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Foundation and Empire 

Second Foundation 

About the author 



The date was August 1, 1941. World War II had been raging for two years. France had fallen, the Battle 
of Britain had been fought, and the Soviet Union had just been invaded by Nazi Germany. The bombing 
of Pearl Harbor was four months in the future. 

But on that day, with Europe in flames, and the evil shadow of Adolf Hitler apparently falling over all 
the world, what was chiefly on my mind was a meeting toward which I was hastening. 

I was 21 years old, a graduate student in chemistry at Columbia University, and I had been writing 
science fiction professionally for three years. In that time, I had sold five stories to John Campbell, editor 
of Astounding, and the fifth story, "Nightfall," was about to appear in the September 1941 issue of the 
magazine. I had an appointment to see Mr. Campbell to tell him the plot of a new story I was planning to 
write, and the catch was that I had no plot in mind, not the trace of one. 

I therefore tried a device I sometimes use. I opened a book at random and set up free association, 
beginning with whatever I first saw. The book I had with me was a collection of the Gilbert and Sullivan 
plays. I happened to open it to the picture of the Fairy Queen of lolanthe throwing herself at the feet of 
Private Willis. I thought of soldiers, of military empires, of the Roman Empire - of a Galactic Empire - 

Why shouldn't I write of the fall of the Galactic Empire and of the return of feudalism, written from the 
viewpoint of someone in the secure days of the Second Galactic Empire? After all, I had read Gibbon's 

Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire not once, but twice. 

I was bubbling over by the time I got to Campbell's, and my enthusiasm must have been catching for 
Campbell blazed up as I had never seen him do. In the course of an hour we built up the notion of a vast 
series of connected stories that were to deal in intricate detail with the thousand-year period between the 
First and Second Galactic Empires. This was to be illuminated by the science of psychohistory, which 
Campbell and I thrashed out between us. 

On August 11, 1941, therefore, I began the story of that interregnum and called it "Foundation." In it, I 
described how the psychohistorian, Hari Seldon, established a pair of Foundations at opposite ends of the 
Universe under such circumstances as to make sure that the forces of history would bring about the 
second Empire after one thousand years instead of the thirty thousand that would be required otherwise. 

The story was submitted on September 8 and, to make sure that Campbell really meant what he said 
about a series, I ended "Foundation" on a cliff-hanger. Thus, it seemed to me, he would b e forced to buy 
a second story. 

However, when I started the second story (on October 24), I found that I had outsmarted myself. I 
quickly wrote myself into an impasse, and the Foundation series would have died an ignominious death 
had I not had a conversation with Fred Pohl on November 2 (on the Brooklyn Bridge, as it happened). I 
don't remember what Fred actually said, but, whatever it was, it pulled me out of the hole. 

"Foundation" appeared in the May 1942 issue of As founding and the succeeding story, "Bridle and 
Saddle," in the June 1942 issue. 

After that there was only the routine trouble of writing the stories. Through the remainder of the decade, 
John Campbell kept my nose to the grindstone and made sure he got additional Foundation stories. 

"The Big and the Little" was in the August 1944 Astounding, "The Wedge" in the October 1944 issue, 
and "Dead Hand" in the April 1945 issue. (These stories were written while I was working at the Navy 
Yard in Philadelphia.) 

On January 26, 1945,1 began "The Mule," my personal favorite among the Foundation stories, and the 
longest yet, for it was 50,000 words. It was printed as a two-part serial (the very first serial I was ever 
responsible for) in the November and December 1945 issues. By the time the second part appeared I was 
in the army. 

After I got out of the army, I wrote "Now You See It-" which appeared in the January 1948 issue. By this 
time, though, I had grown tired of the Foundation stories so I tried to end them by setting up, and solving, 
the mystery of the location of the Second Foundation. Campbell would have none of that, however. He 
forced me to change the ending, and made me promise I would do one more Foundation story. 

Well, Campbell was the kind of editor who could not be denied, so I wrote one more Foundation story, 
vowing to myself that it would be the last. I called it "-And Now You Don't," and it appeared as a 
three-part serial in the November 1949, December 1949, and January 1950 issues of Astounding. 

By then, I was on the biochemistry faculty of Boston University School of Medicine, my first book had 
just been published, and I was determined to move on to new things. I had spent eight years on the 
Foundation, written nine stories with a total of about 220,000 words. My total earnings for the series 
came to $3,641 and that seemed enough. The Foundation was over and done with, as far as I was 


In 1950, however, hardcover science fiction was just coming into existence. I had no objection to earning 
a little more money by having the Foundation series reprinted in book form. I offered the series to 
Doubleday (which had already published a science-fiction novel by me, and which had contracted for 
another) and to Little-Brown, but both rejected it. In that year, though, a small publishing firm, Gnome 
Press, was beginning to be active, and it was prepared to do the Foundation series as three books. 

The publisher of Gnome felt, however, that the series began too abruptly. He persuaded me to write a 
small Foundation story, one that would serve as an introductory section to the first book (so that the first 
part of the Foundation series was the last written). 

In 1951, the Gnome Press edition of Foundation was published, containing the introduction and the first 
four stories of the series. In 1952, Foundation and Empire appeared, with the fifth and sixth stories; and 
in 1953, Second Foundation appeared, with the seventh and eighth stories. The three books together 
came to be called The Foundation Trilogy. 

The mere fact of the existence of the Trilogy pleased me, but Gnome Press did not have the financial 
clout or the publishing knowhow to get the books distributed properly, so that few copies were sold and 
fewer still paid me royalties. (Nowadays, copies of first editions of those Gnome Press books sell at $50 
a copy and up-but I still get no royalties from them.) 

Ace Books did put out paperback editions of Foundation and of Foundation and Empire, but they 
changed the titles, and used cut versions. Any money that was involved was paid to Gnome Press and I 
didn't see much of that. In the first decade of the existence of The Foundation Trilogy it may have earned 
something like $1500 total. 

And yet there was some foreign interest. In early 1961, Timothy Seldes, who was then my editor at 
Doubleday, told me that Doubleday had received a request for the Portuguese rights for the Foundation 
series and, since they weren't Doubleday books, he was passing them on to me. I sighed and said, "The 
heck with it, Tim. I don't get royalties on those books." 

Seldes was horrified, and instantly set about getting the books away from Gnome Press so that 
Doubleday could publish them instead. He paid no attention to my loudly expressed fears that Doubleday 
"would lose its shirt on them." In August 1961 an agreement was reached and the Foundation books 
became Doubleday property. What’s more, Avon Books, which had published a paperback version of 
Second Foundation, set about obtaining the rights to all three from Doubleday, and put out nice editions. 

From that moment on, the Foundation books took off and began to earn increasing royalties. They have 
sold well and steadily, both in hardcover and softcover, for two decades so far. Increasingly, the letters I 
received from the readers spoke of them in high praise. They received more attention than all my other 
books put together. 

Doubleday also published an omnibus volume, The Foundation Trilogy, for its Science Fiction Book 
Club. That omnibus volume has been continuously featured by the Book Club for over twenty years. 

Matters reached a climax in 1966. The fans organizing the World Science Fiction Convention for that 
year (to be held in Cleveland) decided to award a Hugo for the best all-time series, where the series, to 
qualify, had to consist of at least three connected novels. It was the first time such a category had been 

set up, nor has it been repeated since. The Foundation series was nominated, and I felt that was going to 
have to be glory enough for me, since I was sure that Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" would win. 

It didn't. The Foundation series won, and the Hugo I received for it has been sitting on my bookcase in 
the livingroom ever since. 

In among all this litany of success, both in money and in fame, there was one annoying side-effect. 
Readers couldn't help but notice that the books of the Foundation series covered only three hundred-plus 
years of the thousand-year hiatus between Empires. That meant the Foundation series "wasn't finished." I 
got innumerable letters from readers who asked me to finish it, from others who demanded I finish it, and 
still others who threatened dire vengeance if I didn't finish it. Worse yet, various editors at Doubleday 
over the years have pointed out that it might be wise to finish it. 

It was flattering, of course, but irritating as well. Years had passed, then decades. Back in the 1940s, I 
had been in a Foundation-writing mood. Now I wasn't. Starting in the late 1950s, I had been in a more 
and more nonfiction-writing mood. 

That didn't mean I was writing no fiction at all. In the 1960s and 1970s, in fact, I wrote two 
science-fiction novels and a mystery novel, to say nothing of well over a hundred short stories - but 
about eighty percent of what I wrote was nonfiction. 

One of the most indefatigable nags in the matter of finishing the Foundation series was my good friend, 
the great science-fiction writer, Lester del Rey. He was constantly telling me I ought to finish the series 
and was just as constantly suggesting plot devices. He even told Larry Ashmead, then my editor at 
Doubleday, that if I refused to write more Foundation stories, he, Lester, would be willing to take on the 

When Ashmead mentioned this to me in 1973,1 began another Foundation novel out of sheer 
desperation. I called it "Lightning Rod" and managed to write fourteen pages before other tasks called me 
away. The fourteen pages were put away and additional years passed. 

In January 1977, Cathleen Jordan, then my editor at Doubleday, suggested I do "an important book - a 
Foundation novel, perhaps." I said, "I'd rather do an autobiography," and I did - 640,000 words of it. 

In January 1981, Doubleday apparently lost its temper. At least, Hugh O'Neill, then my editor there, said, 
"Betty Prashker wants to see you," and marched me into her office. She was then one of the senior 
editors, and a sweet and gentle person. 

She wasted no time. "Isaac," she said, "you are going to write a novel for us and you are going to sign a 
contract to that effect." 

"Betty," I said, "I am already working on a big science book for Doubleday and I have to revise the 
Biographical Encyclopedia for Doubleday and 

"It can all wait," she said. "You are going to sign a contract to do a novel. What's more, we're going to 
give you a $50,000 advance." 

That was a stunner. I don't like large advances. They put me under too great an obligation. My average 
advance is something like $3,000. Why not? It's all out of royalties. 

I said, "That's way too much money, Betty." 

"No, it isn't," she said. 

"Doubleday will lose its shirt," I said. 

"You keep telling us that all the time. It won't." 

I said, desperately, "All right. Have the contract read that I don't get any money until I notify you in 
writing that I have begun the novel." 

"Are you crazy?" she said. "You'll never start if that clause is in the contract. You get $25,000 on signing 
the contract, and $25,000 on delivering a completed manuscript." 

"But suppose the novel is no good." 

"Now you're being silly," she said, and she ended the conversation. 

That night, Pat LoBrutto, the science-fiction editor at Doubleday called to express his pleasure. "And 
remember," he said, "that when we say 'novel' we mean ’science-fiction novel,’ not anything else. And 
when we say ’science-fiction novel,’ we mean 'Foundation novel' and not anything else." 

On February 5, 1981,1 signed the contract, and within the week, the Doubleday accounting system 
cranked out the check for $25,000. 

I moaned that I was not my own master anymore and Hugh O'Neill said, cheerfully, "That’s right, and 
from now on, we're going to call every other week and say, ’Where’s the manuscript?’" (But they didn't. 
They left me strictly alone, and never even asked for a progress report.) 

Nearly four months passed while I took care of a vast number of things I had to do, but about the end of 
May, I picked up my own copy of The Foundation Trilogy and began reading. 

I had to. For one thing, I hadn't read the Trilogy in thirty years and while I remembered the general plot, I 
did not remember the details. Besides, before beginning a new Foundation novel I had to immerse myself 
in the style and atmosphere of the series. 

I read it with mounting uneasiness. I kept waiting for something to happen, and nothing ever did. All 
three volumes, all the nearly quarter of a million words, consisted of thoughts and of conversations. No 
action. No physical suspense. 

What was all the fuss about, then? Why did everyone want more of that stuff? - To be sure, I couldn't 
help but notice that I was turning the pages eagerly, and that I was upset when I finished the book, and 
that I wanted more, but I was the author, for goodness' sake. You couldn't go by me. 

I was on the edge of deciding it was all a terrible mistake and of insisting on giving back the money, 
when (quite by accident, I swear) I came across some sentences by science-fiction writer and critic, 

James Gunn, who, in connection with the Foundation series, said, "Action and romance have little to do 
with the success of the Trilogy - virtually all the action takes place offstage, and the romance is almost 
invisible - but the stories provide a detective-story fascination with the permutations and reversals of 

Oh, well, if what was needed were "permutations and reversals of ideas," then that I could supply. Panic 

receded, and on June 10, 1981,1 dug out the fourteen pages I had written more than eight years before 
and reread them. They sounded good to me. I didn't remember where I had been headed back then, but I 
had worked out what seemed to me to be a good ending now, and, starting page 15 on that day, I 
proceeded to work toward the new ending. 

I found, to my infinite relief, that I had no trouble getting back into a "Foundation-mood," and, fresh 
from my rereading, I had Foundation history at my finger-tips. 

There were differences, to be sure: 

1) The original stories were written for a science-fiction magazine and were from 7,000 to 50,000 words 
long, and no more. Consequently, each book in the trilogy had at least two stories and lacked unity. I 
intended to make the new book a single story. 

2) I had a particularly good chance for development since Hugh said, "Let the book find its own length, 
Isaac. We don't mind a long book." So I planned on 140,000 words, which was nearly three times the 
length of "The Mule," and this gave me plenty of elbow-room, and I could add all sorts of little touches. 

3) The Foundation series had been written at a time when our knowledge of astronomy was primitive 
compared with what it is today. I could take advantage of that and at least mention black holes, for 
instance. I could also take advantage of electronic computers, which had not been invented until I was 
half through with the series. 

The novel progressed steadily, and on January 17, 1982,1 began final copy. I brought the manuscript to 
Hugh O'Neill in batches, and the poor fellow went half-crazy since he insisted on reading it in this 
broken fashion. On March 25, 1982,1 brought in the last bit, and the very next day got the second half of 
the advance. 

I had kept "Lightning Rod" as my working title all the way through, but Hugh finally said, "Is there any 
way of putting 'Foundation' into the title, Isaac?" I suggested Foundations at Bay, therefore, and that may 
be the title that will actually be used. * 

You will have noticed that I have said nothing about the plot of the new Foundation novel. Well, 
naturally. I would rather you buy and read the book. 

And yet there is one thing I have to confess to you. I generally manage to tie up all the loose ends into 
one neat little bow-knot at the end of my stories, no matter how complicated the plot might be. In this 
case, however, I noticed that when I was all done, one glaring little item remained unresolved. 

I am hoping no one else notices it because it clearly points the way to the continuation of the series. 

It is even possible that I inadvertently gave this away for at the end of the novel, I wrote: "The End (for 

I very much fear that if the novel proves successful, Doubleday will be at my throat again, as Campbell 
used to be in the old days. And yet what can I do but hope that the novel is very successful indeed. What 
a quandary! 

*Editor's note: The novel was published in October 1982 as Foundation's Edge. 


Isaac Asimov was born in the Soviet Union to his great surprise. He moved quickly to correct the 
situation. When his parents emigrated to the United States, Isaac (three years old at the time) stowed 
away in their baggage. He has been an American citizen since the age of eight. 

Brought up in Brooklyn, and educated in its public schools, he eventually found his way to Columbia 
University and, over the protests of the school administration, managed to annex a series of degrees in 
chemistry, up to and including a Ph.D. He then infiltrated Boston University and climbed the academic 
ladder, ignoring all cries of outrage, until he found himself Professor of Biochemistry. 

Meanwhile, at the age of nine, he found the love of his life (in the inanimate sense) when he discovered 
his first science-fiction magazine. By the time he was eleven, he began to write stories, and at eighteen, 
he actually worked up the nerve to submit one. It was rejected. After four long months of tribulation and 
suffering, he sold his first story and, thereafter, he never looked back. 

In 1941, when he was twenty-one years old, he wrote the classic short story "Nightfall" and his future 
was assured. Shortly before that he had begun writing his robot stories, and shortly after that he had 
begun his Foundation series. 

What was left except quantity? At the present time, he has published over 260 books, distributed through 
every major division of the Dewey system of library classification, and shows no signs of slowing up. He 
remains as youthful, as lively, and as lovable as ever, and grows more handsome with each year. You can 
be sure that this is so since he has written this little essay himself and his devotion to absolute objectivity 
is notorious. 

He is married to Janet Jeppson, psychiatrist and writer, has two children by a previous marriage, and 
lives in New York City. 

ejusirjyj ecows 







Part I The Psvchohistorians 

Part II The Encyclopedists 

Part III The Mayors 

Part IV The Traders 
Part V The Merchant Princes 



The date was August 1, 1941. World War II had been raging for two years. France had fallen, 
the Battle of Britain had been fought, and the Soviet Union had just been invaded by Nazi 
Germany. The bombing of Pearl Harbor was four months in the future. 

But on that day, with Europe in flames, and the evil shadow of Adolf Hitler apparently falling 
over all the world, what was chiefly on my mind was a meeting toward which I was hastening. 

I was 21 years old, a graduate student in chemistry at Columbia University, and I had been 
writing science fiction professionally for three years. In that time, I had sold five stories to John 
Campbell, editor of Astounding, and the fifth story, "Nightfall," was about to appear in the 
September 1941 issue of the magazine. I had an appointment to see Mr. Campbell to tell him 
the plot of a new story I was planning to write, and the catch was that I had no plot in mind, not 
the trace of one. 

I therefore tried a device I sometimes use. I opened a book at random and set up free 
association, beginning with whatever I first saw. The book I had with me was a collection of the 
Gilbert and Sullivan plays. I happened to open it to the picture of the Fairy Queen of lolanthe 
throwing herself at the feet of Private Willis. I thought of soldiers, of military empires, of the 
Roman Empire - of a Galactic Empire - aha! 

Why shouldn't I write of the fall of the Galactic Empire and of the return of feudalism, written 
from the viewpoint of someone in the secure days of the Second Galactic Empire? After all, I 
had read Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire not once, but twice. 

I was bubbling over by the time I got to Campbell's, and my enthusiasm must have been 
catching for Campbell blazed up as I had never seen him do. In the course of an hour we built 
up the notion of a vast series of connected stories that were to deal in intricate detail with the 
thousand-year period between the First and Second Galactic Empires. This was to be 
illuminated by the science of psychohistory, which Campbell and I thrashed out between us. 

On August 11,1941, therefore, I began the story of that interregnum and called it "Foundation." 
In it, I described how the psychohistorian, Hari Seldon, established a pair of Foundations at 
opposite ends of the Universe under such circumstances as to make sure that the forces of 
history would bring about the second Empire after one thousand years instead of the thirty 
thousand that would be required otherwise. 

The story was submitted on September 8 and, to make sure that Campbell really meant what 
he said about a series, I ended "Foundation" on a cliff-hanger. Thus, it seemed to me, he would 
be forced to buy a second story. 

Flowever, when I started the second story (on October 24), I found that I had outsmarted 
myself. I quickly wrote myself into an impasse, and the Foundation series would have died an 
ignominious death had I not had a conversation with Fred Pohl on November 2 (on the 
Brooklyn Bridge, as it happened). I don't remember what Fred actually said, but, whatever it 
was, it pulled me out of the hole. 

"Foundation" appeared in the May 1942 issue of Astounding and the succeeding story, "Bridle 
and Saddle," in the June 1942 issue. 

After that there was only the routine trouble of writing the stories. Through the remainder of the 
decade, John Campbell kept my nose to the grindstone and made sure he got additional 
Foundation stories. 

"The Big and the Little" was in the August 1944 Astounding, "The Wedge" in the October 1944 
issue, and "Dead Fland" in the April 1945 issue. (These stories were written while I was working 
at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia.) 

On January 26, 1945, I began "The Mule," my personal favorite among the Foundation stories, 
and the longest yet, for it was 50,000 words. It was printed as a two-part serial (the very first 
serial I was ever responsible for) in the November and December 1945 issues. By the time the 
second part appeared I was in the army. 

After I got out of the army, I wrote "Now You See It-" which appeared in the January 1948 
issue. By this time, though, I had grown tired of the Foundation stories so I tried to end them by 
setting up, and solving, the mystery of the location of the Second Foundation. Campbell would 
have none of that, however. Fie forced me to change the ending, and made me promise I would 
do one more Foundation story. 

Well, Campbell was the kind of editor who could not be denied, so I wrote one more Foundation 

story, vowing to myself that it would be the last. I called it "-And Now You Don't," and it 
appeared as a three-part serial in the November 1949, December 1949, and January 1950 
issues of Astounding. 

By then, I was on the biochemistry faculty of Boston University School of Medicine, my first 
book had just been published, and I was determined to move on to new things. I had spent 
eight years on the Foundation, written nine stories with a total of about 220,000 words. My total 
earnings for the series came to $3,641 and that seemed enough. The Foundation was over and 
done with, as far as I was concerned. 

In 1950, however, hardcover science fiction was just coming into existence. I had no objection 
to earning a little more money by having the Foundation series reprinted in book form. I offered 
the series to Doubleday (which had already published a science-fiction novel by me, and which 
had contracted for another) and to Little-Brown, but both rejected it. In that year, though, a 
small publishing firm, Gnome Press, was beginning to be active, and it was prepared to do the 
Foundation series as three books. 

The publisher of Gnome felt, however, that the series began too abruptly. Fie persuaded me to 
write a small Foundation story, one that would serve as an introductory section to the first book 
(so that the first part of the Foundation series was the last written). 

In 1951, the Gnome Press edition of Foundation was published, containing the introduction and 
the first four stories of the series. In 1952, Foundation and Empire appeared, with the fifth and 
sixth stories; and in 1953, Second Foundation appeared, with the seventh and eighth stories. 
The three books together came to be called The Foundation Trilogy. 

The mere fact of the existence of the Trilogy pleased me, but Gnome Press did not have the 
financial clout or the publishing knowhow to get the books distributed properly, so that few 
copies were sold and fewer still paid me royalties. (Nowadays, copies of first editions of those 
Gnome Press books sell at $50 a copy and up-but I still get no royalties from them.) 

Ace Books did put out paperback editions of Foundation and of Foundation and Empire, but 
they changed the titles, and used cut versions. Any money that was involved was paid to 
Gnome Press and I didn't see much of that. In the first decade of the existence of The 
Foundation Trilogy it may have earned something like $1500 total. 

And yet there was some foreign interest. In early 1961, Timothy Seldes, who was then my 
editor at Doubleday, told me that Doubleday had received a request for the Portuguese rights 
for the Foundation series and, since they weren't Doubleday books, he was passing them on to 
me. I sighed and said, "The heck with it, Tim. I don't get royalties on those books." 

Seldes was horrified, and instantly set about getting the books away from Gnome Press so that 
Doubleday could publish them instead. Fie paid no attention to my loudly expressed fears that 
Doubleday "would lose its shirt on them." In August 1961 an agreement was reached and the 
Foundation books became Doubleday property. What's more, Avon Books, which had 
published a paperback version of Second Foundation, set about obtaining the rights to all three 
from Doubleday, and put out nice editions. 

From that moment on, the Foundation books took off and began to earn increasing royalties. 

They have sold well and steadily, both in hardcover and softcover, for two decades so far. 
Increasingly, the letters I received from the readers spoke of them in high praise. They received 
more attention than all my other books put together. 

Doubleday also published an omnibus volume, The Foundation Trilogy, for its Science Fiction 
Book Club. That omnibus volume has been continuously featured by the Book Club for over 
twenty years. 

Matters reached a climax in 1966. The fans organizing the World Science Fiction Convention 
for that year (to be held in Cleveland) decided to award a Flugo for the best all-time series, 
where the series, to qualify, had to consist of at least three connected novels. It was the first 
time such a category had been set up, nor has it been repeated since. The Foundation series 
was nominated, and I felt that was going to have to be glory enough for me, since I was sure 
that Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" would win. 

It didn't. The Foundation series won, and the Hugo I received for it has been sitting on my 
bookcase in the livingroom ever since. 

In among all this litany of success, both in money and in fame, there was one annoying 
side-effect. Readers couldn't help but notice that the books of the Foundation series covered 
only three hundred-plus years of the thousand-year hiatus between Empires. That meant the 
Foundation series "wasn't finished." I got innumerable letters from readers who asked me to 
finish it, from others who demanded I finish it, and still others who threatened dire vengeance if 
I didn't finish it. Worse yet, various editors at Doubleday over the years have pointed out that it 
might be wise to finish it. 

It was flattering, of course, but irritating as well. Years had passed, then decades. Back in the 
1940s, I had been in a Foundation-writing mood. Now I wasn't. Starting in the late 1950s, I had 
been in a more and more nonfiction-writing mood. 

That didn't mean I was writing no fiction at all. In the 1960s and 1970s, in fact, I wrote two 
science-fiction novels and a mystery novel, to say nothing of well over a hundred short stories - 
but about eighty percent of what I wrote was nonfiction. 

One of the most indefatigable nags in the matter of finishing the Foundation series was my 
good friend, the great science-fiction writer, Lester del Rey. He was constantly telling me I 
ought to finish the series and was just as constantly suggesting plot devices. He even told Larry 
Ashmead, then my editor at Doubleday, that if I refused to write more Foundation stories, he, 
Lester, would be willing to take on the task. 

When Ashmead mentioned this to me in 1973, I began another Foundation novel out of sheer 
desperation. I called it "Lightning Rod" and managed to write fourteen pages before other tasks 
called me away. The fourteen pages were put away and additional years passed. 

In January 1977, Cathleen Jordan, then my editor at Doubleday, suggested I do "an important 
book - a Foundation novel, perhaps." I said, "I'd rather do an autobiography," and I did- 
640,000 words of it. 

In January 1981, Doubleday apparently lost its temper. At least, Hugh O'Neill, then my editor 

there, said, "Betty Prashker wants to see you," and marched me into her office. She was then 
one of the senior editors, and a sweet and gentle person. 

She wasted no time. "Isaac," she said, "you are going to write a novel for us and you are going 
to sign a contract to that effect." 

"Betty," I said, "I am already working on a big science book for Doubleday and I have to revise 
the Biographical Encyclopedia for Doubleday and 

"It can all wait," she said. "You are going to sign a contract to do a novel. What's more, we're 
going to give you a $50,000 advance." 

That was a stunner. I don't like large advances. They put me under too great an obligation. My 
average advance is something like $3,000. Why not? It's all out of royalties. 

I said, "That's way too much money, Betty." 

"No, it isn't," she said. 

"Doubleday will lose its shirt," I said. 

"You keep telling us that all the time. It won't." 

I said, desperately, "All right. Have the contract read that I don't get any money until I notify you 
in writing that I have begun the novel." 

"Are you crazy?" she said. "You'll never start if that clause is in the contract. You get $25,000 
on signing the contract, and $25,000 on delivering a completed manuscript." 

"But suppose the novel is no good." 

"Now you're being silly," she said, and she ended the conversation. 

That night, Pat LoBrutto, the science-fiction editor at Doubleday called to express his pleasure. 
"And remember," he said, "that when we say 'novel' we mean 'science-fiction novel,' not 
anything else. And when we say 'science-fiction novel,' we mean 'Foundation novel' and not 
anything else." 

On February 5, 1981, I signed the contract, and within the week, the Doubleday accounting 
system cranked out the check for $25,000. 

I moaned that I was not my own master anymore and Hugh O'Neill said, cheerfully, "That's 
right, and from now on, we're going to call every other week and say, 'Where's the 
manuscript?’" (But they didn't. They left me strictly alone, and never even asked for a progress 

Nearly four months passed while I took care of a vast number of things I had to do, but about 
the end of May, I picked up my own copy of The Foundation Trilogy and began reading. 

I had to. For one thing, I hadn't read the Trilogy in thirty years and while I remembered the 
general plot, I did not remember the details. Besides, before beginning a new Foundation novel 
I had to immerse myself in the style and atmosphere of the series. 

I read it with mounting uneasiness. I kept waiting for something to happen, and nothing ever 
did. All three volumes, all the nearly quarter of a million words, consisted of thoughts and of 
conversations. No action. No physical suspense. 

What was all the fuss about, then? Why did everyone want more of that stuff? - To be sure, I 
couldn't help but notice that I was turning the pages eagerly, and that I was upset when I 
finished the book, and that I wanted more, but I was the author, for goodness' sake. You 
couldn't go by me. 

I was on the edge of deciding it was all a terrible mistake and of insisting on giving back the 
money, when (quite by accident, I swear) I came across some sentences by science-fiction 
writer and critic, James Gunn, who, in connection with the Foundation series, said, "Action and 
romance have little to do with the success of the Trilogy- virtually all the action takes place 
offstage, and the romance is almost invisible - but the stories provide a detective-story 
fascination with the permutations and reversals of ideas." 

Oh, well, if what was needed were "permutations and reversals of ideas," then that I could 
supply. Panic receded, and on June 10, 1981, I dug out the fourteen pages I had written more 
than eight years before and reread them. They sounded good to me. I didn't remember where I 
had been headed back then, but I had worked out what seemed to me to be a good ending 
now, and, starting page 15 on that day, I proceeded to work toward the new ending. 

I found, to my infinite relief, that I had no trouble getting back into a "Foundation-mood," and, 
fresh from my rereading, I had Foundation history at my finger-tips. 

There were differences, to be sure: 

1) The original stories were written for a science-fiction magazine and were from 7,000 to 
50,000 words long, and no more. Consequently, each book in the trilogy had at least two 
stories and lacked unity. I intended to make the new book a single story. 

2) I had a particularly good chance for development since Flugh said, "Let the book find its own 
length, Isaac. We don't mind a long book." So I planned on 140,000 words, which was nearly 
three times the length of "The Mule," and this gave me plenty of elbow-room, and I could add 
all sorts of little touches. 

3) The Foundation series had been written at a time when our knowledge of astronomy was 
primitive compared with what it is today. I could take advantage of that and at least mention 
black holes, for instance. I could also take advantage of electronic computers, which had not 
been invented until I was half through with the series. 

The novel progressed steadily, and on January 17, 1982, I began final copy. I brought the 
manuscript to Hugh O'Neill in batches, and the poor fellow went half-crazy since he insisted on 
reading it in this broken fashion. On March 25, 1982, I brought in the last bit, and the very next 
day got the second half of the advance. 

I had kept "Lightning Rod" as my working title all the way through, but Hugh finally said, "Is 
there any way of putting 'Foundation' into the title, Isaac?" I suggested Foundations at Bay, 
therefore, and that may be the title that will actually be used. * 

You will have noticed that I have said nothing about the plot of the new Foundation novel. Well, 
naturally. I would rather you buy and read the book. 

And yet there is one thing I have to confess to you. I generally manage to tie up all the loose 
ends into one neat little bow-knot at the end of my stories, no matter how complicated the plot 
might be. In this case, however, I noticed that when I was all done, one glaring little item 
remained unresolved. 

I am hoping no one else notices it because it clearly points the way to the continuation of the 

It is even possible that I inadvertently gave this away for at the end of the novel, I wrote: "The 
End (for now)." 

I very much fear that if the novel proves successful, Doubleday will be at my throat again, as 
Campbell used to be in the old days. And yet what can I do but hope that the novel is very 
successful indeed. What a quandary! 

*Editor's note: The novel was published in October 1982 as Foundation's Edge. 




HARISELDON-... bom In the 11,988th year of the Galactic Era; died 12,069. The dates are 
more commonly given In terms of the current Foundational Era as - 79 to the year 1 F.E. Born 
to middle-class parents on Flelicon, Arcturus sector (where his father, In a legend of doubtful 
authenticity, was a tobacco grower in the hydroponic plants of the planet), he early showed 
amazing ability in mathematics. Anecdotes concerning his ability are innumerable, and some 
are contradictory. At the age of two, he is said to have... 

... Undoubtedly his greatest contributions were in the field of psychohistory. Seldon found the 
field little more than a set of vague axioms; he left it a profound statistical science.... 

... The best existing authority we have for the details of his life is the biography written by Gaal 
Dornick who. as a young man, met Seldon two years before the great mathematician's death. 
The story of the meeting... 


* All quotations from the Encyclopedia Galactica here reproduced are taken from the 116th 
Edition published in 1020 F.E. by the Encyclopedia Galactica Publishing Co., Terminus, with 
permission of the publishers. 

His name was Gaal Dornick and he was just a country boy who had never seen Trantor before. 
That is, not in real life. He had seen it many times on the hyper-video, and occasionally in 
tremendous three-dimensional newscasts covering an Imperial Coronation or the opening of a 
Galactic Council. Even though he had lived all his life on the world of Synnax, which circled a 
star at the edges of the Blue Drift, he was not cut off from civilization, you see. At that time, no 
place in the Galaxy was. 

There were nearly twenty-five million inhabited planets in the Galaxy then, and not one but 
owed allegiance to the Empire whose seat was on Trantor. It was the last halfcentury in which 
that could be said. 

To Gaal, this trip was the undoubted climax of his young, scholarly life. He had been in space 
before so that the trip, as a voyage and nothing more, meant little to him. To be sure, he had 
traveled previously only as far as Synnax's only satellite in order to get the data on the 
mechanics of meteor driftage which he needed for his dissertation, but space-travel was all one 
whether one travelled half a million miles, or as many light years. 

He had steeled himself just a little for the Jump through hyper-space, a phenomenon one did 
not experience in simple interplanetary trips. The Jump remained, and would probably remain 
forever, the only practical method of travelling between the stars. Travel through ordinary space 
could proceed at no rate more rapid than that of ordinary light (a bit of scientific knowledge that 
belonged among the items known since the forgotten dawn of human history), and that would 
have meant years of travel between even the nearest of inhabited systems. Through 
hyper-space, that unimaginable region that was neither space nor time, matter nor energy, 
something nor nothing, one could traverse the length of the Galaxy in the interval between two 
neighboring instants of time. 

Gaal had waited for the first of those Jumps with a little dread curled gently in his stomach, and 
it ended in nothing more than a trifling jar, a little internal kick which ceased an instant before 
he could be sure he had felt it. That was all. 

And after that, there was only the ship, large and glistening; the cool production of 12,000 years 
of Imperial progress; and himself, with his doctorate in mathematics freshly obtained and an 
invitation from the great Hari Seldon to come to Trantor and join the vast and somewhat 
mysterious Seldon Project. 

What Gaal was waiting for after the disappointment of the Jump was that first sight of Trantor. 
He haunted the View-room. The steel shutter-lids were rolled back at announced times and he 
was always there, watching the hard brilliance of the stars, enjoying the incredible hazy swarm 
of a star cluster, like a giant conglomeration of fire-flies caught in mid-motion and stilled forever, 
At one time there was the cold, blue-white smoke of a gaseous nebula within five light years of 
the ship, spreading over the window like distant milk, filling the room with an icy tinge, and 
disappearing out of sight two hours later, after another Jump. 

The first sight of Trantor's sun was that of a hard, white speck all but lost in a myriad such, and 
recognizable only because it was pointed out by the ship's guide. The stars were thick here 
near the Galactic center. But with each Jump, it shone more brightly, drowning out the rest, 
paling them and thinning them out. 

An officer came through and said, "View-room will be closed for the remainder of the trip. 
Prepare for landing." 

Gaal had followed after, clutching at the sleeve of the white uniform with the 
Spaceship-and-Sun of the Empire on it. 

He said, "Would it be possible to let me stay? I would like to see Trantor." 

The officer smiled and Gaal flushed a bit. It occurred to him that he spoke with a provincial 

The officer said, "We'll be landing on Trantor by morning." 

"I mean I want to see it from Space." 

"Oh. Sorry, my boy. If this were a space-yacht we might manage it. But we're spinning down, 
sunside. You wouldn't want to be blinded, burnt, and radiation-scarred all at the same time, 
would you?" 

Gaal started to walk away. 

The officer called after him, "Trantor would only be gray blur anyway, Kid. Why don't you take a 
space-tour once you hit Trantor. They're cheap." 

Gaal looked back, "Thank you very much." 

It was childish to feel disappointed, but childishness comes almost as naturally to a man as to a 
child, and there was a lump in Gaal's throat. He had never seen Trantor spread out in all its 
incredibility, as large as life, and he hadn't expected to have to wait longer. 

2 . 

The ship landed in a medley of noises. There was the far-off hiss of the atmosphere cutting and 
sliding past the metal of the ship. There was the steady drone of the conditioners fighting the 
heat of friction, and the slower rumble of the engines enforcing deceleration. There was the 
human sound of men and women gathering in the debarkation rooms and the grind of the 
hoists lifting baggage, mail, and freight to the long axis of the ship, from which they would be 
later moved along to the unloading platform. 

Gaal felt the slight jar that indicated the ship no longer had an independent motion of its own. 
Ship's gravity had been giving way to planetary gravity for hours. Thousands of passengers had 
been sitting patiently in the debarkation rooms which swung easily on yielding force-fields to 
accommodate its orientation to the changing direction of the gravitational forces. Now they 
were crawling down curving ramps to the large, yawning locks. 

Gaal's baggage was minor. He stood at a desk, as it was quickly and expertly taken apart and 
put together again. His visa was inspected and stamped. He himself paid no attention. 

This was Trantor! The air seemed a little thicker here, the gravity a bit greater, than on his 

home planet of Synnax, but he would get used to that. He wondered if he would get used to 

Debarkation Building was tremendous. The roof was almost lost in the heights. Gaal could 
almost imagine that clouds could form beneath its immensity. He could see no opposite wall; 
just men and desks and converging floor till it faded out in haze. 

The man at the desk was speaking again. He sounded annoyed. He said, "Move on, Dornick." 
He had to open the visa, look again, before he remembered the name. 

Gaal said, "Where-where-" 

The man at the desk jerked a thumb, "Taxis to the right and third left." 

Gaal moved, seeing the glowing twists of air suspended high in nothingness and reading, 

A figure detached itself from anonymity and stopped at the desk, as Gaal left. The man at the 
desk looked up and nodded briefly. The figure nodded in return and followed the young 

He was in time to hear Gaal's destination. 

Gaal found himself hard against a railing. 

The small siqn said, "Supervisor." The man to whom the siqn referred did not look up. He said, 
"Where to?" 

Gaal wasn't sure, but even a few seconds hesitation meant men queuing in line behind him. 
The Supervisor looked up, "Where to?" 

Gaal's funds were low, but there was only this one night and then he would have a job. He tried 
to sound nonchalant, "A good hotel, please." 

The Supervisor was unimpressed, "They're all good. Name one." 

Gaal said, desperately, "The nearest one, please." 

The Supervisor touched a button. A thin line of light formed along the floor, twisting among 
others which brightened and dimmed in different colors and shades. A ticket was shoved into 
Gaal's hands. It glowed faintly. 

The Supervisor said, "One point twelve." 

Gaal fumbled for the coins. He said, "Where do I go?" 

"Follow the light. The ticket will keep glowing as long as you're pointed in the tight direction." 

Gaal looked up and began walking. There were hundreds creeping across the vast floor, 
following their individual trails, sifting and straining themselves through intersection points to 
arrive at their respective destinations. 

His own trail ended. A man in glaring blue and yellow uniform, shining and new in unstainable 
plasto-textile, reached for his two bags. 

"Direct line to the Luxor," he said. 

The man who followed Gaal heard that. He also heard Gaal say, "Fine," and watched him enter 
the blunt-nosed vehicle. 

The taxi lifted straight up. Gaal stared out the curved, transparent window, marvelling at the 
sensation of airflight within an enclosed structure and clutching instinctively at the back of the 
driver's seat. The vastness contracted and the people became ants in random distribution. The 
scene contracted further and began to slide backward. 

There was a wall ahead. It began high in the air and extended upward out of sight. It was 
riddled with holes that were the mouths of tunnels. Gaal's taxi moved toward one then plunged 
into it. For a moment, Gaal wondered idly how his driver could pick out one among so many. 

There was now only blackness, with nothing but the past-flashing of a colored signal light to 
relieve the gloom. The air was full of a rushing sound. 

Gaal leaned forward against deceleration then and the taxi popped out of the tunnel and 
descended to ground-level once more. 

"The Luxor Hotel," said the driver, unnecessarily. He helped Gaal with his baggage, accepted a 
tenth-credit tip with a businesslike air, picked up a waiting passenger, and was rising again. 

In all this, from the moment of debarkation, there had been no glimpse of sky. 


TRANTOR-...At the beginning of the thirteenth millennium, this tendency reached its climax. As 
the center of the imperial Government for unbroken hundreds of generations and located, as it 
was, toward the central regions of the Galaxy among the most densely populated and 
industrially advanced worlds of the system, it could scarcely help being the densest and richest 
clot of humanity the Race had ever seen. 

Its urbanization, progressing steadily, had finally reached the ultimate. All the land surface of 
Trantor, 75,000,000 square miles in extent, was a single city. The population, at its height, was 
well in excess of forty billions. This enormous population was devoted almost entirely to the 
administrative necessities of Empire, and found themselves all too few for the complications of 
the task. (It is to be remembered that the impossibility of proper administration of the Galactic 
Empire under the uninspired leadership of the later Emperors was a considerable factor in the 
Fall.) Daily, fleets of ships in the tens of thousands brought the produce of twenty agricultural 
worlds to the dinner tables of Trantor.... 

Its dependence upon the outer worlds for food and, indeed, for all necessities of life, made 
Trantor increasingly vulnerable to conquest by siege. In the last millennium of the Empire, the 
monotonously numerous revolts made Emperor after Emperor conscious of this, and Imperial 

policy became little more than the protection of Trantor's delicate jugular vein.... 

Gaal was not certain whether the sun shone, or, for that matter, whether it was day or night. He 
was ashamed to ask. All the planet seemed to live beneath metal. The meal of which he had 
just partaken had been labelled luncheon, but there were many planets which lived a standard 
timescale that took no account of the perhaps inconvenient alternation of day and night. The 
rate of planetary turnings differed, and he did not know that of Trantor. 

At first, he had eagerly followed the signs to the "Sun Room" and found it but a chamber for 
basking in artificial radiation. He lingered a moment or two, then returned to the Luxor's main 

He said to the room clerk, "Where can I buy a ticket for a planetary tour?" 

"Right here." 

"When will it start?" 

"You just missed it. Another one tomorrow. Buy a ticket now and we'll reserve a place for you." 

"Oh." Tomorrow would be too late. He would have to be at the University tomorrow. He said, 
"There wouldn't be an observation tower - or something? I mean, in the open air." 

"Sure! Sell you a ticket for that, if you want. Better let me check if it's raining or not." He closed 
a contact at his elbow and read the flowing letters that raced across a frosted screen. Gaal read 
with him. 

The room clerk said, "Good weather. Come to think of it, I do believe it's the dry season now." 
He added, conversationally, "I don't bother with the outside myself. The last time I was in the 
open was three years ago. You see it once, you know and that's all there is to it. Here's your 
ticket. Special elevator in the rear. It's marked 'To the Tower.' Just take it." 

The elevator was of the new sort that ran by gravitic repulsion. Gaal entered and others flowed 
in behind him. The operator closed a contact. For a moment, Gaal felt suspended in space as 
gravity switched to zero, and then he had weight again in small measure as the elevator 
accelerated upward. Deceleration followed and his feet left the floor. He squawked against his 

The operator called out, "Tuck your feet under the railing. Can't you read the sign?" 

The others had done so. They were smiling at him as he madly and vainly tried to clamber back 
down the wall. Their shoes pressed upward against the chromium of the railings that stretched 
across the floor in parallels set two feet apart. He had noticed those railings on entering and 
had ignored them. 

Then a hand reached out and pulled him down. 

He gasped his thanks as the elevator came to a halt. 

He stepped out upon an open terrace bathed in a white brilliance that hurl his eyes. The man, 

whose helping hand he had just now been the recipient of, was immediately behind him. 

The man said, kindly, "Plenty of seats." 

Gaal closed his mouth; he had been gaping; and said, "It certainly seems so." He started for 
them automatically, then stopped. 

He said, "If you don't mind, I'll just stop a moment at the railing. I - I want to look a bit." 

The man waved him on, good-naturedly, and Gaal leaned out over the shoulder-high railing 
and bathed himself in all the panorama. 

He could not see the ground. It was lost in the ever increasing complexities of man-made 
structures. He could see no horizon other than that of metal against sky, stretching out to 
almost uniform grayness, and he knew it was so over all the land-surface of the planet. There 
was scarcely any motion to be seen - a few pleasure-craft lazed against the sky-but all the 
busy traffic of billions of men were going on, he knew, beneath the metal skin of the world. 

There was no green to be seen; no green, no soil, no life other than man. Somewhere on the 
world, he realized vaguely, was the Emperor's palace, set amid one hundred square miles of 
natural soil, green with trees, rainbowed with flowers. It was a small island amid an ocean of 
steel, but it wasn't visible from where he stood. It might be ten thousand miles away. He did not 

Before very long, he must have his tour! 

He sighed noisily, and realized finally that he was on Trantor at last; on the planet which was 
the center of all the Galaxy and the kernel of the human race. He saw none of its weaknesses. 
He saw no ships of food landing. He was not aware of a jugular vein delicately connecting the 
forty billion of Trantor with the rest of the Galaxy. He was conscious only of the mightiest deed 
of man; the complete and almost contemptuously final conquest of a world. 

He came away a little blank-eyed. His friend of the elevator was indicating a seat next to 
himself and Gaal took it. 

The man smiled. "My name is Jerril. First time on Trantor?" 

"Yes, Mr. Jerril." 

"Thought so. Jerril's my first name. Trantor gets you if you've got the poetic temperament. 
Trantorians never come up here, though. They don't like it. Gives them nerves." 

"Nerves! - My name's Gaal, by the way. Why should it give them nerves? It's glorious." 

"Subjective matter of opinion, Gaal. If you're born in a cubicle and grow up in a corridor, and 
work in a cell, and vacation in a crowded sun-room, then coming up into the open with nothing 
but sky over you might just give you a nervous breakdown. They make the children come up 
here once a year, after they're five. I don't know if it does any good. They don't get enough of it, 
really, and the first few times they scream themselves into hysteria. They ought to start as soon 
as they're weaned and have the trip once a week." 

He went on, "Of course, it doesn't really matter. What if they never come out at all? They're 
happy down there and they run the Empire. How high up do you think we are?" 

He said, "Half a mile?" and wondered if that sounded naive. 

It must have, for Jerril chuckled a little. He said, "No. Just five hundred feet." 

"What? But the elevator took about 

"I know. But most of the time it was just getting up to ground level. Trantor is tunneled over a 
mile down. It's like an iceberg. Nine-tenths of it is out of sight. It even works itself out a few 
miles into the sub-ocean soil at the shorelines. In fact, we're down so low that we can make use 
of the temperature difference between ground level and a couple of miles under to supply us 
with all the energy we need. Did you know that?" 

"No, I thought you used atomic generators." 

"Did once. But this is cheaper." 

"I imagine so." 

"What do you think of it all?" For a moment, the man's good nature evaporated into 
shrewdness. He looked almost sly. 

Gaal fumbled. "Glorious," he said, again. 

"Here on vacation? Traveling? Sight-seeing?" 

"No exactly. At least, I've always wanted to visit Trantor but I came here primarily for a job." 

Gaal felt obliged to explain further, "With Dr. Seldon's project at the University of Trantor." 
"Raven Seldon?" 

"Why, no. The one I mean is Hari Seldon. -The psychohistorian Seldon. I don't know of any 
Raven Seldon." 

"Hari's the one I mean. They call him Raven. Slang, you know. He keeps predicting disaster." 
"He does?" Gaal was genuinely astonished. 

"Surely, you must know." Jerril was not smiling. "You're coming to work for him, aren't you?" 
"Well, yes, I'm a mathematician. Why does he predict disaster? What kind of disaster?" 

"What kind would you think?" 

"I'm afraid I wouldn't have the least idea. I've read the papers Dr. Seldon and his group have 
published. They're on mathematical theory." 

"Yes, the ones they publish." 

Gaal felt annoyed. He said, "I think I'll go to my room now. Very pleased to have met you." 

Jerril waved his arm indifferently in farewell. 

Gaal found a man waiting for him in his room. For a moment, he was too startled to put into 
words the inevitable, "What are you doing here?" that came to his lips. 

The man rose. He was old and almost bald and he walked with a limp, but his eyes were very 
bright and blue. 

He said, "I am Hari Seldon," an instant before Gaal's befuddled brain placed the face alongside 
the memory of the many times he had seen it in pictures. 


PSYCHOHISTORY-...Gaal Dornick, using nonmathematical concepts, has defined 
psychohistory to be that branch of mathematics which deals with the reactions of human 
conglomerates to fixed social and economic stimuli.... 

... Implicit in all these definitions is the assumption that the human conglomerate being dealt 
with is sufficiently large for valid statistical treatment. The necessary size of such a 
conglomerate may be determined by Seldon's First Theorem which ...A further necessary 
assumption is that the human conglomerate be itself unaware of psychohistoric analysis in 
order that its reactions be truly random ... 

The basis of all valid psychohistory lies in the development of the Seldon. Functions which 
exhibit properties congruent to those of such social and economic forces as ... 


"Good afternoon, sir," said Gaal. "I- I-" 

"You didn't think we were to meet before tomorrow? Ordinarily, we would not have. It is just that 
if we are to use your services, we must work quickly. It grows continually more difficult to obtain 

"I don't understand, sir." 

"You were talking to a man on the observation tower, were you not?" 

"Yes. His first name is Jerril. I know no more about him." 

"His name is nothing. He is an agent of the Commission of Public Safety. He followed you from 
the space-port." 

"But why? I am afraid I am very confused." 

"Did the man on the tower say nothing about me?" 

Gaal hesitated, "He referred to you as Raven Seldon." 

"Did he say why?" 

"He said you predict disaster." 

"I do. What does Trantor mean to you?" 

Everyone seemed to be asking his opinion of Trantor. Gaal felt incapable of response beyond 
the bare word, "Glorious." 

"You say that without thinking. What of psychohistory?" 

"I haven't thought of applying it to the problem." 

"Before you are done with me, young man, you will learn to apply psychohistory to all problems 
as a matter of course. -Observe." Seldon removed his calculator pad from the pouch at his 
belt. Men said he kept one beneath his pillow for use in moments of wakefulness. Its gray, 
glossy finish was slightly worn by use. Seldon's nimble fingers, spotted now with age, played 
along the files and rows of buttons that filled its surface. Red symbols glowed out from the 
upper tier. 

He said, "That represents the condition of the Empire at present." 

He waited. 

Gaal said finally, "Surely that is not a complete representation." 

"No, not complete," said Seldon. "I am glad you do not accept my word blindly. However, this is 
an approximation which will serve to demonstrate the proposition. Will you accept that?" 

"Subject to my later verification of the derivation of the function, yes." Gaal was carefully 
avoiding a possible trap. 

"Good. Add to this the known probability of Imperial assassination, viceregal revolt, the 
contemporary recurrence of periods of economic depression, the declining rate of planetary 
explorations, the. . ." 

He proceeded. As each item was mentioned, new symbols sprang to life at his touch, and 
melted into the basic function which expanded and changed. 

Gaal stopped him only once. "I don't see the validity of that set-transformation." 

Seldon repeated it more slowly. 

Gaal said, "But that is done by way of a forbidden sociooperation." 

"Good. You are quick, but not yet quick enough. It is not forbidden in this connection. Let me do 
it by expansions." 

The procedure was much longer and at its end, Gaal said, humbly, "Yes, I see now." 

Finally, Seldon stopped. "This is Trantor three centuries from now. How do you interpret that? 

Eh?" He put his head to one side and waited. 

Gaal said, unbelievingly, "Total destruction! But - but that is impossible. Trantor has never 
been -" 

Seldon was filled with the intense excitement of a man whose body only had grown old. "Come, 
come. You saw how the result was arrived at. Put it into words. Forget the symbolism for a 

Gaal said, "As Trantor becomes more specialized, it be comes more vulnerable, less able to 
defend itself. Further, as it becomes more and more the administrative center of Empire, it 
becomes a greater prize. As the Imperial succession becomes more and more uncertain, and 
the feuds among the great families more rampant, social responsibility disappears." 

"Enough. And what of the numerical probability of total destruction within three centuries?" 

"I couldn't tell." 

"Surely you can perform a field-differentiation?" 

Gaal felt himself under pressure. He was not offered the calculator pad. It was held a foot from 
his eyes. He calculated furiously and felt his forehead grow slick with sweat. 

He said, "About 85%?" 

"Not bad," said Seldon, thrusting out a lower lip, "but not good. The actual figure is 92.5%." 

Gaal said, "And so you are called Raven Seldon? I have seen none of this in the journals." 

"But of course not. This is unprintable. Do you suppose the Imperium could expose its 
shakiness in this manner. That is a very simple demonstration in psychohistory. But some of 
our results have leaked out among the aristocracy." 

"That's bad." 

"Not necessarily. All is taken into account." 

"But is that why I'm being investigated?" 

"Yes. Everything about my project is being investigated." 

"Are you in danger, sir?" 

"Oh, yes. There is probability of 1.7% that I will be executed, but of course that will not stop the 
project. We have taken that into account as well. Well, never mind. You will meet me, I 
suppose, at the University tomorrow?" 

"I will," said Gaal. 

5 . 

COMMISSION OF PUBLIC SAFETY-... The aristocratic coterie rose to power after the 
assassination of Cleon I, last of the Entuns. In the main, they formed an element of order during 
the centuries of instability and uncertainty in the Imperium. Usually under the control of the 
great families of the Chens and the Divarts, it degenerated eventually into a blind instrument for 
maintenance of the status quo.... They were not completely removed as a power in the state 
until after the accession of the last strong Emperor, Cleon H. The first Chief Commissioner.... 

... In a way, the beginning of the Commission's decline can be traced to the trial of Fiari Seldon 
two years before the beginning of the Foundational Era. That trial is described in Gaal Dornick's 
biography of Fiari Seldon.... 


Gaal did not carry out his promise. He was awakened the next morning by a muted buzzer. He 
answered it, and the voice of the desk clerk, as muted, polite and deprecating as it well might 
be, informed him that he was under detention at the orders of the Commission of Public Safety. 

Gaal sprang to the door and found it would no longer open. He could only dress and wait. 

They came for him and took him elsewhere, but it was still detention. They asked him questions 
most politely. It was all very civilized. He explained that he was a provincial of Synnax; that he 
had attended such and such schools and obtained a Doctor of Mathematics degree on such 
and such a date. He had applied for a position on Dr. Seldon's staff and had been accepted. 
Over and over again, he gave these details; and over and over again, they returned to the 
question of his joining the Seldon Project. How had he heard of it; what were to be his duties; 
what secret instructions had he received; what was it all about? 

He answered that he did not know. He had no secret instructions. He was a scholar and a 
mathematician. He had no interest in politics. 

And finally the gentle inquisitor asked, "When will Trantor be destroyed?" 

Gaal faltered, "I could not say of my own knowledge." 

"Could you say of anyone's?" 

"How could I speak for another?" He felt warm; overwarm. 

The inquisitor said, "Has anyone told you of such destruction; set a date?" And, as the young 
man hesitated, he went on, "You have been followed, doctor. We were at the airport when you 
arrived; on the observation tower when you waited for your appointment; and, of course, we 
were able to overhear your conversation with Dr. Seldon." 

Gaal said, "Then you know his views on the matter." 

"Perhaps. But we would like to hear them from you." 

"He is of the opinion that Trantor would be destroyed within three centuries." 

"He proved it, - uh - mathematically?" 

"Yes, he did," - defiantly. 

"You maintain the - uh - mathematics to be valid, I suppose. 

"If Dr. Seldon vouches for it, it is valid." 

"Then we will return." 

"Wait. I have a right to a lawyer. I demand my rights as an Imperial citizen." 

"You shall have them." 

And he did. 

It was a tall man that eventually entered, a man whose face seemed all vertical lines and so 
thin that one could wonder whether there was room for a smile. 

Gaal looked up. He felt disheveled and wilted. So much had happened, yet he had been on 
Trantor not more than thirty hours. 

The man said, "I am Lors Avakim. Dr. Seldon has directed me to represent you." 

"Is that so? Well, then, look here. I demand an instant appeal to the Emperor. I'm being held 
without cause. I'm innocent of anything. Of anything." He slashed his hands outward, palms 
down, "You've got to arrange a hearing with the Emperor, instantly." 

Avakim was carefully emptying the contents of a flat folder onto the floor. If Gaal had had the 
stomach for it, he might have recognized Cellomet legal forms, metal thin and tapelike, adapted 
for insertion within the smallness of a personal capsule. He might also have recognized a 
pocket recorder. 

Avakim, paying no attention to Gaal's outburst, finally looked up. He said, "The Commission 
will, of course, have a spy beam on our conversation. This is against the law, but they will use 
one nevertheless." 

Gaal ground his teeth. 

"However," and Avakim seated himself deliberately, "the recorder I have on the table, - which 
is a perfectly ordinary recorder to all appearances and performs it duties well - has the 
additional property of completely blanketing the spy beam. This is something they will not find 
out at once." 

"Then I can speak." 

"Of course." 

"Then I want a hearing with the Emperor." 

Avakim smiled frostily, and it turned out that there was room for it on his thin face after all. His 
cheeks wrinkled to make the room. He said, "You are from the provinces." 

"I am none the less an Imperial citizen. As good a one as you or as any of this Commission of 
Public Safety." 

"No doubt; no doubt. It is merely that, as a provincial, you do not understand life on Trantor as it 

is, There are no hearings before the Emperor." 

"To whom else would one appeal from this Commission? Is there other procedure?" 

"None. There is no recourse in a practical sense. Legalistically, you may appeal to the 
Emperor, but you would get no hearing. The Emperor today is not the Emperor of an Entun 
dynasty, you know. Trantor, I am afraid is in the hands of the aristocratic families, members of 
which compose the Commission of Public Safety. This is a development which is well predicted 
by psychohistory." 

Gaal said, "Indeed? In that case, if Dr. Seldon can predict the history of Trantor three hundred 
years into the future 

"He can predict it fifteen hundred years into the future." 

"Let it be fifteen thousand. Why couldn't he yesterday have predicted the events of this morning 
and warned me. -No, I'm sorry." Gaal sat down and rested his head in one sweating palm, "I 
quite understand that psychohistory is a statistical science and cannot predict the future of a 
single man with any accuracy. You'll understand that I'm upset." 

"But you are wrong. Dr. Seldon was of the opinion that you would be arrested this morning." 

"It is unfortunate, but true. The Commission has been more and more hostile to his activities. 
New members joining the group have been interfered with to an increasing extent. The graphs 
showed that for our purposes, matters might best be brought to a climax now. The Commission 
of itself was moving somewhat slowly so Dr. Seldon visited you yesterday for the purpose of 
forcing their hand. No other reason." 

Gaal caught his breath, "I resent-" 

"Please. It was necessary. You were not picked for any personal reasons. You must realize that 
Dr. Seldon's plans, which are laid out with the developed mathematics of over eighteen years 
include all eventualities with significant probabilities. This is one of them. I've been sent here for 
no other purpose than to assure you that you need not fear. It will end well; almost certainly so 
for the project; and with reasonable probability for you." 

"What are the figures?" demanded Gaal. 

"For the project, over 99.9%." 

"And for myself?" 

"I am instructed that this probability is 77.2%." 

"Then I've got better than one chance in five of being sentenced to prison or to death." 

"The last is under one per cent." 

"Indeed. Calculations upon one man mean nothing. You send Dr. Seldon to me." 

"Unfortunately, I cannot. Dr. Seldon is himself arrested." 

The door was thrown open before the rising Gaal could do more than utter the beginning of a 
cry. A guard entered, walked to the table, picked up the recorder, looked upon all sides of it and 
put it in his pocket. 

Avakim said quietly, "I will need that instrument." 

"We will supply you with one, Counsellor, that does not cast a static field." 

"My interview is done, in that case." 

Gaal watched him leave and was alone. 

6 . 

The trial (Gaal supposed it to be one, though it bore little resemblance legalistically to the 
elaborate trial techniques Gaal had read of) had not lasted long. It was in its third day. Yet 
already, Gaal could no longer stretch his memory back far enough to embrace its beginning. 

He himself had been but little pecked at. The heavy guns were trained on Dr. Seldon himself. 
Hari Seldon, however, sat there unperturbed. To Gaal, he was the only spot of stability 
remaining in the world. 

The audience was small and drawn exclusively from among the Barons of the Empire. Press 
and public were excluded and it was doubtful that any significant number of outsiders even 
knew that a trial of Seldon was being conducted. The atmosphere was one of unrelieved 
hostility toward the defendants. 

Five of the Commission of Public Safety sat behind the raised desk. They wore scarlet and gold 
uniforms and the shining, close-fitting plastic caps that were the sign of their judicial function. In 
the center was the Chief Commissioner Linge Chen. Gaal had never before seen so great a 
Lord and he watched him with fascination. Chen, throughout the trial, rarely said a word. He 
made it quite clear that much speech was beneath his dignity. 

The Commission's Advocate consulted his notes and the examination continued, with Seldon 
still on the stand: 

Q. Let us see, Dr. Seldon. How many men are now engaged in the project of which you are 

A. Fifty mathematicians. 

Q. Including Dr. Gaal Dornick? 

A. Dr. Dornick is the fifty-first, 

Q. Oh, we have fifty-one then? Search your memory, Dr. Seldon. Perhaps there are fifty-two or 
fifty-three? Or perhaps even more? 

A. Dr. Dornick has not yet formally joined my organization. When he does, the membership will 
be fifty-one. It is now fifty, as I have said. 

Q. Not perhaps nearly a hundred thousand? 

A. Mathematicians? No. 

Q. I did not say mathematicians. Are there a hundred thousand in all capacities? 

A. In all capacities, your figure may be correct. 

Q. May be? I say it is. I say that the men in your project number ninety-eight thousand, five 
hundred and seventy-two. 

A. I believe you are counting women and children. 

Q. (raising his voice) Ninety eight thousand five hundred and seventy-two individuals is the 
intent of my statement. There is no need to quibble. 

A. I accept the figures. 

Q. (referring to his notes) Let us drop that for the moment, then, and take up another matter 
which we have already discussed at some length. Would you repeat, Dr. Seldon, your thoughts 
concerning the future of Trantor? 

A. I have said, and I say again, that Trantor will lie in ruins within the next three centuries. 

Q. You do not consider your statement a disloyal one? 

A. No, sir. Scientific truth is beyond loyalty and disloyalty. 

Q. You are sure that your statement represents scientific truth? 

A. I am. 

Q. On what basis? 

A. On the basis of the mathematics of psychohistory. 

Q. Can you prove that this mathematics is valid'? 

A. Only to another mathematician. 

Q. (with a smile) Your claim then is that your truth is of so esoteric a nature that it is beyond the 
understanding of a plain man. It seems to me that truth should be clearer than that, less 
mysterious, more open to the mind. 

A. It presents no difficulties to some minds. The physics of energy transfer, which we know as 
thermodynamics, has been clear and true through all the history of man since the mythical 
ages, yet there may be people present who would find it impossible to design a power engine. 
People of high intelligence, too. I doubt if the learned Commissioners- 

At this point, one of the Commissioners leaned toward the Advocate. His words were not heard 

but the hissing of the voice carried a certain asperity. The Advocate flushed and interrupted 

Q. We are not here to listen to speeches, Dr. Seldon. Let us assume that you have made your 
point. Let me suggest to you that your predictions of disaster might be intended to destroy 
public confidence in the Imperial Government for purposes of your own. 

A. That is not so. 

Q. Let me suggest that you intend to claim that a period of time preceding the so-called ruin of 
Trantor will be filled with unrest of various types. 

A. That is correct. 

Q. And that by the mere prediction thereof, you hope to bring it about, and to have then an 
army of a hundred thousand available. 

A. In the first place, that is not so. And if it were, investigation will show you that barely ten 
thousand are men of military age, and none of these has training in arms. 

Q. Are you acting as an agent for another? 

A. I am not in the pay of any man, Mr. Advocate. 

Q. You are entirely disinterested? You are serving science? 

A. I am. 

Q. Then let us see how. Can the future be changed, Dr. Seldon? 

A. Obviously. This courtroom may explode in the next few hours, or it may not. If it did, the 
future would undoubtedly be changed in some minor respects. 

Q. You quibble, Dr. Seldon. Can the overall history of the human race be changed? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Easily? 

A. No. With great difficulty. 

Q. Why? 

A. The psychohistoric trend of a planet-full of people contains a huge inertia. To be changed it 
must be met with something possessing a similar inertia. Either as many people must be 
concerned, or if the number of people be relatively small, enormous time for change must be 
allowed. Do you understand? 

Q. I think I do. Trantor need not be ruined, if a great many people decide to act so that it will 

A. That is right. 

Q. As many as a hundred thousand people? 

A. No, sir. That is far too few. 

Q. You are sure? 

A. Consider that Trantor has a population of over forty billions. Consider further that the trend 
leading to ruin does not belong to Trantor alone but to the Empire as a whole and the Empire 
contains nearly a quintillion human beings. 

Q. I see. Then perhaps a hundred thousand people can change the trend, if they and their 
descendants labor for three hundred years. 

A. I'm afraid not. Three hundred years is too short a time. 

Q. Ah! In that case, Dr. Seldon, we are left with this deduction to be made from your 
statements. You have gathered one hundred thousand people within the confines of your 
project. These are insufficient to change the history of Trantor within three hundred years. In 
other words, they cannot prevent the destruction of Trantor no matter what they do. 

A. You are unfortunately correct. 

Q. And on the other hand, your hundred thousand are intended for no illegal purpose. 

A. Exactly. 

Q. (slowly and with satisfaction) In that case, Dr. Seldon- Now attend, sir, most carefully, for we 
want a considered answer. What is the purpose of your hundred thousand? 

The Advocate's voice had grown strident. He had sprung his trap; backed Seldon into a comer; 
driven him astutely from any possibility of answering. 

There was a rising buzz of conversation at that which swept the ranks of the peers in the 
audience and invaded even the row of Commissioners. They swayed toward one another in 
their scarlet and gold, only the Chief remaining uncorrupted. 

Hari Seldon remained unmoved. He waited for the babble to evaporate. 

A. To minimize the effects of that destruction. 

Q. And exactly what do you mean by that? 

A. The explanation is simple. The coming destruction of Trantor is not an event in itself, isolated 
in the scheme of human development. It will be the climax to an intricate drama which was 
begun centuries ago and which is accelerating in pace continuously. I refer, gentlemen, to the 
developing decline and fall of the Galactic Empire. 

The buzz now became a dull roar. The Advocate, unheeded, was yelling, "You are openly 
declaring that-" and stopped because the cries of "Treason" from the audience showed that the 
point had been made without any hammering. 

Slowly, the Chief Commissioner raised his gavel once and let it drop. The sound was that of a 

mellow gong. When the reverberations ceased, the gabble of the audience also did. The 
Advocate took a deep breath. 

Q. (theatrically) Do you realize, Dr. Seldon, that you are speaking of an Empire that has stood 
for twelve thousand years, through all the vicissitudes of the generations, and which has behind 
it the good wishes and love of a quadrillion human beings? 

A. I am aware both of the present status and the past history of the Empire. Without disrespect, 

I must claim a far better knowledge of it than any in this room. 

Q. And you predict its ruin? 

A. It is a prediction which is made by mathematics. I pass no moral judgements. Personally, I 
regret the prospect. Even if the Empire were admitted to be a bad thing (an admission I do not 
make), the state of anarchy which would follow its fall would be worse. It is that state of anarchy 
which my project is pledged to fight. The fall of Empire, gentlemen, is a massive thing, 
however, and not easily fought. It is dictated by a rising bureaucracy, a receding initiative, a 
freezing of caste, a damming of curiosity - a hundred other factors. It has been going on, as I 
have said, for centuries, and it is too majestic and massive a movement to stop. 

Q. Is it not obvious to anyone that the Empire is as strong as it ever was? 

A. The appearance of strength is all about you. It would seem to last forever. However, Mr. 
Advocate, the rotten tree-trunk, until the very moment when the storm-blast breaks it in two, 
has all the appearance of might it ever had. The storm-blast whistles through the branches of 
the Empire even now. Listen with the ears of psychohistory, and you will hear the creaking. 

Q. (uncertainly) We are not here, Dr. Seldon, to lis— 

A. (firmly) The Empire will vanish and all its good with it. Its accumulated knowledge will decay 
and the order it has imposed will vanish. Interstellar wars will be endless; interstellar trade will 
decay; population will decline; worlds will lose touch with the main body of the Galaxy. -And so 
matters will remain. 

Q. (a small voice in the middle of a vast silence) Forever? 

A. Psychohistory, which can predict the fall, can make statements concerning the succeeding 
dark ages. The Empire, gentlemen, as has just been said, has stood twelve thousand years. 
The dark ages to come will endure not twelve, but thirty thousand years. A Second Empire will 
rise, but between it and our civilization will be one thousand generations of suffering humanity. 
We must fight that. 

Q. (recovering somewhat) You contradict yourself. You said earlier that you could not prevent 
the destruction of Trantor; hence, presumably, the fall; -the so-called fall of the Empire. 

A. I do not say now that we can prevent the fall. But it is not yet too late to shorten the 
interregnum which will follow. It is possible, gentlemen, to reduce the duration of anarchy to a 
single millennium, if my group is allowed to act now. We are at a delicate moment in history. 
The huge, onrushing mass of events must be deflected just a little, - just a little - It cannot be 
much, but it may be enough to remove twenty-nine thousand years of misery from human 


Q. How do you propose to do this? 

A. By saving the knowledge of the race. The sum of human knowing is beyond any one man; 
any thousand men. With the destruction of our social fabric, science will be broken into a million 
pieces. Individuals will know much of exceedingly tiny facets of what there is to know. They will 
be helpless and useless by themselves. The bits of lore, meaningless, will not be passed on. 
They will be lost through the generations. But, if we now prepare a giant summary of all 
knowledge, it will never be lost. Coming generations will build on it, and will not have to 
rediscover it for themselves. One millennium will do the work of thirty thousand. 

Q. All this 

A. All my project; my thirty thousand men with their wives and children, are devoting 
themselves to the preparation of an "Encyclopedia Galactica." They will not complete it in their 
lifetimes. I will not even live to see it fairly begun. But by the time Trantor falls, it will be 
complete and copies will exist in every major library in the Galaxy. 

The Chief Commissioner's gavel rose and fell. Hari Seldon left the stand and quietly took his 
seat next to Gaal. 

He smiled and said, "How did you like the show?" 

Gaal said, "You stole it. But what will happen now?" 

"They'll adjourn the trial and try to come to a private agreement with me." 

"How do you know?" 

Seldon said, "I'll be honest. I don't know. It depends on the Chief Commissioner. I have studied 
him for years. I have tried to analyze his workings, but you know how risky it is to introduce the 
vagaries of an individual in the psychohistoric equations. Yet I have hopes." 


Avakim approached, nodded to Gaal, leaned over to whisper to Seldon. The cry of adjournment 
rang out, and guards separated them. Gaal was led away. 

The next day's hearings were entirely different. Hari Seldon and Gaal Dornick were alone with 
the Commission. They were seated at a table together, with scarcely a separation between the 
five judges and the two accused. They were even offered cigars from a box of iridescent plastic 
which had the appearance of water, endlessly flowing. The eyes were fooled into seeing the 
motion although the fingers reported it to be hard and dry. 

Seldon accepted one; Gaal refused. 

Seldon said, "My lawyer is not present." 

A Commissioner replied, "This is no longer a trial, Dr. Seldon. We are here to discuss the safety 

of the State. 

Linge Chen said, "I will speak," and the other Commissioners sat back in their chairs, prepared 
to listen. A silence formed about Chen into which he might drop his words. 

Gaal held his breath. Chen, lean and hard, older in looks than in fact, was the actual Emperor 
of all the Galaxy. The child who bore the title itself was only a symbol manufactured by Chen, 
and not the first such, either. 

Chen said, "Dr. Seldon, you disturb the peace of the Emperor's realm. None of the quadrillions 
living now among all the stars of the Galaxy will be living a century from now. Why, then, should 
we concern ourselves with events of three centuries distance?" 

"I shall not be alive half a decade hence," said Seldon, and yet it is of overpowering concern to 
me. Call it idealism. Call it an identification of myself with that mystical generalization to which 
we refer by the term, 'humanity.'" 

"I do not wish to take the trouble to understand mysticism. Can you tell me why I may not rid 
myself of you, and of an uncomfortable and unnecessary three-century future which I will never 
see by having you executed tonight?" 

"A week ago," said Seldon, lightly, "you might have done so and perhaps retained a one in ten 
probability of yourself remaining alive at year's end. Today, the one in ten probability is scarcely 
one in ten thousand." 

There were expired breaths in the gathering and uneasy stirrings. Gaal felt the short hairs 
prickle on the back of his neck. Chen's upper eyelids dropped a little. 

"How so?" he said. 

"The fall of Trantor," said Seldon, "cannot be stopped by any conceivable effort. It can be 
hastened easily, however. The tale of my interrupted trial will spread through the Galaxy. 
Frustration of my plans to lighten the disaster will convince people that the future holds no 
promise to them. Already they recall the lives of their grandfathers with envy. They will see that 
political revolutions and trade stagnations will increase. The feeling will pervade the Galaxy that 
only what a man can grasp for himself at that moment will be of any account. Ambitious men 
will not wait and unscrupulous men will not hang back. By their every action they will hasten the 
decay of the worlds. Have me killed and Trantor will fall not within three centuries but within fifty 
years and you, yourself, within a single year." 

Chen said, "These are words to frighten children, and yet your death is not the only answer 
which will satisfy us." 

He lifted his slender hand from the papers on which it rested, so that only two fingers touched 
lightly upon the topmost sheet. 

"Tell me," he said, "will your only activity be that of preparing this encyclopedia you speak of?" 
"It will." 

"And need that be done on Trantor?" 

"Trantor, my lord, possesses the Imperial Library, as well as the scholarly resources of the 
University of Trantor." 

"And yet if you were located elsewhere- , let us say upon a planet where the hurry and 
distractions of a metropolis will not interfere with scholastic musings; where your men may 
devote themselves entirely and single-mindedly to their work; -might not that have 

"Minor ones, perhaps." 

"Such a world had been chosen, then. You may work, doctor, at your leisure, with your hundred 
thousand about you. The Galaxy will know that you are working and fighting the Fall. They will 
even be told that you will prevent the Fall." Fie smiled, "Since I do not believe in so many things, 
it is not difficult for me to disbelieve in the Fall as well, so that I am entirely convinced I will be 
telling the truth to the people. And meanwhile, doctor, you will not trouble Trantor and there will 
be no disturbance of the Emperor's peace. 

"The alternative is death for yourself and for as many of your followers as will seem necessary. 
Your earlier threats I disregard. The opportunity for choosing between death and exile is given 
you over a time period stretching from this moment to one five minutes hence." 

"Which is the world chosen, my lord?" said Seldon. 

"It is called, I believe, Terminus," said Chen. Negligently, he turned the papers upon his desk 
with his fingertips so that they faced Seldon. "It is uninhabited, but quite habitable, and can be 
molded to suit the necessities of scholars. It is somewhat secluded-" 

Seldon interrupted, "It is at the edge of the Galaxy, sir." 

"As I have said, somewhat secluded. It will suit your needs for concentration. Come, you have 
two minutes left." 

Seldon said, "We will need time to arrange such a trip. There are twenty thousand families 

"You will be given time." 

Seldon thought a moment, and the last minute began to die. Fie said, "I accept exile." 

Gaal's heart skipped a beat at the words. For the most part, he was filled with a tremendous joy 
for who would not be, to escape death. Yet in all his vast relief, he found space for a little regret 
that Seldon had been defeated. 

8 . 

For a long while, they sat silently as the taxi whined through the hundreds of miles of worm-like 
tunnels toward the University. And then Gaal stirred. Fie said: 

"Was what you told the Commissioner true? Would your execution have really hastened the 


Seldon said, "I never lie about psychohistoric findings. Nor would it have availed me in this 
case. Chen knew I spoke the truth. He is a very clever politician and politicians by the very 
nature of their work must have an instinctive feeling for the truths of psychohistory." 

"Then need you have accepted exile," Gaal wondered, but Seldon did not answer. 

When they burst out upon the University grounds, Gaal's muscles took action of their own; or 
rather, inaction. He had to be carried, almost, out of the taxi. 

All the University was a blaze of light. Gaal had almost forgotten that a sun could exist. 

The University structures lacked the hard steel-gray of the rest of Trantor. They were silvery, 
rather. The metallic luster was almost ivory in color. 

Seldon said, "Soldiers, it seems." 

"What?" Gaal brought his eyes to the prosaic ground and found a sentinel ahead of them. 

They stopped before him, and a soft-spoken captain materialized from a near-by doorway. 

He said, "Dr. Seldon?" 


"We have been waiting for you. You and your men will be under martial law henceforth. I have 
been instructed to inform you that six months will be allowed you for preparations to leave for 

"Six months!" began Gaal, but Seldon's fingers were upon his elbow with gentle pressure. 
"These are my instructions," repeated the captain. 

He was gone, and Gaal turned to Seldon, "Why, what can be done in six months? This is but 
slower murder." 

"Quietly. Quietly. Let us reach my office." 

It was not a large office, but it was quite spy-proof and quite undetectably so. Spy-beams 
trained upon it received neither a suspicious silence nor an even more suspicious static. They 
received, rather, a conversation constructed at random out of a vast stock of innocuous 
phrases in various tones and voices. 

"Now," said Seldon, at his ease, "six months will be enough." 

"I don't see how." 

"Because, my boy, in a plan such as ours, the actions of others are bent to our needs. Have I 
not said to you already that Chen's temperamental makeup has been subjected to greater 
scrutiny than that of any other single man in history. The trial was not allowed to begin until the 
time and circumstances were fight for the ending of our own choosing." 

"But could you have arranged-" 

"-to be exiled to Terminus? Why not?" He put his fingers on a certain spot on his desk and a 
small section of the wall behind him slid aside. Only his own fingers could have done so, since 
only his particular print-pattern could have activated the scanner beneath. 

"You will find several microfilms inside," said Seldon. "Take the one marked with the letter, T." 

Gaal did so and waited while Seldon fixed it within the projector and handed the young man a 
pair of eyepieces. Gaal adjusted them, and watched the film unroll before his eyes. 

He said, "But then-" 

Seldon said, "What surprises you?" 

"Have you been preparing to leave for two years?" 

"Two and a half. Of course, we could not be certain that it would be Terminus he would choose, 
but we hoped it might be and we acted upon that assumption-" 

"But why, Dr. Seldon? If you arranged the exile, why? Could not events be far better controlled 
here on Trantor?" 

"Why, there are some reasons. Working on Terminus, we will have Imperial support without 
ever rousing fears that we would endanger Imperial safety." 

Gaal said, "But you aroused those fears only to force exile. I still do not understand." 

"Twenty thousand families would not travel to the end of the Galaxy of their own will perhaps." 

"But why should they be forced there?" Gaal paused, "May I not know?" 

Seldon said, "Not yet. It is enough for the moment that you know that a scientific refuge will be 
established on Terminus. And another will be established at the other end of the Galaxy, let us 
say," and he smiled, "at Star's End. And as for the rest, I will die soon, and you will see more 
than I. -No, no. Spare me your shock and good wishes. My doctors tell me that I cannot live 
longer than a year or two. But then, I have accomplished in life what I have intended and under 
what circumstances may one better die." 

"And after you die, sir?" 

"Why, there will be successors - perhaps even yourself. And these successors will be able to 
apply the final touch in the scheme and instigate the revolt on Anacreon at the right time and in 
the right manner. Thereafter, events may roll unheeded." 

"I do not understand." 

"You will." Seldon's lined face grew peaceful and tired, both at once, "Most will leave for 
Terminus, but some will stay. It will be easy to arrange. -But as for me," and he concluded in a 
whisper, so that Gaal could scarcely hear him, "I am finished." 




TERMINUS-... Its location (see map) was an odd one for the role It was called upon to play In 
Galactic history, and yet as many writers have never tired of pointing out, an Inevitable one. 
Located on the very fringe of the Galactic spiral, an only planet of an Isolated sun, poor In 
resources and negligible In economic value, it was never settled In the five centuries after Its 
discovery, until the landing of the Encyclopedists.... 

It was inevitable that as a new generation grew, Terminus would become something more than 
an appendage of the psychohistorians of Trantor. With the Anacreonian revolt and the rise to 
power of Salvor Hardin, first of the great line of... 


Lewis Pirenne was busily engaged at his desk in the one well-lit comer of the room. Work had 
to be co-ordinated. Effort had to be organized. Threads had to be woven into a pattern. 

Fifty years now; fifty years to establish themselves and set up Encyclopedia Foundation 
Number One into a smoothly working unit. Fifty years to gather the raw material. Fifty years to 

It had been done. Five more years would see the publication of the first volume of the most 
monumental work the Galaxy had ever conceived. And then at ten-year intervals - regularly - 
like clockwork - volume after volume. And with them there would be supplements; special 
articles on events of current interest, until— 

Pirenne stirred uneasily, as the muted buzzer upon his desk muttered peevishly. Fie had almost 
forgotten the appointment. Fie shoved the door release and out of an abstracted comer of one 
eye saw the door open and the broad figure of Salvor FHardin enter. Pirenne did not look up. 

Hardin smiled to himself. He was in a hurry, but he knew better than to take offense at 
Pirenne's cavalier treatment of anything or anyone that disturbed him at his work. He buried 
himself in the chair on the other side of the desk and waited. 

Pirenne's stylus made the faintest scraping sound as it raced across paper. Otherwise, neither 
motion nor sound. And then Hardin withdrew a two-credit coin from his vest pocket. He flipped 
it and its stainless-steel surface caught flitters of light as it tumbled through the air. He caught it 
and-flipped it again, watching the flashing reflections lazily. Stainless steel made good medium 
of exchange on a planet where all metal had to be imported. 

Pirenne looked up and blinked. "Stop that!" he said querulously. 


"That infernal coin tossing. Stop it." 

"Oh." Hardin pocketed the metal disk. "Tell me when you're ready, will you? I promised to be 
back at the City Council meeting before the new aqueduct project is put to a vote." 

Pirenne sighed and shoved himself away from the desk. "I'm ready. But I hope you aren't going 
to bother me with city affairs. Take care of that yourself, please. The Encyclopedia takes up all 
my time." 

"Have you heard the news?" questioned Hardin, phlegmatically. 

"What news?" 

"The news that the Terminus City ultrawave set received two hours ago. The Royal Governor of 
the Prefect of Anacreon has assumed the title of king." 

"Well? What of it?" 

"It means," responded Hardin, "that we're cut off from the inner regions of the Empire. We've 
been expecting it but that doesn't make it any more comfortable. Anacreon stands square 
across what was our last remaining trade route to Santanni and to Trantor and to Vega itself. 
Where is our metal to come from? We haven't managed to get a steel or aluminum shipment 
through in six months and now we won't be able to get any at all, except by grace of the King of 

Pirenne tch-tched impatiently. "Get them through him, then." 

"But can we? Listen, Pirenne, according to the charter which established this Foundation, the 
Board of Trustees of the Encyclopedia Committee has been given full administrative powers. I, 
as Mayor of Terminus City, have just enough power to blow my own nose and perhaps to 
sneeze if you countersign an order giving me permission. It's up to you and your Board then. 

I'm asking you in the name of the City, whose prosperity depends upon uninterrupted 
commerce with the Galaxy, to call an emergency meeting-" 

"Stop! A campaign speech is out of order. Now, Hardin, the Board of Trustees has not barred 
the establishment of a municipal government on Terminus. We understand one to be 
necessary because of the increase in population since the Foundation was established fifty 
years ago, and because of the increasing number of people involved in non-Encyclopedia 
affairs. But that does not mean that the first and only aim of the Foundation is no longer to 
publish the definitive Encyclopedia of all human knowledge. We are a State-supported, 
scientific institution, Hardin. We cannot - must not-will not interfere in local politics." 

"Local politics! By the Emperor's left toe, Pirenne, this is a matter of life and death. The planet, 
Terminus, by itself cannot support a mechanized civilization. It lacks metals. You know that. It 
hasn't a trace of iron, copper, or aluminum in the surface rocks, and precious little of anything 
else. What do you think will happen to the Encyclopedia if this watchmacallum King of 
Anacreon clamps down on us?" 

"On us? Are you forgetting that we are under the direct control of the Emperor himself? We are 
not part of the Prefect of Anacreon or of any other prefect. Memorize that! We are part of the 

Emperor's personal domain, and no one touches us. The Empire can protect its own." 

"Then why didn't it prevent the Royal Governor of Anacreon from kicking over the traces? And 
only Anacreon? 

At least twenty of the outermost prefects of the Galaxy, the entire Periphery as a matter of fact, 
have begun steering things their own way. I tell you I feel damned uncertain of the Empire and 
its ability to protect us." 

"Hokum! Royal Governors, Kings - what's the difference? The Empire is always shot through 
with a certain amount of politics and with different men pulling this way and that. Governors 
have rebelled, and, for that matter, Emperors have been deposed, or assassinated before this. 
But what has that to do with the Empire itself? Forget it, Hardin. It's none of our business. We 
are first of all and last of all-scientists. And our concern is the Encyclopedia. 

Oh, yes, I'd almost forgotten. Hardin!" 


"Do something about that paper of yours!" Pirenne's voice was angry. 

"The Terminus City Journal? It isn't mine; it's privately owned. What's it been doing?" 

"For weeks now it has been recommending that the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of 
the Foundation be made the occasion for public holidays and quite inappropriate celebrations." 

"And why not? The computoclock will open the Vault in three months. I would call this first 
opening a big occasion, wouldn't you?" 

"Not for silly pageantry, Hardin. The Vault and its opening concern the Board of Trustees alone. 
Anything of importance will be communicated to the people. That is final and please make it 
plain to the Journal." 

"I'm sorry, Pirenne, but the City Charter guarantees a certain minor matter known as freedom of 
the press." 

"It may. But the Board of Trustees does not. I am the Emperor's representative on Terminus, 
Hardin, and have full powers in this respect." 

Hardin's expression became that of a man counting to ten, mentally. He said, grimly: "in 
connection with your status as Emperor's representative, then, I have a final piece of news to 
give you." 

"About Anacreon?" Pirenne's lips tightened. He felt annoyed. 

"Yes. A special envoy will be sent to us from Anacreon. In two weeks." 

"An envoy? Here? From Anacreon?" Pirenne chewed that. "What for?" 

Hardin stood up, and shoved his chair back up against the desk. "I give you one guess." And 
he left - quite unceremoniously. 

2 . 

Anselm haut Rodric - "haut" itself signifying noble blood -Sub-prefect of Pluema and Envoy 
Extraordinary of his Highness of Anacreon-plus half a dozen other titleswas met by Salvor 
Hardin at the spaceport with all the imposing ritual of a state occasion. 

With a tight smile and a low bow, the sub-prefect had flipped his blaster from its holster and 
presented it to Hardin butt first. Hardin returned the compliment with, a blaster specifically 
borrowed for the occasion. Friendship and good will were thus established, and if Hardin noted 
the barest bulge at Haut Rodric's shoulder, he prudently said nothing. 

The ground car that received them then - preceded, flanked, and followed by the suitable cloud 
of minor functionaries - proceeded in a slow, ceremonious manner to Cyclopedia Square, 
cheered on its way by a properly enthusiastic crowd. 

Sub-prefect Anselm received the cheers with the complaisant indifference of a soldier and a 

He said to Hardin, "And this city is all your world?" 

Hardin raised his voice to be heard above the clamor. "We are a young world, your eminence. 

In our short history we have had but few members of the higher nobility visiting our poor planet. 
Hence, our enthusiasm." 

It is certain that "higher nobility" did not recognize irony when he heard it. 

He said thoughtfully: "Founded fifty years ago. Hm-m-m! You have a great deal of unexploited 
land here, mayor. You have never considered dividing it into estates?" 

"There is no necessity as yet. We're extremely centralized; we have to be, because of the 
Encyclopedia. Someday, perhaps, when our population has grown-" 

"A strange world! You have no peasantry?" 

Hardin reflected that it didn't require a great deal of acumen to tell that his eminence was 
indulging in a bit of fairly clumsy pumping. He replied casually, "No - nor nobility." 

Haut Rodric's eyebrows lifted. "And your leader-the man I am to meet?" 

"You mean Dr. Pirenne? Yes! He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees - and a personal 
representative of the Emperor." 

"Doctor? No other title? A scholar? And he rates above the civil authority?" 

"Why, certainly," replied Hardin, amiably. "We're all scholars more or less. After all, we're not so 
much a world as a scientific foundation - under the direct control of the Emperor." 

There was a faint emphasis upon the last phrase that seemed to disconcert the sub-prefect. He 
remained thoughtfully silent during the rest of the slow way to Cyclopedia Square. 

If Hardin found himself bored by the afternoon and evening that followed, he had at least the 
satisfaction of realizing that Pirenne and Haut Rodric - having met with loud and mutual 
protestations of esteem and regard - were detesting each other's company a good deal more. 

Haut Rodric had attended with glazed eye to Pirenne's lecture during the "inspection tour" of 
the Encyclopedia Building. With polite and vacant smile, he had listened to the latter's rapid 
patter as they passed through the vast storehouses of reference films and the numerous 
projection rooms. 

It was only after he had gone down level by level into and through the composing departments, 
editing departments, publishing departments, and filming departments that he made the first 
comprehensive statement. 

"This is all very interesting," he said, "but it seems a strange occupation for grown men. What 
good is it?" 

It was a remark, Hardin noted, for which Pirenne found no answer, though the expression of his 
face was most eloquent. 

The dinner that evening was much the mirror image of the events of that afternoon, for Haut 
Rodric monopolized the conversation by describing - in minute technical detail and with 
incredible zest - his own exploits as battalion head during the recent war between Anacreon 
and the neighboring newly proclaimed Kingdom of Smyrno. 

The details of the sub-prefect's account were not completed until dinner was over and one by 
one the minor officials had drifted away. The last bit of triumphant description of mangled 
spaceships came when he had accompanied Pirenne and Hardin onto the balcony and relaxed 
in the warm air of the summer evening. 

"And now," he said, with a heavy joviality, "to serious matters." 

"By all means," murmured Hardin, lighting a long cigar of Vegan tobacco - not many left, he 
reflected - and teetering his chair back on two legs. 

The Galaxy was high in the sky and its misty lens shape stretched lazily from horizon to 
horizon. The few stars here at the very edge of the universe were insignificant twinkles in 

"Of course," said the sub-prefect, "all the formal discussions - the paper signing and such dull 
technicalities, that is - will take place before the - What is it you call your Council?" 

"The Board of Trustees," replied Pirenne, coldly. 

"Queer name! Anyway, that's for tomorrow. We might as well clear away some of the 
underbrush, man to man, right now, though. Hey?" 

"And this means-" prodded Hardin. 

"Just this. There's been a certain change in the situation out here in the Periphery and the 
status of your planet has become a trifle uncertain. It would be very convenient if we succeeded 
in coming to an understanding as to how the matter stands. By the way, mayor, have you 

another one of those cigars?" 

Hardin started and produced one reluctantly. 

Anselm haut Rodric sniffed at it and emitted a clucking sound of pleasure. "Vegan tobacco! 
Where did you get it?" 

"We received some last shipment. There's hardly any left. Space knows when we'll get more - 
if ever." 

Pirenne scowled. He didn't smoke - and, for that matter, detested the odor. "Let me understand 
this, your eminence. Your mission is merely one of clarification?" 

Haut Rodric nodded through the smoke of his first lusty puffs. 

"In that case, it is soon over. The situation with respect to the Encyclopedia Foundation is what 
it always has been." 

"Ah! And what is it that it always has been?" 

"Just this: A State-supported scientific institution and part of the personal domain of his august 
majesty, the Emperor." 

The sub-prefect seemed unimpressed. He blew smoke rings. "That's a nice theory, Dr. Pirenne. 
I imagine you've got charters with the Imperial Seal upon it - but what's the actual situation? 
How do you stand with respect to Smyrno? You're not fifty parsecs from Smyrno's capital, you 
know. And what about Konom and Daribow?" 

Pirenne said: "We have nothing to do with any prefect. As part of the Emperor's-" 

"They're not prefects," reminded Haut Rodric; "they're kingdoms now." 

"Kingdoms then. We have nothing to do with them. As a scientific institution-" 

"Science be damned!" swore the other. "What the devil has that got to do with the fact that 
we're liable to see Terminus taken over by Smyrno at any time?" 

"And the Emperor? He would just sit by?" 

Haut Rodric calmed down and said: "Well, now, Dr. Pirenne, you respect the Emperor's 
property and so does Anacreon, but Smyrno might not. Remember, we've just signed a treaty 
with the Emperor - I'll present a copy to that Board of yours tomorrow - which places upon us 
the responsibility of maintaining order within the borders of the old Prefect of Anacreon on 
behalf of the Emperor. Our duty is clear, then, isn't it?" 

"Certainly. But Terminus is not part of the Prefect of Anacreon." 

"And Smyrno-" 

"Nor is it part of the Prefect of Smyrno. It's not part of any prefect." 

"Does Smyrno know that?" 

I don't care what it knows. 

"We do. We've just finished a war with her and she still holds two stellar systems that are ours. 
Terminus occupies an extremely strategic spot, between the two nations." 

Hardin felt weary. He broke in: "What is your proposition, your eminence?" 

The sub-prefect seemed quite ready to stop fencing in favor of more direct statements. He said 
briskly: "It seems perfectly obvious that, since Terminus cannot defend itself, Anacreon must 
take over the job for its own sake. You understand we have no desire to interfere with internal 

"Uh-huh," grunted Hardin dryly. 

"-but we believe that it would be best for all concerned to have Anacreon establish a military 
base upon the planet." 

"And that is all you would want - a military base in some of the vast unoccupied territory - and 
let it go at that?" 

"Well, of course, there would be the matter of supporting the protecting forces." 

Hardin's chair came down on all four, and his elbows went forward on his knees. "Now we're 
getting to the nub. Let's put it into language. Terminus is to be a protectorate and to pay 

"Not tribute. Taxes. We're protecting you. You pay for it." 

Pirenne banged his hand on the chair with sudden violence. "Let me speak, Hardin. Your 
eminence, I don't care a rusty half-credit coin for Anacreon, Smyrno, or all your local politics 
and petty wars. I tell you this is a State-supported tax-free institution." 

"State-supported? But we are the State, Dr. Pirenne, and we're not supporting." 

Pirenne rose angrily. "Your eminence, I am the direct representative of-" 

"-his august majesty, the Emperor," chorused Anselm haut Rodric sourly, "And I am the direct 
representative of the King of Anacreon. Anacreon is a lot nearer, Dr. Pirenne." 

"Let's get back to business," urged Hardin. "How would you take these so-called taxes, your 
eminence? Would you take them in kind: wheat, potatoes, vegetables, cattle?" 

The sub-prefect stared. "What the devil? What do we need with those? We've got hefty 
surpluses. Gold, of course. Chromium or vanadium would be even better, incidentally, if you 
have it in quantity." 

Hardin laughed. "Quantity! We haven't even got iron in quantity. Gold! Here, take a look at our 
currency." He tossed a coin to the envoy. 

Haut Rodric bounced it and stared. "What is it? Steel?" 

"That's right." 

I don't understand. 

"Terminus is a planet practically without metals. We import it all. Consequently, we have no 
gold, and nothing to pay unless you want a few thousand bushels of potatoes." 

"Well - manufactured goods." 

"Without metal? What do we make our machines out of?" 

There was a pause and Pirenne tried again. "This whole discussion is wide of the point. 
Terminus is not a planet, but a scientific foundation preparing a great encyclopedia. Space, 
man, have you no respect for science?" 

"Encyclopedias don't win wars." Haut Rodric's brows furrowed. "A completely unproductive 
world, then - and practically unoccupied at that. Well, you might pay with land." 

"What do you mean?" asked Pirenne. 

"This world is just about empty and the unoccupied land is probably fertile. There are many of 
the nobility on Anacreon that would like an addition to their estates." 

"You can't propose any such-" 

"There's no necessity of looking so alarmed, Dr. Pirenne. There's plenty for all of us. If it comes 
to what it comes, and you co-operate, we could probably arrange it so that you lose nothing. 
Titles can be conferred and estates granted. You understand me, I think." 

Pirenne sneered, "Thanks!" 

And then Hardin said ingenuously: "Could Anacreon supply us with adequate quantities of 
plutonium for our nuclear-power plant? We've only a few years' supply left." 

There was a gasp from Pirenne and then a dead silence for minutes. When Haut Rodric spoke 
it was in a voice quite different from what it had been till then: 

"You have nuclear power?" 

"Certainly. What's unusual in that? I imagine nuclear power is fifty thousand years old now. 

Why shouldn't we have it? Except that it's a little difficult to get plutonium." 

"Yes ... Yes." The envoy paused and added uncomfortably: "Well, gentlemen, we'll pursue the 
subject tomorrow. You'll excuse me-" 

Pirenne looked after him and gritted through his teeth: "That insufferable, dull-witted donkey! 

Hardin broke in: "Not at all. He's merely the product of his environment. He doesn't understand 
much except that 'I have a gun and you haven't.’" 

Pirenne whirled on him in exasperation. "What in space did you mean by the talk about military 
bases and tribute? Are you crazy?" 

"No. I merely gave him rope and let him talk. You'll notice that he managed to stumble out with 

Anacreon's real intentions - that is, the parceling up of Terminus into landed estates. Of 
course, I don't intend to let that happen." 

"You don't intend. You don't. And who are you? And may I ask what you meant by blowing off 
your mouth about our nuclear-power plant? Why, it's just the thing that would make us a military 

"Yes," grinned Hardin. "A military target to stay away from. Isn't it obvious why I brought the 
subject up? It happened to confirm a very strong suspicion I had had." 

"And that was what?" 

"That Anacreon no longer has a nuclear-power economy. If they had, our friend would 
undoubtedly have realized that plutonium, except in ancient tradition is not used in power 
plants. And therefore it follows that the rest of the Periphery no longer has nuclear power either. 
Certainly Smyrno hasn't, or Anacreon wouldn't have won most of the battles in their recent war. 
Interesting, wouldn't you say?" 

"Bah!" Pirenne left in fiendish humor, and Hardin smiled gently. 

He threw his cigar away and looked up at the outstretched Galaxy. "Back to oil and coal, are 
they?" he murmured - and what the rest of his thoughts were he kept to himself. 


When Hardin denied owning the Journal, he was perhaps technically correct, but no more. 
Hardin had been the leading spirit in the drive to incorporate Terminus into an autonomous 
municipality-he had been elected its first mayor-so it was not surprising that, though not a 
single share of Journal stock was in his name, some sixty percent was controlled by him in 
more devious fashions. 

There were ways. 

Consequently, when Hardin began suggesting to Pirenne that he be allowed to attend meetings 
of the Board of Trustees, it was not quite coincidence that the Journal began a similar 
campaign. And the first mass meeting in the history of the Foundation was held, demanding 
representation of the City in the "national" government. 

And, eventually, Pirenne capitulated with ill grace. 

Hardin, as he sat at the foot of the table, speculated idly as to just what it was that made 
physical scientists such poor administrators. It might be merely that they were too used to 
inflexible fact and far too unused to pliable people. 

In any case, there was Tomaz Sutt and Jord Fara on his left; Lundin Crast and Yate Fulham on 
his fight; with Pirenne, himself, presiding. He knew them all, of course, but they seemed to have 
put on an extra-special bit of pomposity for the occasion. 

Hardin had dozed through the initial formalities and then perked up when Pirenne sipped at the 

glass of water before him by way of preparation and said: 

"I find it very gratifying to be able to inform the Board that since our last meeting, I have 
received word that Lord Dorwin, Chancellor of the Empire, will arrive at Terminus in two weeks. 
It may be taken for granted that our relations with Anacreon will be smoothed out to our 
complete satisfaction as soon as the Emperor is informed of the situation." 

He smiled and addressed Hardin across the length of the table. "Information to this effect has 
been given the Journal." 

Hardin snickered below his breath. It seemed evident that Pirenne's desire to strut this 
information before him had been one reason for his admission into the sacrosanctum. 

He said evenly: "Leaving vague expressions out of account, what do you expect Lord Dorwin to 

Tomaz Sutt replied. He had a bad habit of addressing one in the third person when in his more 
stately moods. 

"It is quite evident," he observed, "that Mayor Hardin is a professional cynic. He can scarcely 
fail to realize that the Emperor would be most unlikely to allow his personal rights to be 

"Why? What would he do in case they were?" 

There was an annoyed stir. Pirenne said, "You are out of order," and, as an afterthought, "and 
are making what are near-treasonable statements, besides." 

"Am I to consider myself answered?" 

