Forward the Foundation Chapter 8

Forward the Foundation Chapter 8


In two days Joranum had swept Trantor, partly by himself, mostly through his lieutenants. As Hari muttered to Dors, it was a campaign that had all the marks of military efficiency. “He was born to be a war admiral in the old days,” he said. “He’s wasted on politics.”

And Dors said, “Wasted? At this rate, he’s going to make himself First Minister in a week and, if he wishes, Emperor in two weeks. There are reports that some of the military garrisons are cheering him.”

Seldon shook his head. “It will collapse, Dors.”

“What? Joranum’s party or the Empire?”

“Joranum’s party. The story of the robot has created an instant stir, especially with the effective use of that flier, but a little thought, a little coolness, and the public will see it for the ridiculous accusation it is.”

“But, Hari,” said Dors tightly, “you needn’t pretend with me. It is not a ridiculous story. How could Joranum possibly have found out that Demerzel is a robot?”

“Oh, that! Why, Raych told him so.”


“That’s right. He did his job perfectly and got back safely with the promise of being made Dahl’s sector leader someday. Of course he was believed. I knew he would be.”

“You mean you told Raych that Demerzel was a robot and had him pass on the news to Joranum?” Dors looked utterly horrified.

“No, I couldn’t do that. You know I couldn’t tell Raych-or anyone-that Demerzel was a robot. I told Raych as firmly as I could that Demerzel was not a robot-and even that much was difficult. But I did ask him to tell Joranum that he was. He is under the firm impression that he lied to Joranum.”

“But why, Hari? Why?”

“It’s not psychohistory, I’ll tell you that. Don’t you join the Emperor in thinking I’m a magician. I just wanted Joranum to believe that Demerzel was a robot. He’s a Mycogenian by birth, so he was filled from youth with his culture’s tales of robots. Therefore, he was predisposed to believe and he was convinced that the public would believe with him.”

“Well, won’t they?”

“Not really. After the initial shock is over, they will realize that it’s madcap fiction-or they will think so. I’ve persuaded Demerzel that he must give a talk on subetheric holovision to be broadcast to key portions of the Empire and to every sector on Trantor. He is to talk about everything but the robot issue. There are enough crises, we all know, to fill such a talk. People will listen and will hear nothing about robots. Then, at the end, he will be asked about the flier and he need not answer a word. He need only laugh.”

“Laugh? I’ve never known Demerzel to laugh. He almost never smiles.”

“This time, Dors, he’ll laugh. It is the one thing that no one ever visualizes a robot doing. You’ve seen robots in holographic fantasies, haven’t you? They’re always pictured as literal-minded, unemotional, inhuman-That’s what people are sure to expect. So Demerzel need merely laugh. And on top of that-Do you remember Sunmaster Fourteen, the religious leader of Mycogen?”

“Of course I do. Literal-minded, unemotional, inhuman. He’s never laughed, either.”

“And he won’t this time. I’ve done a lot of work on this Joranum matter since I had that little set-to at the Field. I know Joranum’s real name. I know where he was born, who his parents were, where he had his early training, and all of it, with documentary proof, has gone to Sunmaster Fourteen. I don’t think Sunmaster likes Breakaways.”

“But I thought you said you don’t wish to spark off bigotry.”

“I don’t. If I had given the information to the holovision people, I would have, but I’ve given it to Sunmaster, where, after all, it belongs.”

“And he’ll start off the bigotry.”

“Of course he won’t. No one on Trantor would pay any attention to Sunmaster-whatever he might say.”

“Then what’s the point?”

“Well, that’s what we’ll see, Dors. I don’t have a psychohistorical analysis of the situation. I don’t even know if one is possible. I just hope that my judgment is right.”


Eto Demerzel laughed.

It was not the first time. He sat there, with Hari Seldon and Dors Venabili in a tap-free room, and, every once in a while, at a signal from Hari, he would laugh. Sometimes he leaned back and laughed uproariously, but Seldon shook his head. “That would never sound convincing.”

So Demerzel smiled and then laughed with dignity and Seldon made a face. “I’m stumped,” he said. “It’s no use trying to tell you funny stories. You get the point only intellectually. You will simply have to memorize the sound.”

Dors said, “Use a holographic laughtrack.”

“No! That would never be Demerzel. That’s a bunch of idiots being paid to yak. It’s not what I want. Try again, Demerzel.”

