Foundation – S01E02 – Preparing to Live [Transcript]

The Foundation makes the long journey to Terminus as Gaal and Raych grow closer. The Empire faces a difficult decision.

Original release date: September 24, 2021

Seldon and his followers proceed to Terminus aboard a slow starship and prepare for their new lives on the barren world. Dornick reveals to her lover, Seldon’s adopted son Raych, that the psychohistory model is incomplete, alarming him. One night, Dornick finds Raych fatally stabbing Seldon in his quarters. Raych then ushers the incredulous Dornick into an escape pod and jettisons her from the ship. Meanwhile, the Empire investigates the Starbridge attack, but is unable to identify its mastermind or conclusively attribute it to the governments of Anacreon and Thespis. Despite Brother Dusk urging that the detained delegations from the two kingdoms should be granted clemency, Brother Day opts for a public execution of all delegates except the two ambassadors, simultaneous with orbital bombardments of their homeworlds.

* * *


Jiam Quarver, you have suffered a cervical spinal cord injury. In a few moments you will suffocate, unless we intervene. We know you operate this illicit biohacking facility. We also know you manufactured the two subcutaneous nano-lace explosives used by the bombers who destroyed the Star Bridge. Now, what we don’t know is the identity of the people who contracted with your lab to have this work done. The device my associate is applying will stimulate your phrenic nerves and allow you to breathe again. The next words you utter will determine if that device remains functioning. So, who purchased the bombs?

We’ve questioned thousands of persons of interest, but the chain of intermediaries linking the bomb maker to the attack’s true authors has proven intractable.

How many bodies are still orbiting Trantor?

127,000, Empire.

Why haven’t they been retrieved?

It hasn’t been the highest priority. Rescue and recovery have…

Make it a priority. The corpses have been catching fire as they reenter the atmosphere. All anyone has to do is look up to be reminded of our impotence. We need results.

We need certainty, Brother.

Am I going to regret exiling Seldon and his followers?

No evidence links them to the attack.

No evidence exonerates them. I could destroy them still, even at a distance. We could say they did it. Every source of news could say it every hour on the hour until the air is made of that and there’s nothing else to breathe.

Martyring dissidents is a risky enterprise.

So is annoying your emperor.





Figured I’d find you here.


Didn’t mean to wake you.

You were counting primes in your sleep.

How far did I get?

Not the end, if that’s what you’re hoping for.

There is no end.

Numbers or problems to count?

We don’t have to colonize the whole planet, Gaal.

Just our own tiny corner.

There are no corners on a sphere.

You coming out?

No. Come in.

You know I can’t swim.

You’ve got four years and four months to learn.

Not a chance.

Relax, relax, relax. I’ve got you.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

Performance was unacceptable…

Blue Team’s tanking.

When the time comes, fly Red or Green is my hint to you.

Maybe I’ll join the reactor group next training period.

Hmm, soup was a little cold at dinner last night.

Maybe you wanna do a couple of weeks in culinary as well?

I understand your point…

You don’t have to learn every job in the colony, Gaal.

Well, I do if they can’t do them.

We have, what, 54 more months until we land on Terminus.

We have time. A lot of time.

Well, we do until we don’t.

Sorry. I shouldn’t be wasting our dwindling time like that.

When will you stop taking me so seriously?

Shivaughn, I’m picking up high levels of mercury and arsenic there.

Just be careful.

Try and seal that seam quickly. It’s toxic.

I’m on it.



Run, Shivaughn!

Shit! Stay down.

No, Abbas!

Congratulations, you guys are zero for three.

Because you were in the primary blast radius, Gaal and Shivaughn, both of you suffered from overpressure to your hollow organs.

I could try, but I doubt I could find a more painful way to die.

Mari, Briwan, Abbas.


You were all killed by exploded rock fragments.

The good news, it was instant.

The bad news, you’re still dead.

Better than that thing tearing us apart.

Yeah, what the hell was that?

A bishop’s claw. Local megafauna, endemic to the Outer Reach.

But Abbas is right. The sim’s unfair.

If he hadn’t fired, the bishop’s claw would’ve probably killed us all anyway.

Yes, it is unfair.

Everything about Terminus is unfair.

But we need to defy those odds if the Foundation is to succeed.

We’ll try again at 0600 tomorrow.

