Original release date: September 24, 2021
The prodigy Gaal Dornick travels from her academically-repressive homeworld of Synnax to Trantor, capital of the Galactic Empire, to study under the famed Hari Seldon, the creator of the predictive mathematical subfield of psychohistory, as a reward for solving a centuries-old conjecture. They are both arrested on charges of treason; Seldon because his model predicts the imminent collapse of the Empire due in part to the stagnation caused by generations of rule by clones of Emperor Cleon I, and Dornick because the Empire wants her to discredit psychohistory. Dornick instead confirms Seldon’s model during his trial and condemns them both, but they are spared by Emperor Cleon XII/Brother Day after the Starbridge, Trantor’s space elevator, is destroyed by apparent terrorists from the feuding Periphery kingdoms of Anacreon and Thespis. Brother Day exiles Seldon and Dornick to the Periphery world of Terminus, where they are to build the “Foundation”, a repository of human knowledge that Seldon claims will shorten the dark age that will follow the Empire’s demise.
* * *
[woman narrating] When I was a child, I told my mother I wanted to learn every planet in the Galactic Empire… beginning in the center and moving out to Star’s End.
Each night, she told me stories.
I traveled light-years… my mind expanding to hold more and more worlds.
But I never reached Terminus.
Straddling the farthest reaches of civilization, unsettled by man… it was the end.
And its story remained dark to me until many years later.
Until it became my story.
Until it became… the only story.
Don’t do that.
Where are the others?
Uh, we’re meeting them at the fence.
We’re a bit late.
[boy] Come on, guys.
[boy 2] Gia!
[boy 1] It’s so rocky.
[creature bellows, distant]
A bishop’s claw.
We need to be real quiet.
The null field starts all the way up there. Near that rock.
[narrator] They called it “the Vault.”
All the colonists knew for certain was that it projected a field designed to keep people away.
No one could breach it.
Right, you gonna go first?
I thought you were first?
You go first and put your marker past the rock, I’ll let you touch my tit.
For one minute.
Or you can look at ’em both for 30.
Swear on your moon.
You get nothing if you win.
Get to watch him piss his pants.
[girl] He isn’t gonna make it.
Come on, Keir.
[droning continues, intensifies]
[girl] Are you okay?
Your brother is an assclaw.
[girl] Gia, stop laughing at him.
[Gia] He’s pathetic.
[Keir] I was almost there. I was close.
[girl] Poly, where you going?
[girl] Poly, come back!
[Gia] We don’t have a deal.
I wanna see the ghost.
He’s not moving.
We gotta get help.
What you standing there for then?
They’re all gone. Eat.
I saw the ghost.
You saw me.
You should’ve turned back, like your boy Keir.
People who’ve tried to get closer have been hurt. Really.
You got the record and you’re okay.
Your mark is so far, no one’s ever seen it.
That’s because it doesn’t exist. And neither does the ghost.
When do you think it’s going to tell us what it is, Warden?
Call me Salvor.
And you assume it cares anything about us?
It’s not just people it keeps away. It’s everything. It’s birds, insects.
No one’s ever gotten through the null field, and no one ever will.
It’s warning us to stay away. So stop tempting fate.
Go. Be careful.
There’s a bishop’s claw…
Up-valley. I know.
[narrator] Salvor Hardin. Hober Mallow. The Mule.
I would learn these names one day.
The heroes and villains fighting for the salvation of mankind.
But to understand our future, we have to remember the past and the ones who caused it all.
And the most important player of all, Hari Seldon.
[man] She’ll be on her way soon.
It will all work out, Raych.
Everything is dying.
That doesn’t mean it won’t all work out.
Do you ever wish there was another way?
Every day, son.
But this is the optimal time.
[woman whispering] 86,960,947.
[woman 2] It’s time.
[woman 2] Gaal? Are you ready?
All my life, I looked out and dreamed of being somewhere else.
Now I realize how much I’ll miss this view.
I have to remember it perfectly.
No, you don’t.
We can petition the Seer priests.
It’s not too late for you to stop this. It’s not too late for you to stay.
There’s no place for me here anymore, Mom.
I’ll die if I stay here.
