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stories:after_earth [2018/12/05 17:14]
harlequin
stories:after_earth [2018/12/05 18:22] (current)
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 ===== 1. Plotting a Course ===== ===== 1. Plotting a Course =====
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 "Where do we go from here?" Golan Trevize wondered aloud. "Where do we go from here?" Golan Trevize wondered aloud.
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 "There there, my dear, don't worry about it. We've had more practice at it than you have." "There there, my dear, don't worry about it. We've had more practice at it than you have."
  
-==== 4. Homecoming ====+===== 4. Homecoming ​=====
  
 Blissenobiarella didn't feel the Jump, but she felt the effect. In a fraction of time too short to measure, the _Far Star_ had moved three thousand parsecs in space, and her link with the rest of Gaia had changed from a tiny, tenuous thing to a mental avalanche. The shock of it woke her from a sound sleep, and her own awakening woke Pel. She felt his mind shift from remsleep (a term whose origin was lost in the mists of time) to full consciousness. Blissenobiarella didn't feel the Jump, but she felt the effect. In a fraction of time too short to measure, the _Far Star_ had moved three thousand parsecs in space, and her link with the rest of Gaia had changed from a tiny, tenuous thing to a mental avalanche. The shock of it woke her from a sound sleep, and her own awakening woke Pel. She felt his mind shift from remsleep (a term whose origin was lost in the mists of time) to full consciousness.
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 She smiled, for to her the choice of the new addition to her name had become blindingly obvious as soon as Dom had mentioned it. She said, "You won't have to wait long, because I've already chosen them. My full name will now be Blissenobiarellapelorat."​ She smiled, for to her the choice of the new addition to her name had become blindingly obvious as soon as Dom had mentioned it. She said, "You won't have to wait long, because I've already chosen them. My full name will now be Blissenobiarellapelorat."​
  
-==== 5. The Gift ====+===== 5. The Gift =====
  
 The Far Star sat beneath the sun of Gaia. Standing beside it were Golan Trevize, Janov Pelorat and Bliss. This time, however, Pelorat and Bliss would not be joining Trevize as he set off once again into space. The Far Star sat beneath the sun of Gaia. Standing beside it were Golan Trevize, Janov Pelorat and Bliss. This time, however, Pelorat and Bliss would not be joining Trevize as he set off once again into space.
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 All Pelorat could do was stare up into the sky and repeat, "What an extraordinary thing."​ All Pelorat could do was stare up into the sky and repeat, "What an extraordinary thing."​
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-6. Renunciation+===== 6. Renunciation ​===== 
 Golan Trevize found himself alone for the first time in six months. It was, he had come to recognize, a never-ending cycle. One went from sharing one's life with other people, to being alone, to sharing again. It had first happened when he was twenty-two, after leaving the Navy. He had gone from being a member of a unit to being a man alone. Then he had met Zillia, and for three years he had been part of a couple. Then came the breakup, and he was alone again. Since then there had been other women, Ensa and Cordia and Danna, periods of union separated by periods of solitude. His last solo period had ended with his confrontation with Mayor Branno and his exile from Terminus with Janov. Now Janov had been left behind on Gaia, and Trevize was alone for the first time in the Far Star. Golan Trevize found himself alone for the first time in six months. It was, he had come to recognize, a never-ending cycle. One went from sharing one's life with other people, to being alone, to sharing again. It had first happened when he was twenty-two, after leaving the Navy. He had gone from being a member of a unit to being a man alone. Then he had met Zillia, and for three years he had been part of a couple. Then came the breakup, and he was alone again. Since then there had been other women, Ensa and Cordia and Danna, periods of union separated by periods of solitude. His last solo period had ended with his confrontation with Mayor Branno and his exile from Terminus with Janov. Now Janov had been left behind on Gaia, and Trevize was alone for the first time in the Far Star.
  