"Yes! If you have nothing further to say-" 

"Don't jump to conclusions. I'd like to ask a question. Besides this stroke of diplomacy - which 
may or may not prove to mean anything - has anything concrete been done to meet the 
Anacreonic menace?" 

Yate Fulham drew one hand along his ferocious red mustache. "You see a menace there, do 

"Don't you?" 

"Scarcely"- this with indulgence. "The Emperor-" 

"Great space!" Hardin felt annoyed. "What is this? Every once in a while someone mentions 
'Emperor' or 'Empire' as if it were a magic word. The Emperor is thousands of parsecs away, 
and I doubt whether he gives a damn about us. And if he does, what can he do? What there 
was of the imperial navy in these regions is in the hands of the four kingdoms now and 
Anacreon has its share. Listen, we have to fight with guns, not with words. 

"Now, get this. We've had two months' grace so far, mainly because we've given Anacreon the 
idea that we've got nuclear weapons. Well, we all know that that's a little white lie. We've got 

nuclear power, but only for commercial uses, and darn little at that. They're going to find that 
out soon, and if you think they're going to enjoy being jollied along, you're mistaken." 

"My dear sir-" 

"Hold on: I'm not finished." Hardin was warming up. He liked this. "It's all very well to drag 
chancellors into this, but it would be much nicer to drag a few great big siege guns fitted for 
beautiful nuclear bombs into it. We've lost two months, gentlemen, and we may not have 
another two months to lose. What do you propose to do?" 

Said Lundin Crast, his long nose wrinkling angrily: "If you're proposing the militarization of the 
Foundation, I won't hear a word of it. It would mark our open entrance into the field of politics. 
We, Mr. Mayor, are a scientific foundation and nothing else." 

Added Sutt: "He does not realize, moreover, that building armaments would mean withdrawing 
men - valuable men - from the Encyclopedia. That cannot be done, come what may." 

"Very true," agreed Pirenne. "The Encyclopedia first - always." 

Hardin groaned in spirit. The Board seemed to suffer violently from Encyclopedia on the brain, 

He said icily: "Has it ever occurred to this Board that it is barely possible that Terminus may 
have interests other than the Encyclopedia?" 

Pirenne replied: "I do not conceive, Hardin, that the Foundation can have any interest other 
than the Encyclopedia." 

"I didn't say the Foundation; I said Terminus. I'm afraid you don't understand the situation. 
There's a good million of us here on Terminus, and not more than a hundred and fifty thousand 
are working directly on the Encyclopedia. To the rest of us, this is home. We were born here. 
We're living here. Compared with our farms and our homes and our factories, the Encyclopedia 
means little to us. We want them protected-" 

He was shouted down. 

"The Encyclopedia first," ground out Crast. "We have a mission to fulfill." 

"Mission, hell," shouted Hardin. "That might have been true fifty years ago. But this is a new 

"That has nothing to do with it," replied Pirenne. "We are scientists." 

And Hardin leaped through the opening. "Are you, though? That's a nice hallucination, isn't it? 
Your bunch here is a perfect example of what's been wrong with the entire Galaxy for 
thousands of years. What kind of science is it to be stuck out here for centuries classifying the 
work of scientists of the last millennium? Have you ever thought of working onward, extending 
their knowledge and improving upon it? No! You're quite happy to stagnate. The whole Galaxy 
is, and has been for space knows how long. That's why the Periphery is revolting; that's why 
communications are breaking down; that's why petty wars are becoming eternal; that's why 
whole systems are losing nuclear power and going back to barbarous techniques of chemical 

If you ask me," he cried, "the Galactic Empire is dying!" 

He paused and dropped into his chair to catch his breath, paying no attention to the two or 
three that were attempting simultaneously to answer him. 

Crast got the floor. "I don't know what you're trying to gain by your hysterical statements, Mr. 
Mayor. Certainly, you are adding nothing constructive to the discussion. I move, Mr. Chairman, 
that the speaker's remarks be placed out of order and the discussion be resumed from the point 
where it was interrupted." 

Jord Fara bestirred himself for the first time. Up to this point Fara had taken no part in the 
argument even at its hottest. But now his ponderous voice, every bit as ponderous as his 
three-hundred-pound body, burst its bass way out. 

"Haven't we forgotten something, gentlemen?" 

"What?" asked Pirenne, peevishly. 

"That in a month we celebrate our fiftieth anniversary." Fara had a trick of uttering the most 
obvious platitudes with great profundity. 

"What of it?" 

"And on that anniversary," continued Fara, placidly, "Hari Seldon's Vault will open. Have you 
ever considered what might be in the Vault?" 

"I don't know. Routine matters. A stock Speech of congratulations, perhaps. I don't think any 
significance need be placed on the Vault - though the Journal'- and he glared at Hardin, who 
grinned back -"did try to make an issue of it. I put a stop to that." 

"Ah," said Fara, "but perhaps you are wrong. Doesn't it strike you" - he paused and put a finger 
to his round little nose -"that the Vault is opening at a very convenient time?" 

"Very inconvenient time, you mean," muttered Fulham. "We've got some other things to worry 

"Other things more important than a message from Hari Seldon? I think not." Fara was growing 
more pontifical than ever, and Hardin eyed him thoughtfully. What was he getting at? 

"In fact," said Fara, happily, "you all seem to forget that Seldon was the greatest psychologist of 
our time and that he was the founder of our Foundation. It seems reasonable to assume that he 
used his science to determine the probable course of the history of the immediate future. If he 
did, as seems likely, I repeat, he would certainly have managed to find a way to warn us of 
danger and, perhaps, to point out a solution. The Encyclopedia was very dear to his heart, you 

An aura of puzzled doubt prevailed. Pirenne hemmed. "Well, now, I don't know. Psychology is a 
great science, but-there are no psychologists among us at the moment, I believe. It seems to 
me we're on uncertain ground." 

Fara turned to Hardin. "Didn't you study psychology under Alurin?" 

Hardin answered, half in reverie: "Yes, I never completed my studies, though. I got tired of 
theory. I wanted to be a psychological engineer, but we lacked the facilities, so I did the next 
best thing - I went into politics. It's practically the same thing." 

"Well, what do you think of the Vault?" 

And Hardin replied cautiously, "I don't know." 

He did not say a word for the remainder of the meeting even though it got back to the subject of 
the Chancellor of the Empire. 

In fact, he didn't even listen. He'd been put on a new track and things were falling into 
place-just a little. Little angles were fitting together - one or two. 

And psychology was the key. He was sure of that. 

He was trying desperately to remember the psychological theory he had once learned - and 
from it he got one thing right at the start. 

A great psychologist such as Seldon could unravel human emotions and human reactions 
sufficiently to be able to predict broadly the historical sweep of the future. 

And what would that mean? 

4 . 

Lord Dorwin took snuff. He also had long hair, curled intricately and, quite obviously, artificially, 
to which were added a pair of fluffy, blond sideburns, which he fondled affectionately. Then, 
too, he spoke in overprecise statements and left out all the r's. 

At the moment, Hardin had no time to think of more of the reasons for the instant detestation in 
which he had held the noble chancellor. Oh, yes, the elegant gestures of one hand with which 
he accompanied his remarks and the studied condescension with which he accompanied even 
a simple affirmative. 

But, at any rate, the problem now was to locate him. He had disappeared with Pirenne half an 
hour before - passed clean out of sight, blast him. 

Hardin was quite sure that his own absence during the preliminary discussions would quite suit 

But Pirenne had been seen in this wing And on this floor. It was simply a matter of trying every 
door. Halfway down, he said, "Ah!" and stepped into the darkened room. The profile of Lord 
Dorwin's intricate hair-do was unmistakable against the lighted screen. 

Lord Dorwin looked up and said: "Ah, Hahdin. You ah looking foah us, no doubt?" He held out 
his snuffbox - overadorned and poor workmanship at that, noted Hardinand was politely 
refused whereat he helped himself to a pinch and smiled graciously. 

Pirenne scowled and Hardin met that with an expression of blank indifference. 

The only sound to break the short silence that followed was the clicking of the lid of Lord 
Dorwin's snuffbox. And then he put it away and said: 

"A gweat achievement, this Encyclopedia of yoahs, Hahdin. A feat, indeed, to rank with the 
most majestic accomplishments of all time." 

"Most of us think so, milord. It's an accomplishment not quite accomplished as yet, however." 

"Fwom the little I have seen of the efficiency of yoah Foundation, I have no feahs on that 
scoah." And he nodded to Pirenne, who responded with a delighted bow. 

Quite a love feast, thought Hardin. "I wasn't complaining about the lack of efficiency, milord, as 
much as of the definite excess of efficiency on the part of the Anacreonians - though in another 
and more destructive direction." 

"Ah, yes, Anacweon." A negligent wave of the hand. "I have just come from theah. Most 
bahbawous planet. It is thowoughly inconceivable that human beings could live heah in the 
Pewiphewy. The lack of the most elementawy wequiahments of a cultuahed gentleman; the 
absence of the most fundamental necessities foah comfoht and convenience - the uttah 
desuetude into which they-" 

Hardin interrupted dryly: "The Anacreonians, unfortunately, have all the elementary 
requirements for warfare and all the fundamental necessities for destruction." 

"Quite, quite." Lord Dorwin seemed annoyed, perhaps at being stopped midway in his 
sentence. "But we ahn't to discuss business now, y'know. Weally, I'm othahwise concuhned. 
Doctah Piwenne, ahn't you going to show me the second volume? Do, please." 

The lights clicked out and for the next half-hour Hardin might as well have been on Anacreon 
for all the attention they paid him. The book upon the screen made little sense to him, nor did 
he trouble to make the attempt to follow, but Lord Dorwin became quite humanly excited at 
times. Hardin noticed that during these moments of excitement the chancellor pronounced his 

When the lights went on again, Lord Dorwin said: "Mahvelous. Twuly mahvelous. You ah not, 
by chance, intewested in ahchaeology, ah you, Hahdin?" 

"Eh?" Hardin shook himself out of an abstracted reverie. "No, milord, can't say I am. I'm a 
psychologist by original intention and a politician by final decision." 

"Ah! No doubt intewesting studies. 1, myself, y'know" - he helped himself to a giant pinch of 
snuff -"dabble in ahchaeology." 


"His lordship," interrupted Pirenne, "is most thoroughly acquainted with the field." 

"Well, p'haps I am, p'haps I am," said his lordship complacently. "I have done an awful amount 
of wuhk in the science. Extwemely well-read, in fact. I've gone thwough all of Jawdun, Obijasi, 

Kwomwill ... oh, all of them, y'know." 

"I've heard of them, of course," said Hardin, "but I've never read them." 

"You should some day, my deah fellow. It would amply repay you. Why, I cutainly considah it 
well wuhth the twip heah to the Pewiphewy to see this copy of Lameth. Would you believe it, 
my Libwawy totally lacks a copy. By the way, Doctah Piwenne, you have not fohgotten yoah 
pwomise to twansdevelop a copy foah me befoah I leave?" 

"Only too pleased." 

"Lameth, you must know," continued the chancellor, politically, "pwesents a new and most 
intwesting addition to my pwevious knowledge of the 'Owigin Question.'" 

"Which question?" asked Hardin. 

"The 'Owigin Question.' The place of the owigin of the human species, y'know. Suahly you must 
know that it is thought that owiginally the human wace occupied only one planetawy system." 

"Well, yes, I know that." 

"Of cohse, no one knows exactly which system it is - lost in the mists of antiquity. Theah ah 
theawies, howevah. Siwius, some say. Othahs insist on Alpha Centauwi, oah on Sol, oah on 61 
Cygni - all in the Siwius sectah, you see." 

"And what does Lameth say?" 

"Well, he goes off along a new twail completely. He twies to show that ahchaeological wemains 
on the thuhd planet of the Ahctuwian System show that humanity existed theah befoah theah 
wah any indications of space-twavel." 

"And that means it was humanity's birth planet?" 

"P'haps. I must wead it closely and weigh the evidence befoah I can say foah cuhtain. One 
must see just how weliable his obsuhvations ah." 

Hardin remained silent for a short while. Then he said, "When did Lameth write his book?" 

"Oh - I should say about eight hundwed yeahs ago. Of cohse, he has based it lahgely on the 
pwevious wuhk of Gleen." 

"Then why rely on him? Why not go to Arcturus and study the remains for yourself?" 

Lord Dorwin raised his eyebrows and took a pinch of snuff hurriedly. "Why, whatevah foah, my 
deah fellow?" 

"To get the information firsthand, of course." 

"But wheah's the necessity? It seems an uncommonly woundabout and hopelessly 
wigmawolish method of getting anywheahs. Look heah, now, I've got the wuhks of all the old 
mastahs - the gweat ahchaeologists of the past. I wigh them against each othah - balance the 
disagweements - analyze the conflicting statements - decide which is pwobably cowwect - 

and come to a conclusion. That is the scientific method. At least" - patronizingly -"as / see it. 
How insuffewably cwude it would be to go to Ahctuwus, oah to Sol, foah instance, and blundah 
about, when the old mastahs have covahed the gwound so much moah effectually than we 
could possibly hope to do." 

Hardin murmured politely, "I see." 

"Come, milord," said Pirenne, "think we had better be returning." 

"Ah, yes. P'haps we had." 

As they left the room, Hardin said suddenly, "Milord, may I ask a question?" 

Lord Dorwin smiled blandly and emphasized his answer with a gracious flutter of the hand. 
"Cuhtainly, my deah fellow. Only too happy to be of suhvice. If I can help you in any way fwom 
my pooah stoah of knowledge-" 

"It isn't exactly about archaeology, milord." 


"No. It's this: Last year we received news here in Terminus about the meltdown of a power 
plant on Planet V of Gamma Andromeda. We got the barest outline of the accident - no details 
at all. I wonder if you could tell me exactly what happened." 

Pirenne's mouth twisted. "I wonder you annoy his lordship with questions on totally irrelevant 

"Not at all, Doctah Piwenne," interceded the chancellor. "It is quite all wight. Theah isn't much to 
say concuhning it in any case. The powah plant did undergo meltdown and it was quite a 
catastwophe, y'know. I believe wadiatsen damage. Weally, the govuhnment is sewiously 
considewing placing seveah westwictions upon the indiscwiminate use of nucleah powah - 
though that is not a thing for genewal publication, y'know." 

"I understand," said Hardin. "But what was wrong with the plant?" 

"Well, weally," replied Lord Dorwin indifferently, "who knows? It had bwoken down some yeahs 
pweviously and it is thought that the weplacements and wepaiah wuhk wuh most infewiah. It is 
so difficult these days to find men who weally undahstand the moah technical details of ouah 
powah systems." And he took a sorrowful pinch of snuff. 

"You realize," said Hardin, "that the independent kingdoms of the Periphery had lost nuclear 
power altogether?" 

"Have they? I'm not at all suhpwised. Bahbawous planets- Oh, but my deah fellow, don't call 
them independent. They ahn't, y'know. The tweaties we've made with them ah pwoof positive of 
that. They acknowledge the soveweignty of the Empewah. They'd have to, of cohse, oah we 
wouldn't tweat with them." 

That may be so, but they have considerable freedom of action. 

"Yes, I suppose so. Considewable. But that scahcely mattahs. The Empiah is fah bettah off, 
with the Pewiphewy thwown upon its own wesoahces - as it is, moah oah less. They ahn't any 
good to us, y'know. Most bahbawous planets. Scahcely civilized." 

"They were civilized in the past. Anacreon was one of the richest of the outlying provinces. I 
understand it compared favorably with Vega itself." 

"Oh, but, Hahdin, that was centuwies ago. You can scahcely dwaw conclusion fwom that. 
Things wah diffewent in the old gweat days. We ahn't the men we used to be, y'know. But, 
Hahdin, come, you ah a most puhsistent chap. 

I've told you I simply won't discuss business today. Doctah Piwenne did pwepayah me foah 
you. He told me you would twy to badgah me, but I'm fah too old a hand foah that. Leave it foah 
next day. And that was that. 

5 . 

This was the second meeting of the Board that Hardin had attended, if one were to exclude the 
informal talks the Board members had had with the now-departed Lord Dorwin. Yet the mayor 
had a perfectly definite idea that at least one other, and possibly two or three, had been held, to 
which he had somehow never received an invitation. 

Nor, it seemed to him, would he have received notification of this one had it not been for the 

At least, it amounted to an ultimatum, though a superficial reading of the visigraphed document 
would lead one to suppose that it was a friendly interchange of greetings between two 

Hardin fingered it gingerly. It started off floridly with a salutation from "His Puissant Majesty, the 
King of Anacreon, to his friend and brother, Dr. Lewis Pirenne, Chairman of the Board of 
Trustees, of the Encyclopedia Foundation Number One," and it ended even more lavishly with 
a gigantic, multicolored seal of the most involved symbolism. 

But it was an ultimatum just the same. 

Hardin said: "It turned out that we didn't have much time after all - only three months. But little 
as it was, we threw it away unused. This thing here gives us a week. What do we do now?" 

Pirenne frowned worriedly. "There must be a loophole. It is absolutely unbelievable that they 
would push matters to extremities in the face of what Lord Dorwin has assured us regarding the 
attitude of the Emperor and the Empire." 

Hardin perked up. "I see. You have informed the King of Anacreon of this alleged attitude?" 

"I did - after having placed the proposal to the Board for a vote and having received unanimous 

And when did this vote take place? 

Pirenne climbed onto his dignity. "I do not believe I am answerable to you in any way, Mayor 

"All right. I'm not that vitally interested. It's just my opinion that it was your diplomatic 
transmission of Lord Dorwin's valuable contribution to the situation"- he lifted the comer of his 
mouth in a sour half-smile -"that was the direct cause of this friendly little note. They might 
have delayed longer otherwise - though I don't think the additional time would have helped 
Terminus any, considering the attitude of the Board." 

Said Yate Fulham: "And just how do you arrive at that remarkable conclusion, Mr. Mayor?" 

"In a rather simple way. It merely required the use of that much-neglected commodity - 
common sense. You see, there is a branch of human knowledge known as symbolic logic, 
which can be used to prune away all sorts of clogging deadwood that clutters up human 

"What about it?" said Fulham. 

"I applied it. Among other things, I applied it to this document here. I didn't really need to for 
myself because I knew what it was all about, but I think I can explain it more easily to five 
physical scientists by symbols rather than by words." 

Hardin removed a few sheets of paper from the pad under his arm and spread them out. "I 
didn't do this myself, by the way," he said. "Muller Hoik of the Division of Logic has his name 
signed to the analyses, as you can see." 

Pirenne leaned over the table to get a better view and Hardin continued: "The message from 
Anacreon was a simple problem, naturally, for the men who wrote it were men of action rather 
than men of words. It boils down easily and straightforwardly to the unqualified statement, when 
in symbols is what you see, and which in words, roughly translated, is, 'You give us what we 
want in a week, or we take it by force.'" 

There was silence as the five members of the Board ran down the line of symbols, and then 
Pirenne sat down and coughed uneasily. 

Hardin said, "No loophole, is there, Dr. Pirenne?" 

"Doesn't seem to be." 

"All right." Hardin replaced the sheets. "Before you now you see a copy of the treaty between 
the Empire and Anacreon - a treaty, incidentally, which is signed on the Emperor's behalf by 
the same Lord Dorwin who was here last week - and with it a symbolic analysis." 

The treaty ran through five pages of fine print and the analysis was scrawled out in just under 
half a page. 

"As you see, gentlemen, something like ninety percent of the treaty boiled right out of the 
analysis as being meaningless, and what we end up with can be described in the following 
interesting manner: 

"Obligations of Anacreon to the Empire: None! 

Powers of the Empire over Anacreon: None!" 

Again the five followed the reasoning anxiously, checking carefully back to the treaty, and when 
they were finished, Pirenne said in a worried fashion, "That seems to be correct." 

"You admit, then, that the treaty is nothing but a declaration of total independence on the part of 
Anacreon and a recognition of that status by the Empire?" 

"It seems so." 

"And do you suppose that Anacreon doesn't realize that, and is not anxious to emphasize the 
position of independence - so that it would naturally tend to resent any appearance of threats 
from the Empire? Particularly when it is evident that the Empire is powerless to fulfill any such 
threats, or it would never have allowed independence." 

"But then," interposed Sutt, "how would Mayor Hardin account for Lord Dorwin's assurances of 
Empire support? They seemed He shrugged. "Well, they seemed satisfactory." 

Hardin threw himself back in the chair. "You know, that's the most interesting part of the whole 
business. I'll admit I had thought his Lordship a most consummate donkey when I first met him 
- but it turned out that he was actually an accomplished diplomat and a most clever man. I took 
the liberty of recording all his statements." 

There was a flurry, and Pirenne opened his mouth in horror. 

"What of it?" demanded Hardin. "I realize it was a gross breach of hospitality and a thing no 
so-called gentleman would do. Also, that if his lordship had caught on, things might have been 
unpleasant; but he didn't, and I have the record, and that's that. I took that record, had it copied 
out and sent that to Hoik for analysis, also." 

Lundin Crast said, "And where is the analysis?" 

"That," replied Hardin, "is the interesting thing. The analysis was the most difficult of the three 
by all odds. When Hoik, after two days of steady work, succeeded in eliminating meaningless 
statements, vague gibberish, useless qualifications - in short, all the goo and dribble - he 
found he had nothing left. Everything canceled out." 

"Lord Dorwin, gentlemen, in five days of discussion didn't say one damned thing, and said it so 
you never noticed. There are the assurances you had from your precious Empire." 

Hardin might have placed an actively working stench bomb on the table and created no more 
confusion than existed after his last statement. He waited, with weary patience, for it to die 

"So," he concluded, "when you sent threats - and that's what they were - concerning Empire 
action to Anacreon, you merely irritated a monarch who knew better. Naturally, his ego would 
demand immediate action, and the ultimatum is the result-which brings me to my original 
statement. We have one week left and what do we do now?" 

"It seems," said Sutt, "that we have no choice but to allow Anacreon to establish military bases 

on Terminus. 

"I agree with you there," replied Hardin, "but what do we do toward kicking them off again at the 
first opportunity?" 

Yate Fulham's mustache twitched. "That sounds as if you have made up your mind that 
violence must be used against them." 

"Violence," came the retort, "is the last refuge of the incompetent. But I certainly don't intend to 
lay down the welcome mat and brush off the best furniture for their use." 

"I still don't like the way you put that," insisted Fulham. "It is a dangerous attitude; the more 
dangerous because we have noticed lately that a sizable section of the populace seems to 
respond to all your suggestions just so. I might as well tell you, Mayor Hardin, that the board is 
not quite blind to your recent activities." 

He paused and there was general agreement. Hardin shrugged. 

Fulham went on: "If you were to inflame the City into an act of violence, you would achieve 
elaborate suicide - and we don't intend to allow that. Our policy has but one cardinal principle, 
and that is the Encyclopedia. Whatever we decide to do or not to do will be so decided because 
it will be the measure required to keep that Encyclopedia safe." 

"Then," said Hardin, "you come to the conclusion that we must continue our intensive campaign 
of doing nothing." 

Pirenne said bitterly: "You have yourself demonstrated that the Empire cannot help us; though 
how and why it can be so, I don't understand. If compromise is necessary-" 

Hardin had the nightmarelike sensation of running at top speed and getting nowhere. "There is 
no compromise! Don't you realize that this bosh about military bases is a particularly inferior 
grade of drivel? Haut Rodric told us what Anacreon was after - outright annexation and 
imposition of its own feudal system of landed estates and peasant-aristocracy economy upon 
us. What is left of our bluff of nuclear power may force them to move slowly, but they will move 

He had risen indignantly, and the rest rose with him except for Jord Fara. 

And then Jord Fara spoke. "Everyone will please sit down. We've gone quite far enough, I 
think. Come, there's no use looking so furious, Mayor Hardin; none of us have been committing 

"You'll have to convince me of that!" 

Fara smiled gently. "You know you don't mean that. Let me speak!" 

His little shrewd eyes were half closed, and the perspiration gleamed on the smooth expanse of 
his chin. "There seems no point in concealing that the Board has come to the decision that the 
real solution to the Anacreonian problem lies in what is to be revealed to us when the Vault 

opens six days from now. 

"Is that your contribution to the matter?" 


"We are to do nothing, is that fight, except to wait in quiet serenity and utter faith for the deus ex 
machina to pop out of the Vault?" 

"Stripped of your emotional phraseology, that's the idea." 

"Such unsubtle escapism! Really, Dr. Fara, such folly smacks of genius. A lesser mind would 
be incapable of it." 

Fara smiled indulgently. "Your taste in epigrams is amusing, Hardin, but out of place. As a 
matter of fact, I think you remember my line of argument concerning the Vault about three 
weeks ago." 

"Yes, I remember it. I don't deny that it was anything but a stupid idea from the standpoint of 
deductive logic alone. You said - stop me when I make a mistake - that Hari Seldon was the 
greatest psychologist in the System; that, hence, he could foresee the right and uncomfortable 
spot we're in now; that, hence, he established the Vault as a method of telling us the way out." 

"You've got the essence of the idea." 

"Would it surprise you to hear that I've given considerable thought to the matter these last 

"Very flattering. With what result?" 

"With the result that pure deduction is found wanting. Again what is needed is a little sprinkling 
of common sense." 

"For instance?" 

"For instance, if he foresaw the Anacreonian mess, why not have placed us on some other 
planet nearer the Galactic centers? It's well known that Seldon maneuvered the Commissioners 
on Trantor into ordering the Foundation established on Terminus. But why should he have done 
so? Why put us out here at all if he could see in advance the break in communication lines, our 
isolation from the Galaxy, the threat of our neighbors - and our helplessness because of the 
lack of metals on Terminus? That above all! Or if he foresaw all this, why not have warned the 
original settlers in advance that they might have had time to prepare, rather than wait, as he is 
doing, until one foot is over the cliff, before doing so? 

"And don't forget this. Even though he could foresee the problem then, we can see it equally 
well now. Therefore, if he could foresee the solution then, we should be able to see it now. After 
all, Seldon was not a magician. There are no trick methods of escaping from a dilemma that he 
can see and we can't." 

But, Hardin," reminded Fara, "we can't! 

"But you haven't tried. You haven't tried once. First, you refused to admit that there was a 
menace at all! Then you reposed an absolutely blind faith in the Emperor! Now you've shifted it 
to Hari Seldon. Throughout you have invariably relied on authority or on the past - never on 

His fists balled spasmodically. "It amounts to a diseased attitude - a conditioned reflex that 
shunts aside the independence of your minds whenever it is a question of opposing authority. 
There seems no doubt ever in your minds that the Emperor is more powerful than you are, or 
Hari Seldon wiser. And that's wrong, don't you see?" 

For some reason, no one cared to answer him. 

Hardin continued: "It isn't just you. It's the whole Galaxy. Pirenne heard Lord Dorwin's idea of 
scientific research. Lord Dorwin thought the way to be a good archaeologist was to read all the 
books on the subject - written by men who were dead for centuries. He thought that the way to 
solve archaeological puzzles was to weigh the opposing authorities. And Pirenne listened and 
made no objections. Don't you see that there's something wrong with that?" 

Again the note of near-pleading in his voice. Again no answer. 

He went on: "And you men and half of Terminus as well are just as bad. We sit here, 
considering the Encyclopedia the all-in-all. We consider the greatest end of science, is the 
classification of past data. It is important, but is there no further work to be done? We're 
receding and forgetting, don't you see? Here in the Periphery they've lost nuclear power. In 
Gamma Andromeda, a power plant has undergone meltdown because of poor repairs, and the 
Chancellor of the Empire complains that nuclear technicians are scarce. And the solution? To 
train new ones? Never! Instead they're to restrict nuclear power." 

And for the third time: "Don't you see? It's Galaxywide. It's a worship of the past. It's a 
deterioration - a stagnation!" 

He stared from one to the other and they gazed fixedly at him. 

Fara was the first to recover. "Well, mystical philosophy isn't going to help us here. Let us be 
concrete. Do you deny that Hari Seldon could easily have worked out historical trends of the 
future by simple psychological technique?" 

"No, of course not," cried Hardin. "But we can't rely on him for a solution. At best, he might 
indicate the problem, but if ever there is to be a solution, we must work it out ourselves. He 
can't do it for us." 

Fulham spoke suddenly. "What do you mean - 'indicate the problem'? We know the problem." 

Hardin whirled on him. "You think you do? You think Anacreon is all Hari Seldon is likely to be 
worried about. I disagree! I tell you, gentlemen, that as yet none of you has the faintest 
conception of what is really going on." 

"And you do?" questioned Pirenne, hostilely. 

"I think so!" Hardin jumped up and pushed his chair away. His eyes were cold and hard. "If 
there's one thing that's definite, it is that there's something smelly about the whole situation; 
something that is bigger than anything we've talked about yet. Just ask yourself this question: 
Why was it that among the original population of the Foundation not one first-class psychologist 
was included, except Bor Alurin? And he carefully refrained from training his pupils in more 
than the fundamentals." 

A short silence and Fara said: "All right. Why?" 

"Perhaps because a psychologist might have caught on to what this was all about - and too 
soon to suit Hari Seldon. As it is, we've been stumbling about, getting misty glimpses of the 
truth and no more. And that is what Hari Seldon wanted." 

He laughed harshly. "Good day, gentlemen!" 

He stalked out of the room. 

6 . 

Mayor Hardin chewed at the end of his cigar. It had gone out but he was past noticing that. He 
hadn't slept the night before and he had a good idea that he wouldn't sleep this coming night. 
His eyes showed it. 

He said wearily, "And that covers it?" 

"I think so." Yohan Lee put a hand to his chin. "How does it sound?" 

"Not too bad. It's got to be done, you understand, with impudence. That is, there is to be no 
hesitation; no time to allow them to grasp the situation. Once we are in a position to give 
orders, why, give them as though you were born to do so, and they'll obey out of habit. That's 
the essence of a coup." 

"If the Board remains irresolute for even 

"The Board? Count them out. After tomorrow, their importance as a factor in Terminus affairs 
won't matter a rusty half-credit." 

Lee nodded slowly. "Yet it is strange that they've done nothing to stop us so far. You say they 
weren't entirely in the dark." 

"Fara stumbles at the edges of the problem. Sometimes he makes me nervous. And Pirenne's 
been suspicious of me since I was elected. But, you see, they never had the capacity of really 
understanding what was up. Their whole training has been authoritarian. They are sure that the 
Emperor, just because he is the Emperor, is all-powerful. And they are sure that the Board of 
Trustees, simply because it is the Board of Trustees acting in the name of the Emperor, cannot 
be in a position where it does not give the orders. That incapacity to recognize the possibility of 
revolt is our best ally." 

He heaved out of his chair and went to the water cooler. "They're not bad fellows, Lee, when 

they stick to their Encyclopedia - and we'll see that that's where they stick in the future. They're 
hopelessly incompetent when it comes to ruling Terminus. Go away now and start things 
rolling. I want to be alone." 

He sat down on the comer of his desk and stared at the cup of water. 

Space! If only he were as confident as he pretended! The Anacreonians were landing in two 
days and what had he to go on but a set of notions and half-guesses as to what Had Seldon 
had been driving at these past fifty years? He wasn't even a real, honest-to-goodness 
psychologist - just a tumbler with a little training trying to outguess the greatest mind of the 

If Fara were fight; if Anacreon were all the problem Hari Seldon had foreseen; if the 
Encyclopedia were all he was interested in preserving - then what price coup d'etat? 

He shrugged and drank his water. 

7 . 

The Vault was furnished with considerably more than six chairs, as though a larger company 
had been expected. Hardin noted that thoughtfully and seated himself wearily in a comer just 
as far from the other five as possible. 

The Board members did not seem to object to that arrangement. They spoke among 
themselves in whispers, which fell off into sibilant monosyllables, and then into nothing at all. Of 
them all, only Jord Fara seemed even reasonably calm. He had produced a watch and was 
staring at it somberly. 

Hardin glanced at his own watch and then at the glass cubicle - absolutely empty - that 
dominated half the room. It was the only unusual feature of the room, for aside from that there 
was no indication that somewhere a computer was splitting off instants of time toward that 
precise moment when a muon stream would flow, a connection be made and- 

The lights went dim! 

They didn't go out, but merely yellowed and sank with a suddenness that made Hardin jump. 

He had lifted his eyes to the ceiling lights in startled fashion, and when he brought them down 
the glass cubicle was no longer empty. 

A figure occupied it, a figure in a wheel chair! 

It said nothing for a few moments, but it closed the book upon its lap and fingered it idly. And 
then it smiled, and the face seemed all alive. 

It said, "I am Hari Seldon." The voice was old and soft. 

Hardin almost rose to acknowledge the introduction and stopped himself in the act. 

The voice continued conversationally: "As you see, I am confined to this chair and cannot rise 

to greet you. Your grandparents left for Terminus a few months back in my time and since then 
I have suffered a rather inconvenient paralysis. I can't see you, you know, so I can't greet you 
properly. I don't even know how many of you there are, so all this must be conducted 
informally. If any of you are standing, please sit down; and if you care to smoke, I wouldn't 
mind." There was a light chuckle. "Why should I? I'm not really here." 

Hardin fumbled for a cigar almost automatically, but thought better of it. 

Hari Seldon put away his book - as if laying it upon a desk at his side - and when his fingers let 
go, it disappeared. 

He said: "It is fifty years now since this Foundation was established - fifty years in which the 
members of the Foundation have been ignorant of what it was they were working toward. It was 
necessary that they be ignorant, but now the necessity is gone. 

"The Encyclopedia Foundation, to begin with, is a fraud, and always has been!" 

There was a sound of a scramble behind Hardin and one or two muffled exclamations, but he 
did not turn around. 

Hari Seldon was, of course, undisturbed. He went on: "It is a fraud in the sense that neither I 
nor my colleagues care at all whether a single volume of the Encyclopedia is ever published. It 
has served its purpose, since by it we extracted an imperial charter from the Emperor, by it we 
attracted the hundred thousand humans necessary for our scheme, and by it we managed to 
keep them preoccupied while events shaped themselves, until it was too late for any of them to 
draw back. 

"In the fifty years that you have worked on this fraudulent project - there is no use in softening 
phrases - your retreat has been cut off, and you have now no choice but to proceed on the 
infinitely more important project that was, and is, our real plan. 

"To that end we have placed you on such a planet and at such a time that in fifty years you 
were maneuvered to the point where you no longer have freedom of action. From now on, and 
into the centuries, the path you must take is inevitable. You will be faced with a series of crises, 
as you are now faced with the first, and in each case your freedom of action will become 
similarly circumscribed so that you will be forced along one, and only one, path. 

"It is that path which our psychology has worked out - and for a reason. 

"For centuries Galactic civilization has stagnated and declined, though only a few ever realized 
that. But now, at last, the Periphery is breaking away and the political unity of the Empire is 
shattered. Somewhere in the fifty years just past is where the historians of the future will place 
an arbitrary line and say: 'This marks the Fall of the Galactic Empire.' 

"And they will be right, though scarcely any will recognize that Fall for additional centuries. 

"And after the Fall will come inevitable barbarism, a period which, our psychohistory tells us, 
should, under ordinary circumstances, last for thirty thousand years. We cannot stop the Fall. 
We do not wish to; for Imperial culture has lost whatever virility and worth it once had. But we 
can shorten the period of Barbarism that must follow - down to a single thousand of years. 

"The ins and outs of that shortening, we cannot tell you; just as we could not tell you the truth 
about the Foundation fifty years ago. Were you to discover those ins and outs, our plan might 
fail; as it would have, had you penetrated the fraud of the Encyclopedia earlier; for then, by 
knowledge, your freedom of action would be expanded and the number of additional variables 
introduced would become greater than our psychology could handle. 

"But you won't, for there are no psychologists on Terminus, and never were, but for Alurin - 
and he was one of us. 

"But this I can tell you: Terminus and its companion Foundation at the other end of the Galaxy 
are the seeds of the Renascence and the future founders of the Second Galactic Empire. And it 
is the present crisis that is starting Terminus off to that climax. 

"This, by the way, is a rather straightforward crisis, much simpler than many of those that are 
ahead. To reduce it to its fundamentals, it is this: You are a planet suddenly cut off from the 
still-civilized centers of the Galaxy, and threatened by your stronger neighbors. You are a small 
world of scientists surrounded by vast and rapidly expanding reaches of barbarism. You are an 
island of nuclear power in a growing ocean of more primitive energy; but are helpless despite 
that, because of your lack of metals. 

"You see, then, that you are faced by hard necessity, and that action is forced on you. The 
nature of that action - that is, the solution to your dilemma - is, of course, obvious!" 

The image of Hari Seldon reached into open air and the book once more appeared in his hand. 
Fie opened it and said: 

"But whatever devious course your future history may take, impress it always upon your 
descendants that the path has been marked out, and that at its end is new and greater Empire!" 

And as his eyes bent to his book, he flicked into nothingness, and the lights brightened once 

Hardin looked up to see Pirenne facing him, eyes tragic and lips trembling. 

The chairman's voice was firm but toneless. "You were right, it seems. If you will see us tonight 
at six, the Board will consult with you as to the next move." 

They shook his hand, each one, and left, and Hardin smiled to himself. They were 
fundamentally sound at that; for they were scientists enough to admit that they were wrong - 
but for them, it was too late. 

Fie looked at his watch. By this time, it was all over. Lee's men were in control and the Board 
was giving orders no longer. 

The Anacreonians were landing their first spaceships tomorrow, but that was all right, too. In six 
months, they would be giving orders no longer. 

In fact, as Hari Seldon had said, and as Salvor Hardin had guessed since the day that Anselm 
haut Rodric had first revealed to him Anacreon's lack of nuclear power - the solution to this first 
crisis was obvious. 

Obvious as all hell! 




THE FOUR KINGDOMS - The name given to those portions of the Province of Anacreon which 
broke away from the First Empire in the early years of the Foundational Era to form 
independent and short-lived kingdoms. The largest and most powerful of these was Anacreon 
itself which in area... 

... Undoubtedly the most interesting aspect of the history of the Four Kingdoms involves the 
strange society forced temporarily upon it during the administration of Salvor Hardin.... 


A deputation! 

That Salvor Hardin had seen it coming made it none the more pleasant. On the contrary, he 
found anticipation distinctly annoying. 

Yohan Lee advocated extreme measures. "I don't see, Hardin," he said, "that we need waste 
any time. They can't do anything till next election - legally, anyway - and that gives us a year. 
Give them the brush-off." 

Hardin pursed his lips. "Lee, you'll never learn. In the forty years I've known you, you've never 
once learned the gentle art of sneaking up from behind." 

"It's not my way of fighting," grumbled Lee. 

"Yes, I know that. I suppose that's why you're the one man I trust." He paused and reached for 
a cigar. "We've come a long way, Lee, since we engineered our coup against the 
Encyclopedists way back. I'm getting old. Sixty-two. Do you ever think how fast those thirty 
years went?" 

Lee snorted. "I don't feel old, and I'm sixty-six." 

"Yes, but I haven't your digestion." Hardin sucked lazily at his cigar. He had long since stopped 
wishing for the mild Vegan tobacco of his youth. Those days when the planet, Terminus, had 
trafficked with every part of the Galactic Empire belonged in the limbo to which all Good Old 
Days go. Toward the same limbo where the Galactic Empire was heading. He wondered who 
the new emperor was - or if there was a new emperor at all - or any Empire. Space! For thirty 
years now, since the breakup of communications here at the edge of the Galaxy, the whole 
universe of Terminus had consisted of itself and the four surrounding kingdoms. 

How the mighty had fallen! Kingdoms !They were prefects in the old days, all part of the same 
province, which in turn had been part of a sector, which in turn had been part of a quadrant, 
which in turn had been part of the allembracing Galactic Empire. And now that the Empire had 
lost control over the farther reaches of the Galaxy, these little splinter groups of planets became 
kingdoms - with comic-opera kings and nobles, and petty, meaningless wars, and a life that 
went on pathetically among the ruins. 

A civilization falling. Nuclear power forgotten. Science fading to mythology - until the 
Foundation had stepped in. The Foundation that Hari Seldon had established for just that 
purpose here on Terminus. 

Lee was at the window and his voice broke in on Hardin's reverie. "They've come," he said, "in 
a late-model ground car, the young pups." He took a few uncertain steps toward the door and 
then looked at Hardin. 

Hardin smiled, and waved him back. "I've given orders to have them brought up here." 

"Here! What for? You're making them too important." 

"Why go through all the ceremonies of an official mayor's audience? I'm getting too old for red 
tape. Besides which, flattery is useful when dealing with youngsters - particularly when it 
doesn't commit you to anything." He winked. "Sit down, Lee, and give me your moral backing. 

I'll need it with this young Sermak." 

"That fellow, Sermak," said Lee, heavily, "is dangerous. He's got a following, Hardin, so don't 
underestimate him." 

"Have I ever underestimated anybody?" 

"Well, then, arrest him. You can accuse him of something or other afterward." 

Hardin ignored that last bit of advice. "There they are, Lee." In response to the signal, he 
stepped on the pedal beneath his desk, and the door slid aside. 

They filed in, the four that composed the deputation, and Hardin waved them gently to the 
armchairs that faced his desk in a semicircle. They bowed and waited for the mayor to speak 

Hardin flicked open the curiously carved silver lid of the cigar box that had once belonged to 
Jord Fara of the old Board of Trustees in the long-dead days of the Encyclopedists. It was a 
genuine Empire product from Santanni, though the cigars it now contained were home-grown. 
One by one, with grave solemnity, the four of the deputation accepted cigars and lit up in 
ritualistic fashion. 

Sef Sermak was second from the right, the youngest of the young group - and the most 
interesting with his bristly yellow mustache trimmed precisely, and his sunken eyes of uncertain 
color. The other three Hardin dismissed almost immediately; they were rank and file on the face 
of them. It was on Sermak that he concentrated, the Sermak who had already, in his first term 
in the City Council, turned that sedate body topsy-turvy more than once, and it was to Sermak 
that he said: 

"I've been particularly anxious to see you, Councilman, ever since your very excellent speech 
last month. Your attack on the foreign policy of this government was a most capable one." 

Sermak's eyes smoldered. "Your interest honors me. The attack may or may not have been 
capable, but it was certainly justified." 

"Perhaps! Your opinions are yours, of course. Still you are rather young." 

Dryly. "It is a fault that most people are guilty of at some period of their life. You became mayor 
of the city when you were two years younger than I am now." 

Hardin smiled to himself. The yearling was a cool customer. He said, "I take it now that you 
have come to see me concerning this same foreign policy that annoys you so greatly in the 
Council Chamber. Are you speaking for your three colleagues, or must I listen to each of you 
separately?" There were quick mutual glances among the four young men, a slight flickering of 

Sermak said grimly, "I speak for the people of Terminus - a people who are not now truly 
represented in the rubberstamp body they call the Council." 

"I see. Go ahead, then!" 

"It comes to this, Mr. Mayor. We are dissatisfied-" 

"By 'we' you mean 'the people,' don't you?" 

Sermak stared hostilely, sensing a trap, and replied coldly, "I believe that my views reflect those 
of the majority of the voters of Terminus. Does that suit you?" 

"Well, a statement like that is all the better for proof, but go on, anyway. You are dissatisfied." 

"Yes, dissatisfied with the policy which for thirty years had been stripping Terminus defenseless 
against the inevitable attack from outside." 

"I see. And therefore? Go on, go on." 

"It's nice of you to anticipate. And therefore we are forming a new political party; one that will 
stand for the immediate needs of Terminus and not for a mystic 'manifest destiny' of future 
Empire. We are going to throw you and your lick-spittle clique of appeasers out of City Hall-and 
that soon." 

"Unless? There's always an 'unless,' you know." 

"Not much of one in this case: Unless you resign now. I'm not asking you to change your 
policies - I wouldn't trust you that far. Your promises are worth nothing. An outright resignation 
is all we'll take." 

"I see." Hardin crossed his legs and teetered his chair back on two legs. "That's your ultimatum. 
Nice of you to give me warning. But, you see, I rather think I'll ignore it." 

"Don't think it was a warning, Mr. Mayor. It was an announcement of principles and of action. 
The new party has already been formed, and it will begin its official activities tomorrow. There is 

neither room nor desire for compromise, and, frankly, it was only our recognition of your 
services to the City that induced us to offer the easy way out. I didn't think you'd take it, but my 
conscience is clear. 

The next election will be a more forcible and quite irresistible reminder that resignation is 

He rose and motioned the rest up. 

Hardin lifted his arm. "Hold on! Sit down!" 

Sef Sermak seated himself once more with just a shade too much alacrity and Hardin smiled 
behind a straight face. In spite of his words, he was waiting for an offer. 

Hardin said, "In exactly what way do you want our foreign policy changed? Do you want us to 
attack the Four Kingdoms, now, at once, and all four simultaneously?" 

"I make no such suggestion, Mr. Mayor. It is our simple proposition that all appeasement cease 
immediately. Throughout your administration, you have carried out a policy of scientific aid to 
the Kingdoms. You have given them nuclear power. You have helped rebuild power plants on 
their territories. You have established medical clinics, chemical laboratories and factories." 

"Well? And your objection?" 

"You have done this in order to keep them from attacking us. With these as bribes, you have 
been playing the fool in a colossal game of blackmail, in which you have allowed Terminus to 
be sucked dry - with the result that now we are at the mercy of these barbarians." 

"In what way?" 

"Because you have given them power, given them weapons, actually serviced the ships of their 
navies, they are infinitely stronger than they were three decades ago. Their demands are 
increasing, and with their new weapons, they will eventually satisfy all their demands at once by 
violent annexation of Terminus. Isn't that the way blackmail usually ends?" 

"And your remedy?" 

"Stop the bribes immediately and while you can. Spend your effort in strengthening Terminus 
itself - and attack first!" 

Hardin watched the young fellow's little blond mustache with an almost morbid interest. Sermak 
felt sure of himself or he wouldn't talk so much. There was no doubt that his remarks were the 
reflection of a pretty huge segment of the population, pretty huge. 

His voice did not betray the slightly perturbed current of his thoughts. If was almost negligent. 
"Are you finished?" 

"For the moment." 

"Well, then, do you notice the framed statement I have on the wall behind me? Read it, if you 


Sermak's lips twitched. "It says: 'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.' That's an old 
man's doctrine, Mr. Mayor." 

"I applied it as a young man, Mr. Councilman - and successfully. You were busily being born 
when it happened, but perhaps you may have read something of it in school." 

He eyed Sermak closely and continued in measured tones, "When Hari Seldon established the 
Foundation here, it was for the ostensible purpose of producing a great Encyclopedia, and for 
fifty years we followed that will-of-the-wisp, before discovering what he was really after. By that 
time, it was almost too late. When communications with the central regions of the old Empire 
broke down, we found ourselves a world of scientists concentrated in a single city, possessing 
no industries, and surrounded by newly created kingdoms, hostile and largely barbarous. We 
were a tiny island of nuclear power in this ocean of barbarism, and an infinitely valuable prize. 

"Anacreon, then as now, the most powerful of the Four Kingdoms, demanded and later actually 
established a military base upon Terminus, and the then rulers of the City, the Encyclopedists, 
knew very well that this was only a preliminary to taking over the entire planet. That is how 
matters stood when I ... uh ... assumed actual government. What would you have done?" 

Sermak shrugged his shoulders. "That's an academic question. Of course, I know what you 

"I'll repeat it, anyway. Perhaps you don't get the point. The temptation was great to muster what 
force we could and put up a fight. It's the easiest way out, and the most satisfactory to 
self-respect - but, nearly invariably, the stupidest. You would have done it; you and your talk of 
'attack first.' What I did, instead, was to visit the three other kingdoms, one by one; point out to 
each that to allow the secret of nuclear power to fall into the hands of Anacreon was the 
quickest way of cutting their own throats; and suggest gently that they do the obvious thing. 

That was all. One month after the Anacreonian force had landed on Terminus, their king 
received a joint ultimatum from his three neighbors. In seven days, the last Anacreonian was off 

Now tell me, where was the need for violence?" 

The young councilman regarded his cigar stub thoughtfully and tossed it into the incinerator 
chute. "I fail to see the analogy. Insulin will bring a diabetic to normal without the faintest need 
of a knife, but appendicitis needs an operation. You can't help that. When other courses have 
failed, what is left but, as you put it, the last refuge? It's your fault that we're driven to it." 

"I? Oh, yes, again my policy of appeasement. You still seem to lack grasp of the fundamental 
necessities of our position. Our problem wasn't over with the departure of the Anacreonians. 
They had just begun. The Four Kingdoms were more our enemies than ever, for each wanted 
nuclear power-and each was kept off our throats only for fear of the other three. We are 
balanced on the point of a very sharp sword, and the slightest sway in any direction - If, for 
instance, one kingdom becomes too strong; or if two form a coalition - You understand?" 

"Certainly. That was the time to begin all-out preparations for war." 

"On the contrary. That was the time to begin all-out prevention of war. I played them one 
against the other. I helped each in turn. I offered them science, trade, education, scientific 
medicine. I made Terminus of more value to them as a flourishing world than as a military prize. 
It worked for thirty years." 

"Yes, but you were forced to surround these scientific gifts with the most outrageous mummery. 
You've made half religion, half balderdash out of it. You've erected a hierarchy of priests and 
complicated, meaningless ritual." 

Hardin frowned. "What of that? I don't see that it has anything to do with the argument at all. I 
started that way at first because the barbarians looked upon our science as a sort of magical 
sorcery, and it was easiest to get them to accept it on that basis. The priesthood built itself and 
if we help it along we are only following the line of least resistance. It is a minor matter." 

"But these priests are in charge of the power plants. That is not a minor matter." 

"True, but we have trained them. Their knowledge of their tools is purely empirical; and they 
have a firm belief in the mummery that surrounds them." 

"And if one pierces through the mummery, and has the genius to brush aside empiricism, what 
is to prevent him from learning actual techniques, and selling out to the most satisfactory 
bidder? What price our value to the kingdoms, then?" 

"Little chance of that, Sermak. You are being superficial. The best men on the planets of the 
kingdoms are sent here to the Foundation each year and educated into the priesthood. And the 
best of these remain here as research students. If you think that those who are left, with 
practically no knowledge of the elements of science, or worse, still, with the distorted 
knowledge the priests receive, can penetrate at a bound to nuclear power, to electronics, to the 
theory of the hyperwarp - you have a very romantic and very foolish idea of science. It takes 
lifetimes of training and an excellent brain to get that far." 

Yohan Lee had risen abruptly during the foregoing speech and left the room. He had returned 
now and when Hardin finished speaking, he bent to his superior's ear. A whisper was 
exchanged and then a leaden cylinder. Then, with one short hostile look at the deputation, Lee 
resumed his chair. 

Hardin turned the cylinder end for end in his hands, watching the deputation through his lashes. 
And then he opened it with a hard, sudden twist and only Sermak had the sense not to throw a 
rapid look at the rolled paper that fell out. 

"In short, gentlemen," he said, "the Government is of the opinion that it knows what it is doing." 

He read as he spoke. There were the lines of intricate, meaningless code that covered the 
page and the three penciled words scrawled in one comer that carried the message. He took it 
in at a glance and tossed it casually into the incinerator shaft. 

"That," Hardin then said, "ends the interview, I'm afraid. Glad to have met you all. Thank you for 
coming." He shook hands with each in perfunctory fashion, and they filed out. 

Hardin had almost gotten out of the habit of laughing, but after Sermak and his three silent 

partners were well out of earshot, he indulged in a dry chuckle and bent an amused look on 

"How did you like that battle of bluffs, Lee?" 

Lee snorted grumpily. "I'm not sure that he was bluffing. Treat him with kid gloves and he's 
quite liable to win the next election, just as he says." 

"Oh, quite likely, quite likely - if nothing happens first." 

"Make sure they don't happen in the wrong direction this time, Hardin. I tell you this Sermak has 
a following. What if he doesn't wait till the next election? There was a time when you and I put 
things through violently, in spite of your slogan about what violence is." 

Hardin cocked an eyebrow. "You are pessimistic today, Lee. And singularly contrary, too, or 
you wouldn't speak of violence. Our own little putsch was carried through without loss of life, 
you remember. It was a necessary measure put through at the proper moment, and went over 
smoothly, painlessly, and all but effortlessly. As for Sermak, he's up against a different 
proposition. You and I, Lee, aren't the Encyclopedists. We stand prepared. Order your men 
onto these youngsters in a nice way, old fellow. Don't let them know they're being watched - 
but eyes open, you understand." 

Lee laughed in sour amusement. "I'd be a fine one to wait for your orders, wouldn't I, Hardin? 
Sermak and his men have been under surveillance for a month now." 

The mayor chuckled. "Got in first, did you? All right. By the way," he observed, and added 
softly, "Ambassador Verisof is returning to Terminus. Temporarily, I hope." 

There was a short silence, faintly horrified, and then Lee said, "Was that the message? Are 
things breaking already?" 

"Don't know. I can't tell till I hear what Verisof has to say. They may be, though. After all, they 
have to before election. But what are you looking so dead about?" 

"Because I don't know how it's going to turn out. You're too deep, Hardin, and you're playing 
the game too close to your chest." 

"Even you?" murmured Hardin. And aloud, "Does that mean you're going to join Sermak's new 

Lee smiled against his will. "All right. You win. How about lunch now?" 

2 . 

There are many epigrams attributed to Hardin - a confirmed epigrammatist - a good many of 
which are probably apocryphal. Nevertheless, it is reported that on a certain occasion, he said: 

"It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety." 

Poly Verisof had had occasion to act on that advice more than once for he was now in the 

fourteenth year of his double status on Anacreon - a double status the upkeep of which 
reminded him often and unpleasantly of a dance performed barefoot on hot metal. 

To the people of Anacreon he was high priest, representative of that Foundation which, to 
those "barbarians," was the acme of mystery and the physical center of this religion they had 
created - with Hardin's help - in the last three decades. As such, he received a homage that 
had become horribly wearying, for from his soul he despised the ritual of which he was the 

But to the King of Anacreon - the old one that had been, and the young grandson that was now 
on the throne - he was simply the ambassador of a power at once feared and coveted. 

On the whole, it was an uncomfortable job, and his first trip to the Foundation in three years, 
despite the disturbing incident that had made it necessary, was something in the nature of a 

And since it was not the first time he had had to travel in absolute secrecy, he again made use 
of Hardin's epigram on the uses of the obvious. 

He changed into his civilian clothes - a holiday in itself - and boarded a passenger liner to the 
Foundation, second class. Once at Terminus, he threaded his way through the crowd at the 
spaceport and called up City Hall at a public visiphone. 

He said, "My name is Jan Smite. I have an appointment with the mayor this afternoon." 

The dead-voiced but efficient young lady at the other end made a second connection and 
exchanged a few rapid words, then said to Verisof in dry, mechanical tone, "Mayor Hardin will 
see you in half an hour, sir," and the screen went blank. 

Whereupon the ambassador to Anacreon bought the latest edition of the Terminus City Journal, 
sauntered casually to City Hall Park and, sitting, down on the first empty bench he came to, 
read the editorial page, sport section and comic sheet while waiting. At the end of half an hour, 
he tucked the paper under his arm, entered City Hall and presented himself in the anteroom. 

In doing all this he remained safely and thoroughly unrecognized, for since he was so entirely 
obvious, no one gave him a second look. 

Hardin looked up at him and grinned. "Have a cigar! How was the trip?" 

Verisof helped himself. "Interesting. There was a priest in the next cabin on his way here to 
take a special course in the preparation of radioactive synthetics - for the treatment of cancer, 
you know 

"Surely, he didn't call it radioactive synthetics, now?" 

"I guess not! It was the Holy Food to him." 

The mayor smiled. "Go on." 

"He inveigled me into a theological discussion and did his level best to elevate me out of sordid 

"And never recognized his own high priest?" 

"Without my crimson robe? Besides, he was a Smyrnian. It was an interesting experience, 
though. It is remarkable, Hardin, how the religion of science has grabbed hold. I've written an 
essay on the subject - entirely for my own amusement; it wouldn't do to have it published. 
Treating the problem sociologically, it would seem that when the old Empire began to rot at the 
fringes, it could be considered that science, as science, had failed the outer worlds. To be 
reaccepted it would have to present itself in another guise and it has done just that. It works out 

"Interesting!" The mayor placed his arms around his neck and said suddenly, "Start talking 
about the situation at Anacreon!" 

The ambassador frowned and withdrew the cigar from his mouth. He looked at it distastefully 
and put it down. "Well, it's pretty bad." 

"You wouldn't be here, otherwise." 

"Scarcely. Here's the position. The key man at Anacreon is the Prince Regent, Wienis. He's 
King Lepold's uncle." 

"I know. But Lepold is coming of age next year, isn't he? I believe he'll be sixteen in February." 

"Yes." Pause, and then a wry addition. "If he lives. The king's father died under suspicious 
circumstances. A needle bullet through the chest during a hunt. It was called an accident." 

"Hmph. I seem to remember Wienis the time I was on Anacreon, when we kicked them off 
Terminus. It was before your time. Let's see now. If I remember, he was a dark young fellow, 
black hair and a squint in his right eye. He had a funny hook in his nose." 

"Same fellow. The hook and the squint are still there, but his hair's gray now. He plays the 
game dirty. Luckily, he's the most egregious fool on the planet. Fancies himself as a shrewd 
devil, too, which mades his folly the more transparent." 

"That's usually the way." 

"His notion of cracking an egg is to shoot a nuclear blast at it. Witness the tax on Temple 
property he tried to impose just after the old king died two years ago. Remember?" 

Hardin nodded thoughtfully, then smiled. "The priests raised a howl." 

"They raised one you could hear way out to Lucreza. He's shown more caution in dealing with 
the priesthood since, but he still manages to do things the hard way. In a way, it's unfortunate 
for us; he has unlimited self-confidence." 

"Probably an over-compensated inferiority complex. Younger sons of royalty get that way, you 

But it amounts to the same thing. He's foaming at the mouth with eagerness to attack the 

Foundation. He scarcely troubles to conceal it. And he's in a position to do it, too, from the 
standpoint of armament. The old king built up a magnificent navy, and Wienis hasn't been 
sleeping the last two years. In fact, the tax on Temple property was originally intended for 
further armament, and when that fell through he increased the income tax twice." 

"Any grumbling at that?" 

"None of serious importance. Obedience to appointed authority was the text of every sermon in 
the kingdom for weeks. Not that Wienis showed any gratitude." 

"All right. I've got the background. Now what's happened?" 

"Two weeks ago an Anacreonian merchant ship came across a derelict battle cruiser of the old 
Imperial Navy. It must have been drifting in space for at least three centuries." 

Interest flickered in Hardin's eyes. He sat up. "Yes, I've heard of that. The Board of Navigation 
has sent me a petition asking me to obtain the ship for purposes of study. It is in good 
condition, I understand." 

"In entirely too good condition," responded Verisof, dryly. "When Wienis received your 
suggestion last week that he turn the ship over to the Foundation, he almost had convulsions." 

"He hasn't answered yet." 

"He won't - except with guns, or so he thinks. You see, he came to me on the day I left 
Anacreon and requested that the Foundation put this battle cruiser into fighting order and turn it 
over to the Anacreonian navy. He had the infernal gall to say that your note of last week 
indicated a plan of the Foundation's to attack Anacreon. He said that refusal to repair the battle 
cruiser would confirm his suspicions; and indicated that measures for the self-defense of 
Anacreon would be forced upon him. Those are his words. Forced upon him! And that's why I'm 

Hardin laughed gently. 

Verisof smiled and continued, "Of course, he expects a refusal, and it would be a perfect 
excuse - in his eyes - for immediate attack." 

"I see that, Verisof. Well, we have at least six months to spare, so have the ship fixed up and 
present it with my compliments. Have it renamed the Wienis as a mark of our esteem and 

He laughed again. 

And again Verisof responded with the faintest trace of a smile, "I suppose it's the logical step, 
Hardin - but I'm worried." 

"What about?" 

"It's a ship! They could build in those days. Its cubic capacity is half again that of the entire 
Anacreonian navy. It's got nuclear blasts capable of blowing up a planet, and a shield that could 
take a Q-beam without working up radiation. Too much of a good thing, Hardin 

"Superficial, Verisof, superficial. You and I both know that the armament he now has could 
defeat Terminus handily, long before we could repair the cruiser for our own use. What does it 
matter, then, if we give him the cruiser as well? You know it won't ever come to actual war." 

"I suppose so. Yes." The ambassador looked up. "But Hardin 

"Well? Why do you stop? Go ahead." 

"Look. This isn't my province. But I've been reading the paper." He placed the Journal on the 
desk and indicated the front page. "What's this all about?" 

Hardin dropped a casual glance. "'A group of Councilmen are forming a new political party.'" 

"That's what it says." Verisof fidgeted. "I know you're in better touch with internal matters than I 
am, but they're attacking you with everything short of physical violence. How strong are they?" 

"Damned strong. They'll probably control the Council after next election." 

"Not before?" Verisof looked at the mayor obliquely. "There are ways of gaining control besides 

"Do you take me for Wienis?" 

"No. But repairing the ship will take months and an attack after that is certain. Our yielding will 
be taken as a sign of appalling weakness and the addition of the Imperial Cruiser will just about 
double the strength of Wienis' navy. He'll attack as sure as I'm a high priest. Why take 
chances? Do one of two things. Either reveal the plan of campaign to the Council, or force the 
issue with Anacreon now!" 

Hardin frowned. "Force the issue now? Before the crisis comes? It's the one thing I mustn't do. 
There's Hari Seldon and the Plan, you know." 

Verisof hesitated, then muttered, "You're absolutely sure, then, that there is a Plan?" 

"There can scarcely be any doubt," came the stiff reply. "I was present at the opening of the 
Time Vault and Seldon's recording revealed it then." 

"I didn't mean that, Hardin. I just don't see how it could be possible to chart history for a 
thousand years ahead. Maybe Seldon overestimated himself." He shriveled a bit at Hardin's 
ironical smile, and added, "Well, I'm no psychologist," 

"Exactly. None of us are. But I did receive some elementary training in my youth - enough to 
know what psychology is capable of, even if I can't exploit its capabilities myself. There's no 
doubt but that Seldon did exactly what he claims to have done. The Foundation, as he says, 
was established as a scientific refuge - the means by which the science and culture of the 
dying Empire was to be preserved through the centuries of barbarism that have begun, to be 
rekindled in the end into a second Empire." 

Verisof nodded, a trifle doubtfully. "Everyone knows that's the way things are supposed to go. 

But can we afford to take chances? Can we risk the present for the sake of a nebulous future?" 

"We must - because the future isn't nebulous. It's been calculated out by Seldon and charted. 
Each successive crisis in our history is mapped and each depends in a measure on the 
successful conclusion of the ones previous. This is only the second crisis and Space knows 
what effect even a trifling deviation would have in the end." 

"That's rather empty speculation." 

"No! Hari Seldon said in the Time Vault, that at each crisis our freedom of action would become 
circumscribed to the point where only one course of action was possible." 

"So as to keep us on the straight and narrow?" 

"So as to keep us from deviating, yes. But, conversely, as long as more than one course of 
action is possible, the crisis has not been reached. We must let things drift so long as we 
possibly can, and by space, that's what I intend doing." 

Verisof didn't answer. He chewed his lower lip in a grudging silence. It had only been the year 
before that Hardin had first discussed the problem with him - the real problem; the problem of 
countering Anacreon's hostile preparations. And then only because he, Verisof, had balked at 
further appeasement. 

Hardin seemed to follow his ambassador's thoughts. "I would much rather never to have told 
you anything about this." 

"What makes you say that?" cried Verisof, in surprise. 

"Because there are six people now - you and I, the other three ambassadors and Yohan Lee - 
who have a fair notion of what's ahead; and I'm damned afraid that it was Seldon's idea to have 
no one know." 

"Why so?" 

"Because even Seldon's advanced psychology was limited. It could not handle too many 
independent variables. He couldn't work with individuals over any length of time; any more than 
you could apply kinetic theory of gases to single molecules. He worked with mobs, populations 
of whole planets, and only blind mobs who do not possess foreknowledge of the results of their 
own actions." 

"That's not plain." 

"I can't help it. I'm not psychologist enough to explain it scientifically. But this you know. There 
are no trained psychologists on Terminus and no mathematical texts on the science. It is plain 
that he wanted no one on Terminus capable of working out the future in advance. Seldon 
wanted us to proceed blindly - and therefore correctly - according to the law of mob 
psychology. As I once told you, I never knew where we were heading when I first drove out the 
Anacreonians. My idea had been to maintain balance of power, no more than that. It was only 
afterward that I thought I saw a pattern in events; but I've done my level best not to act on that 
knowledge. Interference due to foresight would have knocked the Plan out of kilter." 

Verisof nodded thoughtfully. "I've heard arguments almost as complicated in the Temples back 
on Anacreon. How do you expect to spot the fight moment of action?" 

"It's spotted already. You admit that once we repair the battle cruiser nothing will stop Wienis 
from attacking us. There will no longer be any alternative in that respect." 


"All right. That accounts for the external aspect. Meanwhile, you'll further admit that the next 
election will see a new and hostile Council that will force action against Anacreon. There is no 
alternative there." 


"And as soon as all the alternatives disappear, the crisis has come. Just the same - I get 

He paused, and Verisof waited. Slowly, almost reluctantly, Hardin continued, "I've got the idea 
-just a notion - that the external and internal pressures were planned to come to a head 
simultaneously. As it is, there's a few months difference. Wienis will probably attack before 
spring, and elections are still a year off." 

"That doesn't sound important." 

"I don't know. It may be due merely to unavoidable errors of calculation, or it might be due to 
the fact that I knew too much. I tried never to let my foresight influence my action, but how can I 
tell? And what effect will the discrepancy have? Anyway," he looked up, "there's one thing I've 

"And what's that?" 

"When the crisis does begin to break, I'm going to Anacreon. I want to be on the spot... Oh, 
that's enough, Verisof. It's getting late. Let's go out and make a night of it. I want some 

"Then get it right here,' said Verisof. "I don't want to be recognized, or you know what this new 
party your precious Councilmen are forming would say. Call for the brandy." 

And Hardin did - but not for too much. 

3 . 

In the ancient days when the Galactic Empire had embraced the Galaxy, and Anacreon had 
been the richest of the prefects of the Periphery, more than one emperor had visited the 
Viceregal Palace in state. And not one had left without at least one effort to pit his skill with air 
speedster and needle gun against the feathered flying fortress they call the Nyakbird. 

The fame of Anacreon had withered to nothing with the decay of the times. The Viceregal 

Palace was a drafty mass of ruins except for the wing that Foundation workmen had restored. 
And no Emperor had been seen in Anacreon for two hundred years. 

But Nyak hunting was still the royal sport and a good eye with the needle gun still the first 
requirement of Anacreon's kings. 

Lepold I, King of Anacreon and - as was invariably, but untruthfully added - Lord of the Outer 
Dominions, though not yet sixteen had already proved his skill many times over. He had 
brought down his first Nyak when scarcely thirteen; had brought down his tenth the week after 
his accession to the throne; and was returning now from his forty-sixth. 

"Fifty before I come of age," he had exulted. "Who'll take the wager?" 

But Courtiers don't take wagers against the king's skill. There is the deadly danger of winning. 
So no one did, and the king left to change his clothes in high spirits. 


The king stopped mid-step at the one voice that could cause him to do so. He turned sulkily. 
Wienis stood upon the threshold of his chambers and beetled at his young nephew. 

"Send them away," he motioned impatiently. "Get rid of them." 

The king nodded curtly and the two chamberlains bowed and backed down the stairs. Lepold 
entered his uncle's room. 

Wienis stared at the king's hunting suit morosely. "You'll have more important things to tend to 
than Nyak hunting soon enough." 

He turned his back and stumped to his desk. Since he had grown too old for the rush of air, the 
perilous dive within wing-beat of the Nyak, the roll and climb of the speedster at the motion of a 
foot, he had soured upon the whole sport. 

Lepold appreciated his uncle's sour-grapes attitude and it was not without malice that he began 
enthusiastically, "But you should have been with us today, uncle. We flushed one in the wilds of 
Sarnia that was a monster. And game as they come. We had it out for two hours over at least 
seventy square miles of ground. And then I got to Sunwards - he was motioning graphically, as 
though he were once more in his speedster -"and dived torque-wise. Caught him on the rise 
just under the left wing at quarters. It maddened him and he canted athwart. I took his dare and 
veered a-left, waiting for the plummet. Sure enough, down he came. He was within wing-beat 
before I moved and then 


"Well!- I got him." 

"I'm sure you did. Now will you attend?" 

The king shrugged and gravitated to the end table where he nibbled at a Lera nut in quite an 
unregal sulk. He did not dare to meet his uncle's eyes. 

Wienis said, by way of preamble, "I've been to the ship today." 

"What ship?" 

"There is only one ship. The ship. The one the Foundation is repairing for the navy. The old 
Imperial cruiser. Do I make myself sufficiently plain?" 

"That one? You see, I told you the Foundation would repair it if we asked them to. It's all 
poppycock, you know, that story of yours about their wanting to attack us. Because if they did, 
why would they fix the ship? It doesn't make sense, you know." 

"Lepold, you're a fool!" 

The king, who had just discarded the shell of the Lera nut and was lifting another to his lips, 

"Well now, look here," he said, with anger that scarcely rose above peevishness, "I don't think 
you ought to call me that. You forget yourself. I'll be of age in two months, you know." 

"Yes, and you're in a fine position to assume regal responsibilities. If you spent half the time on 
public affairs that you do on Nyak hunting, I'd resign the regency directly with a clear 

"I don't care. That has nothing to do with the case, you know. The fact is that even if you are 
the regent and my uncle, I'm still king and you're still my subject. You oughtn't to call me a fool 
and you oughtn't to sit in my presence, anyway. You haven't asked my permission. I think you 
ought to be careful, or I might do something about it pretty soon." 

Wienis' gaze was cold. "May I refer to you as 'your majesty'?" 


"Very well! You are a fool, your majesty!" 

His dark eyes blazed from beneath his grizzled brows and the young king sat down slowly. For 
a moment, there was sardonic satisfaction in the regent's face, but it faded quickly. His thick 
lips parted in a smile and one hand fell upon the king's shoulder. 

"Never mind, Lepold. I should not have spoken harshly to you. It is difficult sometimes to 
behave with true propriety when the pressure of events is such as - You understand?" But if 
the words were conciliatory, there was something in his eyes that had not softened. 

Lepold said uncertainly, "Yes. Affairs of State are deuced difficult, you know." He wondered, not 
without apprehension, whether he were not in for a dull siege of meaningless details on the 
year's trade with Smyrno and the long, wrangling dispute over the sparsely settled worlds on 
the Red Corridor. 

Wienis was speaking again. "My boy, I had thought to speak of this to you earlier, and perhaps 
I should have, but I know that your youthful spirits are impatient of the dry detail of statecraft." 

Lepold nodded. "Well, that's all right-" 

His uncle broke in firmly and continued, "However, you will come of age in two months. 
Moreover, in the difficult times that are coming, you will have to take a full and active part. You 
will be king henceforward, Lepold." 

Again Lepold nodded, but his expression was quite blank. 

"There will be war, Lepold." 

"War! But there's been truce with Smyrno-" 

"Not Smyrno. The Foundation itself." 

"But, uncle, they've agreed to repair the ship. You said-" 

His voice choked off at the twist of his uncle's lip. 

"Lepold" - some of the friendliness had gone -"we are to talk man to man. There is to be war 
with the Foundation, whether the ship is repaired or not; all the sooner, in fact, since it is being 
repaired. The Foundation is the source of power and might. All the greatness of Anacreon; all 
its ships and its cities and its people and its commerce depend on the dribbles and leavings of 
power that the Foundation have given us grudgingly. I remember the time - I, myself - when 
the cities of Anacreon were warmed by the burning of coal and oil. But never mind that; you 
would have no conception of it." 

"It seems," suggested the king timidly, "that we ought to be grateful-" 

"Grateful?" roared Wienis. "Grateful that they begrudge us the merest dregs, while keeping 
space knows what for themselves - and keeping it with what purpose in mind? Why, only that 
they may some day rule the Galaxy." 

His hand came down on his nephew's knee, and his eyes narrowed. "Lepold, you are king of 
Anacreon. Your children and your children's children may be kings of the universe - if you have 
the power that the Foundation is keeping from us!" 

"There's something in that." Lepold's eyes gained a sparkle and his back straightened. "After 
all, what right have they to keep it to themselves? Not fair, you know. Anacreon counts for 
something, too." 

"You see, you're beginning to understand. And now, my boy, what if Smyrno decides to attack 
the Foundation for its own part and thus gains all that power? How long do you suppose we 
could escape becoming a vassal power? How long would you hold your throne?" 

Lepold grew excited. "Space, yes. You're absolutely right, you know. We must strike first. It's 
simply self-defense." 

Wienis' smile broadened slightly. "Furthermore, once, at the very beginning of the reign of your 
grandfather, Anacreon actually established a military base on the Foundation's planet, 

Terminus - a base vitally needed for national defense. We were forced to abandon that base 
as a result of the machinations of the leader of that Foundation, a sly cur, a scholar, with not a 
drop of noble blood in his veins. You understand, Lepold? Your grandfather was humiliated by 
this commoner. I remember him! He was scarcely older than myself when he came to 

Anacreon with his devil's smile and devil's brain - and the power of the other three kingdoms 
behind him, combined in cowardly union against the greatness of Anacreon." 

Lepold flushed and the sparkle in his eyes blazed. "By Seldon, if I had been my grandfather, I 
would have fought even so." 

"No, Lepold. We decided to wait - to wipe out the insult at a fitter time. It had been your father's 
hope, before his untimely death, that he might be the one to - Well, well!" Wienis turned away 
for a moment. Then, as if stifling emotion, "He was my brother. And yet, if his son were-" 

"Yes, uncle, I'll not fail him. I have decided. It seems only proper that Anacreon wipe out this 
nest of troublemakers, and that immediately." 

"No, not immediately. First, we must wait for the repairs of the battle cruiser to be completed. 
The mere fact that they are willing to undertake these repairs proves that they fear us. The 
fools attempt to placate us, but we are not to be turned from our path, are we?" 

And Lepold's fist slammed against his cupped palm. 

"Not while I am king in Anacreon." 

Wienis' lip twitched sardonically. "Besides which we must wait for Salvor Hardin to arrive." 

"Salvor Hardin!" The king grew suddenly round-eyed, and the youthful contour of his beardless 
face lost the almost hard lines into which they had been compressed. 

"Yes, Lepold, the leader of the Foundation himself is coming to Anacreon on your birthday - 
probably to soothe us with buttered words. But it won't help him." 

"Salvor Hardin!" It was the merest murmur. 

Wienis frowned. "Are you afraid of the name? It is the same Salvor Hardin, who on his previous 
visit, ground our noses into the dust. You're not forgetting that deadly insult to the royal house? 
And from a commoner. The dregs of the gutter." 

"No. I guess not. No, I won't. I won't! We'll pay him back - but...but - I'm afraid - a little." 

The regent rose. "Afraid? Of what? Of what, you young-" He choked off. 

"It would be...uh...sort of blasphemous, you know, to attack the Foundation. I mean-" He 

"Go on." 

Lepold said confusedly, "I mean, if there were really a Galactic Spirit, mightn't like it. 
Don't you think? 

"No, I don't," was the hard answer. Wienis sat down again and his lips twisted in a queer smile. 
"And so you 

really bother your head a great deal over the Galactic Spirit, do you? That's what comes of 
letting you run wild. You've been listening to Verisof quite a bit, I take it." 

He's explained a great deal-' 
About the Galactic Spirit?" 


"Why, you unweaned cub, he believes in that mummery a good deal less than I do, and I don't 
believe in it at all. How many times have you been told that all this talk is nonsense?" 

"Well, I know that. But Verisof says-" 

"Pay no heed to Verisof. It's nonsense." 

There was a short, rebellious silence, and then Lepold said, "Everyone believes it just the 
same. I mean all this talk about the Prophet Hari Seldon and how he appointed the Foundation 
to carry on his commandments that there might some day be a return of the Galactic Paradise: 
and how anyone who disobeys his commandments will be destroyed for eternity. They believe 
it. I've presided at festivals, and I'm sure they do." 

"Yes, they do ; but we don't. And you may be thankful it's so, for according to this foolishness, 
you are king by divine right - and are semi-divine yourself. Very handy. It eliminates all 
possibilities of revolts and insures absolute obedience in everything. And that is why, Lepold, 
you must take an active part in ordering the war against the Foundation. I am only regent, and 
quite human. You are king, and more than half a god - to them." 

"But I suppose I'm not really," said the king reflectively. 

"No, not really," came the sardonic response, "but you are to everyone but the people of the 
Foundation. Get that? To everyone but those of the Foundation. Once they are removed there 
will be no one to deny you the godhead. Think of that!" 

"And after that we will ourselves be able to operate the power boxes of the temples and the 
ships that fly without men and the holy food that cures cancer and all the rest? Verisof said only 
those blessed with the Galactic Spirit could-" 

"Yes, Verisof said! Verisof, next to Salvor Hardin, is your greatest enemy. Stay with me, Lepold, 
and don't worry about them. Together we will recreate an empire-not just the kingdom of 
Anacreon-but one comprising every one of the billions of suns of the Empire. Is that better than 
a wordy 'Galactic Paradise'?" 


"Can Verisof promise more?" 


"Very well." His voice became peremptory. "I suppose we may consider the matter settled." He 
waited for no answer. "Get along. I'll be down later. And just one thing, Lepold." 

The young king turned on the threshold. 

Wienis was smiling with all but his eyes. "Be careful on these Nyak hunts, my boy. Since the 
unfortunate accident to your father, I have had the strangest presentiments concerning you, at 
times. In the confusion, with needle guns thickening the air with darts, one can never tell. You 
will be careful, I hope. And you'll do as I say about the Foundation, won't you?" 

Lepold's eyes widened and dropped away from those of his uncle. "Yes - certainly." 

"Good!" He stared after his departing nephew, expressionlessly, and returned to his desk. 

And Lepold's thoughts as he left were somber and not unfearful. Perhaps it would be best to 
defeat the Foundation and gain the power Wienis spoke of. But afterward, when the war was 
over and he was secure on his throne- He became acutely conscious of the fact that Wienis 
and his two arrogant sons were at present next in line to the throne. 

But he was king. And kings could order people executed. 

Even uncles and cousins. 

4 . 

Next to Sermak himself, Lewis Bort was the most active in rallying those dissident elements 
which had fused into the now-vociferous Action Party. Yet he had not been one of the 
deputation that had called on Salvor Hardin almost half a year previously. That this was so was 
not due to any lack of recognition of his efforts; quite the contrary. He was absent for the very 
good reason that he was on Anacreon's capital world at the time. 

He visited it as a private citizen. He saw no official and he did nothing of importance. He merely 
watched the obscure comers of the busy planet and poked his stubby nose into dusty crannies. 

He arrived home toward the end of a short winter day that had started with clouds and was 
finishing with snow and within an hour was seated at the octagonal table in Sermak's home. 

His first words were not calculated to improve the atmosphere of a gathering already 
considerably depressed by the deepening snow-filled twilight outside.. 

"I'm afraid," he said, "that our position is what is usually termed, in melodramatic phraseology, a 
'Lost Cause.'" 

"You think so?" said Sermak, gloomily. 

"It's gone past thought, Sermak. There's no room for any other opinion." 

"Armaments-" began Dokor Walto, somewhat officiously, but Bort broke in at once. 

"Forget that. That's an old story." His eyes traveled round the circle. "I'm referring to the people. 

I admit that it was my idea originally that we attempt to foster a palace rebellion of some sort to 
install as king someone more favorable to the Foundation. It was a good idea. It still is. The 
only trifling flaw about it is that it is impossible. The great Salvor Hardin saw to that." 

Sermak said sourly, "If you'd give us the details, Bort-" 

"Details! There aren't any! It isn't as simple as that. It's the whole damned situation on 
Anacreon. It's this religion the Foundation has established. It works!" 


"You've got to see it work to appreciate it. All you see here is that we have a large school 
devoted to the training of priests, and that occasionally a special show is put on in some 
obscure comer of the city for the benefit of pilgrims and that's all. The whole business hardly 
affects us as a general thing. But on Anacreon-" 

Lem Tarki smoothed his prim little Vandyke with one finger, and cleared his throat. "What kind 
of religion is it? Hardin's always said that it was just a fluffy flummery to get them to accept our 
science without question. You remember, Sermak, he told us that day-" 

"Hardin's explanations," reminded Sermak, "don't often mean much at face value. But what kind 
of a religion is it, Bort?" 

Bort considered. "Ethically, it's fine. It scarcely varies from the various philosophies of the old 
Empire. High moral standards and all that. There's nothing to complain about from that 
viewpoint. Religion is one of the great civilizing influences of history and in that respect, it's 

"We know that," interrupted Sermak, impatiently. "Get to the point." 

"Here it is." Bort was a trifle disconcerted, but didn't show it. "The religion - which the 
Foundation has fostered and encouraged, mind you - is built on on strictly authoritarian lines. 
The priesthood has sole control of the instruments of science we have given Anacreon, but 
they've learned to handle these tools only empirically. They believe in this religion entirely, and 
in the ... uh ... spiritual value of the power they handle. For instance, two months ago some fool 
tampered with the power plant in the Thessalekian Temple - one of the large ones. He 
contaminated the city, of course. It was considered divine vengeance by everyone, including 
the priests." 

"I remember. The papers had some garbled version of the story at the time. I don't see what 
you're driving at." 

"Then, listen," said Bort, stiffly. "The priesthood forms a hierarchy at the apex of which is the 
king, who is regarded as a sort of minor god. He's an absolute monarch by divine right, and the 
people believe it, thoroughly, and the priests, too. You can't overthrow a king like that. Now do 
you get the point?" 

"Hold on," said Walto, at this point. "What did you mean when you said Hardin's done all this? 
How does he come in?" 

Bort glanced at his questioner bitterly. "The Foundation has fostered this delusion assiduously. 
We've put all our scientific backing behind the hoax. There isn't a festival at which the king does 
not preside surrounded by a radioactive aura shining forth all over his body and raising itself 
like a coronet above his head. Anyone touching him is severely burned. He can move from 

place to place through the air at crucial moments, supposedly by inspiration of divine spirit. He 
fills the temple with a pearly, internal light at a gesture. There is no end to these quite simple 
tricks that we perform for his benefit; but even the priests believe them, while working them 

"Bad!" said Sermak, biting his lip. 

"I could cry - like the fountain in City Hall Park," said Bort, earnestly, "when I think of the 
chance we muffed. Take the situation thirty years ago, when Hardin saved the Foundation from 
Anacreon - At that time, the Anacreonian people had no real conception of the fact that the 
Empire was running down. They had been more or less running their own affairs since the 
Zeonian revolt, but even after communications broke down and Lepold's pirate of a grandfather 
made himself king, they never quite realized the Empire had gone kaput. 

"If the Emperor had had the nerve to try, he could have taken over again with two cruisers and 
with the help of the internal revolt that would have certainly sprung to life. And we we could 
have done the same; but no, Hardin established monarch worship. Personally, I don't 
understand it. Why? Why? Why?" 

"What," demanded Jaim Orsy, suddenly, "does Verisof do? There was a day when he was an 
advanced Actionist. What's he doing there? Is he blind, too?" 

"I don't know," said Bort, curtly. "He's high priest to them. As far as I know, he does nothing but 
act as adviser to the priesthood on technical details. Figurehead, blast him, figurehead!" 

There was silence all round and all eyes turned to Sermak. The young party leader was biting a 
fingernail nervously, and then said loudly, "No good. It's fishy!" 

He looked around him, and added more energetically, "Is Hardin then such a fool?" 

"Seems to be," shrugged Bort. 

"Never! There's something wrong. To cut our own throats so thoroughly and so hopelessly 
would require colossal stupidity. More than Hardin could possibly have even if he were a fool, 
which I deny. On the one hand, to establish a religion that would wipe out all chance of internal 
troubles. On the other hand, to arm Anacreon with all weapons of warfare. I don't see it." 

"The matter is a little obscure, I admit," said Bort, "but the facts are there. What else can we 

Walto said, jerkily, "Outright treason. He's in their pay." 

But Sermak shook his head impatiently. "I don't see that, either. The whole affair is as insane 
and meaningless - Tell me, Bort, have you heard anything about a battle cruiser that the 
Foundation is supposed to have put into shape for use in the Anacreon navy?" 

"Battle cruiser?" 

"An old Imperial cruiser-" 

"No, I haven't. But that doesn't mean much. The navy yards are religious sanctuaries 

completely inviolate on the part of the lay public. No one ever hears anything about the fleet. 

"Well, rumors have leaked out. Some of the Party have brought the matter up in Council. 
Hardin never denied it, you know. His spokesmen denounced rumor mongers and let it go at 
that. It might have significance." 

"It's of a piece with the rest," said Bort. "if true, it's absolutely crazy. But it wouldn't be worse 
than the rest." 

"I suppose," said Orsy, "Hardin hasn't any secret weapon waiting. That might-" 

"Yes," said Sermak, viciously, "a huge jack-in-the-box that will jump out at the psychological 
moment and scare old Wienis into fits. The Foundation may as well blow itself out of existence 
and save itself the agony of suspense if it has to depend on any secret weapon." 

"Well," said Orsy, changing the subject hurriedly, "the question comes down to this: How much 
time have we left? Eli, Bort?" 

"All fight. It is the question. But don't look at me; I don't know. The Anacreonian press never 
mentions the Foundation at all. Right now, it's full of the approaching celebrations and nothing 
else. Lepold is coming of age next week, you know." 

"We have months then." Walto smiled for the first time that evening. "That gives us time-" 

"That gives us time, my foot," ground out Bort, impatiently. "The king's a god, I tell you. Do you 
suppose he has to carry on a campaign of propaganda to get his people into fighting spirit? Do 
you suppose he has to accuse us of aggression and pull out all stops on cheap emotionalism? 
When the time comes to strike, Lepold gives the order and the people fight. Just like that. 
That’s the damnedness of the system. You don’t question a god. He may give the order 
tomorrow for all I know; and you can wrap tobacco round that and smoke it." 

Everyone tried to talk at once and Sermak was slamming the table for silence, when the front 
door opened and Levi Norast stamped in. He bounded up the stairs, overcoat on, trailing snow. 

"Look at that!" he cried, tossing a cold, snow-speckled newspaper onto the table. "The 
visicasters are full of it, too." 

The newspaper was unfolded and five heads bent over it. 

Sermak said, in a hushed voice, "Great Space, he’s going to Anacreon! Going to Anacreon!" 

It is treason," squeaked Tarki, in sudden excitement. "I’ll be damned if Walto isn’t right. He’s 

sold us out and now he’s going there to collect his wage. 

Sermak had risen. "We’ve no choice now. I’m going to ask the Council tomorrow that Hardin be 
impeached. And if that fails-" 


The snow had ceased, but it caked the ground deeply now and the sleek ground car advanced 
through the deserted streets with lumbering effort. The murky gray light of incipient dawn was 
cold not only in the poetical sense but also in a very literal way - and even in the then turbulent 
state of the Foundation's politics, no one, whether Actionist or pro-Hardin found his spirits 
sufficiently ardent to begin street activity that early. 

Yohan Lee did not like that and his grumblings grew audible. "It's going to look bad, Hardin. 
They're going to say you sneaked away." 

"Let them say it if they wish. I've got to get to Anacreon and I want to do it without trouble. Now 
that's enough, Lee." 

Hardin leaned back into the cushioned seat and shivered slightly. It wasn't cold inside the 
well-heated car, but there was something frigid about a snow-covered world, even through 
glass, that annoyed him. 

He said, reflectively, "Some day when we get around to it we ought to weather-condition 
Terminus. It could be done." 

"I," replied Lee, "would like to see a few other things done first. For instance, what about 
weather-conditioning Sermak? A nice, dry cell fitted for twenty-five centigrade all year round 
would be just fight." 

"And then I'd really need bodyguards," said Hardin, "and not just those two," He indicated two 
of Lee's bully-boys sitting up front with the driver, hard eyes on the empty streets, ready hands 
at their atom blasts. "You evidently want to stir up civil war." 

"I do? There are other sticks in the fire and it won't require much stirring, I can tell you." He 
counted off on blunt fingers, "One: Sermak raised hell yesterday in the City Council and called 
for an impeachment." 

"He had a perfect right to do so," responded Hardin, coolly. "Besides which, his motion was 
defeated 206 to 184." 

"Certainly. A majority of twenty-two when we had counted on sixty as a minimum. Don't deny it; 
you know you did." 

It was close," admitted Hardin. 

"All right. And two; after the vote, the fifty-nine members of the Actionist Party reared upon their 
hind legs and stamped out of the Council Chambers." 

Hardin was silent, and Lee continued, "And three: Before leaving, Sermak howled that you 
were a traitor, that you were going to Anacreon to collect your payment, that the Chamber 
majority in refusing to vote impeachment had participated in the treason, and that the name of 
their party was not 'Actionist' for nothing. What does that sound like?" 

"Trouble, I suppose." 

"And now you're chasing off at daybreak, like a criminal. You ought to face them, Hardin - and 
if you have to, declare martial law, by space!" 

"Violence is the last refuge-" 

"-Of the incompetent. Bah!" 

"All right. We'll see. Now listen to me carefully, Lee. Thirty years ago, the Time Vault opened, 
and on the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of the Foundation, there appeared a Hari Seldon 
recording to give us our first idea of what was really going on." 

"I remember," Lee nodded reminiscently, with a half smile. "It was the day we took over the 

"That's right. It was the time of our first major crisis. This is our second-and three weeks from 
today will be the eightieth anniversary of the beginning of the Foundation. Does that strike you 
as in any way significant?" 

"You mean he's coming again?" 

"I'm not finished. Seldon never said anything about returning, you understand, but that's of a 
piece with his whole plan. He's always done his best to keep all foreknowledge from us. Nor is 
there any way of telling whether the computer is set for further openings short of dismantling 
the Vault - and it's probably set to destroy itself if we were to try that. I've been there every 
anniversary since the first appearance, just on the chance. He's never shown up, but this is the 
first time since then that there's really been a crisis." 

"Then he'll come." 

"Maybe. I don't know. However, this is the point. At today's session of the Council, just after you 
announce that I have left for Anacreon, you will further announce, officially, that on March 14th 
next, there will be another Hari Seldon recording, containing a message of the utmost 
importance regarding the recent successfully concluded crisis. That's very important, Lee. Don't 
add anything more no matter how many questions are asked." 

Lee stared. "Will they believe it?" 

"That doesn't matter. It will confuse them, which is all I want. Between wondering whether it is 
true and what I mean by it if it isn't - they'll decide to postpone action till after March 14th. I'll be 
back considerably before then." 

Lee looked uncertain. "But that 'successfully concluded.' That's bull!" 

"Highly confusing bull. Here's the airport!" 

The waiting spaceship bulked somberly in the dimness. Hardin stamped through the snow 
toward it and at the open air lock turned about with outstretched hand. 

"Good-by, Lee. I hate to leave you in the frying pan like this, but there's not another I can trust. 
Now please keep out of the fire." 

"Don't worry. The frying pan is hot enough. I'll follow orders." He stepped back, and the air lock 

6 . 

Salvor Hardin did not travel to the planet Anacreon - from which planet the kingdom derived its 
name - immediately. It was only on the day before the coronation that he arrived, after having 
made flying visits to eight of the larger stellar systems of the kingdom, stopping only long, 
enough to confer with the local representatives of the Foundation. 

The trip left him with an oppressive realization of the vastness of the kingdom. It was a little 
splinter, an insignificant fly speck compared to the inconceivable reaches of the Galactic 
Empire of which it had once formed so distinguished a part; but to one whose habits of thought 
had been built around a single planet, and a sparsely settled one at that, Anacreon's size in 
area and population was staggering. 

Following closely the boundaries of the old Prefect of Anacreon, it embraced twenty-five stellar 
systems, six of which included more than one inhabited world. The population of nineteen 
billion, though still far less than it had been in the Empire's heyday was rising rapidly with the 
increasing scientific development fostered by the Foundation. 

And it was only now that Hardin found himself floored by the magnitude of that task. Even in 
thirty years, only the capital world had been powered. The outer provinces still possessed 
immense stretches where nuclear power had not yet been re-introduced. Even the progress 
that had been made might have been impossible had it not been for the still workable relics left 
over by the ebbing tide of Empire. 

When Hardin did arrive at the capital world, it was to find all normal business at an absolute 
standstill. In the outer provinces there had been and still were celebrations; but here on the 
planet Anacreon, not a person but took feverish part in the hectic religious pageantry that 
heralded the coming-of-age of their god-king, Lepold. 

Hardin had been able to snatch only half an hour from a haggard and harried Verisof before his 
ambassador was forced to rush off to supervise still another temple festival. But the half-hour 
was a most profitable one, and Hardin prepared himself for the night's fireworks well satisfied. 

In all, he acted as an observer, for he had no stomach for the religious tasks he would 

undoubtedly have had to undertake if his identity became known. So, when the palace's 
ballroom filled itself with a glittering horde of the kingdom's very highest and most exalted 
nobility, he found himself hugging the wall, little noticed or totally ignored. 

He had been introduced to Lepold as one of a long line of introducees, and from a safe 
distance, for the king stood apart in lonely and impressive grandeur, surrounded by his deadly 
blaze of radioactive aura. And in less than an hour this same king would take his seat upon the 
massive throne of rhodium-iridium alloy with jewel-set gold chasings, and then, throne and all 
would rise maestically into the air, skim the ground slowly to hover before the great window 
from which the great crowds of common folk could see their king and shout themselves into 
near apoplexy. The throne would not have been so massive, of course, if it had not had a 
shielded nuclear motor built into it. 

It was past eleven. Hardin fidgeted and stood on his toes to better his view. He resisted an 
impulse to stand on a chair. And then he saw Wienis threading through the crowd toward him 
and he relaxed. 

Wienis' progress was slow. At almost every step, he had to pass a kindly sentence with some 
revered noble whose grandfather had helped Lepold's grandfather brigandize the kingdom and 
had received a dukedom therefor. 

And then he disentangled himself from the last uniformed peer and reached Hardin. His smile 
crooked itself into a smirk and his black eyes peered from under grizzled brows with glints of 
satisfaction in them. 

"My dear Hardin," he said, in a low voice, "you must expect to be bored, when you refuse to 
announce your identity." 

"I am not bored, your highness. This is all extremely interesting. We have no comparable 
spectacles on Terminus, you know." 

"No doubt. But would you care to step into my private chambers, where we can speak at 
greater length and with considerably more privacy?" 


With arms linked, the two ascended the staircase, and more than one dowager duchess stared 
after them in surprise and wondered at the identity of this insignificantly dressed and 
uninteresting-looking stranger on whom such signal honor was being conferred by the prince 

In Wienis' chambers, Hardin relaxed in perfect comfort and accepted with a murmur of gratitude 
the glass of liquor that had been poured out by the regent's own hand. 

"Locris wine, Hardin," said Wienis, "from the royal cellars. The real thing - two centuries in age. 
It was laid down ten years before the Zeonian Rebellion." 

"A really royal drink," agreed Hardin, politely. "To Lepold I, King of Anacreon." 

They drank, and Wienis added blandly, at the pause, "And soon to be Emperor of the 

Periphery, and further, who knows? The Galaxy may some day be reunited." 

"Undoubtedly. By Anacreon?" 

"Why not? With the help of the Foundation, our scientific superiority over the rest of the 
Periphery would be undisputable." 

Hardin set his empty glass down and said, "Well, yes, except that, of course, the Foundation is 
bound to help any nation that requests scientific aid of it. Due to the high idealism of our 
government and the great moral purpose of our founder, Hari Seldon, we are unable to play 
favorites. That can't be helped, your highness." 

Wienis' smile broadened. "The Galactic Spirit, to use the popular cant, helps those who help 
themselves. I quite understand that, left to itself, the Foundation would never cooperate." 

"I wouldn't say that. We repaired the Imperial cruiser for you, though my board of navigation 
wished it for themselves for research purposes." 

The regent repeated the last words ironically. "Research purposes! Yes! Yet you would not 
have repaired it, had I not threatened war." 

Hardin made a deprecatory gesture. "I don't know." 

"I do. And that threat always stood." 

"And still stands now?" 

"Now it is rather too late to speak of threats." Wienis had cast a rapid glance at the clock on his 
desk. "Look here, Hardin, you were on Anacreon once before. You were young then; we were 
both young. But even then we had entirely different ways of looking at things. You're what they 
call a man of peace, aren't you?" 

"I suppose I am. At least, I consider violence an uneconomical way of attaining an end. There 
are always better substitutes, though they may sometimes be a little less direct." 

"Yes. I've heard of your famous remark: 'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.' And 
yet" - the regent scratched one ear gently in affected abstraction -"I wouldn't call myself 
exactly incompetent." 

Hardin nodded politely and said nothing. 

"And in spite of that," Wienis continued, "I have always believed in direct action. I have believed 
in carving a straight path to my objective and following that path. I have accomplished much 
that way, and fully expect to accomplish still more." 

"I know," interrupted Hardin. "I believe you are carving a path such as you describe for yourself 
and your children that leads directly to the throne, considering the late unfortunate death of the 
king's father - your elder brother and the king's own precarious state of health. He is in a 
precarious state of health, is he not?" 

Wienis frowned at the shot, and his voice grew harder. "You might find it advisable, Hardin, to 
avoid certain subjects. You may consider yourself privileged as mayor of Terminus to make ... 

uh ... injudicious remarks, but if you do, please disabuse yourself of the notion. I am not one to 
be frightened at words. It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced 
boldly, and I have never turned my back upon one yet." 

"I don't doubt that. What particular difficulty are you refusing to turn your back upon at the 
present moment?" 

"The difficulty, Hardin, of persuading the Foundation to co-operate. Your policy of peace, you 
see, has led you into making several very serious mistakes, simply because you 
underestimated the boldness of your adversary. Not everyone is as afraid of direct action as 
you are." 

"For instance?" suggested Hardin. 

"For instance, you came to Anacreon alone and accompanied me to my chambers alone." 
Hardin looked about him. "And what is wrong with that?" 

"Nothing," said the regent, "except that outside this room are five police guards, well armed and 
ready to shoot. I don't think you can leave, Hardin." 

The mayor's eyebrows lifted, "I have no immediate desire to leave. Do you then fear me so 

"I don't fear you at all. But this may serve to impress you with my determination. Shall we call it 
a gesture?" 

"Call it what you please," said Hardin, indifferently. "I shall not discommode myself over the 
incident, whatever you choose to call it." 

"I'm sure that attitude will change with time. But you have made another error, Hardin, a more 
serious one. It seems that the planet Terminus is almost wholly undefended." 

"Naturally. What have we to fear? We threaten no one's interest and serve all alike." 

"And while remaining helpless," Wienis went on, "you kindly helped us to arm ourselves, aiding 
us particularly in the development of a navy of our own, a great navy. In fact, a navy which, 
since your donation of the Imperial cruiser, is quite irresistible." 

"Your highness, you are wasting time." Hardin made as if to rise from his seat. "If you mean to 
declare war, and are informing me of the fact, you will allow me to communicate with my 
government at once." 

"Sit down, Hardin. I am not declaring war, and you are not communicating with your 
government at all. When the war is fought - not declared, Hardin, fought -the Foundation will 
be informed of it in due time by the nuclear blasts of the Anacreonian navy under the lead of my 
own son upon the flagship, Wienis, once a cruiser of the Imperial navy." 

Hardin frowned. "When will all this happen?" 

"If you're really interested, the ships of the fleet left Anacreon exactly fifty minutes ago, at 

eleven, and the first shot will be fired as soon as they sight Terminus, which should be at noon 
tomorrow. You may consider yourself a prisoner of war." 

"That's exactly what I do consider myself, your highness," said Hardin, still frowning. "But I'm 

Wienis chuckled contemptuously. "Is that all?" 

"Yes. I had thought that the moment of coronation - midnight, you know - would be the logical 
time to set the fleet in motion. Evidently, you wanted to start the war while you were still regent. 
It would have been more dramatic the other way." 

The regent stared. "What in Space are you talking about?" 

"Don't you understand?" said Hardin, softly. "I had set my counterstroke for midnight." 

Wienis started from his chair. "You are not bluffing me. There is no counterstroke. If you are 
counting on the support of the other kingdoms, forget it. Their navies, combined, are no match 
for ours." 

"I know that. I don't intend firing a shot. It is simply that the word went out a week ago that at 
midnight tonight, the planet Anacreon goes under the interdict." 

