Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Science Fiction > Foundation's Edge > CHAPTER NINE HYPERSPACE
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】
    Pelorat looked up from the book he was viewing and said, "You mean, for the jump, old fellow?"
    "For the hyperspatial jump. Yes."
    Pelorat swallowed. "Now, you're sure that it will be in no way uncomfortable. I know it is a silly thing to fear, but the thought of having myself reduced to incorporeal tachyons, which no one has ever seen or detected-"
    "Come, Janov, it's a perfected thing. Upon my honor! The jump has been in use for twenty-two thousand years, as you explained, and I've never beard of a single fatality in hyperspace. We might come out of hyperspace in an uncomfortable place, but then the accident would happen in space-not while we are composed of tachyons."
    "Small consolation, it seems to me."
    "We won't come out in error, either. To tell you the truth, I was thinking of carrying it through without telling you, so that you would never know it had happened. On the whole, though, I felt it would be better if you experienced it consciously, saw that it was no problem of any kind, and could forget it totally henceforward."
    "Well " said Pelorat dubiously. "I suppose you're right, but
    'honestly I'm in no hurry."
    "I assure you-"
    "No no, old fellow, I accept your assurances unequivocally. It's just that - Did you ever read Sanertestil Matt?"
    "Of course. I'm not illiterate."
    "Certainly. Certainly. I should not have asked. Do you remember it?"
    "Neither am I an amnesiac."
    "I seem to have a talent for offending. All I mean is that I keep thinking of the scenes where Santerestil and his friend, Ban, have gotten away from Planet 17 and are lost in space. I think of those perfectly hypnotic scenes among the stars, lazily moving along in deep silence, in changelessness, in- Never believed it, you know. I loved it and I was moved by it, but I never really believed it. But now-after I got used to just the notion of being in space, I'm experiencing it and-it's silly, I know-but I don't want to give it up. It's as though I'm Santerestil-"
    "And I'm Ban," said Trevize with just an edge of impatience.
    "In a way. The small scattering of dim stars out there are motionless, except our sun, of course, which must be shrinking but which we don't see. The Galaxy retains its dim majesty, unchanging. Space is silent and I have no distractions-"
    "Except me."
    "Except you. -But then, Golan, dear chap, talking to you about Earth and trying to teach you a bit of prehistory has its pleasures, too. I don't want that to come to an end, either."
    "It won't. Not immediately, at any rate. You don't suppose we'll take the jump and come through on the surface of a planet, do you? We'll still be in space and the jump will have taken no measurable time at ail. It may well be a week before we make surface of any kind, so do relax."
    "By surface, you surely don't mean Gaia. We may be nowhere near Gaia when we come out of the jump."
    "I know that, Janov, but we'll be in the right sector, if your information is correct. If it isn't-well-"
    Pelorat shook his head glumly. "How will being in the right sector help if we don't know Gaia's co-ordinates?"
    Trevize said, "Janov, suppose you were on Terminus, heading for the town of Argyropol, and you didn't know where that town was except that it was somewhere on the isthmus. Once you were on the isthmus, what would you do?"
    Pelorat waited cautiously, as though feeling there must be a terribly sophisticated answer expected of him. Finally giving up, he said, "I suppose I'd ask somebody."
    "Exactly! What else is there to do? -Now, are you ready?"
    "You mean, now?" Pelorat scrambled to his feet, his pleasantly unemotional face coming as near as it might to a look of concern. "What am I supposed to do? Sit? Stand? What?"
    "Time and Space, Pelorat, you don't do anything. Just come with me to my room so I can use the computer, then sit or stand or turn cartwheels-whatever will make you most comfortable. My suggestion is that you sit before the viewscreen and watch it. It's sure to be interesting. Come!"
    They stepped along the short corridor to Trevize's room and he seated himself at the computer. "Would you like to do this, Janov?" he asked suddenly. "I'll give you the figures and all you do is think them. The computer will do the rest."
    Pelorat said, "No thank you. The computer doesn't work well with me, somehow. I know you say I just need practice, but I don't believe that. There's something about your mind, Golan-"
    "Don't be foolish."
    "No no. That computer just seems to fit you. You and it seem to be a single organism when you're hooked up. When I'm hooked up, there are two objects involved-Janov Pelorat and a computer. It's just not the same."
    "Ridiculous," said Trevize, but he was vaguely pleased at the thought and stroked the hand-rests of the computer with loving fingertips.
    "So I'd rather watch," said Pelorat. "I mean, I'd rather it didn't happen at all, but as long as it will, I'd rather watch." He fixed . his eyes anxiously on the viewscreen and on the foggy Galaxy with the thin powdering of dim stars in the foreground. "Let me know when it's about to happen." Slowly he backed against the wall and braced himself.
    Trevize smiled. He placed his hands on the rests and felt the mental union. It came more easily day by day, and more intimately, too, and however he might scoff at what Pelorat said-he actually felt it. It seemed to him he scarcely needed to think of the co-ordinates in any conscious way. It almost seemed the computer knew what he wanted, without the conscious process of "telling." It lifted the information out of his brain for itself.
