Illustrated by Schoenherr
When a man has a great deal of knowledge, it becomes extremely
easy for him to confuse "knowledge" with "wisdom" ... and forget
that the antonym of "wisdom" is not "ignorance" but "folly."
Hardly had man solved his basic
problems on the planet of his origin
than he began to fumble into space.
Barely a century had elapsed in the
exploration of the Solar System than
he began to grope for the stars.
And suddenly, with an all but religious
zeal, mankind conceived its
fantasy dream of populating the galaxy.
Never in the history of the race
had fervor reached such a peak and
held so long. The question of why
was seemingly ignored. Millions of
Earth-type planets beckoned and with
a lemming-like desperation humanity
erupted into them.
But the obstacles were frightening
in their magnitude. The planets and
satellites of Sol had proven comparatively
tractable and those that were
suited to man-life were quickly
brought under his dominion. But
there, of course, he had the advantage
of proximity. The time involved in
running back and forth to the home
planet was meaningless and all
Earth's resources could be thrown into
each problem's solving.
But a planet a year removed in
transportation or even communication?
Ay! this was another thing and
more than once a million colonists
were lost before the Earthlings could
adapt to new climates, new flora and
fauna, new bacteria—or to factors
which the most far out visionary had
never fancied, perhaps the lack of
something never before missed.
So, mad with the lust to seed the
universe with his kind, men sought
new methods. To a hundred thousand
worlds they sent smaller colonies, as
few as a hundred pioneers apiece, and
there marooned them, to adapt, if
adapt they could.
For a millennium each colony was
left to its own resources, to conquer
the environment or to perish in the
A thousand years was sufficient. Invariably
it was found, on those planets
where human life survived at all, man
slipped back during his first two or
three centuries into a state of barbarism.
Then slowly began to inch forward
again. There were exceptions
and the progress on one planet never
exactly duplicated that on another,
however the average was surprisingly
close to both nadir and zenith, in
terms of evolution of society.
In a thousand years it was deemed
by the Office of Galactic Colonization
such pioneers had largely adjusted to
the new environment and were ready
for civilization, industrialization and
eventual assimilation into the rapidly
evolving Galactic Commonwealth.
Of course, even from the beginning,
new and unforeseen problems
manifested themselves ...
from "Man In Antiquity"
published in Terra City, Sol
Galactic Year 3,502.
he Co-ordinator said, "I
suppose I'm an incurable
romantic. You see,
I hate to see you go."
Mayer was a man in early middle
years; Dr. Leonid Plekhanov, his contemporary.
They offset one another;
Mayer thin and high-pitched, his colleague
heavy, slow and dour. Now
they both showed their puzzlement.
The Co-ordinator added, "Without
Plekhanov kept his massive face
blank. It wasn't for him to be impatient
with his superior. Nevertheless,
the ship was waiting, stocked
Amschel Mayer said, "Certainly a
last minute chat can't harm." Inwardly
he realized the other man's
position. Here was a dream coming
true, and Mayer and his fellows were
the last thread that held the Co-ordinator's
control over the dream.
When they left, half a century would
pass before he could again check
The Co-ordinator became more
businesslike. "Yes," he said, "but I
have more in mind than a chat. Very
briefly, I wish to go over your assignment.
Undoubtedly redundant, but if
there are questions, no matter how
seemingly trivial, this is the last opportunity
to air them."
What possible questions could
there be at this late date? Plekhanov
The department head swiveled
slowly in his chair and then back
again as he talked. "You are the first—the
first of many, many such teams.
The manner in which you handle
your task will effect man's eternity.
Obviously, since upon your experience
we will base our future policies on
interstellar colonization." His voice
lost volume. "The position in which
you find yourselves should be humbling."
"It is," Amschel Mayer agreed.
Plekhanov nodded his head.
The Co-ordinator nodded, too.
"However, the situation is as near
ideal as we could hope. Rigel's planets
are all but unbelievably Earthlike.
Almost all our flora and fauna have
been adaptable. Certainly our race has
"These two are the first of the
seeded planets. Almost a thousand
years ago we deposited small bodies
of colonists upon each of them. Since
then we have periodically checked,
from a distance, but never intruded."
His eyes went from one of his listeners
to the other. "No comments or
questions, thus far?"
Mayer said, "This is one thing that
surprises me. The colonies are so
small to begin with. How could they
possibly populate a whole world in
The Co-ordinator said, "Man
adapts, Amschel. Have you studied
the development of the United
States? During her first century and
a half the need was for population to
fill the vast lands wrested from the
Amer-Inds. Families of eight, ten,
and twelve children were the common
thing, much larger ones were not
unknown. And the generations
crowded one against another; a girl
worried about spinsterhood if she
reached seventeen unwed. But in the
next century? The frontier vanished,
the driving need for population was
gone. Not only were drastic immigration
laws passed, but the family
shrunk rapidly until by mid-Twentieth
Century the usual consisted of
two or three children, and even the
childless family became increasingly
Mayer frowned impatiently, "But
still, a thousand years. There is
always famine, war, disease ..."
Plekhanov snorted patronizingly.
"Forty to fifty generations, Amschel?
Starting with a hundred colonists?
Where are your mathematics?"
The Co-ordinator said, "The proof
is there. We estimate that each of
Rigel's planets now supports a population
of nearly one billion."
"To be more exact," Plekhanov
rumbled, "some nine hundred million
on Genoa, seven and a half on
Mayer smiled wryly. "I wonder
what the residents of each of these
planets call their worlds. Hardly the
same names we have arbitrarily bestowed."
"Probably each call theirs The
World," the Co-ordinator smiled.
"After all, the basic language, in spite
of a thousand years, is still Amer-English.
However, I assume you are
familiar with our method of naming.
The most advanced culture on Rigel's
first planet is to be compared to the
Italian cities during Europe's feudalistic
era. We have named that planet
Genoa. The most advanced nation of
the second planet is comparable to
the Aztecs at the time of the conquest.
We considered Tenochtitlán but it
seemed a tongue twister, so Texcoco
is the alternative."
"Modernizing Genoa," Mayer
mused, "should be considerably easier
than the task on semiprimitive
Plekhanov shrugged, "Not necessarily."
The Co-ordinator held up a hand
and smiled at them. "Please, no debates
on methods at present. An hour
from now you will be in space with a
year of travel before you. During that
time you'll have opportunity for discussion,
debate and hair pulling on
every phase of your problem."
His expression became more serious.
"You are acquainted with the
unique position you assume. These
colonists are in your control to an
extent no small group has ever
dominated millions of others before.
No Caesar ever exerted the power
that will be in your educated hands.
For a half century you will be as
gods. Your science, your productive
know-how, your medicine—if it
comes to that, your weapons—are
many centuries in advance of theirs.
As I said before, your position should
Mayer squirmed in his chair. "Why
not check upon us, say, once every
decade? In all, our ship's company
numbers but sixteen persons. Almost
anything could happen. If you were
to send a department craft each ten
The Co-ordinator was shaking his
head. "Your qualifications are as
high as anyone available. Once on the
scene you will begin accumulating
information which we, here in Terra
City, do not have. Were we to send
another group in ten years to check
upon you, all they could do would be
interfere in a situation all the factors
with which they would not be
Amschel Mayer shifted nervously.
"But no matter how highly trained,
nor how earnest our efforts, we still
may fail." His voice worried. "The
department cannot expect guaranteed
success. After all, we are the first."
"Admittedly. Your group is first to
approach the hundreds of thousands
of planets we have seeded. If you fail,
we will use your failure to perfect the
eventual system we must devise for
future teams. Even your failure would
be of infinite use to us." He lifted
and dropped a shoulder. "I have no
desire to undermine your belief in
yourselves but—how are we to know?—perhaps
there will be a score of
failures before we find the ideal
method of quickly bringing these
primitive colonies into our Galactic
The Co-ordinator came to his feet
and sighed. He still hated to see them
go. "If there is no other discussion ..."
Specialist Joseph Chessman stood
stolidly before a viewing screen.
Theoretically he was on watch. Actually
his eyes were unseeing, there was
nothing to see. The star pattern
changed so slowly as to be all but
Not that every other task on board
was not similar. One man could have
taken the Pedagogue from the Solar
System to Rigel, just as easily as its
sixteen-hand crew was doing. Automation
at its ultimate, not even the
steward department had tasks adequately
to fill the hours.
He had got beyond the point of
yawning, his mind was a blank during
these hours of duty. He was a
stolid, bear of a man, short and massive
A voice behind him said, "Second
watch reporting. Request permission
to take over the bridge."
Chessman turned and it took a
brief moment for the blankness in his
eyes to fade into life. "Hello Kennedy,
you on already? Seems like I
just got here." He muttered in self-contradiction,
"Or that I've been here
Technician Jerome Kennedy grinned.
"Of course, if you want to
Chessman said glumly, "What
difference does it make where you
are? What are they doing in the
Kennedy looked at the screen, not
expecting to see anything and accomplishing
just that. "Still on their
Joe Chessman grunted.
Just to be saying something, Kennedy
said, "How do you stand in the
"I don't know. I suppose I favor
Plekhanov. How we're going to take
a bunch of savages and teach them
modern agriculture and industrial
methods in fifty years under democratic
institutions, I don't know. I can
see them putting it to a vote when we
suggest fertilizer might be a good
idea." He didn't feel like continuing
the conversation. "See you later, Kennedy,"
and then, as an afterthought,
formally, "Relinquishing the watch
to Third Officer."
As he left the compartment, Jerry
Kennedy called after him, "Hey,
what's the course!"
Chessman growled over his shoulder,
"The same it was last month, and
the same it'll be next month." It
wasn't much of a joke but it was the
only one they had between themselves.
In the ship's combination lounge
and mess he drew a cup of coffee. Joe
Chessman, among whose specialties
were propaganda and primitive politics,
was third in line in the
expedition's hierarchy. As such he
participated in the endless controversy
dealing with overall strategy but only
as a junior member of the firm.
Amschel Mayer and Leonid Plekhanov
were the center of the fracas
and right now were at it hot and
Joe Chessman listened with only
half interest. He settled into a
chair on the opposite side of the
lounge and sipped at his coffee. They
were going over their old battlefields,
assaulting ramparts they'd stormed a
thousand times over.
Plekhanov was saying doggedly,
"Any planned economy is more efficient
than any unplanned one. What
could be more elementary than that?
How could anyone in his right mind
And Mayer snapped, "I deny it.
That term planned economy covers a
multitude of sins. My dear Leonid,
don't be an idiot ..."
"I beg your pardon, sir!"
"Oh, don't get into one of your
They were at that stage again.
Technician Natt Roberts entered, a
book in hand, and sent the trend of
conversation in a new direction. He
said, worriedly, "I've been studying
up on this and what we're confronted
with is two different ethnic periods,
barbarism and feudalism. Handling
them both at once doubles our
One of the junior specialists who'd
been sitting to one side said, "I've
been thinking about that and I believe
I've got an answer. Why not all
of us concentrate on Texcoco? When
we've brought them to the Genoa
level, which shouldn't take more than
a decade or two, then we can start
working on the Genoese, too."
Mayer snapped, "And by that
time we'll have hardly more than
half our fifty years left to raise the
two of them to an industrial technology.
Don't be an idiot, Stevens."
Stevens flushed his resentment.
Plekhanov said slowly, "Besides,
I'm not sure that, given the correct
method, we cannot raise Texcoco to
an industrialized society in approximately
the same time it will take to
bring Genoa there."
Mayer bleated a sarcastic laugh at
Natt Roberts tossed his book to the
table and sank into a chair. "If only
one of them had maintained itself at a
reasonable level of development, we'd
have had help in working with the
other. As it is, there are only sixteen
of us." He shook his head. "Why
did the knowledge held by the original
colonists melt away? How can an
intelligent people lose such basics as
the smelting of iron, gunpowder, the
use of coal as a fuel?"
Plekhanov was heavy with condescension.
"Roberts, you seem to have
entered upon this expedition with a
lack of background. Consider. You
put down a hundred colonists, products
of the most advanced culture.
Among these you have one or two
who can possibly repair an I.B.M.
machine, but is there one who can
smelt iron, or even locate the ore?
We have others who could design
an automated textile factory, but do
any know how to weave a blanket
on a hand loom?
"The first generation gets along
well with the weapons and equipment
brought with them from Earth. They
maintain the old ways. The second
generation follows along but already
ammunition for the weapons runs
short, the machinery imported from
Earth needs parts. There is no local
economy that can provide such things.
The third generation begins to think
of Earth as a legend and the methods
necessary to survive on the new planet
conflict with those the first settlers
imported. By the fourth generation,
Earth is no longer a legend but a
"But the books, the tapes, the
films ..." Roberts injected.
"Go with the guns, the vehicles
and the other things brought from
Earth. On a new planet there is no
leisure class among the colonists. Each
works hard if the group is to survive.
There is no time to write new books,
nor to copy the old, and the second
and especially the third generation
are impatient of the time needed to
learn to read, time that should be
spent in the fields or at the chase. The
youth of an industrial culture can
spend twenty years and more achieving
a basic education before assuming
adult responsibilities but no pioneer
society can afford to allow its offspring
to so waste its time."
Natt Roberts was being stubborn.
"But still, a few would carry the torch
Plekhanov nodded ponderously.
"For a while. But then comes the reaction
against these nonconformists,
these crackpots who, by spending
time at books, fail to carry their share
of the load. One day they wake up to
find themselves expelled from the
group—if not knocked over the
Joe Chessman had been following
Plekhanov's argument. He said dourly,
"But finally the group conquers
its environment to the point where
a minimum of leisure is available
again. Not for everybody, of course."
Amschel Mayer bounced back into
the discussion. "Enter the priest, enter
the war lord. Enter the smart operator
who talks or fights himself into a
position where he's free from drudgery."
Joe Chessman said reasonably, "If
you don't have the man with leisure,
society stagnates. Somebody has to
have time off for thinking, if the
whole group is to advance."
"Admittedly!" Mayer agreed. "I'd
be the last to contend that an upper
class is necessarily parasitic."
Plekhanov grumbled, "We're getting
away from the subject. In spite of
Mayer's poorly founded opinions, it
is quite obvious that only a collectivized
economy is going to enable these
Rigel planets to achieve an industrial
culture in as short a period as half a
Amschel Mayer reacted as might
have been predicted. "Look here,
Plekhanov, we have our own history
to go by. Man made his greatest
strides under a freely competitive system."
"Well now ..." Chessman began.
"Prove that!" Plekhanov insisted
loudly. "Your so-called free economy
countries such as England, France and
the United States began their industrial
revolution in the early part of
the nineteenth century. It took them
a hundred years to accomplish what
the Soviets did in fifty, in the next
"Just a moment, now," Mayer simmered.
"That's fine, but the Soviets
were able to profit by the pioneering
the free countries did. The scientific
developments, the industrial techniques,
were handed to her on a platter."
Specialist Martin Gunther, thus far
silent, put in his calm opinion. "Actually,
it seems to me the fastest industrialization
comes under a paternal
guidance from a more advanced culture.
