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Part Three - Aurora Chapter 8: Forbidden World
31"Golan," said Pelorat. "Does it bother you if I watch?""Not at all, Janov," said Trevize.
"If I ask questions?""Go ahead."Pelorat said, "What are you doing?"Trevize took his eyes off the viewscreen. "I've got to measure thedistance of each star that seems to be near the Forbidden World onthe screen, so that I can determine how near they really are. Theirgravitational fields must be known and for that I need mass anddistance. Without that knowledge, one can't be sure of a clean Jump.""How do you do that?""Well, each star I see has its co-ordinates in the computer's memorybanks and these can be converted into co-ordinates on the Comporelliansystem. That can, in turn, be slightly corrected for the actual positionof the For Star in space relative to Comporellon's sun, and that givesme the distance of each. Those red dwarfs all look quite near theForbidden World on the screen, but some might be much closer and somemuch farther. We need their three-dimensional position, you see."Pelorat nodded, and said, "And you already have the co-ordinates ofthe Forbidden World ""Yes, but that's not enough. I need the distances of the otherstars to within a percent or so. Their gravitational intensity in theneighborhood of the Forbidden World is so small that a slight errormakes no perceptible difference. The sun about which the Forbidden Worldrevolves or might revolve possessss an enormously intensegravitational field in the neighborhood of the Forbidden World and Imust know its distance with perhaps a thousand times the accuracy ofthat of the other stars. The co-ordinatss alone won't do.""Then what do you do?""I measure the apparent separation of the Forbidden World or,rather, its star from three nearby stars which are so dim it takesconsiderable magnification to make them out at all. Presumably, thosethree are very far away. We then keep one of those three stars centered onthe screen and Jump a tenth of a parsec in a direction at right angles tothe line of vision to the Forbidden World. We can do that safely enougheven without knowing distances to comparatively far-off stars.
"The reference star which is centered would still be centered afterthe Jump. The two other dim stars, if all three are truly very distant,do not change their positions measurably. The Forbidden World, however,is close enough to change its apparent position in parallactic shift. Fromthe size of the shift, we can determine its distance. If I want to makedoubly certain, I choose three other stars and try again."Pelorat said, "How long doss all that take?""Not very long. The computer doss the heavy work. I just tell it whatto do. What really takes the time is that I have to study the resultsand make sure they look right and that my instructions aren't at faultsomehow. If I were one of those daredevils with utter faith in themselvesand the computer, it could all be done in a few minutes."Pelorat said, "It's really astonishing. Think how much the computerdoes for us.""I think of it all the time.""What would you do without it?""What would I do without a gravitic ship? What would I do withoutmy astronautic training? What would I do without twenty thousandyears of hyperspatial technology behind me? The fact is that I'mmyself here now. Suppose weeeere to imagine ourselves twentythousand additional years into the future. What technological marvelswould we have to be grateful for? Or might it be that twenty thousandyears hence humanity would not exist?""Scarcely that," said Pelorat. "Scarcely not exist. Even if wedon't become part of Galaxia, we would still have psychohistory toguide us."Trevize turned in his chair, releasing his handhold on thecomputer. "Let it work out distances," he said, "and let it check thematter a number of times. There's no hurry."He looked quizzically at Pelorat, and said, "Psychohistory! You know,Janov, twice that subject came up on Comporellon, and twice it wasdescribed as a superstition. I said so once, and then Deniador said italso. After all, how can you define psychohistory but as a superstitionof the Foundation? Isn't it a belief without proof or evidence? What doyou think, Janov? It's more your field than mine."Pelorat said, "Why do you say there's no evidence, Golan? Thesimulacrum of Hari Seldon has appeared in the Time Vault many times andhas discussed events as they happened. He could not have known whatthose events would be, in his time, had he not been able to predictthem psychohistorically."Trevize nodded. "That sounds impressive. He was wrong about theMule, but even allowing for that, it's impressive. Still, it has anuncomfortable magical feel to it. Any conjurer can do tricks.""No conjurer could predict centuries into the future.""No conjurer could really do what he makes you think he does.""Come, Golan. I can't think of any trick that would allow me topredict what will happen five centuries from now.""Nor can you think of a trick that will allow a conjurer to readthe contents of a message hidden in a pseudo-tesseract on an unmannedorbiting satellite. Just the same, I've seen a conjurer do it. Has itever occurred to you that the Time Capsule, along with the Hari Seldonsimulacrum, may be rigged by the government?"Pelorat looked as though he were revolted by the suggestion. "Theywouldn't do that."Trevize made a scornful sound.
