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´╗┐Title: The Leader
Author: Leinster, Murray, 1896-1975
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Leader" ***

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[Illustration]


 THE
     LEADER

 By
 MURRAY
 LEINSTER

 _The trouble with being a Superman,
 with Super powers, and knowing it, is
 it's so easy to overlook the unpleasant
 possibility of a super-superman!_

 Illustrated by van Dongen


    ... The career of The Leader remains one of the mysteries of
    history. This man, illegitimate and uneducated, hysterical and
    superstitious, gathered about him a crowded following of those who
    had been discontented, but whom he turned into fanatics. Apparently
    by pure force of personality he seized without resistance the
    government of one of the world's great nations. So much is unlikely
    enough. But as the ruler of a civilized country he imposed upon its
    people the absolute despotism of a primitive sultanate. He
    honeycombed its society with spies. He imprisoned, tortured, and
    executed without trial or check. And while all this went on he
    received the most impassioned loyalty of his subjects! Morality was
    abandoned at his command with as much alacrity as common sense. He
    himself was subject to the grossest superstitions. He listened to
    astrologers and fortunetellers--and executed them when they foretold
    disaster. But it is not enough to be amazed at the man himself. The
    great mystery is that people of the Twentieth Century, trained in
    science and technically advanced, should join in this orgy of what
    seems mere madness ...

                               _Concise History of Europe._ Blaisdell.

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter from Professor Albrecht Aigen, University of Brunn, to the Herr
General Johann von Steppberg, retired.

My dear General von Steppberg:

It is with reluctance that I intrude upon your retirement, but at the
request of the Government I have undertaken a scientific examination of
the causes which brought about The Leader's rise to power, the
extraordinary popularity of his regime, the impassioned loyalty he was
able to evoke, and the astounding final developments.

If you can communicate to me any memories of The Leader which may aid in
understanding this most bewildering period of our history, I assure you
that it will be appreciated by myself, by the authorities who wish the
investigation made, and I dare to hope by posterity.

                                   I am, my dear general, (Et cetera.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter from General Johann von Steppberg (Retired) to Professor Albrecht
Aigen, University of Brunn.

Herr Professor:

The official yearbooks of the army contain the record of my military
career. I have nothing to add to that information. You say the
authorities wish more. I refuse it. If they threaten my pension, I will
renounce it. If they propose other pressures, I will leave the country.
In short, I refuse to discuss in any manner the subject of your recent
communication.

                                    I am, Herr Professor, (Et cetera.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter from Professor Albrecht Aigen to Dr. Karl Thurn, Professor of
Psychology at University of Laibach.

My dear Karl:

I hope your psionic research goes better than my official project! My
business goes nowhere! I have written to generals, ministers, and all
kinds of persons who held high office under The Leader. Each and every
one refuses to discuss The Leader or his own experiences under him. Why?
Surely no one would blame them now! We have had to agree to pretend that
no one did anything improper under The Leader, or else that what anyone
did was proper at the time. So why should the nabobs of that incredible
period refuse to discuss what they should know better than anyone else?
I am almost reduced to asking the aid of the astrologers and soothsayers
The Leader listened to. Actually, I must make a note to do so in sober
earnest. At least they had their own viewpoint of events.

Speaking of viewpoints, I have had some hope of clarifying The Leader's
career by comparing it with that of Prime Minister Winston, in power in
his country when The Leader ruled ours. His career is splendidly
documented. There is astonishingly little documentation about The Leader
as a person, however. That is one of the difficulties of my task. Even
worse, those who should know him best lock their lips while those--

Here is an unsolicited letter from the janitor of a building in which a
former Minister of Education now has his law offices. I have many
letters equally preposterous....

       *       *       *       *       *

Enclosure in letter to Dr. Karl Thurn, University of Laibach.

Herr Professor:

I am the janitor of the building in which Herr Former Minister of
Education Werfen has his offices. In cleaning there I saw a letter
crumpled into a ball and thrown into a corner. I learned in the time of
The Leader that angry actions often mean evil intentions, so I read the
letter to see if the police should be notified. It was a letter from you
in which you asked Herr Former Minister of Education Werfen for his
memories of The Leader.

I remember The Leader, Herr Professor. He was the most holy man who ever
lived, if indeed he was only a man. Once I passed the open door of an
office in the building I then worked in. I looked in the door--it was
the office of the then-struggling Party The Leader had founded--and I
saw The Leader sitting in a chair, thinking. There was golden light
about his head, Herr Professor. I have told this to other people and
they do not believe me. There were shadowy other beings in the room. I
saw, very faintly, great white wings. But the other beings were still
because The Leader was thinking and did not wish to be disturbed. I
assure you that this is true, Herr Professor. The Leader was the holiest
of men--if he was only a man.

