View Full Version : Mote In God's Eye, The - Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

Pages : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 [50] 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58

06-07-2007, 08:33 PM
Chapter 49 - Parades

The landing boat settled on the roof of the Palace with a high-pitched whine of jets dying to a low rumble, then silence. A long roll of drums began outside. The martial sound filtered into the cabin, then blared as the entryway was opened.
David Hardy blinked into morning sunlight bright on the varicolored stones of the Palace. He sniffed fresh air with no smell of ships and men and filters, and felt the warmth of New Cal. His feet sensed solid rock below. Home!
Oh, Lord, they're going all out, David thought. He squared his shoulders and moved down the ramp as cameramen focused their zoom lenses. Other naval officers and civilians followed. Dr. Horvath was the last, and when he appeared David nodded to the officer in charge.
"PRESENT ARMS!" -- Snap! Crack! Fifty pairs of white gloves made identical motions and slapped their weapons at identical times. Fifty scarlet sleeves heavy with gold braid poised in geometrical precision. The drum roll swelled louder and faster.
The Moties came down the ramp. They blinked at New Cal sunlight. Trumpets blared a salute, them halted with the drum roll. The silence was broken only by faint traffic sounds from streets half a kilometer away. Even the newsmen on their high platform were still. The Modes swiveled their bodies rapidly about.
Curiosity! A human world at last, and humans who governed; yet what were they doing? Ahead were two lines of twenty-five Marines in rigid pose, their weapons held in what could not be a comfortable position, all identical and obviously not threatening anyone; but Ivan automatically swiveled to look behind for his Warriors.
To their tight were more of these Marines but they carried noisemakers, not weapons, and several carried banners with colors dipped; three more carried weapons and a fourth held up a larger banner that was not dipped: symbols they'd seen before. Crown and spaceship, eagle, sickle-and-hammer.
Directly ahead, past the clump of people from Lenin and MacArthur, were more humans in a wild array of clothing. They were obviously waiting to speak to the Moties, but they did not speak.
"Captain Blaine and Miss Fowler," Jock twittered. "Their posture indicates that the two in front of them receive deference."
David Hardy led the Moties forward. The aliens were still wrinkling their noses, and they chattered among themselves in musical tones. "If the air is distasteful," David said, "we can build filters. I hadn't noticed that ship's air distressed you." He took another lungful of the clean precious stuff.
"No, no, it's only a bit flat and tasteless," said a Mediator. It was impossible to tell the two apart. "Then there's the extra oxygen. I think we'll need that."
"Right." The Motie squinted toward the sun. "We'll also need dark glasses."
"Certainly." They reached the end of the lines of honor guards. Hardy bowed to Merrill. Both Mediators did likewise in perfect imitation. The White stood erect for a moment, then bowed, but not so deeply as the others.
Dr Horvath was waiting. "Prince Stefan Merrill, Viceroy to His Imperial Majesty for Trans-Coalsack Sector," Horvath announced. "Your Highness, the Ambassador from Mote Prime. He is called Ivan."
Merrill bowed formally, then indicated Benjamin Fowler. "Senator Benjamin Bright Fowler, Lord President of the Imperial Commission Extraordinary. Senator Fowler is empowered to speak with you in the name of the Emperor, and he has a message for you from His Majesty."
The Moties bowed again.
Senator Fowler had allowed his valet to dress him properly; all the billions of humanity would eventually see recordings of this meeting. He wore a dark tunic with no decoration but a small golden sunburst on the left breast, his sash was new, his trousers fit perfectly and vanished into the tops of glove-soft, gleaming boots. He thrust a black Malacca cane with carved gold head wider his left arm as Rod Blaine held out a parchment.
Fowler read in his "official speeches" voice; in debates he was a firebrand, but his formal speeches were stilted. This one was no exception. -
"Leonidas TX by Grace of God Emperor of Humanity to the representatives of -the Mote Civilization, Greetings and Welcome. For a thousand years mankind has searched for brothers in the universe. We have dreamed of them for all our history..." The message was long and formal, and the Moties listened in silence. To their left a knot of men hustled and whispered together, and there were some pointed instruments the Moties recognized as badly designed tri-v cameras. There was a forest of cameras and far too many men; why did the humans need so many to do a simple task?
Fowler finished the message. He followed the Motie gaze without turning his head. "The gentlemen of the press," he murmured, "We'll try to keep them from bothering you." Then he held up the parchment to show the Imperial Seal, and presented it to the Moties.
