Adapt or perish, now as ever, is Nature's inexorable imperative.
~ H. G. Wells
Author: StJohn Piano
Published: 2018-05-10
Datafeed Article 50
This article has been digitally signed by Edgecase Datafeed.
6304 words - 1158 lines - 29 pages

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?



RODERICK HAROLD, Lord Blaine, Commander, Imperial Space Navy

ARKLEY KELLEY, Gunner, Imperial Marines, and Blaine family retainer

ADMIRAL SIR VLADIMIR RICHARD GEORGE PLEKHANOV, Vice Admiral Commanding Imperial Navy Forces, New Chicago, and Acting Governor General, New Chicago

CAPTAIN BRUNO CZILLER, Imperial Space Navy, Master of INSS MacArthur

COMMANDER JOHN CARGILL, ISN, First Lieutenant of MacArthur


MIDSHIPMAN HORST STALEY, ISN, senior midshipman aboard INSS MacArthur


KEVIN RENNER, Sailing Master Lieutenant, Imperial Space Navy Reserve

LADY SANDRA LIDDELL LEONOVNA BRIGHT FOWLER, B.A., M.S., doctoral candidate in anthropology, Imperial University of Sparta

HIS EXCELLENCY HORACE HUSSEIN BURY, Trader and Magnate; Chairman of the Board, Imperial Autonetics Company, Ltd.


FLEET ADMIRAL HOWLAND CRANSTON, Commander-in-Chief, His Majesty's Forces Beyond the Coal Sack

HIS IMPERIAL HIGHNESS RICHARD STEFAN MERRILL, Viceroy for His Majesty's Dominions Beyond the Coal Sack

DR. ANTHONY HORVATH, Minister of Science for Trans-Coalsack Sector

DR. JACOB BUCKMAN, Astrophysicist

FATHER DAVID HARDY, Chaplain-Captain, Imperial Space Navy Reserve

ADMIRAL LAVRENTI KUTUZOV, Vice Admiral Commanding His Majesty's Expedition Beyond Murcheson's Eye

SENSOR BENJAMIN BRIGHT FOWLER, Majority Leader and Member of Privy Council

DR. SIGMUND HOROWITZ, Professor of Xenobiology, University of New Scotland

HERBERT COLVIN, onetime Captain of Space Forces of the Republic of Union, and onetime master of Union cruiser Defiant


1969Neil Armstrong sets foot on Earth's Moon.
1990Series of treaties between United States and Soviet Union creates the CoDominium.
2008First successful interstellar drive tested. Alderson Drive perfected.
2020First interstellar colonies. Beginning of Great Exodus.
2040CoDominium Bureau of Relocation begins mass out-system shipment of convicts. Colonization of Sparta and St. Ekaterina.
2079Sergei Lermontov becomes Grand Admiral of CoDominium Space Navy.
2103Great Patriotic Wars. End of the CoDominium. Exodus of the Fleet.
2110Coronation of Lysander I of Sparta. Fleet swears loyalty to the Spartan throne. Marriage of dynasties produces union between Sparta and St. Ekaterina.
2111Formation Wars begin.
2250Leonidas I proclaims Empire of Man.
2250-2600Empire of Man enforces interstellar peace.
2450Jasper Murcheson explores region beyond the Coal Sack. Terraforming of New Scotland.
2603Secession Wars begin. Growth of Sauron supermen. St. Ekaterina nearly destroyed.
2640Secession Wars continue. Dark Ages in many systems. Effective termination of First Empire. Sauron supermen exterminated.
2800Interstellar trade ceases. Piracy and brigandage. Dark Ages.
2862Coherent light from the Mote reaches New Scotland.
2870Effective end of Secession Wars.
2882Howard Grote Littlemead founds Church of Him on New Scotland.
2902Coherent light from the Mote ends abruptly.
2903Leonidas IV of Sparta proclaims the Second Empire of Man. The Oath of Reunion is sworn.
3016Revolt of New Chicago.


"Throughout the past thousand years of history it has been traditional to regard the Alderson Drive as an unmixed blessing. Without the faster than light travel Alderson's discoveries made possible, humanity would have been trapped in the tiny prison of the Solar System when the Great Patriotic Wars destroyed the CoDominium on Earth. Instead, we had already settled more than two hundred worlds.

