu&anity% +e based his case on the strange seabirds ca able of flying against the !ind you !anted to hunt/ they !ere indigenous only to the island% 'he island * have created? 'he creatures * have brought back to life? 2ucceeding in doing so, * legally lost ossession of the island% +e could forcibly re&ove &e% 0ut it !asn,t so si& le% +e had to !ork undercover, hidden behind an ostensible !ildlife reserve organi$ation he hi&self had created% 'his organi$ation had no &ilitary ca ability on its o!n, therefore a ne7t hase in the sche&e co&&enced% * !as stig&ati$ed as a drug)trafficker% 'his !as a &ore ade.uate fra&e to e7 lain the huge &ilitary build)u around the island% 6o! * !as not only a tres asser, but a real live cri&inal the international co&&unity had to deal !ith% * didn,t kno! !hat to do% 'hen one &orning troo s landed on the island% 'hey needed s ace for their vehicles there to re&ove &e, cut the trees, and so they chased a!ay the seabirds fro& their nests% *t !as all decided then% 8hen the first tree fell, the baron also dro ed dead, the &achine unleashed itself% 2oon the !hole of the international force !as s!e t a!ay, and the &a"or cities !ere the ne7t target on the continent% 0y that ti&e, * had no influence on the &achine% * had to sto it% * kne! it !ould burn everything to dust and even beyond% 'his !asn,t !hat * had bargained for% * had to set the rotective &echanis& to !ork% >nfortunately, the island !as destroyed along !ith the &achine%3 12o it !as you !ho have blo!n the island to ieces53 asked 6a&eless (ndre! in a&a$e&ent% 1:es,3 the scientist ans!ered sadly% 1(nd !hat ha ened to the seabirds ca able of flying against the !ind53 1* guess they !ere killed as !ell%3 'he scientist sat &orosely beside hi& for a !hile, but then his face started to lighten% 10ut * have &ade good%3 1+ave you53 6a&eless (ndre! !asn,t so sure% For the seabirds !ere dead, and there !as nothing challenging the !ind any &ore% )))) 'hey got into the li&ousine% 6a&eless (ndre! had decided after so&e conte& lation to "oin the scientist if for no other reason than curiosity% 'he seats !ere e7tre&ely co&fortable, and the scientist re&arked !ith ride: 1*sn,t this so&ething53 6a&eless (ndre! didn,t

ans!er, but eered out of the o en !indo!, and took dee breaths% 'hey !ere still far fro& densely o ulated areas, and 6a&eless (ndre! en"oyed the &ild !ind brushing his face% 'he li&ousine rolled out of the hos ital,s grounds, and soon they !ere cruising on a high!ay% 'he scientist closed the !indo!s and then fiddled !ith various devices to enhance his co&fort% +e even lit a cigar% 6a&eless (ndre! coughed, and looked de&andingly at the scientist% 12orry,3 the latter said and turned on a s ecial ventilator sucking the s&oke a!ay fro& 6a&eless (ndre!% 1( great little invention,3 the scientist said% 1* bet you,ll like it so &uch at our lace you !on,t !ant to leave%3 1* !ouldn,t !ant to bet on that,3 re"oined 6a&eless (ndre!% 10ut *,& interested to learn about the !ay you,ve develo ed%3 'he scientist laughed holding the cigar aristocratically% 1:ou sound like so&e cra$y avenging angel !ho o s u and &akes one dive into his ast% 0ut * have no reason or interest to ursue a ath of disaster, !hen * kno! of one of great success%3 'he scientist !ent silent for a !hile, then continued acco& anied by so&e snobbish &i&icry% 1@e&e&ber that shabby little air lane !e used to &ake the tri bet!een the island and the continent5 *t !as inferiority itself% 6o! look at this car% 'his is !hat * call a car% 'his is .uality% (ll the things * couldn,t afford * can no! have% *sn,t it &arvellous53 1:ou never !anted these things before% 'hey !ere signs of co& lacency to you%3 16onsense% * never said that%3 'he scientist see&ed er le7ed and disturbed for a &o&ent% 1+ave *53 6a&eless (ndre! didn,t care to res ond% +e turned a!ay, !atched the green vegetation surrounding the road and thought of absolutely nothing% 'his !as the first ti&e since his de arture to the =reen Planet he could afford to let loose% 'he landsca e changed !ithout hi& having to use his i&agination% Corn and !heat fields variegated the forests, &ore and &ore s&all villages &ottled the vicinity of the high!ay% 'he traffic also increased drastically, it !as clear they !ere nearing a city% 1'here is nothing like the &etro olis% * love it% (ll the hustle and bustle that goes on is like%%%3 1 ( circus%3 1'hat,s right%3 16o! you have both of the&% 0read and circus%3 'he scientist !as offended% 6a&eless (ndre! didn,t &ind% +e felt ho&esick% 'here e7isted a !orld he belonged to% ( !orld he had created% +e !as so&eone there !ithout having to ada t to any alien ideology, he could si& ly be hi&self% 'he &etro olis a earing in the distance !as itself re resenting everything alien to hi&% *t reduced one to a little dust article, the shado!s cast by the skyscra ers vividly re&inded one of i&&easurable di&ensions% Contradictorily, the di&ensions !ere &uch s&aller here than in his !orld, !here great de ths of s ace surrounded hi& every!here% Fro& a hillto , he could ga$e at the city e&erging in its full si$e% *t hadn,t changed &uch in a earance% *n fact its true character hadn,t altered since ancient ti&es, it !as the @o&an e& ire of bread and circus% 2o&e chi s and so&e blood !ere enough to satisfy &ost eo le,s a etite% More they didn,t !ant, had no facilities nor ca abilities to digest &ore serious &atters% (nd no! the very &an !hose destiny it !as su osed to be to change the course of history had "oined the cro!d, traded his notions for a handful of eanuts% 6a&eless (ndre! gli& sed at the scientist and thought he !as the greatest honey of all ti&es% ( false ro het% For there !as nothing !orse than sto ing and &aking a >)turn before the finish line% 1:ou see that beauty53 the scientist asked and oked hi&% 1'hat,s &y little skyscra er,3 he said and ointed at a shiny facade of glass !all in the distance%

6a&eless (ndre! suddenly began to giggle uncontrollably, his body shaking% 'hen he in.uired !ith sarcas&: 1(nd !ill it outlast your lifeti&e5 *t !ould be beneficial to kno! "ust in case * !ander under it%3 'he scientist see&ed greatly dis leased% 'hen he ans!ered haughtily: 16othing * !as associated !ith ever colla sed%3 1'hat,s !hat the baron said% (fter all, he !as never found to be associated !ith any of the &isconducts he !as res onsible for% (nd ho! about the erfect &achine5 *t hadn,t turned out too !ell, had it53 1*t !as an unfortunate accident,3 re"oined vehe&ently the scientist% 1*t !as a key to a !orld &ore colourful and versatile than anything before it,3 6a&eless (ndre! said% 10ut you never gave it a chance to !ork% :ou never had the guts to take the risks%3 1*t,s easy to s eak in hindsight, es ecially, if you !eren,t the one bearing the res onsibilities% * had to &ake that decision% 6o one else could% (nd it,s futile to onder !hat !ould have been, and u setting%3 'hey drove off fro& the high!ay onto a bystreet of a !ealthy neighbourhood% 'he centre of to!n !as still a great distance off, large gardens and arks !ere located here% 6a&eless (ndre! soon lost track of the nu&ber of turns they had &ade, fro& one street to the ne7t, right and left, left and right% 'he only thing obvious to hi& !as that the houses !ere getting larger, and he could s&ell the ocean% 2hortly thereafter, he could also erceive a beautiful sandy beach% 'hey sto ed by a house in the last street, only sand dunes and the sea !ere visible beyond% 0y its si$e, it !as al&ost a castle, !ith a large underground garage and surrounding ark% +e could hear the laughter of children fro& !ithin the garden, the clacking of a la!n &o!er% +e felt as if returning fro& the future to the ast% 'he stillness and see&ing re&oteness of the scientist,s ho&e re&inded hi& of his childhood% 'his thought &ade 6a&eless (ndre! fret, although he liked the inti&acy of nature% 0ut this re resented failure to hi&, so&ething degenerate% 'hey dise&barked fro& the li&ousine in the garage, and ascended in an elevator to the ground level% 1+ello, *,& ho&e,3 the scientist shouted, and headed i&&ediately to our a glass of !hisky for the&% 1+ere,3 he said !hen finished, and handed hi& the beverage% 6a&eless (ndre! si& ly shook his head% *n res onse, the scientist shook his shoulders as if re&arking: 1*t,s not obligatory%3 'hey seated the&selves on a sofa in the living roo&, or &ore realistically ut, in one of the living roo&s% *n the &eanti&e a &aid assed by !ith a duster greeting