"They obviously expect a reply. This is one of the 'formal' events Hardy warned us of. I have no idea what to say. Have you?"
Jock: "No. But we must say something."
The Master spoke. "What have they said to us?"
"I could translate but it would be meaningless. They have welcomed us in the name of their Emperor, who appears to be an over-Master. The short, round one is Mediator to this Emperor."
"Ah. We have at last found one who can communicate. Speak to her."
"But he has said nothing!"
"Say nothing in return."
"We are very grateful for your Emperor's welcome. We believe this first meeting between intelligent races will be a historic occasion, perhaps the most important event in all our histories. We are eager to begin trade and the mutual enrichment of Modes and Mankind."
"You sound like Horvath."
"Of course. Those were his words. He used them often before the humans destroyed their lesser ship. We must know why they did that."
"You will not ask until we know more of humans."
The Moties stood blinking in a silence that stretched embarrassingly. They obviously had no more to say.
"Doubtless you are tired from your journey," Merrill said. "You will want to rest in your quarters before the parade begins." When the Moties did not reply, Merrill waved his hand slightly. The band struck up a march and the Moties were ushered toward an elevator.
"We'll get you away from the goddamn press corps," Fowler muttered. "Can't do anything in a goldfish bowl." He turned to smile for the cameras. So did the others, and they were still smiling as the elevator door closed in the faces of the reporters who had rushed forward when they saw that the Moties were leaving.

There were no obvious spy eyes in the rooms, and the doors had inside locks. There were many rooms, all with very high ceilings. There were three rooms with what the humans thought were beds for Moties, and each of those rooms was adjoined by a room with waste disposal and washing facilities. In another room were a refrigerator, flame and microwave stoves, large stocks of food including the stores brought by the Moties, implements for eating, and equipment they did not recognize. Still another room, the largest of all, held a big polished wood table and both Motie and human chairs.
They wandered through the vast spaces.
"A tri-v screen," Jock exclaimed. He turned the controls, and a picture appeared. It was a tape of themselves listening to the message from the Emperor. Other channels showed the same things, or men talking about the Motie arrival or-
A big man in loose clothing was shouting. His tones and gestures indicated rage. "Devils! They must be destroyed! The Legions of Him will go forth against the Legions of Hell!"
The shouting man was cut off and replaced by another man, also in loose clothing, but this one did not shout. He spoke calmly. "You have heard the man who calls himself the Voice of Him. It is of course not necessary for me to say it, but speaking for the Church I can assure you that the Moties are neither angels nor devils; merely intelligent beings much like us. If they are a threat to humanity it is not a spiritual one, and His Majesty's servants will certainly be more than adequate to deal with them."
"Cardinal Randolph, has the Church determined the, ah, status of- Modes? That is, their place in the theology of -- "
"Of course not. But I can say they are hardly supernatural beings." Cardinal Randolph laughed and so did the commentator. There was no sign of the man who had been screaming in rage.
"Come," the Master said. "You will have time for this later." They went into the large room and sat at the table. Charlie brought grain from their food supply.
"You have smelled the air," Jock said. "No industrial development. The planet must be nearly empty! Room for a billion Masters and all their dependents."
"Too much of this sunlight would make us blind. The gravity would shorten our lives." Charlie inhaled deeply. "But there is room and food and metal. The gravity be cursed with the sunlight. We'll take it."
"I must have missed hearing the offer." Jock gestured amusement. "I do not believe the three of us will take it by force."
"These humans drive me to thoughts of Crazy Eddie! Did you see? Did you hear? The Mediator for the Emperor detests the operators of the tri-v cameras, yet he makes expression of pleasure for them and implies that he may not have the power to prevent them from annoying us."
"They have given us a tri-v," the Master said.
"And it is obviously what the humans watch. There were spokesmen for many Masters. You saw." Jock indicated pleasure. "I will have many opportunities to discover how humans are ruled and how they live."
"They have given us a source of information which they do not control;' the Master said. "What does this mean?"
The Mediators were silent.
"Yes," said Ivan. "If we are not successful in our mission, we will not be permuted to return." He indicated indifference. "We knew this before we left. Now it is more vital than ever that we establish trade with humans as quickly as possible; or determine that intercourse with humans is undesirable and find a way to prevent it. You must act quickly."