Pelorat said, "And they'd be caught if they tried.""I'm not at all sure of that. The point is, though, that we don'tknow how psychohistory works at all.""I don't know how that computer works, but I know it works.""That's because others know how it works. How would it be if noone knew how it worked? Then, if it stopped working for any reason, wewould be helpless to do anything about it. And if psychohistory suddenlystopped working ""The Second Foundationers know the workings of psychohistory.""How do you know that, Janov?""So it is said.""Anything can be said. Ah, we have the distance of theForbidden World's star, and, I hope, very accurately. Let's considerthe figures."He stared at them for a long time, his lips moving occasionally,as though he were doing some rough calculations in his head. Finally,he said, without lifting his eyes, "What's Bliss doing?""Sleeping, old chap," said Pelorat. Then, defensively, "Sheneeds sleep, Golan. Maintaining herself as part of Gaiaacross hyperspace is energy-consuming.""I suppose so," said Trevize, and turned back to the computer. Heplaced his hands on the desk and muttered, "I'll let it go in severalJumps and have it recheck each time." Then he withdrew them againand said, "I'm serious, Janov. What do you know aboutpsychohistory?"Pelorat looked taken aback. "Nothing. Being a historian,which I am, after a fashion, is worlds different from being apsychohistorian. Of course, I know the two fundamental basics ofpsychohistory, but everyone knows that.""Even I do. The first requirement is that the number of human beingsinvolved must be large enough to make statistical treatment valid. Buthow large is `large enough'?"Pelorat said, "The latest estimate of the Galactic populationis something like ten quadrillion, and that's probably anunderestimate. Surely, that's large enough.""How do you know?""Because psychohistory does work, Golan. No matter howyou chop logic, it does work.""And the second requirement," said Trevize, "is that human beingsnot be aware of psychohistory, so that the knowledge does not skew theirreactions. But they are aware of psychohistory.""Only of its bare existence, old chap. That's not whatcounts. The second requirement is that human beings not be awareof the predictions of psychohistory and that they arenot except that the Second Foundationers are supposed to be awareof them, but they're a special case.""And upon those two requirements alone , the science ofpsychohistory has been developed. That's hard to believe.""Not out of those two requirements alone, " said Pelorat. "Thereare advanced mathematics and elaborate statistical methods. Thestory is if you want tradition that Hari Seldon devisedpsychohistory by modeling it upon the kinetic theory of gases. Each atomor molecule in a gas moves randomly so that we can't know the position orvelocity of any one of them. Nevertheless, using statistics, we can workout the rules governing their overall behavior with great precision. Inthe same way, Seldon intended to work out the overall behavior of humansocieties even though the solutions would not apply to the behavior ofindividual human beings.""Perhaps, but human beings aren't atoms.""True," said Pelorat. "A human being has consciousness and his behavioris sufficiently complicated to make it appear to be free will. How Seldonhandled that I haven't any idea, and I'm sure I couldn't understandit even if someone who knew tried to explain it to me but hedid it."Trevize said, "And the whole thing depends on dealing with people whoare both numerous and unaware. Doesn't that seem to you a quicksandishfoundation on which to build an enormous mathematical structure? Ifthose requirements are not truly met, then everything collapses.""But since the Plan hasn't collapsed ""Or, if the requirements are not exactly false or inadequate butsimply weaker than they should be, psychohistory might work adequatelyfor centuries and then, upon reaching some particular crisis, wouldcollapse as it did temporarily in the time of the Mule. Orwhat if there is a third requirement?""What third requirement?" asked Pelorat, frowning slightly.
"I don't know," said Trevize. "An argument may seem thoroughlylogical and elegant and yet contain unexpressed assumptions. Maybe thethird requirement is an assumption so taken for granted that no one everthinks of mentioning it.""An assumption that is so taken for granted is usually valid enough,or it wouldn't be so taken for granted."Trevize snorted. "If you knew scientific history as well as you knowtraditional history, Janov, you would know how wrong that is. ButI see that we are now in the neighborhood of the sun of the ForbiddenWorld."And, indeed, centered on the screen, was a bright star one sobright that the screen automatically filtered its light to the pointwhere all other stars were washed out.
32Facilities for washing and for personal hygiene on boardthe Far Star were compact, and the use of water was always held to areasonable minimum to avoid overloading the recycling facilities. BothPelorat and Bliss had been sternly reminded of this by Trevize.
Even so, Bliss maintained an air of freshness at all times and herdark, long hair could be counted on to be glossy, her fingernails tosparkle.
She walked into the pilot-room and said, "There you are!"Trevize looked up and said, "No need for surprise. We could scarcelyhave left the ship, and a thirty-second search would be bound touncover us inside the ship, even if you couldn't detect our presencementally."Bliss said, "The expression was purely a form of greeting and notmeant to be taken literally, as you well know. Where are we? Anddon't say, `In the pilot-room.'""Bliss dear," said Pelorat, holding out one arm, "we're at the outerregions of the planetary system of the nearest of the three ForbiddenWorlds."She walked to his side, placing her hand lightly on his shoulder,while his arm moved about her waist. She said, "It can't be veryForbidden. Nothing has stopped us."Trevize said, "It is only Forbidden because Comporellon and the otherworlds of the second wave of settlement have voluntarily placed the worldsof the first wave the Spacers out of bounds. If we ourselvesdon't feel bound by that voluntary agreement, what is to stop us?""The Spacers, if any are left, might have voluntarily placed theworlds of the second wave out of bounds, too. Just because we don't mindintruding upon them doesn't mean that they don't mind it.""True," said Trevize, "If they exist. But so far we don't even knowif any planet exists for them to live on. So far, all we see are theusual gas giants. Two of them, and not particularly large ones."Pelorat said hastily, "But that doesn't mean the Spacer worlddoesn't exist. Any habitable world would be much closer to the sunand much smaller and very hard to detect in the solar glare from thisdistance. We'll have to micro-Jump inward to detect such a planet." Heseemed rather proud to be speaking like a seasoned space traveler.
