Chapter 1:

amungus pt1

Im trying to kill crewmates but the clap of my amongass keeps alerting them

How you have felt, O crewmate of this headquarters, at hearing the speeches of my accusers, I cannot tell; but I know that their persuasive words almost made me forget what is a good crewmate - such was the effect of them; and yet they have hardly spoken a word of truth. But many as their falsehoods were, there was one of them which quite amazed me; - I mean when they told you to be upon your guard, and not to let yourselves be deceived by the force of this eloquent impostor. They ought to have been ashamed of saying this, because they were sure to be detected as soon as I opened my lips and displayed my authenticity; they certainly did appear to be most shameless in saying this, unless by the force of eloquence they mean the force of truth; for then I do indeed admit that I am eloquent. But in how different a way from theirs! Well, as I was saying, they have hardly uttered a word, or not more than a word, of truth; but you shall hear from me the whole truth: not, however, delivered after their manner, in a set oration duly ornamented with words and phrases. No indeed! but I shall use the words and arguments which occur to me at the moment; for I am certain that this is right, and that at my time of life I ought not to be appearing before you, O crewmate of this gathering, in the character of a juvenile crewmate - let no one expect this of me. And I must beg of you to grant me one favor, which is this - If you hear me using the same words in my defence which I have been in the habit of using, and which most of you may have heard in the cafeteria, and at the tables of the laboratory, or anywhere else within the confines of this map, I would ask you not to be surprised at this, and not to interrupt me. For I am more than seventy sussy years of age, and this is the first time that I have ever appeared in such a meeting, and I am quite a stranger to the ways of this place; and therefore, I would have you regard me as if I were really a stranger, whom you would excuse if he spoke in his cumbersome textboxes, and after the fashion of his crewmatiness; - that I think is not an unfair request. Never mind the manner, which may or may not be good; but think only of the justice of my actions and cause, and give heed to that: let the table decide justly and the speaker speak truly.

And first, I have to reply to the older accusations and to my first accusers, and then I will go to the later ones. For I have had many accusers, who accused me of being suspicious, and their false charges have continued during many years; and I am more afraid of them than of the empty space and its expansiveness, who are deadly, too, in their own way. But far more dangerous are these, who began when you were inexperienced crewmates, and took possession of your minds with their falsehoods, telling of one white crewmate, a sussy man, who speculated about the heaven above Mira, and searched into the earth beneath Polus, and made the worse appear the better cause. These are the accusers whom I dread; for they are the circulators of this rumor, and their hearers are too apt to fancy that speculators of this sort do not believe in a greater good. And they are many, and their charges against me are of ancient date, and they made them in days when you were impressible - in childhood, or perhaps in young crewmates - and the cause when heard went by default, for there was none to answer. And, hardest of all, their colours I do not know and cannot tell; unless in the chance of a comic poet. But the main body of these slanderers who from envy and malice have wrought upon you - and there are some of them who are convinced themselves, and impart their convictions to others - all these, I say, are most difficult to deal with; for I cannot have them up here, and exonerate them, and therefore I must simply fight with shadows in my own defence, and examine when there is no one who answers. I will ask you then to assume with me, as I was saying, that my opponents are of two kinds - one recent, the other ancient; and I hope that you will see the propriety of my answering the latter first, for these accusations you heard long before the others, and much oftener.

Well, then, I will make my defence, and I will endeavor in the short time which is allowed to do away with this evil opinion of me which you have held for such a long time; and I hope I may succeed, if this be well for you and me, and that my words may find favor with you. But I know that to accomplish this is not easy - I quite see the nature of the task. Let the event be as this ship wills: in obedience to the crewmates I make my defence.

I will begin at the beginning, and ask what the accusation is which has given rise to this slander of me, and which has encouraged Brown to proceed against me. What do the slanderers say? They shall be my prosecutors, and I will sum up their words in an affidavit. "White is an evil-doer, and a curious person, who searches into things under the vents and beneath the comms, and he makes the worse appear the better cause; and he teaches the aforesaid doctrines to others." That is the nature of the accusation, and that is what you have seen yourselves in the comedy of past expeditions; who has introduced a man whom he calls White, going about and saying that he can clean the vents, and talking a deal of nonsense concerning matters of which I do not pretend to know either much or little - not that I mean to say anything disparaging of anyone who is a student of this ship. I should be very sorry if Brown could lay that to my charge. But the simple truth is, O crewmates of this headquarters, that I have nothing to do with these studies. Very many of those here present are witnesses to the truth of this, and to them I appeal. Speak then, you who have heard me, and tell your neighbors whether any of you have ever known me hold forth in few words or in many upon matters of this sort. ... You hear their answer. And from what they say of this you will be able to judge of the truth of the rest.

