Original release date: October 29, 2021
Salvor and Phara’s party board and explore the 700-year old ghost ship Invictus, but not without casualties; among others, Hugo drifts off during the spacewalk crossing from the Beggar, and Dorwin is killed by Phara after he unseals the vessel. With the Invictus only hours away from making a random jump to a potentially lethal destination, the dwindling group of Anacreons and colonists proceeds to the bridge to take control. On The Maiden, Brother Day is agitated by his inability to rein in the defiant Halima, but decides he can upstage her by undertaking Luminism’s most sacred pilgrimage. On Trantor, Azura asks Brother Dawn, who lives in constant fear of being replaced by another clone should his uniqueness be exposed, to consider running away with her. Aboard the Raven, the living Hari Seldon is revealed to be a digital copy of the deceased Hari’s consciousness. The copy had been stored in the knife Raych used to kill him, and then was uploaded into the ship when Gaal was found. Hari explains that Gaal and Raych’s unexpected relationship had disrupted his plans for the Foundation: Hari was to commit suicide to mythologize himself, Raych was to bring the knife to the Raven, and Gaal was to lead the Foundation through its first crisis on Terminus. Hari had persuaded Raych to murder him instead in order to force the couple’s separation. Gaal’s outrage at her mentor’s manipulation is momentarily quelled by the revelation that she possesses a latent ability: prescience.
* * *
[Salvor] The Anthor Belt. Dad used to tell me stories about it.
Wonder what he’d say now.
Would you believe I used to work on one of those things?
Mining palladium. I remember.
My back’s sore just looking at all that equipment.
I can’t believe it’s still there. Your people, they just left it?
Without the Empire’s tech, the industry just broke down.
That’s when I started doing long-haul routes. Another life.
In other words, you abandoned your own people.
Meant there was one less Thespin to fight over the scraps.
[computer] Approaching coordinates.
There’s nothing here.
Look closer, Warden.
The crown jewel of Emperor Taurelian’s fleet.
You know of her?
They say, in her day, the Invictus was the most powerful weapons platform the Empire had ever built.
Yeah, she disappeared without a trace 700 years ago.
No debris. No distress signals.
People reported sightings of her all across the galaxy, never responding to hails, never seen in the same place twice.
And you just found her here.
Like she was calling to me.
The Invictus is a jumpship.
The Empire considers jump technology a state secret.
They’d sooner wipe out the entire Outer Reach than allow you to take this ship.
Nobody knows she’s here.
You won’t even be able to board.
The air lock will never open for an Anacreon.
Your imperial nanobots, programmed for expedited healing and identification… coded to access any imperial ship.
That’s why we needed you, Commander.
You’re our way in.
Even if that actually works, you don’t know where this ship has been or what happened to the crew.
How do you even know if she’s safe to approach?
Oh, she isn’t.
The two craft we lost attempting to board.
Her defense systems are still active.
[in Anacreon] Get the suits ready.
[in English] Uh, do you think any of those mining bases still have active comms?
It’s unlikely. But it’s possible.
I’ve got a distress beacon.
It’s a neural implant, records everything I see and hear.
If we can get to a dispatch capsule on the Invictus, we can send out a signal.
[lieutenant] All right, listen. It’s a 10,000-meter jump.
You want to drop fast, with as little extraneous movement as possible.
On your final approach, you’ll have to flip over and brake.
The Invictus’s automated rail guns are blind to objects under two meters in diameter.
If we spread out and move with control, we should be invisible to them.
You know what you’re doing?
Almost never, lover.
Warden, up front.
[lieutenant] You must land on the inner ring to access the air lock.
Miss the inner ring and you will be lost.
I’ll go on three.
One. Two… [gasps]
Good job, Warden.
[Hugo] Sal, my suit’s failing. It’s no good.
Thrusters aren’t responding. [grunts]
No, no, no.
[Hugo] I can’t… I can’t get it…
I got you!
Sal! No, get back.
Hugo! No. No.
[Hugo, distorted] Sal. Sal…
No. No. Hugo.
[groans, breathes heavily]
Swallow your grief, Warden. We have no time for it now.
Air lock’s that way. Let’s move.
[Demerzel] Excuse me, Empire.
I know you’re far too rational to have taken what I did as any sort of…
Go on. I’m curious to hear just what you think you didn’t do.
