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VOL. 14 NO. 3 









First Word 


By Laura Escorel j 

By Sandy Fritz 

Looking for locations for i 

■ '• ^rS[ . 

Everything you always 

the new film ' 

wanted to know 

At Play in the Fields of 

about the paranormal but 

the Lord., the 

were afraid 

Brazilian cinematographer 

Mm ■-'- ^Bta^k. flH 

to ask; cars so new they 

saw his 

EV fllk.fl 

haven't been 

homeland in a new light. 

■k jNm 

invented yet; and more. 




H Electronic Universe 

TTie Who's Who 

!: - . ■ '■' ." ■ ■■■■■■'. ':■ ■ 

f$^ By G'"egg Keizer 

of contributing authors 

^^ _--^«d 

You've read the genre, 


. now play the 

games: Science fiction 


laBS i 

games, always 

Readers' writes 

a weak imitation of 


>:.;^^ ^Vsti 

written SF, 

begin to hold their own. 


By Jeanne K. Hanson 




intently study the newest 

By A.J.S. Rayl 

place on Earth 

This winter at the movies; 

to discover how life evolved 

a new Addams 

when the 

Family, an invisible Chevy 

planet was young. 

Chase, and a 


thirtysomething Peter Pan. 

The image is as familiar as Warhol's 


Political Science 


cans, Mickey's ears or the Coca-Cola logo: the 

By Tom Dworetzky 

massive starship Enterprise standing 


Why doesn't 

ready for battle, as countless stars light up the darkness 

TV without the guilt; 

the U.S. buy the nukes 

of deep space. Now twenty-five years 

what's black 

the Soviets are 


the Star Trek story continues to fascinate and 

and white and munched by 

tossing out to keep up with 

entertain us,--incfeed to illuminate 


the Bushes'' 


. (Additional art and photo credits, page 124) 

animals?; and more. 



Boldly Going Nowhere? 

■ By Melinda Snoclgrass 

Despite predictions that 

it would crash 

and burn, Star Trek: 

The Next 

Generation continues to 

thrive, delighting 
Trekkers and new fans 

aiike with the 

adventures of Picard and 

his crew. But 

has it abandoned the 


reckless spirit for a more 


view of the future? 



By Doug Stewart 
Physicist Roald Sagdeev 

guided the 
Soviet Union's unmanned 

space program 
to new heights but made 

more headlines 

down on Earth when he 

bucked the 

Communist political 

system back 

in 1988, when perestroika 

' was untested. 


Sfar Trek: The Director's Chair 

By Nicholas Meyer 

After twenty-five years of meeting alien races, romancing 

beautiful women, and saving the 

universe, James T. Kirk and his crew are heading for 

home to take a well-deserved rest. The 
director and screenwriter of the new film, Star Trek VI: 

The Undiscovered Country, talks 
about working with the Star Trek cast and characters. 


Fiction: The Other Shore 

By J.R. Dunn 
Several years ago. 

geneticists cooked up a 

modern version 
of the Black Death that 

only non-Caucasians, 

the population of the 

Third World. 
As the world struggles 

to recover; 
FBI agent Dave must 

escort Bedford, 
one of the accused 

scientists, to 

trial, where he faces 

almost certain 

death. There's just one 

problem: Dave 

thinks the likable Bedford 

is innocent. 


The New Cartographers 

Maps and legends; We've 

come a long 
way from the days when 


labeled uncharted seas 

with "Here 

be dragons." Cartography 

has become 
a science, employing the 

latest satellite 

and computer technology 

to not only 

map the seas but also 

help prevent 

environmental damage 


deliver mail faster. 


Class Acts 

By Gregg Keizer 

Science has certainly changed over the past few 
decades. Fortunately, many schools have 

teaching science not just with textbooks 
but with satellite hookups, computer net- 
workSj and old-fashioned ingenuity and enthusiasm. 


Confronting the mythic— and the not so mythic 

By Lauro Escorel 

A few reflections 

by Escorel 

on the movie 

At Play. 

Novel: Peter Mat- 

thiessen. Script: 

Jean-Claude Car- 

riere and 

Hector Babenco. 

Lately the Amazon and its 
inhabitants have been a 
frequent focus of interna- 
tional attention. Anyone who is at- 
tentive to the larger issues of our 
contemporary world has an inner 
vision of the Amazon. For a long 
time even I, as a Brazilian, had 
mythical images of that part of my 
country: Anacondas, Indians, 
and the vastness of the forest 
were my only references. Today 
ecological consciousness, the crit- 
ical concern about the invasion of 
indigenous peoples' land, and 
the images of death and destruc- 
tion caused by strangers seeking 
gold are bringing about a new vi- 
sion of the Amazon. 

As director of photography on 
the movie At Play in the Fields of 
the Lord, I realized the project of- 
fered a unique opportunity to 
unite two visions — the real and 
the imagined — of the Amazon. I 
knew I also faced the challenge 
of finding the proper balance be- 
tween the intimate drama of 
each character in the movie and 
-the scope of the Amazonian 
i scenery. 

The process of discov- 
ering the Amazon began 
for all of us — producer 
'Saul Zaentz, director Hector 
Babenco, and production de- 
signer Clovis Bueno — 
when we be- 
gan to look 
for loca- 

tions. For more than six months, 
in successive trips throughout the 
region, we fully experienced the 
confrontation between the real 
and the imaginary Amazon. We 
traveled from north to south, 
from east to west, by canoe, 
small plane, car, and, very often, 
foot; and on each trip our per- 
ceptions changed and broad- 
ened. Sometimes the forest re- 
vealed its secrets; at other times 
it seemed to escape us. While 
there we often rejected what we 
saw because it did not corre- 
spond to our preconceived ide- 
as. When we were far away from 
the forest, everything seemed to 
grow and gain value. The light of 
day could make the place look 
like paradise or very frightening. 
The river's appearance varied 
depending on the area, the light 
of day, and the tides. In some 
places, the height of the tides, 
sometimes 22 feet, could drastical- 
ly alter the look of a particular 
spot. We had to return several 
times to the same area just to con- 
firm our impressions. 

Meeting the original inhabi- 
tants of the' region was also part 
of our education. When we ob- 
tained the permit to visit the Indi- 
ans, Brazilian officials asked us to 
take parcels to them. When I dis- 
covered the contents of the pack- 
ages — plastic sandals, mayon- 
naise jars, knives, clothes, and 
other goods of our society— the 
myth of the purity of the Indians 
was immediately dispelled. 

I still recall the emotion of our 
first trip to a Yanomami village. 
For more than an hour we fol- 
lowed our guide without knowing 
where he was taking us. When 
we finally arrived at the malo- 
ca (collective habitation), we 
were enchanted by its dimen- 
sions, the beauty of its archi- 
tecture, and the original way 
they divided the space for each 
family group. Slowly each one of 

us started picturing in our minds 
the ideal scenery for the film. I at- 
tentively observed the multiple 
light effects in the forest, wonder- 
ing, for example, what the best 
time of day would be to capture 
the beauty of the Indians' 
bronzed skin tone. 

The clash of cultures is one of 
the main themes of the film, and 
it was interesting to watch the in- 
tegration between the Indian 
cast and the film crew. Once 
when the Indians discovered we 
were not shooting because I was 
waiting for a cloud — diffused 
light was best for their skin color— 
they started to dance, calling for 
clouds. In a line they clapped 
their hands and bent their bodies 
backward and forward while cross- 
ing from one end of the set to the 
other, At each turn they would 
pull a crew member into the line 
as they sang, looking to the sky 
and back to the set. Soon the 
whole film crew was involved in 
the surprising ritual. Shortly there- 
after clouds appeared in the sky 
and we finished the scene with 
the same intensity that we had be- 
gun it with. Was it the mere pas- 
sage of time or their faith that 
brought up the clouds? I don't 
know. Had we simply crossed our 
arms and waited, I do know their 
energy would have vanished. 

The crew had the privilege of 
living in the Amazon for almost a 
year, and I believe At Play suc- 
cessfully captures some of the mul- 
tiple images of the Amazon — im- 
ages that bring us closer to the 
myth and, at the same time, bright- 
en the scenery wherein one of the 
biggest tragedies of our time is tak- 
ing place: Indian genocide, de- 
forestation, the pollution of the riv- 
ers — and, ultimately, the demise 
of the Amazon. These are the 
symptoms of a sick world that we, 
as its inhabitants, must reflect on 
in order to discover what kind of 
future we really want. DO 



Our writers boldly explore new classes, modern maps, 

the latest movies, and a newborn island 

In the fall of 1966. when Cap- 
tain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and the 
rest of the starship Enterprise 
crew made iheir first voyage 
across the nation's television 
screens, mass-media science fic- 
tion was not yet a part of main- 
stream American culture. Stanley 
Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odys- 
sey would not appear for two 
years, and George Lucas's Star 
Wars was ten years off. But 
through constant syndication and 
the intense loyalty of its fans, Star 
Trek permeated the national con- 
sciousness so thoroughly that the 
first operative space shuttle was 


from bottom: 

J.R. Dunn, 

Gregory T. Pope, 

A.J.S. Rayl, 

and Doug Stewart. 

named after Captain Kirk's star- 
ship. Star Trek was one of the fac- 
tors that brought science fiction 
concepts to a much broader au- 
dience and thus made a maga- 
zine like Omni possible. We 
thought we should take a look at 
the Star Trek phenonmenon on its 
twenty-fifth anniversary. 

In his first piece for Omni, writ- 
er/director Nicholas Meyer {"Star 
Trek: The Director's Chair," page 
48) offers some thoughts on why 
Star Trek appeals to so many peo- 
ple. Meyer directed Star Trek It: 
The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek 
VI: The Undiscovered Country, re- 
leased by Paramount in Decem- 
ber, and coauthored the screen- 
plays for Star Trek IV: The Voy^ 
age Home and Star Trek VI. 

Melinda Snodgrass ("Boldly Go- 
ing Nowhere?," page 52) served 
as executive script consultant on 
the TV series Star Trek: The Next 
Generation for two seasons. Her 
latest science fiction novel, Dou- 
ble Solitaire, is due out from Ban- 
tam in early 1992. 

Our world has seen many 
changes since Star Trek first 
aired, not least of which is the in- 
creasing importance of science 
and technology in our lives. In 
"Class Acts" (page 42), Gregg 
Keizer shows us how some 
schools are working to prepare 
students for a highly technoio- 
gized future. But a few programs 
are not enough. "Every kid in 
every class in every 
school ought to have the 
same opportunities as 
the children in Caro- 
lyn Flannagan's class 
and Albert Tarendash's 
high school," says Keiz- 
er, a former junior high 
school teacher. 
Rapid change has overtaken 
not only our schools but the very 
face of our planet. Gregory T. 
Pope ("The New Cartographers," 
74) went to the U.S. Geo- 

logical Survey headquarters in 
Reston, Virginia, to see how com- 
puters and satellites are chang- 
ing the way we make and use 
maps. "I grew up in the Wash- 
ington, D.C., area," says Pope, 
"but the region has changed so 
fast that I needed a map to get to 
the Survey center — and even 
then I got lost." 

Star Trek aired at the height of 
the Cold War, and Doug Stewart 
(Interview, page 56) spent a 
month in the Soviet Union during 
that tense era. In interviewing Ro- 
ald Sagdeev both before and af- 
ter the August coupattempt, Stew- 
art noticed a profound change in 
the former Soviet space-science 
chief's mood. "Before the coup, 
Sagdeev.talked about Soviet sci- 
entists as if they were an endan- 
gered species. But afterward, he 
was as excited as a new Nobel 
prize winner." 

Star Trek VI is only one of many 
science fiction and fantasy films 
coming soon to theaters near us. 
A.J.S. Rayl (Entertainment, page 
30) takes us on a tour of the lat- 
est from Steven Spielberg, John 
Carpenter, David Cronenberg, 
and others. 

A few years before Star Trek 
first appeared, the sea off of the 
southern coast of Iceland gave 
birth to a brand-new island. Once 
a dangerous place of quaking 
earth and flowing lava, Surtsey is 
calm now — though Jeanne K. Han- 
son's (Earth, page 18) trip to the 
island was not so peaceful. 
"When it came time to go back, 
the North Atlantic waves had be- 
come huge, and the raft couldn't 
get through the surf," she reports. 
"I was soaked from head to toe." 