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 He turned to look Lizalor directly in the eyes. "​Minister,​ if I ever needed anything to show me that my future lies here on Comporellon and not back on Terminus, this was it. I hereby renounce my Foundation citizenship and request citizenship in the Commonwealth of Comporellon!"​ He turned to look Lizalor directly in the eyes. "​Minister,​ if I ever needed anything to show me that my future lies here on Comporellon and not back on Terminus, this was it. I hereby renounce my Foundation citizenship and request citizenship in the Commonwealth of Comporellon!"​
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-7. More Pillow Talk+===== 7. More Pillow Talk ===== 
 Trevize had assumed that they were going to the Ministry of Transportation building, and as the vehicle threaded the streets of Comporellon City, he knew he had guessed correctly. It was less than half an hour before they pulled up outside. During the ride, Trevize and Lizalor had engaged in pointless small talk, from which fact Trevize assumed they were (or at least could be) under surveillance. He followed Lizalor out of the vehicle and down the steps leading to the main entrance of the Ministry building. They passed through the vast lobby he remembered, then threaded their way through corridors until finally reaching an elevator. As soon as the doors closed upon them, Trevize found himself buried under an avalanche of amorous Minister. Trevize had assumed that they were going to the Ministry of Transportation building, and as the vehicle threaded the streets of Comporellon City, he knew he had guessed correctly. It was less than half an hour before they pulled up outside. During the ride, Trevize and Lizalor had engaged in pointless small talk, from which fact Trevize assumed they were (or at least could be) under surveillance. He followed Lizalor out of the vehicle and down the steps leading to the main entrance of the Ministry building. They passed through the vast lobby he remembered, then threaded their way through corridors until finally reaching an elevator. As soon as the doors closed upon them, Trevize found himself buried under an avalanche of amorous Minister.
  
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 Then Mitza laid her head on Trevize'​s shoulder and began to weep. Then Mitza laid her head on Trevize'​s shoulder and began to weep.
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-8. Assignment+===== 8. Assignment ​===== 
 When Golan Trevize emerged from the elevator into the public areas of the Ministry of Transportation with Mitza Lizalor, he discovered that her staff had been busy since his arrival. He had been assigned an office near hers, and they were met there by a Comporellian man who introduced himself as Trevize'​s new assistant. When Golan Trevize emerged from the elevator into the public areas of the Ministry of Transportation with Mitza Lizalor, he discovered that her staff had been busy since his arrival. He had been assigned an office near hers, and they were met there by a Comporellian man who introduced himself as Trevize'​s new assistant.
  
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 A few minutes later, newly attired in his dark gray MinTrans uniform, Trevize left his office in the company of Kuel Denrun. They took an elevator up the five levels to the building'​s vast lobby, where they were met by the members of Denrun'​s engineering team. Denrun rattled off a dozen names, but Trevize'​s earlier experiences in politics and management stood him in good stead, and he was able to keep all the names straight. It struck him as odd at first that all the members of Denrun'​s team were men, but Comporellon wasn't the first world Trevize had been to that restricted women to certain professions,​ and he knew he'd grow accustomed to it in time. If he were a woman, though, he'd probably think twice about relocating here permanently. It gave him a new insight into the force of will that had allowed Mitza to win her way to a major government post. A lot of people on Comporellon must have underestimated her, and later paid the price. He resolved again that he would never underestimate her himself. A few minutes later, newly attired in his dark gray MinTrans uniform, Trevize left his office in the company of Kuel Denrun. They took an elevator up the five levels to the building'​s vast lobby, where they were met by the members of Denrun'​s engineering team. Denrun rattled off a dozen names, but Trevize'​s earlier experiences in politics and management stood him in good stead, and he was able to keep all the names straight. It struck him as odd at first that all the members of Denrun'​s team were men, but Comporellon wasn't the first world Trevize had been to that restricted women to certain professions,​ and he knew he'd grow accustomed to it in time. If he were a woman, though, he'd probably think twice about relocating here permanently. It gave him a new insight into the force of will that had allowed Mitza to win her way to a major government post. A lot of people on Comporellon must have underestimated her, and later paid the price. He resolved again that he would never underestimate her himself.
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-9. The Far Star+===== 9. The Far Star ====== 
 Golan Trevize and the other members of the Comporellian engineering team followed Kuel Denrun as he led them up a moving stairway to the Ministry of Transportation'​s roof garage. After a brief exchange with a black-uniformed guard, Denrun led them to a large conveyance. The others filed into the back, while Trevize joined Denrun at the front. Denrun conferred with a traffic controller, and a large hinged door opened out into the cold Comporellian afternoon. Denrun flew them out into the daylight, then set the controls on automatic and let the vehicle'​s computer fly them to the spaceport. Golan Trevize and the other members of the Comporellian engineering team followed Kuel Denrun as he led them up a moving stairway to the Ministry of Transportation'​s roof garage. After a brief exchange with a black-uniformed guard, Denrun led them to a large conveyance. The others filed into the back, while Trevize joined Denrun at the front. Denrun conferred with a traffic controller, and a large hinged door opened out into the cold Comporellian afternoon. Denrun flew them out into the daylight, then set the controls on automatic and let the vehicle'​s computer fly them to the spaceport.
  
