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HOME > Science Fiction > Foundation's Edge > CHAPTER ELEVEN SAYSHELL
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       JANOV PELORAT WATCHED, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HIS LIFE, AS THE bright star graduated into an orb after what Trevize had called a “micro-Jump.” The fourth planet--the habitable one and their immediate destination, Sayshell--then grew in size and prominence more slowly--over a period of days.
                A map of the planet had been produced by the computer and was displayed on a portable screening device, which Pelorat held in his lap.
                Trevize--with the aplomb of someone who had, in his time, touched down upon several dozen worlds--said, “Don’t start watching too hard too soon, Janov. We have to go through the entry station first and that can be tedious.”
                Pelorat looked up. “Surely that’s just a formality.”
                “It is. But it can still be tedious.”
                “But it’s peacetime.”
                “Of course. That means we’ll be passed through. First, though, there’s a little matter of the ecological balance. Every planet has its own and they don’t want it upset. So they make a natural point of checking the ship for undesirable organisms, or infections. It’s a reasonable precaution.”
                “We don’t have such things, it seems to me.”
                “No, we don’t and they’ll find that out. Remember, too, that Sayshell is not a member of the Foundation Federation, so there’s certain to be some leaning over backward to demonstrate their independence.”
                A small ship came out to inspect them and a Sayshellian Customs official boarded. Trevize was brisk, not having forgotten his military days.
                “TheFar Star , out of Terminus,” he said. “Ship’s papers. Unarmed. Private vessel. My passport. There is one passenger. His passport. We are tourists.”
                The Customs official wore a garish uniform in which crimson was the dominating color. Cheeks and upper lip were smooth-shaven, but he wore a short beard parted in such a way that tufts thrust out to both sides of his chin. He said, “Foundation ship?”
                He pronounced it “Foundaysun sip,” but Trevize was careful neither to correct him nor to smile. There were as many varieties of dialects to Galactic Standard as there were planets, and you just spoke your own. As long as there was cross-comprehension, it didn’t matter.
                “Yes, sir,” said Trevize. “Foundation ship. Privately owned.”
                “Very nice. --Your lading, if you please.”
                “My what?”
                “Your lading. What are you carrying?”
                “Ah, my cargo. Here is the itemized list. Personal property only. We are not here to trade. As I told you, we are simply tourists.”
                The Customs official looked about curiously. “This is rather an elaborate vessel for tourists.”
                “Not by Foundation standards,” said Trevize with a display of good humor. “And I’m well off and can afford this.”
                “Are you suggesting that I might be richified?” The official looked at him briefly, then looked away.
                Trevize hesitated a moment in order to interpret the meaning of the word, then another moment to decide his course of action. He said, “No, it is not my intention to bribe you. I have no reason to bribe you--and you don’t look like the kind of person who could be bribed, if that were my intention. You can look over the ship, if you wish.”
                “No need,” said the official, putting away his pocket recorder. “You have already been examined for specific contraband infection and have passed. The ship has been assigned a radio wavelength that will serve as an approach beam.”
                He left. The whole procedure had taken fifteen minutes.
                Pelorat said in a low voice. “Could he have made trouble? Did he really expect a bribe?”
                Trevize shrugged. “Tipping the Customs man is as old as the Galaxy and I would have done it readily if he had made a second try for it. As it is--well, I presume he prefers not to take a chance with a Foundation ship, and a fancy one, at that. The old Mayor, bless her cross-grained hide, said the name of the Foundation would protect us wherever we went and she wasn’t wrong. --It could have taken a great deal longer.”
                “Why? He seemed to find out what he wanted to know.”
                “Yes, but he was courteous enough to check us by remote radioscanning. If he had wished, he could have gone over the ship with a hand-machine and taken hours. He could have put us both in a field hospital and kept us days.”
                “What? Mydear fellow!”
                “Don’t get excited. He didn’t do it. I thought he might, but he didn’t. Which means we’re free to land. I’d like to go down gravitically--which could take us fifteen minutes--but I don’t know where the permitted landing sites might be and I don’t want to cause trouble. That means we’ll have to follow the radio beam-- which will take hours--as we spiral down through the atmosphere.”
                Pelorat looked cheerful. “But that’s excellent, Golan. Will we be going slowly enough to watch the terrain?” He held up his portable viewscreen with the map spread out on it at low magnification.
                “After a fashion. We’d have to get beneath the cloud deck, and we’ll be moving at a few kilometers per second. It won’t be ballooning through the atmosphere, but you’ll spot the planetography.”
                “Excellent! Excellent!”
                Trevize said thoughtfully, “I’m wondering, though, if we’ll be on Sayshell Planet long enough to make it worth our while to adjust the ship’s clock to local time.”
                “It depends on what we plan to do, I suppose. What do you think we’ll be doing, Golan?”
                “Our job is to find Gaia and I don’t know how long that will take.”
                Pelorat said, “We can adjust our wrist-strips and leave the ship’s clock as is.”
                “Good enough,” said Trevize. He looked down at the planet spreading broadly beneath them. “No use waiting any longer. I’ll adjust the computer to our assigned radio beam and it can use the gravities to mimic conventional flight. So! --Let’s go down, Janov, and see what we can find.”
                He stared at the planet thoughtfully as the ship began to move on its smoothly adjusted gravitational potential-curve.
                Trevize had never been in the Sayshell union, but he knew that over the last century it had been steadfastly unfriendly to the Foundation. He was surprised--and a little dismayed--they had gotten through Customs so quickly.