                  I am most respectfully, Herr Professor, (Et cetera.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter from Fraulein Lise Grauer, nurse, in the city of Bludenz, to
Professor Aigen at Brunn University.

Most respected Herr Professor:

I write this at the request of the Herr Former Police Inspector Grieg,
to whom you directed a letter shortly before his death. The Herr Former
Police Inspector had been ill for some time. I was his nurse. I had
cared for him for months and did many small services for him, such as
writing letters at his direction.

When your letter came he read it and went into a black mood of deep and
bitter recollection. He would not speak for hours, and I had great
difficulty in getting him to take his medicines. Just before his bedtime
he called me and said sardonically;

"Lise, write to this Herr Professor for me. Say to him that I was once a
decent man. When The Leader took power, I received orders that I would
not accept. I submitted my resignation. Then I received orders to come
to The Leader. I obeyed these orders because my resignation was not yet
accepted. I was received in his office. I entered it with respect and
defiance--respect because he was admitted to be the ruler of our nation;
defiance because I would not obey such orders as had been sent me in his
name.

"The Leader spoke to me, kindly, and as he spoke all my views changed.
It suddenly seemed that I had been absurd to refuse the orders sent me.
They seemed right and reasonable and even more lenient than would have
been justified.... I left The Leader in a state in which I could not
possibly fail to do anything he wished. From that moment I obeyed his
orders. I was promoted. Eventually, as you know, I was in command of the
Neusatz prison camp. And you know what orders I carried out there!"

I wept, Herr Professor, because the Herr Grieg's eyes were terrible to
look at. He was a gentle and kindly man, Herr Professor! I was his
nurse, and he was a good patient and a good man in every way. I had
heard of the things that were done at Neusatz, but I could not believe
that my patient had commanded them. Now, in his eyes I saw that he
remembered them and that the memory was intolerable. He said very
bitterly:

"Tell the Herr Professor that I can tell him nothing more. I have no
other memories that would be of service to him. I have resolved, anyhow,
to get rid even of these. I have kept them too long. Say to him that his
letter has decided me."

I did not understand what he meant, Herr Professor. I helped him prepare
for the night, and when he seemed to be resting quietly I retired,
myself. I was wakened by a very loud noise. I went to see what was the
matter. The Herr Former Police Inspector Grieg had managed to get out of
his bed and across the room to a bureau. He opened a drawer and took out
a revolver. He made his way back to his bed. He blew out his brains.

I called the police, and after investigation they instructed me to carry
out his request, which I do.

Herr Professor, I do not myself remember the times of The Leader, but
they must have been very terrible. If the Herr Former Police Inspector
Grieg was actually in command of the Neusatz prison camp, and did
actually order the things done there,--I cannot understand it, Herr
Professor! Because he was a good and kindly man! If you write of him, I
beg that you will mention that he was a most amiable man. I was only his
nurse, but I assure you--(Et cetera.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter from Dr. Karl Thurn, University of Laibach, to Professor Albrecht
Aigen, University of Brunn.

My dear friend:

I could have predicted your failure to secure co-operation from eminent
figures in The Leader's regime. So long as they keep silent, together,
they can pretend to be respectable. And nobody longs so passionately to
be respectable as a man who has prospered by being a swine, while he
awaits an opportunity to prosper again by more swinishness. I would
advise you to expect your best information from little people who
suffered most and most helplessly looked on or helped while enormities
were committed. Such little people will either yearn over the past like
your janitor, or want most passionately to understand so that nothing of
the sort can ever happen again.

Winston as a parallel to The Leader? Or as a contrast? Which? I can name
one marked contrast. I doubt that anybody really and passionately wishes
that Winston had never been born.

You mention my researches. You should see some of our results! I have
found a rat with undeniable psychokinetic power. I have seen him move a
gram-weight of cheese nearly three centimeters to where he could reach
it through the cage bars. I begin to suspect a certain female dog of
abilities I would prefer not to name just yet. If you can find any
excuse to come to Laibach, I promise you amazing demonstrations of psi
phenomena. (Et cetera.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Quotations from, "_Recollections of the Earl of Humber, formerly Prime
Minister Winston_," by the Hon. Charles Wilberforce.

Page 231; "... This incredible event took place even while it seemed
most impossible. The Prime Minister took it with his usual aplomb. I
asked him what he thought of the matter a week later, at a house party
in Hertfordshire. He said, 'I consider it most unfortunate. This Leader
of theirs is an inherently nasty individual. Therefore he'll make
nastiness the avenue to distinction so long as he's in power. The
results will be tragic, because when you bottle up decency men seem to
go mad. What a pity one can't bottle up nastiness! The world might
become a fit place to live in!'"

