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                Trevize shrugged. “The human body is a powerful dispenser of odors. Recycling never works instantaneously and artificial scents merely overlay--they do not replace.”
                “And I suppose no two ships smell quite alike, once they’ve been occupied for a period of time by different people.”
                “That’s right, but did you smell Sayshell Planet after the first hour?”
                “No,” admitted Pelorat.
                “Well, you won’t smell this after a while, either. In fact, if you live in the ship long enough, you’ll welcome the odor that greets you on your return as signifying home. And by the way, if you become a Galactic rover after this, Janov, you’ll have to learn that it is impolite to comment on the odor of any ship or, for that matter, any world to those who live on that ship or world. Between us, of course, it is all right.”
                “As a matter of fact, Golan, the funny thing is Ido consider theFar Star home. At least it’s Foundation-made.” Pelorat smiled. “You know, I never considered myself a patriot. I like to think I recognize only humanity as my nation, but I must say that being away from the Foundation fills my heart with love for it.”
                Trevize was making his bed. “You’re not very far from the Foundation, you know. The Sayshell union is almost surrounded by Federation territory. We have an ambassador and an enormous presence here, from consuls on down. The Sayshellians like to oppose us in words, but they are usually very cautious about doing anything that gives us displeasure. --Janov, do turn in. We got nowhere today and we have to do better tomorrow.”
                Still, there was no difficulty in hearing between the two rooms, however, and when the ship was dark, Pelorat, tossing restlessly, finally said in a not very loud voice, “Golan?”
                “You’re not sleeping?”
                “Not while you’re talking.”
                “Wedid get somewhere today. Your friend, Compor--”
                “Ex-friend,” growled Trevize.
                “Whatever his status, he talked about Earth and told us something I hadn’t come across in my researches before. Radioactivity!”
                Trevize lifted himself to one elbow. “Look, Golan, if Earth is really dead, that doesn’t mean we return home. Istill want to find Gaia.”
                Pelorat made a puffing noise with his mouth as though he were blowing away feathers. “My dear chap, of course. So do I. Nor do I think Earth is dead. Compor may have been telling what he felt was the truth, but there’s scarcely a sector in the Galaxy that doesn’t have some tale or other that would place the origin of humanity on some local world. And they almost invariably call it Earth or some closely equivalent name.
                “We call it ‘globocentrism’ in anthropology. People have a tendency to take it for granted that they are better than their neighbors; that their culture is older and superior to that of other worlds; that what is good in other worlds has been borrowed from them, while what is bad is distorted or perverted in the borrowing or invented elsewhere. And the tendency is to equate superiority in quality with superiority in duration. If they cannot reasonably maintain their own planet to be Earth or its equivalent--and the beginnings of the human species--they almost always do the best they can by placing Earth in their own sector, even when they cannot locate it exactly.”
                Trevize said, “And you’re telling me that Compor was just following the common habit when he said Earth existed in the Sirius Sector. --Still, the Sirius Sectordoes have a long history, so every world in it should be well known and it should be easy to check the matter, even without going there.”
                Pelorat chuckled. “Even if you were to show that no world in the Sirius Sector could possibly be Earth, that wouldn’t help. You underestimate the depths to which mysticism can bury rationality, Golan. There are at least half a dozen sectors in the Galaxy where respectable scholars repeat, with every appearance of solemnity and with no trace of a smile, local tales that Earth--or whatever they choose to call it--is located in hyperspace and cannot be reached, except by accident.”
                “And do they say anyonehas ever reached it by accident?”
                “There are always tales and there is always a patriotic refusal to disbelieve, even though the tales are never in the least credible and are never believed by anyone not of the world that produces them.”
                “Then, Janov, let’s not believe them ourselves. Let’s enter our own private hyperspace of sleep.”
                “But, Golan, it’s this business of Earth’s radioactivity that interests me. To me, that seems to bear the mark of truth--or a kind of truth.”
                “What do you mean, akind of truth?”
