TREVIZE found himself in a complete state of disbelief. He had recovered from the odd euphoria he had felt just before and after the landing on the moon-a euphoria, he now suspected, that had been imposed on him by this self-styled robot who now stood before him.
Trevize was still staring, and in his now perfectly sane and untouched mind, he remained lost in astonishment. He had talked in astonishment, made conversation in astonishment, scarcely understood what he said or heard 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 something that was neither human nor robot, but, that was, in Pelorat’s words, “something new.” Just as well, of course, for it had turned Trevize’s thoughts into another and more enlightening channel but even that was now crowded into the back of his mind.
Bliss and Fallom had wandered off to explore the grounds. It had been Bliss’s suggestion, but it seemed to Trevize that it came after a lightning-quick glance had been exchanged between herself and Daneel. When Fallom refused and asked to stay with the being she persisted in calling Jemby, a grave word from Daneel and a lift of the finger was enough to cause her to trot off at once. Trevize and Pelorat remained.
“They are not Foundationers, sirs,” said the robot, as though that explained it all. “One is Gaia and one is a Spacer.”
Trevize remained silent while they were led to simply designed chairs under 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 are references to a robot named Daneel in the old legends. Are you named in his 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 be thousands 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 speak truthfully.”
“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 am a man who is lying to you; or I am a robot who has been programmed to believe that it is twenty thousand years old but, in fact, is not; or I am a robot who is twenty thousand years old. You must decide which alternative to accept.”
“The matter may decide itself with continued conversation,” said Trevize dryly. “For that matter, it is hard to believe that this is the interior of the moon. Neither the light”-he looked up as he said 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 clearly visible-”nor the gravity seems credible. This world should have a surface gravity of less than 0.2g.”
“The normal surface gravity would be 0.16g actually, sir. It is built up, however, by the same forces that give you, on your ship, the sensation of normal gravity, even when you are in free fall, or under acceleration. Other energy needs, including the light, are also met gravitically, though we use solar energy where that is convenient. Our material needs are all supplied by the moon’s soil, except for the light elements-hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen which the moon does not possess. We obtain those by capturing an occasional comet. One such capture 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 sensitive to 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. There are then other beings on the moon. Humans? Robots?”
“Yes, sir. We have a complete ecology on the moon and a vast and complex hollow within which that ecology exists. The intelligent beings are all robots, however, more or less like myself. You will see none of them, however. As for this mansion, it is used by myself only and it is an establishment that is modeled exactly on one I used to live in twenty thousand years ago.”
“Which you remember in detail, do you?” .
“Perfectly, sir. I was manufactured, and existed for a time-how brief 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?”
“How do you come to be here, then, if you lived at first on Aurora?”
“Sir, it was to prevent the creation of a radioactive Earth that I came here in the very beginnings of the settlement of the Galaxy. There was another robot with me, named Giskard, who could sense and adjust minds.”
“As Bliss can?”
“Yes, sir. We failed, in a way, and Giskard ceased to operate. Before the cessation, however, he made it possible for me to have his talent and 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 some time ago, Golan.”
“A culture-hero, sir?”
“What Dr. Pelorat means,” said Trevize, “is that he is a person to whom much was attributed, and who may have been an amalgamation of many men in actual history, or who may be an invented person altogether.”
Daneel considered for a moment, and then said, quite calmly, “That is not so, sirs. Elijah Baley was a real man and he was one man. I do not know what your legends say of him, but in actual history, the Galaxy might never have been settled without him. In his honor, I did my best to salvage what I could of Earth after it began to turn radioactive. My fellow-robots were distributed over the Galaxy in an effort to influence a person here a person there. At one time I maneuvered a beginning to the recycling of Earth’s soil. At another much later time, I maneuvered a beginning to the terraforming of a world circling the nearby star, now called Alpha. In neither case was I truly successful. I could never adjust human minds entirely as I wished, for there was always the chance that 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.”
It did not necessarily take a being with Daneel’s mental power to detect uncertainty in that monosyllable.