Page 247; "The Prime Minister disagreed. 'There was Napoleon,' he
observed. 'You might despise him, but after he talked to you you served
him. He seemed to throw a spell over people. Alexander probably had the
same sort of magic personality. When his personality ceased to operate,
as a result of too much wine too continuously, his empire fell
immediately to pieces. I've known others personally; an Afghan whom I've
always thought did us a favor by getting killed by a sniper. He could
have caused a great deal of trouble. I'd guess at the Khalifa. Most of
the people who have this incredible persuasiveness, however, seem to set
up as successful swindlers. What a pity The Leader had no taste for
simple crime, and had to go in for crimes of such elaboration!'"

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter from Professor Albrecht Aigen, University of Brunn, to Dr. Karl
Thurn, University of Laibach.

My dear Karl:

You make me curious with your talk of a rat which levitates crumbs of
cheese and a she-dog who displays other psi abilities. I assume that you
have found the experimental conditions which let psi powers operate
without hindrance. I shall hope some day to see and conceivably to
understand.

My own affairs are in hopeless confusion. At the moment I am overwhelmed
with material about The Leader, the value of which I cannot estimate.
Strange! I ask people who should know what I am commissioned to
discover, and they refuse to answer. But it becomes known that I ask,
and thousands of little people write me to volunteer impassioned details
of their experiences while The Leader ruled. Some are bitter because
they did what they did and felt as they felt. These seem to believe in
magic or demoniac possession as the reason they behaved with such
conspicuous insanity. Others gloat over their deeds, which they recount
with gusto--and then express pious regret with no great convincingness.
Some of these accounts nauseate me. But something utterly abnormal was
in operation, somehow, to cause The Leader's ascendancy!

I wish I could select the important data with certainty. Almost
anything, followed up, might reveal the key. But I do not know what to
follow! I plan to go to Bozen, where the new monstrous computer has been
set up, and see if there is any way in which it could categorize my data
and detect a pattern of more than bewildered and resentful frenzy.

On the way back to Brunn I shall stop by to talk to you. There is so
much to say! I anticipate much of value from your detached and analytic
mind. I confess, also, that I am curious about your research. This
she-dog with psi powers, of which you give no account ... I am
intrigued.

                                         As always, I am, (Et cetera.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter from Professor Albrecht Aigen, written from The Mathematical
Institute at Bozen, to Dr. Karl Thurn, University of Laibach.

My dear Karl:

This is in haste. There is much agitation among the computer staff at
the Institute. An assistant technician has been discovered to be able to
predict the answer the computer will give to problems set up at random.
He is one Hans Schweeringen and it is unbelievable.

Various numerals are impressed on the feed-in tape of the computer.
Sections of the tape are chosen at random by someone who is blindfolded.
They are fed unread into the computer, together with instructions to
multiply, subtract, extract roots, et cetera, which are similarly chosen
at random and not known to anyone. Once in twenty times or so,
Schweeringen predicts the result of this meaningless computation before
the computer has made it. This is incredible! The odds are trillions to
one against it! Since nobody knows the sums or instructions given to the
computer, it cannot be mind-reading in any form. It must be pure
precognition. Do you wish to talk to him?

He is uneasy at the attention he attracts, perhaps because his father
was one of The Leader's secretaries and was executed, it is presumed,
for knowing too much. Telegraph me if you wish me to try to bring him to
you.

                                                         Your friend--

       *       *       *       *       *

Telegram from Dr. Karl Thurn, Professor of Psychology at Laibach
University, to Professor Albrecht Aigen, in care of The Mathematical
Institute at Bozen:

Take tapes which produced answers Schweeringen predicted. Run them
through computer when he knows nothing of it. Wire result.

                                                                Thurn.

       *       *       *       *       *

Telegram. Professor Albrecht Aigen, at The Mathematical Institute in
Bozen, to Dr. Karl Thurn, University of Laibach.

How did you know? The tapes do not give the same answers when run
through the computer without Schweeringen's knowledge. The only possible
answer is that the computer sometimes errs to match his predictions. But
this is more impossible than precognition. This is beyond the
conceivable. It cannot be! What now?

                                                                Aigen.

       *       *       *       *       *

Telegram from Dr. Karl Thurn, University of Laibach, to Professor
Albrecht Aigen, care Mathematical Institute, Bozen.

Naturally I suspect psi. He belongs with my rat and she-dog. Try to
arrange it.

                                                                Thurn.

       *       *       *       *       *

Telegram from Professor Albrecht Aigen, Mathematical Institute, Bozen,
to Dr. Karl Thurn, University of Laibach.