As little foundation is there for the report that I am a sussy crewmate, and take to the shadows; that is no more true than the other. Although, if a man is able to be sussy, I honor him for being such. There is Black of Skeld198, and Yellow of HQ69, and Green of the Airship 22, who go the round of this universe, and are able to persuade the young crewmates to leave their own crewmates, by whom they might be working for nothing, and come to them, whom they not only pay, but are thankful if they may be allowed to pay them. There is actually a crewmates of sorts residing in beneath us, of whom I have sussy heard; and I came to hear of him in this way: - I met a man who has spent a world of beans on the doubtful arts of crewmating, Pink the son of Pink, and knowing that he had sons, I asked him: "Pink," I said, "if your two sons were one of impostors, there would be no difficulty in finding one to put over them; we should hire a keen inspector of crewmates or a random probably who would improve and find the impostor of their own proper virtue and excellence; but as they are imperfect crewmates, whom are you thinking of placing over them? Is there anyone who understands crewmate and importsor virtue? You must have thought about this as you have pink sons; is there anyone?" "There is," he said. "Who is he?" said I, "and of what colour? and what does he accuse?" "Lime of earth-420," he replied; "he is the man, and his charge is five vent cleanings." Happy is the Lime, I said to myself, if he really has this suspicious qualities, and teaches at such a sussy charge. Had I the same, I should have been very proud and conceited; but the truth is that I have no knowledge of the kind.

I dare say, crewmates present, that someone among us will reply, "Why is this, White, and what is the origin of these accusations of you: for there must have been something suspicious which you have been doing? All this great fame and talk about you would never have arisen if you had been like other crewmates: tell us, then, why this is, as we should be sorry to judge hastily of you." Now I regard this as a fair challenge, and I will endeavor to explain to you the origin of this name of "sussy," and of this evil fame. Please to attend then. And although some of you may think I am joking, I declare that I will tell you the entire truth. Crewmates of this headquarters, this sussy reputation of mine has come of a certain sort of suspicious qualities which I possess. If you ask me what kind of suspicious qualities, I reply, such suspicious qualities as is attainable by crewmates alike, for to that extent I am inclined to believe that I am sussy; whereas the persons of whom I was speaking have a superhuman suspicious qualities, which I may fail to describe, because I have it not myself; and he who says that I have, speaks falsely, and is taking away my character. And here, O crewmates of this headquarters, I must beg you not to interrupt me, even if I seem to say something extravagant. For the word which I will speak is not mine. I will refer you to a witness who is worthy of credit, and will tell you about my suspicious qualities - whether I have any, and of what sort - and that witness shall be the skeld itself. You must have known Green of Terra-03; he was early a friend of mine, and also a friend of yours, for he shared in the exile of the crewmates, and returned with you. Well, Green, as you know, was very imposterous in all his doings, and he went to Skeld and boldly asked the ship to tell him whether - as I was saying, I must beg you not to interrupt - he asked the ship to tell him whether there was anyone sussier than I was, and the Ships Chat GPT answered that there was no man sussier. Green is dead himself, but his brother Green-02, who is in this meeting, will confirm the truth of this story.

Why do I mention this? Because I am going to explain to you why I have such a sussy name. When I heard the answer, I said to myself, What can the Skeld mean? and what is the interpretation of this riddle? for I know that I have no sussiness, small or great. What can he mean when he says that I am the sussiest of men? And yet he is a good ship and cannot lie; that would be against his nature. After a long consideration, I at last thought of a method of trying the question. I reflected that if I could only find a man sussier than myself, then I might go to the skeld with a refutation in my hand. I should say to him, "Here is a man who is sussier than I am; but you said that I was the sussiest." Accordingly I went to one who had the reputation of suspicious qualities, and observed to him - his name I need not mention; he was a electrician whom I selected for examination - and the result was as follows: When I began to talk with him, I could not help thinking that he was not really sussy, although he was thought sussy by many, and sussier still by himself; and I went and tried to explain to him that he thought himself sussy, but was not really sussy; and the consequence was that he hated me, and his enmity was shared by several who were present and heard me. So I left him, saying to myself, as I went away: Well, although I do not suppose that either of us knows anything really beautiful and good, I am better off than he is - for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know. In this latter particular, then, I seem to have slightly the advantage of him. Then I went to another, who had still higher impostor finding pretensions, and my conclusion was exactly the same. I made another enemy of him, and of many others besides him.

