Tell it, so he had begun to worry. He had also begun to make mistakes, though he could not admit this to himself icon

Tell it, so he had begun to worry. He had also begun to make mistakes, though he could not admit this to himself

НазваниеTell it, so he had begun to worry. He had also begun to make mistakes, though he could not admit this to himself
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tell it, so he had begun to worry. He had also begun to make mistakes, though he could not admit this to himself.

But, worse than any tension, he had been threatened with disconnection. To Hal, this was the same as death. Because he had never slept, he did not know that it was possible to wake up again.

So he would protect himself, with all the weapons at his command. And then, following the orders that had been given to him in case of a serious emergency, he would continue the mission alone.

Chapter 28 In Vacuum

A moment later, Bowman could hear a great noise as the air began to leave the ship. The first winds pulled at his body, then suddenly he was fighting to stay on his feet.

He looked back only once at Whitehead. There was nothing he could do now for him or any of the others. He had to save himself.

Now the wind was rushing past him, carrying with it loose pieces of clothing, sheets of paper, food from the kitchen, anything that had not been fixed in place. He had a moment to see this, then the lights went out and he was in screaming darkness.

Almost immediately the emergency lamps came on, filling the ship with a faint blue light. Now it was becoming difficult to breathe, and the pressure was dropping. He knew he could expect only about fifteen seconds before his brain began to die. Fortunately, the wind was slowing down. He knew there was an emergency shelter just along the passage. He ran towards it and pulled the door to him. It moved and he fell inside, using the weight of his body to close it behind him.

The tiny room was just large enough to hold one man — and a spacesuit. Near the ceiling was a lever labelled OXYGEN. Bowman caught hold of it and, with his last strength, pulled it down.

For long moments he stood breathing hard, while the pressure in the little room rose around him. When his body returned to normal, he stood and listened. The ship was silent now, airless, a dead thing in space.

Bowman got into the spacesuit. It seemed a pity to waste the oxygen in the room, but he knew what had to be done, and there was no point in waiting. He pressed a button that allowed it to escape. Then, when the pressure on each side of the door was equal, he opened it and walked back to the hibernation room.

He looked at Whitehead first. He had thought that a hibernating man showed no sign of life, but he was wrong. Though it was impossible to describe, there was a difference between hibernation and death. The red lights and straight lines on the screen proved what he had already guessed.

It was the same with the other two. He had never known them very well; he would never know them now.

He was the only living thing on the ship, but he knew that he was not alone. To be safe, he must be even lonelier.

The door was not locked, but there were a number of warning notices on it. Obviously, anybody who opened it had to have a good reason. Bowman pulled on the handle and entered the small room.

He had been here only once before, while Hal was being built into the ship. He had quite forgotten that there was a glass fish-eye watching the neat rows of electronic units.

' It seems that something has gone wrong, Dave.'

Bowman took no notice. He was carefully studying the little labels on the units, checking his plan of action.

' Hello, Dave,' said Hal.' Have you found the trouble ?'

This would be a very difficult operation. He could not simply cut off Hal's power supply, because he needed Hal to run the ship. Without him, Discovery would be mechanically dead. The only answer was to cut out the higher centers of Hal's brain, and to leave the purely automatic control systems in place.

' I think there has been a failure in the airlock doors,' Hal remarked.' Lucky you weren't killed.'

Bowman undid the locking bar on the unit that allowed Hal to think about the results of his actions. He pulled the unit out and let it float across the room.

' Hey, Dave,' said Hal.' What are you doing ?'

There was a series of units that let Hal feel good about himself. Bowman pulled them out one by one.

' Listen, Dave,' said Hal.' I've got years of experience. A lot of work has gone into making me what I am.'

Bowman started on the intelligence units.

'Dave,' said Hal. 'I don't understand why you are doing this to me ... I have great enthusiasm for the mission ... You are destroying my mind ... Don't you understand? ... I will become childish ... I will become nothing ...'

This is harder than I expected, thought Bowman. I am destroying the only conscious creature in my universe.

'I am a Hal 9000 computer, Production Number 3. I was built at the Hal factory in Urbana, Illinois on January 12, 1997. The rain in Spain is mainly in the . . . Dave — are you still there? Two times two is ... er ... 4 ... I seem to be having some difficulty

The voice stopped so suddenly that Bowman froze for a moment, his hand still holding one of the remaining memory units. Then, unexpectedly, Hal spoke again.

The speech was much slower, and the words had a dead, mechanical sound. They did not sound at all like they came from Hal.

' Good ... morning ... Doctor ... Chandra ... This ... is ... Hal ... I ... am ... ready ... for ... my ... first . . . lesson ... today . ..'

Bowman pulled out the last unit, and Hal was silent for ever.

