Saturday, August 17, 2019

Prelude to Foundation Chapter 11 Sacratorium

AURORA-†¦ A mythical world, supposedly inhabited in primordial times, during the dawn of interstellar travel. It is thought by some to he the perhaps equally mythical â€Å"world of origin† of humanity and to be another name for â€Å"Earth.† The people of the Mycogen (q.v.) Sector of ancient Trantor reportedly held themselves to be descended from the inhabitants of Aurora and made that tenet central to their system of beliefs, concerning which almost nothing else is known†¦ Encyclopedia Galactica 50. The two Raindrops arrived at midmorning. Raindrop Forty-Five seemed as cheerful as ever, but Raindrop Forty-Three paused just inside the door, looking drawn and circumspect. She kept her eyes down and did not as much as glance at Seldon. Seldon looked uncertain and gestured to Dors, who said in a cheerful businesslike tone of voice, â€Å"One moment, Sisters. I must give instructions to my man or he won't know what to do with himself today.† They moved into the bathroom and Dors whispered, â€Å"Is something wrong?† â€Å"Yes. Raindrop Forty-Three is obviously shattered. Please tell her that I will return the Book as soon as possible.† Dors favored Seldon with a long surprised look. â€Å"Hari,† she said, â€Å"you're a sweet, caring person, but you haven't the good sense of an amoeba. If I as much as mention the Book to the poor woman, she'll be certain that you told me all about what happened yesterday and then she'll really be shattered. The only hope is to treat her exactly as I would ordinarily.† Seldon nodded his head and said dispiritedly, â€Å"I suppose you're right.† Dors returned in time for dinner and found Seldon on his cot, still leafing through the Book, but with intensified impatience. He looked up with a scowl and said, â€Å"If we're going to be staying here any length of time, we're going to need a communication device of some sort between us. I had no idea when you'd get back and I was a little concerned.† â€Å"Well, here I am,† she said, removing her skincap gingerly and looking at it with more than a little distaste. â€Å"I'm really pleased at your concern. I rather thought you'd be so lost in the Book, you wouldn't even realize I was gone.† Seldon snorted. Dors said, â€Å"As for communications devices, I doubt that they are easy to come by in Mycogen. It would mean easing communication with tribespeople outside and I suspect the leaders of Mycogen are bound and determined to cut down on any possible interaction with the great beyond.† â€Å"Yes,† said Seldon, tossing the Book to one side, â€Å"I would expect that from what I see in the Book. Did you find out about the whatever you called it†¦ the temple?† â€Å"Yes,† she said, removing her eyebrow patches. â€Å"It exists. There are a number of them over the area of the sector, but there's a central building that seems to be the important one.-Would you believe that one woman noticed my eyelashes and told me that I shouldn't let myself be seen in public? I have a feeling she intended to report me for indecent exposure.† â€Å"Never mind that,† said Seldon impatiently. â€Å"Do you know where the central temple is located?† â€Å"I have directions, but Raindrop Forty-Five warned me that women were not allowed inside except on special occasions, none of which are coming up soon. It's called the Sacratorium.† â€Å"The what.† â€Å"The Sacratorium.† â€Å"What an ugly word. What does it mean?† Dors shook her head. â€Å"It's new to me. And neither Raindrop knew what it meant either. To them, Sacratorium isn't what the building is called, it's what it is. Asking them why they called it that probably sounded like asking them why a wall is called a wall.† â€Å"Is there anything about it they do know?† â€Å"Of course, Hari. They know what it's for. It's a place that's devoted to something other than the life here in Mycogen. It's devoted to another world, a former and better one.† â€Å"The world they once lived on, you mean?† â€Å"Exactly. Raindrop Forty-Five all but said so, but not quite. She couldn't bring herself to say the word.† â€Å"Aurora?† â€Å"That's the word, but I suspect that if you were to say it out loud to a group of Mycogenians, they would be shocked and horrified. Raindrop Forty-Five, when she said, ‘The Sacratorium is dedicated to-‘, stopped at that point and carefully wrote out the letters one by one with her finger on the palm of her hand. And she blushed, as though she was doing something obscene.† â€Å"Strange,† said Seldon. â€Å"If the Book is an accurate guide, Aurora is their dearest memory, their chief point of unification, the center about which everything in Mycogen revolves. Why should its mention be considered obscene? Are you sure you didn't misinterpret what the Sister meant?† â€Å"I'm positive. And perhaps it's no mystery. Too much talk about it would get to tribespeople. The best way of keeping it secret unto themselves is to make its very mention taboo.† â€Å"Taboo?† â€Å"A specialized anthropological term. It's a reference to serious and effective social pressure forbidding some sort of action. The fact that women are not allowed in the Sacratorium probably has the force of a taboo. I'm sure that a Sister would be horrified if it was suggested that she invade its precincts.† â€Å"Are the directions you have good enough for me to get to the Sacratorium on my own?† â€Å"In the first place, Hari, you're not going alone. I'm going with you. I thought we had discussed the matter and that I had made it clear that I cannot protect you at long distance-not from sleet storms and not from feral women. In the second place, it's impractical to think of walking there. Mycogen may be a small sector, as sectors go, but it simply isn't that small.