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´╗┐Title: The Colonists
Author: Jones, Raymond F., 1915-1994
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 Colonists" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

                             THE COLONISTS

                          By Raymond F. Jones

                       Illustrated by Paul Orban

[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from IF Worlds of Science
Fiction June 1954. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

[Sidenote: _If historical precedent be wrong--what qualities, then, must
man possess to successfully colonize new worlds? Doctor Ashby said:
"There is no piece of data you cannot find, provided you can devise the
proper experimental procedure for turning it up." Now--about the man and
the procedure...._]

This was the rainy year. Last year had been the dry one, and it would
come again. But they wouldn't be here to see it, Captain Louis Carnahan
thought. They had seen four dry ones, and now had come the fourth wet
one, and soon they would be going home. For them, this was the end of
the cycle.

At first they had kept track of the days, checking each one off on their
calendars, but the calendars had long since been mingled
indistinguishably with the stuff of the planet itself--along with most
of the rest of their equipment. By that time, however, they had learned
that the cycle of wet and dry seasons was almost precisely equivalent to
a pair of their own Terran years, so they had no more need for the

But at the beginning of this wet season Carnahan had begun marking off
the days once again with scratches on the post of the hut in which he
lived. The chronometers were gone, too, but one and three-quarters Earth
days equalled one Serrengian day, and by that he could compute when the
ships from Earth were due.

He had dug moats about the hut to keep rain water from coming in over
his dirt floor. Only two of the walls were erected, and he didn't know
or much care whether he would get the other two up or not. Most of the
materials had blown away during the last dry period and he doubted very
much that he would replace them. The two available walls were cornered
against the prevailing winds. The roof was still in good shape, allowing
him a sufficient space free of leaks to accommodate his cooking and the
mat which he called a bed.

He picked up a gourd container from the rough bench in the center of the
room and took a swallow of the burning liquid. From the front of the hut
he looked out over the rain swept terrain at the circle of huts.
Diametrically across from him he could see Bolinger, the little
biologist, moving energetically about. Bolinger was the only one who had
retained any semblance of scientific interest. He puttered continually
over his collection, which had grown enormously over the eight year

When they got back, Bolinger at least would have some accomplishment to
view with pride. The rest of them--?

Carnahan laughed sharply and took another big swallow from the gourd,
feeling the fresh surge of hot liquor already crossing the portals of
his brain, bringing its false sense of wisdom and clarity. He knew it
was false, but it was the only source of wisdom he had left, he told

He staggered back to the bed with the gourd. He caught a glimpse of his
image in the small steel mirror on the little table at the end of the
bed. Pausing to stare, he stroked the thick mat of beard and ran his
fingers through the mane of hair that had been very black when he came,
and was now a dirty silver grey.

He hadn't looked at himself for a long time, but now he had to. He had
to know what they would see when the ships of Earth came to pick up the
personnel of the Base and leave another crew. The image made him sick.

At the beginning of this final season of the rains, all his life before
coming to Serrengia seemed like a dream that had never been real. Now it
was coming back, as if he were measuring the final distance of a circle
and approaching once again his starting point. He kept remembering more
and more. Watching his image in the mirror, he remembered what General
Winthrop had said on the day of their departure. "The pick of Earth's
finest," the General said. "We have combed the Earth and you are the men
we have chosen to represent Mankind in the far reaches of the Universe.
Remember that wherever you go, there goes the honor of Mankind. Do not,
above all, betray that honor."

Carnahan clenched his teeth in bitterness. He wished old fatty Winthrop
had come with them. Savagely he upended the gourd and flung it across
the room. It meant a trip to Bailey's hut to get it replenished. Bailey
had been the Chief Physicist. Now he was the official distiller, and the
rotgut he produced was the only thing that made existence bearable.

The Captain stared again at his own image. "Captain Louis Carnahan," he
murmured aloud. "The pick of Earth's finest--!" He smashed a fist at the
little metal mirror and sent it flying across the room. The table
crashed over, one feeble leg twisting brokenly. Then Carnahan hunched
over with his face buried against the bed. His fists beat against it
while his shoulders jerked in familiar, drunken sobs.

After it was over he raised up, sitting on the edge of the bed. His mind
burned with devastating clarity. It seemed for once he could remember
everything that had ever happened to him. He remembered it all. He
remembered his childhood under the bright, pleasant sky of Earth. He
remembered his ambition to be a soldier, which meant spaceman, even
then. He remembered his first flight, a simple training tour of the Moon
installations. It convinced him that never again could he consider
himself an Earthman in the sense of one who dwells upon the Earth. His
realm was the sky and the stars. Not even the short period when he had
allowed himself to be in love had changed his convictions. He had
sacrificed everything his career demanded.

Where had it gone wrong? How could he have allowed himself to forget?
For years he had forgotten, he realized in horror. He had forgotten that
Earth existed. He had forgotten how he came to be here, and why. And all
that he was meant to accomplish had gone undone. For years the
scientific work of the great base expedition had been ignored. Only the
little biologist across the way, pecking at his tasks season after
season, had accomplished anything.

And now the ships were coming to demand an accounting.

He groaned aloud as the vision became more terrible. He thought of that
day when they had arrived at the inhospitable and uninhabited world of
Serrengia. He could close his eyes and see it again--the four tall ships
standing on the plateau that was scarred by their landing. The men had
been so proud of what they had done and would yet do. They could see
nothing to defeat them as they unloaded the mountains of equipment and

Now that same equipment lay oozing in the muck of leafy decomposition,
corroded and useless like the men themselves. And in the dry seasons it
had been alternately buried and blasted by the sands and the winds.

He remembered exactly the day and the hour when they had cracked beyond
all recovery. With an iron hand he had held them for three years. Weekly
he demanded an appearance in full dress uniform, and hard discipline in
all their relationships was the rule. Then one day he let the dress
review go. They had come in from a long trek through a jungle that was
renewing itself after a dry season. Too exhausted in body and spirit,
and filled with an increasing sense of futility, he abandoned for the
moment the formalities he had held to.

After that it was easy. They fell apart all around him. He tried to hold
them, settling quarrels that verged on mutiny. Then in the sixth month
of the fourth year he had to kill with his own hands the first of his
crazed and rebellious crew. The scientific work disintegrated and was
abandoned. He remembered he had locked up all their notes and
observations and charts, but where he had hidden the metal chest was one
of the few things he seemed unable to recall.

The more violent of the expedition killed each other off, or wandered
into the jungle or desert and never came back. On the even dozen who
were left there had settled a kind of monastic hermitage. Each man kept
to himself, aware that a hairbreadth trespass against his neighbor would
mean quick challenge to the death. Yet they clung to membership in this
degenerate community as if it represented their last claim to humanness.

This is what they would see though. They would see his personal failure.
It _was_ his, there was no question of that. If he had been strong he
could have held the expedition together. He could have maintained the
base in all the strength and honor of military tradition that had been
entrusted to him. He hadn't been strong enough.

The ships would come. The four of them. They might come tomorrow or even
today. A panic crept through him. The ships could land at any time now,
and their men would come marching out to greet him in his failure and
cowardice and his dishonor. It must not happen. Old fatty Winthrop had
said one thing that made sense: "--there goes the honor of Mankind. Do
not, above all, betray that honor."

Fatty was right. The only thing he had left was honor, and in only one
way could he retain it.

With the fiery clarity burning in his brain he struggled from where he
lay and picked up the metallic mirror and hung it from the post near the
bed. He turned up the broken table against the wall. Then, with the air
of one who has not been on the premises for a long time he began
searching through the long unused chests stacked in the corner. The
contents were for the most part in a state of decay, but he found his
straight edged razor in the oiled pouch where he had last placed it.

There should have been shaving detergent, but he couldn't find it. He
contented himself with preparing hot water, then slowly and painfully
hacked the thick beard away and scraped his face clean. He found a comb
and raked it through his tangled mat of hair, arranging it in some vague
resemblance to the cut he used to wear.

From the chests he drew forth the dress uniform he had put away so long
ago. Fortunately, it had been in the center, surrounded by other
articles so that it was among the best preserved of his possessions. He
donned it in place of the rags he wore. The shoes were almost completely
hard from lack of care, but he put them on anyway and brushed the toes
with a scrap of cloth.

From underneath his bed he took his one possession which he had kept in
meticulous repair, his service pistol. Then he stood up, buttoning and
smoothing his coat, and smiled at himself in the little mirror. But his
gaze shifted at once to something an infinity away.

"'Do not, above all, betray that honor.' At least you gave us one good
piece of advice, fatty," he said.

Carefully, he raised the pistol to his head.

       *       *       *       *       *

Hull number four was erect and self-supporting. Its shell enclosure was
complete except for necessary installation openings. And in Number One
the installations were complete and the ship's first test flight was
scheduled for tomorrow morning.

John Ashby looked from the third story window of his office toward the
distant assembly yards on the other side of the field. The four hulls
stood like golden flames in the afternoon sunlight. Ashby felt defeated
by the speed with which the ships were being completed. It was almost as
if the engineers had a special animosity toward him, which they
expressed in their unreasonable speed of construction. This was
nonsense, of course. They had a job to do and were proud if they could
cut time from their schedule.

