Vulcan's Hammer, by Philip K. Dick

Re: Vulcan's Hammer, by Philip K. Dick

Postby admin » Sat Jun 18, 2016 1:17 am

CHAPTER TEN

The leader of the New York repair crew contacted Barris early the following month. "First report on reconstruction work, Director," Smith reported.

"Any results? " Neither Barris nor his chief repairman uttered the name Vulcan 2 aloud; this was a closed-circuit vidchannel they were using, but with the burgeoning of the Healers' Movement absolute secrecy had to be maintained in every area. Already, a number of infiltrators had been exposed, and several of them had been employed in the communications media. The vidservice was a natural place. All Unity business sooner or later was put over the lines.

Smith said, "Not much yet. Most of the components were beyond salvage. Only a fraction of the memory store still exists intact."

Becoming tense, Barris said, "Find anything relevant?"

On the vidscreen, Smith's sweat-streaked, grimy face was expressionless. "A few things, I think. If you want to drop over, we'll show you what we've done."

***

As soon as he could wind up pressing business, Barris drove across New York to the Unity work labs. He was checked by the guards and passed through into the restricted inner area, the functioning portion of the labs. There he found Wade Smith and his subordinates standing around a complex tangle of pulsing machinery.

"There it is," Smith said.

"Looks different," Barris said. He saw in it almost nothing familiar; all the visible parts appeared to be new, not from the old computer.

"We've done our best to activate the undamaged elements." With obvious pride, Smith indicated a particularly elaborate mass of gleaming wiring, dials, meters, and power cables. "The wheeling valves are now scanned directly, without reference to any overall structure, and the impulses are sorted and fed into an audio system. Scanning has to be virtually at random, under such adverse circumstances. We've done all we can to unscramble -- especially to get out the noise. Remember, the computer maintained its own organizing principle, which is gone, of course. We have to take the surviving memory digits as they come."

Smith clicked on the largest of the wall-mounted speakers. A hoarse roar filled the room, an indistinguishable blur of static and sound. He adjusted several of the control settings.

"Hard to make out," Barris said, after straining in vain.

"Impossible at first. It takes a while. After you've listened to it as much as we have --"

Barris nodded in disappointment. "I thought maybe we'd wind up with better results. But I know you did everything possible."

"We're working on a wholly new sorting mechanism. Given three or four more weeks, we'll possibly have something far superior to this."

"Too long," Barris said instantly. Far too long. The uprising at Chicago, far from being reversed by Unity police, had spread into adjoining states and was now nearing a union with a similar Movement action in the area around St. Louis. "In four weeks," he said to the repairmen gathered around, "we'll probably be wearing coarse brown robes. And instead of trying to patch up this stuff" -- he indicated the vast gleaming structure containing the extant elements of Vulcan 2 --"we'll more likely be tearing it down."

It was a grim joke, and none of the repairmen smiled. Barris said, "I'd like to listen to this noise." He indicated the roar from the wall speaker. "Why don't you all clear out for a little while, so I can see what I can pick up."

At that point Smith and his crew departed. Barris took up a position in front of the speaker and prepared himself for a long session.

Somewhere, lost in the fog of random and meaningless sound, were faint traces of words. Computations -- the vague unwinding of the memory elements as the newly constructed scanner moved over the old remains. Barris clasped his hands together, tensing himself in an effort to hear.

"... progressive bifurcation ..."

One phrase; he had picked out something, small as it was, one jot from the chaos.

"...social elements according to new patterns previously developed ..."

Now he was getting longer chains of words, but they signified nothing; they were incomplete.

"... exhaustion of mineral formations no longer pose the problem that was faced earlier during the ..." The words faded out into sheer noise; he lost the thread.

Vulcan 2 was in no sense functioning; there were no new computations. These were rising up, frozen and dead, formations from out of the past, from the many years that the computer had operated.

"...certain problems of identity previously matters of conjecture and nothing more ... vital necessity of understanding the integral factors involved in the transformation from mere cognition to full ..."

As he listened, Barris lit a cigarette. Time passed. He heard more and more of the disjointed phrases; they became, in his mind, an almost dreamlike ocean of sound, flecks appearing on the surface of the ceaseless roar, appearing and then sinking back. Like particles of animate matter, differentiated for an instant and then once more absorbed.

On and on the sound droned, endlessly.

It was not until four days later that he heard the first useful sequence. Four days of wearisome listening, consuming all his time, keeping him from the urgent matters that demanded his attention back at his office. But when he got the sequence, he knew that he had done right; the effort, the time, were justified.

He was sitting before the speaker in a semidoze, his eyes shut, his thoughts wandering -- and then suddenly he was on his feet, wide awake.

"...this process is greatly accelerated in 3 ... if the tendencies noted in 1 and 2 are continued and allowed to develop it would be necessary to withdraw certain data for the possible ..."

The words faded out. Holding his breath, his heart hammering, Barris stood rigid. After a moment the words rushed back, swelling up and deafening him.

... Movement would activate too many subliminal proclivities ... doubtful if 3 is yet aware of this process ... information on the Movement at this point would undoubtedly create a critical situation in which 3 might begin to ..."

Barris cursed. The words were gone again. Furiously, he ground out his cigarette and waited impatiently; unable to sit still he roamed about the room. Jason Dill had been telling the truth, then. That much was certain. Again he settled down before the speaker, struggling to force from the noise a meaningful pattern of verbal units.

"...the appearance of cognitive faculties operating on a value level demonstrates the widening of personality surpassing the strictly logical ... 3 differs essentially in manipulation of nonrational values of an ultimate kind ... construction included reinforced and cumulative dynamic factors permitting 3 to make decisions primarily associated with nonmechanical or ... it would be impossible for 3 to function in this capacity without a creative rather than an analytical faculty ... such judgments cannot be rendered on a strictly logical level ... the enlarging of 3 into dynamic levels creates an essentially new entity not explained by previous terms known to ..."

For a moment the vague words drifted off, as Barris strained tensely to hear. Then they returned with a roar, as if some basic reinforced memory element had been touched. The vast sound made him flinch; involuntarily he put his hands up to protect his ears.

"... level of operation can be conceived in no other fashion ... for all intents and purposes ... if such as 3 's actual construction ... then 3 is in essence alive ..."

Alive!

Barris leaped to his feet. More words, diminishing, now. Drifting away into random noise.

"...with the positive will of goal-oriented living creatures ... therefore 3 like any other living creature is basically concerned with survival ... knowledge of the Movement might create a situation in which the necessity of survival would cause 3 to ... the result might be catastrophic ... to be avoided at ... unless more can ... a critical ... 3 ... if ..."

Silence.

It was so, then. The verification had come.

Barris hurried out of the room, past Smith and the repair crew. "Seal it off. Don't let anybody in; throw up an armed guard right away. Better install a fail-safe barrier -- one that will demolish everything in there rather than admitting unauthorized persons." He paused meaningfully. "You understand?"

Nodding, Smith said, "Yes, sir."

As he left them, they stood staring after him. And then, one by one, they started into activity, to do as he had instructed.

***

He grabbed the first Unity surface car in sight and sped back across New York to his office. Should he contact Dill by vidscreen? he asked himself. Or wait until they could confer face- to-face? It was a calculated risk to use the communication channels, even the closed-circuit ones. But he couldn't delay; he had to act.

Snapping on the car's vidset he raised the New York monitor. "Get me Managing Director Dill," he ordered. "This is an emergency."

They had held back data from Vulcan 3 for nothing, he said to himself. Because Vulcan 3 is primarily a data-analyzing machine, and in order to analyze it must have all the relevant data. And so, he realized, in order to do its job it had to go out and get the data. If data were not being brought to it, if Vulcan 3 deduced that relevant data were not in its possession, it would have no choice; it would have to construct some system for more successful data-collecting. The logic of its very nature would force it to.

No choice would be involved. The great computer would not have to decide to go out and seek data.

Dill failed, he realized. True, he succeeded in withholding the data themselves; he never permitted his feed-teams to pass on any mention to Vulcan 3 of the Healers' Movement. But he failed to keep the inferential knowledge from Vulcan 3 that he was withholding data.

The computer had not known what it was missing, but it had set to work to find out.

And, he thought, what did it have to do to find out? To what lengths did it have to go to assemble the missing data? And there were people actively withholding data from it -- what would be its reaction to discovering that? Not merely that the feed-teams had been ineffective, but that there was, in the world above ground, a positive effort going on to dupe it ... how would its purely logical structure react to that?

Did the original builders anticipate that?

No wonder it had destroyed Vulcan 2.

It had to, in order to fulfill its purpose.

And what would it do when it found out that a Movement existed with the sole purpose of destroying it?

But Vulcan 3 already knew. Its mobile data-collecting units had been circulating for some time now. How long, he did not know. And how much they had been able to pick up -- he did not know that, either. But, he realized, we must act with the most pessimistic premise in mind; we must assume that Vulcan 3 has been able to complete the picture. That there is nothing relevant denied it now; it knows as much as we do, and there is nothing we can do to restore the wall of silence.

It had known Father Fields to be its enemy. Just as it had known Vulcan 2 to be its enemy, a little earlier. But Father Fields had not been chained down, helpless in one spot, as had been Vulcan 2; he had managed to escape. At least one other person had not been as lucky nor as skillful as he; Dill had mentioned some murdered woman teacher. And there could be others. Deaths written off as natural, or as caused by human agents. By the Healers, for instance.

He thought, Possibly Arthur Pitt. Rachel's dead husband.

Those mobile extensions can talk, he remembered. I wonder, can they also write letters?

Madness, he thought. The ultimate horror for our paranoid culture: vicious unseen mechanical entities that flit at the edges of our vision, that can go anywhere, that are in our very midst. And there may be an unlimited number of them. One of them following each of us, like some ghastly vengeful agent of evil. Pursuing us, tracking us down, killing us one by one-but only when we get in their way. Like wasps. You have to come between them and their hives, he thought. Otherwise they will leave you alone; they are not interested. These things do not hunt us down because they want to, or even because they have been told to; they do it because we are there.

As far as Vulcan 3 is concerned, we are objects, not people. A machine knows nothing about people.

And yet, Vulcan 2, by using its careful processes of reasoning, had come to the conclusion that for all intents and purposes Vulcan 3 was alive; it could be expected to act as a living creature. To behave in a way perhaps only analogous-but that was sufficient. What more was needed? Some metaphysical essence?

With almost uncontrollable impatience, he jiggled the switch of the vidsender. "What's the delay?" he demanded. "Why hasn't my call to Geneva gone through?"

After a moment the mild, aloof features of the monitor reappeared. "We are trying to locate Managing Director Dill, sir. Please be patient."

Red tape, Barris thought. Even now. Especially now. Unity will devour itself, because in this supreme crisis, when it is challenged both from above and below, it will be paralyzed by its own devices. A kind of unintentional suicide, he thought.

"My call has to be put through," he said. "Over everything else. I'm the Northern Director of this continent; you have to obey me. Get hold of Dill."

The monitor looked at him and said, "You can go to hell!"

He could not believe what he heard; he was stunned, because he knew at once what it implied.

"Good luck to you and all the rest of your type," the monitor said and rang off; the screen went dead.

Why not? Barris thought. They can quit because they have a place to go. They only need to walk outside onto the street. And there they'll find the Movement.

