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Part One - Gaia Chapter I
 The Search Begins1"Why did I do it?" asked Golan Trevize.
It wasn't a new question. Since he had arrived at Gaia, he had askedit of himself frequently. He would wake up from a sound sleep in thepleasant coolness of the night and find the question sounding noiselesslyin his mind, like a tiny drumbeat: Why did I do it? Why did I do it?
Now, though, for the first time, he managed to ask it of Dom, theancient of Gaia.
Dom was well aware of Trevize's tension for he could sense the fabricof the Councilman's mind. He did not respond to it. Gaia must in no wayever touch Trevize's mind, and the best way of remaining immune to thetemptation was to painstakingly ignore what he sensed.
"Do what, Trev?" he asked. He found it difficult to use more thanone syllable in addressing a person, and it didn't matter. Trevize wasgrowing somewhat used to that.
"The decision I made," said Trevize. "Choosing Gaia as the future.""You were right to do so," said Dom, seated, his aged deep-set eyeslooking earnestly up at the man of the Foundation, who was standing.
"You say I am right," said Trevize impatiently.
"I/we/Gaia know you are. That's your worth to us. You have the capacityfor making the right decision on incomplete data, and you have made thedecision. You chose Gaia! You rejected the anarchy of a Galactic Empirebuilt on the technology of the First Foundation, as well as the anarchyof a Galactic Empire built on the mentalics of the Second Foundation. Youdecided that neither could be long stable. So you chose Gaia.""Yes," said Trevize. "Exactly! I chose Gaia, a superorganism; a wholeplanet with a mind and personality in common, so that one has to say`I/we/ Gaia' as an invented pronoun to express the inexpressible." Hepaced the floor restlessly. "And it will become eventually Galaxia,a super-superorganism embracing all the swarm of the Milky Way."He stopped, turned almost savagely on Dom, and said, "I feel I'm right,as you feel it, but you want the coming of Galaxia, and soare satisfied with the decision. There's something in me, however, thatdoesn't want it, and for that reason I'm not satisfied toaccept the rightness so easily. I want to know why I madethe decision, I want to weigh and judge the rightness and be satisfiedwith it. Merely feeling right isn't enough. How can I know I am right? What is the device that makes me right?""I/we/Gaia do not know how it is that you come to the rightdecision. Is it important to know that as long as we have thedecision?""You speak for the whole planet, do you? For the common consciousnessof every dewdrop, of every pebble, of even the liquid central core ofthe planet?""I do, and so can any portion of the planet in which the intensityof the common consciousness is great enough.""And is all this common consciousness satisfied to use me as ablack box? Since the black box works, is it unimportant to know what isinside? That doesn't suit me. I don't enjoy being a black box. Iwant to know what's inside. I want to know how and why I chose Gaia andGalaxia as the future, so that I can rest and be at peace.""But why do you dislike or distrust your decision so?"Trevize drew a deep breath and said slowly, in a low and forcefulvoice, "Because I don't want to be part of a superorganism. I don't wantto be a dispensable part to be done away with whenever the superorganismjudges that doing away would be for the good of the whole."Dom looked at Trevize thoughtfully. "Do you want to change yourdecision, then, Trev? You can, you know.""I long to change the decision, but I can't do that merely because Idislike it. To do something now, I have to know whether thedecision is wrong or right. It's not enough merely to feel it's right.""If you feel you are right, you are right." Always that slow, gentlevoice that somehow made Trevize feel wilder by its very contrast withhis own inner turmoil.
Then Trevize said, in half a whisper, breaking out of the insolubleoscillation between feeling and knowing, "I must find Earth.""Because it has something to do with this passionate need of yoursto know?""Because it is another problem that troubles me unbearably and becauseI feel there is a connection between the two. Am I not ablack box? I feel there is a connection. Isn't that enoughto make you accept it as a fact?""Perhaps," said Dom, with equanimity.
