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The Berserker Wars



A File Which Presents the History of the Galaxy in Twenty Pages

Transmission Mode: Triplicate Message Torpedoes

Code: Trapdoor XIII

TX Date: 7645.11.0

From: Archivist Ingli, Expedition Co-ordinator

To: Chief Co-ordinator, Earth Archives

cc: Defense Co-ordination Central


Hal: We're here, surrounded by friendly Carmpan of whom we rarely see more than one or two at a time, and then usually only with some partial or symbolic physical barrier between us. Everything is going pretty much as expected, we have experienced nothing really contrary to the experience of a thousand years' occasional and arm's-length contact with the race. By the way, it's beginning to look, to me at least, less and less coincidental that our first meeting with the Carmpan coincided almost exactly with the beginning of the Berserker War. I'll have more to say on this point presently.

Let me first describe what I consider to be our main achievement so far on this mission. To begin with, the structure in which we are living and working is best described as a large, comfortable library, and we have been given free access to great masses of information in several kinds of storage systems. (I hope, by the way, that the exchange team of Carmpan researchers on Earth are being treated as well as we are here.) Much of this mass of stored data is, as we expected, still unintelligible to us and so far useless. But quite early in the game our hosts pointed out to us, for our special attention, an alcove containing what we've come to call the private archive of the Third Historian. Having looked at the files therein, my colleagues and I agree unanimously that they were very probably compiled and largely written by the same Carmpan individual who used that name (or title) as signature to the messages he composed and sent to our ancestors some generations ago, when the Berserker peril was even greater than it is today.

Since a copy of this report is going directly to the military, Hal, bear with me when I pause now and then to insert a paragraph or two of history. We can't reasonably expect that all the readers over there are going to know as much of it offhand as we do.

Up until now, almost all of the information that we have ever had directly from the Carmpan on any subject—Berserkers, the Builders, the Carmpan themselves, the Elder Races, almost everything—a very great proportion of this information, I say, has come to our Solarian worlds through long-distance communications signed by this one individual, for whom we still have no other name than Third Historian. He—or she, the Carmpan language does not readily distinguish sexes, and they usually appear to care not much more about sex than we do about blood types—was active centuries ago, and to my knowledge no new Third Historian message has been received on the Solarian world for centuries.

So we still know next to nothing about the Third Historian—or indeed about any Carmpan individual—as a person, and it appears to me unlikely that this present Expedition is going to find out much about him. We do of course ask questions, particularly since being shown the private archive that is marked in several places with his signature. Our questions are answered in the usual obscure ways, about which more below. Even the significance of the number in his name or title is still unknown to us. It does seem certain that more than three individuals must have occupied the post of Chief Historian—assuming there is such an official post among the Carmpan—during such a very long history as their race boasts. Or would boast if they were at all given to boasting.

When I asked directly, I was told that the Third Historian is still alive. This surprised me somewhat, though the life-span required, considerably less than a thousand standard years, would not be utterly out of the question even for one of our own comparatively perishable species. However, when I asked urgently to see him, or at least to be told where he is now, I was informed just as unequivocally that the Third Historian is now dead. One of the enclosures with this message is our own recording of this particular question-and-answer session.

Let me digress just a little more from the important contents of the TH's private files, to remark that in the short time we've been here we've had more face-to-face (if that's the right way to put it; you know what I mean) contact with the Carmpan than have any other group of Solarian humans in history. As you are well aware, we were very eager for this chance. On the long voyage out here we managed to convince ourselves that with goodwill on both sides (a requirement that I certainly feel has been met) we were going to do a lot better at communicating with the Carmpan than any other of our race has ever done. We were going to dig a lot of Galactic history out of them, complete with hard facts, dates, numbers, the kind of thing we like to call history. We would dig up information that must be available to them even if they consider it valueless, and bring it home with us. Not only that, we would at last meet a Carmpan or two who really wanted to learn about us through our own conscious attempts at communication; and, boy, were we ever going to communicate with them. 

Need I add, that so far it hasn't worked out quite that way? That so far our formal conference sessions are dominated, whatever we Solarians try to do, by the Carmpan spiritual (?) and sociological abstractions? (Military readers, see my monograph on Drifts and Tones in Carmpan Communications; someone at the Archives will be glad to furnish you with copies.) That's just the way in which our gracious hosts here insist on looking at the Universe. I find I must set down the cliche once again, and then I swear that I will ban it from all later messages: The Carmpan mind is very, very different from our own.

