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' Well, that should make the police happy.'



Название' Well, that should make the police happy.'
Дата конвертации13.11.2012
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are angry because they can't communicate with Earth. They think their families will be worried that they've died of this "illness".'

'I'm sorry about that,’ said Floyd,’ but no one could think of a better story, and it's worked. I met Moisewitch at the Space Station, and even he believed it.'

' Well, that should make the police happy.'

'Not too happy - he'd heard of TMA-1. He didn't know what it was, but the name has got out. We need to find out what the thing is, and quickly.'


Chapter 11 Anomaly

Halvorsen led Floyd into a room that could hold a hundred people easily. With a white screen on the end wall, and its rows of seats, it looked like a conference centre. However, the notices and pictures on the walls showed that it was also the centre of local cultural life.

About forty or fifty people were waiting for Floyd, and everyone stood up politely as he entered. Floyd sat down in the front row, while the Commander stood up on the platform and looked around his audience.

' Ladies and gentlemen,' Halvorsen began,' I needn't tell you that this is a very important occasion. We are delighted to have Dr Heywood Floyd with us. He has just completed a special flight from Earth to be here.'

Some of the audience clapped. Floyd stood up for a moment, said a word of thanks and sat down again.

' Dr Michaels,' said Halvorsen, and walked back to his seat.

The Chief Scientist stood up and moved to the platform. As he did so, the lights were turned off and a photograph of the Moon appeared on the screen. At its centre was the white ring of a large crater.

'Tycho,' said Michaels, although everybody there knew its name. 'During the last year we have been checking the magnetism of the whole region. This was completed last month, and this is the result that started all the trouble.'

Another picture flashed on the screen. It was a map with many lines going across it. Generally, these were spaced quite far apart, but in one corner they came close together and formed a series of smaller and smaller circles. It was quite obvious that there was something strange here. In large letters across the bottom of the map were the words: ^ TYCHO MAGNETIC ANOMALY -ONE (TMA-i). Stamped on the top right of the map was another word: SECRET.

'At first we thought it was just a large magnetic rock, but this would be very unusual for the area. So we decided to have a look.

' There was nothing on the surface, just the usual flat ground under a thin layer of moon-dust. So we started to dig, and we dug for two weeks — with the result you know.'

The darkened room became suddenly quiet as the picture on the screen changed.
Though everyone had seen it many times, they all leaned forwards, hoping to find new details. On Earth and Moon, less than a hundred people had been allowed to see this photograph.

It showed a man in a bright yellow spacesuit, standing at the bottom of a large hole, and holding a stick marked off in tenths of a metre. Next to him was a piece of black material, standing about three metres high and a metre and a half wide.

'TMA-1,' Dr Michaels said, quietly. 'It looks new, doesn't it? However, we've now been able to date it positively, from what we know of the local rocks.

' In fact it's about three million years old. You are looking at the first proof of intelligent life beyond the Earth.'

^ Chapter 12 Journey by Earthlight

The traveling laboratory was now moving across a flat area at 80 kilometres an hour. It was a large vehicle, carried on eight wheels. But it was much more than this; it was also a base in which twenty men could live and work for several weeks.

As he looked ahead out of the window, Floyd could see a marked way stretching ahead of them, where dozens of vehicles had flattened down the soft surface of the Moon. At regular distances apart there were tall thin poles, each carrying a flashing light. No one could possibly get lost on the three-hundred kilometre journey from Clavius Base toTMA-1, although it was still night and the Sun would not rise for several hours.

The stars overhead were only a little brighter than on a clear night on Earth, but there was one thing that destroyed the idea of being there. This was Earth itself, bright and round, hanging above the northern horizon. It shone down with a light much stronger than the light of the full Moon, making this a land of blue and green.

As he sat with Halvorsen and Michaels in the front observation lounge, immediately beneath the driver's position, Floyd's thoughts turned again and again to the black object and its age of three million years. As a scientist, he was used to thinking about much longer periods of time, but these had been in connection with the movements of stars and the slow changes of the universe. Mind, or intelligence, had not been involved.

Three million years! All of written history, with its countries and its kings, its successes and disasters, covered only about a thousandth of this great period of time. Man himself, and most of the animals now alive on Earth, did not even exist when the black puzzle was so carefully buried there.

Dr Michaels was sure it had been buried, and not by accident. When they dug down, they found that it was sitting on a wide platform of the same black material. Whoever put it there wanted it to stay in the same place for a long time.

And so the old question had been answered. Here was proof, beyond all doubt, that there was other intelligent life in the universe. But with that knowledge came sadness. The unknown visitors had missed humans by a long period of time. And where did they come from, these creatures who could cross space while Man was still living in trees? The Moon itself? No, that was completely impossible. If there had ever been life here, it had been destroyed during the last period when the craters were formed, when the surface was white-hot.

Earth ? Very unlikely, though perhaps not quite impossible. If intelligent non-human creatures had lived on Earth, they would have left many other signs of their existence. But nothing else had been found before TMA-1 was discovered on the Moon.

That left two possibilities — the planets, and the stars. But all scientific opinion was against intelligent life anywhere else in the Solar System1 — or life of any kind except on Earth and Mars.