Demerzel tried again until Seldon said, “All right, then, memorize that sound and reproduce it when you’re asked the question. You’ve got to look amused. You can’t make the sound of laughing, however proficient, with a grave face. Smile a little, just a little. Pull back the corner of your mouth.” Slowly Demerzel’s mouth widened into a grin. “Not bad. Can you make your eyes twinkle?”

“What do you mean, ‘twinkle,”‘ said Dors indignantly. “No one makes their eyes twinkle. That’s a metaphorical expression.”

“No, it’s not,” said Seldon. “There’s the hint of tears in the eye-sadness, joy, surprise, whatever-and the reflection of light from that hint of fluid is what does it.”

“Well, do you seriously expect Demerzel to produce tears?”

And Demerzel said, matter-of-factly, “My eyes do produce tears for general cleansing-never in excess. Perhaps, though, if I imagine my eyes to be slightly irritated-“

“Try it,” said Seldon. “It can’t hurt.”

And so it was that when the talk on subetheric holovision was over and the words were streaking out to millions of worlds at thousands of times the effective speed of light words that were grave, matter-of-fact, informative, and without rhetorical embellishment-and that discussed everything but robots-Demerzel declared himself ready to answer questions.

He did not have to wait long. The very first question was: “Mr. First Minister, are you a robot?”

Demerzel simply stared calmly and let the tension build. Then he smiled, his body shook slightly, and he laughed. It was not a loud uproarious laugh, but it was a rich one, the laugh of someone enjoying a moment of fantasy. It was infectious. The audience tittered and then laughed along with him.

Demerzel waited for the laughter to die down and then, eyes twinkling, said, “Must I really answer that? Is it necessary to do so?” He was still smiling as the screen darkened.


“I’m sure it worked,” said Seldon. “Naturally we won’t have a complete reversal instantly. It takes time. But things are moving in the right direction now. I noticed that when I stopped Namarti’s talk at the University Field. The audience was with him until I faced him and showed spunk against odds. The audience began to change sides at once.”

“Do you think this is an analogous situation?” asked Dors dubiously.

“Of course. If I don’t have psychohistory, I can use analogy-and the brains I was born with, I suppose. There was the First Minister, beleaguered on all sides with the accusation, and he faced it down with a smile and a laugh, the most nonrobot thing he could have done, so that in itself was an answer to the question. Of course sympathy began to slide to his side. Nothing would stop that. But that’s only the beginning. We have to wait for Sunmaster Fourteen and hear what he has to say.”

“Are you confident there, too?”



Tennis was one of Hari’s favorite sports, but he preferred to play rather than watch others. He watched with impatience, therefore, as the Emperor Cleon, dressed in sports fashion, loped across the court to return the ball. It was Imperial tennis, actually, so-called because it was a favorite of Emperors, a version of the game in which a computerized racket was used that could alter its angle slightly with appropriate pressures on the handle. Hari had tried to develop the technique on several occasions but found that mastering the computerized racket would take a great deal of practice-and Hari Seldon’s time was far too precious for what was clearly a trivial pursuit.

Cleon placed the ball in a nonreturnable position and won the game. He trotted off the court to the careful applause of the functionaries who were watching and Seldon said to him, “Congratulations, Sire. You played a marvelous game.”

Cleon said indifferently, “Do you think so, Seldon? They’re all so careful to let me win. I get no pleasure out of it.”

Seldon said, “In that case, Sire, you might order your opponents to play harder.”

“It wouldn’t help. They’d be careful to lose anyway. And if they did win, I would get even less pleasure out of losing than out of winning meaninglessly. Being an Emperor has its woes, Seldon. Joranum would have found that out-if he had ever succeeded in becoming one.”

He disappeared into his private shower facility and emerged in due time, scrubbed and dried and dressed rather more formally.

“And now, Seldon” he said, waving all the others away, “the tennis court is as private a place as we can find and the weather is glorious, so let us not go indoors. I have read the Mycogenian message of this Sunmaster Fourteen. Will it do?”

“Entirely, Sire. As you have read, Joranum was denounced as a Mycogenian Breakaway and is accused of blasphemy in the strongest terms.”

“And does that finish him?”

“It diminishes his importance fatally, Sire. There are few who accept the mad story of the First Minister’s robothood now. Furthermore, Joranum is revealed as a liar and a poseur and, worse, one who was caught at it.”

“Caught at it, yes,” said Cleon thoughtfully. “You mean that merely to be underhanded is to be sly and that may be admirable, while to be caught is to be stupid and that is never admirable.”