They knew. The Mediators who proposed their mission and the Masters who consented had recognized the time limits before they left Mote Prime. There were two: the life span of a Mediator was not long, and the Master would die at nearly the same time. The massive hormone imbalance which made him sterile and permanently male would kill him. But only mules and a sterile Keeper could be sent, for no Master would entrust any but a Keeper with this task; and only a Keeper could survive without breeding.
The span of the second time limit was not so predictable, but it was no less sure: Civilization was again doomed on the Mote. Another Cycle was turning, and despite the inevitable Crazy Eddies there would be no halting it. After the collapse the humans would see Moties in savagery. The Race would be helpless, or nearly so; and what would the humans do then?
No one knew and no Master would risk it.
"The humans have promised discussions of trade. I presume the Mediator will be their instrument. Also perhaps Mr. Bury or another like him." Jock left his chair and examined the paneled walls. There were buttons concealed in filigree and he pressed one. A panel slid open to reveal another tri-v and Jock operated it.
"What is there to discuss?" the Master demanded. "We need food and land, or we must be left alone with the Cycles. We must conceal the urgency of our needs and their reasons. We have little to trade but ideas; there are no resources to expand. If humans wish durable goods they must bring us the metals to make them from."
Any drain of resources from the Mote would prolong the next collapse; and that must not be.
"The Navy's keeping it a big hush-hush, but I can tell you this, they've got technology beyond anything the First Empire ever had," a Commentator on the view screen said. He seemed awed.
"The humans no longer possess much of what they had," said Jock. "Once, during the period they call the First Empire, they had food-conversion machinery of amazing efficiency. It required only power and organic matter, garbage, weeds, even deceased animals and humans. Poisons were removed or converted."
"Do you know the principles? Or how widespread was its use? Or why they no longer possess it?" the Master demanded.
"No. The human would not speak of it."
"I heard," Charlie added. "He was a rating named Dubcek, and he was attempting to conceal the obvious fact that humans have Cycles. They all do."
"We know of their Cycles," Ivan said. "Their oddly erratic Cycles."
"We know what the midshipmen told us in their last hours. We know what the others have implied. We know they are in awe of the power of their First Empire, but have little admiration of their previous civilizations. Little more. Perhaps with the tri-v I can learn."
"This food machine. Will others know more of it?"
"Yes. If we had a Brown, and with what the humans know of the principles, it is possible that -- "
"Make me joyful beyond dreams," said Charlie. "Cease to wish we had Browns."
"I can't help it. I have only to lie on their couches, or sit in this chair, and somehow my thoughts turn -- "
"A Brown would die revealingly. Two Browns would breed and breed and breed and if prevented from breeding would die revealingly. Shut up about Browns."
"1 will. But that one food machine would stave off any new Cycle for half a 144-years."
"You will learn all you can about the machine," Ivan directed. "And you will cease to speak of Browns. My couch is as badly designed as yours."

The grandstand was in front of the Palace gales, and it was filling with humans. More temporary Structures stretched in both directions down the roadway, as far as the Moties could see from their place in the front row. Humans swarmed around and into them.
Ivan sat impassively. There was no understanding the purpose of all this, but the humans were attempting to observe the proprieties. As they left their rooms they were followed by humans with weapons, and the men did not watch the Moties; they looked unceasingly at the crowds around them. These Marines were not impressive and they would be as Meats in the hands of Warriors, bat at least the human Masters had provided a bodyguard. They were trying to be polite.
The Mediators chattered as Mediators always did, and Ivan listened carefully. Much could be learned from Mediator conversations.
Jock: "These are the over-Masters of this planet, of twenty planets and more. Yet they have said that they must do this thing. Why?"
Charlie: "I have theories. Notice the patterns of deference as they approach their seats. Viceroy Merrill assists Sally to climb the stairs. Titles are omitted by some and always used by others, and given redundantly in full over the loudspeakers. The 'gentlemen of the press' would seem to have no status at all, yet they stop whom they please, and although the others will prevent them from going where they will, they are not punished for trying?'
Jock: "What pattern do you see? I find none."
Ivan: "Have you conclusions?"
"Only interesting questions," Charlie replied.
Ivan: "Then allow me my own observations."
Jock changed to the Trailing Trojans Recent tongue. "What pattern do you see?"