So perhaps these visitors had come from the stars — but that was even more difficult to believe. The journey from Earth to the Moon seemed quite long, but the nearest star was a hundred million times more distant ...

Floyd shook his head because he knew he was wasting his time. He must wait until there was more knowledge.

' Please check your safety belts,' said the loudspeaker suddenly, j ' Forty degree slope approaching.'

Floyd had just put his belt on again when the vehicle slowly moved over the edge of a slope as steep as the roof of a house. The earthlight, coming from behind them, was now very faint, and the vehicle's own front lights had been switched on. They were going down the side of Tycho, and three hundred metres below the slope leveled out into a great flat area.

' There they are,' Michaels said, but Floyd had already noticed | the group of red and green lights several kilometres ahead. Soon he could see, shining in the earthlight, a group of temporary buildings for the workers living there. Near these were a radio tower, a group of parked vehicles and a large pile of broken rock. 'You can just see the crater,' said Michaels.' Over there on the right — about a hundred metres from the tower.'

So this is it, thought Floyd, as the bus rolled past the buildings and came to the edge of the crater. He leaned forwards for a better view as the vehicle moved slowly down the slope. And there, exactly as he had seen it in the photographs, was TM A-1.

Floyd stared, shook his head and stared again. Even in the bright earthlight, it was hard to see the thing clearly. His first impression was a flat object that seemed to have no thickness at all. This was because, although he was looking at a solid body, it reflected so little light that he could only see its shape.

The bus stopped about six metres from it.Then the lights were switched on all around the crater. Where light touched the object, it seemed to be swallowed up by the black surface.

A box of tricks, thought Floyd, with a sudden feeling of fear — waiting to be opened by curious Man. And what will he find inside ?


^ Chapter 13 The Slow Dawn

The main building was only six metres square, and it was now very overcrowded. In this double-walled space, six scientists and technicians lived, worked and slept.

Floyd and Dr Michaels each put on a spacesuit and walked into the airlock. As the noise of the pumps died away, Floyd felt himself move into silence. The sound of his suit radio was a welcome interruption.

'Pressure OK, Dr Floyd?' said Michaels. 'Are you breathing normally?’

‘Yes, I'm fine.'

The outside door opened and, walking slowly, Floyd followed Michaels through the lock. He looked around and, without warning, the tip of the radio tower above his head seemed to catch fire as the rising Sun touched it.

They waited while the Base Commander and two of his assistants came through the airlock, then walked slowly towards the crater. It was still in shadow, but the lights all around lit it up brightly. As Floyd walked down the slope, he felt a sense of helplessness. Here, at the gate of the Earth, was a mystery that might never be solved.

His thoughts were interrupted by his suit radio.

'Base Commander speaking. Could you all form a line? We'd like to take a few photos. Dr Floyd, will you stand in the middle — Dr Michaels — thank you

Though it seemed funny at first, Floyd had to admit that he was glad somebody had brought a camera. It would be a historic photo, and he hoped his face could be seen through the helmet of his suit.

'Thanks, gentlemen,' said the photographer. 'We'll ask the technical staff at the Base to send you copies.'

Then Floyd turned his full attention to the black object — walking slowly round it, examining it from every side. He did not expect to find anything, because he knew that every square centimetre had already been looked at very closely.

Suddenly the Sun lifted itself over the edge of the crater and shone on the flat side of the object. But the object seemed to take in all of the light and reflect nothing. Floyd decided to try a simple experiment. He stood between the object and the Sun, and looked for his own shadow on the smooth black sheet. There was nothing to be seen. He thought of the amount of heat that was falling on that surface; if there was anything inside, it would be rapidly cooking.

For a moment he wondered about energy from the Sun. But who would be crazy enough to bury a sun-powered object six metres underground ?

Floyd looked up at the Earth. Only a few of the six billion people there knew of this discovery. How would the world react to the news when it was finally broadcast ?

In fact every person of real intelligence would find his life, his values, his ideas, changed a little. Even if nothing was ever discovered about TMA-1, Man would know that he was not alone in the Universe.

Floyd was still thinking about this when his helmet speaker suddenly gave out a high electronic scream. While he was trying to find the sound control, four more of the screams struck his ears. Then there was silence.

All around the crater, figures were standing in shocked surprise. So there is nothing wrong with my equipment, Floyd told himself; everyone heard those sounds.

After three million years of darkness, TMA-1 had greeted dawn on the Moon.


^ Chapter 14 The Listeners

A hundred million kilometres beyond Mars, Deep Space Recorder 79 continued with its observations of radio noise and distant stars. Anything that it saw or heard was recorded in its memory and sent back to Earth every twenty-four hours. There, machines waited to examine the information, and then add it to the thousands of kilometres of tape stored in the World Space Centres in Washington, Moscow and Canberra.

And now Deep Space Recorder 79 had noted something strange — a faint but unmistakable movement across the Solar System, quite unlike anything it had noticed in the past. Automatically, it recorded the direction, the time and the strength.

Orbiter M15, circling Mars twice a day, and even Explorer 5, heading out into the cold emptiness beyond Pluto, also noted a peculiar burst of energy. They reported it automatically to the memory stores on Earth.