“You put it succinctly, Sire.”

“Then Joranum is no longer a danger.”

“We can’t be certain of that, Sire. He may recover, even now. He still has an organization and some of his followers will remain loyal. History yields examples of men and women who have come back after disasters as great as this one-or greater.”

“In that case, let us execute him, Seldon.”

Seldon shook his head. “That would be inadvisable, Sire. You would not want to create a martyr or to make yourself appear to be a despot.”

Cleon frowned. “Now you sound like Demerzel. Whenever I wish to take forceful action, he mutters the word ‘despot.’ There have been Emperors before me who have taken forceful action and who have been admired as a result and have been considered strong and decisive.”

“Undoubtedly, Sire, but we live in troubled times. Nor is execution necessary. You can accomplish your purpose in a way that will make you seem enlightened and benevolent.”

“Seem enlightened?”

“Be enlightened, Sire. I misspoke. To execute Joranum would be to take revenge, which might be regarded as ignoble. As Emperor, however, you have a kindly-even paternal-attitude toward the beliefs of all your people. You make no distinctions, for you are the Emperor of all alike.”

“What is it you’re saying?”

“I mean, Sire, that Joranum has offended the sensibilities of the Mycogenians and you are horrified at his sacrilege, he having been born one of them. What better can you do but hand Joranum over to the Mycogenians and allow them to take care of him? You will be applauded for your proper Imperial convern.”

“And the Mycogenians will execute him, then?”

“They may, Sire. Their laws against blasphemy are excessively severe. At best, they will imprison him for life at hard labor.”

Cleon smiled. “Very good. I get the credit for humanity and tolerance and they do the dirty work.”

“They would, Sire, if you actually handed Joranum over to them. That would, however, still create a martyr.”

“Now you confuse me. What would you have me do?”

“Give Joranum the choice. Say that your regard for the welfare of all the people in your Empire urges you to hand him over to the Mycogenians for trial but that your humanity fears the Mycogenians may be too severe. Therefore, as an alternative, he may choose to be banished to Nishaya, the small and secluded world from which he claimed to have come, to live the rest of his life in obscurity and peace. You’ll see to it that he’s kept under guard, of course.”

“And that will take care of things?”

“Certainly. Joranum would be committing virtual suicide if he chose to be returned to Mycogen-and he doesn’t strike me as the suicidal type. He will certainly choose Nishaya, and though that is the sensible course of action, it is also an unheroic one. As a refugee in Nishaya, he can scarcely lead any movement designed to take over the Empire. His following is sure to disintegrate. They could follow a martyr with holy zeal, but it would be difficult, indeed, to follow a coward.”

“Astonishing! How did you manage all this, Seldon?” There was a distinct note of admiration in Cleon’s voice.

Seldon said, “Well, it seemed reasonable to suppose-“

“Never mind,” said Cleon abruptly. “I don’t suppose you’ll tell me the truth or that I would understand you if you did, but I’ll tell you this much. Demerzel is leaving office. This last crisis has proved to be too much for him and I agree with him that it is time for him to retire. But I can’t do without a First Minister and, from this moment onward, you are he.”

“Sire!” exclaimed Seldon in mingled astonishment and horror.

“First Minister Hari Seldon.” said Cleon calmly. “The Emperor wishes it.”


“Don’t be alarmed,” said Demerzel. “It was my suggestion. I’ve been here too long and the succession of crises has reached the point where the consideration of the Three Laws paralyzes me. You are the logical successor.”

“I am not the logical successor,” said Seldon hotly. “What do I know about running an Empire? The Emperor is foolish enough to believe that I solved this crisis by psychohistory. Of course I didn’t.”

“That doesn’t matter, Hari. If he believes you have the psychohistorical answer, he will follow you eagerly and that will make you a Good First Minister.”

“He may follow me straight into destruction.”

“I feel that your good sense-or intuition-will keep you on target… with or without psychohistory.”

“But what will I do without you-Daneel?”

“Thank you for calling me that. I am Demerzel no more, only Daneel. As to what you will do without me – Suppose you try to put into practice some of Joranum’s ideas of equality and social justice? He may not have meant them-he may have used them only as ways of capturing allegiance-but they are not bad ideas in themselves. And find ways of having Raych help you in that. He clung to you against his own attraction to Joranum’s ideas and he must feel torn and half a traitor. Show him he isn’t. In addition, you can work all the harder on psychohistory, for the Emperor will be there with you, heart and soul.”