    But Trevize "told" it and then asked for a two-minute interval before the jump.
    "All right, Janov. We have two minutes: 120 - 115 - 110 Just watch the viewscreen."
    Pelorat did, with a slight tightness about the corners of his mouth and with a holding of his breath.
    Trevize said softly, "15 - 10 - 5 - 4 - 3 - Z - 1 - o "
    With no perceptible motion, no perceptible sensation, the view on the screen changed. There was a distinct thickening of the starfield and the Galaxy vanished.
    Pelorat started and said, "Was that it?"
    "Was what it? You flinched. But that was your fault. You felt nothing. Admit it."
    "I admit it."
    "Then that's it. Way back when hyperspatial travel was relatively new - according to the books, anyway-there would be a queer internal sensation and some people felt dizziness or nausea. It was perhaps psychogenic, perhaps not. In any case, with more and more experience with hyperspatiality and with better equipment, that decreased. With a computer like the one on board this vessel, any effect is well below the threshold of sensation. At least, I find it so."
    "And I do, too, I must admit. Where are we, Golan?"
    "Just a step forward. In the Kalganian region. There's a long way to go yet and before we make another move, we'll have to check the accuracy of the jump."
    "What bothers me is-where's the Galaxy?"
    "All around us, Janov. We're weal inside it, now. If we focus the viewscreen properly, we can see the more distant parts of it as a luminous band across the sky."
    "The Milky Way!" Pelorat cried out joyfully. "Almost every world describes it in their sky, but it's something we don't see on Terminus. Show it to me, old fellow!"
    The viewscreen tilted, giving the effect of a swimming of the starfield across it, and then there was a thick, pearly luminosity nearly filling the field. The screen followed it around, as it thinned, then swelled again.
    Trevize said, "It's thicker in the direction of the center of the Galaxy. Not as thick or as bright as it might be, however, because of the dark clouds in the spiral arms. You see something like this from most inhabited worlds."
    "And from Earth, too."
    "That's no distinction. That would not be an identifying characteristic."
    "Of course not. But you know- You haven't studied the history of science, have you?"
    "Not really, though I've picked up some of it, naturally. Still, if you have questions to ask, don't expect me to be an expert."
    "It's just that making this jump has put me in mind of something that has always puzzled me. It's possible to work out a description of the Universe in which hyperspatial travel is impossible and in which the speed of light traveling through a vacuum is the absolute maximum where speed is concerned."
    "Under those conditions, the geometry of the Universe is such that it is impossible to make the trip we have just undertaken in less time than a ray of light would make it. And if we did it at the speed of light, our experience of duration would not match that of the Universe generally. If this spot is, say, forty parsecs from Terminus, then if we had gotten here at the speed of light, we would have felt no time lapse-but on Terminus and in the entire Galaxy, about a hundred and thirty years would have passed. Now we have made a trip, not at the speed of light but at thousands of times the speed of light actually, and there has been no time advance anywhere. At least, I hope not."
    Trevize said, "Don't expect me to give you the mathematics of the Olanjen Hyperspatial Theory to you. All I can say is that if you had traveled at the speed of light within normal space, time would indeed have advanced at the rate of 3.26 years per parsec, as you described. The so-called relativistic Universe, which humanity has understood as far back as we can probe inter prehistory-though that's your department, I think-remains, and its laws have not been repealed. In our hyperspatial jumps, however, we do something out side the conditions under which relativity operates and the rules are different. Hyperspatially the Galaxy is a tiny object-ideally a nondimensional dot-and there are no relativistic effects at all.
    "In fact, in the mathematical formulations of cosmology, there are two symbols for the Galaxy: Gr for the "relativistic Galaxy," where the speed of light is a maximum, and Gh for the "hyperspatial Galaxy," where speed does not really have a meaning.  Hyperspatially the value of all speed is zero and we do not move with reference to space itself, speed is infinite. I can't explain things a bit more than that.
    "Oh, except that one of the beautiful catches in theoretical physics is to place a symbol or a value that has meaning in Gr into an equation dealing with G11-or vice versa-and leave it there for a student to deal with. The chances are enormous that the student falls into the trap and generally remains there, sweating and panting, with nothing seeming to work, till some kindly elder helps him out. I was neatly caught that way, once."
    Pelorat considered that gravely for a while, then said in a perplexed sort of way, "But which is the true Galaxy?"
    "Either, depending on what you're doing. If you're back on Terminus, you can use a car to cover distance on land and a ship to cover distance across the sea. Conditions are different in every way, so which is the true Terminus, the land or the sea?"
    Pelorat nodded. "Analogies are always risky," he said, "but I'd rather accept that one than risk my sanity by thinking about hyperspace any further. I'll concentrate on what we're doing now."
    "Look upon what we just did," said Trevize, "as our first stop toward Earth."
    And, he thought to himself, toward what else, I wonder.
    "Well," said Trevize. "I've wasted a day."
    "Oh?" Pelorat looked up from his careful indexing. "In what way?"
    Trevize spread his arms. "I didn't trust the computer. I didn't dare to, so I checked our present position with the position we had aimed at in the j............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved