Prelude to Foundation Chapter 16 Officers


RAYCH-... According to Hari Seldon, the original meeting with Raych was entirely accidental. He was simply a gutter urchin from whom Seldon had asked directions. But his life, from that moment on, continued to be intertwined with that of the great mathematician until...

Encyclopedia Galactica


The next morning, dressed from the waist down, having washed and shaved, Seldon knocked on the door that led to Dors's adjoining room and said in a moderate voice, "Open the door, Dors."

She did. The short reddish-gold curls of her hair were still wet and she too was dressed only from the waist down.

Seldon stepped back in embarrassed alarm. Dors looked down at the swell of her breasts indifferently and wrapped a towel around her head. "What is it?" she asked.

Seldon said, looking off to his right, "I was going to ask you about Wye."

Dors said very naturally, "About why in connection with what? And for goodness sake, don't make me talk to your ear. Surely, you're not a virgin."

Seldon said in a hurt tone, "I was merely trying to be polite. If you don't mind, I certainly don't. And it's not why about what. I'm asking about the Wye Sector."

"Why do you want to know? Or, if you prefer: Why Wye?"

"Look, Dors, I'm serious. Every once in a while, the Wye Sector is mentioned-the Mayor of Wye, actually. Hummin mentioned him, you did, Davan did. I don't know anything about either the sector or the Mayor."

"I'm not a native Trantorian either, Hari. I know very little, but you're welcome to what I do know. Wye is near the south pole-quite large, very populous-"

"Very populous at the south pole?"

"We're not on Helicon, Hari. Or on Cinna either. This is Trantor. Everything is underground and underground at the poles or underground at the equator is pretty much the same. Of course, I imagine they keep their day-night arrangements rather extreme-long days in their summer, long nights in their winter-almost as it would be on the surface. The extremes are just affectation; they're proud of being polar."

"But Upperside they must be cold, indeed."

"Oh yes. The Wye Upperside is snow and ice, but it doesn't lie as thickly there as you might think. If it did, it might crush the dome, but it doesn't and that is the basic reason for Wye's power."

She turned to her mirror, removed the towel from her head, and threw the dry-net over her hair, which, in a matter of five seconds, gave it a pleasant sheen. She said, "You have no idea how glad I am not to be wearing a skincap," as she put on the upper portion of her clothing.

"What has the ice layer to do with Wye's power?"

"Think about it. Forty billion people use a great deal of power and every calorie of it eventually degenerates into heat and has to be gotten rid of. It's piped to the poles, particularly to the south pole, which is the more developed of the two, and is discharged into space. It [melts] most of the ice in the process and I'm sure that accounts for Trantor's clouds and rains, no matter how much the meteorology boggins insist that things are more complicated than that."

"Does Wye make use of the power before discharging it?"

"They may, for all I know. I haven't the slightest idea, by the way, as to the technology involved in discharging the heat, but I'm talking about political power. If Dahl were to stop producing usable energy, that would certainly inconvenience Trantor, but there are other sectors that produce energy and can up their production and, of course, there is stored energy in one form or another. Eventually, Dahl would have to be dealt with, but there would be time. Wye, on the other hand-"


"Well, Wye gets rid of at least 90 percent of all the heat developed on Trantor and there is no substitute. If Wye were to shut down its heat emission, the temperature would start going up all over Trantor."

"In Wye too."

"[Yes], but since Wye is at the south pole, it can arrange an influx of cold air. It wouldn't do much good, but Wye would last longer than the rest of Trantor. The point is, then, that Wye is a very touchy problem for the Emperor and the Mayor of Wye is-or at least can be-extremely powerful."

"And what kind of a person is the present Mayor of Wye?"

"That I don't know. What I've occasionally heard would make it seem that he is very old and pretty much a recluse, but hard as a hypership hull and still cleverly maneuvering for power."

"Why, I wonder? If he's that old, he couldn't hold the power for long."

"Who knows, Hari? A lifelong obsession, I suppose. Or else it's the game... the maneuvering for power, without any real longing for the power itself. Probably if he had the power and took over Demerzel's place or even the Imperial throne itself, he would feel disappointed because the game would be over. Of course he might, if he was still alive, begin the subsequent game of keeping power, which might be just as difficult and just as satisfying."

Seldon shook his head. "It strikes me that no one could possibly want to be Emperor."