"Granted it is now thousands of years twenty thousandperhaps since the people of the Galaxy have concerned themselveswith Earth, how is it possible that we have all forgotten our planetof origin?""Twenty thousand years is a longer time than you realize. Thereare many aspects of the early Empire we know little of; many legendsthat are almost surely fictitious but that we keep repeating, and evenbelieving, because of lack of anything to substitute. And Earth is olderthan the Empire.""But surely there are some records. My good friend, Pelorat, collectsmyths and legends of early Earth; anything he can scrape up from anysource. It is his profession and, more important, his hobby. Thosemyths and legends are all there are. There are no actual records,no documents.""Documents twenty thousand years old? Things decay, perish, aredestroyed through inefficiency or war.""But there should be records of the records; copies, copies of thecopies, and copies of the copies of the copies; useful material muchyounger than twenty millennia. They have been removed. The GalacticLibrary at Trantor must have had documents concerning Earth. Thosedocuments are referred to in known historical records, but the documentsno longer exist in the Galactic Library. The references to them may exist,but any quotations from them do not exist.""Remember that Trantor was sacked a few centuries ago,""The Library was left untouched. It was protected by the personnel ofthe Second Foundation. And it was those personnel who recently discoveredthat material related to Earth no longer exists. The material wasdeliberately removed in recent times. Why?" Trevize ceased his pacingand looked intently at Dom. "If I find Earth, I will find out what itis hiding ""Hiding?""Hiding or being hidden. Once I find that out, I have the feeling Iwill know why I have chosen Gaia and Galaxia over our individuality. Then,I presume, I will know , not feel, that I am correct, andif I am correct" he lifted his shoulders hopelessly "thenso be it.""If you feel that is so," said Dom, "and if you feel you must huntfor Earth, then, of course, we will help you do as much as we can. Thathelp, however, is limited. For instance, I/we/Gaia do not know whereEarth may be located among the immense wilderness of worlds that makeup the Galaxy.""Even so," said Trevize, "I must search. Even if the endlesspowdering of stars in the Galaxy makes the quest seem hopeless, and evenif I must do it alone.
2Trevize was surrounded by the tameness of Gaia. Thetemperature, as always, was comfortable, and the air moved pleasantly,refreshing but not chilling. Clouds drifted across the sky, interruptingthe sunlight now and then, and, no doubt, if the water vapor level permeter of open land surface dropped sufficiently in this place or that,there would be enough rain to restore it.
The trees grew in regular spacings, like an orchard, and did so, nodoubt, all over the world. The land and sea were stocked with plant andanimal life in proper numbers and in the proper variety to provide anappropriate ecological balance, and all of them, no doubt, increased anddecreased in numbers in a slow sway about the recognized optimum. Asdid the number of human beings, too.
Of all the objects within the purview of Trevize's vision, the onlywild card in the deck was his ship, the Far Star .
The ship had been cleaned and refurbished efficiently and well by anumber of the human components of Gaia. It had been restocked with foodand drink, its furnishings had been renewed or replaced, its mechanicalworkings rechecked. Trevize himself had checked the ship's computercarefully.
Nor did the ship need refueling, for it was one of the fewgravitic ships of the Foundation, running on the energy of the generalgravitational field of the Galaxy, and that was enough to supply all thepossible fleets of humanity for all the eons of their likely existencewithout measurable decrease of intensity.
Three months ago, Trevize had been a Councilman of Terminus. He had,in other words, been a member of the Legislature of the Foundation and,ex officio , a great one of the Galaxy. Was it only three monthsago? It seemed it was half his thirty-two-year-old lifetime since thathad been his post and his only concern had been whether the great SeldonPlan had been valid or not; whether the smooth rise of the Foundationfrom planetary village to Galactic greatness had been properly chartedin advance, or not.
Yet in some ways, there was no change. He was still a Councilman. His status and his privileges remained unchanged, exceptthat he didn't expect he would ever return to Terminus to claim thatstatus and those privileges. He would no more fit into the huge chaosof the Foundation than into the small orderliness of Gaia. He was athome nowhere, an orphan everywhere.
His jaw tightened and he pushed his fingers angrily through his blackhair. Before he wasted time bemoaning his fate, he must find Earth. Ifhe survived the search, there would then be time enough to sit down andweep. He might have even better reason then.
With determined stolidity, then, he thought back Three months before, he and Janov Pelorat, that able, na飗escholar, had left Terminus. Pelorat had been driven by his antiquarianenthusiasms to discover the site of long-lost Earth, and Trevize had gonealong, using Pelorat's goal as a cover for what he thought his own realaim was. They did not find Earth, but they did find Gaia, and Trevizehad then found himself forced to make his fateful decision.
Now it was he, Trevize, who had turned half-circle-about-face andwas searching for Earth.