With the threat of nuclear war 
fading, J.R. Dunn's "The Other 
Shore" (page 66) becomes all the 
more chilling, as he envisions 
worldwide disaster resulting from 
overpopulation, racism, and the 
horror of biological warfare. DQ 



Examining the abortion debate, the rigors of research, 

and the changing mores of language 

Power of the Future? 

Glenn Seaborg [First Word, September 
1991] may want to reexamine cold fu- 
sion. Six hundred scientists in more 
than a dozen countries are working 
with this emerging technology. The re- 
cent book, Fire From Ice: Searching for 
the Truth Behind the Cold-Fusion Furor, 
by Eugene Mallove (Wiley), details the 
shortcomings of the Department of En- 
ergy report on which Dr. Seaborg relied. 
Indeed, Mallove presents substantial 
grounds for his opinion that power 
plants based on this phenomenon 
could be on-line by the year 2000. 

Mark Goldes 

Magnetic Power Inc. 

Sebastopol, CA 

Settling History 

As an American Indian who usually en- 
joys reading Omni, I was shocked and 
disgusted by the article "Who Discov- 
ered America?" by Stephen Mills and 
Melanie Menagh [Continuum, Septem- 
ber 1991]. The article focuses on who 
"discovered" America. The correct 
term would be "invaded." No mention 
is ever made that the Americas were in- 
habited before European settlement. 
The article fails to recognize that Amer- 
ican Indians/Alaska Natives were actu- 
ally here first. During this time of nation- 
al planning for the "celebration" of the 
500th anniversary of Columbus' inva- 
sion, I hope Omni will keep in mind 
that not everyone is celebrating. While 
you share the joy of European Ameri- 
cans, please allow some magazine 
space for the point of view of Native 
Americans and how these 500 years 
have affected us, 

Anne Guillory-Thom 
San Francisco, CA 

A Choice Question 

Dr. Etienne-Emile Baulieu, the inventor 
of the abortion pill [Interview, Septem- 
ber 1991], says anti-abortion activists 
are "bent on limiting people's free- 
doms." But later in the interview he 
says he. thinks abortion should be ille- 
gal after the third month of pregnancy. 
., That is more restrictive than current U.S. 

law and would surely be vehemently 
resisted by Planned Parenthood and 
the National Organization of Women, 
Isn't Dr. Baulieu afraid that pro-abortion 
activists will accuse him of being 
"bent on limiting people's freedoms"? 
Douglas Sczygelski 
Dayton, OH 

Thomas Bass' interview with the RU 486 
inventor, Dr. Etienne-Emile Baulieu, fur- 
ther demonstrates the well-document- 
ed pro-abortion bias in the media. Not 
even a pretense at objectivity was 
made while he characterized abortion 
as a natural and moral choice and por- 
trayed pro-life proponents as the villains 
in the controversy. Where were the ques- 
tions about the degree of development 
of the aborted embryo or the psycho- 
logical effect on the mother when she 
discovers that she ended a life? 

Margaret Miksch 
Chicago, IL 

Digging for Answers 

In "Casket Case" [Digs, September 
1991], researcher Henry Miller hoped 
to extract tissue samples from the 
dead people and therefore figure out 
what some of the diseases were at 
that time. I salute his curiosity, but he 
said that the "period literature notes 
things like agues and bloody flux. Who 
knows what "that is?" It occurred to me 
that all he had to do was look up the 
words in an old dictionary, which they 
have in a lot of libraries, to find out. Ac- 
cording to my dictionary, agues are ma- 
larial fevers, and the bloody flux is dys- 
entery. I think that a director of research 
should think of these things for himself, 
rather than having a 12-year-old dis- 
cover it first. 

Hilary G. Johnson 
Duluth, MN 

Omni applauds Johnson's legwork but 
asksd Miller to respond: 
There are several interpretations for 
bloody flux and the agues. The interpre- 
tations noted are the classic definitions, 
but both are really best guesses more 
than anything else.DQ 



The Earth's newest place may show how life appeared billions of years ago 

By Jeanne K. Hanson 

□ ur rubber dinghy slaps 
cold surf. We jump oui 
and land on a black 
beach littered with boulders. Two 
tall hills hide the rest of the bare 
island. In the foreground we see 
just four signs of life; a piece of 
dried green seaweed, a gray feath- 
er, the footprint of a gull, and a 
chip of white shell, brilliant 
against the black sand. 