"No sane person would, I [free], but the 'Imperial wish,' as it is frequently called, is like a disease that, when caught, drives out sanity. And the closer you get to high office, the more likely you are to catch the disease. With each ensuing promotion-"

"The disease grows still more acute. Yes, I can see that. But it also seems to me that Trantor is so huge a world, so interlocking in its needs and so conflicting in its ambitions, that it makes up the major part of the inability of the Emperor to rule. Why doesn't he just leave Trantor and establish himself on some simpler world?"

Dors laughed. "You wouldn't ask that if you knew your history. Trantor is the Empire through thousands of years of custom. An Emperor who is not at the Imperial Palace is not the Emperor. He is a place, even more than a person." Seldon sank into silence, his face rigid, and after a while Dors asked, "What's the matter, Hari?"

"I'm thinking," he said in a muffled voice. "Ever since you told me that hand-on-thigh story, I've had fugitive thoughts that-Now your remark about the Emperor being a place rather than a person seems to have struck a chord."

"What kind of chord?"

Seldon shook his head. "I'm still thinking. I may be all wrong." His glance at Dors sharpened, his eyes coming into focus. "In any case, we ought to go down and have breakfast. We're late and I don't think Mistress Tisalver is in a good enough humor to have it brought in for us."

"You optimist," said Dors. "My own feeling is that she's not in a good enough humor to want us to stay-breakfast or not. She wants us out of here."

"That may be, but we're paying her."

"Yes, but I suspect she hates us enough by now to scorn our credits."

"Perhaps her husband will feel a bit more affectionate concerning the rent."

"If he has a single word to say, Hari, the only person who would be more surprised than me to hear it would be Mistress Tisalver.-Very well, I'm ready."

And they moved down the stairs to the Tisalver portion of the apartment to find the lady in question waiting for them with less than breakfast-and with considerably more too.


Casilia Tisalver stood ramrod straight with a tight smile on her round face and her dark eyes glinting. Her husband was leaning moodily against the wall. In the center of the room were two men who were standing stiffly upright, as though they had noticed the cushions on the floor but scorned them. Both had the dark crisp hair and the chick black mustache to be expected of Dahlites. Both were thin and both were dressed in dark clothes so nearly alike that they were surely uniforms. There was thin white piping up and over the shoulders and down the sides of the tubular trouser legs. Each had, on the right side of his chest, a rather dim Spaceship-and-Sun, the symbol of the Galactic Empire on every inhabited world of the Galaxy, with, in this case, a dark "D" in the center of the sun.

Seldon realized immediately that these were two members of the Dahlite security forces.

"What's all this?" said Seldon sternly.

One of the men stepped forward. "I am Sector Officer Lanel Russ. This is my partner, Gebore Astinwald."

Both presented glittering identification holo-tabs. Seldon didn't bother looking at them. "What it is you want?"

Russ said calmly, "Are you Hari Seldon of Helicon?"

"I am."

"And are you Dors Venabili of Cinna, Mistress?"

"I am," said Dors.

"I'm here to investigate a complaint that one Hari Seldon instigated a riot yesterday."

"I did no such thing," said Seldon.

"Our information is," said Russ, looking at the screen of a small computer pad, "that you accused a newsman of being an Imperial agent, thus instigating a riot against him."

Dors said, "It was I who said he was an Imperial agent, Officer. I had reason to think he was. It is surely no crime to express one's opinion. The Empire has freedom of speech."

"That does not cover an opinion deliberately advanced in order to instigate a riot."

"How can you say it was, Officer?"

At this point, Mistress Tisalver interposed in a shrill voice, "I can say it, Officer. She saw there was a crowd present, a crowd of gutter people who were just looking for trouble. She deliberately said he was an Imperial agent when she knew nothing of the sort and she shouted it to the crowd to stir them up. It was plain that she knew what she was doing."

"Casilia," said her husband pleadingly, but she cast one look at him and he said no more.

Russ turned to Mistress Tisalver. "Did you lodge the complaint, Mistress?"

"Yes. These two have been living here for a few days and they've done nothing but make trouble. They've invited people of low reputation into my apartment, damaging my standing with my neighbors."

"Is it against the law, Officer," asked Seldon, "to invite clean, quiet citizens of Dahl into one's room? The two rooms upstairs are our rooms. We have rented them and they are paid for. Is it a crime to speak to Dahlites in Dahl, Officer?"

