Working for one government was bad enough, but now we've got all of them on our backs.
To gamble the lives of a crew of men on as senseless a mission as thisÍ is callous. It's stupid!
Stupid, or callous, it may seem to be at this time. It is not senseless. Man's very survival on Earth depends on the success of this or some future search for a new source of raw materials.
Before any of you accept, I should like to make it unmistakably clear that the dangers of this journey are above and beyond anything that the Space Corps or your own governments have any right to ask of you. I can give you confounded little reason for this attempt to reach Mars, and no assurance at all that it will even be successful. It's my personal conviction that no one but an idiot would volunteer, and I shall strongly suspect the sanity of anyone who does. All right, we've all got it straight. Who wants to go?
Is it permitted to disagree with the General, sir?
Of course, Sergeant.
In my humble opinion, sir, there is an excellent reason for this voyage.
Well, suppose you tell us about it.
Some years ago, my country chose to fight a terrible war. It was bad ˇ I do not defend it ˇ but there were reasons. Somehow, those reasons are never spoken of. To the Western world at that time, Japan was a fairybook nation ˇ little people living in a strange land of rice-paper houses, people who had almost no furniture, who sat on the floor and ate with chopsticks. The quaint houses of rice paper, sir ˇ they were made of paper because there was no other material available. And the winters in Japan are as cold as they are in Boston. And the chopsticksÍ there was no metal for forks and knives and spoons, but slivers of wood could suffice. So it was with the little people of Japan, little as I am now, because for countless generations we have not been able to produce the food to make us bigger. Japan's yesterday will be the world's tomorrow ˇ too many people and too little land. That is why I say, sir, there is urgent need for us to reach Mars: to provide the resources the human race will need, if they are to survive. That is also why I am most grateful to be found acceptable, sir. I volunteer.
Thank you, Sergeant Imoto. You're not a little man.
I don't remember you reading the Bible so often, sir.
It's the one book you never really get through reading. Man's every move, his every thought, his every action is in there somewhere, recorded or predicted. Every move exceptÍ this one. According to the Bible, Man was created on the Earth. Nothing is ever mentioned of his going to other planets. Not one blessed word.
Well, at the time the Bible was written, it wouldn't have made much sense, would it?
Does it now? The Biblical limitations of Man's wanderings are set down as being the four corners of the Earth. Not Mars, or Jupiter, or infinity. The question is, Barney, what are we? Explorers? Or invaders?
Invaders? Of what, sir?
The sacred domain of God. His heavens. To Man, God gave the Earth ˇ nothing else. This taking ofÍ of other planetsÍ it's almost like an act of blasphemy.
But why? They belong to no one else.
Huh. We don't know that.
But look, sir. It couldn't be just an accident that, at the very time when Man's resources on Earth are reaching an end, Man develops the ability to leave his own world and seek replenishment on other planets. The timing is what fascinates me. It's too perfect to be accidental.
Those other planets might already be tenanted.
Oh, I don't think so. The universe was put here for Man to conquer.
Getting bigger all the time, isn't it, sir?
Yes, Sergeant. The planet and the blasphemy.
Merritt speaking. Here's the report. Lost course for several days due to near-collision with asteroid, but we can still reach destination as plannedÍ which may be Mars, or Hell. This voyage is a cursed abomination! If it were possible I'd come back now, return the ship to Earth and blow it upÍ