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´╗┐Title: The Faces Outside
Author: McAllister, Bruce
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 Faces Outside" ***

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



                           THE FACES OUTSIDE

                          BY BRUCE McALLISTER

                    They were all that was left of
                  humanity--if they were still human!

           [Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from
               Worlds of If Science Fiction, July 1963.
         Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
         the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]


I wanted to call her Soft Breast, because she is soft when I hold her
to me. But the Voice told me to call her Diane. When I call her Diane,
I have a pleasant feeling, and she seems closer to me. She likes the
name "Diane". The Voice knew what was best, of course, as it always
does.

I must mate with her every day, when the water is brightest. The Voice
says so. It also says that I am in a "tank", and that the water is
brightest when the "sun" is over the "tank". I do not understand the
meaning of "sun", but the Voice says that "noon" is when the "Sun" is
over the "tank". I must mate with Diane every "noon".

I _do_ know what the "tank" is. It is a very large thing filled with
water, and having four "corners", one of which is the Cave where
Diane and I sleep when the water is black like the ink of the squid
and cold like dead fish. But we stay warm. There is the "floor" of
the "tank", the "floor" being where all the rock and seaweed is, with
all the crawling fish and crabs, where Diane and I walk and sleep.
There are four "sides". "Sides" are smooth and blue walls, and have
"view-ports"--round, transparent areas--on them. The Voice says that
the things in the "view-ports" are Faces. I have a face, as does Diane.
But the cracked, flat things with small lights circling about them
are not pretty like Diane's face. The Voice says that the Faces have
bodies, like myself, and Diane. No body could be like Diane's. I think
I should be quite sick if I saw the bodies of the Faces.

The Voice then says that the Faces are watching us, as we sometimes
watch the porpoises. It took a very long time to grow used to having
the Faces watch us, as Diane and I came together, but we learned to do
it as simply as we swim and sleep.

But Diane does not have babies. I am very sad when I see the porpoises
and whales with their young. Diane and I sleep together in the Cave;
Diane is very warm and soft. We sleep in happiness, but when we are
awake, we are lonely. I question the Voice about a baby for Diane, but
the Voice is always silent.

I grow to hate the Faces in the "view-ports". They are always watching,
watching. The Voice says that they are enemies, and bad. The Faces have
not tried to hurt me: but I must think of them as enemies because the
Voice says so. I ask bad, like the shark? The Voice says, no, worse
than the sharks and eels. It says that the Faces are evil.

The "tank" must be high, because the water is high. I have gone once
to the surface, and, although I could get used to it, the light was
too much for my eyes. It took me two hundred and seventy kicks to the
surface; it took me three thousand steps from our Cave to the opposite
"side". The "tank" is very large, otherwise the whales would not be
happy.

The fish are many, but the dangers are few. I have seen the sharks
kill. But the shark does not come near me if I see it and am afraid.
Sometimes I have caught it sneaking up behind me, but when I turn it
leaves quickly. I have questioned the Voice about why the sharks leave.
It does not know. It has no one to ask.

       *       *       *       *       *

Today the "sun" must be very large, or powerful, or bright, because the
water is brighter than most days.

When I awoke Diane was not beside me. The rock of the Cave is jagged,
so as I make my way from our bed of cool and slick seaweed, toward the
entrance, I scrape my leg on the fifth kick. Not much blood comes from
the cut. That is fortunate, because when there is blood the sharks come.

Diane has grabbed the tail of a porpoise, and both are playing. Diane
and I love the porpoises. Sometimes we can even hear their thoughts.
They are different from the other fish; they are more like us. But they
have babies and we do not.

Diane sees me and, wanting to play, swims behind a rock and looks back,
beckoning. I make a grab at her as I sneak around the rock. But she
darts upward, toward the surface, where her body is a shadow of beauty
against the lighter water above her. I follow her, but she ducks and I
sail past her. Diane pulls up her legs, knees under her chin, and puts
her arms around them. She then drops like a rock toward the "floor".