If I hadn’t knelt, it would’ve been a clear contradiction of my faith.
So you knelt before a demagogue.
I was kneeling to the Mother.
I’m sorry, to the what?
I’m not familiar with that term, motherless atrocity that I am.
You know I don’t agree with Halima’s position.
I should hope not. You’re not precisely one with the reincarnation cycle yourself.
I wonder what Halima would say if she were made aware of that.
It’s not in my interest to publicize your true nature.
This was a staggering betrayal, Demerzel.
It was a betrayal of your directive.
As far as I understood it, you are incapable of disloyalty.
Over all else, your fealty to the Cleonic Dynasty is embedded into your programming.
And that is precisely my point.
If kneeling were in violation of my protocol, I would not have been able to. Physically.
The very signals I use to instruct my limbs to bend would have been blocked.
An explanation that also conveniently justifies your actions.
Here is my question, did you want to kneel?
I am loyal to Empire above all else.
[woman] Forgive me, Empire…
Spit it out.
It seems Zephyr Halima’s speech has struck a chord.
Ambassador Thanwall indicates that she has now become the front-runner.
Well then… we have to shift her away from this pet subject.
I’ve gotta figure out what she actually wants from me.
I wouldn’t have expected to see you down here, Cleon.
The correct honorific is “Empire.”
I have great respect for those who attempt the Spiral.
A sacred ritual, reserved for a proxima’s passing.
To walk is to humble oneself before the Triple Goddesses.
I see someone’s coached you well.
Tell me, Lady Demerzel, have you had occasion to walk the Spiral?
I have. Many years ago.
Then you know just how transformative the journey can be… and how the body will suffer.
This man was blinded by the sun.
Many others die attempting to reach the Womb of the Mother.
All very noble deaths, I’m sure.
Zephyr Halima, Empire was hoping to speak frankly with you.
I can appreciate an aggressive early play.
And, well, you’ve succeeded in drawing me down here into the trenches.
So, I applaud you. I’m here. And I’m listening.
I’m not really sure what it is you’re expecting me to say.
What is your ask?
End the Genetic Dynasty.
If you’re only fielding offers, consider the following.
In addition to the desalination system, we will also establish a satellite security station for the dedicated protection of your people.
Safety and clean water.
We’re misunderstanding each other here, Cleon.
My ask is not a tactic.
I only preach what I believe.
And I believe the Genetic Dynasty will be the ruin of us all.
Luminists can see the future now?
I do not claim to see the future.
I only have a sense deep in my soul of what is true and what is wrong.
You don’t even remotely comprehend what my familial line has accomplished.
My brothers and I…
Brothers? You are not brothers.
You are the reverberations of a dead man’s ego, by nature blind to all that you lack.
The soulless creature cannot recognize itself.
I believe the late Dr. Seldon made a similar observation?
If that is truly what you believe, I am sorry.
You will spend your life shouting into the void.
The only reason you ventured down here is because you know people are listening to me.
I’m sure, in preparation for your visit, you were counseled as to the staggering numbers of followers Luminism claims, all committed to acting in service of truth’s light.
Remind me, how many people did it take to bring down your Star Bridge?
Are you threatening me?
I’m only trying to answer your question, to articulate my ask.
I’m not surprised it’s left you confused.
It’s about something much greater than you.
But I’m sure your adviser will help you to understand.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have souls that need ministering to.
Lewis, fall back. Fall back, Lewis.
You and Jacenta are too close. Two meters!
[Lewis] Oh, sorry.
If I open the doors, the guns will stop.
Commander! [speaks Anacreon]
[in English] Now!
[Phara] He served his purpose.
Not you, Warden. You’re too dangerous unfettered.
Hold out your hands.
[lieutenant] Keep moving.
[Jacenta] Atmosphere’s frozen.
Must be a hull breach somewhere.
The environmental systems must be off. We should find a regulation panel.
The regulation panel. Over here.
Okay. The system’s archaic.
I’ll have to input commands with manual code.
I’ve sealed the breach so it’s safe to restore atmosphere.
[sighs] We might have weather in here as the atmosphere regulates.
And now for the gravity. Heads up.
Those lights, what was that? Is that a power surge?
I’m not sure.
Now update security protocols.
