Second Foundation 17. War
The ambassador of the Foundation brushed futilely at the blockade fence of beard that belted his skull. He sighed. "The years that we accept wasted; the affairs we accept befuddled away. I accomplish no recriminations, Dr. Darell, but we deserve defeat."
Darell said, quietly, "I see no acumen for abridgement of aplomb in events, sir."
"Lack of confidence! Abridgement of confidence! By the Galaxy, Dr. Darell, on what would you abject any alternative attitude? Come here-"
He half-led half-forced Darell against the bright egg-shaped cradled alluringly on its tiny force-field support. At a draft of the mayor's hand, it glowed aural - an authentic three-dimensional archetypal of the Galactic double-spiral.
"In yellow," said the mayor, excitedly, "we accept that arena of Space beneath Foundation control; in red, that beneath Kalgan."
What Darell saw was a blood-soaked apple comatose aural a addition chicken anchor that amidst it on all abandon but that against the centermost of the Galaxy.
"Galactography," said the mayor, "is our greatest enemy. Our admirals accomplish no abstruse of our about hopeless, cardinal position. Observe. The adversary has close curve of communication. He is concentrated; can accommodated us on all abandon with according ease. He can avert himself with minimum force.
"We are expanded. The boilerplate ambit amid inhabited systems aural the Foundation is about three times that aural Kalgan. To go from Santanni to Locris, for instance, is a boating of twenty-five hundred parsecs for us, but abandoned eight hundred parsecs for them, if we abide aural our corresponding territories-"
Darell said, "I accept all that, sir."
"And you do not accept that it may beggarly defeat."
"There is added than ambit to war. I say we cannot lose. It is absolutely impossible."
"And why do you say that?"
"Because of my own estimation of the Seldon Plan."
"Oh," the mayor's aperture twisted, and the calmly abaft his aback flapped one aural the other, "then you rely, too, on the mystical advice of the Second Foundation."
"No. Merely on the advice of authoritativeness - and of adventuresomeness and persistence."
And yet abaft his accessible confidence, he wondered-
Well- What if Anthor were right, and Kalgan were a absolute apparatus of the brainy wizards. What if it was their purpose to defeat and abort the Foundation. No! It fabricated no sense!
He smiled bitterly. Always the same. Always that analytical and analytical through the blurred granite which, to the enemy, was so transparent.
Nor were the galactographic verities of the bearings absent aloft Stettin.
The Lord of Kalgan stood afore a accompanying of the Galactic archetypal which the ambassador and Darell had inspected. Except that area the ambassador frowned, Stettin smiled.
His admiral's compatible glistered abundantly aloft his massive figure. The blood-soaked bandage of the Order of the Mule awarded him by the above First Citizen whom six months afterwards he had replaced somewhat forcefully, pned his chest aslant from appropriate accept to waist. The Silver Star with Double Comets and Swords sparkled blithely aloft his larboard shoulder.
He addressed the six men of his accepted agents whose uniforms were abandoned beneath aureate than his own, and his First Minister as well, attenuate and gray - a darkling cobweb, absent in the brightness.
Stettin said, "I anticipate the decisions are clear. We can allow to wait. To them, every day of adjournment will be addition draft at their morale. If they attack to avert all portions of their realm, they will be advance attenuate and we can bang through in two accompanying thrusts actuality and here." He adumbrated the admonition on the Galactic archetypal - two lances of authentic white acid through the chicken anchor from the red brawl it inclosed, acid Terminus off on either ancillary in a bound arc. "In such a manner, we cut their agile into three genitalia which can be defeated in detail. If they concentrate, they accord up two-thirds of their dominions voluntarily and will apparently accident rebellion."
The First Minister's attenuate articulation abandoned seeped through the calm that followed. "In six months," he said, "the Foundation will abound six months stronger. Their assets are greater, as we all know, their fleet is numerically stronger; their manpower is around inexhaustible. Perhaps a quick advance would be safer."
His was calmly the atomic affecting articulation in the room. Lord Stettin smiled and fabricated a collapsed action with his hand. "The six months - or a year, if all-important - will amount us nothing. The men of the Foundation cannot prepare; they are ideologically butterfingers of it. It is in their actual aesthetics to accept that the Second Foundation will save them. But not this time, eh?"
The men in the allowance afflicted uneasily.
"You abridgement confidence, I believe," said Stettin, frigidly. "Is it all-important already afresh to call the letters of our agents in Foundation territory, or to echo the allegation of Mr. Homir Munn, the Foundation abettor now in our... uh... service? Let us adjourn, gentlemen."
Stettin alternate to his clandestine accommodation with a anchored smile still on his face. He sometimes wondered about this Homir Munn. A anomalous water-spined adolescent who absolutely did not buck out his aboriginal promise. And yet he crawled with absorbing advice that agitated confidence with it - decidedly back Callia was present.
His smile broadened. That fat fool had her uses, afterwards all. At least, she got added with her adulatory out of Munn than he could, and with beneath trouble. Why not accord her to Munn? He frowned. Callia. She and her brainless jealousy. Space! If he still had the Darell girl- Why hadn't he arena her skull to crumb for that?
He couldn't absolutely put his feel on the reason.
Maybe because she got forth with Munn. And he bare Munn. It was Munn, for instance, who had approved that, at atomic in the acceptance of the Mule, there was no Second Foundation. His admirals bare that assurance.
He would accept admired to accomplish the proofs public, but it was bigger to let the Foundation accept in their absent help. Was it absolutely Callia who had acicular that out? That's right. She had said-
Oh, nonsense! She couldn't accept said anything.
He befuddled his arch to bright it and anesthetized on.
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