"A blessing, yes. We might now be extinct were it not for the Alderson Drive. But unmixed? Consider. The same tramline effect that colonized the stars, the same interstellar contacts that allowed the formation of the First Empire, allow interstellar war. The worlds wrecked in two hundred years of Secession Wars were both settled and destroyed by ships using the Alderson Drive.

"Because of the Alderson Drive we need never consider the space between the stars. Because we can shunt between stellar systems in zero time, our ships and ships' drives need cover only interplanetary distances. We say that the Second Empire of Man rules two hundred worlds and all the space between, over fifteen million cubic parsecs . . .

"Consider the true picture. Think of myriads of tiny bubbles, very sparsely scattered, rising through a vast black sea. We rule some of the bubbles. Of the waters we know nothing . . ."

- from a speech delivered by Dr. Anthony Horvath at the Blaine Institute, A.D. 3029.

[excerpt: page 24]

Cziller puffed at the huge pipe and let a thick stream of smoke pour from his mouth. "You've work to do, I won't keep you. But when you get to New Scotland, make a point of looking at the Coal Sack. There are few sights in the galaxy to equal it. The Face of God, some call it." Cziller's image faded, his lopsided smile seeming to remain on the screen like the Cheshire cat's.

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: pages 46-47]

When the fueling was nearly finished, Rod donned his pressure suit and went outside. His inspection wasn't needed, but it helped crew morale to know that the Old Man was looking over everyone's shoulder. While he was out there, Rod looked for the intruder.

The Face of God stared at him across space.

The Coal Sack was a nebular mass of dust and gas, small as such things go - twenty-four to thirty light years thick - but dense, and close enough to New Caledonia to block off a quarter of the sky. Earth and the Imperial Capital, Sparta, were forever invisible on its other side. The spreading blackness hid most of the Empire, but it made a fine velvet backdrop for two close, brilliant stars.

Even without that backdrop, Murcheson's Eye was the brightest star in the sky - a great red giant thirty-five light years distant. The white fleck at one edge was a yellow dwarf companion star, smaller and dimmer and less interesting: the Mote. Here the Coal Sack had the shape of a hooded man, head and shoulders; and the off-centered red supergiant became a watchful, malevolent eye.

The Face of God. It was a famous sight throughout the Empire, this extraordinary view of the Coal Sack from New Cal. But standing here in the cold of space it was different. In a picture it looked like the Coal Sack. Here it was real.

And something he couldn't see was coming at him out of the Mote in God's Eye.

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: page 58]

The light sail was a vast expanse of uniform white across the aft screens, until Renner found a small black dot. He played with it until he had a large black dot, sharp edged, whose radar shadow showed it four thousand kilometers closer to MacArthur than the sail behind it.

"That's our target, sir", Renner announced. "They probably put everything in one pod, everything that wasn't part of the sail. One weight at the end of the shrouds to hold the sail steady."

"Right. Get us alongside it, Mr. Renner. Mr. Whitbread! My compliments to the Yeoman of Signals, and I want to send messages in clear. As many bands as he can cover, low power."

"Yes, sir. Recording."

"Hello, light-sail vessel. This is Imperial Ship MacArthur. Give our recognition signals. Welcome to New Caledonia and the Empire of Man. We wish to come alongside. Please acknowledge. Send that in Anglic, Russian, French, Chinese, and anything else you can think of. If they're human there's no telling where they're from."

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: pages 74-76]

The Council Chamber was a mixture of simplicity and splendor, walls of unadorned rock contrasting with patterned wool carpets and tapestries. Battle banners hung from high rafters.

The Marines showed Rod to a seat. Immediately in front of him was a raised dais for the Council and its attendants, and above that the viceregal throne dominated the entire chamber; yet even the throne was overshadowed by an immense solido of His Most Royal and Imperial Highness and Majesty, Leonidas IX, by Grace of God Emperor of Humanity. When there was a message from the Throne world the image would come alive, but now it showed a man no more than forty dressed in the midnight black of an Admiral of the Fleet, unadorned by decorations or medals. Dark eyes stared at and through each person in the chamber.

The chamber filled rapidly. There were Sector Parliament members, military and naval officers, scurrying civilians attended by harried clerks. Rod had no idea what to expect, but he noted jealous glances from those behind him. He was by far the most junior officer in the front row of the guest seats, Admiral Cranston took a seat two places to Blaine's left and nodded crisply to his subordinate.

A gong sounded. The Palace major-domo, coal black, symbolic whip thrust into his belted white uniform, came onto the platform above them and struck the stage with his staff of office. A line of men filed into the room to take their places on the dais. The Imperial Councilors were less impressive than their titles, Rod decided. Mostly they seemed to be harried men - but many of them had the same look as the Emperor's portrait, the ability to look beyond those in the chamber to something that could only be guessed at. They sat impassively until the gong was struck again.


Everyone scrambled to his feet. As Rod stood he thought of what was happening. It would be easy to be cynical. After all, Merrill was only a man; His Imperial Majesty was only a man. They put their trousers on one leg at a time. But they held responsibility for the destiny of the human race. The Council could advise them. The Senate could debate. The Assembly could shout and demand. Yet when all the conflicting demands were heard, when all the advice was pondered, someone had to act in the name of mankind . . . No, the ceremonial entrance wasn't exaggerated. Men who had that kind of power should be reminded of it.

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: page 83]

The War Minister cleared his throat. "Two ships. The Imperial battleship Lenin and the battle cruiser MacArthur. MacArthur will be modified to suit Dr. Horvath's requirements and will carry the civilian personnel of this expedition. That is to include scientists, merchants, Foreign Office people, and the missionary contingent His Reverence demands, in addition to a naval crew. All contact with the alien civilization will be conducted by MacArthur."

Merrill nodded in emphasis. "Under no circumstances will Lenin take aliens aboard or place herself in danger of capture. I want to be sure we get some information back from this expedition."

"Bit extreme, isn't it?" Horvath asked.

"No, sir." Sir Traffin was emphatic. "Richard is primarily concerned that the aliens have no opportunity to obtain either the Langston Field or the Alderson Drive from us, and I am in full agreement."

"But if they - suppose they capture MacArthur?" Horvath asked.

Admiral Cranston exhaled a stream of blue pipe smoke. "Then Lenin will blast MacArthur out of space."

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: pages 161-162]

Chaplain David Hardy watched the miniatures only through the intercom because that way he wasn't involved in the endless speculations on what Moties were. It was a question of scientific interest to Horvath and his people; but to Chaplain Hardy there was more than intellectual curiosity at stake. It was his job to determine if Moties were human. Horvath's scientists only wondered if they were intelligent.

The one question preceded the other, of course. It was unlikely that God had created beings with souls and no intelligence; but it was quite possible that He had created intelligent beings with no souls, or beings whose salvation was brought about by ways entirely different from those of mankind. They might even be a form of angel, although an unlikelier-looking set of angels would be hard to imagine. Hardy grinned at the thought and went back to his study of the miniatures. The big Motie was asleep.

The miniatures weren't doing anything interesting at the moment either. It wasn't necessary for Hardy to watch them continuously. Everything was holographed anyway, and as MacArthur's linguist, Hardy would be informed if anything happened. He was already certain the miniatures were neither intelligent nor human.

He sighed deeply. What is man that Thou art mindful of him, O Lord? And why is it my problem to know what place Moties have in Thy plan? Well, that at least was straightforward. Second-guessing God is an old, old game. On paper he was the best man for the job, certainly the best man in Trans-Coalsack Sector.

Hardy had been fifteen years a priest and twelve years a Navy chaplain, but he was only beginning to think of it as his profession. At age thirty-five he had been a full professor at the Imperial University on Sparta, an expert in ancient and modern human languages and the esoteric art called linguistic archeology. Dr. David Hardy had been happy enough tracing the origins of recently discovered colonies lost for centuries. By studying their languages and their words for common objects he could tell what part of space the original colonists had come from. Usually he could pinpoint the planet and even the city.

He liked everything about the university except the students. He had not been particularly religious until his wife was killed in a landing boat crash; then, and he was not sure even yet how it happened, the Bishop had come to see him, and Hardy had looked long and searchingly at his life - and entered a seminary. His first assignment after ordination had been a disastrous tour as chaplain to students. It hadn't worked, and he could see that he was not cut out for a parish priest. The Navy needed chaplains, and could always use linguists . . .

Now, at age fifty-two, he sat in front of an intercom screen watching four-armed monsters playing with cabbages. A Latin crossword puzzle lay on the desk at his left hand, and Hardy played idly with it. Domine, non ------ sum . . .