the scientist !ith a bo! given only for royalty% 'hen after so&e ti&e the general a eared co&ing fro& the garden !ith an infant in her hands% 2he !as still seductively beautiful% +er eyes told of her sur rise at seeing hi&% 6a&eless (ndre! felt uneasy, he felt like an intruder% 1* guess you kno! each other retty !ell,3 the scientist uttered% 2he nodded% +e !ondered !hat the scientist !as thinking% (fter all, he had been her lover for .uite so&e ti&e% 8as he "ealous5 +ad that e&otion develo ed in the scientist at all5 6a&eless (ndre! !as certainly interested% +e thought he !ould find out% 18e &eet again, don,t !e53 +e stood u and kissed the general on the cheek% 18hat a lovely daughter you have here,3 he said and fondled the infant% 2he shrank back, and looked at hi& intensely% 6a&eless (ndre! retended sur rise% 1*f * didn,t kno! you better erha s *,d believe you,3 the general e7 lained% 10ut your voice is full of sarcas&%3 16onsense,3 the scientist said thinking the at&os here !as tense% 19et bygones be bygones%3

6a&eless (ndre! and the general sat o osite each other% *n the &eanti&e, the sa&e &aid assed by again, and icked u the infant% 2o only the three of the& !ere in the living roo&% For a !hile in silence% 1+o! did you &eet then53 6a&eless (ndre! asked abru tly% 1*t !as after the island !as destroyed,3 said the scientist% 1* took on a ne! identity, and !ith it started a ne! life in the city% * &ade use of &y only ossession at the ti&e, the cata&aran% 8ith it, * carried sight)seers and tourists% 2oon the business icked u , * e7 anded the co& any% 0uilt it fro& scratch really% 6o! * have a nu&ber of tankers, boats, frigates, you na&e it% -f course, as the enter rise began to vary its activities * needed a otent erson * could trust !ith financial &atters% 0y coincidence, * &et the general at a ball% *t !as a natural choice%3 16atural5?3 6a&eless (ndre! laughed heartily% 1:es,3 the general ans!ered and fro!ned% 1* beca&e engaged !ith financial &atters after you disa eared% 8here have you been, by the !ay, all this ti&e53 1Far, very far a!ay%3 'here !as so&e dee sadness in 6a&eless (ndre!,s voice, a stunning longing for that farness% +e looked at the scientist and scolded hi& !ith his eyes% 1* bet you had a good ti&e,3 the general continued on the offensive% 1'he babes !ere !illing%3 1:es,3 6a&eless (ndre! re"oined% 1(ll the babes there !ere !illing% :ou could have learned fro& the&%3 'he general ga$ed at the scientist, she e7 ected hi& to intervene by saying: 16o! !ait a &inute% * don,t allo! such talk in &y house%3 0ut the scientist said nothing% 'he general &ust have been disa ointed, 6a&eless (ndre! thought% 1(nd then you got &arried53 he in.uired further% 1:es,3 the scientist said% 12he%%% !e !ere about to have a baby%3 12o you thought it !as ti&e to establish a fa&ily53 1:es%3 6a&eless (ndre! understood everything no!% *t !as crystal clear to hi&% (nd instead of bla&ing the scientist for !hat he had beco&e, he felt ain and sorro!, the loss of a aradise% +e re&e&bered an island of beauty, i&agined a !orld of beauty, yet sa! nothing but frag&ents and disarray% )))) 'he scientist had to attend a business &eeting in the &etro olis% 'he children !ere ca& ing in a holiday resort for rich kids% 8hen the general had taken fare!ell fro& the&, she behaved as if they !ere going to so&e !ilderness% 6a&eless (ndre! had been sur rised/ this sho!ed she attained &otherly care he never i&agined she !ould% -ther!ise, she hadn,t changed at all% (lready on the day after his arrival, she .uestioned hi& !hen he !ould be looking for !ork% +e !ouldn,t !ant to u set her unnecessarily by telling her that that !as so&ething he had no intention of doing% +e !as freed fro& the daily routines% ( &an !ithout future, ast and, of course, resent had no !orries about !hat the ne7t day !ould bring% +e utili$ed the scientist,s hos itality, rela7ed in the garden% *t !as al&ost like the island, one could hear the !aves crashing on the beach, see the stars at night% +e !as entitled to a ease&ent for the ti&e he had lost% 6aturally, the general had a different vie! about that% 1Finally * can talk to you in rivate,3 she said and sat do!n beside hi& on the grass% 1* don,t kno! !hat you have been doing before, and * truly don,t care% 0ut it can,t go on like this% (ll you do is en"oy yourself on our cost% * advise you to find a "ob and get on !ith your life%3

