Original release date: October 22, 2021
Brother Day arrives at The Maiden, the holy moon at the center of the Luminist faith. He undermines Zephyr Halima by pledging to build a moon-wide desalination system in honor of the moderate Zephyr Gilat, but Halima gains the upper hand with a galvanizing eulogy of the late Proxima Opal that subtly criticizes Imperial cloning. On Trantor, Brother Dawn pursues a romance with Azura Odili, a palace gardener, and bares his deepest secret: he inexplicably has minor genetic traits, such as color blindness, that differentiate him from all previous Cleon clones. On Terminus, the Anacreons recover Dorwin from the wreckage of the Aegis and round up colonists with the skills necessary to repair and crew the Invictus, a long-lost Imperial warship that Phara’s people rediscovered and plan to use to attack the Empire. Salvor escapes the city with the help of two children, and decides to take out the Anacreon corvettes to strand Phara. During the mission, Salvor is struck with a vision revealing the murder of Hari Seldon was part of Seldon’s plan for the Foundation, but the escape pod Gaal took had been intended for Raych. In Salvor’s absence, her father Abbas sacrifices himself to blow up the corvettes. Salvor and her lover, the Thespin trader Hugo, are later captured by Phara. Salvor is forced to pilot Hugo’s ship, the Beggar, to the Anthor Belt with the captive colonists.
* * *
[Gaal narrating] As a child, I heard stories about Trantor, the city that was a planet at the heart of the galaxy. I was told the people who lived there were sinners who followed a false prophet… a man who believed himself above the Sleeper’s words. I didn’t believe the stories until I met him.
You have just completed the jump, Empire.
We’ll be reaching the Surah System within a few hours.
[Gaal] I was told that the Emperor could create or destroy worlds, that he had triumphed over death itself and would live forever. And when I looked into his eyes… I saw a man who, in all his lifetimes, had never known doubt… until he encountered Hari Seldon.
I’m ready to review for…
A moment, Empire. I wasn’t expecting you so soon.
Even as a child, you’d watch my preparations.
Are you feeling quite well, Empire?
Oh, it’s just the jump. I know the Spacers are engineered for it, but I barely consider them human.
It can be disconcerting, I know.
What’s it like… to be awake for it?
When space folds? The human mind can’t tolerate the discontinuity.
But… yours can.
If I could explain it, you wouldn’t have to sleep through it.
Leviathan crystal. Salt from the leviathan mines on the Maiden.
And its significance?
It symbolizes the journey of the three goddesses, Maiden, Mother and Crone. Adherents pray by ritualistically touching it. Goes to the central theme of Luminism, cycles, ouroboros, nature seeking completion.
Luminists believe the goddesses were once a single entity, but when Surah collided with the planet of…
Begins with a D.
It split the goddesses apart, creating the three moons. The only habitable moon is the Maiden.
Age of faith?
15,000 years. Predates the Empire itself.
Number of believers?
I’ve never asked you, how is it that you believe?
How? Or why?
From the moment you come into the world, you and your brothers know your purpose. But the rest of us have to seek these things on our own.
But… you know your purpose. It’s to serve my brothers, to serve me, to serve the Empire above all. It’s literally written into your code.
And I am quite fulfilled in that service. But the search for meaning is not always about the answer. It’s also the process of seeking that enlightens. The goddesses didn’t choose to be split into three. They long to be made one again. The salty terrain of the Maiden is said to be their tears. But it was their sacrifice that graced the rest of us with wholeness. At every point in our lives, we have the power to choose our own path. The goddesses guide us at every step toward service and truth, as though toward the center of a great spiral.
And this Zephyr Halima who challenges us, what has her path been?
She hails from Mirrus Twelve, born into the faith. After the earthquakes there, she became a sort of a savior, spearheading the recovery effort. But she’s been elevated to Zephyr for less than a year.
Ah. She’s only just pulled herself out from the rubble.
Forgive me, Empire, but we have entered the Maiden’s atmosphere and will be approaching the Salt Palace in moments.
Ready to meet the clamoring masses?
I was planning on staying aboard the ship.
Clearly, many on the Maiden know I embrace their faith. This could be used to your disadvantage.
Don’t be ridiculous. You’re my only real insight into the Luminist beliefs. You’re going.
Welcome to the Maiden, Empire.
I know preparing for a formal ceremony can be daunting, which is why I petitioned the Ring of Zephyrs and was granted the honor of welcoming you alone.
Empire is undoubtedly accustomed to a certain degree of pageantry, but given the somber circumstances of the Proxima’s passing, a more florid reception felt somehow… indecorous.