“The First Law,” he said, “is this, sir: ‘A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.’ The Second Law: ‘A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.’ The Third Law: ‘A robot must protect its own existence, as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.’-Naturally, I give you these laws in the approximation of language. In actual fact they represent complicated mathematical configurations 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 use of my mental talents altogether. When dealing with the Galaxy it is not likely that any course of action will prevent harm altogether. Always, some people, perhaps many people, will suffer so that a robot must choose minimum harm. Yet, the complexity of possibilities is such that it takes time 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 ameliorate the worst aspects of the strife and disaster that perpetually made itself felt in the Galaxy. I may have succeeded, on occasion, and to some extent, but if you know your Galactic history, you will know that I 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 that superseded even the first. We called it the ‘Zeroth Law’ out of an inability to think of any other name that made sense. The Zeroth Law is: ‘A robot may not injure humanity or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.’ This automatically means that the First Law must be modified to be: ‘A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, except where that would conflict with the Zeroth Law.’ And similar modifications must be made in the Second and Third Laws.”
Trevize frowned. “How do you decide what is injurious, or not injurious, to humanity as a whole?”
“Precisely, sir,” said Daneel. “In theory, the Zeroth Law was the answer to our problems. In practice, we could never decide. A human being is a concrete object. Injury to a person can be estimated and judged. 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 single organism. Gaia.”
“That is what I tried to do, sir. I engineered the founding of Gaia. If humanity could be made a single organism, it would become a concrete object, and it could be dealt with. It was, however, not as easy to create a superorganism as I had hoped. In the first place, it could not be done unless human beings valued the superorganism more than their individuality, and I had to find a mind-cast that would allow that. It was a long time before I thought of the Laws of Robotics.”
“Ah, then, the Gaians are robots. I had suspected that from the start.”
“In that case, you suspected incorrectly, sir. They are human beings, but they have brains firmly inculcated with the equivalent of the Laws of Robotics. They have to value life, really value it.-And even after that was done, there remained a serious flaw. A superorganism consisting of human beings only is unstable. It cannot be set up. Other animals must be added-then plants-then the inorganic world. The smallest superorganism that is truly stable is an entire world, and a world large enough and complex enough to have a stable ecology. It took a long time to understand this, and it is only in this last century that Gaia was fully established and that it became ready to move on toward Galaxia and, even so, that will take 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 make the decision and chance harm to humanity. And meanwhile, five centuries ago, when it seemed that I would never work out methods for getting round all the difficulties that stood in the way of establishing Gaia, I turned to the second-best and helped bring about the development of the science of psychohistory.”
“I might have guessed that,” mumbled Trevize. “You know, Daneel, I’m beginning to believe you are twenty thousand years old.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Pelorat said, “Wait a while. I think I see something. Are you part of Gaia yourself, Daneel? Would that be how you knew about the dogs on Aurora? Through Bliss?”
Daneel said, “In a way, sir, you are correct. I am associated with Gaia, though I am not part of it.”
Trevize’s eyebrows went up. “That sounds like Comporellon, the world we visited immediately after leaving Gaia. It insists it is not part of the Foundation Confederation, but is only associated with it.”
Slowly, Daneel nodded. “I suppose that analogy is apt, sir. I can, as an associate of Gaia, make myself aware of what Gaia is aware of-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 my freedom of action. That freedom of action is necessary until Galaxia is well established.”
Trevize looked steadily at the robot for a moment, then said, “And did you use your awareness through Bliss in order to interfere with events 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 lightened the load on Bliss’s mind, taking a small amount of added responsibility on myself, so that she might deal with the wolves of Aurora and the Spacer on Solaria with greater dispatch and with less harm to herself. In addition, I influenced the woman on Comporellon and the one on New Earth, through Bliss, in order to have them look with favor on you, so that you might continue 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. “On the contrary, sir,” he said, “it was you in considerable part. Each of the two women looked with favor upon you from the start. I merely strengthened the impulse already present-about all one can safely do under the strictures of the Laws of Robotics. Because of those strictures-and for other reasons as well-it was only with great difficulty that I brought you here, and only indirectly. I was in great danger at several points of losing you.”
“And now I am here,” said Trevize. “What is it you want of me? To confirm my decision in favor of Galaxia?”
Daneel’s face, always expressionless, somehow managed to seem despairing. “No, sir. The mere decision is no longer enough. I brought you here, as best I could in my present condition, for something far more desperate. I am dying.”
