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Chapter 21: The Search Ends
101Trevize found himself in a complete state ofdisbelief. He had recovered from the odd euphoria he had felt just beforeand after the landing on the moon a euphoria, he now suspected,that had been imposed on him by this self-styled robot who now stoodbefore him.
Trevize was still staring, and in his now perfectly sane and untouchedmind, he remained lost in astonishment. He had talked in astonishment,made conversation in astonishment, scarcely understood what he said orheard as he searched for something in the appearance of this apparent man,in his behavior, in his manner of speaking, that bespoke the robot.
No wonder, thought Trevize, that Bliss had detected somethingthat was neither human nor robot, but, that was, in Pelorat's words,"something new." Just as well, of course, for it had turned Trevize'sthoughts into another and more enlightening channel but even thatwas now crowded into the back of his mind.
Bliss and Fallom had wandered off to explore the grounds. It hadbeen Bliss's suggestion, but it seemed to Trevize that it came after alightning-quick glance had been exchanged between herself and Daneel. WhenFallom refused and asked to stay with the being she persisted in callingJemby, a grave word from Daneel and a lift of the finger was enough tocause her to trot off at once. Trevize and Pelorat remained.
"They are not Foundationers, sirs," said the robot, as though thatexplained it all. "One is Gaia and one is a Spacer."Trevize remained silent while they were led to simply designed chairsunder a tree. They seated themselves, at a gesture from the robot,and when he sat down, too, in a perfectly human movement, Trevize said,"Are you truly a robot?""Truly, sir," said Daneel.
Pelorat's face seemed to shine with joy. He said, "There arereferences to a robot named Daneel in the old legends. Are you named inhis honor?""I am that robot," said Daneel. "It is not a legend.""Oh no," said Pelorat. "If you are that robot, you would have to bethousands of years old.""Twenty thousand," said Daneel quietly.
Pelorat seemed abashed at that, and glanced at Trevize, who said,with a touch of anger, "If you are a robot, I order you to speaktruthfully.""I do not need to be told to speak truthfully, sir. I must do so. You are faced then, sir, with three alternatives. Either I ama man who is lying to you; or I am a robot who has been programmed tobelieve that it is twenty thousand years old but, in fact, is not; orI am a robot who is twenty thousand years old. You mustdecide which alternative to accept.""The matter may decide itself with continued conversation," saidTrevize dryly. "For that matter, it is hard to believe that this isthe interior of the moon. Neither the light" he looked up as hesaid that, for the light was precisely that of soft, diffuse sunlight,though no sun was in the sky, and, for that matter, no sky was clearlyvisible "nor the gravity seems credible. This world should havea surface gravity of less than 0.2g.""The normal surface gravity would be 0.16g actually, sir. It isbuilt up, however, by the same forces that give you, on your ship, thesensation of normal gravity, even when you are in free fall, or underacceleration. Other energy needs, including the light, are also metgravitically, though we use solar energy where that is convenient. Ourmaterial needs are all supplied by the moon's soil, except for the lightelements hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen which the moon doesnot possess. We obtain those by capturing an occasional comet. One suchcapture a century is more than enough to supply our needs.""I take it Earth is useless as a source of supply.""Unfortunately, that is so, sir. Our positronic brains are as sensitiveto radioactivity as human proteins are.""You use the plural, and this mansion before us seems, large,beautiful, and elaborate at least as seen from the outside. Thereare then other beings on the moon. Humans? Robots?""Yes, sir. We have a complete ecology on the moon and a vast andcomplex hollow within which that ecology exists. The intelligent beingsare all robots, however, more or less like myself. You will see none ofthem, however. As for this mansion, it is used by myself only and it isan establishment that is modeled exactly on one I used to live in twentythousand years ago.""Which you remember in detail, do you?" .
"Perfectly, sir. I was manufactured, and existed for a time howbrief a time it seems to me, now on the Spacer world of Aurora.""The one with the " Trevize paused.