1(fraid53 6a&eless (ndre! asked !ith an evil s&ile a earing on his countenance% 1(fraid5 -f !hat5 * don,t understand%3 12ure you do, babe,3 he said and e&braced her% 'he general looked furious% 19et &e go at once or *,ll shout%3 12hout then% 6o one !ill hear you% * have given the &aid tonight off%3 1:ou%%%3 2he &ade so&e futile atte& ts to free herself, but then gave u % 2o&eho!, her face lightened% +e kne! she couldn,t resist any longer% +e kissed her, and observed no &ore o osition% )))) 'he scientist !as often a!ay% +e !as fre.uently !ith the general, and !as astonished the scientist had not yet noticed !hat !as going on% ;ven the kids started to co& lain% -f course, the general .uickly acified their resent&ent/ she !as co& letely in control% +e ho ed for a &iracle% +e !anted the scientist to rise once again and finish the !ork he had begun% +e believed by cheating on hi& !ith the general the scientist !ould eventually find out and return to his old self in a fury% +o!ever, even letting the &aid in on their secret hadn,t roduced any res onse !hatsoever% 'here !ere no signs of the old rages/ the scientist see&ed !ell)balanced% 6a&eless (ndre! thought the ideas and the fire of $eal died in hi&% 'his is !hat he !as considering on one late afternoon as !ell% +e crouched on the sandy beach and !atched the harbour in the distance !ith binoculars% 'he general !as sho ing, the scientist robably ac.uiring another art of the city he so &uch hated% ( gentle bree$e !as blo!ing, !afting te& est clouds in fro& the sea% 'he cli&ate !as hu&id, curbing the develo &ent of abstract thoughts% (t least that !as !hat 6a&eless (ndre! gathered by observing hi&self half)do$ing% +e sat there and eered at the shi s co&ing and going% 8orkers !ere loading the&, dise&barking the !ares% 'hey !ere as s&all as ants even through the o tics, and they !orked as diligently as ants% +e didn,t envy the& for the life they had% +e had nothing, that !as true, but he !as free% +e believed ossessions si& ly bound a erson to laces or conducts, tied one u and &ade one too cautious to take risks or change lifestyles fro& one day to the ne7t% 'he scientist !as the best e7a& le of a &an !ho see&ingly had it all: a big house, retty !ife, children, &oney and res ect% 0ut he had no drea&s any &ore% 6o .uestions% 8ith the hel of the binoculars, he could see the docks as through a tunnel, and in detail% 8ithout it, he erceived the harbour in ers ective% +e !as close yet distant/ this rovided hi& !ith reflection other!ise only the !isdo& of old age could bring% *n a !ay he !as old, indeed, a relic of ast ti&es% +e had been through &ore e7 eriences in his life than &ost eo le !ould in &illennia% 'hese !eren,t only events, but a develo &ent in the &anner he thought% 2oft!are evolution% +e had co&e a great distance fro& a &an using only his instincts to a &an co& letely su ressing the&% +ad this develo &ent been good or advantageous5 Possibly not% 6ot in evolutionary ter&s any!ay% *t &ade hi& into a renegade &ore or less, entirely dis"oint fro& other grou s% 'here !as no lace for hi& under the sun, and he kne! it% 0ut he didn,t &ind% +e !as still alive/ the ocean continued rolling and the sea gulls hovered above hi&% +e !ondered !hether the clouds !ould asse&ble into a stor&% +e thought it !ould have been refreshing% 'he sun !as certainly being !ra ed u by the te& est clouds, its scorching arro!s still reflecting on the !aves though% 'he !ind gradually increased creating a strange aura of decadence% 'he sand !as blo!n by it .uickly engulfing hi& as !ell% 'he !aves crashed on the beach !ith "olting force%