Schweeringen refuses further tests. Fears proof he causes malfunctioning
of computer will cause unemployment here and may destroy all hope of
hoped-for career in mathematics.

                                                                Aigen.

       *       *       *       *       *

Telegram from Professor Albrecht Aigen, at Mathematical Institute, to
Dr. Karl Thurn, University of Laibach.

Terrible news. Riding bus to Institute this morning, Schweeringen was
killed when bus was involved in accident.

                                                                Aigen.

       *       *       *       *       *

Telegram from Dr. Karl Thurn, University of Laibach, to Professor
Albrecht Aigen, care Mathematical Institute, Bozen.

Deeply regret death Schweeringen. When you come here please try to bring
all known family history. Psi ability sometimes inherited. Could be
tie-in his father's execution and use of psi ability.

                                                                Thurn.

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter from Professor Albrecht Aigen, at Brunn University, to Dr. Karl
Thurn, University of Laibach.

My dear Karl:

I have first to thank you for your warm welcome and to express my
gratitude for your attention while I was your guest. Since my return I
have written many inquiries about Schweeringen's father. There are so
far no replies, but I have some hope that people who will not tell of
their own experiences may tell about someone else--especially someone
now dead. This may be a useful device to get at least some information
from people who so far have refused any. Naturally I will pass on to you
anything I learn.

I try to work again upon the task assigned me--to investigate the rise
and power of The Leader. I find it hard to concentrate. My mind goes
back to your laboratory. I am deeply shaken by my experience there. I
had thought nothing could be more bewildering than my own work.
Consider: Today I received a letter in which a man tells me amazedly of
the life he led in a slave-labor camp during the time of The Leader's
rule. He describes the attempt of another prisoner to organize a revolt
of the prisoners. While he spoke of the brutality of the guards and the
intolerably hard labor and the deliberately insufficient food, they
cheered him. But when he accused The Leader of having ordered these
things--the prisoners fell upon him with cries of fury. They killed him.
I had this information verified. It was true.

I cannot hope for a sane explanation of such things. But a sane
explanation for my experience seems even less probable. I am impressed
by your rat who levitates crumbs of cheese. But I am appalled; I am
horrified; I am stupefied by what I did! You asked me to wait for you in
a certain laboratory beyond a door. I entered. I saw a small, fat, mangy
she-dog in a dog-run. She looked at me and wagged her tail. I thereupon
went to the other end of the laboratory, opened a box, and took out a
handful of strange objects you later told me are sweetmeats to a dog. I
gave them to the animal.

Why did I do it? How was it that I went directly to a box of which I
knew nothing, opened it as a matter of course, and took out objects I
did not even recognize, to give them to that unpleasant small beast? How
did I know where to go? Why did I go? Why should I give those
then-meaningless objects to the dog? It is as if I were enchanted!

You say that it is a psi phenomenon. The rat causes small objects to
move. The dog, you say, causes persons to give it canine candy. I revolt
against the conclusion, which I cannot reason away. If you are right, we
are at the mercy of our domestic animals! Dog-lovers are not people who
love dogs, but people who are enslaved by dogs. Cat-lovers are merely
people who have been seized upon by cats to support and pet and cater
to them. This is intolerable! I shall fear all pets from now on! I throw
myself back into my own work to avoid thinking of it. I--

       *       *       *

Later. I did not mail this letter because an appalling idea occurred to
me. This could bear upon my investigation! Do you think The Leader--No!
It could not be! It would be madness....

       *       *       *       *       *

Extract from a letter from Dr. Karl Thurn to Professor Albrecht Aigen.

... I deplore your reaction. It has the emotional quality of a reaction
to witchcraft or magic, but psi is not witchcraft. It is a natural
force. No natural force is either nonexistent or irresistible. No
natural force is invariably effective. Psi is not irresistible under all
circumstances. It is not always effective. My rat cannot levitate
cheese-crumbs weighing more than 1.7 grams. My she-dog could not make
you give her dog-candy once you were on guard. When you went again into
the laboratory she looked at you and wagged her tail as before. You say
that you thought of the box and of opening it, but you did not. It was
not even an effort of will to refrain.

A lesser will or a lower grade of personality cannot overwhelm a greater
one. Not ever! Lesser beings can only urge. The astrologers used to say
that the stars incline, but they do not compel. The same can be said of
psi--or of magnetism or gravitation or what you will. Schweeringen could
not make the computer err when it had to err too egregiously. A greater
psi ability was needed than he had. A greater psi power than was
available would have been needed to make you give the dog candy, once
you were warned.

I do not apply these statements to your so-called appalling idea. I
carefully refrain from doing so. It is your research, not mine....