Charlie answered in the same language. "I see a complex netting of obligations, but within it there is a pyramid of power. No one is truly independent, but as you near the top of the pyramid power increases enormously; however, it is seldom used to its fullest. There are lines of obligations that reach in tilt directions, upwards, downwards, sideways in a totally alien manner. Where no Master works directly for any other, these humans all work for each other: Viceroy Merrill answers commands from above and obligations from below. The Browns and Farmers and Warriors and Laborers demand and receive periodic accounting of the doings of their Masters."
Jock (astonishment): "It is too complex. Yet we must know or we cannot predict what the humans will do."
Charlie: "The patterns change as we look. And there is this attitude they call 'formality'-Shock!"
Jock: "Yes, I saw. The small female who ran in front of the car. Look, the men in the car are shaken, perhaps injured. The car stopped very suddenly. What prerogatives could that female have?"
Jock: "If that is her parent' carrying her away, then she is a proto-Engineer. Except that she is a small female and they have few female Engineers, and that Master's car stopped to avoid striking her, to the detriment of the Master. Now I understand why their Fyunch(click)s go mad."
The stand was nearly full, and Hardy returned to his place beside them. Charlie asked, "Can you explain again what is to happen here? We did not understand, and you had little time."
Hardy thought about it. Every kid knew what a parade was, but nobody ever told children; you took them to one instead. Children liked them because there were strange and wonderful things to watch. Adults-well, adults had other reasons.
He said, "A lot of men are going to walk past us in regular patterns. Some will play musical instruments. There will be vehicles carrying displays of handiwork and agriculture and art. There will be more men walking, and groups of them will be identically dressed."
"And the purpose?"
Hardy laughed. "To do you honor, and to honor each other and themselves. To display their skills." And maybe to show their power We've been having parades since history began, and there's no sign we're about to give them up."
"And this is one of those 'formal', events you spoke of?"
"Yes, but it's supposed to be fun too." Hardy smiled benevolently at his charges. They did' look funny in their brown-and-white fur and their bulbous black goggles, held on by straps because they had no noses to support ordinary glasses. The goggles gave them an unnaturally solemn look.
Hardy glanced at a rustle behind him. The Admiralty staff were taking their places. Hardy recognized Admiral Kutuzov with fleet Admiral Cranston.
And the Moties were chattering among themselves, theft voices warbling up and down the scales, their arms flickering...
"It is he! It is Lenin's Master!" Jock stood upright and stared. The arms indicated surprise, joy, wonder.
Charlie studied the attitudes of the humans as they moved in the broken space of the grandstand. Who deferred to whom? in what fashion? The similarly dressed ones reacted predictably, and designs on their clothing gave their exact status. Blame had once worn such clothing and while he did he fitted into the place theory would assign him. Now he did not wear it, and the patterns were different for him. Even Kutuzov had bowed to him. And yet: Charlie observed the actions of the others, and the facial attitudes, and said, "You are correct. Be cautious."
"Are you certain?" the White demanded.
"Yes! He is the one I have studied for so long, from so far away, solely from the behavior of those who took his orders. Look, the broad stripe on his sleeve, the ringed planet symbol on his chest, the deference of Lenin's Marine guards-certainly it is he. I was correct from the first, one being, and human)"
"You will cease to study him. Turn your eyes front."
"No! We must know of this type of human! This is the class they choose to command their ships of war!"
"Turn around."
"You are a Master but you are not my Master."
"Obey," said Ivan. Ivan was not good at argument
Charlie was. As Jock twitched and stammered in internal conflict, Charlie switched to an ancient, half-forgotten language, less for concealment than to remind Jock how much they had to conceal. "If we had many Mediators the risk would be tolerable; but if you should go mad now, policy would be decided by Ivan and me alone, Your Master would not be represented."
"But the dangers that threaten our world -- "
"Consider the record of your sisters. Sally Fowler's Mediator now goes about telling Masters that the world could be made perfect if they would exercise restraint in~ their breeding. Horace Bury's Mediator -- "
"If we could learn -- "
" -- cannot be found. He sends letters to the most powerful Masters asking for offers should he change allegiance, and pointing out the value of information he alone possesses. Jonathon Whitbread's Mediator betrayed her Master and killed her own Fyunch(click)!" Charlie's eyes flickered to Ivan. The Master was watching but he would not understand.
Charlie changed to the common tongue. "Captain my Lord Roderick Blame's Mediator went Crazy Eddie. You were present. Gavin Potter's Mediator is Crazy Eddie. Sinclair's Mediator is useful in society, but quite mad."