"No, it is not," said Russ. "That is not part of the complaint. What gave you reason, Mistress Venabili, to suppose the person you so accused was, in fact, an Imperial agent?"

Dors said, "He had a small brown mustache, from which I concluded he was not a Dahlite. I surmised he was an Imperial agent."

"You surmised? Your associate, Master Seldon, has no mustache at all. Do you surmise he is an Imperial agent?"

"In any case," said Seldon hastily, "there was no riot. We asked the crowd to take no action against the supposed newsman and I'm sure they didn't."

"You're sure, Master Seldon?" said Russ. "Our information is that you left immediately after making your accusation. How could you witness what happened after you left?"

"I couldn't," said Seldon, "but let me ask you-Is the man dead? Is the man hurt?"

"The man has been interviewed. He denies he is an Imperial agent and we have no information that he is. He also claims he was handled roughly."

"He may well be lying in both respects," said Seldon. "I would suggest a Psychic Probe."

"That cannot be done on the victim of a crime," said Russ. "The sector government is very firm on that. It might do if you two, as the criminals in this case, each underwent a Psychic Probe. Would you like us to do that?"

Seldon and Dors exchanged glances for a moment, then Seldon said, "No, of course not."

"Of course not," repeated Russ with just a tinge of sarcasm in his voice, "but you're ready enough to suggest it for someone else." The other officer, Astinwald, who had so far not said a word, smiled at this. Russ said, "We also have information that two days ago you engaged in a knife fight in Billibotton and badly hurt a Dahlite citizen named"-he struck a button on his computer pad and studied the new page on the screen-"Elgin Marron."

Dors said, "Does your information tell you how the fight started?"

"That is irrelevant at the moment, Mistress. Do you deny that the fight took place?"

"Of course we don't deny the fight took place," said Seldon hotly, "but we deny that we in any way instigated that. We were attacked. Mistress Venabili was seized by this Marron and it was clear he was attempting to rape her. What happened afterward was pure self-defense. Or does Dahl condone rape?"

Russ said with very little intonation in his voice, "You say you were attacked? By how many?"

"Ten men."

"And you alone-with a woman-defended yourself against ten men?"

"Mistress Venabili and I defended ourselves. Yes."

"How is it, then, that neither of you shows any damage whatever? Are either of you cut or bruised where it doesn't show right now?"

"No, Officer."

"How is it, then, that in the fight of one-plus a woman-against ten, you are in no way hurt, but that the complainant, Elgin Marron, has been hospitalized with wounds and will require a skin transplant on his upper lip?"

"We fought well," said Seldon grimly.

"Unbelievably well. What would you say if I told you that three men have testified that you and your friend attacked Marron, unprovoked?"

"I would say that it belies belief that we should. I'm sure that Marron has a record as a brawler and knifeman. I tell you that there were ten there. Obviously, six refused to swear to a lie. Do the other three explain why they did not come to the help of their friend if they witnessed him under unprovoked attack and in danger of his life? It must be clear to you that they are lying."

"Do you suggest a Psychic Probe for them?"

"Yes. And before you ask, I still refuse to consider one for us."

Russ said, "We have also received information that yesterday, after leaving the scene of the riot, you consulted with one Davan, a known subversive who is wanted by the security police. Is that true?"

"You'll have to prove that without help from us," said Seldon. "We're not answering any further questions."

Russ put away his pad. "I'm afraid I must ask you to come with us to headquarters for further interrogation."

"I don't think that's necessary, Officer," said Seldon. "We are Outworlders who have done nothing criminal. We have tried to avoid a newsman who was annoying us unduly, we tried to protect ourselves against rape and possible murder in a part of the sector known for criminal behavior, and we've spoken to various Dahlites. We see nothing there to warrant our further questioning. It would come under the heading of harassment."

"We make these decisions," said Russ. "Not you. Will you please come with us?"

"No, we will not," said Dors.

"Watch out!" cried out Mistress Tisalver. "She's got two knives."

Officer Russ sighed and said, "Thank you, Mistress, but I know she does." He turned to Dors. "Do you know it's a serious crime to carry a knife without a permit in this sector? Do you have a permit?"

"No, Officer, I don't."

"It was clearly with an illegal knife, then, that you assaulted Marron? Do you realize that that greatly increases the seriousness of the crime?"