Of course the communications we have been directing to the Carmpan while in general conference form, to our way of thinking, a clear and concise outline of the history of our Solarian variant of the human race, from our origins on Earth through our later phases of expansion and development to the present, when we are the dominant life form on more than a thousand major planets in more than seven hundred systems, not to mention all the natural and artificial extrasystemic habitats, enjoying a blessed variety of political and economic organizations while managing to co-operate quite well, most of us, most of the time, in the thousand-year Berserker War.

I frankly don't know what our hosts think of this presentation we make about ourselves. There are moments when I believe they knew it all already, knew more than we have told them, down to the last detailed production statistic, through their own far-ranging mental activities. And, again, there are times when I believe they just don't care, don't know and aren't interested, are going through the motions of listening to us only out of politeness. They do express thanks when we pause after shoving information at them, as they express thanks for so much else that our race has done. But there is no substantive comment on what we tell them. There are no questions that sound eager.

That's how things stand now. We are here, and being very well treated, and we like our hosts. And they like us and are glad to have us here, even if it would be strictly inaccurate to say that they enjoy our company. And it is somehow implied that they have done, are doing, will do, something important for us. That's how things stand now, how they stood the moment we arrived. Actually we could just have sent them an electronic greeting card and accomplished just as much.

Except of course for one thing. Our presentation of our own history evidently had at least one good effect, that of showing our hosts what we think a history ought to be. It may have decided them to show us quickly the one file in the library that comes closest to our ideal. It was approximately one standard day after our own history presentation, which came about one standard day after our arrival, that we were led to the personal file of the Third Historian. I think I have mentioned that the alcove containing the Third Historian's file and carrel occupies only a very small portion of this library. It's quite a comfortable, self-sufficient artificial world, by the way, that seems to have been built with Solarian comfort and convenience in mind. The gravity, atmosphere, lighting, furnishings, color schemes, and so on, are very pleasant by our standards. Green plants are abundant. And the Carmpan information-handling systems, let me interject here, work better than ours do, once we know precisely what we want to ask of them. Details on request, when we get home. The idea so commonly held among Solarians that we are technologically superior to the Carmpan seems to me to be justifiable only on a very selective basis.

Back to my main subject. While the private writings of the Third Historian we have discovered here are more obscure and difficult to translate than we would like, certainly more so than his famous public transmissions to our ancestors centuries ago, yet they are vastly more accessible to Solarian understanding than any other Carmpan literary-historical work that I have ever encountered in a lifetime of study; I exclude of course documents on the level of mere maps and catalogues, which in their rare appearances have often had practical if limited application.

If we had come here completely unacquainted with the Third Historian, it would still have been obvious to us from his private archive that he was—or is—intensely interested in two things. The first of these, for whatever reason, is our own race. As in his earlier public messages, he repeatedly expresses Carmpan gratitude for our leadership, our victories, and our losses in the long and terrible war against what he so often calls "the unliving enemy." To me the impression is inescapable that much of the material in this private archive consists of drafts of messages intended for us but never sent; that these reiterations of thanks must be for our benefit.

The second great interest of the Third Historian, as evidenced in his old public messages as well as in the newly discovered material, is the Berserkers. Briefly, our most important find within his private archive is an electronic document (I am of course enclosing a recording of it herewith) that purports to be a digest, a capsule, or perhaps an outline, for nothing less than a history of the whole inhabited portion of the Galaxy for as far back as the Carmpan have been able to keep records—and their history, we should recall, has been shown to extend into the tens of millions of years at least. Everything we have learned here tends to support the accepted belief that the Carmpan mental probing can span more than half the Galactic diameter; and that this mind-probing is as accurate for the purposes to which the Carmpan put it as it appears to be useless for any of the military, commercial, or hard (in our terms) research functions to which we have always yearned to be able to apply it.

I had hoped when I began to compose this message to be able to include with it a full if tentative translation of the History Document (hereafter abbreviated HD) found in the Third Historian's private archive. Without the episodic appendix (see below) it could be printed out in twenty pages; it's really that short. But unfortunately the longer I study HD with an eye to making a translation, the more I realize how obscure it is—somewhat in the sense of poetry, I mean, and you, Hal, know what trying to translate poetry can be like. Layer upon layer of suggested meaning, that to me is at best barely perceptible, is packed beneath a surface narrative that in itself could be translated in a number of possible ways. Here we have Drifts grafted upon Tones, and vice versa. Information is packed not only in layer upon layer, but in the interference patterns, or in something analogous to such patterns, that are formed by the relationships between the layers, between each layer and all the other ones. I fear I am not making myself clear. In future messages I mean to go into much more detail about this hologram-like though non-physical system.