Take Japan. In 1854 she was
opened to trade by Commodore Perry.
In 1871 she abolished feudalism and
encouraged by her own government
and utilizing the most advanced techniques
of a sympathetic West, she began
to industrialize." Gunther smiled
wryly, "Soon to the dismay of the
very countries that originally sponsored
bringing her into the modern
world. By 1894 she was able to wage
a successful war against China and
by 1904 she took on and trounced
Czarist Russia. In a period of thirty-five
years she had advanced from
feudalism to a world power."
Joe Chessman took his turn. He
said obdurately, "Your paternalistic
guidance, given an uncontrolled competitive
system, doesn't always work
out. Take India after she gained independence
from England. She tried
to industrialize and had the support
of the free nations. But what happened?"
Plekhanov leaned forward to take
the ball. "Yes! There's your classic
example. Compare India and China.
China had a planned industrial development.
None of this free competition
nonsense. In ten years time
they had startled the world with their
advances. In twenty years—"
"Yes," Stevens said softly, "but at
Plekhanov turned on him. "At any
price!" he roared. "In one generation
they left behind the China of famine,
flood, illiteracy, war lords and all the
misery that had been China's throughout
Stevens said mildly, "Whether in
their admitted advances they left behind
all the misery that had been
China's is debatable, sir."
Plekhanov began to bellow an
angry retort but Amschel Mayer popped
suddenly to his feet and lifted a
hand to quiet the others. "Our solution
has just come to me!"
Plekhanov glowered at him.
Mayer said excitedly, "Remember
what the Co-ordinator told us? This
expedition of ours is the first of its
type. Even though we fail, the very
mistakes we make will be invaluable.
Our task is to learn how to bring
backward peoples into an industrialized
culture in roughly half a century."
The messroom's occupants scowled
at him. Thus far he'd said nothing
Mayer went on enthusiastically.
"Thus far in our debates we've had
two basic suggestions on procedure.
I have advocated a system of free
competition; my learned colleague has
been of the opinion that a strong state
and a planned, not to say totalitarian,
economy would be the quicker." He
paused dramatically. "Very well, I am
in favor of trying them both."
They regarded him blankly.
He said with impatience, "There
are two planets, at different ethnic
periods it is true, but not so far apart
as all that. Fine, eight of us will take
Genoa and eight Texcoco."
Plekhanov rumbled, "Fine, indeed.
But which group will have the use
of the Pedagogue with its library, its
laboratories, its shops, its weapons?"
For a moment, Mayer was stopped
but Joe Chessman growled, "That's
no problem. Leave her in orbit around
Rigel. We've got two small boats with
which to ferry back and forth. Each
group could have the use of her facilities
any time they wished."
"I suppose we could have periodic
conferences," Plekhanov said. "Say
once every decade to compare notes
and make further plans, if necessary."
Natt Roberts was worried. "We
had no such instructions from the
Co-ordinator. Dividing our forces
Mayer cut him short. "My dear
Roberts, we were given carte blanche.
It is up to us to decide procedure.
Actually, this system realizes twice
the information such expeditions as
ours might ordinarily offer."
"Texcoco for me," Plekhanov
grumbled, accepting the plan in its
whole. "The more backward of the
two, but under my guidance in half
a century it will be the more advanced,
"Look here," Martin Gunther said.
"Do we have two of each of the basic
specialists, so that we can divide the
party in such a way that neither planet
will miss out in any one field?"
Amschel Mayer was beaming at
the reception of his scheme. "The
point is well taken, my dear Martin,
however you'll recall that our training
was deliberately made such that
each man spreads over several fields.
This in case, during our half century
without contact, one or more of us
meets with accident. Besides, the
Pedagogue's library is such that any
literate can soon become effective in
any field to the extent needed on the
Joe Chessman was at the controls
of the space lighter. At his side sat
Leonid Plekhanov and behind them
the other six members of their team.
They had circled Texcoco twice at
great altitude, four times at a lesser
one. Now they were low enough to
spot man-made works.
"Nomadic," Plekhanov muttered.
"Nomadic and village cultures."
"A few dozen urbanized cultures,"
Chessman said. "Whoever compared
the most advanced nation to the Aztecs
was accurate, except for the fact
that they base themselves along a
river rather than on a mountain plateau."
Plekhanov said, "Similarities to the
Egyptians and Sumerians." He looked
over his beefy shoulder at the technician
who was photographing the
areas over which they passed.
"How does our geographer progress,
Natt Roberts brought his eyes up
from his camera viewer. "I've got
most of what we'll need for a while,
Plekhanov turned back to Chessman.
"We might as well head for
their principal city, the one with the
pyramids. We'll make initial contact
there. I like the suggestion of surplus
"Surplus labor?" Chessman said,
setting the controls. "How do you
"Pyramids," Plekhanov rumbled.
"I've always been of the opinion that
such projects as pyramids, whether
they be in Yucatan or Egypt, are
make-work affairs. A priesthood, or
other ruling clique, keeping its people
busy and hence out of mischief."
Chessman adjusted a speed lever
and settled back. "I can see their
"But I don't agree with it," Plekhanov
said ponderously. "A society
that builds pyramids is a static one.
For that matter any society that resorts
to make-work projects to busy its citizenry
has something basically wrong."
Joe Chessman said sourly, "I wasn't
supporting the idea, just understanding
the view of the priesthoods.
They'd made a nice thing for themselves
and didn't want to see anything
happen to it. It's not the only time
a group in the saddle has held up
progress for the sake of remaining
there. Priests, slave-owners, feudalistic
barons, or bureaucrats of a
twentieth-century police state, a ruling
clique will never give up power
Barry Watson leaned forward and
pointed down and to the right.
"There's the river," he said. "And
there's their capital city."
The small spacecraft settled at decreasing
Chessman said, "The central
square? It seems to be their market,
by the number of people."
"I suppose so," Plekhanov grunted.
"Right there before the largest pyramid.
We'll remain inside the craft
for the rest of today and tonight."
Natt Roberts, who had put away
his camera, said, "But why? It's
crowded in here."
"Because I said so," Plekhanov
rumbled. "This first impression is important.
Our flying machine is undoubtedly
the first they've seen.
We've got to give them time to assimilate
the idea and then get together
a welcoming committee. We'll
want the top men, right from the
"The equivalent of the Emperor
Montezuma meeting Cortez, eh?"
Barry Watson said. "A real red carpet
The Pedagogue's space lighter settled
to the plaza gently, some fifty
yards from the ornately decorated
pyramid which stretched up several
hundred feet and was topped by a
small templelike building.
Chessman stretched and stood up
from the controls. "Your anthropology
ought to be better than that,
Barry," he said. "There was no Emperor
Montezuma and no Aztec Empire,
except in the minds of the
Spanish." He peered out one of the
heavy ports. "And by the looks of this
town we'll find an almost duplicate
of Aztec society. I don't believe
they've even got the wheel."
The eight of them clustered about
the craft's portholes, taking in the
primitive city that surrounded them.
The square had emptied at their approach,
and now the several thousand
citizens that had filled it were peering
fearfully from street entrances and
Cogswell, a fiery little technician,
said, "Look at them! It'll take hours
before they drum up enough courage
to come any closer. You were right,
doctor. If we left the boat now, we'd
make fools of ourselves trying to coax
them near enough to talk."
Watson said to Joe Chessman
"What do you mean, no Emperor
Chessman said absently, as he
watched, "When the Spanish got to
Mexico they didn't understand what
they saw, being musclemen rather
than scholars. And before competent
witnesses came on the scene, Aztec
society was destroyed. The conquistadors,
who did attempt to describe
Tenochtitlán, misinterpreted it. They
were from a feudalistic world and
tried to portray the Aztecs in such
terms. For instance, the large Indian
community houses they thought were
palaces. Actually, Montezuma was a
democratically elected war chief of a
confederation of three tribes which
militarily dominated most of the
Mexican valley. There was no empire
because Indian society, being based
on the clan, had no method of assimilating
newcomers. The Aztec
armies could loot and they could capture
prisoners for their sacrifices, but
they had no system of bringing their
conquered enemies into the nation.
They hadn't reached that far in the
evolution of society. The Incas could
have taught them a few lessons."
Plekhanov nodded. "Besides, the
Spanish were fabulous liars. In Cortez's
attempt to impress Spain's king,
he built himself up far beyond reality.
To read his reports you'd think
the pueblo of Mexico had a population
pushing a million. Actually, if it
had thirty thousand it was doing well.
Without a field agriculture and with
their primitive transport, they must
have been hard put to feed even that
large a town."
A tall, militarily erect native strode
from one of the streets that debouched
into the plaza and approached to
within twenty feet of the space boat.
He stared at it for at least ten full
minutes then spun on his heel and
strode off again in the direction of one
of the stolidly built stone buildings
that lined the square on each side
except that which the pyramid dominated.
Cogswell chirped, "Now that he's
broken the ice, in a couple of hours
kids will be scratching their names on
In the morning, two or three hours
after dawn, they made their preparations
to disembark. Of them all, only
Leonid Plekhanov was unarmed. Joe
Chessman had a heavy handgun holstered
at his waist. The rest of the
men carried submachine guns. More
destructive weapons were hardly
called for, nor available for that matter;
once world government had been
established on Earth the age-old race
for improved arms had fallen away.
Chessman assumed command of
the men, growled brief instructions.
"If there's any difficulty, remember
we're civilizing a planet of nearly a
billion population. The life or death
of a few individuals is meaningless.
Look at our position scientifically, dispassionately.
If it becomes necessary
to use force—we have the right and
the might to back it up. MacBride,
you stay with the ship. Keep the
hatch closed and station yourself at
the fifty-caliber gun."
The natives seemed to know intuitively
that the occupants of the craft
from the sky would present themselves at this time.
of them crowded the plaza. Warriors,
armed with spears and bronze headed
war clubs, kept the more adventurous
from crowding too near.
The hatch opened, the steel landing
stair snaked out, and the hefty
Plekhanov stepped down, closely followed
by Chessman. The others
brought up the rear, Watson, Roberts,
Stevens, Hawkins and Cogswell. They
had hardly formed a compact group
at the foot of the spacecraft than the
ranks of the natives parted and what
was obviously a delegation of officials
approached them. In the fore was a
giant of a man in his late middle
years, and at his side a cold-visaged
duplicate of him, obviously a son.
Behind these were variously
dressed others, military, priesthood,
local officials, by their appearance.
Ten feet from the newcomers they
stopped. The leader said in quite
understandable Amer-English, "I am
Taller, Khan of all the People. Our
legends tell of you. You must be from
First Earth." He added with a simple
dignity, a quiet gesture, "Welcome to
the World. How may we serve you?"
Plekhanov said flatly, "The name
of this planet is Texcoco and the inhabitants
shall henceforth be called
Texcocans. You are correct, we have
come from Earth. Our instructions are
to civilize you, to bring you the benefits
of the latest technology, to prepare
you to enter the community of
planets." Phlegmatically he let his
eyes go to the pyramids, to the temples,
the large community dwelling
quarters. "We'll call this city Tula
and its citizens Tulans."
Taller looked thoughtfully at him,
not having missed the tone of arrogant
command. One of the group behind
the Khan, clad in gray flowing
robes, said to Plekhanov, mild reproof
in his voice, "My son, we are the
most advanced people on ... Texcoco.
We have thought of ourselves
as civilized. However, we—"
Plekhanov rumbled, "I am not your
son, old man, and you are far short
of civilization. We can't stand here
forever. Take us to a building where
we can talk without these crowds
staring at us. There is much to be
Taller said, "This is Mynor, Chief
Priest of the People."
The priest bowed his head, then
said, "The People are used to ceremony
on outstanding occasions. We
have arranged for suitable sacrifices
to the gods. At their completion, we
will proclaim a festival. And then—"
The warriors had cleared a way
through the multitude to the pyramid
and now the Earthlings could see a
score of chained men and women,
nude save for loin cloths and obviously
Plekhanov made his way toward
them, Joe Chessman at his right and
a pace to the rear. The prisoners stood
straight and, considering their position,
Plekhanov glared at Taller. "You
were going to kill these?"
The Khan said reasonably, "They
are not of the People. They are prisoners
taken in battle."
Mynor said, "Their lives please the
"There are no gods, as you probably
know," Plekhanov said flatly.
"You will no longer sacrifice prisoners."
A hush fell on the Texcocans. Joe
Chessman let his hand drop to his
weapon. The movement was not lost
on Taller's son, whose eyes narrowed.
The Khan looked at the burly Plekhanov
for a long moment. He said
slowly, "Our institutions fit our
needs. What would you have us do
with these people? They are our
enemies. If we turn them loose, they
will fight us again. If we keep them
imprisoned, they will eat our food.
We ... Tulans are not poor, we
have food aplenty, for we Tulans,
but we cannot feed all the thousands
of prisoners we take in our wars."
Joe Chessman said dryly, "As of
today there is a new policy. We put
them to work."
Plekhanov rumbled at him, "I'll
explain our position, Chessman, if you
please." Then to the Tulans. "To
develop this planet we're going to
need the labor of every man, woman
and child capable of work."
Taller said, "Perhaps your suggestion
that we retire to a less public
place is desirable. Will you follow?"
He spoke a few words to an officer
of the warriors, who shouted orders.
The Khan led the way, Plekhanov
and Chessman followed side by side
and the other Earthlings, their weapons
unostentatiously ready, were
immediately behind. Mynor the
priest, Taller's son and the other
Tulan officials brought up the rear.
In what was evidently the reception
hall of Taller's official residence,
the newcomers were made as comfortable
as fur padded low stools provided.
Half a dozen teenaged Tulans
brought a cool drink similar to cocoa;
it seemed to give a slight lift.
Taller had not become Khan of
the most progressive nation on Texcoco
by other than his own abilities.
He felt his way carefully now. He
had no manner of assessing the powers
wielded by these strangers from
space. He had no intention of precipitating
a situation in which he would
discover such powers to his sorrow.
He said carefully, "You have indicated
that you intend major changes
in the lives of the People."
"Of all Texcocans," Plekhanov
said, "you Tulans are merely the
Mynor, the aged priest, leaned forward.
"But why? We do not want
these changes—whatever they may be.
Already the Khan has allowed you
to interfere with our worship of our
gods. This will mean—"
Plekhanov growled, "Be silent, old
man, and don't bother to mention,
ever again, your so-called gods. And
now, all of you listen. Perhaps some
of this will not be new, how much
history has come down to you I don't
"A thousand years ago a colony of
one hundred persons was left here on
Texcoco. It will one day be of scholarly
interest to trace them down
through the centuries but at present
the task does not interest us. This
expedition has been sent to recontact
you, now that you have populated
Texcoco and made such adaptations as
were necessary to survive here. Our
basic task is to modernize your society,
to bring it to an industrialized
Plekhanov's eyes went to Taller's
son. "I assume you are a soldier?"
Taller said, "This is Reif, my
eldest, and by our custom, second in
command of the People's armies. As
Khan, I am first."
Reif nodded coldly to Plekhanov.
"I am a soldier." He hesitated for a
moment, then added, "And willing
to die to protect the People."