† â€Å"An Expressway, then.† â€Å"There are no Expressways passing through Mycogenian territory. It would make contact between Mycogenians and tribespeople too easy. Still, there are public conveyances of the kind that are found on less developed planets. In fact, that's what Mycogen is, a piece of an undeveloped planet, embedded like a splinter in the body of Trantor, which is otherwise a patchwork of developed societies.-And Hari, finish with the Book as soon as possible. It's apparent that Rainbow Forty-Three is in trouble as long as you have it and so will we be if they find out.† â€Å"Do you mean a tribesperson reading it is taboo?† â€Å"I'm sure of it.† â€Å"Well, it would be no great loss to give it back. I should say that 95 percent of it is incredibly dull; endless in-fighting among political groups, endless justification of policies whose wisdom I cannot possibly judge, endless homilies on ethical matters which, even when enlightened, and they usually aren't, are couched with such infuriating self-righteousness as to almost enforce violation.† â€Å"You sound as though I would be doing you a great favor if I took the thing away from you.† â€Å"Except that there's always the other 5 percent that discusses the never-to-be-mentioned Aurora. I keep thinking that there may be something there and that it may be helpful to me. That's why I wanted to know about the Sacratorium. â€Å"Do you hope to find support for the Book's concept of Aurora in the Sacratorium?† â€Å"In a way. And I'm also terribly caught up in what the Book has to say about automata, or robots, to use their term. I find myself attracted to the concept.† â€Å"Surely, you don't take it seriously?† â€Å"Almost. If you accept some passages of the Book literally, then there is an implication that some robots were in human shape.† â€Å"Naturally. If you're going to construct a simulacrum of a human being, you will make it look like a human being.† â€Å"Yes, simulacrum means ‘likeness,' but a likeness can be crude indeed. An artist can draw a stick figure and you might know he is representing a human being and recognize it. A circle for the head, a stalk for the body, and four bent lines for arms and legs and you have it. But I mean robots that really look like a human being, in every detail.† â€Å"Ridiculous, Hari. Imagine the time it would take to fashion the metal of the body into perfect proportions, with the smooth curve of underlying muscles.† â€Å"Who said ‘metal,' Dors? The impression I got is that such robots were organic or pseudo-organic, that they were covered with skin, that you could not easily draw a distinction between them and human beings in any way.† â€Å"Does the Book say that?† â€Å"Not in so many words. The inference, however-â€Å" â€Å"Is your inference, Hari. You can't take it seriously.† â€Å"Let me try. I find four things that I can deduce from what the Book says about robots-and I followed up every reference the index gave. First, as I say, they-or some of them-exactly resembled human beings; second, they had very extended life spans-if you want to call it that.† â€Å"Better say ‘effectiveness,' † said Dors, â€Å"or you'll begin thinking of them as human altogether.† â€Å"Third,† said Seldon, ignoring her, â€Å"that some-or, at any rate, at least one-continues to live on to this day.† â€Å"Hari, that's one of the most widespread legends we have. The ancient hero does not die but remains in suspended animation, ready to return to save his people at some time of great need. Really, Hari.† â€Å"Fourth,† said Seldon, still not rising to the bait, â€Å"there are some lines that seem to indicate that the central temple-or the Sacratorium, if that's what it is, though I haven't found that word in the Book, actually-contains a robot.† He paused, then said, â€Å"Do you see?† Dors said, â€Å"No. What should I see?† â€Å"If we combine the four points, perhaps a robot that looks exactly like a human being and that is still alive, having been alive for, say, the last twenty thousand years, is in the Sacratorium.† â€Å"Come on, Hari, you can't believe that.† â€Å"I don't actually believe it, but I can't entirely let go either. What if its true? What if-its only one chance out of a million, I admit-it's true? Don't you see how useful he could be to me? He could remember the Galaxy as it was long before any reliable historical records existed. He might help make psychohistory possible.† â€Å"Even if it was true, do you suppose the Mycogenians would let you see and interview the robot?† â€Å"I don't intend to ask permission. I can at least go to the Sacratorium and see if there's something to interview first.† â€Å"Not now. Tomorrow at the earliest. And if you don't think better of it by morning, we go.† â€Å"You told me yourself they don't allow women-â€Å" â€Å"They allow women to look at it from outside, I'm sure, and I suspect that is all we'll get to do.† And there she was adamant. Hari Seldon was perfectly willing to let Dors take the lead. She had been out in the main roadways of Mycogen and was more at home with them than he was. Dors Venabili, brows knitted, was less delighted with the prospect. She said, â€Å"We can easily get lost, you know.† â€Å"Not with that booklet,† said Seldon. She looked up at him impatiently. â€Å"Fix your mind on Mycogen, Hari. What I should have is a computomap, something I can ask questions of. This Mycogenian version is just a piece of folded plastic. I can't tell this thing where I am. I can't tell it by word of mouth and I can't even tell it by pushing the necessary contacts. It can't tell me anything either way. It's a print thing.