But there was no cutting time from _his_ schedule, and without the
completion of his work the ships would not fly. He had to find men
capable of taking them on their fantastic journeys. To date, he had

He glanced down at the black car with government markings, which had
driven in front of the building a few moments before, and then he heard
Miss Haslam, his secretary, on the interphone. "The Colonization
Commission, Dr. Ashby."

He turned from the window. "Have them come in at once," he said.

He strode to the door and shook hands with each of the men. Only four of
them had come: Mr. Merton, Chairman; General Winthrop; Dr. Cowper; and
Dr. Boxman.

"Please have seats over here by the window," Ashby suggested.

They accepted and General Winthrop stood a moment looking out. "A
beautiful sight, aren't they, Ashby?" he said. "They get more beautiful
every day. You ought to get over more often. Collins says you haven't
been around the place for weeks, and Number One is going up tomorrow."

"We've had too much to occupy us here."

"_My_ men are ready," said the General pointedly. "We could supply a
dozen crews to take those ships to Serrengia and back, and man the base

Ashby turned away, ignoring the General's comment. He took a chair at
the small conference table where the three Commissioners had seated
themselves. Winthrop followed, settling in his chair with a smile, as if
he had scored a major point.

"Number One is ready," said Merton, "and still you have failed to offer
us a single man, Dr. Ashby. The Commission feels that the time is very
near when definite action will have to be taken. We have your reports,
but we wanted a personal word with you to see if we couldn't come to
some understanding as to what we can expect."

"I will send you the men when I find out what kind of man we need," said
Ashby. "Until then there had better be no thought of releasing the
colonization fleet. I will not be responsible for any but the right
answers to this problem."

"We are getting to the point," said Boxman, "where we feel forced to
consider the recommendations of General Winthrop. Frankly, we have never
been able to fully understand your objections."

"There'll never be a time when I cannot supply all the men needed to
establish this base," said Winthrop. "We spend unlimited funds and years
of time training personnel for posts of this kind, yet you insist on
looking for unprepared amateurs. It makes no sense whatever, and only
because you have been given complete charge of the personnel program
have you been able to force your views on the Commission. But no one
understands you. In view of your continued failure, the Commission is
going to be forced to make its own choice."

"My resignation may be had at any time," said Ashby.

"No, no, Dr. Ashby." Merton held up his hand. "The General is perhaps
too impulsive in his disappointment that you have failed us so far, but
we do not ask for your resignation. We do ask if there is not some way
in which you might see fit to use the General's men in manning the

"The whole answer lies in the erroneous term you persist in applying to
this project," said Ashby. "It is not a base, and never will be. We
propose to set up a colony. It makes an enormous difference with respect
to the kind of men required. We've been over this before--"

"But not enough," snapped Winthrop. "We'll continue to go over it until
you understand you can't waste those ships on a bunch of half-baked
idealists inspired by some noble nonsense about carrying on the torch of
human civilization beyond the stars. We're putting up a base, to gather
scientific data and establish rights of occupancy."

"I don't think I agree with your description of my proposed party of
colonists," said Ashby mildly.

"That's what they'll be! Were colonists ever anything but psalm singing
rebels or cutthroats trying to escape hanging? You're not going to
establish a cultural and scientific base with such people."

"No, you're quite right. That's not the kind."

"What is it you're looking for?" said Merton irritably. "What kind of
men do you want, if you can't find them among the best and the worst
humanity offers."

"Your terms are hardly accurate," said Ashby. "You fail to recognize the
fact that we have never known what kind of man it takes to colonize. You
ignore the fact that we have never yet successfully colonized the
planets of our own Solar System. Bases, yes--but all our colonies have
failed to date."

"What better evidence could you ask for in support of my argument?"
demanded Winthrop. "We've _proved_ bases are practical, and that
colonies are not."

"No matter how far away or how long the periods of rotation, a man
assigned to a base expects to return home. Night or day, in the
performance of any duty, there is in his mind as a working background
the recognition that at some future time he can go home. His base is
never his home."

"Precisely. That is what makes the base successful."

Ashby shook his head. "No base is ever successful from the standpoint of
permanent extension of a civilization. By its very nature it is
transitory, impermanent. That is not what we want now."

"We have the concept of permanent bases in military thinking," said
Winthrop. "You can't generalize in that fashion."

"Name for me a single military or expeditionary base that continued its
permanency over any extended period of history."


"The concept is invalid," said Ashby. "Extensions of humanity from one
area to another on a permanent basis are made by colonists. Men who do
not expect to rotate, but come to live and establish homes. This is what
we want on Serrengia. Humanity is preparing to make an extension of
itself in the Universe.

"But more than this, there are limitations of time and distance in the
establishment of bases, which cannot be overcome by any amount of
training of personnel. Cycles of rotation and distances from home can be
lengthened beyond the capacity of men to endure. It is only when they go
out with _no_ expectation of return that time and distance cease to
control them."

"We do not know of any such limitations," said Winthrop. "They have not
been met here in the Solar System."

"We know them," said Ashby. "The thing we have not found and which we
must discover before those ships depart is the quality that makes it
possible for a man to ignore time and distance and his homeland. We know
a good deal about the successful colonists of Earth's history. We know
that invariably they were of some minority group which felt itself
persecuted or limited by conditions surrounding it, or else they were
fleeing the results of some crime."

"If that is what you are looking for, it is no wonder you have failed,"
said Dr. Cowper. "We have no such minority groups in our society."

"Very true," Ashby replied. "But it is not the condition of fleeing or
being persecuted that generates the qualities of a perfect colonist by
any means! We have examples enough of adequately persecuted groups who
failed as colonists. But there is some quality, which seems to appear,
if at all, only in some of those who have courage enough to flee their
oppression or limiting conditions. This quality makes them successful in
their colonization.

"We are looking first, therefore, for individuals who would have the
courage to resist severe limitations to the extent of flight, if such
limitations existed. And among these we hope to find the essence of that
which makes it possible for a man to cut all ties with his homeland."

"So you are making your search," said Merton, "among the potentially
rebellious and criminal?"

Ashby nodded. "We have confined our study to these individuals as a
result of strict historical precedent so that we might narrow the search
as much as possible. You must understand, however, that to choose merely
the rebellious and staff our ships with these would be foolhardy. It
would be a ridiculous shotgun technique. _Some_ of them would succeed,
but we would never know which it would be. We might send twenty or a
thousand ships out and establish one successful colony.

"We have to do much better than that. Our consumption of facilities on
this project is so great that we have to _know_, within a negligible
margin of error, that when these groups are visited in eight or fifty
years from now we will find a community of cooperative, progressive
human beings. We cannot be satisfied with less!"

"I'm afraid the majority of sentiment in the Commission is not in
agreement with you," said Mr. Merton. "To oppose General Winthrop's
trained crews with selected cutthroats and traitors may have historical
precedent, but it scarcely seems the optimum procedure in this case!

"We are willing to be shown proof of your thesis, Dr. Ashby, but we have
certain realities of which we are sure. If we can do no better, we shall
take the best available to us at the time the ships are ready. If you
cannot supply us with proven crews and colonists by then we shall be
forced to accept General Winthrop's recommendations and choose personnel
whose reactions are at least known and predictable to a high degree. I'm
sorry, but surely you can understand our position in this matter."

For a long time Ashby was silent, looking from one to the other of the
faces about the table. Then he spoke in a low voice, as if having
reached the extremity of his resources. "Yes--the reactions of
Winthrop's men are indeed known. I suggest that you come with me and I
will show you what those reactions are."

He stood up and the others followed with inquiring expressions on their
faces. Winthrop made a short, jerky motion of his head, as if he
detected a hidden sting in Ashby's words. "What do you mean by that?" he

"You don't suppose that our examinations would neglect the men on whom
you have spent so much time and effort in training?"

The General flushed with rage. "If you've tampered with any of my men--!
You had no right--!"

The other Commission members were smiling in faint amusement at the
General's discomfiture.

"I should think it would be to your advantage to check the results of
your training," said Mr. Merton.

"There is only one possible check!" exclaimed General Winthrop. "Put
these men on a base for a period of eight years and at a distance of
forty seven light years from home and see what they will do. That is the
only way you can check on them."

"And if you know anything about our methods of testing, you will
understand that this, in effect, is what we have done. Your best man is
about to be released from the test pit. He can't have more than an hour
to go."

"Who have you got in your guinea pig pen?" the General demanded. "If
you've ruined him--"

"Captain Louis Carnahan," said Ashby. "Shall we go down, gentlemen?"

       *       *       *       *       *

It had been a grisly business, watching the final minutes of Carnahan's
disintegration. General Winthrop's face was almost purple when he saw
the test pit in which Carnahan was being examined. He tried to tear out
the observation lens with his bare hands as he saw the Captain lift the
loaded pistol to his head in the moment before the safety beam cut in.

And now Ashby kept hearing Winthrop's furious, scathing voice: "You have
destroyed one of the best men the Service has ever produced! I'll have
your hide for this, Ashby, if it's the last act of my life."

Merton and the others had been shocked also by the violence and
degradation of what they saw, but whether he had made his point or not,
Ashby didn't know. Carnahan, of course, would be returned to the Service
within twenty four hours, all adverse effects of the test completely
removed. He would be aware that he had taken it and had not passed, but
there would be no trace of the bitter emotions generated during those
days of examination.

Ashby looked out again at the four hulls now turning from gold to red as
the sun dropped lower in the sky. He had not asked Merton if the
ultimatum was going to stick. He wondered how they could insist on it
after what they had seen, but he didn't _know_.