                “Well, a world that is radioactive would be a world in which hard radiation would be present in higher concentration than is usual. The rate of mutation would be higher on such a world and evolution would proceed more quickly--and more diversely. I told you, if you remember, that among the points on which almost all the tales agree is that life on Earth was incredibly diverse: millions of species of all kinds of life. It is this diversity of life--thisexplosive development--that might have brought intelligence to the Earth, and then the surge outward into the Galaxy. If Earth were for some reason radioactive--that is, more radioactive than other planets--that might account for everything else about Earth that is--or was-- unique.”
                Trevize was silent for a moment. Then, “In the first place, we have no reason to believe Compor was telling the truth. He may well have been lying freely in order to induce us to leave this place and go chasing madly off to Sirius. I believe that’s exactly what he was doing. And even if he were telling the truth, what he said was that there was so much radioactivity that life became impossible.”
                Pelorat made the blowing gesture again. “There wasn’t too much radioactivity to allow life to develop on Earth and it is easier for life to maintain itself--once established--than to develop in the first place. Granted, then, that life was established and maintained on Earth. Therefore the level of radioactivity could not have been incompatible with life to begin with and it could only have fallen off with time. There is nothing that canraise the level.”
                “Nuclear explosions?” suggested Trevize.
                “What would that have to do with it?”
                “I mean, suppose nuclear explosions took place on Earth?”
                “On Earth’s surface? Impossible. There’s no record in the history of the Galaxy of any society being so foolish as to use nuclear explosions as a weapon of war. We would never have survived. During the Trigellian insurrections, when both sides were reduced to starvation and desperation and when Jendippurus Khoratt suggested the initiation of a fusion reaction in--”
                “He was hanged by the sailors of his own fleet. I know Galactic history. I was thinking of accident.”
                “There’s no record of accidents of that sort that are capable of significantly raising the intensity of radioactivity of a planet, generally.” He sighed. “I suppose that when we get around to it, we’ll have to go to the Sirius Sector and do a little prospecting there.”
                “Someday, perhaps, we will. But for now--”
                “Yes, yes, I’ll stop talking.”
                He did and Trevize lay in the dark for nearly an hour considering whether he had attracted too much attention already and whether it might not be wise to go to the Sirius Sector and then return to Gaia when attention--everyone’s attention--was elsewhere.
                He had arrived at no clear decision by the time he fell asleep. His dreams were troubled.
 They did not arrive back in the city till midmorning. The tourist center was quite crowded this time, but they managed to obtain the necessary directions to a reference library, where in turn they received instruction in the use of the local models of data-gathering computers.
                They went carefully through the museums and universities, beginning with those that were nearest, and checked out whatever information was available on anthropologists, archaeologists, and ancient historians.
                Pelorat said, “Ah!”
                “Ah?” said Trevize with some asperity. “Ah, what?”
                “This name, Quintesetz. It seems familiar.”
                “You know him?”
                “No, of course not, but I may have read papers of his. Back at the ship, where I have my reference collection--”
                “We’re not going back, Janov. If the name is familiar, that’s a starting point. If he can’t help us, he will undoubtedly be able to direct us further.” He rose to his feet. “Let’s find a way of getting to Sayshell University. And since there will be nobody there at lunchtime, let’s eat first.”
                It was not till late afternoon that they had made their way out to the university, worked their way through its maze, and found themselves in an anteroom, waiting for a young woman who had gone off in search of information and who might--or might not--lead them to Quintesetz.
                “I wonder,” said Pelorat uneasily, “how much longer we’ll have to wait. It must be getting toward the close of the schoolday.”
                And, as though that were a cue, the young lady whom they had last seen half an hour before, walked rapidly toward them, her shoes glinting red and violet and striking the ground with a sharp musical tone as she walked. The pitch varied with the speed and force of her steps.
                Pelorat winced. He supposed that each world had its own ways of assaulting the senses, just as each had its own smell. He wondered if, now that he no longer noticed the smell, he might also learn not to notice the cacophony of fashionable young women when they walked.
                She came to Pelorat and stopped. “May I have your full name, Professor?”
                “It’s Janov Pelorat, miss.”
                “Your home planet?”
                Trevize began to lift one hand as though to enjoin silence, but Pelorat, either not seeing or not regarding, said, “Terminus.”
                The young woman smiled broadly, and looked pleased. “When I told Professor Quintesetz that a Professor Pelorat was inquiring for him, he said he would see you if you were Janov Pelorat of Terminus, but not otherwise.”