"Indeed," Plekhanov rumbled, "as
a soldier you will be interested to
know that our first step will involve
the amalgamation of all the nations
and tribes of this planet. Not a small
task. There should be opportunity for
Taller said, "Surely you speak in
jest. The People have been at war for
as long as scribes have records and
never have we been stronger than today,
never larger. To conquer the
world! Surely you jest."
Plekhanov grunted ungraciously.
He looked to Barry Watson, a lanky
youth, now leaning negligently
against the wall, his submachine gun,
however, at the easy ready. "Watson,
you're our military expert. Have you
any opinions as yet?"
"Yes, sir," Watson said easily.
"Until we can get iron weapons and
firearms into full production, I suggest
the Macedonian phalanx for
their infantry. They have the horse,
but evidently the wheel has gone out
of use. We'll introduce the chariot
and also heavy carts to speed up logistics.
We'll bring in the stirruped
saddle, too. I have available for study,
works on every cavalry leader from
Tamerlane to Jeb Stuart. Yes, sir, I
have some ideas."
Plekhanov pursed his heavy lips.
"From the beginning we're going to
need manpower on a scale never
dreamed of locally. We'll adopt a
policy of expansion. Those who join
us freely will become members of the
State with full privileges. Those who
resist will be made prisoners of war
and used for shock labor on the roads
and in the mines. However, a man
works better if he has a goal, a dream.
Each prisoner will be freed and become
a member of the State after ten
years of such work."
He turned to his subordinates.
"Roberts and Hawkins, you will begin
tomorrow to seek the nearest
practical sources of iron ore and coal.
Wherever you discover them we'll
direct our first military expeditions.
Chessman and Cogswell, you'll assemble
their best artisans and begin
their training in such basic advancements
as the wheel."
Taller said softly, "You speak of
advancement but thus far you have
mentioned largely war and on such
a scale that I wonder how many of
the People will survive. What advancement?
We have all we wish."
Plekhanov cut him off with a curt
motion of his hand. He indicated
the hieroglyphics on the chamber's
walls. "How long does it take to learn
Mynor, the priest, said, "This is a
mystery known only to the priesthood.
One spends ten years in preparation
to be a scribe."
"We'll teach you a new method
which will have every citizen of the
State reading and writing within a
The Tulans gaped at him.
He moved ponderously over to
Roberts, drew from its scabbard the
sword bayonet the other had at his
hip. He took it and slashed savagely
at a stone pillar, gouging a heavy
chunk from it. He tossed the weapon
to Reif, whose eyes lit up.
"What metals have you been using?
Copper, bronze? Probably.
Well, that's steel. You're going to
move into the iron age overnight."
He turned to Taller. "Are your
priests also in charge of the health
of your people?" he growled. "Are
their cures obtained from mumbo-jumbo
and a few herbs found in the
desert? Within a decade, I'll guarantee
you that not one of your major
diseases will remain."
He turned to the priest and said,
"Or perhaps this will be the clincher
for some of you. How many years do
you have, old man?"
Mynor said with dignity, "I am
Plekhanov said churlishly, "And I
am two hundred and thirty-three."
He called to Stevens, "I think you're
our youngest. How old are you?"
Stevens grinned, "Hundred and
thirteen, next month."
Mynor opened his mouth, closed it
again. No man but would prolong his
youth. Of a sudden he felt old, old.
Plekhanov turned back to Taller.
"Most of the progress we have to offer
is beyond your capacity to understand.
We'll give you freedom from
want. Health. We'll give you advances
in every art. We'll eventually
free every citizen from drudgery, educate
him, give him the opportunity to
enjoy intellectual curiosity. We'll
open the stars to him. All these things
the coming of the State will eventually
mean to you."
Tula's Khan was not impressed.
"This you tell us, man from First
Earth. But to achieve these you plan
to change every phase of our lives
and we are happy with ... Tula ...
the way it is. I say this to you. There
are but eight of you and many, many
of us. We do not want your ...
State. Return from whence you
Plekhanov shook his massive head
at the other. "Whether or not you
want these changes they will be made.
If you fail to co-operate, we will find
someone who will. I suggest you
make the most of it."
Taller arose from the squat stool
upon which he'd been seated. "I have
listened and I do not like what you
have said. I am Khan of all the
People. Now leave in peace, or I shall
order my warriors ..."
"Joe," Plekhanov said flatly.
Joe Chessman took his heavy gun
from its holster and triggered it twice.
The roar of the explosions reverberated
thunderously in the confined
space, deafening all, and terrifying
the Tulans. Bright red colored the
robes the Khan wore, colored them
without beauty. Bright red splattered
Leonid Plekhanov stared at his
second in command, wet his thick
lips. "Joe," he sputtered. "I hadn't ...
I didn't expect you to be so ...
Joe Chessman growled, "We've
got to let them know where we stand,
right now, or they'll never hold still
for us. Cover the doors, Watson,
Roberts." He motioned to the others
with his head. "Cogswell, Hawkins,
Stevens, get to those windows and
Taller was a crumbled heap on the
floor. The other Texcocans stared at
his body in shocked horror.
All expect Reif.
Reif bent down over his father's
body for a moment, and then looked
up, his lips white, at Plekhanov. "He
Leonid Plekhanov collected himself.
Reif's cold face was expressionless.
He looked at Joe Chessman who
stood stolidly to one side, gun still in
Reif said, "You can supply such
weapons to my armies?"
Plekhanov said, "That is our intention,
Reif came erect. "Subject to the
approval of the clan leaders, I am now
Khan. Tell me more of this State of
which you have spoken."
The sergeant stopped the small
company about a quarter of a mile
from the city of Bari. His detachment
numbered only ten but they
were well armed with short swords
and blunderbusses and wore mail and
steel helmets. On the face of it, they
would have been a match for ten
times this number of merchants.
It was hardly noon but the sergeant
had obviously already been at his
wine flask. He leered at them. "And
where do you think you go?"
The merchant who led the rest was
a thin little man but he was richly
robed and astride a heavy black mare.
He said, "To Bari, soldier." He drew
a paper from a pouch. "I hold this
permission from Baron Mannerheim
to pass through his lands with my
people and chattels."
The leer turned mercenary. "Unfortunately,
city man, I can't read.
What do you carry on the mules?"
"Personal property, which, I repeat,
I have permission to transport
over Baron Mannerheim's lands free
from harassment from his followers."
He added, in irritation, "The baron
is a friend of mine, fond of the gifts
I give him."
One of the soldiers grunted his
skepticism, checked the flint on the
lock of his piece, then looked at the
The sergeant said, "As you say,
merchant, my lord the baron is fond
of gifts. Aren't we all? Unfortunately,
I have received no word of your
group. My instructions are to stop all
intruders upon the baron's lands
and, if there is resistance, to slay
them and confiscate such properties
as they may be carrying."
The merchant sighed and reached
into a small pouch. The eyes of the
sergeant drooped in greed. The hand
emerged with two small coins. "As
you say," the merchant muttered bitterly,
"we are all fond of gifts. Will
you do me the honor to drink my
health at the tavern tonight?"
The sergeant said nothing, but his
mouth slackened and he fondled the
hilt of his sword.
The merchant sighed again and
dipped once more into the pouch.
This time his hand emerged with half
a dozen bits of silver. He handed
them down to the other, complaining,
"How can a man profit in his
affairs if every few miles he must pass
another outstretched hand?"
The sergeant growled, "You do not
seem to starve, city man. Now, on
your way. You are fortunate I am too
lazy today to bother going through
your things. Besides," and he grinned
widely, "the baron gave me personal
instructions not to bother you."
The merchant snorted, kicked his
heels into his beast's sides and led
his half dozen followers toward the
city. The soldiers looked after them
and howled their amusement. The
money was enough to keep them
soused for days.
When they were out of earshot,
Amschel Mayer grinned his amusement
back over his shoulder at
Jerome Kennedy. "How'd that come
The other sniffed, in mock deprecation.
"You're beginning to fit into
the local merchant pattern better than
the real thing. However, just for the
record, I had this, ah, grease gun,
trained on them all the time."
Mayer frowned. "Only in extreme
emergency, my dear Jerry. The baron
would be up in arms if he found a
dozen of his men massacred on the
outskirts of Bari, and we don't want
a showdown at this stage. It's taken
nearly a year to build this part we
At this time of day the gates of
the port city were open and the guards
lounged idly. Their captain recognized
Amschel Mayer and did no
more than nod respectfully.
They wended their way through
narrow, cobblestoned streets, avoiding
the crowds in the central market area.
They pulled up eventually before a
house both larger and more ornate
than its neighbors. Mayer and Kennedy
dismounted from the horses and
left their care to the others.
Mayer beat with the heavy knocker
on the door and a slot opened for a
quick check of his identity. The door
opened wide and Technician Martin
Gunther let them in.
"The others are here already?"
Mayer asked him.
Gunther nodded. "Since breakfast.
Baron Leonar, in particular, is impatient."
Mayer said over his shoulder, "All
right, Jerry, this is where we put it
They entered the long conference
room. A full score of men sat about
the heavy wooden table. Most of them
were as richly garbed as their host.
Most of them in their middle years.
All of them alert of eye. All of them
confidently at ease.
Amschel Mayer took his place at
the table's end and Jerome Kennedy
sank into the chair next to him.
Mayer took the time to speak to each
of his guests individually, then he
leaned back and took in the gathering
as a whole. He said, "You probably
realize that this group consists of the
twenty most powerful merchants on
Olderman nodded. "We have been
discussing your purpose in bringing
us together, Honorable Mayer. All of
us are not friends." He twisted his
face in amusement. "In fact, very
few of us are friends."
"There is no need for you to be,"
Mayer said snappishly, "but all are
going to realize the need for co-operation.
Honorables, I've just come
from the city of Ronda. Although I'd
paid heavily in advance to the three
barons whose lands I crossed. I had
to bribe myself through a dozen road-blocks,
had to pay exorbitant rates to
cross three ferries, and once had to
fight off supposed bandits."
One of his guests grumbled, "Who
were actually probably soldiers of the
local baron who had decided that
although you had paid him transit
fee, it still might be profitable to go
through your goods."
Mayer nodded. "Exactly, my dear
Honorable, and that is why we've
Olderman had evidently assumed
spokesmanship for the others. Now
he said warily, "I don't understand."
"Genoa, if you'll pardon the use
of this name to signify the planet
upon which we reside, will never
advance until trade has been freed
from these bandits who call themselves
lords and barons."
Eyebrows reached for hairlines.
Olderman's eyes darted about the
room, went to the doors. "Please,"
he said, "the servants."
"My servants are safe," Mayer said.
One of his guests was smiling without
humor. "You seem to forget,
Honorable Mayer, that I carry the
title of baron."
Mayer shook his head. "No, Baron
Leonar. But neither do you disagree
with what I say. The businessman, the
merchant, the manufacturer on Genoa
today, is only tolerated. Were it not
for the fact that the barons have no
desire to eliminate such a profitable
source of income, they would milk us
Someone shrugged. "That is the
way of things. We are lucky to have
wrested, bribed and begged as many
favors from the lords as we have. Our
twenty cities all have charters that
protect us from complete despoilation."
Mayer twisted excitedly in his
chair. "As of today, things begin to
change. Jerry, that platen press."
Jerry Kennedy left the room momentarily
and returned with Martin
Gunther and two of the servants.
While the assembled merchants
looked on, in puzzled silence, Mayer's
assistants set up the press and a stand
holding two fonts of fourteen-point
type. Jerry took up a printer's stick
and gave running instructions as
he demonstrated. Gunther handed
around pieces of the type until all
had examined it, while his colleague
set up several lines. Kennedy transposed
the lines to a chase, locked it
up and placed the form to one side
while he demonstrated inking the
small press, which was operated by
a foot pedal. He mounted the form
in the press, took a score of sheets of
paper and rapidly fed them, one by
one. When they were all printed, he
stopped pumping and Gunther
handed the still wet finished product
around to the audience.
Olderman stared down at the
printed lines, scowled in concentration,
wet his lips in sudden comprehension.
But it was merchant Russ who
blurted, "This will revolutionize the
inscribing of books. Why, it can
well take it out of the hands of the
Temple! With such a machine I
could make a hundred books—"
Mayer was beaming. "Not a
hundred, Honorable, but a hundred
The others stared at him as though
he was demented. "A hundred thousand,"
one said. "There are not that
many literate persons on the continent."
"There will be," Mayer crowed.
"This is but one of our levers to pry
power from the barons. And here is
another." He turned to Russ.
"Honorable Russ, your city is noted
for the fine quality of its steel, of the
swords and armor you produce."
Russ nodded. He was a small man
fantastically rich in his attire. "This
is true, Honorable Mayer."
Mayer said, tossing a small booklet
to the other, "I have here the plans
for a new method of making steel
from pig iron. The Bessemer method,
we'll call it. The principle involved
is the oxidation of the impurities in
the iron by blowing air through the
Amschel Mayer turned to still
another. "And your town is particularly
noted for its fine textiles." He
looked to his assistants. "Jerry, you
and Gunther bring in those models
of the power loom and the spinning
While they were gone, he said,
"My intention is to assist you to speed
up production. With this in mind,
you'll appreciate the automatic flying
shuttle that we'll now demonstrate."
Kennedy and Gunther re-entered
accompanied by four servants and a
mass of equipment. Kennedy muttered
to Amschel Mayer, "I feel like
the instructor of a handicrafts class."
Half an hour later, Kennedy and
Gunther wound up passing out pamphlets
to the awed merchant guests.
Kennedy said, "This booklet will give
details on construction of the equipment
and its operation."
Mayer pursed his lips. "Your
people will be able to assimilate only
so fast, so we won't push them. Later,
you'll be interested in introducing
the mule spinning frame, among
He motioned for the servants to
remove the printing press and textile
machinery. "We now come to probably
the most important of the devices
I have to introduce to you today.
Because of size and weight, I've had
constructed only a model. Jerry!"
Jerry Kennedy brought to the
heavy table a small steam engine,
clever in its simplicity. He had half
a dozen attachments for it. Within
moments he had the others around
him, as enthusiastic as a group of
youngsters with a new toy.
"By the Supreme," Baron Leonar
blurted, "do you realize this device
could be used instead of waterpower
to operate a mill to power the loom
demonstrated an hour ago?"
Honorable Russ was rubbing the
side of his face thoughtfully. "It
might even be adapted to propel a
coach. A coach without horses.
Mayer chuckled in excitement and
clapped his hands. A servant entered
with a toy wagon which had been
slightly altered. Martin Gunther
lifted the small engine, placed it in
position atop the wagon, connected
it quickly and threw a lever. The
wagon moved smoothly forward, the
first engine-propelled vehicle of
Genoa's industrial revolution.
Martin Gunther smiled widely at
Russ. "You mean like this, Honorable?"
Half an hour later they were re-seated,
before each of them a small
pile of pamphlets, instructions,
Mayer said, "I have just one more
device to bring to your attention at
this time. I wish it were unnecessary
but I am afraid otherwise."