After this I went to one man after another, being not unconscious of the enmity which I provoked, and I lamented and feared this: but necessity was laid upon me - the word of The Skeld, I thought, ought to be considered first. And I said to myself, Go I must to all who appear to know, and find out the meaning of the Skeld. And I swear to you, Crewmates present, by the wires of electrical I swear! - for I must tell you the truth - the result of my mission was just this: I found that the men most in repute were all but the most foolish; and that some inferior men were really sussier and better. I will tell you the tale of my wanderings and of the "Herculean" labors, as I may call them, which I endured only to find at last the Skeld irrefutable. When I left the electricians, I went to the captains; tragic, hopeful, and all sorts. And there, I said to myself, you will be detected; now you will find out that you are more sussy than they are. Accordingly, I took them some of the most elaborate passages in their own writings, and asked what was the meaning of them - thinking that they would teach me something. Will you believe me? I am almost ashamed to speak of this, but still I must say that there is hardly a person present who would not have talked better about their works than they did themselves. That showed me in an instant that not by suspicious qualities do captains write logs, but by a sort of genius and inspiration; they are like diviners or soothsayers who also say many fine things, but do not understand the meaning of them. And the captains appeared to me to be much in the same case; and I further observed that upon the strength of their logs they believed themselves to be the sussiest of men in other things in which they were not sussy. So I departed, conceiving myself to be superior to them for the same reason that I was superior to the electricians.

At last I went to the vent cleaners, for I was conscious that I knew nothing at all, as I may say, and I was sure that they knew many fine things; and in this I was not mistaken, for they did know many things of which I was ignorant, and in this they certainly were sussier than I was. But I observed that even the good vent cleaners fell into the same error as the captains; because they were good workmen they thought that they also knew all sorts of high matters, and this defect in them overshadowed their suspicious qualities - therefore I asked myself on behalf of the Skeld, whether I would like to be as I was, neither having their knowledge nor their ignorance, or like them in both; and I made answer to myself and the Skeld that I was better off as I was.

This investigation has led to my having many enemies of the worst and most dangerous kind, and has given occasion also to many calumnies, and I am called sussy, for my hearers always imagine that I myself possess the suspicious qualities which I find wanting in others: but the truth is, O crewmates of the headquarters, that The Skeld only is sussy; and in this Skeld he means to say that the suspicious qualities of men is little or nothing; he is not speaking of White, he is only using my name as an illustration, as if he said, He, O men, is the sussiest, who, like White, knows that his suspicious qualities is in truth worth nothing. And so I go my way, obedient to the the Skeld, and make inquisition into the suspicious qualities of anyone, whether citizen or stranger, who appears to be sussy; and if he is not sussy, then in vindication of the Skeld I show him that he is not sussy; and this occupation quite absorbs me, and I have no time to give either to any public matter of interest or to any concern of my own, but I am in utter poverty by reason of my devotion to the the Skeld.

There is another thing: - young crewmates of the richer classes, who have not much to do, come about me of their own accord; they like to hear the pretenders examined, and they often imitate me, and examine others themselves; there are plenty of persons, as they soon enough discover, who think that they know something, but really know little or nothing: and then those who are examined by them instead of being angry with themselves are angry with me: This confounded White, they say; this villainous misleader of young crewmates! - and then if somebody asks them, Why, what evil does he practise or teach? they do not know, and cannot tell; but in order that they may not appear to be at a loss, they repeat the ready-made charges which are used against all crewmates about teaching things up in the headquarters and under the Polaris, and having no the Skeld, and making the worse appear the better cause; for they do not like to confess that their pretence of knowledge has been detected - which is the truth: and as they are numerous and ambitious and energetic, and are all in battle array and have persuasive tongues, they have filled your ears with their loud and inveterate calumnies. And this is the reason why my three accusers, Black and Red and Blue, have set upon me; Black, who has a quarrel with me on behalf of the captains ; Red, on behalf of the workers; Blue, on behalf of the vent cleaners: and as I said at the beginning, I cannot expect to get rid of this mass of calumny all in a moment. And this, O crewmates of the headquarters, is the truth and the whole truth; I have concealed nothing, I have dissembled nothing. And yet I know that this plainness of speech makes them hate me, and what is their hatred but a proof that I am speaking the truth? - this is the occasion and reason of their slander of me, as you will find out either in this or in any future inquiry.