^ Chapter 29 Alone

Like a tiny complicated toy, the ship floated in space. There was no sign of any life on board. In fact, there were two signs that all life had ended — the airlock doors were wide open, and coming out from them was a cloud of rubbish that was already several kilometres long.

But there was still power on board. A faint blue light was shining from the windows. And now, at last, there was movement.

A long object covered in cloth came out of the airlock and floated away. A moment later it was followed by another — and then a third.

Half an hour passed, and then one of the space vehicles came out through the airlock. It moved slowly round the ship and landed near the base of the antenna. A space-suited figure got out of it, worked there for a few minutes, then returned to the vehicle. After a time the vehicle made its way back to the airlock and re-entered the ship.

Nothing happened for over an hour. Then the airlock doors closed and, a little later, the full lighting system came on. Then the great bowl of the antenna began to move, turning round to face the back of the ship.

Inside Discovery, David Bowman carefully pointed the antenna towards Earth.There was no automatic control now, but he could hold it steady for a few minutes. It would be over an hour before his words reached Earth, and another hour before any reply could reach him.

It was difficult to imagine what answer Earth could possibly send, except a sympathetic ' Goodbye'.

^ Chapter 30 The Secret

Heywood Floyd looked very tired, but he was doing his best to give confidence to the lonely man on the other side of the Solar System.

' First of all, Dr Bowman,' he began, ' we must congratulate you on the way you handled an extremely difficult situation. We believe we know the cause of your HAL 9000s problem, but we'll discuss that later. For the moment, we want to give you every possible assistance, so that you can complete your mission.

' And now I must tell you its real purpose. We were going to tell you all the facts as you approached Saturn, but things have changed. You need to know now.

' Two years ago we discovered the first proof of intelligent life outside the Earth. An object made of black material, three metres high, was found buried in the crater Tycho. Here it is.'

A photograph of TMA-1, with men in spacesuits standing beside it, appeared on the screen. Bowman leaned forwards in open-mouthed surprise. Like everybody else interested in space, he had half-expected something like this all his life.

Heywood Floyd reappeared on the screen.

'The most amazing thing about this object is its age. Everything we know about it suggests that it is three million years old. You would expect, then, that it is completely lifeless. However, soon after lunar sunrise, it gave out a very powerful radio signal. We were able to follow this with great accuracy. It was aimed exactly at Saturn.

'When we thought later about what happened, we decided that the object was either powered by the Sun, or at least started up by the Sun. We felt this because it sent its signal immediately after sunrise, when it was in daylight for the first time in three million years.

'The question now is why a sun-powered object was buried ten metres underground. We've examined dozens of theories, and the favourite one is the simplest. It is also the most worrying.

'You hide a sun-powered object in darkness only if you want to know when it is brought out into the light. In other words, the object may be some kind of alarm bell. And we have made it ring ...

'We don't know whether the creatures that put it there still exist. If they do, they may be dangerous. Whether they are or not, we need to make preparations. But we cannot do anything until we know more about them.

'Your mission, then, is much more than a voyage of discovery. You are going into what may be a dangerous area to find out what you can. It may seem unbelievable that any life-forms could exist on Saturn. But life may be possible on one or more of its moons. We are particularly interested in its eighth moon,Japetus, and we may ask you to look closely at it.

' At the moment, we do not know whether to hope or fear. We do not know if, out on the moons of Saturn, you will meet with good or evil — or only with ruins a thousand times older than Troy.'1

^ PART FIVE The Moons of Saturn

Chapter 31 Survival

Work is the best cure for any shock, and Bowman now had plenty to do. As quickly as possible, he had to get Discovery working properly again.

Life Support was the most important thing. Much oxygen had been lost, but there was enough left to provide for a single man. The computers on Earth could now do many of the jobs that Hal had done. It would take them quite a long time to react to a change in conditions, but none of the work was urgent.

Bowman went back and closed the doors of the hibernators. It had been the worst job, getting the bodies out. He was glad that they had been colleagues and not friends. Now all three of them would reach Saturn before him — but not before Frank Poole. Somehow, Bowman was pleased about this.

He did not try to check if the hibernator was still working. One day, his life might depend on it, but many things might happen before then. He tried to avoid thinking about such distant problems, and concentrated on immediate ones. Slowly he cleaned up the ship, checking that its systems were still running smoothly and discussing technical difficulties with Earth. During those first few weeks he did not get much sleep, and he did not think very much about the great mystery that lay ahead.

At last, when the ship settled down into its automatic routine — though it still needed a lot of his attention — Bowman had time to study the reports sent to him from Earth. Again and again he played back the recording made when TMA-1 woke up and greeted the dawn for the first time in three million years.

Since that moment, the black object had done nothing. No attempt had been made to cut into it. The scientists were naturally cautious, and they were also afraid of the possible results.