PERHAPS it was because of the matter-of-fact way in which Daneel said it; or perhaps because a lifetime of twenty thousand years made death seem no tragedy to one doomed to live less than half a percent of 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. I am old. Not one sentient being in the Galaxy that was alive when I was 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 escaped replacement, not only once but many times. Even my positronic brain has been replaced on five different occasions. Each time the contents of my earlier brain were etched into the newer one to the last positron. Each time, the new brain had a greater capacity and complexity than the old, so that there was room for more memories, and for faster decision and action. But-”
“The more advanced and complex the brain, the more unstable it is, and the more quickly it deteriorates. My present brain is a hundred thousand times as sensitive as my first, and has ten million times the capacity; but whereas my first brain endured for over ten thousand years, the present one is but six hundred years old and is unmistakably senescent. With every memory of twenty thousand years perfectly recorded and with a perfect recall mechanism in place, the brain is filled. There is a rapidly declining ability to reach decisions; an even more rapidly declining ability to test and influence minds at hyperspatial distances. Nor can I design a sixth brain. Further miniaturization will run against the blank wall of the uncertainty principle, and further complexity will but assure decay almost at once.”
Pelorat seemed desperately troubled. “But surely, Daneel, Gaia can carry on without you. Now that Trevize has judged and selected Galaxia-”
“The process simply took too long, sir,” said Daneel, as always betraying no emotion. “I had to wait for Gaia to be fully established, despite the unanticipated difficulties that arose. By the time a human being-Mr. Trevize-was located who was capable of making the key decision, it was too late. Do not think, however, that I took no measure to lengthen my life span. Little by little I have reduced my activities, in order to conserve what I could for emergencies. When I could no longer rely on active measures to preserve the-isolation of the Earth/moon system, I adopted passive ones. Over a period of years, the humaniform robots that have been working with me have been, one by one, called home. Their last tasks have been to remove all references to Earth in the planetary archives. And without myself and my fellow-robots in full play, Gaia will lack the essential tools to carry through the development of Galaxia in less than an inordinate period of time.”
“And you knew all this,” said Trevize, “when I made my decision?”
“A substantial time before, sir,” said Daneel. “Gaia, of course, did not know.”
“But then,” said Trevize angrily, “what was the use of carrying through the charade? What good has it been? Ever since my decision, I have scoured the Galaxy, searching for Earth and what I thought of as its ‘secret’-not knowing the secret was you-in order that I might confirm the decision. Well, I have confirmed it. I know now that Galaxia is absolutely essential-and it appears to be all for nothing. Why could you not have left the Galaxy to itself-and me to myself?”
Daneel said, “Because, sir, I have been searching for a way out, and I have been carrying on in the hope that I might find one. I think I have. Instead of replacing my brain with yet another positronic one, which is impractical, I might merge it with a human brain instead; a human brain that is not affected by the Three Laws, and will not only add capacity to my brain, but add a whole new level of abilities as well. That is why I have brought you here.”
Trevize looked appalled. “You mean you plan to merge a human brain into yours? Have the human brain lose its individuality so that you can achieve a two-brain Gaia?”
“Yes, sir. It would not make me immortal, but it might enable me to live long enough to establish Galaxia.”
“And you brought me here for that? You want my independence of the Three Laws and my sense of judgment made part of you at the price of my individuality?-No!”
Daneel said, “Yet you said a moment ago that Galaxia is essential for the welfare of the human-”
“Even if it is, it would take a long time to establish, and I would remain an individual in my lifetime. On the other hand, if it were established rapidly, there would be a Galactic loss of individuality and my own loss would be part of an unimaginably greater whole. I would, however, certainly never consent to lose my individuality while the rest of the Galaxy retains theirs.”
Daneel said, “It is, then, as I thought. Your brain would not merge well and, in any case, it would serve a better purpose if you retained an independent judgmental ability.”
“When did you change your mind? You said that it was for merging that you brought me here.”
“Yes, and only by using the fullest extent of my greatly diminished powers. Still, when I said, ‘That is why I have brought you here,’ please remember that in Galactic Standard, the word ‘you’ represents the plural as well as the singular. I was referring to all of you.”
Pelorat stiffened in his seat. “Indeed? Tell me then, Daneel, would a human brain that was merged with your brain share in all your memories-all twenty thousand years of it, back to legendary times?”
Pelorat drew a long breath. “That would fulfill a lifetime search, and it is something I would gladly give up my individuality for. Please let me have the privilege of sharing your brain.”
Trevize asked softly, “And Bliss? What about her?”