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 His conscience clear, and determined to help his newfound countrymen, Trevize opened the far airlock door and ushered in Denrun'​s team. His conscience clear, and determined to help his newfound countrymen, Trevize opened the far airlock door and ushered in Denrun'​s team.
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-10. Data Search+===== 10. Data Search ​===== 
 Closing his eyes, Golan Trevize communed with the computer that controlled the Far Star. In his mind, he sent the command: data search! Closing his eyes, Golan Trevize communed with the computer that controlled the Far Star. In his mind, he sent the command: data search!
  
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 Provided, as Denrun had pointed out, that all went well. Provided, as Denrun had pointed out, that all went well.
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-11. Administration+===== 11. Administration ​===== 
 The annunciator on Golan Trevize'​s desk buzzed, and the button next to Transportation Minister Mitza Lizalor'​s name lit up. Trevize punched the light and said, "​Trevize here." The annunciator on Golan Trevize'​s desk buzzed, and the button next to Transportation Minister Mitza Lizalor'​s name lit up. Trevize punched the light and said, "​Trevize here."
  
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 He was Liono Kodell, Mayor Branno'​s Director of Security. He was Liono Kodell, Mayor Branno'​s Director of Security.
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-12. Confrontations+===== 12. Confrontations ​===== 
 "Golan Trevize,"​ said Liono Kodell, "You are hereby charged with the theft of the starship Far Star, and with failing to comply with the orders of Harla Branno, the Mayor of Terminus and Executive Officer of the Foundation Federation. Will you come quietly?"​ "Golan Trevize,"​ said Liono Kodell, "You are hereby charged with the theft of the starship Far Star, and with failing to comply with the orders of Harla Branno, the Mayor of Terminus and Executive Officer of the Foundation Federation. Will you come quietly?"​
  
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 "The First Minister agrees with me," Bek continued, "that, given the potential military applications of the Gravitic Drive, the Ministry of Defense would be a more appropriate agency to administer the Gravitics Project than the Ministry of Transportation. Hence, I have come here in order to escort Director Trevize to his new offices at the Ministry of Defense."​ From the doorway behind Bek, two men emerged wearing the dark gray uniforms of the Comporellian Defense Force, and holding blaster rifles. "The First Minister agrees with me," Bek continued, "that, given the potential military applications of the Gravitic Drive, the Ministry of Defense would be a more appropriate agency to administer the Gravitics Project than the Ministry of Transportation. Hence, I have come here in order to escort Director Trevize to his new offices at the Ministry of Defense."​ From the doorway behind Bek, two men emerged wearing the dark gray uniforms of the Comporellian Defense Force, and holding blaster rifles.
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-13. Prisoners+===== 13. Prisoners ​===== 
 "So they got you too, did they?" said Kuel Denrun to Golan Trevize. "So they got you too, did they?" said Kuel Denrun to Golan Trevize.
  
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 Once again, Bek had a new response. "It will be your job to make sure they do work hard enough to make up for the man's loss. After all, if they find the loss of one of their own inspiring, imagine how much they'd be motivated if they learned of your loss." Once again, Bek had a new response. "It will be your job to make sure they do work hard enough to make up for the man's loss. After all, if they find the loss of one of their own inspiring, imagine how much they'd be motivated if they learned of your loss."
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-14. Procedures+===== 14. Procedures ​===== 
 Golan Trevize woke up with a sentence drifting through his mind. Before he opened his eyes he could see it glowing against the insides of his eyelids. Golan Trevize woke up with a sentence drifting through his mind. Before he opened his eyes he could see it glowing against the insides of his eyelids.
  
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 As Trevize was escorted from the Defense Minister'​s office back to the Gravitics lab, he felt as exhausted as if he had just finished a twenty-mile run. However, he also had the unmistakable impression that he had just taken a key step in solving the problem of Bek's usurpation of the Gravitics Project. For the first time since Bek had walked into First Minister Erkar'​s office, Trevize felt the future opening up before him. As Trevize was escorted from the Defense Minister'​s office back to the Gravitics lab, he felt as exhausted as if he had just finished a twenty-mile run. However, he also had the unmistakable impression that he had just taken a key step in solving the problem of Bek's usurpation of the Gravitics Project. For the first time since Bek had walked into First Minister Erkar'​s office, Trevize felt the future opening up before him.
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-15. Paperwork+===== 15. Paperwork ​===== 
 Needless to say, the directive from Bek was marked Top Secret. That was all right with Golan Trevize. It didn't matter how widely Bek's directive circulated. The mere fact that it existed meant that a paper trail was being created, one which led directly to Defense Minister Goron Bek. Needless to say, the directive from Bek was marked Top Secret. That was all right with Golan Trevize. It didn't matter how widely Bek's directive circulated. The mere fact that it existed meant that a paper trail was being created, one which led directly to Defense Minister Goron Bek.
  