The computers were not programmed to notice the connection between the three sets of signals horn machines millions of kilometres apart. But as soon as lie looked at his morning report, the Chief Controller at Goddard knew that something strange had passed through the Solar System during the last twenty-four hours.

He had only part of its path, but when the computers had done their work, it was as clear as a line of footprints across snow. A pattern of energy had jumped from the face of the Moon and was heading out towards the stars.

^ PART THREE Between Planets

Chapter 15 Discovery

The ship was still only thirty days from Earth, but sometimes David Bowman could hardly believe that he had ever really lived there. His life now was in the closed little world of Discovery. When he spoke to Frank Poole about this, he found that Frank had the same feelings. But this sense of separation was easy enough to understand. In the fifty years since men had first gone into space, there had never been a mission quite like this. Discovery was going past Mars and Jupiter, all the way to Saturn. And she would never return.

For Discovery it would be a one-way trip — but her crew had no intention of dying. If all went well, they would be back on Earth within seven years. For five of these years they would be in hibernation, while they waited for rescue by Discovery II — which had not yet been built.

It was a calculated risk, like all voyages into the unknown. But experiments had proved that human hibernation was perfectly safe, and it had opened up new possibilities in space travel.

The three other members of the crew, all scientists who would not be needed until the ship reached Saturn, would sleep through the whole flight there. In this way, a lot of food and other materials would be saved. Also, they would be fresh and rested after the ten-month voyage.

Then the ship would orbit Saturn, giving them a hundred days to map and study a world eighty times the area of Earth, and surrounded by fifteen known moons - one of them as large as the planet Mercury. They would radio their discoveries back to Earth, so even if the explorers never returned, these would not be lost.

Sometimes Bowman envied Whitehead, Kaminski and Hunter, his three unconscious colleagues. They were free from all problems and all responsibility. Until they reached Saturn, the outside world did not exist.

But that world was watching them while they slept. In the Control Room there were five small screens. The last two, marked POOLE and BOWMAN, were plain and lifeless. Their time would not come until a year from now. The others were covered with small green lights which showed that everything was well with the three sleepers. They also had a set of moving lines showing heartbeat, breathing and brain activity. This last line hardly moved at all. If any consciousness remained, it was beyond the reach of instruments.

Bowman knew this from personal experience. Before he was chosen for this mission, his reactions to hibernation had been tested. When all the instruments were in place on his body, he had seen a pattern of moving lights for a few seconds.

Then they had disappeared, and darkness had come. He never felt the drugs take effect, or the first touch of cold as his body temperature was reduced to a few degrees above freezing.

When he woke up, it seemed that he had hardly closed his eyes. But he knew that was wrong. Somehow he was sure that years had passed.

Had the mission been completed? Had they already reached Saturn, finished their work and gone into hibernation? Was Discovery II here to take them home?

He opened his eyes, but there was little to see. Warm air was blowing across him, and quiet music came from a speaker behind his head. It was slowly growing louder and louder

Then a relaxed, friendly voice — he knew it came from a computer — spoke to him.

' Hello, Dave. Do not get up or attempt any violent movements. Do not try to speak.'

He did not want to get up. He was happy knowing that the rescue ship had come and that soon he would be seeing other human beings.

Some time later, another voice spoke to him. This time it was human. It was also familiar.

‘Hello, Dave. You're fine. You can talk now. Do you know where you are?

He thought about this, and had to admit to himself that he was not really sure. He shook his head.

'Don't worry, Dave. This is Frank Poole. Everything's fine. We're going to open the door now and pull you out.'

Soft lights came on, and then all his memories returned to him, and he knew exactly where he was.

Though he had come back from the furthest borders of sleep, and the nearest borders of death, he had been gone only a week. The mission was still more than a year in the future. He was still in the crew trainer at the Houston Space Flight Center.


^ Chapter 16 Hal

But now Texas was a tiny spot, and even the United States was hard to see. Most of Discovery's many telescopes were pointed at other planets, in the direction she was traveling. There was one, however, that looked back at Earth. It was fixed to the edge of the great dish that sent the ship's radio messages. It made sure that the dish pointed in the right direction. Messages could then come and go along a path that became more than three million kilometres longer every day.

At least once every watch period, Bowman went to the screen that showed the view from that telescope and looked back towards his home. Sometimes he saw a familiar shape, like the Pacific. And he remembered days and nights spent on its islands.

The sixth member of the crew cared for none of these things, as it was not human. It was the HAL 9000 computer, the brain and nervous system of the ship. In the 1980s, Minsky and Good had shown how it was possible to build a computer simply by designing a learning programme. In this way, an artificial brain could be grown in a very similar way to the growth of a human brain. The result was a machine that could do most things that a human brain could do, but with much greater speed and certainty.

Hal had been trained for this mission as thoroughly as his human colleagues, but in a much shorter time. His main job was to check, repeatedly, all the systems on the ship — oxygen pressure, temperature, conditions in the hibernators, and everything else that the crew depended on to stay alive. The first computers had received commands through

1 Solar System: the Sun and its planets, including Earth.







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