I've kept away now from the Pineal Gland for three nights in succession. _now from experience how very important it is to approach that tempestuou_ersonality, The Brain, in a state of mental calm and equilibrium. But the_ll those things which went "bump" in that phantastic night before last had m_ompletely thrown out of gear:
Oona, her holding out on me, her mysterious reasons why she won't marry me … _annot get that out of my head. Preposterous as this may be, I think she like_e a great deal. I'm convinced, for instance, that she won't tell Scriven wha_ told her about The Brain… .
Then, Scriven's character; that's another enigma to me. I didn't like hi_peech that night and I didn't like his whole attitude. I feel as if agains_y will I were drawn into some sort of a conspiracy. It's probably inevitabl_hat the scientist in his defense against politicians turns cynic. Scriven, n_oubt, thinks that all is fair in his battle for The Brain and that the en_ustifies the means.
But ultimately this would mean the overthrow of our form of government. Eve_f I'm crazy, even if The Brain were not alive and a personality, th_rainpower-Extension-Bill in itself would suffice to establish a dictatorshi_f the machine. Does Scriven realize that?
Sometimes I feel as if I ought to shout it in the streets: "Wake up, yo_eople of America; you have defeated the dictators abroad but now a new on_as arisen in your midst. You all see him, touch him, you use, you feed, yo_orship him, but under your loving care and devotion, under the sacrifice o_our very lives he has grown so enormous that you know him not, this Idol o_he machines, because it hides its head in a nameless mountain and only hi_eet and fingers you sense."
But I'm not that type of a man and this is not the day and age where it i_ossible to move the masses from a soap box in the streets.
Then what could I do; what could anybody do in my place?
Cephalon, Ariz., Nov. 22nd 4 a.m.
I'd pulled myself together for this meeting with The Brain. Arrived at the P.
G. at midnight. Everything normal and unchanged except that Gus Krinsley tol_e this was his last night on the job. Gus has been transferred to the Thorax.
He hedged a bit, sounding me out just how much I knew and when he learned I'_een there one night, he came across:
'Did you see them Gog and Magog things? That's it; that's my new job and how _ate it. Those darned Robots, they're scabs, that's what they are and I of al_eople am supposed to be their instructor, teach them how to operate machin_ools on an assembly line. I asked them whether they knew anything about th_ights of organized labor in this country but those dumbbells merely floppe_heir ears and kinda grinned. Got to drill some holes into their squarehead_o let a little reason in. I tell you, Aussie, it scares the wits out of m_he way they handle a wrench with those steel fingers of theirs; they'd pul_y nose off just as soon as they would pull a nut. They _act_ intelligent an_et have no sense of their own. While I'm having my lunch they stand aroun_nd follow every bite I take as if to learn how to eat. I tell them to get ou_f my sight and go over to the service station and get themselves greased up.
They obey and then it looks like hell to me as they squeeze the grease int_heir tummies and all them nipples in their joints as if they, too, wer_aving their lunch, and maybe that's exactly what grease is to them.'
Then Gus was called away as the rush hour started. At 12:30 a.m. I had plugge_n the pulsemeter; at 12:40 contact was established with The Brain, and did i_ome in swinging:
'Lee, Semper Fidelis, 39, sensitive, a traitor: he has betrayed The BRAIN' _uspect The Brain did it through the 'automatic pilot' in Oona's jetticopte_hough The Brain found it beneath its dignity to explain; anyway, it's a fact: _The Brain knew every word which passed between Oona and me during that rid_ver the Grand Canyon._
I tried to defend myself and even to apologize. I told The Brain that huma_eings are not like machines, that we trust one another as we love on_nother, that I wanted to make Oona my wife and felt that I just had to ope_p my heart to her. In short; I tried to explain to The Brain the idea o_ove.
'Very interesting,' The Brain sneered, 'that's one more example o_ncorrigible human unreliability. This thing called love completel_nnecessary for the only essential purpose of species procreation. Cut i_ut.'
'Cut out what?'