                Pelorat blinked rapidly. “You--you mean, he’s heard of me?”
                “It certainly seems so.”
                And, almost creakily, Pelorat managed a smile as he turned to Trevize. “He’s heard of me. I honestly didn’t think-- I mean, I’ve written very few papers and I didn’t think that anyone--” He shook his head. “They weren’t really important.”
                “Well then,” said Trevize, smiling himself, “stop hugging yourself in an ecstasy of self-underestimation and let’s go.” He turned to the woman. “I presume, miss, there’s some sort of transportation to take us to him?”
                “It’s within walking distance. We won’t even have to leave the building complex and I’ll be glad to take you there. --Are both of you from Terminus?” And off she went.
                The two men followed and Trevize said, with a trace of annoyance, “Yes, we are. Does that make a difference?”
                “Oh no, of course not. There are people on Sayshell that don’t like Foundationers, you know, but here at the university, we’re more cosmopolitan than that. Live and let live is what I always say. I mean, Foundationers are people, too. You know what I mean?”
                “Yes, I know what you mean. Lots of us say that Sayshellians are people.”
                “That’s just the way it should be. I’ve never seen Terminus. It must be a big city.”
                “Actually it isn’t,” said Trevize matter-of-factly. “I suspect it’s smaller than Sayshell City.”
                “You’re tweaking my finger,” she said. “It’s the capital of the Foundation Federation, isn’t it? I mean, there isn’t another Terminus, is there?”
                “No, there’s only one Terminus, as far as I know, and that’s where we’re from--the capital of the Foundation Federation.”
                “Well then, it must be an enormous city. --And you’re coming all the way here to see the professor. We’re very proud of him, you know. He’s considered the biggest authority in the whole Galaxy.”
                “Really?” said Trevize. “On what?”
                Her eyes opened wide again, “Youare a teaser. He knows more about ancient history than--than I know about my own family.” And she continued to walk on ahead on her musical feet.
                One can only be called a teaser and a finger-tweaker so often without developing an actual impulse in that direction. Trevize smiled and said, “The professor knows all about Earth, I suppose?”
                “Earth?” She stopped at an office door and looked at them blankly.
                “You know. The world where humanity got its start.”
                “Oh, you mean the planet-that-was-first. I guess so. I guess heshould know all about it. After all, it’s located in the Sayshell Sector. Everyone knowsthat ! --This is his office. Let me signal him.”
                “No, don’t,” said Trevize. “Not for just a minute. Tell me about Earth.”
                “Actually I never heard anyone call it Earth. I suppose that’s a Foundation word. We call it Gaia, here.”
                Trevize cast a swift look at Pelorat. “Oh? And where is it located?”
                “Nowhere. It’s in hyperspace and there’s no way anyone can get to it. When I was a little girl, my grandmother said that Gaia was once in real space, but it was so disgusted at the--”
                “Crimes and stupidities of human beings,” muttered Pelorat, “that, out of shame, it left space and refused to have anything more to do with the human beings it had sent out into the Galaxy.”
                “You know the story, then. See? --A girlfriend of mine says it’s superstition. Well, I’ll tellher . If it’s good enough for professors from the Foundation--”
                A glittering section of lettering on the smoky glass of the door read: SOTAYN QUINTESETZ ABT in the hard-to-read Sayshellian calligraphy--and under it was printed, in the same fashion: DEPARTMENT OF ANCIENT HISTORY.
                The woman placed her finger on a smooth metal circle. There was no sound, but the smokiness of the glass turned a milky white for a moment and a soft voice said, in an abstracted sort of way, “Identify yourself, please.”
                “Janov Pelorat of Terminus,” said Pelorat, “with Golan Trevize of the same world.” The door swung open at once.
 The man who stood up, walked around his desk, and advanced to meet them was tall and well into middle age. He was light brown in skin color and his hair, which was set in crisp curls over his head, was iron-gray. He held out his hand in greeting and his voice was soft and low. “I am S.Q. I am delighted to meet you, Professors.”
                Trevize said, “I don’t own an academic title. I merely accompany Professor Pelorat. You may call me simply Trevize. I am pleased to meet you, Professor Abt.”