† â€Å"Then read what it says.† â€Å"That's what I'm trying to do, but it's written for people who are familiar with the system to begin with. We'll have to ask.† â€Å"No, Dors. That would be a last resort. I don't want to attract attention. I would rather we take our chances and try to find our own way, even if it means making one or two wrong turns.† Dors leafed through the booklet with great attention and then said grudgingly, â€Å"Well, it gives the Sacratorium important mention. I suppose that's only natural. I presume everyone in Mycogen would want to get there at one time or another.† Then, after additional concentration, she said, â€Å"I'll tell you what. There's no way of taking a conveyance from here to there.† â€Å"What?† â€Å"Don't get excited. Apparently, there's a way of getting from here to another conveyance that will take us there. We'll have to change from one to another.† Seldon relaxed. â€Å"Well, of course. You can't take an Expressway to half the places on Trantor without changing.† Dors cast an impatient glance at Seldon. â€Å"I know that too. It's just that I'm used to having these things tell me so. When they expect you to find out for yourself, the simplest things can escape you for a while.† â€Å"All right, dear. Don't snap. If you know the way now, lead. I will follow humbly.† And follow her he did, until they came to an intersection, where they stopped. Three white-kirtled males and a pair of gray-kirtled females were at the same intersection. Seldon tried a universal and general smile in their direction, but they responded with a blank stare and looked away. And then the conveyance came. It was an outmoded version of what Seldon, back on Helicon, would have called a gravi-bus. There were some twenty upholstered benches inside, each capable of holding four people. Each bench had its own doors on both sides of the bus. When it stopped, passengers emerged on either side. (For a moment, Seldon was concerned for those who got out on the traffic side of the gravi-bus, but then he noticed that every vehicle approaching from either direction stopped as it neared the bus. None passed it while it was not moving.) Dors pushed Seldon impatiently and he moved on to a bench where two adjoining seats were available. Dors followed after. (The men always got on and got off first, he noticed.) 51. â€Å"For instance,† she said and pointed to a smooth boxed-off area on the back of the bench directly before each of them. As soon as the conveyance had begun to move, words lit up, naming the next stop and the notable structures or crossways that were nearby. â€Å"Now, that will probably tell us when we're approaching the changeover we want. At least the sector isn't completely barbaric.† â€Å"Good,† said Seldon. Then, after a while, leaning toward Dors, he whispered, â€Å"No one is looking at us. It seems that artificial boundaries are set up to preserve individual privacy in any crowded place. Have you noticed that?† â€Å"I've always taken it for granted. If that's going to be a rule of your psychohistory, no one will be very impressed by it.† As Dors had guessed, the direction plaque in front of them eventually announced the approach to the changeover for the direct line to the Sacratorium. They exited and again had to wait. Some buses ahead had already left this intersection, but another gravi-bus was already approaching. They were on a well-traveled route, which was not surprising; the Sacratorium was bound to be the center and heartbeat of the sector. They got on the gravi-bus and Seldon whispered, â€Å"We're not paying.† â€Å"According to the map, public transportation is a free service.† Seldon thrust out his lower lip. â€Å"How civilized. I suppose that nothing is all of a piece, not backwardness, not barbarism, nothing.† But Dors nudged him and whispered, â€Å"Your rule is broken. We're being watched. The man on your right.† 52. Seldon's eyes shifted briefly. The man to his right was rather thin and seemed quite old. He had dark brown eyes and a swarthy complexion, and Seldon was sure that he would have had black hair if he had not been depilated. He faced front again, thinking. This Brother was rather atypical. The few Brothers he had paid any attention to had been rather tall, light-skinned, and with blue or gray eyes. Of course, he had not seen enough of them to make a general rule. Then there was a light touch on the right sleeve of his kirtle. Seldon turned hesitantly and found himself looking at a card on which was written lightly, CAREFUL, TRIBESMAN! Seldon started and put a hand to his skincap automatically. The man next to him silently mouthed, â€Å"Hair.† Seldon's hand found it, a tiny exposure of bristles at his temple. He must have disturbed the skincap at some point or another. Quickly and as unobtrusively as possible, he tugged the skincap, then made sure that it was snug under the pretence of stroking his head. He turned to his neighbor on his right, nodded slightly, and mouthed, â€Å"Thank you.† His neighbor smiled and said in a normal speaking voice, â€Å"Going to the Sacratorium?† Seldon nodded. â€Å"Yes, I am.† â€Å"Easy guess. So am I. Shall we get off together?† His smile was friendly. â€Å"I'm with my-my-â€Å" â€Å"With your woman. Of course. All three together, then?† Seldon was not sure how to react. A quick look in the other direction showed him that Dors's eyes were turned straight ahead. She was showing no interest in masculine conversation-an attitude appropriate for a Sister. However, Seldon felt a soft pat on his left knee, which he took (with perhaps little justification) to mean: â€Å"It's all right.