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92.

Dors embraced Klia and Brann, then turned to Lodovik.

I wish I could send a duplicate of myself with you, she told him, and experience what you will experience, she said.

Beyond their fenced platform, the small trading ship of Mors Planch, glittering with recent maintenance, rested in its cradle.

You would be most useful to us, Lodovik said.

Klia looked around the long aisle of ships in the spaceport terminal, and asked, He isnt coming to see us off?

Hari? Dors asked, unsure whom she meant.

Daneel, Klia said.

I dont know where he is, now, Dors said. Hes long had the habit of coming and going without telling anyone what hes up to. His work is done.

I find that hard to believe, Klia said, and her face reddened. She did not wish to sound like a hypocrite. I mean

Brann nudged her gently with his forearm.

Mors Planch stepped forward. Lodovik still made him uneasy. Well, they would be traveling a great distance together once more. And why should he worry especially about Lodovik, when their ship would carry some fifty humaniform robots, temporarily asleep, and the severed heads of many more? A wealth of fearful riches! And his ticket to freedom, as well. I was told to confirm our route with you, in case there were last-minute changes.

He took out a pocket informer and displayed the route to Dors. Four Jumps, over 10,000 light-years, to Kalgan, a world of pleasure and entertainment for the Galaxys elite, where they (so the informer said) would drop off Klia and Brann. Then, thirty-seven individual Jumps, 60,000 light-years to Eos, where Lodovik would disembark with the robots and the head of Giskard.

Dors studied the travel chart briefly. Still correct, she said.

Lodovik asked, Will you be going to Terminus?

No, Dors said. Nor to Stars End, wherever that might be.

Youre staying here, Lodovik surmised.

I am.

Klia said, Ive read about the Tiger Woman. So hard to believe that was really you. Youre staying-for Hari?

I will be here for him at the end. It is my highest and best purpose. I would not be much good for anything else.

Will Daneel let him remember, this time? Klia asked, and bit her lower lip, nervous at such presumption.

So it has been promised, Dors said. I will have my time with him.

And until that time? Lodovik asked, perfectly aware that for humans, this would be a rude and intrusive question.

That will be for me to decide, Dors said.

Not for Daneel?

Dors regarded him directly, intently.

Do you believe Daneel is finished?

No, Dors said quietly.

I cannot believe he is finished, either, or that he is done with you.

You have your opinions, of course. As any human should.

Lodovik caught the implication, the edge of resentment. Daneel regards you as human, Lodovik said. Does he not?

He does. Is that an honor, or a curse?

Without waiting for an answer, she turned to go.

Minutes later, from the observation deck looking out over the spaceport, she heard the low rumble and roar of the departing hypership, and looked up briefly to watch its course.

Wanda was none too happy at first to be escorting the young woman and her large mate from the spaceport terminal. Nor was she comfortable about this elaborate deception-who, after all, was Grandfather expecting to watch them? Demerzel?

Nothing had turned out as she hoped, and now to be nursemaid for a potential monster! But Stettin took it all stoically enough, and was well along on striking up a friendship with Brann.

Klia Asgar was another matter. Wanda thought her entirely too moody; but then, so much had changed in the young womans life in the past week, so many situations had been reversed, and she had taken charge in such a fortuitous and insightful way

Perhaps there was something essential and useful in Haris last-minute insight and change of plan. To abandon Stars End and the wonderful difficulties of being pioneers-for the inglorious task of hiding out for centuries, and watching the Empire collapse into ruins-riding out the Fall of Trantor, the bitter decades; for their children and grandchildren to endure not only endless discipline and training, but the meanest and most horrible centuries in history

Had Grandfather decided all this at the last minute, or had he known all along? Hari Seldon had depths and stratagems it was best not to think about, she decided. Would he manipulate his own granddaughter, keep her in the dark-surprise and dismay her?

Obviously

I dont know how to thank you, Klia said to Wanda as they climbed into the chartered taxi. She adjusted her concealing hood, then attended to Branns.

For what? Wanda asked.

For putting up with an out-of-control-little brat, Klia said.

Wanda could not help but laugh. Are you reading my mind, dear? she asked, not sure herself what tone she intended.

No, Klia said. I wouldnt do that. Im learning.

Arent we all, Stettin said, and Wanda looked to her husband with a chastened respect. He had stayed so quiet during her private rants, then had gently and reasonably explained Haris intricate new Plan.

I think welllearn to rely on each other, very closely, Wanda said.

Id love that, Klia said. Her eyes glittered under the hood, and Wanda realized that they were filled with tears. She could feel the wash of need from the young woman-still little more than a girl, actually!

And how would that be-to have this mentalic female start regarding her as a mother!

She reached out and took Klias hand. Not that it will be easy, she said. Butwell win, in the end.

Of course, Klia said, her voice trembling. Thats what Hari-what Professor Seldon plans. I look forward so much to learning from you.

Their children and grandchildren would twine their genes, and the psychologists of the Second Foundation could study and come to understand persuasion-could utilize it more efficiently. By breeding and by research, they would be creating a race that would withstand centuries of adversity, and rise to conquersecretly, quietly.

An anodyne against unexpected mutations, hidden far from the First Foundation, and away from the robots.

And how in sky would she explain this to the psychologists, the mathists, who had already fought against the inclusion of the mentalics?

They will help keep us secret during the hard times to come. Well, maybe she was up to the task of reconciling all these disparate talents. She had better be.

If Grandfather was right, the two most important human beings in the Galaxy were now in Wandas care. Wanda turned away from Klia, her own eyes moist, and caught a look from Brann in the seat opposite. Slow, large, with secret depths, the burly Dahlite nodded solemnly and peered out the semi-silvered window.

Im very confused, Mors Planch said as the acceleration eased and the ships artificial gravity came into play. Whos deceiving whom? How can you believe Daneel wont find out? How do you know he didnt plan for the youngsters to stay here all along?

It is not my concern, Lodovik said.

Will you tell him, on Eos?

No, Lodovik said.

Wont he just know?

He will not learn from me, Lodovik said.

Why not?

Lodovik smiled, and said no more. Then, within his positronic pathways, the requested blankness of certain knowledge began to build. The forgetfulness of Klia Asgar would soon envelop him. New memories would come into play, of arriving on bright, gay Kalgan and putting the two young humans into the charge of agents of the future Second Foundation. He would become part of a false trail, to deceive any who might come after them.

At the last, he had followed his insight, his newfound instinct, provoked by Voltaire, to the letter. And if Daneel does know-then he will not oppose what is set in place, because he trusts the instincts of Hari Seldon.

Well, its just you and me, old friend, Mors said with an edge in his voice. What should we talk about this time?


| Foundation and Chaos | Epilogue