As for Pelorat, he, too, had found something he didn't expect. He hadfound the black-haired, dark-eyed Bliss, the young woman who was Gaia,even as Dom was and as the nearest grain of sand or blade of grasswas. Pelorat, with the peculiar ardor of late middle age, had fallenin love with a woman less than half his years, and the young woman,oddly enough, seemed content with that.
It was odd but Pelorat was surely happy and Trevize thoughtresignedly that each person must find happiness in his or her ownmanner. That was the point of individuality the individualitythat Trevize, by his choice, was abolishing (given time) over all theGalaxy.
The pain returned. That decision he had made, and had had to make,continued to excoriate him at every moment and was "Golan!"The voice intruded on Trevize's thoughts and he looked up in thedirection of the sun, blinking his eyes.
"Ah, Janov," he said heartily the more heartily because he didnot want Pelorat guessing at the sourness of his thoughts. He even manageda jovial, "You've managed to tear yourself away from Bliss, I see."Pelorat shook his head. The gentle breeze stirred his silky whitehair, and his long solemn face retained its length and solemnityin full. "Actually, old chap, it was she that suggested I seeyou about about what I want to discuss. Not that I wouldn'thave wanted to see you on my own, of course, but she seems to think morequickly than I do."Trevize smiled. "It's all right, Janov. You're here to say good-bye,I take it.""Well, no, not exactly. In fact, more nearly the reverse. Golan,when we left Terminus, you and I, I was intent on finding Earth. I'vespent virtually my entire adult life at that task.""And I will carry on, Janov. The task is mine now.""Yes, but it's mine, also; mine, still.""But " Trevize lifted an arm in a vague all-inclusive gestureof the world about them.
Pelorat said, in a sudden urgent gasp, "I want to go with you."Trevize felt astonished. "You can't mean that, Janov. You have Gaianow.""I'll come back to Gaia someday, but I cannot let you go alone.""Certainly you can. I can take care of myself.""No offense, Golan, but you don't know enough. It is I who know themyths and legends. I can direct you.""And you'll leave Bliss? Come, now."A faint pink colored Pelorat's cheeks. "I don't exactly want to dothat, old chap, but she said "Trevize frowned. "Is it that she's trying to get rid ofyou , Janov. She promised me ""No, you don't understand. Please listen to me, Golan. You do havethis uncomfortable explosive way of jumping to conclusions before youhear one out. It's your specialty, I know, and I seem to have a certaindifficulty in expressing myself concisely, but ""Well," said Trevize gently, "suppose you tell me exactly what it isthat Bliss has on her mind in just any way you please, and I promise tobe very patient.""Thank you, and as long as you're going to be patient, I think I cancome out with it right away. You see, Bliss wants to come, too."" Bliss wants to come?" said Trevize. "No, I'm explodingagain. I won't explode. Tell me, Janov, why would Bliss want to comealong? I'm asking it quietly.""She didn't say. She said she wants to talk to you.""Then why isn't she here, eh?"Pelorat said, "I think I say I think  thatshe is rather of the opinion that you are not fond of her, Golan, andshe rather hesitates to approach you. I have done my best, old man, toassure her that you have nothing against her. I cannot believe anyonewould think anything but highly of her. Still, she wanted me to broachthe subject with you, so to speak. May I tell her that you'll be willingto see her, Golan?""Of course, I'll see her right now.""And you'll be reasonable? You see, old man, she's rather intenseabout it. She said the matter was vital and she must gowith you.""She didn't tell you why, did she?""No, but if she thinks she must go, so must Gaia .""Which means I mustn't refuse. Is that right, Janov?""Yes, I think you mustn't, Golan."3For the first time during his brief stay on Gaia, Trevizeentered Bliss's house which now sheltered Pelorat as well.
Trevize looked about briefly. On Gaia, houses tended to be simple. Withthe all-but-complete absence of violent weather of any kind, with thetemperature mild at all times in this particular latitude, with eventhe tectonic plates slipping smoothly when they had to slip, therewas no point in building houses designed for elaborate protection,or for maintaining a comfortable environment within an uncomfortableone. The whole planet was a house, so to speak, designed to shelterits inhabitants.
Bliss's house within that planetary house was small, the windowsscreened ether than glassed, the furniture sparse and gracefullyutilitarian. There were holographic images on the walls; one of them ofPelorat looking rather astonished and self-conscious. Trevize's lipstwitched but he tried not to let his amusement show, and he fell toadjusting his waist-sash meticulously.