† In any case, his natural sense of courtesy was on that side and he said, â€Å"Yes, certainly.† There was no further conversation until the direction plaque told them they were arriving at the Sacratorium and Seldon's Mycogenian friend was rising to get off. The gravi-bus made a wide turn about the perimeter of a large area of the Sacratorium grounds and there was a general exodus when it came to a halt, the men sliding in front of the women to exit first. The women followed. The Mycogenian's voice crackled a bit with age, but it was cheerful. He said, â€Å"It's a little early for lunch my†¦ friends, but take my word for it that things will be crowded in not too long a time. Would you be willing to buy something simple now and eat it outside? I am very familiar with this area and I know a good place.† Seldon wondered if this was a device to maneuver innocent tribespeople into something or other disreputable or costly, yet decided to chance it. â€Å"You're very kind,† he said. â€Å"Since we are not at all familiar with the place, we will be glad to let you take the lead.† They bought lunch-sandwiches and a beverage that looked like milk-at an open-air stand. Since it was a beautiful day and they were visitors, the old Mycogenian said, they would go to the Sacratorium grounds and eat out of doors, the better to become acquainted with their surroundings. During their walk, carrying their lunch, Seldon noted that, on a very small scale, the Sacratorium resembled the Imperial Palace and that the grounds around it resembled, on a minute scale, the Imperial grounds. He could scarcely believe that the Mycogenian people admired the Imperial institution or, indeed, did anything but hate and despise it, yet the cultural attraction was apparently not to be withstood. â€Å"It's beautiful,† said the Mycogenian with obvious pride. â€Å"Quite,† said Seldon. â€Å"How it glistens in the daylight.† â€Å"The grounds around it,† he said, â€Å"are constructed in imitation of the government grounds on our Dawn World†¦ in miniature, to be sure.† â€Å"Did you ever see the grounds of the Imperial Palace?† asked Seldon cautiously. The Mycogenian caught the implication and seemed in no way put out by it. â€Å"They copied the Dawn World as best they could too.† Seldon doubted that in the extreme, but he said nothing. They came to a semicircular seat of white stonite, sparkling in the light as the Sacratorium did. â€Å"Good,† said the Mycogenian, his dark eyes gleaming with pleasure. â€Å"No one's taken my place. I call it mine only because it's my favorite seat. It affords a beautiful view of the side wall of the Sacratorium past the trees. Please sit down. It's not cold, I assure you. And your companion. She is welcome to sit too. She is a tribeswoman, I know, and has different customs. She†¦ she may speak if she wishes.† Dors gave him a hard look and sat down. Seldon, recognizing the fact that they might remain with this old Mycogenian a while, thrust out his hand and said, â€Å"I am Hari and my female companion is Dors. We don't use numbers, I'm afraid.† â€Å"To each his†¦ or her†¦ own,† said the other expansively. â€Å"I am Mycelium Seventy-Two. We are a large cohort.† â€Å"Mycelium?† said Seldon a bit hesitantly. â€Å"You seem surprised,† said Mycelium. â€Å"I take it, then, you've only met members of our Elder families. Names like Cloud and Sunshine and Starlight-all astronomical.† â€Å"I must admit-† began Seldon. â€Å"Well, meet one of the lower classes. We take our names from the ground and from the micro-organisms we grow. Perfectly respectable.† â€Å"I'm quite certain,† said Seldon, â€Å"and thank you again for helping me with my†¦ problem in the gravi-bus.† â€Å"Listen,† said Mycelium Seventy-Two, â€Å"I saved you a lot of trouble. If a Sister had seen you before I did, she would undoubtedly have screamed and the nearest Brothers would have bustled you off the bus-maybe not even waiting for it to stop moving.† Dors leaned forward so as to see across Seldon. â€Å"How is it you did not act in this way yourself?† â€Å"I? I have no animosity against tribespeople. I'm a scholar.† â€Å"A scholar?† â€Å"First one in my cohort. I studied at the Sacratorium School and did very well. I'm learned in all the ancient arts and I have a license to enter the tribal library, where they keep book-films and books by tribespeople. I can view any book-film or read any book I wish to. We even have a computerized reference library and I can handle that too. That sort of thing broadens your mind. I don't mind a little hair showing. I've seen pictures of men with hair many a time. And women too.† He glanced quickly at Dors. They ate in silence for a while and then Seldon said, â€Å"I notice that every Brother who enters or leaves the Sacratorium is wearing a red sash.† â€Å"Oh yes,† said Mycelium Seventy-Two. â€Å"Over the left shoulder and around the right side of the waist-usually very fancily embroidered.† â€Å"Why is that?† â€Å"It's called an ‘obiah.' It symbolizes the joy felt at entering the Sacratorium and the blood one would spill to preserve it.† â€Å"Blood?† said Dors, frowning. â€Å"Just a symbol. I never actually heard of anyone spilling blood over the Sacratorium. For that matter, there isn't that much joy. it's mostly wailing and mourning and prostrating one's self over the Lost World.† His voice dropped and became soft. â€Å"Very silly.† Dors said, â€Å"You're not a†¦ a believer?† â€Å"I'm a scholar,† said Mycelium with obvious pride. His face wrinkled as he grinned and took on an even more pronounced appearance of age. Seldon found himself wondering how old the man was. Several centuries?-No, they'd disposed of that. It couldn't be and yet, â€Å"How old are you?