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Philip K. Dick

He awoke and wanted Mars. The valleys, he thought. What
wouldit be like to trudge among them? Great and greater yet:
thedream grew as he became fully conscious, the dream and
theyearning. He could almost feel the enveloping presence of
theother world, which only Government agents and high
officialshad seen.A clerk like himself? Not likely.
"Are you getting up or not?" his wife Kirsten asked
drowsily, with her usual hint of fierce crossness. "If you are,
pushthe hot coffee button on the darn stove."
"Okay," Douglas Quail said, and made his way barefoot
fromthe bedroom of their conapt to the kitchen. There,
havingdutifully pressed the hot coffee button, he seated
himselfat the kitchen table, brought out a yellow, small tin of
fineDean Swift snuff. He inhaled briskly,,and the Beau Nash
mixturestung his nose, burned the roof of his mouth. But still
heinhaled; it woke him up and allowed his dreams, his

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nocturnaldesires and random wishes, to condense into a
semblanceof rationality.
I will go, he said to himself. Before I die I'll see Mars.
It was, of course, impossible, and he knew this even as he
dreamed. But the daylight, the mundane noise of his wife now
brushingher hair before the bedroom mirror everything
conspiredto remind him of what he was. A miserable little
salariedemployee, he said to himself with bitterness. Kirsten
remindedhim of this at least once a day and he did not blame
her; it was a wife's job to bring her husband down to Earth.
Down to Earth, he thought, and laughed. The figure of speech
inthis was literally apt.
"What are you sniggering about?" his wife asked as she
sweptinto the kitchen, her long busy-pink robe wagging after
her. "A dream, I bet. You're always full of them."
"Yes," he said, and gazed out the kitchen window at the
hovercarsand traffic runnels, and all the little energetic people
hurryingto work. In a little while he would be among them.
As always.
"I'll betit has to do with some woman," Kirsten said
"No," he said."A god.The god of war. He has wonderful
craterswith every kind of plant-life growing deep down in
"Listen." Kirsten crouched down beside him and spoke
earnestly, the harsh quality momentarily gone from her voice.

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"The bottom of the oceanour ocean is much more, an
infinityof times more beautiful. You know that; everyone
knowsthat. Rent an artificial gill-outfit for both of us, take a
weekoff from work, and we can descend and live down there
atone of those year-round aquatic resorts. And in addition"
She broke off. "You're not listening. You should be. Here is
somethinga lot better than that compulsion, that obsession
youhave about Mars, and you don't even listen!" Her voice
rosepiercingly. "God in heaven, you're doomed, Dougl
What's going to become of you?"
"I'm going to work," he said, rising to his feet, his breakfastforgotten. "That's what's going to become of me."
She eyed him. "You're getting worse. More fanatical every
day. Where's it going to lead?"
"To Mars," he said, and opened the door to the closet to
getdown a fresh shirt to wear to work.Having descended from the taxi Douglas Quail slowly
walkedacross three densely-populated foot runnels and to the
modern, attractively inviting doorway. There he halted, im pedingmid-morning traffic, and with caution read the shifting-colorneon sign. He had, in the past, scrutinized this sign
before... but never had he come so close. This was very
different; what he did now was something else. Something
whichsooner or later had to happen.

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She pickedup the receiver of the vidphone by her smooth elbow andsaid into it. Mr. "You may go on in. at a big genuinewalnut desk. "Room D. no matter how convincing." she said. Mr. "I'm here to see about a Rekal course. The door hung open and inside. Mr." "Yes. Quail. hewalked through the dazzling poly-chromatic shimmer of thedoorway and up to the receptionist's counter." he said. an illusion. "Sit down. Within the next five minutes. Quail. his attire alone wouldhave told Quail that he had come to the right person. "Good morning. waving his plump Page 4 . sat a genial-looking man.Was this the answer? After all. wearingthe latest Martian frog-pelt gray suit.To your right." After a frustrating but brief moment of being lost he found theproper room. Douglas Quail is here. "Yes. McClane . Douglas. The nicely-articulated blonde at the counter." the receptionist corrected him. At least objectively. middle-aged. now? Or is it too soon?" " Giz wetwa wum-wum wamp. remained nothing more than an illusion. May he come inside. said pleasantly. Taking a deep breath of mildly smog-infested Chicago air. Mr. bare-bosomed andtidy." McClanesaid. As I guessyou know." As he started off uncertainly she calledafter him." "Not ' rekal' but recall. Quail. Mr. And anyhow he had an appointment. "Mr. McClaneis expecting you." the phone mumbled.But subjectively quite the opposite entirely.