Ms. Dornick, Dr. Seldon wants to see you.

There’s an apple orchard in the Imperial Gardens that’s older than the Robot Wars.

They used to hang AI sympathizers there.

I didn’t know there were robot sympathizers.

There are always sympathizers.

Well, hopefully, by the end of this trip, this one will be strong enough to hang somebody.


You had trouble with the lava tube.

We always have trouble with the lava tube.

What’s your solution?

Don’t settle the Foundation near the lava tube.

We need it for energy production.

We need people to drill wells for geothermal energy.

And we won’t have any if unstable veins keep igniting.


It’s bitter.

But alive.

Have you run thrive projections using this morning’s sim data?


Including Blue Team’s catastrophe?

34.2% mortality after five years’ planetfall.

Trending downwards. Optimism abounds.

Tell that to the 1,710 people on…

That’s the reason we run sims, Gaal.

Morning, Hari.

Morning, Magnus.


I was “Dr. Seldon” when we began this journey.

Is that really such a bad thing?

For them to know the man behind the math?

There’s a Foundation budget allocation conference later.

I need you to sit in for me.

I’ve never gone…

It’s just numbers, Gaal.

It’s just numbers.


Math is never just numbers.

When words fail us, we use math to describe the inexpressible.

The things that terrify us most.

The vastness of space, the shape of time… the weight and worth of a human soul.

That’s an old Anacreon hunting song, isn’t it?

You invoke it before you kill the animal. Yes?

Anyone could sing that, Emperor.

That’s not true.

We’ve tried to sing your songs as part of our education.

Never mastered the dialect. Not like a native.

But it sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

As we have for the last two weeks, Anacreon firmly denies any involvement in this…

I cannot find words for it.

The words are the destruction of the Star Bridge and the deaths of 100 million citizens of Trantor.

That was Thespin, wasn’t it?

Can you translate?


It means, “Long live the Outer Reach.”

I assume you can also recognize the Thespin prayer heard right before bombs ripped the orbital platform from the stalk.

With all due respect, Empire, that prayer…

Hasn’t been sung in 88 years.

No Thespin would sing…

My government continues to deny…

Shroud them.

What’s on the recording is authentic. They don’t have answers.

Someone does.

These worlds hate each other.

More than they hate the Empire?

Historically, yes.

The idea they’d collaborate on such a thing…

And yet… someone’s going to hang for this.

I’d like it to be the guilty one.

Where is Brother Dusk?



Okay. Thanks, Gaal.

Zygote looks good.

Any change in your birth directive?


People talk to me.

I’m sure.

Well, not just here, but out there.

‘Cause not everyone wants to wait for planetfall.

That’s not surprising.

If I knew someone…

She’s still early-term.

She could still follow protocol, but she won’t come in.

Do I need to tell Dr. Seldon? Or is it enough just to tell you?

Everything check out okay?

Everything’s fine.

Find you later?


Attention. Quadrant five is now clear.

Quadrant five, all clear.

Tell Dr. Seldon we’re running an extra reactor sim tonight.

Hopefully we won’t radiate all three shuttles this time.

I’m not here about that.

Does the father know?

We barely know each other.

He seems sweet, but I don’t care much what he thinks.

Do you care what anyone thinks?

Enough to talk to Shivaughn at the seed bank.

Look where that got me.

I’m not talking to you as the Foundation.

I’m talking to you as Gaal.

Lowre, you’re an engineer.

You tested onto the shuttle team.

You know how much safer an embryo is in the seed bank.

This ship wasn’t designed for pregnancy.

And Terminus is?

I’m not stupid.

I know how much radiation we’re getting hit with up here.

I know the odds of carrying healthy to term, and defects, and my milk being poison.

But I also know where we’re going.

Frozen rock, long nights, no trees for shelter.

I know you’ve got projections of how many of us are going to die, and that the number is higher than anyone wants to admit.

Lowre, that’s not true.

No one wants to tell…

Don’t lie to me!

It’s okay for Hari Seldon to lie to me. I expect that, but not from you.

Please just tell me the truth.

That’s how I know it’s you talking and not him.

I know what the right thing to do is, Gaal. I know.

I know what the math is.

I know that what we’re doing on this ship isn’t really living.

We’re just preparing to live.

For some of us to live.

It’s the Plan.