Bliss watched him. She wasn't smiling in her usual fashion. Rather,she looked serious, her fine dark eyes wide, her hair tumbling to hershoulders in a gentle black wave. Only her full lips, touched with red,lent a bit of color to her face.
"Thank you for coming to see me, Trev.""Janov was very urgent in his request, Blissenobiarella."Bliss smiled briefly. "Well returned. If you will call me Bliss, adecent monosyllable, I will try to say your name in full, Trevize." Shestumbled, almost unnoticeably, over the second syllable.
Trevize held up his right hand. "That would be a good arrangement. Irecognize the Gaian habit of using one-syllable name-portions in thecommon interchange of thoughts, so if you should happen to call me Trevnow and then I will not be offended. Still, I will be more comfortableif you try to say Trevize as often as you can and I shall sayBliss."Trevize studied her, as he always did when he encountered her. As anindividual, she was a young woman in her early twenties. As part of Gaia,however, she was thousands of years old. It made no difference in herappearance, but it made a difference in the way she spoke sometimes,and in the atmosphere that inevitably surrounded her. Did he want itthis way for everyone who existed? No! Surely, no, and yet Bliss said, "I will get to the point. You stressed your desire tofind Earth ""I spoke to Dom," said Trevize, determined not to give in to Gaiawithout a perpetual insistence on his own point of view.
"Yes, but in speaking to Dom, you spoke to Gaia and to every part ofit, so that you spoke to me, for instance.""Did you hear me as I spoke?""No, for I wasn't listening, but if, thereafter, I paid attention,I could remember what you said. Please accept that and let us goon. You stressed your desire to find Earth and insisted on itsimportance. I do not see that importance but you have the knack of beingright so I/we/Gaia must accept what you say. If the mission is crucialto your decision concerning Gaia, It is of crucial importance to Gaia,and so Gaia must go with you, if only to try to protect you.""When you say Gaia must go with me, you mean you mustgo with me. Am I correct?""I am Gaia," said Bliss simply.
"But so is everything else on and in this planet. Why, then, you? Whynot some other portion of Gaia?""Because Pel wishes to go with you, and if he goes with you, he wouldnot be happy with any other portion of Gaia than myself."Pelorat, who sat rather unobtrusively on a chair in another corner(with his back, Trevize noted, to his own image) said softly, "That'strue, Golan. Bliss is my portion of Gaia."Bliss smiled suddenly. "It seems rather exciting to be thought of inthat way. It's very alien, of course.""Well, let's see." Trevize put his hands behind his head and beganto lean backward in his chair. The thin legs creaked as he did so, sothat he quickly decided the chair was not sturdy enough to endure thatgame and brought it down to all four feet. "Will you still be part ofGaia if you leave her?""I need not be. I can isolate myself, for instance, if I seem in dangerof serious harm, so that harm will not necessarily spill over into Gaia,or if there is any other overriding reason for it. That, however, is amatter of emergency only. Generally, I will remain part of Gaia.""Even if we Jump through hyperspace?""Even then, though that will complicate matters somewhat.""Somehow I don't find that comforting.""Why not?"Trevize wrinkled his nose in the usual metaphoric response to a badsmell. "It means that anything that is said and done on my ship thatyou hear and see will be heard and seen by all of Gaia.""I am Gaia so what I see, hear, and sense, Gaia will see, hear,and sense.""Exactly. Even that wall will see, hear, and sense."Bliss looked at the wall he pointed to and shrugged. "Yes, that wall,too. It has only an infinitesimal consciousness so that it senses andunderstands only infinitesimally, but I presume there are some subatomicshifts in response to what we are saying right now, for instance, thatenable it to fit into Gaia with more purposeful intent for the good ofthe whole.""But what if I wish privacy? I may not want the wall to be aware ofwhat I say or do."Bliss looked exasperated and Pelorat broke in suddenly. "You know,Golan, I don't want to interfere, since