I want to thank you, from my heart, for making the journey to us. Your presence speaks to how important Luminism must be to the Empire. As a gesture of my gratitude, I’d like to offer you a drink.
The water is from the Womb of the Mother itself. The salt from this cup is said to draw out any impure intentions from the minds of those who drink from it.
Sadly, Empire is not able to accept any untested potables.
I’m afraid whatever impurities I may harbor will have to remain hidden.
Something tells me that’s how you’d prefer it. In any case, I look forward to getting to know each other better. Triple blessings to you all.
[Day] What is the word I’m looking for?
That will do.
I don’t think she was trying to poison you.
[Day] No, not literally. But I don’t think anyone with pure intentions would wheedle their way on to my welcoming committee.
[man, in Anacreon] Stay sharp.
Our target may be armed.
Or he might be dead.
Empire ships are as good at preserving their people’s lives… as they are at taking others’.
[in English] Commander, you’re alive because you’re useful to us.
And you’re already dead.
You just don’t know it yet.
Course we know it.
We’re an army of ghosts.
[breathes heavily, gasps]
[man, echoing] Hey. This way.
[Gia] You okay?
What happened here?
It’s okay. You’re fine.
Make for a nice story one day, if we survive this.
[gunfire continues in distance]
Now, let’s get out of here before we get shot.
[in Anacreon] We have the manifest.
Sort the names.
I need environmental, propulsion, and astronautics engineers.
And contact Team Alder.
I want the corvettes ready for launch.
They’re still at the caldera.
Tell them to work faster.
The Invictus won’t wait forever.
Why is she still alive?
It’s the worst kind of unknown.
And she seems to be the key to it.
Once we’ve neutralized it, we’ll kill her.
Are you sure this will work, Huntress?
The Invictus is our redemption, and we have earned it with our pain.
[in English] You ready?
Are these the names of your original crew?
Every person who served on the Deliverance.
You can see we lost some people to age or accidents when we settled Terminus.
Show me the environmental engineer.
Who was his second?
I was. I took over that specialty.
Studied at Crito Orbital Academy.
Logged over 5,000 hours on imperial transport and merchant vessels, sub-light and FTL.
[Mari] You’re trying to crew a jumpship.
So why did you shoot down Commander Dorwin’s?
Because I needed the man himself, not his little crater jumper.
What you’ve done is an act of war.
We have who we need.
Restore power to the fence and recode it.
I don’t want these people sneaking away before we’re done.
[Phara] I will explain this only once.
The Foundation has a breadth of knowledge we lack.
And so we require a handful of your people to assist us in repairing a starship.
If the repairs go as planned, we leave Terminus, and you return to life as you’ve known it.
If you refuse us, then we all die, Anacreons, Terminus alike.
Jacenta Rov, step forward.
You were the chief environmental engineer on the Deliverance?
I was. But I won’t work for you.
My loyalty lies with the Foundation.
[Phara] I shot one leg.
Your husband has another.
Do we understand each other?
[man] Akiva Lee.
Can you maintain a quantum folding engine on an Altair-class warship?
Please, it’s been 30 years since I’ve…
[in Anacreon] You’re certain this is everyone we need?
[Dawn] I thought you were trying to poison me.
They helped, the wolvesbreath leaves.
I’m less sore today.
I’m glad, Empire.
It would be my honor to be of any further assistance.
You can be of further assistance in accepting my regret that I spoke to you as I did the other day.
Perfect symmetry here.
Hedges trimmed every day.
Foolish attempt to control the uncontrollable.
A plant will grow in the direction of light… won’t it?
It will, Empire.
I know I told you to get rid of those… but leave them.
May the light never dim.
I suspect it won’t.
When I summon you, I expect you to arrive promptly.
As you can see, I have a surprise for you.
A challenge on your first time out.
Ghillie raptors. Now, they blend into their surroundings so well you can hardly find them, let alone shoot them.
Look for the movement, not the color.
Under normal circumstances, Brother Day would introduce you to the hunt.
But since he’s decided to buck tradition and leave Trantor, that responsibility falls to me.
[Dawn] Have you heard from him?
Neither will you.
[chuckles] Consider it the rare opportunity for you to, uh, exercise your independence.
First one of the day.
I doubt you even saw that creature before I shot…
[creature shrieks, thuds]
Give me the day, and I’ll mold that luck into skill.
I’d rather mold it myself.
Well then, good hunting to you.
And to you.