Here let me digress to mention one fact definitely confirmed by the surface narrative in HD. This is that the Builders were a warlike race for a long time before they created the Berserkers. There is convincing evidence that before the fateful experiment the Builders had fought at least four long, desperate interstellar wars, resulting in the complete extermination of at least four other races. These four early victim-races are unfortunately identified in HD only in the Tones-Drifts system of sociological-spiritual (religious?) notation. Whether any translation at all of this passage into a Solarian tongue is possible without assigning the races completely arbitrary names and identities (e.g., One, Two, Three, Four) is still in doubt, though I have spent two days working on that simple-seeming question with our own ship's computer.

Parenthetically: I am assured by our hosts that as much time as we might like is available to us on Carmpan computers which our hosts assure us have much more capacity than the shipboard one we brought along. The only problem lies in instructing their computers in what we want. I have no great hopes for being able to do this, as so far it seems all but impossible to explain our way of thinking to the Carmpan themselves. Whether their data processing machinery works on a system of Drifts and Tones I have not yet been able to ascertain, but I have assured myself that it certainly does not work like ours.

A second hard fact confirmed by HD about the Builders: They were a race designed to roughly the same physical pattern as Solarian humanity, though somewhat more slender and fine-boned, having originated probably on a lighter planet than Earth. There is a suggestion that the female tended to be fiercer in combat than the male, and it is certain that she was somewhat larger. There was in each individual one cyclopean eye, and paired external sexual organs (of the same sex) so that copulation must commonly have been carried on in duplicate, as it were. The Builders spoke through sound waves as we and the Carmpan do, but their creations the Berserkers were never furnished with the language code as far as can be determined, or indeed with any other means of distinguishing their creators from the other life forms of the Galaxy included in their general programming to hunt down and destroy all life. Of course there may have been some system meant to save the Builders from the general slaughter, a system that failed to operate properly and was never replicated in the later models of the Berserkers as they rebuilt and reproduced themselves. On the other hand, the original Berserkers may have been activated at such a distance from their creators' home worlds that the death machines were not thought by their builders to represent a danger to them. At any rate, we have found nothing here to contradict the accepted hypothesis, based on old evidence, that the Builders did at last fall victim to their own creations.

It is certain that the Builders no longer exist. The Third Historian speaks of them inevitably in the past tense, something he does in the case of no race that is now known to be still alive. The scraps of recordings that we have found here, showing the Builders' appearance and containing samples of their speech, do not differ substantially from other such old recordings that I have seen before, and for all I know all of these may be duplicated in Solarian archives somewhere. (None of us on the Expedition roster are specialists in Builders' History. An unfortunate oversight, perhaps, but if such a specialty exists it would be a very limited one indeed.)

Copies of all the fragmentary Builder recordings here will be sent with our next message. How the Carmpan obtained them is uncertain, since our hosts would not ordinarily have access to the battlefield wreckage of Berserkers from which our own material has been gleaned. Most of these fragments are excerpts, each lasting only a few seconds, of what if interpreted in Solarian terms would be considered political speeches, delivered amid mass chanting rallies of Builders male and female. There is one fragment like nothing that I personally have seen before, though some other members of the expedition assure me that they have: a scene of Builders performing what might be a dance, or alternatively the application of some kind of rhythmical torture apparatus to an unusually large female. (I need not belabor here the obvious point that all of these interpretations should be considered tentative.) The voices in the recordings, as in fragments of Builder records found elsewhere, are clicking and whining sounds, probably not reproducible by either Solarian or Carmpan vocal organs.

And there is one more fragment, very different from all the rest. In it, members of another race, heretofore unknown to us, appear briefly. Some expedition members have suggested that this may be our only record of the Builders' nameless but undoubtedly very formidable opponents in their final war, the people whose destruction could not be accomplished without such a desperate gamble as the creation of the Berserkers. Expedition members who favor this interpretation point out similarities between this Builder recording and certain Solarian propaganda art from the past. It shows beings rotund and red, thick-limbed almost to the point of having no limbs separate from the body at all; all this in high contrast to the Builder physique. This Red Race is named, if at all, only in a sort of marginal note (using the Drift-Tone system, of course) that was doubtless added by the Third Historian himself. Translation, as mentioned above, is still pending.

