Methuselah's Children by Robert Anson Heinlein

Methuselah's Children by Robert Anson Heinlein

Author:Robert Anson Heinlein [Heinlein, Robert A.]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Science Fiction
Publisher: http://c3jemx2ube5v5zpg.onion
Published: 1958-07-11T16:00:00+00:00

Chapter 8

“FIRST THINGS FIRST,” interrupted Barstow. “I'm as fascinated by the amazing scientific aspects of our present situation as any of you, but we've got work to do. We've got to plan a pattern for daily living at once. So let's table mathematical physics and talk about organization.”

He was not speaking to the trustees but to his own personal lieutenants, the key people in helping him put over the complex maneuvers which had made their escape possible-Ralph Schultz, Eve Barstow, Mary Sperling, Justin Foote, Clive Johnson, about a dozen others.

Lazarus and Libby were there. Lazarus had left Slayton Ford to guard the control room, with orders to turn away all visitors and, above all, not to let anyone touch the controls. It was a make-work job, it being Lazarus' notion of temporary occupational therapy. He bad sensed in Ford a mental condition that he did not like. Ford seemed to have withdrawn into himself. He answered when spoken to, but that was all. It worried Lazarus.

“We need an executive,” Barstow went on, “someone who, for the time being will have very broad powers to give orders and have them carried out. He'll have to make decisions, organize us, assign duties and responsibilities, get the internal economy of the ship working. It's a big job and I would like to have our brethren hold an election and do it democratically. That'll have to wait; somebody has to give orders now. We're wasting food and the ship is-well, I wish you could have seen the ***'fre$ier*** I tried to use today.”

“Zaccur ...

“Yes, Eve?”

“It seems to me that the thing to do is to put it up to the trustees. We haven't any authority; we were just an emergency group for something that is finished now.”

“Ahrruniph-” It was Justin Foote, in tones as dry and formal as his face. “I differ somewhat from our sister. The trustees are not conversant with the full background; it would take time we can ill afford to put them into the picture, as it were, before they would be able to judge the matter. Furthermore, being one of the trustees myself, I am able to say without bias that the trustees, as an organized group, can have no jurisdiction because legally they no longer exist.”

Lazarus looked interested. “How do you figure that, Justin?”

“Thusly: the board of trustees were the custodians of a foundation which existed as a part of and in relation to a society. The trustees were never a government; their sole duties had to do with relations between the Families and the rest of that society. With the ending of relationship between the Families and terrestrial society, the board of trustees, ipso facto, ceases to exist. it is one with history. Now we in this ship are not yet a society, we are an anarchistic group. This present assemblage has as much-or as little-authority to initiate a society as has any part group.

Latarus cheered and clapped. “Justin,” he applauded, “that is the neatest piece of verbal juggling I've heard in a century.


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