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Asimov, Isaac - Foundation Series 19 Foundation & Empire by Asimov Isaac

Asimov, Isaac - Foundation Series 19 Foundation & Empire by Asimov Isaac

Author:Asimov, Isaac
Language: eng
Format: epub


"M-m-m?"

"Torie, I was at City Hall today - at the Bureau of Production. That is why I was so late today."

"What were you doing there?"

"Well..." she hesitated, uncertainly. "It's been building up. I was getting so I couldn't stand it at the factory. Morale just doesn't exist. The girls go on crying jags for no particular reason. Those who don't get sick become sullen.

Even the little mousie types pout. In my particular section, production isn't a quarter what it was when I came, and there isn't a day that we have a full Page 79

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roster of workers."

"All right," said Toran, "tie in the B. of P. What did you do there?"

"Asked a few questions. And it's so, Torie, it's so all over Haven. Dropping production, increasing sedition and disaffection. The bureau chief just shrugged his shoulders - after I had sat in the anteroom an hour to see him, and only got in because I was the co-ordinator's niece - and said it was beyond him. Frankly, I don't think he cared."

"Now, don't go off base, Bay."

"I don't think he did." She was strenuously fiery. "I tell you there's something wrong. It's that same horrible frustration that hit me in the Time Vault when Seldon deserted us. You felt it yourself."

"Yes, I did."

"Well, it's back," she continued savagely. "And we'll never be able to resist the Mule. Even if we had the material, we lack the heart, the spirit, the will

- Torie, there's no use fighting-"

Bayta had never cried in Toran's memory, and she did not cry now. Not really.

But Toran laid a light hand on her shoulder and whispered, "Suppose you forget it, baby. I know what you mean. But there's nothing-"

"Yes, there's nothing we can do! Everyone says that - and we just sit and wait for the knife to come down."

She returned to what was left of her sandwich and tea. Quietly, Toran was arranging the beds. It was quite dark outside.

Randu, as newly-appointed co-ordinator - in itself a wartime post - of the confederation of cities on Haven, had been assigned, at his own request, to an upper room, out of the window of which he could brood over the roof tops and greenery of the city. Now, in the fading of the cave lights, the city receded into the level lack of distinction of the shades. Randu did not care to meditate upon the symbolism.

He said to Ebling Mis - whose clear, little eyes seemed to have no further interest than the red-filled goblet in his hand - "There's a saying on Haven that when the cave lights go out, it is time for the righteous and hard-working to sleep."

"Do you sleep much lately?"

"No! Sorry to call you so late, Mis. I like the night better somehow these days.

Isn't that strange? The people on Haven condition themselves pretty strictly on the lack of light meaning sleep. Myself, too. But it's different now-"

"You're hiding," said Mis, flatly. "You're surrounded by people in the waking period, and you feel their eyes and their hopes on you.



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