IN MEMORIAM Isaac
(Petrovich, Russia: 1920 Ė New-York: April 1992)
interest of the Soviets in Morrison graduated from curiosity to desperation:
And how do you know that, Frank?
from contacts inside the Soviet Union.
it too long. Needs replacement.
donít know. Letís not retire a winner.
any case - said Rodano, unwilling to fight the point - there was a sudden
multiplication of interest in Morrison, on whom Iíd been keeping tabs for a
couple of years.
Shapirov, I suppose, had another brainstorm about Morrison and persuaded the
Russ -Soviets they needed him.
but the funny thing is that Shapirov seems to have dropped out of the news
of a favour?
sign of that.
be, Frank. If heís been feeding the Soviets a line of garbage about
miniaturization and theyíve caught on to it, I wouldnít want to be in his
shoes. These may be the good
new days, but the Soviets have never learned to have a sense of humour
about being made to look or feel foolish.
could be that heís gone underground because the miniaturization project is
hotting up.† And that could also explain
why the sudden desperation about Morrison.
does he know about miniaturization?
that heís sure itís impossible.
makes no sense, does it?
why we let him be taken. Ė Rodano said, carefully Ė Thereís always the hope it
will shake up the pieces and that they may then come together in a new way that
will begin to make sense.
Winthrop looked at his watch:
should be there by now. Malenkigrad. What a name! No news of any plane crash
last night anywhere in the world, so I guess heís there
and just the wrong person to send, too, except that it was him the Soviets
is he wrong? Is he shaky ideologically?
doubt that he has an ideology. Heís a zero. All last night Iíve been thinking
that itís all a mistake. He lacks guts and heís not very bright except in an academic
sense. I donít think he can possibly think on his feet, if he ever had to. Heís
not going to be smart enough to find out anything. I suspect heíll be in one
long panic from beginning to end and Iíve been thinking for hours now that
weíll never see him again. Theyíll imprison him Ö or kill him Ö and Iíve sent
just middle of the night blues, Frank. No matter how dumb he is heíll be able
to tell us whether he watched a demonstration of miniaturization, for instance,
or what it was they did to him. He doesnít have to be a shrewd observer. He
need only tell us what happened and we will do the necessary thinking.
Jon, we may never see him again.
Winthrop placed his hand on Rodanoís shoulder:
begin by assuming disaster. Iíll see that Ashby gets the word. If something can
be done, it will be done, and Iím sure the Russ-Soviets will hit a sane moment
and let him go if we put on enough quiet pressure when the time comes. Donít
make yourself sick over it. Itís a move in a complex game and if it doesnít
work, it doesnít work. There are a thousand other moves on the board.
* * *
Morrison felt haggard. He had slept through much of Monday, hoping it
would rid him of the worst of jet lag. He had eaten gratefully of the food that
had been brought in towards evening, had partaken even more gratefully of a
shower. Fresh clothing was given him that fitted rather indifferently Ė but
what of that? And he had spent Monday night alternately sleeping and reading Ö
and brooding. Ö
The more he thought of it, the more convinced he was
that Natalya Boranova was correct in her estimate that he was here only because
the United States were satisfied to have him here. Rodano had urged him to go,
had vaguely threatened him with further career troubles (how much deeper in
trouble could he possibly get?) if he did not go. Why, then, should they object
to his having been taken? They might object on principle or feel there was the
danger of setting an undesirable precedent, but apparently their own eagerness
to have him go had overruled that.
What, then, would be the point in demanding to be
taken to the nearest American consul, or in making wild threats of American
As a matter of fact, now that it looks quite sure that
the deed had been done with American connivance, it would be impossible for the
United States to take open action on his behalf or express any
indignation whatever. Questions would inevitably arise as to how the Soviets
had managed to spirit him off, and there would be no answer other than American
stupidity or American connivance. And the United States would not want to have the world come to either
Of course, he could see why this had been done. It was as Rodano had
explained. The American government wanted information and he was in an ideal
position to get it for them.
Ideal? In what way? The Soviets would not be fools
enough to let him get any information they didnít want him to have, and if they
thought that the information he managed to get (or couldnít avoid getting) was
too much, they would not let him go.
The more he thought of that, the more he felt that,
dead or alive, he would never see the United States again, and that the
American intelligence community would shrug its collective shoulders and write
it all off as an unavoidable miss Ė nothing gained but, then, nothing much
Morrison assessed himself:
Albert Jonas Morrison, PhD, Assistant Professor of
Neurophysics, originator of a theory of thought that remained unaccepted and all
but ignored; failed husband, failed father, failed scientist, and now failed
pawn. Nothing much lost.
In the depth of the night, in a hotel room in a town
he didnít even know the location of, in a nation that for over a century, had
seemed the natural enemy of his own, however much a spirit of a reluctant and
suspicious cooperation might rule in the last few decades, Morrison found
himself weeping out of self-pity and out of sheer childish helplessness Ė out
of a feeling of utter humiliation that no one should think him worth struggling
for, or even wasting regret over.
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