       *       *       *       *       *

Extract from letter to Professor Albrecht Aigen from the Herr Friedrich
Holm, supervisor of electrical maintenance, municipal electrical
service, Untersberg.

Herr Professor:

You have written to ask if I knew a certain Herr Schweeringen, attached
to The Leader's personal staff during his regime. I did know such a
person. I was then in charge of electrical maintenance in The Leader's
various residences. Herr Schweeringen was officially one of The Leader's
secretaries, but his actual task was to make predictions for The Leader,
like a soothsayer or a medium. He had a very remarkable gift. There were
times when it was especially needful that there be no electrical
failures--when The Leader was to be in residence, for example. On such
occasions it was my custom to ask Herr Schweeringen if there was apt to
be any failure of apparatus under my care. At least three times he told
me yes. In one case it was an elevator, in another refrigeration, in a
third a fuse would blow during a State dinner.

I overhauled the elevator, but it failed nevertheless. I replaced the
refrigeration motor, and the new motor failed. In the third case I
changed the fuse to a new and tested one, and then placed a new, fused
line around the fuse Herr Schweeringen had said would blow, and placed a
workman beside it. When the fuse did blow as predicted, my workman
instantly closed the extra-line switch, so that the lights of the State
dinner barely flickered. But I shudder when I think of the result if
Herr Schweeringen had not warned me.

He was executed a few days before the period of confusion began, which
ended as everyone knows. I do not know the reason for his execution. It
was said, however, that The Leader executed him personally. This, Herr
Professor, is all that I know of the matter.

                                       Very respectfully, (Et cetera.)

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter from Herr Theophrastus Paracelsus Bosche, astrologer, to
Professor Albrecht Aigen, Brunn University.

Most respected Herr Professor:

I am amused that a so-eminent scientist like yourself should ask
information from a so-despised former astrologer to The Leader. It is
even more amusing that you ask about a mere soothsayer--a man who
displayed an occult gift of prophecy--whom you should consider merely
one of the charlatans like myself whom The Leader consulted, and who
are unworthy of consideration by a scientific historian. We have no
effect upon history, most respected Herr Professor! None at all. Oh,
none! I am much diverted.

You ask about the Herr Schweeringen. He was a predictor, using his
occult gift of second sight to foreknow events and tell The Leader about
them. You will remember that The Leader considered himself to have
occult powers of leadership and decision, and that all occult powers
should contribute to his greatness. At times of great stress, such as
when The Leader demanded ever-increasing concessions from other nations
on threat of war, he was especially concerned that occult predictions
promise him success.

At a certain time the international tension was greater than ever
before. If The Leader could doubt the rightness of any of his actions,
he doubted it then. There was great danger of war. Prime Minister
Winston had said flatly that The Leader must withdraw his demands or
fight. The Leader was greatly agitated. He demanded my prediction. I
considered the stars and predicted discreetly that war would be
prevented by some magnificent achievement by The Leader. Truly, if he
got out of his then situation it would be a magnificent achievement. But
astrology, of course, could only indicate it but not describe what it
would be.

The Leader was confident that he could achieve anything he could
imagine, because he had convinced even himself that only treason or
disloyalty could cause him to fail in any matter. He demanded of his
generals what achievement would prevent the war. They were not
encouraging. He demanded of his civilian political advisers. They dared
not advise him to retreat. They offered nothing. He demanded of his
occult advisers.

The Herr Schweeringen demanded of me that I tell him my exact
prediction. His nerves were bad, then, and he twitched with the strain.
Someone had to describe the great achievement The Leader would make. It
would be dangerous not to do so. I told him the prediction, I found his
predicament diverting. He left me, still twitching and desperately sunk
in thought.

I now tell you exact, objective facts, Herr Professor, with no
interpretation of my own upon them. The Herr Schweeringen was closeted
with The Leader. I am told that his face was shining with confidence
when he went to speak to The Leader. It was believed among us charlatans
that he considered that he foreknew what The Leader would do to prevent
war at this time.

Two hours later there were shots in The Leader's private quarters. The
Leader came out, his eyes glaring, and ordered Herr Schweeringen's body
removed. He ordered the execution of the four senior generals of the
General Staff, of the Minister of Police, and several other persons. He
then went into seclusion, from which he emerged only briefly to give
orders making the unthinkable retreat that Prime Minister Winston had
demanded. No one spoke to him for a week. Confusion began. These are
objective facts. I now add one small boast.

My discreet prediction had come true, and it is extremely diverting to
think about it. The Leader had achieved magnificently. The war was
prevented not only for the moment but for later times, too. The Leader's
achievement was the destruction of his regime by destroying the brains
that had made it operate!