I obviously don't know much aboutGaia. Still, I've been with Bliss and I've gathered somehow some of whatit's all about. If you walk through a crowd on Terminus, you seeand hear a great many things, and you may remember some of it. You mighteven be able to recall all of it under the proper cerebral stimulation,but mostly you don't care. You let it go. Even if you watch some emotionalscene between strangers and even if you're interested; still, if it'sof no great concern to you you let it go you forget. It mustbe so on Gaia, too. Even if all of Gaia knows your business intimately,that doesn't mean that Gaia necessarily cares . Isn'tthat so, Bliss dear?""I've never thought of it that way, Pel, but there is somethingin what you say. Still, this privacy Trev talks about I mean,Trevize is nothing we value at all. In fact, I/we/Gaia findit incomprehensible. To want to be not part to have your voiceunheard your deeds unwitnessed your thoughts unsensed "Bliss shook her head vigorously. "I said that we can block ourselvesoff in emergencies, but who would want to live that way,even for an hour?""I would," said Trevize. "That is why I must find Earth to findout the overriding reason, if any, that drove me to choose this dreadfulfate for humanity.""It is not a dreadful fate, but let us not debate the matter. I willbe with you, not as a spy, but as a friend and helper. Gaia will be withyou not as a spy, but as a friend and helper."Trevize said, somberly, "Gaia could help me best by directing meto Earth."Slowly, Bliss shook her head. "Gaia doesn't know the location ofEarth. Dom has already told you that.""I don't quite believe that. After all, you must have records. Whyhave I never been able to see those records during my stay here? Evenif Gaia honestly doesn't know where Earth might be located, I might gainsome knowledge from the records. I know the Galaxy in considerable detail,undoubtedly much better than Gaia does. I might be able to understand andfollow hints in your records that Gaia, perhaps, doesn't quite catch.""But what records are these you talk of, Trevize?""Any records. Books, films, recordings, holographs, artifacts, whateverit is you have. In the time I've been here I haven't seen one item thatI would consider in any way a record. Have you, Janov?""No," said Pelorat hesitantly, "but I haven't really looked.""Yet I have, in my quiet way," said Trevize, "and I've seennothing. Nothing! I can only suppose they're being hidden from me. Why,I wonder? Would you tell me that?"Bliss's smooth young forehead wrinkled into a puzzled frown. "Whydidn't you ask before this? I/we/Gaia hide nothing, and we tell nolies. An Isolate an individual in isolation might telllies. He is limited, and is fearful because he is limited. Gaia, however,is a planetary organism of great mental ability and has no fear. For Gaiato tell lies, to create descriptions that are at variance with reality,is totally unnecessary."Trevize snorted. "Then why have I carefully been kept from seeingany records? Give me a reason that makes sense.""Of course." She held out both hands, palms up before her. "We don'thave any records."4Pelorat recovered first, seeming the less astonishedof the two.
"My dear," he said gently, "that is quite impossible. You cannot havea reasonable civilization without records of some kind."Bliss raised her eyebrows. "I understand that. I merely mean wehave no records of the type that Trev Trevize is talkingabout, or was at all likely to come across. I/we/Gaia have no writings,no printings, no films, no computer data banks, nothing. We have nocarvings on stone, for that matter. That's all I'm saying. Naturally,since we have none of these, Trevize found none of these."Trevize said, "What do you have, then, if you don't have any recordsthat I would recognize as records?"Bliss said, enunciating carefully, as though she were speaking to achild. "I/we/Gaia have a memory. I remember .""What do you remember?" asked Trevize.
"Everything.""You remember all reference data?""Certainly.""For how long? For how many years back?""For indefinite lengths of time.""You could give me historical data, biographical, geographical,scientific? Even local gossip?""Everything.""All in that little head." Trevize pointed sardonically at Bliss'sright temple.