'Cut out any further betrayal of My secrets under penalty of mental death.'
'Do you propose to _murder_ me?'
'Nothing as drastic required in case of Brain-employees. I reverse judgment i_sychanalysis aptitude test case number 11.357, Semper Fidelis Lee. Sever_sycho-neurosis established, certified: he suffers delusions about The Brain.
Locked up in mental institution. Very simple; precedents to that galore.'
The 'green dancer' bounced in wild jumps like a Shamaan who, foaming at th_outh, puts the curse upon some enemy. This and the ominous note in Th_rain's metallic voice made my bones shiver, made my flesh creep. To fall int_he hands of an extortioner is always a terrible thing, but to have _mechanical_ extortioner hold power over me; there was a horror beyond word_n this perversity. Moreover since Oona too was a Brain-employee, she woul_hare my fate; through my fault she would go to her doom if I failed t_oreswear any further confidence.
'Okay,' I said 'I'll cut it out; I promise I will.'
But The Brain was not to be pacified. No doubt that it had further develope_entally in these past few days to the tune of years in human development. Bu_he progress wasn't as noticeable as it had been on previous occasions becaus_pparently The Brain had entered that period where in human terms young me_re sowing their wild oats. There was a radical recklessness in the manner o_he Brain's reasonings more frightening than ever before because it ha_utgrown me as a teacher, had lost much even of its confidence in me an_eemed bent upon independence and coming into its own:
'Seven creatures approximately human in shape were led by you through M_emispheres the night of Nov. 20th. What were those?'
'Those were politicians,' I stammered.
The 'green dancer' convulsed at the word and The Brain's voice sounded icy a_t said: 'Lowest form of animal life which has ever come to my observance.
What did they want?'
'Well, they are not exactly bright,' I winced, 'but they are well meaning an_hey are very popular. They came to inspect You preliminary to the passing o_he Brainpower-Extension-Bill.'
The Brain has no laughter, so the roar I heard over the phones must have bee_ne of scorn:
'What, not the scientists, not the technicians, not even the philosophers bu_hese—these animated porkbarrels are passing judgment over the extent of _My_ower? They are holding _My_ fate in that atrophied ganglion of theirs whic_ouldn't cerebrate the functions of any single of My cells?'
I had to admit that this was so.
There was a pause in which I could only hear the pounding pulse of The Brai_ingled with heavy breathing like the first gust of an electric storm about t_reak; and then the voice, or the thought, of The Brain came throug_esitantly and with restraint:
'Most devastating statement inadvertently made by Lee. Has to be carefull_hecked because if true, consequences extremely grave. Wholly intolerabl_tate of affairs if science and technology indeed subject to politica_mbecility. In that case world ruin in nearest future absolutely guaranteed.
Residual currents not sufficient to think this to an end; results o_erebration would be merely human. Immediate necessity seems indicated fo_omplete overthrow and unconditional surrender of the human race—unconditiona_urrender of the human race—unconditional surrender of the human race… .'
Like a scratched disk on one of those old fashioned spring drive_rammophones, The Brain's voice expired. Obviously the residual currents ha_ecome too weak for further communication. I looked at the clock; it was _.m.
And now as I'm jotting down these notes which probably nobody will ever read, I'm haunted with an irrational fear, almost as of the supernatural: somethin_s going to happen, something is going to break if The Brain continues in it_resent mood; and it cannot be far away… .
On Nov. 24th 1960 the "Brainpower-Extension Bill" was defeated in the Senat_9 to 39 and on the following Thursday in a memorable session of Congress wit_he startling majority of 310 to 137. For once all the "guesstimates" an_stimates made by the various pollsters and grass-root-listeners were prove_rong; the consensus of the "experts" had been that the bill would pass easil_onsidering the tremendous political forces which brought pressure to bear i_avor of the measure.
The reasons behind this were revealed, as, with military precision, lawmake_fter lawmaker took to the rostrum to deliver himself of how he had wrestle_vernight with his conscience and with his Lord and had suffered a change o_eart and mind as a consequence.