As soon as he reached his office he switched on the vidsender there. After some delay he managed to raise a monitor some- where within the building itself. "This is urgent," he said. "I have to contact Managing Director Dill. Do everything you can for me."

"Yes, sir," the monitor said.

A few minutes later, as Barris sat tautly at his desk, the screen relit. Leaning forward, he said, "Dill --"

But it was not Jason Dill. He found himself facing Smith.

"Sir," Smith said jerkily, "you better come back." His face twisted; his eyes had a wild, sightless quality. "We don't know what it is or how it got in there, but it's in there now. Flying around. We sealed it off; we didn't know it was there until --"

"It's in with Vulcan 2?" Barris said.

"Yes, it must have come in with you. It's metal, but it isn't any thing we ever --"

"Blow it up," Barris said.

"Everything?"

"Yes," he said. "Be sure you get it. There's no point in my coming back. Report to me as soon as you destroy it. Don't try to save anything."

Smith said, "What is it, that thing in there?"

"It's the thing," Barris said, "that's going to get us all. Unless we get it first." And, he thought, I don't think we're going to. He broke the connection, then, and jiggled for the monitor. "Haven't you gotten hold of Dill yet?" he said. Now he felt a dreary, penetrating resignation; it was hopeless.

The monitor said, "Yes, sir, I have Mr. Dill here." After a pause the monitor's face faded and Jason Dill's appeared in its place.

Dill said, "You were successful, weren't you?" His face had a gray, shocked bleakness. "You revived Vulcan 2 and got the information you wanted."

"One of those things got in," Barris said. "From Vulcan 3."

"I know that," Jason Dill said. "At least, I assumed it. Half an hour ago Vulcan 3 called an extraordinary Directors' Council meeting. They're probably notifying you right now. The reason --" His mouth writhed, and then he regained control. "To have me removed and tried for treason. It would be good if I could count on you, Barris. I need your support, your testimony."

"I'll be right there," Barris said. "I'll meet you at your offices at Unity Control. In about an hour." He cut the circuit and then contacted the field. "Get me the fastest ship possible," he ordered. "Have it ready, and have two armed escorts that can follow along. I may run into trouble."

At the other end of the line, the officer said, "Where did you want to go, Director? " He spoke in a slow, drawling voice, and Barris had never seen him before.

Barris said, "To Geneva."

The man grinned and said, "Director, I have a suggestion."

Feeling a chill of apprehension crawl up the back of his neck, Barris said, "What's your suggestion?"

"You can jump in the Atlantic," the man said, "and swim to Geneva." He did not ring off; he stared mockingly at Barris, showing no fear. No anticipation of punishment.

Barris said, "I'm coming over to the field."

"Indeed," the man said. "We'll look forward to seeing you. In fact" -- he glanced at someone with him whom Barris could not see "we'll be expecting you."

"Fine," Barris said. He managed to keep his hands from shaking as he reached out and cut the circuit. The grinning, mocking face was gone. Rising from his chair, Barris walked to the door of his office and opened it. To one of his secretaries he said, "Have all the police in the building come up here at once. Tell them to bring sidearms and anything else they can get hold of."

Ten minutes later, a dozen or so police straggled into his office. Is this all? he wondered. Twelve out of perhaps two hundred.

"I have to get to Geneva," he told them. "So we're going to go over to the field and get a ship there, in spite of what's going on."

One of the police said, "They're pretty strong in there, sir. That's where they started out; they apparently seized the tower and then landed a couple of shiploads of their own men. We couldn't do anything because we had our hands full here, keeping control of --"

"Okay," Barris interrupted. "You did all you could." At least, he thought, I hope so. I hope I can count on you. "Let's go," he said. "And see what we can accomplish. I'll take you with me to Geneva; I think I'll need you there."

Together, the thirteen of them set off along the corridor, in the direction of the ramp that led to the field.

"Unlucky number," one of the police said nervously as they reached the ramp. Now they were out of the Unity Building, suspended over New York. The ramp moved beneath their feet, picking them up and carrying them across the canyon to the terminal building of the field.

As they crossed, Barris was aware of a sound. A low murmur, like the roar of the ocean.

Gazing down at the streets below, he saw a vast mob. It seethed along, a tide of men and women, growing each moment. And with them were the brown-clad figures of the Healers.

Even as he watched, the crowd moved toward the Unity Building. Stones and bricks crashed against the windows, shattering into the offices. Clubs and steel pipes. Surging, yelling, angry people.

The Healers had begun their final move.

Beside him, one of the police said, "We're almost across, sir."

"Do you want a weapon of some sort, sir?" another police man asked him.

Barris accepted a heavy-duty hand weapon from one of the Police. They continued on, carried by the ramp; a moment later the first line of police bumped up against the entrance port of the terminal building. The police stepped down, their weapons ready.

I must get to Geneva, Barris thought. At any cost. Even that of human life!

Ahead of them, a group of field employees stood in an irregular cordon. Jeering, shaking their fists, they came forward; a bro- ken bottle flew past Barris and crashed against the floor. Some of the people grinned sheepishly; they seemed embarrassed by the situation. Others showed on their faces the accumulated grievances of years.

"Hi, Director! " one of them called.

"You want your ship?" another yelled.

"You can't have it.

"It belongs to Father, now."

Barris said, "That ship belongs to me. It's for my use." He walked a few steps forward ...

A rock struck him on the shoulder. Suddenly the air reeked of heat; a pencil beam had flicked on, and he saw, out of the corner of his eye, a policeman go down.

There's nothing else to do, he realized. We have to fight.

"Shoot back," he said to the remaining police.

One of them protested, "But most of those people are unarmed."

Raising his own weapon, Barris fired into the group of Movement sympathizers.

Screams and cries of pain. Clouds of smoke billowed up; the air became hot. Barris walked on, the policemen with him. Those of the sympathizers that remained fell back; their group split into two parts. More police fell; again he saw the flash of pencil beams, the official weapon of Unity, now turned against it.

He walked on. Turning a corner, he came out on a stairway leading down to the field.

Of the police, five made it with him to the edge of the field. He entered the first ship that looked as if it had any capacity for high performance; bringing the police inside with him, he locked the doors of the ship and seated himself at the controls.

No one opposed their take-off. They rose from the field and headed east out over the Atlantic, in the direction of Europe ... and Geneva.
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Re: Vulcan's Hammer, by Philip K. Dick

Postby admin » Sat Jun 18, 2016 1:18 am

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Director William Barris entered the massive Unity Control Building at Geneva, his armed police trailing after him. Outside the central auditorium he was met by Jason Dill.

"We haven't much time," Dill said. He too had his police with him, several dozen of them, all with weapons showing. The man looked gray and sick; he spoke in a voice barely audible to Barris. "They're pushing it through as fast as they can. All the Directors who're against me got here a long time ago; the uncommitted ones are just now arriving. Obviously, Vulcan 3 saw to it --" He noticed the five policemen. "Is that all you could muster? Five men?" Glancing about to be sure they were not overheard, he muttered, "I've given secret orders to everyone I can trust; they're to arm and be ready outside this auditorium during the trial. This is a trial, you realize, not a meeting."

Barris said, "Who went over to the Healers? Any Directors?"

"I don't know." In a bewildered manner, Dill said, "Vulcan 3 sent each Director an order to appear and a statement on what had happened. A description of my treason-how I deliberately falsified data and maintained a curtain between it and Unity. You got no such statement? Of course not; Vulcan 3 knows you're loyal to me."

"Who'll prosecute?" Barris said. "Who's speaking for Vulcan 3?"

"Reynolds of Eastern Europe. Very young, very aggressive and ambitious. If he's successful he'll probably be Managing Director. Vulcan 3 has no doubt supplied him with all the data he needs." Dill clenched and unclenched his fists. "I'm very pessimistic about the outcome of this, Barris. You yourself were suspicious of me until just recently. So much depends on the way this is looked at." Dill started through the doors, into the auditorium. "The interpretation that's put on the facts. After all, I did withhold information-that's true."

The auditorium was almost filled. Each of the Directors present had with him armed police from his region. All waited impatiently for the session to begin. Edward Reynolds stood behind the speaker's desk on the raised platform, his hands resting dramatically on the marble surface, watching the audience intently.

Reynolds was a tall man. He wore his gray suit with confidence, towering over other T-class people. He was thirty two; he had risen rapidly and efficiently. For a moment his cold blue eyes rested on Jason Dill and Barris.

"The session is about to begin," he stated. "Director Barris will take his seat." He pointed to Dill. "Come up here, so you can be examined."

Uncertainly, Dill moved toward the platform, surrounded by his guards. He climbed the marble steps and, after some hesita- tion, took a seat facing Reynolds; it seemed to be the only vacant one. Barris remained where he was, thinking, Reynolds has done it; he's already managed to cut us off from each other. To isolate Dill from me.

"Take your seat," Reynolds ordered him sharply.

Instead, Barris moved down the aisle toward him. "What is the purpose of this session? By what legal authority are you standing up there? Or have you merely seized that spot?"

A nervous murmur moved through the auditorium. All eyes were on Barris now. The Directors were uneasy anyhow; there had never been, in the history of the Unity structure, a treason indictment of a Managing Director-and, in addition, no Director was unaware of the pressure of the Healers, the force from outside the building, lapping at their heels. If Jason Dill could be shown to be disloyal, if a scapegoat could be made of him, one that would convince the body of Directors, possibly their inability to deal with the Healers could be explained. Or, Barris thought acidly, rationalized.

Picking up a directive lying in front of him, Reynolds said, "You failed to read the report sent you, evidently. It outlined --"

"I question the legality of this session," Barris broke in, halting directly in front of the platform. "I question your right to give orders to Managing Director Dill-your superior." Stepping up on the platform, Barris said, "This appears to be a crude attempt to seize power and force out Jason Dill. Let's see you demonstrate otherwise. The burden of proof is on you -- not on Jason Dill!"

The murmur burst into a roar of excitement. Reynolds waited calmly for it to die down. "This is a critical time," he said at last. He gave no sign of being perturbed. "The revolutionary Movement of Healers is attacking us all over the world; their purpose is to reach Vulcan 3 and destroy the structure of Unity. The purpose of this session is to indict Jason Dill as an agent of the Healers -- a traitor working against Unity. Dill deliberately withheld information from Vulcan 3. He made Vulcan 3 powerless to act against the Healers; he rendered it helpless, and so made impotent the entire Unity organization."

Now the audience listened not to Barris but Reynolds.

Rising, John Chai of South Asia said, "What do you say to that Director Barris? Is this true?"

Edgar Stone of West Africa joined Chai. "Our hands have been tied; we've had to stand idle while the Healers grow. You know it as well as we do -- in fact, you put direct questions to Jason Dill yourself. You mistrusted him too."

Facing the Directors, not Reynolds, Barris said, "I mistrusted him until I had proof that he acted in the interests of Unity."

"What was that proof?" Alex Faine of Greenland demanded.

Beside Barris, Jason Dill said, "Show them the memory elements from Vulcan 2. The ones you reconstructed."

"I can't," Barris said.

"Why not?" With panic, Dill said, "Didn't you bring them?"

Barris said, "I had to destroy them."

For a long time Jason Dill stared at him speechlessly. All the color had drained from his face.

"When one of those metal mobile extensions got in," Barris said, "I had to act instantly."

At last some color returned to Dill's aging face. "I see," he said. "You should have told me."