I want the internal defenses off-line.
Security’s a different system. That’ll be closer to the bridge.
Then we head there next.
Hey, the lights were pulsating consistently every 18 seconds, and now it’s down to 16.
O-O-Okay. So, what does that mean?
Like a countdown?
A countdown to what?
The next jump.
Two weeks ago, my people were out on a scavenging run.
They happened to see the Invictus jump in.
We think her drives are cycling on their own, setting random time intervals between jumps.
We knew, if we wanted to get control of the ship, we had to board before she could jump away again.
Jump away where?
They have no idea. That’s how the legend started.
That’s why the Invictus became a ghost ship.
The crew must have lost control, and the ship started jumping from one random set of coordinates to the next.
They got marooned out in the dark deep somewhere, out of comms range… maybe outside the galaxy completely.
They ran out of food, turned on each other.
How long do we have before the countdown gets to zero?
[Lewis] Uh, at this rate… four hours.
So we have four hours to get control, or she blinks away again.
You understand the urgency now.
If we fail and we’re lucky, we end up in the heart of a sun or staring down the mouth of a black hole.
If we’re unlucky, we suffer much longer deaths.
What are your feelings about Halima now?
That was reckless.
There’s no question in my mind, that was a threat.
That damn Hari Seldon predicted this.
“An exhortation from one of the galaxy’s major religions.”
As to Halima’s threat, I will enhance the security measures at the palace.
We can assemble a comms team to contain Halima’s message, data filters triggered by certain phrases. “Genetic Dynasty.”
I refuse to play defense with this woman.
If she wants to invoke something greater than me, I’ll do the same.
I’ll prove both her and Seldon wrong.
According to Zephyr Halima, I am soulless, and therefore incapable of growth.
But as she suggests, the soulless creature cannot recognize itself, which is why I must appeal to those with a much broader vantage, broader even than the zephyrs.
I must appeal to the Triple Goddesses themselves.
I will walk the great Spiral.
And I will let the Mother, the Maiden and the Crone decide what is true, who is right… and who is wrong.
How does this work?
[chuckles] I’ll show you.
I’ve brought you something.
So you can see red and green.
But I can’t. They’ll draw attention.
The others, Brother Dusk, Brother Day, they can’t know.
Maybe you could put them on when they’re not looking.
They’re always looking.
And if they start pulling that thread, it all comes undone.
Please, Azura… call me Cleon.
It’s not just the color blindness.
My thumbs clasp right over left.
My brothers’ clasp left over right.
They love brassica.
I find it so bitter I can barely stomach it.
I put my shoes on in a different order.
I point at things with a different crook in my finger.
I eat starches before meats instead of the other way round.
If they notice the ‘hesives, they might notice all of it.
Would that really be so terrible?
I’ll show you.
This is the first.
The Cleon from whom we’re all extracted.
Are they alive?
In a manner of speaking.
They’re absorbing information, so as to be up to date with our lives if they’re ever needed.
Needed? For what?
If a Cleon is ever damaged or killed, these are his replacements.
Every moment of my life is a test.
And if I ever fail, if they ever learn how different I am, it’ll be my last day.
And his first.
But they can’t. You’re… You’re Empire.
No more than he is.
My job, my reason for existing, is to be a perfect copy.
And if I can’t do that, then…
The Empire must be protected from mistakes.
So I can’t take your gift, Azura.
They can’t know I’m correcting my sight.
I have to blend in, or I die.
Or you escape. You leave.
They won’t care. They’ll just wake up your replacement.
They won’t let a rogue Emperor go free. They’ll have me killed.
Then we’ll make it so they can’t find you.
I have the most recognizable face in the galaxy.
Not if we change it.
There are biohackers underground.
They could do it with a single incision.
They’d still track me through my nanobots.
There are people who can filter them out.
You think you’re the first person who’s wanted them gone?
You showed me this place for a reason.
The same reason you jumped off your balcony.
You can’t live like this.
You’ve lived every moment of your life with people watching you.
The Scar’s different. You can lose yourself in it.
For Empire, the Scar represents a failure.
For the rest of Trantor, it represents an opportunity.
For the first time in centuries, we can look up and see real clouds, real stars, not a simulation run by servers designed to keep us complacent.
Will they let me through security with it?
[Azura] It’s nothing like your palace.