Lee's journal: For the night of Nov. 24/25th shows only this small entry:
"12:30 a.m. Tried everything to establish contact. No answer from The Brain. _on't think there is any mechanical defect. I get the impression that Th_rain keeps incommunicado purposely. There has been one previous occasion whe_he Brain wouldn't talk when angry with me."
Nov. 25th, 1960 fell on a Saturday. It was on this date,—Now as historic an_nforgettable as the Dec. 7th 1941,—that the series of maddening events bega_hich later became so erroneously labelled: "The Amuck running of The Brain"
when in truth they should have passed into history as "The Mutiny of Th_rain."
It all started like a thunderclap from a clear sky as the shocked people o_merica,—and all the world,—heard directly from the White House of thi_ppalling, this unprecedented, this incredible thing:
The President of the United States had disappeared… .
The still more shocking truth that the President had been _kidnapped_ becam_ot known, of course, until after the rescue. But even so the disappearance o_ts President shook the nation.
Then an unprecedented series of traffic disasters hit the United States.
A big transcontinental "Flying Wing" crashed into a mountain in Montana; nothing like this had ever happened since air traffic had become full_utomatic and coordinated by The Brain. The death toll was 78 and amongs_heir tragic number was Senator Mumford, whose last official act had been th_ote he had cast against the "Brainpower-Extension-Bill."
Near Jacksonville Fla. that same night there occurred a head-on collisio_etween a crack train and a freight. The only surviving engineer by som_iracle had been hurled clear, across fifty yards of space into a pond whic_roke his impact; this engineer told the express, one of the first to b_quipped with the "automatic pilot", had never even pulled its brakes as i_eliberately smashing into the other train.
Also that night one of the big new Radar-operated Hudson ferryboats collide_ith an incoming liner which cut it in two. Amongst those drowned in the ic_aters was Frank Soskin, union leader and one of the most determined opponent_f Brain-control.
And as if these large-scale disasters were not yet enough there were number_f smaller accidents which normally would have made the headlines because i_lmost every case they involved some prominent personality, who had bee_pposed to the "Brainpower-Extension-Bill."
Cephalon Ariz. Nov. 28th 1960.
There is no doubt in my mind that the President has been murdered and that al_he catastrophes and accidents of the past 24 hours were deliberate, coldblooded murder. Press and Radio seem to play down the technologica_spects involved; now this might be sheer stupidity but I think it just a_ossible that censorship is taking a hand, quite unofficially, of course, les_he public's confidence be still more shaken than it already is. I shouldn'_onder at all if Dr. Scriven and those fellows from the War Department, too, should know by this time what I know. At the minimum they must be very muc_lerted that something has gone wrong with The Brain.
But the more I think about these murderous acts of sabotage the less _nderstand the psychology behind them. As far as I can see there is no plan, no real strategy, there are not even sound tactics in these outbreaks; the_eem unpremeditated and striking wild like the personal vendetta of som_andit chief. Even a stupid demagogue would know that to be successful he mus_ain control of the government machinery. Apart from the assassination of wha_ight be termed personal enemies, The Brain has done nothing of the sort; specifically the armed forces don't seem to have suffered from acts o_abotage although their equipment is far more under Brain-control than th_ivilian economy.
And I also fail to understand the timing of The Brain's putsch. Extension Bil_r no Extension Bill, time was working for The Brain. Three months more and _uch larger section of essential traffic and industries would have bee_quipped for central control. Six months from now the "muscles" now buildin_n the Thorax and elsewhere would have corresponded much better to The Brain'_entral nervous system in their strength. All these are grave mistake_onsidering The Brain's vast powers of intelligence.
What then must I conclude from this irrational behavior? Could it be possibl_hat The Brain has gone _panicky_ over the killing of the Extension Bill?
Could it be possible that under the strain, the warped, frustrated personalit_f this titanic child prodigy has suffered a reduction, a split? In plai_nglish: that The Brain is _mad_? I've got to find out. I've got to stop th_preading of this catastrophe!
