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and moving van are similarly stopped before another roadblock.
Interior, a TV studio&
Danny is sitting at a desk, the hot lights on him. He is now wearing an Army shirt, open at the collar. A
Colt automatic rests on the desk before him. Adults are manning the cameras, mike boom, lights, control
booth; but armed boys stand behind each one.
"Good morning," Danny allows himself to smile pleasantly. "Don't bother trying to change channels. I'm
on every station in town. Your city has been taken over. It's now our city. My name is Danny Romano;
I'm your new Mayor. Also your Police Chief, Fire Chief, District Attorney, Judge, and whatever other
jobs I want to take on. The kids you've been calling punks, jaydees& the kids from the street gangs&
we've taken over your city. You'll do what we tell you from now on. If you cooperate, nobody's going to
hurt you. If you don't, you'll be shot. Life is going to be a lot simpler for all of us from now on. Do as
you're told and you'll be okay."
Interior, Brockhurst's office&
General uproar. Brockhurst is screaming into a telephone. A couple dozen people are shouting at each
other, waving their arms. Hansen is prostrate on the couch.
"No, I don't know anything more about it than you do!" Brockhurst's voice is near frenzy. His shirt is
open at the neck, tie ripped off, jacket rumpled, face sweaty. "How the hell do I know? The FBI& the
Army& somebody's got to dosomething !"
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His secretary fights her way through the crowd. "Mr. Brockhurst& on line three& it's thePresident !"
Every voice hushes. Brockhurst slams the phone down, takes his hand off it, looks at it for a long
moment. Then, shakily, he punches a button at the phone's base and lifts the receiver.
"Yessir. Yes, this is Brockhurst& No, sir, I have no idea of how this came about& it& it seems to be
genuine, sir. Yes, we've tried to communicate with them& Yessir, Romano is one of our, eh, graduates.
No, sir. No, I don't& but& I agree, we can't let them get away with it. The Army? Isn't there any other
way? I'm afraid he's got several million people bottled up in that city, and he'll use them as hostages. If
the Army attacks, he might start executing them wholesale."
Hansen props himself up on one elbow and speaks weakly, "Let me go to them. Let me talk to Danny.
Something's gone wrong& something& "
Brockhurst waves him silent with a furious gesture. "Yes, Mr. President, I agree. If they won't surrender
peacefully, then there's apparently no alternative. But if they fight the Army, a lot of innocent people are
going to be hurt& . Yes, I know you can't just& but& no other way, yes, I see. Very well, sir, you are
the Commander-in-Chief. Yessir. Of course, sir. Before the day is out. Yessir& "
Exterior, city streets&
Tanks rumbling down the streets. Kids firing from windows, throwing Molotov cocktails. One tank
bursts into flames. The one behind it fires its cannon pointblank into a building: the entire structure
explodes and collapses. Soldiers crouching in doorways, behind burned-out automobiles, firing at kids
running crouched-down a half-block away. Two boys go sprawling. A soldier kicks a door in and tosses
in a grenade. A few feet up the street, a teenage girl lies dead. A tank rolls past a children's playground,
while a dazed old man sits bloody-faced on the curbstone, watching. Flames and smoke and the constant
pock-pock-pock sound of automatic rifles, punctuated by explosions.
No picture, sound only&
The sounds of a phone being dialed, the , click of circuits, the buzz of a phone ringing, another click as it
is picked up.
"Yeah?"
"Hey, Spade, that you?"
"It's me."
"This is Midget."
"I know the voice, Midge."
"You see what Danny did?"
"I see what happened to him. How many dead, how many thousands? Or is it millions?"
"They ain't tellin'. Gotta be millions, though. Whole damned city's flattened. Army must've lost fifty
thousand men all by itself."
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"They killed Danny."
"They claim they killed him, but I ain't seen pictures of his body yet."
"It's a mess, all right."
"Yeah. Listen& they got Federal men lookin' for us now, you know?"
"I know. All Danny's 'classmates' are in for it."
"You gonna be okay?"
"They won't find me, don't worry. There's plenty of places to hide and plenty of people to hide me."
"Good. Now listen, this mess of Danny's oughtta teach us a lesson."
"Damned right."
"Yeah. We gotta work together now. When we make our move, it's gotta be in all the cities. Not just
one. Every big city in the god damn country."
"Gonna take a long time to do it."
"I know, but we can make it. And when we do, they can't send the Army against every big city all at
once."
"Specially if we take Washington and gettheir Prez."
"Right. Okay, gotta run now. Stay loose and keep in touch."
"Check. See you in Washington one of these days."
"You bet your sweet ass."
THE NEXT LOGICAL STEP
In case you skipped ihe introduction to this book, I will repeat that the Pentagon is developing very
sophisticated computer programs to help the Joint Chiefs of Staff to forecast what the world will be like
over the next few decades. There are many problems with such computer "world models."The Next
Logical Step,which was written more than twenty years ago, examines one such problem and its
solution .
"I don't really see where this problem has anything to do with me," the CIA man said. "And, frankly,
there are a lot of more important things I could be doing."
Ford, the physicist, glanced at General LeRoy. The general had that quizzical expression on his face, the
look that meant he was about to do something decisive.
"Would you like to see the problem firsthand?" the general asked, innocently.
The CIA man took a quick look at his wrist watch, "Okay, if it doesn't take too long. It's late enough
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already."
"It won't take very long, will it, Ford?" the general said, getting out of his chair.
"Not very long," Ford agreed. "Only a lifetime."
The CIA man grunted as they went to the doorway and left the general's office. Going down the dark,
deserted hallway, their footsteps echoed hollowly.
"I can't overemphasize the seriousness of the problem," General LeRoy said to the CIA man. "Eight [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]