"Dignis, of course." Hardy chuckled to himself. Precisely what he had said when the Cardinal gave him the assignment of accompanying the Mote expedition. "Lord, I am not worthy.. ."

"None of us is, Hardy", the Cardinal had said. "But then we're not worthy of the priesthood either, and that's more presumption than going out to look at aliens."

"Yes, my lord." He looked at the crossword puzzle again. It was more interesting than the aliens at the moment.

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: pages 177-179]

The search went on through the watch. No one found the female and the pup. They tried getting the big Motie to help, but she obviously didn't understand or wasn't interested. Finally, Blaine went back to his cabin to sleep for a couple of hours. When he woke the miniatures were still missing.

"We could set the ferrets after them", Cargill suggested at breakfast in the wardroom. A leading torpedoman kept a pair of the cat-sized rodents and used them to keep the forecastle clear of mice and rats. The ferrets were extremely efficient at that.

"They'd kill the Moties", Sally protested. "They aren't dangerous. Certainly no more dangerous than rats. We can't kill them!"

"If we don't find them pretty soon, the Admiral's going to kill me", Rod growled, but he gave in. The search continued and Blaine went to the bridge.

"Get me the Admiral", he told Staley.

"Aye aye, sir." The midshipman spoke into the com circuit.

A few moments later Admiral Kutuzov's craggy bearded features came onto the screen. The Admiral was on his bridge, drinking tea from a glass. Now that Rod thought of it, he had never spoken to Kutuzov when he wasn't on the bridge. When did he sleep? Blaine reported the missing Moties.

"You still have no idea what these miniatures are, Captain?" Kutuzov demanded.

"No, sir. There are several theories. The most popular is that they're related to the Moties the same way that monkeys are related to humanity."

"That is interesting, Captain. And I suppose these theories explain why there are monkeys on asteroid mining ship? And why this miner brought two monkeys aboard your war vessel? I have not noticed that we carry monkeys, Captain Blaine."

"No, sir."

"The Motie probe arrives in three hours", Kutuzov muttered. "And the miniatures escaped last night. This timing is interesting, Captain. I think those miniatures are spies."

"Spies, sir?"

"Spies. You are told they are not intelligent. Perhaps true, but could they memorize? That does not seem to me impossible. You have told me of mechanical abilities of large alien. It ordered miniatures to return that Trader's watch. Captain, under no circumstances may adult alien be allowed contact with miniatures which have escaped. Nor may any large alien do so. Is that understood?"

"Yes, sir . . ."

"You want reason?" the Admiral demanded. "If there is any chance at all that those beasts could learn secrets of Drive and Field, Captain . . . "

"Yes, sir. I'll see to it."

"See that you do, Captain."

Blaine sat for a moment staring at the blank screen, then glanced across at Cargill. "Jack, you shipped with the Admiral once, didn't you? What's he really like under all that legendary image?"

Cargill took a seat near Blaine's command chair. "I was only a middie when he was Captain, Skipper. Not too close a relationship. One thing, we all respected him. He's the toughest officer in the service and he doesn't excuse anyone, especially not himself. But if there are battles to be fought, you've got a better chance of coming back alive with the Tsar in command."

"So I've heard. He's won more general fleet actions than any officer in the service, but Jesus, what a tough bastard."

"Yes, sir." Cargill studied his captain closely. They had been lieutenants together not long before, and it was easier to talk to Blaine than it would be with an older CO. "You've never been on St. Ekaterina, have you, Skipper?"


"But we've got several crewmen from there. Lenin has more, of course. There's an unholy high percentage of Katerinas in the Navy, Skipper. You know why?"

"Only vaguely."

"They were settled by the Russian elements of the old CoDominium fleet", Cargill said. "When the CD fleet pulled out of Sol System, the Russkis put their women and children on Ekaterina. In the Formation Wars they got hit bad. Then the Secession Wars started when Sauron hit St. Ekaterina without warning. It stayed loyal, but . . ."

"Like New Scotland", Rod said.

Cargill nodded enthusiastically. "Yes, sir. Imperial loyalist fanatics. With good reason, given their history. The only peace they've ever seen has been when the Empire's strong."

