|Название||Originally published under the title year 2018!|
Dillon, evidently, was making a complete tour of the Bridge-not only from end to end, but up and down, too. The tally board showed that he had already activated nearly two-thirds of the ultraphone eyes. That meant that he had been up all night at the job; had begun it imniediately after he had last relieved Helmuth.
With a thrill of unfocused apprehension, Helmuth looked at the foreman's jack, which allowed the operator here in the cubicle to communicate with the gang when necessary, and which kept him aware of anything said or done on the gang boards.
It was plugged in.
Dillon sighed suddenly, took the helmet off,' and turned.
"Hello, Bob," he said. "It's funny about this job. You can't see, you can't hear, but when somebody's watching you, you feel a sort of pressure on the back of your neck. Extra-sensory perception, maybe. Ever felt it?"
"Pretty often, lately. Why the grand tour, Charity?"
"There's to be an inspection," Dillon said. His eyes met Helmuth's. They were frank and transparent. "A couple of Senate sub-committee chairmen, coming to see that their eight billion dollars isn't being wasted. Naturally, I'm a little anxious to see to it that they find everything in order."
"I see," Helmuth said. "First time in five years, isn't it?"
"Just about. What was that dust-up down below just now? Somebody-you, I'm sure, from the drastic handiwork involved-bailed Eva out of a mess, and then I
heard her talk about your w~intin~ to blow up the Bridee I checked the area when I heard the fracas start, and it did seem as if she had let things go rather far, but-What was it all about?"
Dillon ordinarily hadn't the guile for cat-and-mouse games, and he had never ~ooked less guileful than now. Helmuth said carefully: "Eva was upset, I suppose. On the sUbject of Jupiter we're all of us cracked by now, in our different ways. The' way she was dealing with the catalysis didn't look to me to be suitable-a difference of opinion, resolved in my favor because I had the authority. Eva didn't. That's all."
"Kind of an expensive difference, Bob. I'm not nigeling by nature, you know that. But an incident like that while the sub-committees are here-"
"The point is," said Helmuth, "are we going to spend, an extra ten thousand, or whatever it costs to replace a truss and reinforce a caisson, or are we to lose the whole caisson-and as much as a third of the whole Bridge along with it?"
"Yes, you're right there, of course. That could be cxplained~ even to a pack of senators. But-it would be difficult to have to explain it very often. Well, the board's yours, Bob; you could continue my spotcheck, if you've time."
Dillon got up. Then he added suddenly, as though it were forced out of him:
"Bob, I'm trying to understand your state of mind. From what Eva said, I gather that you've made it fairly public. I ... I don't think it's a good idea to infect your fellow workers with your own pessimism. It leads to sloppy work. I know. I know that you won't countenance sloppy work, regardless of your own feelings, but one foreman can do only so much. And you're making extra work for yourself-not for me, but for yourself-by being openly gloomy about the Bridge.
"It strikes me that maybe you could use a breather, maybe a week's junket to Ganymede or something like that. You're the best man on the Bridge, Bob, for all your grousing about the job and your assorted misgivings. I'd hate to see you replaced."
"A threat, Charity?" Helmuth said softly.
"No. I wouldn't replace you unless you actually went nuts, and I firmly believe that your fears in that respect
are groundless. It's a commonplace thai only- sane men suspect their own sanity, isn't -it?" -
"It's a common misconception. Most psychopathic obsessions begin with a mild worry-one that can't be
shaken." ' ' -
Dillon made as if to brush, that subject away. "Anyhow, I'm not threatening; I'd fight to keep you here. But my say-so only covers Jupiter V and the Bridge; there are people higher up on Ganymede, and people higher yet back in Washington-and in this inspecting commission.
"Why don't you try to look on the bright side for a change? Obviously the Bridge isn't ever going to inspire you. But you might at least try thinking about all those dollars piling up in your account back home, every hour you're on this job. And about the bridges and ships and who knows what-all that you'll be building, at any fee you ask, when you get back down to Earth. All under the magic words: 'One of the men who built the Bridge on Jupiter!'"
Charity was bright red with embarrassment and, enthusiasm. Helmuth smiled.
"I'll try to bear it in mind, Charity," he said. "And I think I'll pass up a vacation for the time being. When is this gaggle of senators due to arrive?"
"That's hard to say. They'll be coming to Ganymede directly from Washington, without any routing, and they'll stop there- for a while. I suppose they'll also make a stop at Callisto before they come here. They've got something new on their ship, I'm told, that lets them flit about more freely than the usual uphill transport can."