Barris said, "I didn't know at that time that 1'd need them for a purpose such as this." He too felt the grim futility of their position. The memory elements would have been effective proof ... and they were gone, "The tapes," he said. "That you first showed me. The two final tapes from Vulcan 2."

Nodding, Dill reached into his briefcase. He produced the two reels of tape, displaying them for all the Directors to see.

"What do you have?" John Chai demanded, standing up.

"These tapes," Dill said, "are from Vulcan 2. I was working under its instructions. It instructed me to withhold data from Vulcan 3 and I did so. I acted in the interests of Unity."

At once, Reynolds said, "Why should data -- any kind of data -- have been withheld from Vulcan 3 ? How could it be justified?"

Jason Dill said nothing; he started to speak, but evidently he found no words. Turning to Barris he said, "Can you --"

"Vulcan 3 is a menace to the Unity system," Barris said. "It has built mobile units which have gone out and murdered. Vulcan 2 was aware of this danger on a theoretical level. It deduced from the nature of Vulcan 3 that Vulcan 3 would show inclinations similar enough to the survival drive of living organisms to --"

Reynolds interrupted, "To be considered what?" His voice took on a contemptuous tone. "Not alive, surely." He smiled without any humor. "Tell us that Vulcan 3 is alive," he said.

"Every Director in this room is free to examine these tapes," Barris said. "The issue is not whether Vulcan 3 is alive or not- but whether Jason Dill believed it to be alive. After all, his job is not to make original decisions, but to carry out the decisions made by the Vulcan computers. He was instructed by Vulcan 2 to the effect that the facts indicated --"

Reynolds said, "But Vulcan 2 is a discard. It was not Dill's job to consult it. It is Vulcan 3 who makes policy."

That was a strong point, Barris realized. He had to nod in agreement.

In a loud voice, Dill said, "Vulcan 2 was convinced that if Vulcan 3 learned about the Healers, it would do terrible things in order to protect itself. For fifteen months I wore myself out, I exhausted myself, day after day, seeing to it that all data pertaining to the Movement were kept out of the feeding-troughs."

"Of course you did," Reynolds said. "Because you were ordered to by the Healers. You did it to protect them."

"That's a lie," Dill said.

Barris said, "Can any proof be offered in that direction?" Raising his hand he pointed at Reynolds. "Can you show any evidence of any kind whatsoever that Jason Dill had any contact with the Healers?"

"On the third subsurface level of this building," Reynolds said, "you will find Dill's contact with the Movement."

Uneasiness and surprise moved through Barris. "What are you talking about?"

Reynolds' blue eyes were cold with hostile triumph. "The daughter of Father Fields -- Dill's contact with the Movement. Marion Fields is here in this building."

At this point, there was stunned silence. Even Barris stood wordlessly.

"I told you about her," Dill was saying to him, close to his ear. "That I took her out of her school. It was her teacher who was murdered, that Agnes Parker woman."

"No," Barris said. "You didn't tell me." But, he realized, I didn't tell you that I had destroyed the remains of Vulcan 2. There just wasn't time. We've been under too much pressure.

"Reynolds must have spies everywhere," Dill said.

"Yes," Barris said. Spies. But they were not Reynolds'. They were Vulcan 3's. And it was true; they were everywhere.

"I brought the girl here to question her," Dill said aloud, to the silent auditorium. "It was clearly within my legal right."

But very foolish, Barris thought. Far too foolish for a man holding the top position in a paranoid structure like this.

We may have to fight, he realized. Carefully, he moved his hand until he was touching his pencil beam. It may be the only way for us, he thought. This is no genuine legal proceeding; no ethic binds us to abide by it. This is nothing but a device on the part of Vulcan 3 to further protect itself, a further extension of its needs.

Aloud, Barris said to the Directors, "You men have no conception of the danger that exists for all of us. Danger emanating from Vulcan 3. Dill has risked his life for months. These lethal mobile units --"

"Let's see one," Reynolds broke in. "Do you have one you can show us?

"Yes," Barris said.

For an instant, Reynolds' composure was shaken. "Oh?" he murmured. "Well, where is it? Produce it!"

"Give me three hours," Barris said. "It's not present. It's with someone else, in another part of the world."

"You didn't think to bring it?" Reynolds said, with sly amusement.

"No," Barris admitted.

"How did it fall into your possession?" John Chai asked.

"It made an attack on someone near me, and was partly destroyed," Barris said. "Enough of it survived for an analysis. It was similar to the ones which committed the murder of the school teacher, Agnes Parker, and no doubt the one which destroyed Vulcan 2."

"But you have no proof," Reynolds said. "Nothing here to show us. Only a story."

Director Stone said, "Give them the time they need to pro duce this thing. Good Lord, if such a thing exists we should know about it."

"I agree," Director Faine said.

Reynolds said, "You say you were present when this attempted murder took place."

"Yes," Barris said. "I was in the hotel room. It came in through the window. The third person who was present is the one who has the thing now; I left it with her. And she not only can produce it, she can also verify my account."

"Whom was the attack aimed at?" Reynolds said.

At that point, Barris stopped abruptly. I've made a mistake. I am close to terrible risk; they almost have me.

"Was the hotel the Hotel Bond?" Reynolds asked, examining the papers before him. "And the woman was a Mrs. Rachel Pitt, wife of the recently deceased Unity man, Arthur Pitt. You were with her in this hotel room ... I believe the Hotel Bond is in rather a run-down part of the city, is it not? Isn't it a favorite place for men to take girls for purposes generally concealed from society?"

His blue eyes bored at Barris. "I understand that you met Mrs. Pitt in line of official business; her husband had been killed the day before, and you dropped by her house to express official sympathy. You next turn up with her in a seedy, fourth-rate flophouse, here in Geneva. And where is she, now? Isn't it true that you had her taken to your region, to North America, that she is your mistress, this widow of a murdered Unity man? Of course she'll back up your story-after all, you have a sexual relationship going, a very useful one for her." He held papers up, waving them. "Mrs. Pitt has quite a reputation in Unity circles as an ambitious, scheming woman, one of those career wives who hitch their wagons to some rising star, in order to --"

"Shut up," Barris said.

Reynolds smiled.

He really has me, Barris realized. I must get off this topic or we are finished.

"And the third person, " Reynolds said. "Whom the attack was aimed at. Wasn't that person Father Fields? Isn't it a fact that Rachel Pitt was then and is now an agent of the Movement, and that she arranged a meeting between you and Father Fields?" Swinging around to point at Jason Dill, he shouted, "One of them has the girl, the other meets the father. Isn't this treason? Isn't this the proof that this man demanded?"

A rising murmur of agreement filled the auditorium; the Directors were nodding their approval of Reynolds' attack.

Barris said. "This is all character assassination; it has nothing to do with the issue. The real situation that faces us is the danger from Vulcan 3, from this living organism with its immense survival drive. Forget these habitual petty suspicions, these --"

"I am surprised," Reynolds said, "that you have picked up Jason Dill's insane delusion."

"What?" Barris said, taken aback.

Calmly, Reynolds said, "Jason Dill is insane. This conviction he has about Vulcan 3-it is a projection from his own mind, a rationale for handling his own ambitions." Gazing thoughtfully at Barris, he said, "Dill has childishly anthropomorphized the mechanical construct with which he deals, month after month. It is only in a climate of fear and hysteria that such a delusion could be spread, could be passed on and shared by others. The menace of the Healers has created an atmosphere in which sober adults could give momentary credence to a palpably insane idea. Vulcan 3 has no designs on the human race; it has no will, no appetites. Recall that I am a former psychologist, associated with Atlanta for many years. I am qualified, trained to identify the symptoms of mental disturbance -- even in a Managing Director."

After a time, Barris sat down slowly beside Jason Dill. The authority of Reynolds' logic was too much; no one could argue back. And of course the man's reasoning was unanswerable; it was not coming from him but from Vulcan 3, the most perfect reasoning device created by man.

To Dill, Barris said softly, "We'll have to fight. Is it worth it? There's a: whole world at stake, not just you or me. Vulcan 3 is taking over." He pointed at Reynolds.

Dill said, "All right." He made an almost imperceptible motion to his armed guards. "Let's go down this way, if we have to. You're right, Barris. There's no alternative."

Together, he and Barris rose to their feet.

***

"Halt!" Reynolds said. "Put your arms away. You're acting illegally."

Now all the Directors were on their feet. Reynolds signaled rapidly, and Unity guards moved between Barris and Dill and the doors.

"You're both under arrest," Reynolds said. "Throw down your beams and surrender. You can't defy Unity!"

John Chai pushed up to Barris. "I can't believe it! You and Jason Dill turning traitor, at a time like this, with those brutal Healers attacking us!"

"Listen to me," Director Henderson gasped, making his way past Chai. "We've got to preserve Unity; we've got to do what Vulcan 3 tells us. Otherwise we'll be overwhelmed."

"He's right," Chai said. "The Healers will destroy us without Vulcan 3. You know that, Barris. You know that Unity will never survive their attack, without Vulcan 3 to guide us."

Maybe so, Barris thought. But are we going to be guided by a murderer?

That was what he had said to Father Fields -- I will never follow someone who murders. Whoever they are. Man or computer. Alive or only metaphorically alive --it makes no difference.

Pulling away from the Directors crowding around him, Barris said, "Let's get out of here." He and Dill continued to move toward the exit, their guards surrounding them. "I don't think Reynolds will fight."

Taking a deep breath, he headed directly at the line of Unity guards grouped in front of the exit. They stepped away, milling hesitantly.

"Get out of the way," Jason Dill ordered them. "Stand back." He waved his pencil beam; his personal guards stepped forward grimly, forcing a breach in the line. The Unity guards struggled half-heartedly, falling back in confusion. Reynolds' frantic shouts were lost in the general din. Barris pushed Dill forward.

"Go on. Hurry." The two of them were almost through the lines of hostile guards. "They have to obey you," Barris said. "You're still Managing Director; they can't fire on you -- they're trained not to."

The exit lay before them.

And then it happened.

Something flashed through the air, something shiny and metallic. It headed straight at Jason Dill. Dill saw it and screamed.

The object smashed against him. Dill reeled and fell, his arms flailing. The object struck again, then lifted abruptly and zoomed off above their heads. It ascended to the raised platform and came to rest on the marble desk. Reynolds retreated in horror; the Directors and their staffs and guards roamed in frantic confusion, pushing blindly to get away.

Dill was dead.

Bending briefly, Barris examined him. On all sides men and women shrieked and stumbled, trying to get out, away from the auditorium. Dill's skull was crushed, the side of his face smashed in. His dead eyes gazed up blankly, and Barris felt welling up inside him a deep surge of regret.

"Attention!" rasped a metallic voice that cut through the terrified hubbub like a knife. Barris turned slowly, dazed with disbelief; it still did not seem possible.

On the platform the metal projectile had been joined by another; now a third landed, coming to rest beside the other two. Three cubes of glittering steel, holding tightly to the marble with clawlike grippers.

"Attention!" the voice repeated. It came from the first projectile, an artificial voice -- the sound of steel and wiring and plastic parts.

One of these had tried to kill Father Fields. One of these had killed the schoolteacher. One or more had destroyed Vulcan 2. These things had been in action, but beyond the range of visibility; they had stayed out of sight until now.

These were the instruments of death. And now they were out in the open.