Impatiently, he turned from the window as Miss Haslam's voice came on
the intercom once more. "Dr. Ashby, Mr. Jorden is still waiting to see

Jorden. He had forgotten. The man had been waiting during his conference
with the Commissioners. Jorden was the one who had been rejected for
examination two weeks ago and insisted he had a _right_ to be examined
for colonization factors. He had been trying to get in ever since. He
might as well get rid of the man once and for all, Ashby decided

"Show him in," he said.

Mark Jorden was a tall, blond man in his late twenties. Shaking hands
with him, Ashby felt thick, strong fingers and glimpsed a massive wrist
at the edge of the coat sleeve. Jorden's face was a pleasant
Scandinavian pink, matched by blue eyes that looked intently into
Ashby's face.

They sat at the desk. "You want to be a colonist," said Ashby. "You say
you want to settle forty seven light years from Earth for the rest of
your life. And our preliminary psycho tests indicate you have scarcely a
vestige of the basic qualities required. Why do you insist on the full

Jorden smiled and shook his head honestly. "I don't know exactly. It
seems like something I'd enjoy doing. Maybe it's in my people--they
liked to move around and see new places. They were seamen in the days
when there weren't any charts to sail by."

"It's certain that this is a situation without charts to sail by," said
Ashby, "but I hardly think the word 'enjoy' is applicable. Have you
thought at all of what existence means at that distance from Earth, with
no communication whatever except a ship every eight years or so?
Qualifications just a trifle short of insanity are required for a
venture of that kind."

"I'm sure you don't mean that, Dr. Ashby," said Jorden reprovingly.

"Perhaps not," said Ashby. His visitor's calm assurance irritated him,
as if _he_ were the one who knew what a colonist ought to be. "I see by
your application you're an electrical engineer."

Jorden nodded. "Yes. My company has just offered me the head of the
department, but I had to explain I was putting in an application for
colonist. They think I'm crazy, of course."

"Does taking the examination mean giving up your promotion?"

"I'm not sure. But I rather think they will pass me up and give it to
one of the other men."

"You want to go badly enough to risk giving up that chance in order to
take an examination which will unquestionably show you have no
qualifications whatever to be a colonist?"

"I think I'm qualified," said Jorden. "I insist on being given the
chance. I believe I have the right to it."

Ashby tried to restrain his irritation. What Jorden said was perhaps
true. No one had ever raised the point before. Those previously rejected
by the preliminary tests had withdrawn in good grace. It seemed
senseless to waste the time of a test pit and its large crew on an
obviously hopeless applicant. On the other hand, he couldn't afford to
have Jorden stirring up trouble with the Colonization Commission at this
critical time--and he could guess that was exactly what Jorden's next
move would be if he were turned down again.

"Our machines will find out everything about you later," said Ashby,
"but I'd like you to tell me about yourself so that I may feel
personally acquainted with you."

Jorden shrugged. "There's not much to tell. I had the usual schooling,
which wasn't anything impressive. I had my three year hitch in the
Service, and I suppose that's where I began to feel there was something
available in life which I had never anticipated. I suppose it sounds
very silly to you, but when I first put a foot on the Moon I felt like
crying. I picked up a handful of pumice and let it sift through my
fingers. I looked out toward Mars and felt as if I could go anywhere,
that I ought to go everywhere.

"The medicos told me later that it was a crazy sort of feeling that
everyone gets his first time out, but I didn't believe them. I didn't
believe it was quite the same with anyone else. When I got out to Mars
finally, and during my one tour on Pluto, it seemed to get worse instead
of decreasing as they told me it would. When I got out I took a job in
my profession, and I've been satisfied, but I've never been able to get
rid of the feeling there's something I'm missing, something I ought to
be doing. It's connected with everything out there." He lifted a broad
hand and gestured to the horizon beyond the windows.

"Perhaps your career should have been in the Service," suggested Ashby.

"No. That was good enough while it lasted, but they didn't have anything
I wanted permanently. When I heard about the proposed colonization on
Serrengia that seemed to be it."

"Your application indicates you are not married."

"That's right," said Jorden. "I have no ties to hold me back."

"You understand, of course, that as a colonist you will be expected to
marry, either before leaving or soon after arrival. Colonial life is
family life."

"I hadn't thought much about that, but it can't be too bad, I suppose. I
presume my choice would be quite severely limited to a fellow colonist?"


"There is a story about my third or fourth grandfather who was given a
girl to marry the night before he sailed from his homeland to settle in
a new country. They had seventeen children and were said to be
extraordinarily happy. My family still owns the homestead they cleared.
I was born there."

"It can be done, but it doesn't conform closely with our currently
accepted social mores," said Ashby hopefully.

"I'm sure that won't stand in my way. If there's a woman who's willing
to take a chance, I certainly will be."

"There's one more thing we have to know," said Ashby. "What are you
running away from? Who or what are your enemies?"

Jorden laughed uncertainly. "I'm sorry, but I'm not running away from
anything. As far as I know I have no enemies."

"_All_ colonists are running from something," said Ashby. "Otherwise
they would stay where they are."

Jorden regarded him a moment in silence, then smiled slowly. "I think
you are going to have occasion to revise that thesis," he said.

"A great deal of history would also have to be revised if we did," said
Ashby. "At any rate, let's go down to the test pits. I'll show you
what's in store for you there, and you can further decide if you insist
on going through with it."

       *       *       *       *       *

The laboratories of the Institute of Social Science were spread over a
forty acre area, consisting mostly of the test pits where experimental
examination of proposed colonists was being conducted. Ashby led his
visitor to the ground floor where they took a pair of the electric
cycles used for transportation along the vast corridors of the

A quarter of a mile away they stopped and entered a glassed-in control
room fitted with a number of desks and extensive banks of electronic

"This almost looks like a good sized computer setup," said Jorden

"We use computers extensively, but this equipment is merely the
recording and control apparatus for the synthetic environment
established in the test pit. Please step this way."

The control room was empty now, but during a test it was occupied by a
dozen technicians. It was a highly unorthodox procedure to show a
prospective colonist the test pit setup before examination, but Ashby
still had hopes of shunting Jorden aside without wasting the facilities
on a useless test.

They moved to an observation post and Ashby directed Jorden's attention
to the observation lenses. "We cleaned out here this afternoon," he
said. "A Captain of the Service last occupied the pit."

Jorden looked up inquiringly. "Did he--?"

"No. He didn't make it. Tomorrow morning you will be given a
preconditioning which will set up the basic situation that you have
traveled to Serrengia and are now established there in the colony. We
will begin the test at a period of some length after establishment
there, when difficulties begin to pile up. Other members of the party
will be laboratory staff people who will provide specific, guiding
stimuli to determine your reaction to them."

"Are they there constantly, night and day?"

"No. When you are asleep their day's work is over and they go home."

"What if I wake up and find the whole setup is a phony?"

"You won't. We have control beams constantly focussed upon the persons
being tested. These are used to keep him asleep when desirable, and to
control him to the extent of preventing him doing physical harm to
himself or others."

"Is that necessary?" said Jorden dubiously. "Why should anyone wish to
do harm?"

"The Captain, whom we released today, was pushed to the point of
suicide," said Ashby. "We find it _quite_ necessary to assure ourselves
of adequate control at all times."

"How can you set up the illusion of distance and a whole new world in
such a comparatively small area?"

"It _is_ illusion, a great deal of it. Some is induced along with the
initial preconditioning, other features are done mechanically, but when
you are there you will have no doubt whatever that you are a colonist on
the planet Serrengia. You will act accordingly, and respond to the
stimuli exactly as if you had been transported to the actual planet. In
this way, we are sure of finding colonists who will not blow up when
they face the real situation."

"How many have you found so far?"


Jorden was shaken for a moment, but he smiled then and said, "You have
found one. Put my name down on the books."

"We'll see," said Ashby grimly. "Your colony will be in the limited belt
of the planet's northern hemisphere where considerable agriculture is
possible. You'll be in the midst of a group trying to beat a living from
a world which is neither excessively hostile nor conducive to indolence.
Some of the people will be bitter and wish they had never come. They
will break up in groups and fight each other. They will challenge every
reason you have for your own coming. You will face your own personal
impoverishment, the death of your child--"

"Child?" said Jorden.

"Yes. You will be provided with a wife and three children. One of these
will die, and you will react as if it were your own flesh. Your wife
will oppose your staying, and demand a return to Earth. We will throw at
you every force available to tear down your determination to build a
colony. We shall test in every possible way the validity of your
decision to go. Do you still wish to go through with it?"

Jorden's grin was somewhat fainter. He took a deep breath as he nodded
slowly. "Yes, I'll go through with it. I think it's what I want."

       *       *       *       *       *

When Ashby finally returned alone to the office, Miss Haslam had gone
home. He put in a call anyway for Dr. Bonnie Nathan. She usually
remained somewhere in the laboratory until quite late, even when not
assigned to a test.

In a few minutes her voice came over the phone. "John? What can I do for

"I thought I could let you off for a few days," said Ashby, "but we've
got another one that's come up rather suddenly." He told her briefly
about Mark Jorden. "It's useless, but I don't want him running to the
Commission right now, so we'll put him through. You'll be the wife.
We'll use Program Sixty Eight, except that we'll accelerate it."