It is quite possible that you will consider this information a lie. That
will be quite droll. However, I am, most respected Herr Professor, (Et
cetera.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter from Dr. Karl Thurn, University of Laibach, to Professor Albrecht
Aigen, Brunn University.

My dear friend:

Your information about the elder Schweeringen received. The information
about his prediction is interesting. I could wish that it were complete,
but that would seem to be hopeless. Your question, asked in a manner
suggesting great disturbance, is another matter. I will answer it as
well as I can, my friend, but please remember that you asked. I
volunteer nothing. The question of the rise and power of The Leader is
your research, not mine.

Here is my answer. Years back an American researcher named Rhine
obtained seemingly conclusive proof that telepathy took place. Tonight
he would have a "sender," here, attempt to transmit some item
telepathically to a "receiver," there. Tomorrow morning he would compare
the record of what the "sender" had attempted to transmit, with the
record of what the "receiver" considered he had received. The
correspondence was far greater than chance. He considered that telepathy
was proven.

But then Rhine made tests for precognition. He secured proof that some
persons could predict with greater-than-probability frequency that some
particular event, to be determined by chance, would take place tomorrow.
He secured excellent evidence for precognition.

Then it was realized that if one could foresee what dice would read
tomorrow--dice not yet thrown--one should be able to read what a report
would read tomorrow--a report not yet written. In short, if one can
foreknow what a comparison will reveal, telepathy before the comparison
is unproven. In proving precognition, he had destroyed his evidence for
telepathy.

It appears that something similar has happened, which our correspondence
has brought out. Young Schweeringen predicted what a computer would
report from unknown numerals and instructions. In order for the computer
to match his predictions, it had to err. It did. Therefore one reasons
that he did not predict what the computer would produce. The computer
produced what he predicted. In effect, what appeared to be foreknowledge
was psychokinesis--the same phenomenon as the movement of crumbs of
cheese by my rat. One may strongly suspect that when young Herr
Schweeringen knew in advance what the computer would say, he actually
knew in advance what he could make it say. It is possible that one can
consciously know in advance only what one can unconsciously bring about.
If one can bring about only minor happenings, one can never predict
great ones.

This is my answer to your question. I would like very much to know what
the elder Schweeringen predicted that The Leader would accomplish!

My she-dog has died. We had a new attendant in the laboratory. He fed
her to excess. She died of it. (Et cetera.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter from Professor Albrecht Aigen to Dr. Thurn.

My dear Karl:

I have resolved to dismiss psionic ability from my investigation into
The Leader's rise to power. This much I will concede: The Leader could
enslave--englamour--enchant anyone who met him personally. He did. To a
lesser degree, this irresistible persuasiveness is a characteristic of
many successful swindlers. But he could not have englamoured the whole
nation. He did not meet enough persons personally to make his regime
possible, unless he could cause other persons to apply their own
magnetism to further his ambitions, and they others and others and so
on--like an endless series of magnets magnetized originally from one.
This is not possible. I restrict myself to normal, plausible
hypotheses--of which so far I have no faintest trace.

You agree with me, do you not--that it was impossible for The Leader to
weave a web of enchantment over the whole nation by his own psi energies
controlling the psi energies of others? I would welcome your assurance
that it could not be.

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter from Professor Albrecht Aigen to Dr. Karl Thurn.

My dear Karl:

Did you receive my last letter? I am anxious to have your assurance that
it was impossible that The Leader could englamour the whole nation by
his psionic gifts.

       *       *       *       *       *

Telegram, Dr. Albrecht Aigen to Dr. Karl Thurn.

Karl, as you are my friend, answer me!

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter, Dr. Karl Thurn to Professor Albrecht Aigen.

... But what have you discovered, my friend, that you are afraid to
face?

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter. Professor Albrecht Aigen to Dr. Karl Thurn.

My dear Karl:

I appeal to you because I have discovered how nearly our nation and the
whole world escaped horrors beside which those of The Leader's actual
regime would seem trivial. Give me reasons, arguments, proofs beyond
question, which I can put into my report on his career! I must
demonstrate beyond question that psi ability did not cause his
ascendancy! Help me to contrive a lie which will keep anyone, ever, from
dreaming that psi ability can be used to seize a government and a
nation. It could seize the world more terribly....

I cannot express the urgency of this need! There are others who possess
The Leader's powers in a lesser degree. They must remain only swindlers
and such, without ambitions to rule, or they might study The Leader's
career as Napoleon studied Alexander's. There must be no hint, anywhere,
of the secret I have discovered. There must be nothing to lead to the
least thought of it! The Leader could have multiplied his power
ten-thousand-fold! Another like him must never learn how it could be
done!