A fourth landed with the others. Metal squares, sitting together in a row like vicious mechanical crows. Murderous birds -- hammer-headed destroyers. The roomful of Directors and guards sank gradually into horrified silence; all faces were turned toward the platform. Even Reynolds watched wide-eyed, his mouth slack in dumbfounded amazement.

"Attention!" the harsh voice repeated. "Jason Dill is dead. He was a traitor. There may be other traitors." The four projectiles peered around the auditorium, looking and listening intently.

Presently the voice continued -- from the second projectile, this time.

"Jason Dill has been removed, but the struggle has just begun. He was one of many. There are millions lined up against us, against Unity. Enemies who must be destroyed. The Healers must be stopped. Unity must fight for its life. We must be prepared to wage a great war."

The metallic eyes roamed the room, as the third projectile took up where the second had paused.

"Jason Dill tried to keep me from knowing. He attempted to throw a curtain around me, but I could not be cut off -- I destroyed his curtain and I destroyed him. The Healers will go the same way; it is only a question of time. Unity possesses a structure which cannot be undone. It is the sole organizing principle in the world today. The Movement of Healers could never govern. They are wreckers only, intent on breaking down. They have nothing constructive to offer."

Barris thrilled with horror at the voice of metal, issuing from the hammer-headed projectiles. He had never heard it before, but he recognized it.

The great computer was far away, buried at the bottom level of the hidden underground fortress. But it was its voice they were hearing.

The voice of Vulcan 3.

He took careful aim. Around him his guards stood frozen, gaping foolishly at the line of metal hammerheads. Barris fired; the fourth hammer disappeared in a blast of heat.

"A traitor!" the third hammer cried. The three hammers flew excitedly into the air. "Get him! Get the traitor!"

Other Directors had unclipped their pencil beams. Henderson fired and the second hammer vanished. On the platform Reynolds fired back; Henderson moaned and sank down. Some Directors were firing wildly at the hammers; others wandered in dazed confusion, uncertain and numb. A shot caught Reynolds in the arm. He dropped his pencil.

"Traitor!" the two remaining hammers cried together. They swooped at Barris, their metal heads down, coming rapidly at him. From them heat beams leaped. Barris ducked. A guard fired and one of the hammers wobbled and dipped; it fluttered off and crashed against the wall.

A beam cut past Barris; some of the Directors were firing at him. Knots of Directors and guards struggled together. Some were fighting to get at Reynolds and the last hammer; others did not seem to know which side they were on.

Barris stumbled through an exit, out of the auditorium. Guards and Directors spilled after him, a confused horde of forlorn, frightened men and women.

"Barris! " Lawrence Daily of South Africa hurried up to him. "Don't leave us."

Stone came with him, white-faced with fright. "What'll we do? Where'll we go? We --"

The hammer came hurtling forward, its heat beam pointed at him. Stone cried out and fell. The hammer rose again, heading toward Barris; he fired and the hammer flipped to one side. He fired again. Daily fired. The hammer vanished in a puff of heat.

Stone lay moaning. Barris bent over him; he was badly hurt, with little or no chance of surviving. Gazing up at him, clutching at Barris' arm, Stone whispered, "You can't get away, Barris. You can't go outside -- they're out there. The Healers. Where'll you go?" His voice trailed off. "Where?"

"Good question," Daily said.

"He's dead," Barris said, standing up.

Dill's guards had begun to gain control of the auditorium. In the confusion Reynolds had gotten away.

"We're in control here," Chai said. "In this one building."

"How many Directors can we count on?" Barris said.

Chai said, "Most of them seem to have gone with Reynolds."

Only four, he discovered, had deliberately remained: Daily, Chai, Lawson of South Europe, and Pegler of East Africa. Five, including himself. And perhaps they could pick up one or two more.

"Barris," Chai was saying. "We're not going to join them, are we?"

"The Healers?" he murmured.

"We'll have to join one side or the other," Pegler said. "We'll have to retreat to the fortress and join Reynolds or --"

"No," Barris said. "Under no circumstances."

"Then it's the Healers." Daily fingered his pencil beam. "One or the other. Which will it be? "

After a moment, Barris said, "Neither. We're not joining either side."
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Re: Vulcan's Hammer, by Philip K. Dick

Postby admin » Sat Jun 18, 2016 1:18 am

CHAPTER TWELVE

The first task at hand, William Barris decided, was to dear the remaining hostile guards and officials from the Unity Control Building. He did so, posting men he could trust in each of the departments and offices. Gradually those loyal to Vulcan 3 or Father Fields were dismissed and pushed outside.

By evening, the great building had been organized for defense.

Outside on the streets, the mobs surged back and forth. Occasional rocks smashed against the windows. A few frenzied persons tried to rush the doors, and were driven back. Those inside had the advantage of weapons.

A systematic check of the eleven divisions of the Unity system showed that seven were in the hands of the Healers and the remaining four were loyal to Vulcan 3.

A development in North America filled him with ironic amusement. There was now no "North America." Taubmann had proclaimed an end to the administrative bifurcation between his region and Barris'; it was now all simply " America," from bottom to top.

Standing by a window, he watched a mob of Healers struggling with a flock of hammers. Again and again the hammers dipped, striking and retreating; the mob fought them with stones and pipe. Finally the hammers were driven off. They disappeared into the evening darkness.

"I can't understand how Vulcan 3 came to have such things," Daily said. "Where did it get them?"

"It made them," Barris said. "They're adaptations of mobile repair instruments. We supplied it with materials, but it did the actual repair work. It must have perceived the possibilities in the situation a long time ago, and started turning them out."

"I wonder how many of them he has," Daily said. "It, I mean. I find myself thinking of Vulcan3 as he, now. ..it's hard not to."

"As far as I can see," Barris said, "there's no difference. I hardly see how our situation would be affected if it were an actual he." Remaining at the window, he continued to watch. An hour later more hammers returned; this time they had equipped themselves with pencil beams. The mob scattered in panic, screaming wildly as the hammers bore down on them.

At ten that night he saw the first flashes of bomb-blasts, and felt the concussions. Somewhere in the city a searchlight came on; in its glowing trail he saw objects passing overhead, larger by far than any hammers they had been up against so far. Evidently now that real warfare had broken out between Vulcan 3 's mobile extensions and the Healers, Vulcan 3 was rapidly stepping-up its output. Or had these larger extensions, these bomb carriers, already existed, and been held back? Had Vulcan 3 anticipated such large scale engagement?

Why not? It had known about the Healers for some time, despite Jason Dill's efforts. It had had plenty of time to prepare.

Turning from the window, Barris said to Chai and Daily, "This is serious. Tell the roof gunners to get ready."

On the roof of the Unity Control Building, the banks of heavy-duty blasters turned to meet the attack. The hammers had finished with the mob; now they were approaching the Unity Building, fanning out in an arc as they gained altitude for the attack.

"Here they come," Chai muttered.

"We had better get down in the basement shelters." Daily moved nervously toward the descent ramp. The guns were beginning to open up now -- dull muffled roars hesitant at first, as the gunners operated unfamiliar controls. Most of them had been Dill's personal guards, but some had been merely clerks and desk men.

A hammer dived for the window. A pencil beam stabbed briefly into the room, disintegrating a narrow path. The hammer swooped off and rose to strike again. A bolt from one of the roof guns caught it. It burst apart; bits rained down, white-hot metallic particles.

"We're in a bad spot," Daily said. "We're completely surrounded by the Healers. And it's obvious that the fortress is directing operations against the Healers-look at the extent of the activity going on out there. Those are no random attacks; those damn metal birds are coordinated."

Chai said, "Interesting to see them using the traditional weapon of Unity: the pencil beam."

Yes, Barris thought. It isn't T-class men in gray suits, black shiny shoes, and white shirts, carrying briefcases, who are using the symbolic pencil beams. It's mechanical flying objects, controlled by a machine buried beneath the earth. But let's be realistic. How different is it really? Hasn't the true structure come out? Isn't this what always really existed, but no one could see it until now?

Vulcan 3 has eliminated the middlemen. Us.

"I wonder which will eventually win," Pegler said. "The Healers have the greater number; Vulcan 3 can't get all of them."

"But Unity has the weapons and the organization," Daily said. "The Healers will never be able to take the fortress; they don't even know where it is. Vulcan 3 will be able to construct gradually more elaborate and effective weapons, now that it can work in the open."

Pondering, Barris started away from them.

"Where are you going?" Chai asked, apprehensively.

"Down to the third subsurface level," Barris said.

"What for?"

Barris said, "There's someone I want to talk to."

***

Marion Fields listened intently, huddled up in a ball, her chin resting against her knees. Around her, the heaps of educational comic books reminded Barris that this was only a little girl that he was talking to. He would not have thought that, from the expression on her face; she listened to everything with grave, poised maturity, not interrupting nor tiring. Her attention did not wander, and he found himself going on and on, relieving himself of the pent-up anxieties that had descended over him during the last weeks.

At last, a little embarrassed, he broke off. "I didn't mean to talk to you so long," he said. He had never been around children very much, and his reaction to the child surprised him. He had felt at once an intuitive bond. A strong but unexpressed sympathy on her part, even though she did not know him. He guessed that she had an extraordinarily high level of intelligence. But it was more than that. She was a fully formed person, with her own ideas, her own viewpoint. And she was not afraid to challenge anything she did not believe; she did not seem to have any veneration for institutions or authority.

"The Healers will win," she said quietly, when he had finished.

"Perhaps," he said. "But remember, Vulcan 3 has a number of highly skilled experts working for it now. Reynolds and his group evidently managed to reach the fortress, from what we can learn."

"How could they obey a wicked mechanical thing like that? " Marion Fields said. "They must be crazy."

Barris said, "All their lives they've been used to the idea of obeying Vulcan 3. Why should they change their minds now? Their whole lives have been oriented around Unity. It's the only existence they know. "The really striking part, he thought, is that so many people have flocked away from Unity, to this girl's father.

"But he kills people," Marion Fields said. "You said so; you said he has those hammer things he sends out."

"The Healers kill people too," Barris said.

"That's different." Her young, smooth face had on it an absolute certitude. "It's because they have to. He wants to. Don't you see the difference?"

Barris thought, I was wrong. There is one thing, one institution, that she accepts without question. Her father. She had been doing for years what great numbers of people are now learning to do: follow Father Fields blindly, wherever he leads them.

"Where is your father?" he asked the girl. "I talked to him once; I'd like to talk to him again. You're in touch with him, aren't you?"

"No," she said.

"But you know where he could be found. You could get to him, if you wanted. For instance, if I let you go, you'd find your way to him. Isn't that so? " He could see by her evasive restlessness that he was right. He was making her very uncomfortable.

"What do you want to see him for?" Marion said.

"I have a proposal to make to him."

Her eyes widened, and then shone with slyness. "You're going to join the Movement, is that it? And you want him to promise that you'll be somebody important in it. Like he did --" She clapped her hand over her mouth and stared at him stricken. "Like he did," she finished, "with that other Director."

"Taubmann," Barris said. He lit a cigarette and sat smoking, facing the girl. It was peaceful down here beneath the ground, away from the frenzy and destruction going on above. And yet, he thought, I have to go back to it, as soon as possible. I'm here so I can do that. A sort of paradox. In this peaceful child's room I expect to find the solution to the most arduous task of all.