“But what will you do, Daneel?”

“I have other things in the Galaxy to which I must attend. There is still the Zeroth Law and I must labor for the good of humanity, insofar as I can determine what that might be. And, Hari-“

“Yes, Daneel.”

“You still, have Dors.”

Seldon nodded. “Yes, I still have Dors.” He paused for a moment before grasping Daneel’s firm hand with his own. “Good-bye, Daneel.”

“Good-bye, Hari,” Daneel replied.

And with that, the robot turned, his heavy First Minister’s robe rustling as he walked away, head up, back ramrod straight, along the Palace hallway.

Seldon stood there for a few minutes after Daneel had gone, lost in thought. Suddenly he began moving in the direction of the First Minister’s apartment. Seldon had one more thing to tell Daneel-the most important thing of all.

Seldon hesitated in the softly lit hallway before entering. But the room was empty. The dark robe was draped over a chair. The First Minister’s chambers echoed Hari’s last words to the robot: “Good-bye, my friend.” Eto Demerzel was gone; R. Daneel Olivaw had vanished.

Part II

Cleon I

CLEON I-… Though often receiving panegyrics for being the last Emperor under whom the First Galactic Empire was reasonably united and reasonably prosperous, the quarter-century reign of Cleon I was one of continuous decline. This cannot be viewed as his direct responsibility, for the Decline of the Empire was based on political and economic factors too strong for anyone to deal with at the time. He was fortunate in his selection of First Ministers-Eto Demerzel and then Hari Seldon, in whose development of psychohistory the Emperor never lost faith. Cleon and Seldon, as the objects of the final Joranumite Conspiracy, with its bizarre climax-
Encyclopedia Galactica


Mandell Gruber was a happy man. He seemed so to Hari Seldon, certainly. Seldon stopped his morning constitutional to watch him.

Gruber, perhaps in his late forties, a few years younger than Seldon, was a bit gnarled from his continuing work in the Imperial Palace grounds, but he had a cheerful, smoothly shaven face, topped by a pink skull, not much of which was hidden by his thin sandy hair. He whistled softly to himself as he inspected the leaves of the bushes for any signs of insect infestation.

He was not the Chief Gardener, of course. The Chief Gardener of the Imperial Palace grounds was a high functionary who had a palatial office in one of the buildings of the enormous Imperial complex, with an army of men and women under him. The chances are he did not inspect the Palace grounds more often than once or twice a year.

Gruber was but one of that army. His title, Seldon knew, was Gardener First-Class and it had been well earned, with thirty years of faithful service.

Seldon called to him as he paused on the perfectly level crushed gravel walk, “Another marvelous day, Gruber.”

Gruber looked up and his eyes twinkled. “Yes, indeed, First Minister, and it’s sorry I am for those who be cooped up indoors.”

“You mean as I am about to be.”

“There’s not much about you, First Minister, for people to sorrow over, but if you’re disappearing into those buildings on a day like this, it’s a bit of sorrow that we fortunate few can feel for you.”

“I thank you for your sympathy, Gruber, but you know we have forty billion Trantorians under the dome. Are you sorry for all of them?”

“Indeed, I am. I am grateful I am not of Trantorian extraction myself so that I could qualify as a gardener. There be few of us on this world that work in the open, but here I be, one of the fortunate few.”‘

“The weather isn’t always this ideal.”

“That is true. And I have been out here in the sluicing rains and the whistling winds. Still, as long as you dress fittingly… Look-” And Gruber spread his arms open, wide as his smile, as if to embrace the vast expanse of the Palace grounds. “I have my friends-the trees and the lawns and all the animal life forms to keep me company-and growth to encourage in geometric form, even in the winter. Have you ever seen the geometry of the grounds, First Minister?”

“I am looking at it right now, am I not?”

“I mean the plans spread out so you can really appreciate it all-and marvelous it is, too. It was planned by Tapper Savand, over a hundred years ago, and it has been little changed since. Tapper was a great horticulturist, the greatest-and he came from my planet.”

“That was Anacreon, wasn’t it?”