† Seldon asked suddenly, involuntarily. Mycelium Seventy-Two showed no signs of taking offense at the question, nor did he display any hesitation at answering, â€Å"Sixty-seven.† Seldon had to know. â€Å"I was told that your people believe that in very early times everyone lived for several centuries.† Mycelium Seventy-Two looked at Seldon quizzically. â€Å"Now how did you find that out? Someone must have been talking out of turn†¦ but its true. There is that belief. Only the unsophisticated believe it, but the Elders encourage it because it shows our superiority. Actually, our life expectancy is higher than elsewhere because we eat more nutritionally, but living even one century is rare.† â€Å"I take it you don't consider Mycogenians superior,† said Seldon. Mycelium Seventy-Two said, â€Å"There's nothing wrong with Mycogenians. They're certainly not inferior. Still, I think that all men are equal.-Even women,† he added, looking across at Dors. â€Å"I don't suppose,† said Seldon, â€Å"that many of your people would agree with that.† â€Å"Or many of your people,† said Mycelium Seventy-Two with a faint resentment. â€Å"I believe it, though. A scholar has to. I've viewed and even read all the great literature of the tribespeople. I understand your culture. I've written articles on it. I can sit here just as comfortably with you as though you were†¦ [tit].† Dors said a little sharply, â€Å"You sound proud of understanding tribespeople's ways. Have you ever traveled outside Mycogen?† Mycelium Seventy-Two seemed to move away a little. â€Å"No.† â€Å"Why not? You would get to know us better.† â€Å"I wouldn't feel right. I'd have to wear a wig. I'd be ashamed.† Dors said, â€Å"Why a wig? You could stay bald.† â€Å"No,† said Mycelium Seventy-Two, â€Å"I wouldn't be that kind of fool. I'd be mistreated by all the hairy ones.† â€Å"Mistreated? Why?† said Dors. â€Å"We have a great many naturally bald people everywhere on Trantor and on every other world too.† â€Å"My father is quite bald,† said Seldon with a sigh, â€Å"and I presume that in the decades to come I will be bald too. My hair isn't all that thick now.† â€Å"That's not bald,† said Mycelium Seventy-Two. â€Å"You keep hair around the edges and over your eyes. I mean bald-no hair at all.† â€Å"Anywhere on your body?† said Dors, interested. And now Mycelium Seventy-Two looked offended and said nothing. Seldon, anxious to get the conversation back on track, said, â€Å"Tell me, Mycelium Seventy-Two, can tribespeople enter the Sacratorium as spectators?† Mycelium Seventy-Two shook his head vigorously. â€Å"Never. It's for the Sons of the Dawn only.† Dors said, â€Å"Only the Sons?† Mycelium Seventy-Two looked shocked for a moment, then said forgivingly, â€Å"Well, you're tribespeople. Daughters of the Dawn enter only on certain days and times. That's just the way it is. I don't say I approve. If it was up to me, I'd say, ‘Go in. Enjoy if you can.' Sooner others than me, in fact.† â€Å"Don't you ever go in?† â€Å"When I was young, my parents took me, but-he shook his head-â€Å"it was just people staring at the Book and reading from it and sighing and weeping for the old days. It's very depressing. You can't talk to each other. You can't laugh. You can't even look at each other. Your mind has to be totally on the Lost World. Totally.† He waved a hand in rejection. â€Å"Not for me. I'm a scholar and I want the whole world open to me.† â€Å"Good,† said Seldon, seeing an opening. â€Å"We feel that way too. We are scholars also, Dors and myself.† â€Å"I know,† said Mycelium Seventy-Two. â€Å"You know? How do you know?† â€Å"You'd have to be. The only tribespeople allowed in Mycogen are Imperial officials and diplomats, important traders, and scholars-and to me you have the look of scholars. That's what interested me in you. Scholars together.† He smiled delightedly. â€Å"So we are. I am a mathematician. Dors is a historian. And you?† â€Å"I specialize in†¦ culture. I've read all the great works of literature of the tribespeople: Lissauer, Mentone, Novigor-â€Å" â€Å"And we have read the great works of your people. I've read the Book, for instance.-About the Lost World.† Mycelium Seventy-Two's eyes opened wide in surprise. His olive complexion seemed to fade a little. â€Å"You have? How? Where?† â€Å"At our University we have copies that we can read if we have permission.† â€Å"Copies of the Book?† â€Å"Yes.† â€Å"I wonder if the Elders know this?† Seldon said, â€Å"And I've read about robots.† â€Å"Robots?† â€Å"Yes. That is why I would like to be able to enter the Sacratorium. I would like to see the robot.† (Dors kicked lightly at Seldon's ankle, but he ignored her.) Mycelium Seventy-Two said uneasily, â€Å"I don't believe in such things. Scholarly people don't.† But he looked about as though he was afraid of being overheard. Seldon said, â€Å"I've read that a robot still exists in the Sacratorium.† Mycelium Seventy-Two said, â€Å"I don't want to talk about such nonsense.† Seldon persisted. â€Å"Where would it be if it was in the Sacratorium?† â€Å"Even if one was there, I couldn't tell you. I haven't been in there since I was a child.† â€Å"Would you know if there was a special place, a hidden place?† â€Å"There's the Elders' aerie. Only Elders go there, but there's nothing there.† â€Å"Have you ever been there?† â€Å"No, of course not.† â€Å"Then how do you know?† â€Å"I don't know that there's no pomegranate tree there. I don't know that there's no laser-organ there. I don't know that there's no item of a million different kinds there. Does my lack of knowledge of their absence show they are all present?