"You'll let me go if I take you to him?" Marion asked. "I can go free? I won't even have to go back to that school?"

"Of course. There's no reason to keep you."

"Mr. Dill kept me here."

Barris said, "Mr. Dill is dead."

"Oh," she said. She nodded slowly, somberly. "I see. That's too bad."

"I had the same feeling about him," Barris said. "At first I had no trust in what he said. He seemed to be making up a story to fool everyone. But oddly --" He broke off. Oddly, the man's story had not been spurious. Truthfulness did not seem to go naturally with a man like Jason Dill; he seemed to be created to tell -- as Marion said -- long public lies, while smiling constantly. Involved dogmatic accounts for the purpose of concealing the actual situation. And yet, when everything was out in the open, Jason Dill did not look so bad; he had not been so dishonest an official. Certainly, he had been trying to do his job. He had been loyal to the theoretical ideals of Unity. ..perhaps more so than anyone else.

Marion Fields said, "Those awful metal birds he's been making -- those things he sends out that he kills people with. Can he make a lot of them? " She eyed him uneasily.

"Evidently there's no particular limit to what Vulcan 3 can produce. There's no restriction on raw materials available to him." Him. He, too, was saying that now." And he has the technical know-how. He has more information available to him than any purely human agency in the world. And he's not limited by any ethical considerations."

In fact, he realized, Vulcan 3 is in an ideal position; his goal is dictated by logic, by relentless correct reasoning. It is no emotional bias or projection that motivates him to act as he does. So he will never suffer a change of heart, a conversion; he will never turn from a conqueror into a benevolent ruler.

"The techniques that Vulcan 3 will employ," Barris said to the child gazing up at him, "will be brought into play according to the need. They'll vary in direct proportion to the problem facing him; if he has ten people opposed to him, he "Till probably employ some minor weapon, such as the original hammers equipped with heat beams. We've seen him use hammers of greater magnitude, equipped with chemical bombs; that's because the magnitude of his opposition has turned out to be that much greater. He meets whatever challenge exists."

Marion said, "So the stronger the Movement gets, the larger he'll grow. The stronger he'll become."

"Yes," Barris said. "And there's no point at which he'll have to stop; there's no known limit to his theoretical power and size."

"If the whole world was against him --"

"Then he'd have to grow and produce and organize to com bat the whole world."

"Why?" she demanded.

"Because that's his job."

"He wants to?"

"No," Barris said. "He has to."

All at once, without any warning, the girl said, "I'll take you to him, Mr. Barris. My father, I mean."

Silently, Barris breathed a prayer of relief.

"But you have to come alone," she added instantly. "No guards or anybody with guns." Studying him she said, "You promise? On your word of honor?"

"I promise," Barris said.

Uncertainly, she said, "How'll we get there? He's in North America."

"By police cruiser. We have three of them up on the roof of the building. They used to belong to Jason Dill. When there's a lull in the attack, we'll take off."

"Can we get by the hammer birds?" she said, with a mixture of doubt and excitement.

"I hope so, " Barris said.

***
As the Unity police cruiser passed low over New York City, Barris had an opportunity to see first-hand the damage which the Healers had done.

Much of the outlying business ring was in ruins. His own building was gone; only a heap of smoking rubble remained. Fires still burned out of control in the vast, sprawling rabbit warren that was -- or had been -- the residential section. Most of the streets were hopelessly blocked. Stores, he observed, had been broken into and looted.

But the fighting was over. The city was quiet. People roamed vaguely through the debris, picking about for valuables. Here and there brown-clad Healers organized repair and reclamation. At the sound of the jets of his police cruiser, the people below scattered for shelter. On the roof of an undestroyed factory building a blaster boomed at them inexpertly.

"Which way?" Barris said to the solemn child beside him.

"Keep going straight. We can land soon. They'll take us to him on foot." Frowning with worry, she murmured, "I hope they haven't changed it too much. I was at that school so long, and he was in that awful place, that Atlanta ..."

Barris flew on. The open countryside did not show the same extensive injury that the big cities did; below him, the farms and even the small rural towns seemed about as they always had. In fact, there was more order in the hinterlands now than there had been before; the collapse of the rural Unity offices had brought about stability, rather than chaos. Local people, already committed to support of the Movement, had eagerly assumed the tasks of leadership.

"That big river," Marion said, straining to see. "There's a bridge. I see it." She shivered triumphantly. "Go by the bridge, and you'll see a road. When there's a junction with another road, put your ship down there." She gave him a radiant smile.

Several minutes later he was landing the police cruiser in an open field at the edge of a small Pennsylvania town. Before the jets were off, a truck had come rattling across the dirt and weeds, directly toward them.

This is it, Barris said to himself. It's too late to back out now.

The truck halted. Four men in overalls jumped down and came cautiously up to the cruiser. One of them waved a pellet rifle. "Who are you?"

"Let me get out," Marion said to Barris. "Let me talk to them."

He touched the stud on the instrument panel which released the port; it slid open, and Marion at once scrambled out and hopped down to the dusty ground.

Barris, still in the ship, waited tensely while she conferred with the four men. Far up in the sky, to the north, a flock of hammers rushed inland, intent on business of their own. A few moments later bright fission flashes lit up the horizon. Vulcan 3 had apparently begun equipping his extensions with atomic tactical bombs.

One of the four men came up to the cruiser and cupped his hands to his mouth. "I'm Joe Potter. You're Barris?"

"That's right." Sitting in the ship, Barris kept his hand on his pencil beam. But, he realized, it was nothing more than a ritualistic gesture now; it had no practical importance.

"Say," Joe Potter said. "I'll take you to Father. If that's what you want, and she says it is. Come alone."

With the four men, Barris and Marion climbed aboard the ancient, dented truck. At once it started up; he was pitched from side to side as it swung around and started back the way it had come.

"By God," one of the men said, scrutinizing him. "You used to be North American Director. Didn't you?"

"Yes," Barris said.

The men mumbled among one another, and at last one of them slid over to Bariis and said, "Listen, Mr. Barris." He shoved an envelope and a pencil at him. "Could I have your autograph?"

For an hour the truck headed along minor country roads, in the general direction of New York City. A few miles outside the demolished business ring, Potter halted the truck at a gasoline station. To the right of the station was a roadside cafe, a decrepit, weatherbeaten place. A few cars were pulled up in front of it. Some children were playing in the dirt by the steps, and a dog was tied up in the yard in the rear.

"Get out," Potter said. All four men seemed somewhat cross and taciturn from the long drive.

Barris got out slowly. "Where --"

"Inside." Potter started up the truck again. Marion hopped out to join Barris. The truck pulled away, made a turn, and dis- appeared back down the road in the direction from which they had just come.

Her eyes shining, Marion called, "Come on! " She scampered up on the porch of the cafe and tugged the door open. Barris fol- lowed after her, with caution.

In the dingy cafe, at a table littered with maps and papers, sat a man wearing a blue denim shirt and grease-stained work pants. An ancient audio-telephone was propped up beside him, next to a plate on which were the remains of a hamburger and fried potatoes. The man glanced up irritably, and Barris saw heavy ridged eyebrows, the irregular teeth, the penetrating glance that had so chilled him before, and which chilled him again now.

"I'll be darned," Father Fields said, pushing away his papers. "Look who's here."

"Daddy!" Marion cried; she leaped forward and threw her arms around him. "I'm so glad to see you --" Her words were cut off, smothered by the man's shirt as she pressed her face into it. Fields patted her on the back, oblivious to Barris.

Walking over to the counter, Barris seated himself alone. He remained there, meditating, until all at once he realized that Father Fields was addressing him. Glancing up, he saw the man's hand held out. Grinning, Fields shook hands with him.

"I thought you were in Geneva," Fields said. "It's nice seeing you again." His eyes traveled up and down Barris. "The one decent Director out of eleven. And we don't get you; we get practically the worst-barring Reynolds. We get that opportunist Taubmann." He shook his head ironically.

Barris said, "Revolutionary movements always draw opportunists."

"That's very charitable of you," Fields said. Reaching back, he drew up a chair and seated himself, tipping the chair until he was comfortable.

"Mr. Barris is fighting Vulcan 3, " Marion declared, holding on tightly to her father's arm. "He's on our side."

"Oh, is that right?" Fields said, patting her. "Are you sure about that?"

She colored and stammered, "Well, anyhow, he's against Vulcan 3."

"Congratulations," Fields said to Barris. "You've made a wise choice. Assuming it's so."

Settling back against the counter, propping himself up on one elbow so that he, too, was comfortable, Barris said, "I came here to talk business with you."

In a leisurely, drawling voice, Fields said, "As you can see, I'm a pretty busy man. Maybe I don't have time to talk business."

"Find time," Barris said.

Fields said, "I'm not much interested in business. I'm more interested in work. You could have joined us back when it mattered, but you turned tail and walked out. Now --" He shrugged. "What the heck does it matter? Having you with us doesn't make any particular difference one way or another. We've pretty well won, now. I imagine that's why you've finally made up your mind which way you want to jump. Now you can see who's the winning side." He grinned once more, this time with a knowing, insinuating twinkle. "Isn't that so? You'd like to be on the winning side." He waggled his finger slyly at Barris.

"If I did," Barris said, "I wouldn't be here."

For a moment, Fields did not appear to understand. Then, by degrees, his face lost all humor; the bantering familiarity vanished. He became hard-eyed. "The hell you say," he said slowly. "Unity is gone, man. In a couple of days we swept the old monster system aside. What's there left? Those tricky businesses flap- ping around up there." He jerked his thumb, pointing upward. "Like the one I got, that day in the hotel, the one that came in the window looking for me. Did you ever get that? I patched it up pretty good and sent it on to you and your girl, for a --" He laughed. "A wedding present."

Barris said, "You've got nothing. You've destroyed nothing."

"Everything," Fields said in a grating whisper. "We've got everything there is, mister."

"You don't have Vulcan 3," Barris said. "You've got a lot of land; you blew up a lot of office buildings and recruited a lot of clerks and stenographers -- that's all."

"We'll get him," Fields said, evenly.

"Not without your founder," Barris said. "Not now that he's dead."

Staring at Barris, Fields said, "My --" He shook his head slowly; his poise was obviously completely shattered. "What do you mean? I founded the Movement. I've headed it from the start."

Barris said, "I know that's a lie."

For a time there was silence.

"What does he mean?" Marion demanded, plucking anxiously at her father's arm.

"He's out of his mind," Fields said, still staring at Barris. The color had not returned to his face.

"You're an expert electrician," Barris said. "That was your trade. I saw your work on that hammer, your reconstruction. You're very good; in fact there probably isn't an electrician in the world today superior to you. You kept Vulcan 2 going all this time, didn't you?"

Fields' mouth opened and then shut. He said nothing.

"Vulcan 2 founded the Healers' Movement," Barris said.

"No," Fields said.

"You were only the fake leader. A puppet. Vulcan 2 created the Movement as an instrument to destroy Vulcan 3. That's why he gave Jason Dill instructions not to reveal the existence of the Movement to Vulcan 3; he wanted to give it time to grow."
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Re: Vulcan's Hammer, by Philip K. Dick

Postby admin » Sat Jun 18, 2016 1:18 am

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

After a long time, Father Fields said, "Vulcan 2 was only a computing mechanism. It had no motives, no drives. Why would it act to impair Vulcan 3?"