He held up for their inspection,
a forty-five-caliber bullet. Jerry Kennedy
handed around samples to the
merchants. They fingered them in
"Honorables," Mayer said, "the
barons have the use of gunpowder.
Muskets and muzzleloading cannon
are available to them both for their
wars against each other and their occasional
attacks upon our supposedly
independent cities. However, this is
an advancement on their weapons.
This unit includes not only the bullet's
lead, but the powder and the
cap which will explode it."
They lacked understanding, and
Mayer said, "Jerry, if you'll
Jerry Kennedy said, "The bullet
can be adapted to various weapons,
however, this is one of the simplest."
He pressed, one after another, a full
twenty rounds into the gun's clip.
"Now, if you'll note the silhouette
of a man I've drawn on the
wooden frame at the end of the
room." He pressed the trigger, sent
a single shot into the figure.
Olderman nodded. "An improvement
in firearms. But—"
Kennedy said, "However, if you
are confronted with more than one
of the bad guys." He grinned and
flicked the gun to full automatic and
in a Götterdämmerung of sound in
the confines of the room, emptied the
clip into his target sending splinters
and chips flying and all but demolishing
the wooden backdrop.
His audience sat back in stunned
horror at the demonstration.
Mayer said now, "The weapon is
simple to construct, any competent
gunsmith can do it. It is manifest,
Honorables, that with your people so
equipped your cities will be safe
from attack and so will trading caravans
Russ said shakily, "Your intention
is good, Honorable Mayer, however
it will be but a matter of time before
the barons have solved the secrets of
your weapon. Such cannot be held
indefinitely. Then we would again be
at their mercy."
"Believe me, Honorable," Mayer
said dryly, "by that time I will have
new weapons to introduce, if necessary.
Weapons that make this one a
very toy in comparison."
Olderman resumed his office as
spokesman. "This demonstration has
astounded us, Honorable Mayer, but
although we admire your abilities it
need hardly be pointed out that it
seems unlikely all this could be the
product of one brain."
"They are not mine," Mayer admitted.
"They are the products of
The Earthman shook his head. "I
don't believe I will tell you now."
"I see." The Genoese eyed him
emotionlessly. "Then the question becomes,
Mayer said, "It may be difficult for
you to see, but the introduction of
each of these will be a nail in feudalism's
coffin. Each will increase either
production or trade and such increase
will lead to the overthrow of feudal
Baron Leonar, who had remained
largely silent throughout the afternoon,
now spoke up. "As you said
earlier, although I am a lord myself,
my interests are your own. I am a
merchant first. However, I am not
sure I want the changes these devices
will bring. Frankly, Honorable
Mayer, I am satisfied with my world
as I find it today."
Amschel Mayer smiled wryly at
him. "I am afraid you must adapt to
these new developments."
The baron said coldly, "Why? I do
not like to be told I must do something."
"Because, my dear baron, there are
three continents on the planet of
Genoa. At present there is little trade
due to inadequate shipping. But the
steam engine I introduce today will
soon propel larger craft than you have
ever built before."
Russ said, "What has this to do
with our being forced to use these
"Because I have colleagues on the
other continents busily introducing
them. If you don't adapt, in time
competitors will invade your markets,
capture your trade, drive you out of
Mayer wrapped it up. "Honorables,
modernize or go under. It's each
man for himself and the devil take
the hindmost, if you'll allow a saying
from another era."
They remained silent for a long
period. Finally Olderman stated
bluntly, "The barons are not going
to like this."
Jerry Kennedy grinned. "Obviously,
that's why we've introduced you
to the tommy gun. It's not going to
make any difference if they like it
Russ said musingly, "Pressure will
be put to prevent the introduction of
"We'll meet it," Mayer said, shifting
happily in his seat.
Russ added, "The Temple is ever
on the side of the barons. The monks
will fight against innovations that
threaten to disturb the present way."
Mayer said, "Monks usually do.
How much property is in the hands
of the Temple?"
Russ admitted sourly, "The monks
are the greatest landlords of all. I
would say at least one third of the
land and the serfs belong to the
"Ah," Mayer said. "We must investigate
the possibilities of a Reformation.
But that can come later. Now
I wish to expand on my reason for
"Honorables, Genoa is to change
rapidly. To survive, you will have to
move fast. I have not introduced these
revolutionary changes without self-interest.
Each of you are free to use
them to his profit, however, I expect
a thirty per cent interest."
There was a universal gasp.
Olderman said, "Honorable Mayer,
you have already demonstrated your
devices. What is there to prevent us
from playing you false?"
Mayer laughed. "My dear Olderman,
I have other inventions to reveal
as rapidly as you develop the technicians,
the workers, capable of
building and operating them. If you
cheat me now, you will be passed by
Russ muttered, "Thirty per cent!
Your wealth will be unbelievable."
"As fast as it accumulates, Honorables,
it shall be invested. For
instance, I have great interest in
expanding our inadequate universities.
The advances I expect will only
be possible if we educate the people.
Field serfs are not capable of running
even that simple steam engine
Baron Leonar said, "What you contemplate
is mind-shaking. Do I understand
that you wish a confederation
of all our cities? A joining together
to combat the strength of the present
Mayer was shaking his head. "No,
no. As the barons lose power, each of
your cities will strengthen and possibly
expand to become nations. Perhaps
some will unite. But largely you
will compete against each other and
against the nations of the other continents.
In such competition you'll
have to show your mettle, or go
under. Man develops at his fastest
when pushed by such circumstance."
The Earthling looked off, unseeing,
into a far corner of the room. "At
least, so is my contention. Far away
from here a colleague is trying to
prove me wrong. We shall see."
Leonid Plekhanov returned to the
Pedagogue with a certain ceremony.
He was accompanied by Joe Chessman,
Natt Roberts and Barry Watson
of his original group, but four young,
hard-eyed, hard-faced and armed
Tulans were also in the party. Their
space lighter swooped in, nestled to
the Pedagogue's hull in the original
bed it had occupied on the trip from
Terra City, and her port opened to the
corridors of the mother ship.
Plekhanov, flanked by Chessman
and Watson, strode heavily toward
the ship's lounge. Natt Roberts and
two of the Tulans remained with the
small boat. Two of the other natives
followed, their eyes darting here,
there, in amazement, in spite of their
efforts to appear grim and untouched
by it all.
Amschel Mayer was already seated
at the officer's dining table. His face
displayed his irritation at the other's
method of presenting himself. "Good
Heavens, Plekhanov, what is this, an
The other registered surprise.
Mayer indicated the Texcocans.
"Do you think it necessary to bring
armed men aboard the Pedagogue?
Frankly, I have not even revealed to a
single Genoese the existence of the
Jerry Kennedy was seated to one
side, the only member of Mayer's
team who had accompanied him for
this meeting. Kennedy winked at
Watson and Chessman. Watson grinned
back but held his peace.
Plekhanov sank into a chair, rumbling,
"We hold no secrets from the
Texcocans. The sooner they advance
to where they can use our libraries
and laboratories, the better. And the
fact these boys are armed has no
significance. My Tulans are currently
embarked on a campaign to unite the
planet. Arms are sometimes necessary,
and Tula, my capital, is somewhat of
an armed camp. All able-bodied
Mayer broke in heatedly, "And is
this the method you use to bring civilization
to Texcoco? Is this what you
consider the purpose of the Office of
Galactic Colonization? An armed
camp! How many persons have you
slaughtered thus far?"
"Easy," Joe Chessman growled.
Amschel Mayer spun on him. "I
need no instruction from you, Chessman.
Please remember I'm senior in
charge of this expedition and as such
Plekhanov thudded a heavy hand
on the table. "I'll call my assistants
to order, Mayer, if I feel it necessary.
Admittedly, when this expedition left
Terra City you were the ranking officer.
Now, however, we've divided—at
your suggestion, please remember.
Now there are two independent
groups and you no longer have jurisdiction
"Indeed!" Mayer barked. "And
suppose I decide to withhold the use
of the Pedagogue's libraries and
laboratories to you? I tell you,
Leonid Plekhanov interrupted him
coldly. "I would not suggest you attempt
any such step, Mayer."
Mayer glared but suddenly reversed
himself. "Let's settle down and
become more sensible. This is the
first conference of the five we have
scheduled. Ten years have elapsed.
Actually, of course, we've had some
idea of each other's progress since
team members occasionally meet on
trips back here to the Pedagogue to
consult the library. I am afraid, my
dear Leonid, that your theories on
industrialization are rapidly being
Mayer said smoothly, "In the
decade past, my team's efforts have
more than tripled the Genoese industrial
potential. Last week one of
our steamships crossed the second
ocean. We've located petroleum and
the first wells are going down. We've
introduced a dozen crops that had
disappeared through misadventure to
the original colonists. And, oh yes,
our first railroad is scheduled to
begin running between Bari and
Ronda next spring. There are six new
universities and in the next decade I
expect fifty more."
"Very good, indeed," Plekhanov
"Only a beginning. The breath of
competition, of unharnessed enterprise
is sweeping Genoa. Feudalism
crumbles. Customs, mores and traditions
that have held up progress for
a century or more are now on their
Joe Chessman growled, "Some of
the boys tell me you've had a few
difficulties with this crumbling feudalism
thing. In fact, didn't Buchwald
barely escape with his life when
the barons on your western continent
united to suppress all chartered
Mayer's thin face darkened.
"Never fear, my dear Joseph, those
barons responsible for shedding the
blood of western hemisphere elements
of progress will shortly pay for
"You've got military problems too,
then?" Barry Watson asked.
Mayer's eyes went to him in irritation.
"Some of the free cities of
Genoa are planning measures to regain
their property and rights on the
western hemisphere. This has nothing
to do with my team, except, of course,
in so far as they might sell them
supplies or equipment."
The lanky Watson laughed lowly,
"You mean like selling them a few
quick-firing breech-loaders and trench
Plekhanov muttered, "That'll be
But Mayer's eyes had widened.
"How did you know?" He whirled
on Plekhanov. "You're spying on my
efforts, trying to negate my work!"
Plekhanov rumbled, "Don't be a
fool, Mayer. My team has neither the
time nor interest to spy on you."
"Then how did you know—"
Barry Watson said mildly, "I was
doing some investigation in the ship's
library. I ran into evidence that you
people had already used the blueprints
for breech-loaders and mortars."
Jerry Kennedy came to his feet and
rambled over to the messroom's bar.
"This seems to be all out spat, rather
than a conference to compare progress,"
he said. "Anybody for a
drink? Frankly, that's the next thing
I'm going to introduce to Genoa,
some halfway decent likker. Do you
know what those benighted heathens
Watson grinned. "Make mine
whisky, Jerry. You've no complaints.
Our benighted heathens have a
national beverage fermented from a
plant similar to cactus. Ought to be
drummed out of the human race."
He spoke idly, forgetful of the
Tulan guards stationed at the doorway.
Kennedy passed drinks around for
everyone save Mayer, who shook his
head in distaste. If only for a brief
spell, some of the tenseness left the
air while the men from Earth sipped
Jerry Kennedy said, "Well, you've
heard our report. How go things on
"According to plan," Plekhanov
Plekhanov said ungraciously, "Our
prime effort is now the uniting of the
total population into one strong
whole, a super-state capable of accomplishing
the goals set us by the
Mayer sneered, "Undoubtedly, this
goal of yours, this super-state, is being
established by force."
"Not always," Joe Chessman said.
"Quite a few of the tribes join up on
their own. Why not? The State has
a lot to offer."
"Such as what?" Kennedy said
Chessman looked at him in irritation.
"Such as advanced medicine,
security from famine, military protection
from more powerful nations.
The opportunity for youth to get an
education and find advancement in
the State's government—if they've
got it on the ball."
"And what happens if they don't
have it on the ball?"
Chessman growled, "What happens
to such under any society? They
get the dirty-end-of-the-stick jobs."
His eyes went from Kennedy to
Mayer. "Are you suggesting you offer
Mayer said, "Already on most of
Genoa it is a matter of free competition.
The person with ability is able
to profit from it."
Joe Chessman grunted sour amusement.
"Of course, it doesn't help to
be the son of a wealthy merchant or
a big politician."
Plekhanov took over. "In any society
the natural leaders come to the
top in much the same manner as the
big ones come to the top in a bin of
potatoes, they just work their way
Jerry Kennedy finished his drink
and said easily, "At least, those at the
top can claim they're the biggest
potatoes. Remember back in the
twentieth century when Hitler and
his gang announced they were the
big potatoes in Germany and men of
Einstein's stature fled the country—being
small potatoes, I suppose."
Amschel Mayer said, "We're getting
away from the point. Pray go on,
my dear Leonid. You say you are
forcibly uniting all Texcoco."
"We are uniting all Texcoco,"
Plekhanov corrected with a scowl.
"Not always by force. And that is by
no means our only effort. We are ferreting
out the most intelligent of the
assimilated peoples and educating
them as rapidly as possible. We've
introduced iron ..."
"And use it chiefly for weapons,"
"... Antibiotics and other medicines,
a field agriculture, are rapidly
building roads ..."
"Military roads," Kennedy mused.
"... To all sections of the State,
have made a beginning in naval
science, and, of course, haven't
ignored the arts."
"On the face of it," Mayer nodded,
"hardly approaching Genoa."
Plekhanov rumbled indignantly,
"We started two ethnic periods behind you.
Even the Tulans were still
using bronze, but the Genoese had
iron and even gunpowder. Our advance
is a bit slow to get moving,
Mayer, but when it begins to
Mayer gave his characteristic snort.
"A free people need never worry
about being passed by a subjected
Barry Watson made himself another
drink and while doing so
looked over his shoulder at Amschel
Mayer. "It's interesting the way you
throw about that term free. Just what
type of government do you sponsor?"
Mayer snapped, "Our team does
not interfere in governmental forms,
Watson. The various nations are
free to adapt to whatever local conditions
obtain. They range from some
under feudalistic domination to countries
with varying degrees of republican
democracy. Our base of
operations in the southern hemisphere
is probably the most advanced of all
the chartered cities, Barry. It amounts
to a city-state somewhat similar to
Florence during the Renaissance."
"And your team finds itself in the
position of the Medici, I imagine."
"You might use that analogy. The
Medici might have been, well, tyrants
of Florence, dominating her finances
and trade as well as her political
government, but they were benevolent
"Yeah," Watson grinned. "The
thing about a benevolent tyranny,
though, is that it's up to the tyrants
to decide what's benevolent. I'm not
so sure there's a great basic difference
between your governing of Genoa
and ours of Texcoco."
"Don't be an ass," Mayer snapped.
"We are granting the Genoese
political freedoms as fast as they can
Joe Chessman growled, "But I
imagine it's surprising to find just
how slowly they can assimilate. A
moment ago you said they were free
to form any government they wished.
Now you say you feed them what you
call freedom, only so fast as they can
"Obviously we encourage them
along whatever path we think
will most quickly develop their economies,"
Mayer argued. "That's what
we've been sent here to do. We
stimulate competition, encourage all
progress, political as well as economic."
Plekhanov lumbered to his feet.
"Amschel, obviously nothing new has
been added to our respective positions
by this conference. I propose we
adjourn to meet again at the end of
the second decade."