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 With a sigh, Trevize began composing a report to Bek outlining the proposed course of his investigation. With a sigh, Trevize began composing a report to Bek outlining the proposed course of his investigation.
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-16. Selection+===== 16. Selection ​===== 
 Goron Bek was being blunt, for him. "​Director Trevize, your progress in implementing directive DM-322-303-1 has been unsatisfactory."​ Goron Bek was being blunt, for him. "​Director Trevize, your progress in implementing directive DM-322-303-1 has been unsatisfactory."​
  
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 Lt. Mindollo said, "You have . . . Minister Trevize."​ Lt. Mindollo said, "You have . . . Minister Trevize."​
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-17. Promotions+===== 17. Promotions ​===== 
 It was fortunate for Golan Trevize that there was nobody standing in his way as he walked the corridors of the Ministry of Defense, for if there had been, he would have bumped into them. His attention was completely focused on his escort, Lt. Herris Mindollo of the Comporellian Security Force. It was fortunate for Golan Trevize that there was nobody standing in his way as he walked the corridors of the Ministry of Defense, for if there had been, he would have bumped into them. His attention was completely focused on his escort, Lt. Herris Mindollo of the Comporellian Security Force.
  
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 The look on Mitza Lizalor'​s face made Trevize wish his intuition wasn't so infallible. The look on Mitza Lizalor'​s face made Trevize wish his intuition wasn't so infallible.
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-18. A Sign from the Past+===== 18. A Sign from the Past ===== 
 Ironically, now that Trevize was Minister of Defense, it made sense to keep the Gravitics Project where it was. Kuel Denrun was once again appointed Project Director, and the locks and guards were removed from the Project compound. Trevize wondered how many of the men on the Project would notice. Ironically, now that Trevize was Minister of Defense, it made sense to keep the Gravitics Project where it was. Kuel Denrun was once again appointed Project Director, and the locks and guards were removed from the Project compound. Trevize wondered how many of the men on the Project would notice.
  
