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Chapter 7

  • Lee's Journal:
  • Cephalon Ariz. Nov. 21, 1 a.m.
  • 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."
  • Lee's journal:
  • 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… ."