But on Trantor, I’ll be safe.
Hold your head high.
[woman 3] That’s her.
They all hate me. You don’t hate me, do you?
Never, Gaal. I’ll always love you.
My greatest joy.
Come with me.
We’d be lost out there.
I love you.
[electronic voice] Beginning transfer sequence.
Please move to jumppods and secure for travel.
Did you say… say something?
No. But I was going to ask if this was your first time on an imperial jumpship.
Uh, yes. It is. Uh, I’m a bit nervous.
Just place your hand on the screen.
And it will scan your metrics.
Picked up just a hint of it in your accent.
You don’t hear it much at the Core, but I travel near the rim worlds sometimes.
Whoever took the prayer stones out did a great job.
You wouldn’t see the scars if you didn’t know to look.
Sorry if I overstepped.
It doesn’t screw me up, but some people come out of the jump feeling a little hungover.
I don’t drink.
My parents dove an algae farm, and we woke up pretty early.
You’re gonna sleep through this. They make sure of it.
They can’t have the grav on during the jump. I don’t know why.
Well, the grav generators output a waveform that corrupts the jumpdrive’s ability to plot fourth-dimensional points at transdimensional speeds.
Why are you going to Trantor?
I’m going to work with Hari Seldon.
I won a math contest.
Wow. Hari Seldon. And you from Synnax.
It was a pretty big contest.
[ship humming, droning]
[electronic voice] Commencing jump in three, two, one.
[distorted] How are you awake?
[Jerril] It’s a pity we have to sleep through the jump.
It’s supposed to be quite the light show.
But if you’re not a Spacer, you can find your body and mind taking different trips.
I slept through the whole thing.
[electronic voice] …and prepare to disembark.
[Jerril] If the Empire is good for anything, they can damn well build.
[Gaal chuckles] This is incredible.
[man] Welcome to Trantor, the eye of the Empire.
Please respect and enjoy the peace.
[Gaal] Are those soldiers?
Probably didn’t make the news on your world, some sort of kerfuffle at the galaxy’s edge,
Anacreon and Thespis.
Imperial appraisers got caught in the cross fire, so now it’s a big deal.
Sponsor and contact?
Dr. Hari Seldon. Streeling University.
Expected return to home planet?
Uh, I’m not going back. This is my home now.
Any car on the stalk. Please respect and enjoy the peace.
Now that I know you a little better, I won’t waste my breath explaining everything.
This part is great though.
[woman, on PA] Please make your way to any available car.
This car will commence its descent down the stalk momentarily.
I’m gonna stay awake the whole ride.
[Gaal] It takes 14 hours to drop from Trantor Station to the planet’s surface.
Although, technically, it’s not the surface.
Billions of citizens spend their lives beneath Trantor’s outer shell, toiling away on a hundred subterranean levels without ever seeing the sun or the stars.
Whatever remained of the natural world belonged to the Emperors.
The Genetic Dynasty.
Clones of Cleon I, decanted at different ages.
How long have you worked for us?
Sixty-eight privileged years, Empire.
Started cleaning the Mural when I was 12.
Gone from one end to the other four times over since then.
Know every grain of chroma by heart now.
Tell me, are there some colors more resistant to cleaning than others?
Saffron is a particularly truculent pigment.
What about crimson? Is crimson truculent?
It’s come to our attention that a tract authored by Hari Seldon was discovered in your quarters.
Oh, apologies, Empire. It was foolish of me.
It’s just that I’d…
Heard whispers of his proclamations and were curious.
They refer to Seldon as “the Raven,” don’t they?
I hear he’s rather critical of the Imperium.
Well, I’m happy to report that his words are baseless trash, and atrociously written, if I might add.
Nevertheless, the man has amassed a following.
People who hinge their hopes on every word Raven Seldon utters.
Words have a way of fanning into wildfires, Orlio.
I am loyal, Empire. I would never…
I know you won’t, which is why I broached this subject in person.
[Day] What are your lessons this morning, Brother Dawn?
[Dawn] The Outer Reach kingdoms.
I learned an old Anacreon song about hunting.
Well, there is, uh, much truth in music.
A boy bleeds a fawn with a knife and then takes shelter in her coat.
