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By Stanis?aw Lem, Christine Rose, Adele Kandel

The 12 months is 3149, and an unlimited paper destroying blight-papyralysis-has obliterated a lot of the planet's written historical past. although, those infrequent memoirs, preserved for hundreds of years in a volcanic rock, list the unusual lifetime of a guy trapped in a hermetically sealed underground group. Translated through Michael Kandel and Christine Rose.

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Yet my arguments have been unconvincing even to myself, and the extra I talked, the fewer I appeared to say, but I plowed on grimly, stepping into deeper and deeper, confident that i used to be purely offering extra facts that i used to be no longer in complete ownership of my senses. whereas I talked, the health care provider picked up the cranium (it served as a paperweight) and placed it down in numerous positions: occasionally it was once in profile to me, occasionally it stared at me with its gaping eyes. while i ended, he sat again in his chair, clasped his arms and stated in a tender voice: "As a long way as i will see, your doubts in regards to the value and, for that topic, the very lifestyles of your challenge are generated via an extremely excessive variety of it seems that unintentional conferences with traitors -- and in this sort of short while, too. right? " "More or much less. " i used to be getting better a little bit from the sensation that I had placed myself in his fingers. The empty eyes of the cranium regarded into mine; the sleek bone appeared to glow. "Now you are saying the little previous guy used to be a traitor. your personal end? " "The captain who shot himself advised me. " "He instructed you -- then shot himself? Did you spot the particular capturing? " "Yes, that's. . . I heard a shot within the subsequent room, then the thud of his falling physique, and during a crack within the door I observed his leg, that's, a shoe. . . " "Ah. And prior to that, the officer who was once serving as your consultant was once arrested. may you describe that arrest? " "Two officials approached us, they took him apart and talked with him. i do not understand what they acknowledged, i could not pay attention. Then the 1st officer took him away and the second one went with me. " "Did a person let you know that this used to be an arrest? " "Well, no. . . " "So you could not relatively swear to it? " "I wager now not, however the conditions. . . relatively when you think about what occurred later. . . " "One factor at a time. you assert the captain advised you concerning the little outdated guy, then you definately heard a shot, observed a shoe, and concluded that the captain himself was once a traitor. so far as your advisor is anxious, all you actually comprehend is that he used to be referred to as away. now not a lot to move on, is it? who is left? The secret agent within the rest room -- you came across him asleep? " "Yes. " "What could he be doing in a rest room after photographing such important files? And taking a snooze, too. The door wasn't locked, was once it? " "That's precise, it wasn't. " "Are you continue to confident that those have been all traitors? " i used to be silent. "There, you spot! leaping to conclusions! " "One moment," I interrupted. "Assuming they were not traitors, how do you clarify all of this? What was once it, a play wear only for my gain? yet why? To what finish? " He smiled, all dimples, and stated: "Who is familiar with? maybe they have been inoculating you opposed to treason through utilising it in small doses. For that subject, even a guy like significant Erms may do anything you would imagine suspicious, anything a section strange -- yet absolutely you would not take him for a traitor? Or might you? " He watched me heavily. How icily the eyes gleamed in that around and delightful face. . . He did not stay up for a solution. "There is still yet one more nut for us to crack, the toughest: your directions.

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