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 Trevize was going to refuse, but a combination of curiosity and homesickness made him change his mind. "Thank you, Father,"​ he said at last. "​I'​d like that very much." Trevize was going to refuse, but a combination of curiosity and homesickness made him change his mind. "Thank you, Father,"​ he said at last. "​I'​d like that very much."
 +
 +===== 19. The Church of Science =====
 +
 +Like most natives of the planet Terminus, Golan Trevize had never been inside a Scientistic temple. Although Salvor Hardin and his immediate successors had used the religion as a method of controlling the barbarians of the surrounding Four Kingdoms, they themselves had not believed in it.
 +
 +The religion had originally arisen in Anacreon and the other kingdoms in the century and a quarter between the Zeonian Revolt and the end of Imperial rule in the Periphery. The Zeonian Revolt had been destructive enough, but the aftermath had been worse. The planetary universities that had acted as recruiting grounds for the Zeonians had been closed down by Imperial decree, and all higher education in the Periphery had ceased. Technical training had become practically nonexistent,​ and over the years buildings, bridges, power plants and the rest of the technological infrastructure had fallen into disrepair and, eventually, disuse. As the nuclear power plants went offline one by one, central heating systems were replaced by fireplaces. Forests were cut down and turned into firewood, and coal and oil were dug from the ground. All forms of mass media had vanished, to be replaced by rumor, legend, and myth. Half-remembered scraps of Imperial culture had been mixed together with tales of growing hardship and lawlessness,​ and the resulting stories mutated as they were passed down orally from one generation to the next. In the end, a folk religion grew up among the increasingly barbarized inhabitants of the Periphery, telling of the Fall from the Galactic Paradise.
 +
 +The final ingredient to the mix was added by the Foundation. Technicians and engineers from Terminus had come to the worlds of the Four Kingdoms to repair and refurbish the disused hospitals, roads and power grids, and they brought with them the tale of Hari Seldon and his Psychohistory Project. Seldon was quickly absorbed into the folk religion, becoming the Prophet of the Galactic Spirit, and the technicians found themselves being treated as holy men. Back on Terminus, Salvor Hardin learned of the new development,​ and chose to encourage it. The technicians were organized into a priesthood controlled by Hardin, and the religion was co-opted by the Foundation as a means of controlling the people of the Four Kingdoms.
 +
 +Hober Mallow eventually dismantled Hardin'​s system of technician-priests and state-sponsored temples, but by then the religion had acquired a momentum of its own. Although it was no longer supported by the Foundation, Salvor Hardin'​s Religion of Science continued to spread from world to world, supplying spiritual solace and an ethical framework for trillions of people throughout the Galaxy.
 +
 +The Temple School in Terminus City was still there, and still served as a theological seminary for the Church of Science. As a historical landmark, the Temple School was open to the lay public, and hourly tours were conducted through its halls and lobbies. Trevize himself had taken the tour during a grade school field trip, as did all the schoolchildren of Terminus at one time or another. Twenty years later, all that remained in his memory was a vague impression of walls decorated with artwork depicting scenes from the Book of the Spirit. Hari Seldon was shown, not seated in a wheelchair, but standing atop one of the ancient domes of Trantor, a staff in one hand, the other reaching forth as he was graced with a revelation from the Galactic Spirit.
 +
 +A duplicate of that mural was reproduced in the main vestibule of the Temple on Comporellon. There was Seldon, his hair and priestly robe rippling in the wind, dark clouds scudding across the sky behind him, while the light of the Galactic Spirit filled his noble face. Trevize suddenly remembered the story of Seldon’s adventure outside the Trantorian world-city, shortly after settling on the Imperial capital, when he became trapped in a snowstorm. Presumably the Anacreonian peasants had picked up that story from the Foundation technicians and made it one of the central myths of their folk religion.
 +
 +Aware that the Comporellian priest remained by his side, Trevize turned to him and said, "It looks just like the one in the Temple School in Terminus City."
 +
 +If the priest was surprised to learn that his guest had been to the Church’s central shrine, he didn’t show it. He simply said, "There is one like it in every temple in the Galaxy. It serves to remind us that the Galactic Spirit acts through the agency of humanity. From the Holy Prophet himself to the smallest child, all are vessels of the Spirit."​
 +
 +Not being a believer in the Church of Science, Trevize had no wish to become engaged in a discussion of theology. Instead, he asked the priest, "How long has the Church been here on Comporellon,​ Father . . .?"
 +