Rod nodded judiciously, then turned back to his screens. There was one way to make the Admiral happy. "Staley", Blaine snapped. "Have Gunner Kelley order all Marines to search for the escaped Moties. They are to shoot on sight. Shoot to disable, if possible, but shoot. And have those ferrets turned loose in the galley area."

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: page 180]

As the Motie ship made its final approach, all details of its construction remained hidden by the flaring drive. MacArthur watched with screens up and charged. A hundred kilometers away, Lenin watched too.

"Battle stations, Mr. Staley", Blaine ordered softly.

Staley grasped the large red handle which now pointed to Condition Two and moved it all the way clockwise. Alarms trilled, then a recorded trumpet sang "To Arms!", rapid notes echoing through steel corridors.


[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: pages 190-191]

"Well, you're on", Chaplain Hardy thought to himself. He was a round, vague man, with dreamy eyes and red hair just beginning to turn gray. Except for conducting the Sunday worship services he had deliberately stayed in his cabin during most of the expedition.

David Hardy was not unfriendly. Anyone could come to his cabin for coffee, a drink, a game of chess, or a long talk, and many did. He merely disliked people in large numbers. He could not get to know them in a crowd.

He also retained his professional inclination not to discuss his work with amateurs and not to publish results until enough evidence was in. That, he told himself, would be impossible now. And what were the aliens?

Certainly they were intelligent. Certainly they were sentient. And certainly they had a place in the divine scheme of the universe. But what?

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: pages 215-216]

[Blaine makes a videophone call to the cutter]

"Fyunch(click)", said the alien.

"God Almighty!" Blaine exploded. "Have they got you answering the phones now?"

The alien spoke slowly, with care for enunciation. Her grammar was not perfect, but her grasp of idiom and inflection was freshly amazing every time she spoke. "Why not? I talk well enough. I can remember a message. I can use the recorder. I have little to do when you are not available."

"I can't help that."

"I know." With a touch of complacence the alien added, "I startled a rating."

"God's teeth, you startled me. Who's around?"

"Coxswain Lafferty. All the other humans are absent. They have gone to look at the - tunnel. When it is finished the ratings will not have to go with them when they wish to visit the other ship. Can I pass on a message?"

"No, thanks, I'll call back."

"Sally should be back soon", said Blaine's Motie. "How are you? How goes the ship?"

"Well enough."

"You always sound so cautious when you speak of the ship. Am I stepping on Navy secrets? It-ss not the ship that concerns me, Rod. I'm Fyunch(click) to you. It means considerably more than just guide." The Motie gestured oddly. Rod had seen her do that before, when she was upset or annoyed.

"Just what does Fyunch(click) mean?"

"I am assigned to you. You are a project, a masterwork. I am to learn as much about you as there is to know. I am to become an expert on you, My Lord Roderick Blaine, and you are to become a field of study to me. It-ss not your gigantic, rigid, badly designed ship that interest-ss me, it-ss your attitudes toward that ship and the humans aboard, your degree of control over them, your interess-t in their welfare, et cetera."

How would Kutuzov handle this? Break contact? Hell. "Nobody likes being watched. Anyone would feel a bit uncomfortable being studied like that."

"We guessed you would take it that way. But, Rod, you're here to study us, are-unt you? Surely we are entitled to study you back."

"You have that right." Rod's voice was stiff despite himself. "But if someone becomes embarrassed while you're talking to him, that's probably the reason."

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: pages 225-227]

"They already had the Drive, Captain. I only learned an hour ago. It's all recorded, let me show you." He stood and went to the big screen. Images flashed across it until Renner found the place he wanted. He turned to the watchful group.

"It's nice to be the center of attention - " Renner cut off at the sight of Rod's glare. "This is a conversation between, uh, my Motie and myself. I'll use split screens to show you both sides of it." He touched the controls and the screen sprang to life: Renner on MacArthur's bridge, his Fyunch(click) in the Motie embassy ship. Renner ran it at high speed until he found precisely what he wanted.

"You might have come from anywhere", said Renner's Motie. "Though it seems more likely that you came from a nearby star, such as - well, I can point to it." Stellar images showed on a screen behind the Motie; screens within screens. She pointed with the upper right arm. The star was New Caledonia. "We know that you have an instantaneous drive, because of where you appeared."

Renner's image sat forward. "Where we appeared?"