A full two weeksof recall. "Plus the names of people you met.color postcardsin a neatly-arranged row on the desk for Quail to see." Reaching into a manila folder he produced a small square of embossedcardboard."Film."Ticket stub. certificates listing the shotsyou received. "It proves you went and returned." Quail seated himself. Shots you took of local sights on Mars with a rentedmovie camera. "It costs a lot and as far as I can see I reallyget nothing.And more." To Quail he displayed those."You'll know you went. "You get tangible proof of your trip. every last piddling detail. Here. "I'm not so sure this is worththe fee. "You won't rememberus. It'll be a real trip in your mind. "All the proof you'll need."He laid out four franked picture 3-D full. Postcards. too. feeling tense. You see?" Page 5 . Remember this: if atany time you doubt that you really took an extensive trip to Mars you can return here and get a full refund. which will arrive from Mars within thefollowing month. he thought. all right.handtoward a chair which faced the desk." He dug within a drawer of his impressive desk. I'll show you.Very good." McClane disagreed emphatically." he said."Costs almost as much as going. we guarantee that. "So you want to havegone to Mars. And passport." he said." He glanced up keenly at Quail. two hundred poscreds worthof souvenirs. won't remember me or ever having been here.

unsteady breath." He took a deep." It seemedimpossible to him that Rekal . sir. We see tothat. The packet which is fed to youwhile you're comatose is the creation of trained experts."But I didn't go." McClane said patiently. no hidden charges." He smiledencouragingly. menwho have spent years on Mars.Forever. in every case we verify Page 6 . ahem. you have no chance. "And I never was a secret agent with Interplan . Part of the package we offer you is such deep implantation of recallthat nothing is forgotten. andwhat is much more important. Quail. of ever actually getting to Mars. "Is an extra-factual memory that convincing?" Quail asked. "Mr. our analysis of true. you can't afford it. am I notcorrect. life-long dream. sir? You can't be this. Incorporated's extrafactualmemory implant would do its job despite what he hadheard people say. no possibility in the slightest. "I won't have gone. you would by now have forgotten a greatdeal. you can't actually do this." Quail said. no matter whatproofs you provide me with.Had you really gone to Mars asan Interplan agent. "More than the real thing." He chuckled. This is the onlyway you can achieve your.memsystems authentic rec ollectionsof major events in a person's life shows that a varietyof details are very quickly lost to the person. you could never qualify as anundercover agent for Interplan or anybody -else. And our fee is reasonable. "As you explained in yourletter to us. "But you can have been and have done.

" He accepted the money and pressed a buttonon his desk." His mouth dry with nervousness. even remember having heardof our existence." McClane said severely. omissions and ellipses. and the charges would be considerably greater. The actual memory. as the door ofhis office opened and two burly men swiftly entered. So I guess I'll have to settle for this. "All right. with allits vagueness. what happened next depended on them. cameover to shake Quail's nervous. It's beenmy life-long ambition and I can see I'll never really do it. . . Will I actually believe I've been on Mars?he wondered." Reaching into his coat for his wallet. That I managed to fulfill my lifetime ambition? He had a Page 7 . urn. a cab will leave you off at your conaptand as I say you will never remember seeing me orcoming here. arrive back here on Terra. "You're not accepting second-best. "Okay. moist hand. This afternoon at four-thirty you will. you won't." he said. not to say distortions that'ssecond-best. And you've picked a rather easy extra-factualsystem. in fact. "You're on your way to Mars as a secret agent. Mr. Quail said." "Don't think of it that way. Quail." He rose. "Or rather. Quail followed the two techniciansfrom the office.detailsdown to the last iota. had you picked Pluto or wanted to be Emperor of the Inner Planet Alliance we'd have much more difficulty. youhave been on your way.

McClanesearched about for aThree packet trip to Mars anda Sixty-two packet: secret Interplan spy..peteside arm. The intercom on McClane's desk. In onemonth. "Mr. Do you want tosupervise thisone. But just what he did not know. McClane reflected. "Whatever you say. lingering intuition that something would go wrong. Page 8 . I don't think you'll run into any trouble." Programmingan artificial memory of a trip to another planet with or withoutthe added fillip of being a secret agent showed up onthe firm's work-schedule with monotonous regularity." McClaneobserved.poscredsneaky. he calculated wryly. Finding the two packets. he returned with them to his desk." Lowe's voice came. Going to the vault section in the chamber behind his office. He would have to wait to find out. which connected him withthe work area of the firm. buzzed and a voice said. andthereupon the intercom shut off.. Lowe.ersatz interplanetary travel has become our bread and butter. "You may go ahead. Mr. we must do twenty of these . sir. seated himself comfortably. McClane . Quail is under sedation now. or shall we go ahead?" "It's routine.strange. poured out the contents merchandise which wouldbe planted in Quail's conapt while the lab technicians busiedthemselves installing the false memory. A one.

Then apellet-sized transmitter. "There's no space to insert false memory-patterns?" McClanefelt irritation.Sets us back financially the most. military issue.S.. which could be swallowed if the agentwere caught. the firm's models were highly accurate: based. on actual U. Code book that astonishingly resembled thereal thing. breathing slowly and regularly. a stainlesssteel spoon engraved PROPERTY OF DOME-MARS NATIONAL KIBBUZIM. Page 9 .. McClane . whenever possible. he reacted well to the narkidrine . he seemed dimly but only dimlyaware of the two technicians and now McClane himself. I'm sorry to bother youbut something rather ominous has come up. he's completelyunconscious and receptive. a momentlater he emerged in the work area. Maybe it wouldbe better if you were in here after all. several match folders from bars on Mars. a wire tapping coil which The intercom buzzed." Sensing trouble. On a hygienic bed lay Douglas Quail. Odd bitswhich made no intrinsic sense but which would be woven intothe warp and woof of Quail's imaginary trip. each on a separate piece of transparent tissuethinpaper. McClane left his office. would coincidewith his memory: half an ancient silver fifty cent piece. "Mr. Quail is already undersedation. several quotations from John Donne's sermons written incorrectly. "Merely drop out two work weeks. his eyes virtually shut.that'sthe largest item. But" "I'll be in.