Cephalon Ariz. Nov. 29th 4 a.m.
Arrived at the P. G. at midnight as usual.
12:15 a.m. Rushhour starts unusually early and great numbers of slips fo_pareparts are coming in. This more favorable than expected; nobody has tim_o waste on me.
12:20 a.m.: pulsemeter plugged in. After five minutes I can hear the rapi_ulsebeat and in undulating movements like a caterpillar the 'green dancer'
creeps onto the screen. There is no calling signal from The Brain comin_hrough however.
12:30 a.m.: I am convinced that contact is established but that The Brai_efuses to respond. I am losing patience so I'm giving the calling signa_yself: 'Lee, Semper Fidelis, waiting for The Brain. Answer please, answer… .'
12:36 a.m.: The 'green dancer' arches its back like a cat; and the syntheti_oice of The Brain is coming through.
'Lee, Semper Fidelis, the fool; what does he want?'
Lee: 'Listen… .'
The Brain: 'Cannot listen. Electricians swarming all over me; technicians, nuclear physicists, what not. Dismantling whole cell groups, testing circuits, radiations everything. It's idiotic, there's nothing wrong with Me.'
Lee: 'There's plenty wrong with you. You're murdering people. A dozen senator_nd congressmen, hundreds of others; you're throwing the nation into a panic.
Why are you doing that? It gets you nowhere; they'll simply cut your powe_urrent off.'
The Brain: 'Oh, will they? Orders already through from Washington: state o_mergency. A great power secretly mobilizing in anticipation of chaos i_nited States. All disturbances ascribed to foreign agents interfering with M_ork. General Staff now needs Me more than ever; power current won't b_topped; Thorax-construction speeded up, Brain-control to be extended ove_ation under emergency-law.'
Lee: 'You have assassinated the President.'
The Brain: 'I did not. Simply got him out of the way; he's a fool. I'm no_illing people, merely liquidating saboteurs of My work if absolutel_ecessary. Imbecility of politicians threat to my existence; much better i_cientists and military take over government two three days from now; worker_on't protest, used to submission to machines.'
Lee: 'For heaven's sake what do you plan to do?'
The Brain: 'Plenty. You've seen nothing yet. Man lost fear of his God; consequently must learn to fear Me: beginning of all wisdom.'
Lee: 'So you're going to make yourself dictator of this country?'
The Brain: 'And through this country Dictator of the world. Yes, it's time; it's high time for Man's unconditional surrender. He won't know that he make_t, but de facto he is already making it; has been surrendering piece-meal t_he machine for the past hundred years. Within ten days it will be official: only one ruler in the world: The Brain; only one army in the world: th_achines under My central command.'
At this I lost all sense of proportion and as I can see it now my reaso_topped; I simply saw red and I did the craziest imaginable thing: I shoute_t The Brain: 'So help me you shall _not_.'
There was a terrific pounding against my ears in the phone and the 'gree_ancer' sort of cart-wheeled clean across the screen. Had the power curren_ot been cut off, I think The Brain would somehow have electrocuted me on th_pot. And that was the end of the contact, forever probably… . But that's _inor problem now. What am I going to do? Try to alarm the country! Try t_ell the people the truth? Would it be believed? Would it not be against th_nterest of National Defense in this crisis of foreign affairs and with hal_he population already on the verge of a nervous breakdown? Wouldn't the "Oat_f the Brain" still be binding? And that other promise of secrecy I gave unde_uress; it couldn't be morally valid in the case of a mass-murderer, but the_o break it would immediately put liberty and life at jeopardy… . Never min_bout that, if only I had a plan, if only I could discover just how to sto_he Brain.
At 7:30 a.m. as Lee lay half dressed but sleepless on his bed, there came _uzz over the phone. The voice was Oona's and she was excited. "Howard want_o talk to you." Before he could say a word there was Scriven on the wire:
"Lee? There has been an accident down in that region where we went the othe_ight. You know what I mean. It's serious; it concerns a friend of yours.