What if I let them take her out and something happens, and I never get to feel her grow inside me ever again?

I’ll just never get to look into her eyes.

There would be nothing worse.

Brother Dusk.

Good evening, Demerzel.

Empire missed you in the throne room.

I don’t think so.

Where are you going?

You know where.


There. Put us down there.

Upon awakening, may the Sleeper cleanse these eyes of the evil they have seen.


Empire, please help us.

Weapons left outside.

I have no weapon.

All of the weapons.

She has nothing.

Not her. Him.

His machines are not welcome here.


He who shrouds himself from man’s touch shrouds himself from God.

And so now am I touched by God?

No. Just me.

Empire, the structures are still settling. We should return to the shuttle.

Your stones. You use them to pray.

We speak to the Sleeper, and the Sleeper sees us.

You claim to be seers, yes? You know the future.

The Sleeper dreams our future.

What use would it be to guide our past?

Why were you at Hari Seldon’s trial?

What is your interest in Gaal Dornick?

Why do you care for her?

There is no sin in curiosity.

There is on your planet.

Empire, we must go.

I understand now.

He wants to know if she’s a true seer.

If she truly saw the fall Seldon spoke of.

If her math allowed her to see this.

She came here. I know she did.

What did you talk about?


Did your god tell her about the Empire?

The Sleeper doesn’t know her.

Empire. Come with us.

She is not a seer. Your empire is doomed.

The most advanced math is like a sixth sense.

The right calculation can allow us to see over the horizon.

And if we’re lucky, it can help us prepare for what comes next.




You were down there a long time.

Was I?

I was beginning to worry that you weren’t ever going to come up.

Why always in the dark?

Why in the light?

Shame grows in darkness.

You’ve nothing to be ashamed about.

Hari, is there something you wanna talk about?

The day I met you, I said to Raych…

“She exceeds my expectations.”

You both do.

You know, these last few months have been a gift.

I gambled on exile.

I did my best to engineer the outcome, but… I never expected that I would be among the ship’s occupants.

What changed?

Don’t be late for the Foundation meeting.

Five minutes early is three minutes late to Lewis Pirenne.

He knows about us.

He’s a psychohistorian. He reads math, not minds.

I read math too, and I know exactly what you’re thinking.

You’re afraid to tell him, and you don’t wanna talk about it.

We both agreed.

You told me he wouldn’t like it.

He wouldn’t.

Because he doesn’t want us to be happy?

Because he thinks relationships are a distraction.

If we factor out human relationships, what are we trying to save?

He’s not saying we have to be robots.

He just thinks that you and I…

So he’s jealous then?

The math’s not complete.


The math.

Hari’s Plan. It’s not all worked out.

I saw it when I had the Prime Radiant. I never mentioned it in the trial.

It’s close. I’m not saying it’s not close, but not everything is solved.

It’s like a puzzle with a thousand pieces.

If a few are missing, you know with a high probability what the picture is, but they’re still missing.

How many pieces are missing?

Enough to make a different picture?

I don’t know. Maybe.

Do you know where Dr. Seldon is?

He’s not coming.

I’m sitting in.

All right.

When you’re ready.

Mari, would you like to bring us up to speed from the budget subcommittee?

The subcommittee confirms assigning 5.6% of the initial research and survey budget to the 3% of planets closest to Trantor.

Is 5.6% a lot?

It seems like a lot.

I’m sorry. Is it okay to ask questions?

Of course.

But it’s not the first time that we have discussed where to begin our preservation work.

Does the allocation algorithm weight towards heterogeny, and if so, how is that measured?

Diversity and variance are cornerstones of the Foundation’s mission.

Those inner worlds represent 40 trillion people, 300 planets, over a hundred different languages.

And we decide the allocations, not a computer program.

Point is, the allocations were developed through the Foundation’s values.


So what we save says everything about who we are.

Of course.

And what is the Foundation’s feeling about base ten?

What do you mean?

Base ten.


The numbering system, one, two, three, four…

We know what it is.

Of course you do, because it’s the math of Trantor and the math of almost every single system in the inner 3% of the galaxy.

I assume you aim to preserve it?

It’s how we count.

It’s how you count, and your neighbors.

Will you be preserving base 12 or 27?

Over a thousand worlds use base 12 because 12 is cleanly divisible by more factors than 10 is.