Nowhere in any document that we have so far inspected in this library are values given for the size of the domain of any race, in terms of numbers of worlds, strength of fleets, population figures, and so on; even precise physical locations are very rare. We know of course that the Carmpan are perfectly capable of interstellar navigation when it suits them, that they have built and designed ships whose autopilots work perfectly with any of the commonly used systems of interstellar co-ordinates.

Nor have we found any clue as to how many intelligent races, branches living or dead of Galactic humanity, the Carmpan know about. As I have already suggested, one of the most striking things about this library is the paucity of numbers, of quantitative measurements of any kind. A starfaring race who (with the well-known exception of their Prophets of Probability) prefers to do without mathematics, without even counting, must remain to our minds, to put it mildly, something of a paradox. And I am coming to think that there is that in the essence of what the Solarian mind finds paradoxical that demands repeated expression in the thoughts and minds of the Carmpan and their allies or cousins the Elder Races.

(Note to my military readers: The name 'Carmpan' itself, as many of our race today do not realize, derives not from any word by which they call themselves, but rather from the location where our species and theirs first encountered each other.)

We members of the expedition have of course discussed, or tried to discuss, these translational and other difficulties with our unfailingly polite and attentive hosts. As nearly as we can make out from their replies, they believe that the number of intelligent races existing in the Galaxy, for example, is something one simply should not try to know—or if known, it should not be expressed. Despite great efforts on both sides, I have trouble understanding why. To know and express that number would be either sin, or bad form, or maybe sloppy scientific thinking, on the grounds that there is no way one can be sure enough of its value. Maybe a little of all three.

But, I press on, a true, worthy answer does exist, does it not, if it can be discovered?

Yes, I am told. But the true answer involves—somehow—the Core region of the Galaxy, or perhaps something (someone?) located (dwelling?) at or very near the center of the Core. "All exact counting of races should be done there," is an exact translation of what one of our hosts said to me. I would be hard put to explain to you which one said it. We are still having a lot of trouble telling one Carmpan from another. But I asked him—or her—more questions, trying to pin down the identity of this thing or person properly in charge of numbering races at the Core. There was no satisfactory answer; only a single word, which I take to signify a complex structure of some kind.

Following this, our hosts made a joint statement, which I quote in translation as well as I am able. They wished, they said, to "express great sadness over the fate of those intelligent races, diverse branches of Galactic humanity despite all diversity of physical form, however many of them there may have been or may yet be, who have been exterminated by the Builders or the Berserkers or any other cause, those known to us and those who lie in the distant reaches of the Galaxy-beyond-measurement, still unknown to Carmpan and to brave Solarian alike. The loss of these races means that much (creative work, of some form) will have to be accomplished (by some unspecified agents) before the Galaxy can be judged complete and worthy."

That passage was so relatively easy for me to understand, that I believe someone among the Carmpan must have expended an extraordinary amount of time and effort on it in advance, and that it was then held ready until the proper moment for its utterance should arrive. Is it possible that the Third Historian himself is among those we meet and speak with every day? I seriously think it is possible, and at the same time I doubt that we shall ever know. He could inhabit any of those slow, squarish Carmpan bodies, so incongruously machinelike in appearance for beings whose own constructed machinery is so subtle, who try to avoid the grossly material in any form . . . actually, as I think I mentioned in passing above, we seldom get a really good look at any of the Carmpan here, though we are often physically close to each other and frequently converse. The rooms in which we most often meet are all niches and alcoves and low partitions, with enough screens of live greenery to make us feel that we are in a garden instead of riding a deep-space artifact at a high fraction of the speed of light. The interior lighting is perfect, as I think I have mentioned, for Solarian eyes, and we can view the Carmpan and even touch them on arrangement, to satisfy our curiosity. But at the same time privacy is rarely more than an arm's length away for anyone, and they frequently resort to it, retreating round a corner or behind a hanging vine. We of course do not intrude upon these temporary retreats. Personally I find myself also retreating sometimes in the midst of a conversation, gazing out through fresh green leaves of some kind—I am no botanist—or a fountain's spray, enjoying the whole arrangement more than I would have suspected.