"The interdict?" 

"Yes. If you don't understand, I might explain that every priest in Anacreon is going on strike, 
unless I countermand the order. But I can't while I'm being held incommunicado; nor do I wish 
to even if I weren't!" He leaned forward and added, with sudden animation, "Do you realize, 
your highness, that an attack on the Foundation is nothing short of sacrilege of the highest 

Wienis was groping visibly for self-control. "Give me none of that, Hardin. Save it for the mob." 

"My dear Wienis, whoever do you think I am saving it for? I imagine that for the last half hour 
every temple on Anacreon has been the center of a mob listening to a priest exhorting them 
upon that very subject. There's not a man or woman on Anacreon that doesn't know that their 
government has launched a vicious, unprovoked attack upon the center of their religion. But it 
lacks only four minutes of midnight now. You'd better go down to the ballroom to watch events. 
I'll be safe here with five guards outside the door." He leaned back in his chair, helped himself 
to another glass of Locris wine, and gazed at the ceiling with perfect indifference. 

Wienis suddenly furious, rushed out of the room. 

A hush had fallen over the elite in the ballroom, as a broad path was cleared for the throne. 
Lepold sat on it now, hands solidly on its arms, head high, face frozen. The huge chandeliers 
had dimmed and in the diffused multi-colored light from the tiny nucleo-bulbs that bespangled 
the vaulted ceiling, the royal aura shone out bravely, lifting high above his head to form a 
blazing coronet. 

Wienis paused on the stairway. No one saw him; all eyes were on the throne. He clenched his 
fists and remained where he was; Hardin would not bluff him into action. 

And then the throne stiffed. Noiselessly, it lifted upward - and drifted. Off the dais, slowly down 
the steps, and then horizontally, five centimetres off the floor, it worked itself toward the huge, 
open window. 

At the sound of the deep-toned bell that signified midnight, it stopped before the window - and 
the king's aura died. 

For a frozen split second, the king did not move, face twisted in surprise, without an aura, 
merely human; and then the throne wobbled and dropped to the floor with a crashing thump, 
just as every light in the palace went out. 

Through the shrieking din and confusion, Wienis' bull voice sounded. "Get the flares! Get the 

He buffeted right and left through the crowd and forced his way to the door. From without, 
palace guards had streamed into the darkness. 

Somehow the flares were brought back to the ballroom; flares that were to have been used in 
the gigantic torchlight procession through the streets of the city after the coronation. 

Back to the ballroom guardsmen swarmed with torches - blue, green, and red; where the 
strange light lit up frightened, confused faces. 

"There is no harm done," shouted Wienis. "Keep your places. Power will return in a moment." 
He turned to the captain of the guard who stood stiffly at attention. "What is it, Captain?" 

"Your highness," was the instant response, "the palace is surrounded by the people of the city." 
"What do they want?" snarled Wienis. 

"A priest is at the head. He has been identified as High Priest Poly Verisof. He demands the 
immediate release of Mayor Salvor Hardin and cessation of the war against the Foundation." 
The report was made in the expressionless tones of an officer, but his eyes shifted uneasily. 

Wienis cried, "if any of the rabble attempt to pass the palace gates, blast them out of existence. 
For the moment, nothing more. Let them howl! There will be an accounting tomorrow." 

The torches had been distributed now, and the ballroom was again alight. Wienis rushed to the 
throne, still standing by the window, and dragged the stricken, wax-faced Lepold to his feet. 

"Come with me." He cast one look out of the window. The city was pitch-black. From below 
there were the hoarse confused cries of the mob. Only toward the fight, where the Argolid 
Temple stood was there illumination. He swore angrily, and dragged the king away. 

Wienis burst into his chambers, the five guardsmen at his heels. Lepold followed, wide-eyed, 
scared speechless. 

"Hardin," said Wienis, huskily, "you are playing with forces too great for you." 

The mayor ignored the speaker. In the pearly light of the pocket nucleo-bulb at his side, he 

remained quietly seated, a slightly ironic smile on his face. 

"Good morning, your majesty," he said to Lepold. "I congratulate you on your coronation." 
"Hardin," cried Wienis again, "order your priests back to their jobs." 

Hardin looked up coolly. "Order them yourself, Wienis, and see who is playing with forces too 
great for whom. Right now, there's not a wheel turning in Anacreon. There's not a light burning, 
except in the temples. There's not a drop of water running, except in the temples. On the wintry 
half of the planet, there's not a calorie of heat, except in the temples. The hospitals are taking in 
no more patients. The power plants have shut down. All ships are grounded. If you don't like it, 
Wienis, you can order the priests back to their jobs. I don't wish to." 

"By Space, Hardin, I will. If it's to be a showdown, so be it. We'll see if your priests can 
withstand the army. Tonight, every temple on the planet will be put under army supervision." 

"Very good, but how are you going to give the orders? Every line of communication on the 
planet is shut down. You'll find that neither wave nor hyperwave will work. In fact, the only 
communicator of the planet that will work - outside of the temples, of course - is the televisor 
right here in this room, and I've fitted it only for reception." 

Wienis struggled vainly for breath, and Hardin continued, "If you wish you can order your army 
into the Argolid Temple just outside the palace and then use the ultrawave sets there to contact 
other portions of the planet. But if you do that, I'm afraid the army contigent will be cut to pieces 
by the mob, and then what will protect your palace, Wienis? And your lives, Wienis?" 

Wienis said thickly, "We can hold out, devil. We'll last the day. Let the mob howl and let the 
power die, but we'll hold out. And when the news comes back that the Foundation has been 
taken, your precious mob will find upon what vacuum their religion has been built, and they'll 
desert your priests and turn against them. I give you until noon tomorrow, Hardin, because you 
can stop the power on Anacreon but you can't stop my fleet." His voice croaked exultantly. 
"They're on their way, Hardin, with the great cruiser you yourself ordered repaired, at the head." 

Hardin replied lightly. "Yes, the cruiser I myself ordered repaired - but in my own way. Tell me, 
Wienis, have you ever heard of a hyperwave relay? No, I see you haven't. Well, in about two 
minutes you'll find out what one can do." 

The televisor flashed to life as he spoke, and he amended, "No, in two seconds. Sit down, 
Wienis. and listen." 

7 . 

Theo Aporat was one of the very highest ranking priests of Anacreon. From the standpoint of 
precedence alone, he deserved his appointment as head priest- attendant upon the flagship 

But it was not only rank or precedence. He knew the ship. He had worked directly under the 
holy men from the Foundation itself in repairing the ship. He had gone over the motors under 

their orders. He had rewired the 'visors; revamped the communications system; replated the 
punctured hull; reinforced the beams. He had even been permitted to help while the wise men 
of the Foundation had installed a device so holy it had never been placed in any previous ship, 
but had been reserved only for this magnificent colossus of a vessel - a hyperwave relay. 

It was no wonder that he felt heartsick over the purposes to which the glorious ship was 
perverted. He had never wanted to believe what Verisof had told him - that the ship was to be 
used for appalling wickedness; that its guns were to be turned on the great Foundation. Turned 
on that Foundation, where he had been trained as a youth, from which all blessedness was 

Yet he could not doubt now, after what the admiral had told him. 

How could the king, divinely blessed, allow this abominable act? Or was it the king? Was it not, 
perhaps, an action of the accursed regent, Wienis, without the knowledge of the king at all. And 
it was the son of this same Wienis that was the admiral who five minutes before had told him: 

"Attend to your souls and your blessings, priest. I will attend to my ship." 

Aporat smiled crookedly. He would attend to his souls and his blessings - and also to his 
cursings; and Prince Lefkin would whine soon enough. 

He had entered the general communications room now. His. acolyte preceded him and the two 
officers in charge made no move to interfere. The head priest-attendant had the right of free 
entry anywhere on the ship. 

"Close the door," Aporat ordered, and looked at the chronometer. It lacked Five minutes of 
twelve. He had timed it well. 

With quick practiced motions, he moved the little levers that opened all communications, so that 
every part of the two-mile-long ship was within reach of his voice and his image. 

"Soldiers of the royal flagship Wienis, attend! It is your priest-attendant that speaks!" The sound 
of his voice reverberated, he knew, from the stem atom blast in the extreme rear to the 
navigation tables in the prow. 

"Your ship," he cried, "is engaged in sacrilege. Without your knowledge, it is performing such 
an act as will doom the soul of every man among you to the eternal frigidity of space! Listen! It 
is the intention of your commander to take this ship to the Foundation and there to bombard 
that source of all blessings into submission to his sinful will. And since that is his intention, I, in 
the name of the Galactic Spirit, remove him from his command, for there is no command where 
the blessing of the Galactic Spirit has been withdrawn. The divine king himself may not 
maintain his kingship without the consent of the Spirit." 

His voice took on a deeper tone, while the acolyte listened with veneration and the two soldiers 
with mounting fear. "And because this ship is upon such a devil's errand, the blessing of the 
Spirit is removed from it as well." 

He lifted his arms solemnly, and before a thousand televisors throughout the ship, soldiers 
cowered, as the stately image of their priest-attendant spoke: 

"In the name of the Galactic Spirit and of his prophet, Hari Seldon, and of his interpreters, the 
holy men of the Foundation, I curse this ship. Let the televisors of this ship, which are its eyes, 
become blind. Let its grapples, which are its arms, be paralyzed. Let the nuclear blasts, which 
are its fists, lose their function. Let the motors, which are its heart, cease to beat. Let the 
communications, which are its voice, become dumb. Let its ventilations, which are its breath, 
fade. Let its lights, which are its soul, shrivel into nothing. In the name of the Galactic Spirit, I so 
curse this ship." 

And with his last word, at the stroke of midnight, a hand, light-years distant in the Argolid 
Temple, opened an ultrawave relay, which at the instantaneous speed of the ultrawave, opened 
another on the flagship Wienis. 

And the ship died! 

For it is the chief characteristic of the religion of science that it works, and that such curses as 
that of Aporat's are really deadly. 

Aporat saw the darkness close down on the ship and heard the sudden ceasing of the soft, 
distant purring of the hyperatomic motors. Fie exulted and from the pocket of his long robe 
withdrew a self-powered nucleo-bulb that filled the room with pearly light. 

Fie looked down at the two soldiers who, brave men though they undoubtedly were, writhed on 
their knees in the last extremity of mortal terror. "Save our souls, your reverence. We are poor 
men, ignorant of the crimes of our leaders," one whimpered. 

"Follow," said Aporat, sternly. "Your soul is not yet lost." 

The ship was a turmoil of darkness in which fear was so thick and palpable, it was all but a 
miasmic smell. Soldiers crowded close wherever Aporat and his circle of light passed, striving 
to touch the hem of his robe, pleading for the tiniest scrap of mercy. 

And always his answer was, "Follow me!" 

Fie found Prince Lefkin, groping his way through the officers' quarters, cursing loudly for lights. 
The admiral stared at the priest-attendant with hating eyes. 

"There you are!" Lefkin inherited his blue eyes from his mother, but there was that about the 
hook in his nose and the squint in his eye that marked him as the son of Wienis. "What is the 
meaning of your treasonable actions? Return the power to the ship. I am commander here." 

"No longer," said Aporat, somberly. 

Lefkin looked about wildly. "Seize that man. Arrest him, or by Space, I will send every man 
within reach of my voice out the air lock in the nude." Fie paused, and then shrieked, "It is your 
admiral that orders. Arrest him." 

Then, as he lost his head entirely, "Are you allowing yourselves to be fooled by this 
mountebank, this harlequin? Do you cringe before a religion compounded of clouds and 
moonbeams? This man is an imposter and the Galactic Spirit he speaks of a fraud of the 
imagination devised to-" 

Aporat interrupted furiously. "Seize the blasphemer. You listen to him at the peril of your souls." 
And promptly, the noble admiral went down under the clutching hands of a score of soldiers. 
"Take him with you and follow me." 

Aporat turned, and with Lefkin dragged along after him, and the corridors behind black with 
soldiery, he returned to the communications room. There, he ordered the ex-commander before 
the one televisor that worked. 

"Order the rest of the fleet to cease course and to prepare for the return to Anacreon." 

The disheveled Lefkin, bleeding, beaten, and half stunned, did so. 

"And now," continued Aporat, grimly, "we are in contact with Anacreon on the hyperwave beam. 
Speak as I order you." 

Lefkin made a gesture of negation, and the mob in the room and the others crowding the 
corridor beyond, growled fearfully. 

"Speak!" said Aporat. "Begin: The Anacreonian navy-" 

Lefkin began. 

8 . 

There was absolute silence in Wienis' chambers when the image of Prince Lefkin appeared at 
the televisor. There had been one startled gasp from the regent at the haggard face and 
shredded uniform of his son, and then he collapsed into a chair, face contorted with surprise 
and apprehension. 

Hardin listened stolidly, hands clasped lightly in his lap, while the just-crowned King Lepold sat 
shriveled in the most shadowy comer, biting spasmodically at his goldbraided sleeve. Even the 
soldiers had lost the emotionless stare that is the prerogative of the military, and, from where 
they lined up against the door, nuclear blasts ready, peered furtively at the figure upon the 

Lefkin spoke, reluctantly, with a tired voice that paused at intervals as though he were being 
prompted-and not gently: 

"The Anacreonian navy ... aware of the nature of its mission ... and refusing to be a party ... to 
abominable sacrilage ... is returning to Anacreon ... with the following ultimatum issued ... to 
those blaspheming sinners ... who would dare to use profane force ... against the Foundation ... 
source of all blessings ... and against the Galactic Spirit. Cease at once all war against... the 
true faith . . . and guarantee in a manner suiting us of the navy ... as represented by our... 
priest-attendant, Theo Aporat... that such war will never in the future ... be resumed, and that"- 
here a long pause, and then continuing -"and that the one-time prince regent, Wienis ... be 
imprisoned ... and tried before an ecclesiastical court... for his crimes. Otherwise the royal navy 
... upon returning to Anacreon ... will blast the palace to the ground ... and take whatever other 

measures ... are 

necessary ... to destroy the nest of sinners ... and the den of destroyers ... of men's souls that 
now prevail." 

The voice ended with half a sob and the screen went blank. 

Hardin's fingers passed rapidly over the nucleo-bulb and its light faded until in the dimness, the 
hitherto regent, the king, and the soldiers were hazy-edged shadows; and for the first time it 
could be seen that an aura encompassed Hardin. 

It was not the blazing light that was the prerogative of kings, but one less spectacular, less 
impressive, and yet one more effective in its own way, and more useful. 

Hardin's voice was softly ironic as he addressed the same Wienis who had one hour earlier 
declared him a prisoner of war and Terminus on the point of destruction, and who now was a 
huddled shadow, broken and silent. 

"There is an old fable," said Hardin, "as old perhaps as humanity, for the oldest records 
containing it are merely copies of other records still older, that might interest you. It runs as 

"A horse having a wolf as a powerful and dangerous enemy lived in constant fear of his life. 
Being driven to desperation, it occured to him to seek a strong ally. Whereupon he approached 
a man, and offered an alliance, pointing out that the wolf was likewise an enemy of the man. 
The man accepted the partnership at once and offered to kill the wolf immediately, if his new 
partner would only co-operate by placing his greater speed at the man's disposal. The horse 
was willing, and allowed the man to place bridle and saddle upon him. The man mounted, 
hunted down the wolf, and killed him. 

"The horse, joyful and relieved, thanked the man, and said: 'Now that our enemy is dead, 
remove your bridle and saddle and restore my freedom.' 

"Whereupon the man laughed loudly and replied, 'Never!' and applied the spurs with a will." 
Silence still. The shadow that was Wienis did not stir. 

Hardin continued quietly, "You see the analogy, I hope. In their anxiety to cement forever 
domination over their own people, the kings of the Four Kingdoms accepted the religion of 
science that made them divine; and that same religion of science was their bridle and saddle, 
for it placed the life blood of nuclear power in the hands of the priesthoodwho took their orders 
from us, be it noted, and not from you. You killed the wolf, but could not get rid of the m-" 

Wienis sprang to his feet and in the shadows, his eyes were maddened hollows. His voice was 
thick, incoherent. "And yet I'll get you. You won't escape. You'll rot. Let them blow us up. Let 
them blow everything up. You'll rot! I'll get you! 

"Soldiers!" he thundered, hysterically. "Shoot me down that devil. Blast him! Blast him!" 

Hardin turned about in his chair to face the soldiers and smiled. One aimed his nuclear blast 
and then lowered it. The others never budged. Salvor Hardin, mayor of Terminus, surrounded 

by that soft aura, smiling so confidently, and before whom all the power of Anacreon had 
crumbled to powder was too much for them, despite the orders of the shrieking maniac just 

Wienis shouted incoherently and staggered to the nearest soldier. Wildly, he wrested the 
nuclear blast from the man's hand-aimed it at Hardin, who didn't stir, shoved the lever and held 
it contacted. 

The pale continous beam impinged upon the force-field that surrounded the mayor of Terminus 
and was sucked harmlessly to neutralization. Wienis pressed harder and laughed tearingly. 

Hardin still smiled and his force-field aura scarcely brightened as it absorbed the energies of 
the nuclear blast. From his comer Lepold covered his eyes and moaned. 

And, with a yell of despair, Wienis changed his aim and shot again - and toppled to the floor 
with his head blown into nothingness. 

Hardin winced at the sight and muttered, "A man of 'direct action' to the end. The last refuge!" 

9 . 

The Time Vault was filled; filled far beyond the available seating capacity, and men lined the 
back of the room, three deep. 

Salvor Hardin compared this large company with the few men attending the first appearance of 
Hari Seldon, thirty years earlier. There had only been six, then; the five old Encyclopedists - all 
dead now - and himself, the young figurehead of a mayor. It had been on that day, that he, with 
Yohan Lee's assistance had removed the "figurehead" stigma from his office. 

It was quite different now; different in every respect. Every man of the City Council was 
awaiting Seldon's appearance. He, himself, was still mayor, but all-powerful now; and since the 
utter rout of Anacreon, all-popular. When he had returned from Anacreon with the news of the 
death of Wienis, and the new treaty signed with the trembling Lepold, he was greeted with a 
vote of confidence of shrieking unanimity. When this was followed in rapid order, by similar 
treaties signed with each of the other three kingdoms - treaties that gave the Foundation 
powers such as would forever prevent any attempts at attack similar to that of Anacreon's - 
torchlight processions had been held in every city street of Terminus. Not even Hari Seldon's 
name had been more loudly cheered. 

Hardin's lips twitched. Such popularity had been his after the first crisis also. 

Across the room, Sef Sermak and Lewis Bort were engaged in animated discussion, and recent 
events seemed to have put them out not at all. They had joined in the vote of confidence; made 
speeches in which they publicly admitted that they had been in the wrong, apologized 
handsomely for the use of certain phrases in earlier debates, excused themselves delicately by 
declaring they had merely followed the dictates of their judgement and their conscience - and 
immediately launched a new Actionist campaign. 

Yohan Lee touched Hardin's sleeve and pointed significantly to his watch. 

Hardin looked up. "Hello there, Lee. Are you still sour? What's wrong now?" 

"He's due in five minutes, isn't he?" 

"I presume so. He appeared at noon last time." 

"What if he doesn't?" 

"Are you going to wear me down with your worries all your life? If he doesn't, he won't." 

Lee frowned and shook his head slowly. "If this thing flops, we're in another mess. Without 
Seldon's backing for what we've done, Sermak will be free to start all over. He wants outright 
annexation of the Four Kingdoms, and immediate expansion of the Foundation - by force, if 
necessary. He's begun his campaign, already." 

"I know. A fire eater must eat fire even if he has to kindle it himself. And you, Lee, have got to 
worry even if you must kill yourself to invent something to worry about." 

Lee would have answered, but he lost his breath at just that moment - as the lights yellowed 
and went dim. He raised his arm to point to the glass cubicle that dominated half the room and 
then collapsed into a chair with a windy sigh. 

Hardin himself straightened at the sight of the figure that now filled the cubicle - a figure in a 
wheel chair! He alone, of all those present could remember the day, decades ago, when that 
figure had appeared first. He had been young then, and the figure old. Since then, the figure 
had not aged a day, but he himself had in turn grown old. 

The figure stared straight ahead, hands fingering a book in its lap. 

It said, "I am Hari Seldon!" The voice was old and soft. 

There was a breathless silence in the room and Hari Seldon continued conversationally, "This 
is the second time I've been here. Of course, I don't know if any of you were here the first time. 
In fact, I have no way of telling, by sense perception, that there is anyone here at all, but that 
doesn't matter. If the second crisis has been overcome safely, you are bound to be here; there 
is no way out. If you are not here, then the second crisis has been too much for you." 

He smiled engagingly. "I doubt that, however, for my figures show a ninety-eight point four 
percent probability there is to be no significant deviation from the Plan in the first eighty years. 

"According to our calculations, you have now reached domination of the barbarian kingdoms 
immediately surrounding the Foundation. Just as in the first crisis you held them off by use of 
the Balance of Power, so in the second, you gained mastery by use of the Spiritual Power as 
against the Temporal. 

"However, I might warn you here against overconfidence. It is not my way to grant you any 
foreknowledge in these recordings, but it would be safe to indicate that what you have now 
achieved is merely a new balance-though one in which your position is considerably better. The 
Spiritual Power, while sufficient to ward off attacks of the Temporal is not sufficient to attack in 

turn. Because of the invariable growth of the counteracting force known as Regionalism, or 
Nationalism, the Spiritual Power cannot prevail. I am telling you nothing new, I'm sure. 

"You must pardon me, by the way, for speaking to you in this vague way. The terms I use are at 
best mere approximations, but none of you is qualified to understand the true symbology of 
psychohistory, and so I must do the best I can. 

"In this case, the Foundation is only at the start of the path that leads to the Second Galactic 
Empire. The neighboring kingdoms, in manpower and resources are still overwhelmingly 
powerful as compared to yourselves. Outside them lies the vast tangled jungle of barbarism 
that extends around the entire breadth of the Galaxy. Within that rim there is still what is left of 
the Galactic Empire - and that, weakened and decaying though it is, is still incomparably 

At this point, Hari Seldon lifted his book and opened it. His face grew solemn. "And never forget 
there was another Foundation established eighty years ago; a Foundation at the other end of 
the Galaxy, at Star's End. They will always be there for consideration. Gentlemen, nine hundred 
and twenty years of the Plan stretch ahead of you. The problem is yours!" 

He dropped his eyes to his book and flicked out of existence, while the lights brightened to 
fullness. In the babble that followed, Lee leaned over to Hardin's ear. "He didn't say when he'd 
be back." 

Hardin replied, "I know - but I trust he won't return until you and I are safely and cozily dead!" 




TRADERS-... and constantly in advance of the political hegemony of the Foundation were the 
Traders, reaching out tenuous fingerholds through the tremendous distances of the Periphery. 
Months or years might pass between landings on Terminus; their ships were often nothing 
more than patchquilts of home-made repairs and improvisations; their honesty was none of the 
highest; their daring... 

Through it all they forged an empire more enduring than the pseudo-religious despotism of the 
Four Kingdoms... 

Tales without end are told of these massive, lonely figures who bore half-seriously, 
half-mockingly a motto adopted from one of Salvor Hardin's epigrams, "Never let your sense of 

morals prevent you from doing what is right!" It is difficult now to tell which tales are real and 
which apocryphal. There are none probably that have not suffered some exaggeration.... 


Limmar Ponyets was completely a-lather when the call reached his receiver - which proves 
that the old bromide about telemessages and the shower holds true even in the dark, hard 
space of the Galactic Periphery. 

Luckily that part of a free-lance trade ship which is not given over to miscellaneous 
merchandise is extremely snug. So much so, that the shower, hot water included, is located in 
a two-by-four cubby, ten feet from the control panels. Ponyets heard the staccato rattle of the 
receiver quite plainly. 

Dripping suds and a growl, he stepped out to adjust the vocal, and three hours later a second 
trade ship was alongside, and a grinning youngster entered through the air tube between the 

Ponyets rattled his best chair forward and perched himself on the pilot-swivel. 

"What've you been doing, Gorm?" he asked, darkly. "Chasing me all the way from the 

Les Gorm broke out a cigarette, and shook his head definitely, "Me? Not a chance. I'm just a 
sucker who happened to land on Glyptal IV the day after the mail. So they sent me out after 
you with this." 

The tiny, gleaming sphere changed hands, and Gorm added, "It's confidential. Super-secret. 
Can't be trusted to the sub-ether and all that. Or so I gather. At least, it's a Personal Capsule, 
and won't open for anyone but you." 

Ponyets regarded the capsule distastefully, "I can see that. And I never knew one of these to 
hold good news, either." 

It opened in his hand and the thin, transparent tape unrolled stiffly. His eyes swept the 
message quickly, for when the last of the tape had emerged, the first was already brown and 
crinkled. In a minute and a half it had turned black and, molecule by molecule, fallen apart. 

Ponyets grunted hollowly, "Oh, Galaxyf 

Les Gorm said quietly, "Can I help somehow? Or is it too secret?" 

"It will bear telling, since you're of the Guild. I've got to go to Askone." 

"That place? How come?" 

"They've imprisoned a trader. But keep it to yourself." 

Gorm's expression jolted into anger, "Imprisoned! That's against the Convention." 

"So is the interference with local politics." 

"Oh! Is that what he did?" Gorm meditated. "Who's the trader'? Anyone I know?" 

"No!" said Ponyets sharply, and Gorm accepted the implication and asked no further questions. 

Ponyets was up and staring darkly out the visiplate. He mumbled strong expressions at that 
part of the misty lens-form that was the body of the Galaxy, then said loudly, "Damnedest 
mess! I'm way behind quota." 

Light broke on Gorm's intellect, "Hey, friend, Askone is a closed area." 

"That's right. You can't sell as much as a penknife on Askone. They won't buy nuclear gadgets 
of any sort. With my quota dead on its feet, it's murder to go there." 

"Can't get out of it?" 

Ponyets shook his head absently, A know the fellow involved. Can't walk out on a friend. What 
of it? I am in the hands of the Galactic Spirit and walk cheerfully in the way he points out." 

Gorm said blankly, "Huh?" 

Ponyets looked at him, and laughed shortly, "I forgot. You never read the 'Bood of the Spirit,' 
did you?" 

"Never heard of it," said Gorm, curtly. 

"Well, you would if you'd had a religious training." 

"Religious training? For the priesthood?" Gorm was profoundly shocked. 

"Afraid so. It's my dark shame and secret. I was too much for the Reverend Fathers, though, 
They expelled me, for reasons sufficient to promote me to a secular education under the 
Foundation. Well, look, I'd better push off. How's your quota this year?" 

Gorm crushed out his cigarette and adjusted his cap, "I've got my last cargo going now. I'll 
make it." 

"Lucky fellow," gloomed Ponyets, and for many minutes after Les Gorm left, he sat in 
motionless reverie. 

So Eskel Gorov was on Askone - and in prison as well! 

That was bad! In fact, considerably worse than it might appear. It was one thing to tell a curious 
youngster a diluted version of the business to throw him off and send him about his own. It was 
a thing of a different sort to face the truth. 

For Limmar Ponyets was one of the few people who happened to know that Master Trader 
Eskel Gorov was not a trader at all; but that entirely different thing, an agent of the Foundation! 

2 . 

Two weeks gone! Two weeks wasted. 

One week to reach Askone, at the extreme borders of which the vigilant warships speared out 
to meet him in converging numbers. Whatever their detection system was, it worked - and well. 

They sidled him in slowly, without a signal, maintaining their cold distance, and pointing him 
harshly towards the central sun of Askone. 

Ponyets could have handled them at a pinch. Those ships were holdovers from the 
dead-and-gone Galactic Empire - but they were sports cruisers, not warships; and without 
nuclear weapons, they were so many picturesque and impotent ellipsoids. But Eskel Gorov was 
a prisoner in their hands, and Gorov was not a hostage to lose. The Askonians must know that. 

And then another week - a week to wind a weary way through the clouds of minor officials that 
formed the buffer between the Grand Master and the outer world. Each little sub-secretary 
required soothing and conciliation. Each required careful and nauseating milking for the 
flourishing signature that was the pathway to the next official one higher up. 

For the first time, Ponyets found his trader's identification papers useless. 

I Now, at last, the Grand Master was on the other side of the Guard-flanked gilded door - and 
two weeks had gone. 

Gorov was still a prisoner and Ponyets' cargo rotted useless in the holds of his ship. 

The Grand Master was a small man; a small man with a balding head and very wrinkled face, 
whose body seemed weighed down to motionlessness by the huge, glossy fur collar about his 

His fingers moved on either side, and the line of armed men backed away to for a passage, 
along which Ponyets strode to the foot of the Chair of State. 

"Don't speak," snapped the Grand Master, and Ponyets' opening lips closed tightly. 

"That's right," the Askonian ruler relaxed visibly, "I can't endure useless chatter. You cannot 
threaten and I won't abide flattery. Nor is there room for injured complaints. I have lost count of 
the times you wanderers have been warned that your devil's machines are not wanted 
anywhere in Askone." 

"Sir," said Ponyets, quietly, "there is no attempt to justify the trader in question. It is not the 
policy of traders to intrude where they are not wanted. But the Galaxy is great, and it has 
happened before that a boundary has been trespassed unwittingly. It was a deplorable 

"Deplorable, certainly," squeaked the Grand Master. "But mistake? Your people on Glyptal IV 
have been bombarding me with pleas for negotiation since two hours after the sacrilegious 
wretch was seized. I have been warned by them of your own coming many times over. It seems 
a well-organized rescue campaign. Much seems to have been anticipated - a little too much for 

mistakes, deplorable or otherwise." 

The Askonian's black eyes were scornful. He raced on, "And are you traders, flitting from world 
to world like mad little butterflies, so mad in your own right that you can land on Askone's 
largest world, in the center of its system, and consider it an unwitting boundary mixup? Come, 
surely not." 

Ponyets winced without showing it. He said, doggedly, "If the attempt to trade was deliberate, 
your Veneration, it was most injudicious and contrary to the strictest regulations of our Guild." 

"Injudicious, yes," said the Askonian, curtly. "So much so, that your comrade is likely to lose life 
in payment." 

Ponyets' stomach knotted. There was no irresolution there. He said, "Death, your Veneration, is 
so absolute and irrevocable a phenomenon that certainly there must be some alternative." 

There was a pause before the guarded answer came, "I have heard that the Foundation is 

"Rich? Certainly. But our riches are that which you refuse to take. Our nuclear goods are 

"Your goods are worthless in that they lack the ancestral blessing. Your goods are wicked and 
accursed in that they lie under the ancestral interdict." The sentences were intoned; the 
recitation of a formula. 

The Grand Master's eyelids dropped, and he said with meaning, "You have nothing else of 

The meaning was lost on the trader, "I don't understand. What is it you want?" 

The Askonian's hands spread apart, "You ask me to trade places with you, and make known to 
you my wants. I think not. Your colleague, it seems, must suffer the punishment set for 
sacrilege by the Askonian code. Death by gas. We are a just people. The poorest peasant, in 
like case, would suffer no more. I, myself, would suffer no less." 

Ponyets mumbled hopelessly, "Your Veneration, would it be permitted that I speak to the 

"Askonian law," said the Grand Master coldly, "allows no communication with a condemned 

Mentally, Ponyets held his breath, "Your Veneration, I ask you to be merciful towards a man's 
soul, in the hour when his body stands forfeit. He has been separated from spiritual consolation 
in all the time that his life has been in danger. Even now, he faces the prospect of going 
unprepared to the bosom of the Spirit that rules all." 

The Grand Master said slowly and suspiciously, "You are a Tender of the Soul?" 

Ponyets dropped a humble head, "I have been so trained. In the empty expanses of space, the 
wandering traders need men like myself to care for the spiritual side of a life so given over to 

commerce and worldly pursuits." 

The Askonian ruler sucked thoughtfully at his lower lip. "Every man should prepare his soul for 
his journey to his ancestral spirits. Yet I had never thought you traders to be believers." 

3 . 

Eskel Gorov stirred on his couch and opened one eye as Limmar Ponyets entered the heavily 
reinforced door. It boomed shut behind him. Gorov sputtered and came to his feet. 

"Ponyets! They sent you?" 

"Pure chance," said Ponyets, bitterly, "or the work of my own personal malevolent demon. Item 
one, you get into a mess on Askone. Item two, my sales route, as known to the Board of Trade, 
carries me within fifty parsecs of the system at just the time of item one. Item three, we've 
worked together before and the Board knows it. Isn't that a sweet, inevitable set-up? The 
answer just pops out of a slot." 

"Be careful," said Gorov, tautly. "There'll be someone listening. Are you wearing a Field 

Ponyets indicated the ornamented bracelet that hugged his wrist and Gorov relaxed. 

Ponyets looked about him. The cell was bare, but large. It was well-lit and it lacked offensive 
odors. He said, "Not bad. They're treating you with kid gloves." 

Gorov brushed the remark aside, "Listen, how did you get down here? I've been in strict solitary 
for almost two weeks." 

"Ever since I came, huh? Well, it seems the old bird who's boss here has his weak points. He 
leans toward pious speeches, so I took a chance that worked. I'm here in the capacity of your 
spiritual adviser. There's something about a pious man such as he. He will cheerfully cut your 
throat if it suits him, but he will hesitate to endanger the welfare of your immaterial and 
problematical soul. It's just a piece of empirical psychology. A trader has to know a little of 

Gorov's smile was sardonic, "And you've been to theological school as well. You're all right, 
Ponyets. I'm glad they sent you. But the Grand Master doesn't love my soul exclusively. Has he 
mentioned a ransom?" 

The trader's eyes narrowed, "He hinted - barely. And he also threatened death by gas. I played 
safe, and dodged; it might easily have been a trap. So it's extortion, is it? What is it he wants?" 


"Gold!" Ponyets frowned. "The metal itself? What for?" 

"It's their medium of exchange." 

"Is it? And where do I get gold from?" 

"Wherever you can. Listen to me; this is important. Nothing will happen to me as long as the 
Grand Master has the scent of gold in his nose. Promise it to him; as much as he asks for. 
Then go back to the Foundation, if necessary, to get it. When I'm free, we'll be escorted out of 
the system, and then we part company." 

Ponyets stared disapprovingly, "And then you'll come back and try again." 

"It's my assignment to sell nucleics to Askone." 

"They'll get you before you've gone a parsec in space. You know that, I suppose." 

"I don't," said Gorov. "And if I did, it wouldn't affect things." 

"They'll kill you the second time." 

Gorov shrugged. 

Ponyets said quietly, "If I'm going to negotiate with the Grand Master again, I want to know the 
whole story. So far, I've been working it too blind. As it was, the few mild remarks I did make 
almost threw his Veneration into fits." 

"It's simple enough," said Gorov. "The only way we can increase the security of the Foundation 
here in the Periphery is to form a religion-controlled commercial empire. We're still too weak to 
be able to force political control. It's all we can do to hold the Four Kingdoms." 

Ponyets was nodding. "This I realize. And any system that doesn't accept nuclear gadgets can 
never be placed under our religious control-" 

"And can therefore become a focal point for independence and hostility. Yes." 

"All right, then," said Ponyets, "so much for theory. Now what exactly prevents the sale. 
Religion? The Grand Master implied as much." 

"It's a form of ancestor worship. Their traditions tell of an evil past from which they were saved 
by the simple and virtuous heroes of the past generations. It amounts to a distortion of the 
anarchic period a century ago, when the imperial troops were driven out and an independent 
government was set up. Advanced science and nuclear power in particular became identified 
with the old imperial regime they remember with horror." 

"That so? But they have nice little ships which spotted me very handily two parsecs away. That 
smells of nucleics to me." 

Gorov shrugged. "Those ships are holdovers of the Empire, no doubt. Probably with nuclear 
drive. What they have, they keep. The point is that they will not innovate and their internal 
economy is entirely non-nuclear. That is what we must change." 

"Flow were you going to do it?" 

"By breaking the resistance at one point. To put it simply, if I could sell a penknife with a 
force-field blade to a nobleman, it would be to his interest to force laws that would allow him to 
use it. Put that baldly, it sounds silly, but it is sound, psychologically. To make strategic sales, 

at strategic points, would be to create a pro-nucleics faction at court." 

"And they send you for that purpose, while I'm only here to ransom you and leave, while you 
keep on trying? Isn't that sort of tail-backward?" 

"In what way?" said Gorov, guardedly. 

"Listen," Ponyets was suddenly exasperated, "you're a diplomat, not a trader, and calling you a 
trader won't make you one. This case is for one who's made a business of selling - and I'm 
here with a full cargo stinking into uselessness, and a quota that won't ever be met, it looks 

"You mean you're going to risk your life on something that isn't your business?" Gorov smiled 

Ponyets said, "You mean that this is a matter of patriotism and traders aren't patriotic?" 
"Notoriously not. Pioneers never are." 

"All right. I'll grant that. I don't scoot about space to save the Foundation or anything like that. 
But I'm out to make money, and this is my chance. If it helps the Foundation at the same time, 
all the better. And I've risked my life on slimmer chances." 

Ponyets rose, and Gorov rose with him, "What are you going to do?" 

The trader smiled, "Gorov, I don't know - not yet. But if the crux of the matter is to make a sale, 
then I'm your man. I'm not a boaster as a general thing, but there's one thing I'll always back 
up. I've never ended up below quota yet." 

The door to the cell opened almost instantly when he knocked, and two guards fell in on either 

4 . 

"A show!" said the Grand Master, grimly. Fie settled himself well into his furs, and one thin hand 
grasped the iron cudgel he used as a cane. 

"And gold, your Veneration." 

"Anc/gold," agreed the Grand Master, carelessly. 

Ponyets set the box down and opened it with as fine an appearance of confidence as he could 
manage. Fie felt alone in the face of universal hostility; the way he had felt out in space his first 
year. The semicircle of bearded councilors who faced him down, stared unpleasantly. Among 
them was Pherl, the thin-faced favorite who sat next to the Grand Master in stiff hostility. 
Ponyets had met him once already and marked him immediately as prime enemy, and, as a 
consequence, prime victim. 

Outside the hall, a small army awaited events. Ponyets was effectively isolated from his ship; 
he lacked any weapon, but his attempted bribe; and Gorov was still a hostage. 

He made the final adjustments on the clumsy monstrosity that had cost him a week of 
ingenuity, and prayed once again that the lead-lined quartz would stand the strain. 

"What is it?" asked the Grand Master. 

"This," said Ponyets, stepping back, "is a small device I have constructed myself." 

"That is obvious, but it is not the information I want. Is it one of the black-magic abominations of 
your world?" 

"It is nuclear in nature, admitted Ponyets, gravely, "but none of you need touch it, or have 
anything to do with it. It is for myself alone, and if it contains abominations, I take the foulness 
of it upon myself." 

The Grand Master had raised his iron cane at the machine in a threatening gesture and his lips 
moved rapidly and silently in a purifying invocation. The thin-faced councilor at his right leaned 
towards him and his straggled red mustache approached the Grand Master's ear. The ancient 
Askonian petulantly shrugged himself free. 

"And what is the connection of your instrument of evil and the gold that may save your 
countryman's life?" 

"With this machine," began Ponyets, as his hand dropped softly onto the central chamber and 
caressed its hard, round flanks, "I can turn the iron you discard into gold of the finest quality. It 
is the only device known to man that will take iron - the ugly iron, your Veneration, that props 
up the chair you sit in and the walls of this building - and change it to shining, heavy, yellow 

Ponyets felt himself botching it. His usual sales talk was smooth, facile and plausible; but this 
limped like a shot-up space wagon. But it was the content, not the form, that interested the 
Grand Master. 

"So? Transmutation? Men have been fools who have claimed the ability. They have paid for 
their prying sacrilege." 

"Had they succeeded?" 

"No." The Grand Master seemed coldly amused. "Success at producing gold would have been 
a crime that carried its own antidote. It is the attempt plus the failure that is fatal. Here, what 
can you do with my staff?" He pounded the floor with it. 

"Your Veneration will excuse me. My device is a small model, prepared by myself, and your 
staff is too long." 

The Grand Master's small shining eye wandered and stopped, "Randel, your buckles. Come, 
man, they shall be replaced double if need be." 

The buckles passed down the line, hand to hand. The Grand Master weighed them 

Here," he said, and threw them to the floor. 

Ponyets picked them up. He tugged hard before the cylinder opened, and his eyes blinked and 
squinted with effort as he centered the buckles carefully on the anode screen. Later, it would be 
easier but there must be no failures the first time. 

The homemade transmuter crackled malevolently for ten minutes while the odor of ozone 
became faintly present. The Askonians backed away, muttering, and again Pherl whispered 
urgently into his ruler's ear. The Grand Master's expression was stony. He did not budge. 

And the buckles were gold. 

Ponyets held them out to the Grand Master with a murmured, "Your Veneration!" but the old 
man hesitated, then gestured them away. His stare lingered upon the transmuter. 

Ponyets said rapidly, "Gentlemen, this is pure gold. Gold through and through. You may subject 
it to every known physical and chemical test, if you wish to prove the point. It cannot be 
identified from naturally-occurring gold in any way. Any iron can be so treated. Rust will not 
interfere, not will a moderate amount of alloying metals-" 

But Ponyets spoke only to fill a vacuum. He let the buckles remain in his outstretched hand, 
and it was the gold that argued for him. 

The Grand Master stretched out a slow hand at last, and the thin-faced Pherl was roused to 
open speech. "Your Veneration, the gold is from a poisoned source." 

And Ponyets countered, "A rose can grow from the mud, your Veneration. In your dealings with 
your neighbors, you buy material of all imaginable variety, without inquiring as to where they 
get it, whether from an orthodox machine blessed by your benign ancestors or from some 
space-spawned outrage. Come, I don't offer the machine. I offer the gold." 

"Your Veneration," said Pherl, "you are not responsible for the sins of foreigners who work 
neither with your consent nor knowledge. But to accept this strange pseudo-gold made sinfully 
from iron in your presence and with your consent is an affront to the living spirits of our holy 

"Yet gold is gold," said the Grand Master, doubtfully, "and is but an exchange for the heathen 
person of a convicted felon. Pherl, you are too critical." But he withdrew his hand. 

Ponyets said, "You are wisdom, itself, your Veneration. Consider - to give up a heathen is to 
lose nothing for your ancestors, whereas with the gold you get in exchange you can ornament 
the shrines of their holy spirits. And surely, were gold evil in itself, if such, a thing could be, the 
evil would depart of necessity once the metal were put to such pious use." 

"Now by the bones of my grandfather," said the Grand Master with surprising vehemence. His 
lips separated in a shrill laugh, "Pherl, what do you say of this young man? The statement is 
valid. It is as valid as the words of my ancestors." 

Pherl said gloomily, "So it would seem. Grant that the validity does not turn out to be a device 
of the Malignant Spirit." 

"I'll make it even better," said Ponyets, suddenly. "Hold the gold in hostage. Place it on the 

altars of your ancestors as an offering and hold me for thirty days. If at the end of that time, 
there is no evidence of displeasure - if no disasters occur - surely, it would be proof that the 
offering was accepted. What more can be offered?" 

And when the Grand Master rose to his feet to search out disapproval, not a man in the council 
failed to signal his agreement. Even Pherl chewed the ragged end of his mustache and nodded 

Ponyets smiled and meditated on the uses of a religious education. 

5 . 

Another week rubbed away before the meeting with Pherl was arranged. Ponyets felt the 
tension, but he was used to the feeling of physical helplessness now. He had left city limits 
under guard. He was in Pherl's suburban villa under guard. There was nothing to do but accept 
it without even looking over his shoulder. 

Pherl was taller and younger outside the circle of Elders. In nonformal costume, he seemed no 
Elder at all. 

He said abruptly, "You're a peculiar man." His close-set eyes seemed to quiver. "You've done 
nothing this last week, and particularly these last two hours, but imply that I need gold. It seems 
useless labor, for who does not? Why not advance one step?" 

"It is not simply gold," said Ponyets, discreetly. "Not simply gold. Not merely a coin or two. It is 
rather all that lies behind gold." 

"Now what can lie behind gold?" prodded Pherl, with a down-curved smile. "Certainly this is not 
the preliminary of another clumsy demonstration." 

"Clumsy?" Ponyets frowned slightly. 

"Oh, definitely." Pherl folded his hands and nudged them gently with his chin. "I don't criticize 
you. The clumsiness was on purpose, I am sure. I might have warned his Veneration of that, 
had I been certain of the motive. Now had I been you, I would have produced the gold upon my 
ship, and offered it alone. The show you offered us and the antagonism you aroused would 
have been dispensed with." 

"True," Ponyets admitted, "but since I was myself, I accepted the antagonism for the sake of 
attracting your attention." 

"Is that it? Simply that?" Pherl made no effort to hide his contemptuous amusement. "And I 
imagine you suggested the thirty-day purification period that you might assure yourself time to 
turn the attraction into something a bit more substantial. But what if the gold turns out to be 

Ponyets allowed himself a dark humor in return, "When the judgement of that impurity depends 

upon those who are most interested in finding it pure?" 

Pherl lifted his eyes and stared narrowly at the trader. He seemed at once surprised and 

"A sensible point. Now tell me why you wished to attract me." 

"This I will do. In the short time I have been here, I have observed useful facts that concern you 
and interest me. For instance, you are young-very young for a member of the council, and even 
of a relatively young family." 

"You criticize my family?" 

"Not at all. Your ancestors are great and holy; all will admit that. But there are those that say 
you are not a member of one of the Five Tribes." 

Pherl leaned back, "With all respect to those involved," and he did not hide his venom, "the Five 
Tribes have impoverished loins and thin blood. Not fifty members of the Tribes are alive." 

"Yet there are those who say the nation would not be willing to see any man outside the Tribes 
as Grand Master. And so young and newly-advanced a favorite of the Grand Master is bound 
to make powerful enemies among the great ones of the State - it is said. His Veneration is 
aging and his protection will not last past his death, when it is an enemy of yours who will 
undoubtedly be the one to interpret the words of his Spirit." 

Pherl scowled, "For a foreigner you hear much. Such ears are made for cropping." 

"That may be decided later." 

"Let me anticipate." Pherl stirred impatiently in his seat. "You're going to offer me wealth and 
power in terms of those evil little machines you carry in your ship. Well?" 

"Suppose it so. What would be your objection? Simply your standard of good and evil?" 

Pherl shook his head. "Not at all. Look, my Outlander, your opinion of us in your heathen 
agnosticism is what it is - but I am not the entire slave of our mythology, though I may appear 
so. I am an educated man, sir, and, I hope, an enlightened one. The full depth of our religious 
customs, in the ritualistic rather than the ethical sense, is for the masses." 

"Your objection, then?" pressed Ponyets, gently. 

"Just that. The masses. I might be willing to deal with you, but your little machines must be 
used to be useful. How might riches come to me, if I had to use - what is it you sell?- well, a 
razor, for instance, only in the strictest, trembling secrecy. Even if my chin were more simply 
and more cleanly shaven, how would I become rich? And how would I avoid death by gas 
chamber or mob frightfulness if I were ever once caught using it?" 

Ponyets shrugged, "You are correct. I might point out that the remedy would be to educate your 
own people into the use of nucleics for their convenience and your own substantial profit. It 
would be a gigantic piece of work; I don't deny it; but the returns would be still more gigantic. 

Still that is your concern, and, at the moment, not mine at all. For I offer neither razor, knife, nor 

mechanical garbage disposer." 

"What do you offer?" 

"Gold itself. Directly. You may have the machine I demonstrated last week." 

And now Pherl stiffened and the skin on his forehead moved jerkily. "The transmuter?" 

"Exactly. Your supply of gold will equal your supply of iron. That, I imagine, is sufficient for all 
needs. Sufficient for the Grand Mastership itself, despite youth and enemies. And it is safe." 

"In what way?" 

"In that secrecy is the essence of its use; that same secrecy you described as the only safety 
with regard to nucleics. You may bury the transmuter in the deepest dungeon of the strongest 
fortress on your furthest estate, and it will still bring you instant wealth. It is the gold you buy, 
not the machine, and that gold bears no trace of its manufacture, for it cannot be told from the 
natural creation." 

"And who is to operate the machine?" 

"Yourself. Five minutes teaching is all you will require. I'll set it up for you wherever you wish." 
"And in return?" 

"Well," Ponyets grew cautious. "I ask a price and a handsome one. It is my living. Let us say,- 
for it its a valuable machine - the equivalent of a cubic foot of gold in wrought iron." 

Pherl laughed, and Ponyets grew red. "I point out, sir," he added, stiffly, "that you can get your 
price back in two hours." 

"True, and in one hour, you might be gone, and my machine might suddenly turn out to be 
useless. I'll need a guarantee." 

"You have my word." 

"A very good one," Pherl bowed sardonically, "but your presence would be an even better 
assurance. I'll give you my word to pay you one week after delivery in working order." 


"Impossible? When you've already incurred the death penalty very handily by even offering to 
sell me anything. The only alternative is my word that you'll get the gas chamber tomorrow 

Ponyet's face was expressionless, but his eyes might have flickered. He said, "It is an unfair 
advantage. You will at least put your promise in writing?" 

"And also become liable for execution? No, sir!" Pherl smiled a broad satisfaction. "No, sir! Only 
one of us is a fool." 

The trader said in a small voice, "It is agreed, then. 

6 . 

Gorov was released on the thirtieth day, and five hundred pounds of the yellowest gold took his 
place. And with him was released the quarantined and untouched abomination that was his 

Then, as on the journey into the Askonian system, so on the journey out, the cylinder of sleek 
little ships ushered them on their way. 

Ponyets watched the dimly sun-lit speck that was Gorov's ship while Gorov's voice pierced 
through to him, clear and thin on the tight, distortion-bounded ether-beam. 

He was saying, "But it isn't what's wanted, Ponyets. A transmuter won't do. Where did you get 
one, anyway?" 

"I didn't," Ponyets answer was patient. "I juiced it up out of a food irradiation chamber. It isn't 
any good, really. The power consumption is prohibitive on any large scale or the Foundation 
would use transmutation instead of chasing all over the Galaxy for heavy metals. It's one of the 
standard tricks every trader uses, except that I never saw an iron-to-gold one before. But it's 
impressive, and it works - very temporarily." 

"All right. But that particular trick is no good." 

"It got you out of a nasty spot." 

"That is very far from the point. Especially since I've got to go back, once we shake our 
solicitous escort." 


"You yourself explained it to this politician of yours," Gorov's voice was on edge. "Your entire 
sales-point rested on the fact that the transmuter was a means to an end, but of no value in 
itself-, that he was buying the gold, not the machine. It was good psychology, since it worked, 

"But?" Ponyets urged blandly and obtusely. 

The voice from the receiver grew shriller, "But we want to sell them a machine of value in itself, 
something they would want to use openly; something that would tend to force them out in favor 
of nuclear techniques as a matter of self-interest." 

"I understand all that," said Ponyets, gently. "You once explained it. But look at what follows 
from my sale, will you? As long as that transmuter lasts, Pherl will coin gold; and it will last long 
enough to buy him the next election. The present Grand Master won't last long." 

"You count on gratitude?" asked Gorov, coldly. 

"No - on intelligent self-interest. The transmuter gets him an election; other mechanisms-" 

"No! No! Your premise is twisted. It's not the transmuter, he'll credit - it'll be the good, 

old-fashioned gold. That's what I'm trying to tell you." 

Ponyets grinned and shifted into a more comfortable position. All right. He'd baited the poor 
fellow sufficiently. Gorov was beginning to sound wild. 

The trader said, "Not so fast, Gorov. I haven't finished. There are other gadgets already 

There was a short silence. Then, Gorov's voice sounded cautiously, "What other gadgets?" 
Ponyets gestured automatically and uselessly, "You see that escort?" 

"I do," said Gorov shortly. "Tell me about those gadgets." 

"I will, -if you'll listen. That's Pherl's private navy escorting us; a special honor to him from the 
Grand Master. He managed to squeeze that out." 


"And where do you think he's taking us? To his mining estates on the outskirts of Askone, that's 
where. Listen!" Ponyets was suddenly fiery, "I told you I was in this to make money, not to save 
worlds. All right. I sold that transmuter for nothing. Nothing except the risk of the gas chamber 
and that doesn't count towards the quota." 

"Get back to the mining estates, Ponyets. Where do they come in?" 

"With the profits. We're stacking up on tin, Gorov. Tin to fill every last cubic foot this old scow 
can scrape up, and then some more for yours. I'm going down with Pherl to collect, old man, 
and you're going to cover me from upstairs with every gun you've got - just in case Pherl isn't 
as sporting about the matter as he lets on to be. That tin's my profit." 

"For the transmuter?" 

"For my entire cargo of nucleics. At double price, plus a bonus." He shrugged, almost 
apologetically. "I admit I gouged him, but I've got to make quota, don't I?" 

Gorov was evidently lost. He said, weakly, "Do you mind explaining'?" 

"What's there to explain? It's obvious, Gorov. Look, the clever dog thought he had me in a 
foolproof trap, because his word was worth more than mine to the Grand Master. He took the 
transmuter. That was a capital crime in Askone. But at any time he could say that he had lured 
me on into a trap with the purest of patriotic motives, and denounce me as a seller of forbidden 

"That was obvious." 

"Sure, but word against simple word wasn't all there was to it. You see, Pherl had never heard 
nor conceived of a microfilm-recorder." 

Gorov laughed suddenly. 

"That's right," said Ponyets. "He had the upper hand. I was properly chastened. But when I set 

up the transmuter for him in my whipped-dog fashion, I incorporated the recorder into the 
device and removed it in the next day's overhaul. I had a perfect record of his sanctum 
sanctorum, his holy-of-holies, with he himself, poor Pherl, operating the transmuter for all the 
ergs it had and crowing over his first piece of gold as if it were an egg he had just laid." 

"You showed him the results?" 

"Two days later. The poor sap had never seen three-dimensional color-sound images in his life. 
He claims he isn't superstitious, but if I ever saw an adult look as scared as he did then, call me 
rookie. When I told him I had a recorder planted in the city square, set to go off at midday with a 
million fanatical Askonians to watch, and to tear him to pieces subsequently, he was gibbering 
at my knees in half a second. He was ready to make any deal I wanted." 

"Did you?" Gorov's voice was suppressing laughter. "I mean, have one planted in the city 

"No, but that didn't matter. He made the deal. He bought every gadget I had, and every one you 
had for as much tin as we could carry. At that moment, he believed me capable of anything. 

The agreement is in writing and you'll have a copy before I go down with him, just as another 

"But you've damaged his ego," said Gorov. "Will he use the gadgets?" 

"Why not? It's his only way of recouping his losses, and if he makes money out of it, he'll salve 
his pride. And he will be the next Grand Master - and the best man we could have in our favor." 

"Yes," said Gorov, "it was a good sale. Yet you've certainly got an uncomfortable sales 
technique. No wonder you were kicked out of a seminary. Have you no sense of morals?" 

"What are the odds?" said Ponyets, indifferently. "You know what Salvor Hardin said about a 
sense of morals." 




TRADERS-... With psychohistoric inevitability, economic control of the Foundation grew. The 
traders grew rich; and with riches came power.... 

It is sometimes forgotten that Hober Mallow began life as an ordinary trader. It is never 
forgotten that he ended it as the first of the Merchant Princes.... 


Jorane Sutt put the tips of carefully-manicured fingers together and said, "It's something of a 
puzzle. In fact - and this is in the strictest of confidence - it may be another one of Hari 
Seldon's crises." 

The man opposite felt in the pocket of his short Smyrnian jacket for a cigarette. "Don't know 
about that, Sutt. As a general rule, politicians start shouting 'Seldon crisis' at every mayoralty 

Sutt smiled very faintly, "I'm not campaigning, Mallow. We're facing nuclear weapons, and we 
don't know where they're coming from." 

Hober Mallow of Smyrno, Master Trader, smoked quietly, almost indifferently. "Go on. If you 
have more to say, get it out." Mallow never made the mistake of being overpolite to a 
Foundation man. He might be an Outlander, but a man's a man for a’ that. 

Sutt indicated the trimensional star-map on the table. He adjusted the controls and a cluster of 
some half-dozen stellar systems blazed red. 

'That," he said quietly, "is the Korellian Republic." 

The trader nodded, "I've been there. Stinking rathole! I suppose you can call it a republic but it's 
always someone out of the Argo family that gets elected Commdor each time. And if you ever 
don't like it - things happen to you." He twisted his lip and repeated, "I've been there." 

"But you've come back, which hasn't always happened. Three trade ships, inviolate under the 
Conventions, have disappeared within the territory of the Republic in the last year. And those 
ships were armed with all the usual nuclear explosives and force-field defenses." 

"What was the last word heard from the ships?" 

"Routine reports. Nothing else." 

"What did Korell say?" 

Sutt's eyes gleamed sardonically, "There was no way of asking. The Foundation's greatest 
asset throughout the Periphery is its reputation of power. Do you think we can lose three ships 
and ask for them?" 

"Well, then, suppose you tell me what you want with me." 

Jorane Sutt did not waste his time in the luxury of annoyance. As secretary to the mayor, he 
had held off opposition councilmen, jobseekers, reformers, and crackpots who claimed to have 
solved in its entirety the course of future history as worked out by Hari Seldon. With training like 
that, it took a good deal to disturb him. 

He said methodically, "In a moment. You see, three ships lost in the same sector in the same 
year can't be accident, and nuclear power can be conquered only by more nuclear power. The 
question automatically arises: if Korell has nuclear weapons, where is it getting them?" 

And where does it? 

"Two alternatives. Either the Korellians have constructed them themselves-" 


"Very! But the other possibility is that we are being afflicted with a case of treason." 

"You think so?" Mallow's voice was cold. 

The secretary said calmly, "There's nothing miraculous about the possibility. Since the Four 
Kingdoms accepted the Foundation Convention, we have had to deal with considerable groups 
of dissident populations in each nation. Each former kingdom has its pretenders and its former 
noblemen, who can't very well pretend to love the Foundation. Some of them are becoming 
active, perhaps." 

Mallow was a dull red. "I see. Is there anything you want to say to me? I'm a Smyrnian." 

"I know. You're a Smyrnian - born in Smyrno, one of the former Four Kingdoms. You're a 
Foundation man by education only. By birth, you're an Outlander and a foreigner. No doubt 
your grandfather was a baron at the time of the wars with Anacreon and Loris, and no doubt 
your family estates were taken away when Sef Sermak redistributed the land." 

"No, by Black Space, no! My grandfather was a blood-poor son-of-a-spacer who died heaving 
coal at starving wages before the Foundation took over. I owe nothing to the old regime. But I 
was born in Smyrno, and I'm not ashamed of either Smyrno or Smyrnians, by the Galaxy. Your 
sly little hints of treason aren't going to panic me into licking Foundation spittle. And now you 
can either give your orders or make your accusations. I don't care which." 

"My good Master Trader, I don't care an electron whether your grandfather was King of Smyrno 
or the greatest pauper on the planet. I recited that rigmarole about your birth and ancestry to 
show you that I'm not interested in them. Evidently, you missed the point. Let's go back now. 
You're a Smyrnian. You know the Outlanders. Also, you're a trader and one of the best. You've 
been to Korell and you know the Korellians. That's where you've got to go." 

Mallow breathed deeply, "As a spy?" 

"Not at all. As a trader - but with your eyes open. If you can find out where the power is coming 
from - I might remind you, since you're a Smyrnian, that two of those lost trade ships had 
Smyrnian crews." 

"When do I start?" 

"When will your ship be ready?" 

"In six days." 

"Then that's when you start. You'll have all the details at the Admiralty." 

"Right!" The trader rose, shook hands roughly, and strode out. 

Sutt waited, spreading his fingers gingerly and rubbing out the pressure; then shrugged his 
shoulders and stepped into the mayor's office. 

The mayor deadened the visiplate and leaned back. "What do you make of it, Sutt?" 
"He could be a good actor," said Sutt, and stared thoughtfully ahead. 

2 . 

It was evening of the same day, and in Jorane Sutt's bachelor apartment on the twenty-first 
floor of the Hardin Building, Publis Manlio was sipping wine slowly. 

It was Publis Manlio in whose slight, aging body were fulfilled two great offices of the 
Foundation. He was Foreign Secretary in the mayor's cabinet, and to all the outer suns, barring 
only the Foundation itself, he was, in addition, Primate of the Church, Purveyor of the Holy 
Food, Master of the Temples, and so forth almost indefinitely in confusing but sonorous 

He was saying, "But he agreed to let you send out that trader. It is a point." 

"But such a small one," said Sutt. "It gets us nothing immediately. The whole business is the 
crudest sort of stratagem, since we have no way of foreseeing it to the end. It is a mere paying 
out of rope on the chance that somewhere along the length of it will be a noose." 

"True. And this Mallow is a capable man. What if he is not an easy prey to dupery?" 

"That is a chance that must be run. If there is treachery, it is the capable men that are 
implicated. If not, we need a capable man to detect the truth. And Mallow will be guarded. Your 
glass is empty." 

"No, thanks. I've had enough." 

Sutt filled his own glass and patiently endured the other's uneasy reverie. 

Of whatever the reverie consisted, it ended indecisively, for the primate said suddenly, almost 
explosively, "Sutt, what's on your mind?" 

"I'll tell you, Manlio." His thin lips parted, "We're in the middle of a Seldon crisis." 

Manlio stared, then said softly, "How do you know? Has Seldon appeared in the Time Vault 

"That much, my friend, is not necessary. Look, reason it out. Since the Galactic Empire 
abandoned the Periphery, and threw us on our own, we have never had an opponent who 
possessed nuclear power. Now, for the first time, we have one. That seems significant even if it 
stood by itself. And it doesn't. For the first time in over seventy years, we are facing a major 
domestic political crisis. I should think the synchronization of the two crises, inner and outer, 
puts it beyond all doubt." 

Manlio's eyes narrowed, "If that's all, it's not enough. There have been two Seldon crises so far, 
and both times the Foundation was in danger of extermination. Nothing can be a third crisis till 
that danger returns." 

Sutt never showed impatience, "That danger is coming. Any fool can tell a crisis when it arrives. 
The real service to the state is to detect it in embryo. Look, Manlio, we're proceeding along a 
planned history. We know that Hari Seldon worked out the historical probabilities of the future. 
We know that some day we're to rebuild the Galactic Empire. We know that it will take a 
thousand years or thereabouts. And we know that in the interval we will face certain definite 

"Now the first crisis came fifty years after the establishment of the Foundation, and the second, 
thirty years later than that. Almost seventy-five years have gone since. It's time, Manlio, it's 

Manlio rubbed his nose uncertainly, "And you've made your plans to meet this crisis?" 

Sutt nodded. 

"And I," continued Manlio, "am to play a part in it?" 

Sutt nodded again, "Before we can meet the foreign threat of atomic power, we've got to put 
our own house in order. These traders-" 

"Ah!" The primate stiffened, and his eyes grew sharp. 

"That's right. These traders. They are useful, but they are too strong - and too uncontrolled. 
They are Outlanders, educated apart from religion. On the one hand, we put knowledge into 
their hands, and on the other, we remove our strongest hold upon them." 

"If we can prove treachery?" 

"If we could, direct action would be simple and sufficient. But that doesn't signify in the least. 
Even if treason among them did not exist, they would form an uncertain element in our society. 
They wouldn't be bound to us by patriotism or common descent, or even by religious awe. 
Under their secular leadership, the outer provinces, which, since Hardin's time, look to us as 
the Holy Planet, might break away." 

"I see all that, but the cure-" 

"The cure must come quickly, before the Seldon Crisis becomes acute. If nuclear weapons are 
without and disaffection within, the odds might be too great." Sutt put down the empty glass he 
had been fingering, "This is obviously your job." 


"I can't do it. My office is appointive and has no legislative standing." 

"The mayor-" 

"Impossible. His personality is entirely negative. He is energetic only in evading responsibility. 
But if an independent party arose that might endanger re-election, he might allow himself to be 

"But, Sutt, I lack the aptitude for practical politics." 

"Leave that to me. Who knows, Manlio? Since Salvor Hardin's time, the primacy and the 
mayoralty have never been combined in a single person. But it might happen now - if your job 
were well done." 

3 . 

And at the other end of town, in homelier surroundings, Hober Mallow kept a second 
appointment. He had listened long, and now he said cautiously, "Yes, I've heard of your 
campaigns to get trader representation in the council. But why me, Twer?" 

Jaim Twer, who would remind you any time, asked or unasked, that he was in the first group of 
Outlanders to receive a lay education at the Foundation, beamed. 

"I know what I'm doing," he said. "Remember when I met you first, last year." 

"At the Trader's Convention." 

"Right. You ran the meeting. You had those red-necked oxen planted in their seats, then put 
them in your shirtpocket and walked off with them. And you're all right with the Foundation 
masses, too. You've got glamor- or, at any rate, solid adventure-publicity, which is the same 

"Very good," said Mallow, dryly. "But why now?" 

'Because now's our chance. Do you know that the Secretary of Education has handed in his 
resignation? It's not out in the open yet, but it will be." 

"How do you know?" 

"That - never mind-" He waved a disgusted hand. "It's so. The Actionist party is splitting wide 
open, and we can murder it right now on a straight question of equal rights for traders; or, 
rather, democracy, pro- and anti-." 

Mallow lounged back in his chair and stared at his thick fingers, "Uh-uh. Sorry, Twer. I'm 
leaving next week on business. You'll have to get someone else." 

Twer stared, "Business? What kind of business?" 

"Very super-secret. Triple-A priority. All that, you know. Had a talk with the mayor's own 

"Snake Sutt?" Jaim Twer grew excited. "A trick. The son-of-a-spacer is getting rid of you. 

"Hold on!" Mallow's hand fell on the other's balled fist. "Don't go into a blaze. If it's a trick, I'll be 
back some day for the reckoning, if it isn't, your snake, Sutt, is playing into our hands. Listen, 
there's a Seldon crisis coming up." 

Mallow waited for a reaction but it never came. Twer merely stared. "What's a Seldon crisis?" 

"Galaxy!" Mallow exploded angrily at the anticlimax, "What the blue blazes did you do when you 
went to school? What do you mean anyway by a fool question like that?" 

The elder man frowned, "If you'll explain-" 

There was a long pause, then, "I'll explain." Mallow's eyebrows lowered, and he spoke slowly. 
"When the Galactic Empire began to die at the edges, and when the ends of the Galaxy 
reverted to barbarism and dropped away, Hari Seldon and his band of psychologists planted a 
colony, the Foundation, out here in the middle of the mess, so that we could incubate art, 
science, and technology, and form the nucleus of the Second Empire." 

"Oh, yes, yes-" 

"I'm not finished," said the trader, coldly. "The future course of the Foundation was plotted 
according to the science of psychohistory, then highly developed, and conditions arranged so 
as to bring about a series of crises that will force us most rapidly along the route to future 
Empire. Each crisis, each Seldon crisis, marks an epoch in our history. We're approaching one 
now - our third." 

Twer shrugged. "I suppose this was mentioned in school, but I've been out of school a long 
time - longer than you." 

"I suppose so. Forget it. What matters is that I'm being sent out into the middle of the 
development of this crisis. There's no telling what I'll have when I come back, and there is a 
council election every year." 

Twer looked up, "Are you on the track of anything?" 


"You have definite plans?" 

"Not the faintest inkling of one." 


"Well, nothing. Hardin once said: 'To succeed, planning alone is insufficient. One must 
improvise as well.' I'll improvise." 

Twer shook his head uncertainly, and they stood, looking at each other. 

Mallow said, quite suddenly, but quite matter-of-factly, "I tell you what, how about coming with 
me? Don't stare, man. You've been a trader before you decided them was more excitement in 
politics. Or so I've heard." 

"Where are you going? Tell me that." 

Towards the Whassallian Rift. I can't be more specific till we're out in space. What do you say?" 
Suppose Sutt decides he wants me where he can see 

"Not likely. If he's anxious to get rid of me, why not of you as well? Besides which, no trader 

would hit space if he couldn't pick his own crew. I take whom I please." 

There was a queer glint in the older man's eyes, "All right. I'll go." He held out his hand, "It'll be 
my first trip in three years." 

Mallow grasped and shook the other's hand, "Good! All fired good! And now I've got to round 
up the boys. You know where the Far Star docks, don't you? Then show up tomorrow. 

4 . 

Korell is that frequent phenomenon in history: the republic whose ruler has every attribute of 
the absolute monarch but the name. It therefore enjoyed the usual despotism unrestrained 
even by those two moderating influences in the legitimate monarchies: regal "honor" and court 

Materially, its prosperity was low. The day of the Galactic Empire had departed, with nothing 
but silent memorials and broken structures to testify to it. The day of the Foundation had not yet 
come - and in the fierce determination of its ruler, the Commdor Asper Argo, with his strict 
regulation of the traders and his stricter prohibition of the missionaries, it was never coming. 

The spaceport itself was decrepit and decayed, and the crew of the Far Star were drearily 
aware of that. The moldering hangars made for a moldering atmosphere and Jaim Twer itched 
and fretted over a game of solitaire. 

Hober Mallow said thoughtfully, "Good trading material here." He was staring quietly out the 
viewport. So far, there was little else to be said about Korell. The trip here was uneventful. The 
squadron of Korellian ships that had shot out to intercept the Far Star had been tiny, limping 
relics of ancient glory or battered, clumsy hulks. They had maintained their distance fearfully, 
and still maintained it, and for a week now, Mallow's requests for an audience with the local go 
government had been unanswered. 

Mallow repeated, "Good trading here. You might call this virgin territory." 

Jaim Twer looked up impatiently, and threw his cards aside, "What the devil do you intend 
doing, Mallow? The crew's grumbling, the officers are worried, and I’m wondering-" 

"Wondering? About what?" 

"About the situation. And about you. What are we doing?" 


The old trader snorted and grew red. He growled, "You're going it blind, Mallow. There's a 
guard around the field and there are ships overhead. Suppose they're getting ready to blow us 
into a hole in the ground." 

"They've had a week." 

"Maybe they're waiting for reinforcements." Twer's eyes were sharp and hard. 

Mallow sat down abruptly, "Yes, I'd thought of that You see, it poses a pretty problem. First, we 
got here without trouble. That may mean nothing, however, for only three ships out of better 
than three hundred went a-glimmer last year. The percentage is low. But that may mean also 
that the number of their ships equipped with nuclear power is small, and that they dare not 
expose them needlessly, until that number grows. 

"But it could mean, on the other hand, that they haven't nuclear power after all. Or maybe they 
have and are keeping undercover, for fear we know something. It's one thing, after all, to 
piratize blundering, light-armed merchant ships. It's another to fool around with an accredited 
envoy of the Foundation when the mere fact of his presence may mean the Foundation is 
growing suspicious. 

"Combine this-" 

"Flold on, Mallow, hold on." Twer raised his hands. "You're just about drowning me with talk. 
What're you getting at? Never mind the in-betweens." 

"You've got to have the in-betweens, or you won't understand, Twer. We're both waiting. They 
don't know what I'm doing here and I don't know what they've got here. But I'm in the weaker 
position because I'm one and they're an entire world - maybe with atomic power. I can't afford 
to be the one to weaken. Sure it's dangerous. Sure there may be a hole in the ground waiting 
for us. But we knew that from the start. What else is there to do?" 

"I don't-Who's that, now?" 

Mallow looked up patiently, and tuned the receiver. The visiplate glowed into the craggy face of 
the watch sergeant. 

"Speak, sergeant." 

The sergeant said, "Pardon, sir. The men have given entry to a Foundation missionary." 

"A what?' Mallow's face grew livid. 

"A missionary, sit. Fle's in need of hospitalization, sir-" 

"There'll be more than one in need of that, sergeant, for this piece of work. Order the men to 
battle stations." 

Crew's lounge was almost empty. Five minutes after the order, even the men on the off-shift 
were at their guns. It was speed that was the great virtue in the anarchic regions of the 
interstellar space of the Periphery, and it was in speed above all that the crew of a master 
trader excelled. 

Mallow entered slowly, and stared the missionary up and down and around. His eye slid to 
Lieutenant Tinter, who shifted uneasily to one side and to Watch-Sergeant Demen, whose 
blank face and stolid figure flanked the other. 

The Master Trader turned to Twer and paused thoughtfully, "Well, then, Twer, get the officers 

here quietly, except for the co-ordinators and the trajectorian. The men are to remain at stations 
till further orders." 

There was a five-minute hiatus, in which Mallow kicked open the doors to the lavatories, looked 
behind the bar, pulled the draperies across the thick windows. For half a minute he left the 
room altogether, and when he returned he was humming abstractedly. 

Men filed in. Twer followed, and closed the door silently. 

Mallow said quietly, "First, who let this man in without orders from me?" 

The watch sergeant stepped forward. Every eye shifted. "Pardon, sir. It was no definite person. 
It was a sort of mutual agreement. Fie was one of us, you might say, and these foreigners 

Mallow cut him short, "I sympathize with your feelings, sergeant, and understand them. These 
men, were they under your command?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"When this is over, they're to be confined to individual quarters for a week. You yourself are 
relieved of all supervisory duties for a similar period. Understood?" 

The sergeant's face never changed, but there was the slightest droop to his shoulders. Fie said, 
crisply, "Yes, sir." 

"You may leave. Get to your gun-station." 

The door closed behind him and the babble rose. 

Twer broke in, "Why the punishment, Mallow? You know that these Korellians kill captured 

"An action against my orders is bad in itself whatever other reasons there may be in its favor. 

No one was to leave or enter the ship without permission." 

Lieutenant Tinter murmured rebelliously, "Seven days without action. You can't maintain 
discipline that way." 

Mallow said icily, "/can. There's no merit in discipline under ideal circumstances. I'll have it in 
the face of death, or it's useless. Where's this missionary? Get him here in front of me." 

The trader sat down, while the scarlet-cloaked figure was carefully brought forward. 

"What's your name, reverend?" 

"Eh?" The scarlet-robed figure wheeled towards Mallow, the whole body turning as a unit. FHis 
eyes were blankly open and there was a bruise on one temple. Fie had not spoken, nor, as far 
as Mallow could tell, moved during all the previous interval. 

"Your name, revered one?" 

The missionary started to sudden feverish life. FHis arms went out in an embracing gesture. "My 

son - my children. May you always be in the protecting arms of the Galactic Spirit." 

Twer stepped forward, eyes troubled, voice husky, "The man's sick. Take him to bed, 
somebody. Order him to bed, Mallow, and have him seen to. He's badly hurt." 

Mallow's great arm shoved him back, "Don't interfere, Twer, or I'll have you out of the room. 
Your name, revered one?" 

The missionary's hands clasped in sudden supplication, "As you are enlightened men, save me 
from the heathen." The words tumbled out, "Save me from these brutes and darkened ones 
who raven after me and would afflict the Galactic Spirit with their crimes. I am Jord Parma, of 
the Anacreonian worlds. Educated at the Foundation; the Foundation itself, my children. I am a 
Priest of the Spirit educated into all the mysteries, who have come here where the inner voice 
called me." He was gasping. "I have suffered at the hands of the unenlightened. As you are 
Children of the Spirit; and in the name of that Spirit, protect me from them." 

A voice broke in upon them, as the emergency alarm box clamored metallically: 

"Enemy units in sight! Instruction desired!" 

Every eye shot mechanically upward to the speaker. 

Mallow swore violently. He clicked open the reverse and yelled, "Maintain vigil! That is all!" and 
turned it off. 

He made his way to the thick drapes that rustled aside at a touch and stared grimly out, 

Enemy units! Several thousands of them in the persons of the individual members of a 
Korellian mob. The rolling rabble encompassed the port from extreme end to extreme end, and 
in the cold, hard light of magnesium flares the foremost straggled closer. 

"Tinter!" The trader never turned, but the back of his neck was red. "Get the outer speaker 
working and find out what they want. Ask if they have a representative of the law with them. 
Make no promises and no threats, or I'll kill you." 

Tinter turned and left. 

Mallow felt a rough hand on his shoulder and he struck it aside. It was Twer. His voice was an 
angry hiss in his ear, "Mallow, you're bound to hold onto this man. There's no way of 
maintaining decency and honor otherwise. He's of the Foundation and, after all, he - is a priest. 
These savages outside- Do you hear me?" 

"I hear you, Twer." Mallow's voice was incisive. "I've got more to do here than guard 
missionaries. I'll do, sir, what I please, and, by Seldon and all the Galaxy, if you try to stop me, 
I'll tear out your stinking windpipe. Don't get in my way, Twer, or it will be the last of you." 

He turned and strode past. "You! Revered Parma! Did you know that, by convention, no 
Foundation missionaries may enter the Korellian territory?" 

The missionary was trembling, "I can but go where the Spirit leads, my son. If the darkened 
ones refuse enlightenment, is it not the greater sign of their need for it?" 

"That's outside the question, revered one. You are here against the law of both Korell and the 
Foundation. I cannot in law protect you." 

The missionary's hands were raised again. His earlier bewilderment was gone. There was the 
raucous clamor of the ship's outer communication system in action, and the faint, undulating 
gabble of the angry horde in response. The sound made his eyes wild. 

"You hear them? Why do you talk of law to me, of a law made by men? There are higher laws. 
Was it not the Galactic Spirit that said: Thou shalt not stand idly by to the hurl of thy fellowman. 
And has he not said: Even as thou dealest with the humble and defenseless, thus shalt thou be 
dealt with. 

"Have you not guns? Have you not a ship? And behind you is there not the Foundation? And 
above and all-about you is there not the Spirit that rules the universe?" He paused for breath. 

And then the great outer voice of the Far Star ceased and Lieutenant Tinter was back, troubled. 

"Speak!" said Mallow, shortly. 

"Sir, they demand the person of Jord Parma." 

"If not?" 

"There are various threats, sir. It is difficult to make much out. There are so many - and they 
seem quite mad. There is someone who says he governs the district and has police powers, 
but he is quite evidently not his own master." 

"Master or not," shrugged Mallow, "he is the law. Tell them that if this governor, or policeman, 
or whatever he is, approaches the ship alone, he can have the Revered Jord Parma." 

And there was suddenly a gun in his hand. He added, "I don't know what insubordination is. I 
have never had any experience with it. But if there's anyone here who thinks he can teach me, 
I'd like to teach him my antidote in return." 

The gun swiveled slowly, and rested on Twer. With an effort, the old trader's face untwisted and 
his hands unclenched and lowered. His breath was a harsh rasp in his nostrils. 

Tinter left, and in five minutes a puny figure detached itself from the crowd. It approached 
slowly and hesitantly, plainly drenched in fear and apprehension. Twice it turned back, and 
twice the patently obvious threats of the many-headed monster urged him on. 

"All right," Mallow gestured with the hand-blaster, which remained unsheathed. "Grun and 
Upshur, take him out." 

The missionary screeched. He raised his arms and rigid fingers speared upward as the 
voluminous sleeves fell away to reveal the thin, veined arms. There was a momentary, tiny 
flash of light that came and went in a breath. Mallow blinked and gestured again, 

The missionary's voice poured out as he struggled in the two-fold grasp, "Cursed be the traitor 
who abandons his fellowman to evil and to death. Deafened be the ears that are deaf to the 

pleadings of the helpless. Blind be the eyes that are blind to innocence. Blackened forever be 
the soul that consorts with blackness-" 

Twer clamped his hands tightly over his ears. 

Mallow flipped his blaster and put it away. "Disperse," he said, evenly, "to respective stations. 
Maintain full vigil for six hours after dispersion of crowd. Double stations for forty-eight hours 
thereafter. Further instructions at that time. Twer, come with me." 

They were alone in Mallow's private quarters. Mallow indicated a chair and Twer sat down. His 
stocky figure looked shrunken. 

Mallow stared him down, sardonically. "Twer," he said, "I'm disappointed. Your three years in 
politics seem to have gotten you out of trader habits. Remember, I may be a democrat back at 
the Foundation, but there's nothing short of tyranny that can run my ship the way I want it run. I 
never had to pull a blaster on my men before, and I wouldn't have had to now, if you hadn't 
gone out of line. 

"Twer, you have no official position, but you're here on my invitation, and I'll extend you every 
courtesy - in private. However, from now on, in the presence of my officers or men, I'm 'sir,' 
and not 'Mallow.' And when I give an order, you'll jump faster than a third-class recruit just for 
luck, or I'll have you handcuffed in the sub-level even faster. Understand?" 

The party-leader swallowed dryly. He said, reluctantly, "My apologies." 

"Accepted! Will you shake?" 

Twer's limp fingers were swallowed in Mallow's huge palm. Twer said, "My motives were good. 
It's difficult to send a man out to be lynched. That wobbly-kneed governor or whatever-he-was 
can't save him. It's murder." 

"I can't help that. Frankly, the incident smelled too bad. Didn't you notice?" 

"Notice what?" 

"This spaceport is deep in the middle of a sleepy far section. Suddenly a missionary escapes. 
Where from? He comes here. Coincidence? A huge crowd gathers. From where? The nearest 
city of any size must be at least a hundred miles away. But they arrive in half an hour. How?" 

"How?" echoed Twer. 

"Well, what if the missionary were brought here and released as bait. Our friend, Revered 
Parma, was considerably confused. He seemed at no time to be in complete possession of his 

"Hard usage-" murmured Twer bitterly. 

"Maybe! And maybe the idea was to have us go all chivalrous and gallant, into a stupid defense 
of the man. He was here against the laws of Korell and the Foundation. If I withhold him, it is an 
act of war against Korell, and the Foundation would have no legal right to defend us." 

"That - that's pretty far-fetched." 

The speaker blared and forestalled Mallow's answer: "Sir, official communication received." 
"Submit immediately!" 

The gleaming cylinder arrived in its slot with a click. Mallow opened it and shook out the 
silver-impregnated sheet it held. He rubbed it appreciatively between thumb and finger and 
said, "Teleported direct from the capital. Commdor's own stationery." 

He read it in a glance and laughed shortly, "So my idea was far-fetched, was it?" 

He tossed it to Twer, and added, "Half an hour after we hand back the missionary, we finally 
get a very polite invitation to the Commdor's august presence - after seven days of previous 
waiting. / think we passed a test." 

5 . 

Commdor Asper was a man of the people, by self-acclamation. His remaining back-fringe of 
gray hair drooped limply to his shoulders, his shirt needed laundering, and he spoke with a 

"There is no ostentation here, Trader Mallow," he said. "No false show. In me, you see merely 
the first citizen of the state. That's what Commdor means, and that's the only title I have." 

He seemed inordinately pleased with it all, "in fact, I consider that fact one of the strongest 
bonds between Korell and your nation. I understand you people enjoy the republican blessings 
we do." 

"Exactly, Commdor," said Mallow gravely, taking mental exception to the comparison, "an 
argument which I consider strongly in favor of continued peace and friendship between our 

"Peace! Ah!" The Commdor's sparse gray beard twitched to the sentimental grimaces of his 
face. "I don't think there is anyone in the Periphery who has so near his heart the ideal of 
Peace, as I have. I can truthfully say that since I succeeded my illustrious father to the 
leadership of the state, the reign of Peace has never been broken. Perhaps I shouldn't say it" 
-he coughed gently- "but I have been told that my people, my fellow-citizens rather, know me 
as Asper, the Well-Beloved." 

Mallow's eyes wandered over the well-kept garden. Perhaps the tall men and the 
strangely-designed but openly-vicious weapons they carried just happened to be lurking in odd 
comers as a precaution against himself. That would be understandable. But the lofty, 
steel-girdered walls that circled the place had quite obviously been recently strengthened - an 
unfitting occupation for such a Well-Beloved Asper. 

He said, "It is fortunate that I have you to deal with then, Commdor. The despots and monarchs 
of surrounding worlds, which haven't the benefit of enlightened administration, often lack the 
qualities that would make a ruler well-beloved." 

Such as?" There was a cautious note in the Commdor's voice. 

"Such as a concern for the best interests of their people, You, on the other hand, would 

The Commdor kept his eyes on the gravel path as they walked leisurely, His hands caressed 
each other behind his back. 

Mallow went on smoothly, "Up to now, trade between our two nations has suffered because of 
the restrictions placed upon our traders by your government. Surely, it has long been evident to 
you that unlimited trade-" 

"Free Trade!" mumbled the Commdor. 

"Free Trade, then. You must see that it would be of benefit to both of us. There are things you 
have that we want, and things we have that you want. It asks only an exchange to bring 
increased prosperity. An enlightened ruler such as yourself, a friend of the people - I might say, 
a member of the people - needs no elaboration on that theme. I won't insult your intelligence by 
offering any." 

"True! I have seen this. But what would you?" His voice was a plaintive whine. "Your people 
have always been so unreasonable. I am in favor of all the trade our economy can support, but 
not on your terms. I am not sole master here." His voice rose, "I am only the servant of public 
opinion. My people will not take commerce which carries with it a compulsory religion." 

Mallow drew himself up, "A compulsory religion?" 

"So it has always been in effect. Surely you remember the case of Askone twenty years ago. 
First they were sold some of your goods and then your people asked for complete freedom of 
missionary effort in order that the goods might be run properly; that Temples of Health be set 
up. There was then the establishment of religious schools; autonomous rights for all officers of 
the religion and with what result? Askone is now an integral member of the Foundation's 
system and the Grand Master cannot call his underwear his own. Oh, no! Oh, no! The dignity of 
an independent people could never suffer it." 

"None of what you speak is at all what I suggest," interposed Mallow. 


"No. I'm a Master Trader. Money is my religion. All this mysticism and hocus-pocus of the 
missionaries annoy me, and I'm glad you refuse to countenance it. It makes you more my type 
of man." 

The Commdor's laugh was high-pitched and jerky, "Well said! The Foundation should have 
sent a man of your caliber before this." 

He laid a friendly hand upon the trader's bulking shoulder, "But man, you have told me only 
half. You have told me what the catch is not. Now tell me what it is" 

"The only catch, Commdor, is that you're going to be burdened with an immense quantity of 

"Indeed?" he snuffled. "But what could I want with riches? The true wealth is the love of one's 
people. I have that." 

"You can have both, for it is possible to gather gold with one hand and love with the other." 

"Now that, my young man, would be an interesting phenomenon, if it were possible. How would 
you go about it?" 

"Oh, in a number of ways. The difficulty is choosing among them. Let's see. Well, luxury items, 
for instance. This object here, now-" 

Mallow drew gently out of an inner pocket a flat, linked chain of polished metal. "This, for 

"What is it?" 

"That's got to be demonstrated. Can you get a woman? Any young female will do. And a mirror, 
full length." 

"Hm-m-m. Let's get indoors, then." 

The Commdor referred to his dwelling place as a house. The populace undoubtedly would call 
it a palace. To Mallow's straightforward eyes, it looked uncommonly like a fortress, it was built 
on an eminence that overlooked the capital. Its walls were thick and reinforced. Its approaches 
were guarded, and its architecture was shaped for defense. Just the type of dwelling, Mallow 
thought sourly, for Asper, the Well-Beloved. 

A young girl was before them. She bent low to the Commdor, who said, "This is one of the 
Commdora's girls. Will she do?" 


The Commdor watched carefully while Mallow snapped the chain about the girl's waist, and 
stepped back. 

The Commdor snuffled, "Well. Is that all?" 

"Will you draw the curtain, Commdor. Young lady, there's a little knob just near the snap. Will 
you move it upward, please? Go ahead, it won't hurt you." 

The girl did so, drew a sharp breath, looked at her hands, and gasped, "Oh!" 

From her waist as a source she was drowned in a pale, streaming luminescence of shifting 
color that drew itself over her head in a flashing coronet of liquid fire. It was as if someone had 
tom the aurora borealis out of the sky and molded it into a cloak. 

The girl stepped to the mirror and stared, fascinated. 

"Here, take this." Mallow handed her a necklace of dull pebbles. "Put it around your neck." 

The girl did so, and each pebble, as it entered the luminescent field became an individual flame 
that leaped and sparkled in crimson and gold. 

"What do you think of it?" Mallow asked her. The girl didn't answer but there was adoration in 
her eyes. The Commdor gestured and reluctantly, she pushed the knob down, and the glory 
died. She left - with a memory. 

"It's yours, Commdor," said Mallow, "for the Commdora. Consider it a small gift from the 

"Hm-m-m.' The Commdor turned the belt and necklace over in his hand as though calculating 
the weight. "How is it done?" 

Mallow shrugged, "That's a question for our technical experts. But it will work for you without - 
mark you, without- priestly help." 

"Well, it's only feminine frippery after all. What could you do with it? Where would the money 
come in?" 

"You have balls, receptions, banquets - that sort of thing?" 

"Oh, yes." 

"Do you realize what women will pay for that sort of jewelry? Ten thousand credits, at least." 
The Commdor seemed struck in a heap, "Ah!" 

"And since the power unit of this particular item will not last longer than six months, there will be 
the necessity of frequent replacements. Now we can sell as many of these as you want for the 
equivalent in wrought iron of one thousand credits. There's nine hundred percent profit for you." 

The Commdor plucked at his beard and seemed engaged in awesome mental calculations, 
"Galaxy, how they would fight for them. I'll keep the supply small and let them bid. Of course, it 
wouldn't do to let them know that I personally-" 

Mallow said, "We can explain the workings of dummy corporations, if you would like. -Then, 
working further at random, take our complete line of household gadgets. We have collapsible 
stoves that will roast the toughest meats to the desired tenderness in two minutes. We've got 
knives that won't require sharpening. We've got the equivalent of a complete laundry that can 
be packed in a small closet and will work entirely automatically. Ditto dish-washers. Ditto-ditto 
floor-scrubbers, furniture polishers, dust-precipitators, lighting fixtures - oh, anything you like. 
Think of your increased popularity, if you make them available to the public. Think of your 
increased quantity of, uh, worldly goods, if they're available as a government monopoly at nine 
hundred percent profit. It will be worth many times the money to them, and they needn't know 
what you pay for it. And, mind you, none of it will require priestly supervision. Everybody will be 

"Except you, it seems. What do you get out of it?" 

"Just what every trader gets by Foundation law. My men and I will collect half of whatever 
profits we take in. Just you buy all I want to sell you, and we'll both make out quite well. Quite 

The Commdor was enjoying his thoughts, "What did you say you wanted to be paid with? Iron? 

"That, and coal, and bauxite. Also tobacco, pepper, magnesium, hardwood. Nothing you 
haven't got enough of." 

"It sounds well." 

"I think so. Oh, and still another item at random, Commdor. I could retool your factories." 

"Eh? How's that?" 

"Well, take your steel foundries. I have handy little gadgets that could do tricks with steel that 
would cut production costs to one percent of previous marks. You could cut prices by half, and 
still split extremely fat profits with the manufacturers. I tell you, I could show you exactly what I 
mean, if you allowed me a demonstration. Do you have a steel foundry in this city? It wouldn't 
take long." 

"It could be arranged, Trader Mallow. But tomorrow, tomorrow. Would you dine with us 

"My men-" began Mallow. 

"Let them all come," said the Commdor, expansively. "A symbolic friendly union of our nations. 
It will give us a chance for further friendly discussion. But one thing," his face lengthened and 
grew stem, "none of your religion. Don't think that all this is an entering wedge for the 

"Commdor," said Mallow, dryly, "I give you my word that religion would cut my profits." 

"Then that will do for now. You'll be escorted back to your ship." 

6 . 

The Commdora was much younger than her husband. Her face was pale and coldly formed 
and her black hair was drawn smoothly and tightly back. 

Her voice was tart. "You are quite finished, my gracious and noble husband? Quite, quite 
finished? I suppose I may even enter the garden if I wish, now." 

"There is no need for dramatics, Licia, my dear," said the Commdor, mildly. "The young man 
will attend at dinner tonight, and you can speak with him all you wish and even amuse yourself 
by listening to all I say. Room will have to be arranged for his men somewhere about the place. 
The stars grant that they be few in numbers." 

"Most likely they'll be great hogs of eaters who will eat meat by the quarter-animal and wine by 
the hogshead. And you will groan for two nights when you calculate the expense." 

"Well now, perhaps I won't. Despite your opinion, the dinner is to be on the most lavish scale." 

"Oh, I see." She stared at him contemptuously. "You are very friendly with these barbarians. 
Perhaps that is why I was not to be permitted to attend your conversation. Perhaps your little 

weazened soul is plotting to turn against my father." 

"Not at all." 

"Yes, I'd be likely to believe you, wouldn't I? If ever a poor woman was sacrificed for policy to 
an unsavory marriage, it was myself. I could have picked a more proper man from the alleys 
and mudheaps of my native world." 

"Well, now, I'll tell you what, my lady. Perhaps you would enjoy returning to your native world. 
Except that, to retain as a souvenir that portion of you with which I am best acquainted, I could 
have your tongue cut out first. And," he tolled his head, calculatingly, to one side, "as a final 
improving touch to your beauty, your ears and the tip of your nose as well." 

"You wouldn't dare, you little pug-dog. My father would pulverize your toy nation to meteoric 
dust. In fact, he might do it in any case, if I told him you were treating with these barbarians." 

"Hm-m-m. Well, there's no need for threats. You are free to question the man yourself tonight. 
Meanwhile, madam, keep your wagging tongue still." 

"At your orders?" 

"Here, take this, then, and keep still." 

The band was about her waist and the necklace around her neck. He pushed the knob himself 
and stepped back. 

The Commdora drew in her breath and held out her hands stiffly. She fingered the necklace 
gingerly, and gasped again. 

The Commdor rubbed his hands with satisfaction and said, "You may wear it tonight - and I'll 
get you more. Now keep still." 

The Commdora kept still. 

7 . 

Jaim Twer fidgeted and shuffled his feet. He said, "What's twisting yoi/rface?" 

Hober Mallow lifted out of his brooding, "Is my face twisted? It's not meant so." 

"Something must have happened yesterday, -I mean, besides that feast." With sudden 
conviction, "Mallow, there's trouble, isn't there?" 

"Trouble? No. Quite the opposite. In fact, I'm in the position of throwing my full weight against a 
door and finding it ajar at the time. We're getting into this steel foundry too easily." 

"You suspect a trap?" 

"Oh, for Seldon's sake, don't be melodramatic." Mallow swallowed his impatience and added 
conversationally, "It's just that the easy entrance means there will be nothing to see. 

"Nuclear power, huh?" Twer ruminated. "I'll tell you. There's just about no evidence of any 
nuclear power economy here in Korell. And it would be pretty hard to mask all signs of the 
widespread effects a fundamental technology such as nucleics would have on everything." 

"Not if it was just starting up, Twer, and being applied to a war economy. You'd find it in the 
shipyards and the steel foundries only." 

"So if we don't find it, then-" 

"Then they haven't got it - or they're not showing it. Toss a coin or take a guess." 

Twer shook his head, "I wish I'd been with you yesterday." 

"I wish you had, too," said Mallow stonily. "I have no objection to moral support. Unfortunately, 
it was the Commdor who set the terms of the meeting, and not myself. And what is coming now 
would seem to be the royal groundcar to escort us to the foundry. Have you got the gadgets?" 

"All of them." 

8 . 

The foundry was large, and bore the odor of decay which no amount of superficial repairs could 
quite erase. It was empty now and in quite an unnatural state of quiet, as it played 
unaccustomed host to the Commdor and his court. 

Mallow had swung the steel sheet onto the two supports with a careless heave. He had taken 
the instrument held out to him by Twer and was gripping the leather handle inside its leaden 

"The instrument," he said, "is dangerous, but so is a buzz saw. You just have to keep your 
fingers away." 

And as he spoke, he drew the muzzle-slit swiftly down the length of the steel sheet, which 
quietly and instantly fell in two. 

There was a unanimous jump, and Mallow laughed. He picked up one of the halves and 
propped it against his knee, "You can adjust the cutting-length accurately to a hundredth of an 
inch, and a two-inch sheet will slit down the middle as easily as this thing did. If you've got the 
thickness exactly judged, you can place steel on a wooden table, and split the metal without 
scratching the wood." 

And at each phrase, the nuclear shear moved and a gouged chunk of steel flew across the 

"That," he said, "is whittling - with steel." 

He passed back the shear. "Or else you have the plane. Do you want to decrease the thickness 
of a sheet, smooth out an irregularity, remove corrosion? Watch!" 

Thin, transparent foil flew off the other half of the original sheet in six-inch swarths, then 
eight-inch, then twelve. 

"Or drills? It's all the same principle." 

They were crowded around now. It might have been a sleight-of-hand show, a comer magician, 
a vaudeville act made into high-pressure salesmanship. Commdor Asper fingered scraps of 
steel. High officials of the government tiptoed over each other's shoulders, and whispered, 
while Mallow punched clean, beautiful round holes through an inch of hard steel at every touch 
of his nuclear drill. 

"Just one more demonstration. Bring two short lengths of pipe, somebody." 

An Honorable Chamberlain of something-or-other sprang to obedience in the general 
excitement and thought-absorption, and stained his hands like any laborer. 

Mallow stood them upright and shaved the ends off with a single stroke of the shear, and then 
joined the pipes, fresh cut to fresh cut. 

And there was a single pipe! The new ends, with even atomic irregularities missing, formed one 
piece upon joining. 

Then Mallow looked up at his audience, stumbled at his first word and stopped. There was the 
keen stirring of excitement in his chest, and the base of his stomach went tingly and cold. 

The Commdor's own bodyguard, in the confusion, had struggled to the front line, and Mallow, 
for the first time, was near enough to see their unfamiliar hand-weapons in detail. 

They were nuclear! There was no mistaking it; an explosive projectile weapon with a barrel like 
that was impossible. But that wasn't the big point. That wasn't the point at all. 

The butts of those weapons had, deeply etched upon them, in worn gold plating, the 

The same Spaceship-and-Sun that was stamped on every, one of the great volumes of the 
original Encyclopedia that the Foundation had begun and not yet finished. The same 
Spaceship-and-Sun that had blazoned the banner of the Galactic Empire through millennia. 

Mallow talked through and around his thoughts, "Test that pipe! It's one piece. Not perfect; 
naturally, the joining shouldn't be done by hand." 

There was no need of further legerdemain. It had gone over. Mallow was through. He had what 
he wanted. There was only one thing in his mind. The golden globe with its conventionalized 
rays, and the oblique cigar shape that was a space vessel. 

The Spaceship-and-Sun of the Empire! 

The Empire! The words drilled! A century and a half had passed but there was still the-Empire, 
somewhere deeper in the Galaxy. And it was emerging again, out into the Periphery. 

Mallow smiled! 

9 . 

The Far Star was two days out in space, when Hober Mallow, in his private quarters with Senior 
Lieutenant Drawt, handed him an envelope, a roll of microfilm, and a silvery spheroid. 

"As of an hour from now, Lieutenant, you're Acting Captain of the Far Star, until I return, -or 

Drawt made a motion of standing but Mallow waved him down imperiously. 

"Quiet, and listen. The envelope contains the exact location of the planet to which you're to 
proceed. There you will wait for me for two months. If, before the two months are up, the 
Foundation locates you, the microfilm is my report of the trip. 

"If, however," and his voice was somber, "I do not return at the end of two months, and 
Foundation vessels do not locate you, proceed to the planet, Terminus, and hand in the Time 
Capsule as the report. Do you understand that?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"At no time are you, or any of the men, to amplify in any single instance, my official report." 

"If we are questioned, sir?" 

"Then you know nothing." 

"Yes, sir." 

The interview ended, and fifty minutes later, a lifeboat kicked lightly off the side of the Far Star. 

10 . 

Onum Barr was an old man, too old to be afraid. Since the last disturbances, he had lived alone 
on the fringes of the land with what books he had saved from the ruins. Fie had nothing he 
feared losing, least of all the worn remnant of his life, and so he faced the intruder without 

"Your door was open," the stranger explained. 

His accent was clipped and harsh, and Barr did not fail to notice the strange blue-steel 
hand-weapon at his hip. In the half gloom of the small room, Barr saw the glow of a force-shield 
surrounding the man. 

He said, wearily, "There is no reason to keep it closed. Do you wish anything of me?" 

"Yes." The stranger remained standing in the center of the room. He was large, both in height 
and bulk. "Yours is the only house about here." 

"It is a desolate place," agreed Barr, "but there is a town to the east. I can show you the way'." 

"In awhile. May I sit?" 

"If the chairs will hold you," said the old man, gravely. They were old, too. Relics of a better 

The stranger said, "My name is Hober Mallow. I come from a far province." 

Barr nodded and smiled, "Your tongue convicted you of that long ago. I am Onum Barr of 
Siwenna - and once Patrician of the Empire." 

"Then this is Siwenna. I had only old maps to guide me." 

"They would have to be old, indeed, for star-positions to be misplaced." 