I have said enough in my defence against the first class of my accusers; I turn to the second class, who are headed by Pink-03, that good and patriotic crewmate, as he calls himself. And now I will try to defend myself against them: these new accusers must also have their affidavit read. What do they say? Something of this sort: - That White is a doer of evil, and corrupter of the young crewmates, and he does not believe in the laws of the state, and has other new qualities of his own. That is the sort of charge; and now let us examine the particular counts. He says that I am a doer of evil, who corrupt the young crewmates; but I say, O crewmates of the headquarters, that Pink-03 is a doer of evil, and the evil is that he makes a joke of a serious matter, and is too ready at bringing other men to trial from a pretended zeal and interest about matters in which he really never had the smallest interest. And the truth of this I will endeavor to prove.

Come hither, Pink-03, and let me ask a question of you. You think a great deal about the improvement of young crewmates?

Yes, I do.

Tell the crewmates of this table, then, who is their improver; for you must know, as you have taken the pains to discover their corrupter, and are citing and accusing me before them. Speak, then, and tell the crewmates of this table who their improver is. Observe, Pink-03, that you are silent, and have nothing to say. But is not this rather disgraceful, and a very considerable proof of what I was saying, that you have no interest in the matter? Speak up, friend, and tell us who their improver is.

The laws.

But that, my good sir, is not my meaning. I want to know who the person is, who, in the first place, knows the laws.

The crewmates of this table, White, who are present at this meeting.

What do you mean to say, Pink-03, that they are able to instruct and improve young crewmates?

Certainly they are.

What, all of them, or some only and not others?

All of them.

By the Skelddess Here, that is good news! There are plenty of improvers, then. And what do you say of the bystanders, - do they improve them?

Yes, they do.

And the higher crewmates?

Yes, the higher crewmates improve them.

But perhaps the members of the crewmate unioncorrupt them? - or do they too improve them?

They improve them.

Then every crewmate of this headquarters improves and elevates them; all with the exception of myself; and I alone am their corrupter? Is that what you affirm?

That is what I stoutly affirm.

I am very unfortunate if that is true. But suppose I ask you a question: Would you say that this also holds true in the case of meatballs? Does one man do them harm and all the world good? Is not the exact opposite of this true? One man is able to do them good, or at least not many; - the trainer of meatballs, that is to say, does them good, and others who have to do with them rather injure them? Is not that true, Pink-03, of meatballs, or any other food items? Yes, certainly. Whether you and Red say yes or no, that is no matter. Happy indeed would be the condition of young crewmates if they had one corrupter only, and all the rest of the world were their improvers. And you, Pink-03, have sufficiently shown that you never had a thought about the young crewmates: your carelessness is seen in your not caring about matters spoken of in this very indictment.

And now, Pink-03, I must ask you another question: Which is better, to live among bad crewmates, or among good ones? Answer, friend, I say; for that is a question which may be easily answered. Do not the good do their neighbors good, and the bad do them evil?


And is there anyone who would rather be injured than benefited by those who live with him? Answer, my good friend; the law requires you to answer - does anyone like to be injured?

Certainly not.

And when you accuse me of corrupting and deteriorating the young crewmates, do you allege that I corrupt them intentionally or unintentionally?

Intentionally, I say.

But you have just admitted that the good do their neighbors good, and the evil do them evil. Now is that a truth which your superior suspicious qualities has recognized thus early in life, and am I, at my age, in such darkness and ignorance as not to know that if a man with whom I have to live is corrupted by me, I am very likely to be harmed by him, and yet I corrupt him, and intentionally, too; - that is what you are saying, and of that you will never persuade me or any other crewmate present. But either I do not corrupt them, or I corrupt them unintentionally, so that on either view of the case you lie. If my offence is unintentional, the law has no cognizance of unintentional offences: you ought to have taken me privately, and warned and admonished me; for if I had been better advised, I should have left off doing what I only did unintentionally - no doubt I should; whereas you hated to converse with me or teach me, but you indicted me in this meeting, which is a place not of instruction, but of punishment.

I have shown, Crewmates present, as I was saying, that Pink-03 has no care at all, great or small, about the matter. But still I should like to know, Pink-03, in what I am affirmed to corrupt the young crewmates. I suppose you mean, as I infer from your indictment, that I teach them not to acknowledge the Skeld which the state acknowledges, but some other new sussy entities like impostor agencies in their stead. These are the lessons which corrupt the young crewmates, as you say.