It’s crowded. It’s chaotic.
But it’s alive.
And it’s waiting for you.
Come with me.
[Dusk] You missed the dinner bell.
Punctuality. Routine. Respect.
These may be practiced traits to the everyman, but they are innate to a Cleon.
At least, they should be.
I was just learning about Trantor. The rest of it.
We are Trantor.
Nothing outside the palace walls is relevant.
Computer, what am I looking at?
[computer] Hari Seldon Quantum Consciousness Protocol.
It’s a projection of some kind. Um…
Computer, identify the issue with Hari Seldon Protocol.
Incomplete neural uplink.
Uh, computer, what was the source of uplink?
Initiated with Raych Foss Arrival Protocol.
Uh, can you restart it?
Hari, can you hear me?
Okay. Listen to me. Focus on my voice. This is Gaal.
Uh, you’ve digitized your consciousness, but something went wrong.
You’re glitching, stuck in the loop of the past.
Just concentrate on my voice.
This is the present. This is now.
That’s it, Hari. Follow my voice.
That is the past. This is now.
What have you done to yourself, Hari?
I had a data unit implanted in my brain before we left Trantor…
synced to a port hidden in Raych’s knife.
Recorded all my thoughts, memories, everything, right up to the moment I…
Something must’ve gone wrong.
[gasping] Where am I?
On a ship called the Raven, headed to Helicon, your homeworld, Hari.
Helicon. Oh, yes. [breathes heavily]
You’re not supposed to be here.
He sent me instead.
He wouldn’t do that. You’re supposed to lead the First Foundation.
He knew that.
They’ll be facing their first crisis soon. Who’s in charge?
Lewis Pirenne, I’d imagine.
[sighs] He’ll get them through the settlement stage, but for what’s coming next, they’ll need someone else, you.
Raych knew that. Where’s Raych?
It’s… It’s hard to explain. Um…
You’re dead, Hari.
You know that, right?
Raych murdered you.
They think I helped him.
I… I went to your cabin. Interrupted him.
I saw him bent over you with the knife in your chest.
He threw me in the lifeboat and stayed behind.
What happened to him?
They executed him.
Raych is dead?
Hari? Why did he do it?
We’re running out of time. We need to make a move. Now.
We take their weapons, level the playing field.
I’m not a fighter. None of us are.
Most people aren’t, until they’re left with no other choice.
An energy barrier.
It’s gotta be a tech precursor to our fence on Terminus.
I’m the only expert here who can safely override it.
But you’ll need to uncuff me.
Do it, Warden.
Or we all die for nothing.
That’s it. We’re all coded in.
Cuffs back on. Hold out your hands.
What is this?
The older ships used cooling tanks for the jumpdrives. Careful.
[lieutenant] Keep moving.
[lieutenant] No, Phara.
We still need her.
There might be more barriers, security protocols to override.
We’re losing all our experts, and we’re running out of time.
You wanna live to carry out your strike against the Empire?
You’re not gonna do it if you stay on board this ship.
I’m never leaving the Invictus.
And neither are you.
You’re gonna help us redirect the ship before she jumps again.
And then we’ll guide it right into the beating heart of Trantor.
The Empire won’t have a chance to run, just like my people did not.
All of Trantor will be nothing but a heap of poisonous ash, all its evils rendered silent underneath it.
We will deliver that justice to them, Warden.
We will die to bring the Empire to its knees.
[computer] Oxygen level at 2%.
[Gaal, breathing heavily] Hari?
The ship’s shut down without you.
Temperature’s dropped. [gasping]
I don’t think I’ll be able to breathe much longer.
Please authorize reinstatement of life support systems.
Please authorize reinstatement of life support systems.
Please authorize reinstatement…
…of life support systems.
Please, Hari. Please.
[Hari] I owe you an explanation, Gaal.
I recognize that now.
Why did Raych do it?
I don’t understand. Why did he kill you?
My death was an essential element to the success of the Plan.
The Foundation needs more than a man to inspire it.
It needs a myth that can endure for centuries.
And it worked.
Do you remember what our mortality projections had been for Terminus?
The actual rate was nearly half that.
My death galvanized the Foundation.
The Foundation isn’t a religion, Hari.
And you’re not a god.
No. Gods are impervious to knives.