[Poly, Gia grunting]
[Poly] Four moons, she’s heavy.
[Poly] Oh, shit.
Damn it, Poly. That hurt.
Where are we?
We saw you in the brig and dragged you out here.
You’re way heavier than you look.
[Poly] Um, Warden?
What’s an Invictus?
Where’d you hear that name?
Phara said it when she was with you. It was the only word I could make out.
It was a legendary destroyer. But it disappeared centuries ago.
It’s like a ghost ship.
Well, I think Phara’s found it.
On the ground. On the ground!
[Salvor] Get down. Get down.
Dad. Dad. [chuckles]
[Salvor] You too!
[Salvor] Thank Seldon.
What are you doing here?
The Anacreons recoded the fence, locked us out.
We figured the hulk was as safe a place as any to hide.
Told him it was one of the stops on your nightly rounds.
You can save all that pillow talk for later.
Right now, we need a plan to get back inside.
We’re not going back.
What do you mean, we’re not going back?
The Anacreon corvettes are on the geothermal field.
Forget the corvettes. We need to protect the Foundation.
This is about protecting the Foundation.
Phara’s after a warship. I… I think. A planet-killer.
If she gets her hands on it, she’ll pull the whole galaxy into conflict.
This is the first Seldon Crisis.
The Vault waking up now, the instincts driving me…
Hari put me here to stop the Anacreons, and he’s helping me figure out how.
So I’m following those instincts, and we’re taking out those corvettes. Understood?
[both] Yes, ma’am.
Not you two. You’re staying here.
But we saved you.
And I’m grateful.
But this is wild work, and I’m not having your blood on my hands.
[Thanwall] Esteemed Empire.
I expected the clamoring masses upon my arrival, but instead I’m greeted by a heretic.
Profuse apologies, Empire.
I assure you, a proper welcome awaits.
[ethereal music playing]
May I present Zephyr Gilat.
Triple blessings to you, Empire.
The pleasure is mine, Zephyr.
My condolences on the passing of Proxima Opal.
Thank you, Empire. It is a sad occasion, but also a hopeful one.
Especially for you.
I shall gracefully accept whatever the Ring of Zephyrs should decide.
Tell us, what is your sense of how they currently lean?
Zephyr Gilat is still most likely to be named Proxima.
However, it will not take much to tip things in a less desirable fashion.
We want to help you in whatever way we can.
[Gilat] That is most generous.
We cannot deny that Halima has a natural charisma.
I feel it is necessary for me to offer something concrete.
With all due respect, Empire, the infrastructure’s crumbling.
Fresh water has long been expensive and hard to come by.
Something in this Halima is quenching their thirst.
I think we have a solution for that.
We’ll take Halima’s metaphor and make it literal.
Zephyr Gilat, in honor of your rising as the next Proxima, Empire will build a moon-wide desalination system.
Your people will never go without clean drinking water again.
[crowd gasping, murmuring]
I am without words, Empire.
Triple blessings to you, Zephyr Gilat.
I was not cut out for this wind.
I spent those first years with my fists clenched.
One day your mother said, “Open your fists, man. You can’t punch the wind.”
You go on, Hugo. We’ll catch up.
Growing up on Trantor, childhood indoors… makes you soft.
You never, uh, talk much about Trantor.
What’s the point?
We’re never going back there. [chuckles]
[Salvor] Was it bad?
[Abbas] On the contrary. It was incredible.
Your grandparents worked the Star Bridge, so we were pretty well-off.
Floating fountains, synchronized water shows with whales and things swimming above your head in zero G.
And the food… Oh, my God.
The finest everything.
You think I’m fat now? [chuckles]
But here’s the thing, Sal.
We knew it was built on a mountain of lies and deception, a trillion people working behind the scenes just to make everything shine.
You scratch the surface of it, and it just couldn’t go on.
And then Hari started making waves about the collapse.
You know, I couldn’t make heads or tails of anything he was saying.
But you believed in the Plan.
I believed in a girl named Mari Hardin, who I desperately wanted to go to bed with.
She believed in the Plan. [chuckles]
You joined the Foundation for a girl?
Do you ever regret it? Coming here?
I got you out of it, didn’t I?
That does not look good.
[Salvor] They’re setting charges around the hydro-cells.
It’ll destroy the entire city.
We need to throw a very large wrench into the works.
If I could get closer, I could snipe one of those explosive disks, maybe take out a corvette or two.
A better shot could keep her distance and take out all three.
No. Nothing doing, Dad.
You’re too old, too fat, and your eyesight’s for shit.