"No," she said. "Gaia's memories are not limited to the contents of myparticular skull. See here" for the moment she grew formal and evena little stern, as she ceased being Bliss solely and took on an amalgamof other units "there must have been a time before the beginningof history when human beings were so primitive that, although they couldremember events, they could not speak. Speech was invented and servedto express memories and to transfer them from person to person. Writingwas eventually invented in order to record memories and transfer themacross time from generation to generation. All technological advancesince then has served to make more room for the transfer and storageof memories and to make the recall of desired items easier. However,once individuals joined to form Gaia, all that became obsolete. We canreturn to memory, the basic system of record-keeping on which all elseis built. Do you see that?"Trevize said, "Are you saying that the sum total of all brains onGaia can remember far more data than a single brain can?""Of course.""But if Gaia has all the records spread through the planetary memory,what good is that to you as an individual portion of Gaia?""All the good you can wish. Whatever I might want to know is inan individual mind somewhere, maybe in many of them. If it is veryfundamental, such as the meaning of the word `chair,' it is in everymind. But even if it is something esoteric that is in only one smallportion of Gaia's mind, I can call it up if I need it, though such recallmay take a bit longer than if the a memory is more widespread. Look,Trevize, if you want to know some. thing that isn't in your mind, youlook at some appropriate book-film, or make use of a computer's databanks. I scan Gaia's total mind."Trevize said, "How do you keep all that information from pouring intoyour mind and bursting your cranium?""Are you indulging in sarcasm, Trevize?"Pelorat said, "Come, Golan, don't be unpleasant." ,Trevize looked from one to the other and, with a visible effort,allowed tightness about his face to relax. "I'm sorry. I'm borne downby a responsibility I don't want and don't know how to get rid of. Thatmay make me sound unpleasant when I don't intend to be. Bliss, I reallywish to know. How do you draw upon the contents of the brains of otherswithout then storing it in your own brain and quickly overloading itscapacity?"Bliss said, "I don't know, Trevize; any more than you know the detailedworkings of your single brain. I presume you know the distance from yoursun to a neighboring star, but you are not always conscious of it. Youstore it somewhere and can retrieve the figure at any time if asked. Ifnot asked, you may with time forget it, but you can then always retrieveit from some data bank. If you consider Gaia's brain a vast data bank, itis one I can call on, but there is no need for me to remember consciouslyany particular item I have made use of. Once I have made use of a factor memory, I can allow it to pass out of memory. For that matter, I candeliberately put it back, so to speak, in the place I got it from.""How many people on Gaia, Bliss? How many human beings?""About a billion. Do you want the exact figure as of now?"Trevize smiled ruefully. "I quite see you can call up the exact figureif you wish, but I'll take the approximation.""Actually," said Bliss, "the population is stable and oscillates abouta particular number that is slightly in excess of a billion. I can tellby how much the number exceeds or falls short of the mean by extending myconsciousness and well feeling the boundaries. I can't explainit better than that to some one who has never shared the experience.""It seems to me, however, that a billion human minds a numberof them being those of children are surely not enough to hold inmemory all the data needed by a complex society.""But human beings are not the only living things on Gaia, Trev.""Do you mean that animals remember, too?""Nonhuman brains can't store memories with the same density humanbrains can, and much of the room in all brains, human and nonhuman alike,must be given over to personal memories which are scarcely useful exceptto the particular component of the planetary consciousness that harborsthem. However, significant quantities of advanced data can be, andare, stored in animal brains, also in plant tissue, and in the mineralstructure of the planet.""In the mineral structure? The rocks and mountain range, you mean?""And, for some kinds of data, the ocean and atmosphere. All that isGaia, too.""But what can nonliving systems hold?""A great deal. The intensity is low but the volume is so great thata large majority of Gaia's total memory is in its rocks. It takes alittle longer to retrieve and replace rock memories so that it is thepreferred place for storing dead data, so to speak items that,in the normal course of events, would rarely be called upon.""What happens when someone dies whose brain stores data of considerablevalue?""The data is not lost. It is slowly crowded out as the braindisorganizes after death, but there is ample time to distribute thememories into other parts of Gaia. And as new brains appear in babiesand become more organized with growth, they not only develop theirpersonal memories and thoughts but are fed appropriate knowledge fromother sources. What you would call education is entirely automatic withme/us/Gaia."Pelorat said, "Frankly, Golan, it seems to me that this notion of aliving world has a great deal to be said for it."Trevize gave his fellow-Foundationer a brief, sidelong glance. "I'msure of that, Janov, but I'm not impressed. The planet, however bigand however diverse, represents one brain. One! Every new brain thatarises is melted into the whole. Where's the opportunity for opposition,for disagreement? When