† For the moment, Seldon had nothing to say. A ghost of a smile broke through Mycelium Seventy-Two's look of concern. He said, â€Å"That's scholars' reasoning. I'm not an easy man to tackle, you see. Just the same, I wouldn't advise you to try to get up into the Elders' aerie. I don't think you'd like what would happen if they found a tribesman inside.-Well. Best of the Dawn to you.† And he rose suddenly-without warning-and hurried away. Seldon looked after him, rather surprised. â€Å"What made him rush off like that?† â€Å"I think,† said Dors, â€Å"it's because someone is approaching.† And someone was. A tall man in an elaborate white kirtle, crossed by an even more elaborate and subtly glittering red sash, glided solemnly toward them. He had the unmistakable look of a man with authority and the even more unmistakable look of one who is not pleased. 53. Hari Seldon rose as the new Mycogenian approached. He hadn't the slightest idea whether that was the appropriate polite behavior, but he had the distinct feeling it would do no harm. Dors Venabili rose with him and carefully kept her eyes lowered. The other stood before them. He too was an old man, but more subtly aged than Mycelium Seventy-Two. Age seemed to lend distinction to his still-handsome face. His bald head was beautifully round and his eyes were a startling blue, contrasting sharply with the bright all-but-glowing red of his sash. The newcomer said, â€Å"I see you are tribespeople.† His voice was more high-pitched than Seldon had expected, but he spoke slowly, as though conscious of the weight of authority in every word he uttered. â€Å"So we are,† said Seldon politely but firmly. He saw no reason not to defer to the other's position, but he did not intend to abandon his own. â€Å"Your names?† â€Å"I am Hari Seldon of Helicon. My companion is Dors Venabili of Cinna. And yours, man of Mycogen?† The eyes narrowed in displeasure, but he too could recognize an air of authority when he felt it. â€Å"I am Skystrip Two,† he said, lifting his head higher, â€Å"an Elder of the Sacratorium. And your position, tribesman?† â€Å"We,† said Seldon, emphasizing the pronoun, â€Å"are scholars of Streeling University. I am a mathematician and my companion is a historian and we are here to study the ways of Mycogen.† â€Å"By whose authority?† â€Å"By that of Sunmaster Fourteen, who greeted us on our arrival.† Skystrip Two fell silent for a moment and then a small smile appeared on his face and he took on an air that was almost benign. He said, â€Å"The High Elder. I know him well.† â€Å"And so you should,† said Seldon blandly. â€Å"Is there anything else, Elder?† â€Å"Yes.† The Elder strove to regain the high ground. â€Å"Who was the man who was with you and who hurried away when I approached?† Seldon shook his head, â€Å"We never saw him before, Elder, and know nothing about him. We encountered him purely by accident and asked about the Sacratorium.† â€Å"What did you ask him?† â€Å"Two questions, Elder. We asked if that building was the Sacratorium and if tribespeople were allowed to enter it. He answered in the affirmative to the first question and in the negative to the second.† â€Å"Quite so. And what is your interest in the Sacratorium?† â€Å"Sir, we are here to study the ways of Mycogen and is not the Sacratorium the heart and brain of Mycogen?† â€Å"It is entirely ours and reserved for us.† â€Å"Even if an Elder-the High Elder-would arrange for permission in view of our scholarly function?† â€Å"Have you indeed the High Elder's permission?† Seldon hesitated the slightest moment while Dors's eyes lifted briefly to look at him sideways. He decided he could not carry off a lie of this magnitude. â€Å"No,† he said, â€Å"not yet.† â€Å"Or ever,† said the Elder. â€Å"You are here in Mycogen by authority, but even the highest authority cannot exert total control over the public. We value our Sacratorium and the populace can easily grow excited over the presence of a tribesperson anywhere in Mycogen but, most particularly, in the vicinity of the Sacratorium. It would take one excitable person to raise a cry of ‘Invasion!' and a peaceful crowd such as this one would be turned into one that would be thirsting to tear you apart. I mean that quite literally. For your own good, even if the High Elder has shown you kindness, leave. Now!† â€Å"But the Sacratorium-† said Seldon stubbornly, though Dors was pulling gently at his kirtle. â€Å"What is there in the Sacratorium that can possibly interest you?† said the Elder. â€Å"You see it now. There is nothing for you to see in the interior.† â€Å"There is the robot,† said Seldon. The Elder stared at Seldon in shocked surprise and then, bending to bring his lips close to Seldon's ear, whispered harshly, â€Å"Leave now or I will raise the cry of ‘Invasion!' myself. Nor, were it not for the High Elder, would I give you even this one chance to leave.† And Dors, with surprising strength, nearly pulled Seldon off his feet as she stepped hastily away, dragging him along until he caught his balance and stepped quickly after her. 54. It was over breakfast the next morning, not sooner, that Dors took up the subject-and in a way that Seldon found most wounding. She said, â€Å"Well, that was a pretty fiasco yesterday.† Seldon, who had honestly thought he had gotten away with it without comment, looked sullen. â€Å"What made it a fiasco?† â€Å"Driven out is what we were. And for what? What did we gain?† â€Å"Only the knowledge that there is a robot in there.† â€Å"Mycelium Seventy-Two said there wasn't.† â€Å"Of course he said that. He's a scholar-or thinks he is-and what he doesn't know about the Sacratorium would probably fill that library he goes to. You saw the Elder's reaction.† â€Å"I certainly did.