I have caught a porpoise by his top fin. He knows my wish, so he speeds
toward Diane, circles her and butts her soft thighs with his snout. She
laughs, but continues to stay in a ball, her black hair waving. She is
very beautiful.

I try to pry her arms from around her legs gently, but she resists. I
must use force. Diane does not mind when I do; because she knows I love
her.

I pull her arms away, and slip my arms under hers, kissing her on the
lips for a long time. Struggling to free herself, laughing again, she
pokes me sharply with her elbow and escapes my arms. I am surprised.
She quickly puts her arms around my neck, pulls herself to my back and
links her slim legs around my middle. She is pretending that I am a
porpoise. I laugh. She pinches me to go ahead. I swim upward, but her
thoughts tell me she wants to go to the Cave.

I understand. I carry her through the water very slowly, feeling the
warmth and nipples of her breasts pressed against my back as she rests
her head on my shoulder and smiles.

The Faces continue to stare. Many times I have searched for a word to
show my hatred for them. I shall find it somehow, though. Sooner or
later.

       *       *       *       *       *

"What count of planets had the Terrans infested?" The furry humanoid
leaned over the desk and stared, unblinking, at the lesser humanoid in
the only other chair in the room. His gaze was dropped as he scratched
informally at the heavy fur at his wrist. He raised his gaze again.

"Forty-three is the count, _beush_," replied the other.

"And the count of planets destroyed?"

"Forty-three planetoid missiles were sent and detonated simultaneously
without resistance or losses on our part, _beush_," the assistant
_beush_ answered indirectly.

The room was hot, so the _beush_ lazily passed his hand over a faintly
glowing panel.

The room was cooled, and a large-eyed female with silky, ochrous
fur--very desirable to the majority of humanoids--entered with two
flared glasses of an odorless, transparent liquid--very desirable
to the majority of humanoids. The lesser humanoid was being treated
exceptionately well.

The room was momentarily silent as the two sipped at their drinks with
black lips. The _beush_, as customary, spoke first. "Inform me of the
pre-espionage intelligence accomplishments contra-Energi. I have not
been previously informed. Do not spare the details."

"Of certainty, _beush_," began the assistant with all the grace of an
informer. "The Light and Force Research of the Energi is executed in
one center of one planet, the planet being Energa, as our intelligence
service has conveniently listed it. The Energi have negative necessity
for secrecy in their Light and Force Research, because, first, all
centers are crusted and protected by Force Domes. Second, it is near
impossibility that one could so self-disguise that he would negatively
be detectable." He hesitated.

"And these Energi," queried the _beush_, "are semi-telepathic or
empathic?"

"Affirmative," the assistant mumbled.

"Then you have there a third reason," offered the _beush_.

"Graces be given you, _beush_."

The _beush_ nodded in approval. "Continue, but negatively hesitate
frequently or it will be necessary to discuss this subject
post-present."

       *       *       *       *       *

His assistant trembled slightly. "Unequivocally affirmative. _Beush_,
your memory relates that five periods ante-present, when there
existed the Truce inter Energi. Terrans and ourselves, there was a
certain period during which gifts of the three nucleus-planets were
exchanged in friendship. The Terrans were self-contented to donate
to the Energi an immense 'aquarium'--an 'aquarium' consisting of a
partly transparent cell in which was placed a collection of Terran
life-forms that breathed their oxygen from the dense atmosphere of
Terran seas. But, as a warpspace message from the Terran Council
indirectly proclaimed, the degenerate Terrans negatively possessed
a ship of any Space type large or powerful enough to transport the
'aquarium' to Energa. Our ships being the largest of the Truce, we
were petitioned by the Terrans to transport it. These events developed
before the Terrans grew pestiferous to our cause. We obliged, but even
our vastest ship was slow, because the physical power necessary to
bring the weight of the cell through warpspace quickly was too great
for the solitary four generators. It was imperative that the trip be on
a longer trajectory arranged through norm-space. During the duration
of the trip, feelings of suspicion arose inter Three Truce Races.
As your memory also relates, the 'aquarium' was still in space when
we found it necessary to obliterate the total race of Terrans. The
message of the annihilation arrived in retard to the Energi, so Time
permitted us to devise a contra-Energi intelligence plan, a necessity
since it was realized that the Energi would be disturbed by our action
contra-Terrans and would, without doubt, take action contra-ourselves.

