فصل 33

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فصل 33

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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHAPTER THIRTY THREE

Ambassador

During the last three months, David Bowman had become so used to living alone that it was hard to remember any other existence. He had passed beyond sadness and even doubt, and had accepted his new life.

But he had not passed beyond curiosity, and sometimes the thought of where he was going filled him with a feeling of great power. He was an ambassador for the whole human race, but his actions during the next few weeks might shape its whole future.

So he kept himself neat and tidy, and he never missed a shave.

Mission Control, he knew, was watching him closely for any signs of unusual behavior. He did not want to show them any.

However, some things did change. He could not stand silence. Except when he was sleeping, or talking to Earth, he kept the ship’s sound system turned up high.

At first, needing the company of the human voice, he listened to plays or poetry readings from Discovery’s enormous library. The problems they dealt with, though, seemed so far away, or so simple, that he soon lost patience with them.

So he switched to music. Sibelius, Tchaikovsky and Berlioz lasted a few weeks; Beethoven lasted longer. But one by one he left them as their emotional power became too much for him. In the end he found peace, as so many others had done, in the mathematical exactness of Bach.

And so the Discovery drove on towards Saturn, ringing with the cool music of the eighteenth century, the frozen thoughts of a brain that had been dust for twice a hundred years.


Although it was still sixteen million kilometers away, Saturn already appeared larger than the Moon as seen from Earth. It was a wonderful sight; through the telescope it was unbelievable.

The system of its rings, so enormous but as flat as thin paper, were like a work of art. They were not solid, but made of countless numbers of small pieces, perhaps the remains of a destroyed moon. Bowman spent hours looking at them, knowing that they would not last for long and had appeared as recently as three million years ago.

It was rather odd that they had been born at the same time as the human race.

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