That one’s not really a hunting song.
That’s a dirty song about a boy’s first time with a woman.
Play it back in your mind. And don’t confuse the two.
Brother Day, please leave the peacock to the cooks.
You’ll be no less fascinating to your biographers.
Brother Dusk imagines I do this to be colorful.
[chuckles] And Brother Day puts more words in my mouth than he does poultry.
[Day] It’s the lard.
The cooks inject it under the skin with a needle right before roasting.
Do you know why they use a needle?
Because it’s efficient?
Because they’re afraid if they use a knife, as is the time-honored way, they might rip the skin, and I’ll send them to a stew-pot stall 50 levels down.
All of which is a problem. Why?
Because when people are afraid to do their job right, they’re certain to do it wrong.
That’s poor stewardship.
It’s poor roast peacock.
[Day] Not everything is a teachable moment.
The delegations from Thespis and Anacreon are arriving.
How did they seem?
Barbarian kingdoms. They’re more trouble than they’re worth.
Have Outer Reach Trade bring tariff projections to the residence.
Dress nice. Have someone brush your hair.
It’s not the most important thing we’ll do this week, but it’s the most important thing they’ll do in their lifetime.
Anacreon and Thespis. Observe the mannerisms of each party.
They hate each other.
Their enmity is legendary. But war is expensive.
And so we have called them onto the carpet to broker a peace.
Thanks for the company.
Good luck with the new job. I hope Hari Seldon is worth the trip.
Raych, Raych, Raych. Where are you?
That’s me, Raych.
I work for Hari. Dr. Seldon.
Baggage Claim is this way.
No. This is all I have.
Then the rest of planet is this way.
It’s supposed to be a perfect replica.
Not that we’d know under the outer shell.
Half of level 64 is just servers running skies.
Is there still a Seer church here on Trantor?
Down there, I think. Level 22.
I’d like to see it.
I’ve never met anyone from Synnax before.
[Demerzel] An expression of compassion and stewardship, the Mural of Souls,
worked on every day by the senior member of the Genetic Dynasty.
The Mural depicts the four-century age of peace and the Galactic Family.
Notice the active chroma? How the pigment subtly moves?
Provincial Ambassador Xandem.
Do you have a question or a comment about the Mural?
We were just marveling at the Empire’s benevolent reach.
For it is a marvel.
[Gaal whispering] 86,963,537.
Are you praying?
Your lips were moving.
Yeah. Um, when I’m nervous, I count primes.
Hari said you’d wanna see this.
Gaal, meet Hari.
I am so honored you invited me here.
What did you think of the Imperial Library?
It’s amazing. So many books in one place.
I imagine books were hard to come by on Synnax.
So, you know Kalle’s Ninth Proof of Folding?
[chuckles] Yes, I couldn’t have solved Abraxas without it.
No one else thought to use it. Not in 500 years.
Why do you think that is?
Kalle’s writing is poetic.
It’s beautiful, but it’s hard to imagine there’s any rigor there.
So serious scholars don’t read her.
Why did you?
I went to Kalle for the rhythm of the words at first.
I missed the math.
But when I read between the lines, I realized she was proposing a radical theory about rings of integers in non-Archimedean local fields.
Indeed she was.
It does make me wonder, though, how you’ve managed to stumble across Kalle’s Ninth Proof in the first place, given where you were.
This isn’t Synnax, Gaal. Curiosity isn’t a crime here.
I was lonely.
Almost no one there thought like I thought.
But math doesn’t take sides. I-It doesn’t judge.
I imagine you were lonely, a mind like yours in a place like that.
Kalle’s original proof manuscript. Written in her native Thraxian.
They’re going to arrest me tomorrow. And you.
It’s almost a certainty.
There’s a nonzero chance it won’t happen. But it’s not a number worth discussing.
N-No. This… This has to be a mistake.
People lie, Gaal. Numbers don’t.
Are you familiar with my work? Psychohistory?
Every mathematician has read your…
Do you agree with the concept?
In theory. But I don’t know what it has to do with…
Oh, it’s not a theory.
It’s the destiny of the human race expressed in numbers.