"Yes. It won't hurt him any. Whatever happens we can wipe up afterwards.
This is simply a nuisance and I want it out of the way as quickly as
possible. After that--perhaps I can give you those few days I promised
you. O.K.?"

"It's all right with me," said Bonnie. "But an accelerated Sixty

       *       *       *       *       *

They stood on a low hillock overlooking the ninety acres of bottom land
salvaged from the creek grass. Mark Jorden shaded his eyes and squinted
critically over the even stand of green shoots emerging from the bronzed
soil. Germination had been good in spite of the poor planting time. The
chance of getting a crop out was fair. If they didn't they'd be eating
shoe plastic in another few months.

The ten year old boy beside him clutched his hand and edged closer as if
there were something threatening him from the broad fields. "Isn't there
any way at all for Earth to send us food," he said, "if we don't get a

"We have to make believe Earth doesn't exist, Roddy," said Jorden. "We
couldn't even let them know we need help, we're so far away." He gripped
the boy's shoulders solidly in his big hands and drew him close. "We
aren't going to need any help from Earth. We're going to make it on our
own. After all, what would they do on Earth if they couldn't make it?
Where would they go for outside help?"

"I know," said the boy, "but there are so many of them they can't fail.
Here, there's only the few of us."

Jorden patted his shoulder gently again as they started moving toward
the rough houses a half mile away. "That makes it all the easier for
us," he said. "We don't have to worry about the ones who won't
cooperate. We can't lose with the setup we've got."

It was harder for Roddy. He remembered Earth, although he had been only
four when they left. He still remembered the cities and the oceans and
the forests he had known so briefly, and was cursed with the human
nostalgia for a past that seemed more desirable than an unknown, fearful

Of the other children, Alice had been a baby when they left, and Jerry
had been born during the trip. They knew only Serrengia and loved its
wild, uncompromising rigor. They spent their abandoned wildness of
childhood in the nearby hills and forests. But with Roddy it was
different. Childhood seemed to have slipped by him. He was moody, and
moved carefully in constant fear of this world he would never willingly
call home. Jorden's heart ached with longing to instill some kind of joy
into him.

"That looks like Mr. Tibbets," said Roddy suddenly, his eyes on the new
log house.

"I believe you're right," said Jorden. "It looks like Roberts and
Adamson with him. Quite a delegation. I wonder what they want."

The colony consisted of about a hundred families, each averaging five
members. Originally they had settled on a broad plateau at some distance
from the river. It was a good location overlooking hundreds of miles of
desert and forest land. Its soil was fertile and the river water was
lifted easily through the abundant power of the community atomic energy
plant which had been brought from Earth.

Three months ago, however, the power plant had been destroyed in a
disastrous explosion that killed almost a score of the colonists. Crops
for their next season's food supply were half matured and could not be
saved by any means available.

The community was broken into a number of smaller groups. Three of
these, composed of fifteen families each, moved to the low lands along
the river bank and cleared acreage for new crops in a desperate hope of
getting a harvest before the season ended. They had not yet learned
enough of the cycle of weather in this area to predict it with much

Mark Jorden was in charge of one of the farms and the elected leader of
the village in which he lived.

Tibbets was an elderly man from the same village. In his middle sixties,
he presented a puzzle to Jorden as to why he had been permitted to come.
Roberts and Adamson were from the settlements farther down the river.

Jorden felt certain of the reason for their visit. He didn't want to
hear what they had to say, but he knew he might as well get it over

They hailed him from the narrow wooden porch. Jorden came up the steps
and shook hands with each. "Won't you come in? I'm sure Bonnie can find
something cool to drink."

Tibbets wiped his thin, wrinkled brow. "She already has. That girl of
yours doesn't waste any time being told what to do. It's too bad some of
the others can't pitch in the way Bonnie does."

Jorden accepted the praise without comment, wondering if no one else at
all were aware of the hot, violent protests she sometimes poured out
against him because of the colony.

"Come in anyway," Jorden said. "I have to go back to the watering in a
little while, but you can take it easy till then." He led the way into
the log house.

Their homes on the plateau had been decent ones. With adequate power
they had made lumber and cement, and within a year of their landing had
built a town of fine homes. Among those who had been forced to abandon
them, no one was more bitter than Bonnie. "You're no farmer," she said.
"Why can't those who are be the ones to move?"

Now, when he came into the kitchen, she was tired, but she tried to
smile as always at her pleasure in seeing him again. He couldn't imagine
what it would be like not having her to welcome him from the fields.

"I'll get something cool for you and Roddy," she said. "Would you
gentlemen like another drink?"

When they were settled in the front room Tibbets spoke. "You know why
we've come, Mark. The election is only a couple of months away. We can't
have Boggs in for another term of governor. You've got to say you'll run
against him."

"As I told you last time, Boggs may be a poor excuse for the job, but
I'd be worse. He's at least an administrator. I'm only an engineer--and
more recently a farmer."

"We've got something new, now," said Tibbets, his eyes suddenly cold and

"The talk about his deliberately blowing up the power plant? Talk of
that kind could blow up the whole colony as well. Boggs may have his
faults but he's not insane."

"We've got proof now," said Tibbets. "It's true. Adamson's got the
evidence. He got one of the engineers who escaped the blast to talk.
It's one of them who were supposed to have been killed. He's so scared
of Boggs he's still hiding out. But he's got the proof and those who are
helping him know it's true."

"Tibbets is right," said Adamson earnestly. "We know it's true. And
something like that can't stay hidden. It's got to be brought out if
we're going to make the colony survive. You can't just shut your eyes to
it and say, 'Good old Boggs would never do a thing like that.'"

Jorden's eyes were darker as he spoke in low tones now, hoping Roddy
would not be listening in the kitchen. "Suppose it is true. Why would
Boggs do such an insane thing?"

"Because he's an insane man," said Tibbets. "That's the obvious answer.
He wants to destroy the colony and limit its growth. He was satisfied to
come here and be elected governor and run the show. He saw it as means
of becoming a two-bit dictator over a group of subservient colonists. It
hasn't turned out that way. He found a large percentage of engineers and
scientists who would have none of his nonsense.

"He saw the group becoming something bigger than himself. He had to cut
it down to his own size. He's willing to destroy what he can't possess,
but he believes that by reducing us to primitive status he can keep us
in line. In either case the colony loses."

"If what you say is true--if it's actually true," Jorden said, his eyes
suddenly far away, "we've got to fight him--"

"Then we can count on you?"

"Yes--you can count on me."

       *       *       *       *       *

He stood in the doorway watching the departure of the three men, but he
was aware of Bonnie behind him. She rushed to him as he turned, and put
her face against his chest.

"Mark--you can't do it! Boggs will kill you. This is no concern of ours.
We don't belong to Maintown any more. It's their business up there. I'd
go crazy if anything happened to you. You've got to think of the rest of

"I am thinking," said Mark. He raised her chin so he could look into her
eyes. "I'm thinking that we are going to live here the rest of our
lives, and so are the children. If the story about Boggs is true, we're
all concerned. We wouldn't be down here if the power plant hadn't been
destroyed. We'd be living in our good home in Maintown. Would you expect
me to let Boggs get away with this without raising a hand to stop him?"

"Yes--I would," said Bonnie, "because there is nothing anyone can do.
You know he has Maintown in the palm of his hand. He's screened out
every ruffian and soured colonist in the whole group and they'll do
anything he says. You can't fight them all, Mark. I won't let you."

"It won't be me alone," said Jorden. "If it develops into a fight the
majority of the colony will be with us. Earth will be with us. Boggs
will be facing the results of the whole two billion year struggle it
took to make man what he now is."

       *       *       *       *       *

In the lounge off the lab cafeteria, Ashby indulged in a late coffee
knowing he wouldn't sleep anyway. Across the table Bonnie ate sparingly
of a belated supper.

"The threat of having to fight Boggs didn't give him much of a scare,"
said Ashby thoughtfully.

"It'll take a lot more than a bogey man like Boggs to scare Mark," said
Bonnie. "You've got yourself a bigger quantity of man than you bargained

"This might turn out to be more interesting than we thought. I wish
there were more time to spend on him. But Merton called up again today
to verify the ultimatum I told you about. We produce colonists by the
time Hull Four is complete or they turn the personnel problem over to
Winthrop--even after they saw Carnahan go to pieces before their eyes."

"Has it ever occurred to you," said Bonnie slowly, "that we might just
possibly be off on the wrong foot? How do you know that any of the
colonists of Earth's history could have stood up to the demands of
Serrengia? I'm beginning to suspect that the Mayflower's passenger list
would have folded quite completely under these conditions. They had it
comparatively easy. So did most other successful colonists."

"Yes--?" said Ashby.

"Maybe they succeeded in _spite_ of being rebels. If they could have
come to the new lands without the pressure of flight, but in complete
freedom of action, they might have made an even greater success."

"But why would they have come at all, then?"

"I don't know. There must be another motive capable of impelling them.
In great feats of exploration, creation--other human actions similar to

"There are _no_ other human actions similar to colonization," said
Ashby. "Surely you realize we're dealing with something unique here,

"I know--all I'm trying to say is there could be another valid motive. I
think Mark Jorden's got it. There's something different about this test,
and I think you ought to look in on it yourself."

"What's so different about him?"