300 systems use base 27.

It comes from counting body parts.

What is your point?

My point is, as we begin preserving the most… essential pieces of civilization, deciding what is remembered, what is forgotten… how will we know what those things are if we can’t even agree on how to count them?

All right.

Are you sure?

You still seem…

You needn’t worry about me.

You could’ve died.

I’ve managed not to for a long while now.

You know I’m not the same as you.

The rest of your kind died.

They didn’t die. They were destroyed by your kind.

It’s different.

Is that why you don’t like me to see how you really are?

I don’t like it because it’s immodest.


The more human I act, the more human I am.

It’s confusing not to commit to one reality.

You’re avoiding me.


You know I hate the stairs.

You hate this.

If I want to sentimentalize old emperors, I can just look across the dinner table.

I felt the same way when I was your age.


Can you imagine… the sheer hubris required to think so much of your abilities, your mind, so much of your own heart, that you decide from now on, that not only will you be the first, but the one?

“I will be the river from which all rivers flow.”

He was right.

Of course. And yet here we are.

Millions dead, with a prophecy of trillions more.

Seldon is just a man.

And so were we once.

Why did you go to the Scar?

Was it to see the priest?

They’re still pulling bodies out of the wreckage.

As they have been for weeks.

I wanted to see what happened to our world, as you should have as emperor.

I am emperor. At least you’re honest about that.

I want to meet with the Anacreon and Thespin delegates.

It’s not your job.

No, but it is my right.

It’s not a trick.

If it were, there are lesser vintages to poison.

To the future.

May it be kind to all of us.

What do you want?

Only the truth.

For weeks now, we have been nothing but honest.

Why would we sing an Anacreon song, then deny it was us who had done so?

The extremists amongst your ranks?

You must admit it makes no sense.

Or perhaps your government has not told you everything.

We have been loyal citizens of the Imperium for 3,000 years.

How would this profit Anacreon?

Someone is trying to destroy us.

Someone is punishing us to darkness.



You’re going to die.

The Empire is going to kill you, and it won’t be enough for what you did.

For the smells. For the stinging in the eyes.

The dust of children, mothers and fathers in our throats.

It is a taste in my mouth!

It is a taste that will not go away.

This is the legacy. Yours and ours.

We may wish it is not.

We may scream it is not fair, and we would be right.

Because I believe you.

One of you is telling the truth.

Maybe even both.

We should let you all go free.

We should.

But we won’t.

The old man is declining, isn’t he?

Dr. Seldon.

Is something wrong? Did we miss something from our delivery?

No, no. I was just thinking about a particular white shirt.

It has an ink stain on the cuff.

We haven’t been able to remove the stain yet.

Is it clean otherwise?

I’d like it if it is. Stain and all.

Dr. Seldon?


Can I ask you a question, sir?

Of course. I’ve made a life out of it.

Are you happy?


Happy with the progress of the Plan? The preparations?

What’s your name?



Veena Ahluwalia.

Well, it’s going to be a long journey, Veena.

We’ve faced challenges. Many more will follow.

But I am confident in the success of our endeavor.

And the principal reason for that is you.

All of you.

I approved the passenger manifest.

Each and every name on it.

A hundred years from now, perhaps even a thousand, your names will be memorialized.

The believers who threw their lot in with an eccentric that pinned the fate of the galaxy on the back of a theorem so abstract, well… it might as well have been a prayer.

And it won’t matter what you did, whether you worked as an ultrasound scrubber, a heat exchange engineer or here in the laundry.

Because that prayer can’t endure without people.

Without you.

So… thank you, Veena.

I’m sorry about the ink, sir.

No matter. I’m used to it.

It’s a sign of hard work.

Dr. Seldon?

Yes, Theron?

May I shake your hand?

Thank you.

Thank you, Doctor.

Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you.

I’m just saying he’s not perfect.

Abbas, how are we doing with the 3D-printed metrics?

We’ve been working with clay…

Been looking for you.

Why’d you leave the budget meeting? Could’ve used a friendly face.

Sorry, Hari thinks we should plan to sim a space walk.

Now? We can’t even walk on snow.

I’ll talk to him.

No, just… I’ll figure it out.

Can you pass the wine please?

The wine.

Is there room?

Oh, yes. Of course.

Thank you.