I beg your help, Karl! I am shaken. I am terrified. I wish that I had
not undertaken this research. I wish it almost as desperately as I wish
that The Leader had never been born!

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter from Colonel Sigmund Knoeller, retired, to Professor Albrecht
Aigen, Brunn University.

Herr Professor:

In response to your authorized request for information about certain
events; I have the honor to inform you that at the time you mention I
was Major in command of the Second Battalion of the 161st Infantry
Regiment, assigned to guard duty about the residence of The Leader.
Actual guard duty was performed by the secret police. My battalion
merely provided sentries around the perimeter of the residence, and at
certain places within.

On August 19th I received a command to march three companies of my men
into the residence, to receive orders from The Leader in person. This
command was issued by the Herr General Breyer, attached to The Leader as
a military aide.

I led my men inside according to the orders, guided by the orderly who
had brought them. I entered an inner courtyard. There was disturbance.
People moved about in a disorderly fashion and chattered agitatedly.
This was astonishing in The Leader's residence. I marched up to General
Breyer, who stood outside a group biting his nails. I saluted and said:
"Major Knoeller reporting for orders, Herr General."

There was then confusion in the nearby squabbling group. A man burst out
of it and waved his arms at me. He looked like The Leader. He cried
shrilly:

"Arrest these men! All of them! Then shoot them!"

I looked at the Herr General Breyer. He bit his nails. The man who
looked so much like The Leader foamed at the mouth. But he was not The
Leader. That is, in every respect he resembled The Leader to whom I owed
loyalty as did everyone. But no one who was ever in The Leader's
presence failed to know it. There was a feeling. One knew to the inmost
part of one's soul that he was The Leader who must be reverenced and
obeyed. But one did not feel that way about this man, though he
resembled The Leader so strongly.

"Arrest them!" shrilled the man ferociously. "I command it! I am The
Leader! Shoot them!"

When I still waited for General Breyer to give me orders, the man
shrieked at the troopers. He commanded them to kill General Breyer and
all the rest, including me. And if he had been The Leader they would
have obeyed. But he was not. So my men stood stiffly at attention,
waiting for my orders or General Breyer's.

There was now complete silence in the courtyard. The formerly squabbling
men watched as if astonished. As if they did not believe their eyes. But
I waited for General Breyer to give his commands.

The man screamed in a terrible, frustrated rage. He waved his arms
wildly. He foamed at the mouth and shrieked at me. I waited for orders
from General Breyer. After a long time he ceased to bite his nails and
said in a strange voice:

"You had better have this man placed in confinement, Major Knoeller. See
that he is not injured. Double all guards and mount machine guns in case
of rioting outside. Dismiss!"

I obeyed my commands. My men took the struggling, still-shrieking man
and put him in a cell in the guardhouse. There was a drunken private
there, awaiting court-martial. He was roused and annoyed when his new
companion shrieked and screamed and shook the bars of the door. He
kicked the man who looked so much like The Leader. I then had the
civilian placed in a separate cell, but he continued to rave
incoherently until I had the regimental surgeon give him an injection to
quiet him. He sank into drugged sleep with foam about his lips.

He looked remarkably like The Leader. I have never seen such a
resemblance! But he was not The Leader or we would have known him.

There was no disturbance outside the residence. The doubled guards and
the mounted machine guns were not needed.

                                    I am, Herr Professor, (Et cetera.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter, with enclosure, from Professor Albrecht Aigen, Brunn University,
to Dr. Karl Thurn, University of Laibach.

My dear Karl:

Because of past sharing in my research, you will realize what the
enclosed means. It is part of the report of the physicians who examined
The Leader three days after his confinement in a military prison. He had
recovered much of his self-control. He spoke with precision. He appeared
even calm, though he was confused in some matters. The doctors addressed
him as "My Leader" because he refused to reply otherwise.

(Enclosure)

_Dr. Kundmann_: But, My Leader, we do not understand what has happened!
You were terribly disturbed. You were even ... even confused in your
behavior! Can you tell us what took place?

_The Leader_: I suffered a great danger and a temporary damage. That
villain Schweeringen--I shot him. It was a mistake. I should have had
him worked over--at length!

_Dr. Messner_: My Leader, will you be so good as to tell us the nature
of the danger and the damage?

