Isaac Asimov in 1965
1920 New-York, April 1992)
Grotto Part 4
Kaliinin hurried out.
Deznev looked after her with a grin:
Im glad she doesnt seem to like
Americans. It cuts out a hundred million potential competitors at least. Now if
she also didnt like Russians and would come to realize that I am as Karelo-Finnish as she is ...
You Karelo-Finnish? said Boranova, forced into a smile
Who would believe that, you madman?
- She would , if she were in
the proper mood.
- This would require an impossible mood. Boranova turned
to Morrison Please do not take Sophias behaviour personally, Dr Morrison.
Many of our citizens pass through an ultra-patriotic phase, and feel it to be
very Soviet to dislike Americans. It is more pose than reality. Im sure, once
we begin to work together as a team, that Sophia will
let down her barriers.
I understand completely. Things are similar in my
country. As a matter of fact, at the moment, Im not very fond of Soviets, and
understandably, I think. But, and he smiled I could make an exception for
Dr Kaliinin very easily.
Boranova shook her head:
American like you, or Russian like Arkady: there is a peculiar masculine way of thought that transcends national boundaries
and cultural differences.
Morrison was unmoved:
Not that I will be working with her, or with anyone.
I have grown tired of telling you, Dr Boranova, that
I dont accept the existence of miniaturization, and that I cannot and will not
be of assistance to you in any way.
You know, one could almost believe Albert. He speaks
Observe, Dr Morrison. This is Katinka.
She tapped a cage which Morrison, startled, now
observed for the first time. Dr Kaliinin had rather
absorbed his attention till now and even after she had left, he had been idly
keeping his eye on the door through which she had gone, waiting for her
He focused on the cage of wire mesh. Katinka was, apparently, a white rabbit of moderate size,
looking placidly, who was munching away at greenery
with the rapt concentration of her kind.
Morrison was aware of the slight scrabbling noise she
made and of the rabbit odour, which he must have noted, unconsciously, earlier,
Yes, I see her. A rabbit.
Not just a rabbit, doctor. She is a most unusual
creature: unique. She has made history to a far greater extent than has the
catalogue of war and disaster that usually is thought of by that name. If we
exclude such purely incidental creatures as worms, fleas and submicroscopic
parasites, Katinka is the first living creature that
has been miniaturized. In fact, she has been miniaturized on three separate
occasions, and would have been miniaturized dozens of times more if we had been
able to afford it. She has contributed enormously to our knowledge of the
miniaturization of life-forms and, as you can see, her experiences have in no
way adversely affected her.
I do not wish to be insulting, but your bare
statement that the rabbit has been miniaturized three times is not really
evidence that this has indeed happened. I do not mean to cast doubt upon your
in a case like this, I think you understand that nothing less than witnessing
the fact is sufficiently convincing.
Certainly, and it is for that reason that at
considerable expense Katinka will now be
miniaturized a fourth time.
From Fantastic Voyage
To be followed