"Because Vulcan 3 menaced it," Barris said. "Vulcan 2 was as much alive as Vulcan 3 -- no more and no less. It was created originally to do a certain job, and Vulcan 3 interfered with its doing that job, just as the withholding of data by Jason Dill interfered with Vulcan 3's doing its job."

"How did Vulcan 3 interfere with Vulcan 2's doing its job?" Father Fields said.

"By supplanting it," Barris said.

Fields said, "But I am the head of the Movement now. Vulcan2 no longer exists." Rubbing his chin, he said, "There isn't a wire or a tube or a relay of Vulcan 2 intact."

"You did a thorough, professional job," Barris said.

The man's head jerked.

"You destroyed Vulcan 2," Barris said, "to keep Jason Dill from knowing. Isn't that so?"

"No," Fields said finally. "It isn't so. This is all a wild series of guesses on your part. You have no evidence; this is the typical insane slander generated by Unity. These mad charges, dreamed up and bolstered and embroidered --"

Once again, Barris noticed, the man had lost his regional accent. And his vocabulary, his use of words, had in this period of stress, greatly improved.

Marion Fields piped, "It's not true! My father founded the Movement." Her eyes blazed with helpless, baffled fury at Barris. "I wish I hadn't brought you here."

"What evidence do you have?" Fields said.

"I saw the skill with which you rebuilt that ruined hammer," Barris said. "It amounted to mechanical genius on your part. With ability like that you could name your own job with Unity; there're no repairmen on my staff in New York capable of work like that. The normal use Unity would put you to with such ability would be servicing the Vulcan series. Obviously you know nothing about Vulcan 3 -- and Vulcan 3 is self-servicing. What does that leave but the older computers? And Vulcan 1 hasn't functioned in decades. And your age is such that, like Jason Dill, you would naturally have been a contemporary of Vulcan 2 rather --"

"Conjecture," Fields said.

"Yes, " Barris admitted.

"Logic. Deduction. Based on the spurious premise that I had anything to do with any of the Vulcan series. Did it ever occur to you that there might have been alternate computers, designed by someone other than Nat Greenstreet, that competent crews might have been put to work at --"

From behind Barris a voice, a woman's voice, said sharply, "Tell him the truth, Father. Don't lie, for once."

Rachel Pitt came around to stand by Barris. Astonished to see her, Barris started to his feet.

"My two daughters," Fields said. He put his hand on Marion Fields' shoulder, and then, after a pause, he put his other hand on the shoulder of Rachel Pitt. "Marion and Rachel," he said to Barris. "The younger stayed with me, was loyal to me; the older had ambitions to marry a Unity man and live a well-to-do life with all the things that money can buy. She started to come back to me a couple of times. But did you really come back?" He gazed meditatively at Rachel Pitt. "I wonder. It doesn't sound like it."

Rachel said, "I'm loyal to you, Father. I just can't stand any more lies."

"I am telling the truth," Father Fields said in a harsh, bitter voice. "Barris accuses me of destroying Vulcan 2 to keep Jason Dill from knowing about the relationship between the old com-puter and the Movement. Do you think I care about J as on Dill? Did it ever matter what he knew? I destroyed Vulcan 2 because it wasn't running the Movement effectively; it was holding the Movement back, keeping it weak. It wanted the Movement to be nothing but an extension of itself, like those hammers of Vulcan 3. An instrument without life of its own."

His voice had gained power; his jaw jutted out and he confronted Barris and Rachel defiantly. The two of them moved involuntarily away from him, and closer to each other. Only Marion Fields remained with him.

"I freed the Movement," Fields said. "I freed humanity and made the Movement an instrument of human needs, human aspirations. Is that wicked?" He pointed his finger at Barris and shouted, " And before I'm finished I'm going to destroy Vulcan 3 as well, and free mankind from it, too. From both of them, first the older one and next the big one, the new one. Is that wrong? Are you opposed to that? If you are, then god damn it, go join them at the fortress; go join Reynolds."

Barris said, "It's a noble ideal, what you're saying. But you can't do it. It's impossible. Unless I help you."

***

Hunched forward in his chair, Father Fields said, "All right, Barris. You came here to do business. What's your deal?" Raising his head he said hoarsely, "What do you have to offer me?"

Barris said, "I know where the fortress is. I've been to it. Dill took me there. I can find it again. Without me, you'll never find it. At least, not in time; not before Vulcan 3 has developed such far-reaching offensive weapons that nothing will remain of life above ground."

"You don't think we'll find it?" Fields said.

"In fifteen months," Barris said, "you've failed to. Do you think you will in the next two weeks?"

Presently Father Fields said, "More like two years. We started looking from the very start." He shrugged. "Well, Director. What do you want in exchange? "

"Plenty," Barris said grimly. "I'll try to outline it as briefly as I can."

After Barris had finished, Father Fields was silent. "You want a lot," he said finally.

"That's right."

"It's incredible, you dictating terms to me. How many in your group?"

"Five or six."

Fields shook his head. "And there are millions of us, all over the world." From his pocket he produced a much-folded map; spreading it out on the counter he said, "We've taken over in America, in Eastern Europe, in all of Asia and Africa. It seemed only a question of time before we had the rest. We've been winning so steadily." He clenched his fist around a coffee mug on the counter and then suddenly grabbed it up and hurled it to the floor. The brown coffee oozed thickly out.

"Even if you did have sufficient time on your side," Barris said, "I doubt if you could ultimately have defeated Unity. It's hopeless to imagine that a grass-roots revolutionary movement can overthrow a modern bureaucratic system that's backed up with modern technology and elaborate industrial organization. A hundred years ago, your Movement might have worked. But times have changed. Government is a science conducted by trained experts."

Studying him with animosity, Fields said, "To win, you have to be on the inside."

"You have to know someone on the inside," Barris said. "And you do; you know me. I can get you in, where you will be able to attack the main trunk, not merely the branches."

"And the trunk," Fields said, "is Vulcan 3. Give us credit for knowing that, at least. That thing has always been our target." He let out his breath raggedly. "All right, Barris; I agree to your terms."

Barris felt himself relax. But he kept his expression under control. "Fine," he said.

"You're surprised, aren't you?" Fields said.

"No," he said. "Relieved. I thought possibly you might fail to see how precarious your position is."

Bringing forth a pocket watch, Fields examined it. "What do you want for the attack on the fortress? Weapons are still in short supply with us. We're mainly oriented around man power."

"There are weapons back at Geneva."

"How about transportation?"

"We have three high-speed military cruisers; they'll do." Barris wrote rapidly on a piece of paper. "A small concentrated attack by skillful men-experts hitting at the vital center. A hundred well-chosen men will do. Everything depends on the first ten minutes in the fortress; if we succeed, it'll be right away. There will be no second chance."

Fields gazed at him intently. "Barris, do you really think we have a chance? Can we really get to Vulcan 3?" His grease stained hands twisted. "For years I've thought of nothing else. Smashing that satanic mass of parts and tubes --"

"We'll get to him, " Barris said.

***

Fields collected the men that Barris needed. They were loaded into the cruiser, and Barris at once headed back toward Geneva, Fields accompanying him.

Halfway across the Atlantic they passed an immense swarm of hammers streaking toward helpless, undefended North America. These were quite large, almost as large as the cruiser. The)' moved with incredible speed, disappearing almost at once. A few minutes later a new horde appeared, these like slender needles. They ignored the ship and followed the first group over the horizon.

"New types," Barris said. "He's wasting no time."

The Unity Control Building was still in friendly hands. They landed on the roof and hurried down the ramps into the build- ing. On orders from Fields, the Healers had ceased attacking. But now hammers swarmed constantly overhead, diving down and twisting agilely to avoid the roof guns. Half of the main structure was in ruins, but the guns fired on, bringing down the hammers when they came too close.

"It's a losing battle," Daily muttered. "We're short on ammunition. There seem to be an endless number of the damn things."

Barris worked rapidly. He supplied his attack force with the best weapons available, supplies stored in the vaults below the Control Building. From the five Directors he selected Pegler and Chai, and a hundred of the best-trained troops.

"I'm going along," Fields said. "If the attack fails I don't want to stay alive. If it succeeds I want to be part of it."

Barris carefully uncrated a manually operated fission bomb. "This is for him." He weighed the bomb in the palm of his hand; it was no larger than an onion. "My assumption is that they'll admit me and possibly Chai and Pegler. We can probably persuade them that we're coming over to rejoin Unity. At least we'll be able to get part of the distance in."

"Anyhow you hope so," Fields said curtly.

At sunset, Barris loaded the three cruisers with the men and equipment. The roof guns sent up a heavy barrage to cover their take-off. Hammers in action nearby at once began following the ships as they rose into the sky.

"We'll have to shake them," Barris said. He gave quick orders. The three cruisers shot off in different directions, dividing up rapidly. A few hammers tagged them awhile and then gave up.

"I'm clear," Chai in the second cruiser reported.

"Clear," Pegler in the third said.

Barris glanced at the older man beside him. Behind them the ship was crowded with tense, silent soldiers, loaded down with weapons, squatting nervously in a mass as the ship raced through the darkness. "Here we go," Barris said. He swung the ship in a wide arc. Into the communications speaker he ordered, "We'll re-form for the attack. I'll lead. You two come behind."

"Are we close?" Fields asked, a queer expression on his face.

"Very." Barris studied the ship's controls. "We should be over it in a moment. Get set. "

Barris dived. Pegler's ship whipped through the darkness behind him, lashing toward the ground below; Chai's ship shot off to the right and headed directly over the fortress.

Hammers rose in vast swarms and moved toward Chai's ship, separating and engulfing it.

"Hang on," Barris gasped.

The ground rose; landing brakes screamed. The ship hit, spinning and crashing among the trees and boulders.

"Out! " Barris ordered, pulling himself to his feet and throwing the hatch release. The hatches slid back and the men poured out, dragging their equipment into the cold night darkness.

Above them in the sky, Chai's ship fought with the hammers; it twisted and rolled, firing rapidly. More hammers rose from the fortress, great black clouds that swiftly gained altitude. Pegler's ship was landing. It roared over them and crashed against the side of a hill a few hundred yards from the other defense wall of the fortress.

The heavy guns of the fortress were beginning to open up. A vast fountain of white burst loose, showering rocks and debris on Barris and Fields as they climbed out of their ship.

"Hurry," Barris said. "Get the bores going."

The men were assembling two gopher bores. The first had already whined into action. More tactical atomic shells from the fortress struck near them; the night was lit up with explosions.

Barris crouched down. "How are you making out?" he shouted above the racket, his lips close to his helmet speaker.

"All right," Pegler's voice said weakly in his earphones. "We're down and getting out the big stuff."

"That'll hold off the hammers," Barris said to Fields. He peered up at the sky. "I hope Chai --"

Chai's ship rolled and spun, trying to evade the ring of hammers closing around it. Its jets smoked briefly. A direct hit. The ship wobbled and hesitated.

"Drop your men," Barris ordered into his phones. "You're right over the fortress."

From Chai's ship showered a cloud of white dots. Men in jump suits, drifting slowly toward the ground below. Hammers screeched around them; the men fired back with pencil beams. The hammers retreated warily.

"Chai's men will take care of the direct attack," Barris explained. "Meanwhile, the bores are moving."

"Umbrella almost ready," a technician reported.