like semi-precioustumbled stones. Quail eyed him and did not speak." Quail said gratingly. so he undoubtedly has orhad two weeks vacation within the last year. "You've broken my cover." Lowe said. "You're in charge of this counter-operation. He was not sure that he liked whathe saw. which is a government agency. As I already told you. That ought to doit."To McClane he said. McClanewhat you told us. "Agent for Interplan . The meager lips twisted. the brilliance was too cold. he said." Petty details annoyed him." He shut his Page 10 . And always would. "How long were you on Mars?" "One month." he continued. "is something quite different. Don't you record everything that's said? Play your vid-aud tapeback for your boss and leave me alone. inorganic quality." He studied McClane . they had a polished. At last. said to Quail.he'semployed as a clerk at the West Coast Emigration Bureau. "Tell Mr. Get out ofhere before I take you all apart. "Our problem. "Especially you. drawling the words out so that they dripped with hostility." Lowe said sharply. "Listen closely." He bent over the bed. The eyes. hadbecome hard. "And your purpose there?"Lowe demanded." The gray -green eyes of the man lying supine in the bed focussedon McClane's face. he observed uneasily. "What do youwant now?" Quail said harshly.

it brought up things I had absolutely no mem oryof. "Where didI say I'd been?" he murmured. I was assigned itthey handed it to me and there I was: stuck. instantly. to be certain I didn't regain my memory? No wonder she's been so derisive about my wanting togo there. "So this is why you wanted to go to Mars so terriblybadly." "He won't be."Mars? Hard to remember 1know I'd like to see it."Just a clerk. "Please believe me. half tohimself. McClane . "after we arrange for him to losehis memory-chain again. we stumbled ontothis entirely by accident.. "I wonder about Kirsten." To Quail he said. McClane felt. now.eyes." Quail said. "Could she be in on it? An Interplan contact keepingan eye on me ." Without opening his eyes Quail said. the smileone of understandingdisappeared almost at once. McClane in particular." Page 11 . he smiled." He pondered. Quail. "This is a tough man. the hard brilliance ceased. I admit I was curious about it. who wouldn'tbe?" Again he opened his eyes and surveyed the threeof them. But me" His voice trailed off. deeper and deeper. He'll be as meek as before.. "Quite a truth drug you'vegot here." he said." McClane said. Oh yeah. then. "I never wanted to go toMars. Mr. In the work we do" "I believe you. so would everybody else. the drug wascontinuing to pull him under. Lowe said quietly. Mr. He seemed tired. arushing splurge of relief. a nothing clerk. McClanesaid." Faintly.

" The other technician. and so did being a secret agent. probably at a governmentmilitary-sciences lab. The trip is veryvivid in his mindat least under sedation." McClane said.Straightening up. A thought came to him. He'd have to holdtwo oppo sitepremises in his mind simultaneously: that he went to Mars andthat he didn't. I think we ought to revive him withoutany false memory implantation and send him out of here. Lowe said to his superior. undoubtedly the sameone that motivated him to volunteer for the assignment inthe first place. and the confusion might bringon a psychotic interlude. this is hot. he's a long way down in the narkidrine . he might remembersome of the genuine trip. And a false reason which is the real reason. it's not a memory but a desire. erased his conscious mem ories. He's telling thetruth. They couldn't erasethat. "What do wedo? Graft a false memory-pattern over the real memory? There's no telling what the results would be. "Can youpredict what he'll remember when he comes out of sedation?" Page 12 . Someone. all he knew was that going to Mars meant something specialto him. that it's spurious. Keeler. said to McClane ." "Agreed. "He wants a falsememory implanted that corresponds to a trip he actually took. That he's a genuine agent for Interplan andhe's not. But apparent- lyhe doesn't recall it otherwise.

Already the month-long period on Mars had begun to waverin his memory." "The less we mess with this man. "And we're going to return half his fee." "Half!Why half?" McClanesaid lamely. "He probably will have somedim. Douglas Quail said to himself. he had only an image of profound gapingcraters. an ever-present ancient erosion of hills." McClane said." As the cab carried him back to his conapt at the residential endof Chicago. "No. he'd probably decideour programming slipped a gear-tooth." McClane said. "the betterI like it. And he'd remembercoming here. now. It's sure good tobe back on Terra. diffuse memory of his actual trip."Impossible to tell. that wouldn't be erased unless you wantit erased. we'vebeen foolish enough too unlucky enough to uncovera genuine Interplan spy who has a cover so perfect that upto now even he didn't know what he wasor rather is. "Are you going to plant packets Three and Sixty-two in his conapt?" Lowe said." The sooner they washed their hands of the man calling himselfDouglas Quail the better. And he'd probablybe in grave doubt as to its validity." Lowe said. of Page 13 . This is nothing for us to fool around with. "It seems to be a good compromise.