Barr sat quite still, while the other's eyes drifted away into a reverie. He noticed that the nuclear 
force-shield had vanished from about the man and admitted dryly to himself that his person no 
longer seemed formidable to strangers - or even, for good or for evil, to his enemies. 

He said, "My house is poor and my resources few. You may share what I have if your stomach 
can endure black bread and dried corn." 

Mallow shook his head, "No, I have eaten, and I can't stay. All I need are the directions to the 
center of government." 

"That is easily enough done, and poor though I am, deprives me of nothing. Do you mean the 
capital of the planet, or of the Imperial Sector?" 

The younger man's eyes narrowed, "Aren't the two identical? Isn't this Siwenna?" 

The old patrician nodded slowly, "Siwenna, yes. But Siwenna is no longer capital of the 
Normannic Sector. Your old map has misled you after all. The stars may not change even in 
centuries, but political boundaries are all too fluid." 

"That's too bad. In fact, that's very bad. Is the new capital far off?" 

"It's on Orsha II. Twenty parsecs off. Your map will direct you. How old is it?" 

"A hundred and fifty years." 

"That old?" The old man sighed. "History has been crowded since. Do you know any of it?" 
Mallow shook his bead slowly. 

Barr said, "You're fortunate. It has been an evil time for the provinces, but for the reign of 
Stannell VI, and he died fifty years ago. Since that time, rebellion and ruin, ruin and rebellion." 
Barr wondered if he were growing garrulous. It was a lonely life out here, and he had so little 
chance to talk to men. 

Mallow said with sudden sharpness, "Ruin, eh? You sound as if the province were 

"Perhaps not on an absolute scale. The physical resources of twenty-five first-rank planets take 

a long time to use up. Compared to the wealth of the last century, though, we have gone a long 
way downhill - and there is no sign of turning, not yet. Why are you so interested in all this, 
young man? You are all alive and your eyes shine!" 

The trader came near enough to blushing, as the faded eyes seemed to look too deep into his 
and smile at what they saw. 

He said, "Now look here. I'm a trader out there - out toward the rim of the Galaxy. I've located 
some old maps, and I'm out to open new markets. Naturally, talk of impoverished provinces 
disturbs me. You can't get money out of a world unless money's there to be got. Now how's 
Siwenna, for instance?" 

The old man leaned forward, "I cannot say. It will do even yet, perhaps. But you a trader? You 
look more like a fighting man. You hold your hand near your gun and there is a scar on your 

Mallow jerked his head, "There isn't much law out there where I come from. Fighting and scars 
are part of a trader's overhead. But fighting is only useful when there's money at the end, and if 
I can get it without, so much the sweeter. Now will I find enough money here to make it worth 
the fighting? I take it I can find the fighting easily enough." 

"Easily enough," agreed Barr. "You could join Wiscard's remnants in the Red Stars. I don't 
know, though, if you'd call that fighting or piracy. Or you could join our present gracious viceroy 
- gracious by right of murder, pillage, rapine, and the word of a boy Emperor, since rightfully 
assassinated." The patrician's thin cheeks reddened. His eyes closed and then opened, 

"You don't sound very friendly to the viceroy, Patrician Barr," said Mallow. "What if I'm one of 
his spies?" 

"What if you are?" said Barr, bitterly. "What can you take?" He gestured a withered arm at the 
bare interior of the decaying mansion. 

"Your life." 

"It would leave me easily enough. It has been with me five years too long. But you are not one 
of the viceroy's men. If you were, perhaps even now instinctive self-preservation would keep 
my mouth closed." 

"How do you know?" 

The old man laughed, "You seem suspicious - Come, I'll wager you think I'm trying to trap you 
into denouncing the government. No, no. I am past politics." 

"Past politics? Is a man ever past that? The words you used to describe the viceroy - what 
were they? Murder, pillage, all that. You didn't sound objective. Not exactly. Not as if you were 
past politics." 

The old man shrugged, "Memories sting when they come suddenly. Listen! Judge for yourself! 
When Siwenna was the provincial capital, I was a patrician and a member of the provincial 

senate. My family was an old and honored one. One of my great-grandfathers had been- No, 
never mind that. Past glories are poor feeding." 

"I take it," said Mallow, "there was a civil war, or a revolution." 

Barr's face darkened. "Civil wars are chronic in these degenerate days, but Siwenna had kept 
apart. Under Stannell VI, it had almost achieved its ancient prosperity. But weak emperors 
followed, and weak emperors mean strong viceroys, and our last viceroy - the same Wiscard, 
whose remnants still prey on the commerce among the Red Stars - aimed at the Imperial 
Purple. He wasn't the first to aim. And if he had succeeded, he wouldn't have been the first to 

"But he failed. For when the Emperor's Admiral approached the province at the head of a fleet, 
Siwenna itself rebelled against its rebel viceroy." He stopped, sadly. 

Mallow found himself tense on the edge of his seat, and relaxed slowly, "Please continue, sir." 

"Thank you," said Barr, wearily. "It's kind of you to humor an old man. They rebelled; or I should 
say, we rebelled, for I was one of the minor leaders. Wiscard left Siwenna, barely ahead of us, 
and the planet, and with it the province, were thrown open to the admiral with every gesture of 
loyalty to the Emperor. Why we did this, -I'm not sure. Maybe we felt loyal to the symbol, if not 
the person, of the Emperor, -a cruel and vicious child. Maybe we feared the horrors of a siege." 

"Well?" urged Mallow, gently. 

"Well, came the grim retort, "that didn't suit the admiral. He wanted the glory of conquering a 
rebellious province and his men wanted the loot such conquest would involve. So while the 
people were still gathered in every large city, cheering the Emperor and his admiral, he 
occupied all armed centers, and then ordered the population put to the nuclear blast." 

"On what pretext?" 

"On the pretext that they had rebelled against their viceroy, the Emperor's anointed. And the 
admiral became the new viceroy, by virtue of one month of massacre, pillage and complete 
horror. I had six sons. Five died - variously. I had a daughter. I hope she died, eventually. / 
escaped because I was old. I came here, too old to cause even our viceroy worry." He bent his 
gray head, "They left me nothing, because I had helped drive out a rebellious governor and 
deprived an admiral of his glory." 

Mallow sat silent, and waited. Then, "What of your sixth son?" he asked softly. 

"Eh?" Barr smiled acidly. "He is safe, for he has joined the admiral as a common soldier under 
an assumed name. He is a gunner in the viceroy's personal fleet. Oh, no, I see your eyes. He is 
not an unnatural son. He visits me when he can and gives me what he can. He keeps me alive. 
And some day, our great and glorious viceroy will grovel to his death, and it will be my son who 
will be his executioner." 

"And you tell this to a stranger? You endanger your son." 

"No. I help him, by introducing a new enemy. And were I a friend of the viceroy, as I am his 

enemy, I would tell him to string outer space with ships, clear to the rim of the Galaxy." 

"There are no ships there?" 

"Did you find any? Did any space-guards question your entry? With ships few enough, and the 
bordering provinces filled with their share of intrigue and iniquity, none can be spared to guard 
the barbarian outer suns. No danger ever threatened us from the broken edge of the Galaxy, 
-until you came." 

"I? I'm no danger." 

"There will be more after you." 

Mallow shook his head slowly, "I'm not sure I understand you." 

"Listen!" There was a feverish edge to the old man's voice. "I knew you when you entered. You 
have a force-shield about your body, or had when I first saw you." 

Doubtful silence, then, "Yes, -I had." 

"Good. That was a flaw, but you didn't know that. There are some things I know. It's out of 
fashion in these decaying times to be a scholar. Events race and flash past and who cannot 
fight the tide with nuclear-blast in hand is swept away, as I was. But I was a scholar, and I know 
that in all the history of nucleics, no portable force-shield was ever invented. We have 
force-shields - huge, lumbering powerhouses that will protect a city, or even a ship, but not 
one, single man." 

"Ah?" Mallow's underlip thrust out. "And what do you deduce from that?" 

"There have been stories percolating through space. They travel strange paths and become 
distorted with every parsec, -but when I was young there was a small ship of strange men, who 
did not know our customs and could not tell where they came from. They talked of magicians at 
the edge of the Galaxy; magicians who glowed in the darkness, who flew unaided through the 
air, and whom weapons would not touch. 

"We laughed. I laughed, too. I forgot it till today. But you glow in the darkness, and I don't think 
my blaster, if I had one, would hurt you. Tell me, can you fly through air as you sit there now?" 

Mallow said calmly, "I can make nothing of all this." 

Barr smiled, "I'm content with the answer. I do not examine my guests. But if there are 
magicians; if you are one of them; there may some day be a great influx of them, or you. 
Perhaps that would be well. Maybe we need new blood." He muttered soundlessly to himself, 
then, slowly, "But it works the other way, too. Our new viceroy also dreams, as did our old 

"Also after the Emperor's crown?" 

Barr nodded, "My son hears tales. In the viceroy's personal entourage, one could scarcely help 
it. And he tells me of them. Our new viceroy would not refuse the Crown if offered, but he 
guards his line of retreat. There are stories that, failing Imperial heights, he plans to carve out a 

new Empire in the Barbarian hinterland. It is said, but I don't vouch for this, that he has already 
given one of his daughters as wife to a Kinglet somewhere in the uncharted Periphery." 

"If one listened to every story-" 

"I know. There are many more. I'm old and I babble nonsense. But what do you say?" And 
those sharp, old eyes peered deep. 

The trader considered, "I say nothing. But I'd like to ask something. Does Siwenna have 
nuclear power? Now, wait, I know that it possesses the knowledge of nucleics. I mean, do they 
have power generators intact, or did the recent sack destroy them?" 

"Destroy them? Oh, no. Half a planet would be wiped out before the smallest power station 
would be touched. They are irreplaceable and the suppliers of the strength of the fleet." Almost 
proudly, "We have the largest and best on this side of Trantor itself." 

"Then what would I do first if I wanted to see these generators?" 

"Nothing!" replied Barr, decisively. "You couldn't approach any military center without being 
shot down instantly. Neither could anyone. Siwenna is still deprived of civic rights." 

"You mean all the power stations are under the military?" 

"No. There are the small city stations, the ones supplying power for heating and lighting homes, 
powering vehicles and so forth. Those are almost as bad. They're controlled by the tech-men." 

"Who are they?" 

"A specialized group which supervises the power plants. The honor is hereditary, the young 
ones being brought up in the profession as apprentices. Strict sense of duty, honor, and all that. 
No one but a tech-man could enter a station." 

"I see." 

"I don't say, though," added Barr, "that there aren't cases where tech-men haven't been bribed. 
In days when we have nine emperors in fifty years and seven of these are assassinated, -when 
every space-captain aspires to the usurpation of a viceroyship, and every viceroy to the 

I suppose even a tech-man can fall prey to money. But it would require a good deal, and I have 
none. Have you?" 

"Money? No. But does one always bribe with money?" 

"What else, when money buys all else." 

"There is quite enough that money won't buy. And now if you'll tell me the nearest city with one 
of the stations, and how best to get there, I'll thank you." 

"Wait!" Barr held out his thin hands. "Where do you rush? You come here, but / ask no 
questions. In the city, where the inhabitants are still called rebels, you would be challenged by 
the first soldier or guard who heard your accent and saw your clothes." 

He rose and from an obscure comer of an old chest brought out a booklet. "My passport, 
-forged. I escaped with it." 

He placed it in Mallow's hand and folded the fingers over it. "The description doesn't fit, but if 
you flourish it, the chances are many to one they will not look closely." 

"But you. You'll be left without one." 

The old exile shrugged cynically, "What of it? And a further caution. Curb your tongue! Your 
accent is barbarous, your idioms peculiar, and every once in a while you deliver yourself of the 
most astounding archaisms. The less you speak, the less suspicion you will draw upon 
yourself. Now I'll tell you how to get to the city-" 

Five minutes later, Mallow was gone. 

He returned but once, for a moment, to the old patrician's house, before leaving it entirely, 
however. And when Onum Barr stepped into his little garden early the next morning, he found a 
box at his feet. It contained provisions, concentrated provisions such as one would find aboard 
ship, and alien in taste and preparation. 

But they were good, and lasted long. 

11 . 

The tech-man was short, and his skin glistened with well-kept plumpness. His hair was a fringe 
and his skull shone through pinkly. The rings on his fingers were thick and heavy, his clothes 
were scented, and he was the first man Mallow had met on the planet who hadn't looked 

The tech-man's lips pursed peevishly, "Now, my man, quickly. I have things of great importance 
waiting for me. You seem a stranger-" He seemed to evaluate Mallow's definitely 
un-Siwennese costume and his eyelids were heavy with suspicion. 

"I am not of the neighborhood," said Mallow, calmly, "but the matter is irrelevant. I have had the 
honor to send you a little gift yesterday-" 

The tech-man's nose lifted, "I received it. An interesting gewgaw. I may have use for it on 

"I have other and more interesting gifts. Quite out of the gewgaw stage." 

"Oh-h?" The tech-man's voice lingered thoughtfully over the monosyllable. "I think I already see 
the course of the interview; it has happened before. You are going to give me some trifle or 
other. A few credits, perhaps a cloak, second-rate jewelry; anything your little soul may think 
sufficient to corrupt a tech-man." His lower lip puffed out belligerently, "And I know what you 
wish in exchange. There have been others and to spare with the same bright idea. You wish to 
be adopted into our clan. You wish to be taught the mysteries of nucleics and the care of the 

machines. You think because you dogs of Siwenna - and probably your strangerhood is 
assumed for safety's sake - are being daily punished for your rebellion that you can escape 
what you deserve by throwing over yourselves the privileges and protections of the tech-man's 

Mallow would have spoken, but the tech-man raised himself into a sudden roar. "And now leave 
before I report your name to the Protector of the City. Do you think that I would betray the trust? 
The Siwennese traitors that preceded me would have - perhaps! But you deal with a different 
breed now. Why, Galaxy, I marvel that I do not kill you myself at this moment with my bare 

Mallow smiled to himself. The entire speech was patently artificial in tone and content, so that 
all the dignified indignation degenerated into uninspired farce. 

The trader glanced humorously at the two flabby hands that had been named as his possible 
executioners then and there, and said, "Your Wisdom, you are wrong on three counts. First, I 
am not a creature of the viceroy come to test your loyalty. Second, my gift is something the 
Emperor himself in all his splendor does not and will never possess. Third, what I wish in return 
is very little; a nothing; a mere breath." 

"So you say!" He descended into heavy sarcasm. "Come, what is this imperial donation that 
your godlike power wishes to bestow upon me? Something the Emperor doesn't have, eh?" He 
broke into a sharp squawk of derision. 

Mallow rose and pushed the chair aside, "I have waited three days to see you, Your Wisdom, 
but the display will take only three seconds. If you will just draw that blaster whose butt I see 
very near your hand-" 


"And shoot me, I will be obliged." 


"If I am killed, you can tell the police I tried to bribe you into betraying guild secrets. You'll 
receive high praise. If I am not killed, you may have my shield." 

For the first time, the tech-man became aware of the dimly-white illumination that hovered 
closely about his visitor, as though he had been dipped in pearl-dust. His blaster raised to the 
level and with eyes a-squint in wonder and suspicion, he closed contact. 

The molecules of air caught in the sudden surge of atomic disruption, tore into glowing, burning 
ions, and marked out the blinding thin line that struck at Mallow's heart - and splashed! 

While Mallow's look of patience never changed, the nuclear forces that tore at him consumed 
themselves against that fragile, pearly illumination, and crashed back to die in mid-air. 

The tech-man's blaster dropped to the floor with an unnoticed crash. 

Mallow said, "Does the Emperor have a personal force-shield? You can have one." 

The tech-man stuttered, "Are you a tech-man?" 


"Then - then where did you get that?" 

"What do you care?" Mallow was coolly contemptuous. "Do you want it?" A thin, knobbed chain 
fell upon the desk, "There it is." 

The tech-man snatched it up and fingered it nervously, "Is this complete?" 


"Where's the power?" 

Mallow's finger fell upon the largest knob, dull in its leaden case. 

The tech-man looked up, and his face was congested with blood, "Sir, I am a tech-man, senior 
grade. I have twenty years behind me as supervisor and I studied under the great Bier at the 
University of Trantor. If you have the infernal charlatanry to tell me that a small container the 
size of a - of a walnut, blast it, holds a nuclear generator, I'll have you before the Protector in 
three seconds." 

"Explain it yourself then, if you can. I say it's complete." 

The tech-man's flush faded slowly as he bound the chain about his waist, and, following 
Mallow's gesture, pushed the knob. The radiance that surrounded him shone into dim relief. His 
blaster lifted, then hesitated. Slowly, he adjusted it to an almost burnless minimum. 

And then, convulsively, he closed circuit and the nuclear fire dashed against his hand, 

.He whirled, "And what if I shoot you now, and keep the shield." 

"Try!" said Mallow. "Do you think I gave you my only sample?" And he, too, was solidly incased 
in light. 

The tech-man giggled nervously. The blaster clattered onto the desk. He said, "And what is this 
mere nothing, this breath, that you wish in return'?" 

"I want to see your generators." 

"You realize that that is forbidden. It would mean ejection into space for both of us-" 

"I don't want to touch them or have anything to do with them. I want to see them - from a 

"If not?" 

"If not, you have your shield, but I have other things. For one thing, a blaster especially 
designed to pierce that shield." 

"Hm-m-m." The tech-man's eyes shifted. "Come with me." 

12 . 

The tech-man's home was a small two-story affair on the Outskirts of the huge, cubiform, 
windowless affair that dominated the center of the city. Mallow passed from one to the other 
through an underground passage, and found himself in the silent, ozone-tinged atmosphere of 
the powerhouse. 

For fifteen minutes, he followed his guide and said nothing. His eyes missed nothing. His 
fingers touched nothing. And then, the tech-man said in strangled tones, "Have you had 
enough? I couldn't trust my underlings in this case." 

"Could you ever?" asked Mallow, ironically. "I've had enough." 

They were back in the office and Mallow said, thoughtfully, "And all those generators are in 
your hands?" 

"Every one," said the tech-man, with more than a touch of complacency. 

"And you keep them running and in order?" 


"And if they break down?" 

The tech-man shook his head indignantly, "They don't break down. They never break down. 
They were built for eternity." 

"Eternity is a long time. Just suppose-" 

"It is unscientific to suppose meaningless cases." 

"All right. Suppose I were to blast a vital part into nothingness? I suppose the machines aren't 
immune to nuclear forces? Suppose I fuse a vital connection, or smash a quartz D-tube?" 

"Well, then," shouted the tech-man, furiously, "you would be killed." 

"Yes, I know that," Mallow was shouting, too, "but what about the generator? Could you repair 

"Sir," the tech-man howled his words, "you have had a fair return. You've had what you asked 
for. Now get out! I owe you nothing more!" 

Mallow bowed with a satiric respect and left. 

Two days later he was back where the Far Star waited to return with him to the planet, 

And two days later, the tech-man's shield went dead, and for all his puzzling and cursing never 
glowed again. 

13 . 

Mallow relaxed for almost the first time in six months. He was on his back in the sunroom of his 
new house, stripped to the skin. His great, brown arms were thrown up and out, and the 
muscles tautened into a stretch, then faded into repose. 

The man beside him placed a cigar between Mallow's teeth and lit it. He champed on one of his 
own and said, "You must be overworked. Maybe you need a long rest." 

"Maybe I do, Jael, but I'd rather rest in a council seat. Because I'm going to have that seat, and 
you're going to help me." 

Ankor Jael raised his eyebrows and said, "How did I get into this?" 

"You got in obviously. Firstly, you're an old dog of a politico. Secondly, you were booted out of 
your cabinet seat by Jorane Sutt, the same fellow who'd rather lose an eyeball than see me in 
the council. You don't think much of my chances, do you?" 

"Not much," agreed the ex-Minister of Education. "You're a Smyrnian." 

"That's no legal bar. I've had a lay education." 

"Well, come now. Since when does prejudice follow any law but its own. Now, how about your 
own man - this Jaim Twer? What does he say?" 

"He spoke about running me for council almost a year ago," replied Mallow easily, "but I've 
outgrown him. He couldn't have pulled it off in any case. Not enough depth. He's loud and 
forceful - but that's only an expression of nuisance value. I'm off to put over a real coup. I need 

"Jorane Sutt is the cleverest politician on the planet and he'll be against you. I don't claim to be 
able to outsmart him. And don't think he doesn't fight hard, and dirty." 

"I've got money." 

"Mat helps. But it takes a lot to buy off prejudice, you dirty Smyrnian." 

"I'll have a lot." 

"Well, I'll look into the matter. But don't ever you crawl up on your hind legs and bleat that I 
encouraged you in the matter. Who's that?" 

Mallow pulled the corners of his mouth down, and said, "Jorane Sutt himself, I think. He's early, 
and I can understand it. I’ve been dodging him for a month. Look, Jael, get into the next room, 
and turn the speaker on low. I want you to listen." 

He helped the council member out of the room with a shove of his bare foot, then scrambled up 
and into a silk robe. The synthetic sunlight faded to normal power. 

The secretary to the mayor entered stiffly, while the solemn major-domo tiptoed the door shut 
behind him. 

Mallow fastened his belt and said, "Take your choice of chairs, Sutt." 

Sutt barely cracked a flickering smile. The chair he chose was comfortable but he did not relax 
into it. From its edge, he said, "If you'll state your terms to begin with, we'll get down to 

"What terms?" 

"You wish to be coaxed? Well, then, what, for instance, did you do at Korell? Your report was 

"I gave it to you months ago. You were satisfied then." 

Yes," Sutt rubbed his forehead thoughtfully with one finger, "but since then your activities have 
been significant. We know a good deal of what you're doing, Mallow. We know, exactly, how 
many factories you're putting up; in what a hurry you're doing it; and how much it's costing you. 
And there's this palace you have," he gazed about him with a cold lack of appreciation, "which 
set you back considerably more than my annual salary; and a swathe you've been cutting - a 
very considerable and expensive swathe - through the upper layers of Foundation society." 

"So? Beyond proving that you employ capable spies, what does it show?" 

"It shows you have money you didn't have a year ago. And that can show anything - for 
instance, that a good deal went on at Korell that we know nothing of. Where are you getting 
your money?" 

"My dear Sutt, you can't really expect me to tell you." 

"I don't." 

"I didn't think you did. That's why I'm going to tell you. It's straight from the treasure-chests of 
the Commdor of Korell." 

Sutt blinked. 

Mallow smiled and continued. "Unfortunately for you, the money is quite legitimate. I'm a Master 
Trader and the money I received was a quantity of wrought iron and chromite in exchange for a 
number of trinkets I was able to supply him with. Fifty per cent of the profit is mine by 
hidebound contract with the Foundation. The other half goes to the government at the end of 
the year when all good citizens pay their income tax." 

"There was no mention of any trade agreement in your report." 

"Nor was there any mention of what I had for breakfast that day, or the name of my current 
mistress, or any other irrelevant detail." Mallow's smile was fading into a sneer. "I was sent - to 
quote yourself - to keep my eyes open. They were never, shut. You wanted to find out what 
happened to the captured Foundation merchant ships. I never saw or heard of them. You 
wanted to find out if Korell had nuclear power. My report tells of nuclear blasters in the 
possession of the Commdor's private bodyguard. I saw no other signs. And the blasters I did 
see are relics of the old Empire, and may be show-pieces that do not work, for all my 

"So far, I followed orders, but beyond that I was, and. still am, a free agent. According to the 
laws of the Foundation, a Master Trader may open whatever new markets he can, and receive 
therefrom his due half of the profits. What are your objections? I don't see them." 

Sutt bent his eyes carefully towards the wall and spoke with a difficult lack of anger, "It is the 
general custom of all traders to advance the religion with their trade." 

"I adhere to law, and not to custom." 

"There are times when custom can be the higher law." 

"Then appeal to the courts." 

Sutt raised somber eyes which seemed to retreat into their sockets. "You're a Smyrnian after 
all. It seems naturalization and education can't wipe out the taint in the blood. Listen, and try to 
understand, just the same. 

"This goes beyond money, or markets. We have the science of the great Hari Seldon to prove 
that upon us depends the future empire of the Galaxy, and from the course that leads to that 
Imperium we cannot turn. The religion we have is our all-important instrument towards that end. 
With it we have brought the Four Kingdoms under our control, even at the moment when they 
would have crushed us. It is the most potent device known with which to control men and 

"The primary reason for the development of trade and traders was to introduce and spread this 
religion more quickly, and to insure that the introduction of new techniques and a new economy 
would be subject to our thorough and intimate control." 

Fie paused for breath, and Mallow interjected quietly, "I know the theory. I understand it 

"Do you? It is more than I expected. Then you see, of course, that your attempt at trade for its 
own sake; at mass production of worthless gadgets, which can only affect a world's economy 
superficially; at the subversion of interstellar policy to the god of profits; at the divorce of 
nuclear power from our controlling religion - can only end with the overthrow and complete 
negation of the policy that has worked successfully for a century." 

"And time enough, too," said Mallow, indifferently, "for a policy outdated, dangerous and 
impossible. Flowever well your religion has succeeded in the Four Kingdoms, scarcely another 
world in the Periphery has accepted it. At the time we seized control of the Kingdoms, there 
were a sufficient number of exiles, Galaxy knows, to spread the story of how Salvor Hardin 
used the priesthood and the superstition of the people to overthrow the independence and 
power of the secular monarchs. And if that wasn't enough, the case of Askone two decades 
back made it plain enough. There isn't a ruler in the Periphery now that wouldn't sooner cut his 
own throat than let a priest of the Foundation enter the territory. 

"I don't propose to force Korell or any other world to accept something I know they don't want. 
No, Sutt. If nuclear power makes them dangerous, a sincere friendship through trade will be 
many times better than an insecure overlordship, based on the hated supremacy of a foreign 

spiritual power, which, once it weakens ever so slightly, can only fall entirely and leave nothing 
substantial behind except an immortal fear and hate." 

Suit said cynically, "Very nicely put. So, to get back to the original point of discussion, what are 
your terms? What do you require to exchange your ideas for mine?" 

"You think my convictions are for sale?" 

"Why not?" came the cold response. "Isn't that your business, buying and selling?" 

"Only at a profit," said Mallow, unoffended. "Can you offer me more than I'm getting as is?" 
"You could have three-quarters of your trade profits, rather than half." 

Mallow laughed shortly, "A fine offer. The whole of the trade on your terms would fall far below 
- a tenth share on mine. Try harder than that." 

"You could have a council seat." 

"I'll have that anyway, without and despite you." 

With a sudden movement, Sutt clenched his fist, "You could also save yourself a prison term. 
Of twenty years, if I have my way. Count the profit in that." 

"No profit at all, but can you fulfill such a threat?" 

"How about a trial for murder?" 

"Whose murder?" asked Mallow, contemptuously. 

Sutt's voice was harsh now, though no louder than before, "The murder of an Anacreonian 
priest, in the service of the Foundation." 

"Is that so now? And what's your evidence?" 

The secretary to the mayor leaned forward, "Mallow, I'm not bluffing. The preliminaries are 
over. I have only to sign one final paper and the case of the Foundation versus Hober Mallow, 
Master Trader, is begun. You abandoned a subject of the Foundation to torture and death at 
the hands of an alien mob, Mallow, and you have only five seconds to prevent the punishment 
due you. For myself, I'd rather you decided to bluff it out. You'd be safer as a destroyed enemy, 
than as a doubtfully-converted friend." 

Mallow said solemnly, "You have your wish." 

"Good!" and the secretary smiled savagely. "It was the mayor who wished the preliminary 
attempt at compromise, not I. Witness that I did not try too hard." 

The door opened before him, and he left. 

Mallow looked up as Ankor Jael re-entered the room. 

Mallow said, "Did you hear him?" 

The politician flopped to the floor. "I never heard him as angry as that, since I've known the 

"All right. What do you make of it?" 

"Well, I'll tell you. A foreign policy of domination through spiritual means is his idee fixe, but it's 
my notion that his ultimate aims aren't spiritual. I was fired out of the Cabinet for arguing on the 
same issue, as I needn't tell you." 

"You needn't. And what are those unspiritual aims according to your notion?" 

Jael grew serious, "Well, he's not stupid, so he must see the bankruptcy of our religious policy, 
which has hardly made a single conquest for us in seventy years. He's obviously using it for 
purposes of his own. 

"Now any dogma primarily based on faith and emotionalism, is a dangerous weapon to use on 
others, since it is almost impossible to guarantee that the weapon will never be turned on the 
user. For a hundred years now, we've supported a ritual and mythology that is becoming more 
and more venerable, traditional - and immovable. In some ways, it isn't under our control any 

"In what ways?" demanded Mallow. "Don't stop. I want your thoughts." 

"Well, suppose one man, one ambitious man, uses the force of religion against us, rather than 
for us." 

"You mean Sutt-" 

"You're right. I mean Sutt. Listen, man, if he could mobilize the various hierarchies on the 
subject planets against the Foundation in the name of orthodoxy, what chance would we 
stand? By planting himself at the head of the standards of the pious, he could make war on 
heresy, as represented by you, for instance, and make himself king eventually. After all, it was 
Hardin who said: 'A nuclear blaster is a good weapon, but it can point both ways.'" 

Mallow slapped his bare thigh, "All right, Jael, then get me in that council, and I'll fight him." 

Jael paused, then said significantly, "Maybe not. What was all that about having a priest 
lynched? Is isn't true, is it?" 

"It's true enough," Mallow said, carelessly. 

Jael whistled, "Has he definite proof?" 

"He should have." Mallow hesitated, then added, "Jaim Twer was his man from the beginning, 
though neither of them knew that I knew that. And Jaim Twer was an eyewitness." 

Jael shook his head. "Uh-uh. That's bad." 

"Bad? What's bad about it? That priest was illegally upon the planet by the Foundation's own 
laws. He was obviously used by the Korellian government as a bait, whether involuntary or not. 
By all the laws of common-sense, I had no choice but one action - and that action was strictly 

within the law. If he brings me to trial, he'll do nothing but make a prime fool of himself." 

And Jael shook his head again, "No, Mallow, you've missed it. I told you he played dirty. He's 
not out to convict you; he knows he can't do that. But he is out to ruin your standing with the 
people. You heard what he said. Custom is higher than law, at times. You could walk out of the 
trial scot-free, but if the people think you threw a priest to the dogs, your popularity is gone. 

"They'll admit you did the legal thing, even the sensible thing. But just the same you'll have 
been, in their eyes, a cowardly dog, an unfeeling brute, a hard-hearted monster. And you would 
never get elected to the council. You might even lose your rating as Master Trader by having 
your citizenship voted away from you. You're not native born, you know. What more do you 
think Sutt can want?" Mallow frowned stubbornly, "So!" "My boy," said Jael. "I'll stand by you, 
but / can't help. You're on the spot, -dead center." 

14 . 

The council chamber was full in a very literal sense on the fourth day of the trial of Hober 
Mallow, Master Trader. The only councilman absent was feebly cursing the fractured skull that 
had bedridden him. The galleries were filled to the aisleways and ceilings with those few of the 
crowd who by influence, wealth, or sheer diabolic perseverance had managed to get in. The 
rest filled the square outside, in swarming knots about the open-air trimensional 'visors. 

Ankor Jael made his way into the chamber with the near-futile aid and exertions of the police 
department, and then through the scarcely smaller confusion within to Hober Mallow's seat. 

Mallow turned with relief, "By Seldon, you cut it thin. Have you got it?" 

"Here, take it," said Jael. "It's everything you asked for." 

"Good. How are they taking it outside?" 

"They're wild clear through." Jael stirred uneasily, "You should never have allowed public 
hearings. You could have stopped them." 

"I didn't want to." 

"There's lynch talk. And Publis Manlio's men on the outer planets-" 

"I wanted to ask you about that, Jael. He's stirring up the Hierarchy against me, is he?" 

"Is he? It's the sweetest setup you ever saw, As Foreign Secretary, he handles the prosecution 
in a case of interstellar law. As High Priest and Primate of the Church, he rouses the fanatic 

"Well, forget it. Do you remember that Hardin quotation you threw at me last month? We'll show 
them that the nuclear blaster can point both ways." 

The mayor was taking his seat now and the council members were rising in respect. 

Mallow whispered, "It's my turn today. Sit here and watch the fun." 

The day's proceedings began and fifteen minutes later, Hober Mallow stepped through a hostile 
whisper to the empty space before the mayor's bench. A lone beam of light centered upon him 
and in the public 'visors of the city, as well as on the myriads of private 'visors in almost every 
home of the Foundation's planets, the lonely giant figure of a man stared out defiantly. 

He began easily and quietly, "To save time, I will admit the truth of every point made against 
me by the prosecution. The story of the priest and the mob as related by them is perfectly 
accurate in every detail." 

There was a stirring in the chamber and a triumphant mass-snarl from the gallery. He waited 
patiently for silence. 

"However, the picture they presented fell short of completion. I ask the privilege of supplying 
the completion in my own fashion. My story may seem irrelevant at first. I ask your indulgence 
for that." 

Mallow made no reference to the notes before him. 

"I begin at the same time as the prosecution did; the day of my meeting with Jorane Sutt and 
Jaim Twer. What went on at those meetings you know. The conversations have been 
described, and to that description I have nothing to add - except my own thoughts of that day. 

"They were suspicious thoughts, for the events of that day were queer. Consider. Two people, 
neither of whom I knew more than casually, make unnatural and somewhat unbelievable 
propositions to me. One, the secretary to the mayor, asks me to play the part of intelligence 
agent to the government in a highly confidential matter, the nature and importance of which has 
already been explained to you. The other, self-styled leader of a political party, asks me to run 
for a council seat. 

"Naturally I looked for the ulterior motive. Sutt's seemed evident. He didn't trust me. Perhaps he 
thought I was selling nuclear power to enemies and plotting rebellion. And perhaps he was 
forcing the issue, or thought he was. In that case, he would need a man of his own near me on 
my proposed mission, as a spy. The last thought, however, did not occur to me until later on, 
when Jaim Twer came on the scene. 

"Consider again: Twer presents himself as a trader, retired into politics, yet I know of no details 
of his trading career, although my knowledge of the field is immense. And further, although 
Twer boasted of a lay education, he had never heard of a Seldon crisis." 

Hober Mallow waited to let the significance sink in and was rewarded with the first silence he 
had yet encountered, as the gallery caught its collective breath. That was for the inhabitants of 
Terminus itself. The men of the Outer Planets could hear only censored versions that would 
suit the requirements of religion. They would hear nothing of Seldon crises. But there would be 
further strokes they would not miss. 

Mallow continued: 

"Who here can honestly state that any man with a lay education can possibly be ignorant of the 
nature of a Seldon crisis? There is only one type of education upon the Foundation that 

excludes all mention of the planned history of Seldon and deals only with the man himself as a 
semi-mythical wizard- 

"I knew at that instant that Jaim Twer had never been a trader. I knew then that he was in holy 
orders and perhaps a full-fledged priest; and, doubtless, that for the three years he had 
pretended to head a political party of the traders, he had been a bought man of Jorane Sutt. 

"At the moment, I struck in the dark. I did not know Sun's purposes with regard to myself, but 
since he seemed to be feeding me rope liberally, I handed him a few fathoms of my own. My 
notion was that Twer was to be with me on my voyage as unofficial guardian on behalf of 
Jorane Sutt. Well, if he didn't get on, I knew well there'd be other devices waiting - and those 
others I might not catch in time. A known enemy is relatively safe. I invited Twer to come with 
me. He accepted. 

"That, gentlemen of the council, explains two things. First, it tells you that Twer is not a friend of 
mine testifying against me reluctantly and for conscience' sake, as the prosecution would have 
you believe. He is a spy, performing his paid job. Secondly, it explains a certain action of mine 
on the occasion of the first appearance of the priest whom I am accused of having murdered - 
an action as yet unmentioned, because unknown." 

Now there was a disturbed whispering in the council. Mallow cleared his throat theatrically, and 

"I hate to describe my feelings when I first heard that we had a refugee missionary on board. I 
even hate to remember them. Essentially, they consisted of wild uncertainty. The event struck 
me at the moment as a move by Sutt, and passed beyond my comprehension or calculation. I 
was at sea - and completely. 

"There was one thing I could do. I got rid of Twer for five minutes by sending him after my 
officers. In his absence, I set up a Visual Record receiver, so that whatever happened might be 
preserved for future study. This was in the hope, the wild but earnest hope, that what confused 
me at the time might become plain upon review. 

"I have gone over that Visual Record some fifty times since. I have it here with me now, and will 
repeat the job a fifty-first time in your presence right now." 

The mayor pounded monotonously for order, as the chamber lost its equilibrium and the gallery 
roared. In five million homes on Terminus, excited observers crowded their receiving sets more 
closely, and at the prosecutor's own bench, Jorane Sutt shook his head coldly at the nervous 
high priest, while his eyes blazed fixedly on Mallow's face. 

The center of the chamber was cleared, and the lights burnt low. Ankor Jael, from his bench on 
the left, made the adjustments, and with a preliminary click, a holographic scene sprang to 
view; in color, in three-dimensions, in every attribute of life but life itself. 

There was the missionary, confused and battered, standing between the lieutenant and the 
sergeant. Mallow's image waited silently, and then men filed in, Twer bringing up the rear. 

The conversation played itself out, word for word. The sergeant was disciplined, and the 
missionary was questioned. The mob appeared, their growl could be heard, and the Revered 

Jord Parma made his wild appeal. Mallow drew his gun, and the missionary, as he was 
dragged away, lifted his arms in a mad, final curse and a tiny flash of light came and went. 

The scene ended, with the officers frozen at the horror of the situation, while Twer clamped 
shaking hands over his ears, and Mallow calmly put his gun away. 

The lights were on again; the empty space in the center of the floor was no longer even 
apparently full. Mallow, the real Mallow of the present, took up the burden of his narration: 

"The incident, you see, is exactly as the prosecution has presented it - on the surface. I'll 
explain that shortly. Jaim Twer's emotions through the whole business shows clearly a priestly 
education, by the way. 

"It was on that same day that I pointed out certain incongruities in the episode to Twer. I asked 
him where the missionary came from in the midst of the near-desolate tract we occupied at the 
time. I asked further where the gigantic mob had come from with the nearest sizable town a 
hundred miles away. The prosecution has paid no attention to such problems. 

"Or to other points; for instance, the curious point of Jord Parma's blatant conspicuousness. A 
missionary on Korell, risking his life in defiance of both Korellian and Foundation law, parades 
about in a very new and very distinctive priestly costume. There's something wrong there. At 
the time, I suggested that the missionary was an unwitting accomplice of the Commdor, who 
was using him in an attempt to force us into an act of wildly illegal aggression, to justify, in law, 
his subsequent destruction of our ship and of us. 

"The prosecution has anticipated this justification of my actions. They have expected me to 
explain that the safety of my ship, my crew, my mission itself were at stake and could not be 
sacrificed for one man, when that man would, in any case, have been destroyed, with us or 
without us. They reply by muttering about the Foundation's 'honor' and the necessity of 
upholding our 'dignity' in order to maintain our ascendancy. 

"For some strange reason, however, the prosecution has neglected Jord Parma himself, -as an 
individual. They brought out no details concerning him; neither his birthplace, nor his education, 
nor any detail of previous history. The explanation of this will also explain the incongruities I 
have pointed out in the Visual Record you have just seen. The two are connected. 

"The prosecution has advanced no details concerning Jord Parma because it cannot. That 
scene you saw by Visual Record seemed phoney because Jord Parma was phoney. There 
never was a Jord Parma. This whole trial is the biggest farce ever cooked up over an issue that 
never existed." 

Once more he had to wait for the babble to die down. Fie said, slowly: 

"I'm going to show you the enlargement of a single still from the Visual Record. It will speak for 
itself. Lights again, Jael." 

The chamber dimmed, and the empty air filled again with frozen figures in ghostly, waxen 
illusion. The officers of the Far Star struck their stiff, impossible attitudes. A gun pointed from 
Mallow's rigid hand. At his left, the Revered Jord Parma, caught in mid-shriek, stretched his 
claws upward, while the failing sleeves hung halfway. 

And from the missionary's hand there was that little gleam that in the previous showing had 
flashed and gone. It was a permanent glow now. 

"Keep your eye on that light on his hand," called Mallow from the shadows. "Enlarge that 
scene, Jael!" 

The tableau bloated quickly. Outer portions fell away as the missionary drew towards the center 
and became a giant. Then there was only a hand and an arm, and then only a hand, which 
filled everything and remained there in immense, hazy tautness. 

The light had become a set of fuzzy, glowing letters: K S P. 

"That," Mallow's voice boomed out, "is a sample of tatooing, gentlemen. Under ordinary light it 
is invisible, but under ultraviolet light - with which I flooded the room in taking this Visual 
Record, it stands out in high relief. I'll admit it is a naive method of secret identification, but it 
works on Korell, where UV light is not to be found on street comers. Even in our ship, detection 
was accidental. 

"Perhaps some of you have already guessed what K S P stands for. Jord Parma knew his 
priestly lingo well and did his job magnificently. Where he had learned it, and how, I cannot say, 
but K S P stands for 'Korellian Secret Police.'" 

Mallow shouted over the tumult, roaring against the noise, "I have collateral proof in the form of 
documents brought from Korell, which I can present to the council if required. 

"And where is now the prosecution's case? They have already made and re-made the 
monstrous suggestion that I should have fought for the missionary in defiance of the law, and 
sacrificed my mission, my ship, and myself to the 'honor' of the Foundation. 

"But to do it for an impostor? 

"Should I have done it then for a Korellian secret agent tricked out in the robes and verbal 
gymnastics probably borrowed of an Anacreonian exile? Would Jorane Sutt and Publis Manlio 
have had me fall into a stupid, odious trap-" 

His hoarsened voice faded into the featureless background of a shouting mob. He was being 
lifted onto shoulders, and carried to the mayor's bench. Out the windows, he could see a torrent 
of madmen swarming into the square to add to the thousands there already. 

Mallow looked about for Ankor Jael, but it was impossible to find any single face in the 
incoherence of the mass. Slowly he became aware of a rhythmic, repeated shout, that was 
spreading from a small beginning, and pulsing into insanity: 

"Long live Mallow - long live Mallow - long live Mallow-" 

15 . 

Ankor Jael blinked at Mallow out of a haggard face. The last two days had been mad, sleepless 


"Mallow, you've put on a beautiful show, so don't spoil it by jumping too high. You can't 
seriously consider running for mayor. Mob enthusiasm is a powerful thing, but it's notoriously 
fickle." ' 

"Exactly!" said Mallow, grimly, "so we must coddle it, and the best way to do that is to continue 
the show." 

"Now what?" 

"You're to have Publis Manlio and Jorane Sutt arrested-" 


"Just what you hear. Have the mayor arrest them! I don't care what threats you use. I control 
the mob, -for today, at any rate. He won't dare face them." 

"But on what charge, man?" 

"On the obvious one. They've been inciting the priesthood of the outer planets to take sides in 
the factional quarrels of the Foundation. That's illegal, by Seldon. Charge them with 
'endangering the state.' And I don't care about a conviction any more than they did in my case. 
Just get them out of circulation until I'm mayor." 

"It's half a year till election." 

"Not too long!" Mallow was on his feet, and his sudden grip of Jael's arm was tight. "Listen, I'd 
seize the government by force if I had to - the way Salvor Hardin did a hundred years ago. 
There's still that Seldon crisis coming up, and when it comes I have to be mayor and high 
priest. Both I" 

Jael's brow furrowed. He said, quietly, "What's it going to be? Korell, after all?" 

Mallow nodded, "Of course. They'll declare war, eventually, though I'm betting it'll take another 
pair of years." 

"With nuclear ships?" 

"What do you think? Those three merchant ships we lost in their space sector weren't knocked 
over with compressed-air pistols. Jael, they're getting ships from the Empire itself. Don't open 
your mouth like a fool. I said the Empire! It's still there, you know. It many be gone here in the 
Periphery but in the Galactic center it's still very much alive. And one false move means that it, 
itself, may be on our neck. That's why I must be mayor and high priest. I'm the only man who 
knows how to fight the crisis." 

Jael swallowed dryly, "How? What are you going to do?" 


Jael smiled uncertainly, "Really! All of that!" 

But Mallow's answer was incisive, "When I'm boss of this Foundation, I'm going to do nothing. 
One hundred percent of nothing, and that is the secret of this crisis." 

16 . 

Asper Argo, the Well-Beloved, Commdor of the Korellian Republic greeted his wife's entry by a 
hangdog lowering of his scanty eyebrows. To her at least, his self-adopted epithet did not 
apply. Even he knew that. 

She said, in a voice as sleek as her hair and as cold as her eyes, "My gracious lord, I 
understand, has finally come to a decision upon the fate of the Foundation upstarts." 

"Indeed?" said the Commdor, sourly. "And what more does your versatile understanding 

"Enough, my very noble husband. You had another of your vacillating consultations with your 
councilors. Fine advisors." With infinite scorn, "A herd of palsied purblind idiots hugging their 
sterile profits close to their sunken chests in the face of my father's displeasure." 

"And who, my dear," was the mild response, "is the excellent source from which your 
understanding understands all this?" 

The Commdora laughed shortly, "If I told you, my source would be more corpse than source." 

"Well, you'll have your own way, as always." The Commdor shrugged and turned away. "And 
as for your father's displeasure: I much fear me it extends to a niggardly refusal to supply more 

"More ships!" She blazed away, hotly, "And haven't you five? Don't deny it. I know you have 
five; and a sixth is promised." 

"Promised for the last year." 

"But one - just one - can blast that Foundation into stinking rubble. Just one! One, to sweep 
their little pygmy boats out of space." 

"I couldn't attack their planet, even with a dozen." 

"And how long would their planet hold out with their trade ruined, and their cargoes of toys and 
trash destroyed?" "Those toys and trash mean money," he sighed. "A good deal of money." 

"But if you had the Foundation itself, would you not have all it contained'? And if you had my 
father's respect and gratitude, would you not have more than ever the Foundation could give 
you? It's been three years - more - since that barbarian came with his magic sideshow. It's 
long enough." 

"My dear!" The Commdor turned and faced her. "I am growing old. I am weary. I lack the 
resilience to withstand your rattling mouth. You say you know that I have decided. Well, I have. 
It is over, and there is war between Korell and the Foundation." 

"Well!" The Commdora's figure expanded and her eyes sparkled, "You learned wisdom at last, 
though in your dotage. And now when you are master of this hinterland, you may be sufficiently 
respectable to be of some weight and importance in the Empire. For one thing, we might leave 
this barbarous world and attend the viceroy's court. Indeed we might." 

She swept out, with a smile, and a hand on her hip. Her hair gleamed in the light. 

The Commdor waited, and then said to the closed door, with malignance and hate, "And when I 
am master of what you call the hinterland, I may be sufficiently respectable to do without your 
father's arrogance and his daughter's tongue. Completely - without!" 

17 . 

The senior lieutenant of the Dark Nebula stared in horror at the visiplate. 

"Great Galloping Galaxies!" It should have been a howl, but it was a whisper instead, "What's 

It was a ship, but a whale to the Dark Nebula's minnow; and on its side was the 
Spaceship-and-Sun of the Empire. Every alarm on the ship yammered hysterically. 

The orders went out, and the Dark Nebula prepared to run if it could, and fight if it must, -while 
down in the hyperwave room, a message stormed its way through hyperspace to the 

Over and over again! Partly a plea for help, but mainly a warning of danger. 

18 . 

Flober Mallow shuffled his feet wearily as he leafed through the reports. Two years of the 
mayoralty had made him a bit more housebroken, a bit softer, a bit more patient, -but it had not 
made him learn to like government reports and the mind-breaking officialese in which they were 

"Flow many ships did they get?" asked Jael. 

"Four trapped on the ground. Two unreported. All others accounted for and safe." Mallow 
grunted, "We should have done better, but it's just a scratch." 

There was no answer and Mallow looked up, "Does anything worry you?" 

"I wish Sutt would get here," was the almost irrelevant answer. 

"Ah, yes, and now we'll hear another lecture on the home front." 

"No, we won't," snapped Jael, "but you're stubborn, Mallow. You may have worked out the 
foreign situation to the last detail but you've never given a care about what goes on here on the 
home planet." 

"Well, that's your job, isn't it? What did I make you Minister of Education and Propaganda for?" 

"Obviously to send me to an early and miserable grave, for all the co-operation you give me. 

For the last year, I've been deafening you with the rising danger of Sutt and his Religionists. 
What good will your plans be, if Sutt forces a special election and has you thrown out?" 

"None, I admit." 

"And your speech last night just about handed the election to Sutt with a smile and a pat. Was 
there any necessity for being so frank?" 

"Isn't there such a thing as stealing Sutt's thunder?" 

"No," said Jael, violently, "not the way you did it. You claim to have foreseen everything, and 
don't explain why you traded with Korell to their exclusive benefit for three years. Your only plan 
of battle is to retire without a battle. You abandon all trade with the sectors of space near Korell. 
You openly proclaim a stalemate. You promise no offensive, even in the future. Galaxy, Mallow, 
what am I supposed to do with such a mess?" 

"It lacks glamor?" 

"It lacks mob emotion-appeal." 

"Same thing." 

"Mallow, wake up. You have two alternatives. Either you present the people with a dynamic 
foreign policy, whatever your private plans are, or you make some sort of compromise with 

Mallow said, "All right, if I've failed the first, let's try the second. Sutt's just arrived." 

Sutt and Mallow had not met personally since the day of the trial, two years back. Neither 
detected any change in the other, except for that subtle atmosphere about each which made it 
quite evident that the roles of ruler and defier had changed. 

Sutt took his seat without shaking hands. 

Mallow offered a cigar and said, "Mind if Jael stays? He wants a compromise earnestly. He can 
act as mediator if tempers rise." 

Sutt shrugged, "A compromise will be well for you. Upon another occasion I once asked you to 
state your terms. I presume the positions are reversed now." 

"You presume correctly." 

"Then there are my terms. You must abandon your blundering policy of economic bribery and 
trade in gadgetry, and return to the tested foreign policy of our fathers." 

"You mean conquest by missionary." 


"No compromise short of that?" 


"Um-m-m." Mallow lit up very slowly and inhaled the tip of his cigar into a bright glow. "In 
Hardin's time, when conquest by missionary was new and radical, men like yourself opposed it. 
Now it is tried, tested, hallowed, -everything a Jorane Sutt would find well. But, tell me, how 
would you get us out of our present mess?" 

"Your present mess. I had nothing to do with it." 

"Consider the question suitably modified." 

"A strong offensive is indicated. The stalemate you seem to be satisfied with is fatal. It would be 
a confession of weakness to all the worlds of the Periphery, where the appearance of strength 
is all-important, and there's not one vulture among them that wouldn't join the assault for its 
share of the corpse. You ought to understand that. You're from Smyrno, aren't you?" 

Mallow passed over the significance of the remark. He said, "And if you beat Korell, what of the 
Empire? That is the real enemy." 

Sutt's narrow smile tugged at the comers of his mouth, "Oh, no, your records of your visit to 
Siwenna were complete. The viceroy of the Normannic Sector is interested in creating 
dissension in the Periphery for his own benefit, but only as a side issue. He isn't going to stake 
everything on an expedition to the Galaxy's rim when he has fifty hostile neighbors and an 
emperor to rebel against. I paraphrase your own words." 

"Oh, yes he might, Sutt, if he thinks we're strong enough to be dangerous. And he might think 
so, if we destroy Korell by the main force of frontal attack. We'd have to be considerably more 

"As for instance-" 

Mallow leaned back, "Sutt, I'll give you your chance. I don't need you, but I can use you. So I'll 
tell you what it's all about, and then you can either join me and receive a place in a coalition 
cabinet, or you can play the martyr and rot in jail." 

"Once before you tried that last trick." 

"Not very hard, Sutt. The right time has only just come. Now listen." Mallow's eyes narrowed. 

"When I first landed on Korell," he began, A bribed the Commdor with the trinkets and gadgets 
that form the trader's usual stock. At the start, that, was meant only to get us entrance into a 
steel foundry. I had no plan further than that, but in that I succeeded. I got what I wanted. But it 
was only after my visit to the Empire that I first realized exactly what a weapon I could build that 
trade into. 

"This is a Seldon crisis we're facing, Sutt, and Seldon crises are not solved by individuals but by 
historic forces. Hari Seldon, when he planned our course of future history, did not count on 
brilliant heroics but on the broad sweeps of economics and sociology. So the solutions to the 
various crises must be achieved by the forces that become available to us at the time. 

"In this case, -trade!" 

Sutt raised his eyebrows skeptically and took advantage of the pause, "I hope I am not of 
subnormal intelligence, but the fact is that your vague lecture isn't very illuminating." 

"It will become so," said Mallow. "Consider that until now the power of trade has been 
underestimated. It has been thought that it took a priesthood under our control to make it a 
powerful weapon. That is not so, and this is my contribution to the Galactic situation. Trade 
without priests! Trade alone! It is strong enough. Let us become very simple and specific. Korell 
is now at war with us. Consequently our trade with her has stopped. But, -notice that I am 
making this as simple as a problem in addition, -in the past three years she has based her 
economy more and more upon the nuclear techniques which we have introduced and which 
only we can continue to supply. Now what do you suppose will happen once the tiny nuclear 
generators begin failing, and one gadget after another goes out of commission? 

"The small household appliances go first. After a half a year of this stalemate that you abhor, a 
woman's nuclear knife won't work any more. Her stove begins failing. Her washer doesn't do a 
good job. The temperature-humidity control in her house dies on a hot summer day. What 

He paused for an answer, and Sutt said calmly, "Nothing. People endure a good deal in war." 

"Very true. They do. They'll send their sons out in unlimited numbers to die horribly on broken 
spaceships. They'll bear up under enemy bombardment, if it means they have to live on stale 
bread and foul water in caves half a mile deep. But it's very hard to bear up under little things 
when the patriotic uplift of imminent danger is not present. It's going to, be a stalemate. There 
will be no casualties, no bombardments, no battles. 

"There will just be a knife that won't cut, and a stove that won't cook, and a house that freezes 
in the winter. It will be annoying, and people will grumble." 

Sutt said slowly, wonderingly, "Is that what you're setting your hopes on, man? What do you 
expect? A housewives' rebellion? A Jacquerie? A sudden uprising of butchers and grocers with 
their cleavers and bread-knives shouting 'Give us back our Automatic Super-Kleeno Nuclear 
Washing Machines.'" 

"No, sir," said Mallow, impatiently, "I do not. I expect, however, a general background of 
grumbling and dissatisfaction which will be seized on by more important figures later on." 

"And what more important figures are these?" 

"The manufacturers, the factory owners, the industrialists of Korell. When two years of the 
stalemate have gone, the machines in the factories will, one by one, begin to fail. Those 
industries which we have changed from first to last with our new nuclear gadgets will find 
themselves very suddenly ruined. The heavy industries will find themselves, en masse and at a 

stroke, the owners of nothing but scrap machinery that won't work." 

"The factories ran well enough before you came there, Mallow." 

"Yes, Sutt, so they did - at about one-twentieth the profits, even if you leave out of 
consideration the cost of reconversion to the original pre-nuclear state. With the industrialist 
and financier and the average man all against him, how long will the Commdor hold out?" 

"As long as he pleases, as soon as it occurs to him to get new nuclear generators from the 

And Mallow laughed joyously, "You've missed, Sutt, missed as badly as the Commdor himself. 
You've missed everything, and understood nothing. Look, man, the Empire can replace 
nothing. The Empire has always been a realm of colossal resources. They've calculated 
everything in planets, in stellar systems, in whole sectors of the Galaxy. Their generators are 
gigantic because they thought in gigantic fashion. 

"But we, -we, our little Foundation, our single world almost without metallic resources, -have 
had to work with brute economy. Our generators have had to be the size of our thumb, because 
it was all the metal we could afford. We had to develop new techniques and new methods, 
-techniques and methods the Empire can't follow because they have degenerated past the 
stage where they can make any really vital scientific advance. 

"With all their nuclear shields, large enough to protect a ship, a city, an entire world; they could 
never build one to protect a single man. To supply light and heat to a city, they have motors six 
stories high, -I saw them - where ours could fit into this room. And when I told one of their 
nuclear specialists that a lead container the size of a walnut contained a nuclear generator, he 
almost choked with indignation on the spot. 

"Why, they don't even understand their own colossi any longer. The machines work from 
generation to generation automatically, and the caretakers are a hereditary caste who would be 
helpless if a single D-tube in all that vast structure burnt out. 

"The whole war is a battle between those two systems, between the Empire and the 
Foundation; between the big and the little. To seize control of a world, they bribe with immense 
ships that can make war, but lack all economic significance. We, on the other hand, bribe with 
little things, useless in war, but vital to prosperity and profits. 

"A king, or a Commdor, will take the ships and even make war. Arbitrary rulers throughout 
history have bartered their subjects' welfare for what they consider honor, and glory, and 
conquest. But it's still the little things in life that count - and Asper Argo won't stand up against 
the economic depression that will sweep all Korell in two or three years." 

Sutt was at the window, his back to Mallow and Jael. It was early evening now, and the few 
stars that struggled feebly here at the very rim of the Galaxy sparked against the background of 
the misty, wispy Lens that included the remnants of that Empire, still vast, that fought against 

Sutt said, "No. You are not the man. 

You don't believe me? 

"I mean I don't trust you. You're smooth-tongued. You befooled me properly when I thought I 
had you under proper care on your first trip to Korell. When I thought I had you cornered at the 
trial, you wormed your way out of it and into the mayor's chair by demagoguery. There is 
nothing straight about you; no motive that hasn't another behind it; no statement that hasn't 
three meanings. 

"Suppose you were a traitor. Suppose your visit to the Empire had brought you a subsidy and a 
promise of power. Your actions would be precisely what they are now. You would bring about a 
war after having strengthened the enemy. You would force the Foundation into inactivity. And 
you would advance a plausible explanation of everything, one so plausible it would convince 

"You mean there'll be no compromise?" asked Mallow, gently. 

"I mean you must get out, by free will or force." 

"I warned you of the only alternative to co-operation." 

Jorane Sutt's face congested with blood in a sudden access of emotion. "And I warn you, 

Hober Mallow of Smyrno, that if you arrest me, there will be no quarter. My men will stop 
nowhere in spreading the truth about you, and the common people of the Foundation will unite 
against their foreign ruler. They have a consciousness of destiny that a Smyrnian can never 
understand - and that consciousness will destroy you." 

Flober Mallow said quietly to the two guards who had entered, "Take him away. Fle's under 

Sutt said, "Your last chance." 

Mallow stubbed out his cigar and never looked up. 

And five minutes later, Jael stirred and said, wearily, "Well, now that you've made a martyr for 
the cause, what next?" 

Mallow stopped playing with the ash tray and looked up, "That's not the Sutt I used to know. 
Fle's a blood-blind bull. Galaxy, he hates me." 

"All the more dangerous then." 

"More dangerous? Nonsense! Fle's lost all power of judgement." 

Jael said grimly, "You're overconfident, Mallow. You're ignoring the possibility of a popular 

Mallow looked up, grim in his turn, "Once and for all, Jael, there is no possibility of a popular 

"You're sure of yourself!" 

"I'm sure of the Seldon crisis and the historical validity of their solutions, externally and 

internally. There are some things I didn't tell Suit right now. He tried to control the Foundation 
itself by religious forces as he controlled the outer worlds, and he failed, -which is the surest 
sign that in the Seldon scheme, religion is played out. 

"Economic control worked differently. And to paraphrase that famous Salvor Hardin quotation of 
yours, it's a poor nuclear blaster that won't point both ways. If Korell prospered with our trade, 
so did we. If Korellian factories fail without our trade; and if the prosperity of the outer worlds 
vanishes with commercial isolation; so will our factories fail and our prosperity vanish. 

"And there isn't a factory, not a trading center, not a shipping line that isn't under my control; 
that I couldn't squeeze to nothing if Sutt attempts revolutionary propaganda. Where his 
propaganda succeeds, or even looks as though it might succeed, I will make certain that 
prosperity dies. Where it fails, prosperity will continue, because my factories will remain fully 

"So by the same reasoning which makes me sure that the Korellians will revolt in favor of 
prosperity, I am sure we will not revolt against it. The game will be played out to its end." 

"So then," said Jael, "you're establishing a plutocracy. You're making us a land of traders and 
merchant princes. Then what of the future?" 

Mallow lifted his gloomy face, and exclaimed fiercely, "What business of mine is the future? No 
doubt Seldon has foreseen it and prepared against it. There will be other crises in the time to 
come when money power has become as dead a force as religion is now. Let my successors 
solve those new problems, as I have solved the one of today." 

KORELL-...And so after three years of a war which was certainly the most unfought war on 
record, the Republic of Korell surrendered unconditionally, and Hober Mallow took his place 
next to Hari Seldon and Salvor Hardin in the hearts of the people of the Foundation. 



Isaac Asimov was born in the Soviet Union to his great surprise. He moved quickly to correct 
the situation. When his parents emigrated to the United States, Isaac (three years old at the 
time) stowed away in their baggage. He has been an American citizen since the age of eight. 

Brought up in Brooklyn, and educated in its public schools, he eventually found his way to 
Columbia University and, over the protests of the school administration, managed to annex a 
series of degrees in chemistry, up to and including a Ph.D. He then infiltrated Boston University 
and climbed the academic ladder, ignoring all cries of outrage, until he found himself Professor 
of Biochemistry. 

Meanwhile, at the age of nine, he found the love of his life (in the inanimate sense) when he 
discovered his first science-fiction magazine. By the time he was eleven, he began to write 

stories, and at eighteen, he actually worked up the nerve to submit one. It was rejected. After 
four long months of tribulation and suffering, he sold his first story and, thereafter, he never 
looked back. 

In 1941, when he was twenty-one years old, he wrote the classic short story "Nightfall" and his 
future was assured. Shortly before that he had begun writing his robot stories, and shortly after 
that he had begun his Foundation series. 

What was left except quantity? At the present time, he has published over 260 books, 
distributed through every major division of the Dewey system of library classification, and 
shows no signs of slowing up. He remains as youthful, as lively, and as lovable as ever, and 
grows more handsome with each year. You can be sure that this is so since he has written this 
little essay himself and his devotion to absolute objectivity is notorious. 

He is married to Janet Jeppson, psychiatrist and writer, has two children by a previous 
marriage, and lives in New York City. 




































The Galactic Empire Was Falling. 

It was a colossal Empire, stretching across millions of worlds from arm-end to arm-end of the 
mighty multi-spiral that was the Milky Way. Its fall was colossal, too - and a long one, for it had 
a long way to go. 

It had been falling for centuries before one man became really aware of that fall. That man was 
Hari Seldon, the man who represented the one spark of creative effort left among the gathering 
decay. He developed and brought to its highest pitch the science of psychohistory. 

Psychohistory dealt not with man, but with man-masses. It was the science of mobs; mobs in 
their billions. It could forecast reactions to stimuli with something of the accuracy that a lesser 
science could bring to the forecast of a rebound of a billiard ball. The reaction of one man could 
be forecast by no known mathematics; the reaction of a billion is something else again. 

Hari Seldon plotted the social and economic trends of the time, sighted along the curves and 
foresaw the continuing and accelerating fall of civilization and the gap of thirty thousand years 
that must elapse before a struggling new Empire could emerge from the ruins. 

It was too late to stop that fall, but not too late to narrow the gap of barbarism. Seldon 
established two Foundations at "opposite ends of the Galaxy" and their location was so 
designed that in one short millennium events would knit and mesh so as to force out of them a 
stronger, more permanent, more benevolent Second Empire. 

Foundation (Gnome Press, 1951) has told the story of one of those Foundations during the first 
two centuries of life. 

It began as a settlement of physical scientists on Terminus, a planet at the extreme end of one 
of the spiral arms of the Galaxy. Separated from the turmoil of the Empire, they worked as 
compilers of a universal compendium of knowledge, the Encyclopedia Galactica, unaware of 
the deeper role planned for them by the already-dead Seldon, 

As the Empire rotted, the outer regions fell into the hands of independent "kings." The 
Foundation was threatened by them. However, by playing one petty ruler against another, 
under the leadership of their first mayor, Salvor Hardin, they maintained a precarious 
independence. As sole possessors, of nuclear power among worlds which were losing their 
sciences and falling back on coal and oil, they even established an ascendancy. The 
Foundation became the "religious" center of the neighboring kingdoms. 

Slowly, the Foundation developed a trading economy as the Encyclopedia receded into the 
background. Their Traders, dealing in nuclear gadgets which not even the Empire in its heyday 
could have duplicated for compactness, penetrated hundreds of light-years through the 

Under Hober Mallow, the first of the Foundation's Merchant Princes, they developed the 
techniques of economic warfare to the point of defeating the Republic of Korell, even though 
that world was receiving support from one of the outer provinces of what was left of the Empire. 

At the end of two hundred years, the Foundation was the most powerful state in the Galaxy, 
except for the remains of the Empire, which, concentrated in the inner third of the Milky Way, 
still controlled three quarters of the population and wealth of the Universe. 

It seemed inevitable that the next danger the Foundation would have to face was the final lash 
of the dying Empire. 

The way must he cleared for the battle of Foundation and Empire. 




BEL RIOSE.... In his relatively short career, Riose earned the title of "The Last of the Imperials'' 
and earned It well. A study of his campaigns reveals him to be the equal of Peurifoy in strategic 
ability and his superior perhaps in his ability to handle men. That he was born in the days of the 
decline of Empire made it all but impossible for him to equal Peurifoy's record as a conqueror. 
Yet he had his chance when, the first of the Empire's generals to do so, he faced the 
Foundation squarely.... 


*AII quotations from the Encyclopedia Galactica here reproduced are taken from the 116th 
Edition published in 1020 F.E. by the Encyclopedia Galactica Publishing Co., Terminus, with 
permission of the publishers. 

Bel Riose traveled without escort, which is not what court etiquette prescribes for the head of a 
fleet stationed in a yet-sullen stellar system on the Marches of the Galactic Empire. 

But Bel Riose was young and energetic - energetic enough to be sent as near the end of the 
universe as possible by an unemotional and calculating court - and curious besides. Strange 
and improbable tales fancifully-repeated by hundreds and murkily-known to thousands intrigued 

the last faculty; the possibility of a military venture engaged the other two. The combination was 

He was out of the dowdy ground-car he had appropriated and at the door of the fading mansion 
that was his destination. He waited. The photonic eye that spanned the doorway was alive, but 
when the door opened it was by hand. 

Bel Riose smiled at the old man. "I am Riose-" 

"I recognize you." The old man remained stiffly and unsurprised in his place. "Your business?" 

Riose withdrew a step in a gesture of submission. "One of peace. If you are Ducem Barr, I ask 
the favor of conversation." 

Ducem Barr stepped aside and in the interior of the house the walls glowed into life, The 
general entered into daylight. 

He touched the wall of the study, then stared at his fingertips. "You have this on Siwenna?" 

Barr smiled thinly. "Not elsewhere, I believe. I keep this in repair myself as well as I can. I must 
apologize for your wait at the door. The automatic device registers the presence of a visitor but 
will no longer open the door." 

"Your repairs fall short?" The general's voice was faintly mocking. 

"Parts are no longer available. If you will sit, sir. You drink tea?" 

"On Siwenna? My good sir, it is socially impossible not to drink it here." 

The old patrician retreated noiselessly with a slow bow that was part of the ceremonious legacy 
left by the aristocracy of the last century's better days. 

Riose looked after his host's departing figure, and his studied urbanity grew a bit uncertain at 
the edges. His education had been purely military; his experience likewise. He had, as the 
cliche, has it, faced death many times; but always death of a very familiar and tangible nature, 
Consequently, there is no inconsistency in the fact that the idolized lion of the Twentieth Fleet 
felt chilled in the suddenly musty atmosphere of an ancient room. 

The general recognized the small black-ivroid boxes that lined the shelves to be books. Their 
titles were unfamiliar. He guessed that the large structure at one end of the room was the 
receiver that transmuted the books into sight-and-sound on demand. He had never seen one in 
operation; but he had heard of them. 

Once he had been told that long before, during the golden ages when the Empire had been 
co-extensive with the entire Galaxy, nine houses out of every ten had such receivers - and 
such rows of books. 

But there were borders to watch now; books were for old men. And half the stories told about 
the old days were mythical anyway. More than half. 

The tea arrived, and Riose seated himself. Ducem Barr lifted his cup. "To your honor." 

"Thank you. To yours." 

Ducem Barr said deliberately, "You are said to be young. Thirty-five?" 

"Near enough. Thirty-four." 

"In that case," said Barr, with soft emphasis, "I could not begin better than by informing you 
regretfully that I am not in the possession of love charms, potions, or philtres. Nor am I in the 
least capable of influencing the favors of any young lady as may appeal to you." 

"I have no need of artificial aids in that respect, sir." The complacency undeniably present in the 
general's voice was stirred with amusement. "Do you receive many requests for such 

"Enough. Unfortunately, an uninformed public tends to confuse scholarship with magicianry, 
and love life seems to be that factor which requires the largest quantity of magical tinkering." 

"And so would seem most natural. But I differ. I connect scholarship with nothing but the means 
of answering difficult questions." 

The Siwennian considered somberly, "You may be as wrong as they!" 

"That may turn out or not." The young general set down his cup in its flaring sheath and it 
refilled. He dropped the offered flavor-capsule into it with a small splash. "Tell me then, 
patrician, who are the magicians? The real ones." 

Barr seemed startled at a title long-unused. He said, "There are no magicians." 

"But people speak of them. Siwenna crawls with the tales of them. There are cults being built 
about them. There is some strange connection between it and those groups among your 
countrymen who dream and drivel of ancient days and what they call liberty and autonomy. 
Eventually the matter might become a danger to the State." 

The old man shook his head. "Why ask me? Do you smell rebellion, with myself at the head?" 

Riose shrugged, "Never. Never. Oh, it is not a thought completely ridiculous. Your father was 
an exile in his day; you yourself a patriot and a chauvinist in yours. It is indelicate in me as a 
guest to mention it, but my business here requires it. And yet a conspiracy now? I doubt it. 
Siwenna has had the spirit beat out of it these three generations." 

The old man replied with difficulty, "I shall be as indelicate a host as you a guest. I shall remind 
you that once a viceroy thought as you did of the spiritless Siwennians. By the orders of that 
viceroy my father became a fugitive pauper, my brothers martyrs, and my sister a suicide. Yet 
that viceroy died a death sufficiently horrible at the hands of these same slavish Siwennians." 

"Ah, yes, and there you touch nearly on something I could wish to say. For three years the 
mysterious death of that viceroy has been no mystery to me. There was a young soldier of his 
personal guard whose actions were of interest. You were that soldier, but there is no need of 
details, I think." 

Barr was quiet. "None. What do you propose? 

"That you answer my questions." 

"Not under threats. I am old enough for life not to mean particularly overmuch." 

"My good sir, these are hard times," said Riose, with meaning, "and you have children and 
friends. You have a country for which you have mouthed phrases of love and folly in the past. 
Come, if I should decide to use force, my aim would not be so poor as to strike you." 

Barr said coldly, "What do you want?" 

Riose held the empty cup as he spoke. "Patrician, listen to me. These are days when the most 
successful soldiers are those whose function is to lead the dress parades that wind through the 
imperial palace grounds on feast days and to escort the sparkling pleasure ships that carry His 
Imperial Splendor to the summer planets. I ... I am a failure. I am a failure at thirty-four, and I 
shall stay a failure. Because, you see, I like to fight. 

"That's why they sent me here. I'm too troublesome at court. I don't fit in with the etiquette. I 
offend the dandies and the lord admirals, but I'm too good a leader of ships and men to be 
disposed of shortly be being marooned in space. So Siwenna is the substitute. It's a frontier 
world; a rebellious and a barren province. It is far away, far enough away to satisfy all. 

"And so I moulder. There are no rebellions to stamp down, and the border viceroys do not 
revolt lately, at least, not since His Imperial Majesty's late father of glorious memory made an 
example of Mountel of Paramay." 

"A strong Emperor," muttered Barr. 

"Yes, and we need more of them. He is my master; remember that. These are his interests I 

Barr shrugged unconcernedly. "How does all this relate to the subject?" 

"I'll show you in two words. The magicians I've mentioned come from beyond-out there beyond 
the frontier guards, where the stars are scattered thinly-" 

"'Where the stars are scattered thinly,'" quoted Barr, '"And the cold of space seeps in."' 

"Is that poetry?" Riose frowned. Verse seemed frivolous at the moment. "In any case, they're 
from the Periphery - from the only quarter where I am free to fight for the glory of the Emperor." 

"And thus serve His Imperial Majesty's interests and satisfy your own love of a good fight." 

"Exactly. But I must know what I fight; and there you can help." 

"How do you know?" 

Riose nibbled casually at a cakelet. "Because for three years I have traced every rumor, every 
myth, every breath concerning the magicians - and of all the library of information I have 
gathered, only two isolated facts are unanimously agreed upon, and are hence certainly true. 
The first is that the magicians come from the edge of the Galaxy opposite Siwenna; the second 
is that your father once met a magician, alive and actual, and spoke with him." 

The aged Siwennian stared unblinkingly, and Riose continued, "You had better tell me what 
you know-" 

Barr said thoughtfully, "It would be interesting to tell you certain things. It would be a 
psychohistoric experiment of my own." 

"What kind of experiment?" 

"Psychohistoric." The old man had an unpleasant edge to his smile. Then, crisply, "You'd better 
have more tea. I'm going to make a bit of a speech." 

He leaned far back into the soft cushions of his chair. The wall-lights had softened to a 
pink-ivory glow, which mellowed even the soldier's hard profile. 

Ducem Barr began, "My own knowledge is the result of two accidents; the accidents of being 
born the son of my father, and of being born the native of my country. It begins over forty years 
ago, shortly after the great Massacre, when my father was a fugitive in the forests of the South, 
while I was a gunner in the viceroy's personal fleet. This same viceroy, by the way, who had 
ordered the Massacre, and who died such a cruel death thereafter." 

Barr smiled grimly, and continued, "My father was a Patrician of the Empire and a Senator of 
Siwenna. His name was Onum Barr." 

Riose interrupted impatiently, "I know the circumstances of his exile very well. You needn't 
elaborate upon it." 

The Siwennian ignored him and proceeded without deflection. "During his exile a wanderer 
came upon him; a merchant from the edge of the Galaxy; a young man who spoke a strange 
accent, knew nothing of recent Imperial history, and who was protected by an individual 

"An individual force-shield?" Riose glared. "You speak extravagance. What generator could be 
powerful enough to condense a shield to the size of a single man? By the Great Galaxy, did he 
carry five thousand myria-tons of nuclear power-source about with him on a little wheeled 

Barr said quietly, "This is the magician of whom you hear whispers, stories and myths. The 
name 'magician' is not lightly earned. He carried no generator large enough to be seen, but not 
the heaviest weapon you can carry in your hand would have as much as creased the shield he 

"Is this all the story there is? Are the magicians born of maunderings of an old man broken by 
suffering and exile?" 

"The story of the magicians antedated even my father, sir. And the proof is more concrete. After 
leaving my father, this merchant that men call a magician visited a Tech-man at the city to 
which my father had guided him, and there he left a shield-generator of the type he wore. That 
generator was retrieved by my father after his return from exile upon the execution of the 
bloody viceroy. It took a long time to find- 

"The generator hangs on the wall behind you, sir. It does not work. It never worked but for the 
first two days; but if you'll look at it, you will see that no one in the Empire ever designed it." 

Bel Riose reached for the belt of linked metal that clung to the curved wall. It came away with a 
little sucking noise as the tiny adhesion-field broke at the touch of his hand. The ellipsoid at the 
apex of the belt held his attention. It was the size of a walnut. 

"This-" he said. 

"Was the generator," nodded Barr. "But it was the generator. The secret of its workings are 
beyond discovery now. Sub-electronic investigations have shown it to be fused into a single 
lump of metal and not all the most careful study of the diffraction patterns have sufficed to 
distinguish the discrete parts that had existed before fusion." 

"Then your 'proof still lingers on the frothy border of words backed by no concrete evidence." 

Barr shrugged. "You have demanded my knowledge of me and threatened its extortion by 
force. If you choose to meet it with skepticism, what is that to me? Do you want me to stop?" 

"Go on!" said the general, harshly. 

"I continued my father's researches after he died, and then the second accident I mentioned 
came to help me, for Siwenna was well known to Hari Seldon." 

"And who is Hari Seldon?" 

"Hari Seldon was a scientist of the reign of the Emperor, Daluben IV. He was a psychohistorian; 
the last and greatest of them all. He once visited Siwenna, when Siwenna was a great 
commercial center, rich in the arts and sciences." 

"Hmph," muttered Riose, sourly, "where is the stagnant planet that does not claim to have been 
a land of overflowing wealth in older days?" 

"The days I speak of are the days of two centuries ago, when the Emperor yet ruled to the 
uttermost star; when Siwenna was a world of the interior and not a semi-barbarian border 
province. In those days, Hari Seldon foresaw the decline of Imperial power and the eventual 
barbarization of the entire Galaxy." 

Riose laughed suddenly. "He foresaw that? Then he foresaw wrong, my good scientist. I 
suppose you call yourself that. Why, the Empire is more powerful now than it has been in a 
millennium. Your old eyes are blinded by the cold bleakness of the border. Come to the inner 
worlds some day; come to the warmth and the wealth of the center." 

The old man shook his head somberly. "Circulation ceases first at the outer edges. It will take a 
while yet for the decay to reach the heart. That is, the apparent, obvious-to-all decay, as distinct 
from the inner decay that is an old story of some fifteen centuries." 

"And so this Hari Seldon foresaw a Galaxy of uniform barbarism," said Riose, good-humoredly. 
"And what then, eh?" 

So he established two foundations at the extreme opposing ends of the Galaxy - Foundations 

of the best, and the youngest, and the strongest, there to breed, grow, and develop. The worlds 
on which they were placed were chosen carefully; as were the times and the surroundings. All 
was arranged in such a way that the future as foreseen by the unalterable mathematics of 
psychohistory would involve their early isolation from the main body of Imperial civilization and 
their gradual growth into the germs of the Second Galactic Empire - cutting an inevitable 
barbarian interregnum from thirty thousand years to scarcely a single thousand." 

"And where did you find out all this? You seem to know it in detail." 

"I don't and never did," said the patrician with composure. "It is the painful result of the piecing 
together of certain evidence discovered by my father and a little more found by myself. The 
basis is flimsy and the superstructure has been romanticized into existence to fill the huge 
gaps. But I am convinced that it is essentially true." 

"You are easily convinced." 

"Am I? It has taken forty years of research." 

"Hmph. Forty years! I could settle the question in forty days. In fact, I believe I ought to. It would 
be - different." 

"And how would you do that?" 

"In the obvious way. I could become an explorer. I could find this Foundation you speak of and 
observe with my eyes. You say there are two?" 

"The records speak of two. Supporting evidence has been found only for one, which is 
understandable, for the other is at the extreme end of the long axis of the Galaxy." 

"Well, we'll visit the near one." The general was on his feet, adjusting his belt. 

"You know where to go?" asked Barr. 

"In a way. In the records of the last viceroy but one, he whom you murdered so effectively, 
there are suspicious tales of outer barbarians. In fact, one of his daughters was given in 
marriage to a barbarian prince. I'll find my way." 

Fie held out a hand. "I thank you for your hospitality." 

Ducem Barr touched the hand with his fingers and bowed formally. "Your visit was a great 

"As for the information you gave me," continued Bel Riose, "I'll know how to thank you for that 
when I return." 

Ducem Barr followed his guest submissively to the outer door and said quietly to the 
disappearing ground-car, "And if you return." 


FOUNDATION... With forty years of expansion behind them, the Foundation faced the menace 
of Riose. The epic days of Hardin and Mallow had gone and with them were gone a certain 
hard daring and resolution.... 


There were four men in the room, and the room was set apart where none could approach. The 
four men looked at each other quickly, then lengthily at the table that separated them. There 
were four bottles on the table and as many full glasses, but no one had touched them. 

And then the man nearest the door stretched out an arm and drummed a slow, padding rhythm 
on the table. 

He said, "Are you going to sit and wonder forever? Does it matter who speaks first?" 

"Speak you first, then," said the big man directly opposite. "You're the one who should be the 
most worried." 

Sennett Forell chuckled with noiseless nonhumor. "Because you think I'm the richest. Well - Or 
is it that you expect me to continue as I have started. I don't suppose you forget that it was my 
own Trade Fleet that captured this scout ship of theirs." 

"You had the largest fleet," said a third, "and the best pilots; which is another way of saying you 
are the richest. It was a fearful risk; and would have been greater for one of us." 

Sennett Forell chuckled again. "There is a certain facility in risk-taking that I inherit from my 
father. After all, the essential point in running a risk is that the returns justify it. As to which, 
witness the fact that the enemy ship was isolated and captured without loss to ourselves or 
warning to the others." 

That Forell was a distant collateral relative of the late great Hober Mallow was recognized 
openly throughout the Foundation. That he was Mallow's illegitimate son was accepted quietly 
to just as wide an extent. 

The fourth man blinked his little eyes stealthily. Words crept out from between thin lips. "It is 
nothing to sleep over in fat triumph, this grasping of little ships. Most likely, it will but anger that 
young man further." 

"You think he needs motives?" questioned Forell, scornfully. 

"I do, and this might, or will, save him the vexation of having to manufacture one." The fourth 
man spoke slowly, "Hober Mallow worked otherwise. And Salvor Hardin. They let others take 
the uncertain paths of force, while they maneuvered surely and quietly." 

Forell shrugged. "This ship has proved its value. Motives are cheap and we have sold this one 
at a profit." There was the satisfaction of the born Trader in that. He continued, "The young 
man is of the old Empire." 

"We knew that," said the second man, the big one, with rumbling discontent. 

"We suspected that," corrected Forell, softly. "If a man comes with ships and wealth, with 
overtures of friendliness, and with offers of trade, it is only sensible to refrain from antagonizing 
him, until we are certain that the profitable mask is not a face after all. But now-" 

There was a faint whining edge to the third man's voice as he spoke. "We might have been 
even more careful. We might have found out first. We might have found out before allowing him 
to leave. It would have been the truest wisdom." 

"That has been discussed and disposed of," said Forell. Fie waved the subject aside with a 
flatly final gesture. 

"The government is soft," complained the third man. "The mayor is an idiot." 

The fourth man looked at the other three in turn and removed the stub of a cigar from his 
mouth. Fie dropped it casually into the slot at his right where it disappeared with a silent flash of 

Fie said sarcastically, "I trust the gentleman who last spoke is speaking through habit only. We 
can afford to remember here that we are the government." 

There was a murmur of agreement. 

The fourth man's little eyes were on the table. "Then let us leave government policy alone. This 
young man ... this stranger might have been a possible customer. There have been cases. All 
three of you tried to butter him into an advance contract. We have an agreement - a 
gentleman's agreement - against it, but you tried." 

"So did you," growled the second man. 

I know it," said the fourth, calmly. 

"Then let's forget what we should have done earlier," interrupted Forell impatiently, "and 
continue with what we should do now. In any case, what if we had imprisoned him, or killed 
him, what then? We are not certain of his intentions even yet, and at the worst, we could not 
destroy an Empire by snipping short one man's life. There might be navies upon navies waiting 
just the other side of his nonreturn." 

"Exactly," approved the fourth man. "Now what did you get out of your captured ship? I'm too 
old for all this talking." 

"It can be told in a few enough words," said Forell, grimly. "Fle's an Imperial general or 
whatever rank corresponds to that over there. Fle's a young man who has proved his military 
brilliance - so I am told - and who is the idol of his men. Quite a romantic career. The stories 
they tell of him are no doubt half lies, but even so it makes him out to be a type of wonder 

"Who are the 'they'?" demanded the second man. 

"The crew of the captured ship. Look, I have all their statements recorded on micro-film, which I 
have in a secure place. Later on, if you wish, you can see them. You can talk to the men 
yourselves, if you think it necessary. I've told you the essentials." 

"How did you get it out of them? How do you know they're telling the truth?" 

Forell frowned. "I wasn't gentle, good sir. I knocked them about, drugged them crazy, and used 
the Probe unmercifully. They talked. You can believe them." 

"In the old days," said the third man, with sudden irrelevance, "they would have used pure 
psychology. Painless, you know, but very sure. No chance of deceit." 

"Well, there is a good deal they had in the old days," said Forell, dryly. "These are the new 

"But," said the fourth man, "what did he want here, this general, this romantic wonder-man?" 
There was a dogged, weary persistence about him. 

Forell glanced at him sharply. "You think he confides the details of state policy to his crew? 
They didn't know. There was nothing to get out of them in that respect, and I tried, Galaxy 

"Which leaves us-" 

"To draw our own conclusions, obviously." Forell's fingers were tapping quietly again. "The 
young man is a military leader of the Empire, yet he played the pretense of being a minor 
princeling of some scattered stars in an odd comer of the Periphery. That alone would assure 
us that his real motives are such as it would not benefit him to have us know. Combine the 
nature of his profession with the fact that the Empire has already subsidized one attack upon us 
in my father's time, and the possibilities become ominous. That first attack failed. I doubt that 
the Empire owes us love for that." 

"There is nothing in your findings," questioned the fourth man guardedly, "that makes for 
certainty? You are withholding nothing?" 

Forell answered levelly, "I can't withhold anything. From here on there can be no question of 
business rivalry. Unity is forced upon us." 

"Patriotism?" There was a sneer in the third man's thin voice. 

"Patriotism be damned," said Forell quietly. "Do you think I give two puffs of nuclear emanation 
for the future Second Empire? Do you think I'd risk a single Trade mission to smooth its path? 
But - do you suppose Imperial conquest will help my business or yours? If the Empire wins, 
there will be a sufficient number of yearning carrion crows to crave the rewards of battle." 

"And we're the rewards," added the fourth man, dryly. 

The second man broke his silence suddenly, and shifted his bulk angrily, so that the chair 
creaked under him. "But why talk of that. The Empire can't win, can it? There is Seldon's 
assurance that we will form the Second Empire in the end. This is only another crisis. There 
have been three before this." 

"Only another crisis, yes!" Forell brooded. "But - in the case of the first two, we had Salvor 
Hardin to guide us; in the third, there was Hober Mallow. Whom have we now?" 

He looked at the others somberly and continued, "Seldon's rules of psychohistory on which it is 
so comforting to rely probably have as one of the contributing variables, a certain normal 
initiative on the part of the people of the Foundation themselves. Seldon's laws help those who 
help themselves." 

"The times make the man," said the third man. "There's another proverb for you." 

"You can't count on that, not with absolute assurance," grunted Forell. "Now the way it seems 
to me is this. If this is the fourth crisis, then Seldon has foreseen it. If he has, then it can be 
beaten, and there should be a way of doing it. 

"Now The Empire is stronger than we; it always has been. But this is the first time we are in 
danger of its direct attack, so that strength becomes terribly menacing. If it can be beaten, it 
must be once again as in all past crises by a method other than pure force. We must find the 
weak side of our enemy and attack it there." 

"And what is that weak side?" asked the fourth man. "Do you intend advancing a theory?" 

"No. That is the point I'm leading up to. Our great leaders of the past always saw the weak 
points of their enemies and aimed at that. But now-" 

There was a helplessness in his voice, and for a moment none volunteered a comment. 

Then the fourth man said, "We need spies." 

Forell turned to him eagerly. "Right! I don't know when the Empire will attack. There may be 

"Hober Mallow himself entered the Imperial dominions," suggested the second man. 

But Forell shook his head. "Nothing so direct. None of us are precisely youthful; and all of us 
are rusty with red-tape and administrative detail. We need young men that are in the field 

"The independent traders?" asked the fourth man. 

And Forell nodded his, head and whispered, "If there is yet time-" 


Bel Riose interrupted his annoyed stridings to look up hopefully when his aide entered. "Any 
word of the Starlet ?" 

"None. The scouting party has quartered space, but the instruments have detected nothing. 
Commander Yume has reported that the Fleet is ready for an immediate attack in retaliation." 

The general shook his head. "No, not for a patrol ship. Not yet. Tell him to double - Wait! I'll 
write out the message. Have it coded and transmitted by tight beam." 

He wrote as he talked and thrust the paper at the waiting officer. "Has the Siwennian arrived 


"Not yet." 

"Well, see to it that he is brought in here as soon as he does arrive." 

The aide saluted crisply and left. Riose resumed his caged stride. 

When the door opened a second time, it was Ducem Barr that stood on the threshold. Slowly, 
in the footsteps of the ushering aide, he stepped into the garish room whose ceiling was an 
ornamented holographic model of the Galaxy, and in the center of which Bel Riose stood in 
field uniform. 

"Patrician, good day!" The general pushed forward a chair with his foot and gestured the aide 
away with a "That door is to stay closed till I open it." 

He stood before the Siwennian, legs apart, hand grasping wrist behind his back, balancing 
himself slowly, thoughtfully, on the balls of his feet. 

Then, harshly, "Patrician, are you a loyal subject of the Emperor?" 

Barr, who had maintained an indifferent silence till then, wrinkled a noncommittal brow. "I have 
no cause to love Imperial rule." 

"Which is a long way from saying that you would be a traitor." 

"True. But the mere act of not being a traitor is also a long way from agreeing to be an active 

"Ordinarily also true. But to refuse your help at this point," said Riose, deliberately, "will be 
considered treason and treated as such." 

Barr's eyebrows drew together. "Save your verbal cudgels for your subordinates. A simple 
statement of your needs and wants will suffice me here." 

Riose sat down and crossed his legs. "Barr, we had an earlier discussion half a year ago." 
"About your magicians?" 

"Yes. You remember what I said I would do." 

Barr nodded. His arms rested limply in his lap. "You were going to visit them in their haunts, 
and you've been away these four months. Did you find them?" 

"Find them? That I did," cried Riose. His lips were stiff as he spoke. It seemed to require effort 
to refrain from grinding molars. "Patrician, they are not magicians; they are devils. It is as far 
from belief as the outer galaxies from here. Conceive it! It is a world the size of a handkerchief, 
of a fingernail; with resources so petty, power so minute, a population so microscopic as would 
never suffice the most backward worlds of the dusty prefects of the Dark Stars. Yet with that, a 
people so proud and ambitious as to dream quietly and methodically of Galactic rule. 

"Why, they are so sure of themselves that they do not even hurry. They move slowly, 

phlegmatically; they speak of necessary centuries. They swallow worlds at leisure; creep 
through systems with dawdling complacence. 

"And they succeed. There is no one to stop them. They have built up a filthy trading community 
that curls its tentacles about the systems further than their toy ships dare reach. For parsecs, 
their Traders - which is what their agents call themselves - penetrate." 

Ducem Barr interrupted the angry flow. "How much of this information is definite; and how much 
is simply fury?" 

The soldier caught his breath and grew calmer. "My fury does not blind me. I tell you I was in 
worlds nearer to Siwenna than to the Foundation, where the Empire was a myth of the 
distance, and where Traders were living truths. We ourselves were mistaken for Traders." 

"The Foundation itself told you they aimed at Galactic dominion?" 

"Told me!" Riose was violent again. "It was not a matter of telling me. The officials said nothing. 
They spoke business exclusively. But I spoke to ordinary men. I absorbed the ideas of the 
common folk; their 'manifest destiny,' their calm acceptance of a great future. It is a thing that 
can't be hidden; a universal optimism they don't even try to hide." 

The Siwennian openly displayed a certain quiet satisfaction. "You will notice that so far it would 
seem to bear out quite accurately my reconstruction of events from the paltry data on the 
subject that I have gathered." 

"It is no doubt," replied Riose with vexed sarcasm, "a tribute to your analytical powers. It is also 
a hearty and bumptious commentary on the growing danger to the domains of His Imperial 

Barr shrugged his unconcern, and Riose leaned forward suddenly, to seize the old man's 
shoulders and stare with curious gentleness into his eyes. 

He said, "Now, patrician, none of that. I have no desire to be barbaric. For my part, the legacy 
of Siwennian hostility to the Imperium is an odious burden, and one which I would do 
everything in my power to wipe out. But my province is the military and interference in civil 
affairs is impossible. It would bring about my recall and ruin my usefulness at once. You see 
that? I know you see that. Between yourself and myself then, let the atrocity of forty years ago 
be repaid by your vengeance upon its author and so forgotten. I need your help. I frankly admit 

There was a world of urgency in the young man's voice, but Ducem Barr's head shook gently 
and deliberately in a negative gesture. 

Riose said pleadingly, "You don't understand, patrician, and I doubt my ability to make you. I 
can't argue on your ground. You're the scholar, not I. But this I can tell you. Whatever you think 
of the Empire, you will admit its great services. Its armed forces have committed isolated 
crimes, but in the main they have been a force for peace and civilization. It was the Imperial 
navy that created the Pax Imperium that ruled over all the Galaxy for thousands of years. 
Contrast the millennia of peace under the Sun-and-Spaceship of the Empire with the millennia 
of interstellar anarchy that preceded it. Consider the wars and devastations of those old days 

and tell me if, with all its faults, the Empire is not worth preserving. 

"Consider," he drove on forcefully, "to what the outer fringe of the Galaxy is reduced in these 
days of their breakaway and independence, and ask yourself if for the sake of a petty revenge 
you would reduce Siwenna from its position as a province under the protection of a mighty 
Navy to a barbarian world in a barbarian Galaxy, all immersed in its fragmentary independence 
and its common degradation and misery." 

"Is it so bad - so soon?" murmured the Siwennian. 

"No," admitted Riose. "We would be safe ourselves no doubt, were our lifetimes quadrupled. 

But it is for the Empire I fight; that, and a military tradition which is something for myself alone, 
and which I can not transfer to you. It is a military tradition built on the Imperial institution which 
I serve." 

"You are getting mystical, and I always find it difficult to penetrate another person's mysticism." 
"No matter. You understand the danger of this Foundation." 

"It was I who pointed out what you call the danger before ever you headed outward from 

"Then you realize that it must be stopped in embryo or perhaps not at all. You have known of 
this Foundation before anyone had heard of it. You know more about it than anyone else in the 
Empire. You probably know how it might best be attacked; and you can probably forewarn me 
of its countermeasures. Come, let us be friends." 

Ducem Barr rose. Fie said flatly, "Such help as I could give you means nothing. So I will make 
you free of it in the face of your strenuous demand." 

"I will be the judge of its meaning." 

"No, I am serious. Not all the might of the Empire could avail to crush this pygmy world." 

"Why not?" Bel Riose's eyes glistened fiercely. "No, stay where you are. I'll tell you when you 
may leave. Why not? If you think I underestimate this enemy I have discovered, you are wrong. 
Patrician," he spoke reluctantly, "I lost a ship on my return. I have no proof that it fell into the 
hands of the Foundation; but it has not been located since and were it merely an accident, its 
dead hulk should, certainly have been found along the route we took. It is not an important loss 
- less than the tenth part of a fleabite, but it may mean that the Foundation has already opened 
hostilities. Such eagerness and such disregard for consequences might mean secret forces of 
which I know nothing. Can you help me then by answering a specific question? What is their 
military power?" 

"I haven't any notion." 

"Then explain yourself on your own terms. Why do you say the Empire can not defeat this small 

The Siwennian seated himself once more and looked away from Riose's fixed glare. Fie spoke 
heavily, "Because I have faith in the principles of psychohistory. It is a strange science. It 

reached mathematical maturity with one man, Hari Seldon, and died with him, for no man since 
has been capable of manipulating its intricacies. But in that short period, it proved itself the 
most powerful instrument ever invented for the study of humanity. Without pretending to predict 
the actions of individual humans, it formulated definite laws capable of mathematical analysis 
and extrapolation to govern and predict the mass action of human groups." 


"It was that psychohistory which Seldon and the group he worked with applied in full force to 
the establishment of the Foundation. The place, time, and conditions all conspire 
mathematically and so, inevitably, to the development of a Second Galactic Empire." 

Riose's voice trembled with indignation. "You mean that this art of his predicts that I would 
attack the Foundation and lose such and such a battle for such and such a reason? You are 
trying to say that I am a silly robot following a predetermined course into destruction." 

"No," replied the old patrician, sharply. "I have already said that the science had nothing to do 
with individual actions. It is the vaster background that has been foreseen." 

"Then we stand clasped tightly in the forcing hand of the Goddess of Historical Necessity." 

"Of Psyc/7ohistorical Necessity," prompted Barr, softly. 

"And if I exercise my prerogative of freewill? If I choose to attack next year, or not to attack at 
all? Flow pliable is the Goddess? Flow resourceful?" 

Barr shrugged. "Attack now or never; with a single ship, or all the force in the Empire; by 
military force or economic pressure; by candid declaration of war or by treacherous ambush. 

Do whatever you wish in your fullest exercise of freewill. You will still lose." 

"Because of Hari Seldon's dead hand?" 

"Because of the dead hand of the mathematics of human behavior that can neither be stopped, 
swerved, nor delayed." 

The two faced each other in deadlock, until the general stepped back. 

Fie said simply, "I'll take that challenge. It's a dead hand against a living will." 


CLEON II commonly called "The Great." The last strong Emperor of the First Empire, he is 
important for the political and artistic renaissance that took place during his long reign. He is 
best known to romance, however, for his connection with Bel Riose, and to the common man, 
he is simply "Riose's Emperor." It is important not to allow events of the last year of his reign to 
overshadow forty years of... 


Cleon II was Lord of the Universe. Cleon II also suffered from a painful and undiagnosed 
ailment. By the queer twists of human affairs, the two statements are not mutually exclusive, 
nor even particularly incongruous. There have been a wearisomely large number of precedents 
in history. 

But Cleon II cared nothing for such precedents. To meditate upon a long list of similar cases 
would not ameliorate personal suffering an electron's worth. It soothed him as little to think that 
where his great-grandfather had been the pirate ruler of a dust-speck planet, he himself slept in 
the pleasure palace of Ammenetik the Great, as heir of a line of Galactic rulers stretching 
backward into a tenuous past. It was at present no source of comfort to him that the efforts of 
his father had cleansed the realm of its leprous patches of rebellion and restored it to the peace 
and unity it had enjoyed under Stanel VI; that, as a consequence, in the twenty-five years of his 
reign, not one cloud of revolt had misted his burnished glory. 

The Emperor of the Galaxy and the Lord of All whimpered as he lolled his head backward into 
the invigorating plane of force about his pillows. It yielded in a softness that did not touch, and 
at the pleasant tingle, Cleon relaxed a bit. He sat up with difficulty and stared morosely at the 
distant walls of the grand chamber. It was a bad room to be alone in. It was too big. All the 
rooms were too big. 

But better to be alone during these crippling bouts than to endure the prinking of the courtiers, 
their lavish sympathy, their soft, condescending dullness. Better to be alone than to watch 
those insipid masks behind which spun the tortuous speculations on the chances of death and 
the fortunes of the succession. 

His thoughts hurried him. There were his three sons; three straight-backed youths full of 
promise and virtue. Where did they disappear on these bad days? Waiting, no doubt. Each 
watching the other; and all watching him. 

He stirred uneasily. And now Brodrig craved audience. The low-born, faithful Brodrig; faithful 
because he was hated with a unanimous and cordial hatred that was the only point of 
agreement between the dozen cliques that divided his court. 

Brodrig - the faithful favorite, who had to be faithful, since unless he owned the fastest 
speed-ship in the Galaxy and took to it the day of the Emperor's death, it would be the 
radiation-chamber the day after. 

Cleon II touched the smooth knob on the arm of his great divan, and the huge door at the end 
of the room dissolved to transparency. 

Brodrig advanced along the crimson carpet, and knelt to kiss the Emperor's limp hand. 

"Your health, sire?" asked the Privy Secretary in a low tone of becoming anxiety. 

"I live," snapped the Emperor with exasperation, "if you can call it life where every scoundrel 
who can read a book of medicine uses me as a blank and receptive field for his feeble 
experiments. If there is a conceivable remedy, chemical, physical, or nuclear, which has not yet 
been tried, why then, some learned babbler from the far comers of the realm will arrive 
tomorrow to try it. And still another newly-discovered book, or forgery morelike, will be used as 


"By my father's memory," he rumbled savagely, "it seems there is not a biped extant who can 
study a disease before his eyes with those same eyes. There is not one who can count a 
pulse-beat without a book of the ancients before him. I'm sick and they call it 'unknown.' The 
fools! If in the course of millennia, human bodies learn new methods of falling askew, it remains 
uncovered by the studies of the ancients and uncurable forevermore. The ancients should be 
alive now, or I then." 

