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.Everything was written in such vague terms thatthere was no guessing what Phaethon's "work" had been that this was supposedto criticize.On the other hand, the astronomer couldhave been mistaken, and nothing about Phaethon had been included here at all.In any case, Phaethon could see no point in the death of the burning trees.Itmerely struck him as ugly and pessimistic.If what he had done had been theopposite of this, perhaps he had not been such a bad fellow after all.He stepped back into Surface Dreaming, to find an image of fat Poloniusstanding next to him."I don't see anything here worth seeing," said Phaethon."And I certainlydon't see what they didn't want me to see.Whoever 'they' are.""Define 'they,' " asked Rhadamanthus, quirking an eyebrow."I never would have 'volunteered' for memory redactions unless some pressurewere brought to bear by someone.That someone is 'they.' ""So you no longer think you committed a crime?""Why do you pretend you don't know? You know exactly what happened.So why askrhetorical questions?""Why ask rhetorical questions indeed? But the part of me who talks to you doesnot know, young sir, nor will I be allowed to know, the substance of theforgotten material, till you know yourself.The other part of me, that partwhich does know, is not allowed, by any sign or signal, not by a hint, orexpression, or even a pregnant pause of silence, to communicate the forbiddenknowledge.My orders are clear." He shrugged."In the meantime, of course,this version of me can remain on good terms with you, and make such commentsas any reasonably intelligent superintelligence could make, eh?""So you're dropping a hint.If there is a signal or a trigger which will tellyou if I recover the forbidden memories, there may be triggers to signal otherpeople too, eh? The question is, when are those triggers activated? When Ithink about going back for my stolen memories? When I talk about it? Let's seewhat jumps if I get close.""How close, young sir?""Let me see the memories.I want to get close enough to smell them.""Phrase that as an order, and I have no proper choice but to obey.""Open memory archives, please.""Come, then, young master, if you are so bold.Step deeper into the mentality.Beyond the Middle Dreaming, even Silver-Gray thoughtspace does not necessarilyreflect the analogous real surroundings with perfect accuracy.I can make ashort way back to your mansion."Phaethon wandered across the lawn and away from the performance.Not far awaywas a pleasure ground where guests were arriving or activating.A group ofStratospherians had folded their flying prosthetics like umbrellas, and hungthem from the branches of a Nexus oak.Gathered at the roots of the oak wereseveral staging pools.Phaethon stepped and sank into the liquid.Swarms of tiny machines, smallerthan pinpoints, gathered around him, drew carbon out of the water, andsolidified it into a protective diamond shell.He seemed to himself to rise again.When he rose, he was in pure dreamscape,his mannequin left behind] among other sleeping forms, all diamond-shelled atthe bottom of the pool.Rhadamanthus bore an expression of unearthly serenity; he gestured withmajestic slowness to the East.Among the clouds beyond the edge of themountain, Phaethon now saw hints of towers and windows rising above the trees.It was strange, but it was not quite a violation of visual continuity.Phaethon walked.He passed through a stand of trees and found the mansion wasmuch closer than it had first appeared.Page 40 ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.htmlAt the end of the path was a portico.Columns of gray, dappled marble held upa porch roof shingled with silver plaques; the Rhadamanthine emblem was carvedinto the entablature.With the sound of a gong, the tall main doors opened.THE CHAMBER OF MEMORIESPhaethon stood, or seemed to stand, in his Chamber of Memory, a casket ofrecollection hesitating in his hand.A legend ran in letters of gold acrossthe casket lid:"Sorrow, great sorrow, and deeds of renown without peer, within me sleep; fortruth is here.Truth destroys the worst in man; pleasure destroys the best.Ifyou love truth more than happiness, then open; otherwise, let rest."His curiosity grew.Phaethon turned the key, but he did not open the lid.Fire flashed on the casket lid.Letters as red as blood appeared:"WARNING! The following contains mnemonic templates that may affect yourpresent personality, persona, or consciousness.Are you sure you wish toproceed? (Remove key to cancel.)"Phaethon stood for long time without moving, staring out the windows.Outside, the architecture and every appearance was authentically VictorianEnglish, dating from the era of the Second Mental Structure, or early periodThird.The windows were peaked arches, set with diamond-shaped panes.Framed in thewestern window rose the mountains of Wales, cherry red and ethereal againstthe purple dusk, crowned with the light of the setting sun.Phaethon couldsee, from the windows opposite, a pale full moon rising, dim asa ghost in the twilight, floating in the deep evening blue.In the dreamspace of the Rhadamanthus Mansion, the sun always set in the West,and there was only one.The moon showed no city lights nor garden glass; but,proper to this period, was still a gray, dead world.Outside the windows,every detail of perspective, proportion, and consistency was correct.Eachtree leaf and blade of grass cast its shadow at the proper angle, and the playof light and shadow was just as it should have been.The computer modeldetermining the look and texture and color went down to the molecular level ofdetail.If he had gone down to the garden and plucked a single leaf from therosebushes there, that leaf would still be gone at his next visit; if it blewaway on the wind, the computer would simulate its path; if it rotted into themold, the extra weight and consistency of the soil would be measured andaccounted for.This was the realistic accuracy for which the mansions of theSilver-Gray School were famous.The memory chamber was in deep dreamspace.It was as real, and as unreal, aseverything else in Rhadamanthus Mansion.To be sure, somewhere, in reality, there must have been a real housing for themansion's self-aware sophotechnology; a power supply, cables, neural conduits,computer laminae, in-formata, decision-action boxes, thought nodes, and so on.Somewhere was the real, physical interface machinery that fed carefullycontrolled patterns of electrons into circuitry actually woven into Phaethon'sreal auditory and visual nerves, his hypothalamus, thalamus, and cortex.And somewhere, presumably, in the real world, was his real body.His real self.But what was his real self?Phaethon spoke aloud: "Rhadamanthus, tell me.""Sir?""Was I a better man.back before?"The Polonius-shape here was replaced by a Victorian-era butler in astiff-collared black coat showing a double row of well-polished silverbuttons.The butler was red-faced,slightly portly.His chin was clean-shaven, but the handlebar mustache led toenormous muttonchop sideburns, whiskers reaching right and left halfway to hisshoulders.The butler image stood in the doorframe, a white-painted narrow stair curvingaway behind him, but he did not, or could not, enter the room.Page 41 ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.htmlRhadamanthus spoke in a kindly voice, roughened by a slight Irish brogue."Inmany ways, aye, that you were, young master.""And was I happier.then?.""Indeed you were not [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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