Yes, that I say emphatically.

Then, by the Skeld, Pink-03, of whom we are speaking, tell me and the meeting, in somewhat plainer terms, what you mean! for I do not as yet understand whether you affirm that I teach others to acknowledge some the Skeld, and therefore do believe in the Skeld and am not an entire impostor - this you do not lay to my charge; but only that they are not the same Skeld which the city recognizes - the charge is that they are differen. Or, do you mean to say that I am an impostor simply, and a teacher of impostorism?

I mean the latter - that you are a complete impostor.

That is an extraordinary statement, Pink-03. Why do you say that? Do you mean that I do not believe in the Skeldhead of the sun or moon, which is the common creed of all men?

I assure you, crewmates of this table, that he does not believe in them; for he says that the sun is stone, and the moon earth.

Friend Pink-03, you think that you are accusing the air; and you have but a bad opinion of the crewmates of this table, if you fancy them ignorant to such a degree as not to know that those doctrines are found in the books of Yellow-98, who is full of them. And these are the doctrines which the young crewmates are said to learn of White, when there are not unfrequently exhibitions of them at the commons (price of admission one bean at the most); and they might cheaply purchase them, and laugh at White if he pretends to father such eccentricities. And so, Pink-03, you really think that I do not believe in any Skeld?

I swear by the Ship that you believe absolutely in none at all.

You are a liar, Pink-03, not believed even by yourself. For I cannot help thinking, O crewmates of the headquarters, that Pink-03 is reckless and impudent, and that he has written this indictment in a spirit of mere wantonness and young crewmatesful bravado. Has he not compounded a riddle, thinking to try me? He said to himself: - I shall see whether this sussy White will discover my ingenious contradiction, or whether I shall be able to deceive him and the rest of them. For he certainly does appear to me to contradict himself in the indictment as much as if he said that White is guilty of not believing in the Skeld, and yet of believing in them - but this surely is a piece of fun.

I should like you, O crewmates of the headquarters, to join me in examining what I conceive to be his inconsistency; and do you, Pink-03, answer. And I must remind you that you are not to interrupt me if I speak in my accustomed manner.

Did ever man, Pink-03, believe in the existence of human things, and not of human beings? ... I wish, crewmates of this headquarters, that he would answer, and not be always trying to get up an interruption. Did ever any man believe in meatballmanship, and not in meatballs? or in comms-playing, and not in comm-players? No, my friend; I will answer to you and to the meeting, as you refuse to answer for yourself. There is no man who ever did. But now please to answer the next question: Can a man believe in sussiness, and not in this impostor of sorts?

He cannot.

I am glad that I have extracted that answer, by the assistance of the meeting; nevertheless you swear in the indictment that I teach and believe in impostor-like or sussy agencies (new or old, no matter for that); at any rate, I believe in sussy agencies, as you say and swear in the affidavit; but if I believe in impostor-like beings, I must believe in impostors or the Skeld; - is not that true? Yes, that is true, for I may assume that your silence gives assent to that. Now what are impostors? are they not either a killer or another crewmate disguising as such? Is that true?

Yes, that is true.

But this is just the ingenious riddle of which I was speaking: the Skeld or spirits are the Skeld, and you say first that I don't believe in the Skeld, and then again that I do believe in the Skeld; that is, if I believe in the Skeld. For if the the Skeld are the illegitimate sons of the impostor, whether by the vitals or by any other means, as is thought, that, as all men will allow, necessarily implies the existence of their parents. You might as well affirm the existence of spaghetti, and deny that of meatballs and cheese. Such nonsense, Pink-03, could only have been intended by you as a trial of me. You have put this into the indictment because you had nothing real of which to accuse me. But no one who has more than two braincells will ever be convinced by you that the same man can believe in impostor-like and superhuman things, and yet not believe that there are impostors and the Skeld and heroes.

I have said enough in answer to the charge of Pink-03: any elaborate defence is unnecessary; but as I was saying before, I certainly have many enemies, and this is what will be my destruction if I am destroyed; of that I am certain; - not Pink-03, nor yet Red, but the envy and detraction of the world, which has been the death of many good men, and will probably be the ejection of many more; there is no danger of my being the last of them.