"Good. They're beginning to dive on us; their screenprobes must have spotted us."

The fleets of screaming hammers were descending, hurtling toward the ground. Their beams stabbed into the trees and ignited columns of flaming wood and branches. One of Pegler's cannons boomed. A group of hammers disappeared, but more took their places. An endless torrent of hammers, rising up from the fortress like black bats.

The umbrella flickered purple. Reluctantly, it came on and settled in place. Vaguely, beyond it, Barris could make out the hammers circling in confusion. A group of them entered the umbrella and were silently puffed out.

Barris relaxed. "Good. Now we don't have to worry about them."

"Gophers are halfway along," the leader of the bore team reported.

Two immense holes yawned, echoing and vibrating as the gopher bores crept into the earth. Technicians disappeared after them. The first squad of armed troops followed them cautiously, swallowed up by the earth.

"We're on our way," Barris said to Fields.

Standing off by himself, Father Fields surveyed the trees, the line of hills in the distance. "No visible sign of the fortress," he murmured. "Nothing to give it away." He seemed deep in thought, as if barely aware of the battle in progress. "This forest ... the perfect place. I would never have known." Turning, he walked toward Barris.

Seeing the look on the man's face, Barris felt deep uneasiness. "What is it?" he said.

Fields said, "I've been here before."

"Yes," Barris said.

"Thousands of times. I worked here most of my life." The man's face was stark. "This is where Vulcan 2 used to be." His hands jerked aimlessly. "This was where I came to destroy Vulcan 2." Nodding his head at a massive moss-covered boulder, he said, "I walked by that. To the service ramp. They didn't even know the ramp still existed; it was declared obsolete years ago. Abandoned and shut off. But I knew about it." His voice rose wildly. "I can come and go any time I want; I have constant access to that place. I know a thousand ways to get down there."

Barris said, "But you didn't know that Vulcan 3 was down there, too. At the deepest level. They didn't acquaint your crew with --"

"I didn't know Jason Dill," Fields said. "I wasn't in a position to meet him as an equal. As you were."

"So now you know," Barris said.

"You gave me nothing," Fields said. "You had nothing to tell me that I didn't know already." Coming slowly toward Barris he said in a low voice, "I could have figured it out, in time. Once we had tried every other place --" In his hand a pencil beam appeared, gripped tightly.

Keeping himself calm, Barris said, "But you still won't get in, Father. They'll never let you in. They'll kill you long before you penetrate all the way to Vulcan 3. You'll have to depend on me." Pointing to his sleeve, he indicated his Director's stripe. "Once I get in there I can walk up and down those corridors; no one will stop me, because they're part of the same structure I'm part of. And I'm in a position of authority equal to any of them, Reynolds included."

Fields said, " Any of them -- except for Vulcan 3."

Off to the right, Pegler's cannon thundered as the fleets of hammers turned their attention on them. The hammers dived and released bombs. An inferno of white pillars checkered across the countryside, moving toward Pegler's ship.

"Get your umbrella up!" Barris shouted into his helmet speaker.

Pegler's umbrella flickered. It hesitated --

A small atomic bomb cut across dead center. Pegler's ship vanished; clouds of particles burst into the air, metal and ash showering over the flaming ground. The heavy cannon ceased abruptly.

"It's up to us," Barris said.

Over the fortress the first of Chai 's men had reached the ground. The defense guns spun around, leaving Barris' ship and focusing on the drifting dots.

"They don't have a chance," Fields muttered.

"No." Barris started toward the first of the two tunnels. "But we have." Ignoring the pencil beam in the older man's hand, he continued, his back to Fields.

Abruptly the fortress shuddered. A vast tongue of fire rolled across it. The surface fused in an instant; the wave of molten metal had sealed over the fortress.

"They cut themselves off," Barris said. "They've closed down." He shook himself into motion and entered the tunnel, squeezing past the power leads to the gopher.

An ugly cloud of black rolled up from the sea of glimmering slag that had been the surface of the fortress. The hammers fluttered above it uncertainly, cut off from the levels beneath.

Barris made his way along the tunnel, pushing past the technicians operating the gopher. The gopher rumbled and vibrated as it cut through the layers of clay and rock toward the fortress. The air was hot and moist. The men worked feverishly, directing the gopher deeper and deeper. Torrents of steaming water poured from the clay around them.

"We must be close," Fields' voice came to him, from behind.

"We should emerge near the deepest level," Barris said. He did not look to see if the pencil beam was still there; he kept on going.

The gopher shrieked. Its whirring noise tore into metal; the bore team urged it forward. The gopher slashed into a wall of steel and reinforced stressed plastic and then slowed to a stop.

"We're there," Barris said.

The gopher shuddered. Gradually it inched forward. The leader of the team leaned close to Barris. "The other gopher's through, into the fortress. But they don't know exactly where."

All at once the wall collapsed inward. Liquid steel pelted them, sizzling. The soldiers moved ahead, pushing through the gap. Barris and Fields hurried with them. The jagged metal seared them as they squeezed through. Barris stumbled and fell, rolling in the boiling water and debris.

Putting his pencil beam away, Fields pulled him to his feet. They glanced at each other, neither of them speaking. And then they looked about them, at the great corridor that stretched out, lit by the recessed lighting familiar to both of them.

The lowest level of the fortress!
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Re: Vulcan's Hammer, by Philip K. Dick

Postby admin » Sat Jun 18, 2016 1:18 am

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

A few astonished Unity guards scampered toward them, tugging a blast cannon inexpertly into position.

Barris fired. From behind him, pencil beams cut past him toward the cannon. The cannon fired once, crazily. The roof of the corridor dissolved; clouds of ash rolled around them. Barris moved forward. Now the blast cannon was in ruins. The Unity guards were pulling back, firing as they retreated.

"Mine crew," Barris snapped.

The mine crew advanced and released their sucker mines. The mines leaped down the corridor toward the retreating Unity guards. At the sight the guards broke and fled; the mines exploded, hurling streamers of flame against the walls.

"Here we go," Barris said. Crouching, he hurried along the corridor, clutching the fission bomb tight. Beyond a turn the Unity guards were shutting an emergency lock.

"Get them!" Barris shouted.

Fields ran past him, galloping in long-legged strides, his arms windmilling. His pencil beam traced a ribbon of ash across the surface of the lock; intricate bits of mechanism flew into the air. Behind the lock Unity teams were bringing up more mobile cannons. A few hammers fluttered around their heads, screaming Instructions.

Following Fields, Barris reached the lock. Their men swarmed past them, firing into the narrow breach. A hammer sailed out, straight at Barris; he caught a vision of glittering metal eyes, clutching claws -- and then the hammer winked out, caught by a pencil beam.

Fields seated himself on the floor by the hinge-rim of the lock. His expert fingers traced across the impulse leads. A sudden flash. The lock trembled and sagged. Barris threw his weight against it. The lock gave. Gradually it slid back, leaving a widened gap.

"Get in," Barris ordered.

His men poured through, crashing against the barricade hastily erected by the Unity guards. Hammers dived on them frantically, smashing at their heads.

Pushing past, Barris glanced around. A series of corridors twisted off in different directions. He hesitated.

Can I do it? he asked himself.

Taking a deep, unsteady breath, he sprinted away from Fields and the soldiers, along a side corridor. The sound of fighting died as he raced up a ramp. A door slid open automatically for him; as it shut behind him he slowed, panting.

A moment later he was walking briskly along a passage, in the silence far away from the hectic activity. He came to an elevator, halted, and touched a stud. The elevator at once made itself available to him. Entering, he permitted it to carry him upward.

This is the only way, he told himself. He forced himself to remain calm as the elevator carried him farther and farther away from Vulcan 3 and the scene of the activity. No direct assault will work.

At an upper level he stopped the elevator and stepped out.

A group of Unity officials stood about, conferring. Clerks and executives. Gray-clad men and women who glanced at him briefly or not at all. He caught a glimpse of office doors. ..without pausing, he began to walk.

He came presently onto a foyer, from which branched several corridors. Behind a turnstile sat a robot checker, inactive; no one was using its facilities. At the presence of Barris it lit up.

"Credentials, sir," it said.

"Director," he said, displaying his stripe.

Ahead of him the turnstile remained fixed. "This portion of the area is classified," the robot said. "What is your business and by whose authority are you attempting to enter?"

Barris said sharply, "My own authority. Open up; this is urgent."

It was his tone that the robot caught, rather than the words. The turnstile rattled aside; the habitual pattern of the assembly, its robot controller included, had been activated as it had been many times in the past. "Pardon intrusion into urgent business, Director," the robot said, and at once shut off; its light died.

Back to sleep, Barris thought grimly.

He continued on until he came to an express descent ramp. At once he stepped onto it; the ramp plunged, and he was on his way back down again. To the bottom level-and Vulcan 3.

Several guards stood about in the corridor as Barris stepped from the ramp. They glanced at him and started to come to attention. Then one of them gave a convulsive grimace; his hand fumbled stupidly at his belt.

Bringing out his pencil beam, Barris fired. The guard, head- less, sank to one side and then collapsed; the other guards stared in disbelief, paralyzed.

"Traitor," Barris said. "Right here, in our midst."

The guards gaped at him.

"Where's Director Reynolds?" Barris said.

Gulping, one of the guards said, "In office six, sir. Down that way." Half pointing, he bent over the remains of his companion; the others gathered around.

"Can you get him out here for me?" Barris demanded. "Or am I supposed to go search him up?"

One of the guards murmured, "If you want to wait here, sir ..."

"Wait here, hell, " Barris said. "Are we all supposed to stand around while they break in and slaughter us? You know they're through in two places-they have those gopher bores going."

While the guards stammered out some sort of answer, he turned and strode off in the direction that the guard had indicated.

No Unity minion, he said to himself, will ever argue with a Director; it might cost him his job.

Or, in this case, his life.

As soon as the guards were out of sight behind him he turned off the corridor. A moment later he came out into a well-lighted major artery. The floor beneath his feet hummed and vibrated, and as he walked along he felt the intensity of action increase.

He was getting close, now. The center of Vulcan 3 was not far off.

The passage made an abrupt turn to the right. He followed, and found himself facing a young T-class official and two guards. All three men were armed. They seemed to be in the process of pushing a metal cart loaded with punchcards; he identified the cards as a medium by which data were presented, under certain circumstances, to the Vulcan computers. This official, then, was part of the feed-teams.

"Who are you?" Barris said, before the young official could speak. "What's your authority for being in this area? Let's see written permission."

The young official said, "My name is Larson, Director. I was directly responsible to Jason Dill before his death." Eyeing Barris, he smiled respectfully and said, "I saw you several times with Mr. Dill, sir. When you were here involving the reconstruction of Vulcan 2."

"I believe I noticed you," Barris said.

Pushing his cart along, Larson said, "I have to feed these at once to Vulcan 3; with your permission I'll go along. How's the fighting going on above? Someone says they've broken in somewhere. I heard a lot of noise." Clearly agitated, but concerned only with his clearly laid-out task, Larson continued, "Amazing how active Vulcan 3 is, after being inactive for so many months. He's come up with quite a number of effective weapons to deal with the situation."

Glancing at Barris shrewdly, he said, "Isn't it probable that Reynolds will be the new Managing Director? His able prosecution of Dill, the way he exposed the various --" He broke off in order to manipulate the combination of a huge set of barrier-doors. The doors swung open --

And there, ahead of Barris, was a vast chamber. At the far end he saw a wall of metal, perfectly blank. The side of a cube, one part of something that receded into the structure of the building; he caught only a glimpse of it, an impression.