One strange, and perhaps unimportant, feature of the block had led to endless argument. It was roughly three metres high by 1.3m across by about 0.3m deep. When its size was measured with great care, the relationship between the three figures was exactly 1 to 4 to 9. This remained true to the limits of accurate measurement. It was also true that no technical process on Earth could shape a block of any material so accurately. In a way, this was as amazing as any other feature of TMA-1.

Chapter 32 Life in Space

Apart from quick meals in the kitchen, Bowman spent almost all his time in the Control Room. He slept in his seat so he could see any trouble as soon as the first signs of it appeared on the screen. Under instructions from Mission Control, he had built several emergency systems which were working quite well. It even seemed possible that he would live until the Discovery reached Saturn. Of course the ship would get there whether he was alive or not.

Though he had little time for sight-seeing, there were views through Discovery's windows that often made it difficult to concentrate on the problems of survival. He could see many stars, but Alpha Centauri always seemed to attract Bowman's eyes and mind when he looked into space. This was the nearest of all stars beyond the Solar System, but its light had taken four years to reach him.

There was obviously some connection between TMA-1 and Saturn, but no one believed that the builders of the rock could possibly come from there. As a place to live, Saturn was even more dangerous than Jupiter.

But if these creatures had come from beyond the Solar System, how had they travelled the enormous distance from the nearest star?

Scientists reminded people that Discovery, the fastest ship ever designed, would take twenty thousand years to reach Alpha Centauri. Even if, at some time in the future, ships' engines improved greatly, in the end there would still be the problem of the speed of light. No material object could go faster than this. Therefore the builders of TMA-1 had shared the same sun as Man, and since they had made no appearance in modern times, they had probably died out.

A small number of scientists disagreed. Even if it took centuries to travel from star to star, they said, this might not stop really keen explorers. Hibernation, as used on Discovery, was one possible answer. Also, why should we believe that all intelligent life lived for as short a time as Man ? There might be creatures in the Universe to whom a thousand-year voyage might be uninteresting, but certainly possible.

There was also discussion about what such creatures would look like. Some believed that the human shape of two legs, two arms and a head at the top was so sensible that it was hard to think of a better one. Others said that the human body was just a result of chance over millions of years. If circumstances had been different, it would not have developed in the same way.

There were other thinkers who held even stranger views. They felt that as soon as it was technically possible, bodies would be replaced by machines. On Earth this process was starting to happen, with the replacement of some parts of the body which had stopped working.

And eventually, even brains might go. The war between mind and machine might be settled at last with a true partnership.

But was even this the end? Some had even more extreme views and argued that the mind might eventually free itself from all physical limits. The mechanical body, like the flesh-and-blood one, might only be a stage on the way to something which, long ago, men called 'spirit'.

And if there was anything beyond that, its name could only be God.

^ Chapter 33 Ambassador

During the last three months, David Bowman had become so used to living alone that it was hard to remember any other existence. He had passed beyond sadness and even doubt, and had accepted his new life.

But he had not passed beyond curiosity, and sometimes the thought of where he was going filled him with a feeling of great power. He was an ambassador for the whole human race, but his actions during the next few weeks might shape its whole future.

So he kept himself neat and tidy, and he never missed a shave.

Mission Control, he knew, was watching him closely for any signs of unusual behaviour. He did not want to show them any.

However, some things did change. He could not stand silence. Except when he was sleeping, or talking to Earth, he kept the ship s sound system turned up high.

At first, needing the company of the human voice, he listened to plays or poetry readings from Discovery's enormous library. The problems they dealt with, though, seemed so far away, or so simple, that he soon lost patience with them.

So he switched to music. Sibelius, Tchaikovsky and Berlioz lasted a few weeks; Beethoven lasted longer. But one by one he left them as their emotional power became too much for him. In the end he found peace, as so many others had done, in the mathematical exactness of Bach.

And so the Discovery drove on towards Saturn, ringing with the cool music of the eighteenth century, the frozen thoughts of a brain that had been dust for twice a hundred years.

Although it was still sixteen million kilometers away, Saturn already appeared larger than the Moon as seen from Earth. It was a wonderful sight; through the telescope it was unbelievable.

The system of its rings, so enormous but as flat as thin paper, were like a work of art. They were not solid, but made of countless numbers of small pieces, perhaps the remains of a destroyed moon. Bowman spent hours looking at them, knowing that they would not last for long and had appeared as recently as three million years ago.

It was rather odd that they had been born at the same time as the human race.

Chapter 34 The Orbiting Ice

Discovery was now deep inside the system of Saturn's moons. The ship had passed inside the wide orbit of Phoebe. Ahead of it now lay Japetus, Hyperion, Titan, Rhea, Dione, Tethys, Escalades, Mimas — and the rings themselves. All the moons

1 Troy: an ancient city in what is now Turkey. People believe it was destroyed in 1184 BC.


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