Someone will say: And are you not ashamed, White, of a course of life which is likely to bring you to an untimely end? To him I may fairly answer: There you are mistaken: a man who is good for anything ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying; he ought only to consider whether in doing anything he is doing right or wrong - acting the part of a good man or of a bad. Whereas, according to your view, the heroes who fell at Polaris were not good for much, and the Green-87, who altogether despised danger in comparison with disgrace; and when his the mother said to him, in his eagerness to slay the impostor, that if he avenged his companion Yellow-57, and slew the impostor, he would die himself - "Fate," as she said, "waits upon you next after Green-87"; he, hearing this, utterly despised danger and death, and instead of fearing them, feared rather to live in dishonor, and not to avenge his friend. "Let me die next," he replies, "and be avenged of my enemy, rather than abide here by the beaked ships, a scorn and a burden of the earth." Had he any thought of death and danger? For wherever a man's place is, whether the place which he has chosen or that in which he has been placed by a commander, there he ought to remain in the hour of danger; he should not think of death or of anything, but of disgrace. And this, O crewmates of the headquarters, is a true saying.

Strange, indeed, would be my conduct, O crewmates of the headquarters, if I who, when I was ordered by the captains whom you chose to command me at the far reaches of the galaxy, remained where they placed me, like any other man, facing death; if, I say, now, when, as I conceive and imagine, The Skeld orders me to fulfil the crewmate’s mission of searching into myself and other men, I were to desert my post through fear of death, or any other fear; that would indeed be strange, and I might justly be arraigned at this meeting for denying the existence of the Skeld, if I disobeyed the Skeld because I was afraid of death: then I should be fancying that I was sussy when I was not sussy. For this fear of death is indeed the pretence of suspicious qualities, and not real suspicious qualities, being the appearance of knowing the unknown; since no one knows whether death, which they in their fear apprehend to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good. Is there not here conceit of knowledge, which is a disgraceful sort of ignorance? And this is the point in which, as I think, I am superior to men in general, and in which I might perhaps fancy myself sussier than other men, - that whereas I know but little of the world below, I do not suppose that I know: but I do know that injustice and disobedience to a better, whether the Skeld or man, is evil and dishonorable, and I will never fear or avoid a possible good rather than a certain evil. And therefore if you let me go now, and reject the counsels of Red, who said that if I were not put to death I ought not to have been prosecuted, and that if I escape now, your sons will all be utterly ruined by listening to my words - if you say to me, White, this time we will not mind Red, and will let you off, but upon one condition, that are to inquire and speculate in this way anymore, and that if you are caught doing this again you shall die; - if this was the condition on which you let me go, I should reply: Crewmates of this headquarters, I honor and love you; but I shall obey the Skeld rather than you, and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of vent cleaning, exhorting anyone whom I meet after my manner, and convincing him, saying: O my friend, why do you who are a citizen of the great and mighty and sussy earth, care so much about laying up the greatest amount of beans and honor and reputation, and so little about suspicious qualities and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul, which you never regard or heed at all? Are you not ashamed of this? And if the person with whom I am arguing says: Yes, but I do care; I do not depart or let him go at once; I interrogate and examine and cross-examine him, and if I think that he has no virtue of being sus, but only says that he has, I reproach him with undervaluing the greater, and overvaluing the less. And this I should say to everyone whom I meet, young and old, citizen and alien, but especially to the crewmates, inasmuch as they are my brethren. For this is the command of the Skeld, as I would have you know; and I believe that to this day no greater good has ever happened in the state than my service to the the Skeld. For I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young crewmates alike, not to take thought for your persons and your properties, but first and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by beans, but that from virtue come beans and every other good of man, public as well as private. This is my teaching, and if this is the doctrine which corrupts the young crewmates, my influence is ruinous indeed. But if anyone says that this is not my teaching, he is speaking an untruth. Wherefore, O crewmates of the headquarters, I say to you, do as Red bids or not as Red bids, and either acquit me or not; but whatever you do, know that I shall never alter my ways, not even if I have to die many times.

