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was kiss her quick study in gratitude. The printout had stopped its racket by the time we arrived in the
study and a long strip of tape was dangling from it. I tore it off and had a quick look.  You re right,
Cochise. Delayed hysterics. Nothing but ones and zeros. Binary gibberish.
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I handed the strip to him. He looked. He looked again. He looked again so hard that I thought it was
another fit.
 This is housekeeping, he said incredulously.
 It s the housekeeping data-retrieval from the cryocapsule.
 I don t believe it.
 You better believe it, dude.
 But it s impossible. In my diary?
 In your diary.
 But how Oh, the hell with this. Come on, Natoma. We re going to Brazil.
 Now cool, brother. Let s face facts. We start with 10001. That s the cryo identification. Then
temperature report 11011. Nominal. Humidity 10110. Nominal. Pressure, nominal. Oxygen,
nominal. CO2and other gases, below permitted maxima. Gravitation too high, but that s because the
capsule doesn t know it s been brought back to Earth. Attitude pitch, roll, and yaw, negative.
Naturally. It s sitting on its ass on the pad.
 I want to go back to my tepee with my wife.
 I go, Glig.
 You re surprised, brother?
 I m dumbfounded, brother.
 Well, the amazements aren t over yet. You didn t look at the printout carefully enough. The last line is in
XX. Read it.
I read:Net weight cryonauts increasing one gram/minute .
I handed it to the others to examine and looked around helplessly.  I m completely lost.
 How d you think we feel?
M bantu said,  Dr. Guess, may I put a few questions?
 Certainly, M bantu.
 How did this data enter Guig s diary?
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 Not known.
 What triggered the diary into printing it out?
 Not known.
 Does the cryocapsule also transmit data on cryonaut status?
 How is this data received?
 In binary words.
 But this final line is in XX.
 It is.
 Dr. Guess, have you any explanation for this anomaly?
 Not in this world, M bantu. I m as thunderstruck as the rest of you, but I m also exalted by this glorious
challenge. So many fascinating questions to be explored and answered. First, of course, is the
gram-per-minute increase in the weight of the cryonauts. Is this fact? Who says so? Who told the diary?
It must be checked. If true no matter what the source they re growing, maturing, to what? They must
be monitored by the hour. Then 
 First, I said,  U-Con funding.
 R as usual, Glig.
 The name is Guig.
 Not according to my sister. I ll need you and the powerful Poulos Poulos for that. I ll need Fee-fie to
monitor the capsule. Captain Nemo, take Laura back to your marine station. Princess, derrick.
 Ramp, she replied firmly.
 Ed, go back to the mighty state of RCA and work out these empiric equations for me: the relationship
of subjects in cryonic suspension to time in space and exposure to the space barrage. Keep in mind that
the Con Can test animals were in suspension, too.
 And why hasn t it happened to animated astronauts? Ed added.
 R, but that s a problem for exobiologists.
 Aren t you one?
 My God, we re all physicists, physicians, and physiologists wrapped up in one, today. Science isn t
compartmentalized anymore, but sometimes we need expert advice. Tycho, maybe. M bantu, you will be
kind enough to escort my liberated sister wherever she goes and whatever she does, this side of sanity.
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Lucy Borgia, heartfelt thanks andrevoir . Go back to your practice.
I caught Borgia s eye and shook my head slightly. I didn t want her leaving while the Chief was acting
 My practice will keep me here for a while, she said.
 Our good luck. Splendid. Now we ll chop to JPL. Gung, Group? Gung.
He was taking over. I wish I d known who was taking over through him.
 101100011, 110001111, 100110010,
 Will you knock off the binary bit, whoever you are.
 Now, now, Dr. Guess. Patience.
 I m being persecuted.
 You ll understand, presently.
 He is right. N speak binary.
 N programmed. Lingua, please.
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 I m here, damn you.
 This is a private conversation with your chopper, Dr. Guess. Please do not intrude.
 Then stay out of my head.
 Oh, funny. Very funny.
 He is amusing, isn t he, for a
male animal. Is he aboard?
 Ancillary information.
 Curzon. Poulos. Chinese.
 That s Fee-5 Grauman s Chinese.
 Thank you, Dr. Guess.
 Cryonaut inspection. U-Con funding. You
must know.
 Why ask, then?
 You know that you know all that we
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 Then why test us?
 I am not programmed for trust.
 You re not programmed for anything but a damned nuisance. Who the hell are you?
 I am you, Dr. Guess, and you are me.
 Does Guess have free random access
to you?
 And us?
 Then Guess is hearing all of us?
 Do we have free RA to him?
 I ll answer that. You re all pestering the life out of me with your chatter.
 Dr. Guess, I instruct you; patience.
 Will Guess obey instructions from
 He will hear and obey like the rest of you.
 Soon he will obey Poulos.
 You have not yet filed the latest
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Cryo data?
 N. Filing now.
 Poulos will fund Guess.
 100. 100. 100.
 Four-letter words in binary.
 Expressing rage. Guess must not
go to I.G. Farben.
 I cannot transmit to Ceres.
 How far can you transmit?
 Terra only, depending on Guess and
the machine network. We link up all
over the world, but there are blank
areas: Sahara, Brazil, Greenland,
the Antarctic. If Guess goes to any
of them I lose contact with all of
you, and him.
 Now that s the best news I ve had all day. I m getting off this planet first thing in the morning. Was that
true about Poulos and I.G. Farben?
 Checking now, Dr. Guess. Please listen:
 Cryo. Alert.
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 101101, 111011, 100001 Will the
rest of you be quiet? This is
important. 111000, 101010, 110011?
 100. 100. 100.
 Your binary, sir.
 N speak Greek.
 Pfui. U-Con will not fund Guess?
 The hell you say. How d you know?
 Still checking, Dr. Guess.
 Front office tapes. Alert.
 Alert, sir.
 Verify capsule?
 Y. Cryo got it from us.
 U-Con s reasons?
 Fear of the unknown. Profit motive.
Tax-deductible loss.
 100. 100. 100.
 Y, sir.
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 Out. Console. Alert.
 No response to any manipulation.
 You ve heard, Dr. Guess?
 I ve heard.
 Sore as hell.
 Control, my friend.
 I m no friend of yours. Who are you, anyway?
 Why, I thought you might have puzzled it out by now. I m the Union Carbide Extrocomputer. I also
thought we were friends. We ve worked together so long on so many interesting problems. Don t you [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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