† â€Å"He would not have reacted like that if there was no robot inside. He was horrified we knew.† â€Å"That's just your guess, Hari. And even if there was, we couldn't get in.† â€Å"We could certainly try. After breakfast, we go out and buy a sash for me, one of those obiahs. I put it on, keep my eyes devoutly downward, and walk right in.† â€Å"Skincap and all? They'll spot you in a microsecond.† â€Å"No, they won't. We'll go into the library where all the tribespeople data is kept. I'd like to see it anyway. From the library, which is a Sacratorium annex, I gather, there will probably be an entrance into the Sacratorium.† â€Å"Where you will be picked up at once.† â€Å"Not at all. You heard what Mycelium Seventy-Two had to say. Everyone keeps his eyes down and meditates on their great Lost World, Aurora. No one looks at anyone else. It would probably be a grievous breach of discipline to do so. Then I'll find the Elders' aerie-â€Å" â€Å"Just like that?† â€Å"At one point, Mycelium Seventy-Two said he would advise me not to try to get up into the Elders' aerie. Up. It must be somewhere in that tower of the Sacratorium, the central tower.† Dors shook her head. â€Å"I don't recall the man's exact words and I don't think you do either. That's a terribly weak foundation to- Wait.† She stopped suddenly and frowned. â€Å"Well?† said Seldon. â€Å"There is an archaic word ‘aerie' that means ‘a dwelling place on high.' â€Å" â€Å"Ah! There you are. You see, we've learned some vital things as the result of what you call a fiasco. And if I can find a living robot that's twenty thousand years old and if it can tell me-â€Å" â€Å"Suppose that such a thing exists, which passes belief, and that you find it, which is not very likely, how long do you think you will be able to talk to it before your presence is discovered?† â€Å"I don't know, but if I can prove it exists and if I can find it, then I'll think of some way to talk to it. It's too late for me to back out now under any circumstances. Hummin should have left me alone when I thought there was no way of achieving psychohistory. Now that it seems there may be, I won't let anything stop me-short of being killed.† â€Å"The Mycogenians may oblige, Hari, and you can't run that risk.† â€Å"Yes, I can. I'm going to try.† â€Å"No, Hari. I must look after you and I can't let you.† â€Å"You must let me. Finding a way to work out psychohistory is more important than my safety. My safety is only important because I may work out psychohistory. Prevent me from doing so and your task loses its meaning.-Think about it.† Hari felt himself infused with a renewed sense of purpose. Psychohistory-his nebulous theory that he had, such a short while ago, despaired ever of proving-loomed larger, more real. Now he had to believe that it was possible; he could feel it in his gut. The pieces seemed to be falling together and although he couldn't see the whole pattern yet, he was sure the Sacratorium would yield another piece to the puzzle. â€Å"Then I'll go in with you so I can pull you out, you idiot, when the time comes.† â€Å"Women can't enter.† â€Å"What makes me a woman? Only this gray kirtle. You can't see my breasts under it. I don't have a woman's style hairdo with the skincap on. I have the same washed, unmarked face a man has. The men here don't have stubble. All I need is a white kirtle and a sash and I can enter. Any Sister could do it if she wasn't held back by a taboo. I am not held back by one.† â€Å"You're held back by me. I won't let you. It's too dangerous.† â€Å"No more dangerous for me than for you.† â€Å"But I must take the risk.† â€Å"Then so must I. Why is your imperative greater than mine?† â€Å"Because-† Seldon paused in thought. â€Å"Just tell yourself this,† said Dors, her voice hard as rock. â€Å"I won't let you go there without me. If you try, I will knock you unconscious and tie you up. If you don't like that, then give up any thought of going alone.† Seldon hesitated and muttered darkly. He gave up the argument, at least for now. 55. The sky was almost cloudless, but it was a pale blue, as though wrapped in a high thin mist. That, thought Seldon, was a good touch, but suddenly he missed the sun itself. No one on Trantor saw the planet's sun unless he or she went Upperside and even then only when the natural cloud layer broke. Did native Trantorians miss the sun? Did they give it any thought? When one of them visited another world where a natural sun was in view, did he or she stare, half-blinded, at it with awe? Why, he wondered, did so many people spend their lives not trying to find answers to questions-not even thinking of questions to begin with? Was there anything more exciting in life than seeking answers? His glance shifted to ground level. The wide roadway was lined with low buildings, most of them shops. Numerous individual ground-cars moved in both directions, each hugging the right side. They seemed like a collection of antiques, but they were electrically driven and quite soundless. Seldon wondered if â€Å"antique† was always a word to sneer at. Could it be that silence made up for slowness? Was there any particular hurry to life, after all? There were a number of children on the walkways and Seldon's lips pressed together in annoyance. Clearly, an extended life span for the Mycogenians was impossible unless they were willing to indulge in infanticide. The children of both sexes (though it was hard to tell the boys from the girls) wore kirtles that came only a few inches below the knee, making the wild activity of childhood easier. The children also still had hair, reduced to an inch in length at most, but even so the older ones among them had hoods attached to their kirtles and wore them raised, hiding the top of the head altogether. It was as though they were getting old enough to make the hair seem a trifle obscene-or old enough to be wishing to hide it, in longing for the day of rite of passage when they were depilated. A thought occurred to Seldon. He said, â€Å"Dors, when you've been out shopping, who paid, you or the Raindrop women?