"It was no crime, Officer," said Dors. "Understand that. Marron had a knife as well and no permit, I am certain."

"We have no evidence to that effect and while Marron has knife wounds, neither of you have any."

"Of course he had a knife, Officer. If you don't know that every man in Billibotton and most men elsewhere in Dahl carry knives for which they probably don't have permits, then you're the only man in Dahl who doesn't know. There are shops here wherever you turn that sell knives openly. Don't you know that?"

Russ said, "It doesn't matter what I know or don't know in this respect. Nor does it matter whether other people are breaking the law or how many of them do. All that matters at this moment is that Mistress Venabili is breaking the anti-knife law. I must ask you to give up those knives to me right now, Mistress, and the two of you must then accompany me to headquarters."

Dors said, "In that case, take my knives away from me."

Russ sighed. "You must not think, Mistress, that knives are all the weapons there are in Dahl or that I need engage you in a knife fight. Both my partner and I have blasters that will destroy you in a moment, before you can drop your hands to your knife hilt-however fast you are. We won't use a blaster, of course, because we are not here to kill you. However, each of us also has a neuronic whip, which we can use on you freely. I hope you won't ask for a demonstration. It won't kill you, do you permanent harm of any kind, or leave any marks-but the pain is excruciating. My partner is holding a neuronic whip on you right now. And here is mine.-Now, let us have your knives, Mistress Venabili."

There was a moment's pause and then Seldon said, "It's no use, Dors. Give him your knives."

And at that moment, a frantic pounding sounded at the door and they all heard a voice raised in high-pitched expostulation.


Raych had not entirely left the neighborhood after he had walked them back to their apartment house.

He had eaten well while waiting for the interview with Davan to be done and later had slept a bit after finding a bathroom that more or less worked. He really had no place to go now that all that was done. He had a home of sorts and a mother who was not likely to be perturbed if he stayed away for a while. She never was.

He did not know who his father was and wondered sometimes if he really had one. He had been told he had to have one and the reasons for that had been explained to him crudely enough. Sometimes he wondered if he ought to believe so peculiar a story, but he did find the details titillating. He thought of that in connection with the lady. She was an old lady, of course, but she was pretty and she could fight like a man-better than a man. It filled him with vague notions.

And she had offered to let him take a bath. He could swim in the Billibotton pool sometimes when he had some credits he didn't need for anything else or when he could sneak in. Those were the only times he got wet all over, but it was chilly and he had to wait to get dry.

Taking a bath was different. There would be hot water, soap, towels, and warm air. He wasn't sure what it would feel like, except that it would be nice if she was there.

He was walkway-wise enough to know of places where he could park himself in an alley off a walkway that would be near a bathroom and still be near enough to where she was, yet where he probably wouldn't be found and made to run away. He spent the night thinking strange thoughts. What if he did learn to read and write? Could he do something with that? He wasn't sure what, but maybe they could tell him. He had vague ideas of being paid money to do things he didn't know how to do now, but he didn't know what those things might be. He would have to be told, but how do you get told?

If he stayed with the man and the lady, they might help. But why should they want him to stay with them?

He drowsed off, coming to later, not because the light was brightening, but because his sharp ears caught the heightening and deepening of sounds from the walkway as the activities of the day began.

He had learned to identify almost every variety of sound, because in the underground maze of Billibotton, if you wanted to survive with even a minimum of comfort, you had to be aware of things before you saw them. And there was something about the sound of a ground-car motor that he now heard that signaled danger to him. It had an official sound, a hostile sound. He shook himself awake and stole quietly toward the walkway. He scarcely needed to see the Spaceship-and-Sun on the ground-car. Its lines were enough. He knew they had to be coming for the man and the lady because they had seen Davan.

He did not pause to question his thoughts or to analyze them. He was off on a run, beating his way through the gathering life of the day. He was back in less than fifteen minutes. The ground-car was still there and there were curious and cautious onlookers gazing at it from all sides and from a respectful distance. There would soon be more. He pounded his way up the stairs, trying to remember which door he should bang on. No time for the elevator. He found the door-at least he thought he did-and he banged, shouting in a squeak, "Lady! Lady!"

He was too excited to remember her name, but he remembered part of the man's.

"Hari!" he shouted. "Let me in."