"Yes. You appeared precisely in the . . ." Renner's Motie seemed to search for a word. Visibly, she gave up. "Renner, I must tell you of a creature of legend."

"Say on." Renner's image dialed for coffee. Coffee and stories, they went together.

"We will call him Crazy Eddie, if you like. He is a . . . he is like me, sometimes, and he is a Brown, an idiot savant tinker, sometimes. Always he does the wrong things for excellent reasons. He does the same things over and over, and they always bring disaster, and he never learns."

There were small sounds of whispering in MacArthur's wardroom. Renner's image said, "For instance?"

Renner's Motie's image paused to think. It said, "When a city has grown so overlarge and crowded that it is in immediate danger of collapse . . . when food and clean water flow into the city at a rate just sufficient to feed every mouth, and every hand must work constantly to keep it that way. . . when all transportation is involved in moving vital supplies, and none is left over to move people out of the city should the need arise . . . then it is that Crazy Eddie leads the movers of garbage out on strike for better working conditions."

There was considerable laughter in the wardroom. Renner's image grinned and said, "I think I know the gentleman. Go on."

"There is the Crazy Eddie Drive. It makes ships vanish."


"Theoretically, it should be an instantaneous drive, a key to throw the universe wide open. In practice it makes ships vanish forever. The drive has been discovered and built and tested many times, and always it makes ships vanish forever with everyone aboard, but only if you use it right, mind. The ship must be in just the right place, a place difficult to locate exactly, with the machinery doing just what the theoreticians postulate it must, or nothing will happen at all."

Both Renners were laughing now. "I see. And we appeared in this point, the Crazy Eddie point. From which you deduce that we have solved the secret of the Crazy Eddie Drive."

"You got it."

"And what does that make us?"

The alien parted its lips in a smile disturbingly shark-like, disturbingly human . . .

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: page 361]

"Well, how do they compete?" Whitbread insisted. "We've got nothing better to talk about."

Staley muttered something, but stayed close to listen.

"How do you compete?" Whitbread's Motie asked. "Efficiency. We have commerce, you know. Mr. Bury might be surprised at just how shrewd some of our Traders are. Partly, Masters buy responsibilities - that is, they show they can handle the job. They get other powerful givers of orders to support them. Mediators negotiate it. Contracts - promises of services to be delivered, that kind of thing - are drawn up and published. And some givers of orders work for others, you know. Never directly. But they'll have a job they take care of, and they'll consult a more powerful Master about policy. A Master gains prestige and authority when other givers of orders start asking her for advice. And of course her daughters help."

"It sounds complex", Potter said. "I think o' nae time or place similar in human history."

"It is complex", said Whitbread's Motie. "How could it be anything else? How can a decision maker be anything but independent? That's what drove Captain Blaine's Fyunch(click) insane, you know."

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: page 370]

"But man, it's a start!" said Whitbread. "There's got to be a way - "

"I am not a man, and there doesn't got to be a way. And that's another reason I don't want contact between your species and mine. You're all Crazy Eddies. You think every problem has a solution."

"All human problems hae at least one final solution", Gavin Potter said softly from the seat behind them.

"Human, perhaps", the alien said. "But do Moties have souls?"

"'Tis nae for me to say", Potter answered. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "I am no a spokesman for the Lord."

"It isn't for your chaplain to say either. How can you expect to find out? It would take revealed knowledge - a divine inspiration, wouldn't it? I doubt if you'll get it."

"Hae ye nae religion at all, then?" Potter asked incredulously.

"We've had thousands, Gavin. The Browns and other semisentient classes don't change theirs much, but every civilization of Masters produces something else. Mostly they're variants of transmigration of souls, with emphasis on survival through children. You can see why."

"You didn't mention Mediators", Whitbread said.

"I told you - we don't have children. There are Mediators who accept the transmigration idea. Reincarnation as Masters. That sort of thing. The closest thing to ours I've heard of in human religions is Lesser-Way Buddhism. I talked to Chaplain Hardy about this. He says Buddhists believe they can someday escape from what they call the Wheel of Life. That sounds an awful lot like the Cycles. I don't know, Jonathon. I used to think I accepted reincarnation, but there's no knowing, is there?"

"And you hae nothing like Christianity?" Potter demanded.

"No. We've had prophecies of a Savior who'd end the Cycles, but we've had everything, Gavin. It's for damn sure there's been no Savior yet."

