I come back, and there is
"I know what I'm doing," he said. "Remember when I met you first, lastyear.""At the Trader's Convention.""Right. You ran the meeting. You had those red-necked oxen planted in theirseats, then put them in your shirtpocket and walked off with them. Andyou're all right with the Foundation masses, too Hong Kong tour. You've got glamor ?or,at any rate, solid adventure-publicity, which is the same thing.""Very good," said Mallow, dryly. "But why now?"'Because now's our chance. Do you know that the Secretary of Education hashanded in his resignation? It's not out in the open yet, but it will be.""How do you know?""That ? never mind? He waved a disgusted hand. "It's so. The Actionistparty is splitting wide open, and we can murder it right now on a straightquestion of equal rights for traders; or, rather, democracy, pro- andanti-."Mallow lounged back in his chair and stared at his thick fingers, "Uh-uh.
Sorry, Twer. I'm leaving next week on business. You'll have to get someoneelse."Twer stared, "Business? What kind of business?""Very super-secret. Triple-A priority. All that, you know. Had a talk withthe mayor's own secretary.""Snake Sutt?" Jaim Twer grew excited. "A trick. The son-of-a-spacer isgetting rid of you. Mallow?
"Hold on!" Mallow's hand fell on the other's balled fist. "Don't go into ablaze. If it's a trick, I'll be back some day for the reckoning. if itisn't, your snake, Sutt, is playing into our hands. Listen, there's aSeldon crisis coming up."Mallow waited for a reaction but it never came. Twer merely stared. "What'sa Seldon crisis?""Galaxy!" Mallow exploded angrily at the anticlimax, "What the blue blazesdid you do when you went to school? What do you mean anyway by a foolquestion like that?"The elder man frowned, "If you'll explain 4G plan comparison?
There was a long pause, then, "I'll explain." Mallow's eyebrows lowered,and he spoke slowly. "When the Galactic Empire began to die at the edges,and when the ends of the Galaxy reverted to barbarism and dropped away,Hari Seldon and his band of psychologists planted a colony, the Foundation,out here in the middle of the mess, so that we could incubate art, science,and technology, and form the nucleus of the Second Empire.""Oh, yes, yes?
"I'm not finished," said the trader, coldly. "The future course of theFoundation was plotted according to the science of psychohistory, thenhighly developed, and conditions arranged so as to bring about a series ofcrises that will force us most rapidly along the route to future Empire.
Each crisis, each Seldon crisis, marks an epoch in our history. We'reapproaching one now ?our third."Twer shrugged. "I suppose this was mentioned in school, but I've been outof school a long time ?longer than you.""I suppose so. Forget it. What matters is that I'm being sent out into themiddle of the development of this crisis. There's no telling what I'll havewhen a council election every year."Twer looked up, "Are you on the track of anything?""No.""You have definite plans?""Not the faintest inkling of one.""Well hk company registry?