"Unknown to you, _beush_, or to the masses and highers, an
insignificant pleasure craft was extracted from Terran Space and
negatively consumed with a planet when the bombs were detonated. The
ship accommodated two Terrans. Proper Terrans by birth, negatively
by reference. One was male, other female. The two had been in
their culture socially and religiously united in a ceremony called
'matrimony'. Emotions of sex, protection and an emotion we have
negatively been able to analyze linked the two, and made them ideal for
our purpose."

The assistant looked at the _beush_, picked up his partially full glass
and, before he could sip it, was dashed to the floor beside the _beush_
himself. The former helped the higher to his unstable legs, and was
commented to by the same, "Assistant, proceed to the protecroom."

They entered the well-illuminated closet and immediately slipped
into the unwieldy metallic suits. Once again they took their seats,
the _beush_ reflecting and saying, "As your memory relates, that
explosion was a bomb-drop concussion from the Rebellers. We must now
wear anti-radiation protection. For that reason, and the danger of
the Energi, you _do_ see why we need the formulae of the Force Domes,
_immediately_."

There was menace in his voice. The assistant trembled violently. Using
the rare smile of that humanoid race, the _beush_ continued, "Do
negatively self-preoccupy. Resume your information, if contented."

"Contented," came the automatic reply, and the assistant began, "The
two humans were perfect for the Plan, I repeat. Before the Energi
received the message of the race destruction, it was imperative that we
establish an agent on Energa, near the Force Domes. We assumed that the
'aquarium' would be placed on Energa, in the greatest center. That was
correct, but negatively yet knowing for certainty, we perpetuated the
Plan, with the 'aquarium' as the basis.

"One of our most competent protoplasmic computers stabilized the final
steps of the Plan. We were to subject the two Terrans to radiation
and have as a result two Terrans who could breathe their normal oxygen
form H2O--the atmosphere of the 'aquarium', I repeat. We were then
to deprive them of memory, except of the inter-attracting emotions,
to allow them to live in harmony. Thirdly, we were to place them
in the 'aquarium' and have them forwarded under the reference of
semi-intelligent aqua-beings from Terran seas. A simple, but quite
effective plan, your opinion, _beush_?"

"Quite," was the reply. "And concerning the method of
info-interception?"

The assistant continued without hesitation, embarrassed by his
incompetency, "A hyper-complex spheroid with radio interceptors,
a-matter viewers and recorders and the general intelligence instruments
of micro-size was placed in the cranium of the male mutant. The
spheroid has negative direct control over the organism. Size was too
scarce for use on trivialities. Then an agent was placed behind the
larger controls at our end of the instruments."

"And you are the agent?"

"Hyper-contentedly affirmative."

       *       *       *       *       *

I have done two things today. I have found the word for my hatred of
the Faces. The Voice gave it to me. When I asked the Voice, it laughed
and told me the word to use was "damn". So today I have thrice said,
"Damn the Faces. Damn them."

Diane and I have decided that we _want_ a baby. Maybe the other fish
_wanted_ them, so they got them. We _want_ a baby.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The two Terrans were so biologically mutated and are so nearly
robotic, that it is physically impossible for reproduction on their
part, _beush_."

The _beush_ ignored the assistant's words and said, "I have received
copies of the thought-patterns and translations. There was something
strange and very powerful about the meaning of the male's thought,
'want'. I query."

"Be assured without preoccupation that there exists negative danger of
reproduction."

       *       *       *       *       *

The name I wanted to call Diane was not good, because her breasts are
hard and large, as is her stomach. I think she is sick.