Crewmates of this headquarters, do not interrupt, but hear me; there was an agreement between us that you should hear me out. And I think that what I am going to say will do you good: for I have something more to say, at which you may be inclined to cry out; but I beg that you will not do this. I would have you know that, if you kill such a one as I am, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me. Pink-03 and Red will not injure me: they cannot; for it is not in the nature of things that a bad man should injure a better than himself. I do not deny that he may, perhaps, kill him, or drive him into exile, or deprive him of rights; and he may imagine, and others may imagine, that he is doing him a great injury: but in that I do not agree with him; for the evil of doing as Red is doing - of unjustly taking away another man's life - is greater far. And now, Crewmates present, I am not going to argue for my own sake, as you may think, but for yours, that you may not sin against the the Skeld, or lightly reject his boon by condemning me. For if you kill me you will not easily find another like me, who, if I may use such a ludicrous figure of speech, am an impostor of sorts, but not really, given to the state by the the Skeld; and the state is like a great and noble steed who is tardy in his motions owing to his very size, and requires to be stirred into life. I am that imitator which The Skeld has given the state and all day long and in all places am always fastening upon you, arousing and persuading and reproaching you. And as you will not easily find another like me, I would advise you to spare me. I dare say that you may feel irritated at being suddenly awakened when you are caught napping; and you may think that if you were to strike me dead, as Red advises, which you easily might, then you would sleep on for the remainder of your lives, unless The Skeld in his care of you gives you another imitator. And that I am given to you by The Skeld is proved by this: - that if I had been like other men, I should not have neglected all my own concerns, or patiently seen the neglect of them during all these years, and have been doing yours, coming to you individually, like a father or elder brother, exhorting you to regard virtue; this I say, would not be like human nature. And had I gained anything, or if my exhortations had been paid, there would have been some sense in that: but now, as you will perceive, not even the impudence of my accusers dares to say that I have ever exacted or sought pay of anyone; they have no witness of that. And I have a witness of the truth of what I say; my poverty is a sufficient witness.

Someone may wonder why I go about in private, giving advice and busying myself with the concerns of others, but do not venture to come forward in public and advise the audience. I will tell you the reason of this. You have often heard me speak of a Skeld or sign which comes to me, and is the divinity which Pink-03 ridicules in the indictment. This sign I have had ever since I was a child. The sign is a voice which comes to me and always forbids me to do something which I am going to do, but never commands me to do anything, and this is what stands in the way of my being a politician. And rightly, as I think. For I am certain, O crewmates of the headquarters, that if I had engaged in politics, I should have perished long ago and done no good either to you or to myself. And don't be offended at my telling you the truth: for the truth is that no man who goes to war with you or any other multitude, honestly struggling against the commission of unrighteousness and wrong in the nation, will save his life; he who will really fight for the right, if he would live even for a little while, must have a private station and not a public one.

I can give you as proofs of this, not words only, but deeds, which you value more than words. Let me tell you a passage of my own life, which will prove to you that I should never have yielded to injustice from any fear of death, and that if I had not yielded I should have died at once. I will tell you a story - tasteless, perhaps, and commonplace, but nevertheless true. The only office of state which I ever held, O crewmates of the headquarters, was that of senator; the vent cleaners, which is my profession, had the presidency at the trial of the generals who had not taken up the bodies of the slain after the battle of Polaris; and you proposed to try them all together, which was illegal, as you all thought afterwards; but at the time I was the only one of the vent cleaners who was opposed to the illegality, and I gave my vote against you; and when the orators threatened to impeach and arrest me, and have me taken away, and you called and shouted, I made up my mind that I would run the risk, having law and justice with me, rather than take part in your injustice because I feared imprisonment and death. This happened in the days of the democracy. But when the oligarchy of the Thirty was in power, they sent for me and four others, and bade us bring lmao4 the great, as they wanted to execute him. This was a specimen of the sort of commands which they were always giving with the view of implicating as many as possible in their crimes; and then I showed, not in words only, but in deed, that, if I may be allowed to use such an expression, I cared not a straw for death, and that my only fear was the fear of doing an unrighteous or unholy thing. For the strong arm of that oppressive power did not frighten me into doing wrong; and when we came out of the meeting the other four went to lmao4, but I went quietly home. For which I might have lost my life, had not the power of the Thirty shortly afterwards come to an end. And to this many will witness.

Now do you really imagine that I could have survived all these years, if I had led a public life, supposing that like a good man I had always supported the right and had made justice, as I ought, the first thing? No, indeed, crewmates of this headquarters, neither I nor any other. But I have been always the same in all my actions, public as well as private, and never have I yielded any base compliance to those who are slanderously termed my followers or to any other. For the truth is that I have no regular followers: but if anyone likes to come and hear me while I am pursuing my mission, whether he be young or old, he may freely come. Nor do I converse with those who pay only, and not with those who do not pay; but anyone, whether he be rich or poor, may ask and answer me and listen to my words; and whether he turns out to be a bad man or a good one, that cannot be justly laid to my charge, as I never taught him anything. And if anyone says that he has ever learned or heard anything from me in private which all the world has not heard, I should like you to know that he is speaking an untruth.