I am rambling. Back to the History Document. What it presents of the Carmpan view of the physical universe contains no surprise. The Universe just above the galactic level (yet higher levels are implied but not described) is seen as organized in terms of clusters or groups of galaxies. None of us in the expedition are astronomers or cosmologists enough to know if the details of this organization as the Carmpan describe it differ substantially from those mapped out by our own scientists. Actually the Third Historian uses this physical description only as a background for a question in which he is genuinely interested: Are there Berserkers, of independent origin, in galaxies other than our own? And, if so, will the living races of those other megasystems be able to raise up some analog of Solarian humanity to successfully fight off the unliving foe? This passage, with its understated implication that we are universally rare stuff indeed, makes me feel, I confess, vaguely uncomfortable.

It was shortly after reading this disturbing passage for the first time that I approached our hosts to question them on a more personal level: The Third Historian, in some of his early direct communications to our people, has stated that he "sets down" the "secret thoughts" of Solarian men and women who were at all times parsecs away from him, as well as being in some instances removed by hundreds of years of time even when correction is made for all possible relativistic effects. When my hearers affirmed this, I asked whether any of the Carmpan now present were capable of reading our secret thoughts, and if so, were they? The answer was quick and emphatic denial, the most definite response I think I have ever had to any question here. "You and we are too close together," they informed me, "for anything like that."

In HD the Third Historian is also greatly intrigued by another question, related to the one discussed a paragraph above: May there ever have been, in the remote past of our own Galaxy (the context makes it plain he is talking about a billion years or more), other Berserkers, independent of those now existing? He adduces a statement which must be meant as evidence to support this idea, though I cannot understand it (again, see enclosed recording.) I am haunted by this suggestion, and it makes me wonder if some of the Elder Races still extant may possibly be of comparable age. It is to me an awesome thought that some races may have survived a Berserker peril more than once.

Another member of our expedition has very recently reported what we all consider to be a remarkable find (see her own report enclosed herewith). In a corner of the library far removed from the archive of the Third Historian she has discovered a record of what are described as "multi-species life constructs" that antedate even the Carmpan themselves by millions of standard years. I interpret "life-construct" to mean a living thing composed of other living things. If we are reading this correctly it is odd that HD does not mention such creations. But perhaps it does, perhaps life-constructs and much else are concealed in the Drifts and Tones amid the layers of meaning.

Here I begin to ask myself another question. It is not a new question among Solarian historians, but here it takes on a new sharpness. Did the Carmpan know the Builders, or know of them, before the Builders plunged into their final war and decided upon their Frankenstein's creation? Conventional history holds that they did not; had the Carmpan known of the Berserkers when that awful construction was first accomplished, the gentle, peaceful Carmpan could hardly have failed to send immediate warning to the races who were thereby placed in imminent peril. But really there is no evidence that the Carmpan did not send such warnings. To some they may have come too late; some may have been unable to profit by them, some may have disbelieved. It would be consistent with the Carmpan nature that such warnings might have been sent on a purely subliminal level of communication if such exists. I think it may. Could it have been at least in part a Carmpan influence that caused an increase in belligerence on many Solarian worlds simultaneously, provoking a military buildup in those decades just before the first Berserker radio-voices came drifting in to our detectors from the deep?

And there is the fact that the Carmpan and Solarian branches of humanity met for the first time very shortly before the first Berserker onslaught on one of our worlds was sustained. Even on the relatively short time-scale of Solarian history the two events, the two meetings, were virtually simultaneous. What are the odds that this was only chance? When one day I am able to meet a Carmpan Prophet of Probability I mean to ask him to calculate the odds.

I have not yet faced our hosts with this suggestion: That that famous first contact between our two races, long assumed by Solarians to be a natural result of our aggressive exploration, was really timed by the Carmpan for their own reasons; that they had known of us for a long time preceding; that we were picked, chosen, adopted, when the time was ripe, brought onto the Galactic stage to play a role just when our ferocity and our armaments were needed in the service of all Galactic life.

If this suggestion is true, still it is far from clear to me that the deception is something we ought to blame the Carmpan for. They did not create the Berserkers nor launch them in our direction. We would still have had to fight the Berserkers if we and the Carmpan had never met. Ought we to blame them for not warning us clearly and directly? We were, and are, the suspicious and mistrustful ones, who really needed no warnings to be on our guard. Probably we would not, on that first memorable day of violence between us and the unliving foe, have returned the Berserkers' fire a microsecond sooner, whatever the Carmpan might have whispered to us beforehand.