 +Again, the priest showed no emotion at the change of subject. He simply said, "You may call me Father Dorno. It has not been long, as such things go. A mere matter of a generation or two. The first missionaries did not reach the Sirius Sector until two centuries ago, during the Time of Darkness."​ Trevize had never heard of the Time of Darkness, but it wasn’t hard to guess that the priest was referring to the period when the Foundation was under the rule of the Mule. "The men who ruled Comporellon in those days were unbelievers who would not permit the Church entry onto this world. The Galactic Spirit bids us to abide by the Laws of Men as we do the Will of the Spirit, and so we forebore to trespass here. It was a mere forty-seven standard years ago that the Presidium chose to reverse its policy and allow the Church to bring the word of the Holy Prophet to these people."​
 +
 +Now Trevize was curious. "What made the Presidium do that? A sudden revelation of enlightenment?​ Or pressure from the Foundation?"​
 +
 +Father Dorno smiled. "Not the first, I regret to say, and not the second either. The government of the Holy Foundation has taken no notice of the Church since its disestablishment under Primate Mallow, and does nothing to either encourage or discourage its spread. The men of the Presidium acted out of self-interest,​ as is so commonly the case in this life. It had not escaped their notice that elsewhere in the Sirius Sector, where the arrival of the Church was met with less resistance, that the worlds that allowed us access tended to have higher standards of living."​
 +
 +Surprised, Trevize asked, "Why should that be?"
 +
 +"For the same reason Primate Hardin first established the Church. Our missionaries come from the most advanced worlds in the Galaxy, from those worlds that have been longest in the embrace of the Holy Foundation. Along with the Word of the Holy Prophet, they bring new devices, new techniques, new medicines. Not intentionally,​ as did the missionaries of old in the days of the Established Church. Nevertheless,​ they bring with them the things they are familiar with, and these things are often unknown to the people among whom they walk."
 +
 +This was something Trevize hadn’t expected to hear. In the familiar history he had been taught as a child, it was the Traders who spread the Foundation’s reach after the Church of Science had lost its power to control the people of the barbarian fringes. Had Hari Seldon known that the Church would continue to spread outward, bringing the culture of the Foundation in its wake? He must have; it would have been right there in his equations. Was the Second Foundation monitoring the Church? Trevize found himself wishing he could ask Stor Gendibal, the Second Foundationer whose mind he had briefly touched.
 +
 +It occurred to Trevize that there seemed to be a blind spot concerning the Church among the people of Terminus. The history books always seemed to convey embarrassment when discussing the century-long era of the Established Church. The historians tended to hurry past it, and one could sense their relief that they could stop talking about the pious, faithful missionaries and start discussing the devious, mercenary Traders. As for the citizens of Terminus, there was that one field trip to the Temple School as schoolchildren,​ then the whole episode seemed to drop out of their consciousness.
 +
 +Trevize blinked, realizing he was allowing his thoughts to sidetrack him. He was supposed to be getting a quick history of the Church of Science on Comporellon. "​So,"​ Trevize guessed, "the Presidium were becoming fearful that Comporellon was falling behind its neighbors technologically."​
 +
 +Father Dorno nodded. "It is often the case that a world finds itself welcoming the Church for the most unspiritual of reasons. And as Primate Hardin was wont to say, if you’ve got them by the purse strings, their hearts and minds will follow. So it was that the First Minister of that time allowed the Reverend Father Rendic Poros to establish the First Temple here in the Capital."​
 +
 +Trevize looked around him. "This temple?"​
 +
 +"​No,"​ said Father Dorno. "We stand in the third temple to be established on this world. The First Temple is half a mile from here, in the Karien District."​
 +
 +Trevize was still hazy on the various districts that made up the Capital, but he recalled that Karien was an industrial site where some of the poorest inhabitants of the city made their homes. He asked, "Was the site chosen for the First Temple by the Reverend Father or by the First Minister?"​
 +
 +Father Dorno smiled faintly, no doubt following the trend of Trevize’s thought. "The choice was the Reverend Father’s, although I’m given to understand that the First Minister was pleased by the choice as well. The Reverend Father Poros was following a well-established tradition of the Church, for we have found that it is usually the least-regarded members of a society that are most in need of spiritual solace. At any rate, there are now thirty-four temples here on Comporellon,​ and an additional twelve scattered across the other worlds of the Commonwealth."​
 +
 +An odd thought struck Trevize, prompted by Father Dorno’s use of the phrase ‘least-regarded members’. "Tell me, Father, do you have any temples in the region of the Central Mountain Range?"​
 +
 +Now Father Dorno’s smile grew more pronounced. "You are quick to see to the heart of things, my son. As it happens, no less than fifteen of our temples have been established in the Central Mountain Range. The folk of the mountains have been particularly receptive to the Word of the Holy Prophet."​
 +
 +Having spent so much time in Mitza Lizalor’s company, Trevize had become quite conversant with the beliefs of the mountain folk. His curiosity engaged, he asked, "Have you had much trouble reconciling the Galactic Spirit with He Who Punishes?"​
 +
 +"The Galactic Spirit embraces all things. He Who Punishes is but one of the Spirit’s many facets. With time, the mountain folk are coming to recognize this."