"He doesn't act like the rest. He hasn't any apparent reason for being

Ashby looked at the girl closely. She was one of his top staff members
and had been with him from the beginning. The incredible strain of
working day after day in the test pits was showing its effects, he

"I shouldn't have let you get started on this one," he said. "You're
fagged out. Maybe it would be better to erase what we've done and start
over, so that you can drop out."

She shook her head with a quickness that surprised him. "I want to
finish it, and see how Mark turns out. I'm so used to working with the
bitter, anti-social ones that it's a relief to have someone who is
halfway normal and gregarious. I want to be around when we find out why
he's here."

"Especially if he should go all the way to the end. But he won't--"

       *       *       *       *       *

Ashby was genuinely concerned about Bonnie's condition when he looked in
on her the next morning. The strain on her face was real beyond any
matter of make-up or acting. He wondered just why she should be giving
in to it now. Bonnie was well trained, as were all the staff members who
worked in the test pits. The emotional conflicts mocked up there were
not allowed to penetrate very deeply into their personal experience, yet
it looked now as if Bonnie had somehow lost control of the armor to
protect against such invasion. She seemed to be living the circumstances
of the test program almost as intensely as Mark Jorden was doing.

Such a condition couldn't be permitted to continue, but he was baffled
by it. Her physical and emotional check prior to the test had not shown
her threshold to be this low. Evidently there was emotional dynamite
buried somewhere in the situation they had manufactured.

Through the observation lens of the test pit Ashby watched Jorden begin
a tour of the villages, making a quiet investigation of the situation,
which he had all but ignored until it was forced to his attention.
Jorden spent an hour with Adamson, listening carefully to the atomic
engineer's story, and then was led to the hiding place of the engineer
who claimed direct evidence that Boggs had instigated the explosion at
the power plant.

As Adamson left them, Ashby signaled him through the tiny button buried
in the skin behind his right ear. "This is Ashby," he said. "How does it
look? Do you think he's going to tackle Boggs?"

"No question of that." Adamson's words came back, although he made no
movement of his mouth or throat. "Jorden is one of these people with a
lot of inertia. It takes a big push to get him moving, but when he
really gets rolling there isn't much that can stop him, either. You're
really going to have to put the pressure on to find his cracking point."

"I'm afraid we're likely to find Bonnie's first. There's something about
this that's hitting her too hard. Do you know what it is?"

"No," said Adamson. "I thought I noticed it a little yesterday, too.
Maybe we ought to check her out."

"She insists on completing the program. And I'd like to go all the way
with Jorden. I'm becoming rather curious about him. Keep an eye on
Bonnie and let me know what you think at the end of the shift."

"I'll do that," said Adamson.

       *       *       *       *       *

Jorden followed his guide for more than a mile beyond the last village
on the bank of the river. There, in a willow hidden cave in the clay
bank, he found James, the atomic engineer who was reported to know of
Boggs' attack on the power plant.

"I told him you were coming," said Adamson, "but I'm going to leave. You
can make out better if you're alone with him. He's bitter, but he isn't
armed, and he'll go along with you if you don't push him too hard."

Jorden watched Adamson disappear along the bank in the direction from
which they had come. He had a feeling of utter ridiculousness. This
wasn't what they had come for! They had come to build an outpost of
human beings, to establish man's claim in this sector of the Universe.
And they were ending in a petty conflict worthy of the politics of
centuries before, back on Earth.

His face took on a harder set as he approached the mouth of the cave and
whistled the signal notes that Adamson had taught him. If the
establishment of the colony demanded this kind of fight then he was
willing to enter the battle. He had not dedicated the remainder of his
life to a goal only to abandon it to a petty tyrant like Boggs.

A bearded face peered cautiously through parted willows and James' voice
spoke. "You're Jorden? I suppose by now everybody in the villages knows
where I'm hiding out. I'm the world's prize fool for letting this parade
come past my place. Come in and I'll tell you what I know. If you help
get Boggs it will be worth anything it costs me."

Jorden followed the man through the screening willows to the mouth of
the cave. There the two of them squatted on rocks opposite each other.

"I remember you now," said James. "You set up the electric plant when we
were assembling the pile, didn't you? I thought we'd worked together."

Jorden nodded, hoping James would go on, remembering Adamson's caution
not to push him too hard, but the engineer seemed to have nothing more
to say. He rubbed a hand forcibly against his other arm and looked
beyond the mouth of the cave to the slow moving river.

"This business concerning Boggs' destruction of the plant--how did it
start?" said Jorden finally.

"How does anything of that kind start?" said James. "Boggs came to some
of us and remarked in casual conversation what a shame it would be if
the colony were to duplicate all over again the mistakes that Earth have
made during the past thousands of years. A few of us were sympathetic
with that thought--it would indeed be a shame. Some of the engineers
thought that this was the perfect chance to set up a truly scientific
society. They didn't agree that Boggs was the ideal leader, but he _was_
the leader and the obvious one to work through. They all became
convinced that a rapid industrialization and a highly technological
society built upon the old rusty foundations would be most difficult to
overcome in building a society on truly adequate sociological
principles. You can take it from there."

Yes, he could, Jorden thought. Anybody could take it from there. It was
the oldest lie that men of power and position had ever concocted. Why
had those particular colonists fallen for it?

"What about you?" he asked James. "Were you sucked in by Boggs'

The engineer nodded. "He took all of us. And all along he never intended
that more than a couple would get out alive--by double crossing the

"Why?" said Jorden.

"Why? I've thought a lot about that, living here in this mudhole. You
get to thinking about things like that when you realize there's no going
back, that Boggs would kill me on sight for what I could tell--and that
the other colonists would also, because of what I've done. Adamson says
I can trust him. He says I can trust you. But I don't trust anybody. I
know that someday soon I'm going to get a bullet in the head from one of
you. All I'm hoping is that some of you hate Boggs enough to get him

"Why did you come to Serrengia in the first place?"

"To get away. Why did anyone come? You don't give up everything you've
got in order to go to some strange world and spend the rest of your life
unless you've got a reason. Unless you hate what you've got so much
you're willing to try anything else. Unless you're so terribly afraid of
what could happen to you back there that you're willing to face any kind
of dangers out here. We all had our reasons. I'm not asking yours. It
makes no difference to you what mine were. But they're all alike. We
came because we were so afraid or full of hate we couldn't stay."

"How did you expect to build a new world out of hate and fear of the old

"Who worried about what we'd build here? All we wanted to do was get
away. You can't tell me _you_ came for any other reason!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Jorden made no answer. He continued to stare in wonder at the atomic
engineer. To what extent were James' words actually true? How completely
was the colony riddled with unpredictable, purposeless characters like

If they had fled Earth with a purpose to create something better than
they left, there was a chance. But if James was right that most of them
had come in blind flight with no goal at all then the Earth colony of
Serrengia would be dead long before the ships came again.

But Jorden did not believe this. He did not believe that any but a small
fraction of the colonists had any feeling toward Earth except that of
love. Most had come because they wanted to do this particular thing with
their lives. Nothing had driven or forced them to it.

"Tell me what Boggs did, and what he persuaded you to do," said Jorden.

In detail, James told him how Boggs had gained influence with the
technicians necessary to prepare the plant for destruction, how he had
persuaded them that a new, idealistic social order demanded their
obedience to this fantastic plan. Then, under the Governor's direction,
two of the men betrayed the rest. Only James, who was at a slight
distance from his normal operating post that night, had escaped with
non-fatal injuries.

"I know how you feel," said James. "You'd like to stick a knife into me
now. But until you succeed in disposing of Boggs, you need to be sure
I'm alive. When that's over you'll send someone around to take care of
the traitor, James. But you may be sure I won't be here. I'll get
through your guards!"

The man was half crazed, Jorden thought, from infection and fever in
half treated wounds, and probably from the effects of radiation itself.
"We aren't going to set up any guards," he said. "We're going to send
you medical care. Don't try to get away down the river. I'll have some
men who'll take you where you'll be safe and have care."

Jorden left, on the hope that James would not attempt further flight
until he was assured of Boggs' defeat. But the colony could not quickly
administer the kind of defeat James wanted. They had to be orderly, even
if it was a frontier community. There had to be a trial. There had to be
evidence, and James had to be called to give it.

He returned to the village and made arrangements with Adamson to get
medical care for James. Dr. Babbit, one of the four physicians with the
colony, was sufficiently out of sympathy with Boggs to be trusted.

Then, with his family, he accompanied Tibbets to Maintown. On the
bulletin board outside the Council Hall he hung an announcement of his
candidacy for the governorship, which Tibbets had prepared for him.
Tibbets made a little speech to the handful of people who gathered to
read what was on the bulletin, but Jorden declined to make any personal
statement just now. He had enough to say when it came time to accuse
Boggs of the crimes involved in destruction of the power plant.

But among those who squinted closely at Tibbets' fine, black printing
there came a look of mild awe. It had been generally assumed that Boggs
would go unopposed for re-election.

On the way back Tibbets' car passed the length of Maintown and took them
by the deserted house which Jorden had built in their first year on
Serrengia. Bonnie gave it a covetous look, contrasting its spaciousness
with the primitive cabin in which she now lived.

Tibbets caught her glance. "If it were not for Boggs you would still be
living there," he said.