Mayer said, "I suppose it would be
futile to suggest you give up this impossible
totalitarian scheme of yours
and reunite the expedition."
Plekhanov merely grunted his disgust.
Jerry Kennedy said, "One thing.
What stand have you taken on giving
your planet immortality?"
"Immortality?" Watson said. "We
haven't it to give."
"You know what I mean. It
wouldn't take long to extend the life
span double or triple the present."
Amschel Mayer said, "At this stage
progress is faster with the generations
closer together. A man is pressed
when he knows he has only twenty or
thirty years of peak efficiency. We on
Earth are inclined to settle back and
take life as it comes; you younger
men are all past the century mark,
but none have bothered to get married
"Plenty of time for that," Watson
"That's what I mean. But a Texcocan
or Genoese feels pressed to
wed in his twenties, or earlier, to get
his family under way."
"There's another element," Plekhanov
muttered. "The more the natives
progress the more nearly they'll
equal our abilities. I wouldn't want
anything to happen to our overall
plans. As it is now, their abilities
taper off at sixty and they reach senility
at seventy or eighty. I think until
the end we should keep it this way."
"A cold-blooded view," Kennedy
said. "If we extended their life expectancy,
their best men would live
to be of additional use to planet development."
"But they would not have our
dream," Plekhanov rumbled. "Such
men might try to subvert us, and,
just possibly, might succeed."
"I think Leonid is right," Mayer
admitted with reluctance.
Later, in the space lighter heading
back for Genoa, Mayer said speculatively,
"Did you notice anything
about Leonid Plekhanov?"
Kennedy was piloting. "He seems
the same irascible old curmudgeon
he's always been."
"It seems to me he's become a
touch power mad. Could the pressures
he's under cause his mind to
slip? Obviously, all isn't peaches and
cream in that attempt of his to
achieve world government on Texcoco."
"Well," Kennedy muttered, "all
isn't peaches and cream with us,
either. The barons are far from
licked, especially in the west." He
changed the subject. "By the way,
that banking deal went through in
Pola. I was able to get control."
"Fine," Mayer chuckled. "You
must be quite the richest man in the
city. There is a certain stimulation in
this financial game, Jerry, isn't
"Uh huh," Jerry told him. "Of
course, it doesn't hurt to have a
"Marked deck?" the other frowned.
"It's handy that gold is the medium
of exchange on Genoa," Jerry Kennedy
said. "Especially in view of the
fact that we have a machine on the
ship capable of transmuting metals."
Leonid Plekhanov, Joseph Chessman,
Barry Watson, Khan Reif and
several of the Tulan army staff stood
on a small knoll overlooking a valley
of several square miles. A valley
dominated on all sides but the sea by
Reif and the three Earthlings were
bent over a military map depicting
the area. Barry Watson traced with
"There are only two major passes
into this valley. We have this one,
they dominate that."
Plekhanov was scowling, out of his
element and knowing it. "How many
men has Mynor been able to get together?"
Watson avoided looking into the
older man's face. "Approximately
half a million according to Hawkins'
estimate. He flew over them this
"Half a million!"
"Including the nomads, of course,"
Joe Chessman said. "The nomads
fight more like a mob than an army."
Plekhanov was shaking his massive
head. "Most of them will melt
away if we continue to avoid battle.
They can't feed that many men on
the countryside. The nomads in particular
will return home if they don't
get a fight soon."
Watson hid his impatience. "That's
the point, sir. If we don't break their
power now, in a decisive defeat, we'll
have them to fight again, later. And
already they've got iron swords, the
crossbow and even a few muskets.
Given time and they'll all be so
armed. Then the fat'll be in the fire."
"He's right," Joe Chessman said
Reif nodded his head. "We must
finish them now, if we can. The task
will be twice as great next year."
Plekhanov grumbled in irritation.
"Half a million of them and something
like forty thousand of our
Reif corrected him. "Some thirty
thousand Tulans, all infantrymen."
He added, "And eight thousand
allied cavalry only some of whom can
be trusted." Reif's ten-year-old son
came up next to him and peered down
at the map.
"What's that child doing here?"
Reif looked into the other's face.
"This is Taller Second, my son. You
from First Earth have never bothered
to study our customs. One of them
is that a Khan's son participates in
all battles his father does. It is his
Watson was pointing out features
on the map again. "It will take three
days for their full army to get in here."
He added with emphasis, "In retreat,
it would take them the same time to
Plekhanov scowled heavily. "We
can't risk it. If we were defeated, we
have no reserve army. We'd have lost
everything." He looked at Joe Chessman
and Watson significantly. "We'd
have to flee back to the Pedagogue."
Reif's face was expressionless.
Barry Watson looked at him. "We
won't desert you, Reif, forget about
that aspect of it."
Reif said, "I believe you, Barry
Watson. You are a ... soldier."
Dick Hawkins' small biplane
zoomed in, landed expertly at the
knoll's foot. The occupant vaulted out
and approached them at a half run.
Hawkins called as soon as he was
within shouting distance. "They're
moving in. Their advance cavalry
units are already in the pass."
When he was with them, Plekhanov
rubbed his hand nervously over
heavy lips. He rumbled, "The cavalry,
eh? Listen, Hawkins, get back there
and dust them. Use the gas."
The pilot said slowly, "I have four
bullet holes in my wings."
"Bullet holes!" Joe Chessman
Hawkins turned to him. "By the
looks of things, MacBride's whole
unit has gone over to the rebels. Complete
with their double-barreled muskets.
A full thousand of them."
Watson looked frigidly at Leonid
Plekhanov. "You insisted on issuing
guns to men we weren't sure of."
Plekhanov grumbled, "Confound
it, don't use that tone of voice with
me. We have to arm our men, don't
Watson said, "Yes, but our still
comparatively few advanced weapons
shouldn't go into the hands of anybody
but trusted citizens of the State,
certainly not to a bunch of mercenaries.
The only ones we can really
trust even among the Tulans, are
those that were kids when we first
took over. The one's we've had time
"The mistake's made. It's too late
now," Plekhanov said. "Hawkins go
back and dust those cavalrymen as
they come through the pass."
Reif said, "It was a mistake, too,
to allow them the secret of the crossbow."
Plekhanov roared, "I didn't allow
them anything. Once the crossbow
was introduced it was just a matter of
time before its method of construction
got to the enemy."
"Then it shouldn't have been introduced,"
Reif said, his eyes unflinching
from the Earthman's.
Plekhanov ignored him. He said,
"Hawkins, get going on that dusting.
Watson, pull what units we
already have in this valley back
through the pass we control. We'll
avoid battle until more of their army
has fallen away."
Hawkins said with deceptive mildness,
"I just told you those cavalrymen
have muskets. To fly low enough
to use gas on them, I'd get within
easy range. Point one, this is the only
aircraft we've built. Point two, MacBride
is probably dead, killed when
those cavalrymen mutinied. Point
three, I came on this expedition to
help modernize the Texcocans, not to
die in battle."
Plekhanov snarled at him. "Coward,
eh?" He turned churlishly to
Watson and Reif. "Start pulling back
Barry Watson looked at Chessman.
Joe Chessman shook his head slowly.
He said to Reif, "Khan, start
bringing your infantry through the
pass. Barry, we'll follow your plan of
battle. We'll anchor one flank on the
sea and concentrate what cavalry we
can trust on the hills on the right.
That's the bad spot, that right flank
has to hold."
Plekhanov's thick lips trembled.
He said in fury, "Is this insubordination?"
Reif turned on his heel and followed
by young Taller and his staff
hurried down the knoll to where their
horses were tethered.
Chessman said to Hawkins, "If
you've got the fuel, Dick, maybe it'd
be a good idea to keep them under
observation. Fly high enough, of
course, to avoid gunfire."
Hawkins darted a look at Plekhanov,
turned and hurried back to his
Joe Chessman, his voice sullen,
said to Plekhanov, "We can't afford
any more mistakes, Leonid. We've
had too many already." He said to
Watson, "Be sure and let their cavalry
units scout us out. Allow them
to see that we're entering the valley
too. They'll think they've got us
"They will have!" Plekhanov
roared. "I countermand that order,
Watson! We're withdrawing."
Barry Watson raised his eyebrows
at Joe Chessman.
"Put him under arrest," Joe
growled sourly. "We'll decide what
to do about it later."
By the third day, Mynor's rebel
and nomad army had filed through
the pass and was forming itself into
battle array. Rank upon rank upon
The Tulan infantry had taken less
than half a day to enter. They had
camped and rested during the interval,
the only action being on the part
of the rival cavalry forces.
Now the thirty thousand Tulans
went into their phalanx and began
their march across the valley.
Joe Chessman, Hawkins, Roberts,
Stevens and Khan Reif and several of
his men again occupied the knoll
which commanded a full view of the
terrain. With binoculars and wrist
radios from the Pedagogue they kept
in contact with the battle.
Below, Barry Watson walked behind
the advancing infantry. There
were six divisions of five thousand
men each, twenty-four foot sarissas
stretched before their sixteen man
deep line. Only the first few lines
were able to extend their weapons;
the rest gave weight and supplied
replacements for the advanced lines'
casualties. Behind them all the Tulan
drums beat out the slow, inexorable
Cogswell, beside Watson with the
wrist radio, said excitedly, "Here
comes a cavalry charge, Barry. Reif
says right behind it the nomad infantry
is coming in." Cogswell
cleared his throat. "All of them."
Watson held up a hand in signal
to his officers. The phalanx ground to
a halt, received the charge on the
hedge of sarissas. The enemy cavalry
wheeled and attempted to retreat to
the flanks but were caught in a bloody
confusion by the pressure of their
own advancing infantry.
Cogswell, his ear to the radio,
said, "Their main body of horse is
hitting our right flank." He wet his
lips. "We're outnumbered there
something like ten to one. At least
ten to one."
"They've got to hold," Watson
said. "Tell Reif and Chessman that
flank has to hold."
The enemy infantrymen in their
hundreds of thousands hit the Tulan
line in a clash of deafening military
thunder. Barry Watson resumed his
pacing. He signaled to the drummers
who beat out another march. The
phalanx moved forward slowly, and
slowly went into an echelon formation,
each division slightly ahead of
the one following. Of necessity, the
straight lines of the nomad and rebel
front had to break.
The drums went boom, ah, boom,
ah, boom, ah, boom.
The Tulan phalanx moved slowly,
obliquely across the valley. The hedge
of spears ruthlessly pressed the mass
of enemy infantry before them.
The sergeants paced behind, shouting
over the din. "Dress it up. You
there, you've been hit, fall out to the
"I'm all right," the wounded spearman
snarled, battle lust in his voice.
"Fall out, I said," the sergeant
roared. "You there, take his place."
The Tulan phalanx ground ahead.
One of the sergeants grinned wanly
at Barry Watson as his men moved
forward with the preciseness of the
famed Rockettes of another era. "It's
working," he said proudly.
Barry Watson snorted, "Don't give
me credit. It belongs to a man named
Philip of Macedon, a long ways away
in both space and time."
Cogswell called, "Our right flank
cavalry is falling back. Joe wants to
know if you can send any support."
Watson's face went expressionless.
"No," he said flatly. "It's got to hold.
Tell Joe and the Khan it's got to hold.
Suggest they throw in those cavalry
units they're not sure of. The ones
that threatened mutiny last week."
Joe Chessman stood on the knoll
flanked by the Khan's ranking officers
and the balance of the Earthmen.
Natt Roberts was on the radio. He
turned to the others and worriedly
repeated the message.
Joe Chessman looked out over the
valley. The thirty-thousand-man
phalanx was pressing back the enemy
infantry with the precision of a machine.
He looked up the hillside at
the point where the enemy cavalry
was turning the right flank. Given
cavalry behind the Tulan line and the
battle was lost.
"O.K., boys," Chessman growled
sourly, "we're in the clutch now.
"Yeah," the pilot said.
"See what you can do. Use what
bombs you have including the napalm.
Fly as low as you can in the
way of scaring their horses." He
added sourly, "Avoiding scaring ours,
if you can."
"You're the boss," Hawkins said,
and scurried off toward his scout
Joe Chessman growled to the
others, "When I was taking my degree
in primitive society and primitive
military tactics, I didn't exactly
have this in mind. Come on!"
It was the right thing to say. The
other Earthmen laughed and took up
their equipment, submachine guns,
riot guns, a flame thrower, grenades,
and followed him up the hill toward
Chessman said over his shoulder to
Reif, "Khan, you're in the saddle.
You can keep in touch with both
Watson and us on the radio."
Reif hesitated only a moment.
"There is no need for further direction
of the battle from this point. A
warrior is of more value now than a
Khan. Come my son." He caught up
a double-barreled musket and followed
the Earthmen. The ten years old
Taller scurried after with a revolver.
Natt Roberts said, "If we can hold
their cavalry for only another half
hour, Watson's phalanx will have
their infantry pressed up against the
pass they entered by. It took them
three days to get through it, they're
not going to be able to get out in
"That's the idea," Joe Chessman
said dourly, "Let's go."
Amschel Mayer was incensed.
"What's got into Buchwald and
MacDonald?" he spat.
Jerry Kennedy, attired as was his
superior in fur trimmed Genoese
robes, signaled one of the servants for
a refilling of his glass and shrugged.
"I suppose it's partly our own
fault," he said lightly. He sipped the
wine, made a mental note to buy up
the rest of this vintage for his cellars
before young Mannerheim or someone
else did so.
"Our fault!" Mayer glared.
The old boy was getting decreasingly
tolerant as the years went by,
Kennedy decided. He said soothingly,
"You sent Peter and Fred over there
to speed up local development. Well,
that's what they're doing."
"Are you insane!" Mayer squirmed
in his chair. "Did you read this radiogram?
They've squeezed out all my
holdings in rubber, the fastest growing
industry on the western continent.
Why, millions are involved. Who do
they think they are?"
Kennedy put down his glass and
chuckled. "See here, Amschel, we're
developing this planet by encouraging
free competition. Our contention is
that under such a socio-economic system
the best men are brought to the
lead and benefit all society by the
advances they make."
"So! What has this got to do with
MacDonald and Buchwald betraying
"Don't you see? Using your own
theory, you have been set back by
someone more efficiently competitive.
Fred and Peter saw an opening and,
in keeping with your instructions,
moved in. It's just coincidence that
the rubber they took over was your
property rather than some Genoese
operator's. If you were open to a
loss there, then if they hadn't taken
over someone else could have. Possibly
Baron Leonar or even Russ."
"That reminds me," Mayer snapped,
"our Honorable Russ is getting
too big for his britches in petroleum.
Did you know he's established a
laboratory in Amerus? Has a hundred
or more chemists working on new
"Fine," Kennedy said.
"Fine! What do you mean? Dean
is our man in petroleum."
"Look here, if Russ can develop
the industry even faster than Mike
Dean, let him go ahead. That's all to
Mayer leaned forward and tapped
his assistant emphatically on the knee.
"Look here, yourself, Jerry Kennedy.
