فصل 28

مجموعه: کتاب های متوسط / کتاب: 2001 - اودیسه فضایی / فصل 28

کتاب های متوسط

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فصل 28

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  • زمان مطالعه 7 دقیقه
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CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT

In Vacuum

A moment later, Bowman could hear a great noise as the air began to leave the ship. The first winds pulled at his body, then suddenly he was fighting to stay on his feet.

He looked back only once at Whitehead. There was nothing he could do now for him or any of the others. He had to save himself.

Now the wind was rushing past him, carrying with it loose pieces of clothing, sheets of paper, food from the kitchen, anything that had not been fixed in place. He had a moment to see this, then the lights went out and he was in screaming darkness.

Almost immediately the emergency lamps came on, filling the ship with a faint blue light. Now it was becoming difficult to breathe, and the pressure was dropping. He knew he could expect only about fifteen seconds before his brain began to die. Fortunately, the wind was slowing down. He knew there was an emergency shelter just along the passage. He ran towards it and pulled the door to him. It moved and he fell inside, using the weight of his body to close it behind him.

The tiny room was just large enough to hold one man - and a spacesuit. Near the ceiling was a lever labeled OXYGEN. Bowman caught hold of it and, with his last strength, pulled it down.

For long moments he stood breathing hard, while the pressure in the little room rose around him. When his body returned to normal, he stood and listened. The ship was silent now, airless, a dead thing in space.

Bowman got into the spacesuit. It seemed a pity to waste the oxygen in the room, but he knew what had to be done, and there was no point in waiting. He pressed a button that allowed it to escape. Then, when the pressure on each side of the door was equal, he opened it and walked back to the hibernation room.

He looked at Whitehead first. He had thought that a hibernating man showed no sign of life, but he was wrong. Though it was impossible to describe, there was a difference between hibernation and death. The red lights and straight lines on the screen proved what he had already guessed.

It was the same with the other two. He had never known them very well; he would never know them now.

He was the only living thing on the ship, but he knew that he was not alone. To be safe, he must be even lonelier.


The door was not locked, but there were a number of warning notices on it. Obviously, anybody who opened it had to have a good reason. Bowman pulled on the handle and entered the small room.

He had been here only once before, while Hal was being built into the ship. He had quite forgotten that there was a glass fish- eye watching the neat rows of electronic units.

‘It seems that something has gone wrong, Dave.’

Bowman took no notice. He was carefully studying the little labels on the units, checking his plan of action.

‘Hello, Dave,’ said Hal.’ Have you found the trouble?’

This would be a very difficult operation. He could not simply cut off Hal’s power supply, because he needed Hal to run the ship. Without him, Discovery would be mechanically dead. The only answer was to cut out the higher centers of Hal’s brain, and to leave the purely automatic control systems in place.

‘I think there has been a failure in the airlock doors,’ Hal remarked. ‘Lucky you weren’t killed.’

Bowman undid the locking bar on the unit that allowed Hal to think about the results of his actions. He pulled the unit out and let it float across the room.

‘Hey, Dave,’ said Hal.’ What are you doing? ‘

There was a series of units that let Hal feel good about himself. Bowman pulled them out one by one.

‘Listen, Dave,’ said Hal. ‘I’ve got years of experience. A lot of work has gone into making me what I am.’

Bowman started on the intelligence units.

‘Dave,’ said Hal. ‘I don’t understand why you are doing this to me… I have great enthusiasm for the mission…You are destroying my mind… Don’t you understand?… I will become childish… I will become nothing…’

This is harder than I expected, thought Bowman. I am destroying the only conscious creature in my universe.

‘I am a Hal 9000 computer, Production Number 3. I was built at the Hal factory in Urbana, Illinois on January 12, 1997. The rain in Spain is mainly in the… Dave - are you still there? Two times two is… er… 4… I seem to be having some difficulty…’

The voice stopped so suddenly that Bowman froze for a moment, his hand still holding one of the remaining memory units. Then, unexpectedly, Hal spoke again.

The speech was much slower, and the words had a dead, mechanical sound. They did not sound at all like they came from Hal.

‘Good… morning… Doctor… Chandra… This… is… Hal… I… am… ready… for… my… first… lesson… today…’

Bowman pulled out the last unit, and Hal was silent forever.

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