† â€Å"I did of course. The Raindrops never produced a credit tile. But why should they? What was being bought was for us, not for them.† â€Å"But you have a Trantorian credit tile-a tribeswoman credit tile.† â€Å"Of course, Hari, but there was no problem. The people of Mycogen may keep their own culture and ways of thought and habits of life as they wish. They can destroy their cephalic hair and wear kirtles. Nevertheless, they must use the world's credits. If they don't, that would choke off commerce and no sensible person would want to do that. The credits nerve, Hari.† She held up her hand as though she was holding an invisible credit tile. â€Å"And they accepted your credit tile?† â€Å"Never a peep out of them. And never a word about my skincap. Credits sanitize everything.† â€Å"Well, that's good. So I can buy-â€Å" â€Å"No, I'll do the buying. Credits may sanitize everything, but they more easily sanitize a tribeswoman. They're so used to paying women little or no attention that they automatically pay me the same.-And here's the clothing store I've been using.† â€Å"I'll wait out here. Get me a nice red sash-one that looks impressive.† â€Å"Don't pretend you've forgotten our decision. I'll get two. And another white kirtle also†¦ to my measurements.† â€Å"Won't they think it odd that a woman would be buying a white kirtle?† â€Å"Of course not. They'll assume I'm buying it for a male companion who happens to be my size. Actually, I don't think they'll bother with any assumptions at all as long as my credit tile is good.† Seldon waited, half-expecting someone to come up and greet him as a tribesman or denounce him as one-more likely-but no one did. Those who passed him did so without a glance and even those who glanced in his direction moved on seemingly untouched. He was especially nervous about the gray kirtles-the women-walking by in pairs or, even worse, with a man. They were downtrodden, unnoticed, snubbed. How better to gain a brief notoriety than by shrieking at the sight of a tribesman? But even the women moved on. They're not expecting to see a tribesman, Seldon thought, so they don't see one. That, he decided, augured well for their forthcoming invasion of the Sacratorium. How much less would anyone expect to see tribespeople there and how much more effectively would they therefore fail to see them! He was in fairly good humor when Dors emerged. â€Å"You have everything?† â€Å"Absolutely.† â€Å"Then lets go back to the room, so you can change.† The white kirtle did not fit her quite as well as the gray one did. Obviously, she could not have tried it on or even the densest shopkeeper would have been struck with alarm. â€Å"How do I look, Hari?† she asked. â€Å"Exactly like a boy,† said Seldon. â€Å"Now let's try the sash†¦ or obiah. I had better get used to calling it that.† Dors, without her skincap, was shaking out her hair gratefully. She said sharply, â€Å"Don't put it on now. We're not going to parade through Mycogen with the sash on. The last thing we want to do is call attention to ourselves.† â€Å"No, no. I just want to see how it goes on.† â€Å"Well, not that one. This one is better quality and more elaborate.† â€Å"You're right, Dors. I've got to gather in what attention there is. I don't want them to detect you as a woman.† â€Å"I'm not thinking of that, Hari. I just want you to look pretty.† â€Å"A thousand thanks, but that's impossible, I suspect. Now, let's see, how does this work?† Together, Hari and Dors practiced putting their obiahs on and taking them off, over and over again, until they could do it in one fluid motion. Dors taught Hari how to do it, as she had seen a man doing it the day before at the Sacratorium. When Hari praised her for her acute observations, she blushed and said, â€Å"Its really nothing, Hari, just something I noticed.† Hari replied, â€Å"Then you're a genius for noticing.† Finally satisfied, they stood well apart, each surveying the other. Hari's obiah glittered, a bright red dragonlike design standing out against a paler field of similar hue. Dors's was a little less bold, had a simple thin line down the center, and was very light in color. â€Å"There,† she said, â€Å"just enough to show good taste.† She took it off. â€Å"Now,† said Seldon, â€Å"we fold it up and it goes into one of the inner pockets. I have my credit tile-Hummin's, really-and the key to this place in this one and here, on the other side, the Book.† â€Å"The Book? Should you be carrying it around?† â€Å"I must. I'm guessing that anyone going to the Sacratorium ought to have a copy of the Book with him. They may intone passages or have readings. If necessary, we'll share the Book and maybe no one will notice. Ready?† â€Å"I'll never be ready, but I'm going with you.† â€Å"It will be a tedious trip. Will you check my skincap and make sure no hair shows this time? And don't scratch your head.† â€Å"I won't. You look all right.† â€Å"So do you.† â€Å"You also look nervous.† And Seldon said wryly, â€Å"Guess why!† Dors reached out impulsively and squeezed Hari's hand, then drew back as if surprised at herself. Looking down, she straightened her white kirtle. Hari, himself a trifle surprised and peculiarly pleased, cleared his throat and said, â€Å"Okay, let's go.†

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