And it’s the reason the Empire will take us.
They’re worried you can predict the future.
They’re worried people believe I can. And they don’t like the future I predict.
Which is what?
Trantor is going to be destroyed. The Empire will fall.
You understand, these aren’t things I’m anxious to tell people.
It’s just what the math tells me.
Why let me come all this way just to arrest me?
That’s a good question. You tell me.
Because I solved Abraxas.
They think I’m the only one who can prove you wrong.
And you are, if I was. But I’m not.
Did you know all this when you were showing me the sights?
There’s more at stake here than you can imagine, Gaal.
I risked my life coming here.
And now you want me to risk it again just to support your numbers?
That’s not entirely accurate, is it, Gaal?
You left Synnax one step ahead of arrest yourself.
So you know math is never just numbers.
In the wrong hands, it’s a weapon.
In the right hands, deliverance.
Get some sleep. [sighs]
It should take them most of the night to divine your hotel.
We’ll talk soon.
I know it’s not the prize you came here for… but it will have to do.
I-I can’t keep this.
Of course you can.
This building will burn one day. Stealing is a mercy.
[Gaal] I’ve read all his work, psychohistory.
I just never imagined he’d use it this way.
The Empire isn’t gonna hurt you. They need you.
You don’t know that. And neither does he.
You haven’t seen it.
When a planet wants you dead, you die.
[woman] Ambassador Xandem, Planet Anacreon, Outer Reach.
[Xandem speaking Anacreon]
Carved from the oldest tree in the Tallyn Forest.
The same wood used to carve the bow of Anacreon’s greatest hunter, Larken Keaen.
Thank you, Ambassador.
Did you enjoy the Mural of Souls?
Yes, Empire. I have never seen anything like it.
Honored Diplomat Shae Un Shae, Planet Thespis, Outer Reach.
A Thespin Book of Ablution.
The filigree was recently smithed to honor the imperial peace.
Thank you, Honored Diplomat.
And thank you, both delegations, for making the journey to Trantor.
Not that you had a choice.
For nine centuries, the Anthor Belt Agreement served your planets well.
Last year, Thespis identified a rogue asteroid, which they believe drifted from the area governed by the agreement.
We took no official position.
Just our 10%.
Anacreon believes Thespis acts in bad faith.
The Empire believes imperial blood has been shed on a cold rock 50,000 light-years from home.
For any of these three beliefs, a thousand wars have been fought.
The next days will determine if there will be another.
Respect and enjoy the peace.
[all] Respect and enjoy the peace.
Brother Dawn, what do you make of that?
The Thespins want to remind you how important the Anthor Belt asteroids are to their religion.
But look there. In the metal filigree.
[Demerzel] The pattern in the sigil is made of heavy palladium.
The metal from the rogue asteroid. How much would you say of the sigil?
Maybe a fifth of it?
Closer to a quarter.
Currently, the Thespins tithe 10% of the mined ore to us.
This is their way of quietly saying they’ll go all the way to 25% if we side with them.
There’s no metal here at all. Not even in the arrow tips.
That’s right. Why?
The Anacreons need palladium.
They have none.
It’s like the hunting song. It’s not at all about hunting.
Art is simply politics’ sweeter tongue.
The customs of the Outer Reach may seem idiosyncratic.
But our attention to detail is how we maintain the peace.
And if the people step out of line, we hit them with a big stick.
[Dusk] Seldon and the girl.
Don’t overthink the stick.
The Seer church. Do we have time?
[priest] She can sit. He will stand.
But he will need to disarm.
The heretic and I will talk.
[Gaal] Upon awakening…
We speak the words.
And the words make us seen.
Do you know who I am?
I know that she has torn the Sleeper’s words from her face and can’t be seen by God.
But do you know who I am?
She has solved one of life’s ancient puzzles and cheapened the worth of life in the solving.
Of course I know.
On Synnax, she is almost as famous as her new god, Seldon.
He’s not a god.
No, he is not.
He will die as all men like him die, unseen by God.
As will his followers. As will she.
Gaal Dornick. I’ll say this once, because I am the highest-ranking and only Seer priest on this forsaken world.
If you are in trouble, I can help you.