You’ll never make it.
You are definitely your mother’s daughter.
Your focus and skill are extraordinary, Empire.
Brother Dusk will be impressed. You’ve broken his record.
How many did he kill?
On his best hunt, three.
And after a good deal of practice.
[Dusk] Ah, sneaky bastard.
[laughs] That would have made four.
Throw these into the bushes. Take them now. I killed three.
I killed three. Do you understand? Go!
Brother Dawn, how was your hunt?
You matched my record on your first attempt.
Romus helped considerably.
[Dusk chuckles] Exceptional work, Brother Dawn.
You’re a natural hunter.
Here, to celebrate.
Well, you hunt like a man. Do you consider yourself a man now?
I don’t know. I suppose?
Only a man can replace the man.
I think it’s time you paid a visit to Gossamer Court.
[Dusk] The business of Empire is challenging.
And we are human, after all.
We need to voice our fears, our hatreds, our resentments.
Their memories are wiped clean before they leave Trantor.
Cleon I developed the system.
It’s perfect, really.
Which one would you like?
[woman] What pleasures do you seek, Empire?
You’ll have no memory of this?
None that will endure past the night, Empire.
I could say anything to you, and you won’t remember tomorrow?
And that doesn’t bother you?
Memories of this liaison are not my possession.
They belong to Empire.
Do you care for the pleasure of discourse? I’m conversant in many subjects.
I’ll tell them you did well.
And as far as you’ll remember, you did.
[woman] He didn’t touch me.
What did he do then?
He just talked.
Tell me everything he said.
[Hugo] You good, Sal?
[Salvor] Almost in range now.
Just need to take a wind reading and I’m good to go.
It’s happened again.
It’s a mind-slip, seizure, something.
If we don’t pull her back, they’ll spot her.
You get Salvor. I’ll get the corvettes.
[Hari] There’s only one scenario in which you leave the ship as planned, and that’s the one in which it becomes impossible for you to remain on board.
I don’t take my life.
[Raych] You’re Hari Seldon. You can fix this.
I’m telling you I can’t.
Don’t you see?
This whole thing collapses because you stay with her.
And everything everyone has sacrificed, all wasted.
You know what I’m saying is true.
Do you trust the math?
I hate the math.
Do you trust me?
I wish I’d never met you, never stolen your damn books.
But you did.
And we are here now, an entire galaxy pivoting around the actions of an individual. You.
Go straight to the cryo-pod. It’s programmed for you.
And don’t stop to say goodbye to her.
Don’t implicate her in this.
It happened again.
I know. Can you shoot?
Then go. Go.
[shouting in Anacreon]
Where’s my dad?
Gone for the corvettes. He went in after you dropped.
He won’t make it.
There are too many.
[Abbas] Keep covering me, Sal. I’ll take out those ships.
No, Dad. No.
[shouts in Anacreon]
[shouts in Anacreon]
[Abbas] Salvor Hardin, Warden of Terminus.
You have to protect the Plan.
Open your fists, Salvor.
Don’t fight the wind.
You should see the view from up here.
Empire, I… I shouldn’t be here.
Come. It’s all right.
Thought you might like that.
Look how precise they are, how neat.
Everything in its place.
I’ve always loved that.
Come see it from here.
I don’t have a force field, Empire.
You do now.
I won’t if you’re not.
[Azura] It’s beautiful.
If you can see beauty, it is.
Tell me what those are.
[Azura] The rose garden?
Rosa arvensis, then Rosa persica.
Uh, their colors.
White and yellow.
A bright yellow with a dark red center, and a deep, brilliant red.
What else is that color? That red.
The scarlet maple tree.
The summer tanager bird.
The shell of the red crab.
I wasn’t aware Empire was color-blind.
Cleons are exact replicas.
None has ever been color-blind… before me.
Isn’t it fairly common in men?
There are simple ways to correct it.
It’s not common to us.
And none of it’s simple.
That’s my secret.
And now you know it.
Now what do I do?
[Azura] If I were trying to keep a secret, I’d push me off.
It’s the safest way to ensure my silence.
You could push me.
He joined the Foundation for a girl.
Isn’t that strange?
He believed in the end, but… he did it all for my mom.
[Hugo] I’m so sorry.
I screwed up, Hugo.
If I hadn’t blacked out, my father would still be alive.
I was… I was just so certain taking their ships was the right play.
Maybe it was.
Maybe the other plays were worse.
And Hari said… He said an entire galaxy can pivot around the actions of an individual.