The door opened and he rushed in-tried to rush in. The rough hand of an officer seized his arm. "Hold it, kid. Where do you think you're going?"

"Leggo! I ain't done nothin'." He looked about. "Hey, lady, what're they doin'?"

"Arresting us," said Dors grimly.

"What for?" said Raych, panting and struggling. "Hey, leggo, you Sunbadger. Don't go with him, lady. You don't have to go with him."

"You get out," said Russ, shaking the boy vehemently.

"No, I ain't, You ain't either, Sunbadger. My whole gang is coming. You ain't gettin' out, less'n you let these guys go."

"What whole gang?" said Russ, frowning.

"They're right outside now. Prob'ly takin' your ground-car apart. And they'll take yore apart."

Russ turned toward his partner, "Call headquarters. Have them send out a couple of trucks with Macros."

"No!" shrieked Raych, breaking loose and rushing at Astinwald. "Don't call!"

Russ leveled his neuronic whip and fired.

Raych shrieked, grasped at his right shoulder, and fell down, wriggling madly. Russ had not yet turned back to Seldon, when the latter, seizing him by the wrist, pushed the neuronic whip up in the air and then around and behind, while stamping on his foot to keep him relatively motionless. Hari could feel the shoulder dislocate, even while Russ emitted a hoarse, agonized yell. Astinwald raised his blaster quickly, but Dors's left arm was around his shoulder and the knife in her right hand was at his throat.

"Don't move!" she said. "Move a millimeter, any part of you, and I cut you through your neck to the spine.-Drop the blaster. Drop it! And the neuronic whip."

Seldon picked up Raych, still moaning, and held him tightly. He turned to Tisalver and said, "There are people out there. Angry people. I'll have them in here and they'll break up everything you've got. They'll smash the walls. If you don't want that to happen, pick up those weapons and throw them into the next room. Take the weapons from the security officer on the door and do the same. Quickly! Get your wife to help. She'll think twice next time before sending in complaints against innocent people.-Dors, this one on the floor won't do anything for a while. Put the other one out of action, but don't kill him."

"Right," said Dors. Reversing her knife, she struck him hard on the skull with the haft. He went to his knees.

She made a face. "I hate doing that."

"They fired at Raych," said Seldon, trying to mask his own sick feeling at what had happened.

They left the apartment hurriedly and, once out on the walkway, found it choked with people, almost all men, who raised a shout when they saw them emerge. They pushed in close and the smell of poorly washed humanity was overpowering. Someone shouted, "Where are the Sunbadgers?"

"Inside," called out Dors piercingly. "Leave them alone. They'll be helpless for a while, but they'll get reinforcements, so get out of here fast."

"What about you?" came from a dozen throats.

"We're getting out too. We won't be back."

"I'll take care of them," shrilled Raych, struggling out of Seldon's arms and standing on his feet. He was rubbing his right shoulder madly. "I can walk. Lemme past."

The crowd opened for him and he said, "Mister, lady, come with me. Fast!" They were accompanied down the walkway by several dozen men and then Raych suddenly gestured at an opening and muttered, "In here, folks. I'll rake ya to a place no one will ever find ya. Even Davan prob'ly don't know it. Only thing is, we got to go through the sewer levels. No one will see us there, but it's sort of stinky... know what I mean?"

"I imagine we'll survive," muttered Seldon.

And down they went along a narrow spiraling ramp and up rose the mephitic odors to greet them.


Raych found them a hiding place. It had meant climbing up the metal rungs of a ladder and it had led them to a large loftlike room, the use of which Seldon could not imagine. It was filled with equipment, bulky and silent, the function of which also remained a mystery. The room was reasonably clean and free of dust and a steady draft of air wafted through that prevented the dust from settling and-more important seemed to lessen the odor.

Raych seemed pleased. "Ain't this nice?" he demanded. He still rubbed his shoulder now and then and winced when he rubbed too hard.

"It could be worse," said Seldon. "Do you know what this place is used for, Raych?"

Raych shrugged or began to do so and winced. "I dunno," he said. Then he added with a touch of swagger, "Who cares?"

Dors, who had sat down on the floor after brushing it with her hand and then looking suspiciously at her palm, said, "If you want a guess, I think this is part of a complex that is involved in the detoxification and recycling of wastes. The stuff must surely end up as fertilizer."

"Then," said Seldon gloomily, "those who run the complex will be down here periodically and may come at any moment, for all we know."