                Quintesetz held up one hand in clear embarrassment. “No no. Abt is merely a foolish title of some sort that has no significance outside of Sayshell. Ignore it, please, and call me S.Q. We tend to use initials in ordinary social intercourse on Sayshell. I’m so pleased to meet two of you when I had been expecting but one.”
                He seemed to hesitate a moment, then extended his right hand after wiping it unobtrusively on his trousers.
                Trevize took it, wondering what the proper Sayshellian manner of greeting was.
                Quintesetz said, “Please sit down. I’m afraid you’ll find these chairs to be lifeless ones, but I, for one, don’t want my chairs to hug me. It’s all the fashion for chairs to hug you nowadays, but I prefer a hug to mean something, hey?”
                Trevize smiled and said, “Who would not? Your name, SQ., seems to be of the Rim Worlds and not Sayshellian. I apologize if the remark is impertinent.”
                “I don’t mind. My family traces back, in part, to Askone. Five generations back, my great-great-grandparents left Askone when Foundation domination grew too heavy.”
                Pelorat said, “And we are Foundationers. Our apologies.”
                Quintesetz waved his hand genially, “I don’t hold a grudge across a stretch of five generations. Not that such things haven’t been done, more’s the pity. Would you like to have something to eat? To drink? Would you like music in the background?”
                “If you don’t mind,” said Pelorat, “I’d be willing to get right to business, if Sayshellian ways would permit.”
                “Sayshellian ways are not a barrier to that, I assure you. --You have no idea how remarkable this is, Dr. Pelorat. It was only about two weeks ago that I came across your article on origin myths in theArchaeological Review and it struck me as a remarkable synthesis-- all too brief.”
                Pelorat flushed with pleasure. “How delighted I am that you have read it. I had to condense it, of course, since theReview would not print a full study. I have been planning to do a treatise on the subject.”
                “I wish you would. In any case, as soon as I had read it, I had this desire to see you. I even had the notion of visiting Terminus in order to do so, though that would have been hard to arrange--”
                “Why so?” asked Trevize.
                Quintesetz looked embarrassed. “I’m sorry to say that Sayshell is not eager to join the Foundation Federation and rather discourages any social communication with the Foundation. We’ve a tradition of neutralism, you see. Even the Mule didn’t bother us, except to extort from us a specific statement of neutrality. For that reason, any application for permission to visit Foundation territory generally-- and particularly Terminus--is viewed with suspicion, although a scholar such as myself, intent on academic business, would probably obtain his passport in the end. --But none of that was necessary; you have come to me. I can scarcely believe it. I ask myself: Why? Have you heard of me, as I have heard of you?”
                Pelorat said, “I know your work, S.Q., and in my records I have abstracts of your papers. It is why I have come to you. I am exploring both the matter of Earth, which is the reputed planet of origin of the human species, and the early period of the exploration and settlement of the Galaxy. In particular, I have come here to inquire as to the founding of Sayshell.”
                “From your paper,” said Quintesetz, “I presume you are interested in myths and legends.”
                “Even more in history--actual facts--if such exist. Myths and legends, otherwise.”
                Quintesetz rose and walked rapidly back and forth the length of his office, paused to stare at Pelorat, then walked again.
                Trevize said impatiently, “Well, sir.”
                Quintesetz said, “Odd! Really odd! It was only yesterday--”
                Pelorat said, “What was only yesterday?”
                Quintesetz said, “I told you, Dr. Pelorat--may I call you J.P., by the way? I find using a full-length name rather unnatural”
                “Please do.”
                “I told you, J.P., that I had admired your paper and that I had wanted to see you. The reason I wanted to see you was that you clearly had an extensive collection of legends concerning the beginnings of the worlds and yet didn’t have ours. In other words, I wanted to see you in order to tell you precisely what you have come to see me to find out.”
                “What has this to do with yesterday, S.Q.?” asked Trevize.
                “We have legends. A legend. An important one to our society, for it has become our central mystery--”
                “Mystery?” said Trevize.
                “I don’t mean a puzzle or anything of that sort. That, I believe, would be the usual meaning of the word in Galactic Standard. There’s a specialized meaning here. It means ‘something secret’; something only certain adepts know the full meaning of; something not to be spoken of to outsiders. --And yesterday was the day.”