 +
 +"The older ones, though, still cling to their original beliefs,"​ Trevize guessed.
 +
 +"Some of them," Father Dorno admitted. "It is of no consequence. In their way, they follow the path laid out for them by the Holy Prophet, as do we all."
 +
 +Trevize found himself wondering how Father Dorno would react if he were told that the people of the Galaxy, in fact, were no longer following the path laid out for them by the Holy Prophet, but were instead following another path laid out for them by the Holy Prophet’s robotic mentor.
 +
 +No doubt, the Father would simply remark that Daneel, too, was a vessel of the Galactic Spirit, his robotic origins notwithstanding. The Church might even decide that Daneel also qualified as a Holy Prophet.
 +
 +They might, Trevize realized with a chill, decide that he did, too. To get his mind off his possible elevation, Trevize asked, "How has the government responded to the spread of the Church?"​
 +
 +"With a certain amount of hostility, you may be sure," said Father Dorno. "Even though we no longer have any connection with the government of the Holy Foundation, the Presidium sees us as part of the Holy Foundation’s campaign to absorb Comporellon. As, in a sense, we are, for has not the Prophet Seldon set all worlds on the path of inclusion in the Holy Foundation?"​
 +
 +"True enough,"​ Trevize admitted.
 +
 +"In the last ten years,"​ Father Dorno continued, "at the promptings of First Minister Erkar, the Presidium has begun promoting Comporellon’s own folk beliefs. They run approving stories in the government-run media, invite folklorists to government-sponsored events . . . "
 +
 +"And give positions in the government,"​ Trevize added, "to prominent Believers such as Mitza Lizalor."​
 +
 +"Just so," said Father Dorno.
 +
 +"What do you expect will happen now that Lizalor has ascended to the First Minister’s office?"​
 +
 +"It is difficult to predict,"​ said Father Dorno. "​Comporellon is not the first world to react to our presence in such a fashion. Sometimes, the effort to promote traditional beliefs fails, or is abandoned. There have been worlds, though, where the government sought to foment violence against the Church. You understand, such worlds tended to be particularly barbaric, worlds where the natives were already engaged in violent confrontations over spiritual matters. Yet, there have been worlds just as civilized as Comporellon where Church members have been subjected to mass arrests, incarcerations,​ even mass executions, at the behest of a fearful government."​
 +
 +Trevize found himself staring at the priest in horror. "And what will you do if such things happen here on Comporellon?"​
 +
 +Father Dorno had seemed a genial enough man, but Trevize could see a glimmer of steel in his eyes as he said, "Then we will follow the path laid out for us by the Holy Prophet, wherever it may take us. If Comporellon’s road to the Holy Foundation must be marked out with the blood of martyrs, then that is as the Galactic Spirit wills it."
 +
 +===== 20. Proposal =====
 +
 +On a world like Comporellon,​ of course, a member of the Presidium couldn’t simply walk into a Scientistic Temple and expect the fact to remain unknown. On the afternoon of the day after Trevize’s visit, First Minister Lizalor requested his presence in the Administration building. He was able to guess at the reason (me and my intuition, he taunted himself), so the stern look Lizalor gave him was not totally unexpected.
 +
 +Gesturing at a report on her desk, Lizalor said, "​Minister,​ word has reached me from the Ministry of State Security that you were observed entering a Foundation temple yesterday evening."​
 +
 +"​Minister Banasek’s men are operating with their usual flawless efficiency,"​ Trevize responded drily. "I did indeed visit a Temple of Science, to give the facility its correct name. It was the one at the Arcadia shopping district, though I have no doubt that your report has already told you where it is, and also exactly how long I spent there, to the Galactic Standard second."​
 +
 +"You display an unseemly jocularity for a man who is in imminent danger of being arrested for treason,"​ said a frowning Lizalor.
 +
 +"I was informed by a priest at the Temple (a Father Dorno, in case your report doesn’t mention his name) that there were 46 Scientistic Temples in the Commonwealth. Is everyone who frequents a temple in imminent danger of being arrested for treason?"​
 +
 +Her voice growing perceptively colder, Lizalor said, "None of those other Comporellian citizens is a member of the Presidium. We who serve in the upper echelons of the government are held to a higher standard of loyalty than the average citizen."​
 +
 +Trevize nodded. "So you're saying that the act of walking into a house of worship is grounds for treason here on Comporellon."​
 +
 +"Do not bandy words with me, Minister,"​ said Lizalor, growing visibly angry. "You are consorting with agents of a foreign government, and that is grounds for treason here on Comporellon."​
 +
 +"The First Minister'​s grasp of Galactic history seems to be faulty,"​ said Trevize. "The Church of Science hasn't been associated with the Foundation'​s government in over three hundred years. These days, they'​re simply another religion."​
 +
 +"A foreign religion,"​ Lizalor spat, "​sprung from the Foundation."​
 +
 +"​Naturally,"​ Trevize said, "as First Minister, it is well within your powers to declare the Church of Science an illegal organization,​ and to have its members and associates arrested. Will you be doing so?"
 +