At this stage we don't want things
getting out of our hands. A culture is
in the hands of those who control the
wealth; the means of production, distribution,
communication. Theirs is
the real power. I've made a point of
spacing our men about the whole
planet. Each specializes, though not
exclusively. Gunther is our mining
man, Dean heads petroleum, MacDonald
shipping, Buchwald textiles,
Rykov steel, and so forth. As fast as
this planet can assimilate we push
new inventions, new techniques,
often whole new sciences, into use.
Meanwhile, you and I sit back and
dominate it all through that strongest
of power mediums, finance."
Jerry Kennedy nodded. "I wouldn't
worry about old man Russ taking
over Dean's domination of oil,
though. Mike's got the support of all
the Pedagogue's resources behind
him. Besides, we've got to let these
Genoese get into the act. The more
the economy expands, the more capable
men we need. As it is, I think
we're already spread a little too
Amschel Mayer had dropped the
subject. He was reading the radiogram
again and scowling his anger.
"Well, this cooks MacDonald and
Buchwald. I'll break them."
His assistant raised his eyebrows.
"How do you mean?"
"I'm not going to put up with my
subordinates going against my interests."
"In this case, what can you do
about it? Business is business."
"You hold quite a bit of their
paper, don't you?"
"You know that. Most of our
team's finances funnel through my
"We'll close them out. They've become
too obsessed with their wealth.
They've forgotten why the Pedagogue
was sent here. I'll break them, Jerry.
They'll come crawling. Perhaps I'll
send them back to the Pedagogue.
Make them stay aboard as crew."
Kennedy shrugged. "Well, Peter
MacDonald's going to hate that. He's
developed into quite a high liver—gourmet
food, women, one of the
swankiest estates on the eastern continent."
"Ha!" Mayer snorted. "Let him go
back to ship's rations and crew's
A servant entered the lushly furnished
room and announced, "Honorable
Gunther calling on the Honorables
Mayer and Kennedy."
Martin Gunther hurried into the
room, for once his calm ruffled. "On
the western continent," he blurted.
"Dean and Rosetti. The Temple got
them, they've been burned as
Amschel Mayer shot to his feet.
"That's the end," he swore shrilly.
"Only in the west have the barons
held out. I thought we'd slowly wear
them down, take over their powers bit
by bit. But this does it. This means
He spun to Kennedy. "Jerry, make
a trip out to the Pedagogue. You
know the extent of Genoa's industrial
progress. Seek out the most advanced
weapons this technology could produce."
Kennedy came to his own feet,
shocked by Gunther's news. "But,
Amschel, do you think it's wise to
precipitate an intercontinental war?
Remember, we've been helping to industrialize
the west, too. It's almost
as advanced as our continent. Their
war potential isn't negligible."
"Nevertheless," Mayer snapped,
"we've got to break the backs of the
barons and the Temple monks. Get
messages off to Baron Leonar and
young Mannerheim, to Russ and
Olderman. We'll want them to put
pressure on their local politicians.
What we need is a continental alliance
for this war."
Gunther said, "Should I get in
touch with Rykov? He's still over
Mayer hesitated. "No," he said.
"We'll keep Nick informed but he
ought to remain where he is. We'll
still want our men in the basic positions
of power after we've won."
"He might get hurt," Gunther
scowled. "They might get him too,
and we've only got six team members
"Nonsense, Nick Rykov can take
care of himself."
Jerry Kennedy was upset. "Are you
sure about this war, chief? Isn't a
conflict of this size apt to hold up
our overall plans?"
"Of course not," Mayer scoffed.
"Man makes his greatest progress
under pressure. A major war will
unite the nations of both the western
continent and this one as nothing else
could. Both will push their development
to the utmost."
He added thoughtfully, "Which
reminds me. It might be a good idea
for us to begin accumulating interests
in such industries as will be effected
by a war economy."
Jerry Kennedy chuckled at him,
"Merchant of death."
"Nothing," Kennedy said. "Something
I read about in a history book."
At the decade's end, once again the
representatives of the Genoese team
were first in the Pedagogue's lounge.
Mayer sat at the officer's table, Martin
Gunther at his right. Jerry Kennedy
leaned against the ship's bar, sipping
appreciatively at a highball.
They could hear the impact of the
space boat from Texcoco when it slid
into its bed.
"Poor piloting," Gunther mused.
"Whoever's doing that flying doesn't
get enough practice."
They could hear ports opening and
then the sound of approaching feet.
The footsteps had a strangely military
Joe Chessman entered, followed
immediately by Barry Watson, Dick
Hawkins and Natt Roberts. They
were all dressed in heavy uniform,
complete with decorations. Behind
them were four Texcocans, including
Reif and his teen-age son Taller.
Mayer scowled at them in way of
greeting. "Where's Plekhanov?"
"Leonid Plekhanov is no longer
with us," Chessman said dourly.
"Under pressure his mind evidently
snapped and he made decisions that
would have meant the collapse of the
expedition. He resisted when we reasoned
The four members of the Genoese
team stared without speaking. Jerry
Kennedy put down his glass at last.
"You mean you had to restrict him?
Why didn't you bring him back to
Chessman took a chair at the table.
The others assumed standing positions
behind him. "I'm afraid we'll
have to reject your views on the subject.
Twenty years ago this expedition
split into two groups. My team will
accomplish its tasks, your opinions are
Amschel Mayer glared at the
others in hostility. "You have certainly
come in force this time."
Chessman said flatly, "This is all
of us, Mayer."
"All of you! Where are Stevens,
Barry Watson said, "Plekhanov's
fault. Lost in the battle that broke
the back of the rebels. At least Cogswell
and MacBride were. Stevens
made the mistake of backing Plekhanov
when the showdown came."
Joe Chessman looked sourly at his
military chief. "I'll act as team
"Yes, sir," Watson said.
"Broke the back of the rebels,"
Jerry Kennedy mused. "That opens
all sorts of avenues, doesn't it?"
Chessman growled. "I suppose
that in the past twenty years your
team had no obstacles. Not a drop
of blood shed. Come on, the truth.
How many of your team has been
Mayer shifted in his chair. "Possibly
your point is well taken. Dean
and Rosetti were burned by the formerly
dominant religious group.
Rykov was killed in a fracas with
bandits while he was transporting
some gold." He added, musingly,
"We lost more than half a million
Genoese pounds in that robbery."
"Only three men lost, eh?"
Mayer stirred uncomfortably, then
flushed in irritation at the other's
tone. "Something has happened to
Buchwald and MacDonald. They
must be insane. They've broken off
contact with me, are amassing personal
fortunes in the eastern hemisphere."
Hawkins laughed abruptly. "Free
competition," he said.
Chessman growled, "Let's halt this
bickering and get to business. First
let me introduce Reif, Texcocan
State Army Chief of Staff and his
son Taller. And these other Texcocans
are Wiss and Fokin, both of
whom have gone far in the sciences."
The Tulans shook hands, Earth
style, but then stepped to the rear
again where they followed the conversation
Mayer said, "You think it wise to
introduce natives to the Pedagogue?"
"Of course," Chessman said. "Following
this conference, I'm going to
take Fokin and Wiss into the library.
What're we here for if not to bring
these people up to our level as rapidly
"Very well," Mayer conceded
grudgingly. "And now I have a complaint.
When the Pedagogue first
arrived we had only so many weapons
aboard. You have appropriated more
than half in the past two decades."
Chessman shrugged it off. "We'll
return the greater part to the ship's
arsenal. At this stage we are producing
"I'll bet," Kennedy said. "Look,
any of you fellows want a real Earthside
whisky? When we were crewing
this expedition, why didn't we bring
someone with a knowledge of distilling,
brewing and such?"
Mayer snapped at him, "Jerry, you
drink too much."
"The hell I do," the other said
cheerfully. "Not near enough."
Barry Watson said easily, "A drink
wouldn't hurt. Why're we so stiff?
This is the first get-together for ten
years. Jerry, you're putting on
Kennedy looked down at his admittedly
rounded stomach. "Don't get
enough exercise," he said, then reversed
the attack. "You look older.
Are your taking your rejuvenation
Barry Watson grimaced. "Sure, but
I'm working under pressure. It's been
one long campaign."
Kennedy passed around the drinks.
Dick Hawkins laughed. "It's been
one long campaign, all right. Barry
has a house as big as a castle and six
or eight women in his harem."
Watson flushed, but obviously
Martin Gunther, of the Genoese
team, cocked his head. "Harem?"
Joe Chessman said impatiently,
"Man adapts to circumstances, Gunther.
The wars have lost us a lot of
men. Women are consequently in a
surplus. If the population curve is to
continue upward, it's necessary that
a man serve more than one woman.
Polygamy is the obvious answer."
Gunther cleared his throat smoothly,
"So a man in Barry's position will
have as many as eight wives, eh? You
must have lost a good many men."
Watson grinned modestly. "Everybody
doesn't have that many. It's according
to your ability to support
them, and, also, rank has its privileges.
Besides, we figure it's a good
idea to spread the best seed around.
By mixing our blood with the Texcocan
we improve the breed."
Behind him, Taller, the Tulan boy,
stirred, without notice.
Kennedy finished off his highball
and began to build another immediately.
"Here we go again. The big
potatoes coming to the top."
Watson flushed. "What do you
mean by that, Kennedy?"
"Oh, come off it, Barry," Kennedy
laughed. "Just because you're in a
position to push these people around
doesn't make you the prize stud on
Watson elbowed Dick Hawkins to
one side in his attempt to get around
the table at the other.
Chessman rapped, "Watson! That's
enough. Knock it off or I'll have you
under arrest." The Texcocan team
head turned abruptly to Mayer and
Kennedy. "Let's stop this nonsense.
We've come to compare progress.
The three members of the Genoese
team glared back in antagonism, but
then Gunther said grudgingly, "He's
right. There is no longer amiability
between us, so let's forget about it.
Perhaps when the fifty years is up,
things will be different. Now let's
merely be businesslike."
"Well," Mayer said, "our report is
that progress accelerates. Our industrial
potential expands at a rate that
surprises even us. In the near future
we'll introduce the internal combustion
engine. Our universities still
multiply and are turning out technicians,
engineers, scientists at an
ever-quickening speed. In several
nations illiteracy is practically unknown
and per capita production
increases almost everywhere." Mayer
paused in satisfaction, as though
awaiting the others to attempt to top
Joe Chessman said sourly, "Ah,
almost everywhere per capita production
increases. Why almost?"
Mayer snapped, "Obviously, in a
system of free competition, all cannot
progress at once. Some go under."
"Temporarily whole nations can
receive setbacks as a result of defeat
in war, or perhaps due to lack of
natural resources. Some nations progress
faster than others."
Chessman said, "The whole Texcocan
State is one great unit. Everywhere
the gross product increases.
Within the foreseeable future the
standard of living will be excellent."
Jerry Kennedy, an alcoholic lisp in
his voice now, said, "You mean
you've accomplished a planet-wide
"Well, no. Not as yet," Chessman's
sullen voice had an element of
chagrin in it. "However, there are no
strong elements left that oppose us.
We are now pacifying the more remote
"Sounds like a rather bloody program—especially
if Barry Watson,
here, winds up with eight women,"
Martin Gunther said.
Watson started to say something
but Chessman held up a restraining
hand. "The Texcocan State is too
strong to be resisted, Gunther. It is
mostly a matter of getting around to
the more remote peoples. As soon as
we bring in a new tribe, we convert
it into a commune."
"Commune!" Kennedy blurted.
Joe Chessman raised his thick eyebrows
at the other. "The most efficient
socio-economic unit at this stage of
development. Tribal society is perfectly
adapted to fit into such a plan.
The principal difference between a
tribe and a commune is that under
the commune you have the advantage
of a State above in a position to give
you the benefit of mass industries,
schools, medical assistance. In return,
of course, for a certain amount of
taxes, military levies and so forth."
Martin Gunther said softly, "I recall
reading of the commune system
as a student, but I fail to remember
the supposed advantages."
Chessman growled, "They're obvious.
You have a unit of tens of thousands
of persons. Instead of living in
individual houses, each with a man
working while the woman cooks and
takes care of the home, all live in
community houses and take their
meals in messhalls. The children are
cared for by trained nurses. During
the season all physically capable
adults go out en masse to work the
fields. When the harvest has been
taken in, the farmer does not hole
up for the winter but is occupied in
local industrial projects, or in road
or dam building. The commune's
labor is never idle."
Kennedy shuddered involuntarily.
Chessman looked at him coldly. "It
means quick progress. Meanwhile, we
go through each commune and from
earliest youth, locate those members
who are suited to higher studies. We
bring them into State schools where
they get as much education as they
can assimilate—more than is available
in commune schools. These are the
Texcocans we are training in the
"The march to the anthill,"
Amschel Mayer muttered.
Chessman eyed him scornfully.
"You amuse me, old man. You with
your talk of building an economy with
a system of free competition. Our
Texcocans are sacrificing today but
their children will live in abundance.
Even today, no one starves, no one
goes without shelter nor medical
care." Chessman twisted his mouth
wryly. "We have found that hungry,
cold or sick people cannot work
He stared challengingly at the
Genoese leader. "Can you honestly
say that there are no starving people
in Genoa? No inadequately housed,
no sick without hope of adequate
medicine? Do you have economic setbacks
in which poorly planned production
goes amuck and depressions
follow with mass unemployment?"
"Nevertheless," Mayer said with
unwonted calm, "our society is still
far ahead of yours. A mere handful
of your bureaucracy and military
chiefs enjoy the good things of life.
There are tens of thousands on Genoa
who have them. Free competition has
its weaknesses, perhaps, but it provides
a greater good for a greater
number of persons."
Joe Chessman came to his feet.
"We'll see," he said stolidly. "In ten
years, Mayer, we'll consider the position
of both planets once again."
"Ten years it is," Mayer snapped
back at him.
Jerry Kennedy saluted with his
glass. "Cheers," he said.
On the return to Genoa Amschel
Mayer said to Kennedy, "Are you
sober enough to assimilate something
"Sure, chief, of course."
"Hm-m-m. Well then, begin taking
the steps necessary for us to place a
few men on Texcoco in the way of, ah,
"You mean some of our team?"
Kennedy said, startled.
"No, of course not. We can't spare
them, and, besides, there'd be too
big a chance of recognition and exposure.
Some of our more trusted
Genoese. Make the monetary reward
enough to attract their services." He
looked at his lieutenants significantly.
"I think you'll agree that it might
not be a bad idea to keep our eyes on
the developments on Texcoco."
On the way back to Texcoco, Barry
Watson said to his chief, "What do
you think of putting some security
men on Genoa, just to keep tabs?"
Watson looked at his fingers, nibbled
at a hangnail. "It just seems to
me it wouldn't hurt any."
Dick Hawkins said, "I think
Barry's right. They can bear watching.
Besides in another decade or so
they'll realize we're going to beat
them. Mayer's ego isn't going to take
that. He'd go to just about any extreme
to keep from losing face back
Natt Roberts said worriedly, "I
think they're right, Joe. Certainly it
wouldn't hurt to have a few Security
men over there. My department could
train them and we'd ferry them over
in this space boat."