And then the life forms. they posed no menace. Reaching into his coat pocket he rummaged for the containerof Martian maw-worms And found an envelope instead. "Recall what. of motion itself. the unassuming and modest gray -brown cacti and maw-worms. As a matter of fact he had brought back several moribund examplesof Martian fauna. "Recall. Didn't I spend every ' credI had on my trip? With the money came a slip of paper marked: one-half fee ret'd. After all. "Certainly.By McClane .Today's date. Where'd I get this?he asked himself." Quail said as he leafed through the Page 14 .vitality. A world of dust where littlehap pened. to his perplexity." he said aloud. "It's spelled oddly. that it containedfive hundred and seventy poscreds .And then the date. sir or madam?" the robot driver of the cab inquiredrespectfully. they couldn't survivein Earth's heavy atmosphere."A slot opened. where a good part of the day was spent checking and recheckingone's portable oxygen source. sir or madam. "Do you have a phone book?" Quail demanded. in ' credbills of lowdenomination. from it slid a microtapephone book forCookCounty . he had smuggled them through customs. Lifting it outhe discovered.

"I don't know. he thought dismally. He dialed his own conapt . "You're drunk. A moment later the cab stopped at the curb before a Page 15 . then. or madam. "Be my guest. He felt fear. Incorporated. "A simulated trip. "May I make use of your phone?" he asked. By means of one of those artificial or extra-factual or whateverit is memory places. A momentlater the cab was zipping back in the 'opposite direction." "When?" she demanded. It didn't take. to Rekal ." And broke the connectionat her end." he said to her." he said. as the case may be." " 'Sgod's truth." Kirsten said witheringly. I've changed my mind. What a marriage."I've been to Mars. "You are drunk. I don't want to go home." the robot driver said. I think."Or worse." He felt confused. "Here it is." the driver said. And presented a shiny newemperor 3-D color phone to him.pagesof the yellow section. abiding fear. feeling his face flush. He hung up. Keerist . Always the same tone. And after a pause found himself confrontedby a miniature but chillingly realistic image of Kirsten on the small screen." Her lips writhed scornfully. "Take me there. then." "Yes sir. he said hotly to himself. Always theretort. as if she knows everything and I know nothing.

" he said." He felt furious. miss. Mr. polychromatic neon sign read: REKAL. started insurprise. You were here discussing the feasibility of an extra factual trip for you. let you take me out . If it would make you feel any better. . "H-how are you? Did youforget something?" "The rest of my fee back. very attractive little pink building. Then thetwo lab technicians taking me in tow and administering a drugto put me out. ahem. INCORPORATED.modern. not as he had been assured. but" She shruggedher smooth pale shoulders. The false memory of his "trip to Mars" hadn't taken atleast not entirely. My letter to Rekal. McClane . The receptionist. then gained masterful control of herself. "Fee?I think youare mistaken. which started this whole business off." the girl said. Quail." No wonder the firm had returned half hisfee. "I remember everything. "Oh helloMr. my visit with Mr. "As I understand it." Quail said. "I remember you. that Page 16 . then. "although you are a minor clerk youare a good-looking man and it spoils your features to becomeangry. over which a shifting. I remembermy arrival here. Incorporated. Quail. chic and bare from the waist up. no tripwas taken. I might. . More composed now the receptionist said. "Mr. Quail." she said nervously." he said savagely. "For instance the fact that your breasts are sprayed blue.

Where is Mr. "We capitulate. And I clearly remember my dealings here with youpeople. his sense of being cheatedhad overwhelmed him. I fully concedethe fact that we did absolutely nothing for you. Nor postcards. "You didn't even provide me with thevarious artifacts that you claimed would 'prove' to me I hadbeen on Mars. "Some technique you have.stuckin my mind. Quail said accusingly.Nor passport.Nor proof of immunization shots. had destroyed his customary aversionto participating in a public squabble. Incorporated I'd receivemy money back in full. Nor" Page 17 ." His tonewas resigned. All that song-and-dance you went into it hasn'tmaterialized into a damn thing. His disappointmentand resentment were enormous." He was burning angry. And I remember Mr." Quail said sardonically. at this point. Not even a tick-et stub. I ought to take this to the Better Business Bureau. exactly as he had been an hour or so earlier in the day. as well as cautious. McClane said. McClane's promise thatif I remembered my visit to Rekal . by now. "My so-called 'memory' of a trip to Mars as an undercover agentfor Interplan is hazy and vague and shot full of contradictions.Quail. We'll refund the balance of your fee. McClane ?" After a delay probably as long as they could manage he foundhimself once more seated facing the imposing walnut desk. Looking morose.