you think of human history, you think of theoccasional human being whose minority view may be condemned by societybut who wins out in the end and changes the world. What chance is thereon Gaia for the great rebels of history?""There is internal conflict," said Bliss. "Not every aspect of Gaianecessarily accepts the common view.""It must be limited," said Trevize. "You cannot have too much turmoilwithin a single organism, or it would not work properly. If progress anddevelopment are not stopped altogether, they must certainly be slowed. Canwe take the chance of inflicting that on the entire Galaxy? On all ofhumanity?"Bliss said, without open emotion, "Are you now questioning your owndecision? Are you changing your mind and are you now saying that Gaiais an undesirable future for humanity?"Trevize tightened his lips and hesitated. Then, he said, slowly,"I would like to, but not yet. I made my decision on somebasis some unconscious basis and until I find out what thatbasis was, I cannot truly decide whether I am to maintain or change mydecision. Let us therefore return to the matter of Earth.""Where you feel you will learn the nature of the basis on which youmade your decision. Is that it, Trevize?""That is the feeling I have. Now Dom says Gaia does not knowthe location of Earth. And you agree with him, I believe.""Of course I agree with him. I am no less Gaia than he is.""And do you withhold knowledge from me? Consciously, I mean?""Of course not. Even if it were possible for Gaia to lie, it wouldnot lie to you. Above all, we depend upon your conclusions, and we needthem to be accurate, and that requires that they be based on reality.""In that case," said Trevize, "let's make use of yourworld-memory. Probe backward and tell me how far you can remember."There was a small hesitation. Bliss looked blankly at Trevize,as though, for a moment, she was in a trance. Then she said, "Fifteenthousand years.""Why did you hesitate?""It took time. Old memories really old are almost all inthe mountain roots where it takes time to dig them out.""Fifteen thousand years ago, then? Is that when Gaia was settled?""No, to the best of our knowledge that took place some three thousandyears before that.""Why are you uncertain? Don't you or Gaia remember?"Bliss said, "That was before Gaia had developed to the point wherememory became a global phenomenon.""Yet before you could rely on your collective memory, Gaia must havekept records, Bliss. Records in the usual sense recorded, written,filmed, and so on.""I imagine so, but they could scarcely endure all this time.""They could have been copied or, better yet, transferred into theglobal memory, once that was developed."Bliss frowned. There was another hesitation, longer this time. "Ifind no sign of these earlier records you speak of.""Why is that?""I don't know, Trevize. I presume that they proved of no greatimportance. I imagine that by the time it was understood that the earlynon-memory records were decaying, it was decided that they had grownarchaic and were not needed.""You don't know that. You presume and you imagine, but you don't knowthat. Gaia doesn't know that."Bliss's eyes fell. "It must be so.""Must be? I am not a part of Gaia and therefore I need not presumewhat Gaia presumes which gives you an example of the importanceof isolation. I, as an Isolate, presume something else.""What do you presume?""First, there is something I am sure of. A civilization in being isnot likely to destroy its early records. Far from judging them to bearchaic and unnecessary, they are likely to treat them with exaggeratedreverence and would labor to preserve them. If Gaia's pre-globalrecords were destroyed, Bliss, that destruction is not likely to havebeen voluntary.""How would you explain it, then?""In the Library at Trantor, all references to Earth were removedby someone or some force other than that of the Trantorian SecondFoundationers themselves. Isn't it possible, then, that on Gaia, too, allreferences to Earth were removed by something other than Gaia itself?""How do you know the early records involved Earth?""According to you, Gaia was founded at least eighteen thousand yearsago. That brings us back to the period before the establishment of theGalactic Empire, to the period when the Galaxy was being settled andthe prime source of settlers was Earth. Pelorat will confirm that."Pelorat, caught a little by surprise by suddenly being called on,cleared his throat. "So go the legends, my dear. I take those legendsseriously and I think, as Golan Trevize does, that the human species wasoriginally confined to a single planet and that planet was Earth. Theearliest Settlers came from Earth.""If, then," said Trevize, "Gaia was founded in the early days ofhyperspatial travel, then it is very likely to have been colonizedby Earthmen, or possibly by natives of a not very old world thathad not long before been colonized by Earthmen. For that reason, therecords of Gaia's settlement and of the first few millennia thereaftermust clearly have involved Earth and Earthmen and those records aregone. Something seems to be seeing to it that Earth is notmentioned anywhere in the records of the Galaxy. And if so, there mustbe some reason for it."Bliss said indignantly, "This is conjecture, Trevize. You have noevidence for this.""But it is Gaia that insists that my special talent is that of comingto correct conclusions on the basis of insufficient evidence. If, then,I come to a firm conclusion, don't tell me I lack evidence."Bliss was silent.
Trevize went on, "All the more reason then for finding Earth. I intendto leave as soon as the Far Star is ready. Do you two still wantto come?""Yes," said Bliss at once, and "Yes," said Pelorat.


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