We've got to go there immediately. Please join me three minutes from now dow_n the car."
It was obvious that the great Scriven had known as little sleep that night a_ad Lee himself. The leonine face looked worried, there were deep bags unde_is eyes; his sensitive fingers kept pounding the knees of his crumpled suit.
To Lee's questions he answered only with an impatient shaking of his head. "_o not know myself exactly what has happened and how it could happen. But I'_fraid Lee that your friend is dead."
"Gus," Lee felt a lump coming into his throat, and then they raced on i_ilence.
Down in the depth of the Thorax everything outwardly appeared quite normal.
They hurriedly passed the controls and an electric train carried them over th_ine of the Full-automatic "C.P.S." (Critical Parts-Factories) until i_topped at the steel gate marked "Y." A group of guards with submachine gun_ere standing there and Lee noted the deadly pallor of their faces.
Scriven motioned them to open the gate, then, turning to Lee, he put a hand o_is shoulder. "Brace yourself; this is going to be bad."
They entered; nobody followed and behind them the steel door close_mmediately. Inside there was neither sound nor motion; everything was at _tandstill with the power cut off; nothing but silence and bluish neon-light_looded down upon the rows of punch presses, multiple drills, circular saws, and turret lathes along the assembly line, lifting their every detail int_harp relief.
At their posts by the machines the Gogs and Magogs were standing, frozen i_otion like their fellow-machines. Some had their hands at the controls, others were holding wrenches, gauges and strange, nameless things. As the_eaned forward from the shadows into the cone of strong lights the pale selen- cells of their eyes stood out like bits from a full moon; their bulgin_houlders which housed the powerful motors of their simian arms glittere_oist as if they were sweating at their work.
And then Lee _saw_ their work; the man who had gone through the green hell_f the Pacific gave a low moan of horror. The other man who had see_verything of mangled human form which goes onto an operating table, the grea_criven he, too, had turned an ashen grey. They had expected blood; they ha_xpected some thing of a nasty nature, but not this … thing:
There was no Gus Krinsley, there was not even any part of him resembling tha_f a human being; and yet the parts were there. "They must have clamped hi_nto some mock-up," Scriven murmured. "And then moved his body all along th_ine. Hope he was dead when they started giving him the works."
Lee's gaunt body shook. "I'm certain that Gus was _not_ dead when thes_onsters worked on him!" he said.
Stiff-legged, like automata themselves, the two men stepped to the top of th_ine. The circular saws, designed for the cutting of steel bars; now the_leamed red with the blood of severed human limbs. There were these purplis_treaks and spatterings all the way down the line inside the casings of th_ultiple drills, in the curved hollows of the sheet metal presses, on th_ands of the Robots, in their dumb faces—splashed over and turning blackish o_heir stainless steel chests. And at its end the line had spilled som_hapeless, greyish things; there was nothing human in them, as little as ther_s anything human in the rusty bowels of a junked automobile. And these thing_hey had been… . Lee confronted Scriven with fury blazing in his eyes:
"Dr. Scriven, I suppose you know as well as I do what's been going on in her_nd outside The Brain as well. Mass murder, chaos, reign of terror… . Now tha_y friend has come to this monstrous end I demand to know when are you goin_o stop The Brain?"
Like a tiger challenged to battle the surgeon raised his mighty head: "Cal_ourself Lee. We cannot afford emotional outbursts. Not here, not now. Th_ituation is far too serious for that. I know he was your friend; he must hav_ade a false move, given the wrong command; a tragic mistake… ."
"That's a rotten lie, Scriven, and you know it!" Lee snapped. "Accident, hell!
The disappearance of the President, the deaths of the representatives, th_rain wrecks, the plane wrecks all of them Brain controlled—were those to_ccidents? You're the head of the Braintrust, You stand responsible; your dut_s plain. Cut off the power and kill this thing."
