‘If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God?’
Theremon 762, only a mad idea in (a cub reporters mind)…
the impossible (interviews)…
bruises, blackened, broken bones led to an ample supply of calm and (self) confidence so he lowered his grasp. calmly waited for the director to get over the worst of it all.
“Astromers (were the) queerest of ducks.
This same Aton was the duckiest of (them all)”
Aton found his voice and though it trembled with restrained emotion, the careful somewhat pedantic phraseology
Of which the famous astronomer was known by all, did not abandon him.
“Sir you display an infernal gall coming to me with propositions.”
“Do not interfere, (Beenay) I will credit you with good intentions, bringing this man, (but) I will tolerate no disrespect.”
“Director Aton if you let me finish what I started to say, I think-”
“‘I don’t believe, young man that anything you could count much as compared with your daily columns of these last two months. You have led a vast (newspaper) campaign against the efforts of myself and my colleagues to organize the world against the menace which it is now too late to stop”
Apostles (of the flame)
Data that only the apostles had it was given to me. For that thanks and in return i did agree in a manner of speech. To make public mathematic conformation and proof that shows (the) Apostles basic law. Darkness would descend on Kalgash.
Yes you did, (with) a foxes subtlety. Pretended (explanation backed) our beliefs and at the same time removed necessity for them to exist. You made the darkness and the stars nothing (more than) natural phenomenon removed all significance, and that surely is THE VILEST BLASPHEMY. Your facts are a fraud and a delusion.
“How do you know?”
The answer came with the certainty of absolute faith: “I know”
The point is simply that your ill advised and blasphemous attempts can only fail.
Apostles basic law. Darkness would descend on Kalgash.
Yes you did, (with) a foxes subtlety. Pretended (explanation backed) our beliefs and at the same time removed necessity for them to exist. You made the darkness and the stars nothing (more than) natural phenomenon removed all significance, and that surely is THE VILEST BLASPHEMY
With the air of one carrying through the most sacred item of a religious ritual, Sheerin scraped a large, clumsy match into spluttering life.
There it would wait, dancing about, futilely playing about the tip. Then it was topped by the wavering flames until the room began to glow.
THE LIGHT WAS OH SO DIM, MORE THAN SUNS and what we had.
The flames reeled crazily, giving birth to drunken, swaying shadows. The torches smoked devilishly … But they emitted yellow light.
With a light there was hope, through the end, what would follow. There was something about that warm yellow light, after hrs having spent in Beta’s dim, somber glow. And as he (Sheerin) stood warming his hands, It was without regard of the soot now upon. To himself he cried out “BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL. I never knew what a wonderful color yellow could be.”
But Theremon regarded the torches suspiciously. He wrinkled his nose at the rancid odor and said, ‘What are those things?’
‘Wood,’ said Sheerin shortly.
‘Oh, no, they’re not. They aren’t burning. The top inch is charred and the flame just keeps shooting up out of nothing.’
‘That’s the beauty of it. This is a really efficient artificial-light mechanism. We made a few hundred of them, but most went to the Hideout, of course. You see’ — he turned and wiped his blackened hands upon his handkerchief — ‘you take the pithy core of coarse water reeds, dry them thoroughly, and soak them in animal grease. Then you set fire to it and the grease burns, little by little. These torches will burn for almost half an hour without stopping. Ingenious, isn’t it?”
After the moment’s excitement had past, a stirring confluence had come to an end.
THE DOME WAS OH SO QUIET.
Latimer snuck his chair to the torch lips moving in monotonous tones…
…OF INVOCATIONS TO THE STARS.
Let them all die, come lonely stars the vengeance is yours, pour down your wrath and let the blood flow
…Like a palpable entity
Beenay had drifted away to his cameras once more, and Theremon seized the opportunity to add to his notes on the article he was going to write for the Saro City Chronicle the next day — a procedure he had been following for the last two hours in a perfectly methodical, perfectly conscientious and, as he was well aware, perfectly meaningless fashion. But, as the gleam of amusement in Sheerin’s eyes indicated, careful note-taking occupied his mind with something other than the fact that the sky was gradually turning a horrible deep purple-red, as if it were one gigantic, freshly peeled beet; and so it fulfilled its purpose.