Pelorat hesitated for no more than a moment. “Bliss will understand,” he said. “She will, in any case, be better off without me-after a while.”
Daneel shook his head. “Your offer, Dr. Pelorat, is a generous one, but I cannot accept it. Your brain is an old one and it cannot survive for more than two or three decades at best, even in a merger with my own. I need something else.-See!” He pointed and said, “I’ve called her back.”
Bliss was returning, walking happily, with a bounce to her steps.
Pelorat rose convulsively to his feet. “Bliss! Oh no!”
“Do not be alarmed, Dr. Pelorat,” said Daneel. “I cannot use Bliss. That would merge me with Gaia, and I must remain independent of Gaia, as I have already explained.”
“But in that case,” said Pelorat, “who-”
And Trevize, looking at the slim figure running after Bliss, said, “The robot has wanted Fallom all along, Janov.”
Bliss returned, smiling, clearly in a state of great pleasure.
“We couldn’t pass beyond the bounds of the estate,” she said, “but it all reminded me very much of Solaria. Fallom, of course, is convinced it is Solaria. I asked her if she didn’t think that Daneel had an appearance different from that of Jemby-after all, Jemby was metallic-and Fallom said, ‘No, not really.’ I don’t know what she meant by ‘not really.”‘
She looked across to the middle distance where Fallom was now playing her flute for a grave Daneel, whose head nodded in time. The sound reached them, thin, clear, and lovely.
“Did you know she took the flute with her when we left the ship?” asked Bliss. “I suspect we won’t be able to get her away from Daneel for quite a while.”
The remark was met with a heavy silence, and Bliss looked at the two men in quick alarm. “What’s the matter?”
Trevize gestured gently in Pelorat’s direction. It was up to him, the gesture seemed to say.
Pelorat cleared his throat and said, “Actually, Bliss, I think that Fallom will be staying with Daneel permanently.”
“Indeed?” Bliss, frowning, made as though to walk in Daneel’s direction, but Pelorat caught her arm. “Bliss dear, you can’t. He’s more powerful than Gaia even now, and Fallom must stay with him if Galaxia is to come into existence. Let me explain-and, Golan, please correct me if I get anything wrong.”
Bliss listened to the account, her expression sinking into something close to despair.
Trevize said, in an attempt at cool reason, “You see how it is, Bliss. The child is a Spacer and Daneel was designed and put together by Spacers. The child was brought up by a robot and knew nothing else on an estate as empty as this one. The child has transductive powers which Daneel will need, and she will live for three or four centuries, which may be what is required for the construction of Galaxia.”
Bliss said, her cheeks flushed and her eyes moist, “I suppose that the robot maneuvered our trip to Earth in such a way as to make us pass through Solaria in order to pick up a child for his use.”
Trevize shrugged. “He may simply have taken advantage of the opportunity. I don’t think his powers are strong enough at the moment to make complete puppets of us at hyperspatial distances.”
“No. It was purposeful. He made certain that I would feel strongly attracted to the child so that I would take her with me, rather than leave her to be killed; that I would protect her even against you when you showed nothing but resentment and annoyance at her being with us.”
Trevize said, “That might just as easily have been your Gaian ethics, which Daneel could have strengthened a bit, I suppose. Come, Bliss, there’s nothing to be gained. Suppose you could take Fallom away. Where could you then take her that would make her as happy as she is here? Would you take her back to Solaria where she would be killed quite pitilessly; to some crowded world where she would sicken and die; to Gaia, where she would wear her heart out longing for Jemby; on an endless voyage through the Galaxy, where she would think that every world we came across was her Solaria? And would you find a substitute for Daneel’s use so that Galaxia could be constructed?”
Bliss was sadly silent.
Pelorat held out his hand to her, a bit timidly. “Bliss,” he said, “I volunteered to have my brain fused with Daneel’s. He wouldn’t take it because he said I was too old. I wish he had, if that would have saved Fallom for you.”
Bliss took his hand and kissed it. “Thank you, Pel, but the price would be too high, even for Fallom.” She took a deep breath, and tried to smile. “Perhaps, when we get back to Gaia, room will be found in the global organism for a child for me-and I will place Fallom in the syllables of its name.”
And now Daneel, as though aware that the matter was settled, was walking toward them, with Fallom skipping along at his side.