_The Leader_: Schweeringen probably told someone what he would propose
to me. It was his conviction that because of my special gifts I could
cause anyone, not only to obey me, but to pour out to me, directly, his
inmost thoughts and memories. Of course this is true. The danger was
that of the contact of my mind with an inferior one. But I allowed
Schweeringen to persuade me that I should risk even this for the service
of my people. Therefore I contacted the mind of Prime Minister Winston,
so I could know every scheme and every plan he might have or know to
exist to injure my people. I intended, however, to cause him to become
loyal to me--though I would later have had him shot. Schweeringen had
betrayed me, though. When I made contact with Winston's mind, it was not
only inferior, but diseased! There was a contagion which temporarily
affected the delicate balance of my intuition. For a short time I could
not know, as ordinarily, what was best for my people.

(End of Enclosure)

You will see, my dear Karl, what took place. To you and to me this
explains everything. In the background of my research and your
information it is clear. Fortunately, The Leader's mind was unstable.
The strain and shock of so unparalleled experience as complete knowledge
of another brain's contents destroyed his rationality. He became insane.
Insane, he no longer had the psi gifts by which he had seized and
degraded our nation. He ceased to be The Leader.

But you will see that this must be hidden! Another monster like The
Leader, or Napoleon--perhaps even lesser monsters--could attempt the
same feat. But they might be less unstable! They might be able to invade
the mind of any human being, anywhere, and drain it of any secret or
impress upon it any desire or command, however revolting. You see, Karl,
why this must never become known! It must be hidden forever.

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter from Dr. Karl Thurn, University of Laibach, to Professor Albrecht
Aigen, Brunn University.

My dear friend:

I am relieved! I feared for your judgment. I thought that perhaps
overwork and frustration had set up an anxiety-block to make you cease
your work. But you are quite right. Your analysis is brilliant. And now
that you have pointed it out, unquestionably a man with The Leader's psi
powers could force another man's brain to transmit all its contents to
him.

But consider the consequences! Consider the conditions of such an event.
One's brain is designed to work within one's own skull, dealing with
sensory messages and the like. Very occasionally it acts outside,
shifting crumbs of cheese and confusing computers--and securing candy.
But even when one's will controls outside actions, it does not fuse with
the outside brain or thing. It molds or moves the recipient mind, but
there is never a sharing of memory. You have explained why.

Consider what must happen if a brain of limited power and essentially
emotional operation is linked to another and more powerful one. Assume
for a moment that my she-dog had linked her brain to yours, even
momentarily. Do you realize that she would not have gotten your
memories, much less your power to reason? She would not even have
acquired your knowledge of the meaning of words! When a bright light
shines in your eyes, you see nothing else. When thunder rolls in your
ears, you do not hear the ticking of a clock. When you suffer pain, you
do not notice a feather's tickle. If my she-dog had linked her mind to
yours, she would have experienced something which is knowledge more
firmly fixed and more continuously known than anything else in your
conscious life. This overwhelmingly strong conviction would have been so
powerful and so positive that it would be imprinted--branded--burned
into every cell of her brain. She could never get it out.

But in receiving this overwhelming experience she would not get your
memories or power to reason or even your personality. She would have
experienced only your identity. She would have received only the
conviction that she was yourself! She would have been like those poor
lunatics who believe that they are Napoleon, though they have nothing of
Napoleon in them but the conviction of identity. They do not know when
he was born or have more than the vaguest notion of what he did, but
they try to act as who he was--according to their own ideas of how
Napoleon would act in their situation. This is how my she-dog would have
behaved.

I am relieved. You have explained everything. Your letter gave me the
suspicion. I secured a transcript of the Herr Doctor's report for
myself. My suspicion became a certainty. You will find the clue in the
report. Consider: The Leader had had the experience I imagined for my
she-dog. He had linked his mind with a stronger one and a greater
personality--if it must be said, a greater man. For a moment The Leader
knew what that man knew most certainly, with most profound conviction,
with most positive knowledge. It was burned into his brain. He could
never get it out. He did not secure that other man's memories or
knowledge or ability. He was blinded, deafened, dazed by the
overwhelming conviction that, the other man had of his own identity. It
would not be possible for him to get anything else from a stronger mind
and a greater person. Nor could anyone else succeed where he failed, my
friend! There is no danger of any man seizing the world by seizing the
minds of all his fellows! One who tries will meet the fate of The
Leader.

You realize what that fate was, of course. He suddenly ceased to be the
monster who could cast a spell of blind adoration for himself. He ceased
to be The Leader! So the doctors gave him truth-serum so he would not
try to conceal anything from them. The result is in the transcript on
the third page beyond the place you quoted to me. There the doctors
asked The Leader who he was. Read his answer, my friend! It proves
everything! He said:

"I am Prime Minister Winston."


THE END



Transcriber's Note:

    This etext was produced from _Astounding Science Fiction_ February
    1960. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S.
    copyright on this publication was renewed. Minor spelling and
    typographical errors have been corrected without note.





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