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: pages 400-401]

[Horvath is dictating notes to his computer] "We employ humans as a backup to automatic systems, although we will often omit the automation in order to give constant employment to humans needed for emergencies but otherwise superfluous. The Moties appear deficient in computer technology, and seldom automate anything. Instead, they employ one or more subspecies as biological computers, and they seem to have an adequate supply of them. This is hardly an option left open for human use."

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: page 430]


[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: page 456]

[Senator Benjamin Bright Fowler is speaking] "His Majesty's one thing, but appointed agents with Imperial powers are another. Hell, I don't want to give Imperial authority to anybody but the Royal Family. One man, one family, can't personally exercise too much power no matter how much they've got in theory, but give them appointed agents and it's another matter."

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: page 470]

[Charlie is speaking] "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 all 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."

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: page 472]

"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."

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: page 504]

[Senator Benjamin Bright Fowler is speaking] "The fact is, Dr. Horvath, if Moties fight each other you know damn well one faction's going to pick up allies among the outies and rebels. Hell, they might even encourage revolts, and by God's teeth we don't need that! There's another thing bothers me, too - have they got a planetary government?" There was more silence.

"Well, Sally?" the Senator demanded. "It's your field."

"They - Well, they have a kind of planetary government, Jurisdiction. A Master or a group of them takes jurisdiction over something and the rest go along."

Ben Fowler scowled at his niece. "Hell, we don't even let humans wander around the universe until they've got planetary governments. Can't you just see some Motie colony deciding to help a faction back home on Mote Prime?"

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: page 516]

Benjamin Fowler laughed. "Doctor, you keep asking me to see your point of view, which is based on ethics. You never see mine, which isn't. I never claimed the human race was superior to Moties - in ethics, or intelligence, or anything else. I only claim it's my race, and I'm charged with protecting human interests."

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: pages 554-555]

[Charlie is speaking] "One of your most ancient writers, a historian named Herodotus, tells of a thief who was to be executed. As he was taken away he made a bargain with the king: in one year he would teach the king's favorite horse to sing hymns."

"Yes?" Sally prompted. She seemed puzzled and looked anxiously at Charlie, who seemed calm enough, but Dr. Hardy said he was worried about the aliens . . .

"The other prisoners watch the thief singing to the horse and laughed. 'You will not succeed', they told him. 'No one can.' To which the thief replied, 'I have a year, and who knows what might happen in that time. The king might die. The horse might die. I might die. And perhaps the horse will learn to sing.'"

There was polite laughter. "I didn't tell it very well", Charlie said. "I wasn't trying to be humorous anyway. That story made me realize at last just how alien you humans are."

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: page 557]

A name caught Herb Colvin's eye. Lord Roderick Blaine, Chairman of the Imperial Commission Extraordinary - Colvin looked up at the bulkhead to see the familiar spot where Defiant had been patched following her battle with MacArthur. Blaine's prize crew had done that, and a pretty good job it was. He's a competent man, Colvin admitted reluctantly. But heredity's still a hell of a way to choose leaders. The rebel democracy in New Chicago hadn't done too well either. He went back to Grace's letter.

[end of excerpt]

[excerpt: page 560]

[Charlie is speaking] "Who knows, perhaps the horse will learn to sing hymns."

"Would you bet on it?"

Charlie looked out of the curve of her arm. "At these odds? Curse, yes!"

"Crazy Eddie!"

"Yes. A Crazy Eddie solution. What else is there? One way or another, the Cycles end now. Crazy Eddie has won his eternal war against the Cycles."

Jock looked to Ivan and met a shrug. Charlie had gone Crazy Eddie. It hardly mattered now; it was, in fact, a fine and enviable madness, this delusion that all questions have answers, and nothing is beyond the reach of a strong left arm.

[end of excerpt]

[start of notes]

I have in my possession a paper copy of The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. A page or some pages are missing from the front of the book. The information about the publisher, the publishing date, etc is not present.

I found a PDF file online, containing copiable text rather than scanned images, which I used as my starting text. I did not make a note of the source. The text was not complete and was poorly formatted, but it was a useful starting point. The Dramatis Personae and Chronology sections were missing, so I dictated them.