An icy lizard suddenly was nesting in Helmuth's stomach, coiling and coiling but never settling itself. The persistent nightmare began to seep back into his blood; it was almost engulfing him-already.
"Something ... new?" he echoed, his voice as flat and non-committal as he could make it. "Do you know what it is?"
"Well, yes. But I think I'd better keep quiet about it until-"
"Charity, nobody on this deserted rock-heap could possibly be a Soviet spy. The whole habit of 'security' is idiotic out here, Tell me now and save me the trouble of dealing with senators; or tell me at least that you know I know. They have antigravity! Isn't that it?"
One word from Dillon, and the nightmare would be reaL
"Yes," Dillon said. "How did you know? Of course, it couldn't be a complete gravity screen by any means. But it seems to be a good long step toward it. We've waited a long time to see that dream come true- "But you're the last man in the world to take pride in
the achievement, so ther.'i no sense in exulting about it to you. I'll let you know when I get a definite arrival date. In the meantime, will you think about what I said before?"
"Yes, I wIll." Helmuth took the seat before the board.
"Good. With you, I have to be grateful for small victories. Good trick, Bob."
"Good trick, Charity."
CHAPTER SEVEN: New York
When Nietzsche wrote down the phrase 'transvaluation of all values' for the first time, the spiritual mvement of the centuries in which we are living found at last its formula. Transvaluation of all values is the most fundamental character of every civilization; for it is the beginning of a Civilization that remoulds all the forms of the Culture that went before, understands them otherwise, practises them in a different way, -
PAIGE'S GIFT for putting two and two together and getting 22 was in part responsible for the discovery of the spy, but the almost incredible clumsiness of the man made the chief contribution to it. Paige could hardly belieye that nobody had spotted the agent before. True, he was only one of some two dozen technicians in the processing lab where Paige had been working; but his almost open habit of slipping notes inside his lab apron, and his painful furtiveness every time he left the Pfitzner laboratory building for the night, should have aroused someone's suspicions long before this.
It was a fine example, Paige thought, of the way the blunderbuss investigation method~ currently popular in Washington allowed the really dangerous man a thousand opportunities to slip away unnoticed. As was usual among groups of scientists, too, there was an unspoken covenant among Pfitzner's technicians-against informing on each other. It protected the guilty as well as the innocent, but it would never have arisen at all under any fair system of juridical defense.
Paige had not the smallest idea what to do with his fish once he had hooked it. Re took an evening-which he greatly begrudged-away from seeing Anne, in order to trace the man's movements after a day which had produced two exciting advances in the research, on the hunch that the spy would want to ferry the information out at once.
This hunch proved out beautifully, at least at first. Nor was the, man difficult to follow; his habit of glancing continually over first one shoulder and then the other, evidently to make sure that he was not being followed, made him easy to spot over long distances, even in a crowd. He~ left the city by train to Hoboken, where he rented a motor scooter and drove directly to the crossroads town of Secaucus. It was a long pull, but not at all difficult otherwise.
Outside Secaucus, however, Paige nearly lost his man for the first and last time. The cross-roads, which lay across U.S. 46 'to the Lincoln Tunnel, turned out also to be the site of the temporary trailer city of the Believers- nearly 300,000 of them, or almost half of the 700,000 who had been pouring into town for two weeks now for the Revival. Among the trailers Paige saw license plates from as far away as Eritrea.
The trailer city was far bigger than any nearby town except Passaic. It included a score of supermarkets, all going full blast even in the middle of the night, and about as many coin-in-slot laundries, equally wide open. There were at least a hundred public baths, and close to 360 public toilets. Paige counted ten cafeterias, and twice that many hamburger stands and one-arm joints, each of the stands no less than a hundred feet long; at one of these he stopped long enough to buy a "Texas wiener" nearly as long as his forearm, covered with mustard, meat sauce, sauerkraut, corn relish, and piccalilli. 'There were ten highly conspicuous hospital tents, too-and after eating
the Texas wiener Paige thought he knew why-the smallest of them perfectly capable of homing a one-ring circus.
And, of course, there were the trailers, of which Paige guessed the number at sixty thOusand, from two-wheeled jobs to Packards, in all stages of repair and shininess. Luckily, the city was 'c~ell lit, and since everyone living in it was a Believer, tWP~ were no booby-traps or other forms of proselytizing. Paige's man, after a little thoroughly elementary doubling on his tracks and setting up false trails, ducked into a trailer with a Latvian license plate. After half an hour-at exactly 0200-the trailer ran- up a stubby VHF radio antenna as thick through as Paige's wrist.