"I'll make the decisions," Chessman
growled at them. "I'll think
about this. It's just possible that
you're right though."
Behind them, Reif looked thoughtfully
at his teen-age son.
Down the long palace corridor
strode Barry Watson, Dick Hawkins,
Natt Roberts, the aging Reif and his
son Taller, now in the prime of manhood.
Their faces were equally wan
from long hours without sleep. Half
a dozen Tulan infantrymen brought
up their rear.
As they passed Security Police
guards, to left and right, eyes took
in their weapons, openly carried. But
such eyes shifted and the guards remained
at their posts. Only one sergeant
opened his mouth in protest.
"Sir," he said to Watson, hesitantly,
"you are entering Number One's
"Shut up," Natt Roberts rapped
Reif said, "That will be all, sergeant."
The Security Police sergeant looked
emptily after them as they progressed
down the corridor.
Together, Watson and Reif motioned
aside the two Tulan soldiers
who stood before the door of their
destination, and pushed inward without
Joe Chessman looked up wearily
from his map and dispatch laden
desk. For a moment his hand went
to the heavy military revolver at his
right but when he realized the identity
of his callers, it fell away.
"What's up now?" he said, his
voice on the verge of cracking.
Watson acted as spokesman. "It's
everywhere the same. The communes
are on the fine edge of revolt. They've
been pushed too far; they've got to
the point where they just don't give
a damn. A spark and all Texcoco goes
up in flames."
Reif said coldly, "We need immediate
reforms. They've got to be
pacified. An immediate announcement
of more consumer goods, fewer
State taxes, above all a relaxation of
Security Police pressures. Given immediate
promise of these, we might
Joe Chessman's sullen face was
twitching at the right corner of his
mouth. Young Taller made no attempt
to disguise his contempt at the
other's weakness in time of stress.
Chessman's eyes went around the
half circle of them. "This is the only
alternative? It'll slow up our heavy
industry program. We might not
catch up with Genoa as quickly as
Watson gestured with a hand in
quick irritation. "Look here, Chessman,
don't we get through to you?
Whether or not we build up a steel
capacity as large as Amschel Mayer's
isn't important now. Everything's at
"Don't talk to me that way, Barry,"
Chessman growled truculently. "I'll
make the decisions. I'll do the thinking."
He said to Reif, "How much of
the Tulan army is loyal?"
The aging Tulan looked at Watson
before turning back to Joe Chessman.
"All of the Tulan army is loyal—to
"Good!" Chessman pushed some
of the dispatches on his desk aside,
letting them flutter to the floor. He
bared a field map. "If we crush half
a dozen of the local communes ... crush
them hard! Then the others ..."
Watson said very slowly and so
low as hardly to be heard, "You
didn't bother to listen, Chessman. We
told you, all that's needed is a spark."
Joe Chessman sat back in his chair,
looked at them all again, one by one.
Re-evaluating. For a moment the facial
tic stopped and his eyes held the
"I see," he said. "And you all
recommend capitulation to their demands?"
"It's our only chance," Hawkins
said. "We don't even know it'll work.
There's always the chance if we throw
them a few crumbs they'll want the
whole loaf. You've got to remember
that some of them have been living
for twenty-five years or more under
this pressure. The valve is about to
"I see," Chessman grunted. "And
what else? I can see in your faces
there's something else."
The three Earthmen didn't answer.
Their eyes shifted.
He looked to young Taller and
then to Reif. "What else?"
"We need a scapegoat," Reif said
Joe Chessman thought about that.
He looked to Barry Watson again.
Watson said, "The whole Texcocan
State is about to topple. Not only do
we have to give them immediate reform,
but we're going to have to
blame the past hardships and mistakes
on somebody. Somebody has to
take the rap, be thrown to the wolves.
If not, maybe we'll all wind up taking
"Ah," Chessman said. His red-rimmed
eyes went around them again,
thoughtfully. "We should be able to
dig up a few local chieftains and
some of the Security Police heads."
They shook their heads. "It has to
be somebody big," Natt Roberts said
thickly, "a few of my Security Police
won't do it."
Joe Chessman's eyes went to Reif.
"The Khan is the highest ranking
Texcocan of all," he said, finally.
"The Khan and some Security Police
heads would satisfy them."
Reif's face was as frigid as the
Earthman's. He said, "I am afraid
not, Joseph Chessman. You are Number
One. It is your statue that is in
every commune square. It is your portrait
that hangs in every distribution
center, every messhall, every schoolroom.
You are the Number One—as
you have so often pointed out to us.
My title has become meaningless."
Joe Chessman spat out a curse,
fumbled the gun into his hand and
fired before the Tulan soldiers could
get to him. In a moment they had
wrested the weapon from his hand
and had his arms pinioned. It was
Reif had been thrown backward
two paces by the blast of the heavy-calibered
gun. Now he held a palm
over his belly and staggered to a
chair. He collapsed into it, looked at
his son, let a wash of amusement
pass over his face, said, "Khan,"
meaninglessly, and died.
Natt Roberts shrilled at Chessman,
"You fool, we were going to give you
a big, theatrical trial. Sentence you to
prison and then, later, claim you'd
died in your cell and smuggle you out
to the Pedagogue."
Watson snapped to the guards,
"Take him outside and shoot him."
The Tulans began dragging the
snarling, cursing Chessman to the
Taller said, "A moment, please."
Watson, Roberts and Hawkins
looked to him.
Taller said, "This perhaps can be
done more effectively."
His voice was completely emotionless.
"This man has killed both my
father and grandfather, both of them
Khans of Tula, heads of the most
powerful city on all Texcoco, before
the coming of you Earthlings."
The guards hesitated. Watson detained
them with a motion of his
Taller said, "I suggest you turn
him over to me, to be dealt with in
the traditional way of the People."
"No," Chessman said hoarsely.
"Barry, Dick, Natt, send me back to
the Pedagogue. I'll be out of things
there. Or maybe Mayer can use me
They didn't bother to look in his
direction. Roberts muttered savagely,
"We told you all that was needed
was a spark. Now you've killed the
Khan, the most popular man on Texcoco.
There's no way of saving
Taller said, "None of you have
studied our traditions, our customs.
But now, perhaps, you will understand
the added effect of my taking
charge. It will be a more ... profitable
manner of using the downfall of this
... this power mad murderer."
Chessman said desperately, "Look,
Barry, Natt, if you have to, shoot
me. At least give me a man's death.
Remember those human sacrifices the
Tulans had when we first arrived?
Can you imagine what went on in
those temples? Barry, Dick—for old
time's sake, boys ..."
Barry Watson said to Taller, "He's
yours. If this doesn't take the pressure
off us, nothing will."
At the end of the third decade, the
Texcocan delegation was already
seated in the Pedagogue's lounge
when Jerome Kennedy, Martin Gunther,
Peter MacDonald, Fredric
Buchwald and three Genoese, Baron
Leonar and the Honorables Russ and
The Texcocan group consisted of
Barry Watson, Dick Hawkins and
Natt Roberts to one side of him,
Generalissimo Taller and six highly
bemedaled Texcocans on the other.
Before taking a seat Barry Watson
barked, "Where's Amschel Mayer?
I've got some important points to
cover with him."
"Take it easy," Kennedy slurred.
"For that matter, where's Joe Chessman?"
Watson glared at the other. "You
know where he is."
"That I do," Kennedy said. "He's
purged, to use a term of yesteryear.
At the rate you laddy-bucks are going,
there won't be anything left of
you by the time our half century is
up." He snapped his fingers and a
Genoese servant who'd been inconspicuously
in the background, hurried
to his side. "Let's have some
refreshments here. What'll everybody
"You act as though you've had
enough already," Watson bit out.
Kennedy ignored him, insisted on
everyone being served before he
allowed the conversation to turn
serious. Then he said, slyly, "I see
we've been successful in apprehending
all of your agents, or you'd know
more of our affairs."
"Not all our agents," Watson
barked. "Only those on your southern
continent. What happened to Amschel
Peter MacDonald, who, with Buchwald,
was for the first time attending
one of the decade-end conferences,
had been hardly recognized in his
new girth by the Texcocan team. But
his added weight had evidently done
nothing to his keenness of mind. He
said smoothly, "Our good Amschel
is under arrest. Imprisoned, in fact."
He shook his head, his double chin
wobbling. "A tragedy."
"Imprisoned! By whom?" Taller
scowled. "I don't like this. After all,
he was your expedition's head man."
Barry Watson rapped, "Don't
leave us there, MacDonald. What
happened to him?"
MacDonald explained. "The financial
and industrial empire he had
built was overextended. A small
crisis and it collapsed. Thousands of
investors suffered. In brief, he was
arrested and found guilty."
Watson was unbelieving. "There is
nothing you could do? The whole
team! Couldn't you bribe him out?
Rescue him by force and get him
back to the ship? With all the wealth
you characters control—"
Jerry Kennedy laughed shortly.
"We were busy bailing ourselves out
of our own situations, Watson. You
don't know what international finance
can be. Besides, he dug his
grave ... uh ... that is, he made his
Kennedy signaled the servant for
another drink, said, "Let's cut out
this dismal talk. How about our progress
"Progress reports," Barry Watson
said. "That's a laugh. You have
agents on Texcoco, we have them on
Genoa. What's the use of having
these conferences at all?"
For the first time, one of the
Genoese put in a word. Baron Leonar,
son of the original Baron who had
met with Amschel Mayer thirty years
before, was a man in his mid-forties.
He said quietly, "It seems to me the
time has arrived when the two planets
might profit by intercourse. Surely
in this time one has progressed beyond
the other in this field, but
lagged in that. If I understand the
mission of the Pedagogue it is to bring
us to as high a technological level
as possible in half a century. Already
three decades have passed."
The Texcocans studied him
thoughtfully, but Jerry Kennedy
waved in negation with the hand
that held his glass. "You don't get
it, Baron. You see, the thing is we
wanta find out what system is going
to do the most the quickest. If we
co-operate with Barry's gang, everything'll
get all mixed up."
The Honorable Russ, now a
wizened man of at least seventy, but
still sharply alert, said, "However,
Texcoco and Genoa might both
Kennedy said happily, "What do
we care? You gotta take the long
view. What we're working out here
is going to be used on half a million
planets eventually." He tried to snap
his fingers. "These two lousy planets
don't count that much." He succeeded
in snapping them this time. "Not
Barry Watson said, "You're
"Why not?" Kennedy grinned.
"Finally perfected a decent brandy.
I'll have to send you a few cases,
"How would you go about that,
Jerry?" Watson said softly.
"Shucks, man, our space lighter
makes a trip to Texcoco every month
or so. Gotta keep up with you boys.
Maybe throw a wrench or so in the
works once inna while."
Peter MacDonald said, "Shut up,
Jerry. You talk too much."
"Don't talk to me that way. You'll
find yourself having one helluva time
floating that loan you need next
month. How about another drink,
everybody? This party's dead."
Watson said, "How about the
progress reports? Briefly, we've all
but completely united Texcoco. Minor
setbacks have sometimes deterred us
but the march of progress goes on.
"Minor setbacks," Kennedy chortled.
"Must of had to bump off five
million of the poor slobs before that
commune revolt was finished with."
Watson said coldly, "We always
have a few reactionaries, religious
fanatics, misfits, crackpots, malcontents
to deal with. However, these are
not important. Our industrial potential
has finally begun to roll. We
doubled steel production this year,
will do the same next. Our hydro-electric
installations tripled in the past
two years. Coal production is four
times higher, lumber production six
times. We expect to increase grain
harvest forty per cent next season.
The Honorable Modrin put in gently,
"Please, Honorable Watson, your
percentage figures are impressive only
if we know from what basis you start.
If you produced but five million tons
of steel last year, then your growth
to ten million is very good but it is
still not a considerable amount for an
Buchwald said dryly, "If our agents
are correct, Texcocan steel production
is something like a quarter of
our own. I assume your other basic
products are at about the same stage
Watson flushed. "The thing to remember
is that our economy continues
to grow each year. Yours spurts
and stops, jerks ahead a few steps,
then grinds to a halt or even retreats.
Everything comes to a pause if you
few on the top stop making a profit;
all that counts in your economy is
making money. Which reminds me,
how in the world did you ever get out
of that planet-wide depression you
were in three years ago?"
Peter MacDonald grunted his disgust.
"Planet-wide depression, indeed.
A small recession. A temporary
readjustment due to overextension in
certain economic and financial fields."
From the other side of the table,
Dick Hawkins laughed at him.
"Where'd you pick up that line of
gobbledygook, Peter?" he asked.
Peter MacDonald came to his feet.
"I don't have to put up with this sort
of impudence," he snapped.
Watson lurched to his own feet.
"Nor do we have to listen to your
snide cracks about the real progress
Texcoco is making. We don't seem
to be getting anywhere." He snapped
to his associates, "Hawkins, Taller,
Roberts! Let's go. Ten years from
now, there'll be another story to tell.
Even a blind man will see the difference."
They marched down the Pedagogue's
corridor toward their space boat.
Kennedy called after them, "Ten
years from now every family on
Genoa'll have a car. Wait'll you see.
Television, too. We're introducing
TV next year. An' civil aviation. Be
all over the place in two, three
The Texcocans slammed the
spaceport after them.
Kennedy sloshed some more drink
into his glass. "Slobs can't stand the
truth," he explained to the others.
With the exception of a few additional
delegates composed of high-ranking
Texcocan and Genoese political
and scientific heads, the line-up
at the end of forty years was the same
as ten years earlier—except for the
absence of Jerry Kennedy.
Extra tables had been set up, and
chairs to accommodate the added
numbers. To one side were the
Genoese: Martin Gunther, Fredric
Buchwald, Peter MacDonald, with
such repeat delegates as Baron Leonar
and the Honorables Modrin and
Russ and half a dozen newcomers.
On the other were Barry Watson,
Dick Hawkins and Natt Roberts,
Taller and such Texcocans as the
scientists Wiss and Fokin, army
heads, Security Police officials and
Note pads had been placed before
each of them and both Watson and
Gunther were equipped with gavels.
While chairs were still being shuffled,
Barry Watson said over the
table to Gunther, "Jerry?"
Martin Gunther shrugged "Jerry's
indisposed. As a matter of fact, he's at
one of the mountain sanitariums, taking
a cure. He'll be all right."
"Good," Dick Hawkins said.
"We've lost too many."
Watson pounded with his gavel.
"Let's come to order. Gunther do you
have anything to say in the way of
"Not especially. I believe we all
know where we stand, including the
newcomers from Genoa and Texcoco.
In brief, this is the fourth meeting
of the Earth teams that were sent to
these two planets to bring backward
colonists to an industrialized culture.
It would seem that we are both succeeding—possibly
at different rates.
Forty years have passed, ten remain to
For a moment there was silence.
Finally Roberts said, "Possibly you
have already discovered this through
your agents, but we have released the
information on prolonging of life."
Peter MacDonald said wryly, "We,
too, were pressured into such a step."
Baron Leonar said, "And why
Taller, across the table from him,
Martin Gunther tapped twice on
the table with his gavel. "The basic
reason for our meeting is to report
progress and to reconsider the possibilities
of new elements having
entered into the situation which might
cause us to re-examine our policies.