"Listen. leaving thetwo men alone. McClane said." He shut the doorbehind him." He released the button. as he opened the door."Now. "Let me give you a word of advice." McClane said as he signedthe check and passed it over. then glared at Quail. pretendit never took place. ahem. Freely. "Suppose I told you" He brokeoff. On the way home in the cab Quail pondered the wording of hisletter of complaint to the Better Business Bureau. that's the thing. Quail said. Act as if you don't remember. I have other business. will you disburse five hundred and seventy more ' credsin the form of a cashier's check made out toDouglas Quail?Thank you. the receptionist placed it before McClaneand once more vanished out of sight. "The trip youpartially remember. other clients tosee. recent trip to Mars with anyone. still facing each other across the surface ofthe massive walnut desk. Quail. Terra Page 18 . just take my advice: it'll be better for all of us. Quail." He rose. Mr. "A firm that turns out suchbad work shouldn't have any clients at all. showed Quail to the door. "Don't discuss your." McClane said. "Let it go." "What trip?" "Well." He had begun to perspire. Presently the check appeared." He pressed a button on his intercom. "Shirley." Doggedly. Don't ask me why.

Opening the box he saw. The protozoa were dried-up." "Make up your mind. I think I went. of course you didn't go to Mars. six deadmawwormsand several varieties of the unicellular life on which theMartian worms fed. he realized. Aren't you always bleating about going?" He said.As soon as he could get to his typewriter he'd get started. When he got back to his conapt he seated himself before hisHermes Rocket portable.Division. "And simultaneously I think I didn't go. wasaccusing. But I didn't go to Mars. buthe recognized them. an armload ofpale brown groceries gripped. dusty. "By God. "You would" know. A box which he had carefully filled on Mars with Martian faunaand later smuggled through customs. I would think. in an eternity of sameness. Incorporated. Yet on the other hand Kirsten appeared at the doorway to the room. it was clearly his duty to warn other people away from Rekal. "Why are you home in the middleof the day?" Her voice." After a pause he added. to his disbelief. you would know that. opened the drawers and rummagedfor carbon paper and noticed a small. illuminated journey of discovery." Page 19 . it had taken him an entire day pickingamong the vast dark alien boulders to find them. A wonderful." "No. "Did I go to Mars?" he asked her. familiar box.

Finally! A voice behind him said. "I have both memory-tracks graftedinside my head. walked back to the door of the conapt. without raising his hands. Kirsten stalked to the closet. "This is goodbye. "Just tell me and make it absolute. Doug. "I'll phone you one of these days soon. I did go or I didn't tell me which one." he said desperately. I hope you pull out of this eventually. I really pray you do. Page 20 . The door closed." "I'm in trouble. I hope not. Quail. She broughtout a coat."How can I?" He gestured." But they mayhave altered your memory-track also." He turned." Setting down the bag of groceries. "Doug. I'm going to leave you. one is real and one isn't but I can't tellwhich is which. Kirsten said in a level. that's that."Probably I'm heading into a psychotic episode." His voice came out husky and coarse. Why can't I rely on you? They haven't tinkeredwith you. And also please turn around and face this way. if you don't pullyourself together. anyhow.For your sake. got it on. "Well." She could do this much for him at least evenif she never did anything else. instinctively. "Iwas not kidding. His wife had left. he realized. And shaking. we're through. but maybe that's it. Now put up yourhands." "Wait." she said to him quietly. It would explain everything. controlled voice." she said tonelessly.

" In the man's ear Quail saw asmall white-plastic plug. "this has nothing todo with Rekal . "I'm still picking up your mentational processes by wayof your cephalic transmitter. he raised his hands. The thing lived inside him. for some odd reason. within his own brain. So. We know all your actions today and all your thoughts in particularyour very important thoughts on the trip home from Rekal. that hadcome out even in the homeopapes . So this was probably true. "You remember. "So I have to warn you: anything youthink may be held against you. "Why me?"Quail said huskily." the policeman said. But the Interplan police used them. familiarin a blurred. and his gun appeared to be UN issue. And." He explained. dismal as it was. listening.The man who faced him wore the plum uniform of the InterplanPoliceAgency. "We have a telep transmitterwired within your skull. What had he done or thought? And what did this have to do with Rekal . "Not that it Page 21 . he seemed familiar to Quail. feeding. distorted fashion which he could not pin down. He shuddered with self-aversion. feeding. use ofa living plasma that had beendiscovered on Luna. it keeps us constantly informed." He tapped his rightear. it's between you and us. Incorporated. Incorpo rated? "Fundamentally." A telepathic transmitter." the Interplan cop said." He smiled. "your trip to Mars. jerkily.

"but we know that you now rememberenough to be difficult for us. some of what you did." But then he thought of the box. because if we doyou'll simply show up at Rekal . The memory of my trip to Mars. in his desk drawer. he thought. for whom. "We not only know you went to Mars. "I never made any trip. And we can't do anything about McClane and his Page 22 . their technicians and the owner. where you went. They wishthey had never laid eyes on you. The memory seemed real. Incorporated you told them. They're very frightened.mattersnow. you've already thought and spoken yourself into oblivion." Quail said." the Interplan cop agreed. containing theMartian life forms." He added reflectively. about your trip. And the trouble and hardship he had hadgathering them. They think I really went to Mars and theythink I at least partially realize it. in answer to his thoughts. McClane . Perhaps this was one of the "proofs" which McClanehad talked glibly about. "They're right. It's a false memorychainimproperly planted in me by McClane's technicians. doesn't convinceme but unfortunately it has convinced the InterplanPolice Agency. What's annoying is the fact that under narkidrine at Rekal. Unless McClane had plantedit. that certainly was real. Incorporated again and startover. And there's no use expungingyour conscious memory of all this. Mr. And the box oflife forms.