The Emperor ran down to a low-breathed curse while Brodrig waited dutifully. Cleon II said 
peevishly, "How many are waiting outside?" 

He jerked his head in the direction of the door. 

Brodrig said patiently, "The Great Hall holds the usual number." 

"Well, let them wait. State matters occupy me. Have the Captain of the Guard announce it. Or 
wait, forget the state matters. Just have it announced I hold no audience, and let the Captain of 
the Guard look doleful. The jackals among them may betray themselves." The Emperor 
sneered nastily. 

"There is a rumor, sire," said Brodrig, smoothly, "that it is your heart that troubles you." 

The Emperor's smile was little removed from the previous sneer. "It will hurt others more than 
myself if any act prematurely on that rumor. But what is it you want. Let's have this over." 

Brodrig rose from his kneeling posture at a gesture of permission and said, "It concerns 
General Bel Riose, the Military Governor of Siwenna." 

"Riose?" Cleon II frowned heavily. "I don't place him. Wait, is he the one who sent that quixotic 
message some months back? Yes, I remember. He panted for permission to enter a career of 
conquest for the glory of the Empire and Emperor." 

"Exactly, sire." 

The Emperor laughed shortly. "Did you think I had such generals left me, Brodrig? He seems to 
be a curious atavism. What was the answer? I believe you took care of it." 

"I did, sire. He was instructed to forward additional information and to take no steps involving 
naval action without further orders from the Imperium." 

"Hmp. Safe enough. Who is this Riose? Was he ever at court?" 

Brodrig nodded and his mouth twisted ever so little. "He began his career as a cadet in the 
Guards ten years back. He had part in that affair off the Lemul Cluster." 

"The Lemul Cluster? You know, my memory isn't quite - Was that the time a young soldier 
saved two ships of the line from a head-on collision by ... uh ... something or other?" He waved 
a hand impatiently. "I don't remember the details. It was something heroic." 

"Riose was that soldier. He received a promotion for it," Brodrig said dryly, "and an appointment 

to field duty as captain of a ship." 

"And now Military Governor of a border system and still young. Capable man, Brodrig!" 

"Unsafe, sire. He lives in the past. He is a dreamer of ancient times, or rather, of the myths of 
what ancient times used to be. Such men are harmless in themselves, but their queer lack of 
realism makes them fools for others." He added, "His men, I understand, are completely under 
his control. He is one of your popular generals." 

"Is he?" the Emperor mused. "Well, come, Brodrig, I would not wish to be served entirely by 
incompetents. They certainly set no enviable standard for faithfulness themselves." 

"An incompetent traitor is no danger. It is rather the capable men who must be watched." 

"You among them, Brodrig?" Cleon II laughed and then grimaced with pain. "Well, then, you 
may forget the lecture for the while. What new development is there in the matter of this young 
conqueror? I hope you haven't come merely to reminisce." 

"Another message, sire, has been received from General Riose." 

"Oh? And to what effect?" 

"He has spied out the land of these barbarians and advocates an expedition in force. His 
arguments are long and fairly tedious. It is not worth annoying Your Imperial Majesty with it at 
present, during your indisposition. Particularly since it will be discussed at length during the 
session of the Council of Lords." He glanced sidewise at the Emperor. 

Cleon II frowned. "The Lords? Is it a question for them, Brodrig? It will mean further demands 
for a broader interpretation of the Charter. It always comes to that." 

"It can't be avoided, sire. It might have been better if your august father could have beaten 
down the last rebellion without granting the Charter. But since it is here, we must endure it for 
the while." 

"You're right, I suppose. Then the Lords it must be. But why all this solemnity, man? It is, after 
all, a minor point. Success on a remote border with limited troops is scarcely a state affair." 

Brodrig smiled narrowly. He said coolly, "It is an affair of a romantic idiot; but even a romantic 
idiot can be a deadly weapon when an unromantic rebel uses him as a tool. Sire, the man was 
popular here and is popular there. He is young. If he annexes a vagrant barbarian planet or 
two, he will become a conqueror. Now a young conqueror who has proven his ability to rouse 
the enthusiasm of pilots, miners, tradesmen and suchlike rabble is dangerous at any time. Even 
if he lacked the desire to do to you as your august father did to the usurper, Ricker, then one of 
our loyal Lords of the Domain may decide to use him as his weapon." 

Cleon II moved an arm hastily and stiffened with pain. Slowly he relaxed, but his smile was 
weak, and his voice a whisper. "You are a valuable subject, Brodrig. You always suspect far 
more than is necessary, and I have but to take half your suggested precautions to be utterly 
safe. We'll put it up to the Lords. We shall see what they say and take our measure accordingly. 
The young man, I suppose, has made no hostile moves yet." 

"He report none. But already he asks for reinforcements." 

"Reinforcements!" The Emperor's eyes narrowed with wonder. "What force has he?" 

"Ten ships of the line, sire, with a full complement of auxiliary vessels. Two of the ships are 
equipped with motors salvaged from the old Grand Fleet, and one has a battery of power 
artillery from the same source. The other ships are new ones of the last fifty years, but are 
serviceable, nevertheless." 

"Ten ships would seem adequate for any reasonable undertaking. Why, with less than ten ships 
my father won his first victories against the usurper. Who are these barbarians he's fighting?" 

The Privy Secretary raised a pair of supercilious eyebrows. "He refers to them as 'the 

"The Foundation? What is it?" 

"There is no record of it, sire. I have searched the archives carefully. The area of the Galaxy 
indicated falls within the ancient province of Anacreon, which two centuries since gave itself up 
to brigandage, barbarism, and anarchy. There is no planet known as Foundation in the 
province, however. There was a vague reference to a group of scientists sent to that province 
just before its separation from our protection. They were to prepare an Encyclopedia." He 
smiled thinly. "I believe they called it the Encyclopedia Foundation." 

"Well," the Emperor considered it somberly, "that seems a tenuous connection to advance." 

"I'm not advancing it, sire. No word was ever received from that expedition after the growth of 
anarchy in that region. If their descendants still live and retain their name, then they have 
reverted to barbarism most certainly." 

"And so he wants reinforcements." The Emperor bent a fierce glance at his secretary. "This is 
most peculiar; to propose to fight savages with ten ships and to ask for more before a blow is 
struck. And yet I begin to remember this Riose; he was a handsome boy of loyal family. 

Brodrig, there are complications in this that I don't penetrate. There may be more importance in 
it than would seem." 

His fingers played idly with the gleaming sheet that covered his stiffened legs. He said, "I need 
a man out there; one with eyes, brains and loyalty. Brodrig-" 

The secretary bent a submissive head. "And the ships, sire?" 

"Not yet!" The Emperor moaned softly as he shifted his position in gentle stages. He pointed a 
feeble finger, "Not till we know more. Convene the Council of Lords for this day week. It will be 
a good opportunity for the new appropriation as well. I'll put that through or lives will end." 

He leaned his aching head into the soothing tingle of the force-field pillow, "Go now, Brodrig, 
and send in the doctor. He's the worst bumbler of the lot." 


From the radiating point of Siwenna, the forces of the Empire reached out cautiously into the 
black unknown of the Periphery. Giant ships passed the vast distances that separated the 
vagrant stars at the Galaxy's rim, and felt their way around the outermost edge of Foundation 

Worlds isolated in their new barbarism of two centuries felt the sensation once again of Imperial 
overlords upon their soil. Allegiance was sworn in the face of the massive artillery covering 
capital cities. 

Garrisons were left; garrisons of men in Imperial uniform with the Spaceship-and-Sun insignia 
upon their shoulders. The old men took notice and remembered once again the forgotten tales 
of their grandfathers' fathers of the times when the universe was big, and rich, and peaceful 
and that same Spaceship-and-Sun ruled all. 

Then the great ships passed on to weave their line of forward bases further around the 
Foundation. And as each world was knotted into its proper place in the fabric, the report went 
back to Bel Riose at the General Fleadquarters he had established on the rocky barrenness of 
a wandering sunless planet. 

Now Riose relaxed and smiled grimly at Ducem Barr. "Well, what do you think, patrician?" 

"I? Of what value are my thoughts? I am not a military man." He took in with one wearily 
distasteful glance the crowded disorder of the rock-bound room which had been carved out of 
the wall of a cavern of artificial air, light, and heat which marked the single bubble of life in the 
vastness of a bleak world. 

"For the help I could give you," he muttered, "or would want to give you, you might return me to 

"Not yet. Not yet." The general turned his chair to the comer which held the huge, 
brilliantly-transparent sphere that mapped the old Imperial prefect of Anacreon and its 
neighboring sectors. "Later, when this is over, you will go back to your books and to more. I'll 
see to it that the estates of your family are restored to you and to your children for the rest of 

"Thank you," said Barr, with faint irony, "but I lack your faith in the happy outcome of all this." 

Riose laughed harshly, "Don't start your prophetic croakings again. This map speaks louder 
than all your woeful theories." He caressed its curved invisible outline gently. "Can you read a 
map in radial projection? You can? Well, here, see for yourself. The stars in gold represent the 
Imperial territories. The red stars are those in subjection to the Foundation and the pink are 
those which are probably within the economic sphere of influence. Now watch-" 

Riose's hand covered a rounded knob, and slowly an area of hard, white pinpoints changed into 
a deepening blue. Like an inverted cup they folded about the red and the pink. 

"Those blue stars have been taken over by my forces," said Riose with quiet satisfaction, "and 

they still advance. No opposition has appeared anywhere. The barbarians are quiet. And 
particularly, no opposition has come from Foundation forces. They sleep peacefully and well." 

"You spread your force thinly, don't you?" asked Barr. 

"As a matter of fact," said Riose, "despite appearances, I don't. The key points which I garrison 
and fortify are relatively few, but they are carefully chosen. The result is that the force 
expended is small, but the strategic result great. There are many advantages, more than would 
ever appear to anyone who hasn't made a careful study of spatial tactics, but it is apparent to 
anyone, for instance, that I can base an attack from any point in an inclosing sphere, and that 
when I am finished it will be impossible for the Foundation to attack at flank or rear. I shall have 
no flank or rear with respect to them. 

"This strategy of the Previous Enclosure has been tried before, notably in the campaigns of 
Loris VI, some two thousand years ago, but always imperfectly; always with the knowledge and 
attempted interference of the enemy. This is different." 

"The ideal textbook case?" Barr's voice was languid and indifferent. 

Riose was impatient, "You still think my forces will fail?" 

"They must." 

"You understand that there is no case in military history where an Enclosure has been 
completed that the attacking forces have not eventually won, except where an outside Navy 
exists in sufficient force to break the Enclosure." 

"If you say so." 

"And you still adhere to your faith." 


Riose shrugged. "Then do so." 

Barr allowed the angry silence to continue for a moment, then asked quietly, "Flave you 
received an answer from the Emperor?" 

Riose removed a cigarette from a wall container behind his head, placed a filter tip between his 
lips and puffed it aflame carefully. Fie said, "You mean my request for reinforcements? It came, 
but that's all. Just the answer." 

"No ships." 

"None. I half-expected that. Frankly, patrician, I should never have allowed myself to be 
stampeded by your theories into requesting them in the first place. It puts me in a false light." 

"Does it?" 

"Definitely. Ships are at a premium. The civil wars of the last two centuries have smashed up 
more than half of the Grand Fleet and what's left is in pretty shaky condition. You know it isn't 
as if the ships we build these days are worth anything. I don't think there's a man in the Galaxy 

today who can build a first-rate hypernuclear motor." 

"I knew that," said the Siwennian. His eyes were thoughtful and introspective. "I didn't know that 
yoi/knew it. So his Imperial Majesty can spare no ships. Psychohistory could have predicted 
that; in fact, it probably did. I should say that Hari Seldon's dead hand wins the opening round." 

Riose answered sharply, "I have enough ships as it is. Your Seldon wins nothing. Should the 
situation turn more serious, then more ships will be available. As yet, the Emperor does not 
know all the story." 

"Indeed? What haven't you told him?" 

"Obviously - your theories." Riose looked sardonic. "The story is, with all respect to you, 
inherently improbable. If developments warrant; if events supply me with proof, then, but only 
then, would I make out the case of mortal danger. 

"And in addition," Riose drove on, casually, "the story, unbolstered by fact, has a flavor of lese 
majeste that could scarcely be pleasant to His Imperial Majesty." 

The old patrician smiled. "You mean that telling him his august throne is in danger of 
subversion by a parcel of ragged barbarians from the ends of the universe is not a warning to 
be believed or appreciated. Then you expect nothing from him." 

"Unless you count a special envoy as something." 

"And why a special envoy?" 

"It's an old custom. A direct representative of the crown is present on every military campaign 
which is under government auspices." 

"Really? Why?" 

"It's a method of preserving the symbol of personal Imperial leadership in all campaigns. It's 
gained a secondary function of insuring the fidelity of generals. It doesn't always succeed in 
that respect." 

"You'll find that inconvenient, general. Extraneous authority, I mean." 

"I don't doubt that," Riose reddened faintly, "but it can't be helped-" 

The receiver at the general's hand glowed warmly, and with an unobtrusive jar, the cylindered 
communication popped into its slot. Riose unrolled it, "Good! This is it!" 

Ducem Barr raised a mildly questioning eyebrow. 

Riose said, "You know we've captured one of these Trader people. Alive - and with his ship 

"I've heard talk of it." 

"Well, they've just brought him in, and we'll have him here in a minute. You keep your seat, 
patrician. I want you here when I'm questioning him. It's why I asked you here today in the first 

place. You may understand him where I might miss important points." 

The door signal sounded and a touch of the general's toe swung the door wide. The man who 
stood on the threshold was tall and bearded, wore a short coat of a soft, leathery plastic, with 
an attached hood shoved back on his neck. His hands were free, and if he noticed the men 
about him were armed, he did not trouble to indicate it. 

He stepped in casually, and looked about with calculating eyes. He favored the general with a 
rudimentary wave of the hand and a half nod. 

"Your name?" demanded Riose, crisply. 

"Lathan Devers." The trader hooked his thumbs into his wide and gaudy belt. "Are you the boss 

"You are a trader of the Foundation?" 

"That's right. Listen, if you're the boss, you'd better tell your hired men here to lay off my cargo." 

The general raised his head and regarded the prisoner coldly. "Answer questions. Do not 
volunteer orders." 

"All right. I'm agreeable. But one of your boys blasted a two-foot hole in his chest already, by 
sticking his fingers where he wasn't supposed to." 

Riose shifted his gaze to the lieutenant in charge. "Is this man telling the truth? Your report, 
Vrank, had it that no lives were lost." 

"None were, sir," the lieutenant spoke stiffly, apprehensively, "at the time. There was later some 
disposition to search the ship, there having arisen a rumor that a woman was aboard. Instead, 
sir, many instruments of unknown nature were located, instruments which the prisoner claims 
to be his stock in trade. One of them flashed on handling, and the soldier holding it died." 

The general turned back to the trader. "Does your ship carry nuclear explosives?" 

"Galaxy, no. What for? That fool grabbed a nuclear puncher, wrong end forward and set at 
maximum dispersion. You're not supposed to do that. Might as well point a neut-gun at your 
head. I'd have stopped him, if five men weren't sitting on my chest." 

Riose gestured at the waiting guard, "You go. The captured ship is to he sealed against all 
intrusion. Sit down, Devers." 

The trader did so, in the spot indicated, and withstood stolidly the hard scrutiny of the Imperial 
general and the curious glance of the Siwennian patrician. 

Riose said, "You're a sensible man, Devers." 

"Thank you. Are you impressed by my face, or do you want something? Tell you what, though. 
I'm a good business man." 

"It's about the same thing. You surrendered your ship when you might have decided to waste 
our ammunition and have yourself blown to electron-dust. It could result in good treatment for 

you, if you continue that sort of outlook on life." 

"Good treatment is what I mostly crave, boss." 

"Good, and co-operation is what I mostly crave." Riose smiled, and said in a low aside to 
Ducem Barr, "I hope the word 'crave' means what I think it does. Did you ever hear such a 
barbarous jargon?" 

Devers said blandly, "Right. I check you. But what kind of co-operation are you talking about, 
boss? To tell you straight, I don't know where I stand." He looked about him, "Where's this 
place, for instance, and - what's the idea?" 

"Ah, I've neglected the other half of the introductions. I apologize." Riose was in good humor. 
"That gentleman is Ducem Barr, Patrician of the Empire. I am Bel Riose, Peer of the Empire, 
and General of the Third Class in the armed forces of His Imperial Majesty." 

The trader's jaw slackened. Then, "The Empire? I mean the old Empire they taught us about at 
school? Huh! Funny! I always had the sort of notion that it didn't exist any more." 

"Look about you. It does," said Riose grimly. 

"Might have known it though," and Lathan Devers pointed his beard at the ceiling. "That was a 
mightily polished-looking set of craft that took my tub. No kingdom of the Periphery could have 
turned them out." His brow furrowed. "So what's the game, boss? Or do I call you general?" 

"Me game is war." 

"Empire versus Foundation, that it?" 



"I think you know why." 

The trader stared sharply and shook his head. 

Riose let the other deliberate, then said softly, "I'm sure you know why." 

Lathan Devers muttered, "Warm here," and stood up to remove his hooded jacket. Then he sat 
down again and stretched his legs out before him. 

"You know," he said, comfortably, "I figure you're thinking I ought to jump up with a whoop and 
lay about me. I can catch you before you could move if I choose my time, and this old fellow 
who sits there and doesn't say anything couldn't do much to stop me." 

"But you won't," said Riose, confidently. 

"I won't," agreed Devers, amiably. "First off, killing you wouldn't stop the war, I suppose. There 
are more generals where you came from." 

"Very accurately calculated." 

"Besides which, I'd probably be slammed down about two seconds after I got you, and killed 
fast, or maybe slow, depending. But I'd be killed, and I never like to count on that when I'm 
making plans. It doesn't pay off." 

"I said you were a sensible man." 

"But there's one thing I would like, boss. I'd like you to tell me what you mean when you say I 
know why you're jumping us. I don't; and guessing games bother me no end." 

"Yes? Ever hear of Hari Seldon?" 

"No. I said I don't like guessing games." 

Riose flicked a side glance at Ducem Barr who smiled with a narrow gentleness and resumed 
his inwardly-dreaming expression. 

Riose said with a grimace, "Don't you play games, Devers. There is a tradition, or a fable, or 
sober history - I don't care what - upon your Foundation, that eventually you will found the 
Second Empire. I know quite a detailed version of Hari Seldon's psychohistorical claptrap, and 
your eventual plans of aggression against the Empire." 

"That so?" Devers nodded thoughtfully. "And who told you all that?" 

"Does that matter?" said Riose with dangerous smoothness. "You're here to question nothing. I 
want what you know about the Seldon Fable." 

"But if it's a Fable-" 

"Don't play with words, Devers." 

"I'm not. In fact, I'll give it to you straight. You know all I know about it. It's silly stuff, half-baked. 
Every world has its yams; you can't keep it away from them. Yes, I've heard that sort of talk; 
Seldon, Second Empire, and so on. They put kids to sleep at night with the stuff. The young 
squirts curl up in the spare rooms with their pocket projectors and suck up Seldon thrillers. But 
it's strictly non-adult. Nonintelligent adult, anyway." The trader shook his head. 

The Imperial general's eyes were dark. "Is that really so? You waste your lies, man. I've been 
on the planet, Terminus. I know your Foundation. I've looked it in the face." 

"And you ask me? Me, when I haven't kept foot on it for two months at a piece in ten years. You 
are wasting your time. But go ahead with your war, if it's fables you're after." 

And Barr spoke for the first time, mildly, "You are so confident then that the Foundation will 

The trader turned. He flushed faintly and an old scar on one temple showed whitely, "Hm-m-m, 
the silent partner. How'd you squeeze that out of what I said, doc?" 

Riose nodded very slightly at Barr, and the Siwennian continued in a low voice, "Because the 
notion would bother you if you thought your world might lose this war, and suffer the bitter 
reapings of defeat, I know. My world once did, and still does." 

Lathan Devers fumbled his beard, looked from one of his opponents to the other, then laughed 
shortly. "Does he always talk like that, boss? Listen," he grew serious, "what's defeat? I've seen 
wars and I've seen defeats. What if the winner does take over? Who's bothered? Me? Guys like 
me?" He shook his head in derision. 

"Get this," the trader spoke forcefully and earnestly, "there are five or six fat slobs who usually 
run an average planet. They get the rabbit punch, but I'm not losing peace of mind over them. 
See. The people? The ordinary run of guys? Sure, some get killed, and the rest pay extra taxes 
for a while. But it settles itself out; it runs itself down. And then it's the old situation again with a 
different five or six." 

Ducem Barr's nostrils flared, and the tendons of his old right hand jerked; but he said nothing. 

Lathan Devers' eyes were on him. They missed nothing. He said, "Look. I spend my life in 
space for my five-and-dime gadgets and my beer-and-pretzel kickback from the Combines. 
There's fat fellows back there," his thumb jerked over his shoulder and back, "that sit home and 
collect my year's income every minute - out of skimmings from me and more like me. Suppose 
you run the Foundation. You'll still need us. You'll need us more than ever the Combines do - 
because you'd not know your way around, and we could bring in the hard cash. We'd make a 
better deal with the Empire. Yes, we would; and I'm a man of business. If it adds up to a plus 
mark, I'm for it." 

And he stared at the two with sardonic belligerence. 

The silence remained unbroken for minutes, and then a cylinder rattled into its slot. The general 
flipped it open, glanced at the neat printing and in-circuited the visuals with a sweep. 

"Prepare plan indicating position of each ship in action. Await orders on full-armed defensive." 

He reached for his cape. As he fastened it about his shoulders, he whispered in a stiff-lipped 
monotone to Barr, "I'm leaving this man to you. I'll expect results. This is war and I can be cruel 
to failures. Remember!" He left, with a salute to both. 

Lathan Devers looked after him, "Well, something's hit him where it hurts. What goes on?" 

"A battle, obviously," said Barr, gruffly. "The forces of the Foundation are coming out for their 
first battle. You'd better come along." 

There were armed soldiers in the room. Their bearing was respectful and their faces were hard. 
Devers followed the proud old Siwennian patriarch out of the room. 

The room to which they were led was smaller, barer. It contained two beds, a visi-screen, and 
shower and sanitary facilities. The soldiers marched out, and the thick door boomed hollowly 

" Hmp?' Devers stared disapprovingly about. "This looks permanent." 

"It is," said Barr, shortly. The old Siwennian turned his back. 

The trader said irritably, "What's your game, doc?" 

"I have no game. You're in my charge, that's all." 

The trader rose and advanced. His bulk towered over the unmoving patrician. "Yes? But you're 
in this cell with me and when you were marched here the guns were pointed just as hard at you 
as at me. Listen, you were all boiled up about my notions on the subject of war and peace." 

He waited fruitlessly, "All fight, let me ask you something. You said your country was licked 
once. By whom? Comet people from the outer nebulae?" 

Barr looked up. "By the Empire." 

"That so? Then what are you doing here?" 

Barr maintained an eloquent silence. 

The trader thrust out a lower lip and nodded his head slowly. He slipped off the flat-linked 
bracelet that hugged his fight wrist and held it out. "What do you think of that?" He wore the 
mate to it on his left. 

The Siwennian took the ornament. He responded slowly to the trader's gesture and put it on. 
The odd tingling at the wrist passed away quickly. 

Devers' voice changed at once. "Right, doc, you've got the action now. Just speak casually. If 
this room is wired, they won't get a thing. That's a Field Distorter you've got there; genuine 
Mallow design. Sells for twenty-five credits on any world from here to the outer rim. You get it 
free. Hold your lips still when you talk and take it easy. You've got to get the trick of it." 

Ducem Barr was suddenly weary. The trader's boring eyes were luminous and urging. He felt 
unequal to their demands. 

Barr said, "What do you want?" The words slurred from between unmoving lips. 

"I've told you. You make mouth noises like what we call a patriot. Yet your own world has been 
mashed up by the Empire, and here you are playing ball with the Empire's fair-haired general. 
Doesn't make sense, does it?" 

Barr said, "I have done my part. A conquering Imperial viceroy is dead because of me." 

"That so? Recently?" 

"Forty years ago." 

"Forty ... years ... ago!" The words seemed to have meaning to the trader. He frowned, "That's 
a long time to live on memories. Does that young squirt in the general's uniform know about it?" 

Barr nodded. 

Devers' eyes were dark with thought. "You want the Empire to win?" 

And the old Siwennian patrician broke out in sudden deep anger, "May the Empire and all its 
works perish in universal catastrophe. All Siwenna prays that daily. I had brothers once, a 
sister, a father. But I have children now, grandchildren. The general knows where to find them." 

Devers waited. 

Barr continued in a whisper, "But that would not stop me if the results in view warranted the 
risk. They would know how to die." 

The trader said gently, "You killed a viceroy once, huh? You know, I recognize a few things. We 
once had a mayor, Hober Mallow his name was. He visited Siwenna; that's your world, isn't it? 
He met a man named Barr." 

Ducem Barr stared hard, suspiciously. "What do you know of this?" 

"What every trader on the Foundation knows. You might be a smart old fellow put in here to get 
on my right side. Sure, they'd point guns at you, and you'd hate the Empire and be all-out for its 
smashing. Then I'd fall all over you and pour out my heart to you, and wouldn't the general be 
pleased. There's not much chance of that, doc. 

"But just the same I'd like to have you prove that you're the son of Onum Barr of Siwenna - the 
sixth and youngest who escaped the massacre." 

Ducem Barr's hand shook as he opened the flat metal box in a wall recess. The metal object he 
withdrew clanked softly as he thrust it into the trader's hands. "Look at that," he said. 

Devers stared. He held the swollen central link of the chain close to his eyes and swore softly. 
"That's Mallow's monogram, or I'm a space-struck rookie, and the design is fifty years old if it's 
a day." 

He looked up and smiled. 

"Shake, doc. A man-sized nuclear shield is all the proof I need," and he held out his large hand. 


The tiny ships had appeared out of the vacant depths and darted into the midst of the Armada. 
Without a shot or a burst of energy, they weaved through the ship-swollen area, then blasted 
on and out, while the Imperial wagons turned after them like lumbering beasts. There were two 
noiseless flares that pinpointed space as two of the tiny gnats shriveled in atomic disintegration, 
and the rest were gone. 

The great ships searched, then returned to their original task, and world by world, the great web 
of the Enclosure continued. 

Brodrig's uniform was stately; carefully tailored and as carefully worn. His walk through the 
gardens of the obscure planet Wanda, now temporary Imperial headquarters, was leisurely; his 
expression was somber. 

Bel Riose walked with him, his field uniform open at the collar, and doleful in its monotonous 

Riose indicated the smooth black bench under the fragrant tree-fern whose large spatulate 

leaves lifted flatly against the white sun. "See that, sir. It is a relic of the Imperium. The 
ornamented benches, built for lovers, linger on, fresh and useful, while the factories and the 
palaces collapse into unremembered ruin." 

He seated himself, while Cleon ll's Privy Secretary stood erect before him and clipped the 
leaves above neatly with precise swings of his ivory staff. 

Riose crossed his legs and offered a cigarette to the other. He fingered one himself as he 
spoke, "It is what one would expect from the enlightened wisdom of His Imperial Majesty to 
send so competent an observer as yourself. It relieves any anxiety I might have felt that the 
press of more important and more immediate business might perhaps force into the shadows a 
small campaign on the Periphery." 

"The eyes of the Emperor are everywhere," said Brodrig, mechanically. "We do not 
underestimate the importance of the campaign; yet still it would seem that too great an 
emphasis is being placed upon its difficulty. Surely their little ships are no such barrier that we 
must move through the intricate preliminary maneuver of an Enclosure." 

Riose flushed, but he maintained his equilibrium. "I can not risk the lives of my men, who are 
few enough, or the destruction of my ships which are irreplaceable, by a too-rash attack. The 
establishment of an Enclosure will quarter my casualties in the ultimate attack, howsoever 
difficult it be. The military reasons for that I took the liberty to explain yesterday." 

"Well, well, I am not a military man. In this case, you assure me that what seems patently and 
obviously right is, in reality, wrong. We will allow that. Yet your caution shoots far beyond that. 
In your second communication, you requested reinforcements. And these, against an enemy 
poor, small, and barbarous, with whom you have had not one' skirmish at the time. To desire 
more forces under the circumstances would savor almost of incapacity or worse, had not your 
earlier career given sufficient proof of your boldness and imagination." 

"I thank you," said the general, coldly, "but I would remind you that there is a difference 
between boldness and blindness. There is a place for a decisive gamble when you know your 
enemy and can calculate the risks at least roughly; but to move at all against an unknown 
enemy is boldness in itself. You might as well ask why the same man sprints safely across an 
obstacle course in the day, and falls over the furniture in his room at night." 

Brodrig swept away the other's words with a neat flirt of the fingers. "Dramatic, but not 
satisfactory. You have been to this barbarian world yourself. You have in addition this enemy 
prisoner you coddle, this trader. Between yourself and the prisoner you are not in a night fog." 

"No? I pray you to remember that a world which has developed in isolation for two centuries 
can not be interpreted to the point of intelligent attack by a month's visit. I am a soldier, not a 
cleft-chinned, barrel-chested hero of a subetheric trimensional thriller. Nor can a single 
prisoner, and one who is an obscure member of an economic group which has no close 
connection with the enemy world introduce me to all the inner secrets of enemy strategy." 

"You have questioned him?" 

"I have." 


"It has been useful, but not vitally so. His ship is tiny, of no account. He sells little toys which 
are amusing if nothing else. I have a few of the cleverest which I intend sending to the Emperor 
as curiosities. Naturally, there is a good deal about the ship and its workings which I do not 
understand, but then I am not a tech-man." 

"But you have among you those who are," pointed out Brodrig. 

"I, too, am aware of that," replied the general in faintly caustic tones. "But the fools have far to 
go before they could meet my needs. I have already sent for clever men who can understand 
the workings of the odd nuclear field-circuits the ship contains. I have received no answer." 

"Men of that type can not be spared, general. Surely, there must be one man of your vast 
province who understands nucleics." 

"Were there such a one, I would have him heal the limping, invalid motors that power two of my 
small fleet of ships. Two ships of my meager ten that can not fight a major battle for lack of 
sufficient power supply. One fifth of my force condemned to the carrion activity of consolidating 
positions behind the lines." 

The secretary's fingers fluttered impatiently. "Your position is not unique in that respect, 
general. The Emperor has similar troubles." 

The general threw away his shredded, never-lit cigarette, lit another, and shrugged. "Well, it is 
beside the immediate point, this lack of first-class tech-men. Except that I might have made 
more progress with my prisoner were my Psychic Probe in proper order." 

The secretary's eyebrows lifted. "You have a Probe?" 

"An old one. A superannuated one which fails me the one time I needed it. I set it up during the 
prisoner's sleep, and received nothing. So much for the Probe. I have tried it on my own men 
and the reaction is quite proper, but again there is not one among my staff of tech-men who 
can tell me why it fails upon the prisoner. Ducem Barr, who is a theoretician of parts, though no 
mechanic, says the psychic structure of the prisoner may be unaffected by the Probe since 
from childhood he has been subjected to alien environments and neural stimuli. I don't know. 
But he may yet be useful. I save him in that hope." 

Brodrig leaned on his staff. A shall see if a specialist is available in the capital. In the 
meanwhile, what of this other man you just mentioned, this Siwennian? You keep too many 
enemies in your good graces." 

"He knows the enemy. He, too, I keep for future reference and the help he may afford me." 

"But he is a Siwennian and the son of a proscribed rebel." 

"He is old and powerless, and his family acts as hostage." 

"I see. Yet I think that I should speak to this trader, myself." 


"Alone," the secretary added coldly, making his point. 

"Certainly," repeated Riose, blandly. "As a loyal subject of the Emperor, I accept his personal 
representative as my superior. However, since the trader is at the permanent base, you will 
have to leave the front areas at an interesting moment." 

"Yes? Interesting in what way?" 

"Interesting in that the Enclosure is complete today. Interesting in that within the week, the 
Twentieth Fleet of the Border advances inward towards the core of resistance." Riose smiled 
and turned away. 

In a vague way, Brodrig felt punctured. 


Sergeant Mori Luk made an ideal soldier of the ranks. He came from the huge agricultural 
planets of the Pleiades where only army life could break the bond to the soil and the unavailing 
life of drudgery; and he was typical of that background. Unimaginative enough to face danger 
without fear, he was strong and agile enough to face it successfully. He accepted orders 
instantly, drove the men under him unbendingly and adored his general unswervingly. 

And yet with that, he was of a sunny nature. If he killed a man in the line of duty without a scrap 
of hesitation, it was also without a scrap of animosity. 

That Sergeant Luk should signal at the door before entering was further a sign of tact, for he 
would have been perfectly within his rights to enter without signaling. 

The two within looked up from their evening meal and one reached out with his foot to cut off 
the cracked voice which rattled out of the battered pocket-transmitter with bright liveliness. 

"More books?" asked Lathan Devers. 

The sergeant held out the tightly-wound cylinder of film and scratched his neck. "It belongs to 
Engineer Orre, but he'll have to have it back. He's going to send it to his kids, you know, like 
what you might call a souvenir, you know." 

Ducem Barr turned the cylinder in his hands with interest. "And where did the engineer get it? 
He hasn't a transmitter also, has he?" 

The sergeant shook his head emphatically. He pointed to the knocked-about remnant at the 
foot of the bed. "That's the only one in the place. This fellow, Orre, now, he got that book from 
one of these pig-pen worlds out here we captured. They had it in a big building by itself and he 
had to kill a few of the natives that tried to stop him from taking it." 

He looked at it appraisingly. "It makes a good souvenir - for kids." 

He paused, then said stealthily, "There's big news floating about, by the way. It's only 
scuttlebutt, but even so, it's too good to keep. The general did it again." And he nodded slowly, 


"That so?" said Devers. "And what did he do?" 

"Finished the Enclosure, that's all." The sergeant chuckled with a fatherly pride. "Isn't he the 
corker, though? Didn't he work it fine? One of the fellows who's strong on fancy talk, says it 
went as smooth and even as the music of the spheres, whatever they are." 

"The big offensive starts now?" asked Barr, mildly. 

"Hope so," was the boisterous response. "I want to get back on my ship now that my arm is in 
one piece again. I'm tired of sitting on my scupper out here." 

"So am I," muttered Devers, suddenly and savagely. There was a bit of underlip caught in his 
teeth, and he worried it. 

The sergeant looked at him doubtfully, and said, "I'd better go now. The captain's round is due 
and I'd just as soon he didn't catch me in here." 

He paused at the door. "By the way, sir," he said with sudden, awkward shyness to the trader, 

"I heard from my wife. She says that little freezer you gave me to send her works fine. It doesn't 
cost her anything, and she just about keeps a month's supply of food froze up complete. I 
appreciate it." 

"It's all right. Forget it." 

The great door moved noiselessly shut behind the grinning sergeant. 

Ducem Barr got out of his chair. "Well, he gives us a fair return for the freezer. Let's take a look 
at this new book. Ahh, the title is gone." 

He unrolled a yard or so of the film and looked through at the light. Then he murmured, "Well, 
skewer me through the scupper, as the sergeant says. This is 'The Garden of Summa,' 


"That so?" said the trader, without interest. He shoved aside what was left of his dinner. "Sit 
down, Barr. Listening to this old-time literature isn't doing me any good. You heard what the 
sergeant said?" 

"Yes, I did. What of it?" 

"The offensive will start. And we sit here!" 

"Where do you want to sit?" 

"You know what I mean. There's no use just waiting." 

"Isn't there?" Barr was carefully removing the old film from the transmitter and installing the 
new. "You told me a good deal of Foundation history in the last month, and it seems that the 
great leaders of past crises did precious little more than sit - and wait." 

"Ah, Barr, but they knew where they were going." 

"Did they? I suppose they said they did when it was over, and for all I know maybe they did. But 
there's no proof that things would not have worked out as well or better if they had not known 
where they were going. The deeper economic and sociological forces aren't directed by 
individual men." 

Devers sneered. "No way of telling that things wouldn't have worked out worse, either. You're 
arguing tail-end backwards." His eyes were brooding. "You know, suppose I blasted him?" 

"Whom? Riose?" 


Barr sighed. His aging eyes were troubled with a reflection of the long past. "Assassination isn't 
the way out, Devers. I once tried it, under provocation, when I was twenty - but it solved 
nothing. I removed a villain from Siwenna, but not the Imperial yoke; and it was the Imperial 
yoke and not the villain that mattered." 

"But Riose is not just a villain, doc. He's the whole blamed army. It would fall apart without him. 
They hang on him like babies. The sergeant out there slobbers every time he mentions him." 

"Even so. There are other armies and other leaders. You must go deeper. There is this Brodrig, 
for instance - no one more than he has the ear of the Emperor. He could demand hundreds of 
ships where Riose must struggle with ten. I know him by reputation." 

"That so? What about him?" The trader's eyes lost in frustration what they gained in sharp 

"You want a pocket outline? He's a low-born rascal who has by unfailing flattery tickled the 
whims of the Emperor. He's well-hated by the court aristocracy, vermin themselves, because 
he can lay claim to neither family nor humility. He is the Emperor's adviser in all things, and the 
Emperor's too in the worst things. He is faithless by choice but loyal by necessity. There is not a 
man in the Empire as subtle in villainy or as crude in his pleasures. And they say there is no 
way to the Emperor's favor but through him; and no way to his, but through infamy." 

"Wow!" Devers pulled thoughtfully at his neatly trimmed beard. "And he's the old boy the 
Emperor sent out here to keep an eye on Riose. Do you know I have an idea?" 

"I do now." 

"Suppose this Brodrig takes a dislike to our young Army's Delight?" 

"He probably has already. He's not noted for a capacity for liking." 

"Suppose it gets really bad. The Emperor might hear about it, and Riose might be in trouble." 
"Uh-huh. Quite likely. But how do you propose to get that to happen?" 

"I don't know. I suppose he could be bribed?" 

The patrician laughed gently. "Yes, in a way, but not in the manner you bribed the sergeant - 
not with a pocket freezer. And even if you reach his scale, it wouldn't be worth it. There's 
probably no one so easily bribed, but he lacks even the fundamental honesty of honorable 

corruption. He doesn't stay bribed; not for any sum. Think of something else." 

Devers swung a leg over his knee and his toe nodded quickly and restlessly. "It's the first hint, 

He stopped; the door signal was flashing once again, and the sergeant was on the threshold 
once more. He was excited, and his broad face was red and unsmiling. 

"Sir," he began, in an agitated attempt at deference, "I am very thankful for the freezer, and you 
have always spoken to me very fine, although I am only the son of a farmer and you are great 

His Pleiades accent had grown thick, almost too much so for easy comprehension; and with 
excitement, his lumpish peasant derivation wiped out completely the soldierly bearing so long 
and so painfully cultivated. 

Barr said softly, "What is it, sergeant?" 

"Lord Brodrig is coming to see you. Tomorrow! I know, because the captain told me to have my 
men ready for dress review tomorrow for... for him. I thought - I might warn you." 

Barr said, "Thank you, sergeant, we appreciate that. But it's all right, man; no need for-" 

But the look on Sergeant Luk's face was now unmistakably one of fear. He spoke in a rough 
whisper, "You don't hear the stories the men tell about him. He has sold himself to the space 
fiend. No, don't laugh. There are most terrible tales told about him. They say he has men with 
blast-guns who follow him everywhere, and when he wants pleasure, he just tells them to blast 
down anyone they meet. And they do - and he laughs. They say even the Emperor is in terror 
of him, and that he forces the Emperor to raise taxes and won't let him listen to the complaints 
of the people. 

"And he hates the general, that's what they say. They say he would like to kill the general, 
because the general is so great and wise. But he can't because our general is a match for 
anyone and he knows Lord Brodrig is a bad 'un." 

The sergeant blinked; smiled in a sudden incongruous shyness at his own outburst; and 
backed toward the door. He nodded his head, jerkily. "You mind my words. Watch him." 

He ducked out. 

And Devers looked up, hard-eyed. "This breaks things our way, doesn't it, doc?" 

"It depends," said Barr, dryly, "on Brodrig, doesn't it?" 

But Devers was thinking, not listening. 

He was thinking hard. 

Lord Brodrig ducked his head as he stepped into the cramped living quarters of the trading 
ship, and his two armed guards followed quickly, with bared guns and the professionally hard 
scowls of the hired bravos. 

The Privy Secretary had little of the look of the lost soul about him just then. If the space fiend 
had bought him, he had left no visible mark of possession. Rather might Brodrig have been 
considered a breath of court-fashion come to enliven the hard, bare ugliness of an army base. 

The stiff, tight lines of his sheened and immaculate costume gave him the illusion of height, 
from the very top of which his cold, emotionless eyes stared down the declivity of a long nose 
at the trader. The mother-of-pearl ruches at his wrists fluttered filmily as he brought his ivory 
stick to the ground before him and leaned upon it daintily. 

"No," he said, with a little gesture, "you remain here. Forget your toys; I am not interested in 

He drew forth a chair, dusted it carefully with the iridescent square of fabric attached to the top 
of his white stick, and seated himself. Devers glanced towards the mate to the chair, but 
Brodrig said lazily, "You will stand in the presence of a Peer of the Realm." 

He smiled. 

Devers shrugged. "If you're not interested in my stock in trade, what am I here for?" 

The Privy Secretary waited coldly, and Devers added a slow, "Sir." 

"For privacy," said the secretary. "Now is it likely that I would come two hundred parsecs 
through space to inspect trinkets? It's you I want to see." He extracted a small pink tablet from 
an engraved box and placed it delicately between his teeth. He sucked it slowly and 

"For instance," he said, "who are you? Are you really a citizen of this barbarian world that is 
creating all this fury of military frenzy?" 

Devers nodded gravely. 

"And you were really captured by him after the beginning of this squabble he calls a war. I am 
referring to our young general." 

Devers nodded again. 

"So! Very well, my worthy Outlander. I see your fluency of speech is at a minimum. I shall 
smooth the way for you. It seems that our general here is fighting an apparently meaningless 
war with frightful transports of energy - and this over a forsaken fleabite of a world at the end of 
nowhere, which to a logical man would not seem worth a single blast of a single gun. Yet the 
general is not illogical. On the contrary, I would say he was extremely intelligent. Do you follow 

"Can't say I do, sir." 

The secretary inspected his fingernails and said, "Listen further, then. The general would not 
waste his men and ships on a sterile feat of glory. I know he talks of glory and of Imperial 
honor, but it is quite obvious that the affectation of being one of the insufferable old demigods 
of the Heroic Age won't wash. There is something more than glory hereand he does take queer, 
unnecessary care of you. Now if you were my prisoner and told me as little of use as you have 

our general, I would slit open your abdomen and strangle you with your own intestines." 

Devers remained wooden. His eyes moved slightly, first to one of the secretary's bully-boys, 
and then to the other. They were ready; eagerly ready. 

The secretary smiled. "Well, now, you're a silent devil. According to the general, even a Psychic 
Probe made no impression, and that was a mistake on his part, by the way, for it convinced me 
that our young military whizz-bang was lying." He seemed in high humor. 

"My honest tradesman," he said, "I have a Psychic Probe of my own, one that ought to suit you 
peculiarly well. You see this-" 

And between thumb and forefinger, held negligently, were intricately designed, pink-and-yellow 
rectangles which were most definitely obvious in identity. 

Devers said so. "It looks like cash," he said. 

"Cash it is - and the best cash of the Empire, for it is backed by my estates, which are more 
extensive than the Emperor's own. A hundred thousand credits. All here! Between two fingers! 

"For what, sir? I am a good trader, but all trades go in both directions." 

"For what? For the truth! What is the general after? Why is he fighting this war?" 

Lathan Devers sighed, and smoothed his beard thoughtfully. 

"What he's after?" His eyes were following the motions of the secretary's hands as he counted 
the money slowly, bill by bill. "In a word, the Empire." 

"Hmp. How ordinary! It always comes to that in the end. But how? What is the road that leads 
from the Galaxy's edge to the peak of Empire so broadly and invitingly?" 

"The Foundation," said Devers, bitterly, "has secrets. They have books, old books - so old that 
the language they are in is only known to a few of the top men. But the secrets are shrouded in 
ritual and religion, and none may use them. I tried and now I am here - and there is a death 
sentence waiting for me, there." 

"I see. And these old secrets? Come, for one hundred thousand I deserve the intimate details." 
"The transmutation of elements," said Devers, shortly. 

The secretary's eyes narrowed and lost some of their detachment. "I have been told that 
practical transmutation is impossible by the laws of nucleics." 

"So it is, if nuclear forces are used. But the ancients were smart boys. There are sources of 
power greater than the nuclei and more fundamental. If the Foundation used those sources as I 

Devers felt a soft, creeping sensation in his stomach. The bait was dangling; the fish was 
nosing it. 

The secretary said suddenly, "Continue. The general, I am sure, is aware of a this. But what 
does he intend doing once he finishes this opera-bouffe affair?" 

Devers kept his voice rock-steady. "With transmutation he controls the economy of the whole 
set-up of your Empire. Mineral holdings won't be worth a sneeze when Riose can make 
tungsten out of aluminum and iridium out of iron. An entire production system based on the 
scarcity of certain elements and the abundance of others is thrown completely out of whack. 
There'll be the greatest disjointment the Empire has ever seen, and only Riose will be able to 
stop it. Anc/there is the question of this new power I mentioned, the use of which won't give 
Riose religious heebies. 

"There's nothing that can stop him now. He's got the Foundation by the back of the neck, and 
once he's finished with it, he'll be Emperor in two years." 

"So." Brodrig laughed lightly. "Iridium out of iron, that's what you said, isn't it? Come, I'll tell you 
a state secret. Do you know that the Foundation has already been in communication with the 

Devers' back stiffened. 

"You look surprised. Why not? It seems logical now. They offered him a hundred tons of iridium 
a year to make peace. A hundred tons of iron converted to iridium in violation of their religious 
principles to save their necks. Fair enough, but no wonder our rigidly incorruptible general 
refused - when he can have the iridium and the Empire as well. And poor Cleon called him his 
one honest general. My bewhiskered merchant, you have earned your money." 

He tossed it, and Devers scrambled after the flying bills. 

Lord Brodrig stopped at the door and turned. "One reminder, trader. My playmates with the 
guns here have neither middle ears, tongues, education, nor intelligence. They can neither 
hear, speak, write, nor even make sense to a Psychic Probe. But they are very expert at 
interesting executions. I have bought you, man, at one hundred thousand credits. You will be 
good and worthy merchandise. Should you forget that you are bought at any time and attempt 
to ... say ... repeat our conversation to Riose, you will be executed. But executed my way." 

And in that delicate face there were sudden hard lines of eager cruelty that changed the studied 
smile into a red-lipped snarl. For one fleeting second, Devers saw that space fiend who had 
bought his buyer, look out of his buyer's eyes. 

Silently, he preceded the two thrusting blast-guns of Brodrig's "playmates" to his quarters. 

And to Ducem Barr's question, he said with brooding satisfaction, "No, that's the queerest part 
of it. He bribed me. 

Two months of difficult war had left their mark on Bel Riose. There was heavy-handed gravity 
about him; and he was short-tempered. 

It was with impatience that he addressed the worshiping Sergeant Luk. "Wait outside, soldier, 
and conduct these men back to their quarters when I am through. No one is to enter until I call. 
No one at all, you understand." 

The sergeant saluted himself stiffly out of the room, and Riose with muttered disgust scooped 
up the waiting papers on his desk, threw them into the top drawer and slammed it shut. 

"Take seats," he said shortly, to the waiting two. "I haven't much time. Strictly speaking, I 
shouldn't be here at all, but it is necessary to see you." 

He turned to Ducem Barr, whose long fingers were caressing with interest the crystal cube in 
which was set the simulacrum of the lined, austere face of His Imperial Majesty, Cleon II. 

"In the first place, patrician," said the general, "your Seldon is losing. To be sure, he battles 
well, for these men of the Foundation swarm like senseless bees and fight like madmen. Every 
planet is defended viciously, and once taken, every planet heaves so with rebellion it is as 
much trouble to hold as to conquer. But they are taken, and they are held. Your Seldon is 

"But he has not yet lost," murmured Barr politely. 

"The Foundation itself retains less optimism. They offer me millions in order that I may not put 
this Seldon to the final test." 

"So rumor goes." 

"Ah, is rumor preceding me? Does it prate also of the latest?" 

"What is the latest?" 

"Why, that Lord Brodrig, the darling of the Emperor, is now second in command at his own 

Devers spoke for the first time. "At his own request, boss? How come? Or are you growing to 
like the fellow?" He chuckled. 

Riose said, calmly, "No, can't say I do. It's just that he bought the office at what I considered a 
fair and adequate price." 

"Such as?" 

"Such as a request to the Emperor for reinforcements." 

Devers' contemptuous smile broadened. "'He has communicated with the Emperor, huh? And I 
take it, boss, you're just waiting for these reinforcements, but they'll come any day. Right?" 

"Wrong! They have already come. Five ships of the line; smooth and strong, with a personal 
message of congratulations from the Emperor, and more ships on the way. What's wrong, 
trader?" he asked, sardonically. 

Devers spoke through suddenly frozen lips. "Nothing!" 

Riose strode out from behind his desk and faced the trader, hand on the butt of his blast-gun. 

"I say, what's wrong, trader? The news would seem to disturb you. Surely, you have no sudden 
birth of interest in the Foundation." 

"I haven't." 

"Yes - there are queer points about you." 

"That so, boss?" Devers smiled tightly, and balled the fists in his pockets. "Just you line them 
up and I'll knock them down for you." 

"Here they are. You were caught easily. You surrendered at first blow with a burnt-out shield. 
You're quite ready to desert your world, and that without a price. Interesting, all this, isn't it?" 

"I crave to be on the winning side, boss. I'm a sensible man; you called me that yourself." 

Riose said with tight throatiness, "Granted! Yet no trader since has been captured. No trade 
ship but has had the speed to escape at choice. No trade ship but has had a screen that could 
take all the beating a light cruiser could give it, should it choose to fight. And no trader but has 
fought to death when occasion warranted. Traders have been traced as the leaders and 
instigators of the guerilla warfare on occupied planets and of the flying raids in occupied space. 

"Are you the only sensible man then? You neither fight nor flee, but turn traitor without urging. 
You are unique, amazingly unique - in fact, suspiciously unique." 

Devers said softly, "I take your meaning, but you have nothing on me. I've been here now six 
months, and I've been a good boy." 

"So you have, and I have repaid you by good treatment. I have left your ship undisturbed and 
treated you with every consideration. Yet you fall short. Freely offered information, for instance, 
on your gadgets might have been helpful. The atomic principles on which they are built would 
seem to be used in some of the Foundation's nastiest weapons. Right?" 

"I am only a trader," said Devers, "and not one of these bigwig technicians. I sell the stuff; I 
don't make it." 

"Well, that will be seen shortly. It is what I came here for. For instance, your ship will be 
searched for a personal force-shield. You have never worn one; yet all soldiers of the 
Foundation do. It will be significant evidence that there is information you do not choose to give 
me. Right?" 

There was no answer. He continued, "And there will be more direct evidence. I have brought 
with me the Psychic Probe. It failed once before, but contact with the enemy is a liberal 

His voice was smoothly threatening and Devers felt the gun thrust hard in his midriff - the 
general's gun, hitherto in its holster. 

The general said quietly, "You will remove your wristband and any other metal ornament you 
wear and give them to me. Slowly! Atomic fields can be distorted, you see, and Psychic Probes 
might probe only into static. That's right.. I'll take it." 

The receiver on the general's desk was glowing and a message capsule clicked into the slot, 
near which Barr stood and still held the trimensional Imperial bust. 

Riose stepped behind his desk, with his blast-gun held ready. He said to Barr, "You too, 
patrician. Your wristband condemns you. You have been helpful earlier, however, and I am not 
vindictive, but I shall judge the fate of your behostaged family by the results of the Psychic 

And as Riose leaned over to take out the message capsule, Barr lifted the crystal-enveloped 
bust of Cleon and quietly and methodically brought it down upon the general's head. 

It happened too suddenly for Devers to grasp. It was as if a sudden demon had grown into the 
old man. 

"Out!" said Barr, in a tooth-clenched whisper. "Quickly!" He seized Riose's dropped blaster and 
buried it in his blouse. 

Sergeant Luk turned as they emerged from the narrowest possible crack of the door. 

Barr said easily, "Lead on, sergeant!" 

Devers closed the door behind him. 

Sergeant Luk led in silence to their quarters, and then, with the briefest pause, continued 
onward, for there was the nudge of a blast-gun muzzle in his ribs, and a hard voice in his ears 
which said, "To the trade ship." 

Devers stepped forward to open the air lock, and Barr said, "Stand where you are, Luk. You've 
been a decent man, and we're not going to kill you." 

But the sergeant recognized the monogram on the gun. He cried in choked fury, "You've killed 
the general." 

With a wild, incoherent yell, he charged blindly upon the blasting fury of the gun and collapsed 
in blasted ruin. 

The trade ship was rising above the dead planet before the signal lights began their eerie blink 
and against the creamy cobweb of the great Lens in the sky which was the Galaxy, other black 
forms rose. 

Devers said grimly, "Hold tight, Barr - and let's see if they've got a ship that can match my 

He knew they hadn't! 

And once in open space, the trader's voice seemed lost and dead as he said, "The line I fed 
Brodrig was a little too good. It seems as if he's thrown in with the general." 

Swiftly they raced into the depths of the star-mass that was the Galaxy. 


Devers bent over the little dead globe, watching for a tiny sign of life. The directional control 
was slowly and thoroughly sieving space with its jabbing tight sheaf of signals. 

Barr watched patiently from his seat on the low cot in the comer, He asked, "No more signs of 

"The Empire boys? No." The trader growled the words with evident impatience. "We lost the 
scuppers long ago. Space! With the blind jumps we took through hyperspace, it's lucky we 
didn't land up in a sun's belly. They couldn't have followed us even if they outranqed us, which 
they didn't." 

He sat back and loosened his collar with a jerk. "I don't know what those Empire boys have 
done here. I think some of the gaps are out of alignment." 

"I take it, then, you're trying to get to the Foundation." 

"I'm calling the Association - or trying to." 

"The Association? Who are they?" 

"Association of Independent Traders. Never heard of it, huh? Well, you're not alone. We haven't 
made our splash yet!" 

For a while there was a silence that centered about the unresponsive Reception Indicator, and 
Barr said, "Are you within range?" 

"I don't know. I haven't but a small notion where we are, going by dead reckoning. That's why I 
have to use directional control. It could take years, you know." 

"Might it?" 

Barr pointed; and Devers jumped and adjusted his earphones. Within the little murky sphere 
there was a tiny glowing whiteness. 

For half an hour, Devers nursed the fragile, groping thread of communication that reached 
through hyperspace to connect two points that laggard light would take five hundred years to 
bind together. 

Then he sat back, hopelessly. He looked up, and shoved the earphones back. 

"Let's eat, doc. There's a needle-shower you can use if you want to, but go easy on the hot 

He squatted before one of the cabinets that lined one wall and felt through the contents. "You're 
not a vegetarian, I hope?" 

Barr said, "I'm omnivorous. But what about the Association. Have you lost them?" 

"Looks so. It was extreme range, a little too extreme. Doesn't matter, though. I got all that 

He straightened, and placed the two metal containers upon the table. "Just give it five minutes, 
doc, then slit it open by pushing the contact. It'll be plate, food, and fork - sort of handy for 
when you're in a hurry, if you're not interested in such incidentals as napkins. I suppose you 
want to know what I got out of the Association." 

"If it isn't a secret." 

Devers shook his head. "Not to you. What Riose said was true." 

"About the offer of tribute?" 

"Uh-huh. They offered it, and had it refused. Things are bad. There's fighting in the outer suns 
of Loris." 

"Loris is close to the Foundation?" 

"Huh? Oh, you wouldn't know. It's one of the original Four Kingdoms. You might call it part of 
the inner line of defense. That's not the worst. They've been fighting large ships previously 
never encountered. Which means Riose wasn't giving us the works. He has received more 
ships. Brodrig has switched sides, and I have messed things up." 

His eyes were bleak as he joined the food-container contact-points and watched it fall open 
neatly. The stewlike dish steamed its aroma through the room. Ducem Barr was already eating. 

"So much," said Barr, "for improvisations, then. We can do nothing here; we can not cut 
through the Imperial lines to return to the Foundation; we can do nothing but that which is most 
sensible - to wait patiently. However, if Riose has reached the inner line I trust the wait will not 
be too long." 

And Devers put down his fork. "Wait, is it?" he snarled, glowering. "That's all right for you. 
You've got nothing at stake." 

"Haven't I?" Barr smiled thinly. 

"No. In fact, I'll tell you." Devers' irritation skimmed the surface. "I'm tired of looking at this whole 
business as if it were an interesting something-or-other on a microscope slide. I've got friends 
somewhere out there, dying; and a whole world out there, my home, dying also. You're an 
outsider. You don't know." 

"I have seen friends die." The old man's hands were limp in his lap and his eyes were closed. 
"Are you married?" 

Devers said, "Traders don't marry." 

"Well, I have two sons and a nephew. They have been warned, but - for reasons - they could 
take no action. Our escape means their death. My daughter and my two grandchildren have, I 
hope, left the planet safety before this, but even excluding them, I have already risked and lost 
more than you." 

Devers was morosely savage. "I know. But that was a matter of choice. You might have played 
ball with Riose. I never asked you to-" 

Barr shook his head. "It was not a matter of choice, Devers. Make your conscience free, I didn't 
risk my sons for you. I co-operated with Riose as long as I dared. But there was the Psychic 

The Siwennian patrician opened his eyes and they were sharp with pain. "Riose came to me 
once; it was over a year ago. He spoke of a cult centering about the magicians, but missed the 
truth. It is not quite a cult. You see, it is forty years now that Siwenna has been gripped in the 
same unbearable vise that threatens your world. Five revolts have been ground out. Then I 
discovered the ancient records of Hari Seldon - and now this 'cult' waits. 

"It waits for the coming of the 'magicians' and for that day it is ready. My sons are leaders of 
those who wait. It is that secret which is in my mind and which the Probe must never touch. 

And so they must die as hostages; for the alternative is their death as rebels and half of 
Siwenna with them. You see, I had no choice! And I am no outsider." 

Devers' eyes fell, and Barr continued softly, "It is on a Foundation victory that Siwenna's hopes 
depend. It is for a Foundation victory that my sons are sacrificed. And Hari Seldon does not 
pre-calculate the inevitable salvation of Siwenna as he does that of the Foundation. I have no 
certainty for my people - only hope." 

"But you are still satisfied to wait. Even with the Imperial Navy at Loris." 

"I would wait, in perfect confidence," said Barr, simply, "if they had landed on the planet, 
Terminus, itself." 

The trader frowned hopelessly. "I don't know. It can't really work like that; not just like magic. 
Psychohistory or not, they're terribly strong, and we're weak. What can Setdon do about it?" 

"There's nothing to do. It's all already done. It's proceeding now. Because you don't hear the 
wheels turning and the gongs beating doesn't mean it's any the less certain." 

"Maybe; but I wish you had cracked Riose's skull for keeps. He's more the enemy than all his 

"Cracked his skull? With Brodrig his second in command?" Barr's face sharpened with hate. "All 
Siwenna would have been my hostage. Brodrig has proven his worth long since. There exists a 
world which five years ago lost one male in every ten - and simply for failure to meet 
outstanding taxes. This same Brodrig was the tax-collector. No, Riose may live. His 
punishments are mercy in comparison." 

"But six months, six months, in the enemy Base, with nothing to show for it." Devers' strong 
hands clasped each other tautly, so that his knuckles cracked. "Nothing to show for it!" 

"Well, now, wait. You remind me-" Barr fumbled in his pouch. "You might want to count this." 
And he tossed the small sphere of metal on the table. 

Devers snatched it. "What is it?" 

"The message capsule. The one that Riose received just before I jacked him. Does that count 
as something?" 

"I don't know. Depends on what's in it!" Devers sat down and turned it over carefully in his 

When Barr stepped from his cold shower and, gratefully, into the mild warm current of the air 
dryer, he found Devers silent and absorbed at the workbench. 

The Siwennian slapped his body with a sharp rhythm and spoke above the punctuating sounds. 
"What are you doing?" 

Devers looked up. Droplets of perspiration glittered in his beard. "I'm going to open this 

"Can you open it without Riose's personal characteristic?" There was mild surprise in the 
Siwennian's voice. 

"If I can't, I'll resign from the Association and never skipper a ship for what's left of my life. I've 
got a three-way electronic analysis of the interior now, and I've got little jiggers that the Empire 
never heard of, especially made for jimmying capsules. I've been a burglar before this, y'know. 
A trader has to be something of everything." 

He bent low over the little sphere, and a small flat instrument probed delicately and sparked 
redly at each fleeting contact. 

He said, "This capsule is a crude job, anyway. These Imperial boys are no shakes at this small 
work. I can see that. Ever see a Foundation capsule? It's half the size and impervious to 
electronic analysis in the first place." 

And then he was rigid, the shoulder muscles beneath his tunic tautening visibly. His tiny probe 
pressed slowly- 

It was noiseless when it came, but Devers; relaxed and sighed. In his hand was the shining 
sphere with its message unrolled like a parchment tongue. 

"It's from Brodrig," he said. Then, with contempt, "The message medium is permanent. In a 
Foundation capsule, the message would be oxidized to gas within the minute." 

But Ducem Barr waved him silent. He read the message quickly. 




Barr raised his head from the almost microscopic print and cried bitterly, "The fool! The 
forsaken blasted fop! That a. message?" 

"Huh?" said Devers. He was vaguely disappointed. 

"It says nothing," ground out Barr. "Our lick-spittle courtier is playing at general now. With Riose 
away, he is the field commander and must sooth his paltry spirit by spewing out his pompous 
reports concerning military affairs he has nothing to do with. 'So-and-so planet no longer 
resists.' 'The offensive moves on.' 'The enemy weakens.' The vacuum-headed peacock." 

"Well, now, wait a minute. Hold on-" 

"Throw it away." The old man turned away in mortification. "The Galaxy knows I never expected 
it to be world-shakingly important, but in wartime it is reasonable to assume that even the most 
routine order left undelivered might hamper military movements and lead to complications later. 
It's why I snatched it. But this! Better to have left it. It would have wasted a minute of Riose's 
time that will now be put to more constructive use." 

But Devers had arisen. "Will you hold on and stop throwing your weight around? For Seldon's 

He held out the sliver of message before Barr's nose, "Now read that again. What does he 
mean by 'ultimate ends in view'?" 

"The conquest of the Foundation. Well?" 

"Yes? And maybe he means the conquest of the Empire. You know he believes that to be the 
ultimate end." 

"And if he does?" 

"If he does!" Devers' one-sided smile was lost in his beard. "Why, watch then, and I'll show 

With one finger the lavishly monogrammed sheet of message-parchment was thrust back into 
its slot. With a soft twang, it disappeared and the globe was a smooth, unbroken whole again. 
Somewhere inside was the tiny oiled whir of the controls as they lost their setting by random 

"Now there is no known way of opening this capsule without knowledge of Riose's personal 
characteristic, is there?" 

"To the Empire, no," said Barr. 

"Then the evidence it contains is unknown to us and absolutely authentic." 

"To the Empire, yes," said Barr. 

"And the Emperor can open it, can't he? Personal Characteristics of Government officials must 
be on file. We keep records of OL/r officials at the Foundation." 

"At the Imperial capital as well," agreed Barr. 

"Then when you, a Siwennian patrician and Peer of the Realm, tell this Cleon, this Emperor, 
that his favorite tame-parrot and his shiniest general are getting together to knock him over, 

and hand him the capsule as evidence, what will he think Brodrig's 'ultimate ends' are?" 

Barr sat down weakly. "Wait, I don't follow you." He stroked one thin cheek, and said, "You're 
not really serious, are you?" 

"I am." Devers was angrily excited. "Listen, nine out of the last ten Emperors got their throats 
cut, or their gizzards blasted out by one or another of their generals with bigtime notions in their 
heads. You told me that yourself more than once. Old man Emperor would believe us so fast it 
would make Riose's head swim." 

Barr muttered feebly, "He is serious, For the Galaxy's sake, man, you can't beat a Seldon crisis 
by a far-fetched, impractical, storybook scheme like that. Suppose you had never got hold of 
the capsule. Suppose Brodrig hadn't used the word 'ultimate.' Seldon doesn't depend on wild 

"If wild luck comes our way, there's no law says Seldon can't take advantage of it." 

"Certainly. But... but," Barr stopped, then spoke calmly but with visible restraint. "Look, in the 
first place, how will you get to the planet Trantor? You don't know its location in space, and I 
certainly don't remember the co-ordinates, to say nothing of the ephemerae. You don't even 
know your own position in space." 

"You can't get lost in space," grinned Devers. He was at the controls already. "Down we go to 
the nearest planet, and back we come with complete bearings and the best navigation charts 
Brodrig's hundred thousand smackers can buy." 

"And a blaster in our belly. Our descriptions are probably in every planet in this quarter of the 

"Doc," said Devers, patiently, "don't be a hick tom the sticks. Riose said my ship surrendered 
too easily and, brother, he wasn't kidding. This ship has enough fire-power and enough juice in 
its shield to hold off anything we're Rely to meet this deep inside the frontier. And we have 
personal shields, too. The Empire boys never found them, you know, but they weren't meant to 
be found." 

"All fight," said Barr, "all right. Suppose yourself on Trantor. How do you see the Emperor then? 
You think he keeps office hours?" 

"Suppose we worry about that on Trantor," said Devers. 

And Barr muttered helplessly, "All right again. I've wanted to see Trantor before I die for half a 
century now. Have your way." 

The hypernuclear motor was cut in. The lights flickered and there was the slight internal wrench 
that marked the shift into hyperspace. 


The stars were as thick as weeds in an unkempt field, and for the first time, Lathan Devers 
found the figures to the right of the decimal point of prime importance in calculating the cuts 
through the hyper-regions. There was a claustrophobic sensation about the necessity for leaps 
of not more than a light-year. There was a frightening harshness about a sky which glittered 
unbrokenly in every direction. It was being lost in a sea of radiation. 

And in the center of an open cluster of ten thousand stars, whose light tore to shreds the feebly 
encircling darkness, there circled the huge Imperial planet, Trantor. 

But it was more than a planet; it was the living pulse beat of an Empire of twenty million stellar 
systems. It had only one, function, administration; one purpose, government; and one 
manufactured product, law. 

The entire world was one functional distortion. There was no living object on its surface hut 
man, his pets, and his parasites. No blade of grass or fragment of uncovered soil could be 
found outside the hundred square miles of the Imperial Palace. No fresh water outside the 
Palace grounds existed but in the vast underground cisterns that held the water supply of a 

The lustrous, indestructible, incorruptible metal that was the unbroken surface of the planet was 
the foundation of the huge, metal structures that mazed the planet. They were structures 
connected by causeways; laced by corridors; cubbyholed by offices; basemented by the huge 
retail centers that covered square miles; penthoused by the glittering amusement world that 
sparkled into life each night. 

One could walk around the world of Trantor and never leave that one conglomerate building, 
nor see the city. 

A fleet of ships greater in number than all the war fleets the Empire had ever supported landed 
their cargoes on Trantor each day to feed the forty billions of humans who gave nothing in 
exchange but the fulfillment of the necessity of untangling the myriads of threads that spiraled 
into the central administration of the most complex government Humanity had ever known. 

Twenty agricultural worlds were the granary of Trantor. A universe was its servant. 

Tightly held by the huge metal arms on either side, the trade ship was gently lowered down the 
huge ramp that led to the hangar. Already Devers had fumed his way through the manifold 
complications of a world conceived in paper work and dedicated to the principle of the 

There had been the preliminary halt in space, where the first of what had grown into a hundred 
questionnaires had been filled out. There were the hundred cross-examinations, the routine 
administration of a simple Probe, the photographing of the ship, the Characteristic-Analysis of 
the two men, and the subsequent recording of the same, the search for contraband, the 
payment of the entry tax - and finally the question of the identity cards and visitor's visa. 

Ducem Barr was a Siwennian and subject of the Emperor, but Lathan Devers was an unknown 

without the requisite documents. The official in charge at the moment was devastated with 
sorrow, but Devers could not enter. In fact, he would have to be held for official investigation. 

From somewhere a hundred credits in crisp, new bills backed by the estates of Lord Brodrig 
made their appearance, and changed bands quietly. The official hemmed importantly and the 
devastation of his sorrow was assuaged. A new form made its appearance from the appropriate 
pigeonhole. It was filled out rapidly and efficiently, with the Devers characteristic thereto 
formally and properly attached. 

The two men, trader and patrician, entered Siwenna. 

In the hangar, the trade ship was another vessel to be cached, photographed, recorded, 
contents noted, identity cards of passengers facsimiled, and for which a suitable fee was paid, 
recorded, and receipted. 

And then Devers was on a huge terrace under the bright white sun, along which women 
chattered, children shrieked, and men sipped drinks languidly and listened to the huge 
televisors blaring out the news of the Empire. 

Barr paid a requisite number of iridium coins and appropriated the uppermost member of a pile 
of newspapers. It was the Trantor Imperial News, official organ of the government. In the back 
of the news room, there was the soft clicking noise of additional editions being printed in 
long-distance sympathy with the busy machines at the Imperial News offices ten thousand 
miles away by corridor - six thousand by air-machine - just as ten million sets of copies were 
being likewise printed at that moment in ten million other news rooms all over the planet. 

Barr glanced at the headlines and said softly, "What shall we do first?" 

Devers tried to shake himself out of his depression. He was in a universe far removed from his 
own, on a world that weighted him down with its intricacy, among people whose doings were 
incomprehensible and whose language was nearly so. The gleaming metallic towers that 
surrounded him and continued onwards in never-ending multiplicity to beyond the horizon 
oppressed him; the whole busy, unheeding life of a world-metropolis cast him into the horrible 
gloom of isolation and pygmyish unimportance. 

He said, "I better leave it to you, doc." 

Barr was calm, low-voice. "I tried to tell you, but it's hard to believe without seeing for yourself, I 
know that. Do you know how many people want to see the Emperor every day? About one 
million. Do you know how many he sees? About ten. We'll have to work through the civil 
service, and that makes it harder. But we can't afford the aristocracy." 

"We have almost one hundred thousand." 

"A single Peer of the Realm would cost us that, and it would take at least three or four to form 
an adequate bridge to the Emperor. It may take fifty chief commissioners and senior 
supervisors to do the same, but they would cost us only a hundred apiece perhaps. I'll do the 
talking. In the first place, they wouldn't understand your accent, and in the second, you don't 
know the etiquette of Imperial bribery. It's an art, I assure you. Ah!" 

The third page of the Imperial News had what he wanted and he passed the paper to Devers. 

Devers read slowly. The vocabulary was strange, but he understood. He looked up, and his 
eyes were dark with concern. He slapped the news sheet angrily with the back of his hand. 

"You think this can be trusted?" 

"Within limits," replied Barr, calmly. "It's highly improbable that the Foundation fleet was wiped 
out. They've probably reported that several times already, if they've gone by the usual 
war-reporting technique of a world capital far from the actual scene of fighting. What it means, 
though, is that Riose has won another battle, which would be none-too-unexpected. It says he's 
captured Loris. Is that the capital planet of the Kingdom of Loris?" 

"Yes," brooded Devers, "or of what used to be the Kingdom of Loris. And it's not twenty parsecs 
from the Foundation. Doc, we've got to work fast." 

Barr shrugged, "You can't go fast on Trantor. If you try, you'll end up at the point of an 
atom-blaster, most likely." 

"How long will it take?" 

"A month, if we're lucky. A month, and our hundred thousand credits - if even that will suffice. 
And that is providing the Emperor does not take it into his head in the meantime to travel to the 
Summer Planets, where he sees no petitioners at all." 

"But the Foundation-" 

"-Will take care of itself, as heretofore. Come, there's the question of dinner. I'm hungry. And 
afterwards, the evening is ours and we may as well use it. We shall never see Trantor or any 
world like it again, you know." 

The Home Commissioner of the Outer Provinces spread his pudgy hands helplessly and 
peered at the petitioners with owlish nearsightedness. "But the Emperor is indisposed, 
gentlemen. It is really useless to take the matter to my superior. His Imperial Majesty has seen 
no one in a week." 

"He will see us," said Barr, with an affectation of confidence. "It is but a question of seeing a 
member of the staff of the Privy Secretary." 

"Impossible," said the commissioner emphatically. "It would be the worth of my job to attempt 
that. Now if you could but be more explicit concerning the nature of your business. I'm willing to 
help you, understand, but naturally I want something less vague, something I can present to my 
superior as reason for taking the matter further." 

"If my business were such that it could be told to any but the highest," suggested Barr, 
smoothly, "it would scarcely be important enough to rate audience with His Imperial Majesty. I 
propose that you take a chance. I might remind you that if His Imperial Majesty attaches the 
importance to our business which we guarantee that he will, you will stand certain to receive 
the honors you will deserve for helping us now." 

"Yes, but-" and the commissioner shrugged, wordlessly. 

"It's a chance," agreed Barr. "Naturally, a risk should have its compensation. It is a rather great 
favor to ask you, but we have already been greatly obliged with your kindness in offering us this 
opportunity to explain our problem. But if you would allow us to express our gratitude just 
slightly by-" 

Devers scowled. He had heard this speech with its slight variations twenty times in the past 
month. It ended, as always, in a quick shift of the half-hidden bills. But the epilogue differed 
here. Usually the bills vanished immediately; here they remained in plain view, while slowly the 
commissioner counted them, inspecting them front and back as he did so. 

There was a subtle change in his voice. "Backed by the Privy Secretary, hey? Good money!" 

"To get back to the subject-" urged Barr. 

"No, but wait," interrupted the commissioner, "let us go back by easy stages. I really do wish to 
know what your business can be. This money, it is fresh and new, and you must have a good 
deal, for it strikes me that you have seen other officials before me. Come, now, what about it?" 

Barr said, "I don't see what you are driving at." 

"Why, see here, it might be proven that you are upon the planet illegally, since the Identification 
and Entry Cards of your silent friend are certainly inadequate. He is not a subject of the 

"I deny that." 

"It doesn't matter that you do," said the commissioner, with sudden bluntness. "The official who 
signed his Cards for the sum of a hundred credits has confessed - under pressure - and we 
know more of you than you think." 

"If you are hinting, sir, that the sum we have asked you to accept is inadequate in view of the 

The commissioner smiled. "On the contrary, it is more than adequate." He tossed the bills 
aside. "To return to what I was saying, it is the Emperor himself who has become interested in 
your case. Is it not true, sirs, that you have recently been guests of General Riose? Is it not true 
that you have escaped from the midst of his army with, to put it mildly, astonishing ease? Is it 
not true that you possess a small fortune in bills backed by Lord Brodrig's estates? In short, is it 
not true that you are a pair of spies and assassins sent here to - Well, you shall tell us yourself 
who paid you and for what!" 

"Do you know," said Barr, with silky anger, "I deny the right of a petty commissioner to accuse 
us of crimes. We will leave." 

"You will not leave." The commissioner arose, and his eyes no longer seemed near-sighted. 
"You need answer no question now; that will be reserved for a later - and more forceful - time. 
Nor am I a commissioner; I am a Lieutenant of the Imperial Police. You are under arrest." 

There was a glitteringly efficient blast-gun in his fist as he smiled. "There are greater men than 
you under arrest this day. It is a hornet's nest we are cleaning up." 

Devers snarled and reached slowly for his own gun. The lieutenant of police smiled more 
broadly and squeezed the contacts. The blasting line of force struck Devers' chest in an 
accurate blaze of destruction - that bounced harmlessly off his personal shield in sparkling 
spicules of light. 

Devers shot in turn, and the lieutenant's head fell from off an upper torso that had disappeared. 
It was still smiling as it lay in the jag of sunshine which entered through the new-made hole in 
the wall. 

It was through the back entrance that they left. 

Devers said huskily, "Quickly to the ship. They'll have the alarm out in no time." He cursed in a 
ferocious whisper. "It's another plan that's backfired. I could swear the space fiend himself is 
against me." 

It was in the open that they became aware of the jabbering crowds that surrounded the huge 
televisors. They had no time to wait; the disconnected roaring words that reached them, they 
disregarded. But Barr snatched a copy of the Imperial News before diving into the huge barn of 
the hangar, where the ship lifted hastily through a giant cavity burnt fiercely into the roof. 

"Can you get away from them?" asked Barr. 

Ten ships of the traffic-police wildly followed the runaway craft that had burst out of the lawful, 
radio-beamed Path of Leaving, and then broken every speed law in creation. Further behind 
still, sleek vessels of the Secret Service were lifting in pursuit of a carefully described ship 
manned by two thoroughly identified murderers. 

"Watch me," said Devers, and savagely shifted into hyperspace two thousand miles above the 
surface of Trantor. The shift, so near a planetary mass, meant unconsciousness for Barr and a 
fearful haze of pain for Devers, but light-years further, space above them was clear. 

Devers' somber pride in his ship burst to the surface. He said, "There's not an Imperial ship that 
could follow me anywhere." 

And then, bitterly, "But there is nowhere left to run to for us, and we can't fight their weight. 
What's there to do? What can anyone do?" 

Barr moved feebly on his cot. The effect of the hypershift had not yet worn off, and each of his 
muscles ached. He said, "No one has to do anything. It's all over. Here!" 

He passed the copy of the Imperial News that he still clutched, and the headlines were enough 
for the trader. 

"Recalled and arrested - Riose and Brodrig," Devers muttered. He stared blankly at Barr. 

"The story doesn't say, but what does it matter? The war with the Foundation is over, and at 
this moment, Siwenna is revolting. Read the story and see." His voice was drifting off. "We'll 
stop in some of the provinces and find out the later details. If you don't mind, I'll go to sleep 

And he did. 

In grasshopper jumps of increasing magnitude, the trade ship was spanning the Galaxy in its 
return to the Foundation. 


Lathan Devers felt definitely uncomfortable, and vaguely resentful. He had received his own 
decoration and withstood with mute stoicism the turgid oratory of the mayor which 
accompanied the slip of crimson ribbon. That had ended his share of the ceremonies, but, 
naturally, formality forced him to remain. And it was formality, chiefly - the type that couldn't 
allow him to yawn noisily or to swing a foot comfortably onto a chair seat - that made him long 
to be in space, where he belonged. 

The Siwennese delegation, with Ducem Barr a lionized member, signed the Convention, and 
Siwenna became the first province to pass directly from the Empire's political rule to the 
Foundation's economic one. 

Five Imperial Ships of the Line - captured when Siwenna rebelled behind the lines of the 
Empire's Border Fleet - flashed overhead, huge and massive, detonating a roaring salute as 
they passed over the city. 

Nothing but drinking, etiquette, and small talk now. 

A voice called him. It was Forell; the man who, Devers realized coldly, could buy twenty of him 
with a morning's profits - but a Forell who now crooked a finger at him with genial 

He stepped out upon the balcony into the cool night wind, and bowed properly, while scowling 
into his bristling beard. Barr was there, too; smiling. He said, "Devers, you'll have to come to my 
rescue. I'm being accused of modesty, a horrible and thoroughly unnatural crime." 

"Devers," Forell removed the fat cigar from the side of his mouth when he spoke, "Lord Barr 
claims that your trip to Cleon's capital had nothing to do with the recall of Riose." 

"Nothing at all, sir." Devers was curt. "We never saw the Emperor. The reports we picked up on 
our way back concerning the trial, showed it up to be the purest frameup. There was a mess of 
rigmarole about the general being tied up with subversive interests at the court." 

"And he was innocent?" 

"Riose?" interposed Barr. "Yes! By the Galaxy, yes. Brodrig was a traitor on general principles 
but was never guilty of the specific accusations brought against him. It was a judicial farce; but 
a necessary one, a predictable one, an inevitable one." 

"By psychohistorical necessity, I presume." Forell rolled the phrase sonorously with the 
humorous ease of long familiarity. 

"Exactly." Barr grew serious. "It never penetrated earlier, but once it was over and I could ... 

well... look at the answers in the back of the book, the problem became simple. We can see, 
now , that the social background of the Empire makes wars of conquest impossible for it. Under 
weak Emperors, it is tom apart by generals competing for a worthless and surely death-bringing 
throne. Under strong Emperors, the Empire is frozen into a paralytic rigor in which 
disintegration apparently ceases for the moment, but only at the sacrifice of all possible 

Forell growled bluntly through strong puffs, "You're not clear, Lord Barr." 

Barr smiled slowly. "I suppose so. It's the difficulty of not being trained in psychohistory. Words 
are a pretty fuzzy substitute for mathematical equations. But let's see now-" 

Barr considered, while Forell relaxed, back to railing, and Devers looked into the velvet sky and 
thought wonderingly of Trantor. 

Then Barr said, "You see, sir, you - and Devers - and everyone no doubt, had the idea that 
beating the Empire meant first prying apart the Emperor and his general. You, and Devers, and 
everyone else were right - right all the time, as far as the principle of internal disunion was 

"You were wrong, however, in thinking that this internal split was something to be brought about 
by individual acts, by inspirations of the moment. You tried bribery and lies. You appealed to 
ambition and to fear. But you got nothing for all your pains. In fact, appearances were worse 
after each attempt. 

"And through all this wild threshing up of tiny ripples, the Seldon tidal wave continued onward, 
quietly - but quite irresistibly." 

Ducem Barr turned away, and looked over the railing at the lights of a rejoicing city. Fie said, 
"There was a dead hand pushing all of us; the mighty general and the great Emperor; my world 
and your world - the dead hand of Hari Seldon. Fie knew that a man like Riose would have to 
fail, since it was his success that brought failure; and the greater the success, the surer the 

Forell said dryly, "I can't say you're getting clearer." 

"A moment," continued Barr earnestly. "Look at the situation. A weak general could never have 
endangered us, obviously. A strong general during the time of a weak Emperor would never 
have endangered us, either; for he would have turned his arms towards a much more fruitful 
target. Events have shown that three-fourths of the Emperors of the last two centuries were 
rebel generals and rebel viceroys before they were Emperors. 

"So it is only the combination of strong Emperor and strong general that can harm the 
Foundation; for a strong Emperor can not be dethroned easily, and a strong general is forced to 
turn outwards, past the frontiers. 

"But, what keeps the Emperor strong? What kept Cleon strong? It's obvious. Fie is strong, 
because he permits no strong subjects. A courtier who becomes too rich, or a general who 
becomes too popular is dangerous. All the recent history of the Empire proves that to any 
Emperor intelligent enough to be strong. 

"Riose won victories, so the Emperor grew suspicious. All the atmosphere of the times forced 
him to be suspicious. Did Riose refuse a bribe? Very suspicious; ulterior motives. Did his most 
trusted courtier suddenly favor Riose? Very suspicious; ulterior motives. It wasn't the individual 
acts that were suspicious. Anything else would have done which is why our individual plots 
were unnecessary and rather futile. It was the success of Riose that was suspicious. So he was 
recalled, and accused, condemned, murdered. The Foundation wins again. 

"Look, there is not a conceivable combination of events that does not result in the Foundation 
winning. It was inevitable; whatever Riose did, whatever we did." 

The Foundation magnate nodded ponderously. "So! But what if the Emperor and the general 
had been the same person. Fley? What then? That's a case you didn't cover, so you haven't 
proved your point yet." 

Barr shrugged. "I can't prove anything; I haven't the mathematics. But I appeal to your reason. 
With an Empire in which every aristocrat, every strong man, every pirate can aspire to the 
Throne - and, as history shows, often successfully - what would happen to even a strong 
Emperor who preoccupied himself with foreign wars at the extreme end of the Galaxy? How 
long would he have to remain away from the capital before somebody raised the standards of 
civil war and forced him home. The social environment of the Empire would make that time 

"I once told Riose that not all the Empire's strength could swerve the dead hand of Hari 

"Good! Good!" Forell was expansively pleased. "Then you imply the Empire can never threaten 
us again." 

"It seems to me so," agreed Barr. "Frankly, Cleon may not live out the year, and there's going to 
be a disputed succession almost as a matter of course, which might mean the last civil war for 
the Empire." 

"Then," said Forell, "there are no more enemies." 

Barr was thoughtful. "There's a Second Foundation." 

"At the other end of the Galaxy? Not for centuries." 

Devers turned suddenly at this, and his face was dark as he faced Forell. "There are internal 
enemies, perhaps." 

"Are there?" asked Forell, coolly. "Who, for instance?" 

"People, for instance, who might like to spread the wealth a bit, and keep it from concentrating 
too much out of the hands that work for it. See what I mean?" 

Slowly, Forell's gaze lost its contempt and grew one with the anger of Devers' own. 



THE MULE Less is known of "The Mule" than of any character of comparable significance to 
Galactic history. Even the period of his greatest renown is known to us chiefly through the eyes 
of his antagonists and, principally, through those of a young bride.... 


Bayta's first sight of Haven was entirely the contrary of spectacular. Her husband pointed it out 
- a dull star lost in the emptiness of the Galaxy's edge. It was past the last sparse clusters, to 
where straggling points of light gleamed lonely. And even among these it was poor and 

Toran was quite aware that as the earliest prelude to married life, the Red Dwarf lacked 
impressiveness and his lips curled self-consciously. "I know, Bay - It isn't exactly a proper 
change, is it? I mean from the Foundation to this." 

"A horrible change, Toran. I should never have married you." 

And when his face looked momentarily hurt, before he caught himself, she said with her special 
"cozy" tone, "All right, silly. Now let your lower lip droop and give me that special dying-duck 
look - the one just before you're supposed to bury your head on my shoulder, while I stroke 
your hair full of static electricity. You were fishing for some drivel, weren't you? You were 
expecting me to say 'I'd be happy anywhere with you, Toran!' or 'The interstellar depths 
themselves would be home, my sweet, were you but with me!' Now you admit it." 

She pointed a finger at him and snatched it away an instant before his teeth closed upon it. 

He said, "If I surrender, and admit you're right, will you prepare dinner?" 

She nodded contentedly. He smiled, and just looked at her. 

She wasn't beautiful on the grand scale to others - he admitted that - even if everybody did 
look twice. Her hair was dark and glossy, though straight, her mouth a bit wide - but her 
meticulous, close-textured eyebrows separated a white, unlined forehead from the warmest 
mahogany eyes ever filled with smiles. 

And behind a very sturdily-built and staunchly-defended facade of practical, unromantic, 
hard-headedness towards life, there was just that little pool of softness that would never show if 
you poked for it, but could be reached if you knew just how - and never let on that you were 
looking for it. 

Toran adjusted the controls unnecessarily and decided to relax. He was one interstellar jump, 

and then several milli-microparsecs "on the straight" before manipulation by hand was 
necessary. He leaned over backwards to look into the storeroom, where Bayta was juggling 
appropriate containers. 

There was quite a bit of smugness about his attitude towards Bayta - the satisfied awe that 
marks the triumph of someone who has been hovering at the edge of an inferiority complex for 
three years. 

After all he was a provincial - and not merely a provincial, but the son of a renegade Trader. 
And she was of the Foundation itself - and not merely that, but she could trace her ancestry 
back to Mallow. 

And with all that, a tiny quiver underneath. To take her back to Haven, with its rock-world and 
cave-cities was bad enough. To have her face the traditional hostility of Trader for Foundation - 
nomad for city dweller - was worse. 

Still - After supper, the last jump! 

Haven was an angry crimson blaze, and the second planet was a ruddy patch of light with 
atmosphere-blurred rim and a half-sphere of darkness. Bayta leaned over the large view table 
with its spidering of crisscross lines that centered Haven II neatly. 

She said gravely, "I wish I had met your father first. If he takes a dislike to me-" 

"Then," said Toran matter-of-factly, "you would be the first pretty girl to inspire that in him. 
Before he lost his arm and stopped roving around the Galaxy, he - Well, if you ask him about it, 
he'll talk to you about it till your ears wear down to a nubbin. After a while I got to thinking that 
he was embroidering; because he never told the same story twice the same way-" 

Haven II was rushing up at them now. The landlocked sea wheeled ponderously below them, 
slate-gray in the lowering dimness and lost to sight, here and there, among the wispy clouds. 
Mountains jutted raggedly along the coast. 

The sea became wrinkled with nearness and, as it veered off past the horizon just at the end, 
there was one vanishing glimpse of shore-hugging ice fields. 

Toran grunted under the fierce deceleration, "Is your suit locked?" 

Bayta's plump face was round and ruddy in the incasing sponge-foam of the internally-heated, 
skin-clinging costume. 

The ship lowered crunchingly on the open field just short of the lifting of the plateau. 

They climbed out awkwardly into the solid darkness of the outer-galactic night, and Bayta 
gasped as the sudden cold bit, and the thin wind swirled emptily. Toran seized her elbow and 
nudged her into an awkward run over the smooth, packed ground towards the sparking of 
artificial light in the distance. 

The advancing guards met them halfway, and after a whispered exchange of words, they were 
taken onward. The wind and the cold disappeared when the gate of rock opened and then 
closed behind them. The warm interior, white with wall-light, was filled with an incongruous 

humming bustle. Men looked up from their desks, and Toran produced documents. 

They were waved onward after a short glance and Toran whispered to his wife, "Dad must have 
fixed up the preliminaries. The usual lapse here is about five hours." 

They burst into the open and Bayta said suddenly, "Oh, my-" 

The cave city was in daylight - the white daylight of a young sun. Not that there was a sun, of 
course. What should have been the sky was lost in the unfocused glow of an over-all brilliance. 
And the warm air was properly thick and fragrant with greenery. 

Bayta said, "Why, Toran, it's beautiful." 

Toran grinned with anxious delight. "Well, now, Bay, it isn't like anything on the Foundation, of 
course, but it's the biggest city on Haven II - twenty thousand people, you know - and you'll get 
to like it. No amusement palaces, I'm afraid, but no secret police either." 

"Oh, Torie, it's just like a toy city. It's all white and pink - and so clean." 

"Well-" Toran looked at the city with her. The houses were two stories high for the most part, 
and of the smooth vein rock indigenous to the region. The spires of the Foundation were 
missing, and the colossal community houses of the Old Kingdoms - but the smallness was 
there and the individuality; a relic of personal initiative in a Galaxy of mass life. 

He snapped to sudden attention. "Bay - There's Dad! Right there - where I'm pointing, silly. 
Don't you see him?" 

She did. It was just the impression of a large man, waving frantically, fingers spread wide as 
though groping wildly in air. The deep thunder of a drawn-out shout reached them. Bayta trailed 
her husband, rushing downwards over the close-cropped lawn. She caught sight of a smaller 
man, white-haired, almost lost to view behind the robust One-arm, who still waved and still 

Toran cried over his shoulder, "It's my father's half-brother. The one who's been to the 
Foundation. You know." 

They met in the grass, laughing and incoherent, and Toran's father let out a final whoop for 
sheer joy. He hitched at his short jacket and adjusted the metal-chased belt that was his one 
concession to luxury. 

His eyes shifted from one of the youngsters to the other, and then he said, a little out of breath, 
"You picked a rotten day to return home, boy!" 

"What? Oh, it is Seldon's birthday, isn't it?" 

"It is. I had to rent a car to make the trip here, and dragoon Randu to drive it. Not a public 
vehicle to be had at gun's point." 

His eyes were on Bayta now, and didn't leave. He spoke to her more softly, "I have the crystal 
of you right here - and it's good, but I can see the fellow who took it was an amateur." 

He had the small cube of transparency out of his jacket pocket and in the light the laughing little 
face within sprang to vivid colored life as a miniature Bayta. 

"That one!" said Bayta. "Now I wonder why Toran should send that caricature. I'm surprised you 
let me come near you, sir." 

"Are you now? Call me Fran. I'll have none of this fancy mess. For that, I think you can take my 
arm, and we'll go on to the car. Till now I never did think my boy knew what he was ever up to. I 
think I'll change that opinion. I think I'll have to change that opinion." 

Toran said to his half uncle softly, "How is the old man these days? Does he still hound the 

Randu puckered up all over his face when he smiled. "When he can, Toran, when he can. 

There are times when he remembers that his next birthday will be his sixtieth, and that 
disheartens him. But he shouts it down, this evil thought, and then he is himself. He is a Trader 
of the ancient type. But you, Toran. Where did you find such a pretty wife?" 

The young man chuckled and linked arms. "Do you want a three years' history at a gasp, 

It was in the small living room of the home that Bayta struggled out of her traveling cloak and 
hood and shook her hair loose. She sat down, crossing her knees, and returned the 
appreciative stare of this large, ruddy man. 

She said, "I know what you're trying to estimate, and I'll help you; Age, twenty-four, height, 
five-four, weight, one-ten, educational specialty, history." She noticed that he always crooked 
his stand so as to hide the missing arm. But now Fran leaned close and said, "Since you 
mention it-weight, one-twenty." 

He laughed loudly at her flush. Then he said to the company in general, "You can always tell a 
woman's weight by her upper arm - with due experience, of course. Do you want a drink, Bay?" 

"Among other things," she said, and they left together, while Toran busied himself at the book 
shelves to check for new additions. 

Fran returned alone and said, "She'll be down later." 

He lowered himself heavily into the large comer chair and placed his stiff-jointed left leg on the 
stool before it. The laughter had left his red face, and Toran turned to face him. 

Fran said, "Well, you're home, boy, and I'm glad you are. I like your woman. She's no whining 

"I married her," said Toran simply. 

"Well, that's another thing altogether, boy." His eyes darkened. "It's a foolish way to tie up the 
future. In my longer life, and more experienced, I never did such a thing." 

Randu interrupted from the comer where he stood quietly. "Now Franssart, what comparisons 
are you making? Till your crash landing six years ago you were never in one spot long enough 

to establish residence requirements for marriage, And since then, who would have you?" 

The one-armed man jerked erect in his seat and replied hotly, "Many, you snowy dotard-" 

Toran said with hasty tact, "It's largely a legal formality, Dad. The situation has its 

"Mostly for the woman," grumbled Fran. 

"And even if so," agreed Randu, "it's up to the boy to decide. Marriage is an old custom among 
the Foundationers." 

"The Foundationers are not fit models for an honest Trader," smoldered Fran. 

Toran broke in again, "My wife is a Foundationer." Fie looked from one to the other, and then 
said quietly, "She's coming." 

The conversation took a general turn after the evening meal, which Fran had spiced with three 
tales of reminiscence composed of equal parts of blood, women, profits, and embroidery. The 
small televisor was on, and some classic drama was playing itself out in an unregarded 
whisper. Randu had hitched himself into a more comfortable position on the low couch and 
gazed past the slow smoke of his long pipe to where Bayta had knelt down upon the softness 
of the white fur mat brought back once long ago from a trade mission and now spread out only 
upon the most ceremonious occasions. 

"You have studied history, my girl?" he asked, pleasantly. 

Bayta nodded. "I was the despair of my teachers, but I learned a bit, eventually." 

"A citation for scholarship," put in Toran, smugly, "that's all!" 

"And what did you learn?" proceeded Randu, smoothly. 

"Everything? Now?" laughed the girl. 

The old man smiled gently. "Well then, what do you think of the Galactic situation?" 

"I think," said Bayta, concisely, "that a Seldon crisis is pending - and that if it isn't then away 
with the Seldon plan altogether. It is a failure." 

("Whew," muttered Fran, from his comer. "What a way to speak of Seldon." But he said nothing 

Randu sucked at his pipe speculatively. "Indeed? Why do you say that? I was to the 
Foundation, you know, in my younger days, and I, too, once thought great dramatic thoughts. 
But, now, why do you say that?" 

"Well," Bayta's eyes misted with thought as she curled her bare toes into the white softness of 
the rug and nestled her little chin in one plump hand, "it seems to me that the whole essence of 
Seldon's plan was to create a world better than the ancient one of the Galactic Empire. It was 
failing apart, that world, three centuries ago, when Seldon first established the Foundation - 
and if history speaks truly, it was falling apart of the triple disease of inertia, despotism, and 

maldistribution of the goods of the universe." 

Randu nodded slowly, while Toran gazed with proud, luminous eyes at his wife, and Fran in the 
comer clucked his tongue and carefully refilled his glass. 

Bayta said, "If the story of Seldon is true, he foresaw the complete collapse of the Empire 
through his Jaws of psychohistory, and was able to predict the necessary thirty thousand years 
of barbarism before the establishment of a new Second Empire to restore civilization and 
culture to humanity. It was the whole aim of his life-work to set up such conditions as would 
insure a speedier rejuvenation," 

The deep voice of Fran burst out, "And that's why he established the two Foundations, honor 
be to his name." 

"And that's why he established the two Foundations," assented Bayta. "Our Foundation was a 
gathering of the scientists of the dying Empire intended to carry on the science and learning of 
man to new heights. And the Foundation was so situated in space and the historical 
environment was such that through the careful calculations of his genius, Seldon foresaw that 
in one thousand years, it would become a newer, greater Empire." 

There was a reverent silence. 

The girl said softly, "It's an old story. You all know it. For almost three centuries every human 
being of the Foundation has known it. But I thought it would be appropriate to go through it - 
just quickly. Today is Seldon's birthday, you know, and even if I am of the Foundation, and you 
are of Flaven, we have that in common-" 

She lit a cigarette slowly, and watched the glowing tip absently. "The laws of history are as 
absolute as the laws of physics, and if the probabilities of error are greater, it is only because 
history does not deal with as many humans as physics does atoms, so that individual variations 
count for more. Seldon predicted a series of crises through the thousand years of growth, each 
of which would force a new turning of our history into a pre-calculated path. It is those crises 
which direct us - and therefore a crisis must come now. 

"Now!" she repeated, forcefully. "It's almost a century since the last one, and in that century, 
every vice of the Empire has been repeated in the Foundation. Inertia! Our ruling class knows 
one law; no change. Despotism! They know one rule; force. Maldistribution! They know one 
desire; to hold what is theirs." 

"While others starve!" roared Fran suddenly with a mighty blow of his fist upon the arm of his 
chair. "Girl, your words are pearls. The fat guts on their moneybags ruin the Foundation, while 
the brave Traders hide their poverty on dregs of worlds like Flaven. It's a disgrace to Seldon, a 
casting of dirt in his face, a spewing in his beard." Fie raised his arm high, and then his face 
lengthened. "If I had my other arm! If - once - they had listened to me!" 

"Dad," said Toran, "take it easy." 

"Take it easy. Take it easy," his father mimicked savagely. "We'll live here and die here forever 
- and you say, take it easy." 

"That's our modern Lathan Devers," said Randu, gesturing with his pipe, "this Fran of ours. 
Devers died in the slave mines eighty years ago with your husband's great-grandfather, 
because he lacked wisdom and didn't lack heart-" 

"Yes, by the Galaxy, I'd do the same if I were he," swore Fran. "Devers was the greatest Trader 
in history - greater than the overblown windbag, Mallow, the Foundationers worship. If the 
cutthroats who lord the Foundation killed him because he loved justice, the greater the 
blood-debt owed them." 

"Go on, girl," said Randu. "Go on, or, surely, he'll talk a the night and rave all the next day." 

"There's nothing to go on about," she said, with a sudden gloom. "There must be a crisis, but I 
don't know how to make one. The progressive forces on the Foundation are oppressed 
fearfully. You Traders may have the will, but you are hunted and disunited. If all the forces of 
good will in and out of the Foundation could combine-" 

Fran's laugh was a raucous jeer. "Listen to her, Randu, listen to her. In and out of the 
Foundation, she says. Girl, girl, there's no hope in the flab-sides of the Foundation. Among 
them some hold the whip and the rest are whipped dead whipped. Not enough spunk left in the 
whole rotten world to outface one good Trader." 

Bayta's attempted interruptions broke feebly against the overwhelming wind. 

Toran leaned over and put a hand over her mouth. "Dad," he said, coldly, "you've never been 
on the Foundation. You know nothing about it. I tell you that the underground there is brave and 
daring enough. I could tell you that Bayta was one of them-" 

"All right, boy, no offense. Now, where's the cause for anger?" Fie was genuinely perturbed. 

Toran drove on fervently, "The trouble with you, Dad, is that you've got a provincial outlook. 

You think because some hundred thousand Traders scurry into holes on an unwanted planet at 
the end of nowhere, that they're a great people. Of course, any tax collector from the 
Foundation that gets here never leaves again, but that's cheap heroism. What would you do if 
the Foundation sent a fleet?" 