Bonnie made no answer. Both she and Roddy stared ahead, as if unable to
bring their attention to bear upon the present, because of the fear
incited by everything about them. Jorden was also silent, but his eyes
wandered incessantly over the surrounding hills and distant farmlands.
He hadn't bargained for anything like this. He had expected to find
himself in a society of cooperative and uniformly energetic human
beings. He knew now, without any further persuasion, that this had been
a vision strictly from an ivory tower.

He should have anticipated that in a group like this there would be a
sprinkling of small time thugs and dictators and generally shiftless
individuals who could not make a go of it in the society they had left.
At home you could live and work with such without ever being more than
vaguely aware of their eccentricities. Here, their deviation from
required cooperation was enough to disrupt the whole community.

He could understand the terror in Bonnie and Roddy. They had come only
because of him, with no understanding of the colony's purpose. The
present turmoil underlined their conviction that it had been pure folly
to come. Somehow he'd have to show them. He'd have to make them
understand there was a reason for being on Serrengia. But at the moment
he did not know how to do it.

       *       *       *       *       *

The program called for a continuation well into the night with a long
scene at the cabin, but Ashby interrupted it as soon as they returned
from Maintown. He ordered a twenty four hour rest, because of Bonnie.
The extended period of sleep wouldn't harm Jorden.

Bonnie, however, was furious at the interruption as she came out of the
test pit.

"If you're going to let it go to the end, why don't you get on with it?"
she demanded. "The whole thing is so far off the track that you might as
well find out as soon as possible that you're not getting anywhere."

"I think we're beginning to find out a great deal. But I want you to
have a rest. The hours of this shift are much too long for you."

"You think you know what's going on inside Mark Jorden by watching the
dials and meters, but you don't, because it's not himself he's concerned
about. It's a goal outside and bigger than himself. The colony _means_
something to him. It never meant anything at all to any of the others."

"Then this is the kind of situation we've been looking for."

"But we haven't the techniques or insight to understand it. We can
analyze a man who's running away--but we're not prepared for one who's
running _toward_."

       *       *       *       *       *

The night after they returned from Maintown a terrific storm broke over
the plateau. It began at supper time and for an hour poured torrents of
water on the land. Jorden wanted to go down to the river to see if their
diversion dams were holding. If they went out it meant long days of hard
hand labor restoring them.

He gave in, however, to Bonnie's plea to stay in the house with them.
Roddy was frightened of the storm and looked physically ill when thunder
made the walls of the cabin shake. It wouldn't change the actual facts
of the damage to the dams whether Jorden examined them now or in the
morning. He tried to think up stories to tell the children, but it was
hard to make up some dealing only with Serrengia and ignoring Earth, as
he had to do for Roddy's sake.

After the rain finally stopped and Bonnie had put the children to bed
there came a knock at the door. Bonnie opened it. Governor Boggs and two
Council members moved into the room. Little pools of water drained to
the floor about their feet.

The Governor turned slowly and grinned at Bonnie and Mark Jorden as the
light from the lamp and the fireplace fell upon him. "Nasty night out,"
he said. "For a time I was afraid we weren't going to make it."

Boggs was a short, stout man and carried himself very erect. He seemed
to exaggerate his normal posture as he moved toward the chairs Bonnie
offered the men.

Jorden remained seated in his big wooden chair by the fireplace glancing
up with cold challenge in his face as his visitors settled on the
opposite side of the fire.

"I'm sorry we missed you when you were in town today," said Boggs. "It
was not until late this afternoon that I became aware of your visit."

He reached to an inner coat pocket and drew forth a paper which he
unfolded carefully. Jorden recognized it as the announcement he had
tacked on the bulletin board. Boggs passed it over.

"I felt sure you would wish to withdraw this, Jorden, after you had
given it a little fuller consideration. I'm sure that by now you have
had time to think over the matter a little more calmly and find a good
many reasons why you should withdraw your announcement."

"I haven't thought much about it," said Jorden, "but now that you call
it to my attention I am becoming aware of an increasing number of
reasons why I should not withdraw. I assure you I have no intention of
doing so."

Boggs smiled and folded up the paper and slipped it into the fire. "I
have not been such a bad administrator during my first term of office,
have I Jorden?"

"That is for the people to decide--on election day."

"But why should they want to change a perfectly capable administrator,"
said Boggs in an injured tone, "and put in a very capable engineer and
farm manager--who has no qualifications in administrative matters?"

"That too is a question to be answered on election day."

Boggs shifted in his chair, dropping the deliberately maintained smile
from his face. "There have been some stories circulating about the
colony recently," he said. "It is possible that you have heard them and
believe them."

"Possibly," said Jorden.

"I wouldn't. I wouldn't believe them if I were you. I wouldn't even
listen to them because it might lead to dangerous and erroneous
conclusions, which would cause you to convict in your mind an honest

"That would be my error then, wouldn't it?" said Jorden.

The Governor nodded. "A grave one as far as it concerns the welfare of
yourself and your family, Jorden."

Jorden's face hardened. "Threats of that kind aren't appropriate to your
position, Governor."

"Perhaps you are not aware of my exact position."

"I think I am! And I intend to do everything in my power to change it.
You are a small time chiseler who saw a good chance to set yourself up
for life in a cushy situation where five hundred other people would obey
your slightest whim. That's an old fashioned situation, Boggs, and you
can't set it up here even if you are willing to resort to sabotage and

Boggs eyes narrowed and he looked at Jorden for a long time. "I am
afraid, then," he said, "that there is nothing I can do except put a
stop to your repeating these lying stories about me."

The Governor's eyes never moved, but Jorden shifted in sudden, wild
indecision. Almost simultaneously there were two shots exploding in the
narrow cabin, and then a third. Jorden and Boggs leaped out of their


From the kitchen doorway came the steel-taut voice of Bonnie. "Don't
move any further, Mr. Boggs. Put your hands in the air. Get his gun,
Mark--in the pocket on this side."

For a moment Jorden hesitated, his eyes held by the sight of Boggs' two
gunmen on the floor, blood spreading in tiny rivulets. He took the
pistol from the Governor's pocket and held it in readiness.

"I ought to kill you now, Boggs," he said. "Fortunately, or
unfortunately, we have to set a precedent in such matters if the colony
is to survive. We have to go through the formality of a trial for
sabotaging the power plant and murdering those killed there. Actually,
it would be a good idea if you just took off over the hills and went as
far as you could before the jungle got you. It would save us all a great
deal of trouble."

Hope surged in Boggs' eyes as he recognized that Jorden was incapable of
shooting him down. Then bitterness mingled with that hope. "You won't
get away with this, Jorden. We'll see what the people have to say about
your wife shooting my men down while my back is turned."

"_Their_ backs weren't turned," said Jorden. "Get them out of here now.
If you want to save explanations as to why you came here tonight you
might find a convenient spot and bury them--before you take out over the
hills yourself."

Watching until they could no longer see the lights of Boggs' car, they
closed the door. Bonnie collapsed with a moan, cringing in Jorden's

"Now they'll kill us all," she said in a lifeless voice. "We haven't got
a chance. For this we followed your great dream of colonizing an outpost
of the Universe!"

       *       *       *       *       *

That night Roddy was sick. Six days later he was dead. Before they
decided to go through with this section of the program there were long
and heated conferences between Bonnie and Ashby and the staff working at
the test pit. Bonnie insisted the program should be dropped here. They
already knew that Jorden was what they were searching for. They had only
to analyze the factors that had brought him to the test and they would
have what they needed to identify as many colonists as the project
required. He didn't need to be broken down any further.

Ashby knew this was not true. Jorden's basic purpose as a colonist had
not yet been brought into sight. Ashby recognized that his goal was
almost certainly the perpetuation of the colony--and he was the first
one who had maintained such a goal this far--but they had to know the
drive that existed behind the goal. If it should develop a basis wholly
in flight it would still crack before completion of the program.

But Ashby continued to be hesitant on Bonnie's account. Roddy's illness
and death meant a continuous tour in the test pit for the full six days.
And this was cut from the scheduled eight it normally occupied. Why it
was impossible for Bonnie to reduce her own personal tension on the
project, Ashby didn't know, but she had become increasingly susceptible
as time went on.

Word of Jorden's persistence was spreading among the staff personnel of
other sections of the lab. A subdued excitement was stirring among them.
In most cases so far examined, the colonist had by now either knuckled
under to Boggs or engaged in a futile personal duel with him. If they
went further, they almost invariably collapsed under the pressure of
Bonnie's blame and began cursing Serrengia as well as the Earth from
which they fled.

Ashby ordered resumption of the program. It was an agony for him, too,
watching Bonnie during the long hours of Roddy's illness. It seemed
every bit as much a test of her strength and endurance as it was of Mark
Jorden's. With the televiewer Ashby brought an image of her face up
close, studying her from every angle during the long nights when she and
Mark Jorden exchanged vigil over Roddy. He scanned her face by the
firelight of the rough cabin.

After three days, Jorden was running close to exhaustion, but in spite
of the strain Bonnie seemed capable of remaining there forever. Her eyes
watched Jorden's face, taking in his every movement and expression.

And after three days of watching Bonnie's face in close-up, Ashby
suddenly murmured aloud to himself in disbelief and astonishment.

Dr. Miller, who was Tibbets in the program, came up to his side. "What
is it, Ashby? Has something gone wrong?"

Ashby shook his head slowly in wonder and pointed to the image in the
viewer. "Look at her," he said. "Can't you see what has happened to
Bonnie? We should have caught it long ago. No wonder this job is tearing
her apart--no wonder she doesn't want it to end the way it must--or end
at all, for that matter!"