Is that what you want?
You want me to stay?
Will that stop them from arresting me?
I’ll be all right.
I’ll see you.
Some like to pray one last time.
What did you make of her?
They haven’t gotten to her yet.
What do you make of her?
She solved Abraxas on her own. I’m sure of that.
As for the other question, well, we shall see.
[no audible dialogue]
My name’s Lors Avakim.
Hari sent me.
Where is he?
Arrested. As he predicted.
You’ve both been charged with high treason, conspiracy to destabilize the Imperium.
This is a nightmare.
Hari wants you to know how sorry he is for involving you in this.
It’s not his fault.
We can speak freely now.
Once the Imperium learned of Hari’s conclusions, they made no secret of trying to disrupt the project.
Did Hari bring me here as bait? Because I can prove him wrong?
He’s not wrong, Ms. Dornick.
But yes on the bait part.
Are you all right?
The hook hurts, but I’m trying not to wriggle too much.
The tribunal of Cleon XII is convened.
Your Exalted, the offenders, Dr. Hari Seldon and Gaal Dornick, are accused of crimes so grave that they threaten not just Trantor but the entire galaxy’s existence.
I will prove that Dr. Seldon and his followers engaged in a conspiracy designed to destroy the confidence in our empire.
Dr. Seldon. Will you rise?
You hail from the world of Helicon, yes?
Will you state your current position here on Trantor?
I’m a professor of probability theory at Streeling University.
Specifically, the area of psychohistory.
Define that for us, please.
Psychohistory is a predictive model designed to forecast the behavior of very large populations.
In plainspoken terms, you claim to be able to predict the future?
Well, I don’t know what you’re going to have for dinner, if that’s what you’re asking.
[advocate] You know what I’m asking.
The Galactic Empire comprises some eight trillion individuals.
Would you say that was a large enough sample to make a prediction?
And do you have a prediction for that particular sample?
Trantor and the Galactic Empire will lie in ruins within five centuries.
[magistrate] Silence, brethren.
Accepting your statement for the moment, can you prove it’s true?
Only to another mathematician conversant in ordinal analysis.
Your truths are so esoteric they escape the grasp of nearly every citizen.
They’re not my truths. They belong to science.
The Imperium is 12,000 years old, Doctor.
Are we really to believe that it could be gone in just 500?
A rotten tree trunk appears strong until the storm breaks it in two.
Consider recent events in the Outer Reach.
We’re not here to consider any other…
But you must!
The Empire will fall.
Order will vanish.
Interstellar wars will be endless.
Ten thousand worlds reduced to radioactive cinders.
Nothing we do can prevent this.
This… period of barbarism.
How long do you claim it will last?
Thirty thousand years, Advocate.
I submit to the court that Dr. Seldon’s “predictions” are actually intended to destroy public confidence.
I’m not a revolutionary.
Well, then what are you?
You’ve already said the future cannot be changed.
So what exactly is the purpose of your project?
I’m trying to soften the fall.
It cannot be prevented, this mass of events rushing to meet us.
But we can shorten the dark ages that follow.
If we embrace your plan, how much?
We should be in the dark for a thousand years, Advocate.
And if that is all, we should thank the gods for it.
[door beeps, opens]
My name’s not really Jerril.
But you can keep calling me that.
We’ve been watching you for some time.
From the moment you solved the Abraxas Conjecture, in fact.
I brought you a gift.
He calls it the Prime Radiant. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?
He claims it contains all of his predictions concerning the Empire, expressed as a mathematical equation.
Did he allow you to examine it?
Now, don’t you think that’s curious?
He devises a theory so opaque that no one in the galaxy can understand it, and when he finds an individual who can, he doesn’t allow her a look behind the curtain.
Because history is littered with charlatans and false messiahs.
[Gaal] What if he’s telling the truth? What if psychohistory is real?
[Jerril] If his equations are flawed, you have a moral obligation to expose them.
And if they hold true?
Disavow them and go home.
And I promise you, Empire will find a way to express his gratitude.
I’ll make the calculus simple for you, Gaal.
If you say Hari’s a liar, he dies.
If you don’t, you die.
So, we should just all bury our heads in the sand then?