                It didn’t seem reasonable.
 The Customs official’s name was Jogoroth Sobhaddartha and he had been serving on the station on and off for half his life.
                He didn’t mind the life, for it gave him a chance--one month out of three--to view his books, to listen to his music, and to be away from his wife and growing son.
                Of course, during the last two years the current Head of Customs had been a Dreamer, which was irritating. There is no one so insufferable as a person who gives no other excuse for a peculiar action than saying he had been directed to it in a dream.
                Personally Sobhaddartha decided he believed none of it, though he was careful not to say so aloud, since most people on Sayshell rather disapproved of antipsychic doubts. To become known as a materialist might put his forthcoming pension at risk.
                He stroked the two tufts of hair at his chin, one with his right hand and the other with his left, cleared his throat rather loudly, and then, with inappropriate casualness, said, “Was that the ship, Head?”
                The Head, who bore the equally Sayshellian name of Namarath Godhisavatta, was concerned with a matter involving some computer-born data and did not look up. “What ship?” he said.
                “TheFar Star . The Foundation ship. The one I just sent past. The one that was holographed from every angle. Was that the one you dreamed of?”
                Godhisavatta looked up now. He was a small man, with eyes that were almost black and that were surrounded by fine wrinkles that had not been produced by any penchant for smiling. He said, “Why do you ask?”
                Sobhaddartha straightened up and allowed his dark and luxuriant eyebrows to approach each other. “They said they were tourists, but I’ve never seen a ship like that before and my own opinion is they’re Foundation agents.” --
                Godhisavatta sat back in his chair. “See here, my man, try as I might I cannot recall asking for your opinion.”
                “But Head, I consider it my patriotic duty to point out that--”
                Godhisavatta crossed his arms over his chest and stared hard at the underling, who (though much the more impressive in physical stature and bearing) allowed himself to droop and take on a somehow bedraggled appearance under the gaze of his superior.
                Godhisavatta said, “My man,if you know what is good for you, you will do your jobwithout comment--or I’ll see to it that there will be no pension when you retire, which will be soon if I hear any more on a subject that does not concern you.”
                In a low voice, Sobhaddartha said, “Yes, sir.” Then, with a suspicious degree of subservience in his voice, he added, “Is it within the range of my duties, sir, to report that a second ship is in range of our screens?”
                “Consider it reported,” Godhisavatta said irritably, returning to his work.
                “With,” said Sobhaddartha even more humbly, “characteristics very similar to the one I just sent through.”
                Godhisavatta placed his hands on the desk and lifted himself to his feet. “Asecond one?”
                Sobhaddartha smiled inwardly. That sanguinary person born of an irregular union (he was referring to the Head) had clearly not dreamed oftwo ships. He said, “Apparently, sir! I will now return to my post and await orders and I hope, sir--”
                Sobhaddartha could not resist, pension-risk notwithstanding. “And I hope, sir, we didn’t send the wrong one through.”
 TheFar Star moved rapidly across the face of Sayshell Planet and Pelorat watched with fascination. The cloud layer was thinner and more scattered than upon Terminus and, precisely as the map showed, the land surfaces were more compact and extensive--including broader desert areas, to judge by the rusty color of much of the continental expanse.
                There were no signs of anything living. It seemed a world of sterile desert, gray plain, of endless wrinkles that might have represented mountainous areas, and, of course, of ocean.
                “It looks lifeless,” muttered Pelorat.
                “You don’t expect to see any life-signs at this height,” said Trevize. “As we get lower, you’ll see the land turn green in patches. Before that, in fact, you’ll see the twinkling landscape on the nightside. Human beings have a penchant for lighting their worlds when darkness falls; I’ve never heard of a world that’s an exception to that rule. In other words, the first sign of life you’ll see will not only be human but technological.”
                Pelorat said thoughtfully, “Human beings are diurnal in nature, after all. It seems to me that among the very first tasks of a developing technology would be the conversion of night to day. In fact, if a world lacked technology and developed one, you ought to be able to follow the progress of technological development by the increase in light upon the darkened surface. How long would it take, do you suppose, to go from uniform darkness to uniform light?”
                Trevize laughed. “You have odd thoughts, but I suppose that comes from being a mythologist. I don’t think a world would ever achieve a uniform glow. Night light would follow the pattern of population density, so that the continents would spark in knots and strings. Even Trantor at its height, when it was one huge structure, let light escape that structure only at scattered points.”
                The land turned green as Trevize had predicted and, on the last circling of the globe, he pointed out markings that he said were cities. “It’s not a very urban world. I’ve never been in the Sayshell union before, but according to the information the computer gives me, they tend to cling to the past. Technology, in the eyes of all the Galaxy, has been associated with the Foundation, and wherever the Foundation is unpopular, there is a tendency to cling to the past-- except, of course, as far as weapons of war are concerned. I assure you Sayshell is quite modern in that respect.”
                “Dear me, Golan, this is not going to be unpleasant, is it? We are Foundationers, after all, and being in enemy territory--”
                “It’s not enemy territory, Janov. They’ll be perfectly polite, never fear. The Foundation just isn’t popular, that’s all. Sayshell is not part of the Foundation Federation. Therefore, because they’re proud of their independence and because they don’t like to remember that they are much weaker than the Foundation and remain independent only because we’re willing to let them remain so, they indulge in the luxury of disliking us.” --
                “I fear ............
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