"I still don't see what you are talking about," said Miller in
exasperation. "I don't see that anything has happened to her. She looks
like the same old Bonnie to me."

"Does she?" said Ashby. "Watch her when she looks at Jorden. Can't you
see she has fallen in love with him?"

       *       *       *       *       *

There was probably a whole class of people like Roddy, Jorden thought.
People incapable of surviving beyond the world on which they were born.
Since the day of his coming Roddy had fought an unceasing battle with
this hated, alien world of Serrengia. He awoke each morning to renew the
unequal contest before he was even out of bed--and knowing fully that he
was beaten before he started.

Jorden had tried every way he knew to instill into his son some of his
own love for this new world. It was a good world and the men who grew up
on it in the years to come would love it with all their hearts. But
Roddy could not give up his reaching back, his longing for Earth. He
shrank before the problem of their doubtful food supply. He caught
snatches of adult worries and nourished them with a dark agony that made
it appear to Jorden sometimes as if the boy were walking in a nightmare.

It had been cruel and brutal to bring him. But there was no use blaming
himself for that. If only Bonnie would stop blaming him! He couldn't
have known ahead of time that Roddy was one of those who could not
be--transplanted. Fervently, he prayed for the boy's life now and vowed
that when the ships came again he would be free to go home.

And always Bonnie's eyes were upon him. Sitting in the firelight of the
cabin, he could feel her staring at him, accusing him, hating him for
bringing them to Serrengia.

Once he looked up and caught her glance. "Don't hate me so much,
Bonnie!" he said. "You're driving Roddy down. I can feel it. Reach out
to him with your love and don't let him go."

But Roddy said later that same evening, "Maybe I'll go back to Earth
now, Daddy. Do you think that's where little boys go when they die?"

He wanted to return so badly that he was willing to die to achieve it,
Jorden thought. That's what Dr. Babbit said: "Roddy doesn't even want to
live, Jorden. As incredible as it seems, he's literally dying of
homesickness. I'm afraid there's not a thing I can do for him. I'm
sorry, but it's up to you. You and Bonnie are the only ones who can give
him a desire to remain, if anyone can."

Roddy's hate for Serrengia was greater than any desire they could induce
in him to live. With ease, he conquered all the miracle drugs Dr. Babbit
lavished from the colony's restricted store. He died on the sixth night
after Boggs' visit.

       *       *       *       *       *

The funeral was held in the little community church built when the
colonists first laid out Maintown. Mark and Bonnie Jorden were almost
oblivious to the words spoken over the body of Roddy by the Reverend
Wagner, who had come as the colonists' spiritual adviser.

Bonnie's hands were folded on her lap, and she kept her eyes down
throughout the service. She was aware of the agony within Mark Jorden.
It was a real agony, and its strength almost frightened her, for she had
never before seen such a response in any man who had gone through the
test this far. They were men concerned only with themselves, incapable
of the love that Jorden could feel for a son.

He reached out and took one of her hands in his own. She could feel the
emotion within him, the tightening and trembling of his big,
hard-muscled arm.

Ashby was watching. Over the private communication system that linked
them he murmured, "Cry, Bonnie! Make it real. Make him hate himself and
everything he's done since he decided to become a colonist--if you can!
This is where we've got to find out whether he can crack or not--and

"You can't break him," said Bonnie. "He's the strongest man I've ever
known. If you find his breaking point it will be when you destroy him
utterly. You've got to quit before you reach that point!"

"All that we've done will be useless if we quit now, Bonnie. Just a few
more hours and then it will all be over--"

As if his words had touched a hidden trigger, she did begin to cry with
a deep but almost inaudible sound and a heavy movement of her shoulders.
Mark Jorden put his arm about her as if to force away her grief.

"I _know_, Bonnie," said Ashby softly. "I can see in your face what's
happened to you. It's going to be all right. Everything doesn't end for
you when the test is over."

"Oh, shut up!" said Bonnie in a sudden rage that made her tears come
faster. "If I ever work on another of your damned experiments it will be
when I've lost my senses entirely! You don't know what this does to
people. I didn't know either--because I didn't care. But now I know--"

"You know that no harm results after we've erased and corrected all
inadequate reactions at the end of the test. You're letting your
feelings cover up your full awareness of what we're doing."

"Yes, and I suppose that when it's over I had better submit to a little
erasing myself. Then Bonnie can go back to work as a little iced steel
probe for some more of your guinea pigs!"


She made no answer to Ashby, but lay her head on Jorden's shoulder while
her sobbing subsided. How did it happen? she asked herself. It wasn't
anything she had wanted. It had just happened. It had happened that
first day when he came in from the field at the beginning of the
experiment with all of the planted background that made him think he was
meeting Bonnie for the thousandth time instead of the first.

She was supposed to be an actress and receive his husbandly kiss with
all the skilled mimicry that made her so valuable to the lab. But it
hadn't been like that. She had played sister, mother, daughter, wife--a
hundred roles to as many other tested applicants. For the first time she
saw one as a human being instead of a sociological specimen. That's the
way it was when she met Mark Jorden.

There was no answer to it, she thought bitterly as she rested her face
against his shoulder. Ashby was right--just a few more hours and it
would all be over. All Jorden's feeling for her as his wife was induced
by the postulates of the test, just as were his feelings for Roddy. His
subjective reactions were real enough, but they would vanish when their
stimulus was removed with the test postulates. He would look upon the
restored Roddy as just another little boy--and upon Bonnie, the Doctor
in Sociology, as just another misemployed female.

She raised her head and dried her eyes as she sensed that the service
was ending. Actually, Ashby was right, of course. They had to go on, and
the sooner it came to an end the better it would be for her. She _would_
submit to alteration of her own personal data after the test, she
thought. She would let them erase all feelings and sentiments she held
for Mark Jorden, and then she would be as good as new. After all, if a
sociologist couldn't handle his own reactions in a situation of this
kind he wasn't of much value in his profession!

       *       *       *       *       *

The sun was hot as they returned from the little burial ground near the
church. There were quite a number of other graves besides Roddy's, but
his was the loneliest, Jorden thought. He had never forgiven them for
robbing him of his home and the only world in which he could live.


He felt the growing coldness of Bonnie as they came up to their shabby
cabin that had once looked so brave to him. Serrengia had cost him
Bonnie, too. Even before Roddy. She had remained only because it was her

He took her hand as she put a foot on the doorstep. "Bonnie--"

She looked at him bitterly, her eyes searching his face as if to find
something of the quality that once drew her to him. "Don't try to say
it, Mark--there's nothing left to say."

He let her go, and the two children followed past him into the house. He
sat down on the step and looked out over the fields that edged the river
bank. His mind felt numbed by Roddy's passing. Bonnie's insistent blame
made him live it over and over again.

The light from the green of the fields was like a caress to his eyes. I
should hate it, he thought. I should hate the whole damned planet for
what it's taken from me. But that's not right--Serrengia hasn't taken
anything. It's only that Bonnie and I can't live in the same world, or
live the same kind of lives. Roddy was like her. But I didn't know then.
I didn't know how either of them were.

We have to go on. There's no going back. Maybe if I'd known, I would
have made it different for all of us. I can't now, and it would be crazy
to start hating Serrengia for the faults that are in us. Who could do
anything but love this fresh, wild planet of ours--?

He ought to go down and take a look at the field, he thought. He rose to
go in and tell Bonnie. The crops hadn't had water since Roddy took sick.

He found Bonnie in the bedroom with the drawers of their cabinets open
and their trunk in the middle of the floor, its lid thrown back. Clothes
lay strewn on the bed.

He felt a slow tightening of his scalp and of the skin along the back of
his neck. "Bonnie--"

She straightened and looked into his face with cold, distant eyes. "I'm
packing, Mark," she said. "I'm leaving. I'm going home. The girls are
going with me. You can stay until they dig your grave beside Roddy's,
but I'm going home."

Jorden's face went white. He strode forward and caught her by the arms.
"Bonnie--you know there's no way to go home. There won't be a ship for
six years. This is home, Bonnie. There's no other place to go."

For a moment the set expression of her face seemed to melt. She frowned
as if he had told her some mystery she could not fathom. Then her
countenance cleared and its blank determination returned. "I'm going
home," she repeated. "You can't stop me. I've done all a wife can be
expected to do. I've given my son as the price of your foolishness. You
can't ask for more."

He had to get out. He felt that if he remained another instant just then
something inside him would explode under the pressure of his grief. He
went to the front door and stood leaning against it while he looked over
the landscape that almost seemed to reach out for him in hate as it had
for Roddy. So you want her, too! he cried inside himself.

Alice came up and tugged at his hand as he stood there. "What's the
matter, Daddy? What's the matter with Mama?"

He bent down and kissed her on the forehead. "Nothing, honey. You go and
play for a moment while I help Mother."

"I want to help, too!"

"Please, Alice--"

He moved back to the bedroom. Bonnie was carefully examining each item
of apparel she packed in the big trunk. She didn't look up as he came

"Bonnie," he said in a low voice, "are you going to leave me?"

She put down the dress she was holding and looked up at him. "Yes I'm
leaving you," she said. "You've got what you wanted--all you've ever
wanted." She looked out towards the fields, shimmering in the heat of
the day.