The air grew, somehow, denser. Dusk, like a palpable entity, entered the room, and the dancing circle of yellow light about the torches etched itself into ever-sharper distinction against the gathering grayness beyond. There was the odor of smoke and the presence of little chuckling sounds that the torches made as they burned; the soft pad of one of the men circling the table at which he worked, on hesitant tiptoes; the occasional indrawn breath of someone trying to retain composure in a world that was retreating into the shadow.
(these songs come from the short story and novel called Nightfall by Isaac Asimov)
“You want a statement from me, I remember.” Beenay passed a hand wearily in front of his face. “Yes. Yes. I won’t let you down. You’ve been a tremendous help to me this evening. What is it exactly that the Apostles have said now? I forget.”
“It was Mondior 71,” said Theremon. “The Grand High Mumbo-Jumbo himself. What he said was-let me think-that the time is very near when the gods intend to purge the world of sin, that he can calculate the exact day, even the exact hour, when doom will arrive.”
Beenay groaned. “So what’s new about that? Isn’t that what they’ve been saying for years?”
“Yes, but they’re starting to hand out more of the gory details now. It’s the notion of the Apostles, you know, that this won’t be the first time the world has been destroyed. They teach that the gods have deliberately made mankind imperfect, as a test, and that they have given us a single year-one of their divine years, not one of our little ones-in which to shape up. That’s called a Year of Godliness, and it’s exactly two thousand and forty-nine of our years long. Again and again, when the Year of Godliness has ended, the gods have discovered that we’re still wicked and sinful, and so they have destroyed the world by sending down heavenly flames from holy places in the sky that are known as Stars. So say the Apostles, anyway.”
“Stars?” Beenay said. “Does he mean the suns?”
“No, Stars. Mondior says that the Stars are specifically different from the six suns. -Haven’t you ever paid any attention to this stuff, Beenay?”
“No. Why in the world should I?”
“Well, in any event, when the Year of Godliness ends and nothing on Kalgash has improved, morally speaking, these Stars drop some sort of holy fire on us and burn us up. Mondior says this has happened any number of times. But each time it does, the gods are merciful, or at least a faction among them is: every time the world is destroyed, the kinder gods prevail over the sterner ones and humanity is given one more chance. And so the godliest of the survivors are rescued from the holocaust and a new deadline is set: mankind gets another two thousand and forty-nine years to cast off its evil ways. The time is almost up again, says Mondior. It’s just under two thousand and forty-eight years since the last cataclysm. In something like fourteen months the suns will all disappear and these hideous Stars of his will shoot flame down out of a black sky to wipe out the wicked. Next year on Theptar nineteenth, to be specific.”
“Fourteen months,” Beenay said in a musing way. “The nineteenth of Theptar. He’s very precise about it, isn’t he? I suppose he knows the exact time of day it’ll happen, too.”
“So he says, yes. That’s why I’d like a statement from somebody connected with the Observatory, preferably you. Mondior’s latest announcement is that the exact time of the catastrophe can be calculated scientifically-that it isn’t simply something that’s set forth as dogma in the Book of Revelations, but that it’s subject to the same sort of computation that astronomers employ when-when-“
Theremon faltered and halted.
“When we calculate the orbital motions of the suns and the world?” Beenay asked acidly.
“Well, yes,” Theremon said, looking abashed.
“Then maybe there’s hope for the world after all, if the Apostles can’t do any better job of it than we do.”
“I need a statement, Beenay.”
“Yes. I realize that.” The next round of drinks had arrived. Beenay wrapped his hand around his glass. “Try this,” he said after a moment. “‘The main task of science is to separate truth from untruth, in the hope of revealing the way the universe really works. Putting truth to work in the service of untruth is not what we at the university think of as the scientific way. We are capable now of predicting the movements of the suns in the heavens, yes-but even if we use our best computer, we are no closer than we ever were to being able to foretell the will of the gods. Nor will we ever be, I suspect.’ -How’s that?”
“Perfect,” Theremon said. “Let’s see if I’ve got it. ‘The main task of science is to separate truth from untruth, in the hope of-of-’ What came next, Beenay?”
Beenay repeated the whole thing word for word, as though he had memorized it hours before.
Then he drained his third drink at a single astonishing long gulp.
And then he stood up, smiled for the first time all evening, and fell flat on his face.