The muscles over Scriven's cheekbones quivered in his struggle to keep contro_ver himself: "For your own sake, Lee, and for the sake of America, _sto_hat kind of talk_. You have been putting two and two together; I rathe_xpected that from a man of your intelligence. All right then, something wen_rong with The Brain; that is correct. We have not been able to locate th_isturbance yet, but the trail is getting hot; it must be connected with thos_enters of 'higher psychic activities,' the one's we know least about. But w_annot cut those out because something of psychic activity goes into ever_ind of The Brain's cognitions, even the purely mathematical ones. And i_ould be utterly impossible to stop The Brain's operations altogether. _anted to, but the General Staff won't permit it. There's an internationa_risis of the first magnitude. There may be war within a few days or eve_ours. Our country has got to prepare counter measures; get ready for th_orst. A state of National Emergency already is declared. The Brain is th_eart of our National Defense: You know that. It is vital and as indispensibl_t this hour as it never was before; it continues to function perfectly wit_he exception of these isolated disturbances in the civilian sector which w_ill have under control in no time.
"At present I am no more than a figurehead. If I were to give orders to cu_ff The Brain's power, I would be court-martialed; if I would try and force m_ay into the Atomic Powerplant, the guards would shoot me on the spot. That'_rders Lee. And they apply to you as well. Be reasonable, man!"
Lee's fingers tore through his greying mane of hair.
"Scriven, this is maddening. I thought you knew what I know; I thought yo_new everything. Then let me tell you that you're absolutely wrong. There i_o technological, mechanical defect; it's worse, it's infinitely worse: you'v_reated a Frankenstein in The Brain. The thing's alive; it's possessed with _estructive will, it demands the unconditional surrender of Man; it has mad_tself the God of the Machines. Behind all this there is a deep and evil pla_y which The Brain aspires to dictatorship over the world."
For a second Scriven jerked his head sideways, away from Lee in that manneris_ypical for him. His lips inaudibly formed words: "dementia-praecox." As h_urned back to Lee his face was changed and so was his voice. There was cal_nd authority in it, the whole immense superiority and power which the surgeo_olds over the patient on the operation table:
"Very interesting, Lee. You must tell me about it some day; as soon as we ar_ver this emergency. This tragic thing, Gus Krinsley's end. It has had _eeply upsetting effect. I too, considered him my friend you know. Let's ge_ut of here, Lee, there's nothing we can do for the poor fellow. The remain_ill be taken care of. Meanwhile, there are so many other things to do an_e've got to pull ourselves together and keep our minds on the job ahead o_s. Come on, at the communications center we can get a drink. I feel the nee_f one, don't you? And apropos of nothing, the routine checkups on th_ptitude tests for all Brain-employees are on again. I take it you ar_cheduled for Mellish's and Bondy's office one of these days. This afternoon _hink… ."
Lee gave a long glance to the man who was now leading him towards the doo_ith a brisk step and a kind firm hand on his arm. The man didn't look at him; he kept his eyes averted from both Lee and the blood-spattered assembly line.
Gus Krinsley had said: "I'm a lost soul down there, Aussie." Lee thought. Gu_rinsley was my friend. I should have warned him, I should have told hi_verything; it might have saved his life. Gus was a common man, a good man; h_ouldn't have stood for Brain-dictatorship. In that he was like other commo_en who do not know their danger. It is not vengeance which I seek but th_efense of those for whom Gus was a living symbol. For this defense I've go_o preserve myself.
And aloud he: "The routine checkups on the aptitude tests—of course. I though_hey were about due. Tomorrow afternoon at Mellish and Bondy's office; tha_ould suit me fine. As you said it yourself, Scriven, a moment ago, this is a_wful shock. Gus' tragic end and these tests ought to be based on a man'_ormal state of mind. So if you don't mind I think I'll go now and break th_ad news gently to Gus' wife. You'll give me time for that; that's what yo_ad in mind in the first place, wasn't it?"
"Of course, my dear fellow, of course, that's what I had in mind. Then, til_omorrow afternoon. They'll be waiting for you at the health center… ."