6evertheless, the co&&otion hadn,t ceased in the harbour, the dise&barking had to continue% 'he &etro olis !as a vulnerable structure, regardless of its &onu&ental buildings and a earance, it !as reliant on outside shi ing% *f these !ere not forthco&ing the city !ould be in dire straits, and soon chaos !ould follo!% -n the other hand, great and so&eti&es dubious transactions took lace here% (fter a sudden thundering, the rain started falling in fat dro lets% +e thought about hurrying to seek shelter, but then changed his &ind% *n a &o&ent, he !as drenched to the skin, his clothes adhering to hi& like soaked rags% 'he clouds of dust scourged by the !ind vanished/ soon he sa! nothing of the harbour through the thick veil of !ater% +e stood there in the rain and antici ated the !ind !ould take hi& far a!ay, blo! hi& high above the stor&% (s a child, he had often felt this sensation/ it gave hi& a feeling of o!er and strength% +e had no idea ho! long he could have stood there% 8hether it had been &inutes or hours didn,t really &atter, the scientist !as si& ly there all of a sudden% 1:ou should co&e in,3 he said% 6a&eless (ndre! couldn,t see hi& clearly% 18e have to talk,3 he shouted, then shrank back in fright% *t !as the scientist, as he had kno!n hi& before, &eagre and ale in a rotecting !hite cloak and !ith thick glasses% 1-ur ti&e is running out, &y friend,3 the scientist said so&brely% 1:ou are right, !e do have to talk%3 'he rain !as ouring, the stor& relentlessly continuing, but they still stood their ground% 1* don,t understand anything,3 6a&eless (ndre! said% 1:et it,s all so si& le%3 19et,s start at the beginning% :ou are rich, are you not53 1:es%3 1:ou are the scientist, are you not53 1:es%3 'he scientist,s glasses turned foggy, his sickly body shivering% 1:ou do kno! * have cheated on you !ith your !ife53 1:es,3 the scientist said as if it !ere the &ost natural thing% 18hat5?3 6a&eless (ndre! !as er le7ed% 12he deserved so&e variety, didn,t she5 * don,t care% * had a nu&ber of secretaries over the years, you understand% -ur &arriage !as that of interests% 2he needed a !ealthy and a reciated husband, * a re resentative !ife, !ho& * !ould not be asha&ed of taking to a ball%3 6a&eless (ndre! laughed sarcastically% 1(nd !hat about your drea&s53 1'hey !ere lunatic ideas, &y friend% * certainly hadn,t been on this ;arth at the ti&e%3 6a&eless (ndre! looked angrily at the scientist, although he reali$ed he couldn,t see hi&% 'hen he une7 ectedly said: 1:ou buried your beliefs, drea&s and e&otions% :ou,re the beggar%3 1'he !hat5 *,& a &illionaire%3 'he scientist shook his head% 1(re you !ith &e at all53 1@e&e&ber !hat you told &e about so&e eo le !ho stood u against the baron, but failed &iserably% *n fact, they beca&e tools in his hands later%3 16onsense,3 the scientist said% 1'here is no baron, never has been%3 1* !ee for you,3 6a&eless (ndre! re"oined% 1* !ee for all the lost years%3 1*,& sorry if you feel that !ay% 0ut see things on the bright side: !e have &ade it, !e run the sho! no!% 8e are inde endent%3 1'he inde endence of &oney is the ulti&ate de endence%3 16onsense,3 the scientist said, and tried to &ake 6a&eless (ndre! leave the re&ises% 0ut 6a&eless (ndre! didn,t !ant to% +e "ust stood in the rain, the !ater strea&ing do!n his body%

)))) 'he sky !as crystal clear% 'here !ere no signs of the stor&, only a cool !ind !as left as a re&inder% 'he stars shi&&ered at hi&/ their reflections !ere shining in lines on the surface of the !ater% 'he harbour !as relatively .uiet, its lights al&ost invisible in the darkness% 'he sand !as !et and soft, nearly as &uch as the landsca e of the =reen Planet% 'he Planet !as out there so&e!here in the distance, but too far a!ay no! to &ake any difference% 'he stor& !as over% 'here !as a !hite !ater roof beside hi& s read out as if its !earer had sub&erged in the sand, leaving it behind% (nd in a !ay that !as so% 'he scientist had disa eared and so had 6a&eless (ndre!% *t !as only hi& no!% (ctually, it had al!ays been only hi&% ( &an of thoughts and conflicting ideas that occasionally al&ost sundered his ersonality into t!o: the thorough and logical scientist and the instinctive and e&otional 6a&eless (ndre!% +e !atched the night sky% For a second there !as brightness a&ong the s arkling stars% ( &eteor entered the at&os here, but !as .uickly burned to dust% *ts shine !as short and indecisive% 'here he stood% ( &an !ith glistering silvery eyes, tall and strong% ( &an no &ore in doubts% +e !as the beggar% ,,,'-E E$.,,, 'o contact the author !rite to johnfajo/0oho%#om, or visit the author,s age at 2&ash!ords%co&%

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