Raych, you probably don’t remember the first meal that you and I had together, do you?

No, I can’t say I do.

Well, it wasn’t much.

I can say that.

I’d just started at the university, didn’t have much of a food budget.

I’d get stale sourdough and day-old roast alley-hawk.



Greasy, you know, little bones.


But warmed up, wrapped in the bread.


Was heaven.

He was six, maybe seven.

I caught him in the rare books room, two Alvarez folios stuffed in his pants.

I never did figure out, how did you know Alvarez would bring you the most money on the black market whilst also being the easiest to shove in your shorts?

Your mother, as far as I could decipher, had passed, and your father was drinking whatever money you were able to bring back.

That’s wrong.

My father wasn’t drinking.

He was, son.

My father worked in the heat sinks.

He’d been in an accident. He had a burn down his back.

I stole the books for medicine, so he could go back to work.

He didn’t drink until later.

After I left to live with you.

Apparently, I’m better at predicting the future than I am at remembering the past.


I’ve never seen that setup before.

It only happens once every two years, so they never use it for the sim.

What’s happening with you and Hari?




Maybe I shouldn’t have told you what I did… about the math.

No, it was a… good reminder.

Hari makes mistakes. He’s not perfect.

Yeah, I’m just afraid I don’t know which mistakes are important.

Which puzzle pieces can be missing and it still be the right picture.

But you still believe in the math.

I do.

This is the Plan.

We’re not turning around now.

I still think he’s jealous though.

Yeah. Who wouldn’t be?

When we get to Terminus, we’ll have more freedom.

Our own little piece of frigid land.

We’ll build a home.

Maybe with a couple kids dozing by the fire?

That’s a pretty loaded silence after mentioning kids.

Still want them?


with you…

I want it all.

Hmm. That was nice while it lasted.

Hold on.

The Star Bridge.

We need to come to a conclusion about Anacreon and Thespis.

You know how I feel.

I think the Empire can withstand a bout of grace.

Maybe even benefit.

It’s hard to believe you’re the same man whose advice on all things Hari Seldon was, “Do not overthink the stick.”

I am the same man as that.

As I am the same man as you.


What do you think, Ascending Dawn?

We’ve been attacked. How does that make you feel?

Go ahead, young man.

You answer him.

I’m scared.


That’s right. That’s what people are. Scared.

Which is why the best face we can project outward now… is one of strength.

The Emperor’s peace.

It is the promise of the Imperium.

It was the promise of Cleon I and each Cleon after him.

It is a race run across centuries, a baton handed from generation to generation.

And we will not drop it.

Not today or tomorrow or any tomorrow after.

Threaten the peace and pay a dear price.

Trantor has been deeply wounded.

None of our citizens remain untouched.

The pain will be felt by all for generations.

It will scar them forever, but they will survive.

They will live on. Our world will live on!

You… will not.

And neither will your worlds.

Not without wounds and scars!


Go back to your worlds.

Tell the living and the dead you failed to save them.

Not every choice will be like this one.

But sometimes?


You won’t be alone.

You’ll have your brothers and me.

I’ll always be here, as I always have been.

How often does it end like this?

How often do we choose this?

You always do.

The weight of traditions protects us.

There can be comfort in making a journey others have made before.

Once, I prayed in the words of my parents.

But then my world expanded, and the words fell short of my reality.

I pray in a different language now.





No. Not right.


Something’s wrong.



Raych, what are you…

Gaal, you have to leave.

What have you done?

You can’t be here.

Gaal. Gaal.



Hari. Hari.

Gaal, you have to leave. Now! Gaal!

Warning. Warning.

Designate Hari Seldon’s life functions have ceased.

Warning. Warning.

Gaal? Raych?

Come on! Come on!

What’s going on?

Warning. Designate Hari Seldon’s life functions have ceased.

Warning. Warning.

Warning. Warning.

Designate Hari Seldon’s life functions have ceased.

Oh, my God.

Get in.

Don’t panic. You’re gonna be okay.

Don’t fight it. Don’t fight it.

Keep calm. You can breathe. You can breathe.

You can breathe the fluid. Keep calm.

Remember to count primes. Remember to count primes.

Remember to count primes.

I love you.

I’m sorry.





With you, I want it all.


Eighty-six million, nine hundred and eighty-one thousand…


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