"I been here before," said Raych. "I never saw no one here."

"I suppose Trantor is heavily automated wherever possible and if anything calls for automation it would be this treatment of wastes," said Dors. "We may be safe... for a while."

"Not for long. We'll get hungry and thirsty, Dors."

"I can get food and water for us," said Raych. "Ya got to know how to make out if you're an alley kid."

"Thank you, Raych," said Seldon absently, "but right now I'm not hungry." He sniffed. "I may never be hungry again."

"You will be," said Dors, "and even if you lose your appetite for a while, you'll get thirsty. At least elimination is no problem. We're practically living over what is clearly an open sewer."

There was silence for a while. The light was dim and Seldon wondered why the Trantorians didn't keep it dark altogether. But then it occurred to him that he had never encountered true darkness in any public area. It was probably a habit in an energy-rich society. Strange that a world of forty billion should be energy-rich, but with the internal heat of the planet to draw upon, to say nothing of solar energy and nuclear fusion plants in space, it was. In fact, come to think of it, there was no energy-poor planet in the Empire. Was there a time when technology had been so primitive that energy poverty was possible? He leaned against a system of pipes through which-for all he knew-sewage ran. He drew away from the pipes as the thought occurred to him and he sat down next to Dors.

He said, "Is there any way we can get in touch with Chetter Hummin?"

Dors said, "As a matter of fact, I did send a message, though I hated to."

"You hated to?"

"My orders are to protect you. Each time I have to get in touch with him, it means I've failed."

Seldon regarded her out of narrowed eyes. "Do you have to be so compulsive, Dors? You can't protect me against the security officers of an entire sector."

"I suppose not. We can disable a few-"

"I know. We did. But they'll send out reinforcements... armored ground-cars... neuronic cannon... sleeping mist. I'm not sure what they have, but they're going to throw in their entire armory. I'm sure of it."

"You're probably right," said Dors, her mouth tightening.

"They won't find ya, lady," said Raych suddenly. His sharp eyes had moved from one to the other as they talked. "They never find Davan."

Dors smiled without joy and ruffled the boy's hair, then looked at the palm of her hand with a little dismay. She said, "I'm not sure if you ought to stay with us, Raych. I don't want them finding you."

"They won't find me and if I leave ya, who'll get ya food and water and who'll find ya new hidin' places, so the Sunbadgers'll never know where to look?"

"No, Raych, they'll find us. They don't really look too hard for Davan. He annoys them, but I suspect they don't take him seriously. Do you know what I mean?"

"You mean he's just a pain in the... the neck and they figure he ain't worth chasing all over the lot."

"Yes, that's what I mean. But you see, we hurt two of the officers very badly and they're not going to let us get away with that. If it takes their whole force-if they have to sweep through every hidden or unused corridor in the sector-they'll get us."

Raych said, "That makes me feel like... like [natin'n']. If I didn't run in there and get zapped, ya wouldn't have taken out them officers and ya wouldn't be in such trouble."

"No, sooner or later, we'd have-uh-taken them out. Who knows? We may have to take out a few more."

"Well, ya did it beautiful," said Raych. "If I hadn't been aching all over, I could've watched more and enjoyed it."

Seldon said, "It wouldn't do us any good to try to fight the entire security system. The question is: What will they do to us once they have us? A prison sentence, surely."

"Oh no. If necessary, we'll have to appeal to the Emperor," put in Dors.

"The Emperor?" said Raych, wide-eyed. "You know the Emperor?"

Seldon waved at the boy. "Any Galactic citizen can appeal to the Emperor.-That strikes me as the wrong thing to do, Dors. Ever since Hummin and I left the Imperial Sector, we've been evading the Emperor."

"Not to the extent of being thrown into a Dahlite prison. The Imperial appeal will serve as a delay-in any case, a diversion-and perhaps in the course of that delay, we can think of something else."

"There's Hummin."

"Yes, there is," said Dors uneasily, "but we can't consider him the do-it-all. For one thing, even if my message reached him and even if he was able to rush to Dahl, how would he find us here? And, even if he did, what could he do against the entire Dahlite security force?"

"In that case," said Seldon. "We're going to have to think of something we can do before they find us."

Raych said, "If ya follow me, I can keep ya ahead of them. I know every place there is around here."