"We'd blast them," said Fran, sharply. 

"And get blasted - with the balance in their favor. You're outnumbered, outarmed, outorganized 
- and as soon as the Foundation thinks it worth its while, you'll realize that. So you had better 
seek your allies - on the Foundation itself, if you can." 

"Randu, said Fran, looking at his brother like a great, helpless bull. 

Randu took his pipe away from his lips, "The boy's right, Fran. When you listen to the little 
thoughts deep inside you, you know he is. But they're uncomfortable thoughts, so you drown 
them out with that roar of yours. But they're still there. Toran, I'll tell you why I brought all this 

Fie puffed thoughtfully awhile, then dipped his pipe into the neck of the tray, waited for the silent 
flash, and withdrew it clean. Slowly, he filled it again with precise tamps of his little finger. 

He said, "Your little suggestion of Foundation's interest in us, Toran, is to the point. There have 
been two recent visits lately - for tax purposes. The disturbing point is that the second visitor 
was accompanied by a light patrol ship. They landed in Gleiar City - giving us the miss for a 
change - and they never lifted off again, naturally. But now they'll surely be back. Your father is 
aware of all this, Toran, he really is. 

"Look at the stubborn rakehell. He knows Haven is in trouble, and he knows we're helpless, but 
he repeats his formulas. It warms and protects him. But once he's had his say, and roared his 
defiance, and feels he's discharged his duty as a man and a Bull Trader, why he's as 
reasonable as any of us." 

"Any of who?" asked Bayta. 

He smiled at her. "We've formed a little group, Bayta - just in our city. We haven't done 
anything, yet. We haven't even managed to contact the other cities yet, but it's a start." 

"But towards what?" 

Randu shook his head. "We don't know-yet. We hope for a miracle. We have decided that, as 
you say, a Seldon crisis must be at hand." He gestured widely upwards. "The Galaxy is full of 
the chips and splinters of the broken Empire. The generals swarm. Do you suppose the time 
may come when one will grow bold?" 

Bayta considered, and shook her head decisively, so that the long straight hair with the single 
inward curl at the end swirled about her ears. "No, not a chance. There's not one of those 
generals who doesn't know that an attack on the Foundation is suicide. Bel Riose of the old 
Empire was a better man than any of them, and he attacked with the resources of a galaxy, and 
couldn't win against the Seldon Plan. Is there one general that doesn't know that?" 

"But what if we spur them on?" 

"Into where? Into an atomic furnace? With what could you possibly spur them?" 

"Well, there is one - a new one. In this past year or two, there has come word of a strange man 
whom they call the Mule." 

"The Mule?" She considered. "Ever hear of him, Torie?" 

Toran shook his head. She said, "What about him?" 

"I don't know. But he wins victories at, they say, impossible odds. The rumors may be 
exaggerated, but it would be interesting, in any case, to become acquainted with him. Not every 
man with sufficient ability and sufficient ambition would believe in Hari Seldon and his laws of 
psychohistory. We could encourage that disbelief. He might attack." 

"And the Foundation would win." 

"Yes - but not necessarily easily. It might be a crisis, and we could take advantage of such a 
crisis to force a compromise with the despots of the Foundation. At the worst, they would forget 
us long enough to enable us to plan farther." 

"What do you think, Torie?" 

Toran smiled feebly and pulled at a loose brown curl that fell over one eye. "The way he 
describes it, it can't hurt; but who is the Mule? What do you know of him, Randu?" 

"Nothing yet. For that, we could use you, Toran. And your wife, if she's willing. We've talked of 
this, your father and I. We've talked of this thoroughly." 

"In what way, Randu? What do you want of us?" The young man cast a quick inquisitive look at 
his wife. 

"Have you had a honeymoon?" 

"Well ... yes ... if you can call the trip from the Foundation a honeymoon." 

"How about a better one on Kalgan? It's semitropical beaches - water sports - bird hunting - 
quite the vacation spot. It's about seven thousand parsecs in-not too far." 

"What's on Kalgan?" 

"The Mule! His men, at least. He took it last month, and without a battle, though Kalgan's 
warlord broadcast a threat to blow the planet to ionic dust before giving it up." 

"Where's the warlord now?" 

"He isn't," said Randu, with a shrug. "What do you say?" 

"But what are we to do?" 

"I don't know. Fran and I are old; we're provincial. The Traders of Haven are all essentially 
provincial. Even you say so. Our trading is of a very restricted sort, and we're not the Galaxy 
roamers our ancestors were, Shut up, Fran! But you two know the Galaxy. Bayta, especially, 
speaks with a nice Foundation accent. We merely wish whatever you can find out. If you can 
make contact... but we wouldn't expect that. Suppose you two think it over. You can meet our 
entire group if you wish ... oh, not before next week. You ought to have some time to catch your 

There was a pause and then Fran roared, "Who wants; another drink? I mean, besides me?" 


Captain Han Pritcher was unused to the luxury of his surroundings and by no means 
impressed. As a general thing, he discouraged self-analysis and all forms of philosophy and 
metaphysics not directly connected with his work. 

It helped. 

His work consisted largely of what the War Department called "intelligence," the sophisticates, 
"espionage," and the romanticists, "spy stuff." And, unfortunately, despite the frothy shrillness of 
the televisors, "intelligence," "espionage," and "spy stuff" are at best a sordid business of 

routine betrayal and bad faith. It is excused by society since it is in the "interest of the State," 
but since philosophy seemed always to lead Captain Pritcher to the conclusion that even in that 
holy interest, society is much more easily soothed than one's own conscience - he discouraged 

And now, in the luxury of the mayor's anteroom, his thoughts turned inward despite himself. 

Men had been promoted over his head continuously, though of lesser ability - that much was 
admitted. He had withstood an eternal rain of black marks and official reprimands, and survived 
it. And stubbornly he had held to his own way in the firm belief that insubordination in that same 
holy "interest of the State" would yet be recognized for the service it was. 

So here he was in the anteroom of the mayor-with five soldiers as a respectful guard, and 
probably a court-martial awaiting him. 

The heavy, marble doors rolled apart smoothly, silently, revealing satiny walls, a red plastic 
carpeting, and two more marble doors, metal-inlaid, within. Two officials in the straight-lined 
costume of three centuries back, stepped out, and called: 

"An audience to Captain Han Pritcher of Information." 

They stepped back with a ceremonious bow as the captain started forward. His escort stopped 
at the outer door, and he entered the inner alone. 

On the other side of the doors, in a large room strangely simple, behind a large desk strangely 
angular, sat a small man, almost lost in the immensity, 

Mayor Indbur - successively the third of that name - was the grandson of the first Indbur, who 
had been brutal and capable; and who had exhibited the first quality in spectacular fashion by 
his manner of seizing power, and the latter by the skill with which he put an end to the last 
farcical remnants of free election and the even greater skill with which he maintained a 
relatively peaceful rule. 

Mayor Indbur was also the son of the second Indbur, who was the first Mayor of the Foundation 
to succeed to his post by right of birth - and who was only half his father, for he was merely 

So Mayor Indbur was the third of the name and the second to succeed by right of birth, and he 
was the least of the three, for he was neither brutal nor capable - but merely an excellent 
bookkeeper born wrong. 

Indbur the Third was a peculiar combination of ersatz characteristics to all but himself. 

To him, a stilted geometric love of arrangement was "system," an indefatigable and feverish 
interest in the pettiest facets of day-to-day bureaucracy was "industry," indecision when right 
was "caution," and blind stubbornness when wrong, "determination." 

And withal he wasted no money, killed no man needlessly, and meant extremely well. 

If Captain Pritcher's gloomy thoughts ran along these lines as he remained respectfully in place 
before the large desk, the wooden arrangement of his features yielded no insight into the fact. 

He neither coughed, shifted weight, nor shuffled his feet until the thin face of the mayor lifted 
slowly as the busy stylus ceased in its task of marginal notations, and a sheet of close-printed 
paper was lifted from one neat stack and placed upon another neat stack. 

Mayor Indbur clasped his hands carefully before him, deliberately refraining from disturbing the 
careful arrangement of desk accessories. 

He said, in acknowledgment, "Captain Han Pritcher of Information." 

And Captain Pritcher in strict obedience to protocol bent one knee nearly to the ground and 
bowed his head until he heard the words of release. 

"Arise, Captain Pritcher!" 

The mayor said with an air of warm sympathy, "You are here, Captain Pritcher, because of 
certain disciplinary action taken against yourself by your superior officer. The papers 
concerning such action have come, in the ordinary course of events, to my notice, and since no 
event in the Foundation is of disinterest to me, I took the trouble to ask for further information 
on your case. You are not, I hope, surprised." 

Captain Pritcher said unemotionally, "Excellence, no. Your justice is proverbial." 

"Is it? Is it?" His tone was pleased, and the tinted contact lenses he wore caught the light in a 
manner that imparted a hard, dry gleam to his eyes. Meticulously, he fanned out a series of 
metal-bound folders before him. The parchment sheets within crackled sharply as he turned 
them, his long finger following down the line as he spoke. 

"I have your record here, captain - complete. You are forty-three and have been an Officer of 
the Armed Forces for seventeen years. You were born in Loris, of Anacreonian parents, no 
serious childhood diseases, an attack of myo ... well, that's of no importance ... education, 
premilitary, at the Academy of Sciences, major, hyper-engines, academic standing ... hm-m-m, 
very good, you are to be congratulated ... entered the Army as Under-Officer on the one 
hundred second day of the 293rd year of the Foundation Era." 

He lifted his eyes momentarily as he shifted the first folder, and opened the second. 

"You see," he said, "in my administration, nothing is left to chance. Order! System!" 

He lifted a pink, scented jelly-globule to his lips. It was his one vice, and but dolingly indulged 
in. Witness the fact that the mayor's desk lacked that almost-inevitable atom flash for the 
disposal of dead tobacco. For the mayor did not smoke. 

Nor, as a matter of course, did his visitors. 

The mayor's voice droned on, methodically, slurringly, mumblingly - now and then interspersed 
with whispered comments of equally mild and equally ineffectual commendation or reproof. 

Slowly, he replaced the folders as originally, in a single neat pile. 

"Well, captain," he said, briskly, "your record is unusual. Your ability is outstanding, it would 
seem, and your services valuable beyond question. I note that you have been wounded in the 

line of duty twice, and that you have been awarded the Order of Merit for bravery beyond the 
call of duty. Those are facts not lightly to be minimized." 

Captain Pritcher's expressionless face did not soften. He remained stiffly erect. Protocol 
required that a subject honored by an audience with the mayor may not sit down - a point 
perhaps needlessly reinforced by the fact that only one chair existed in the room, the one 
underneath the mayor. Protocol further required no statements other than those needed to 
answer a direct question. 

The mayor's eyes bore down hard upon the soldier and his voice grew pointed and heavy. 
"However, you have not been promoted in ten years, and your superiors report, over and over 
again, of the unbending stubbornness of your character. You are reported to be chronically 
insubordinate, incapable of maintaining a correct attitude towards superior officers, apparently 
uninterested in maintaining frictionless relationships with your colleagues, and an incurable 
troublemaker, besides. How do you explain that, captain?" 

"Excellence, I do what seems right to me. My deeds on behalf of the State, and my wounds in 
that cause bear witness that what seems fight to me is also in the interest of the State." 

"A soldierly statement, captain, but a dangerous doctrine. More of that, later. Specifically, you 
are charged with refusing an assignment three times in the face of orders signed by my legal 
delegates. What have you to say to that?" 

"Excellence, the assignment lacks significance in a critical time, where matters of first 
importance are being ignored." 

"Ah, and who tells you these matters you speak of are of the first importance at all, and if they 
are, who tells you further that they are ignored?" 

"Excellence, these things are quite evident to me. My experience and my knowledge of events 
- the value of neither of which my superiors deny - make it plain." 

"But, my good captain, are you blind that you do not see that by arrogating to yourself the right 
to determine Intelligence policy, you usurp the duties of your superior?" 

"Excellence, my duty is primarily to the State, and not to my superior." 

"Fallacious, for your superior has his superior, and that superior is myself, and I am the State. 
But come, you shall have no cause to complain of this justice of mine that you say is proverbial. 
State in your own words the nature of the breach in discipline that has brought all this on." 

"Excellence, my duty is primarily to the State, and not to my living the life of a retired merchant 
mariner upon the world of Kalgan. My instructions were to direct Foundation activity upon the 
planet, perfect an organization to act as check upon the warlord of Kalgan, particularly as 
regards his foreign policy." 

"This is known to me. Continue!" 

"Excellence, my reports have continually stressed the strategic positions of Kalgan and the 
systems it controls. I have reported on the ambition of the warlord, his resources, his 

determination to extend his domain and his essential friendliness - or, perhaps, neutrality - 
towards the Foundation." 

"I have read your reports thoroughly. Continue!" 

"Excellence, I returned two months ago. At that time, there was no sign of impending war; no 
sign of anything but an almost superfluity of ability to repel any conceivable attack. One month 
ago, an unknown soldier of fortune took Kalgan without a fight. The man who was once warlord 
of Kalgan is apparently no longer alive. Men do not speak of treason - they speak only of the 
power and genius of this strange condottiere - this Mule." 

"This who?" the mayor leaned forward, and looked offended. 

"Excellence, he is known as the Mule. He is spoken of little, in a factual sense, but I have 
gathered the scraps and fragments of knowledge and winnowed out the most probable of them. 
He is apparently a man of neither birth nor standing. His father, unknown. His mother, dead in 
childbirth. His upbringing, that of a vagabond. His education, that of the tramp worlds, and the 
backwash alleys of space. He has no name other than that of the Mule, a name reportedly 
applied by himself to himself, and signifying, by popular explanation, his immense physical 
strength, and stubbornness of purpose." 

"What is his military strength, captain? Never mind his physique." 

"Excellence, men speak of huge fleets, but in this they may be influenced by the strange fall of 
Kalgan. The territory he controls is not large, though its exact limits are not capable of definite 
determination. Nevertheless, this man must be investigated." 

"Hm-m-m. So! So!" The mayor fell into a reverie, and slowly with twenty-four strokes of his 
stylus drew six squares in hexagonal arrangements upon the blank top sheet of a pad, which 
he tore off, folded neatly in three parts and slipped into the wastepaper slot at his right hand. It 
slid towards a clean and silent atomic disintegration. 

"Now then, tell me, captain, what is the alternative? You have told me what 'must' be 
investigated. What have you been ordered to investigate?" 

"Excellence, there is a rat hole in space that, it seems, does not pay its taxes." 

"Ah, and is that all? You are not aware, and have not been told that these men who do not pay 
their taxes, are descendants of the wild Traders of our early days - anarchists, rebels, social 
maniacs who claim Foundation ancestry and deride Foundation culture. You are not aware, 
and have not been told, that this rat hole in space, is not one, but many; that these rat holes are 
in greater number than we know; that these rat holes conspire together, one with the other, and 
all with the criminal elements that still exist throughout Foundation territory. Even here, captain, 
even here!" 

The mayor's momentary fire subsided quickly. "You are not aware, captain?" 

"Excellence, I have been told all this. But as servant of the State, I must serve faithfully - and 
he serves most faithfully who serves Truth. Whatever the political implications of these dregs of 
the ancient Traders - the warlords who have inherited the splinters of the old Empire have the 

power. The Traders have neither arms nor resources. They have not even unity. I am not a tax 
collector to be sent on a child's errand." 

"Captain Pritcher, you are a soldier, and count guns. It is a failing to be allowed you up to the 
point where it involves disobedience to myself. Take care. My justice is not simply weakness. 
Captain, it has already been proven that the generals of the Imperial Age and the warlords of 
the present age are equally impotent against us. Seldon's science which predicts the course of 
the Foundation is based, not on individual heroism, as you seem to believe, but on the social 
and economic trends of history. We have passed successfully through four crises already, have 
we not?" 

"Excellence, we have. Yet Seldon's science is known only to Seldon. We ourselves have but 
faith. In the first three crises, as I have been carefully taught, the Foundation was led by wise 
leaders who foresaw the nature of the crises and took the proper precautions. Otherwise - who 
can say?" 

"Yes, captain, but you omit the fourth crisis. Come, captain, we had no leadership worthy of the 
name then, and we faced the cleverest opponent, the heaviest armor, the strongest force of all. 
Yet we won by the inevitability of history." 

"Excellence, that is true. But this history you mention became inevitable only after we had 
fought desperately for over a year. The inevitable victory we won cost us half a thousand ships 
and half a million men. Excellence, Seldon's plan helps those who help themselves." 

Mayor Indbur frowned and grew suddenly tired of his patient exposition. It occurred to him that 
there was a fallacy in condescension, since it was mistaken for permission to argue eternally; to 
grow contentious; to wallow in dialectic. Fie said, stiffly, "Nevertheless, captain, Seldon 
guarantees victory over the warlords, and I can not, in these busy times, indulge in a dispersal 
of effort. These Traders you dismiss are Foundation-derived. A war with them would be a civil 
war. Seldon's plan makes no guarantee there for us - since they anc/we are Foundation. So 
they must be brought to heel. You have your orders." 


"You have been asked no question, captain. You have your orders. You will obey those orders. 
Further argument of any sort with myself or those representing myself will be considered 
treason. You are excused." 

Captain Flan Pritcher knelt once more, then left with slow, backward steps. 

Mayor Indbur, third of his name, and second mayor of Foundation history to be so by fight of 
birth, recovered his equilibrium, and lifted another sheet of paper from the neat stack at his left. 
It was a report on the saving of funds due to the reduction of the quantity of metal-foam edging 
on the uniforms of the police force. Mayor Indbur crossed out a superfluous comma, corrected 
a misspelling, made three marginal notations, and placed it upon the neat stack at his fight. Fie 
lifted another sheet of paper from the neat stack at his left. 

Captain Flan Pritcher of Information found a Personal Capsule waiting for him when he returned 
to barracks. It contained orders, terse and redly underlined with a stamped "URGENT"' across 

it, and the whole initialed with a precise, capital "I". 

Captain Han Pritcher was ordered to the "rebel world called Haven" in the strongest terms. 

Captain Han Pritcher, alone in his light one-man speedster, set his course quietly and calmly 
for Kalgan. He slept that night the sleep of a successfully stubborn man. 


If, from a distance of seven thousand parsecs, the fall of Kalgan to the armies of the Mule had 
produced reverberations that had excited the curiosity of an old Trader, the apprehension of a 
dogged captain, and the annoyance of a meticulous mayor - to those on Kalgan itself, it 
produced nothing and excited no one. It is the invariable lesson to humanity that distance in 
time, and in space as well, lends focus. It is not recorded, incidentally, that the lesson has ever 
been permanently learned. 

Kalgan was - Kalgan. It alone of all that quadrant of the Galaxy seemed not to know that the 
Empire had fallen, that the Stannells no longer ruled, that greatness had departed, and peace 
had disappeared. 

Kalgan was the luxury world. With the edifice of mankind crumbling, it maintained its integrity as 
a producer of pleasure, a buyer of gold and a seller of leisure. 

It escaped the harsher vicissitudes of history, for what conqueror would destroy or even 
seriously damage a world so full of the ready cash that would buy immunity. 

Yet even Kalgan had finally become the headquarters of a warlord and its softness had been 
tempered to the exigencies of war. 

Its tamed jungles, its mildly modeled shores, and its garishly glamorous cities echoed to the 
march of imported mercenaries and impressed citizens. The worlds of its province had been 
armed and its money invested in battleships rather than bribes for the first time in its history. Its 
ruler proved beyond doubt that he was determined to defend what was his and eager to seize 
what was others. He was a great one of the Galaxy, a war and peace maker, a builder of 
Empire, an establisher of dynasty. 

And an unknown with a ridiculous nickname had taken him - and his arms - and his budding 
Empire - and had not even fought a battle. 

So Kalgan was as before, and its uniformed citizens hurried back to their older life, while the 
foreign professionals of war merged easily into the newer bands that descended. 

Again as always, there were the elaborate luxury hunts for the cultivated animal life of the 
jungles that never took human life; and the speedster bird-chases in the air above, that was 
fatal only to the Great Birds. 

In the cities, the escapers of the Galaxy could take their varieties of pleasure to suit their purse, 
from the ethereal sky-palaces of spectacle and fantasy that opened their doors to the masses 

at the jingle of half a credit, to the unmarked, unnoted haunts to which only those of great 
wealth were of the cognoscenti. 

To the vast flood, Toran and Bayta added not even a trickle. They registered their ship in the 
huge common hangar on the East Peninsula, and gravitated to that compromise of the 
middle-classes, the Inland Sea-where the pleasures were yet legal, and even respectable, and 
the crowds not yet beyond endurance. 

Bayta wore dark glasses against the light, and a thin, white robe against the heat. Warm-tinted 
arms, scarcely the goldener for the sun, clasped her knees to her, and she stared with firm, 
abstracted gaze at the length of her husband's outstretched body - almost shimmering in the 
brilliance of white sun-splendor. 

"Don't overdo it," she had said at first, but Toran was of a dying-red star, Despite three years of 
the Foundation, sunlight was a luxury, and for four days now his skin, treated beforehand for 
ray resistance, had not felt the harshness of clothing, except for the brief shorts. 

Bayta huddled close to him on the sand and they spoke in whispers. 

Toran's voice was gloomy, as it drifted upwards from a relaxed face, "No, I admit we're 
nowhere. But where is he? Who is he? This mad world says nothing of him. Perhaps he doesn't 

"He exists," replied Bayta, with lips that didn't move. "He's clever, that's all. And your uncle is 
right. He's a man we could use - if there's time." 

A short pause. Toran whispered, "Know what I've been doing, Bay? I'm just daydreaming 
myself into a sun-stupor. Things figure themselves out so neatly - so sweetly." His voice nearly 
trailed off, then returned, "Remember the way Dr. Amann talked back at college, Bay. The 
Foundation can never lose, but that does not mean the rulers of the Foundation can't. Didn't the 
real history of the Foundation begin when Salvor Hardin kicked out the Encyclopedists and took 
over the planet Terminus as the first mayor? And then in the next century, didn't Hober Mallow 
gain power by methods almost as drastic? That's twice the rulers were defeated, so it can be 
done. So why not by us?" 

"It's the oldest argument in the books. Torie. What a waste of good reverie." 

"Is it? Follow it out. What's Haven? Isn't it part of the Foundation? If we become top dog, it's still 
the Foundation winning, and only the current rulers losing." 

"Lots of difference between 'we can' and 'we will.' You're just jabbering." 

Toran squirmed. "Nuts, Bay, you're just in one of your sour, green moods. What do you want to 
spoil my fun for? I'll just go to sleep if you don't mind." 

But Bayta was craning her head, and suddenly - quite a non sequitur -she giggled, and 
removed her glasses to look down the beach with only her palm shading her eyes. 

Toran looked up, then lifted and twisted his shoulders to follow her glance. 

Apparently, she was watching a spindly figure, feet in air, who teetered on his hands for the 

amusement of a haphazard crowd. It was one of the swarming acrobatic beggars of the shore, 
whose supple joints bent and snapped for the sake of the thrown coins. 

A beach guard was motioning him on his way and with a surprising one-handed balance, the 
clown brought a thumb to his nose in an upside-down gesture. The guard advanced 
threateningly and reeled backward with a foot in his stomach. The clown righted himself without 
interrupting the motion of the initial kick and was away, while the frothing guard was held off by 
a thoroughly unsympathetic crowd. 

The clown made his way raggedly down the beach. He brushed past many, hesitated often, 
stopped nowhere. The original crowd had dispersed. The guard had departed. 

"He's a queer fellow," said Bayta, with amusement, and Toran agreed indifferently. The clown 
was close enough now to be seen clearly. His thin face drew together in front into a nose of 
generous planes and fleshy tip that seemed all but prehensile. His long, lean limbs and spidery 
body, accentuated by his costume, moved easily and with grace, but with just a suggestion of 
having been thrown together at random. 

To look was to smile. 

The clown seemed suddenly aware of their regard, for he stopped after he had passed, and, 
with a sharp turn, approached. His large, brown eyes fastened upon Bayta. 

She found herself disconcerted. 

The clown smiled, but it only saddened his beaked face, and when he spoke it was with the 
soft, elaborate phrasing of the Central Sectors. 

"Were I to use the wits the good Spirits gave me," he said, "then I would say this lady can not 
exist - for what sane man would hold a dream to be reality. Yet rather would I not be sane and 
lend belief to charmed, enchanted eyes." 

Bayta's own eyes opened wide. She said, "Wow!" 

Toran laughed, "Oh, you enchantress. Go ahead, Bay, that deserves a five-credit piece. Let 
him have it." 

But the clown was forward with a jump. "No, my lady, mistake me not. I spoke for money not at 
all, but for bright eyes and sweet face." 

"Well, thanks," then, to Toran, "Golly, you think the sun's in his eyes?" 

"Yet not alone for eyes and face," babbled the clown, as his words hurled past each other in 
heightened frenzy, "but also for a mind, clear and sturdy - and kind as well." 

Toran rose to his feet, reached for the white robe he had crooked his arm about for four days, 
and slipped into it. 

"Now, bud," he said, "suppose you tell me what you want, and stop annoying the lady." 

The clown fell back a frightened step, his meager body cringing. "Now, sure I meant no harm. I 

am a stranger here, and it's been said I am of addled wits; yet there is something in a face that I 
can read. Behind this lady's fairness, there is a heart that's kind, and that would help me in my 
trouble for all I speak so boldly." 

"Will five credits cure your trouble?" said Toran, dryly, and held out the coin. 

But the clown did not move to take it, and Bayta said, "Let me talk to him, Torie," She added 
swiftly, and in an undertone, "There's no use being annoyed at his silly way of talking. That's 
just his dialect; and our speech is probably as strange to him." 

She said, "What is your trouble? You're not worried about the guard, are you? He won't bother 

"Oh, no, not he. He's but a windlet that blows the dust about my ankles. There is another that I 
flee, and he is a storm that sweeps the worlds aside and throws them plunging at each other. A 
week ago, I ran away, have slept in city streets, and hid in city crowds. I've looked in many 
faces for help in need. I find it here." He repeated the last phrase in softer, anxious tones, and 
his large eyes were troubled, "I find it here." 

"Now," said Bayta, reasonably, "I would like to help, but really, friend, I'm no protection against 
a world-sweeping storm. To be truthful about it, I could use-" 

There was an uplifted, powerful voice that bore down upon them. 

"Now, then, you mud-spawned rascal-" 

It was the beach guard, with a fire-red face, and snarling mouth, that approached at a run. He 
pointed with his low-power stun pistol. 

"Hold him, you two. Don't let him get away." His heavy hand fell upon the clown's thin shoulder, 
so that a whimper was squeezed out of him. 

Toran said, "What's he done?" 

"What's he done? What's he done? Well, now, that's good!" The guard reached inside the 
dangling pocket attached to his belt, and removed a purple handkerchief, with which he 
mopped his bare neck. He said with relish. "I'll tell you what he's done. He's run away. The 
word's all over Kalgan and I would have recognized him before this if he had been on his feet 
instead of on his hawkface top." And he rattled his prey in a fierce good humor. 

Bayta said with a smile, "Now where did he escape from, sir?" 

The guard raised his voice. A crowd was gathering, popeyed and jabbering, and with the 
increase of audience, the guard's sense of importance increased in direct ratio. 

"Where did he escape from?" he declaimed in high sarcasm. "Why, I suppose you've heard of 
the Mule, now." 

All jabbering stopped, and Bayta felt a sudden iciness trickle down into her stomach. The clown 
had eyes only for her-he still quivered in the guard's brawny grasp. 

"And who," continued the guard heavily, "would this infernal ragged piece be, but his lordship's 

own court fool who's run away." He jarred his captive with a massive shake, "Do you admit it, 

There was only white fear for answer, and the soundless sibilance of Bayta's voice close to 
Toran's ear. 

Toran stepped forward to the guard in friendly fashion, "Now, my man, suppose you take your 
hand away for just a while. This entertainer you hold has been dancing for us and has not yet 
danced out his fee." 

"Here!" The guard's voice rose in sudden concern. "There's a reward-" 

"You'll have it, if you can prove he's the man you want. Suppose you withdraw till then. You 
know that you're interfering with a guest, which could be serious for you." 

"But you're interfering with his lordship and that will be serious for you." He shook the clown 
once again. "Return the man's fee, carrion." 

Toran's hand moved quickly and the guard's stun pistol was wrenched away with half a finger 
nearly following it. The guard howled his pain and rage. Toran shoved him violently aside, and 
the clown, unhanded, scuttled behind him. 

The crowd, whose fringes were now lost to the eye, paid little attention to the latest 
development. There was among them a craning of necks, and a centrifugal motion as if many 
had decided to increase their distance from the center of activity. 

Then there was a bustle, and a rough order in the distance. A corridor formed itself and two 
men strode through, electric whips in careless readiness. Upon each purple blouse was 
designed an angular shaft of lightning with a splitting planet underneath. 

A dark giant, in lieutenant's uniform, followed them; dark of skin, and hair, and scowl. 

The dark man spoke with the dangerous softness that meant he had little need of shouting to 
enforce his whims. He said, "Are you the man who notified us?" 

The guard was still holding his wrenched hand, and with a pain-distorted face mumbled, "I 
claim the reward, your mightiness, and I accuse that man-" 

"You'll get your reward," said the lieutenant, without looking at him. He motioned curtly to his 
men, "Take him." 

Toran felt the clown tearing at his robe with a maddened grip. 

He raised his voice and kept it from shaking, "I'm sorry, lieutenant; this man is mine." 

The soldiers took the statement without blinking. One raised his whip casually, but the 
lieutenant's snapped order brought it down. 

His dark mightiness swung forward and planted his square body before Toran, "Who are you?" 
And the answer rang out, "A citizen of the Foundation." 

It worked-with the crowd, at any rate. The pent-up silence broke into an intense hum. The 
Mule's name might excite fear, but it was, after all, a new name and scarcely stuck as deeply in 
the vitals as the old one of the Foundation - that had destroyed the Empire - and the fear of 
which ruled a quadrant of the Galaxy with ruthless despotism. 

The lieutenant kept face. He said, "Are you aware of the identity of the man behind you?" 

"I have been told he's a runaway from the court of your leader, but my only sure knowledge is 
that he is a friend of mine. You'll need firm proof of his identity to take him." 

There were high-pitched sighs from the crowd, but the lieutenant let it pass. "Have you your 
papers of Foundation citizenship with you?" 

"At my ship." 

"You realize that your actions are illegal? I can have you shot." 

"Undoubtedly. But then you would have shot a Foundation citizen and it is quite likely that your 
body would be sent to the Foundation - quartered - as part compensation. It's been done by 
other warlords." 

The lieutenant wet his lips. The statement was true. 

He said, "Your name?" 

Toran followed up his advantage, "I will answer further questions at my ship. You can get the 
cell number at the Hangar; it is registered under the name 'Bayta'." 

"You won't give up the runaway?" 

"To the Mule, perhaps. Send your master!" 

The conversation had degenerated to a whisper and the lieutenant turned sharply away. 
"Disperse the crowd!" he said to his men, with suppressed ferocity. 

The electric whips rose and fell. There were shrieks and a vast surge of separation and flight. 

Toran interrupted his reverie only once on their way back to the Hangar. He said, almost to 
himself, "Galaxy, Bay, what a time I had! I was so scared-" 

"Yes," she said, with a voice that still shook, and eyes that still showed something akin to 
worship, "it was quite out of character." 

"Well, I still don't know what happened. I just got up there with a stun pistol that I wasn't even 
sure I knew how to use, and talked back to him. I don't know why I did it." 

He looked across the aisle of the short-run air vessel that was carrying them out of the beach 
area, to the seat on which the Mule's clown scrunched up in sleep, and added distastefully, "It 
was the hardest thing I've ever done." 

The lieutenant stood respectfully before the colonel of the garrison, and the colonel looked at 
him and said, "Well done. Your part's over now." 

But the lieutenant did not retire immediately. He said darkly, "The Mule has lost face before a 
mob, sir. It will be necessary to undertake disciplinary action to restore proper atmosphere of 

"Those measures have already been taken." 

The lieutenant half turned, then, almost with resentment, "I'm willing to agree, sir, that orders 
are orders, but standing before that man with his stun pistol and swallowing his insolence 
whole, was the hardest thing I've ever done." 


The "hangar" on Kalgan is an institution peculiar unto itself, born of the need for the disposition 
of the vast number of ships brought in by the visitors from abroad, and the simultaneous and 
consequent vast need for living accommodations for the same. The original bright one who had 
thought of the obvious solution had quickly become a millionaire. His heirs - by birth or finance 
- were easily among the richest on Kalgan. 

The "hangar" spreads fatly over square miles of territory, and "hangar" does not describe it at 
all sufficiently. It is essentially a hotel - for ships. The traveler pays in advance and his ship is 
awarded a berth from which it can take off into space at any desired moment. The visitor then 
lives in his ship as always. The ordinary hotel services such as the replacement of food and 
medical supplies at special rates, simple servicing of the ship itself, special intra-Kalgan 
transportation for a nominal sum are to be had, of course. 

As a result, the visitor combines hangar space and hotel bill into one, at a saving. The owners 
sell temporary use of ground space at ample profits. The government collects huge taxes. 
Everyone has fun. Nobody loses. Simple! 

The man who made his way down the shadow-borders of the wide corridors that connected the 
multitudinous wings of the "hangar" had in the past speculated on the novelty and usefulness of 
the system described above, but these were reflections for idle moments - distinctly unsuitable 
at present. 

The ships hulked in their height and breadth down the long lines of carefully aligned cells, and 
the man discarded line after line. He was an expert at what he was doing now and if his 
preliminary study of the hangar registry had failed to give specific information beyond the 
doubtful indication of a specific wing - one containing hundreds of ships - his specialized 
knowledge could winnow those hundreds into one. 

There was the ghost of a sigh in the silence, as the man stopped and faded down one of the 
lines; a crawling insect beneath the notice of the arrogant metal monsters that rested there. 

Here and there the sparkling of light from a porthole would indicate the presence of an early 
returner from the organized pleasures to simpler - or more private - pleasures of his own. 

The man halted, and would have smiled if he ever smiled. Certainly the convolutions of his 

brain performed the mental equivalent of a smile. 

The ship he stopped at was sleek and obviously fast. The peculiarity of its design was what he 
wanted. It was not a usual model - and these days most of the ships of this quadrant of the 
Galaxy either imitated Foundation design or were built by Foundation technicians. But this was 
special. This was a Foundation ship - if only because of the tiny bulges in the skin that were 
the nodes of the protective screen that only a Foundation ship could possess. There were other 
indications, too. 

The man felt no hesitation. 

The electronic barrier strung across the line of the ships as a concession to privacy on the part 
of the management was not at all important to him. It parted easily, and without activating the 
alarm, at the use of the very special neutralizing force he had at his disposal. 

So the first knowledge within the ship of the intruder without was the casual and almost friendly 
signal of the muted buzzer in the ship's living room that was the result of a palm placed over the 
little photocell just one side of the main air lock. 

And while that successful search went on, Toran and Bayta felt only the most precarious 
security within the steel walls of the Bayta. The Mule's clown who had reported that within his 
narrow compass of body he held the lordly name of Magnifico Giganticus, sat hunched over the 
table and gobbled at the food set before him. 

His sad, brown eyes lifted from his meat only to follow Bayta's movements in the combined 
kitchen and larder where he ate. 

"The thanks of a weak one are of but little value," he muttered, "but you have them, for truly, in 
this past week, little but scraps have come my way - and for all my body is small, yet is my 
appetite unseemly great." 

"Well, then, eat!" said Bayta, with a smile. "Don't waste your time on thanks. Isn't there a 
Central Galaxy proverb about gratitude that I once heard?" 

"Truly there is, my lady. For a wise man, I have been told, once said, 'Gratitude is best and 
most effective when it does not evaporate itself in empty phrases.' But alas, my lady, I am but a 
mass of empty phrases, it would seem. When my empty phrases pleased the Mule, it brought 
me a court dress, and a grand name - for, see you, it was originally simply Bobo, one that 
pleases him not - and then when my empty phrases pleased him not, it would bring upon my 
poor bones beatings and whippings." 

Toran entered from the pilot room, "Nothing to do now but wait, Bay. I hope the Mule is capable 
of understanding that a Foundation ship is Foundation territory." 

Magnifico Giganticus, once Bobo, opened his eyes wide and exclaimed, "How great is the 
Foundation before which even the cruel servants of the Mule tremble." 

"Have you heard of the Foundation, too?" asked Bayta, with a little smile. 

"And who has not?" Magnifico's voice was a mysterious whisper. "There are those who say it is 

a world of great magic, of fires that can consume planets, and secrets of mighty strength. They 
say that not the highest nobility of the Galaxy could achieve the honor and deference 
considered only the natural due of a simple man who could say 'I am a citizen of the 
Foundation,' - were he only a salvage miner of space, or a nothing like myself." 

Bayta said, "Now, Magnifico, you'll never finish if you make speeches. Here, I'll get you a little 
flavored milk. It's good." 

She placed a pitcher of it upon the table and motioned Toran out of the room. 

"Torie, what are we going to do now - about him?" and she motioned towards the kitchen. 

"How do you mean?" 

"If the Mule comes, are we going to give him up?" 

"Well, what else, Bay?" He sounded harassed, and the gesture with which he shoved back the 
moist curl upon his forehead testified to that. 

He continued impatiently, "Before I came here I had a sort of vague idea that all we had to do 
was to ask for the Mule, and then get down to business - just business, you know, nothing 

"I know what you mean, Torie. I wasn't much hoping to see the Mule myself, but I did think we 
could pick up some firsthand knowledge of the mess, and then pass it over to people who know 
a little more about this interstellar intrigue. I'm no storybook spy." 

"You're not behind me, Bay." He folded his arms and frowned. "What a situation! You'd never 
know there was a person like the Mule, except for this last queer break. Do you suppose he'll 
come for his clown?" 

Bayta looked up at him. "I don't know that I want him to. I don't know what to say or do. Do 

The inner buzzer sounded with its intermittent burring noise. Bayta's lips moved wordlessly, 
"The Mule!" 

Magnifico was in the doorway, eyes wide, his voice a whimper, "The Mule?" 

Toran murmured, "I've got to let them in." 

A contact opened the air lock and the outer door closed behind the newcomer. The scanner 
showed only a single shadowed figure. 

"It's only one person," said Toran, with open relief, and his voice was almost shaky as he bent 
toward the signal tube, "Who are you?" 

"You'd better let me in and find out, hadn't you?" The words came thinly out the receiver. 

"I'll inform you that this is a Foundation ship and consequently Foundation territory by 
international treaty." 

"I know that." 

"Come with your arms free, or I'll shoot. I'm well-armed." 


Toran opened the inner door and closed contact on his blast pistol, thumb hovering over the 
pressure point. There was the sound of footsteps and then the door swung open, and Magnifico 
cried out, "It's not the Mule. It's but a man." 

The "man" bowed to the clown somberly, "Very accurate. I'm not the Mule." He held his hands 
apart, "I'm not armed, and I come on a peaceful errand. You might relax and put the blast pistol 
away. Your hand isn't steady enough for my peace of mind." 

"Who are you?" asked Toran, brusquely. 

"I might ask you that," said the stranger, coolly, "since you're the one under false pretenses, not 

"How so?" 

"You're the one who claims to be a Foundation citizen when there's not an authorized Trader 
on the planet." 

"That's not so. How would you know?" 

"Because I am a Foundation citizen, and have my papers to prove it. Where are yours?" 

"I think you'd better get out." 

"I think not. If you know anything about Foundation methods, and despite your imposture you 
might, you'd know that if I don't return alive to my ship at a specified time, there'll be a signal at 
the nearest Foundation headquarters so I doubt if your weapons will have much effect, 
practically speaking." 

There was an irresolute silence and then Bayta said, calmly, "Put the blaster away, Toran, and 
take him at face value. He sounds like the real thing." 

"Thank you," said the stranger. 

Toran put his gun on the chair beside him, "Suppose you explain all this now." 

The stranger remained standing. He was long of bone and large of limb. His face consisted of 
hard flat planes and it was somehow evident that he never smiled. But his eyes lacked 

He said, "News travels quickly, especially when it is apparently beyond belief. I don't suppose 
there's a person on Kalgan who doesn't know that the Mule's men were kicked in the teeth 
today by two tourists from the Foundation. I knew of the important details before evening, and, 
as I said, there are no Foundation tourists aside from myself on the planet. We know about 
those things." 

Who are the 'we'? 

"'We' are - 'we'! Myself for one! I knew you were at the Hangar - you had been overheard to 
say so. I had my ways of checking the registry, and my ways of finding the ship." 

He turned to Bayta suddenly, "You're from the Foundation - by birth, aren't you?" 

"Am I?" 

"You're a member of the democratic opposition - they call it 'the underground.' I don't 
remember your name, but I do the face. You got out only recently - and wouldn't have if you 
were more important." 

Bayta shrugged, "You know a lot." 

"I do. You escaped with a man. That one?" 

"Does it matter what I say?" 

"No. I merely want a thorough mutual understanding. I believe that the password during the 
week you left so hastily was 'Seldon, Hardin, and Freedom.' Porfirat Hart was your section 

"Where'd you get that?" Bayta was suddenly fierce. "Did the police get him?" Toran held her 
back, but she shook herself loose and advanced. 

The man from the Foundation said quietly, "Nobody has him. It's just that the underground 
spreads widely and in queer places. I'm Captain Han Pritcher of Information, and I'm a section 
leader myself - never mind under what name." 

He waited, then said, "No, you don't have to believe me. In our business it is better to overdo 
suspicion than the opposite. But I'd better get past the preliminaries." 

"Yes," said Toran, "suppose you do." 

"May I sit down? Thanks." Captain Pritcher swung a long leg across his knee and let an arm 
swing loose over the back of the chair. "I'll start out by saying that I don't know what all this is 
about - from your angle. You two aren't from the Foundation, but it's not a hard guess that 
you're from one of the independent Trading worlds. That doesn't bother me overmuch. But out 
of curiosity, what do you want with that fellow, that clown you snatched to safety? You're risking 
your life to hold on to him." 

"I can't tell you that." 

"Hm-m-m. Well, I didn't think you would. But if you're waiting for the Mule himself to come 
behind a fanfarade of horns, drums, and electric organs - relax! The Mule doesn't work that 

"What?" It came from both Toran and Bayta, and in the comer where Magnifico lurked with ears 
almost visibly expanded, there was a sudden joyful start. 

"That's right. I've been trying to contact him myself, and doing a rather more thorough job of it 

than you two amateurs can. It won't work. The man makes no personal appearance, does not 
allow himself to be photographed or simulated, and is seen only by his most intimate 

"Is that supposed to explain your interest in us, captain?" questioned Toran. 

"No. That clown is the key. That clown is one of the very few that have seen him. I want him. 

He may be the proof I need - and I need something, Galaxy knows - to awaken the 

"It needs awakening?" broke in Bayta with sudden sharpness. "Against what? And in what role 
do you act as alarm, that of rebel democrat or of secret police and provocateur?" 

The captain's face set in its hard lines. "When the entire Foundation is threatened, Madame 
Revolutionary, both democrats and tyrants perish. Let us save the tyrants from a greater, that 
we may overthrow them in their turn." 

"Who's the greater tyrant you speak of?" flared Bayta. 

"The Mule! I know a bit about him, enough to have been my death several times over already, if 
I had moved less nimbly. Send the clown out of the room. This will require privacy." 

"Magnifico," said Bayta, with a gesture, and the clown left without a sound. 

The captain's voice was grave and intense, and low enough so that Toran and Bayta drew 

He said, "The Mule is a shrewd operator - far too shrewd not to realize the advantage of the 
magnetism and glamour of personal leadership. If he gives that up, it's for a reason. That 
reason must be the fact that personal contact would reveal something that is of overwhelming 
importance not to reveal." 

He waved aside questions, and continued more quickly, "I went back to his birthplace for this, 
and questioned people who for their knowledge will not live long. Few enough are still alive. 
They remember the baby born thirty years before - the death of his mother - his strange youth. 
The Mule is not a human being!" 

And his two listeners drew back in horror at the misty implications. Neither understood, fully or 
clearly, but the menace of the phrase was definite. 

The captain continued, "He is a mutant, and obviously from his subsequent career, a highly 
successful one. I don't know his powers or the exact extent to which he is what our thrillers 
would call a 'superman,' but the rise from nothing to the conqueror of Kalgan's warlord in two 
years is revealing. You see, don't you, the danger? Can a genetic accident of unpredictable 
biological properties be taken into account in the Seldon plan?" 

Slowly, Bayta spoke, "I don't believe it. This is some sort of complicated trickery. Why didn't the 
Mule's men kill us when they could have, if he's a superman?" 

"I told you that I don't know the extent of his mutation. He may not be ready, yet, for the 
Foundation, and it would be a sign of the greatest wisdom to resist provocation until ready. Now 

let me speak to the clown." 

The captain faced the trembling Magnifico, who obviously distrusted this huge, hard man who 
faced him. 

The captain began slowly, "Have you seen the Mule with your own eyes?" 

"I have but too well, respected sir. And felt the weight of his arm with my own body as well." 

"I have no doubt of that. Can you describe him?" 

"It is frightening to recall him, respected sir. He is a man of mighty frame. Against him, even you 
would be but a spindling. His hair is of a burning crimson, and with all my strength and weight I 
could not pull down his arm, once extended - not a hair's thickness." Magnifico's thinness 
seemed to collapse upon itself in a huddle of arms and legs. "Often, to amuse his generals or to 
amuse only himself, he would suspend me by one finger in my belt from a fearful height, while I 
chattered poetry. It was only after the twentieth verse that I was withdrawn, and each 
improvised and each a perfect rhyme, or else start over. He is a man of overpowering might, 
respected sir, and cruel in the use of his power - and his eyes, respected sir, no one sees." 

"What? What's that last?" 

"He wears spectacles, respected sir, of a curious nature. It is said that they are opaque and that 
he sees by a powerful magic that far transcends human powers. I have heard," and his voice 
was small and mysterious, "that to see his eyes is to see death; that he kills with his eyes, 
respected sir." 

Magnifico's eyes wheeled quickly from one watching face to another. He quavered, "It is true. 

As I live, it is true." 

Bayta drew a long breath, "Sounds like you're right, captain. Do you want to take over?" 

"Well, let's look at the situation. You don't owe anything here? The hangar's barrier above is 

"I can leave any time." 

"Then leave. The Mule may not wish to antagonize the Foundation, but he runs a frightful risk in 
letting Magnifico get away. It probably accounts for the hue and cry after the poor devil in the 
first place. So there may be ships waiting for you upstairs. If you're lost in space, who's to pin 
the crime?" 

"You're right," agreed Toran, bleakly. 

"However, you've got a shield and you're probably speedier than anything they've got, so as 
soon as you're clear of the atmosphere make the circle in neutral to the other hemisphere, then 
just cut a track outwards at top acceleration." 

"Yes," said Bayta coldly, "and when we are back on the Foundation, what then, captain?" 

"Why, you are then co-operative citizens of Kalgan, are you not? I know nothing to the contrary, 
do I?" 

Nothing was said. Toran turned to the controls. There was an imperceptible lurch. 

It was when Toran had left Kalgan sufficiently far in the rear to attempt his first interstellar jump, 
that Captain Pritcher's face first creased slightly - for no ship of the Mule had in any way 
attempted to bar their leaving. 

"Looks like he's letting us carry off Magnifico," said Toran. "Not so good for your story." 

"Unless," corrected the captain, "he wants us to carry him off, in which case it's not so good for 
the Foundation." 

It was after the last jump, when within neutral-flight distance of the Foundation, that the first 
hyperwave news broadcast reached the ship. 

And there was one news item barely mentioned. It seemed that a warlord - unidentified by the 
bored speaker - had made representations to the Foundation concerning the forceful abduction 
of a member of his court. The announcer went on to the sports news. 

Captain Pritcher said icily, "He's one step ahead of us after all." Thoughtfully, he added, "He's 
ready for the Foundation, and he uses this as an excuse for action. It makes things more 
difficult for us. We will have to act before we are really ready." 


There was reason to the fact that the element known as "pure science" was the freest form of 
life on the Foundation. In a Galaxy where the predominance - and even survival - of the 
Foundation still rested upon the superiority of its technology - even despite its large access of 
physical power in the last century and a half - a certain immunity adhered to The Scientist. He 
was needed, and he knew it. 

Likewise, there was reason to the fact that Ebling Mis - only those who did not know him added 
his titles to his name - was the freest form of life in the "pure science" of the Foundation. In a 
world where science was respected, he was The Scientist - with capital letters and no smile. 

He was needed, and he knew it. 

And so it happened, that when others bent their knee, he refused and added loudly that his 
ancestors in their time bowed no knee to any stinking mayor. And in his ancestors' time the 
mayor was elected anyhow, and kicked out at will, and that the only people that inherited 
anything by right of birth were the congenital idiots. 

So it also happened, that when Ebling Mis decided to allow Indbur to honor him with an 
audience, he did not wait for the usual rigid line of command to pass his request up and the 
favored reply down, but, having thrown the less disreputable of his two formal jackets over his 
shoulders and pounded an odd hat of impossible design on one side of his head, and lit a 
forbidden cigar into the bargain, he barged past two ineffectually bleating guards and into the 
mayor's palace. 

The first notice his excellence received of the intrusion was when from his garden he heard the 

gradually nearing uproar of expostulation and the answering bull-roar of inarticulate swearing. 

Slowly, Indbur lay down his trowel; slowly, he stood up; and slowly, he frowned. For Indbur 
allowed himself a daily vacation from work, and for two hours in the early afternoon, weather 
permitting, he was in his garden. There in his garden, the blooms grew in squares and 
triangles, interlaced in a severe order of red and yellow, with little dashes of violet at the apices, 
and greenery bordering the whole in rigid lines. There in his garden no one disturbed him - no 

Indbur peeled off his soil-stained gloves as he advanced toward the little garden door. 

Inevitably, he said, "What is the meaning of this?" 

It is the precise question and the precise wording thereof that has been put to the atmosphere 
on such occasions by an incredible variety of men since humanity was invented. It is not 
recorded that it has ever been asked for any purpose other than dignified effect. 

But the answer was literal this time, for Mis's body came plunging through with a bellow, and a 
shake of a fist at the ones who were still holding tatters of his cloak. 

Indbur motioned them away with a solemn, displeased frown, and Mis bent to pick up his ruin of 
a hat, shake about a quarter of the gathered dirt off it, thrust it under his armpit and say: 

"Look here, Indbur, those unprintable minions of yours will be charged for one good cloak. Lots 
of good wear left in this cloak." He puffed and wiped his forehead with just a trace of 

The mayor stood stiff with displeasure, and said haughtily from the peak of his five-foot-two, "It 
has not been brought to my attention, Mis, that you have requested an audience. You have 
certainly not been assigned one." 

Ebling Mis looked down at his mayor with what was apparently shocked disbelief, "Ga-LAX-y, 
Indbur, didn't you get my note yesterday? I handed it to a flunky in purple uniform day before. I 
would have handed it to you direct, but I know how you like formality." 

"Formality!" Indbur turned up exasperated eyes. Then, strenuously, "Have you ever heard of 
proper organization? At all future times you are to submit your request for an audience, 
properly made out in triplicate, at the government office intended for the purpose. You are then 
to wait until the ordinary course of events brings you notification of the time of audience to be 
granted. You are then to appear, properly clothed - properly clothed, do you understand - and 
with proper respect, too. You may leave." 

"What's wrong with my clothes?" demanded Mis, hotly. "Best cloak I had till those unprintable 
fiends got their claws on it. I'll leave just as soon as I deliver what I came to deliver. "Ga-LAX-y, 
if it didn't involve a Seldon Crisis, I would leave right now." 

"Seldon crisis!" Indbur exhibited first interest. Mis was a great psychologist - a democrat, boor, 
and rebel certainly, but a psychologist, too. In his uncertainty, the mayor even failed to put into 
words the inner pang that stabbed suddenly when Mis plucked a casual bloom, held it to his 
nostrils expectantly, then flipped it away with a wrinkled nose. 

Indbur said coldly, "Would you follow me? This garden wasn't made for serious conversation." 

He felt better in his built-up chair behind his large desk from which he could look down on the 
few hairs that quite ineffectually hid Mis's pink scalp-skin. He felt much better when Mis cast a 
series of automatic glances about him for a non-existent chair and then remained standing in 
uneasy shifting fashion. He felt best of all when in response to a careful pressure of the correct 
contact, a liveried underling scurried in, bowed his way to the desk, and laid thereon a bulky, 
metal-bound volume. 

"Now, in order," said Indbur, once more master of the situation, "to make this unauthorized 
interview as short as possible, make your statement in the fewest possible words." 

Ebling Mis said unhurriedly, "You know what I'm doing these days?" 

"I have your reports here," replied the mayor, with satisfaction, "together with authorized 
summaries of them. As I understand it, your investigations into the mathematics of 
psychohistory have been intended to duplicate Hari Seldon's work and, eventually, trace the 
projected course of future history, for the use of the Foundation." 

"Exactly," said Mis, dryly. "When Seldon first established the Foundation, he was wise enough 
to include no psychologists among the scientists placed here - so that the Foundation has 
always worked blindly along the course of historical necessity. In the course of my researches, I 
have based a good deal upon hints found at the Time Vault." 

"I am aware of that, Mis. It is a waste of time to repeat." 

"I'm not repeating," blared Mis, "because what I'm going to tell you isn't in any of those reports." 

"How do you mean, not in the reports?" said Indbur, stupidly. "How could-" 

"Ga-LAX-y, Let me tell this my own way, you offensive little creature. Stop putting words into 
my mouth and questioning my every statement or I'll tramp out of here and let everything 
crumble around you. Remember, you unprintable fool, the Foundation will come through 
because it must, but if I walk out of here now - you won't." 

Dashing his hat on the floor, so that clods of earth scattered, he sprang up the stairs of the dais 
on which the wide desk stood and shoving papers violently, sat down upon a comer of it. 

Indbur thought frantically of summoning the guard, or using the built-in blasters of his desk. But 
Mis's face was glaring down upon him and there was nothing to do but cringe the best face 
upon it. 

"Dr. Mis," he began, with weak formality, "you must-" 

"Shut up," said Mis, ferociously, "and listen. If this thing here," and his palm came down heavily 
on the metal of the bound data, "is a mess of my reports - throw it out. Any report I write goes 
up through some twenty-odd officials, gets to you, and then sort of winds down through twenty 
more. That's fine if there's nothing you don't want kept secret. Well, I've got something 
confidential here. It's so confidential, even the boys working for me haven't got wind of it. They 
did the work, of course, but each just a little unconnected piece - and I put it together. You 

know what the Time Vault is? 

Indbur nodded his head, but Mis went on with loud enjoyment of the situation, "Well, I'll tell you 
anyhow because I've been sort of imagining this unprintable situation for a "Ga-LAX-y, of a long 
time; I can read your mind, you puny fraud. You've got your hand right near a little knob that'll 
call in about five hundred or so armed men to finish me off, but you're afraid of what I know - 
you're afraid of a Seldon Crisis. Besides which, if you touch anything on your desk, I'll knock 
your unprintable head off before anyone gets here. You and your bandit father and pirate 
grandfather have been blood-sucking the Foundation long enough anyway." 

"This is treason," gabbled Indbur. 

"It certainly is," gloated Mis, "but what are you going to do about it? Let me tell you about the 
Time Vault. That Time Vault is what Hari Seldon placed here at the beginning to help us over 
the rough spots. For every crisis, Seldon has prepared a personal simulacrum to help - and 
explain. Four crises so far - four appearances. The first time he appeared at the height of the 
first crisis. The second time, he appeared at the moment just after the successful evolution of 
the second crisis. Our ancestors were there to listen to him both times. At the third and fourth 
crises, he was ignored - probably because he was not needed, but recent investigations -not 
included in those reports you have - indicate that he appeared anyway, and at the proper 
times. Get it?" 

Fie did not wait for any answer. His cigar, a tattered, dead ruin was finally disposed of, a new 
cigar groped for, and lit. The smoke puffed out violently. 

Fie said, "Officially I've been trying to rebuild the science of psychohistory. Well, no one man is 
going to do that, and it won't get done in any one century, either. But I've made advances in the 
more simple elements and I've been able to use it as an excuse to meddle with the Time Vault. 
What I have done, involves the determination, to a pretty fair kind of certainty, of the exact date 
of the next appearance of Hari Seldon. I can give you the exact day, in other words, that the 
coming Seldon Crisis, the fifth, will reach its climax. " 

"Flow far off?" demanded Indbur, tensely. 

And Mis exploded his bomb with cheerful nonchalance, 

"Four months," he said. "Four unprintable months, less two days." 

"Four months," said Indbur, with uncharacteristic vehemence. "Impossible." 

"Impossible, my unprintable eye." 

"Four months? Do you understand what that means? For a crisis to come to a head in four 
months would mean that it has been preparing for years." 

"And why not? Is there a law of Nature that requires the process to mature in the full light of 

"But nothing impends. Nothing hangs over us." Indbur almost wrung his hands for anxiety. With 
a sudden spasmodic recrudescence of ferocity, he screamed, "Will you get off my desk and let 

me put it in order? How do you expect me to think?" 

Mis, startled, lifted heavily and moved aside. 

Indbur replaced objects in their appropriate niches with a feverish motion. He was speaking 
quickly, "You have no right to come here like this. If you had presented your theory-" 

"It is not a theory." 

"I say it is a theory. If you had presented it together with your evidence and arguments, in 
appropriate fashion, it would have gone to the Bureau of Historical Sciences. There it could 
have been properly treated, the resulting analyses submitted to me, and then, of course, proper 
action would have been taken. As it is, you've vexed me to no purpose. Ah, here it is." 

He had a sheet of transparent, silvery paper in his hand which he shook at the bulbous 
psychologist beside him. 

"This is a short summary I prepare myself - weekly - of foreign matters in progress. Listen - 
we have completed negotiations for a commercial treaty with Mores, continue negotiations for 
one with Lyonesse, sent a delegation to some celebration or other on Bonde, received some 
complaint or other from Kalgan and we've promised to look into it, protested some sharp trade 
practices in Asperta and they've promised to look into it - and so on and so on." The mayor's 
eyes swarmed down the list of coded notations, and then he carefully placed the sheet in its 
proper place in the proper folder in the proper pigeonhole. 

I tell you, Mis, there's not a thing there that breathes anything but order and peace-" 

The door at the far, long end opened, and, in far too dramatically coincident a fashion to 
suggest anything but real life, a plainly-costumed notable stepped in. 

Indbur half-rose. He had the curiously swirling sensation of unreality that comes upon those 
days when too much happens. After Mis's intrusion and wild turnings there now came the 
equally improper, hence disturbing, intrusion unannounced, of his secretary, who at least knew 
the rules. 

The secretary kneeled low. 

Indbur said, sharply, "Well!" 

The secretary addressed the floor, "Excellence, Captain Han Pritcher of Information, returning 
from Kalgan, in disobedience to your orders, has according to prior instructions - your order 
X20-513 - been imprisoned, and awaits execution. Those accompanying him are being held for 
questioning. A full report has been filed." 

Indbur, in agony, said, "A full report has been received. Well!" 

"Excellence, Captain Pritcher has reported, vaguely, dangerous designs on the part of the new 
warlord of Kalgan. He has been given, according to prior instructions - your order X20-651 - no 
formal hearing, but his remarks have been recorded and a full report filed." 

Indbur screamed, "A full report has been received. Well!" 

"Excellence, reports have within the quarter-hour been received from the Salinnian frontier. 
Ships identified as Kalganian have been entering Foundation territory, unauthorized. The ships 
are armed. Fighting has occurred." 

The secretary was bent nearly double. Indbur remained standing. Ebling Mis shook himself, 
clumped up to the secretary, and tapped him sharply on the shoulder. 

"Flere, you'd better have them release this Captain Pritcher, and have him sent here. Get out." 

The secretary left, and Mis turned to the mayor, "Fladn't you better get the machinery moving, 
Indbur? Four months, you know." 

Indbur remained standing, glaze-eyed. Only one finger seemed alive - and it traced rapid jerky 
triangles on the smooth desk top before him. 


When the twenty-seven independent Trading worlds, united only by their distrust of the mother 
planet of the Foundation, concert an assembly among themselves, and each is big with a pride 
grown of its smallness, hardened by its own insularity and embittered by eternal danger - there 
are preliminary negotiations to be overcome of a pettiness sufficiently staggering to heartsicken 
the most persevering. 

It is not enough to fix in advance such details as methods of voting, type of representation - 
whether by world or by population. These are matters of involved political importance. It is not 
enough to fix matters of priority at the table, both council and dinner, those are matters of 
involved social importance. 

It was the place of meeting - since that was a matter of overpowering provincialism. And in the 
end the devious routes of diplomacy led to the world of Radole, which some commentators had 
suggested at the start for logical reason of central position. 

Radole was a small world - and, in military potential, perhaps the weakest of the twenty-seven. 
That, by the way, was another factor in the logic of the choice. 

It was a ribbon world - of which the Galaxy boasts sufficient, but among which, the inhabited 
variety is a rarity for the physical requirements are difficult to meet. It was a world, in other 
words, where the two halves face the monotonous extremes of heat and cold, while the region 
of possible life is the girdling ribbon of the twilight zone. 

Such a world invariably sounds uninviting to those who have not tried it, but there exist spots, 
strategically placed - and Radole City was located in such a one. 

It spread along the soft slopes of the foothills before the hacked-out mountains that backed it 
along the rim of the cold hemisphere and held off the frightful ice. The warm, dry air of the 
sun-half spilled over, and from the mountains was piped the water-and between the two, 

Radole City became a continuous garden, swimming in the eternal morning of an eternal June. 

Each house nestled among its flower garden, open to the fangless elements. Each garden was 
a horticultural forcing ground, where luxury plants grew in fantastic patterns for the sake of the 
foreign exchange they brought - until Radole had almost become a producing world, rather 
than a typical Trading world. 

So, in its way, Radole City was a little point of softness and luxury on a horrible planet - a tiny 
scrap of Eden - and that, too, was a factor in the logic of the choice. 

The strangers came from each of the twenty-six other Trading worlds: delegates, wives, 
secretaries, newsmen, ships, and crews - and Radole's population nearly doubled and 
Radole's resources strained themselves to the limit. One ate at will, and drank at will, and slept 
not at all. 

Yet there were few among the roisterers who were not intensely aware that all that volume of 
the Galaxy burnt slowly in a sort of quiet, slumbrous war. And of those who were aware, there 
were dime classes. First, there were the many who knew little and were very confident. 

Such as the young space pilot who wore the Haven cockade on the clasp of his cap, and who 
managed, in holding his glass before his eyes, to catch those of the faintly smiling Radolian girl 
opposite. He was saying: 

"We came fight through the war-zone to get here-on purpose. We traveled about a light-minute 
or so, in neutral, right past Horleggor-" 

"Horleggor?" broke in a long-legged native, who was playing host to that particular gathering. 
"That's where the Mule got the guts beat out of him last week, wasn't it?" 

"Where'd you hear that the Mule got the guts beat out of him?" demanded the pilot, loftily. 

"Foundation radio." 

"Yeah? Well, the Mule's got Horleggor. We almost ran into a convoy of his ships, and that's 
where they were coming from. It isn't a gut-beating when you stay where you fought, and the 
gut-beater leaves in a hurry." 

Someone else said in a high, blurred voice, "Don't talk like that. Foundation always takes it on 
the chin for a while. You watch; just sit tight and watch. 01' Foundation knows when to come 
back. And then - powT The thick voice concluded and was succeeded by a bleary grin. 

"Anyway." said the pilot from Haven, after a short pause, "As I say, we saw the Mule's ships, 
and they looked pretty good, pretty good. I tell you what - they looked new." 

"New?" said the native, thoughtfully. "They build them themselves?" He broke a leaf from an 
overhanging branch, sniffed delicately at it, then crunched it between his teeth, the bruised 
tissues bleeding greenly and diffusing a minty odor. He said, "You trying to tell me they beat 
Foundation ships with homebuilt jobs? Go on." 

"We saw them, doc. And I can tell a ship from a comet, too, you know." 

The native leaned close. "You know what I think. Listen, don't kid yourself. Wars don't just start 
by themselves, and we have a bunch of shrewd apples running things. They know what they're 


The well-unthirsted one said with sudden loudness, "You watch ol' Foundation. They wait for 
the last minute, then - powf' He grinned with vacuously open mouth at the girl, who moved 
away from him. 

The Radolian was saying, "For instance, old man, you think maybe that this Mule guy's running 
things. No-o-o." And he wagged a finger horizontally. "The way I hear it, and from pretty high 
up, mind you, he's our boy. We're paying him off, and we probably built those ships. Let's be 
realistic about it - we probably did. Sure, he can't beat the Foundation in the long run, but he 
can get them shaky, and when he does - we get in." 

The girl said, "Is that all you can talk about, Kiev? The war? You make me tired." 

The pilot from Haven said, in an access of gallantry, 

"Change the subject. Can't make the girls tired." 

The bedewed one took up the refrain and banged a mug to the rhythm. The little groups of two 
that had formed broke up with giggles and swagger, and a few similar groups of twos emerged 
from the sun-house in the background. 

The conversation became more general, more varied, more meaningless. 

Then there were those who knew a little more and were less confident. 

Such as the one-armed Fran, whose large bulk represented Haven as official delegated, and 
who lived high in consequence, and cultivated new friendships - with women when he could 
and with men when he had to. 

It was on the sun platform of the hilltop home, of one of these new friends, that he relaxed for 
the first of what eventually proved to be a total of two times while on Radole. The new friend 
was Iwo Lyon, a kindred soul of Radole. Iwo's house was apart from the general cluster, 
apparently alone in a sea of floral perfume and insect chatter. The sun platform was a grassy 
strip of lawn set at a forty-five degree angle, and upon it Fran stretched out and fairly sopped 
up sun. 

He said, "Don't have anything like this on Haven." 

Iwo replied, sleepily, "Ever seen the cold side. There's a spot twenty miles from here where the 
oxygen runs like water. " 

"Go on. 


"Well, I'll tell you, Iwo-ln the old days before my arm was chewed off I knocked around, see - 
and you won't believe this, but" - The story that followed lasted considerably, and Iwo didn't 
believe it. 

Iwo said, through yawns, "They don't make them like in the old days, that's the truth. 

"No, guess they don't. Well, now," Fran fired up, "don't say that. I told you about my son, didn't 
I? He's one of the old school, if you like. He'll make a great Trader, blast it. He's his old man up 
and down. Up and down, except that he gets married." 

"You mean legal contract? With a girl?" 

"That's right. Don't see the sense in it myself. They went to Kalgan for their honeymoon." 
"Kalgan? Kalgan? When the Galaxy was this?" 

Fran smiled broadly, and said with slow meaning, "Just before the Mule declared war on the 

"That so?" 

Fran nodded and motioned Iwo closer with his head. He said, hoarsely, "In fact, I can tell you 
something, if you don't let it go any further. My boy was sent to Kalgan for a purpose. Now I 
wouldn't like to let it out, you know, just what the purpose was, naturally, but you look at the 
situation now, and I suppose you can make a pretty good guess. In any case, my boy was the 
man for the job. We Traders needed some sort of ruckus." He smiled, craftily. "It's here. I'm not 
saying how we did it, but - my boy went to Kalgan, and the Mule sent out his ships. My son!" 

Iwo was duly impressed. He grew confidential in his turn, "That's good. You know, they say 
we've got five hundred ships ready to pitch in on our own at the right time. " 

Fran said authoritatively, "More than that, maybe. This is real strategy. This is the kind I like." 
He clawed loudly at the skin of his abdomen. "But don't you forget that the Mule is a smart boy, 
too. What happened at Horleggor worries me." 

"I heard he lost about ten ships." 

"Sure, but he had a hundred more, and the Foundation had to get out. It's all to the good to 
have those tyrants beaten, but not as quickly as all that." He shook his head. 

"The question I ask is where does the Mule get his ships? There's a widespread rumor we're 
making them for him." 

"We? The Traders? Haven has the biggest ship factories anywhere in the independent worlds, 
and we haven't made one for anyone but ourselves. Do you suppose any world is building a 
fleet for the Mule on its own, without taking the precaution of united action? That's a ... a fairy 

"Well, where does he get them?" 

And Fran shrugged, "Makes them himself, I suppose. That worries me, too." 

Fran blinked at the sun and curled his toes about the smooth wood of the polished foot-rest. 
Slowly, he fell asleep and the soft burr of his breathing mingled with the insect sibilance. 

Lastly, there were the very few who knew considerable and were not confident at all. 

Such as Randu, who on the fifth day of the all-Trader convention entered the Central Hall and 

found the two men he had asked to be there, waiting for him. The five hundred seats were 
empty - and were going to stay so. 

Randu said quickly, almost before he sat down, "We three represent about half the military 
potential of the Independent Trading Worlds." 

"Yes," said Mangin of Iss, "my colleague and I have already commented upon the fact." 

"I am ready," said Randu, "to speak quickly and earnestly. I am not interested in bargaining or 
subtlety. Our position is radically in the worse." 

"As a result of-" urged Ovall Gri of Mnemon. 

"Of developments of the last hour. Please! From the beginning. First, our position is not of our 
doing, and but doubtfully of our control. Our original dealings were not with the Mule, but with 
several others; notably the ex-warlord of Kalgan, whom the Mule defeated at a most 
inconvenient time for us." 

"Yes, but this Mule is a worthy substitute," said Mangin. "I do not cavil at details." 

"You may when you know all the details." Randu leaned forward and placed his hands upon the 
table palms-up in an obvious gesture. 

Fie said, "A month ago I sent my nephew and my nephew's wife to Kalgan." 

"Your nephew!" cried Ovall Gri, in surprise. "I did not know he was your nephew." 

"With what purpose," asked Mangin, dryly. "This?" And his thumb drew an inclusive circle high 
in the air. 

"No. If you mean the Mule's war on the Foundation, no. Flow could I aim so high? The young 
man knew nothing - neither of our organization nor of our aims. Fie was told I was a minor 
member of an intra-Flaven patriotic society, and his function at Kalgan was nothing but that of 
an amateur observer. My motives were, I must admit, rather obscure. Mainly, I was curious 
about the Mule. Fie is a strange phenomenon - but that's a chewed cud; I'll not go into it. 
Secondly, it would make an interesting and educational training project for a man who had 
experience with the Foundation and the Foundation underground and showed promise of future 
usefulness to us. You see-" 

Ovall's long face fell into vertical lines as he showed his large teeth, "You must have been 
surprised at the outcome, then, since there is not a world among the Traders, I believe, that 
does not know that this nephew of yours abducted a Mule underling in the name of the 
Foundation and furnished the Mule with a casus belli. Galaxy, Randu, you spin romances. I find 
it hard to believe you had no hand in that. Come, it was a skillful job." 

Randu shook his white head, "Not of my doing. Nor, willfully, of my nephew's, who is now held 
prisoner at the Foundation, and may not live to see the completion of this so-skillful job. I have 
just heard from him. The Personal Capsule has been smuggled out somehow, come through 
the war zone, gone to Haven, and traveled from there to here. It has been a month on its 


Randu leaned a heavy hand upon the heel of his palm and said, sadly, "I'm afraid we are cast 
for the same role that the onetime warlord of Kalgan played. The Mule is a mutant!" 

There was a momentary qualm; a faint impression of quickened heartbeats. Randu might easily 
have imagined it. 

When Mangin spoke, the evenness of his voice was unchanged, "How do you know?" 

"Only because my nephew says so, but he was on Kalgan. 

"What kind of a mutant? There are all kinds, you know." 

Randu forced the rising impatience down, "All kinds of mutants, yes, Mangin. All kinds! But only 
one kind of Mule. What kind of a mutant would start as an unknown, assemble an army, 
establish, they say, a five-mile asteroid as original base, capture a planet, then a system, then 
a region - and then attack the Foundation, and defeat them at Horleggor. And all in two or 
three years!" 

Ovall Gri shrugged, "So you think he'll beat the Foundation?" 

"I don't know. Suppose he does?" 

"Sorry, I can't go that far. You don't beat the Foundation. Look, there's not a new fact we have 
to go on except for the statements of a ... well, of an inexperienced boy. Suppose we shelve it 
for a while. With all the Mule's victories, we weren't worried until now, and unless he goes a 
good deal further than he has, I see no reason to change that. Yes?" 

Randu frowned and despaired at the cobweb texture of his argument. He said to both, "Have 
we yet made any contact with the Mule?" 

"No," both answered. 

"It's true, though, that we've tried, isn't it? It's true that there's not much purpose to our meeting 
unless we do reach him, isn't it? It's true that so far there's been more drinking than thinking, 
and more wooing than doing - I quote from an editorial in today's Radole Tribune - and all 
because we can't reach the Mule. Gentlemen, we have nearly a thousand ships waiting to be 
thrown into the fight at the proper moment to seize control of the Foundation. I say we should 
change that. I say, throw those thousand onto the board now - against the Mule." 

"You mean for the Tyrant Indbur and the bloodsuckers of the Foundation?" demanded Mangin, 
with quiet venom. 

Randu raised a weary hand, "Spare me the adjectives. Against the Mule, I say, and for 

Ovall Gri rose, "Randu, I'll have nothing to do with that, You present it to the full council tonight 
if you particularly hunger for political suicide." 

He left without another word and Mangin followed silently, leaving Randu to drag out a lonely 

hour of endless, insoluble consideration. 

At the full council that night, he said nothing. 

But it was Ovall Gri who pushed into his room the next morning; an Ovall Gri only sketchily 
dressed and who had neither shaved nor combed his hair. 

Randu stared at him over a yet-uncleared breakfast table with an astonishment sufficiently 
open and strenuous to cause him to drop his pipe. 

Ovall said baldly, harshly. "Mnemon has been bombarded from space by treacherous attack." 
Randu's eyes narrowed, "The Foundation?" 

"The Mule!" exploded Ovall. "The Mule!" His words raced, "It was unprovoked and deliberate. 
Most of our fleet had joined the international flotilla. The few left as Home Squadron were 
insufficient and were blown out of the sky. There have been no landings yet, and there may not 
be, for half the attackers are reported destroyed - but it is war - and I have come to ask how 
Haven stands on the matter." 

"Haven, I am sure, will adhere to the spirit of the Charter of Federation. But, you see? He 
attacks us as well." 

"This Mule is a madman. Can he defeat the universe?" He faltered and sat down to seize 
Randu's wrist, "Our few survivors have reported the Mule's poss ... enemy's possession of a 
new weapon. A nuclear-field depressor." 

"A what?" 

Ovall said, "Most of our ships were lost because their nuclear weapons failed them. It could not 
have happened by either accident or sabotage. It must have been a weapon of the Mule. It 
didn't work perfectly; the effect was intermittent; there were ways to neutralize - my dispatches 
are not detailed. But you see that such a tool would change the nature of war and, possibly, 
make our entire fleet obsolete." 

Randu felt an old, old man. His face sagged hopelessly, "I am afraid a monster is grown that 
will devour all of us. Yet we must fight him." 


Ebling Mis's house in a not-so-pretentious neighborhood of Terminus City was well known to 
the intelligentsia, literati, and just-plain-well-read of the Foundation. Its notable characteristics 
depended, subjectively, upon the source material that was read. To a thoughtful biographer, it 
was the "symbolization of a retreat from a nonacademic reality," a society columnist gushed 
silkily at its "frightfully masculine atmosphere of careless disorder," a University Ph.D. called it 
brusquely, "bookish, but unorganized," a nonuniversity friend said, "good for a drink anytime 
and you can put your feet on the sofa," and a breezy newsweekly broadcast, that went in for 
color, spoke of the "rocky, down-to-earth, no-nonsense living quarters of blaspheming, Leftish, 

balding Ebling Mis." 

To Bayta, who thought for no audience but herself at the moment, and who had the advantage 
of first-hand information, it was merely sloppy. 

Except for the first few days, her imprisonment had been a light burden. Far lighter, it seemed, 
that this half-hour wait in the psychologist's home - under secret observation, perhaps? She 
had been with Toran then, at least. 

Perhaps she might have grown wearier of the strain, had not Magnifico's long nose drooped in 
a gesture that plainly showed his own far greater tension. 

Magnifico's pipe-stem legs were folded up under a pointed, sagging chin, as if he were trying to 
huddle himself into disappearance, and Bayta's hand went out in a gentle and automatic 
gesture of reassurance. Magnifico winced, then smiled. 

"Surely, my lady, it would seem that even yet my body denies the knowledge of my mind and 
expects of others' hands a blow." 

"There's no need for worry, Magnifico. I'm with you, and I won't let anyone hurt you." 

The clown's eyes sidled towards her, then drew away quickly. "But they kept me away from you 
earlier - and from your kind husband - and, on my word, you may laugh, but I was lonely for 
missing friendship." 

"I wouldn't laugh at that. I was, too." 

The clown brightened, and he hugged his knees closer. He said, "You have not met this man 
who will see us?" It was a cautious question. 

"No. But he is a famous man. I have seen him in the newscasts and heard quite a good deal of 
him. I think he's a good man, Magnifico, who means us no harm." 

"Yes?" The clown stirred uneasily. "That may be, my lady, but he has questioned me before, 
and his manner is of an abruptness and loudness that bequivers me. He is full of strange 
words, so that the answers to his questions could not worm out of my throat. Almost, I might 
believe the romancer who once played on my ignorance with a tale that, at such moments, the 
heart lodged in the windpipe and prevented speech." 

"But it's different now. We're two to his one, and he won't be able to frighten the both of us, will 

"No, my lady." 

A door slammed somewheres, and the roaring of a voice entered the house. Just outside the 
room, it coagulated into words with a fierce, "Get the "Ga-LAX-y out of here!" and two 
uniformed guards were momentarily visible through the opening door, in quick retreat. 

Ebling Mis entered frowning, deposited a carefully wrapped bundle on the floor, and 
approached to shake Bayta's hand with careless pressure. Bayta returned it vigorously, 
man-fashion. Mis did a double-take as he turned to the clown, and favored the girl with a longer 


He said, "Married?" 

"Yes. We went through the legal formalities." 

Mis paused. Then, "Happy about it?" 

"So far." 

Mis shrugged, and turned again to Magnifico. He unwrapped the package, "Know what this is, 

Magnifico fairly hurled himself out of his seat and caught the multi-keyed instrument. He 
fingered the myriad knobby contacts and threw a sudden back somersault of joy, to the 
imminent destruction of the nearby furniture. 

He croaked, "A Visi-Sonor - and of a make to distill joy out of a dead man's heart." His long 
fingers caressed softly and slowly, pressing lightly on contacts with a rippling motion, resting 
momentarily on one key then another - and in the air before them there was a soft glowing 
rosiness, just inside the range of vision. 

Ebling Mis said, "All right, boy, you said you could pound on one of those gadgets, and there's 
your chance. You'd better tune it, though. It's out of a museum." Then, in an aside to Bayta, 
"Near as I can make it, no one on the Foundation can make it talk right." 

He leaned closer and said quickly, "The clown won't talk without you. Will you help?" 

She nodded. 

"Good!" he said. "His state of fear is almost fixed, and I doubt that his mental strength would 
possibly stand a psychic probe. If I'm to get anything out of him otherwise, he's got to feel 
absolutely at ease. You understand?" 

She nodded again. 

"This Visi-Sonor is the first step in the process. He says he can play it; and his reaction now 
makes it pretty certain that it's one of the great joys of his life. So whether the playing is good or 
bad, be interested and appreciative. Then exhibit friendliness and confidence in me. Above all, 
follow my lead in everything." There was a swift glance at Magnifico, huddled in a comer of the 
sofa, making rapid adjustments in the interior of the instrument. He was completely absorbed. 

Mis said in a conversational tone to Bayta, "Ever hear a Visi-Sonor?" 

"Once," said Bayta, equally casually, "at a concert of rare instruments. I wasn't impressed." 

"Well, I doubt that you came across good playing. There are very few really good players. It's 
not so much that it requires physical co-ordination - a multi-bank piano requires more, for 
instance - as a certain type of free-wheeling mentality." In a lower voice, "That's why our living 
skeleton there might be better than we think. More often than not, good players are idiots 
otherwise. It's one of those queer setups that makes psychology interesting." 

He added, in a patent effort to manufacture light conversation, "You know how the beblistered 
thing works? I looked it up for this purpose, and all I've made out so far is that its radiations 
stimulate the optic center of the brain directly, without ever touching the optic nerve. It's actually 
the utilization of a sense never met with in ordinary nature. Remarkable, when you come to 
think of it. What you hear is all right. That's ordinary. Eardrum, cochlea, all that. But - Shh! He's 
ready. Will you kick that switch. It works better in the dark." 

In the darkness, Magnifico was a mere blob, Ebling Mis a heavy-breathing mass. Bayta found 
herself straining her eyes anxiously, and at first with no effect. There was a thin, reedy quaver 
in the air, that wavered raggedly up the scale. It hovered, dropped and caught itself, gained in 
body, and swooped into a booming crash that had the effect of a thunderous split in a veiling 

A little globe of pulsing color grew in rhythmic spurts and burst in midair into formless gouts that 
swirled high and came down as curving streamers in interfacing patterns. They coalesced into 
little spheres, no two alike in color - and Bayta began discovering things. 

She noticed that closing her eyes made the color pattern all the clearer; that each little 
movement of color had its own little pattern of sound; that she could not identify the colors; and, 
lastly, that the globes were not globes but little figures. 

Little figures; little shifting flames, that danced and flickered in their myriads; that dropped out of 
sight and returned from nowhere; that whipped about one another and coalesced then into a 
new color. 

Incongruously, Bayta thought of the little blobs of color that come at night when you close your 
eyelids till they hurt, and stare patiently. There was the old familiar effect of the marching polka 
dots of shifting color, of the contracting concentric circles, of the shapeless masses that quiver 
momentarily. All that, larger, multivaried - and each little dot of color a tiny figure. 

They darted at her in pairs, and she lifted her hands with a sudden gasp, but they tumbled and 
for an instant she was the center of a brilliant snowstorm, while cold light slipped off her 
shoulders and down her arm in a luminous ski-slide, shooting off her stiff fingers and meeting 
slowly in a shining midair focus. Beneath it all, the sound of a hundred instruments flowed in 
liquid streams until she could not tell it from the light. 

She wondered if Ebling Mis were seeing the same thing, and if not, what he did see, The 
wonder passed, and then- 

She was watching again. The little figures-were they little figures? -little tiny women with 
burning hair that turned and bent too quickly for the mind to focus? -seized one another in 
star-shaped groups that turned - and the music was faint laughter - girls' laughter that began 
inside the ear. 

The stars drew together, sparked towards one another, grew slowly into structure - and from 
below, a palace shot upward in rapid evolution. Each brick a tiny color, each color a tiny spark, 
each spark a stabbing light that shifted patterns and led the eye skyward to twenty jeweled 

A glittering carpet shot out and about, whirling, spinning an insubstantial web that engulfed all 
space, and from it luminous shoots stabbed upward and branched into trees that sang with a 
music all their own. 

Bayta sat inclosed in it. The music welled about her in rapid, lyrical flights. She reached out to 
touch a fragile tree and blossoming spicules floated downwards and faded, each with its clear, 
tiny tinkle. 

The music crashed in twenty cymbals, and before her an area flamed up in a spout and 
cascaded down invisible steps into Bayta's lap, where it spilled over and flowed in rapid current, 
raising the fiery sparkle to her waist, while across her lap was a rainbow bridge and upon it the 
little figures- 

A palace, and a garden, and tiny men and women on a bridge, stretching out as far as she 
could see, swimming through the stately swells of stringed music converging in upon her- 

And then - there seemed a frightened pause, a hesitant, indrawn motion, a swift collapse. The 
colors fled, spun into a globe that shrank, and rose, and disappeared. 

And it was merely dark again. 

A heavy foot scratched for the pedal, reached it, and the light flooded in; the flat light of a prosy 
sun. Bayta blinked until the tears came, as though for the longing of what was gone. Ebling Mis 
was a podgy inertness with his eyes still round and his mouth still open. 

Only Magnifico himself was alive, and he fondled his Visi-Sonor in a crooning ecstasy. 

"My lady," he gasped, "it is indeed of an effect the most magical. It is of balance and response 
almost beyond hope in its delicacy and stability. On this, it would seem I could work wonders. 
How liked you my composition, my lady?" 

"Was it yours?" breathed Bayta. "Your own?" 

At her awe, his thin face turned a glowing red to the tip of his mighty nose. "My very own, my 
lady. The Mule liked it not, but often and often I have played it for my own amusement. It was 
once, in my youth, that I saw the palace - a gigantic place of jeweled riches that I saw from a 
distance at a time of high carnival. There were people of a splendor undreamed of - and 
magnificence more than ever I saw afterwards, even in the Mule's service. It is but a poor 
makeshift I have created, but my mind's poverty precludes more. I call it, 'The Memory of 

Now through the midst of the chatter, Mis shook himself to active life. "Here," he said, "here, 
Magnifico, would you like to do that same thing for others?" 

For a moment, the clown drew back. "For others?" he quavered. 

"For thousands," cried Mis, "in the great Halls of the Foundation. Would you like to be your own 
master, and honored by all, wealthy, and ... and-" his imagination failed him. "And all that? Eh? 
What do you say?" 

"But how may I be all that, mighty sir, for indeed I am but a poor clown ungiven to the great 

things of the world?" 

The psychologist puffed out his lips, and passed the back of his hand across his brow. He said, 
"But your playing, man. The world is yours if you would play so for the mayor and his Trading 
Trusts. Wouldn't you like that?" 

The clown glanced briefly at Bayta, "Would she stay with me?" 

Bayta laughed, "Of course, silly. Would it be likely that I'd leave you now that you're on the point 
of becoming rich and famous?" 

"It would all be yours," he replied earnestly, "and surely the wealth of Galaxy itself would be 
yours before I could repay my debt to your kindness." 

"But," said Mis, casually, "if you would first help me-" 

"What is that?" 

The psychologist paused, and smiled, "A little surface probe that doesn't hurt. It wouldn't touch 
but the peel of your brain." 

There was a flare of deadly fear in Magnifico's eyes. "Not a probe. I have seen it used. It drains 
the mind and leaves an empty skull. The Mule did use it upon traitors and let them wander 
mindless through the streets, until out of mercy, they were killed." He held up his hand to push 
Mis away. 

"That was a psychic probe," explained Mis, patiently, "and even that would only harm a person 
when misused. This probe I have is a surface probe that wouldn't hurt a baby." 

"That's right, Magnifico," urged Bayta. "It's only to help beat the Mule and keep him far away. 
Once that's done, you and I will be rich and famous all our lives." 

Magnifico held out a trembling hand, "Will you hold my hand, then?" 

Bayta took it in both her own, and the clown watched the approach of the burnished terminal 
plates with large eyes. 

Ebling Mis rested carelessly on the too-lavish chair in Mayor Indbur's private quarters, 
unregenerately unthankful for the condescension shown him and watched the small mayor's 
fidgeting unsympathetically. He tossed away a cigar stub and spat out a shred of tobacco. 

"And, incidentally, if you want something for your next concert at Mallow Hall, Indbur," he said, 
"you can dump out those electronic gadgeteers into the sewers they came from and have this 
little freak play the Visi-Sonor for you. Indbur - it's out of this world." 

Indbur said peevishly, "I did not call you here to listen to your lectures on music. What of the 
Mule? Tell me that. What of the Mule?" 

"The Mule? Well, I'll tell you - I used a surface probe and got little. Can't use the psychic probe 
because the freak is scared blind of it, so that his resistance will probably blow his unprintable 
mental fuses as soon as contact is made. But this is what I've got, if you'll just stop tapping your 


"First place, de-stress the Mule's physical strength. He's probably strong, but most of the freak's 
fairy tales about it are probably considerably blown up by his own fearful memory, He wears 
queer glasses and his eyes kill, he evidently has mental powers." 

"So much we had at the start," commented the mayor, sourly. 

"Then the probe confirms it, and from there on I've been working mathematically." 

"So? And how long will all this take? Your word-rattling will deafen me yet." 

"About a month, I should say, and I may have something for you. And I may not, of course. But 
what of it? If this is all outside Seldon's plans, our chances are precious little, unprintable little." 

Indbur whirled on the psychologist fiercely, "Now I have you, traitor. Lie! Say you're not one of 
these criminal rumormongers that are spreading defeatism and panic through the Foundation, 
and making my work doubly hard." 

"I? I?" Mis gathered anger slowly. 

Indbur swore at him, "Because by the dust-clouds of space, the Foundation will win - the 
Foundation must win." 

"Despite the loss at Horleggor?" 

"It was not a loss. You have swallowed that spreading lie, too? We were outnumbered and 

"By whom?" demanded Mis, contemptuously. 

"By the lice-ridden democrats of the gutter," shouted Indbur back at him. "I have known for long 
that the fleet has been riddled by democratic cells. Most have been wiped out, but enough 
remain for the unexplained surrender of twenty ships in the thickest of the swarming fight. 
Enough to force an apparent defeat. 

"For that matter, my rough-tongued, simple patriot and epitome of the primitive virtues, what are 
your own connections with the democrats?" 

Ebling Mis shrugged it off, "You rave, do you know that? What of the retreat since, and the loss 
of half of Siwenna? Democrats again?" 

"No. Not democrats," the little man smiled sharply. "We retreat - as the Foundation has always 
retreated under attack, until the inevitable march of history turns with us. Already, I see the 
outcome. Already, the so-called underground of the democrats has issued manifestoes 
swearing aid and allegiance to the Government. It could be a feint, a cover for a deeper 
treachery, but I make good use of it, and the propaganda distilled from it will have its effect, 
whatever the crawling traitors scheme. And better than that-" 

"Even better than that, Indbur?" 

"Judge for yourself. Two days ago, the so-called Association of Independent Traders declared 

war on the Mule, and the Foundation fleet is strengthened, at a stroke, by a thousand ships. 
You see, this Mule goes too far. He finds us divided and quarreling among ourselves and under 
the pressure of his attack we unite and grow strong. He must lose. It is inevitable - as always." 

Mis still exuded skepticism, "Then you tell me that Seldon planned even for the fortuitous 
occurrence of a mutant." 

"A mutant! I can't tell him from a human, nor could you but for the ravings of a rebel captain, 
some outland youngsters, and an addled juggler and clown. You forget the most conclusive 
evidence of all - your own." 

"My own?" For just a moment, Mis was startled. 

"Your own," sneered the mayor. "The Time Vault opens in nine weeks. What of that? It opens 
for a crisis. If this attack of the Mule is not the crisis, where is the 'real' one, the one the Vault is 
opening for? Answer me, you lardish ball." 

The psychologist shrugged, "All tight. If it keeps you happy. Do me a favor, though. Just in case 
... just in case old Seldon makes his speech and it does go sour, suppose you let me attend the 
Grand Opening." 

"All right. Get out of here. And stay out of my sight for nine weeks." 

"With unprintable pleasure, you wizened horror," muttered Mis to himself as he left. 


There was an atmosphere about the Time Vault that just missed definition in several directions 
at once. It was not one of decay, for it was well-lit and well-conditioned, with the color scheme 
of the walls lively, and the rows of fixed chairs comfortable and apparently designed for eternal 
use. It was not even ancient, for three centuries had left no obvious mark. There was certainly 
no effort at the creation of awe or reverence, for the appointments were simple and everyday - 
next door to bareness, in fact. 

Yet after all the negatives were added and the sum disposed of, something was left - and that 
something centered about the glass cubicle that dominated half the room with its clear 
emptiness. Four times in three centuries, the living simulacrum of Hari Seldon himself had sat 
there and spoken. Twice he had spoken to no audience. 

Through three centuries and nine generations, the old man who had seen the great days of 
universal empire projected himself - and still he understood more of the Galaxy of his 
great-ultra-great-grandchildren, than did those grandchildren themselves. 

Patiently that empty cubicle waited. 

The first to arrive was Mayor Indbur III, driving his ceremonial ground car through the hushed 
and anxious streets. Arriving with him was his own chair, higher than those that belonged there, 
and wider. It was placed before all the others, and Indbur dominated all but the empty 

glassiness before him. 

The solemn official at his left bowed a reverent head. "Excellence, arrangements are completed 
for the widest possible sub-etheric spread for the official announcement by your excellence 

"Good. Meanwhile, special interplanetary programs concerning the Time Vault are to continue. 
There will, of course, be no predictions or speculations of any sort on the subject. Does popular 
reaction continue satisfactory?" 

"Excellence, very much so. The vicious rumors prevailing of late have decreased further. 
Confidence is widespread." 

"Good!" He gestured the man away and adjusted his elaborate neckpiece to a nicety. 

It was twenty minutes of noon! 

A select group of the great props of the mayoralty - the leaders of the great Trading 
organizations - appeared in ones and twos with the degree of pomp appropriate to their 
financial status and place in mayoral favor. Each presented himself to the mayor, received a 
gracious word or two, took an assigned seat. 

Somewhere, incongruous among the stilted ceremony of all this, Randu of Haven made his 
appearance and wormed his way unannounced to the mayor's seat. 

"Excellence!" he muttered, and bowed. 

Indbur frowned. "You have not been granted an audience. " 

"Excellence, I have requested one for a week." 

"I regret that the matters of State involved in the appearance of Seldon have-" 

"Excellence, I regret them, too, but I must ask you to rescind your order that the ships of the 
Independent Traders be distributed among the fleets of the Foundation." 

Indbur had flushed red at the interruption. "This is not the time for discussion." 

"Excellence, it is the only time," Randu whispered urgently. "As representative of the 
Independent Trading Worlds, I tell you such a move can not be obeyed. It must be rescinded 
before Seldon solves our problem for us. Once the emergency is passed, it will be too late to 
conciliate and our alliance will melt away." 

Indbur stared at Randu coldly. "You realize that I am head of the Foundation armed forces? 
Have I the right to determine military policy or have I not?" 

"Excellence, you have, but some things are inexpedient." 

"I recognize no inexpediency. It is dangerous to allow your people separate fleets in this 
emergency. Divided action plays into the hands of the enemy. We must unite, ambassador, 
militarily as well as politically." 

Randu felt his throat muscles tighten. He omitted the courtesy of the opening title. "You feet 
safe now that Seldon will speak, and you move against us. A month ago you were soft and 
yielding, when our ships defeated the Mule at Terel. I might remind you, sir, that it is the 
Foundation Fleet that has been defeated in open battle five times, and that the ships of the 
Independent Trading Worlds have won your victories for you." 

Indbur frowned dangerously, "You are no longer welcome upon Terminus, ambassador. Your 
return will be requested this evening. Furthermore, your connection with subversive democratic 
forces on Terminus will be - and has been - investigated." 

Randu replied, "When I leave, our ships will go with me. I know nothing of your democrats. I 
know only that your Foundation's ships have surrendered to the Mule by the treason of their 
high officers, not their sailors, democratic or otherwise. I tell you that twenty ships of the 
Foundation surrendered at Horleggor at the orders of their rear admiral, when they were 
unharmed and unbeaten. The rear admiral was your own close associate - he presided at the 
trial of my nephew when he first arrived from Kalgan. It is not the only case we know of and our 
ships and men will not be risked under potential traitors. 

Indbur said, "You will be placed under guard upon leaving here." 

Randu walked away under the silent stares of the contemptuous coterie of the rulers of 

It was ten minutes of twelve! 

Bayta and Toran had already arrived. They rose in their back seats and beckoned to Randu as 
he passed. 

Randu smiled gently, "You are here after all. How did you work it?" 

"Magnifico was our politician," grinned Toran. "Indbur insists upon his Visi-Sonor composition 
based on the Time Vault, with himself, no doubt, as hero. Magnifico refused to attend without 
us, and there was no arguing him out of it. Ebling Mis is with us, or was. He's wandering about 
somewhere." Then, with a sudden access of anxious qravity, "Why, what's wronq, uncle? You 
don't look well." 

Randu nodded, "I suppose not. We're in for bad times, Toran. When the Mule is disposed of, 
our turn will come, I'm afraid." 

A straight solemn figure in white approached, and greeted them with a stiff bow. 

Bayta's dark eyes smiled, as she held out her hand, "Captain Pritcher! Are you on space duty 

The captain took the hand and bowed lower, "Nothing like it. Dr. Mis, I understand, has been 
instrumental in bringing me here, but it's only temporary. Back to home guard tomorrow. What 
time is it?" 

It was three minutes of twelve! 

Magnifico was the picture of misery and heartsick depression. His body curled up, in his eternal 

effort at self-effacement. His long nose was pinched at the nostrils and his large, down-slanted 
eyes darted uneasily about. 

He clutched at Bayta's hand, and when she bent down, he whispered, "Do you suppose, my 
lady, that all these great ones were in the audience, perhaps, when I ... when I played the 

"Everyone, I'm sure," Bayta assured him, and shook him gently. "And I'm sure they all think 
you're the most wonderful player in the Galaxy and that your concert was the greatest ever 
seen, so you just straighten yourself and sit correctly. We must have dignity." 

He smiled feebly at her mock-frown and unfolded his long-boned limbs slowly. 

It was noon - and the glass cubicle was no longer empty. 

It was doubtful that anyone had witnessed the appearance. It was a clean break; one moment 
not there and the next moment there. 

In the cubicle was a figure in a wheelchair, old and shrunken, from whose wrinkled face bright 
eyes shone, and whose voice, as it turned out, was the livest thing about him. A book lay face 
downward in his lap, and the voice came softly. 

"I am Hari Seldon!" 

He spoke through a silence, thunderous in its intensity. 

"I am Hari Seldon! I do not know if anyone is here at all by mere sense-perception but that is 
unimportant. I have few fears as yet of a breakdown in the Plan. For the first three centuries the 
percentage probability of nondeviation is nine-four point two." 

He paused to smile, and then said genially, "By the way, if any of you are standing, you may sit. 
If any would like to smoke, please do. I am not here in the flesh. I require no ceremony. 

"Let us take up the problem of the moment, then. For the first time, the Foundation has been 
faced, or perhaps, is in the last stages of facing, civil war. Till now, the attacks from without 
have been adequately beaten off, and inevitably so, according to the strict laws of 
psychohistory. The attack at present is that of a too-undisciplined outer group of the Foundation 
against the too-authoritarian central government. The procedure was necessary, the result 

The dignity of the high-born audience was beginning to break. Indbur was half out of his chair. 

Bayta leaned forward with troubled eyes. What was the great Seldon talking about? She had 
missed a few of the words- 

"-that the compromise worked out is necessary in two respects. The revolt of the Independent 
Traders introduces an element of new uncertainty in a government perhaps grown 
over-confident. The element of striving is restored. Although beaten, a healthy increase of 

There were raised voices now. Whispers had ascended the scale of loudness, and the edge of 

panic was in them. 

Bayta said in Toran's ear, "Why doesn't he talk about the Mule? The Traders never revolted." 
Toran shrugged his shoulders. 

The seated figure spoke cheerfully across and through the increasing disorganization: 

"-a new and firmer coalition government was the necessary and beneficial outcome of the 
logical civil war forced upon the Foundation. And now only the remnants of the old Empire 
stand in the way of further expansion, and in them, for the next few years, at any rate, is no 
problem. Of course, I can not reveal the nature of the next prob-" 

In the complete uproar, Seldon's lips moved soundlessly. 

Ebling Mis was next to Randu, face ruddy. He was shouting. "Seldon is off his rocker. He's got 
the wrong crisis. Were your Traders ever planning civil war?" 

Randu said thinly, "We planned one, yes. We called it off in the face of the Mule." 

"Then the Mule is an added feature, unprepared for in Seldon's psychohistory. Now what's 

In the sudden, frozen silence, Bayta found the cubicle once again empty. The nuclear glow of 
the walls was dead, the soft current of conditioned air absent. 

Somewhere the sound of a shrill siren was rising and falling in the scale and Randu formed the 
words with his lips, "Space raid!" 

And Ebling Mis held his wrist watch to his ears and shouted suddenly, "Stopped, by the 
"Ga-LAX-y, is there a watch in the room that is going?" His voice was a roar. 

Twenty wrists went to twenty ears. And in far less than twenty seconds, it was quite certain that 
none were. 

"Then," said Mis, with a grim and horrible finality, "something has stopped all nuclear power in 
the Time Vault - and the Mule is attacking." 

Indbur's wail rose high above the noise, "Take your seats! The Mule is fifty parsecs distant." 

"He was," shouted back Mis, "a week ago. Right now, Terminus is being bombarded." 