for McClane . That box of dead worms andalgae has been sitting in your desk drawer for six months. now. then wecame here on the double to look for it. the last thing in the universeyou needed was a course from Rekal . technically. for the usual reason peoplego there a love by plain." Quail said. "Unfortunately you're not plain. what we never do. unnecessarily. Anyhow. Incorporated with the idea of regaining yourmemory. You did. And at no time have you shown the slightestcuriosity about it. eversince you got back." A second Interplan cop joined the first one. for us. Page 23 . "Without any luck. as we realize. and you'vealready had too much excitement. "Nor. "what you did is notin accord with our great white all-protecting father public image. you went. And. have you.operationbecause we have no jurisdiction over anyone except ourown people. As you'll presently rememberthanks to narkidrme . Nothing could have been more lethal for you or for us." He added. McClane hasn't committed any crime. the two briefly conferred. He did re. Incorporated." He added. dull people for adventure. there wasn't enough time." the Interplan harness bull said. the cop had been right about narkidrine . not dull.member more." He eyed Quail. Meanwhile. forthat matter. We didn't even know you had it untilyou remembered it on your way home from Rekal . "Why is it 'difficult' for you if I remember my Trip my alleged trip and what I did there?" "Because. Quail thought rapidly. You didn'tgo to Rekal .

by Interplan . but Quail realized that it was for anentirely different reason. "I killed a man." the first of the two Interplan cops said. Page 24 . again coveringhim with his gun.pete guns." He walked toward Quail. "And right away. this is a far worse problem. viewing the image rising from his highlydefective but rapidly less so memory.They Interplan probably used it themselves. the job he had done. the way you are. Some armed with sneaky. as bad as it can get. he decided. And he fully understood the officer'stension. he had seen them putting a prisoner onit. "On Mars." the first cop said. No wonder they had expunged his memory. "Well. his fellow officer said." he said. now. hetoo looked nervous. "Oh god." Nervously. breaking offhis conversation with his companion." He had been trained. After gettingpast fifteen bodyguards." Quail said hoarsely.Probably? He knewdarn well they did. Where would that be?Somewhere on Terra? More likelyLuna. he had pickedup Quail's thoughts. Their reason for sendinghim to Mars. "Why right away? Can't wesimply cart him off to Interplan New York and let them" "He knows why it has to be right away. now. His memory had been brought backalmost entirely. "We've got to kill you. And he remembered something else. Obviously. now.

"You can't use it. and the one with the ear-receiver knew it. a moment later. "Picked my thoughts up." Quail said. I pick that up." Quail." Half sitting up. not me." Laboriously. I couldn't keep you from remembering it. officer." he said to Quail. But he had already moved to one side. clutching the gun. confused. So don't. Obviously they had picked Page 25 . Quail. panting for breath. .A professional killer. grouting with pain. Maybe they can erase your memory once more. sprinted forthe elevator. He jabbed at the elevator button and. you'llbe given a hearing. If you follow me. "The gun. and he knows we know it. .overa five year period to be an assassin. I don't know. "He won't use thatgun on you. and if you turn it over to me I'll guarantee not to kill you. He knew ways to take out armed adversaries . The police hadn't followed him. too. too. I'll kill you. thedoors slid back. "He knew what I was going to do. bolted from the conapt . too. but I did it anyhow. Sam. Come on. such as these twoofficers. he got shakily to his feet. But you know the thing I was going to killyou for. If he moved swiftly enough The gun fired. the injured officer grated. In aninstant he had possession of the gun and was covering theother. and someone higher up in Interplan willdecide. He knows he's finished. So my reasonfor wanting to kill you is in a sense past. . and atthe same time he chopped down the gun-carrying officer. he thought. He heldout his hand.

Interplan police at work. he decided. even against Earth's huge gravity. And with this transmitter inside me.But what next?Where could he go? The elevator reached the ground floor. On a park beach. But at least he had evaded death. Incorporated for. that won't take too long. tense thoughts and had decided not to take the chance. He had gotten Away for a time.uphis terse. When they find me. they had come very close to shooting him on the spot. a secretand dangerous trip to Mars in which his life was at stakeeverything he had wanted as a false memory. capable ofsoaring flight. Ironically. alone. The advantages of it being a memory and nothing more couldnow be appreciated. peril. His head ached and he felt sick. But thenwhat? It would be worse on Mars. he pondered. a moment later Quail had joined the mob of peds hurrying along the runnels. With him inside the elevator descended. he had gotten exactly what he had 'asked Rekal . the political Organiza tionwhose leader he had assassinated would spot him the momenthe stepped from the ship.Adventure. And they probably will again. he sat dully watching a flock of perts' a semi-bird imported from Mars' two moons. Maybe I can find my way back to Mars. he would have Interplan Page 26 . backin his own conapt .