 +If anything, his question seemed to make Lizalor even angrier. "It is not a question of what is within my power, as you know very well. It is within my power to declare war on the Foundation, but we both know that doing so would be the height of folly. It would be almost as foolish to declare the Church of Science,"​ she snarled the name, "​illegal. The Presidium has allowed this dangerous cult to grow too influential. To move against it would be to invite an uprising against the government by its adherents, and to make Comporellon appear every bit as barbaric as the Foundation claims we are. So, to answer your question, no, I will not be arresting every member of the Church. But I will arrest you unless you explain exactly what you were doing there!"​
 +
 +"I was homesick,"​ Trevize said simply.
 +
 +That seemed to bring Lizalor up short. Her anger evaporated, leaving only puzzlement. "​Homesick?"​
 +
 +"Yes, First Minister, homesick,"​ Trevize said quietly. "I have been away from Terminus for nearly a year now. I am foresworn there. I can never go back."
 +
 +"Do you regret becoming a Comporellian?"​ Lizalor asked, equally quietly.
 +
 +"No. Moving here was the right thing to do, and I do not regret it. Nevertheless,​ Terminus is my homeworld. I miss being there, and I can never go back. When I saw the temple at the Arcadia shopping district, it was like looking at a small piece of Terminus, and I couldn'​t resist the impulse to step inside and feel an echo of home, however faint. If you want to have me arrested for that, First Minister, then go ahead."​
 +
 +Lizalor rose from her desk, came around, and embraced him. "I am sorry, my love," she whispered to him. "You have always been so strong, it never occurred to me that you might suffer so. Can you forgive me?"
 +
 +Trevize kissed her. "There is nothing to forgive, my love. It was a foolish thing for me to do." It felt wonderful to have Mitza Lizalor in his arms again. He found himself wishing there was some way for the two of them to be open about their love.
 +
 +And just like that, as though his mind had been waiting for him to frame the question in the proper way, he saw the answer. Releasing Lizalor, he sank down onto one knee before her, took her hand in his, and said, "Mitza Lizalor, will you marry me?"
 +
 +===== 21. Response =====
 +
 +Mitza Lizalor, First Minister of the Commonwealth of Comporellon,​ was not a woman who often found herself at a loss for words. However, the sight of Golan Trevize on one knee before her and proposing marriage did the trick. She stared at him as if he had just declared himself Emperor of the Galaxy.
 +
 +After a moment’s silence, he added, “This is the part where you either tell me yes or no.”
 +
 +Lizalor said neither. Instead, she said, “Are you insane? I can’t marry you.”
 +
 +“Why not?” her Minister of Defense asked, apparently in all sincerity. “You’re a single woman. I’m a single man. Under the laws of Comporellon that satisfies all the legal requirements.”
 +
 +“I’m the First Minister,​” she pointed out, as if to a child. “You are one of my subordinates.”
 +
 +“First Ministers have married before,” Trevize insisted. “Admittedly,​ never to another member of the Presidium, but then, the Presidium is only a few centuries old, and this is probably the first time the circumstances have allowed one member to marry another.”
 +
 +The shock of the unexpected was receding from Lizalor’s mind, allowing her to begin thinking again. Was the idea of marrying Trevize an unreasonable one? As he pointed out, there were four instances in modern Comporellian history of First Ministers marrying, though never, as he also pointed out, to another government Minister. Jorn Marek had come closest, marrying the daughter of his Underminister of Weights and Measures, and no public censure had resulted.
 +
 +In fact, upon further reflection, there was much to be said for the match. Trevize had become a popular figure on Comporellon since his dramatic defection from the Foundation. It had flattered the vanity of the Comporellian-in-the-street to have a Councilman from the high-and-mighty Foundation announce that he preferred to live in the Commonwealth. The politician within her knew all too well that she was rather less popular with the public, due largely to the fact of her being a woman in a traditionally male profession. The people might well look more kindly upon her if she were part of a husband-and-wife team with the more popular Trevize.
 +
 +There was also the fact of her illicit affair with Trevize, and the likelihood that Minister of State Security Banasek was aware of the affair. As a practical matter, marrying Trevize would free the two of them from the danger that Banasek might choose to make their relationship public.
 +
 +And finally, there was the undeniable fact that she found Trevize to be the most fascinating and desirable man she had ever met. Even now, it was all she could do to keep from tearing off his clothes and satisfying her lust for him. And he had made it clear, in every way a man could, that he found her equally desirable. Since his return to Comporellon,​ in fact, it seemed to her that she was gaining the ability to actually feel the love he felt for her. Which was ridiculous, and probably just a symptom of her own growing love, but there it was.
 +
 +So Mitza Lizalor, First Minister of the Commonwealth of Comporellon,​ raised Golan Trevize to his feet, gave him a long, long kiss, and said, “Yes, my love. I will marry you.”
 +
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stories/after_earth.txt · Last modified: 2018/12/05 18:22 (external edit)