If his equations hold true, then Empire will set about solving the problem as we always have, without terrifying trillions of people.
And I should believe in you, a spy?
You should believe in the minds that built Trantor, built the jumpdrive, that built the Star Bridge.
Where I come from, they call those scientists, not politicians.
I know where you come from, Gaal.
They were called heretics and drowned.
And I also know what happened on the jumpship.
During the jump… you were awake.
You were aware.
Why did you lie to me about it?
I don’t know.
It scares me.
We’re all different, Ms. Dornick.
My sister didn’t speak until she was seven.
And even then, just nouns.
But you’re something else.
And if you don’t know what it is, I urge you to figure it out before someone else does and uses it against you.
You claim your plan can reduce the coming darkness.
The ancients are rumored to have built a repository for the world’s wisdom.
According to myth, it burned down.
I’m proposing something less centralized.
An Encyclopedia Galactica.
After the fall, as civilization climbs from the ashes, the coming generations will have something to build upon, a foundation.
They won’t have to reinvent the wheel. The knowledge will already exist.
But it isn’t just knowledge we’d be saving, but humanity’s story.
Trantor already has an imperial library.
For how long?
Now, that statement does bring us to the heart of the matter.
You said you could prove your theorem to someone conversant in ordinal analysis.
Gaal Dornick, please rise.
Approach the dais, if you would.
You’re from Synnax, correct? We should say that.
You’ve had your prayer stones removed.
You almost look like one of us.
My understanding of your world is that to remove the prayer stones is to break with the Seer Church.
Is that right?
That is church doctrine, yes.
Tell me, are they still killing scientists and mathematicians?
If you’re talking about the Purge, then…
The church’s term is “the Cleanse,” Your Exalteds.
When was it, according to church doctrine, that it stopped being heresy to study math?
It never stopped.
And yet you solved the Abraxas Conjecture.
On a world where they burned the universities down.
You must have been lonely there.
I can imagine how it must have felt to be recognized by Dr. Hari Seldon.
To be given a job. To be valued.
What do you want to know?
I want to know if there is any possible way… you can be objective about Hari Seldon.
[Gaal] I don’t know. Maybe I can’t.
Maybe that’s why he brought me here.
Last night you were given a chance to assess the accuracy of Dr. Seldon’s claims.
Did you arrive at a conclusion?
Dr. Seldon’s calculations… are correct.
The Empire is dying.
Hari, the sky.
Something’s wrong with the Star Bridge.
[customs officer] Please respect and enjoy the peace.
Expected return to home planet?
Please respect and enjoy the peace.
[woman, on PA] This car will commence its descent down the stalk momentarily.
You may feel a jolt.
Please secure yourself before commencing descent.
[singing prayer in Anacreon]
The tether wrapped around the planet like a garrote.
It cut 50 levels down.
There are reports of Anacreon and Thespin war cries before the explosion.
Songs of rebellion.
We had no part in this, we sw…
We will, of course, be returning your gifts.
[door beeps, opens]
What are you doing here?
I petitioned the committee.
They’re saying a hundred million dead.
The Outer Reaches may be in rebellion.
The attack’s changed everything.
Hari said there’s a nonzero chance you’ll die, but nonzero is still a number.
They’re gonna kill Hari, Gaal.
You don’t have to die with him.
I’ve already said his math was right.
Say you looked at it again. Say you were wrong.
You’ve lost faith.
[door beeps, opens]
She doesn’t need that.
[Day] Get up.
Shall I speak first, or will you?
By all means, Dr. Seldon.
You hold us responsible.
How could I not?
My science can predict societal actions. Trends. Not individual ones.
But I’m not surprised it happened.
[Day] Why is that?
You’re stretched too thin.
That’s why the kingdoms of the Outer Reach struck first.
And who can blame them, hmm?
Sensing vulnerability, soon other players will begin to apply downward pressure.
An exhortation from one of the galaxy’s major religions is a given.
Or perhaps a homegrown insurrection here on Trantor.
Star Bridge. Who did this?
I don’t know.
Tell me why I shouldn’t kill you and your followers right now.
My followers aren’t responsible!
If you do, you’ll be dead within the year.