"You can keep us ahead of one person, but there'll be a great many, moving down any number of corridors. We'll escape one group and bump into another."

They sat in uncomfortable silence for a good while, each confronting what seemed to be a hopeless situation. Then Dors Venabili stirred and said in a tense, low whisper, "They're here. I hear them."

For a while, they strained, listening, then Raych sprang to his feet and hissed, "They comin' that way. We gotta go this way."

Seldon, confused, heard nothing at all, but would have been content to trust the others' superior hearing, but even as Raych began moving hastily and quietly away from the direction of the approaching tread, a voice rang out echoing against the sewer walls. "Don't move. Don't move."

And Raych said, "That's Davan. How'd he know we were here?"

"Davan?" said Seldon. "Are you sure?"

"Sure I'm sure. He'll help."


Davan asked, "What happened?"

Seldon felt minimally relieved. Surely, the addition of Davan could scarcely count against the full force of the Dahl Sector, but, then again, he commanded a number of people who might create enough confusion.

He said, "You should know, Davan. I suspect that many of the crowd who were at Tisalver's place this morning were your people."

"Yes, a number were. The story is that you were being arrested and that you manhandled a squadron of Sunbadgers. But why were you being arrested?"

"Two," said Seldon, lifting two fingers. "Two Sunbadgers. And that's bad enough. Part of the reason we were being arrested was that we had gone to see you."

"That's not enough. The Sunbadgers don't bother with me much as a general thing." He added bitterly, "They underestimate me."

"Maybe," said Seldon, "but the woman from whom we rent our rooms reported us for having started a riot... over the newsman we ran into on our way to you. You know about that. With your people on the scene yesterday and again this morning and with two officers badly hurt, they may well decide to clean out these corridors-and that means you will suffer. I really am sorry. I had no intention or expectation of being the cause of any of this."

But Davan shook his head. "No, you don't know the Sunbadgers. That's not enough either. They don't want to clean us up. The sector would have to do something about us if they did. They're only too happy to let us rot in Billibotton and the other slums. No, they're after you. What have you done?"

Dors said impatiently, "We've done nothing and, in any case, what does it matter? If they're not after you and they are after us, they're going to come down here to flush us out. If you get in the way, you'll be in deep trouble."

"No, not me. I have friends-powerful friends," said Davan. "I told you that last night. And they can help you as well as me. When you refused to help us openly, I got in touch with them. They know who you are, Dr. Seldon. You're a famous man. They're in a position to talk to the Mayor of Dahl and see to it that you are left alone, whatever you have done. But you'll have to be taken away-out of Dahl."

Seldon smiled. Relief flooded over him. He said, "You know someone powerful, do you, Davan? Someone who responds at once, who has the ability to talk the Dahl government out of taking drastic steps, and who can take us away? Good. I'm not surprised." He turned to Dors, smiling. "It's Mycogen all over again. How does Hummin do it?"

But Dors shook her head. "Too quick.-I don't understand."

Seldon said, "I believe he can do anything."

"I know him better than you do-and longer-and I don't believe that."

Seldon smiled, "Don't underestimate him." And then, as though anxious not to linger longer on that subject, he turned to Davan. "But how did you find us? Raych said you knew nothing about this place."

"He don't," shrilled Raych indignantly. "This place is all mine. I found it."

"I've never been here before," said Davan, looking about. "It's an interesting place. Raych is a corridor creature, perfectly at home in this maze."

"Yes, Davan, we gathered as much ourselves. But how did you find it?"

"A heat-seeker. I have a device that detects infra-red radiation, the particular thermal pattern that is given off at thirty-seven degrees Celsius. It will react to the presence of human beings and not to other heat sources. It reacted to you three."

Dors was frowning. "What good is that on Trantor, where there are human beings everywhere? They have them on other worlds, but-"

Davan said, "But not on Trantor. I know. Except that they are useful in the slums, in the forgotten, decaying corridors and alleyways."

"And where did you get it?" asked Seldon.

Davan said, "It's enough that I have it.-But we've got to get you away, Master Seldon. Too many people want you and I want my powerful friend to have you."

"Where is he, this powerful friend of yours?"

"He's approaching. At least a new thirty-seven-degree source is registering and I don't see that it can be anyone else."

Through the door strode a newcomer, but Seldon's glad exclamation died on his lips. It was not Chetter Hummin.

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