Bayta felt a deep depression settle softly upon her. She felt its folds tighten close and thick, 
until her breath forced its way only with pain past her tightened throat. 

The outer noise of a gathering crowd was evident. The doors were thrown open and a harried 
figure entered, and spoke rapidly to Indbur, who had rushed to him. 

"Excellence," he whispered, "not a vehicle is running in the city, not a communication line to the 
outside is open. 

The Tenth Fleet is reported defeated and the Mule's ships are outside the atmosphere. The 
general staff-" 

Indbur crumpled, and was a collapsed figure of impotence upon the floor. In all that hall, not a 
voice was raised now. Even the growing crowd without was fearful, but silent, and the horror of 
cold panic hovered dangerously. 

Indbur was raised. Wine was held to his lips. His lips moved before his eyes opened, and the 
word they formed was, "Surrender!" 

Bayta found herself near to crying - not for sorrow or humiliation, but simply and plainly out of a 
vast frightened despair. Ebling Mis plucked at her sleeve. "Come, young lady-" 

She was pulled out of her chair, bodily. 

"We're leaving," he said, "and take your musician with you." The plump scientist's lips were 
trembling and colorless. 

"Magnifico," said Bayta, faintly. The clown shrank in horror. His eyes were glassy. 

"The Mule," he shrieked. "The Mule is coming for me." 

He thrashed wildly at her touch. Toran leaned over and brought his fist up sharply. Magnifico 
slumped into unconsciousness and Toran carried him out potato-sack fashion. 

The next day, the ugly, battle-black ships of the Mule poured down upon the landing fields of 
the planet Terminus. The attacking general sped down the empty main street of Terminus City 
in a foreign-made ground car that ran where a whole city of atomic cars still stood useless. 

The proclamation of occupation was made twenty-four hours to the minute after Seldon had 
appeared before the former mighty of the Foundation. 

Of all the Foundation planets, only the Independent Traders still stood, and against them the 
power of the Mule - conqueror of the Foundation - now turned itself. 


The lonely planet, Haven - only planet of an only sun of a Galactic Sector that trailed raggedly 
off into intergalactic vacuum - was under siege. 

In a strictly military sense, it was certainly under siege, since no area of space on the Galactic 
side further than twenty parsecs distance was outside range of the Mule's advance bases. In 
the four months since the shattering fall of the Foundation, Haven's communications had fallen 
apart like a spiderweb under the razor's edge. The ships of Haven converged inwards upon the 
home world, and only Haven itself was now a fighting base. 

And in other respects, the siege was even closer; for the shrouds of helplessness and doom 
had already invaded 

Bayta plodded her way down the pink-waved aisle past the rows of milky plastic-topped tables 
and found her seat by blind reckoning. She eased on to the high, armless chair, answered 
half-heard greetings mechanically, rubbed a wearily-itching eye with the back of a weary hand, 

and reached for her menu. 

She had time to register a violent mental reaction of distaste to the pronounced presence of 
various cultured-fungus dishes, which were considered high delicacies at Haven, and which her 
Foundation taste found highly inedible - and then she was aware of the sobbing near her and 
looked up. 

Until then, her notice of Juddee, the plain, snub-nosed, indifferent blonde at the dining unit 
diagonally across had been the superficial one of the nonacquaintance. And now Juddee was 
crying, biting woefully at a moist handkerchief, and choking back sobs until her complexion was 
blotched with turgid red. Her shapeless radiation-proof costume was thrown back upon her 
shoulders, and her transparent face shield had tumbled forward into her dessert, and there 

Bayta joined the three girls who were taking turns at the eternally applied and eternally 
inefficacious remedies of shoulder-patting, hair-smoothing, and incoherent murmuring. 

"What's the matter?" she whispered. 

One turned to her and shrugged a discreet, "I don't know." Then, feeling the inadequacy of the 
gesture, she pulled Bayta aside. 

"She's had a hard day, I guess. And she's worrying about her husband." 

"Is he on space patrol?" 


Bayta reached a friendly hand out to Juddee. 

"Why don't you go home, Juddee?" Her voice was a cheerfully businesslike intrusion on the 
soft, flabby inanities that had preceded. 

Juddee looked up half in resentment. "I've been out once this week already-" 

"Then you'll be out twice. If you try to stay on, you know, you'll just be out three days next week 
- so going home now amounts to patriotism. Any of you girls work in her department? Well, 
then, suppose you take care of her card. Better go to the washroom first, Juddee, and get the 
peaches and cream back where it belongs. Go ahead! Shoo!" 

Bayta returned to her seat and took up the menu again with a dismal relief. These moods were 
contagious. One weeping girl would have her entire department in a frenzy these nerve-torn 

She made a distasteful decision, pressed the correct buttons at her elbow and put the menu 
back into its niche. 

The tall, dark girl opposite her was saying, "Isn't much any of us can do except cry, is there?" 

Her amazingly full lips scarcely moved, and Bayta noticed that their ends were carefully 
touched to exhibit that artificial, just-so half-smile that was the current last word in 

Bayta investigated the insinuating thrust contained in the words with lashed eyes and 
welcomed the diversion of the arrival of her lunch, as the tile-top of her unit moved inward and 
the food lifted. She tore the wrappings carefully off her cutlery and handled them gingerly till 
they cooled. 

She said, "Can't you think of anything else to do, Hella?" 

"Oh, yes," said Hella. "/can!" She flicked her cigarette with a casual and expert finger-motion 
into the little recess provided and the tiny flash caught it before it hit shallow bottom. 

"For instance," and Hella clasped slender, well-kept hands under her chin, "I think we could 
make a very nice arrangement with the Mule and stop all this nonsense. But then I don't have 
the ... uh ... facilities to manage to get out of places quickly when the Mule takes over." 

Bayta's clear forehead remained clear. Her voice was light and indifferent. "You don't happen to 
have a brother or husband in the fighting ships, do you?" 

"No. All the more credit that I see no reason for the sacrifice of the brothers and husbands of 

"The sacrifice will come the more surely for surrender." 

"The Foundation surrendered and is at peace. Our men are away and the Galaxy is against 

Bayta shrugged, and said sweetly, "I'm afraid it is the first of the pair that bothers you." She 
returned to her vegetable platter and ate it with the clammy realization of the silence about her. 
No one in ear-shot had cared to answer Hella's cynicism. 

She left quickly, after stabbing at the button which cleared her dining unit for the next shift's 

A new girl, three seats away, stage-whispered to Hella, "Who was she?" 

Hella's mobile lips curled in indifference. "She's our coordinator's niece. Didn't you know that?" 

"Yes?" Her eyes sought out the last glimpse of disappearing back. "What's she doing here?" 

"Just an assembly girl. Don't you know it's fashionable to be patriotic? It's all so democratic, it 
makes me retch." 

"Now, Hella," said the plump girl to her right. "She's never pulled her uncle on us yet. Why don't 
you lay off?" 

Hella ignored her neighbor with a glazed sweep of eyes and lit another cigarette. 

The new girl was listening to the chatter of the bright-eyed accountant opposite. The words 
were coming quickly, 

"-and she's supposed to have been in the Vault - actually in the Vault, you know - when 
Seldon spoke - and they say the mayor was in frothing furies and there were riots, and all of 
that sort of thing, you know. She got away before the Mule landed, and they say she had the 

most tha-rilling escape - had to go through the blockade, and all - and I do wonder she doesn't 
write a book about it, these war books being so popular these days, you know. And she was 
supposed to be on this world of the Mule's, too - Kalgan, you know - and-" 

The time bell shrilled and the dining room emptied slowly. The accountant's voice buzzed on, 
and the new girl interrupted only with the conventional and wide-eyed, "Really-y-y-y?" at 
appropriate points. 

The huge cave lights were being shielded group-wise in the gradual descent towards the 
darkness that meant sleep for the righteous and hard-working, when Bayta returned home. 

Toran met her at the door, with a slice of buttered bread in his hand. 

"Where've you been?" he asked, food-muffled. Then, more clearly, "I've got a dinner of sorts 
rassled up. If it isn't much, don't blame me." 

But she was circling him, wide-eyed. "Torie! Where's your uniform? What are you doing in 

"Orders, Bay. Randu is holed up with Ebling Mis right now, and what it's all about, I don't know. 
So there you have everything." 

"Am I going?" She moved towards him impulsively. 

He kissed her before he answered, "I believe so. It will probably be dangerous." 

"What isn't dangerous?" 

"Exactly. Oh, yes, and I've already sent for Magnifico, so he's probably coming too." 

"You mean his concert at the Engine Factory will have to be cancelled." 


Bayta passed into the next room and sat down to a meal that definitely bore signs of having 
been "rassled-up." She cut the sandwiches in two with quick efficiency and said: 

"That's too bad about the concert. The girls at the factory were looking forward to it. Magnifico, 
too, for that matter." She shook her head. "He's such a queer thing." 

"Stirs your mother-complex, Bay, that's what he does. Some day we'll have a baby, and then 
you'll forget Magnifico." 

'Bayta answered from the depths of her sandwich, "Strikes me that you're all the stirring my 
mother-complex can stand." 

And then she laid the sandwich down, and was gravely serious in a moment. 



"Torie, I was at City Hall today - at the Bureau of Production. That is why I was so late today." 

"What were you doing there?" 

"Well..." she hesitated, uncertainly. "It's been building up. I was getting so I couldn't stand it at 
the factory. Morale just doesn't exist. The girls go on crying jags for no particular reason. Those 
who don't get sick become sullen. Even the little mousie types pout. In my particular section, 
production isn't a quarter what it was when I came, and there isn't a day that we have a full 
roster of workers." 

"All right," said Toran, "tie in the B. of P. What did you do there?" 

"Asked a few questions. And it's so, Torie, it's so all over Haven. Dropping production, 
increasing sedition and disaffection. The bureau chief just shrugged his shoulders - after I had 
sat in the anteroom an hour to see him, and only got in because I was the co-ordinator's niece 
- and said it was beyond him. Frankly, I don't think he cared." 

"Now, don't go off base, Bay." 

"I don't think he did." She was strenuously fiery. "I tell you there's something wrong. It's that 
same horrible frustration that hit me in the Time Vault when Seldon deserted us. You felt it 

"Yes, I did." 

"Well, it's back," she continued savagely. "And we'll never be able to resist the Mule. Even if we 
had the material, we lack the heart, the spirit, the will - Torie, there's no use fighting-" 

Bayta had never cried in Toran's memory, and she did not cry now. Not really. But Toran laid a 
light hand on her shoulder and whispered, "Suppose you forget it, baby. I know what you mean. 
But there's nothing-" 

"Yes, there's nothing we can do! Everyone says that - and we just sit and wait for the knife to 
come down." 

She returned to what was left of her sandwich and tea. Quietly, Toran was arranging the beds. 

It was quite dark outside. 

Randu, as newly-appointed co-ordinator - in itself a wartime post - of the confederation of 
cities on Haven, had been assigned, at his own request, to an upper room, out of the window of 
which he could brood over the roof tops and greenery of the city. Now, in the fading of the cave 
lights, the city receded into the level lack of distinction of the shades. Randu did not care to 
meditate upon the symbolism. 

He said to Ebling Mis - whose clear, little eyes seemed to have no further interest than the 
red-filled goblet in his hand - "There's a saying on Haven that when the cave lights go out, it is 
time for the righteous and hard-working to sleep." 

"Do you sleep much lately?" 

"No! Sorry to call you so late, Mis. I like the night better somehow these days. Isn't that 
strange? The people on Haven condition themselves pretty strictly on the lack of light meaning 
sleep. Myself, too. But it's different now-" 

"You're hiding," said Mis, flatly. "You're surrounded by people in the waking period, and you feel 
their eyes and their hopes on you. You can't stand up under it. In the sleep period, you're free." 

"Do you feel it, too, then? This miserable sense of defeat?" 

Ebling Mis nodded slowly, "I do. It's a mass psychosis, an unprintable mob panic. "Ga-LAX-y, 
Randu, what do you expect? Here you have a whole culture brought up to a blind, blubbering 
belief that a folk hero of the past has everything all planned out and is taking care of every little 
piece of their unprintable lives. The thought-pattern evoked has religious characteristics, and 
you know what that means." 

"Not a bit." 

Mis was not enthusiastic about the necessity of explanation. He never was. So he growled, 
stared at the long cigar he rolled thoughtfully between his fingers and said, "Characterized by 
strong faith reactions. Beliefs can't be shaken short of a major shock, in which case, a fairly 
complete mental disruption results. Mild cases-hysteria, morbid sense of insecurity. Advanced 
cases - madness and suicide." 

Randu bit at a thumbnail. "When Seldon fails us, in other words, our prop disappears, and 
we've been leaning upon it so long, our muscles are atrophied to where we can not stand 
without it." 

"That's it. Sort of a clumsy metaphor, but that's it." 

"And you, Ebling, what of your own muscles?" 

The psychologist filtered a long draught of air through his cigar, and let the smoke laze out. 
"Rusty, but not atrophied. My profession has resulted in just a bit of independent thinking." 

"And you see a way out?" 

"No, but there must be one. Maybe Seldon made no provisions for the Mule. Maybe he didn't 
guarantee our victory. But, then, neither did he guarantee defeat. He's just out of the game and 
we're on our own. The Mule can be licked." 


"By the only way anyone can be licked - by attacking in strength at weakness. See here, 

Randu, the Mule isn't a superman. If he is finally defeated, everyone will see that for himself. 

It's just that he's an unknown, and the legends cluster quickly. He's supposed to be a mutant. 
Well, what of that? A mutant means a 'superman' to the ignoramuses of humanity. Nothing of 
the sort. 

"It's been estimated that several million mutants are born in the Galaxy every day. Of the 
several million, all but one or two percent can be detected only by means of microscopes and 
chemistry. Of the one or two percent macromutants, that is, those with mutations detectable to 
the naked eye or naked mind, all but one or two percent are freaks, fit for the amusement 
centers, the laboratories, and death. Of the few macromutants whose differences are to the 
good, almost all are harmless curiosities, unusual in some single respect, normal - and often 

subnormal - in most others. You see that, Randu?" 

"I do. But what of the Mule?" 

"Supposing the Mule to be a mutant then, we can assume that he has some attribute, 
undoubtedly mental, which can be used to conquer worlds. In other respects, he undoubtedly 
has his shortcomings, which we must locate. He would not be so secretive, so shy of others' 
eyes, if these shortcomings were not apparent and fatal. If he's a mutant." 

"Is there an alternative?" 

"There might be. Evidence for mutation rests on Captain Han Pritcher of what used to be 
Foundation's Intelligence. He drew his conclusions from the feeble memories of those who 
claimed to know the Mule-or somebody who might have been the Mule - in infancy and early 
childhood. Pritcher worked on slim pickings there, and what evidence he found might easily 
have been planted by the Mule for his own purposes, for it's certain that the Mule has been 
vastly aided by his reputation as a mutant-superman." 

"This is interesting. How long have you thought that?" 

"I never thought that, in the sense of believing it. It is merely an alternative to be considered. 

For instance, Randu, suppose the Mule has discovered a form of radiation capable of 
depressing mental energy just as he is in possession of one which depresses nuclear 
reactions. What then, eh? Could that explain what's hitting us now - and what did hit the 

Randu seemed immersed in a near-wordless gloom. 

He said, "What of your own researches on the Mule's clown." 

And now Ebling Mis hesitated. "Useless as yet. I spoke bravely to the mayor previous to the 
Foundation's collapse, mainly to keep his courage up - partly to keep my own up as well. But, 
Randu, if my mathematical tools were up to it, then from the clown alone I could analyze the 
Mule completely. Then we would have him. Then we could solve the queer anomalies that have 
impressed me already." 

"Such as?" 

"Think, man. The Mule defeated the navies of the Foundation at will, but he has not once 
managed to force the much weaker fleets of the Independent Traders to retreat in open 
combat. The Foundation fell at a blow; the Independent Traders hold out against all his 
strength. He first used Extinguishing Field upon the nuclear weapons of the Independent 
Traders of Mnemon. The element of surprise lost them that battle but they countered the Field. 
He was never able to use it successfully against the Independents again. 

"But over and over again, it worked against Foundation forces. It worked on the Foundation 
itself. Why? With our present knowledge, it is all illogical. So there must be factors of which we 
are not aware." 


"That's rattle-pated nonsense, Randu. Unprintable twaddle. There wasn't a man on the 
Foundation who wasn't sure of victory. Who would betray a certain-to-win side." 

Randu stepped to the curved window and stared unseeingly out into the unseeable. He said, 
"But we're certain to lose now, if the Mule had a thousand weaknesses; if he were a network of 

He did not turn. It was as if the slump of his back, the nervous groping for one another of the 
hands behind him that spoke. He said, "We escaped easily after the Time Vault episode, 

Ebling. Others might have escaped as well. A few did. Most did not. The Extinguishing Field 
could have been counteracted. It asked ingenuity and a certain amount of labor. All the ships of 
the Foundation Navy could have flown to Haven or other nearby planets to continue the fight as 
we did. Not one percent did so. In effect, they deserted to the enemy. 

"The Foundation underground, upon which most people here seem to rely so heavily, has thus 
far done nothing of consequence. The Mule has been politic enough to promise to safeguard 
the property and profits of the great Traders and they have gone over to him." 

Ebling Mis said stubbornly, "The plutocrats have always been against us." 

"They always held the power, too. Listen, Ebling. We have reason to believe that the Mule or 
his tools have already been in contact with powerful men among the Independent Traders. At 
least ten of the twenty-seven Trading Worlds are known to have gone over to the Mule. 

Perhaps ten more waver. There are personalities on Haven itself who would not be unhappy 
over the Mule's domination. It's apparently an insurmountable temptation to give up 
endangered political power, if that will maintain your hold over economic affairs." 

"You don't think Haven can fight the Mule?" 

"I don't think Haven will." And now Randu turned his troubled face full upon the psychologist. "I 
think Haven is waiting to surrender. It's what I called you here to tell you. I want you to leave 

Ebling Mis puffed up his plump checks in amazement. "Already?" 

Randu felt horribly tired. "Ebling, you are the Foundation's greatest psychologist. The real 
master-psychologists went out with Seldon, but you're the best we have. You're our only 
chance of defeating the Mule. You can't do that here; you'll have to go to what's left of the 

"To Trantor?" 

"That's right. What was once the Empire is bare bones today, but something must still be at the 
center. They've got the records there, Ebling. You may learn more of mathematical psychology; 
perhaps enough to be able to interpret the clown's mind. He will go with you, of course." 

Mis responded dryly, "I doubt if he'd be willing to, even for fear of the Mule, unless your niece 
went with him." 

I know that. Toran and Bayta are leaving with you for that very reason. And, Ebling, there's 

another, greater purpose. Hari Seldon founded two Foundations three centuries ago; one at 
each end of the Galaxy. You must find that Second Foundation." 


The mayor's palace - what was once the mayor's palace - was a looming smudge in the 
darkness. The city was quiet under its conquest and curfew, and the hazy milk of the great 
Galactic Lens, with here and there a lonely star, dominated the sky of the Foundation. 

In three centuries the Foundation had grown from a private project of a small group of scientists 
to a tentacular trade empire sprawling deep into the Galaxy and half a year had flung it from its 
heights to the status of another conquered province. 

Captain Flan Pritcher refused to grasp that. 

The city's sullen nighttime quiet, the darkened palace, intruder-occupied, were symbolic 
enough, but Captain Flan Pritcher, just within the outer gate of the palace, with the tiny nuclear 
bomb under his tongue, refused to understand. 

A shape drifted closer - the captain bent his head. 

The whisper came deathly low, "The alarm system is as it always was, captain. Proceed! It will 
register nothing." 

Softly, the captain ducked through the low archway, and down the fountain-lined path to what 
had been Indbur's garden. 

Four months ago had been the day in the Time Vault, the fullness of which his memory balked 
at. Singly and separately the impressions would come back, unwelcome, mostly at night. 

Old Seldon speaking his benevolent words that were so shatteringly wrong - the jumbled 
confusion - Indbur, with his mayoral costume incongruously bright about his pinched, 
unconscious face - the frightened crowds gathering quickly, waiting noiselessly for the 
inevitable word of surrender - the young man, Toran, disappearing out of a side door with the 
Mule's clown dangling over his shoulder. 

And himself, somehow out of it all afterward, with his car unworkable. 

Shouldering his way along and through the leaderless mob that was already leaving the city - 
destination unknown. 

Making blindly for the various rat holes which were - which had once been - the headquarters 
for a democratic underground that for eighty years had been failing and dwindling. 

And the rat holes were empty. 

The next day, black alien ships were momentarily visible in the sky, sinking gently into the 
clustered buildings of the nearby city. Captain Flan Pritcher felt an accumulation of 
helplessness and despair drown him. 

He started his travels in earnest. 

In thirty days he had covered nearly two hundred miles on foot, changed to the clothing of a 
worker in the hydroponic factories whose body he found newly-dead by the side of the road, 
grown a fierce beard of russet intensity 

And found what was left of the underground. 

The city was Newton, the district a residential one of one-time elegance slowly edging towards 
squalor, the house an undistinguished member of a row, and the man a small-eyed, big-boned 
whose knotted fists bulged through his pockets and whose wiry body remained unbudgingly in 
the narrow door opening. 

The captain mumbled, "I come from Miran." 

The man returned the gambit, grimly. "Miran is early this year." 

The captain said, "No earlier than last year." 

But the man did not step aside. He said, "Who are you?" 

"Aren't you Fox?" 

"Do you always answer by asking?" 

The captain took an imperceptibly longer breath, and then said calmly, "I am Han Pritcher, 
Captain of the Fleet, and member of the Democratic Underground Party. Will you let me in?" 

The Fox stepped aside. He said, "My real name is Orum Palley." 

He held out his hand. The captain took it. 

The room was well-kept, but not lavish. In one comer stood a decorative book-film projector, 
which to the captain's military eyes might easily have been a camouflaged blaster of 
respectable caliber. The projecting lens covered the doorway, and such could be remotely 

The Fox followed his bearded guest's eyes, and smiled tightly. He said, "Yes! But only in the 
days of Indbur and his lackey-hearted vampires. It wouldn't do much against the Mule, eh? 
Nothing would help against the Mule. Are you hungry?" 

The captain's jaw muscles tightened beneath his beard, and he nodded. 

"It'll take a minute if you don't mind waiting." The Fox removed cans from a cupboard and 
placed two before Captain Pritcher. "Keep your finger on it, and break them when they're hot 
enough. My heat-control unit's out of whack. Things like that remind you there's a war on - or 
was on, eh?" 

His quick words had a jovial content, but were said in anything but a jovial tone - and his eyes 
were coldly thoughtful. He sat down opposite the captain and said, "There'll be nothing but a 
burn-spot left where you're sitting, if there's anything about you I don't like. Know that?" 

The captain did not answer. The cans before him opened at a pressure. 

The Fox said, shortly, "Stew! Sorry, but the food situation is short." 

"I know," said the captain. He ate quickly; not looking up. 

The Fox said, "I once saw you. I'm trying to remember, and the beard is definitely out of the 

"I haven't shaved in thirty days." Then, fiercely, "What do you want? I had the correct 
passwords. I have identification." 

The other waved a hand, "Oh, I'll grant you're Pritcher all right. But there are plenty who have 
the passwords, and the identifications, and the identities - who are with the Mule. Ever hear of 
Levvaw, eh?" 


"He's with the Mule." 

"What? He-" 

"Yes. He was the man they called 'No Surrender.'" The Fox's lips made laughing motions, with 
neither sound nor humor. "Then there's Willig. With the Mule! Garre and Noth. With the Mule! 
Why not Pritcher as well, eh? How would I know?" 

The captain merely shook his head. 

"But it doesn't matter," said the Fox, softly. "They must have my name, if Noth has gone over - 
so if you're legitimate, you're in more new danger than I am over our acquaintanceship." 

The captain had finished eating. He leaned back, "If you have no organization here, where can 
I find one? The Foundation may have surrendered, but I haven't." 

"So! You can't wander forever, captain. Men of the Foundation must have travel permits to 
move from town to town these days. You know that? Also identity cards. You have one? Also, 
all officers of the old Navy have been requested to report to the nearest occupation 
headquarters. That's you, eh?" 

"Yes." The captain's voice was hard. "Do you think I run through fear. I was on Kalgan not long 
after its fall to the Mule. Within a month, not one of the old warlord's officers was at large, 
because they were the natural military leaders of any revolt. It's always been the underground's 
knowledge that no revolution can be successful without the control of at least part of the Navy. 
The Mule evidently knows it, too." 

The Fox nodded thoughtfully, "Logical enough. The Mule is thorough." 

"I discarded the uniform as soon as I could. I grew the beard. Afterwards there may be a 
chance that others have taken the same action." 

Are you married? 

"My wife is dead. I have no children. 

"You're hostage-immune, then." 


"You want my advice?" 

"If you have any." 

A don't know what the Mule's policy is or what he intends, but skilled workers have not been 
harmed so far. Pay rates have gone up. Production of all sorts of nuclear weapons is booming." 

"Yes? Sounds like a continuing offensive." 

"I don't know. The Mule's a subtle son of a drab, and he may merely be soothing the workers 
into submission. If Seldon couldn't figure him out with all his psychohistory, I'm not going to try. 
But you're wearing work clothes. That suggests something, eh?" 

"I'm not a skilled worker." 

"You've had a military course in nucleics, haven't you?" 


"That's enough. The Nuclear-Field Bearings, Inc., is located here in town. Tell them you've had 
experience. The stinkers who used to run the factory for Indbur are still running it - for the 
Mule. They won't ask questions, as long as they need more workers to make their fat hunk. 
They'll give you an identity card and you can apply for a room in the Corporation's housing 
district. You might start now." 

In that manner, Captain Han Pritcher of the National Fleet became Shield-man Lo Moro of the 
45 Shop of Nuclear-Field Bearings, Inc. And from an Intelligence agent, he descended the 
social scale to "conspirator"- a calling which led him months later to what had been Indbur's 
private garden, 

In the garden, Captain Pritcher consulted the radometer in the palm of his hand. The inner 
warning field was still in operation, and he waited. Half an hour remained to the life of the 
nuclear bomb in his mouth. He rolled it gingerly with his tongue. 

The radometer died into an ominous darkness and the captain advanced quickly. 

So far, matters had progressed well. 

He reflected objectively that the life of the nuclear bomb was his as well; that its death was his 
death - and the Mule's death. 

And the grand climacteric of a four-month's private war would be reached; a war that had 
passed from flight through a Newton factory 

For two months, Captain Pritcher wore leaden aprons and heavy face shields, till all things 
military had been frictioned off his outer bearing. He was a laborer, who collected his pay, spent 

his evenings in town, and never discussed politics. 

For two months, he did not see the Fox. 

And then, one day, a man stumbled past his bench, and there was a scrap of paper in his 
pocket. The word "Fox" was on it. Fie tossed it into the nuclear chamber, where it vanished in a 
sightless puff, sending the energy output up a millimicrovolt - and turned back to his work. 

That night he was at the Fox's home, and took a hand in a game of cards with two other men 
he knew by reputation and one by name and face. 

Over the cards and the passing and repassing tokens, they spoke. 

The captain said, "It's a fundamental error. You live in the exploded past. For eighty years our 
organization has been waiting for the correct historical moment. We've been blinded by 
Seldon's psychohistory, one of the first propositions of which is that the individual does not 
count, does not make history, and that complex social and economic factors override him, 
make a puppet out of him." Fie adjusted his cards carefully, appraised their value and said, as 
he put out a token. "Why not kill the Mule?" 

"Well, now, and what good would that do?" demanded the man at his left, fiercely. 

"You see," said the captain, discarding two cards, "that's the attitude. What is one man - out of 
quadrillions. The Galaxy won't stop rotating because one man dies. But the Mule is not a man, 
he is a mutant. Already, he had upset Seldon's plan, and if you'll stop to analyze the 
implications, it means that he - one man - one mutant - upset all of Seldon's psychohistory. If 
he had never lived, the Foundation would not have fallen. If he ceased living, it would not 
remain fallen. 

"Come, the democrats have fought the mayors and the traders for eighty years by connivery. 
Let's try assassination." 

"Flow?" interposed the Fox, with cold common sense. 

The captain said, slowly, "I've spent three months of thought on that with no solution. I came 
here and had it in five minutes." Fie glanced briefly at the man whose broad, pink melon of a 
face smiled from the place at his right. "You were once Mayor Indbur's chamberlain. I did not 
know you were of the underground," 

"Nor I, that you were." 

"Well, then, in your capacity as chamberlain you periodically checked the working of the alarm 
system of the palace." 

"I did." 

"And the Mule occupies the palace now." 

"So it has been announced - though he is a modest conqueror who makes no speeches, 
proclamations nor public appearances of any sort." 

"That's an old story, and affects nothing. You, my ex-chamberlain, are all we need." 

The cards were shown and the Fox collected the stakes. Slowly, he dealt a new hand. 

The man who had once been chamberlain picked up his cards, singly. "Sorry, captain. I 
checked the alarm system, but it was routine. I know nothing about it." 

"I expected that, but your mind carries an eidetic memory of the controls if it can be probed 
deeply enough - with a psychic probe." 

The chamberlain's ruddy face paled suddenly and sagged. The cards in his hand crumpled 
under sudden fist-pressure, "A psychic probe?" 

"You needn't worry," said the captain, sharply. "I know how to use one. It will not harm you past 
a few days' weakness. And if it did, it is the chance you take and the price you pay. There are 
some among us, no doubt, who from the controls of the alarm could determine the wavelength 
combinations. There are some among us who could manufacture a small bomb under 
time-control and I myself will carry it to the Mule." 

The men gathered over the table. 

The captain announced, "On a given evening, a riot will start in Terminus City in the 
neighborhood of the palace. No real fighting. Disturbance - then flight. As long as the palace 
guard is attracted ... or, at the very least, distracted-" 

From that day for a month the preparations went on, and Captain Flan Pritcher of the National 
Fleet having become conspirator descended further in the social scale and became an 

Captain Pritcher, assassin, was in the palace itself, and found himself grimly pleased with his 
psychology. A thorough alarm system outside meant few guards within. In this case, it meant 
none at all. 

The floor plan was clear in his mind. Fie was a blob moving noiselessly up the well-carpeted 
ramp. At its head, he flattened against the wall and waited. 

The small closed door of a private room was before him. Behind that door must be the mutant 
who had beaten the unbeatable. Fie was early - the bomb had ten minutes of life in it. 

Five of these passed, and still in all the world there was no sound. The Mule had five minutes to 
live - So had Captain Pritcher- 

He stepped forward on sudden impulse. The plot could no longer fail. When the bomb went, the 
palace would go with it - all the palace. A door between - ten yards between - was nothing. 

But he wanted to see the Mule as they died together. 

In a last, insolent gesture, he thundered upon the door. 

And it opened and let out the blinding light. 

Captain Pritcher staggered, then caught himself. The solemn man, standing in the center of the 
small room before a suspended fish bowl, looked up mildly. 

FHis uniform was a somber black, and as he tapped the bowl in an absent gesture, it bobbed 

quickly and the feather-finned, orange and vermilion fish within darted wildly. 

He said, "Come in, captain!" 

To the captain's quivering tongue the little metal globe beneath was swelling ominously - a 
physical impossibility, the captain knew. But it was in its last minute of life. 

The uniformed man said, "You had better spit out the foolish pellet and free yourself for speech. 
It won't blast." 

The minute passed and with a slow, sodden motion the captain bent his head and dropped the 
silvery globe into his palm. With a furious force it was flung against the wall. It rebounded with a 
tiny, sharp clangor, gleaming harmlessly as it flew. 

The uniformed man shrugged. "So much for that, then. It would have done you no good in any 
case, captain. I am not the Mule. You will have to be satisfied with his viceroy." 

"How did you know?" muttered the captain, thickly. 

"Blame it on an efficient counter-espionage system. I can name every member of your little 
gang, every step of their planning-" 

"And you let it go this far?" 

"Why not? It has been one of my great purposes here to find you and some others. Particularly 
you. I might have had you some months ago, while you were still a worker at the Newton 
Bearings Works, but this is much better. If you hadn't suggested the main outlines of the plot 
yourself, one of my own men would have advanced something of much the same sort for you. 
The result is quite dramatic, and rather grimly humorous." 

The captain's eyes were hard. "I find it so, too. Is it all over now?" 

"Just begun. Come, captain, sit down. Let us leave heroics for the fools who are impressed by 
it. Captain, you are a capable man. According to the information I have, you were the first on 
the Foundation to recognize the power of the Mule. Since then you have interested yourself, 
rather daringly, in the Mule's early life. You have been one of those who carried off his clown, 
who, incidentally, has not yet been found, and for which there will yet be full payment. Naturally, 
your ability is recognized and the Mule is not of those who fear the ability of his enemies as 
long as he can convert it into the ability of a new friend." 

"Is that what you're hedging up to? Oh, no!" 

"Oh, yes! It was the purpose of tonight's comedy. You are an intelligent man, yet your little 
conspiracies against die Mule fail humorously. You can scarcely dignify it with the name of 
conspiracy. Is it part of your military training to waste ships in hopeless actions?" 

"One must first admit them to be hopeless." 

"One will," the viceroy assured him, gently. "The Mule has conquered the Foundation, It is 
rapidly being turned into an arsenal for accomplishment of his greater aims." 

"What greater aims?" 

"The conquest of the entire Galaxy. The reunion of all the tom worlds into a new Empire. The 
fulfillment, you dull-witted patriot, of your own Seldon's dream seven hundred years before he 
hoped to see it. And in the fulfillment, you can help us." 

"I can, undoubtedly. But I won't, undoubtedly." 

"I understand," reasoned the viceroy, "that only three of the Independent Trading Worlds yet 
resist. They will not last much longer. It will be the last of all Foundation forces. You still hold 


"Yet you won't. A voluntary recruit is the, most efficient. But the other kind will do. 

Unfortunately, the Mule is absent. He leads the fight, as always, against the resisting Traders. 
But he is in continual contact with us. You will not have to wait long." 

"For what?" 

"For your conversion. 

"The Mule," said the captain, frigidly, "will find that beyond his ability." 

"But he won't. I was not beyond it. You don't recognize me? Come, you were on Kalgan, so you 
have seen me. I wore a monocle, a fur-lined scarlet robe, a high-crowned hat-" 

The captain stiffened in dismay. "You were the warlord of Kalgan." 

"Yes. And now I am the loyal viceroy of the Mule. You see, he is persuasive." 


The blockade was run successfully. In the vast volume of space, not all the navies ever in 
existence could keep their watch in tight proximity. Given a single ship, a skillful pilot, and a 
moderate degree of luck, and there are holes and to spare. 

With cold-eyed calm, Toran drove a protesting vessel from the vicinity of one star to that of 
another. If the neighborhood of great mass made an interstellar jump erratic and difficult, it also 
made the enemy detection devices useless or nearly so. 

And once the girdle of ships had been passed the inner sphere of dead space, through whose 
blockaded sub-ether no message could be driven, was passed as well. For the first time in over 
three months Toran felt unisolated. 

A week passed before the enemy news programs dealt with anything more than the dull, 
self-laudatory details of growing control over the Foundation. It was a week in which Toran's 
armored trading ship fled inward from the Periphery in hasty jumps. 

Ebling Mis called out to the pilot room and Toran rose blink-eyed from his charts. 

"What's the matter?" Toran stepped down into the small central chamber which Bayta had 

inevitably devised into a living room. 

Mis shook his head, "Bescuppered if I know. The Mule's newsmen are announcing a special 
bulletin. Thought you might want to get in on it." 

"Might as well. Where's Bayta?" 

"Setting the table in the diner and picking out a menuor some such frippery." 

Toran sat down upon the cot that served as Magnifico's bed, and waited. The propaganda 
routine of the Mule's "special bulletins" were monotonously similar. First the martial music, and 
then the buttery slickness of the announcer. The minor news items would come, following one 
another in patient lock step. Then the pause. Then the trumpets and the rising excitement and 
the climax. 

Toran endured it. Mis muttered to himself. 

The newscaster spilled out, in conventional war-correspondent phraseology, the unctuous 
words that translated into sound the molten metal and blasted flesh of a battle in space. 

"Rapid cruiser squadrons under Lieutenant General Sammin hit back hard today at the task 
force striking out from Iss-" The carefully expressionless face of the speaker upon the screen 
faded into the blackness of a space cut through by the quick swaths of ships reeling across 
emptiness in deadly battle. The voice continued through the soundless thunder 

"The most striking action of the battle was the subsidiary combat of the heavy cruiser Cluster 
against three enemy ships of the 'Nova' class-" 

The screen's view veered and closed in. A great ship sparked and one of the frantic attackers 
glowed angrily, twisted out of focus, swung back and rammed. The Cluster bowed wildly and 
survived the glancing blow that drove the attacker off in twisting reflection. 

The newsman's smooth unimpassioned delivery continued to the last blow and the last hulk. 

Then a pause, and a large similar voice-and-picture of the fight off Mnemon, to which the 
novelty was added of a lengthy description of a hit-and-run landing - the picture of a blasted 
city - huddled and weary prisoners - and off again. 

Mnemon had not long to live. 

The pause again - and this time the raucous sound of the expected brasses. The screen faded 
into the long, impressively soldier-lined corridor up which the government spokesman in 
councilor's uniform strode quickly. 

The silence was oppressive. 

The voice that came at last was solemn, slow and hard: "By order of our sovereign, it is 
announced that the planet, Haven, hitherto in warlike opposition to his will, has submitted to the 
acceptance of defeat. At this moment, the forces of our sovereign are occupying the planet. 
Opposition was scattered, unco-ordinated, and speedily crushed." 

The scene faded out, the original newsman returned to state importantly that other 
developments would be transmitted as they occurred. 

Then there was dance music, and Ebling Mis threw the shield that cut the power. 

Toran rose and walked unsteadily away, without a word. The psychologist made no move to 
stop him. 

When Bayta stepped out of the kitchen, Mis motioned silence. 

He said, "They've taken Haven." 

And Bayta said, "Already?" Her eyes were round, and sick with disbelief. 

"Without a fight. Without an unprin-" He stopped and swallowed. "You'd better leave Toran 
alone. It's not pleasant for him. Suppose we eat without him this once." 

Bayta looked once toward the pilot room, then turned hopelessly. "Very well!" 

Magnifico sat unnoticed at the table. He neither spoke nor ate but stared ahead with a 
concentrated fear that seemed to drain all the vitality out of his thread of a body. 

Ebling Mis pushed absently at his iced-fruit dessert and said, harshly, "Two Trading worlds 
fight. They fight, and bleed, and die and don't surrender. Only at Haven - Just as at the 

"But why? Why?" 

The psychologist shook his head. "It's of a piece with all the problem. Every queer facet is a 
hint at the nature of the Mule. First, the problem of how he could conquer the Foundation, with 
little blood, and at a single blow essentially - while the Independent Trading Worlds held out. 
The blanket on nuclear reactions was a puny weapon - we've discussed that back and forth till 
I'm sick of it - and it did not work on any but the Foundation. 

"Randu suggested," and Ebling's grizzly eyebrows pulled together, "it might have been a 
radiant Will-Depresser. It's what might have done the work on Haven. But then why wasn't it 
used on Mnemon and Iss - which even now fight with such demonic intensity that it is taking 
half the Foundation fleet in addition to the Mule's forces to beat them down. Yes, I recognized 
Foundation ships in the attack." 

Bayta whispered, "The Foundation, then Haven. Disaster seems to follow us, without touching. 
We always seem to get out by a hair. Will it last forever?" 

Ebling Mis was not listening. To himself, he was making a point. "But there's another problem - 
another problem. Bayta, you remember the news item that the Mule's clown was not found on 
Terminus; that it was suspected he had fled to Haven, or been carried there by his original 
kidnappers. There is an importance attached to him, Bayta, that doesn't fade, and we have not 
located it yet. Magnifico must know something that is fatal to the Mule. I'm sure of it." 

Magnifico, white and stuttering, protested, "Sire ... noble lord ... indeed, I swear it is past my 
poor reckoning to penetrate your wants. I have told what I know to the utter limits, and with your 

probe, you have drawn out of my meager wit that which I knew, but knew not that I knew." 

"I know ... I know. It is something small. A hint so small that neither you nor I recognize it for 
what it is. Yet I must find it - for Mnemon and Iss will go soon, and when they do, we are the 
last remnants, the last droplets of the independent Foundation." 

The stars begin to cluster closely when the core of the Galaxy is penetrated. Gravitational fields 
begin to overlap at intensities sufficient to introduce perturbations in an interstellar jump that 
can not be overlooked. 

Toran became aware of that when a jump landed their ship in the full glare of a red giant which 
clutched viciously, and whose grip was loosed, then wrenched apart, only after twelve 
sleepless, soul-battering hours. 

With charts limited in scope, and an experience not at all fully developed, either operationally or 
mathematically, Toran resigned himself to days of careful plotting between jumps. 

It became a community project of a sort. Ebling Mis checked Toran's mathematics and Bayta 
tested possible routes, by the various generalized methods, for the presence of real solutions. 
Even Magnifico was put to work on the calculating machine for routine computations, a type of 
work, which, once explained, was a source of great amusement to him and at which he was 
surprisingly proficient. 

So at the end of a month, or nearly, Bayta was able to survey the red line that wormed its way 
through the ship's trimensional model of the Galactic Lens halfway to its center, and say with 
Satiric relish, "You know what it looks like. It looks like a ten-foot earth-worm with a terrific case 
of indigestion. Eventually, you'll land us back in Haven." 

"I will," growled Toran, with a fierce rustle of his chart, "if you don't shut up." 

"And at that," continued Bayta, "there is probably a route fight through, straight as a meridian of 

"Yeah? Well, in the first place, dimwit, it probably took five hundred ships five hundred years to 
work out that route by hit-and-miss, and my lousy half-credit charts don't give it. Besides, 
maybe those straight routes are a good thing to avoid. They're probably choked up with ships. 
And besides-" 

"Oh, for Galaxy's sake, stop driveling and slavering so much righteous indignation." Her hands 
were in his hair. 

He yowled, "Ouch! Let go!" seized her wrists and whipped downward, whereupon Toran, Bayta, 
and chair formed a tangled threesome on the floor. It degenerated into a panting wrestling 
match, composed mostly of choking laughter and various foul blows. 

Toran broke loose at Magnifico's breathless entrance. 

"What is it?" 

The lines of anxiety puckered the clown's face and tightened the skin whitely over the 
enormous bridge of his nose. "The instruments are behaving queerly, sir. I have not, in the 

knowledge of my ignorance, touched anything-" 

In two seconds, Toran was in the pilot room. He said quietly to Magnifico, "Wake up Ebling Mis. 
Have him come down here." 

He said to Bayta, who was trying to get a basic order back to her hair by use of her fingers, 
"We've been detected, Bay." 

"Detected?" And Bayta's arms dropped. "By whom?" 

"Galaxy knows," muttered Toran, "but I imagine by someone with blasters already ranged and 

He sat down and in a low voice was already sending into the sub-ether the ship's identification 

And when Ebling Mis entered, bathrobed and blear-eyed, Toran said with a desperate calm, "It 
seems we're inside the borders of a local Inner Kingdom which is called the Autarchy of Filia." 

"Never heard of it," said Mis, abruptly. 

"Well, neither did I," replied Toran, "but we're being stopped by a Filian ship just the same, and 
I don't know what it will involve." 

The captain-inspector of the Filian ship crowded aboard with six armed men following him. He 
was short, thin-haired, thin-lipped, and dry-skinned. He coughed a sharp cough as he sat down 
and threw open the folio under his arm to a blank page. 

"Your passports and ship's clearance, please." 

"We have none," said Toran. 

"None, hey?" he snatched up a microphone suspended from his belt and spoke into it quickly, 
"Three men and one woman. Papers not in order." He made an accompanying notation in the 

He said, "Where are you from?" 

"Siwenna," said Toran warily. 

"Where is that?" 

"Thirty thousand parsecs, eighty degrees west Trantor, forty degrees-" 

"Never mind, never mind!" Toran could see that his inquisitor had written down: "Point of origin 
- Periphery." 

The Filian continued, "Where are you going?" 

Toran said, "Trantor sector." 


"Pleasure trip." 

"Carrying any cargo?" 


"Hm-m-m. We'll check on that." He nodded and two men jumped to activity. Toran made no 
move to interfere. 

"What brings you into Filian territory?" The Filian's eyes gleamed unamiably. 

"We didn't know we were. I lack a proper chart." 

"You will be required to pay a hundred credits for that lack - and, of course, the usual fees 
required for tariff duties, et cetera." 

He spoke again into the microphone - but listened more than he spoke. Then, to Toran, "Know 
anything about nuclear technology?" 

"A little," replied Toran, guardedly. 

"Yes?" The Filian closed his folio, and added, "The men of the Periphery have a knowledgeable 
reputation that way. Put on a suit and come with me." 

Bayta stepped forward, "What are you going to do with him?" 

Toran put her aside gently, and asked coldly, "Where do you want me to come?" 

"Our power plant needs minor adjustments. He'll come with you." His pointing finger aimed 
directly at Magnifico, whose brown eyes opened wide in a blubbery dismay. 

"What's he got to do with it?" demanded Toran fiercely. 

The official looked up coldly. "I am informed of pirate activities in this vicinity. A description of 
one of the known thugs tallies roughly. It is a purely routine matter of identification. " 

Toran hesitated, but six men and six blasters are eloquent arguments. He reached into the 
cupboard for the suits. 

An hour later, he rose upright in the bowels of the Filian ship and raged, "There's not a thing 
wrong with the motors that I can see. The busbars are true, the L-tubes are feeding properly 
and the reaction analysis checks. Who's in charge here?" 

The head engineer said quietly, "I am." 

"Well, get me out of here-" 

He was led to the officers' level and the small anteroom held only an indifferent ensign. 

"Where's the man who came with me?" 

"Please wait," said the ensign. 

It was fifteen minutes later that Magnifico was brought in. 

"What did they do to you?" asked Toran quickly. 

"Nothing. Nothing at all." Magnifico's head shook a slow negative. 

It took two hundred and fifty credits to fulfill the demands of Filia - fifty credits of it for instant 
release - and they were in free space again. 

Bayta said with a forced laugh, "Don't we rate an escort? Don't we get the usual figurative boot 
over the border?" 

And Toran replied, grimly, "That was no Filian ship - and we're not leaving for a while. Come in 

They gathered about him. 

Fie said, whitely, "That was a Foundation ship, and those were the Mule's men aboard." 

Ebling bent to pick up the cigar he had dropped. Fie said, "Flere? We're fifteen thousand 
parsecs from the Foundation." 

"And we're here. What's to prevent them from making the same trip. Galaxy, Ebling, don't you 
think I can tell ships apart? I saw their engines, and that's enough for me. I tell you it was a 
Foundation engine in a Foundation ship." 

"And how did they get here?" asked Bayta, logically. "What are the chances of a random 
meeting of two given ships in space?" 

"What's that to do with it?" demanded Toran, hotly. "It would only show we've been followed." 
"Followed?" hooted Bayta. "Through hyperspace?" 

Ebling Mis interposed wearily, "That can be done - given a good ship and a great pilot. But the 
possibility doesn't impress me." 

"I haven't been masking my trail," insisted Toran. "I've been building up take-off speed on the 
straight. A blind man could have calculated our route." 

"The blazes he could," cried Bayta. "With the cockeyed jumps you are making, observing our 
initial direction didn't mean a thing. We came out of the jump wrong-end forwards more than 

"We're wasting time," blazed Toran, with gritted teeth. "It's a Foundation ship under the Mule. 
It's stopped us. It's searched us. It's had Magnifico - alone - with me as hostage to keep the 
rest of you quiet, in case you suspected. And we're going to bum it out of space right now." 

"Flold on now," and Ebling Mis clutched at him. "Are you going to destroy us for one ship you 
think is an enemy? Think, man, would those scuppers chase us over an impossible route half 
through the bestinkered Galaxy, look us over, and then let us go?' 

"They're still interested in where we're going." 

"Then why stop us and put us on our guard? You can't have it both ways, you know." 

"I'll have it my way. Let go of me, Ebling, or I'll knock you down." 

Magnifico leaned forward from his balanced perch on his favorite chair back. His long nostrils 
flared with excitement. "I crave your pardon for my interruption, but my poor mind is of a 
sudden plagued with a queer thought." 

Bayta anticipated Toran's gesture of annoyance, and added her grip to Ebling's. "Go ahead and 
speak, Magnifico. We will all listen faithfully." 

Magnifico said, "In my stay in their ship what addled wits I have were bemazed and bemused 
by a chattering fear that befell men. Of a truth I have a lack of memory of most that happened. 
Many men staring at me, and talk I did not understand. But towards the last - as though a 
beam of sunlight had dashed through a cloud rift - there was a face I knew. A glimpse, the 
merest glimmer - and yet it glows in my memory ever stronger and brighter." 

Toran said, "Who was it?" 

"That captain who was with us so long a time ago, when first you saved me from slavery." 

It had obviously been Magnifico's intention to create a sensation, and the delighted smile that 
curled broadly in the shadow of his proboscis, attested to his realization of the intention's 

"Captain ... Han ... Pritcher?" demanded Mis, sternly. "You're sure of that? Certain sure now?" 

"Sir, I swear," and he laid a bone-thin hand upon his narrow chest. "I would uphold the truth of it 
before the Mule and swear it in his teeth, though all his power were behind him to deny it." 

Bayta said in pure wonder, "Then what's it all about?" The clown faced her eagerly, "My lady, I 
have a theory. It came upon me, ready made, as though the Galactic Spirit had gently laid it in 
my mind." He actually raised his voice above Toran's interrupting objection. 

"My lady," he addressed himself exclusively to Bayta, "if this captain had, like us, escaped with 
a ship; if he, like us, were on a trip for a purpose of his own devising; if he blundered upon us - 
he would suspect us of following and waylaying him, as we suspect him of the like. What 
wonder he played this comedy to enter our ship?" 

"Why would he want us in his ship, then?" demanded Toran. "That doesn't fit." 

"Why, yes, it does," clamored the clown, with a flowing inspiration. "He sent an underling who 
knew us not, but who described us into his microphone. The listening captain would be struck 
at my own poor likeness - for, of a truth there are not many in this great Galaxy who bear a 
resemblance to my scantiness. I was the proof of the identity of the rest of you." 

"And so he leaves us?" 

"What do we know of his mission, and the secrecy thereof? lie has spied us out for not an 
enemy and having it done so, must he needs think it wise to risk his plan by widening the 
knowledge thereof?" 

Bayta said slowly, "Don't be stubborn, Torie. It does explain things." 

"It could be," agreed Mis. 

Toran seemed helpless in the face of united resistance. Something in the clown's fluent 
explanations bothered him. Something was wrong. Yet he was bewildered and, in spite of 
himself, his anger ebbed. 

"For a while," he whispered, "I thought we might have had one of the Mule's ships." 

And his eyes were dark with the pain of Haven's loss. 

The others understood. 


NEOTRANTOR The small planet of Dellcass, renamed after the Great Sack, was for nearly a 
century, the seat of the last dynasty of the First Empire. It was a shadow world and a shadow 
Empire and Its existence Is only of legalistic importance. Under the first of the Neotrantorlan 


Neotrantor was the name! New Trantor! And when you have said the name you have 
exhausted at a stroke all the resemblances of the new Trantor to the great original. Two 
parsecs away, the sun of Old Trantor still shone and the Galaxy's Imperial Capital of the 
previous century still cut through space in the silent and eternal repetition of its orbit. 

Men even inhabited Old Trantor. Not many - a hundred million, perhaps, where fifty years 
before, forty billions had swarmed. The huge, metal world was in jagged splinters. The towering 
thrusts of the multi-towers from the single world-girdling base were torn and empty - still 
bearing the original blastholes and firegut - shards of the Great Sack of forty years earlier. 

It was strange that a world which had been the center of a Galaxy for two thousand years - that 
had ruled limitless space and been home to legislators and rulers whose whims spanned the 
parsecs - could die in a month. It was strange that a world which had been untouched through 
the vast conquering sweeps and retreats of a millennia, and equally untouched by the civil wars 
and palace revolutions of other millennia - should lie dead at last. It was strange that the Glory 
of the Galaxy should be a rotting corpse. 

And pathetic! 

For centuries would yet pass before the mighty works of fifty generations of humans would 
decay past use. Only the declining powers of men, themselves, rendered them useless now. 

The millions left after the billions had died tore up the gleaming metal base of the planet and 
exposed soil that had not felt the touch of sun in a thousand years. 

Surrounded by the mechanical perfections of human efforts, encircled by the industrial marvels 
of mankind freed of the tyranny of environment - they returned to the land. In the huge traffic 

clearings, wheat and corn grew. In the shadow of the towers, sheep grazed. 

But Neotrantor existed - an obscure village of a planet drowned in the shadow of mighty 
Trantor, until a heart-throttled royal family, racing before the fire and flame of the Great Sack 
sped to it as its last refuge - and held out there, barely, until the roaring wave of rebellion 
subsided. There it ruled in ghostly splendor over a cadaverous remnant of Imperium. 

Twenty agricultural worlds were a Galactic Empire! 

Dagobert IX, ruler of twenty worlds of refractory squires and sullen peasants, was Emperor of 
the Galaxy, Lord of the Universe. 

Dagobert IX had been twenty-five on the bloody day he arrived with his father upon Neotrantor. 
His eyes and mind were still alive with the glory and the power of the Empire that was. But his 
son, who might one day be Dagobert X, was born on Neotrantor. 

Twenty worlds were all he knew. 

Jord Commason's open air car was the finest vehicle of its type on all Neotrantor - and, after 
all, justly so. It did not end with the fact that Commason was the largest landowner on 
Neotrantor. It began there. For in earlier days he had been the companion and evil genius of a 
young crown prince, restive in the dominating grip of a middle-aged emperor. And now he was 
the companion and still the evil genius of a middle-aged crown prince who hated and 
dominated an old emperor. 

So Jord Commason, in his air car, which in mother-of-pearl finish and gold-and-lumetron 
ornamentation needed no coat of arms as owner's identification, surveyed the lands that were 
his, and the miles of rolling wheat that were his, and the huge threshers and harvesters that 
were his, and the tenant-farmers and machine-tenders that were his - and considered his 
problems cautiously. 

Beside him, his bent and withered chauffeur guided the ship gently through the upper winds 
and smiled. 

Jord Commason spoke to the wind, the air, and the sky, "You remember what I told you, 

Inchney's thin gray hair wisped lightly in the wind. His gap-toothed smile widened in its 
thin-lipped fashion and the vertical wrinkles of his cheeks deepened as though he were keeping 
an eternal secret from himself. The whisper of his voice whistled between his teeth. 

"I remember, sire, and I have thought." 

"And what have you thought, Inchney?" There was an impatience about the question. 

Inchney remembered that he had been young and handsome, and a lord on Old Trantor. 
Inchney remembered that he was a disfigured ancient on Neotrantor, who lived by grace of 
Squire Jord Commason, and paid for the grace by lending his subtlety on request. He sighed 
very softly. 

He whispered again, "Visitors from the Foundation, sire, are a convenient thing to have. 

Especially, sire, when they come with but a single ship, and but a single fighting man. How 
welcome they might be." 

"Welcome?" said Commason, gloomily. "Perhaps so. But those men are magicians and may be 

"Pugh," muttered Inchney, "the mistiness of distance hides the truth. The Foundation is but a 
world. Its citizens are but men. If you blast them, they die." 

Inchney held the ship on its course - A river was a winding sparkle below. He whispered, "And 
is there not a man they speak of now who stirs the worlds of the Periphery?" 

Commason was suddenly suspicious. "What do you know of this?" 

There was no smile on his chauffeur's face. "Nothing, sire. It was but an idle question." 

The squire's hesitation was short. He said, with brutal directness, "Nothing you ask is idle, and 
your method of acquiring knowledge will have your scrawny neck in a vise yet. But - I have it! 
This man is called the Mule, and a subject of his had been here some months ago on a ... 
matter of business. I await another... now ... for its conclusion." 

"And these newcomers? They are not the ones you want, perhaps?" 

"They lack the identification they should have." 

"It has been reported that the Foundation has been captured-" 

"I did not tell you that." 

"It has been so reported," continued Inchney, coolly, "and if that is correct, then these may be 
refugees from the destruction, and may be held for the Mule's man out of honest friendship." 

"Yes?" Commason was uncertain. 

"And, sire, since it is well-known that the friend of a conqueror is but the last victim, it would be 
but a measure of honest self-defense. For there are such things as psychic probes, and here 
we have four Foundation brains. There is much about the Foundation it would be useful to 
know, much even about the Mule. And then the Mule's friendship would be a trifle the less 

Commason, in the quiet of the upper air, returned with a shiver to his first thought. "But if the 
Foundation has not fallen. If the reports are lies. It is said that it has been foretold it can not 

"We are past the age of soothsayers, sire." 

"And yet if it did not fall, Inchney. Think! If it did not fall. The Mule made me promises, indeed-" 
He had gone too far, and backtracked. "That is, he made boasts. But boasts are wind and 
deeds are hard." 

Inchney laughed noiselessly. "Deeds are hard indeed, until begun. One could scarcely find a 
further fear than a Galaxy-end Foundation." 

"There is still the prince," murmured Commason, almost to himself. 

"He deals with the Mule also, then, sire?" 

Commason could not quite choke down the complacent shift of features. "Not entirely. Not as / 
do. But he grows wilder, more uncontrollable. A demon is upon him. If I seize these people and 
he takes them away for his own use - for he does not lack a certain shrewdness - I am not yet 
ready to quarrel with him." He frowned and his heavy cheeks bent downwards with dislike. 

"I saw those strangers for a few moments yesterday," said the gray chauffeur, irrelevantly, "and 
it is a strange woman, that dark one. she walks with the freedom of a man and she is of a 
startling paleness against the dark luster of hair." There was almost a warmth in the husky 
whisper of the withered voice, so that Commason turned toward him in sudden surprise. 

Inchney continued, "The prince, I think, would not find his shrewdness proof against a 
reasonable compromise. You could have the rest, if you left him the girl-" 

A light broke upon Commason, "A thought! Indeed a thought! Inchney, turn back! And Inchney, 
if all turns well, we will discuss further this matter of your freedom." 

It was with an almost superstitious sense of symbolism that Commason found a Personal 
Capsule waiting for him in his private study when he returned. It had arrived by a wavelength 
known to few. Commason smiled a fat smile. The Mule's man was coming and the Foundation 
had indeed fallen. 

Bayta's misty visions, when she had them, of an Imperial palace, did not jibe with the reality, 
and inside her, there was a vague sense of disappointment. The room was small, almost plain, 
almost ordinary. The palace did not even match the mayor's residence back at the Foundation 
- and Dagobert IX - 

Bayta had definite ideas of what an emperor ought to look like. He ought not look like 
somebody's benevolent grandfather. He ought not be thin and white and faded - or serving 
cups of tea with his own hand in an expressed anxiety for the comfort of his visitors. 

But so it was. 

Dagobert IX chuckled as he poured tea into her stiffly outheld cup. 

"This is a great pleasure for me, my dear. It is a moment away from ceremony and courtiers. I 
have not had the opportunity for welcoming visitors from my outer provinces for a time now. My 
son takes care of these details now that I'm older. You haven't met my son? A fine boy. 
Headstrong, perhaps. But then he's young. Do you care for a flavor capsule? No?" 

Toran attempted an interruption, "Your imperial majesty-" 


"Your imperial majesty, it has not been our intention to intrude upon you-" 

"Nonsense, there is no intrusion. Tonight there will be the official reception, but until then, we 
are free. Let's see, where did you say you were from? It seems a long time since we had an 

official reception. You said you were from the Province of Anacreon?" 

"From the Foundation, your imperial majesty!" 

"Yes, the Foundation. I remember now. I had it located. It is in the Province of Anacreon. I have 
never been there. My doctor forbids extensive traveling. I don't recall any recent reports from 
my viceroy at Anacreon. Flow are conditions there?" he concluded anxiously. 

"Sire," mumbled Toran, "I bring no complaints." 

"That is gratifying. I will commend my viceroy." 

Toran looked helplessly at Ebling Mis, whose brusque voice rose. "Sire, we have been told that 
it will require your permission for us to visit the Imperial University Library on Trantor." 

"Trantor?" questioned the emperor, mildly, "Trantor?" 

Then a look of puzzled pain crossed his thin face. "Trantor?" he whispered. "I remember now. I 
am making plans now to return there with a flood of ships at my back. You shall come with me. 
Together we will destroy the rebel, Gilmer. Together we shall restore the empire!" 

His bent back had straightened. His voice had strengthened. For a moment his eyes were hard. 
Then, he blinked and said softly, "But Gilmer is dead. I seem to remember - Yes. Yes! Gilmer 
is dead! Trantor is dead - For a moment, it seemed - Where was it you said you came from?" 

Magnifico whispered to Bayta, "Is this really an emperor? For somehow I thought emperors 
were greater and wiser than ordinary men." 

Bayta motioned him quiet. She said, "If your imperial majesty would but sign an order permitting 
us to go to Trantor, it would avail greatly the common cause." 

"To Trantor?" The emperor was blank and uncomprehending. 

"Sire, the Viceroy of Anacreon, in whose name we speak, sends word that Gilmer is yet alive-" 
"Alive! Alive!" thundered Dagobert. "Where? It will be war!" 

"Your imperial majesty, it must not yet be known. His whereabouts are uncertain. The viceroy 
sends us to acquaint you of the fact, and it is only on Trantor that we may find his hiding place. 
Once discovered-" 

"Yes, yes - Fie must be found-" The old emperor doddered to the wall and touched the little 
photocell with a trembling finger. Fie muttered, after an ineffectual pause, "My servants do not 
come. I can not wait for them." 

Fie was scribbling on a blank sheet, and ended with a flourished "D." Fie said, "Gilmer will yet 
learn the power of his emperor. Where was it you came from? Anacreon? What are the 
conditions there? Is the name of the emperor powerful?" 

Bayta took the paper from his loose fingers, "Your imperial majesty is beloved by the people. 
Your love for them is widely known." 

"I shall have to visit my good people of Anacreon, but my doctor says ... I don't remember what 
he says, but-" He looked up, his old gray eyes sharp, "Were you saying something of Gilmer?" 

"No, your imperial majesty." 

"He shall not advance further. Go back and tell your people that. Trantor shall hold! My father 
leads the fleet now, and the rebel vermin Gilmer shall freeze in space with his regicidal rabble." 

He staggered into a seat and his eyes were blank once more. "What was I saying?" 

Toran rose and bowed low, "Your imperial majesty has been kind to us, but the time allotted us 
for an audience is over." 

For a moment, Dagobert IX looked like an emperor indeed as he rose and stood stiff-backed 
while, one by one, his visitors retreated backward through the door 

-to where twenty armed men intervened and locked a circle about them. 

A hand-weapon flashed- 

To Bayta, consciousness returned sluggishly, but without the "Where am I?" sensation. She 
remembered clearly the odd old man who called himself emperor, and the other men who 
waited outside. The arthritic tingle in her finger joints meant a stun pistol. 

She kept her eyes closed, and listened with painful attention to the voices. 

There were two of them. One was slow and cautious, with a slyness beneath the surface 
obsequity. The other was hoarse and thick, almost sodden, and blurted out in viscous spurts. 
Bayta liked neither. 

The thick voice was predominant. 

Bayta caught the last words, "He will live forever, that old madman. It wearies me. It annoys 
me. Commason, I will have it. I grow older, too." 

"Your highness, let us first see of what use these people are. It may be we shall have sources 
of strength other than your father still provides." 

The thick voice was lost in a bubbling whisper. Bayta caught only the phrase, " -the girl-" but 
the other, fawning voice was a nasty, low, running chuckle followed by a comradely, 
near-patronizing, "Dagobert, you do not age. They lie who say you are not a youth of twenty." 

They laughed together, and Bayta's blood was an icy trickle. Dagobert - your highness - The 
old emperor had spoken of a headstrong son, and the implication of the whispers now beat 
dully upon her. But such things didn't happen to people in real life— 

Toran's voice broke upon her in a slow, hard current of cursing. 

She opened her eyes, and Toran's, which were upon her, showed open relief. He said, fiercely, 
"This banditry will be answered by the emperor. Release us." 

It dawned upon Bayta that her wrists and ankles were fastened to wall and floor by a tight 

attraction field. 

Thick Voice approached Toran. He was paunchy, his lower eyelids puffed darkly, and his hair 
was thinning out. There was a gay feather in his peaked hat, and the edging of his doublet was 
embroidered with silvery metal-foam. 

He sneered with a heavy amusement. "The emperor? The poor, mad emperor?" 

"I have his pass. No subject may hinder our freedom." 

"But I am no subject, space-garbage. I am the regent and crown prince and am to be 
addressed as such. As for my poor silly father, it amuses him to see visitors occasionally. And 
we humor him. It tickles his mock-imperial fancy. But, of course, it has no other meaning." 

And then he was before Bayta, and she looked up at him contemptuously. He leaned close and 
his breath was overpoweringly minted. 

He said, "Her eyes suit well, Commason - she is even prettier with them open. I think she'll do. 
It will be an exotic dish for a jaded taste, eh?" 

There was a futile surge upwards on Toran's part, which the crown prince ignored and Bayta 
felt the iciness travel outward to the skin. Ebling Mis was still out; head lolling weakly upon his 
chest, but, with a sensation of surprise, Bayta noted that Magnifico's eyes were open, sharply 
open, as though awake for many minutes. Those large brown eyes swiveled towards Bayta and 
stared at her out of a doughy face. 

He whimpered, and nodded with his head towards the crown prince, "That one has my 

The crown prince turned sharply toward the new voice, "This is yours, monster?" He swung the 
instrument from his shoulder where it had hung, suspended by its green strap, unnoticed by 

He fingered it clumsily, tried to sound a chord and got nothing for his pains, "Can you play it, 

Magnifico nodded once. 

Toran said suddenly, "You've rifled a ship of the Foundation. If the emperor will not avenge, the 
Foundation will." 

It was the other, Commason, who answered slowly, "What Foundation? Or is the Mule no 
longer the Mule?" 

There was no answer to that. The prince's grin showed large uneven teeth. The clown's binding 
field was broken and he was nudged ungently to his feet. The Visi-Sonor was thrust into his 

"Play for us, monster," said the prince. "Play us a serenade of love and beauty for our foreign 
lady here. Tell her that my father's country prison is no palace, but that I can take her to one 
where she can swim in rose water - and know what a prince's love is. Sing of a prince's love, 


He placed one thick thigh upon a marble table and swung a leg idly, while his fatuous smiling 
stare swept Bayta into a silent rage. Toran's sinews strained against the field, in painful, 
perspiring effort. Ebling Mis stirred and moaned. 

Magnifico gasped, "My fingers are of useless stiffness-" 

"Play, monster!" roared the prince. The lights dimmed at a gesture to Commason and in the 
dimness he crossed his arms and waited. 

Magnifico drew his fingers in rapid, rhythmic jumps from end to end of the multikeyed 
instrument - and a sharp, gliding rainbow of light jumped across the room. A low, soft tone 
sounded - throbbing, tearful. It lifted in sad laughter, and underneath it there sounded a dull 

The darkness seemed to intensify and grow thick. Music reached Bayta through the muffled 
folds of invisible blankets. Gleaming light reached her from the depths as though a single 
candle glowed at the bottom of a pit. 

Automatically, her eyes strained. The light brightened, but remained blurred. It moved fuzzily, in 
confused color, and the music was suddenly brassy, evil - flourishing in high crescendo. The 
light flickered quickly, in swift motion to the wicked rhythm. Something writhed within the light. 
Something with poisonous metallic scales writhed and yawned. And the music writhed and 
yawned with it. 

Bayta struggled with a strange emotion and then caught herself in a mental gasp. Almost, it 
reminded her of the time in the Time Vault, of those last days on Haven. It was that horrible, 
cloying, clinging spiderweb of horror and despair. She shrunk beneath it oppressed. 

The music dinned upon her, laughing horribly, and the writhing terror at the wrong end of the 
telescope in the small circle of light was lost as she turned feverishly away. Her forehead was 
wet and cold. 

The music died. It must have lasted fifteen minutes, and a vast pleasure at its absence flooded 
Bayta. Light glared, and Magnifico's face was close to hers, sweaty, wild-eyed, lugubrious. 

"My lady," he gasped, "how fare you?" 

"Well enough," she whispered, "but why did you play like that?" 

She became aware of the others in the room. Toran and Mis were limp and helpless against 
the wall, but her eyes skimmed over them. There was the prince, lying strangely still at the foot 
of the table. There was Commason, moaning wildly through an open, drooling mouth. 

Commason flinched, and yelled mindlessly, as Magnifico took a step towards him. 

Magnifico turned, and with a leap, turned the others loose. 

Toran lunged upwards and with eager, taut fists seized the landowner by the neck, "You come 
with us. We'll want you - to make sure we get to our ship." 

Two hours later, in the ship's kitchen, Bayta served a walloping homemade pie, and Magnifico 
celebrated the return to space by attacking it with a magnificent disregard of table manners. 

"Good, Magnifico?" 



"Yes, my lady?" 

"What was it you played back there?" 

The clown writhed, "I ... I'd rather not say. I learned it once, and the Visi-Sonor is of an effect 
upon the nervous system most profound. Surely, it was an evil thing, and not for your sweet 
innocence, my lady." 

"Oh, now, come, Magnifico. I'm not as innocent as that. Don't flatter so. Did I see anything like 
what f/7eysaw?" 

"I hope not. I played it for them only. If you saw, it was but the rim of it - from afar." 

"And that was enough. Do you know you knocked the prince out?" 

Magnifico spoke grimly through a large, muffling piece of pie. "I killed h\rr\, my lady." 

"What?" She swallowed, painfully. 

"He was dead when I stopped, or I would have continued. I cared not for Commason. His 
greatest threat was death or torture. But, my lady, this prince looked upon you wickedly, and-" 
he choked in a mixture of indignation and embarrassment. 

Bayta felt strange thoughts come and repressed them sternly. "Magnifico, you've got a gallant 

"Oh, my lady." He bent a red nose into his pie, but, somehow did not eat. 

Ebling Mis stared out the port. Trantor was near - its metallic shine fearfully bright. Toran was 
standing there, too. 

He said with dull bitterness, "We've come for nothing, Ebling. The Mule's man precedes us." 

Ebling Mis rubbed his forehead with a hand that seemed shriveled out of its former plumpness. 
His voice was an abstracted mutter. 

Toran was annoyed. "I say those people know the Foundation has fallen. I say-" 

"Eh?" Mis looked up, puzzled. Then, he placed a gentle hand upon Toran's wrist, in complete 
oblivion of any previous conversation, "Toran, I ... I've been looking at Trantor. Do you know ... I 
have the queerest feeling ... ever since we arrived on Neotrantor. It's an urge, a driving urge 
that's pushing and pushing inside. Toran, I can do it; I know I can do it. Things are becoming 
clear in my mind - they have never been so clear." 

Toran stared - and shrugged. The words brought him no confidence. 

He said, tentatively, "Mis?" 


"You didn't see a ship come down on Neotrantor as we left?" 

Consideration was brief. "No." 

"I did. Imagination, I suppose, but it could have been that Filian ship." 

"The one with Captain Han Pritcher on it?" 

"The one with space knows who upon it. Magnifico's information - It followed us here, Mis." 
Ebling Mis said nothing, 

Toran said strenuously, "is there anything wrong with you? Aren't you well?" 

Mis's eyes were thoughtful, luminous, and strange. He did not answer. 


The location of an objective upon the great world of Trantor presents a problem unique in the 
Galaxy. There are no continents or oceans to locate from a thousand miles distance. There are 
no rivers, lakes, and islands to catch sight of through the cloud rifts. 

The metal-covered world was - had been - one colossal city, and only the old Imperial palace 
could be identified readily from outer space by a stranger. The Bayta circled the world at almost 
air-car height in repeated painful search. 

From polar regions, where the icy coating of the metal spires were somber evidence of the 
breakdown or neglect of the weather-conditioning machinery, they worked southwards. 
Occasionally they could experiment with the correlations -(or presumable correlations)- 
between what they saw and what the inadequate map obtained at Neotrantor showed. 

But it was unmistakable when it came. The gap in the metal coat of the planet was fifty miles. 
The unusual greenery spread over hundreds of square miles, inclosing the mighty grace of the 
ancient Imperial residences. 

The Bayta hovered and slowly oriented itself. There were only the huge supercauseways to 
guide them. Long straight arrows on the map, smooth, gleaming ribbons there below them. 

What the map indicated to be the University area was reached by dead reckoning, and upon 
the flat area of what once must have been a busy landing-field, the ship lowered itself. 

It was only as they submerged into the welter of metal that the smooth beauty apparent from 
the air dissolved into the broken, twisted near-wreckage that had been left in the wake of the 
Sack. Spires were truncated, smooth walls gouted and twisted, and just for an instant there was 

the glimpse of a shaven area of earth - perhaps several hundred acres in extent - dark and 

Lee Senter waited as the ship settled downward cautiously. It was a strange ship, not from 
Neotrantor, and inwardly he sighed. Strange ships and confused dealings with the men of outer 
space could mean the end of the short days of peace, a return to the old grandiose times of 
death and battle. Senter was leader of the group; the old books were in his charge and he had 
read of those old days. He did not want them. 

Perhaps ten minutes spent themselves as the strange ship came down to nestle upon the 
flatness, but long memories telescoped themselves in that time. There was first the great farm 
of his childhood - that remained in his mind merely as busy crowds of people. Then there was 
the trek of the young families to new lands. He was ten, then; an only child, puzzled, and 

Then the new buildings; the great metal slabs to be uprooted and tom aside; the exposed soil 
to be turned, and freshened, and invigorated; neighboring buildings to be tom down and 
leveled; others to be transformed to living quarters. 

There were crops to be grown and harvested; peaceful relations with neighboring farms to be 

There was growth and expansion, and the quiet efficiency of self-rule. There was the coming of 
a new generation of hard, little youngsters born to the soil. There was the great day when he 
was chosen leader of the Group and for the first time since his eighteenth birthday he did not 
shave and saw the first stubble of his Leader's Beard appear. 

And now the Galaxy might intrude and put an end to the brief idyll of isolation- 

The ship landed. He watched wordlessly as the port opened. Four emerged, cautious and 
watchful. There were three men, varied, old, young, thin and beaked. And a woman striding 
among them like an equal. His hand left the two glassy black tufts of his beard as he stepped 

He gave the universal gesture of peace. Both hands were before him; hard, calloused palms 

The young man approached two steps and duplicated the gesture. "I come in peace." 

The accent was strange, but the words were understandable, and welcome. He replied, deeply, 
"In peace be it. You are welcome to the hospitality of the Group. Are you hungry? You shall eat. 
Are you thirsty? You shall drink." 

Slowly, the reply came, "We thank you for your kindness, and shall bear good report of your 
Group when we return to our world." 

A queer answer, but good. Behind him, the men of the Group were smiling, and from the 
recesses of the surrounding structures, the women emerged. 

In his own quarters, he removed the locked, mirror-walled box from its hidden place, and 

offered each of the guests the long, plump cigars that were reserved for great occasions. 

Before the woman, he hesitated. She had taken a seat among the men. The strangers 
evidently allowed, even expected, such effrontery. Stiffly, he offered the box. 

She accepted one with a smile, and drew in its aromatic smoke, with all the relish one could 
expect. Lee Senter repressed a scandalized emotion. 

The stiff conversation, in advance of the meal, touched politely upon the subject of fanning on 

It was the old man who asked, "What about hydroponics? Surely, for such a world as Trantor, 
hydroponics would be the answer." 

Senter shook his head slowly. He felt uncertain. His knowledge was the unfamiliar matter of the 
books he had read, "Artificial fanning in chemicals, I think? No, not on Trantor. This 
hydroponics requires a world of industy - for instance, a great chemical industry. And in war or 
disaster, when industry breaks down, the people starve. Nor can all foods be grown artificially. 
Some lose their food value. The soil is cheaper, still better - always more dependable." 

"And your food supply is sufficient?" 

"Sufficient; perhaps monotonous. We have fowl that supply eggs, and milk-yielders for our dairy 
products - but our meat supply rests upon our foreign trade." 

"Trade." The young man seemed roused to sudden interest. "You trade then. But what do you 

"Metal," was the curt answer. "Look for yourself. We have an infinite supply, ready processed. 
They come from Neotrantor with ships, demolish an indicated area-increasing our growing 
space - and leave us in exchange meat, canned fruit, food concentrates, farm machinery and 
so on. They carry off the metal and both sides profit." 

They feasted on bread and cheese, and a vegetable stew that was unreservedly delicious. It 
was over the dessert of frosted fruit, the only imported item on the menu, that, for the first time, 
the Outlanders became other than mere guests. The young man produced a map of Trantor. 

Calmly, Lee Senter studied it. He listened - and said gravely, "The University Grounds are a 
static area. We farmers do not grow crops on it. We do not, by preference, even enter it. It is 
one of our few relics of another time we would keep undisturbed." 

"We are seekers after knowledge. We would disturb nothing. Our ship would be our hostage." 
The old man offered this - eagerly, feverishly. 

"I can take you there then," said Senter. 

That night the strangers slept, and that night Lee Senter sent a message to Neotrantor. 


The thin life of Trantor trickled to nothing when they entered among the wide-spaced buildings 
of the University grounds. There was a solemn and lonely silence over it. 

The strangers of the Foundation knew nothing of the swirling days and nights of the bloody 
Sack that had left the University untouched. They knew nothing of the time after the collapse of 
the Imperial power, when the students, with their borrowed weapons, and their pale-faced 
inexperienced bravery, formed a protective volunteer army to protect the central shrine of the 
science of the Galaxy. They knew nothing of the Seven Days Fight, and the armistice that kept 
the University free, when even the Imperial palace clanged with the boots of Gilmer and his 
soldiers, during the short interval of their rule. 

Those of the Foundation, approaching for the first time, realized only that in a world of transition 
from a gutted old to a strenuous new this area was a quiet, graceful museum-piece of ancient 

They were intruders in a sense. The brooding emptiness rejected them. The academic 
atmosphere seemed still to live and to stir angrily at the disturbance. 

The library was a deceptively small building which broadened out vastly underground into a 
mammoth volume of silence and reverie. Ebling Mis paused before the elaborate murals of the 
reception room. 

Fie whispered - one had to whisper here: "I think we passed the catalog rooms back a way. I'll 
stop there." 

His forehead was flushed, his hand trembling, "I mustn't be disturbed, Toran. Will you bring my 
meals down to me?" 

"Anything you say. We'll do all we can to help. Do you want us to work under you-" 

"No. I must be alone-" 

"You think you will get what you want." 

And Ebling Mis replied with a soft certainty, "I know I will!" 

Toran and Bayta came closer to "setting up housekeeping" in normal fashion than at any time 
in their year of married life. It was a strange sort of "housekeeping." They lived in the middle of 
grandeur with an inappropriate simplicity. Their food was drawn largely from Lee Senter's farm 
and was paid for in the little nuclear gadgets that may be found on any Trader's ship. 

Magnifico taught himself how to use the projectors in the library reading room, and sat over 
adventure novels and romances to the point where he was almost as forgetful of meals and 
sleep as was Ebling Mis. 

Ebling himself was completely buried. Fie had insisted on a hammock being slung up for him in 
the Psychology Reference Room. His face grew thin and white. His vigor of speech was lost 
and his favorite curses had died a mild death. There were times when the recognition of either 

Toran or Bayta seemed a struggle. 

He was more himself with Magnifico who brought him his meals and often sat watching him for 
hours at a time, with a queer, fascinated absorption, as the aging psychologist transcribed 
endless equations, cross-referred to endless book-films, scurried endlessly about in a wild 
mental effort towards an end he alone saw. 

Toran came upon her in the darkened room, and said sharply, "Bayta!" 

Bayta started guiltily. "Yes? You want me, Torie?" 

"Sure I want you. What in Space are you sitting there for? You've been acting all wrong since 
we got to Trantor. What's the matter with you?" 

"Oh, Torie, stop," she said, wearily. 

And "Oh, Torie, stop!" he mimicked impatiently. Then, with sudden softness, "Won't you tell me 
what's wrong, Bay? Something's bothering you." 

"No! Nothing is, Torie. If you keep on just nagging and nagging, you'll have me mad. I'm just — 

"Thinking about what?" 

"About nothing. Well, about the Mule, and Haven, and the Foundation, and everything. About 
Ebling Mis and whether he'll find anything about the Second Foundation, and whether it will 
help us when he does find it - and a million other things. Are you satisfied?" Her voice was 

"If you're just brooding, do you mind stopping? It isn't pleasant and it doesn't help the situation." 
Bayta got to her feet and smiled weakly. "All right. I'm happy. See, I'm smiling and jolly." 
Magnifico's voice was an agitated cry outside. "My lady-" 

"What is it? Come-" 

Bayta's voice choked off sharply when the opening door framed the large, hard-faced- 
"Pritcher," cried Toran. 

Bayta gasped, "Captain! How did you find us?" 

Han Pritcher stepped inside. His voice was clear and level, and utterly dead of feeling, "My rank 
is colonel now - under the Mule." 

"Under the ... Mule!" Toran's voice trailed off. They formed a tableau there, the three. 

Magnifico stared wildly and shrank behind Toran. Nobody stopped to notice him. 

Bayta said, her hands trembling in each other's tight grasp, "You are arresting us? You have 
really gone over to them?" 

The colonel replied quickly, "I have not come to arrest you. My instructions make no mention of 
you. With regard to you, I am free, and I choose to exercise our old friendship, if you will let 

Toran's face was a twisted suppression of fury, "How did you find us? You were in the Filian 
ship, then? You followed us?" 

The wooden lack of expression on Pritcher's face might have flickered in embarrassment. "I 
was on the Filian ship! I met you in the first place ... well ... by chance." 

"It is a chance that is mathematically impossible." 

"No. Simply rather improbable, so my statement will have to stand. In any case, you admitted to 
the. Filians - there is, of course, no such nation as Filia actually - that you were heading for the 
Trantor sector, and since the Mule already had his contacts upon Neotrantor, it was easy to 
have you detained there. Unfortunately, you got away before I arrived, but not long before. I 
had time to have the farms on Trantor ordered to report your arrival. It was done and I am here. 
May I sit down? I come in friendliness, believe me. 

He sat. Toran bent his head and thought futilely. With a numbed lack of emotion, Bayta 
prepared tea. 

Toran looked up harshly. "Well, what are you waiting for - colonel? What's your friendship? If 
it's not arrest, what is it then? Protective custody? Call in your men and give your orders." 

Patiently, Pritcher shook his head. "No, Toran. I come of my own will to speak to you, to 
persuade you of the uselessness of what you are doing. If I fail I shall leave. That is all." 

"That is all? Well, then peddle your propaganda, give us your speech, and leave. I don't want 
any tea, Bayta." 

Pritcher accepted a cup, with a grave word of thanks. He looked at Toran with a clear strength 
as he sipped lightly. Then he said, "The Mule is a mutant. He can not be beaten in the very 
nature of the mutation-" 

"Why? What is the mutation?" asked Toran, with sour humor. "I suppose you'll tell us now, eh?" 

"Yes, I will. Your knowledge won't hurt him. You see - he is capable of adjusting the emotional 
balance of human beings. It sounds like a little trick, but it's quite unbeatable." 

Bayta broke in, "The emotional balance?" She frowned, "Won't you explain that? I don't quite 

"I mean that it is an easy matter for him to instill into a capable general, say, the emotion of 
utter loyalty to the Mule and complete belief in the Mule's victory. His generals are emotionally 
controlled. They can not betray him; they can not weaken - and the control is permanent. His 
most capable enemies become his most faithful subordinates, The warlord of Kalgan 
surrenders his planet and becomes his viceroy for the Foundation." 

"And you," added Bayta, bitterly, "betray your cause and become Mule's envoy to Trantor. I 

"I haven't finished. The Mule's gift works in reverse even more effectively. Despair is an 
emotion! At the crucial moment, keymen on the Foundation - keymen on Haven - despaired. 
Their worlds fell without too much struggle." 

"Do you mean to say," demanded Bayta, tensely, "that the feeling I had in the Time Vault was 
the Mule juggling my emotional control." 

"Mine, too. Everyone's. How was it on Haven towards the end?" 

Bayta turned away. 

Colonel Pritcher continued earnestly, "As it works for worlds, so it works for individuals. Can 
you fight a force which can make you surrender willingly when it so desires; can make you a 
faithful servant when it so desires?" 

Toran said slowly, "How do I know this is the truth?" 

"Can you explain the fall of the Foundation and of Haven otherwise? Can you explain my 
conversion otherwise? Think, man! What have you - or I - or the whole Galaxy accomplished 
against the Mule in all this time? What one little thing?" 

Toran felt the challenge, "By the Galaxy, I can!" With a sudden touch of fierce satisfaction, he 
shouted, "Your wonderful Mule had contacts with Neotrantor you say that were to have 
detained us, eh? Those contacts are dead or worse. We killed the crown prince and left the 
other a whimpering idiot. The Mule did not stop us there, and that much has been undone." 

"Why, no, not at all. Those weren't our men. The crown prince was a wine-soaked mediocrity. 
The other man, Commason, is phenomenally stupid. He was a power on his world but that 
didn't prevent him from being vicious, evil, and completely incompetent. We had nothing really 
to do with them. They were, in a sense, merely feints-" 

"It was they who detained us, or tried." 

"Again, no. Commason had a personal slave - a man called Inchney. Detention was his policy. 
He is old, but will serve our temporary purpose. You would not have killed him, you see." 

Bayta whirled on him. She had not touched her own tea. "But, by your very statement, your own 
emotions have been tampered with. You've got faith and belief in the Mule, an unnatural, a 
diseased faith in the Mule. Of what value are your opinions? You've lost all power of objective 

"You are wrong." Slowly, the colonel shook his head. "Only my emotions are fixed. My reason 
is as it always was. It may be influenced in a certain direction by my conditioned emotions, but 
it is not forced. And there are some things I can see more clearly now that I am freed of my 
earlier emotional trend. 

"I can see that the Mule's program is an intelligent and worthy one. In the time since I have 
been - converted, I have followed his career from its start seven years ago. With his mutant 
mental power, he began by winning over a condottiere and his band. With that - and his power 
- he won a planet. With that - and his power - he extended his grip until he could tackle the 

warlord of Kalgan. Each step followed the other logically. With Kalgan in his pocket, he had a 
first-class fleet, and with that - and his power - he could attack the Foundation. 

"The Foundation is the key. It is the greatest area of industrial concentration in the Galaxy, and 
now that the nuclear techniques of the Foundation are in his hands, he is the actual master of 
the Galaxy. With those techniques - and his power - he can force the remnants of the Empire 
to acknowledge his rule, and eventually - with the death of the old emperor, who is mad and 
not long for this world - to crown him emperor. Fie will then have the name as well as the fact. 
With that - and his power - where is the world in the Galaxy that can oppose him? 

"In these last seven years, he has established a new Empire. In seven years, in other words, he 
will have accomplished what all Seldon's psychohistory could not have done in less than an 
additional seven hundred. The Galaxy will have peace and order at last. 

"And you could not stop it - any more than you could stop a planet's rush with your shoulders." 

A long silence followed Pritcher's speech. What remained of his tea had grown cold. Fie 
emptied his cup, filled it again, and drained it slowly. Toran bit viciously at a thumbnail. Bayta's 
face was cold, and distant, and white. 

Then Bayta said in a thin voice, "We are not convinced. If the Mule wishes us to be, let him 
come here and condition us himself. You fought him until the last moment of your conversion, I 
imagine, didn't you?" 

"I did," said Colonel Pritcher, solemnly. 

"Then allow us the same privilege." 

Colonel Pritcher arose. With a crisp air of finality, he said, "Then I leave. As I said earlier, my 
mission at present concerns you in no way. Therefore, I don't think it will be necessary to report 
your presence here. That is not too great a kindness. If the Mule wishes you stopped, he no 
doubt has other men assigned to the job, and you will be stopped. But, for what it is worth, I 
shall not contribute more than my requirement." 

"Thank you," said Bayta faintly. 

"As for Magnifico. Where is he? Come out, Magnifico, I won't hurt you-" 

"What about him?" demanded Bayta, with sudden animation. 

"Nothing. My instructions make no mention of him, either. I have heard that he is searched for, 
but the Mule will find him when the time suits him. I shall say nothing. Will you shake hands?" 

Bayta shook her head. Toran glared his frustrated contempt. 

There was the slightest lowering of the colonel's iron shoulders. Fie strode to the door, turned 
and said: 

"One last thing. Don't think I am not aware of the source of your stubbornness. It is known that 
you search for the Second Foundation. The Mule, in his time, will take his measures. Nothing 
will help you - But I knew you in other times; perhaps there is something in my conscience that 

urged me to this; at any rate, I tried to help you and remove you from the final danger before it 
was too late. Good-by." 

He saluted sharply - and was gone. 

Bayta turned to a silent Toran, and whispered, "They even know about the Second 

In the recesses of the library, Ebling Mis, unaware of all, crouched under the one spark of light 
amid the murky spaces and mumbled triumphantly to himself. 


After that there were only two weeks left to the life of Ebling Mis. 

And in those two weeks, Bayta was with him three times. The first time was on the night after 
the evening upon which they saw Colonel Pritcher. The second was one week later. And the 
third was again a week later - on the last day - the day Mis died. 

First, there was the night of Colonel Pritcher's evening, the first hour of which was spent by a 
stricken pair in a brooding, unmerry merry-go-round. 

Bayta said, "Torie, let's tell Ebling." 

Toran said dully, "Think he can help?" 

"We're only two. We've got to take some of the weight off. Maybe he can help." 

Toran said, "He's changed. He's lost weight. He's a little feathery; a little woolly." His fingers 
groped in air, metaphorically. "Sometimes, I don't think he'll help us muchever. Sometimes, I 
don't think anything will help." 

"Don't!" Bayta's voice caught and escaped a break, "Torie, don't! When you say that, I think the 
Mule's getting us. Let's tell Ebling, Torie - now!" 

Ebling Mis raised his head from the long desk, and bleared at them as they approached. His 
thinning hair was scuffed up, his lips made sleepy, smacking sounds. 

"Eh?" he said. "Someone want me?" 

Bayta bent to her knees, "Did we wake you? Shall we leave?" 

"Leave? Who is it? Bayta? No, no, stay! Aren't there chairs? I saw them-" His finger pointed 

Toran pushed two ahead of him. Bayta sat down and took one of the psychologist's flaccid 
hands in hers. "May we talk to you, Doctor?" She rarely used the title. 

"Is something wrong?" A little sparkle returned to his abstracted eyes. His sagging cheeks 
regained a touch of color. "Is something wrong?" 

Bayta said, "Captain Pritcher has been here. Let me talk, Torie. You remember Captain 
Pritcher, Doctor?" 

"Yes- Yes-" His fingers pinched his lips and released them. "Tall man. Democrat." 

"Yes, he. He's discovered the Mule's mutation. He was here, Doctor, and told us." 

"But that is nothing new. The Mule's mutation is straightened out." In honest astonishment, 
"Haven't I told you? Have I forgotten to tell you?" 

"Forgotten to tell us what?" put in Toran, quickly. 

"About the Mule's mutation, of course. He tampers with emotions. Emotional control! I haven't 
told you? Now what made me forget?" Slowly, he sucked in his under lip and considered. 

Then, slowly, life crept into his voice and his eyelids lifted wide, as though his sluggish brain 
had slid onto a well-greased single track. He spoke in a dream, looking between the two 
listeners rather than at them. "It is really so simple. It requires no specialized knowledge. In the 
mathematics of psychohistory, of course, it works out promptly, in a third-level equation 
involving no more - Never mind that. It can be put into ordinary words - roughly - and have it 
make sense, which isn't usual with psychohistorical phenomena. 

"Ask yourselves - What can upset Hari Seldon's careful scheme of history, eh?" He peered 
from one to the other with a mild, questioning anxiety. "What were Seldon's original 
assumptions? First, that there would be no fundamental change in human society over the next 
thousand years. 

"For instance, suppose there were a major change in the Galaxy's technology, such as finding 
a new principle for the utilization of energy, or perfecting the study of electronic neurobiology. 
Social changes would render Seldon's original equations obsolete. But that hasn't happened, 
has it now?" 

"Or suppose that a new weapon were to be invented by forces outside the Foundation, capable 
of withstanding all the Foundation's armaments. That might cause a ruinous deviation, though 
less certainly. But even that hasn't happened. The Mule's Nuclear Field-Depressor was a 
clumsy weapon and could be countered. And that was the only novelty he presented, poor as it 

"But there was a second assumption, a more subtle one! Seldon assumed that human reaction 
to stimuli would remain constant. Granted that the first assumption held true, then the second 
must have broken down! Some factor must be twisting and distorting the emotional responses 
of human beings or Seldon couldn't have failed and the Foundation couldn't have fallen. And 
what factor but the Mule? 

"Am I right? Is there a flaw in the reasoning?" 

Bayta's plump hand patted his gently. "No flaw, Ebling." 

Mis was joyful, like a child. "This and more comes so easily. I tell you I wonder sometimes what 
is going on inside me. I seem to recall the time when so much was a mystery to me and now 

things are so clear. Problems are absent. I come across what might be one, and somehow, 
inside me, I see and understand. And my guesses, my theories seem always to be borne out. 
There's a drive in me ... always onward ... so that I can't stop ... and I don't want to eat or sleep 
... but always go on ... and on ... and on-" 

His voice was a whisper; his wasted, blue-veined hand rested tremblingly upon his forehead. 
There was a frenzy in his eyes that faded and went out. 

He said more quietly, "Then I never told you about the Mule's mutant powers, did I? But then ... 
did you say you knew about it?" 

"It was Captain Pritcher, Ebling," said Bayta. "Remember?" 

"He told you?" There was a tinge of outrage in his tone. "But how did he find out?" 

"He's been conditioned by the Mule. He's a colonel now, a Mule's man. He came to advise us 
to surrender to the Mule, and he told us - what you told us." 

"Then the Mule knows we're here? I must hurry - Where's Magnifico? Isn't he with you?" 
"Magnifico's sleeping," said Toran, impatiently. "It's past midnight, you know." 

"It is? Then - Was I sleeping when you came in?" 

"You were," said Bayta decisively, "and you're not going back to work, either. You're getting into 
bed. Come on, Torie, help me. And you stop pushing at me, Ebling, because it's just your luck I 
don't shove you under a shower first. Pull off his shoes, Torie, and tomorrow you come down 
here and drag him out into the open air before he fades completely away. Look at you, Ebling, 
you'll be growing cobwebs. Are you hungry?" 

Ebling Mis shook his head and looked up from his cot in a peevish confusion. "I want you to 
send Magnifico down tomorrow," he muttered. 

Bayta tucked the sheet around his neck. "You'll have me down tomorrow, with washed clothes. 
You're going to take a good bath, and then get out and visit the farm and feel a little sun on 

"I won't do it," said Mis weakly. "You hear me? I'm too busy." 

His sparse hair spread out on the pillow like a silver fringe about his head. His voice was a 
confidential whisper. "You want that Second Foundation, don't you?" 

Toran turned quickly and squatted down on the cot beside him. "What about the Second 
Foundation, Ebling?" 

The psychologist freed an arm from beneath the sheet and his tired fingers clutched at Toran's 
sleeve. "The Foundations were established at a great Psychological Convention presided over 
by Hari Seldon. Toran, I have located the published minutes of that Convention. Twenty-five fat 
films. I have already looked through various summaries." 


"Well, do you know that it is very easy to find from them the exact location of the First 
Foundation, if you know anything at all about psychohistory. It is frequently referred to, when 
you understand the equations. But Toran, nobody mentions the Second Foundation, There has 
been no reference to it anywhere." 

Toran's eyebrows pulled into a frown. "It doesn't exist?" 

"Of course it exists," cried Mis, angrily, "who said it didn't? But there's less talk of it. Its 
significance - and all about it - are better hidden, better obscured. Don't you see? It's the more 
important of the two. It's the critical one; the one that counts! And I've got the minutes of the 
Seldon Convention. The Mule hasn't won yet-" 

Quietly, Bayta turned the lights down. "Go to sleep!" 

Without speaking, Toran and Bayta made their way up to their own quarters. 

The next day, Ebling Mis bathed and dressed himself, saw the sun of Trantor and felt the wind 
of Trantor for the last time. At the end of the day he was once again submerged in the gigantic 
recesses of the library, and never emerged thereafter. 

In the week that followed, life settled again into its groove. The sun of Neotrantor was a calm, 
bright star in Trantor's night sky. The farm was busy with its spring planting. The University 
grounds were silent in their desertion. The Galaxy seemed empty. The Mule might never have 

Bayta was thinking that as she watched Toran light his cigar carefully and look up at the 
sections of blue sky visible between the swarming metal spires that encircled the horizon. 

"It's a nice day," he said. 

"Yes, it is. Flave you everything mentioned on the list, Torie?" 

"Sure. Half pound butter, dozen eggs, string beans - Got it all down here, Bay. I'll have it right." 

"Good. And make sure the vegetables are of the last harvest and not museum relics. Did you 
see Magnifico anywhere, by the way?" 

"Not since breakfast. Guess he's down with Ebling, watching a book-film." 

"All right. Don't waste any time, because I'll need the eggs for dinner." 

Toran left with a backward smile and a wave of the hand. 

Bayta turned away as Toran slid out of sight among the maze of metal. She hesitated before 
the kitchen door, about-faced slowly, and entered the colonnade leading to the elevator that 
burrowed down into the recesses. 

Ebling Mis was there, head bent down over the eyepieces of the projector, motionless, a 
frozen, questing body. Near him sat Magnifico, screwed up into a chair, eyes sharp and 
watching - a bundle of slatty limbs with a nose emphasizing his scrawny face. 

Bayta said softly, "Magnifico-" 

Magnifico scrambled to his feet. His voice was an eager whisper. "My lady!" 

"Magnifico," said Bayta, "Toran has left for the farm and won't be back for a while. Would you 
be a good boy and go out after him with a message that I'll write for you?" 

"Gladly, my lady. My small services are but too eagerly yours, for the tiny uses you can put 
them to." 

She was alone with Ebling Mis, who had not moved. Firmly, she placed her hand upon his 
shoulder. "Ebling-" 

The psychologist started, with a peevish cry, "What is it?" He wrinkled his eyes. "Is it you, 
Bayta? Where's Magnifico?" 

"I sent him away. I want to be alone with you for a while." She enunciated her words with 
exaggerated distinctness. "I want to talk to you, Ebling." 

The psychologist made a move to return to his projector, but her hand on his shoulder was firm. 
She felt the bone under the sleeve clearly. The flesh seemed to have fairly melted away since 
their arrival on Trantor. His face was thin, yellowish, and bore a half-week stubble. His 
shoulders were visibly stooped, even in a sitting position. 

Bayta said, "Magnifico isn't bothering you, is he, Ebling? He seems to be down here night and 

"No, no, no! Not at all. Why, I don't mind him. He is silent and never disturbs me. Sometimes he 
carries the films back and forth for me; seems to know what I want without my speaking. Just 
let him be." 

"Very well - but, Ebling, doesn't he make you wonder? Do you hear me, Ebling? Doesn't he 
make you wonder?" 

She jerked a chair close to his and stared at him as though to pull the answer out of his eyes. 
Ebling Mis shook his head. "No. What do you mean?" 

"I mean that Colonel Pritcher and you both say the Mule can condition the emotions of human 
beings. But are you sure of it? Isn't Magnifico himself a flaw in the theory?" 

There was silence. 

Bayta repressed a strong desire to shake the psychologist. "What's wrong with you, Ebling? 
Magnifico was the Mule's clown. Why wasn't he conditioned to love and faith? Why should he, 
of all those in contact with the Mule, hate him so. 

"But... but he was conditioned. Certainly, Bay!" He seemed to gather certainty as he spoke. 

"Do you suppose that the Mule treats his clown the way he treats his generals? He needs faith 
and loyalty in the latter, but in his clown he needs only fear. Didn't you ever notice that 
Magnifico's continual state of panic is pathological in nature? Do you suppose it is natural for a 
human being to be as frightened as that all the time? Fear to such an extent becomes comic. It 
was probably comic to the Mule - and helpful, too, since it obscured what help we might have 

gotten earlier from Magnifico." 

Bayta said, "You mean Magnifico's information about the Mule was false?" 