The prodigy speaks.
Your agent Jerril asked me to check Dr. Seldon’s work.
I went a little farther in the equation.
If you kill him, the fall accelerates.
Well, that’s a convenient data point for your side.
Only he can shorten the darkness.
Kill him, you kill hope.
Kill hope… they kill you.
What are the odds?
The only two people who can save the galaxy are in this room.
And one of them is wrong.
If the fall can be accelerated, can it not also be slowed?
Yes. By a few centuries.
Don’t keep us in the dark.
End imperial cloning.
Imperial cloning stopped the wars.
Imperial cloning brought peace.
Our genetic dynasty has reigned for almost four centuries.
Surely you can understand the value in a younger mind who shares your intellect.
Well, I see the value in difference, in the new.
You offer nothing new.
Just a younger grape… from the same vine, destined for the same old bottle.
You can’t save yourselves… but you can save your legacy.
Yours or mine, Dr. Seldon?
How long did it take you… to trigger the Prime Radiant?
I got it on the second try.
You knew they’d offer it to me.
Hari, when I looked at it, I… I really thought they’d try and make it seem more of a fair fight.
But they didn’t bother, did they?
The hook still hurting you?
Xylas used the same phrase you did. “I was lonely.”
They were listening.
And you knew they were listening.
[Hari] They’re listening now.
[Gaal] What do you want them to hear?
Abraxas was the bait. Not you.
I just moved before they did.
You have more agency here, Gaal, than you realize.
[door opens, closes]
The Emperor has determined that your deaths are not the optimal outcome for the good of the Imperium.
You will be allowed to refine your work on psychohistory, to build your Foundation.
But not on Trantor.
It is uninhabited, sitting in the Periphery, along the galaxy’s Outer Reach.
Anacreon and Thespis are also in the Periphery.
Yes, the barbarian kingdoms will be your neighbors.
You will journey via slow ship.
The Empire forbids you access to jumpdrive technology.
You’re exiling us.
On Terminus, you will not trouble Trantor, and there will be no disturbance of the Emperor’s peace.
The galaxy will know that you are fighting the fall.
If psychohistory proves fraudulent, your Foundation will be allowed to wither and vanish.
And if it’s successful, you’ll co-opt it and use it to bolster your regime.
Terminus. I’ve never even heard of it.
There’s no reason you would. It’s 50,000 light-years away.
Without a jumpdrive, the journey there… 878 days.
We’ll be fine.
There’ll be hardships, no question.
Terminus orbits a red dwarf.
Its seasons are extreme. Metal and mineral poor.
You know it well.
Exile was always the plan.
And Terminus was always the optimal location.
Out in the Periphery.
Imperial support without imperial eyes. It’s perfect.
How many others knew?
What you said to the Emperor…
How much farther into my math did you look?
What did you actually see?
I couldn’t quite figure it.
So, you lied?
On Synnax, no one wanted to hear that our seas were rising.
I thought if I could make people listen, that I could save them.
Change is frightening, especially to those in power.
And I could feel the Empire’s fear.
When I looked into the Prime Radiant, I could see the darkness.
It took my breath away at first. It was crushing.
But then I looked deeper, and I could see this tiny sliver of light at the very end of it all.
And I realized it’s not the fall they’re afraid of.
It’s the chance that your plan will actually succeed.
It takes more power to build than to burn.
And I want to build, Hari.
You’ll get your chance.
This isn’t the Foundation’s first crisis, and it won’t be our last.
Something tells me you already know what the next crisis will be.
The Emperor’s peace will be maintained.
From Synnax to Trantor. Now Terminus.
You came here hoping to save your world.
I’m asking you to dream bigger.
Why stop at one world? Why not save the galaxy?
Why not indeed.
[Gaal] Hari had planned for it all, things only he saw over the horizon.
Psychohistory could forecast the behavior of entire populations with stunning accuracy.
But, when it came to individuals, things got murkier.
No one could approach the Vault. No one but an outlier like Salvor Hardin.
And I always wondered… when Hari was formulating his plan, did he realize the galaxy’s fate would rest on what she found inside?
I think he did.
And I think that’s what he feared the most.