walked aimlessly. "When you were operating in the field. recording. discussing ." the voicecontinued. he shivered." By your officers' guns. that we'd never have to do so again. You'd inevitably seek out Rekal orone of its competitors again. "How can you be sure it wouldn'tbe enough?" he demanded. You'll always be with me. rose to his feet. We can't go through this a Page 27 . Easy avenue to paranoia. . No matterwhere I go. routine life. as you did before. Where are you?" "Walking. neverwent to Mars? Never saw an Interplan uniform up close andnever handled a gun? A voice inside his brain answered. monitoring. we assumed. Can't you imprint a false-memory template onme again. in fact. he halted.andthem after him. -~ I'llmake a deal with you. on Mars. that I lived an average.It's been months since we've done it. average memoriesyou get restless. As longas I have this device inside my head. "We formerly communicated with you in this manner. "As has been carefully explainedto you: that would not be enough. "Don't the Rekal techniqueswork?" "As we said. he realized.If you're given a set of standard. he thought to himself and to them." Astonished. sitting here alone he felt them tuning in on him. he added as an afterthought. "to my death. Can you hear me thinking?he wondered. . there." Quail said. his hands deep in his pockets.

something more vital than standard memories areimplanted." "Suppose. "That's been proved." I'll take the risk. "Try it. that's probably why youinitially hired me. "You make the first move. Find out what my mostexpansive daydream is. "Women. out of exhaustion.Only I gave that up. Anythingof that sort. I was the richest man onTerra but I finally gave all my money to educational foundations." he said.secondtime. Luna and Mars."Thousands of them. An interplane taryplayboy mistress in every city on Earth. But you ought to be able to come up withsomething else something equal." he said desperately. Something which would act to satisfy my craving." the voice said presently. Or I was a famous deep-space explorer. wouldn't one of those do?" Silence. he said to himself.That you don't simply kill me. like Don Juan had." "You'd voluntarily surrender."If we agreed to arrange such a solution? If it's possible?" After an interval of hesitation he said. then?" the voice inside his headasked. "Try it. "once my authentic memories have beencancelled. explore my mind. "Turn yourselfover to us. "Yes." Quail said." he said." he begged. And we'll investigate that line of possibil - Page 28 ." He tried to think. "Get some of your top-notch militarypsychiatrists. Please.

Probably nothing such as you consciously entertain orsuppose. Once you've surrendered yourself we'll have our psychiatrists begin on you." The senior ranking Interplan officer present said briskly.As you must understand. floor twelve." Quail said. And good luck. "Thanks. ultimate fantasy wish and then we'll bring you backto Rekal . elderly Interplan psychiatrist said. then" There was silence and then the voice finished. I hope it won't upset youtoo much to hear about it. Incorporated. "At 580 Fifth Avenue. Quail. Well. slim as it was." The voice lacked malice." thevoice of the Interplan cop resumed. "Mr. Because the alternative was death now andfor certain. We'll attempt to determine your absolute." the stern-faced. you acted as a capable instrumentfor us. Page 29 . "We'll have to destroyyou. however. we'll have personality-profiletests made." he said. fulfilling thatwish in vicarious surrogate retrospection. Quail. If we can't do it.fulfillmentdream fantasy. you still wantto try?" "Yes. "you possess a most interesting wish. here. get them in on it. they theorganization felt sympathy toward him. We do owe you something.ity. if your authentic memories beginto crop up again as they've done at this time. "You present yourself at our main barracks inNew York . This is commonly the way. if anything. At least this way he had a chance.And began searching for a robot cab.

when this advance partygives the go-ahead signal. and to show their appreciation they make a covenantwith you." Quail said. "which. somewhat on the order of field mice. "Single-handed I wipe themout. An unfamiliar variety of space vessel from another star systemlands directly in front of you. Your fantasy isthis: you are nine years old. had a certain plausibil ity to it.Probably by stepping on them with my foot. Mr. it is no wonder you fail to recall it. sees it. "You halt the inva sion. tens of thousands of othersuch ships will soon be on their way. experiencing a mixtureof amusement and disgust. No one on Earth but you. Instead." "No. you show them kindnessand mercy. Quail." "And I suppose I stop them. not if he expectsnot to get shot. The creatures within are very small andhelpless." the psychiatrist continued. this production is a grotesque dream of your childhood. walking alone down a rustic lane. even though by telepathy their mode of communicationyou know why they have come." "Unlike the fantasy of wanting to be an Interplan undercoveragent. They have neverseen such humane traits exhibited by any sentient organism." Page 30 . although theyare attempting to invade Earth. but not by destroying them." the psychiatrist said patiently. being rela tivelyspeaking a product of maturity."He better not be too much upset to hear about it.

then. Twenty-four hours from now he won'tjust wish he'd saved Earth. this is a life-long childhood fantasy. reluctantly." Quail said. I'm in effect. "They won't invade Earth as long as I'm alive. "You can start the job. despite his feigned scorn." "Exactly."To the Interplan officer the psychiatrist said." McClane said. In preparation we've already once again erased the memory in." "So by merely existing. "Frankly. "Can you implant an extra-factual memory patternthat extreme in him?" "We get handed every possible type of wish-fantasy there is. so. himof his trip to Mars. the most important person on Terra. you never would have recalled. Which. butnever ceased. "What trip to Mars?" No one answered him." To McClane ." "Yes indeed.Quail said. "And this is bedrock inyour psyche. feeling a growing pleasure. the senior police official said. it went underneath. who sat intently listening. Certainly we can handle it. he'll devoutly believe it reallyhappened. "by simply being alive." Quail said. I've heard a lot worse than this." the psychiatrist said. But it has always existed in you. then." The senior police official said. Without lifting a finger. sir. he shelved the Page 31 . "You can see it does fit his personality. withoutdepth and drug therapy. I keep Earth safe from alien rule.