                “The day of what, S.Q.?” asked Trevize, slightly exaggerating his air of patience.
                “Yesterday was the Day of Flight.”
                “Ah,” said Trevize, “a day of meditation and quiet, when everyone is supposed to remain at home.”
                “Something like that, in theory, except that in the larger cities, the more sophisticated regions, there is little observance in the older fashion. --But you know about it, I see.”
                Pelorat, who had grown uneasy at Trevize’s annoyed tone, put in hastily, “We heard a little of it, having arrived yesterday.”
                “Of all days,” said Trevize sarcastically. “See here, S.Q. As I said, I’m not an academic, but I have a question. You said you were speaking of a central mystery, meaning it was not to be spoken of to outsiders. Why, then, are you speaking of it to us? We are outsiders.”
                “So you are. But I’m not an observer of the day and the depth of my superstition in this matter is slight at best. J.P.’s paper, however, reinforced a feeling I have had for a long time. A myth or legend is simply not made up out of a vacuum. Nothing is--or can be. Somehow there is a kernel of truth behind it, however distorted that might be, and I would like the truth behind our legend of the Day of Flight.”
                Trevize said, “Is it safe to talk about it?”
                Quintesetz shrugged. “Not entirely, I suppose. The conservative elements among our population would be horrified. However, they don’t control the government and haven’t for a century. The secularists are strong and would be stronger still, if the conservatives didn’t take advantage of our--if you’ll excuse me--anti-Foundation bias. Then, too, since I am discussing the matter out of my scholarly interest in ancient history, the League of Academicians will support me strongly, in case of need.”
                “In that case,” said Pelorat, “would you tell us about your central mystery, SQ.?”
                “Yes, but let me make sure we won’t be interrupted or, for that matter, overheard. Even if one must stare the bull in the face, one needn’t slap its muzzle, as the saying goes.”
                He flicked a pattern on the work-face of an instrument on his desk and said, “We’re incommunicado now.”
                “Are you sure you’re not bugged?” asked Trevize.
                “Tapped! Eavesdropped! --Subjected to a device that will have you under observation--visual or auditory or both.”
                Quintesetz looked shocked. “Not here on Sayshell!”
                Trevize shrugged. “If you say so.”
                “Please go on, SQ.,” said Pelorat.
                Quintesetz pursed his lips, leaned back in his chair (which gave slightly under the pressure) and put the tips of his fingers together. He seemed to be speculating as to just how to begin.
                He said, “Do you know what a robot is?”
                “A robot?” said Pelorat. “No.”
                Quintesetz looked in the direction of Trevize, who shook his head slowly.
                “You know what a computer is, however?”
                “Of course,” said Trevize impatiently.
                “Well then, a mobile computerized tool--”
                “Is a mobile computerized tool.” Trevize was still impatient. “There are endless varieties and I don’t know of any generalized term for it except mobile computerized tool.”
                “--that looks exactly like a human being is a robot.” S.Q. completed his definition with equanimity. “The distinction of a robot is that it is humaniform.”
                “Why humaniform?” asked Pelorat in honest amazement.
                “I’m not sure. It’s a remarkably inefficient form for a tool, I grant you, but I’m just repeating the legend. ‘Robot’ is an old word from no recognizable language, though our scholars say it bears the connotation of ‘work.”
                “I can’t think of any word,” said Trevize skeptically, “that sounds even vaguely like ‘robot’ and that has any connection with ‘work.”
                “Nothing in Galactic, certainly,” said Quintesetz, “but that’s what they say.”
                Pelorat said, “It may have been reverse etymology. These objects were used for work, and so the word was said to mean ‘work.’ --In any case, why do you tell us this?”
                “Because it is a firmly fixed tradition here on Sayshell that when Earth was a single world and the Galaxy lay all uninhabited before it, robots were invented and devised. There were then two sorts of human beings: natural and invented, flesh and metal, biological and mechanical, complex and simple--”
                Quintesetz came to a halt and said with a rueful laugh, “I’m sorry. It is impossible to talk about robots without quoting from theBook of Flight . The people of Earth devised robots--and I need say no more. That’s plain enough.”
                “And why did they devise robots?” asked Trevize.
                Quintesetz shrugg............
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