       *       *       *       *       *

I do not think Diane is sick. I think she is going to have a baby.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Entities, assistant! On your oath-body you proclaimed that there is
negative danger of reproduction."

"Rest assured, peace, _beush_.

"But his thoughts!"

"Rest assured, _higher beush_."

       *       *       *       *       *

There is much blood in the water today. Diane is having a baby; sharks
have come. I have never seen so many sharks, and as big as they are I
have never seen. I am afraid, but still some sneak among us near Diane.

We love the porpoises, so they help us now. They are chasing the
sharks away, injuring and killing some.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Entities, Warpspaced Entities! There has been reproduction."

"_Yorbeush_," cried the assistant in defense. "It is physically
impossible. But they are mutants. It is negatively impossible that they
possess Mind Force to a degree."

"To what degree? What degree could produce reproduction when it is
physically impossible?" The _beush_ was sarcastic. "How far can they
go?"

"There is negatively great amount they can do. Negative danger, because
we have studied their instincts and emotions and found that they will
not leave the 'aquarium,' their 'home'. Unless someone tells them to,
but there is no one to do so."

       *       *       *       *       *

Today I damned the Faces nine times and finally _wanted_ them to go
away. The "view-ports" went black. It was like the sharks leaving when
I wanted them to. I still do not understand.

There has been much useless noise and senseless talk from the Voice
these days. It is annoying because I must concentrate on loving Diane
and caring for the baby. So I _wanted_ the Voice to leave it. It left.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Entities Be Simply Damned! The spheroid ceased to exist, assistant.
How far can they go, assistant?" The _beush_ rose, screamed
hysterically for three seconds and then fired the hand weapon point
blank at the neck of his assistant.

The sharks come today, because Diane is having another baby. Diane
hurts, and there is more blood than last time. Her face is not pretty
when she hurts, as it is pretty when she sleeps. So I _want_ her to
sleep. Her face is pretty now with the smile on her lips.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Fourteen thousand Energi ceased to exist, spheroid ceased to exist,
and another reproduction. Warpspace! How far will they go?"

       *       *       *       *       *

It has been hundreds of days. Faces keep appearing, but I continue to
_want_ them to go away. Diane has had eighteen babies. The oldest are
swimming around and playing with the porpoises. Diane and I spend most
of the time teaching the children by showing them things, and by giving
them our thoughts by touching them.

       *       *       *       *       *

Today I found that none of the children have Voices. I could _want_
them to have Voices, but the children's thoughts tell me that it is not
right to have a Voice.

The eldest boy says that we should leave the tank, that a greater
"tank" is around us, and that it is easier to move around in that
greater tank. He also says that we must guard ourselves against Faces
outside. That is strange, but the boy is a good boy. Many times he
knows that things will happen before they do. He is a good boy.

He is almost as tall as I am. The eldest girl is pretty like Diane,
her body very white and soft but, since I _wanted_ it so, her hair is
golden, instead of dark. The boy likes her very much, and I have seen
them together, touching.

Tomorrow I will explain to him that if he _wants_ something, he will
get it. So he must _want_ a baby.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Query? The Energi will bomb-drop the 'aquarium'? War declared against
us? War declared? Entities be wholly damned! Negative! Negativvv!" The
disintegrator was fired once more, this time into the orange eye of the
_beush_ himself, by himself, and for the good of himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

When, if I ever do _want_ the Voice to come back, it will be very
surprised to know that Diane has had twenty-four babies; that the three
eldest boys have mated twice, once and twice, and have had four babies.
The Voice will also be surprised to know that it took all twenty-nine
of us to _want_ all the Faces around the tank to die, as the eldest boy
said to do. We could not tell, but the boy said that six million Faces
were dead. That seems impossible to me, but the boy is always right.

Tomorrow we are leaving the tank. We will _want_ to leave it; it is
getting crowded. The boy says that beyond the greater tank, which we
will also leave, there is enough space for all the babies Diane could
have if she lived forever.

Forever, he said. It would be nice to live forever. I think I'll
_want_....





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