And the rest, Paige thought grimly, climbing back on to his own rented scooter, is up to the FBI-if I tell them. -
But what would he say? He had every good reason of his own to stay -as far outof sight of the FBI as possible. Furthermore, if he informed on the man now, it would mean immediate curtains on the search for the antiagathic, and a gross betrayal of the trust, enforced though it had been, that Anne and Gunn had placed in him. On the other hand, to remain silent would give the Soviets the drug at the- same time that Pfitzner found it-in other words, before the West had it as a government. And it would mean, too, that he himself would have to forego an important chance to prove that he was loyal, when the inevitable showdown with MacHinery came around.
By the next day, however, he had hit upon what should have been the obvious course in the beginning. He took a second evening to rifle his fish's laboratory bench-the incredible idiot had stuffed it to bulging with incriminating. photomicrograph negatives, and with bits of paper bearing the symbols of a simple substitution code once circulated to Tom Mix's Square Shooters on behalf of Shredded Ralston-and a third to take step-by-step photos of the hegira to the Believer trailer city, and the radio-transmitter-equipped trailer with the buffer-state license. Assembling everything into a neat dossier, Paige cornered Gunn in his office and dropped the whole mess squarely in the vice-president's lap.
"My goodness," Gunn said, blinking. "Curiosity is a disease with you, isn't it, Colonel Russell? And I really doubt that even Pfitzner will ever find the antidote for that."
"Curiosity has very little to do with it. As you'll see in the folder, the man's an amateur-evidently a volunteer from the Party, Rosenberg, rather than a paid expert. He practically led nie~ by the nose."
"Yes, I see he's clumsy," Gunn agreed. "And he's been reported to us before, Colonel Russell. As a matter of fact, on several occasions we've had to protect him from his own clumsiness."
"But why?" Paige demanded. "Why haven't you cracked down on him?"
"Because we can't afford to," Gunn said. "A spy scandal in the plant now would kill the work just where it stands. Oh, we'll report him sooner or later, and the work you've done here on him will be very useful then-to all of us, yourself included. But there's no hurry."
"No," Gunn said. "The material he's ferrying out now is of no particular consequence. When we actually have the drug-"
"But he'll already know the production method by that time. Identifying the drug is a routine job for any' team of chemists-your Dr. Agnew taught me that much."
"I suppose that's so," Gunn said. "Well, I'll think it over, Colonel. Don't worry about it, we'll deal with it when the time seems ripe."
And that was every bit of satisfaction that Paige could extract from Gunn. It was small recompense for his lost sleep, his lost dates, the care he had taken to inform Pfitzner first, or the soul-searching it had cost him to put the interests of the project ahead of his officer's oath and of his own safety. That evening he said as much to Anne Abbott and with considerable force.
"Calm down," Anne said. "If you're going to mix into the politics of this work, Paige, you're going to get burned right up to the armpits. When we do find what we're looking for, it's going to create the biggest political explosion in history. I'd advise you to stand well back."
"I've been burned already," Paige said hotly. "How the hell can I stand back now? And tolerating a spy isn't just politics. It's treason~ not only- by rumor, but in fact. Are you deliberately putting everyone's head in the noose?"
"Quite deliberately. Paige, this project is for everyone- every man, woman and child on the Earth and in space. The fact that the West is putting up the money is incidental. What we're doing, here is in every res,pect just as
anti-West as it is anti-Soviet. We're Out to lick death for human beings, not just for the armed forces of some one military coalition. What do we care who gets it first? We want everyone to have it."
"Does Gunn agree with-that?"
"It's company policy. It may even have been Hal's own idea, though he has different reasons, different justifications. Have you any idea what will happen when a death-curing drug hits a totalitarian society-a drug available in limited quantities only? It won't prove fatal to the Soviets, of course, but it ought to make the struggle for succession over there considerably bloodier than it is already. That's essentially the way Hal seems to look at it."
"And you don't," Paige said grimly.
"No, Paige, I don't. I can see well enough what's going to happen right here at home when this thing gets out. Think for a moment of what it will do to the religious people alone. What happens to the after-life if you never need to leave this one? Look at the Believers. They believe in the literal truth of everything in the Bible-that's why they revise the book every year. And this story is going to break before their Jubilee year is over. Did you know that their motto is: 'Millions now living will never die'? They mean themselves, but what if it turns out to be everybody?