I think we already have a fairly good
idea of each other's development."
His voice went wry. "At least our
agents do a fairly good job of reporting
"And ours, yours," Watson rapped.
"However," MacDonald said,
"now that we are drawing near the
end of our half century, I think it
becomes obvious that Amschel
Mayer's original contention—that a
freely competitive economy grows
faster than one restricted by totalitarian
bounds—has been proven."
Barry Watson snorted amusement.
"Do you?" he said. "To the contrary,
MacDonald. The proof is otherwise.
On Genoa you still have comparative
confusion. True enough, several of
your nations, particularly those on
your southern continent, are greatly
advanced and with a high living and
cultural standard—when times are
good. But at the same time you have
other whole peoples who are little, if
any, better off, than when you arrived.
On the western continent you
even have a few feudalistic regimes
that are probably worse off—mostly
as a result of the wars you've crippled
Natt Roberts said, his voice musing,
"But even that isn't the important
thing. The Co-ordinator sent us
here to find a method of bringing
backward cultures to industrialization.
Have you got a blueprint to show
him, when you return? Can you trace
out the history of Genoa for this past
half century and say, this war was
necessary for progress—but that
should have been avoided? Or is this
whole free competition program of
yours actually nothing but chaos
which sometimes works out wonderfully
for some nations, but actually
destroys others? You have scorned
our methods, our collectivized society—but
when we return, we'll have a
blueprint of how we arrived where
Gunther banged the table with his
gavel. "Just a moment. Is there any
reason why we have to listen to these
Watson held up a hand, curtly,
"Let us finish. If you have something
to say, we'll gladly listen when we're
Gunther was flushed but he snapped,
"Go ahead then, but don't think
any of we Genoese are being taken
Watson said, "True enough, it took
us a time to unite our people ..."
"Time and blood," Peter MacDonald
"... But once underway the Texcocan
State has moved on in a progression
unknown in any of the
Genoese nations. To industrialize a
society you must reach a certain taking
off point, a point where you have
sufficient industry, particularly steel,
sufficient power, sufficient scientists,
technicians and skilled workers.
Once that point has been reached you
can move in almost a geometric progression.
You build a steel mill and
with the steel produced you build
two more mills the following year,
which in turn gives you the material
for four the next year."
Buchwald grunted his disbelief.
Watson looked up and down the
line of Genoese, the Earthmen as well
as the natives. "On Texcoco we have
now reached that point. We have a
trained, eager population of over one
billion persons. Our universities are
turning out highly trained effectives
at the rate of more than twenty million
a year. We have located all the
raw materials we will need. We are
now under way." He looked at them
in heavy amusement. "By the end of
the next decade we will bury you."
Martin Gunther said calmly, "Are
"Yes. For the time," Watson
"Very well. Then this is our progress
report. In the past forty years
we have eliminated feudalism in all
the more advanced countries. Even in
the remote areas the pressures of our
changing world are bringing them
around. The populace of these countries
will no longer stand to one side
while the standard of living on the
rest of Genoa grows so rapidly. On
most of our planet, already the average
family not only enjoys freedom
but a way of life far in advance of
that of Texcoco. Already modern
housing and household appliances are
everywhere. Already both land cars
and aircraft are available to the majority.
The nations have formed an
Inter-Continental League of governments
so that it is unlikely that war
will ever touch us again. And this
is merely a beginning. In ten years,
continuing our freely competitive way
of developing, all will be living on a
scale that only the wealthy can afford
He came to an end and stared
antagonistically at the Texcocans.
Taller said, "There seems to be no
Across the table from him the ancient
Honorable Russ said, "It is difficult
to measure. We seem to count
refrigerators and privately owned
automobiles. You seem to ignore personal
standards and concentrate on
The Texcocan scientist, Wiss, said
easily, "Given the steel mills, and
eventually automobiles and refrigerators
will run off our assembly lines
like water, and will be available for
everyone, not just those who can afford
to buy them."
"Hm-m-m, eventually," Peter MacDonald
The atmosphere was suddenly hostile.
Hostile beyond anything that had
gone before in earlier conferences.
And then Martin Gunther said
without inflection, "I note that you
have removed from the Pedagogue's
library the information dealing with
"For the purpose of study," Dick
Hawkins said smoothly.
"Of course," Gunther said. "Did
you plan to return it in the immediate
"I'm afraid our studies will take
some time," Watson said flatly.
"I was afraid so," Gunther said.
"Happily, I took the precaution of
making microfilms of the material involved
more than a year ago."
Barry Watson pushed his chair
back. "We seem to have accomplished
what was possible by this conference,"
he said. "If anything." He
looked to right and left at his cohorts.
They came stiffly erect. Watson
turned on his heel and started for the
As they left, Natt Roberts turned
for a moment and said to Gunther,
"One thing, Martin. During this next
ten years you might consider whether
or not half a century has been enough
to accomplish our task. Should we
consider staying on? I would think
the Co-ordinator would accept any
recommendation along this line that
we might make."
The Genoese contingent looked
after him, long after he was gone.
Finally Martin Gunther said, "Baron
Leonar, I think it might be a good
idea if you began putting some of
your men to work on making steel
alloys suitable for spacecraft. The
way things are developing, perhaps
we'll be needing them."
Buchwald and MacDonald looked
at him unblinkingly.
It was fifty years to a day since the
Pedagogue had first gone into orbit
about Rigel. Five decades have
passed. Half a century.
Of the original crew of the Pedagogue,
six now gathered in the lounge
of the spaceship. All of them had
changed physically. Some of them
softer to the point of flabbiness; some
harder both of body and soul.
Barry Watson, Natt Roberts, Dick
Hawkins, of the Texcocan team.
Martin Gunther, Peter MacDonald,
Fredric Buchwald, of the
The gathering wasn't so large as
the one before. Only Taller and the
scientist Wiss attended from Texcoco;
only Baron Leonar and the son
of Honorable Russ from Genoa.
From the beginning they stared
with hostility across the conference
table. Even the pretense of amiability
Watson rapped finally, "I am not
going to dwell upon the measures you
have been taking that can only be
construed as military ones aimed
eventually at the Texcocan State."
Martin Gunther laughed nastily.
"Is your implication that your own
people have not taken the same measures,
in fact, inaugurated them?"
Watson said, "As I say, I have no
intention of even discussing this.
Surely we can arrive at no agreement.
There is one point, however that we
should consider on this occasion."
The corpulent Peter MacDonald
wheezed, "Well, out with it!"
Natt Roberts said, "I mentioned
the matter to you at the last meeting."
"Ah, yes," Gunther nodded. "Just
as you left. We have considered it."
The Texcocans waited for him to
"If I understand you," Gunther
said, "you think we should reconsider
returning to Terra City at this
"It should be discussed," Watson
nodded. "Whatever the ... ah ...
temporary difficulties between us, the
original project of the Pedagogue is
still our duty."
The three of the Genoese team
nodded their agreement.
"And the problem becomes, have
we accomplished completely what we
set out to do? And, further, is it necessary,
or at least preferable, for us
to stay on and continue administration
of the progress of the Rigel
They thought about it.
Buchwald said hesitantly, "It has
been my own belief that Genoa is not
quite ready for us to let loose the
... ah, reins. If we left now, I am
Roberts said, "Same applies to Texcoco.
The State has made fabulous
strides, but I am not sure what would
happen if we leaders were to leave.
There might be a complete collapse."
Watson said, "We seem to be in
basic agreement. Is a suggestion in
order that we extend, for another
twenty-five years, at least, this expedition's
Dick Hawkins said, "The Office of
MacDonald said smoothly, "Will
undoubtedly send out a ship to investigate.
We shall simply inform
them that things are not as yet propitious
to our leaving, that another
twenty-five years is in order. Since we
are on the scene, undoubtedly our
recommendation will be heeded."
Watson looked from one Earthman
to the next. "We are in agreement?"
Each in turn nodded.
Peter MacDonald said, "And do
you all realize that here we have a
unique situation that might be exploited
for the benefit of the whole
They looked to him, questioningly.
"The dynamic we find in Genoa—and
Texcoco, too, for that matter,
though we disagree on so many fundamentals—is
beyond that in the
Solar System. These are new planets,
new ambitions are alive. We have at
our fingertips man's highest developments,
evolved on Earth. But with
this new dynamic, this freshness,
might we not in time push even beyond
"You mean—" Natt Roberts said.
MacDonald nodded. "What particular
of value is gained by our
uniting Genoa and Texcoco with the
so-called Galactic Commonwealth?
Why not press ahead on our own?
With the vigor of these new races we
might well leave Earth far behind."
Watson mused, "Carrying your
suggestion to the ultimate, who is to
say that one day Rigel might not
become the new center of the human
race, rather than Sol?"
"A point well taken," Gunther
"No," Taller said softly.
The six Earthmen turned hostile
eyes to him.
"This particular matter does not
concern you, Generalissimo," Watson
rapped at him.
Taller smiled his amusement at that
and came to his feet.
"No," he said. "I am afraid that
hard though it might be for you to
give up the powers you have held so
long, you Earthlings are going to have
to return to Terra City, from whence
Baron Leonar said in gentle
"What is this?" Watson rapped.
"I'm not at all amused."
The Honorable Russ stood also.
"There is no use prolonging this. I
have heard you Earthlings say, more
than once, that man adapts to preserve
himself. Very well, we of
Genoa and Texcoco are adapting to
the present situation. We are of the
belief that if you are allowed to remain
in power we of the Rigel planets
will be destroyed, probably in an
atomic holocaust. In self-protection
we have found it necessary to unite,
we Genoese and Texcocans. We bear
you no ill will, far to the contrary.
However, it is necessary that you all
return to Earth. You have impressed
upon us the aforementioned truism
that man adapts but in the Pedagogue's
library I have found another
that also applies. Power corrupts,
and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
There were heavy automatics in
the hands of Natt Roberts and Dick
Hawkins. Barry Watson leaned back
in his chair, his eyes narrow. "How'd
you ever expect to get away with this
sort of treason, Taller?"
Martin Gunther blurted, "Or you,
Wiss, the Texcocan scientist, held
his wrist radio to his mouth and said,
"Come in now."
Dick Hawkins thumbed back the
hammer of his hand gun.
"Hold it a minute, Dick," Barry
Watson said. "I don't like this." To
Taller he rapped, "What goes on
here? Talk up, you're just about a
And it was then that they heard
the scraping on the outer hull.
The six Earthmen looked at the
"I suggest you put up your weapons,"
Taller said quietly. "At this
late stage I would hate to see further
In moments they heard the opening
and closing of locks and footsteps
along the corridor. The door
opened and in stepped,
Joe Chessman, Amschel Mayer,
Mike Dean, Louis Rosetti, and an
emaciated Jerry Kennedy. Their expressions
ran the gamut from sheepishness
to blank haughtiness.
MacDonald bug-eyed. "Dean ...
Rosetti ... the Temple priests burned
you at the stake!"
They grinned at him, shamefaced.
"Guess not," Dean said. "We were
kidnaped. We've been teaching basic
science, in some phony monastery."
Watson's face was white. "Joe," he
"Yeah," Joe Chessman growled.
"You sold me out. But Taller and
the Texcocans thought I was still of
Amschel Mayer snapped, bitterly,
"And now if you fools will put down
your stupid guns, we'll make the final
arrangements for returning this expedition
to Terra City. Personally, I'll
be glad to get away!"
Behind the five resurrected Earthmen
were a sea of faces representing
the foremost figures of both Texcoco
and Genoa in every field of endeavor.
At least fifty of them in all.
As though protectively, the eleven
Earthmen ganged together at the far
side of the messtable they'd met over
Martin Gunther, his expression
dazed, said, "I ... I don't—"
Taller resumed his spokesmanship.
"From the first the most progressive
elements on both Texcoco and Genoa
realized the value of your expedition
and have been in fundamental sympathy
with the aims the Pedagogue
originally had. Primitive life is not
idyllic. Until man is free from nature's
tyranny and has solved the
basic problems of sufficient food,
clothing, shelter, medical care and
education for all, he is unable to realize
himself. So we co-operated with
you to the extent we found possible."
His smile was grim. "I am afraid
that almost from the beginning, and
on both planets, your very actions developed
an ... underground, I believe
you call it. Not an overt one,
since we needed your assistance to
build the new industrialized culture
you showed us was possible. We even
protected you against yourselves, since
it soon became obvious that if left
alone you'd destroy each other in
your addiction to power."
Baron Leonar broke in, "Don't
misunderstand. It wasn't until the
past couple of decades that this
underground which had sprung up
independently on both planets,
Barry Watson blurted, "But Joe
... Chessman—" he refused to meet
the eye of the man he'd condemned.
Taller said, "From the first you
made no effort to study our customs.
If you had, you'd have realized why
my father allied himself to you after
you'd killed Taller First. And why I
did not take my revenge on Chessman
after he'd killed Reif. A Khan's
first training is that no personal emotion
must interfere with the needs of
the People. When you turned Joe
Chessman over to me, I realized his
education, his abilities were too great
to destroy. We sent him to a mountain
university and have used him
profitably all these years. In fact, it
was Chessman who finally brought
us to space travel."
"That's right," Buchwald blurted.
"You've got a spaceship out there.
How could you possibly—?"
Taller said mildly, "There are but
a handful of you, you could hardly
keep track of two whole planets and
all that went on upon them."
Amschel Mayer said bitingly, "All
this can be gone over on our return
to Terra City. We'll have a full year
to explain to ourselves and each other
why we became such complete idiots.
I was originally head of this expedition—before
my supposed friends
railroaded me to prison—does anyone
object if I take over again?"
"No," Joe Chessman growled.
The others shook their heads.
Taller said, "There is but one other
thing. In spite of how you may feel
at this moment of embarrassment,
basically you have succeeded in your
task. That is, you have brought Texcoco
and Genoa to an industrialized
culture. We hold various reservations
about how you accomplished this.
However, when you return to your
Co-ordinator of Galactic Colonization,
please inform him that we are
anxious to receive his ambassadors.
The term is ambassadors and we will
expect to meet on a basis of equality.
Surely in all Earth's millennia of
social evolution man has worked out
something better than either of your
teams have built here. We should
like to be instructed."
Dick Hawkins said stiffly, "We
can instruct you on Earth's present
"I am afraid we no longer trust
you, Richard Hawkins. Send others—uncorrupted
by power, privilege or
When they had gone and the sound
of their departing spacecraft had
faded, Amschel Mayer snapped, "We
might as well get underway. And
cheer up, confound it, we have lots
of time to contrive a reasonable report
for the Co-ordinator."
Jerry Kennedy managed a thin
grin, almost reminiscent of the
younger Kennedy of the first years on
Genoa. "Say," he said, "I wonder if
we'll be granted a good long vacation
before being sent on another
Produced by Greg Weeks, Bruce Albrecht, Stephen Blundell
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
This etext was produced from Astounding Science Fiction August 1960. Extensive
research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S.
copyright on this publication was renewed. Minor spelling and
typographical errors have been corrected without note.