"Yes, sir. The one with the dogs.""You know about that?""Yes, sir.""How do you come to be here, then, if you lived at first onAurora?""Sir, it was to prevent the creation of a radioactive Earth that Icame here in the very beginnings of the settlement of the Galaxy. Therewas another robot with me, named Giskard, who could sense and adjustminds.""As Bliss can?""Yes, sir. We failed, in a way, and Giskard ceased to operate. Beforethe cessation, however, he made it possible for me to have his talentand left it to me to care for the Galaxy; for Earth, particularly.""Why Earth, particularly?""In part because of a man named Elijah Baley, an Earthman."Pelorat put in excitedly, "He is the culture-hero I mentioned sometime ago, Golan.""A culture-hero, sir?""What Dr. Pelorat means," said Trevize, "is that he is a person towhom much was attributed, and who may have been an amalgamation of manymen in actual history, or who may be an invented person altogether."Daneel considered for a moment, and then said, quite calmly, "Thatis not so, sirs. Elijah Baley was a real man and he was one man. I donot know what your legends say of him, but in actual history, the Galaxymight never have been settled without him. In his honor, I did my bestto salvage what I could of Earth after it began to turn radioactive. Myfellow-robots were distributed over the Galaxy in an effort to influence aperson here a person there. At one time I maneuvered a beginning tothe recycling of Earth's soil. At another much later time, I maneuvereda beginning to the terraforming of a world circling the nearby star,now called Alpha. In neither case was I truly successful. I could neveradjust human minds entirely as I wished, for there was always the chancethat I might do harm to the various humans who were adjusted. I was bound,you see and am bound to this day by the Laws of Robotics.""Yes?"It did not necessarily take a being with Daneel's mental power todetect uncertainty in that monosyllable.
"The First Law," he said, "is this, sir: `A robot may not injurea human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come toharm.' The Second Law: `A robot must obey the orders given it byhuman beings except where such orders would conflict with the FirstLaw.' The Third Law: `A robot must protect its own existence, aslong as such protection does not conflict with the First or SecondLaw.' Naturally, I give you these laws in the approximationof language. In actual fact they represent complicated mathematicalconfigurations of our positronic brain-paths.""Do you find it difficult to deal with those Laws?""I must, sir. The First Law is an absolute that almost forbids the useof my mental talents altogether. When dealing with the Galaxy it is notlikely that any course of action will prevent harm altogether. Always,some people, perhaps many people, will suffer so that a robot must chooseminimum harm. Yet, the complexity of possibilities is such that it takestime to make that choice and one is, even then, never certain.""I see that," said Trevize.
"All through Galactic history," said Daneel, "I tried to amelioratethe worst aspects of the strife and disaster that perpetually madeitself felt in the Galaxy. I may have succeeded, on occasion, and tosome extent, but if you know your Galactic history, you will know thatI did not succeed often, or by much.""That much I know," said Trevize, with a wry smile.
"Just before Giskard's end, he conceived of a robotic law thatsuperseded even the first. We called it the `Zeroth Law' out of aninability to think of any other name that made sense. The Zeroth Law is:
`A robot may not injure humanity or, through inaction, allow humanityto come to harm.' This automatically means that the First Law mustbe modified to be: `A robot may not injure a human being, or, throughinaction, allow a human being to come to harm, except where that wouldconflict with the Zeroth Law.' And similar modifications must be madein the Second and Third Laws."Trevize frowned. "How do you decide what is injurious, or notinjurious, to humanity as a whole?""Precisely, sir," said Daneel. "In theory, the Zeroth Law was theanswer to our problems. In practice, we could never decide. A humanbeing is a concrete object. Injury to a person can be estimated andjudged. Humanity is an abstraction. How do we deal with it?""I don't know," said Trevize.
"Wait," said Pelorat. "You could convert humanity into a singleorganism. Gaia.""That is what I tried to do, sir. I engineered the founding ofGaia. If humanity could be made a single organism, it would becomea concrete object, and it could be dealt with. It was, however, notas easy to create a superorganism as I had hoped. In the first place,it could not be done unless human beings valued the superorganism morethan their individuality, and I had to find a mind-cast that would allowthat. It was a long time before I thought of the Laws of Robotics.""Ah, then, the Gaians are robots. I had suspected thatfrom the start.""In that case, you suspected incorrectly, sir. They are humanbeings, but they have brains firmly inculcated with the equivalentof the Laws of Robotics. They have to value life, really value it. And even after that was done, there remained a seriousflaw. A superorganism consisting of human beings only is unstable. Itcannot be set up. Other animals must be added then plants thenthe inorganic world. The smallest superorganism that is truly stable isan entire world, and a world large enough and complex enough to have astable ecology. It took a long time to understand this, and it is only inthis last century that Gaia was fully established and thatit became ready to move on toward Galaxia and, even so, that willtake a long time, too. Perhaps not as long as the road already traveled,however, since we now know the rules.""But you needed