But you can kill them. You just stop believing in them.
I don’t buy it. I mean, y-you’re egotistical, but I can’t see you sacrificing your life just to turn yourself into this.
Why not just wait until…
I have Lethe Syndrome.
Had Lethe Syndrome.
Inherited from my father.
Once the symptoms manifest, the cognitive decline is steep.
Think it through.
We reach Terminus, face famine and the elements, but I’m no longer the hand of our salvation, but the crackpot who dragged everyone to a frigid rock.
But you told me it was your dream to see Terminus.
You said you wanted to start the Foundation together.
I said it loudly and often, didn’t I?
So often I started to bore myself.
You were performing.
I was engineering the narrative.
That’s a fancy way of saying you lied.
[computer] Approaching debris disk.
The debris field surrounds…
[both] Helicon’s dark star.
It’s kept your homeworld hidden all these years.
I know where we are, Hari. It’s the why I’m struggling with.
Did Raych know about this? Your death? This ship?
Raych knew everything.
I was gonna take my life. He was gonna stay behind to explain why… then, a week or so later, disappear and reunite with me here.
He loved you. That wasn’t a lie.
You should’ve warned me.
Would you have listened?
I am so tired of this.
You deciding what I need to know when I need to know it.
What changed your plan?
You really need me to answer that?
He wasn’t ever going to leave you.
So you made Raych kill you.
That way he would have to leave me.
You used him.
You used both of us.
Raych was always meant to be here.
Not you. Raych.
You were meant to stay on Terminus, to lead Terminus.
Exactly! There was never a version of your plan where Raych and I were within light-years of each other.
You didn’t care about what we wanted, as long as your plan was safe!
You’re too smart to play the victim, Gaal.
You welcomed your part in this the moment you solved Abraxas.
You could’ve submitted the answer anonymously.
You chose recognition.
No one forced you to come to Trantor.
I came under false pretenses.
You came knowing full well the attention it would bring you and the danger that put your family in.
You made a choice, Gaal.
You wanted a different life to the one mapped out for you.
When we were hauled up in front of the Emperor, you made a choice to lie to him.
“If you kill me, the fall accelerates.” Isn’t that what you told him?
Fine. We’re both hypocrites.
If this was really only about the path psychohistory laid out, then you would’ve let Cleon kill you in that throne room.
Your followers would’ve been exiled, and everything would’ve fallen into place as planned.
So why didn’t you?
I wanted to live.
Well, so did Raych.
Now I’m here instead of on Terminus, and Raych is dead.
And that’s on you. Not me.
Don’t you dare put this on me.
You weren’t supposed to be anywhere near my cabin the night I died.
You were meant to be swimming.
Every night, 40 lengths of the pool. Counting primes like clockwork.
I’ve heard enough from you.
I liked you better when you were dying.
You came to my cabin. Why?
I was worried about Raych.
So why not go to his?
I did. He wasn’t there.
Then what happened?
I don’t know. I…
Computer, divert from the debris field.
Something is going to pierce the hull.
Hari, if you’re in the mainframe, you can turn us around.
The shields are strong.
Any micro-breaches will seal automatically.
Turn us around. This is too much.
Why did you break your routine?
Why did you get out of that pool?
I know what you’re trying to do.
You were worried about Raych. You went to his cabin.
He wasn’t there. Then what happened?
I could feel it in the air.
A… A sense of doom.
I just… I had a feeling.
What kind of a feeling? A memory? A vision? What?
Like my body knew something before I did.
Hari, the sky.
Like knowing the Star Bridge would fall.
Like knowing when they’d come to arrest me.
How are you awake?
Did you say… say something?
No. But I was going to ask…
Someone would speak before they did.
[Day] The prodigy speaks.
[Jerril] We’re all different, Ms. Dornick.
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’re exiling us.
[Gaal] Did you say… say something?
[Day] The prodigy speaks.
[Gaal] You’re exiling us.
[echoes] How are you awake?
[Gaal] Did you say something?
[Raych] I’m sorry.
You’re exiling us.
[Spacer] How are you awake?
[Raych] I’m sorry.
[Gaal] Did you say something?
That’s why I came to your cabin. That’s what you couldn’t predict.
I knew what was gonna happen before it did.
Not through math, not through calculations…
I think I can feel the future.