The youngster broke into a run and reached them first. She said to Bliss, “Thank you, Bliss, for taking me home to Jemby again and for taking care of me while we were on the ship. I shall always remember you.” Then she flung herself at Bliss and the two held each other tightly.
“I hope you will always be happy,” said Bliss. “I will remember you, too, Fallom dear,” and released her with reluctance.
Fallom turned to Pelorat, and said, “Thank you, too, Pel, for letting me read your book-films.” Then, without an additional word, and after a trace of hesitation, the thin, girlish hand was extended to Trevize. He took it for a moment, then let it go.
“Good luck, Fallom,” he muttered.
Daneel said, “I thank you all, sirs and madam, for what you have done, each in your own way. You are free to go now, for your search is ended. As for my own work, it will be ended, too, soon enough, and successfully now.”
But Bliss said, “Wait, we are not quite through. We don’t know yet whether Trevize is still of the mind that the proper future for humanity is Galaxia, as opposed to a vast conglomeration of Isolates.”
Daneel said, “He has already made that clear a while ago, madam. He has decided in favor of Galaxia.”
Bliss’s lips tightened. “I’d rather hear that from him.-Which is it to be, Trevize?”
Trevize said calmly, “Which do you want it to be, Bliss? If I decide against Galaxia, you may get Fallom back.”
Bliss said, “I am Gaia. I must know your decision, and its reason, for the sake of the truth and nothing else.”
Daneel said, “Tell her, sir. Your mind, as Gaia is aware, is untouched.”
And Trevize said, “The decision is for Galaxia. There is no further doubt in my mind on that point.”
Bliss remained motionless for the time one might take to count to fifty at a moderate rate, as though she were allowing the information to reach all parts of Gaia, and then she said, “Why?”
Trevize said, “Listen to me. I knew from the start that there were two possible futures for humanity-Galaxia, or else the Second Empire of Seldon’s Plan. And it seemed to me that those two possible futures were mutually exclusive. We couldn’t have Galaxia unless, for some reason, Seldon’s Plan had some fundamental flaw in it.
“Unfortunately, I knew nothing about Seldon’s Plan except for the two axioms on which it is based: one, that there be involved a large enough number of human beings to allow humanity to be treated statistically as a group of individuals interacting randomly; and second, that humanity not know the results of psychohistorical conclusions before the results are achieved.
“Since I had already decided in favor of Galaxia, I felt I must be subliminally aware of flaws in Seldon’s Plan, and those flaws could only be in the axioms, which were all I knew of the plan. Yet I could see nothing wrong with the axioms. I strove, then, to find Earth, feeling that Earth could not be so thoroughly hidden for no purpose. I had to find out what that purpose was.
“I had no real reason to expect to find a solution once I found Earth, but I was desperate and could think of nothing else to do.-And perhaps Daneel’s desire for a Solarian child helped drive me.
“In any case, we finally reached Earth, and then the moon, and Bliss detected Daneel’s mind, which he, of course, was deliberately reaching out to her. She described that mind as neither quite human nor quite robotic. In hindsight, that proved to make sense, for Daneel’s brain is far advanced beyond any robot that ever existed, and would not be sensed as simply robotic. Neither would it be sensed as human, however. Pelorat referred to it as ‘something new’ and that served as a trigger for ‘something new’ of my own; a new thought.
“Just as, long ago, Daneel and his colleague worked out a fourth law of robotics that was more fundamental than the other three, so I could suddenly see a third basic axiom of psychohistory that was more fundamental than the other two; a third axiom so fundamental that no one ever bothered to mention it.
“Here it is. The two known axioms deal with human beings, and they are based on the unspoken axiom that human beings are the only intelligent species in the Galaxy, and therefore the only organisms whose actions are significant in the development of society and history. That is the unstated axiom: that there is only one species of intelligence in the Galaxy and that it is Homo Sapiens. If there were ‘something, new:’ if there were other species of intelligence widely different in nature, then their behavior would not be described accurately by the mathematics of psychohistory and Seldon’s Plan would have no meaning. Do you see?”
Trevize was almost shaking with the earnest desire to make himself understood. “Do you see?” he repeated.
Pelorat said, “Yes, I see, but as devil’s advocate, old chap-”
“Yes? Go on.”
“Human beings are the only intelligences in the Galaxy.”
“Robots?” said Bliss. “Gain?”