“Indeed. A far-off world near the edge of the Galaxy, where there is still wilderness and life can be sweet. I came here when I was still an earwet** lad, when the present Chief Gardener took power under the old Emperor. Of course, now they’re talking of redesigning the grounds.” Gruber sighed deeply and shook his head. “That would be a mistake. They are just right as they are now properly proportioned, well balanced, pleasing to the eye and spirit. But it is true that in history, the grounds have occasionally been redesigned. Emperors grow tired of the old and are always seeking the new, as if new is somehow always better. Our present Emperor, may he live long, has been planning the redesign with the Chief Gardener. At least, that is the word that runs from gardener to gardener.” This last he added quickly, as if abashed at spreading Palace gossip.

“It might not happen soon.”

“I hope not, First Minister. Please, if you have the chance to take some time from all the heart-stopping work you must be after doing, study the design of the grounds. It is a rare beauty and, if I have my way, there should not be a leaf moved out of place, nor a flower, nor a rabbit, anywhere in all these hundreds of square kilometers.”

Seldon smiled. “You are a dedicated man, Gruber. I would not be surprised if someday you were Chief Gardener.”

“May Fate protect me from that. The Chief Gardener breathes no fresh air, sees no natural sights, and forgets all he has learned of nature. He lives there”-Gruber pointed scornfully-“and I think he no longer knows a bush from a stream unless one of his underlings leads him out and places his hand on one or dips it into the other.”

For a moment it seemed as though Gruber would expectorate his scorn, but he could not find any place on which he could bear to spit.

Seldon laughed quietly. “Gruber, it’s good to talk to you. When I am overcome with the duties of the day, it is pleasant to take a few moments to listen to your philosophy of life.”

“Ah, First Minister, it is no philosopher I am. My schooling was very sketchy.”

“You don’t need schooling to be a philosopher. Just an active mind and experience with life. Take care, Gruber. I just might have you promoted.”

“If you but leave me as I am, First Minister, you will have my total gratitude.”

Seldon was smiling as he moved on, but the smile faded as his mind turned once more to his current problems. Ten years as First Minister-and if Gruber knew how heartily sick Seldon was of his position, his sympathy would rise to enormous heights. Could Gruber grasp the fact that Seldon’s progress in the techniques of psychohistory showed the promise of facing him with an unbearable dilemma?


Seldon’s thoughtful stroll across the grounds was the epitome of peace. It was hard to believe here, in the midst of the Emperor’s immediate domain, that he was on a world that, except for this area, was totally enclosed by a dome. Here, in this spot, he might be on his home world of Helicon or on Gruber’s home world of Anacreon.

Of course, the sense of peace was an illusion. The grounds were guarded-thick with security.

Once, a thousand years ago, the Imperial Palace grounds-much less palatial, much less differentiated from a world only beginning to construct domes over individual regions-had been open to all citizens and the Emperor himself could walk along the paths, unguarded, nodding his head in greeting to his subjects.

No more. Now security was in place and no one from Trantor itself could possibly invade the grounds. That did not remove the danger, however, for that, when it came, came from discontented Imperial functionaries and from corrupt and suborned soldiers. It was within the grounds that the Emperor and his staff were most in danger. What would have happened if, on that occasion, nearly ten years before, Seldon had not been accompanied by Dors Venabili?

It had been in his first year as First Minister and it was only natural, he supposed (after the fact), that there would be jealous heart-burning over his unexpected choice for the post. Many others, far better qualified in training-in years of service and, most of all, in their own eyes-could view the appointment with anger. They did not know of psychohistory or of the importance the Emperor attached to it and the easiest way to correct the situation was to corrupt one of the sworn protectors of the First Minister.

Dors must have been more suspicious than Seldon himself was. Or else, with Demerzel’s disappearance from the scene, her instructions to guard Seldon had been strengthened. The truth was that, for the first few years of his First Ministership, she was at his side more often than not.

And on the late afternoon of a warm sunny day, Dors noted the glint of the westering sun-a sun never seen under Trantor’s dome-on the metal of a blaster.

“Down, Hari!” she cried suddenly and her legs crushed the grass as she raced toward the sergeant.

“Give me that blaster, Sergeant,” she said tightly.

The would-be assassin, momentarily immobilized by the unexpected sight of a woman running toward him, now reacted quickly, raising the drawn blaster.

But she was already at him, her hand enclosing his right wrist in a steely grip and lifting his arm high. “Drop it,” she said through clenched teeth.

The sergeant’s face twisted as he attempted to yank his arm loose.

“Don’t try, Sergeant,” said Dors. “My knee is three inches from your groin and, if you so much as blink, your genitals will be history. So just freeze. That’s right. Okay, now open your hand. If you don’t drop the blaster right now, I will shatter your arm.”