The book is divided into four main parts, each containing various chapters:
1) The Crazy Eddie Probe
2) The Crazy Eddie Point
3) Meet Crazy Eddie
4) Crazy Eddie's Answer

List of various errata:

page 95:
"Rod [...] fended off attempts by Dr. Buckman the astrophysicist to monopolize Sally's time."
- Early characterisation error. Later, Dr Buckman is depicted as caring for almost nothing other than astrophysics. He only talks to the aliens in order to ask them for their astronomical data.

page 108:
- Use of "Manhome" for "Earth". Sounds stilted. I think this is the only occurrence of the word in the book. "Earth" occurs multiple times.

page 181:
- "That flames spreads." should be "That flame spreads.".

page 183:
- "Natural Mr. Midshipman Whitbread was one of them." should be "Naturally Mr. Midshipman Whitbread was one of them.".

page 206:
- In the section {"You did say there were secrets on this boat."
"Certainly I said that, but it might be a bit premature to let them fool with your power source."}, the phrase "there were secrets" should be "there were no secrets".

page 269:
- Misspelling of a character's last name: "Horvarth" instead of "Horvath".

page 352:
- Misspelling of a character's first name: "Host" instead of "Horst".

page 422:
- "no ratings of Marines except under supervision" should be "no ratings or Marines except under supervision".

page 453:
- "Yes, sir. After my brothers were killed there wasn't any question of it." should be "Yes, sir. After my brother was killed there wasn't any question of it.".
- Only one brother of Roderick Blaine (and the death of that brother) is mentioned earlier (on page 10).

page 466:
- {"A tri-v screen", Jock exclaimed. He turned the controls, and a picture appeared.} should be {"A tri-v screen", Jock exclaimed. She turned the controls, and a picture appeared.}.
- Jock is female.

page 518:
- "Warriers" should be "Warriors".

page 527:
- "A wanderer with no sense of reponsibility!" should be "A wanderer with no sense of responsibility!".

Changes from the original text:

- I have removed word-breaking hyphens.

- I have not preserved the original line breaks. I treat each paragraph as a single line.

- I have not preserved page divisions or page numbers.

- I have replaced the original indentation at the start of each paragraph with an empty line after each paragraph.

- I have substituted a hyphen with a space either side of it ( - ) for the em dash used in the original text.

- In the original text, the single and double quotation marks were curled to indicate whether they were positioned at the start or end of a phrase/sentence/sentence_group. I have replaced them with straight quotation marks.

- I have replaced curled apostrophes with straight single quotation marks.

- I have moved punctuation out from between quotation marks if it is not relevant to the text within those quotation marks.
"It sounds complex," Potter said.
"It sounds complex", Potter said.

- When a sentence includes another sentence that is quoted to indicate speech, I haven't always included a final punctuation mark at the end of the quoted sentence.
"The Motie probe arrives in three hours", Kutuzov muttered.

- If I begin a quoted section in the middle of a sentence, I capitalise the first letter of the first word in the sentence fragment.

- In the verse from the Bible, in the word "MATTHEW", all the letters except the first were originally set in small capitals.

- The section titles "DRAMATIS PERSONAE", "CHRONOLOGY", and "Prologue" were originally set in a larger font than the default font size.

- In the DRAMATIS PERSONAE section, in the capitalised names and titles of the characters, all the letters except the first in each word were originally set in small capitals.

- In the CHRONOLOGY section, in the phrase "FIRST CONTACT", all the letters were originally set in small capitals.

- In the CHRONOLOGY section, the table format has been slightly altered.

- In the phrase "Domine, non ------ sum", the six hyphens were originally three em dashes.

- In the sentence {"Dignis, of course."}, I have de-italicised the first quotation mark.

- In the sentence {"If we don't find them pretty soon, the Admiral's going to kill me", Rod growled, but he gave in.}, I have de-italicised the last quotation mark.

- In the sentence "Certainly they were intelligent.", "Certainly" was originally "Certain".

- The section
"She seemed puzzled and looked anxiously at Charlie, who seemed calm enough, but Dr. Hardy said he was worried about the aliens . . ."
was originally
"She seemed puzzled and looked anxiously at Charlie. He seemed calm enough, but Dr. Hardy said he was worried about the aliens . . .".
- Charlie is female, so "He seemed" should have been "She seemed". However, the repetition of "She seemed" in this section was clunky, so I changed the second occurrence to ", who seemed".

[end of notes]