"This is true," said the White. "We have placed her in charge of a project to develop force shielding such as the humans possess. She works startingly well with Browns and uses tools herself. But with her Master and her sister Mediators she talks as if her parietal lobe were damaged."
Jock sat down suddenly, eyes front.
"Consider the record," Charlie continued. "Only Horst Stale/s Mediator is sane by any rational standard. You must not identify with any human. Certainly this should pose no hardship. There cannot be any evolved instinct in us to identify with humans!"
Jock changed back to Trailing Trojans Recent. "But we are alone out here. What, then, should I be Fyunch(click) to, Ivan?"
"You will be no human's Fyunch(click)," Ivan stated. He had heard only the concealing language change. Charlie made no answer.
Glad that's over, whatever it was, Hardy thought. The Motie conversation had lasted only half a minute, but there must have been a lot of information exchanged- and the emotional content was high. David was certain of that although he could as yet recognize only a few phrases of any Motie tongue. He had only recently become certain that there were many still in current use.
"Here come the Viceroy and the Commissioners," Hardy said. "And the bands are starting. Now you'll know what a parade is like."

It seemed to Rod that the very rock of the Palace trembled from the sound. A hundred drummers paced by in thunder, and behind them a brass band blared some march ancient in CoDominium times. The leader raised his mace and the group countermarched before the reviewing stand to polite applause. Batons swirled as girls tossed them high in the air.
"The Ambassador asks if these are Warriors," Charlie shouted.
Rod almost laughed but carefully controlled his voice. "No. This is the John Muir High School band-a youth group. Some of them may become warriors when they're older, and some of 'em will be farmers, or engineers, or -- "
"Thank you." The Moties twittered.
Not that we haven't had warriors, Rod thought. With this reception sure to have the biggest tri-v audience in the history of the Empire, Merrill wasn't going to neglect the opportunity to display a glimpse of the mailed fist. It might make prospective rebels think twice. But there hadn't been much military equipment displayed, and there'd been more young girls with flowers than Marines and soldiers.
The parade was interminable. Every provincial baron had to show off; every guild, corporation, town, school, lodge-anything, they all wanted in the act and Fowler'd said let them all come.
The John Muir School band was followed by a half battalion of Covenanter Highlander troops with kilts, more drums, and squealing bagpipes. The wild music grated on Rod's nerves but he was careful, to control himself; although Covenant was on the other side of the Coal Sack the Highlanders were naturally popular on New Scotland, and all New Scots either loved or professed to love the pipes.
The Highlanders carried swords and pikes, and wore bearskin shakos nearly a meter high. Waves of bright plaids streamed from their shoulders. There was no threat visible, but the reputation of the Covenanters was threat enough; no army in the known worlds would relish tangling with them when they took off theft ceremonial finery and put on body armor and battle dress; and Covenant was loyalist to the core.
"Those are warriors?" Charlie asked.
"Yes. They're part of Viceroy Merrill's ceremonial guard," Rod shouted. He stood to attention as a color party marched past, and had to make a strong effort to keep his hand from rising to the salute. Instead he took off his hat.
The parade went on: a flower-covered float from some New Irish barony; artisans' guilds displays; more troops, Friedlanders this time, marching awkwardly because they were artillerists and tankers and hadn't their vehicles. Another reminder to the provinces of just what His Majesty could send against his enemies.
"What do the Modes make of all this?" Merrill asked out of the corner of his mouth. He acknowledged the colors of another baronial float.
"Hard to say," Senator Fowler replied.
"More to the point is what the provinces will make of it," Armstrong said. "This show will be worth a visit by a battle cruiser many places. And 'tis far cheaper."
"Cheaper for the government," Merrill said. "Hate to think what was spent on all this. Luckily, I didn't have to spend it."
"Rod, you can make your exit now," Senator Fowler said. "Hardy'll make your excuses to the Moties."
"Right. Thanks." Rod slipped away. Behind him he heard the sounds of the parade and the muted conversation of his Mends.
"I never heard so many drums in all my life," Sally said.
"Bosh. Goes on every Birthday," Senator Fowler reminded her.
"Well, I don't have to watch all of it on Birthdays."
"Birthday?" Jock asked.
Rod left as Sally was trying to, explain patriotic holidays and a hundred pipers tramped past in Gaelic splendor.