"That's not true, Bonnie. You know it isn't. I've always loved you and
needed you, and it's grown greater every hour we've been together."

"Then you'll have to prove it! Give up this hell-world you want us to
call home, and give us back our Earth. If you love me, you can prove

"It's no test of love to make a man give up the goal that means his life
to him. You'd despise me forever if I let you do that to me. I'd rather
you went away from me now with the feeling you have at this time,
because I'd know I had your love--"

Bonnie remained still and unmoving in his arms, her face averted from
his. He put his hand to her chin and turned her face to him. "You do
love me, Bonnie? That hasn't changed, has it?"

She put her head against his chest and rocked from side to side as if in
some agony. "Oh, no--Mark! That will never change. Damn you, Ashby, damn

       *       *       *       *       *

In the control room Ashby and Miller groaned aloud to each other, and a
technician looked at them questioningly, his hand on a switch. Ashby
shook his head and stared at the scene before him.

Jorden shook Bonnie gently in his arms. "Ashby?" he said. "Who's Ashby?"

Bonnie looked up, the blank despair on her face again. "I don't
remember--" she said haltingly. "Someone I used to--know--"

"It makes no difference," Jorden said. "What matters is that you love me
and you're going to stay with me. Let's put these things away now,
darling. I know how you've felt the past week, but we've got to put it
behind us and look forward to the future. Roddy would want it that way."

"There's no future to look forward to," said Bonnie dully. "Nothing here
on Serrengia. There's no meaning to any of us being here. I'm going back
to Earth."

"It does have a meaning! If I could only make you see it. If you could
only understand why I had to come--"

"Then tell me if you know! You've never tried to tell me. You live as if
you know something so deep and secret you can live by it every hour of
your life and find meaning in it. But I can only guess at what it is
you've chosen for your god. If it's anything but some illusion, put it
into words and make me know it, too!"

"I've never tried," said Jorden hesitantly. "I've never tried to put it
into words. It's something I didn't know was in me until I heard of the
chance to colonize Serrengia. And then I knew I had to come.

"It's like a growing that you feel in every cell. It's a growing out and
away, and it's what you have to do. You're a sperm--an ovum--and if you
don't leave the parent body you die. You don't have to hate what you
leave behind as James and Boggs and so many of the others do. It gave
you life, and for that you're grateful. But you've got to have a life of
your own.

"It's what I was born to do, Bonnie. I didn't know it was there, but now
I've found it I can't kill it."

"You have to kill it--or me."

"You don't mean that. You're part of me. You've been a part of me so
long you feel what I feel. You're lying, Bonnie, when you say you're
going away. You don't want to go. You want to go on with me, but
something's holding you back. What is it, Bonnie? Tell me what it is
that holds you back!"

Her eyes went wide. For a moment she thought he was talking out of the
real situation, not the make-believe of the test. Then she recognized
the impossibility of this. Her eyes cast a pleading glance in the
direction of the observation tubes.

Ashby spoke fiercely: "Go on, Bonnie! Don't lose the tension. Push him.
We've got to know. He's almost there!"

She moved slowly to the dresser where she had laid Jorden's hunting
knife previously, as if with no particular intent. Now, out of sight of
Jorden, her hand touched it. She picked it up.

Ashby's voice came again. "Bonnie--move!"

She murmured, "Lost--"

And then she whirled about, knife in hand. She cried aloud. "I can't go
on any further! Can't you see this is enough? Stop it! Stop it--"

Jorden leaped for the knife.

In the observation room a technician touched a switch.

       *       *       *       *       *

Ashby felt the subdued elation of success reached after a long and
strenuous effort. Bonnie was seated across the desk from him, but he sat
at an angle so that he could see the four hulls out of the corner of his
eye. One and Two had made their test flights and the others would not be
far behind. The expedition would be a success, too. There was no longer
any doubt of that, because he knew now where to look for adequate

"I'm glad I didn't foul up your test completely, anyway," said Bonnie
slowly. "Even if what you say about Mark shouldn't turn out to be true."

Ashby moved his chair around to face her directly. She was rested, and
had gone through a mental re-orientation which had removed some of the
tension from her face.

"You didn't foul it up at all," he said. "We went far enough to learn
that he would have survived even your suicide, and would have continued
in his determination to carry the colony forward. Nothing but his own
death will stand in his way if he actually sets out on such a project.
Are you completely sure you want to be tied to such a single purposed
man as Mark Jorden is?"

"There's no doubt of that! But I just don't feel as if I can face him
now--with his knowing.... How can I ever be sure his feeling for me was
not merely induced by the test experience, and might change as time goes
on? You should have wiped it all out, and let us start over from
scratch. It would have been easier that way."

"There isn't time enough before the ships leave. But why should we have
erased it all? We took away the postulates of the test and left Bonnie
in his memory. His love for you didn't vanish when the test postulates
went. As long as he has a memory of you he will love you. So why make
him fall in love with you twice? No use wasting so much important time
at your age. Here he comes--"

Bonnie felt she couldn't possibly turn around as the door opened behind
her. She heard Mark's moment of hesitation, his slow steps on the
carpet. Ashby was smiling a little and nodding. Then she felt the hard
grip of Mark's hands on her shoulders. He drew her up and turned her to
face him. Her eyes were wet.

"Bonnie--" he said softly.

       *       *       *       *       *

Ashby turned to the window again. The gantry cranes were hoisting
machinery in Hull Three. Maybe he had been wrong about there not being
enough time between now and takeoff for Mark and Bonnie to discover each
other all over again. They worked pretty fast. But then, as he had
mentioned, why waste time at their age?

They were smiling, holding tight to each other as Ashby turned back from
the window.

"They tell me I passed," said Jorden. "I'm sorry about taking your best
Social Examiner away from you--but as you told me in the beginning this
colonization business is a family affair."

"Yes--that happens to be one of the few things I was right about." Ashby
motioned them to the chairs. "Through you we located our major error. It
was our identifying rebellion with colonization ability. Colonization is
not a matter of rebellion at all. The two factors merely happen to
accompany each other at times. But the essence of colonization is a
growth factor--of the kind you so very accurately described when Bonnie
pushed you into digging up some insight on the matter. It is so often
associated with rebellion because rebellion is or has been,
historically, necessary to the exercise of this growth factor.

"The American Colonists, for example, were rebels only incidentally. As
a group, they possessed a growth factor forcing them beyond the confines
of the culture in which they lived. It gave them the strength for
rebellion and successful colonization. And it is so easy to confuse
colonists of that type with mere cutthroats, thugs, and misfits. The
latter may or may not have a sufficiently high growth factor. In any
case, their primary drive is hate and fear, which are wholly inadequate
motives for successful colonization.

"The ideal colonist does not break with the parent body, nor does he
merely extend it. He creates a new nucleus capable of interchange with
the parent body, but not controlled by it. He wants to build beyond the
current society, and the latter is not strong enough to pull him back
into it. Colonization may take everything else of value in life and give
nothing but itself in return, but the colonists' desire for new life and
growth is great enough to make this sufficient. It is not a mere
transplant of an old life. It is conception and gestation and birth.

"Our present society allows almost unlimited exercise of the growth
factor in individuals, regardless of how powerful it may be. That is why
we have failed to colonize the planets. They offer no motive or
satisfaction sufficient to outweigh the satisfactions already available.
As a result we've had virtually no applicants coming to us because of
hampered growth. You are one of the very few who might come under our
present approach. And even a very slight change of occupational
conditions would have kept you from coming. You didn't want the
department leadership offered you, because it would limit the personally
creative functions you enjoyed. That one slim, hairbreadth factor
brought you in."

"But how do you expect now to get any substantial number of colonists?"
exclaimed Jorden.

"We'll put on a recruiting campaign. We'll go to the creative
groups--the engineers, the planners, the artists--we'll show that
opportunity for creative functioning and growth will be far greater in
the work of building colonial outposts than in any activity they now
enjoy. And we won't have to exaggerate, either. It's true.

"We'll be able to send out a colony of whom we can be certain. In the
past, colonies have invariably failed when they consisted only of
members fleeing from something, without possessing an adequate growth

"When this becomes thoroughly understood in my field, I shall probably
never live down my initial error of assuming that a colonist had to hate
or fear what he left behind in order to leave it forever. The exact
opposite is true. Successful colonization of the Universe by Earthmen
will occur only when there is a love and respect for the Homeland--and a
capacity for complete independence from it."

Ashby pressed his fingers together and looked at his visitors soberly.
"There is only one thing further," he said. "We've found out also that
Bonnie is not essentially a colonist--"

Bonnie's face went white. She pushed Jorden's arm away and leaned across
the desk. "You knew--! Then we can't--Why didn't you tell me this in the

"Please don't be hasty, Bonnie," said Ashby. "As I was about to say, we
have found, however, that another condition exists in which you can
become eligible and stable through a genuine love for a qualified
colonist, to the extent you are willing to follow him completely in his
ambitions and desires. This is strictly a feminine possibility--a woman
can become a sort of second order colonist, you might say.

"Of course, Jorden, you still have to make the basic decision as to
whether you want to go to Serrengia or not. We have found out merely
that you _can_."

"I think there's no doubt about my wanting to," said Jorden.

He turned Bonnie around in his arms again, and Ashby chuckled mildly. "I
have always said there is no piece of data you cannot find, provided you
can devise the proper experimental procedure for turning it up," he

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ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.