Pelorat thought awhile, then said hesitantly-, “Robots have played no significant role in human history since the disappearance of the Spacers. Gaia has played no significant role until very recently. Robots are the creation of human beings, and Gaia is the creation of robots-and both robots and Gala, insofar as they must be bound by the Three Laws, have no choice but to yield to human will. Despite the twenty thousand years Daneel has labored, and the long development of Gaia, a single word from Golan Trevize, a human being, would put an end to both those labors and that development. It follows, then, that humanity is the only significant species of intelligence in the Galaxy, and psychohistory-remains valid.”
“The only form of intelligence in the Galaxy,” repeated Trevize slowly. “I agree. Yet we speak so much and so often of the Galaxy that it is all but impossible for us to see that this is not enough. The Galaxy is not the universe. There are other galaxies.”
Pelorat and Bliss stirred uneasily. Daneel listened with benign gravity, his hand slowly stroking Fallom’s hair.
Trevize said, “Listen to me again. Just outside the Galaxy are the Magellanic Clouds, where no human ship has ever penetrated. Beyond that are other small galaxies, and not very far away is the giant Andromeda Galaxy, larger than our own. Beyond that are galaxies by the billions.
“Our own Galaxy has developed only one species of an intelligence great enough to develop a technological society, but what do we know of the other galaxies? Ours may be atypical. In some of the others-perhaps even in all-there may be many competing intelligent species, struggling with each other, and each incomprehensible to us. Perhaps it is their mutual struggle that preoccupies them, but what if, in some galaxy, one species gains domination over the rest and then has time to consider the possibility of penetrating other galaxies.
“Hyperspatially, the Galaxy is a point-and so is all the Universe. We have not visited any other galaxy, and, as far as we know, no intelligent species from another galaxy has ever visited us-but that state of affairs may end someday. And if the invaders come, they are bound to find ways of turning some human beings against other human beings. We have so long had only ourselves to fight that we are used to such internecine quarrels. An invader that finds us divided against ourselves will dominate us all, or destroy us all. The only true defense is to produce Galaxia, which cannot be turned against itself and which can meet invaders with maximum power.”
Bliss said, “The picture you paint is a frightening one. Will we have time to form Galaxia?”
Trevize looked up, as though to penetrate the thick layer of moonrock that separated him from the surface and from space; as though to force himself to see those far distant galaxies, moving slowly through unimaginable vistas of space.
He said, “In all human history, no other intelligence has impinged on us, to our knowledge. This need only continue a few more centuries, perhaps little more than one ten thousandth of the time civilization has already existed, and we will be safe. After all,” and here Trevize felt a sudden twinge of trouble, which he forced himself to disregard, “it is not as though we had the enemy already here and among us.”
And he did not look down to meet the brooding eyes of Fallom-hermaphroditic, transductive, different-as they rested, unfathomably, on him.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Isaac Asimov was born in the Soviet Union to his great surprise. He moved quickly to correct the situation. When his parents emigrated to the United States, Isaac (three years old at the time) stowed away in their baggage. He has been an American citizen since the age of eight.
Brought up in Brooklyn, and educated in its public schools, he eventually found his way to Columbia University and, over the protests of the school administration, managed to annex a series of degrees in chemistry, up to and including a Ph.D. He then infiltrated Boston University and climbed the academic ladder, ignoring all cries of outrage, until he found himself Professor of Biochemistry.
Meanwhile, at the age of nine, he found the love of his life (in the inanimate sense) when he discovered his first science-fiction magazine. By the time he was eleven, he began to write stories, and at eighteen, he actually worked up the nerve to submit one. It was rejected. After four long months of tribulation and suffering, he sold his first story and, thereafter, he never looked back.
In 1941, when he was twenty-one years old, he wrote the classic short story “Nightfall” and his future was assured. Shortly before that he had begun writing his robot stories, and shortly after that he had begun his Foundation series.
What was left except quantity? At the present time, he has published over 340 books, distributed through every major division of the Dewey system of library classification, and shows no signs of slowing up. He remains as youthful, as lively, and as lovable as ever, and grows more handsome with each year. You can be sure that this is so since he has written this little essay himself and his devotion to absolute objectivity is notorious.
He is married to Janet Jeppson, psychiatrist and writer, has two children by a previous marriage, and lives in New York City.