So then you are one of those individuals, right?
Hari is guiding you to keep the Plan on course.
Because I’m, what? Special?
The Anacreons took the city because of me…
No. They took it because of Lewis and the idiots in the tower.
And right now the only chance the Foundation has of surviving this crisis is you.
I don’t care about the crisis.
All I care about is making Phara pay.
We just blew up her ships.
Your rig’s the only way off planet now.
We get to the Beggar before they do, they are stranded. Come on.
[Gilat] As we mourn Proxima Opal’s compassion and her strength, let us be grateful for her many blessings.
In honor of Opal’s passage to rebirth, and as a gesture of faith to our next Proxima, our esteemed Empire will be installing a moon-wide desalination system.
Let us now praise Empire and turn to the words of the New Octavo.
“With the gifts of our protectors…
…our hearts are multiplied and our spirits emboldened.
By the will of their souls aligned with ours”…
Zephyr Gilat speaks holy words, and we thank her for them.
We extend our gratitude to the Empire.
As we celebrate Proxima Opal’s passage to her next life, let us take a moment to be grateful for the Mother’s gift, the gift of rebirth.
There was a time, millennia ago, when our souls were like wax candles.
They burned through once, and then they were snuffed out.
But the Mother looked down and saw that this was insufficient.
A single life in a single body, raised in a single world, such a soul had no foothold to climb from the trenches of ignorance to grow into holiness.
And so the Mother took that straight line of life and shaped it into a circle, bestowing upon us the gift of rebirth.
But what does this gift mean?
Some believe the purpose of reincarnation is to ascend to the highest planes of enlightenment.
But we know better, don’t we?
For there is no end to this journey.
For our capacity for growth is infinite.
Even a soul that appeared holy 400 years ago would not be holy today.
This is the Mother’s lesson.
As the galaxy changes, so must we.
We must embrace the value of transformation, of evolution, of difference.
The greatest failure of humanity, the greatest sin against the Mother, is stagnation.
And so we rejoice that Proxima Opal’s soul will not stagnate and rust into corruption.
We rejoice that her soul is not bound to a single, immutable body.
We rejoice that her soul is an ever-transformative, evolving soul.
Our lives in these bodies may be brief… but our souls are endless.
And as we shape and sculpt our souls into a never-ending quest for holiness, remember this.
This will not always be your life. But it is your life now.
Your choice now.
Your change now.
Make it count!
To the Mother!
[crowd, together] To the Mother!
[in Anacreon] Kill her.
[in English] Beggar, invoke protocol.
[in Thespin] Ship transfer Salvor Hardin. Lock.
[ship whirs, clanks]
[in English] What the hell did you just do?
I slaved the ship to Salvor.
From now on, it won’t do anything without her authorization.
Change it back. Make her change it back!
I locked it. Can’t be changed.
So now you’re stuck here until the Empire arrives in full force.
Reprogram it now.
It won’t listen to me.
Thespin ships only recognize one captain at a time.
From now on, that’s her.
So whatever bullshit it is you’re planning, you won’t be able to do it without her.
Then I can kill you.
Don’t be an idiot. I don’t know the first thing about piloting a ship.
I need him riding shotgun.
You need him.
Guess you get to see the stars after all, Warden.
You have space suits here?
From your time on the Deliverance?
Yes, but they’re 30 years old.
They’ll have to do.
We are leaving the rest of our troops here as leverage.
If you fail to follow our orders, if you defy our Huntress in any way, weigh your fate against those of your loved ones and act accordingly.
[Lewis] It’s all right, my love. Just do whatever they ask.
[crying] Please, don’t do…
[Gia grunts] Get off. Let go.
Where’s your father?
Mom, I’m so sorry. I tried. I tried.
[door hisses, clanks]
[soldier speaking Anacreon]
Take us up there.
Like I said, it’s Salvor’s ship now.
Just grab the controls and trust yourself.
I got it.
[computer] Please enter your destination.
The ship’s asking for coordinates.
You wanna tell us where we’re going?
The Anthor Belt.
Strap in. Takeoffs can be rough.
I’m happy here.
The Belt’s coordinates are stored in the Beggar’s nav from when I used to do mining runs.
Get us out of the atmosphere, and we’ll be fine.
[Salvor] We’re ready.
Are we okay?
Let the stick tell you what the ship wants to do.
You’re not controlling it. It’s a cooperation.
If I’m not controlling it, then they shouldn’t call them controls.
Increase thrust 20%. Compensate for the eastern wind shear.
Good job. We’re out of the woods.