"it was misleading. It was colored by pathological fear. The Mule is not the physical giant 
Magnifico thinks. He is more probably an ordinary man outside his mental powers. But if it 
amused him to appear a superman to poor Magnifico-" The psychologist shrugged. "In any 
case, Magnifico's information is no longer of importance." 

"What is, then?" 

But Mis shook himself loose and returned to his projector. 

"What is, then?" she repeated. "The Second Foundation?" 

The psychologist's eyes jerked towards her. "Have I told you anything about that? I don't 
remember telling you anything. I'm not ready yet. What have I told you?" 

"Nothing," said Bayta, intensely. "Oh, Galaxy, you've told me nothing, but I wish you would 
because I'm deathly tired. When will it be over?" 

Ebling Mis peered at her, vaguely rueful, "Well, now, my ... my dear, I did not mean to hurt you. 

I forget sometimes ... who my friends are. Sometimes it seems to me that I must not talk of all 
this. There's a need for secrecy - but from the Mule, not from you, my dear." He patted her 
shoulder with a weak amiability. 

She said, "What about the Second Foundation?" 

His voice was automatically a whisper, thin and sibilant. "Do you know the thoroughness with 
which Seldon covered his traces? The proceedings of the Seldon Convention would have been 
of no use to me at a as little as a month ago, before this strange insight came. Even now, it 
seems - tenuous. The papers put out by the Convention are often apparently unrelated; always 
obscure. More than once I wondered if the members of the Convention, themselves, knew all 
that was in Seldon's mind. Sometimes I think he used the Convention only as a gigantic front, 
and single-handed erected the structure-" 

"Of the Foundations?" urged Bayta. 

"Of the Second Foundation! Our Foundation was simple. But the Second Foundation was only 
a name. It was mentioned, but if there was any elaboration, it was hidden deep in the 
mathematics. There is still much I don't even begin to understand, but for seven days, the bits 
have been clumping together into a vague picture. 

"Foundation Number One was a world of physical scientists. It represented a concentration of 
the dying science of the Galaxy under the conditions necessary to make it live again. No 
psychologists were included. It was a peculiar distortion, and must have had a purpose. The 
usual explanation was that Seldon's psychohistory worked best where the individual working 
units - human beings - had no knowledge of what was coming, and could therefore react 
naturally to all situations. Do you follow me, my dear-" 

Yes, doctor. 

"Then listen carefully. Foundation Number Two was a world of mental scientists. It was the 
mirror image of our world. Psychology, not physics, was king." Triumphantly. "You see?" 

"I don't." 

"But think, Bayta, use your head. Hari Seldon knew that his psychohistory could predict only 
probabilities, and not certainties. There was always a margin of error, and as time passed that 
margin increases in geometric progression. Seldon would naturally guard as well as he could 
against it. Our Foundation was scientifically vigorous. It could conquer armies and weapons. It 
could pit force against force. But what of the mental attack of a mutant such as the Mule?" 

"That would be for the psychologists of the Second Foundation!" Bayta felt excitement rising 
within her. 

"Yes, yes, yes! Certainly!" 

"But they have done nothing so far." 

"Flow do you know they haven't?" 

Bayta considered that, "I don't. Do you have evidence that they have?" 

"No. There are many factors I know nothing of. The Second Foundation could not have been 
established full-grown, any more than we were. We developed slowly and grew in strength; 
they must have also. The stars know at what stage their strength is now. Are they strong 
enough to fight the Mule? Are they aware of the danger in the first place? Flave they capable 

"But if they follow Seldon's plan, then the Mule must be beaten by the Second Foundation." 

"Ah," and Ebling Mis's thin face wrinkled thoughtfully, "is it that again? But the Second 
Foundation was a more difficult job than the First. Its complexity is hugely greater; and 
consequently so is its possibility of error. And if the Second Foundation should not beat the 
Mule, it is bad - ultimately bad. It is the end, may be, of the human race as we know it." 


"Yes. If the Mule's descendants inherit his mental powers - You see? Flomo sapiens could not 
compete. There would be a new dominant race - a new aristocracy - with homo sapiens 
demoted to slave labor as an inferior race. Isn't that so?" 

"Yes, that is so." 

"And even if by some chance the Mule did not establish a dynasty, he would still establish a 
distorted new Empire upheld by his personal power only. It would die with his death; the Galaxy 
would be left where it was before he came, except that there would no longer be Foundations 
around which a real and healthy Second Empire could coalesce. It would mean thousands of 
years of barbarism. It would mean no end in sight." 

What can we do? Can we warn the Second Foundation? 

"We must, or they may go under through ignorance, which we can not risk. But there is no way 
of warning them." 

"No way?" 

"I don't know where they are located. They are 'at the other end of the Galaxy' but that is all, 
and there are millions of worlds to choose from." 

"But, Ebling, don't they say?" She pointed vaguely at the films that covered the table. 

"No, they don't. Not where I can find it - yet. The secrecy must mean something. There must 
be a reason-" A puzzled expression returned to his eyes. "But I wish you'd leave. I have 
wasted enough time, and it's growing short - it's growing short." 

He tore away, petulant and frowning. 

Magnifico's soft step approached. "Your husband is home, my lady." 

Ebling Mis did not greet the clown. He was back at his projector. 

That evening Toran, having listened, spoke, "And you think he's really right, Bay? You think he 
isn't-" He hesitated. 

"He is right, Torie. He's sick, I know that. The change that's come over him, the loss in weight, 
the way he speaks - he's sick. But as soon as the subject of the Mule or the Second 
Foundation, or anything he is working on, comes up, listen to him. He is lucid and clear as the 
sky of outer space. He knows what he's talking about. I believe him." 

"Then there's hope." It was half a question. 

"I ... I haven't worked it out. Maybe! Maybe not! I'm carrying a blaster from now on." The 
shiny-barreled weapon was in her hand as she spoke. "Just in case, Torie, just in case." 

"In case what?" 

Bayta laughed with a touch of hysteria, "Never mind. Maybe I'm a little crazy, too - like Ebling 

Ebling Mis at that time had seven days to live, and the seven days slipped by, one after the 
other, quietly. 

To Toran, there was a quality of stupor about them. The warming days and the dull silence 
covered him with lethargy. All life seemed to have lost its quality of action, and changed into an 
infinite sea of hibernation. 

Mis was a hidden entity whose burrowing work produced nothing and did not make itself 
known. He had barricaded himself. Neither Toran nor Bayta could see him. Only Magnifico's 
go-between characteristics were evidence of his existence. Magnifico, grown silent and 
thoughtful, with his tiptoed trays of food and his still, watchful witness in the gloom. 

Bayta was more and more a creature of herself. The vivacity died, the self-assured competence 
wavered. She, too, sought her own worried, absorbed company, and once Toran bad come 

upon her, fingering her blaster. She had put it away quickly, forced a smile. 

"What are you doing with it, Bay?" 

"Holding it. Is that a crime?" 

"You'll blow your fool head off." 

"Then I'll blow it off. Small loss!" 

Married life had taught Toran the futility of arguing with a female in a dark-brown mood. He 
shrugged, and left her. 

On the last day, Magnifico scampered breathless into their presence. He clutched at them, 
frightened. "The learned doctor calls for you. He is not well." 

And he wasn't well. He was in bed, his eyes unnaturally large, unnaturally bright. He was dirty, 

"Ebling!" cried Bayta. 

"Let me speak," croaked the psychologist, lifting his weight to a thin elbow with an effort. "Let 
me speak. I am finished; the work I pass on to you. I have kept no notes; the scrap-figures I 
have destroyed. No other must know. All must remain in your minds." 

"Magnifico," said Bayta, with rough directness. "Go upstairs!" 

Reluctantly, the clown rose and took a backward step. His sad eyes were on Mis. 

Mis gestured weakly, "He won't matter; let him stay. Stay, Magnifico." 

The clown sat down quickly. Bayta gazed at the floor. 

Slowly, slowly, her lower lip caught in her teeth. 

Mis said, in a hoarse whisper, "I am convinced the Second Foundation can win, if it is not 
caught prematurely by the Mule. It has kept itself secret; the secrecy must be upheld; it has a 
purpose. You must go there; your information is vital... may make all the difference. Do you 
hear me?" 

Toran cried in near-agony, "Yes, yes! Tell us how to get there, Ebling? Where is it?" 

"I can tell you," said the faint voice. 

He never did. 

Bayta, face frozen white, lifted her blaster and shot, with an echoing clap of noise. From the 
waist upward, Mis was not, and a ragged hole was in the wall behind. From numb fingers, 
Bayta's blaster dropped to the floor. 


There was not a word to be said. The echoes of the blast rolled away into the outer rooms and 
rumbled downward into a hoarse, dying whisper. Before its death, it had muffled the sharp 
clamor of Bayta's falling blaster, smothered Magnifico's high-pitched cry, drowned out Toran's 
inarticulate roar. 

There was a silence of agony. 

Bayta's head was bent into obscurity. A droplet caught the light as it fell. Bayta had never wept 
since her childhood. 

Toran's muscles almost cracked in their spasm, but he did not relax - he felt as if he would 
never unclench his teeth again. Magnifico's face was a faded, lifeless mask. 

Finally, from between teeth still tight, Toran choked out in an unrecognizable voice, "You're a 
Mule's woman, then. He got to you!" 

Bayta looked up, and her mouth twisted with a painful merriment, "/, a Mule's woman? That's 

She smiled - a brittle effort - and tossed her hair back. Slowly, her voice verged back to the 
normal, or something near it. "It's over, Toran; I can talk now. How much I will survive, I don't 
know. But I can start talking-" 

Toran's tension had broken of its own weight and faded into a flaccid dullness, "Talk about 
what, Bay? What's there to talk about?" 

"About the calamity that's followed us. We've remarked about it before, Torie. Don't you 
remember? How defeat has always bitten at our heels and never actually managed to nip us? 
We were on the Foundation, and it collapsed while the Independent Traders still fought - but 
we got out in time to go to Haven. We were on Haven, and it collapsed while the others still 
fought - and again we got out in time. We went to Neotrantor, and by now it's undoubtedly 
joined the Mule." 

Toran listened and shook his head, "I don't understand." 

"Torie, such things don't happen in real life. You and I are insignificant people; we don't fall from 
one vortex of politics into another continuously for the space of a year - unless we carry the 
vortex with us. Unless we carry the source of infection with us! Now do you see?" 

Toran's lips tightened. His glance fixed horribly upon the bloody remnants of what had once 
been a human, and his eyes sickened. 

"Let's get out of here, Bay. Let's get out into the open." 

It was cloudy outside. The wind scudded about them in drab spurts and disordered Bayta's hair. 
Magnifico had crept after them and now he hovered at the edge of their conversation. 

Toran said tightly, "You killed Ebling Mis because you believed him to be the focus of 

infection?" Something in her eyes struck him. He whispered, "He was the Mule?" He did not - 
could not - believe the implications of his own words. 

Bayta laughed sharply, "Poor Ebling the Mule? Galaxy, no! I couldn't have killed him if he were 
the Mule. He would have detected the emotion accompanying the move and changed it for me 
to love, devotion, adoration, terror, whatever he pleased. No, I killed Ebling because he was not 
the Mule. I killed him because he knew where the Second Foundation was, and in two seconds 
would have told the Mule the secret." 

"Would have told the Mule the secret," Toran repeated stupidly. "Told the Mule-" 

And then he emitted a sharp cry, and turned to stare in horror at the clown, who might have 
been crouching unconscious there for the apparent understanding he had of what he heard. 

"Not Magnifico?" Toran whispered the question. 

"Listen!" said Bayta. "Do you remember what happened on Neotrantor? Oh, think for yourself, 

But he shook his head and mumbled at her. 

She went on, wearily, "A man died on Neotrantor. A man died with no one touching him. Isn't 
that true? Magnifico played on his Visi-Sonor and when he was finished, the crown prince was 
dead. Now isn't that strange? Isn't it queer that a creature afraid of everything, apparently 
helpless with terror, has the capacity to kill at will." 

"The music and the light-effects," said Toran, "have a profound emotional effect-" 

"Yes, an emotional effect. A pretty big one. Emotional effects happen to be the Mule's specialty. 
That, I suppose, can be considered a coincidence. And a creature who can kill by suggestion is 
so full of fright. Well, the Mule tampered with his mind, supposedly, so that can be explained. 
But, Toran, I caught a little of that Visi-Sonor selection that killed the crown prince. Just a little - 
but it was enough to give me that same feeling of despair I had in the Time Vault and on 
Haven. Toran, I can't mistake that particular feeling." 

Toran's face was darkening. "I ... felt it, too. I forgot. I never thought-" 

"It was then that it first occurred to me. It was just a vague feeling - intuition, if you like. I had 
nothing to go on. And then Pritcher told us of the Mule and his mutation, and it was clear in a 
moment. It was the Mule who had created the despair in the Time Vault; it was Magnifico who 
had created the despair on Neotrantor. It was the same emotion. Therefore, the Mule and 
Magnifico were the same person. Doesn't it work out nicely, Torie? Isn't it just like an axiom in 
geometry - things equal to the same thing are equal to each other?" 

She was at the edge of hysteria, but dragged herself back to sobriety by main force. She 
continued, "The discovery scared me to death. If Magnifico were the Mule, he could know my 
emotions - and cure them for his own purposes. I dared not let him know. I avoided him. 

Luckily, he avoided me also; he was too interested in Ebling Mis. I planned killing Mis before he 
could talk. I planned it secretly - as secretly as I could - so secretly I didn't dare tell it to myself. 

"If I could have killed the Mule himself - But I couldn't take the chance. He would have noticed, 
and I would have lost everything." 

She seemed drained of emotion. 

Toran said harshly and with finality, "It's impossible. Look at the miserable creature. He the 
Mule? He doesn't even hear what we're saying." 

But when his eyes followed his pointing finger, Magnifico was erect and alert, his eyes sharp 
and darkly bright. His voice was without a trace of an accent, "I hear her, my friend. It is merely 
that I have been sitting here and brooding on the fact that with all my cleverness and 
forethought I could make a mistake, and lose so much." 

Toran stumbled backward as if afraid the clown might touch him or that his breath might 
contaminate him. 

Magnifico nodded, and answered the unspoken question. "I am the Mule." 

He seemed no longer a grotesque; his pipestem limbs, his beak of a nose lost their 
humor-compelling qualities. His fear was gone; his bearing was firm. 

He was in command of the situation with an ease born of usage. 

He said, tolerantly, "Seat yourselves. Go ahead; you might as well sprawl out and make 
yourselves comfortable. The game's over, and I'd like to tell you a story. It's a weakness of 
mine - I want people to understand me." 

And his eyes as he looked at Bayta were still the old, soft sad brown ones of Magnifico, the 

"There is nothing really to my childhood," he began, plunging bodily into quick, impatient 
speech, "that I care to remember. Perhaps you can understand that. My meagerness is 
glandular; my nose I was born with. It was not possible for me to lead a normal childhood. My 
mother died before she saw me. I do not know my father. I grew up haphazard, wounded and 
tortured in mind, full of self-pity and hatred of others. I was known then as a queer child. All 
avoided me; most out of dislike; some out of fear. Queer incidents occurred - Well, never mind! 
Enough happened to enable Captain Pritcher, in his investigation of my childhood to realize 
that I was a mutant, which was more than / ever realized until I was in my twenties." 

Toran and Bayta listened distantly. The wash of his voice broke over them, seated on the 
ground as they were, unheeded almost. The clown - or the Mule - paced before them with little 
steps, speaking downward to his own folded arms. 

"The whole notion of my unusual power seems to have broken on me so slowly, in such 
sluggish steps. Even toward the end, I couldn't believe it. To me, men's minds are dials, with 
pointers that indicate the prevailing emotion. It is a poor picture, but how else can I explain it? 
Slowly, I learned that I could reach into those minds and turn the pointer to the spot I wished, 
that I could nail it there forever. And then it took even longer to realize that others couldn't. 

"But the consciousness of power came, and with it, the desire to make up for the miserable 

position of my earlier life. Maybe you can understand it. Maybe you can try to understand it. It 
isn't easy to be a freak - to have a mind and an understanding and be a freak. Laughter and 
cruelty! To be different! To be an outsider! 

"You've never been through it!" 

Magnifico looked up to the sky and teetered on the balls of his feet and reminisced stonily, "But 
I eventually did learn, and I decided that the Galaxy and I could take turns. Come, they had had 
their innings, and I had been patient about it - for twenty-two years. My turn! It would be up to 
the rest of you to take it! And the odds would be fair enough for the Galaxy. One of me! 
Quadrillions of them!" 

He paused to glance at Bayta swiftly. "But I had a weakness. I was nothing in myself. If I could 
gain power, it could only be by means of others. Success came to me through middlemen. 
Always! It was as Pritcher said. Through a pirate, I obtained my first asteroidal base of 
operations. Through an industrialist I got my first foothold on a planet. Through a variety of 
others ending with the warlord of Kalgan, I won Kalgan itself and got a navy. After that, it was 
the Foundation - and you two come into the story. 

"The Foundation," he said, softly, "was the most difficult task I had met. To beat it, I would have 
to win over, break down, or render useless an extraordinary proportion of its ruling class. I 
could have done it from scratch - but a short cut was possible, and I looked for it. After all, if a 
strong man can lift five hundred pounds, it does not mean that he is eager to do so 
continuously. My emotional control is not an easy task, I prefer not to use it, where not fully 
necessary. So I accepted allies in my first attack upon the Foundation. 

"As my clown, I looked for the agent, or agents, of the Foundation that must inevitably have 
been sent to Kalgan to investigate my humble self. I know now it was Han Pritcher I was 
looking for. By a stroke of fortune, I found you instead. I am a telepath, but not a complete one, 
and, my lady, you were from the Foundation. I was led astray by that. It was not fatal for 
Pritcher joined us afterward, but it was the starting point of an error that was fatal." 

Toran stirred for the first time. He spoke in an outraged tone, "Hold on, now. You mean that 
when I outfaced that lieutenant on Kalgan with only a stun pistol, and rescued you - that you 
had emotionally-controlled me into it." He was spluttering. "You mean I've been tampered with 
all along." 

A thin smile played on Magnifico's face. "Why not? You don't think it's likely? Ask yourself then 
- Would you have risked death for a strange grotesque you had never seen before, if you had 
been in your right mind? I imagine you were surprised at events in cold after-blood." 

"Yes," said Bayta, distantly, "he was. It's quite plain." 

"As it was," continued the Mule, "Toran was in no danger. The lieutenant had his own strict 
instructions to let us go. So the three of us and Pritcher went to the Foundation - and see how 
my campaign shaped itself instantly. When Pritcher was court-martialed and we were present, I 
was busy. The military judges of that trial later commanded their squadrons in the war. They 
surrendered rather easily, and my Navy won the battle of Horleggor, and other lesser affairs. 

"Through Pritcher, I met Dr. Mis, who brought me a Visi-Sonor, entirely of his own accord, and 
simplified my task immensely. Only it wasn't entirely of his own accord." 

Bayta interrupted, "Those concerts! I've been trying to fit them in. Now I see." 

"Yes," said Magnifico, "the Visi-Sonor acts as a focusing device. In a way, it is a primitive 
device for emotional control in itself. With it, I can handle people in quantity and single people 
more intensively. The concerts I gave on Terminus before it fell and Haven before it fell 
contributed to the general defeatism. I might have made the crown prince of Neotrantor very 
sick without the Visi-Sonor, but I could not have killed him. You see? 

"But it was Ebling Mis who was my most important find. He might have been-" Magnifico said it 
with chagrin, then hurried on, "There is a special facet to emotional control you do not know 
about. Intuition or insight or hunch-tendency, whatever you wish to call it, can be treated as an 
emotion. At least, I can treat it so. You don't understand it, do you?" 

He waited for no negative, "The human mind works at low efficiency. Twenty percent is the 
figure usually given. When, momentarily, there is a flash of greater power it is termed a hunch, 
or insight, or intuition. I found early that I could induce a continual use of high brain-efficiency. It 
is a killing process for the person affected, but it is useful. The nuclear field-depressor which I 
used in the war against the Foundation was the result of high-pressuring a Kalgan technician. 
Again I work through others. 

"Ebling Mis was the bull's-eye. His potentialities were high, and I needed him. Even before my 
war with the Foundation had opened, I had already sent delegates to negotiate with the Empire. 
It was at that time I began my search for the Second Foundation. Naturally, I didn't find it. 
Naturally, I knew that I must find it - and Ebling Mis was the answer. With his mind at high 
efficiency, he might possibly have duplicated the work of Hari Seldon. 

"Partly, he did. I drove him to the utter limit. The process was ruthless, but had to be completed. 
He was dying at the end, but he lived-" Again, his chagrin interrupted him. "He would have 
lived long enough. Together, we three could have gone onward to the Second Foundation. It 
would have been the last battle - but for my mistake." 

Toran stirred his voice to hardness, "Why do you stretch it out so? What was your mistake, and 
... and have done with your speech." 

"Why, your wife was the mistake. Your wife was an unusual person. I had never met her like 
before in my life. I ... I-" Quite suddenly, Magnifico's voice broke. He recovered with difficulty. 
There was a grimness about him as he continued. "She liked me without my having to juggle 
her emotions. She was neither repelled by me nor amused by me. She liked me! 

"Don't you understand? Can't you see what that would mean to me? Never before had anyone 
- Well, I... cherished that. My own emotions played me false, though I was master of all others. 
I stayed out of her mind, you see; I did not tamper with it. I cherished the natural feeling too 
greatly. It was my mistake - the first. 

"You, Toran, were under control. You never suspected me; never questioned me; never saw 
anything peculiar or strange about me. As for instance, when the 'Filian' ship stopped us. They 

knew our location, by the way, because I was in communication with them, as I've remained in 
communication with my generals at all times. When they stopped us, I was taken aboard to 
adjust Han Pritcher, who was on it as a prisoner. When I left, he was a colonel, a Mule's man, 
and in command. The whole procedure was too open even for you, Toran. Yet you accepted 
my explanation of the matter, which was full of fallacies. See what I mean?" 

Toran grimaced, and challenged him, "How did you retain communications with your generals?" 

"There was no difficulty to it. Hyperwave transmitters are easy to handle and eminently 
portable. Nor could I be detected in a real sense! Anyone who did catch me in the act would 
leave me with a slice gapped out of his memory. It happened, on occasion. 

"On Neotrantor, my own foolish emotions betrayed me again. Bayta was not under my control, 
but even so might never have suspected me if I had kept my head about the crown prince. His 
intentions towards Bayta - annoyed me. 

"I killed him. It was a foolish gesture. An unobtrusive flight would have served as well. 

"And still your suspicions would not have been certainties, if I had stopped Pritcher in his 
well-intentioned babbling, or paid less attention to Mis and more to you-" He shrugged. 

"That's the end of it?" asked Bayta. 

"That's the end." 

"What now, then?" 

"I'll continue with my program. That I'll find another as adequately brained and trained as Ebling 
Mis in these degenerate days, I doubt. I shall have to search for the Second Foundation 
otherwise. In a sense you have defeated me." 

And now Bayta was upon her feet, triumphant. "In a sense? Only in a sense? We have 
defeated you entirely! All your victories outside the Foundation count for nothing, since the 
Galaxy is a barbarian vacuum now. The Foundation itself is only a minor victory, since it wasn't 
meant to stop your variety of crisis. It's the Second Foundation you must beat - the Second 
Foundation - and it's the Second Foundation that will defeat you. Your only chance was to 
locate it and strike it before it was prepared. You won't do that now. Every minute from now on, 
they will be readier for you. At this moment, at this moment, the machinery may have started. 
You'll know - when it strikes you, and your short term of power will be over, and you'll be just 
another strutting conqueror, flashing quickly and meanly across the bloody face of history." 

She was breathing hard, nearly gasping in her vehemence, "And we've defeated you, Toran 
and I. I am satisfied to die." 

But the Mule's sad, brown eyes were the sad, brown, loving eyes of Magnifico. "I won't kill you 
or your husband. It is, after all, impossible for you two to hurt me further; and killing you won't 
bring back Ebling Mis. My mistakes were my own, and I take responsibility for them. Your 
husband and yourself may leave! Go in peace, for the sake of what I call - friendship." 

Then, with a sudden touch of pride, "And meanwhile I am still the Mule, the most powerful man 

in the Galaxy. I shall still defeat the Second Foundation." 

And Bayta shot her last arrow with a firm, calm certitude, "You won't! I have faith in the wisdom 
of Seldon yet. You shall be the last ruler of your dynasty, as well as the first." 

Something caught Magnifico. "Of my dynasty? Yes, I had thought of that, often. That I might 
establish a dynasty. That I might have a suitable consort." 

Bayta suddenly caught the meaning of the look in his eyes and froze horribly. 

Magnifico shook his head. "I sense your revulsion, but that's silly. If things were otherwise, I 
could make you happy very easily. It would be an artificial ecstasy, but there would be no 
difference between it and the genuine emotion. But things are not otherwise. I call myself the 
Mule - but not because of my strength - obviously-" 

He left them, never looking back. 








First Interlude 


Second Interlude 


Third Interlude 


Fourth Interlude 



Last Interlude 







12. LORD 

13. LADY 




17. WAR 



20. "I KNOW..." 




The First Galactic Empire had endured for tens of thousands of years. It had included all the 
planets of the Galaxy in a centralized rule, sometimes tyrannical, sometimes benevolent, 
always orderly. Human beings had forgotten that any other form of existence could be. 

All except Hari Seldon. 

Hari Seldon was the last great scientist of the First Empire. It was he who brought the science 
of psycho-history to its full development. Psycho-history was the quintessence of sociology, it 
was the science of human behavior reduced to mathematical equations. 

The individual human being is unpredictable, but the reactions of human mobs, Seldon found, 
could be treated statistically. The larger the mob, the greater the accuracy that could be 
achieved. And the size of the human masses that Seldon worked with was no less than the 
population of the Galaxy which in his time was numbered in the quintillions. 

It was Seldon, then, who foresaw, against all common sense and popular belief, that the 
brilliant Empire which seemed so strong was in a state of irremediable decay and decline. He 
foresaw (or he solved his equations and interpreted its symbols, which amounts to the same 
thing) that left to itself, the Galaxy would pass through a thirty thousand year period of misery 
and anarchy before a unified government would rise once more. 

He set about to remedy the situation, to bring about a state of affairs that would restore peace 
and civilization in a single thousand of years. Carefully, he set up two colonies of scientists that 
he called "Foundations." With deliberate intention, he set them up "at opposite ends of the 
Galaxy." One Foundation was set up in the full daylight of publicity. The existence of the other, 

the Second Foundation, was drowned in silence. 

In Foundation (Gnome, 1951) and Foundation and Empire (Gnome, 1952) are told the first 
three centuries of the history of the First Foundation. It began as a small community of 
Encyclopedists lost in the emptiness of the outer periphery of the Galaxy. Periodically, it faced 
a crisis in which the variables of human intercourse, of the social and economic currents of the 
time constricted about it. Its freedom to move lay along only one certain line and when it moved 
in that direction, a new horizon of development opened before it. All had been planned by Hari 
Seldon, long dead now. 

The First Foundation, with its superior science, took over the barbarized planets that 
surrounded it. It faced the anarchic Warlords that broke away from the dying Empire and beat 
them. It faced the remnant of the Empire itself under its last strong Emperor and its last strong 
General and beat it. 

Then it faced something which Hari Seldon could not foresee, the overwhelming power of a 
single human being, a Mutant. The creature known as the Mule was born with the ability to 
mold men's emotions and to shape their minds. His bitterest opponents were made into his 
devoted servants. Armies could not, would not fight him. Before him, the First Foundation fell 
and Seldon's schemes lay partly in ruins. 

There was left the mysterious Second Foundation, the goal of all searches. The Mule must find 
it to make his conquest of the Galaxy complete. The faithful of what was left of the First 
Foundation must find it for quite another reason. But where was it? That no one knew. 

This, then, is the story of the search for the Second Foundation! 




Two Men and the Mule 

THE MULE It was after the fall of the First Foundation that the constructive aspects of the 
Mule's regime took shape. After the definite break-up at the first Galactic Empire, it was he who 
first presented history with a unified volume at space truly imperial in scope. The earlier 
commercial empire at the fallen Foundation had been diverse and loosely knit, despite the 
impalpable backing at the predictions of psycho-history. It was not to be compared with the 
tightly controlled 'Union of Worlds' under the Mule, comprising as it did, one-tenth the volume of 

the Galaxy and one-fifteenth of its population. Particularly during the era of the so-called 


* All quotations from the Encyclopedia Galactica here reproduced are taken from the 116th 
Edition published in 1020 F.E. by the Encyclopedia Galactica Publishing Co., Terminus, with 
permission of the publishers. 

There is much more that the Encyclopedia has to say on the subject of the Mule and his Empire 
but almost all of it is not germane to the issue at immediate hand, and most of it is considerably 
too dry for our purposes in any case. Mainly, the article concerns itself at this point with the 
economic conditions that led to the rise of the "First Citizen of the Union" - the Mule's official 
title - and with the economic consequences thereof. 

If, at any time, the writer of the article is mildly astonished at the colossal haste with which the 
Mule rose from nothing to vast dominion in five years, he conceals it. If he is further surprised at 
the sudden cessation of expansion in favor of a five-year consolidation of territory, he hides the 

We therefore abandon the Encyclopedia and continue on our own path for our own purposes 
and take up the history of the Great Interregnum - between the First and Second Galactic 
Empires - at the end of that five years of consolidation. 

Politically, the Union is quiet. Economically, it is prosperous. Few would care to exchange the 
peace of the Mule's steady grip for the chaos that had preceded, On the worlds that five years 
previously had known the Foundation, there might be a nostalgic regret, but no more. The 
Foundation's leaders were dead, where useless; and Converted, where useful. 

And of the Converted, the most useful was Flan Pritcher, now lieutenant general. 

In the days of the Foundation, Flan Pritcher had been a captain and a member of the 
underground Democratic Opposition. When the Foundation fell to the Mule without a fight, 
Pritcher fought the Mule. Until, that is, he was Converted. 

The Conversion was not the ordinary one brought on by the power of superior reason. Flan 
Pritcher know that well enough. Fie had been changed because the Mule was a mutant with 
mental powers quite capable of adjusting the conditions of ordinary humans to suit himself. But 
that satisfied him completely. That was as it should be. The very contentment with the 
Conversion was a prime symptom of it, but Flan Pritcher was no longer even curious about the 

And now that he was returning from his fifth major expedition into the boundlessness of the 
Galaxy outside the Union, it was with something approaching artless joy that the veteran 
spaceman and Intelligence agent considered his approaching audience with the "First Citizen." 
FHis hard face, gouged out of a dark, grainless wood that did not seem to be capable of smiling 
without cracking, didn't show it - but the outward indications were unnecessary. The Mule could 
see the emotions within, down to the smallest, much as an ordinary man could see the twitch of 
an eyebrow. 

Pritcher left his air car at the old vice-regal hangars and entered the palace grounds on foot as 
was required. He walked one mile along the arrowed highway - which was empty and silent. 
Pritcher knew that over the square miles of Palace grounds, there was not one guard, not one 
soldier, not one armed man. 

The Mule had need of no protection. 

The Mule was his own best, all-powerful protector. 

Pritcher's footsteps beat softly in his own cars, as the palace reared its gleaming, incredibly 
light and incredibly strong metallic walls before him in the daring, overblown, near-hectic arches 
that characterized the architecture of the Late Empire. It brooded strongly over the empty 
grounds, over the crowded city on the horizon. 

Within the palace was that one man - by himself - on whose inhuman mental attributes 
depended the new aristocracy, and the whole structure of the Union. 

The huge, smooth door swung massively open at the general's approach, and he entered. He 
stepped on to the wide, sweeping ramp that moved upward under him. He rose swiftly in the 
noiseless elevator. He stood before the small plain door of the Mule's own room in the highest 
glitter of the palace spires. 

It opened- 

Bail Channis was young, and Bail Channis was Unconverted. That is, in plainer language, his 
emotional make-up had been unadjusted by the Mule. It remained exactly as it had been 
formed by the original shape of its heredity and the subsequent modifications of his 
environment. And that satisfied him, too. 

At not quite thirty, he was in marvelously good odor in the capital. He was handsome and 
quick-witted - therefore successful in society. He was intelligent and self-possessed - therefore 
successful with the Mule. And he was thoroughly pleased at both successes. 

And now, for the first time, the Mule had summoned him to personal audience. 

His legs carried him down the long, glittering highway that led tautly to the sponge-aluminum 
spires that had been once the residence of the viceroy of Kalgan, who ruled under the old 
emperors; and that had been later the residence of the independent Princes of Kalgan, who 
ruled in their own name; and that was now the residence of the First Citizen of the Union, who 
ruled over an empire of his own. 

Channis hummed softly to himself. He did not doubt what this was all about. The Second 
Foundation, naturally! That all-embracing bogey, the mere consideration of which had thrown 
the Mule back from his policy of limitless expansion into static caution. The official term was - 

Now there were rumors - you couldn't stop rumors. The Mule was to begin the offensive once 
more. The Mule had discovered the whereabouts of the Second Foundation, and would attack 
The Mule had come to an agreement with the Second Foundation and divided the Galaxy. The 
Mule had decided the Second Foundation did not exist and would take over all the Galaxy. 

No use listing all the varieties one heard in the anterooms. It was not even the first time such 
rumors had circulated. But now they seemed to have more body in them, and all the free, 
expansive Souls Who thrived on war, military adventure, and political chaos and withered in 
times of stability and stagnant peace were joyful. 

Bail Channis was one of these. He did not fear the mysterious Second Foundation. For that 
matter, he did not fear the Mule, and boasted of it. Some, perhaps, who disapproved of one at 
once so young and so well-off, waited darkly for the reckoning with the gay ladies' man who 
employed his wit openly at the expense of the Mule's physical appearance and sequestered 
life. None dared join him and few dared laugh, but when nothing happened to him, his 
reputation rose accordingly. 

Channis was improvising words to the tune he was humming. Nonsense words with the 
recurrent refrain: "Second Foundation threatens the Nation and all of Creation." 

He was at the palace. 

The huge, smooth door swung massively open at his approach and he entered. He stepped on 
to the wide, sweeping ramp that moved upward under him. He rose swiftly in the noiseless 
elevator. He stood before the small plain door of the Mule's own room in the highest glitter of 
the palace spires. 

It opened- 

The man who had no name other than the Mule, and no title other than First Citizen looked out 
through the one-way transparency of the wall to the light and lofty city on the horizon. 

In the darkening twilight, the stars were emerging, and not one but owed allegiance to him. 

He smiled with fleeting bitterness at the thought. The allegiance they owed was to a personality 
few had ever seen. 

He was not a man to look at, the Mule - not a man to look at without derision. Not more than 
one hundred and twenty pounds was stretched out into his five-foot-eight length. His limbs were 
bony stalks that jutted out of his scrawniness in graceless angularity. And his thin face was 
nearly drowned out in the prominence of a fleshy beak that thrust three inches outward. 

Only his eyes played false with the general farce that was the Mule. In their softness - a 
strange softness for the Galaxy's greatest conqueror - sadness was never entirely subdued. 

In the city was to be found all the gaiety of a luxurious capital on a luxurious world. He might 
have established his capital on the Foundation, the strongest of his now-conquered enemies, 
but it was far out on the very rim of the Galaxy. Kalgan, more centrally located, with a long 
tradition as aristocracy's playground, suited him better - strategically. 

But in its traditional gaiety, enhanced by unheard-of prosperity, he found no peace. 

They feared him and obeyed him and, perhaps, even respected him - from a goodly distance. 
But who could look at him without contempt? Only those he had Converted. And of what value 
was their artificial loyalty? It lacked flavor. He might have adopted titles, and enforced ritual and 

invented elaborations, but even that would have changed nothing. Better - or at least, no worse 

- to be simply the First Citizen - and to hide himself. 

There was a sudden surge of rebellion within him - strong and brutal. Not a portion of the 
Galaxy must be denied him, For five years he had remained silent and buried here on Kalgan 
because of the eternal, misty, space-ridden menace of the unseen, unheard, unknown Second 
Foundation. Fie was thirty-two. Not old - but he felt old. His body, whatever its mutant mental 
powers, was physically weak. 

Every star! Every star he could see - and every star he couldnt see. It must all be his! 

Revenge on all. On a humanity of which he wasn't a part. On a Galaxy in which he didn't fit. 

The cool, overhead warning light flickered. Fie could follow the progress of the man who had 
entered the palace, and simultaneously, as though his mutant sense had been enhanced and 
sensitized in the lonely twilight, he felt the wash of emotional content touch the fibers of his 

Fie recognized the identity without an effort. It was Pritcher. 

Captain Pritcher of the one-time Foundation. The Captain Pritcher who had been ignored and 
passed over by the bureaucrats of that decaying government. The Captain Pritcher whose job 
as petty spy he had wiped out and whom he had lifted from its slime. The Captain Pritcher 
whom he had made first colonel and then general; whose scope of activity he had made 

The now-General Pritcher who was, iron rebel though he began, completely loyal. And yet with 
all that, not loyal because of benefits gained, not loyal out of gratitude, not loyal as a fair return 

- but loyal only through the artifice of Conversion. 

The Mule was conscious of that strong unalterable surface layer of loyalty and love that colored 
every swirl and eddy of the emotionality of Flan Pritcher - the layer he had himself implanted 
five years before. Far underneath there were the original traces of stubborn individuality, 
impatience of rule, idealism - but even he, himself, could scarcely detect them any longer. 

The door behind him opened, and he turned. The transparency of the wall faded to opacity, and 
the purple evening light gave way to the whitely blazing glow of atomic power. 

Flan Pritcher took the seat indicated. There was neither bowing, nor kneeling nor the use of 
honorifics in private audiences with the Mule. The Mule was merely "First Citizen." Fie was 
addressed as "sir." You sat in his presence, and you could turn your back on him if it so 
happened that you did. 

To Flan Pritcher this was all evidence of the sure and confident power of the man. Fie was 
warmly satisfied with it. 

The Mule said: "Your final report reached me yesterday. I can't deny that I find it somewhat 
depressing, Pritcher." 

The general's eyebrows closed upon each other: "Yes, I imagine so - but I don't see to what 

other conclusions I could have come. There just isn't any Second Foundation, sir." 

Arid the Mule considered and then slowly shook his head, as he had done many a time before: 
"There's the evidence of Ebling Mis. There is always the evidence of Ebling Mis." 

It was not a new story. Pritcher said without qualification: "Mis may have been the greatest 
psychologist of the Foundation, but he was a baby compared to Hari Seldon. At the time he 
was investigating Seldon's works, he was under the artificial stimulation of your own brain 
control. You may have pushed him too far. Fie might have been wrong. Sir, he must have been 

The Mule sighed, his lugubrious face thrust forward on its thin stalk of a neck. "If only he had 
lived another minute. Fie was on the point of telling me where the Second Foundation was. Fie 
knew, I'm telling you. I need not have retreated. I need not have waited and waited. So much 
time lost. Five years gone for nothing." 

Pritcher could not have been censorious over the weak longing of his ruler; his controlled 
mental make-up forbade that. Fie was disturbed instead; vaguely uneasy. Fie said: "But what 
alternative explanation can there possibly be, sir? Five times I've gone out. You yourself have 
plotted the routes. And I've left no asteroid unturned. It was three hundred years ago that FHari 
Seldon of the old Empire supposedly established two Foundations to act as nuclei of a new 
Empire to replace the dying old one. One hundred years after Seldon, the First Foundation - 
the one we know so well - was known through all the Periphery. One hundred fifty years after 
Seldon - at the time of the last battle with the old Empire - it was known throughout the Galaxy. 
And now it's three hundred years - and where should this mysterious Second be? In no eddy of 
the Galactic stream has it been heard of." 

"Ebling Mis said it kept itself secret. Only secrecy can turn its weakness to strength." 

"Secrecy as deep as this is past possibility without nonexistence as well." 

The Mule looked up, large eyes sharp and wary. "No. It does exist." A bony finger pointed 
sharply. "There is going to be a slight change in tactics." 

Pritcher frowned. "You plan to leave yourself? I would scarcely advise it." 

"No, of course not. You will have to go out once again - one last time. But with another in joint 

There was a silence, and Pritcher's voice was hard, "Who, Sir?" 

"There's a young man here in Kalgan. Bail Channis." 

"I've never heard of him, Sir." 

"No, I imagine not. But he's got an agile mind, he's ambitious - and he's not Converted." 

Pritcher's long jaw trembled for a bare instant, "I fail to see the advantage in that." 

"There is one, Pritcher. You're a resourceful and experienced man. You have given me good 
service. But you are Converted. Your motivation is simply an enforced and helpless loyalty to 

myself. When you lost your native motivations, you lost something, some subtle drive, that I 
cannot possibly replace." 

"I don't feel that, Sir," said Pritcher grimly. "I recall myself quite well as I was in the days when I 
was an enemy of yours. I feel none the inferior." 

"Naturally not," and the Mule’s mouth twitched into a smile. "Your judgment in this matter is 
scarcely objective. This Channis, now, is ambitious - for himself. He is completely trustworthy - 
out of no loyalty but to himself. He knows that it is on my coattails that he rides and he would do 
anything to increase my power that the ride might be long and far and that the destination might 
be glorious. If he goes with you, there is just that added push behind his seeking - that push for 

"Then," said Pritcher. still insistent, "why not remove my own Conversion, if you think that will 
improve me. I can scarcely be mistrusted, now." 

"That never, Pritcher. While you are within arm's reach, or blaster reach, of myself, you will 
remain firmly held in Conversion. If I were to release you this minute, I would be dead the next." 

The general's nostrils flared. "I am hurt that you should think so." 

"I don't mean to hurt you, but it is impossible for you to realize what your feelings would be if 
free to form themselves along the lines of your natural motivation. The human mind resents 
control. The ordinary human hypnotist cannot hypnotize a person against his will for that 
reason. I can, because I'm not a hypnotist, and, believe me, Pritcher, the resentment that you 
cannot show and do not even know you possess is something I wouldn't want to face." 

Pritcher's head bowed. Futility wrenched him and left him gray and haggard inside. He said with 
an effort, "But how can you trust this man. I mean, completely - as you can trust me in my 

"Well, I suppose I can't entirely. That is why you must go with him. You see, Pritcher," and the 
Mule buried himself in the large armchair against the soft back of which he looked like an 
angularly animated toothpick, "if he should stumble on the Second Foundation - if it should 
occur to him that an arrangement with them might be more profitable than with me - You 

A profoundly satisfied light blazed in Pritcher's eyes. "That is better, Sir." 

"Exactly. But remember, he must have a free rein as far as possible." 


"And ... uh ... Pritcher. The young man is handsome, pleasant and extremely charming. Don't 
let him fool you. He's a dangerous and unscrupulous character. Don't get in his way unless 
you're prepared to meet him properly. That's all." 

The Mule was alone again. He let the lights die and the wall before him kicked to transparency 
again. The sky was purple now, and the city was a smudge of light on the horizon. 

What was it all for? And if he were the master of all there was - what then? Would it really stop 

men like Pritcher. from being straight and tall, self-confident, strong? Would Bail Channis lose 
his looks? Would he himself be other than he was? 

He cursed his doubts. What was he really after? 

The cool, overhead warning light flickered. He could follow the progress of the man who had 
entered the palace and, almost against his will, he felt the soft wash of emotional content touch 
the fibers of his brain. 

He recognized the identity without an effort. It was Channis. Here the Mule saw no uniformity, 
but the primitive diversity of a strong mind, untouched and unmolded except by the manifold 
disorganizations of the Universe. It writhed in floods and waves. There was caution on the 
surface, a thin, smoothing effect, but with touches of cynical ribaldry in the hidden eddies of it. 
And underneath there was the strong flow of self-interest and self-love, with a gush of cruel 
humor here and there, and a deep, still pool of ambition underlying all. 

The Mule felt that he could reach out and dam the current, wrench the pool from its basin and 
turn it in another course, dry up one flow and begin another. But what of it? If he could bend 
Channis’ curly head in the profoundest adoration, would that change his own grotesquerie that 
made him shun the day and love the night, that made him a recluse inside an empire that was 
unconditionally big? 

The door behind him opened, and he turned. The transparency of the wall faded to opacity, and 
the darkness gave way to the whitely blazing artifice of atomic power. 

Bail Channis sat down lightly and said: "This is a not-quite-unexpected honor, sir." 

The Mule rubbed his proboscis with all four fingers at once and sounded a bit irritable in his 
response. "Why so, young man?" 

"A hunch, I suppose. Unless I want to admit that I've been listening to rumors." 

"Rumors? Which one of the several dozen varieties are you referring to?" 

"Those that say a renewal of the Galactic Offensive is being planned. It is a hope with me that 
such is true and that I might play an appropriate part." 

"Then you think there is a Second Foundation?" 

"Why not? It would make things so much more interesting." 

"And you find interest in it as well?" 

"Certainly. In the very mystery of it! What better subject could you find for conjecture? The 
newspaper supplements are full of nothing else lately - which is probably significant. The 
Cosmos had one of its feature writers compose a weirdie about a world consisting of beings of 
pure mind - the Second Foundation, you see - who had developed mental force to energies 
large enough to compete with any known to physical science. Spaceships could be blasted 
light-years away, planets could be turned out of their orbits-" 

"Interesting. Yes. But do you have any notions on the subject? Do you subscribe to this 

mind-power notion?' 

"Galaxy, no! Do you think creatures like that would stay on their own planet? No, sir. I think the 
Second Foundation remains hidden because it is weaker than we think." 

"In that case, I can explain myself very easily. How would you like to head an expedition to 
locate the Second Foundation?" 

For a moment Channis seemed caught up by the sudden rush of events at just a little greater 
speed than he was prepared for. His tongue had apparently skidded to a halt in a lengthening 

The Mule said dryly: "Well?" 

Channis corrugated his forehead. "Certainly. But where am I to go? Have you any information 

"General Pritcher will be with you-" 

"Then I'm not to head it?" 

"Judge for yourself when I'm done. Listen, you're not of the Foundation. You're a native of 
Kalgan, aren't you? Yes. Well, then, your knowledge of the Seldon plan may be vague. When 
the first Galactic Empire was falling, Hari Seldon and a group of psychohistorians, analyzing the 
future course of history by mathematical tools no longer available in these degenerate times, 
set up two Foundations, one at each end of the Galaxy, in such a way that the economic and 
sociological forces that were slowly evolving, would make them serve as foci for the Second 
Empire. Hari Seldon planned on a thousand years to accomplish that - and it would have taken 
thirty thousand without the Foundations. But he couldn't count on me. I am a mutant and I am 
unpredictable by psychohistory which can only deal with the average reactions of numbers. Do 
you understand?" 

"Perfectly, sir. But how does that involve me?' 

"You'll understand shortly. I intend to unite the Galaxy now - and reach Seldon's thousand-year 
goal in three hundred. One Foundation - the world of physical scientists - is still flourishing, 
under me. Under the prosperity and order of the Union, the atomic weapons they have 
developed are capable of dealing with anything in the Galaxy - except perhaps the Second 
Foundation. So I must know more about it. General Pritcher is of the definite opinion that it 
does not exist at all. I know otherwise." 

Channis said delicately: "How do you know, sir?" 

And the Mule's words were suddenly liquid indignation: "Because minds under my control have 
been interfered with. Delicately! Subtly! But not so subtly that I couldn't notice. And these 
interferences are increasing, and hitting valuable men at important times. Do you wonder now 
that a certain discretion has kept me motionless these years? 

"That is your importance. General Pritcher is the best man left me, so he is no longer safe. Of 
course, he does not know that. But you are Unconverted and therefore not instantly detectable 

as a Mule's man. You may fool the Second Foundation longer than one of my own men would - 
perhaps just sufficiently longer. Do you understand?" 

"Um-m-m. Yes. But pardon me, sir, if I question you. How are these men of yours disturbed, so 
that I might detect change in General Pritcher, in case any occurs. Are they Unconverted 
again? Do they become disloyal?" 

"No. I told you it was subtle. It's more disturbing than that, because its harder to detect and 
sometimes I have to wait before acting, uncertain whether a key man is being normally erratic 
or has been tampered with. Their loyalty is left intact, but initiative and ingenuity are rubbed out. 
I'm left with a perfectly normal person, apparently, but one completely useless. In the last year, 
six have been so treated. Six of my best." A corner of his mouth lifted. "They're in charge of 
training bases now - and my most earnest wishes go with them that no emergencies come up 
for them to decide upon." 

"Suppose, sir... suppose it were not the Second Foundation. What if it were another, such as 
yourself - another mutant?" 

"The planning is too careful, too long range. A single man would be in a greater hurry. No, it is a 
world, and you are to be my weapon against it." 

Channis' eyes shone as he said: "I'm delighted at the chance." 

But the Mule caught the sudden emotional upwelling. He said: "Yes, apparently it occurs to you, 
that you will perform a unique service, worthy of a unique reward - perhaps even that of being 
my successor. Quite so. But there are unique punishments, too, you know. My emotional 
gymnastics are not confined to the creation of loyalty alone." 

And the little smile on his thin lips was grim, as Channis leaped out of his seat in horror. 

For just an instant, just one, flashing instant, Channis had felt the pang of an overwhelming 
grief close over him. It had slammed down with a physical pain that had blackened his mind 
unbearably, and then lifted. Now nothing was left but the strong wash of anger. 

The Mule said: "Anger won't help ... yes, you're covering it up now, aren't you? But I can see it. 
So just remember - that sort of business can be made more intense and kept up. I've killed 
men by emotional control, and there's no death crueler." 

He paused: "That's all!" 

The Mule was alone again. He let the lights die and the wall before him kicked to transparency 
again. The sky was black, and the rising body of the Galactic Lens was spreading its 
bespanglement across the velvet depths of space. 

All that haze of nebula was a mass of stars so numerous that they melted one into the other 
and left nothing but a cloud of light. 

And all to be his— 

And now but one last arrangement to make, and he could sleep. 


The Executive Council of the Second Foundation was in session. To us they are merely voices. 
Neither the exact scene of the meeting nor the identity of those present are essential at the 

Nor, strictly speaking, can we even consider an exact reproduction of any part of the session - 
unless we wish to sacrifice completely even the minimum comprehensibility we have a right to 

We deal here with psychologists - and not merely psychologists. Let us say, rather, scientists 
with a psychological orientation. That is, men whose fundamental conception of scientific 
philosophy is pointed in an entirely different direction from all of the orientations we know. The 
"psychology" of scientists brought up among the axioms deduced from the observational habits 
of physical science has only the vaguest relationship to PSYCFIOLOGY. 

Which is about as far as I can go in explaining color to a blind man - with myself as blind as the 

The point being made is that the minds assembled understood thoroughly the workings of each 
other, not only by general theory but by the specific application over a long period of these 
theories to particular individuals. Speech as known to us was unnecessary. A fragment of a 
sentence amounted almost to long-winded redundancy. A gesture, a grunt, the curve of a facial 
line - even a significantly timed pause yielded informational juice. 

The liberty is taken, therefore, of freely translating a small portion of the conference into the 
extremely specific word-combinations necessary to minds oriented from childhood to a physical 
science philosophy, even at the risk of losing the more delicate nuances. 

There was one "voice" predominant, and that belonged to the individual known simply as the 
First Speaker. 

Fie said: "It is apparently quite definite now as to what stopped the Mule in his first mad rush. I 
can't say that the matter reflects credit upon ... well, upon the organization of the situation. 
Apparently, he almost located us, by means of the artificially heightened brain-energy of what 
they call a 'psychologist' on the First Foundation. This psychologist was killed just before he 
could communicate his discovery to the Mule. The events leading to that killing were completely 
fortuitous for all calculations below Phase Three. Suppose you take over." 

It was the Fifth Speaker who was indicated by an inflection of the voice. Fie said, in grim 
nuances: "It is certain that the situation was mishandled. We are, of course, highly vulnerable 
under mass attack, particularly an attack led by such a mental phenomenon as the Mule. 

Shortly after he first achieved Galactic eminence with the conquest of the First Foundation, half 
a year after to be exact, he was on Trantor. Within another half year he would have been here 
and the odds would have been stupendously against us - 96.3 plus or minus 0.05% to be 
exact. We have spent considerable time analyzing the forces that stopped him. We know, of 
course, what was driving him on so in the first place. The internal ramifications of his physical 
deformity and mental uniqueness are obvious to all of us. Flowever, it was only through 
penetration to Phase Three that we could determine - after the fact- tbe possibility of his 

anomalous action in the presence of another human being who had an honest affection for him. 

"And since such an anomalous action would depend upon the presence of such another human 
being at the appropriate time, to that extent the whole affair was fortuitous. Our agents are 
certain that it was a girl that killed the Mule's psychologist - a girl for whom the Mule felt trust 
out of sentiment, and whom he, therefore, did not control mentally - simply because she liked 

"Since that event - and for those who want the details, a mathematical treatment of the subject 
has been drawn up for the Central Library - which warned us, we have held the Mule off by 
unorthodox methods with which we daily risk Seldon's entire scheme of history. That is all." 

The First Speaker paused an instant to allow the individuals assembled to absorb the full 
implications. He said: "The situation is then highly unstable. With Seldon's original scheme bent 
to the fracture point - and I must emphasize that we have blundered badly in this whole matter, 
in our horrible lack of foresight - we are faced with an irreversible breakdown of the Plan. Time 
is passing us by. I think there is only one solution left us - and even that is risky. 

"We must allow the Mule to find us - in a sense." 

Another pause, in which he gathered the reactions, then: "I repeat - in a sense!" 


Two Men without the Mule 

The ship was in near-readiness. Nothing lacked, but the destination. The Mule had suggested a 
return to Trantor - the world that was the bulk of an incomparable Galactic metropolis of the 
hugest Empire mankind had ever known - the dead world that had been capital of all the stars. 

Pritcher disapproved. It was an old path - sucked dry. 

He found Bail Channis in the ship's navigation room. The young man's curly hair was just 
sufficiently disheveled to allow a single curl to droop over the forehead - as if it had been 
carefully placed there - and even teeth showed in a smile that matched it. Vaguely, the stiff 
officer felt himself harden against the other. 

Channis' excitement was evident, "Pritcher, it's too far a coincidence." 

The general said coldly: "I’m not aware of the subject of conversation." 

"Oh- Well, then drag up a chair, old man, and let’s get into it. I've been going over your notes. I 
find them excellent." 

"How ... pleasant that you do." 

"But I’m wondering if you've come to the conclusions I have. Have you ever tried analyzing the 
problem deductively? I mean, it's all very well to comb the stars at random, and to have done all 
you did in five expeditions is quite a bit of star-hopping. That's obvious. But have you calculated 

how long it would take to go through every known world at this rate?" 

"Yes. Several times," Pritcher felt no urge to meet the young man halfway, but there was the 
importance of filching the other's mind - the other's uncontrolled, and hence, unpredictable, 

"Well, then, suppose we're analytical about it and try to decide just what we're looking for?" 

"The Second Foundation," said Pritcher, grimly. 

"A Foundation of psychologists," corrected Channis, "who are is weak in physical science as 
the First Foundation was weak in psychology. Well, you're from the First Foundation, which I'm 
not. The implications are probably obvious to you. We must find a world which rules by virtue of 
mental skills, and yet which is very backwards scientifically." 

"Is that necessarily so?" questioned Pritcher, quietly. "Our own ‘Union of Worlds' isn't 
backwards scientifically, even though our ruler owes his strength to his mental powers." 

"Because he has the skills of the First Foundation to draw upon," came the slightly impatient 
answer, "and that is the only such reservoir of knowledge in the Galaxy. The Second 
Foundation must live among the dry crumbs of the broken Galactic Empire. There are no 
pickings there." 

"So then you postulate mental power sufficient to establish their rule over a group of worlds and 
physical helplessness as well?" 

"Comparative physical helplessness. Against the decadent neighboring areas, they are 
competent to defend themselves. Against the resurgent forces of the Mule, with his background 
of a mature atomic economy, they cannot stand. Else, why is their location so well-hidden, both 
at the start by the founder, Hari Seldon, and now by themselves. Your own First Foundation 
made no secret of its existence and did not have it made for them, when they were an 
undefended single city on a lonely planet three hundred years ago." 

The smooth lines of Pritcher's dark face twitched sardonically. 'And now that you've finished 
your deep analysis, would you like a list of all the kingdoms, republics, planet states and 
dictatorships of one sort or another in that political wilderness out there that correspond to your 
description and to several factors besides?" 

"All this has been considered then?" Channis lost none of his brashness. 

"You won't find it here, naturally, but we have a completely worked out guide to the political 
units of the Opposing Periphery. Really, did you suppose the Mule would work entirely 

"Well, then" and the young man's voice rose in a burst of energy, "what of the Oligarchy of 

Pritcher touched his ear thoughtfully, "Tazenda? Oh, I think I know it. They're not in the 
Periphery, are they? It seems to me they're fully a third of the way towards the center of the 

Yes. What of that? 

"The records we have place the Second Foundation at the other end of the Galaxy. Space 
knows it's the only thing we have to go on. Why talk of Tazenda anyway? Its angular deviation 
from the First Foundation radian is only about one hundred ten to one hundred twenty degrees 
anyway. Nowhere near one hundred eighty." 

"There's another point in the records. The Second Foundation was established at 'Star's End.'" 
"No such region in the Galaxy has ever been located." 

"Because it was a local name, suppressed later for greater secrecy. Or maybe one invented for 
the purpose by Seldon and his group. Yet there's some relationship between 'Star's End' and 
'Tazenda,' don't you think?" 

"A vague similarity in sound? Insufficient." 

'Flave you ever been there?" 


"Yet it is mentioned in your records." 

"Where? Oh, yes, but that was merely to take on food and water. There was certainly nothing 
remarkable about the world." 

"Did you land at the ruling planet? The center of government?" 

"I couldn't possibly say." 

Channis brooded about it under the other's cold gaze. Then, "Would you look at the Lens with 
me for a moment?" 


The Lens was perhaps the newest feature of the interstellar cruisers of the day. Actually, it was 
a complicated calculating machine which could throw on a screen a reproduction of the night 
sky as seen from any given point of the Galaxy. 

Channis adjusted the co-ordinate points and the wall lights of the pilot room were extinguished. 
In the dim red light at the control board of the Lens, Channis' face glowed ruddily. Pritcher sat in 
the pilot seat, long legs crossed, face lost in the gloom. 

Slowly, as the induction period passed, the points of light brightened on the screen. And then 
they were thick and bright with the generously populated star-groupings of the Galaxy's center. 

"This," explained Channis, "is the winter night-sky as seen from Trantor. That is the important 
point that, as far as I know, has been neglected so far in your search. All intelligent orientation 
must start from Trantor as zero point. Trantor was the capital of the Galactic Empire. Even 
more so scientifically and culturally, than politically. And, therefore, the significance of any 
descriptive name should stem, nine times out of ten, from a Trantorian orientation. You'll 
remember in this connection that, although Seldon was from Helicon, towards the Periphery, 

his group worked on Trantor itself." 

"What is it you're trying to show me?" Pritcher's level voice plunged icily into the gathering 
enthusiasm of the other. 

"The map will explain it. Do you see the dark nebula?" The shadow of his arm fell upon the 
screen, which took on the bespanglement of the Galaxy. The pointing finger ended on a tiny 
patch of black that seemed a hole in the speckled fabric of light. "The stellagraphical records 
call it Pelot's Nebula. Watch it. I'm going to expand the image." 

Pritcher had watched the phenomenon of Lens Image expansion before but he still caught his 
breath. It was like being at the visiplate of a spaceship storming through a horribly crowded 
Galaxy without entering hyperspace. The stars diverged towards them from a common center, 
flared outwards and tumbled off the edge of the screen. Single points became double, then 
globular. Hazy patches dissolved into myriad points. And always that illusion of motion. 

Channis spoke through it all, "You'll notice that we are moving along the direct line from Trantor 
to Pelot's Nebula, so that in effect we are still looking at a stellar orientation equivalent to that of 
Trantor. There is probably a slight error because of the gravitic deviation of light that I haven't 
the math to calculate for, but I'm sure it can't be significant." 

The darkness was spreading over the screen. As the rate of magnification slowed, the stars 
slipped off the four ends of the screen in a regretful leave-taking. At the rims of the growing 
nebula, the brilliant universe of stars shone abruptly in token for that light which was merely 
hidden behind the swirling unradiating atom fragments of sodium and calcium that filled cubic 
parsecs of space. 

And Channis pointed again, "This has been called 'The Mouth' by the inhabitants of that region 
of space. And that is significant because it is only from the Trantorian orientation that it looks 
like a mouth." What he indicated was a rift in the body of the Nebula, shaped like a ragged, 
grinning mouth in profile, outlined by the glazing glory of the starlight with which it was filled. 

"Follow The Mouth.'" said Channis. "Follow 'The Mouth' towards the gullet as it narrows down to 
a thin, splintering line of light. 

Again the screen expanded a trifle, until the Nebula stretched away from "The Mouth" to block 
off all the screen but that narrow trickle and Channis' finger silently followed it down, to where it 
straggled to a halt, and then, as his finger continued moving onward, to a spot where one single 
star sparked lonesomely; and there his finger halted, for beyond that was blackness, 

"'Star's End,'" said the young man, simply. "The fabric of the Nebula is thin there and the light of 
that one star finds its way through in just that one direction - to shine on Trantor." 

"You're tying to tell me that-" the voice of the Mule's general died in suspicion. 

"I'm not trying. That is Tazenda - Star's End." 

The lights went on. The Lens flicked off. Pritcher reached Channis in three long strides, "What 
made you think of this?" 

And Channis leaned back in his chair with a queerly puzzled expression on his face. "It was 
accidental. I'd like to take intellectual credit for this, but it was only accidental. In any case, 
however it happens, it fits. According to our references, Tazenda is an oligarchy. It rules 
twenty-seven inhabited planets. It is not advanced scientifically. And most of all, it is an obscure 
world that has adhered to a strict neutrality in the local politics of that stellar region, and is not 
expansionist. I think we ought to see it." 

"Have you informed the Mule of this?" 

"No. Nor shall we. We're in space now, about to make the first hop." 

Pritcher, in sudden horror, sprang to the visiplate. Cold space met his eyes when he adjusted it. 
He gazed fixedly at the view, then turned. Automatically, his hand reached for the hard, 
comfortable curve of the butt of his blaster. 

"By whose order?" 

"By my order, general"- it was the first time Channis had ever used the other's title -"while I 
was engaging you here. You probably felt no acceleration, because it came at the moment I 
was expanding the field of the Lens and you undoubtedly imagined it to be an illusion of the 
apparent star motion." 

"Why? Just what are you doing? What was the point of your nonsense about Tazenda, then?" 

"That was no nonsense. I was completely serious. We're going there. We left today because 
we were scheduled to leave three days from now. General, you don't believe there is a Second 
Foundation, and I do. You are merely following the Mule's orders without faith; I recognize a 
serious danger. The Second Foundation has now had five years to prepare. How they've 
prepared, I don't know, but what if they have agents on Kalgan. If I carry about in my mind the 
knowledge of the whereabouts of the Second Foundation, they may discover that. My life might 
be no longer safe, and I have a great affection for my life. Even on a thin and remote possibility 
such as that, I would rather play safe. So no one knows of Tazenda but you, and you found out 
only after we were out in space. And even so, there is the question of the crew." Channis was 
smiling again, ironically, in obviously complete control of the situation. 

Pritcher's hand fell away from his blaster, and for a moment a vague discomfort pierced him. 
What kept him from action? What deadened him ?There was a time when he was a rebellious 
and unpromoted captain of the First Foundation's commercial empire, when it would have been 
himself rather than Channis who would have taken prompt and daring action such as that. Was 
the Mule right? Was his controlled mind so concerned with obedience as to lose initiative? He 
felt a thickening despondency drive him down into a strange lassitude. 

He said, "Well done! However, you will consult me in the future before making decisions of this 

The flickering signal caught his attention. 

"That's the engine room," said Channis, casually. "They warmed up on five minutes' notice and 
I asked them to let me know if there was any trouble. Want to hold the fort?" 

Pritcher nodded mutely, and cogitated in the sudden loneliness on the evils of approaching fifty. 
The visiplate was sparsely starred. The main body of the Galaxy misted one end. What if he 
were free of the Mule's influence- 

But he recoiled in horror at the thought. 

Chief Engineer Huxlani looked sharply at the young, ununiformed man who carried himself with 
the assurance of a Fleet officer and seemed to be in a position of authority. Huxlani, as a 
regular Fleet man from the days his chin had dripped milk, generally confused authority with 
specific insignia. 

But the Mule had appointed this man, and the Mule was, of course, the last word. The only 
word for that matter. Not even subconsciously did he question that. Emotional control went 

He handed Channis the little oval object without a word. 

Channis hefted it, and smiled engagingly. 

"You're a Foundation man, aren't you, chief?" 

"Yes, sir. I served in the Foundation Fleet eighteen years before the First Citizen took over." 
"Foundation training in engineering?" 

"Qualified Technician, First Class - Central School on Anacreon." 

"Good enough. And you found this on the communication circuit, where I asked you to look?" 
"Yes, Sir." 

"Does it belong there?" 

"No, Sir." 

"Then what is it?" 

"A hypertracer, sir." 

"That's not enough. I'm not a Foundation man. What is it?" 

"It's a device to allow the ship to be traced through hyperspace." 

"In other words we can be followed anywhere." 

"Yes, Sir." 

"All right. It's a recent invention, isn't it? It was developed by one of the Research Institutes set 
up by the First Citizen, wasn't it?" 

"I believe so, Sir." 

"And its workings are a government secret. Right?" 

"I, believe so, Sir." 

"Yet here it is. Intriguing." 

Channis tossed the hypertracer methodically from hand to hand for a few seconds. Then, 
sharply, he held it out, "Take it, then, and put it back exactly where you found it and exactly how 
you found it. Understand? And then forget this incident. Entirely!" 

The chief choked down his near-automatic salute, turned sharply and left. 

The ship bounded through the Galaxy, its path a wide-spaced dotted line through the stars. The 
dots, referred to, were the scant stretches of ten to sixty light-seconds spent in normal space 
and between them stretched the hundred-and-up light-year gaps that represented the "hops" 
through hyperspace. 

Bail Channis sat at the control panel of the Lens and felt again the involuntary surge of 
near-worship at the contemplation of it. 

He was not a Foundation man and the interplay of forces at the twist of a knob or the breaking 
of a contact was not second nature to him. 

Not that the Lens ought quite to bore even a Foundation man. Within its unbelievably compact 
body were enough electronic circuits to pin- point accurately a hundred million separate stars in 
exact relationship to each other. And as if that were not a feat in itself, it was further capable of 
translating any given portion of the Galactic Field along any of the three spatial axes or to rotate 
any portion of the Field about a center. 

It was because of that, that the Lens had performed a near-revolution in interstellar travel. In 
the younger days of interstellar travel, the calculation of each "hop" through hyperspace meant 
any amount of work from a day to a week - and the larger portion of such work was the more or 
less precise calculation of "Ship's Position" on the Galactic scale of reference. Essentially that 
meant the accurate observation of at least three widely-spaced stars, the position of which, with 
reference to the arbitrary Galactic triple-zero, were known. 

And it is the word "known," that is the catch. To any who know the star field well from one 
certain reference point, stars are as individual as people. Jump ten parsecs, however, and not 
even your own sun is recognizable. It may not even be visible. 

The answer was, of course, spectroscopic analysis. For centuries, the main object of interstellar 
engineering was the analysis of the "light signature" of more and more stars in greater and 
greater detail. With this, and the growing precision of the "hop" itself, standard routes of travel 
through the Galaxy were adopted and interstellar travel became less of an art and more of a 

And yet, even under the Foundation with improved calculating machines and a new method of 
mechanically scanning the star field for a known "light signature," it sometimes took days to 
locate three stars and then calculate position in regions not previously familiar to the pilot. 

It was the Lens that changed all that. For one thing it required only a single known star. For 
another, even a space tyro such as Channis could operate it. 

The nearest sizable star at the moment was Vincetori, according to "hop" calculations, and on 
the visiplate now, a bright star was centered. Channis hoped that it was Vincetori. 

The field screen of the Lens was thrown directly next that of the visiplate and with careful 
fingers, Channis punched out the co-ordinates of Vincetori. He closed a relay, and the star field 
sprang to bright view. In it, too, a bright star was centered, but otherwise there seemed no 
relationship. He adjusted the Lens along the Z-Axis and expanded the Field to where the 
photometer showed both centered stars to be of equal brightness. 

Channis looked for a second star, sizably bright, on the visiplate and found one on the field 
screen to correspond. Slowly, he rotated the screen to similar angular deflection. He twisted his 
mouth and rejected the result with a grimace. Again he rotated and another bright star was 
brought into position, and a third. And then he grinned. That did it. Perhaps a specialist with 
trained relationship perception might have clicked first try, but he'd settle for three. 

That was the adjustment. In the final step, the two fields overlapped and merged into a sea of 
not-quite-rightness. Most of the stars were close doubles. But the fine adjustment did not take 
long. The double stars melted together, one field remained, and the "Ship's Position" could now 
be read directly off the dials. The entire procedure had taken less than half an hour. 

Channis found Han Pritcher in his private quarters. The general was quite apparently preparing 
for bed. He looked up. 


"Not particularly. We’ll be at Tazenda in another hop." 

"I know." 

"I don't want to bother you if you're turning in, but have you looked through the film we picked 
up in Cil?" 

Han Pritcher cast a disparaging look at the article in question, where it lay in its black case 
upon his low bookshelf, "Yes." 

"And what do you think?" 

"I think that if there was ever any science to History, it has been quite lost in this region of the 

Channis grinned broadly, "I know what you mean. Rather barren, isn't it?" 

"Not if you enjoy personal chronicles of rulers. Probably unreachable, I should say, in both 
directions. Where history concerns mainly personalities, the drawings become either black or 
white according to the interests of the writer. I find it all remarkably useless." 

"But there is talk about Tazenda. That's the point I tried to make when I gave you the film. It's 
the only one I could find that even mentioned them." 

"All right. They have good rulers and bad. They've conquered a few planets, won some battles, 
lost a few. There is nothing distinctive about them. I don't think much of your theory, Channis." 

"But you've missed a few points. Didn't you notice that they never formed coalitions? They 
always remained completely outside the politics of this corner of the star swarm. As you say, 
they conquered a few planets, but then they stopped - and that without any startling defeat of 
consequence. It's just as if they spread out enough to protect themselves, but not enough to 
attract attention." 

"Very well," came the unemotional response. "I have no objection to landing. At the worst - a 
little lost time." 

"Oh, no. At the worst - complete defeat. If it is the Second Foundation. Remember it would be 
a world of space-knows-how-many Mules." 

"What do you plan to do?" 

"Land on some minor subject planet. Find out as much as we can about Tazenda first, then 
improvise from that." 

"All right. No objection. If you don't mind now, I would like the light out." 

Channis left with a wave of his hand. 

And in the darkness of a tiny room in an island of driving metal lost in the vastness of space, 
General Flan Pritcher remained awake, following the thoughts that led him through such 
fantastic reaches. 

If everything he had so painfully decided were true - and how all the facts were beginning to fit 
- then Tazenda was the Second Foundation. There was no way out. But how? Flow? 

Could it be Tazenda? An ordinary world? One without distinction? A slum lost amid the 
wreckage of an Empire? A splinter among the fragments? Fie remembered, as from a distance, 
the Mule's shriveled face and his thin voice as he used to speak of the old Foundation 
psychologist, Ebling Mis, the one man who had - maybe - learned the secret of the Second 

Pritcher recalled the tension of the Mule's words: "It was as if astonishment had overwhelmed 
Mis. It was as though something about the Second Foundation had surpassed all his 
expectations, had driven in a direction completely different from what he might have assumed. 

If I could only have read his thoughts rather than his emotions. Yet the emotions were plain - 
and above everything else was this vast surprise." 

Surprise was the keynote. Something supremely astonishing! And now came this boy, this 
grinning youngster, glibly joyful about Tazenda and its undistinguished subnormality. And he 
had to be right. Fie had\o. Otherwise, nothing made sense. 

Pritcher's last conscious thought had a touch of grimness. That hypertracer along the Etheric 
tube was still there. Fie had checked it one hour back, with Channis well out of the way. 


It was a casual meeting in the anteroom of the Council Chamber - just a few moments before 

passing into the Chamber to take up the business of the day - and the few thoughts flashed 
back and forth quickly. 

"So the Mule is on his way." 

"That's what I hear, too. Risky! Mighty risky!" 

"Not if affairs adhere to the functions set up." 

"The Mule is not an ordinary man - and it is difficult to manipulate his chosen instruments 
without detection by him. The controlled minds are difficult to touch. They say he's caught on to 
a few cases." 

"Yes, I don't see how that can be avoided." 

"Uncontrolled minds are easier. But so few are in positions of authority under him-" 

They entered the Chamber. Others of the Second Foundation followed them. 


Two Men and a Peasant 

Rossem is one of those marginal worlds usually neglected in Galactic history and scarcely ever 
obtruding itself upon the notice of men of the myriad happier planets. 

In the latter days of the Galactic Empire, a few political prisoners had inhabited its wastes, while 
an observatory and a small Naval garrison served to keep it from complete desertion. Later, in 
the evil days of strife, even before the time of Hari Seldon, the weaker sort of men, tired of the 
periodic decades of insecurity and danger; weary of sacked planets and a ghostly succession 
of ephemeral emperors making their way to the Purple for a few wicked, fruitless years - these 
men fled the populated centers and sought shelter in the barren nooks of the Galaxy. 

Along the chilly wastes of Rossem, villages huddled. Its sun was a small ruddy niggard that 
clutched its dribble of heat to itself, while snow beat thinly down for nine months of the year. 

The tough native grain lay dormant in the soil those snow-filled months, then grew and ripened 
in almost panic speed, when the sun's reluctant radiation brought the temperature to nearly 

Small, goatlike animals cropped the grasslands, kicking the thin snow aside with tiny, tri-hooved 

The men of Rossem had, thus, their bread and their milk - and when they could spare an 
animal - even their meat. The darkly ominous forests that gnarled their way over half of the 
equatorial region of the planet supplied a tough, fine-grained wood for housing. This wood, 
together with certain furs and minerals, was even worth exporting, and the ships of the Empire 
came at times and brought in exchange farm machinery, atomic heaters, even televisor sets. 
The last was not really incongruous, for the long winter imposed a lonely hibernation upon the 

Imperial history flowed past the peasants of Rossem. The trading ships might bring news in 
impatient spurts; occasionally new fugitives would arrive - at one time, a relatively large group 
arrived in a body and remained - and these usually had news of the Galaxy. 

It was then that the Rossemites learned of sweeping battles and decimated populations or of 
tyrannical emperors and rebellious viceroys. And they would sigh and shake their heads, and 
draw their fur collars closer about their bearded faces as they sat about the village square in 
the weak sun and philosophized on the evil of men. 

Then after a while, no trading ships arrived at all, and life grew harder. Supplies of foreign, soft 
food, of tobacco, of machinery stopped. Vague word from scraps gathered on the televisor 
brought increasingly disturbing news. And finally it spread that Trantor had been sacked. The 
great capital world of all the Galaxy, the splendid, storied, unapproachable and incomparable 
home of the emperors had been despoiled and ruined and brought to utter destruction. 

It was something inconceivable, and to many of the peasants of Rossem, scratching away at 
their fields, it might well seem that the end of the Galaxy was at hand. 

And then one day not unlike other days a ship arrived again. The old men of each village 
nodded wisely and lifted their old eyelids to whisper that thus it had been in their father's time - 
but it wasn't, quite. 

This ship was not an Imperial ship. The glowing Spaceship-and-Sun of the Empire was missing 
from its prow. It was a stubby affair made of scraps of older ships - and the men within called 
themselves soldiers of Tazenda. 

The peasants were confused. They had not heard of Tazenda, but they greeted the soldiers 
nevertheless in the traditional fashion of hospitality. The newcomers inquired closely as to the 
nature of the planet, the number of its inhabitants, the number of its cities - a word mistaken by 
the peasants to mean "villages" to the confusion of all concerned - its type of economy and so 

Other ships came and proclamations were issued all over the world that Tazenda was now the 
ruling world, that tax-collecting stations would be established girdling the equator - the 
inhabited region - that percentages of grain and furs according to certain numerical formulae 
would be collected annually. 

The Rossemites had blinked solemnly, uncertain of the word "taxes." When collection time 
came, many had paid, or had stood by in confusion while the uniformed, other-wordlings loaded 
the harvested corn and the pelts on to the broad ground-cars. 

Here and there indignant peasants banded together and brought out ancient hunting weapons 
- but of this nothing ever came. Grumblingly they had disbanded when the men of Tazenda 
came and with dismay watched their hard struggle for existence become harder. 

But a new equilibrium was reached. The Tazendian governor lived dourly in the village of 
Gentri, from which all Rossemites were barred. He and the officials under him were dim 
otherworld beings that rarely impinged on the Rossemite ken. The tax-farmers, Rossemites in 
the employ of Tazenda, came periodically, but they were creatures of custom now - and the 

peasant had learned how to hide his grain and drive his cattle into the forest, and refrain from 
having his hut appear too ostentatiously prosperous. Then with a dull, uncomprehending 
expression he would greet all sharp questioning as to his assets by merely pointing at what 
they could see. 

Even that grew less, and taxes decreased, almost as If Tazenda wearied of extorting pennies 
from such a world. 

Trading sprang up and perhaps Tazenda found that more profitable. The men of Rossem no 
longer received in exchange the polished creations of the Empire, but even Tazendian 
machines and Tazendian food was better than the native stuff. And there were clothes for the 
women of other than gray home-spun, which was a very important thing. 

So once again, Galactic history glided past peacefully enough, and the peasants scrabbled life 
out of the hard soil. 

Narovi blew into his beard as he stepped out of his cottage. 

The first snows were sifting across the hard ground and the sky was a dull, overcast pink. He 
squinted carefully upward and decided that no real storm was in sight. He could travel to Gentri 
without much trouble and get rid of his surplus grain in return for enough canned foods to last 
the winter. 

He roared back through the door, which he opened a crack for the purpose: "Has the car been 
fed its fuel, yunker?" 

A voice shouted from within, and then Narovi's oldest son, his short, red beard not yet 
completely outgrown its boyish sparseness, joined him. 

"The car," he said, sullenly, "is fueled and rides well, but for the bad condition of the axles. For 
that I am of no blame. I have told you it needs expert repairs." 

The old man stepped back and surveyed his son through lowering eyebrows, then thrust his 
hairy chin outward: "And is the fault mine? Where and in what manner may I achieve expert 
repairs? Has the harvest then been anything but scanty for five years? Have my herds escaped 
the pest? Have the pelts climbed of themselves-" 

"Narovi!"The well-known voice from within stopped him in mid-word. He grumbled, "Well, well - 
and now your mother must insert herself into the affairs of a father and his son. Bring out the 
car, and see to it that the storage trailers are securely attached." 

He pounded his gloved hands together, and looked upward again. The dimly-ruddy clouds were 
gathering and the gray sky that showed in the rifts bore no warmth. The sun was hidden. 

He was at the point of looking away, when his dropping eyes caught and his finger almost 
automatically rose on high while his mouth fell open in a shout, in complete disregard of the 
cold air. 

"Wife," he called vigorously, "Old woman - come here." 

An indignant head appeared at a window. The woman's eyes followed his finger, gaped. With a 

cry, she dashed down the wooden stairs, snatching up an old wrap and a square of linen as 
she went. She emerged with the linen wrapped insecurely over her head and ears, and the 
wrap dangling from her shoulders. 

She snuffled: "It is a ship from outer space." 

And Narovi remarked impatiently: "And what else could it be? We have visitors, old woman, 

The ship was sinking slowly to a landing on the bare frozen field in the northern portions of 
Narovi's farm. 

"But what shall we do?" gasped the woman. "Can we offer these people hospitality? Is the dirt 
floor of our hovel to be theirs and the pickings of last week's hoecake?" 

"Shall they then go to our neighbors?" Narovi purpled past the crimson induced by the cold and 
his arms in their sleek fur covering lunged out and seized the woman's brawny shoulders. 

"Wife of my soul," he purred, "you will take the two chairs from our room downstairs; you will 
see that a fat youngling is slaughtered and roasted with tubers; you will bake a fresh hoecake. I 
go now to greet these men of power from outer space ... and ... and-" He paused, placed his 
great cap awry, and scratched hesitantly. "Yes, I shall bring my jug of brewed grain as well. 
Hearty drink is pleasant." 

The woman's mouth had flapped idly during this speech. Nothing came out. And when that 
stage passed, it was only a discordant screech that issued. 

Narovi lifted a finger, "Old woman, what was it the village Elders said a se'nnight since? Eh? 

Stir your memory. The Elders went from farm to farm - themselves! Imagine the importance of 
it! - to ask us that should any ships from outer space land, they were to be informed 
immediately on the orders of the governor. 

"And now shall I not seize the opportunity to win into the good graces of those in power? 

Regard that ship. Have you ever seen its like? These men from the outer worlds are rich, great. 
The governor himself sends such urgent messages concerning them that the Elders walk from 
farm to farm in the cooling weather. Perhaps the message is sent throughout all Rossem that 
these men are greatly desired by the Lords of Tazenda - and it is on my farm that they are 

He fairly hopped for anxiety, "The proper hospitality now - the mention of my name to the 
governor - and what may not be ours?" 

His wife was suddenly aware of the cold biting through her thin house-clothing. She leaped 
towards the door, shouting over her shoulders, "Leave then quickly." 

But she was speaking to a man who was even then racing towards the segment of the horizon 
against which the ship sank. 

Neither the cold of the world, nor its bleak, empty spaces worried General Han Pritcher. Nor the 
poverty of their surroundings, nor the perspiring peasant himself. 

What did bother him was the question of the wisdom of their tactics? He and Channis were 
alone here. 

The ship, left in space, could take care of itself in ordinary circumstances, but still, he felt 
unsafe. It was Channis, of course, who was responsible for this move. He looked across at the 
young man and caught him winking cheerfully at the gap in the furred partition, in which a 
woman's peeping eyes and gaping mouth momentarily appeared. 

Channis, at least, seemed completely at ease. That fact Pritcher savored with a vinegary 
satisfaction. His game had not much longer to proceed exactly as he wished it. Yet, meanwhile 
their wrist ultrawave sender-receivers were their only connection with the ship. 

And then the peasant host smiled enormously and bobbed his head several times and said in a 
voice oily with respect, "Noble Lords, I crave leave to tell you that my eldest son - a good, 
worthy lad whom my poverty prevents from educating as his wisdom deserves - has informed 
me that the Elders will arrive soon. I trust your stay here has been as pleasant as my humble 
means - for I am poverty-stricken, though a hard-working, honest, and humble farmer, as 
anyone here will tell you - could afford." 

"Elders?" said Channis, lightly. "The chief men of the region here?" 

"So they are, Noble Lords, and honest, worthy men all of them, for our entire village is known 
throughout Rossem as a just and righteous spot - though living is hard and the returns of the 
fields and forests meager. Perhaps you will mention to the Elders, Noble Lords, of my respect 
and honor for travelers and it may happen that they will request a new motor wagon for our 
household as the old one can scarcely creep and upon the remnant of it depends our 

He looked humbly eager and Han Pritcher nodded with thee properly aloof condescension 
required of the role of "Noble, Lords" bestowed upon them. 

"A report of your hospitality shall reach the ears of your Elders." 

Pritcher seized the next moments of isolation to speak to the apparently half-sleeping Channis. 

"I am not particularly fond of this meeting of the Elders," he said. "Have you any thoughts on 
the subject?" 

Channis seemed surprised. "No. What worries you?" 

"It seems we have better things to do than to become conspicuous here.' 

Channis spoke hastily, in a low monotoned voice: "It may be necessary to risk becoming 
conspicuous in our next moves. We won't find the type of men we want, Pritcher, by simply 
reaching out a hand into a dark bag and groping. Men who rule by tricks of the mind need not 
necessarily be men in obvious power. In the first place, the psychologists of the Second 
Foundation are probably a very small minority of the total population, just as on your own First 
Foundation, the technicians and scientists formed a minority. The ordinary inhabitants are 
probably just that - very ordinary. The psychologists may even be well hidden, and the men in 
the apparently ruling position, may honestly think they are the true masters. Our solution to that 

problem may be found here on this frozen lump of a planet." 

"I don't follow that at all." 

"Why, see here, it's obvious enough. Tazenda is probably a huge world of millions or hundreds 
of millions. How could we identify the psychologists among them and be able to report truly to 
the Mule that we have located the Second Foundation? But here, on this tiny peasant world 
and subject planet, an the Tazendian rulers, our host informs us, are concentrated in their chief 
village of Gentri. There may be only a few hundred of them there, Pritcher, and among them 
must be one or more of the men of the Second Foundation. We will go there eventually, but let 
us see the Elders first - it's a logical step on the way." 

They drew apart easily, as their black-bearded host tumbled into the room again, obviously 

"Noble Lords, the Elders are arriving. I crave leave to beg you once more to mention a word, 
perhaps, on my behalf-" He almost bent double in a paroxysm of fawning. 

"We shall certainly remember you," said Channis. "Are these your Elders?" 

They apparently were. There were three. 

One approached. He bowed with a dignified respect and said: "We are honored. Transportation 
has been provided, Respected sirs, and we hope for the pleasure of your company at our 
Meeting Hall." 


The First Speaker gazed wistfully at the night sky. Wispy clouds scudded across the faint 
stargleams. Space looked actively hostile. It was cold and awful at best but now it contained 
that strange creature, the Mule, and the very content seemed to darken and thicken it into 
ominous threat. 

The meeting was over. It had not been long. There had been the doubts and questionings 
inspired by the difficult mathematical problem of dealing with a mental mutant of uncertain 
makeup. All the extreme permutations had had to be considered. 

Were they even yet certain? Somewhere in this region of space - within reaching distance as 
Galactic spaces go - was the Mule. What would he do? 

It was easy enough to handle his men. They reacted - and were reacting - according to plan. 
But what of the Mule himself? 


Two Men and the Elders 

The Elders of this particular region of Rossem were not exactly what one might have expected. 
They were not a mere extrapolation of the peasantry; older, more authoritative, less friendly. 

Not at all. 

The dignity that had marked them at first meeting had grown in impression till it had reached 
the mark of being their predominant characteristic. 

They sat about their oval table like so many grave and slow-moving thinkers. Most were a trifle 
past their physical prime, though the few who possessed beards wore them short and neatly 
arranged. Still, enough appeared younger than forty to make it quite obvious that "Elders" was 
a term of respect rather than entirely a literal description of age. 

The two from outer space were at the head of the table and in the solemn silence that 
accompanied a rather frugal meal that seemed ceremonious rather than nourishing, absorbed 
the new, contrasting atmosphere. 

After the meal and after one or two respectful remarks - too short and simple to be called 
speeches - had been made by those of the Elders apparently held most in esteem, an 
informality forced itself upon the assembly. 

It was as if the dignity of greeting foreign personages had finally given way to the amiable rustic 
qualities of curiosity and friendliness. 

They crowded around the two strangers and the flood of questions came. 

They asked if it were difficult to handle a spaceship, how many men were required for the job, if 
better motors could be made for their ground-cars, if it was true that it rarely snowed on other 
worlds as was said to be the case with Tazenda, how many people lived on their world, if it was 
as large as Tazenda, if it was far away, how their clothes were woven and what gave them the 
metallic shimmer, why they did not wear furs, if they shaved every day, what sort of stone that 
was in Pritcher's ring - The list stretched out. 

And almost always the questions were addressed to Pritcher as though, as the elder, they 
automatically invested him with the greater authority. Pritcher found himself forced to answer at 
greater and greater length. It was like an immersion in a crowd of children. Their questions 
were those of utter and disarming wonder. Their eagerness to know was completely irresistible 
and would not be denied. 

Pritcher explained that spaceships were not difficult to handle and that crews varied with the 
size, from one to many, that the motors of their ground-cars were unknown in detail to him but 
could doubtless be improved, that the climates of worlds varied almost infinitely, that many 
hundreds of millions lived on his world but that it was far smaller and more insignificant than the 
great empire of Tazenda, that their clothes were woven of silicone plastics in which metallic 
luster was artificially produced by proper orientation of the surface molecules, and that they 
could be artificially heated so that furs were unnecessary, that they shaved every day, that the 
stone in his ring was an amethyst. The list stretched out. He found himself thawing to these 

naive provincials against his will. 

And always as he answered there was a rapid chatter among the Elders, as though they 
debated the information gained. It was difficult to follow these inner discussions of theirs for 
they lapsed into their own accented version of the universal Galactic language that, through 
long separation from the currents of living speech, had become archaic. 

Almost, one might say, their curt comments among themselves hovered on the edge of 
understanding, but just managed to elude the clutching tendrils of comprehension. 

Until finally Channis interrupted to say, "Good sirs, you must answer us for a while, for we are 
strangers and would be very much interested to know all we can of Tazenda." 

And what happened then was that a great silence fell and each of the hitherto voluble Elders 
grew silent. Their hands, which had been moving in such rapid and delicate accompaniment to 
their words as though to give them greater scope and varied shades of meaning, fell suddenly 
limp. They stared furtively at one another, apparently quite willing each to let the other have all 
the floor. 

Pritcher interposed quickly, "My companion asks this in friendliness, for the fame of Tazenda 
fills the Galaxy and we, of course, shall inform the governor of the loyalty and love of the Elders 
of Rossem." 

No sigh of relief was heard but faces brightened. An Elder stroked his beard with thumb and 
forefinger, straightening its slight curl with a gentle pressure, and said: "We are faithful servants 
of the Lords of Tazenda." 

Pritcher's annoyance at Channis' bald question subsided. It was apparent, at least, that the age 
that he had felt creeping over him of late had not yet deprived him of his own capacity for 
making smooth the blunders of others. 

He continued: "We do not know, in our far part of the universe, much of the past history of the 
Lords of Tazenda. We presume they have ruled benevolently here for a long time." 

The same Elder who spoke before, answered. In a soft, automatic way he had become 
spokesman. He said: "Not the grandfather of the oldest can recall a time in which the Lords 
were absent." 

"It has been a time of peace?" 

"It has been a time of peace!" He hesitated. "The governor is a strong and powerful Lord who 
would not hesitate to punish traitors. None of us are traitors, of course." 

"He has punished some in the past, I imagine, as they deserve." 

Again hesitation, "None here have ever been traitors, or our fathers or our fathers' fathers. But 
on other worlds, there have been such, and death followed for them quickly. It is not good to 
think of for we are humble men who are poor farmers and not concerned with matters of 

The anxiety in his voice, the universal concern in the eyes of all of them was obvious. 

Pritcher said smoothly: "Could you inform us as to how we can arrange an audience with your 

And instantly an element of sudden bewilderment entered the situation. 

For after a long moment, the elder said: "Why, did you not know? The governor will be here 
tomorrow. He has expected you. It has been a great honor for us. We ... we hope earnestly that 
you will report to him satisfactorily as to our loyalty to him." 

Pritcher's smile scarcely twitched. "Expected us?" 

The Elder looked wonderingly from one to the other. "Why ... it is now a week since we have 
been waiting for you." 

Their quarters were undoubtedly luxurious for the world. Pritcher had lived in worse. Channis 
showed nothing but indifference to externals. 

But there was an element of tension between them of a different nature than hitherto. Pritcher, 
felt the time approaching for a definite decision and yet there was still the desirability of 
additional waiting. To see the governor first would be to increase the gamble to dangerous 
dimensions and yet to win that gamble might multi-double the winnings. He felt a surge of 
anger at the slight crease between Channis' eyebrows, the delicate uncertainty with which the 
young man's lower lip presented itself to an upper tooth. He detested the useless play-acting 
and yearned for an end to it. 

He said: "We seem to be anticipated." 

'Yes," said Channis, simply. 

"Just that? You have no contribution of greater pith to make. We come here and find that the 
governor expects us. Presumably we shall find from the governor that Tazenda itself expects 
us. Of what value then is our entire mission?" 

Channis looked up, without endeavoring to conceal the weary note in his voice: "To expect us 
is one thing; to know who we are and what we came for, is another." 

"Do you expect to conceal these things from men of the Second Foundation?" 

"Perhaps. Why not? Are you ready to throw your hand in? Suppose our ship was detected in 
space. Is it unusual for a realm to maintain frontier observation posts? Even if we were ordinary 
strangers, we would be of interest." 

"Sufficient interest for a governor to come to us rather than the reverse?' 

Channis shrugged: "We’ll have to meet that problem later. Let us see what this governor is 

Pritcher bared his teeth in a bloodless kind of scowl. The situation was becoming ridiculous. 

Channis proceeded with an artificial animation: "At least we know one thing. Tazenda is the 
Second Foundation or a million shreds of evidence are unanimously pointing the wrong way. 

How do you interpret the obvious terror in which these natives hold Tazenda? I see no signs of 
political domination. Their groups of Elders apparently meet freely and without interference of 
any sort. The taxation they speak of doesn't seem at all extensive to me or efficiently carried 
through. The natives speak much of poverty but seem sturdy and well-fed. The houses are 
uncouth and their villages rude, but are obviously adequate for the purpose. 

"In fact, the world fascinates me. I have never seen a more forbidding one, yet I am convinced 
there is no suffering among the population and that their uncomplicated lives manage to 
contain a well-balanced happiness lacking in the sophisticated populations of the advanced 

"Are you an admirer of peasant virtues, then?" 

"The stars forbid." Channis seemed amused at the idea. "I merely point out the significance of 
all this. Apparently, Tazenda is an efficient administrator - efficient in a sense far different from 
the efficiency of the old Empire or of the First Foundation, or even of our own Union. All these 
have brought mechanical efficiency to their subjects at the cost of more intangible values. 
Tazenda brings happiness and sufficiency. Don't you see that the whole orientation of their 
domination is different? It is not physical, but psychological." 

"Really?" Pritcher, allowed himself irony. "And the terror with which the Elders spoke of the 
punishment of treason by these kind hearted psychologist administrators? How does that suit 
your thesis?" 

"Were they the objects of the punishment? They speak of punishment only of others. It is as if 
knowledge of punishment has been so well implanted in them that punishment itself need never 
be used. The proper mental attitudes are so inserted into their minds that I am certain that not a 
Tazendian soldier exists on the planet. Don't you see all this?" 

"I’ll see perhaps," said Pritcher, coldly, "when I see the governor. And what, by the way, if our 
mentalities are handled?" 

Channis replied with brutal contempt: "You should be accustomed to that." 

Pritcher whitened perceptibly, and, with an effort, turned away. They spoke to one another no 
more that day. 

It was in the silent windlessness of the frigid night, as he listened to the soft, sleeping motions 
of the other, that Pritcher silently adjusted his wrist-transmitter to the ultrawave region for which 
Channis' was unadjustable and, with noiseless touches of his fingernail, contacted the ship. 

The answer came in little periods of noiseless vibration that barely lifted themselves above the 
sensory threshold. 

Twice Pritcher asked: "Any communications at all yet?" 

Twice the answer came: "None. We wait always." 

He got out of bed. It was cold in the room and he pulled the furry blanket around him as he sat 
in the chair and stared out at the crowding stars so different in the brightness and complexity of 

their arrangement from the even fog of the Galactic Lens that dominated the night sky of his 
native Periphery. 

Somewhere there between the stars was the answer to the complications that overwhelmed 
him, and he felt the yearning for that solution to arrive and end things. 

For a moment he wondered again if the Mule were right - if Conversion had robbed him of the 
firm sharp edge of self-reliance. Or was it simply age and the fluctuations of these last years? 

He didn't really care. 

He was tired. 

The governor of Rossem arrived with minor ostentation. His only companion was the uniformed 
man at the controls of the ground-car. 

The ground-car itself was of lush design but to Pritcher it appeared inefficient. It turned 
clumsily; more than once it apparently balked at what might have been a too-rapid change of 
gears. It was obvious at once from its design that it ran on chemical, and not on atomic, fuel. 

The Tazendian governor stepped softly on to the thin layer of snow and advanced between two 
lines of respectful Elders. He did not look at them but entered quickly. They followed after him. 

From the quarters assigned to them, the two men of the Mule's Union watched. He - the 
governor-was thickset, rather stocky, short, unimpressive. 

But what of that? 

Pritcher cursed himself for a failure of nerve. His face, to be sure, remained icily calm. There 
was no humiliation before Channis - but he knew very well that his blood pressure had 
heightened and his throat had become dry. 

It was not a case of physical fear. He was not one of those dull-witted, unimaginative men of 
nerveless meat who were too stupid ever to be afraid - but physical fear he could account for 
and discount. 

But this was different. It was the other fear. 

He glanced quickly at Channis. The young man glanced idly at the nails of one hand and poked 
leisurely at some trifling unevenness. 

Something inside Pritcher became vastly indignant. What had Channis to fear of mental 

Pritcher caught a mental breath and tried to think back. How had he been before the Mule had 
Converted him from the die-hard Democrat that he was. It was hard to remember. He could not 
place himself mentally. He could not break the clinging wires that bound him emotionally to the 
Mule. Intellectually, he could remember that he had once tried to assassinate the Mule but not 
for all the straining he could endure, could he remember his emotions at the time. That might 
be the self-defense of his own mind, however, for at the intuitive thought of what those 
emotions might have been - not realizing the details, but merely comprehending the drift of it - 

his stomach grew queasy. 

What if the governor tampered with his mind? 

What if the insubstantial mental tendrils of a Second Foundationer insinuated itself down the 
emotional crevices of his makeup and pulled them apart and rejoined them? 

There had been no sensation the first time. There had been no pain, no mental jar - not even a 
feeling of discontinuity. He had always loved the Mule. If there had ever been a time long 
before - as long before as five short years - when he had thought he hadn't loved him, that he 
had hated him - that was just a horrid illusion. The thought of that illusion embarrassed him. 

But there had been no pain. 

Would meeting the governor duplicate that? Would all that had gone before - all his service for 
the Mule - all his life's orientation - join the hazy, other-life dream that held the word, 
Democracy. The Mule also a dream, and only to Tazenda, his loyalty— 

Sharply, he turned away. 

There was that strong desire to retch. 

And then Channis' voice clashed on his ear, "I think this is it, general." 

Pritcher turned again. An Elder had opened the door silently and stood with a dignified and 
calm respect upon the threshold. 

He said, "His Excellency, Governor of Rossem, in the name of the Lords of Tazenda, is pleased 
to present his permission for an audience and request your appearance before him." 

"Sure thing," and Channis tightened his belt with a jerk and adjusted a Rossemian hood over 
his head. 

Pritcher's jaw set. This was the beginning of the real gamble. 

The governor of Rossem was not of formidable appearance. For one thing, he was 
bareheaded, and his thinning hair, light brown, tending to gray, lent him mildness. His bony 
eye-ridges lowered at them, and his eyes, set in a fine network of surrounding wrinkles, 
seemed calculating, but his fresh-cropped chin was soft and small and, by the universal 
convention of followers of the pseudoscience of reading character by facial bony structure, 
seemed "weak." 

Pritcher, avoided the eyes and watched the chin. He didn't know whether that would be 
effective - if anything would be. 

The governor's voice was high-pitched, indifferent: "Welcome to Tazenda. We greet you in 
peace. You have eaten?" 

His hand - long fingers, gnarled veins - waved almost regally at the U-shaped table. 

They bowed and sat down. The governor sat at the outer side of the base of the U, they on the 
inner; along both arms sat the double row of silent Elders. 

The governor spoke in short, abrupt sentences - praising the food as Tazendian importations - 
and it had indeed a quality different if, somehow, not so much better, than the rougher food of 
the Elders - disparaging Rossemian weather, referring with an attempt at casualness to the 
intricacies of space travel. 

Channis talked little. Pritcher not at all. 

Then it was over. The small, stewed fruits were finished; the napkins used and discarded, and 
the governor leaned back. 

His small eyes sparkled. 

"I have inquired as to your ship. Naturally, I would like to see that it receives due care and 
overhaul. I am told its whereabouts are unknown." 

"True." Channis replied lightly. "We have left it in space. It is a large ship, suitable for long 
journeys in sometimes hostile regions, and we felt that landing it here might give rise to doubts 
as to our peaceful intentions. We preferred to land alone, unarmed." 

"A friendly act," commented the governor, without conviction. "A large ship, you say?" 

"Not a vessel of war, excellency." 

"Ha, hum. Where is it