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Chapter 14

The journey came to its end and the air-taxi moved into a much larger lot than the one at which they had eaten. (Seldon still remembered the taste of the sandwich and made a wry face.)
Hummin turned in his taxi and came back, placing his credit slip in a small pocket on the inner surface of his shirt. He said, "Youre completely safe here from anything outright and open. This is the Streeling Sector."
"Its named for someone who first opened up the area to settlement, I imagine. Most of the sectors are named for someone or other, which means that most of the names are ugly and some are hard to pronounce. Just the same, if you try to have the inhabitants here change Streeling to Sweetsmell or something like that, youll have a fight on your hands."
"Of course," said Seldon, sniffing loudly, "it isnt exactly Sweetsmell."
"Hardly anywhere in Trantor is, but youll get used to it."
"Im glad were here," said Seldon. "Not that I like it, but I got quite tired sitting in the taxi. Getting around Trantor must be a horror. Back on Helicon, we can get from any one place to any other by air, in far less time than it took us to travel less than two thousand kilometers here."
"We have air-jets too."
"But in that case--"
"I could arrange an air-taxi ride more or less anonymously. It would have been much more difficult with an air-jet. And regardless of how safe it is here, Id feel better if Demerzel didnt know exactly where you were.--As a matter of fact, were not done yet. Were going to take the Expressway for the final stage."
Seldon knew the expression. "One of those open monorails moving on an electromagnetic field, right?"
"We dont have them on Helicon. Actually, we dont need them there. I rode on an Expressway the first day I was on Trantor. It took me from the airport to the hotel. It was rather a novelty, but if I were to use it all the time, I imagine the noise and crowds would become overpowering."
Hummin looked amused. "Did you get lost?"
"No, the signs were useful. There was trouble getting on and off, but I was helped. Everyone could tell I was an Outworlder by my clothes, I now realize. They seemed eager to help, though; I guess because it was amusing to watching me hesitate and stumble."
"As an expert in Expressway travel by now, you will neither hesitate nor stumble." Hummin said it pleasantly enough, though there was a slight twitch to the corners of his mouth. "Come on, then."
They sauntered leisurely along the walkway, which was lit to the extent one might expect of an overcast day and that brightened now and then as though the sun occasionally broke through the clouds. Automatically, Seldon looked upward to see if that were indeed the case, but the "sky" above was blankly luminous. Hummin saw this and said, "This change in brightness seems too suit the human psyche. There are days when the street seems to be in bright sunlight and days when it is rather darker than it is now."
"But no rain or snow?"
"Or hail or sleet. No. Nor high humidity nor bitter cold. Trantor has its points, Seldon, even now."
There were people walking in both directions and there were a considerable number of young people and also some children accompanying the adults, despite what Hummin had said about the birthrate. All seemed reasonably prosperous and reputable. The two sexes were equally represented and the clothing was distinctly more subdued than it had been in the Imperial Sector. His own costume, as chosen by Hummin, fit right in. Very few were wearing hats and Seldon thankfully removed his own and swung it at his side. There was no deep abyss separating the two sides of the walkway and as Hummin had predicted............
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