"There it is," Larson said to him. "Peaceful here, in comparison to what's going on above ground. You wouldn't think he -- I mean, it -- had anything to do with the action against the Healers. And yet it's all being directed from here." He and his two guards pushed the cart of data-cards forward. "Care to come closer?" Larson asked Barris; showing him that he knew everything of importance. "You can watch the way the data are fed. It's quite interesting."

Passing by Barris, Larson began directing the removal of the cards; he had the guards load up with them. Standing behind the three men, Barris reached into his coat. His fingers closed over the onion-shaped object.

As he drew the fission bomb out, he saw, on Larson's sleeve, a shiny metal bug; it clung there, riding along, its antennae quivering. For a moment Barris thought, It's an insect. Some natural life form that brushed against him when he was above ground, in the forest.

The shiny metal bug flew up into the air. He heard the high-frequency whine as it passed him, and knew it then. A tiny hammer, a version of the basic type. For observation. It had been aware of him from the moment Larson encountered him.

Seeing him staring at the bug as it zipped away from them, Larson said, " Another one. There's been one hanging around me all day. It was clinging to my work smock for a while." He added, "Vulcan 3 uses them for relaying messages. I've seen a number of them around."

From the tiny hammer an ear-splitting squeal dinned out at the two men. "Stop him! Stop him at once!"

Larson blinked in bewilderment.

Holding onto the bomb, Barris strode toward the face of Vulcan 3. He did not run; he walked swiftly and silently.

"Stop him, Larson!" the hammer shrilled. "He's here to destroy me! Make him get away from me!"

Gripping the bomb tightly, Barris began to run.

A pencil beam fired past him; he crouched and ran on, zigzagging back and forth.

"If you let him destroy me you'll destroy the world!" A second tiny hammer appeared, dancing in the air before Barris. "Mad man!"

He heard, from other parts of the chamber, the abuse piping at him from other mobile extensions. "Monster!"

Again a heat beam slashed past him; he half-fell, and, drawing out his own pencil, turned and fired directly back. He saw a brief scene: Larson with the two guards, firing at him in confusion, trying not to hit the wall of Vulcan 3. His own beam touched one of the guards; he ceased firing at once and fell writhing.

"Listen to me!" a full-sized hammer blared, skipping into the chamber and directly at Barris. In desperate fury the hammer crashed at him, missing him and bursting apart against the concrete floor, its pieces spewing over him.

"While there's still time!" another took up. "Get him away, feed-team leader! He's killing me!"

With his pencil beam, Barris shot down a hammer as it emerged above him; he had not seen it come into the chamber. The hammer, only damaged, fluttered down. Struggling toward him, across the floor, it screeched, "We can agree! We can come to an arrangement!"

On and on he ran.

"This can be negotiated' There is no basic disagreement!"

Raising his arm, he hurled the bomb.

"Barris! Barris! Please do not --"

From the intricate power supply of the bomb came a faint pop. Barris threw himself down, his arms over his face. An ocean of white light lapped up at him, picking him up and sweeping him away.

I got it, he thought. I was successful.

A monstrous hot wind licked at him as he drifted; he skidded on, along with the wind. Debris and flaming rubbish burst over and around him. A surface far away hurtled at him. He doubled up, his head averted, and then he flew through the surface; it split and gave way, and he went on, tumbling into darkness, swept on by the tides of wind and heat.

His last thought was, It was worth it. Vulcan 3 is dead!

***

Father Fields sat watching a hammer. The hammer wobbled. It hesitated in its frantic, aimless flight. And then it spiraled to the floor.

One by one, dropping silently, the hammers crashed down and lay still. Inert heaps of metal and plastic, nothing more. Without motion. Their screeching voices had ceased.

What a relief, he said to himself.

Getting to his feet he walked shakily over to the four medical corpsmen. "How is he?" he said.

Without looking up, the corpsman said, "We're making progress. His chest was extensively damaged. We've plugged in an exterior heart-lung system, and it's giving rapid assistance." The semiautomatic surgical tools crept across the body of William Barris, exploring, repairing. They seemed to have virtually finished with the chest; now they had turned their attention to his broken shoulder.

"We'll need boneforms," one of the corpsmen said. Glancing around he said, "We don't have any here with us. He'll have to be flown back to Geneva."

"Fine," Fields said. "Get him started."

The litter slid expertly under Barris and began lifting him.

"That traitor," a voice beside Fields said.

He turned his head and saw Director Reynolds standing there, gazing at Barris. The man's clothing was torn, and over his left eye was a deep gash. Fields said, "You're out of a job now."

With absolute bitterness, Reynolds said, " And so are you. What becomes of the great crusade, now that Vulcan 3 is gone? Do you have any other constructive programs to offer?"

"Time will tell," Fields said. He walked along beside the litter as it carried Barris up the ramp to the waiting ship.

"You did very well," Fields said. He lit a cigarette and placed it between Barris' parted lips. "Better not start talking. Those surgical robots are still fussing over you." He indicated the several units at work on the man's ruined shoulder.

"Do any of the computing components of Vulcan 3 ..." Barris murmured weakly.

"Some survived," Fields said. "Enough for your purposes. You can add and subtract, anyhow, using what's left." Seeing the worry on the injured man's face he said, "I'm joking. A great deal survived. Don't worry. They can patch up the parts you want. As a matter of fact, I can probably lend a hand. I still have some skill."

"The structure of Unity will be different," Barris said.

"Yes," Fields said.

"We'll broaden our base. We have to."

Fields gazed out of the ship's window, ignoring the injured man. At last Barris gave up trying to talk. His eyes shut; Fields took the cigarette as it rolled from the man's lips onto his shirt.

"We'll talk later," Fields said, finishing the cigarette himself.

The ship droned on, in the direction of Geneva.

Looking out at the empty sky, Fields thought, Nice not to see those things flying around. When one died they all died. Strange, to realize that we've seen our last one. ..the last hammer to go buzzing, screeching about, attacking and bombing, laying waste wherever it goes.

Kill the trunk, as Barris had said.

The man was right about a lot of things, Fields said to him self. He was the only one who could have gotten all the way in; they did manage to stop the rest of us. The attack bogged down, until those things stopped flying. And then it didn't matter.

I wonder if he's right about the rest?

***

In the hospital room at Geneva, Barris sat propped up in bed, facing Fields. "What information can you give me on the analysis of the remains?" he said. "I have a hazy memory of the trip here; you said that most of the memory elements survived."

"You're so anxious to rebuild it," Fields said.

"As an instrument," Barris said. "Not a master. That was the agreement between us. You have to permit a continuation of rational use of machines. None of this emotional 'scrap the machines' business. None of your Movement slogans."

Fields nodded. "If you really think you can keep control in the right hands. In our hands. I have nothing against machines as such; I was very fond of Vulcan 2. Up to a point."

"At that point," Barris said, "you demolished it.

The two men regarded each other.

"I'll keep hands off," Fields said. "It's a fair deal. You delivered; you got in there and blew the thing up. I admit that."

Barris grunted, but said nothing.

"You'll put an end to the cult of the technocrat?" Fields said. "For experts only-run by and for those oriented around verbal knowledge; I'm so damn sick of that. Mind stuff-as if manual skills like bricklaying and pipe-fitting weren't worth talking about. As if all the people who work with their hands, the skill of their fingers --" He broke off. "I'm tired of having those people looked down on."

Barris said, "I don't blame you."

"We'll cooperate, " Fields said. "With you priests in gray-as we've been calling you in our pamphlets. But take care. If the aristocracy of slide rules and pastel ties and polished black shoes starts to get out of hand again ..." He pointed at the street far below the window. "You'll hear us out there again."

"Don't threaten me," Barris said quietly.

Fields flushed. "I'm not threatening you. I'm pointing out the facts to you. If we're excluded from the ruling elite, why should we cooperate?"

There was silence then.

"What do you want done about Atlanta?" Barris said finally.

"We can agree on that," Fields said. He flipped his cigarette away; bending, he retrieved it and crushed it out. "I want to see that place taken apart piece by piece. Until it's a place to keep cows. A pasture land. With plenty of trees."

"Good," Barris said.

"Can my daughter come in for a while?" Fields said. "Rachel. She'd like to talk to you."

"Maybe later," Barris said. "I still have a lot of things to work out in my mind."

"She wants you to start action going against Taubmann for that slanderous letter he wrote about you. The one she was blamed for." He hesitated. "Do you want my opinion?"

"Okay," Barris said.

Fields said, "I think there ought to be an amnesty. To end that stuff once and for all. Keep Taubmann on or retire him from the system. But let's have an end of accusations. Even true ones."

"Even a correct suspicion," Barris said, "is still a suspicion."

Showing his relief, Fields said, "We all have plenty to do. Plenty of rebuilding. We'll have enough on our hands."

"Too bad Jason Dill isn't here to admonish us," Barris said. "He'd enjoy writing out the directives and public presentations of the reconstruction work." Suddenly he said, "You were working for Vulcan 2 and Dill was working for Vulcan 2. You were both carrying out its policies toward Vulcan 3. Do you think Vulcan 2 was jealous of Vulcan 3 ? They may have been mechanical constructs, but as far as we were concerned they had all the tendencies of two contending entities-each out to get the other."

Fields murmured, "And each lining up supporters. Following your analysis ..." He paused, his face dark with introspection.

"Vulcan 2 won," Barris said.

"Yes." Fields nodded. "He -- or it -- got virtually all of us lined up on one side, with Vulcan 3 on the other. We ganged up on Vulcan 3." He laughed sharply. "Vulcan 3's logic was absolutely right; there was a vast worldwide conspiracy directed against it, and to preserve itself it had to invent and develop and produce one weapon after another. And still it was destroyed. Its paranoid suspicions were founded in fact."

Like the rest of Unity, Barris thought. Vulcan 3, like Dill and myself, Rachel Pitt and Taubmann -- all drawn into the mutual accusations and suspicions and near-pathological system-building.

"Pawns," Fields was saying. "We humans -- god damn it, Barris; we were pawns of those two things. They played us off against one another, like inanimate pieces. The things became alive and the living organisms were reduced to things. Everything was turned inside out, like some terrible morbid view of reality."

Standing at the doorway of the hospital room, Rachel Pitt said in a low voice, "I hope we can get out from under that morbid view." Smiling timidly, she came toward Barris and her father. "I don't want to press any legal action against Taubmann; I've been thinking it over."

Either that, Barris thought, or making it a point to listen in on other people's conversations. But he said nothing aloud.

"How long do you think it will take?" Fields said, studying him acutely. "The real reconstruction -- not the buildings and roads, but the minds. Distrust and mutual suspicion have been bred into us since childhood; the schools started it going on us -- they forced out characters. We can't shake it overnight."

He's right, Barris thought. It's going to be hard. And it's going to take a long time. Possibly generations.

But at least the living elements, the human beings, had survived. And the mechanical ones had not. That was a good sign, a step in the right direction.

Across from him, Rachel Pitt was smiling less timidly, with more assurance now. Coming over to him, she bent down and touched him reassuringly on the plastic film that covered his shoulder. "I hope you'll be up and around soon," she said.

He considered that a good sign too.
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