me to make the decision for you. Is that it,Daneel?""Yes, sir. The Laws of Robotics would not allow me, nor Gaia, to makethe decision and chance harm to humanity. And meanwhile, five centuriesago, when it seemed that I would never work out methods for gettinground all the difficulties that stood in the way of establishing Gaia,I turned to the second-best and helped bring about the development ofthe science of psychohistory.""I might have guessed that," mumbled Trevize. "You know, Daneel, I'mbeginning to believe you are twenty thousand years old.""Thank you, sir."Pelorat said, "Wait a while. I think I see something. Are you partof Gaia yourself, Daneel? Would that be how you knew about the dogs onAurora? Through Bliss?"Daneel said, "In a way, sir, you are correct. I am associated withGaia, though I am not part of it."Trevize's eyebrows went up. "That sounds like Comporellon, the worldwe visited immediately after leaving Gaia. It insists it is not part ofthe Foundation Confederation, but is only associated with it."Slowly, Daneel nodded. "I suppose that analogy is apt, sir. Ican, as an associate of Gaia, make myself aware of what Gaia is awareof in the person of the woman, Bliss, for instance. Gaia, however,cannot make itself aware of what I am aware of, so that I maintain myfreedom of action. That freedom of action is necessary until Galaxia iswell established."Trevize looked steadily at the robot for a moment, then said, "Anddid you use your awareness through Bliss in order to interfere withevents on our journey to mold them to your better liking?"Daneel sighed in a curiously human fashion. "I could not do much,sir. The Laws of Robotics always hold me back. And yet, I lightenedthe load on Bliss's mind, taking a small amount of added responsibility onmyself, so that she might deal with the wolves of Aurora and the Spacer onSolaria with greater dispatch and with less harm to herself. In addition,I influenced the woman on Comporellon and the one on New Earth, throughBliss, in order to have them look with favor on you, so that you mightcontinue on your journey."Trevize smiled, half-sadly. "I ought to have known it wasn't I."Daneel accepted the statement without its rueful self-deprecation. "Onthe contrary, sir," he said, "it was you in considerable part. Each of thetwo women looked with favor upon you from the start. I merely strengthenedthe impulse already present about all one can safely do under thestrictures of the Laws of Robotics. Because of those strictures andfor other reasons as well it was only with great difficulty that Ibrought you here, and only indirectly. I was in great danger at severalpoints of losing you.""And now I am here," said Trevize. "What is it you wantof me? To confirm my decision in favor of Galaxia?"Daneel's face, always expressionless, somehow managed to seemdespairing. "No, sir. The mere decision is no longer enough. I broughtyou here, as best I could in my present condition, for something farmore desperate. I am dying."102Perhaps it was because of the matter-of-fact way in whichDaneel said it; or perhaps because a lifetime of twenty thousand yearsmade death seem no tragedy to one doomed to live less than half a percentof that period; but, in any case, Trevize felt no stir of sympathy.
"Die? Can a machine die?""I can cease to exist, sir. Call it by whatever word you wish. Iam old. Not one sentient being in the Galaxy that was alive when Iwas first given consciousness is still alive today; nothing organic;nothing robotic. Even I myself lack continuity.""In what way?""There is no physical part of my body, sir, that has escapedreplacement, not only once but many times. Even my positronic brain hasbeen replaced on five different occasions. Each time the contents of myearlier brain were etched into the newer one to the last positron. Eachtime, the new brain had a greater capacity and complexity than the old,so that there was room for more memories, and for faster decision andaction. But ""But?""The more advanced and complex the brain, the more unstable it is,and the more quickly it deteriorates. My present brain is a hundredthousand times as sensitive as my first, and has ten million timesthe capacity; but whereas my first brain endured for over ten thousandyears, the present one is but six hundred years old and is unmistakablysenescent. With every memory of twenty thousand years perfectlyrecorded and with a perfect recall mechanism in place, the brain isfilled. There is a rapidly declining ability to reach decisions; an evenmore rapidly declining ability to test and influence minds at hyperspatialdistances. Nor can I design a sixth brain. Further miniaturization willrun against the blank wall of the uncertainty principle, and furthercomplexity will but assure decay almost at once."Pelorat seemed desperately troubled. "But surely, Daneel, Gaiacan carry on without you. Now that Trevize has judged and selectedGalaxia ""The process simply took too long, sir," said Daneel, as alwaysbetraying no emotion. "I had to wait for Gaia to be fully established,despite the unanticipated difficulties that arose. By the time a humanbeing Mr. Trevize was located who was capable of makingthe key decision, it was too late. Do not think, however, that I tookno measure to lengthen my life span. Little by little I have reducedmy activities, in order to conserve what I could for emergencies. WhenI could no longer rely on active measures to preserve the isolation ofthe Earth/moon system, I adopted passive ones. Over a period of years,the humaniform robots that have been working with me have been, one byone, called home. Their last tasks have been to remove all references toEarth in the planetary archives. And without myself and my fellow-robotsin full............
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