And yet I, like most Solarians, continue to feel that the Carmpan presence, their influence, has helped us all through the war. Through them we have learned not only of the Elders but of other races much more helpless. We would still have fought, of course, for our own survival, our own temples and our gods. But it was good, it was better, to know that we were fighting for others also, for the cause of all life in the Galaxy.

When the war began a thousand years ago—may our own lifetimes see a final victory—the belief was widespread among our Solarian people that the Carmpan, even dedicated to peace as they assuredly were, would be forced by events to take up arms. After all, to refuse to enter a war against Berserkers was to be guilty by inaction of the deaths of innocent victims—in this war, as in no other, to fight was not to kill. For our unliving foe, no sympathy or pity could be felt, any more than for the missiles that they launched against us. But for the Carmpan it was no longer a matter of choice. The skills needed for direct combat, the mental and emotional abilities much more importantly than the physical, had been lost to them long ago, when their will to fight was lost—or when that will was, perhaps, absorbed in something larger.

One point of view, put forward here by some expedition members, is that the Carmpan did fight the Berserkers, and very successfully. They fought so well that great numbers of them are still alive after a thousand years of the struggle, which when facing Berserkers must be considered a remarkable record. It was simply a matter of the Carmpan choosing and then using properly the most effective weapon available—which happened to be us. They made sure that we had grasped the magnitude of the danger posed by the Berserkers, and then they got the hell out of our way, while from time to time providing us with such indirect help as they were able.

Another viewpoint, expressed recently by some expedition members, is that the Carmpan have already helped us more than most of us realize. They not only knew their own limitations but probably understood ours better than we did ourselves. Of course they never tried to enter battle at our side, never built weapons for us or even shipped us components or raw materials. Yet their ambassadors to our worlds, all Prophets of Probability, on rare but vital occasions (the Stone Place being the most famous example) have predicted the outcome of battles, with great benefit to morale. And our military and economic historians have often remarked on how fortuitously some of our supply and communication links have been maintained during the war's darkest hours, how needed materiel has so often fallen into the grasp of our people at a crucial moment. It is impossible for me to demonstrate that the Carmpan could have been responsible for this, but I have a growing suspicion that they were.

From the earliest years of the war the Carmpan did sometimes provide medical and research assistance. And the limitations on the kind of aid they gave were somehow accepted by our own race, and we continued to believe in their good will. We saw that they were not cowardly. In the war's early days some of them came to live on some of our particularly endangered planets, for no apparent reason other than to share our perils. This practice ceased as sentiment among our people grew against it—the testimony of our people at the time is that they did not want the Carmpan to endanger themselves unnecessarily.

There is a fairly lengthy passage in HD on the Carmpan role as intermediaries between ourselves and the shadowy (to us) Elder Races, with whom we have so much more difficulty in communicating than even with the Carmpan themselves. Judging by the amount of space he gives this topic, the Third Historian must have considered it important. Still, he says very little about the Elder Races in themselves; perhaps there is some reason by discussion of these revered ones, like counting, should take place only at the Core. Or perhaps the Drifts and Tones within the document tell more about them than I, with my feeble understanding of the language, have been able to glimpse as yet.

A substantial part of what the document does say about the Elders relates them to the Berserker war—how, when some groups of the Elders could have withdrawn themselves from the Berserkers' path, they chose instead to remain where they were, and delay the enemy by being hunted and ultimately killed—a delay that was to prove vital to the survival of some Solarian and other worlds.

Near the end of HD an individual exploit is mentioned, almost the first to be related in the whole document—it is the strange voyage of the Solarian warship Johann Karlsen, exploring near the Galactic Core. The limited engagement that was fought against the Berserkers on that occasion is treated as of substantial importance, as somehow foreshadowing an ultimate victory for the cause of life. I think it probable that the Carmpan know, in some sense, more of that episode than we do.

Attached to HD in a kind of appendix are eleven or twelve (the demarcations are not always plain) episodic narrative reports concerning the experiences of different Solarian individuals in various phases of the great war.

HD concludes with a postscript in a warning tone: That no victory in this world, this Galaxy, this Universe, is final. And no history, either.

(signed) INGLI




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