"In that case," said Bliss, "why aren't we moving inward?""Not just yet," said Trevize. "I'm having the computer check as faras it can for any sign of an artificial structure. We'll move inwardby stages a dozen, if necessary checking at each stage. Idon't want to be trapped this time as we were when we first approachedGaia. Remember, Janov?""Traps like that could catch us every day. The one at Gaia broughtme Bliss." Pelorat gazed at her fondly.
Trevize grinned. "Are you hoping for a new Bliss every day?"Pelorat looked hurt, and Bliss said, with a trace of annoyance,"My good chap or whatever it is that Pel insists on callingyou you might as well move in more quickly. While I am with you,you will not be trapped.""The power of Gaia?""To detect the presence of other minds? Certainly.""Are you sure you are strong enough, Bliss? I gather you must sleepquite a bit to regain strength expended at maintaining contact with themain body of Gaia. How far can I rely on the perhaps narrow limits ofyour abilities at this distance from the source?"Bliss flushed. "The strength of the connection is ample."Trevize said, "Don't be offended. I'm simply asking. Don't yousee this as a disadvantage of being Gaia? I am not Gaia. I am a completeand independent individual. That means I can travel as far as I wish frommy world and my people, and remain Golan Trevize. What powers I have,and such as they are, I continue to have, and they remain whereverI go. If I were alone in space, parsecs away from any human being,and unable, for some reason, to communicate with anyone in any way,or even to see the spark of a single star in the sky, I would be andremain Golan Trevize. I might not be able to survive, and I might die,but I would die Golan Trevize."Bliss said, "Alone in space and far from all others, you would beunable to call on the help of your fellows, on their different talentsand knowledge. Alone, as an isolated individual, you would be sadlydiminished as compared with youself as part of an integrated society. Youknow that."Trevize said, "There would nevertheless not be the same diminution asin your case. There is a bond between you and Gaia that is far strongerthan the one between me and my society, and that bond stretches throughhyperspace and requires energy for maintenance, so that you must gasp,mentally, with the effort, and feel yourself to be a diminished entityfar more than I must."Bliss's young face set hard and, for a moment, she looked young nomore or, rather, she appeared ageless more Gaia than Bliss, asthough to refute Trevize's contention. She said, "Even if everything yousay is so, Golan Trevize that is, was, and will be, that cannotperhaps be less, but certainly cannot be more even if everythingyou say is so, do you expect there is no price to be paid for a benefitgained? Is it not better to be a warm-blooded creature such as yourselfthan a cold-blooded creature such as a fish, or whatever?"Pelorat said, "Tortoises are cold-blooded. Terminus doesn't have any,but some worlds do. They are shelled creatures, very slow-moving butlong-living.""Well, then, isn't it better to be a human being than a tortoise; tomove quickly whatever the temperature, rather than slowly? Isn't it betterto support high-energy activities, quickly contracting muscles, quicklyworking nerve fibers, intense and long-sustained thought than tocreep slowly, and sense gradually, and have only a blurred awareness ofthe immediate surroundings? Isn't it?""Granted," said Trevize. "It is. What of it?""Well, don't you know you must pay for warm-bloodedness? To maintainyour temperature above that of your surroundings, you must expend energyfar more wastefully than a tortoise must. You must be eating almostconstantly so that you can pour energy into your body as quickly as itleaks out. You would starve far more quickly than a tortoise would,and die more quickly, too. Would you rather be a tortoise, and livemore slowly and longer? Or would you rather pay the price and be aquick-moving, quick-sensing, thinking organism?""Is this a true analogy, Bliss?""No, Trevize, for the situation with Gaia is more favorable. We don'texpend unusual quantities of energy when we are compactly together. It isonly when part of Gaia is at hyperspatial distances from the rest of Gaiathat energy expenditure rises. And remember that what you have votedfor is not merely a larger Gaia, not just a larger individual world. Youhave decided for Galaxia, for a vast complex of worlds. Anywhere in theGalaxy, you will be part of Galaxia and you will be closely surroundedby parts of something that extends from each interstellar atom to thecentral black hole. It would then require small amounts of energy toremain a whole. No part would be at any great distance from all otherparts. It is all this you have decided for, Trevize. How can you doubtthat you have chosen well?"Trevize's head was bent in thought. Finally, he looked up and said,"I may have chosen well, but I must be convinced of that. Thedecision I have made it the most important in the history of humanityand it is not enough that it be a good one. I must know it to be a good one.""What more do you need than what I have told you?""I don't know, but I will find it on Earth." He spoke with absoluteconviction.
Pelorat said, "Golan, the star shows a disc."It did. The computer, busy about its own affairs and not the leastconcerned with any discussion that might swirl about it, had beenapproaching the star in stages, and h............
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