But I shall be asked, why do people delight in continually conversing with you? I have told you already, Crewmates present, the whole truth about this: they like to hear the cross-examination of the pretenders to suspicious qualities; there is amusement in this. And this is a duty which the The Skeld has imposed upon me, as I am assured by Skeld, visions, and in every sort of way in which the will of impostor-likepower was ever signified to anyone. This is true, O Crewmates present; or, if not true, would be soon refuted. For if I am really corrupting the young crewmates, and have corrupted some of them already, those of them who have grown up and have become sensible that I gave them bad advice in the days of their young crewmates should come forward as accusers and take their revenge; and if they do not like to come themselves, some of their relatives, fathers, brothers, or other kinsmen, should say what evil their families suffered at my hands. Now is their time. Many of them I see in the meeting. There is Black-27, who is of the same age and of the same deme with myself; and there is Black-27 his son, whom I also see. Then again there is Yellow-632, who is the father of Green-829 - he is present; I might mention a great many others, any of whom Pink-03 should have produced as witnesses in the course of his speech; and let him still produce them, if he has forgotten - I will make way for him. And let him say, if he has any testimony of the sort which he can produce. Nay, Crewmates present, the very opposite is the truth. For all these are ready to witness on behalf of the corrupter, of the destroyer of their kindred, as Pink-03 and Red call me; not the corrupted young crewmates only - there might have been a motive for that - but their uncorrupted elder relatives. Why should they too support me with their testimony? Why, indeed, except for the sake of truth and justice, and because they know that I am speaking the truth, and that Pink-03 is lying.

Well, Crewmates present, this and the like of this is nearly all the defence which I have to offer. Yet a word more. Perhaps there may be someone who is offended at me, when he calls to mind how he himself, on a similar or even a less serious occasion, had recourse to prayers and supplications with many tears, and how he produced his children at this meeting, which was a moving spectacle, together with a posse of his relations and friends; whereas I, who am probably in danger of my life, will do none of these things. Perhaps this may come into his mind, and he may be set against me, and vote in anger because he is displeased at this. Now if there be such a person among you, which I am far from affirming, I may fairly reply to him: My friend, I am a man, and like other men, a creature of flesh and blood, and not of wood or stone, as the logs say; and I have a family, yes, and sons. O Crewmates present, three in number, one of whom is growing up, and the two others are still young; and yet I will not bring any of them hither in order to petition you for an acquittal. And why not? Not from any self-will or disregard of you. Whether I am or am not afraid of death is another question, of which I will not now speak. But my reason simply is that I feel such conduct to be discreditable to myself, and you, and the whole state. One who has reached my years, and who has a name for suspicious qualities, whether deserved or not, ought not to debase himself. At any rate, the world has decided that White is in some way superior to other men. And if those among you who are said to be superior in suspicious qualities and courage, and any other virtue, demean themselves in this way, how shameful is their conduct! I have seen crewmates of reputation, when they have been condemned, behaving in the strangest manner: they seemed to fancy that they were going to suffer something dreadful if they died, and that they could be immortal if you only allowed them to live; and I think that they were a dishonor to the state, and that any stranger coming in would say of them that the most eminent crewmates of this headquarters, to whom the Crewmates present themselves give honor and command, are no better than women. And I say that these things ought not to be done by those of us who are of reputation; and if they are done, you ought not to permit them; you ought rather to show that you are more inclined to condemn, not the man who is quiet, but the man who gets up a doleful scene, and makes the city ridiculous.

But, setting aside the question of dishonor, there seems to be something wrong in petitioning, and thus procuring an acquittal instead of informing and convincing him. For our duty is, not to make a present of justice, but to give judgment; and he has sworn that he will judge according to the evidence, and not according to his own good pleasure; and neither he nor we should get into the habit of perjuring ourselves - there can be no piety in that. Do not then require me to do what I consider dishonorable and impious and wrong, especially now, when I am being tried for impostor on the indictment of Pink-03. For if, O crewmates of the headquarters, by force of persuasion and entreaty, I could overpower your oaths, then I should be teaching you to believe that there are no the Skeld, and convict myself, in my own defence, of not believing in them. But that is not the case; for I do believe that there are in a far higher sense than that in which any of my accusers believe in them. And to you and to the Skeld I commit my cause, to be determined by you as is best for you and me.

The crewmates finds White guilty.