A gardener came running up with a rake. Dors motioned him away. The sergeant dropped the blaster to the ground.

Seldon had arrived. “I’ll take over, Dors.”

“You will not. Get in among those trees and take the blaster with you. Others may be involved-and ready to act.”

Dors had not loosened her grip on the sergeant. She said, “Now, Sergeant, I want the name of whoever it was who persuaded you to make an attempt on the First Minister’s life-and the name of everyone else who is in this with you.”

The sergeant was silent.

“Don’t be foolish,” said Dors. “Speak!” She twisted his arm and he sank down to his knees. She put her shoe on his neck. “If you think silence becomes you, I can crush your larynx and you will be silent forever. And even before that, I am going to damage you badly-I won’t leave one bone unbroken. You had better talk.”

The sergeant talked.

Later Seldon had said to her, “How could you do that, Dors? I never believed you capable of such… violence. “

Dors said coolly, “I did not actually hurt him much, Hari. The threat was sufficient. In any case, your safety was paramount.”

“You should have let me take care of him.”

“Why? To salvage your masculine pride? You wouldn’t have been fast enough, for one thing. Secondly, no matter what you would have succeeded in doing, you are a man and it would have been expected. I am a woman and women, in popular thought, are not considered as ferocious its men and most, in general, do not have the strength to do what I did. The story will improve in the telling and everyone will be terrified of me. No one will dare to try to harm you for fear of me.”

“For fear of you and for fear of execution. The sergeant and his cohorts are to be killed, you know.”

At this, an anguished look clouded Dors’s usually composed visage, as if she could not stand the thought of the traitorous sergeant being put to death, even though he would have cut down her beloved Hari without a second thought.

“But,” she exclaimed, “there is no need to execute the conspirators. Exile will do the job.”

“No, it won’t,” said Seldon. “It’s too late. Cleon will hear of nothing but executions. I can quote him-if you wish.”

“You mean he’s already made up his mind?”

“At once. I told him that exile or imprisonment would be all that was necessary, but he said no. He said, `Every time I try to solve a problem by direct and forceful action, first Demerzel and then you talk of “despotism” and “tyranny.” But this is my Palace. These are my grounds. These are my guardsmen. My safety depends on the security of this place and the loyalty of my people. Do you think that any deviation from absolute loyalty can be met with anything but instant death? How else would you be safe? How else would I be safe?’

“I said there would have to be a trial. ‘Of course,’ he said, ‘a short military trial and I don’t expect a single vote for anything but execution. I shall make that quite clear.’ “

Dors looked appalled. “You’re taking this very quietly. Do you agree with the Emperor?”

Reluctantly Seldon nodded. “I do.”

“Because there was an attempt on your life. Have you abandoned your principles for mere revenge?”

“Now, Dors, I’m not a vengeful person. However, it was not myself alone at risk or even the Emperor. If there is anything that the recent history of the Empire shows us, it is that Emperors come and go. It is psychohistory that must be protected. Undoubtedly, even if something happens to me, psychohistory will someday be developed, but the Empire is falling fast and we cannot wait-and only I have advanced far enough to obtain the necessary techniques in time.”

“Then you should teach what you know to others,” said Dors gravely.

“I’m doing so. Yugo Amaryl is a reasonable successor and I have gathered a group of technicians who will someday be useful, but they won’t be as-” He paused.

“They won’t be as good as you-as wise, as capable? Really?”

“I happen to think so,” said Seldon. “And I happen to be human. Psychohistory is mine and, if I can possibly manage it, I want the credit.”

“Human,” sighed Dors, shaking her head almost sadly.

The executions went through. No such purge had been seen in over a century. Two Ministers, five officials of lower ranks, and four soldiers, including the hapless sergeant, met their deaths. Every guardsman who could not withstand the most rigorous investigation was relieved of duty and exiled to the remote Outer Worlds.

Since then, there had been no whisper of disloyalty and so notorious had become the care with which the First Minister was guarded, to say nothing of the terrifying woman-called “The Tiger Woman” by many-who watched over him, that it was no longer necessary for Dors to accompany him everywhere. Her invisible presence was an adequate shield and the Emperor Cleon enjoyed nearly ten years of quiet and absolute security.

Now, however, psychohistory was finally reaching the point where predictions, of a sort, could be made and, as Seldon crossed the grounds in his passage from his office (First Minister) to his laboratory (psychohistorian), he was uneasily aware of the likelihood that this era of peace might be coming to an end.