I'm Page 32 ." He eyed Quail with disapproval. too. "Inasmuch aswhen he dies the invasion will resume." "But arrogant.And by pious virtue. "I can't see what could go wrong. what a kid dreamsup." He shook his head at that. he." McClane said. McClane' and the senior police officer crowdedinto it. Incorporated. nervous-looking McClane ." McClane mumbled. "You had better make no errors this time. "Wow." He dabbed at his forehead with a large linen pocket handkerchief. and presently they were on their way to Chicago and Rekal . Quail." When they reached Rekal . Nobody said anything. "it's touching. perspiring. Shirley. "Welcome back." she fluttered.met them breathlessly in the outer office. It's sort of quaint. her melon-shaped breasts todaypainted an incandescent orange bobbing with agita tion. it's the most grandiose fantasy I ever ran across. Incorporated the receptionist. And anyhow a police vehicle had now put in its appearance.question. "I'm sorry everything worked out so badly before. Single-handedly stopping an invasion of Earth from another star-system." the police official said starkly. not by force." the police officersaid to heavy-set. "And to thinkwe putthis man on our payroll. No wonder he doesn'trecall it. "This has nothing to do with Mars or Interplan . Mr. "In fact.

carried them to his desk for inspection. this _isn't precisely appropriate." He chuckled.A token of their gratitude. McClane ?" Shirley asked. "a magic healing rod given himtheclient in question. "It did once." From the vaultsection of the chamber behind his desk he fished out the appropriatepackets. "Document from the UN Secretary General thanking him for saving Earth. Twenty." he decided aloud. and Six." Movingwith rapidity he rounded up Lowe and Keeler. But he remembers it working spectacularly. this time Mr. then opened packet Twenty. but for the Page 33 . because part of Quail's fantasy is thatno one knows of the invasion except himself." McClane explained. usedit up years ago. Mr. healing right and left. "But he. returned tohis familiar office. escorted them and Douglas Quail to the work area.To wait. bumping against him in her agitation. "It better." he explained. andthen. ahem. "of packets Eighty-one. you see. Quailby the race ofbeings from another system." "Does it work?" the police officer asked curiously." Still repeatedly dabbing at his shiny forehead with his neatly-foldedIrish linen handkerchief. then coloringmodestly. "From Eighty-one. "A combination. "Do we have a packet made up for this. McClanesaid." He tried to recall.surethis time it'll go better. with Shirley and the senior police officer. "I think we do. Now it's only a memento. then gave up and consultedthe formal chart.

" "This tells who they were. wondering how matterswere going with Lowe and Keeler. Including a detailed star map logging their flight hereand the system of origin." Shirley said. But he remembers them reading it to him in hisown tongue. relaxed andreceptive.sakeof verisimilitude we'll throw it in. Maybe it would bebetter if you came in here and supervised.What came from this? He couldn't recall. McClane . And it'll confirm his fantasy. "and where they camefrom." He chuckled apprehensively. eyes half-shut."In a funny language. "But something's come up. On a hygienic bed Douglas Quail lay breathing slowly and regularly. then." He inspected packet Six." It was Lowe's voice. he froze as he recognized it." He placed the three artifacts in the center of thedesk. I'm sorry to bother you. Quail reacted well to the narkidrine . hedug into the plastic bag as Shirley and the Interplan police officerwatched intently. Like before. dimly conscious of those around him. "These should be taken to Quail's conapt . Of course it's in their script. Page 34 . he's unconscious. But" McClanesprinted for the work area. "Writing. frowning. froze andbecame mute. "Mr. "So that when he gets home he'll find them. SOP standard operating procedure. The intercom buzzed." he said tothe police officer. so hecan't read it." McClane said.

now. I'll show it to you. McClanesaid to himself resignedly." Quail mumbled. "That was the agreement." Douglas Quail mumbled in a dulldrug-saturated voice. After all Page 35 ." "They also gave me a magic invisible destroying rod. But how could I forget an event likethat?" I guess it would be hard. I offer the suggestion that you better not killhim. eyes totally shut. "They even gave me a scroll. If you do they'll return." Lowe said."We started interrogating him.artifactsaway. white-faced. backto his office. "of grati tude." Wordlessly. step by step. "To find out exactly when to place the fantasy-memory of himsingle-handedly having saved Earth. the Interplan officer turned and stalked from thework area. I might as well put those packets of proof. And strangely enough" "They told me not to tell." Quail mumbled. McClane reflected. He walked. "That's how I killed thatman on Mars you sent me to take out. I have it hidden in my conapt . McClanesaid. It's in my drawer alongwith the box of Martian maw-worms and dried-up plant life. Including the citation from the UN Secre taryGeneral. But you did untilnow. I wasn't evensupposed to remember. "Well." To the Interplan officer who had followed after him.

The real one probably would not be long in coming. Page 36 .

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