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way of keeping a competitive advantage for the Bureau. Well, and for the rest
of the United States, too, but the important thing was to keep the NBI several
steps ahead of everybody else in the world. Was old man Krieg, the UN American
delegate, skillful enough to make that happen? Probably not. Probably the
Bureau would have to protect itself, as it always had. . . .
A new sound from Merla Tepp made her turn her head and look down. It wasn't a
snore this time. It was more like a sob. Astonished, she saw that Tepp's face
was damp with tears.
Now, what was that all about? Was Tepp, too, worrying about the future? But
then Tepp turned restlessly, still asleep, and the snoring started again.
That was insupportable. Hilda was confident there was no way she could ever
get to sleep with that racket going on half a meter from her ears . . .but
then she did.
What woke her was the deputy director's voice snapping through the aircraft's
PA system. "Wake up and get going, everybody! The UN has agreed upon a plan
and distribution of the items will start in thirty minutes."
For an old hand like Hilda thirty minutes was all the time in the world. She
was down the wheeled steps of the plane in less than twenty, and she had even
managed to browbeat the sleepy stewards into coffee and a couple of sweet
rolls. Of course, that meant she was still wearing the slept-in clothes of the
day before and she hadn't even attempted a turn at the aircraft's inadequate
showers, but she was awake and ready. It was still dark in Kourou, though
there was a faint early glow on the eastern horizon, and it was not yet
unbearably hot.
The UN's decision had been to divide the objects from Starlab into four
packets. One would go to the United States, on behalf of the whole Western
Hemisphere, one to China for the mainland Asian powers, one to the Europeans,
one to Australia to be shared with Japan, New Zealand, the island nations of
the South Pacific and the countries of Indochina. Possession did not, however,
confer ownership. So the UN's edict said firmly; research would be done under
multinational supervision, with the resulting data to be made public as soon
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as obtained.
It was a tribute to die histrionic abilities of the experts and diplomats on
the scene that not one of them was laughing out loud. Data to be made public!
Hilda had no doubt that when the
Bureau's technicians produced data the part that would be made public would be
strictly limited, and the most valuable data would stay within the Bureau
The best part was that the UN resolution clearly said the Doc was to be in
charge of any real investigation ... and, Hilda thought comfortably, she knew
who was in charge of the Doc. She made her way to where he was being
peacefully led out from the shelter in which he had spent the night by his
armed guards. Had anyone bothered to tell him what he was supposed to be
doing? That did not seem likely. The creature did not even seem curious as,
under everyone's watchful eyes, the lucky nationals began removing the bits
they had been awarded. He simply stood immobile in rest mode, still wearing
the one coppery babushka with the other still held firmly in his lowest-left
United Nations Security Council Resolution 4408
Under the powers vested in the Security Council by the Charter of the United
Nations, as amended, the Secretary General is ordered to execute the following
1. The artifacts of alien origin are to be divided into four parts, in a
manner to be chosen by
Of%20Eternity.txt (109 of 126) [1/15/03 6:27:07 PM]
0Siege%20Of%20Eternity.txt the Secretary General, each part to be deposited in
an appropriate research facility in one of the four specified regions of the
2. All investigations into the nature and functions of these artifacts are to
be conducted in the presence of a representative of the United Nations and of
each of the nations party to said region.
3. Investigations are to be limited to noninvasive procedures until further
notice. It is contemplated that the individual identified as "Doc" is to be
present when any dismantling is undertaken, provided the individual is
physically able to undertake supervision of said artifacts.
-By Order of the Security Council
But that caused a minor fracas, as one of the Indians announced that the extra
babushka was definite Scarecrow technology and, as no one else had claimed it,
it should be awarded to China for India to share.
Colonel duValier laughed at that. "You want to try to take it away from him?"
he sneered.
"Of course it must be taken from him," the Indian replied indignantly. And,
when no one volunteered for the job, she reached for it herself.
Well, Hilda could have told the woman that that was a mistake, but by the time
Hilda opened her mouth to warn her it was too late. The Doc's eyes sprang
open; one of his great upper limbs pushed the Indian delegate out of the way-
not violently, but not gently, either. The woman went flying.
The Doc didn't look after her. He turned and plodded away in the direction of
the parked American aircraft. His armed guards raised their weapons in
bafflement, but someone shouted, "For Christ's sake, don't shoot the thing!"
The Doc paid no attention to that threat, either, simply strode along with the
one metal scarf on his head and the other still clutched in one arm.
"So," the deputy director said pleasantly, to no one in particular, "I guess
that settles that."
It did, of course-though, of course, everyone around began arguing
vociferously. Hilda didn't wait to take part in the renewed bickering. She
hurried after the Doc, now stolidly climbing the steps into the deputy
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director's jet.
By the time she got inside the Doc was in the lounge, and he was no longer in
standby mode. He had commandeered some of the aircraft's monogrammed notepaper
and was busily filling pages of it with his meticulous drawings. The crew was [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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