This is already the strangest 
place I have ever been, eerie in 
its emptiness and dramatic in its 
abstract shape, an odd northern 
Eden that brings to mind the art 

high: Visitors 
Surtsey's odd 

for clues about 
the devel- 
opment of life. 

of sculptor Isarnu Noguchi. But 
Surtsey — named for Surtur, a gi- 
ant who, in Norse mythology, 
came from the sea bearing fire — 
is Earth's newest island. 

The ocean glowed gold when 
Surtsey began to rise from the 
sea just 28 years ago off Ice- 
land's southern coast. Along a 
600-foot-long fissure thai split the 
deep ocean floor, then later from 
craters, lava flowed for almost 
four years at 45 miles per hour. 
A lava wall formed to hold back 
the sea; "lava bombs" as large as 
automobiles flew through the air. 
During one period the energy of 
the eruption could have illuminat- 
ed a city ten times the size of 
New York. The earth is still warm 
beneath the surface. 

Iceland has designated Surt- 
sey a nature preserve, a place to 
study how life colonizes new 
land. Visitors are allowed on the 
island only in the company of a 
scientist and with the. seldom- 
offered permission of Iceland's 
Surtsey Research Council, Our 
guide, Jon Olafsson, a marine 
chemist with the Marine Institute 
of Iceland, seems glad that even 
our footprints "would be gone in 
the first southeaster." The only 
signs of human presence consist 
of a small shed where scientists 
can spend the night and some 
wooden measuring sticks next to 
plant samples. 

Olafsson shows us the island's 
surprising variety of topography. 
We climb the smaller of the two 
hills through sand and over 
moberg, or solidified lava. We 
also see a hardened lava 
lake," large purple-black boul- 
, ders, a moss-filled lava crater, 
i black sand beaches, 
and a high black "sand 
"cliff that descends 
into a canyon. 

In the 28 years since 
the last eruption, 27 
species have made 

passage here. Sea rockets ar- 
rived first, probably via ocean cur- 
rents. Others came by air: Snow 
buntings brought seeds from Scot- 
land in their gizzards. Wind, wa- 
ter, and birds also carried blue- 
blossomed lungworts and various 
mosses and grasses to Surtsey. 

Nesting birds are rare, with few- 
er than 100 nests found since the 
island was born, says Sturla Frid- 
riksson, a biologist and ecologist 
at Iceland's Agriculture Research 
Institute. "The birds need cliffs to 
nest on, and it took a while for the 
lava to break up into cliffs," he 
says. Six species nest here: her- 
ring gulls, fulmars, black-backed 
gulls, kittiwakes, guillemots, and 
arctic terns. 

The first visitors to Surtsey 
were fulmars, arctic seabirds 
that landed briefly, even before 
the eruption ended, to eat fish 
killed in the hot ocean plume, Frid- 
riksson says, Later, insects 
came over to feed on the remains 
of the fish or bits of seaweed. 
And now, every April, mother 
seals heave themselves up on 
the fresh black beach to bear 
their young. 

Research projects involving 
each species draw scientists 
from all over the world. To aid 
them in their unhindered quest to 
study the development of life, vis- 
itors may not take even a souve- 
nir rock. Even the old bones of a 
bird must be left undisturbed. 

These days only nature is al- 
lowed to affect this unique envi- 
ronment. Eroding winds have al- 
ready shrunk the island's land 
mass to three quarters of its origi- 
nal one square mile or so, and 
from a height of 575 feet to 490 
feet. In time, Surtsey will become 
steeper and smaller, until it disap- 
pears altogether from sight. 
"Then those who study it will be 
able to tell how a society is built 
up — and how it's destroyed," Frid- 
riksson says. DQ 

In the l6()0's, Sir [suae Newton led the scientific 
revolution with breakthrough discoveries in optics, 
mathematics and physics using little more than his 
incredible mind. Today, America is about to provide 
scientists with a basic research tool that promises to 
expand our knowledge as never before. 

The Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) will 
propel subatomic panicles at near the speed of light. 
Head-on collisions will shatter the particles to reveal 
the constituents of matter. Such basic research will 
provide scientists at the SSC laboratory with answers 
to some of our greatest questions. 

And (hat's only the beginning. Became once 
we possess this information, the resulting applications 
for medicine, computers, materials and a host of 
other technological areas will exceed our wildest 

Obviously, much has changed since Newton's 
time. Yet, the driving forces that have taken us so far . 
still remain the same. Our hunger for knowledge and 
our need for basic research. 


A Strong Company For A Strong Country 



What do I hear for a dozen ICBMs with MIRVed 20-megaton warheads? 

by Tom Dworetzky 

S200 billion may 

be big 

bucks, but those 


nukes'd be a 


at twice the price. 

■ t's nice to see the new sensi- 
I tivity has finally touched the ma- 
I cho heart of nuclear diploma- 
cy. First President Bush unilater- 
ally announces that he'll get rid 
of a bunch of nuclear weaponry, 
the type known as tactical. 
(These are things like land mines 
and artillery shells and short 
range rockets that you could set 
off over the same battlefield that 
your troops are fighting on.) 

Then Gorby sees him and rais- 
es the ante. He will do all that 
plus pull back a bunch of his sub- 
marine-based strategic missiles. 
(These- are the things that travel 
3,000 to 6,000 miles to explode 
over your homeland.) 

It's nice to see the stakes ris- 
ing in this antimacho poker 
game. But the betting isn't high 
enough. Now it's time to bring the 

big bucks into it as well. The way 
that someone without any more 
chips might toss his grandfather's 
pocket watch into the pot. We 
victorious capitalists have a com- 
pletely unprecedented opportu- 
nity, one so unbelievable that I 
think it truly does signify the 
most profound fork ever trod on 
the historical road. 

It's simple; it's free market; it 
will feed, clothe, house, and 
heat the Russkies; and it will buy 
us more bang for our defense 
bucks than ever before. 

Put straight, it's this: Let's start 
putting the United States' econom- 
ic clout — and our defense dol- 
lars — directly into the pot by of- 
fering to buy the rest of the Sovi- 
et Union's nuclear arsenal lock, 
stock, and barrel for cold cash 
and then destroying the stuff com- 
pletely. We might as well. Before 
the smoke clears from the col- 
lapse of the Soviet Union, we'll be 
shipping aid dollars to them in box- 
cars. After all, they've got all 
those bloody nukes. We don't 
want them to get cranky and hun- 
gry, now do we? 

The Soviets have gold, oil, 
trees, and what all, but their great- 
est natural resource is actually 
plutonium. Think I'm kidding? 
What's the going rate these days 
for a fully functional 1CBM with a 
MIRVed 20-megaion warhead on 
the open arms market? Hard to 
say for sure, but considering 
what some folks have spent to pro- 
duce not even enough plutonium 
for one such warhead, I've esti- 
mated the cost (or is it worth?) of 
these things to be from $10 mil- 
lion to $100 million. 

We could start the betting at 
$10 million and see what sort of 
deal we can strike for quantity. 
And we're talking not just your 
raw goods here but the full value- 
added package of a fully assem- 
bled and tested warhead mount- 
ed on a rugged, ready-to-go mis- 

sile. Considering the c 
they can cause, the way I see it, 
it's an unbeatable value. Taking 
these things off the market per- 
manently is a better way to neu- 
tralize them than Star Wars— or 
some shaky agreement by both 
sides to store the stuff in their 
respective cellars. 

After all, if some unstable and 
greedy individual got hold of one 
of these babies, rang up Hussein, 
and said, "Sure, it's big bucks, 
Saddam — but this hog'll reach 
D.C. and there's no way to stop 
it," don't you think that Saddam 
would draw up a cashier's 
check on his BCCI account then 
and there? 

We could probably win the 
hand — that is, take the Soviet Un- 
ion's entire nuclear cache of 
27,000 or so weapons— for $200 
billion or $300 billion. That's a lot 
of money, I know. But for $200 bil- 
lion you could build exactly 228.5 
B-2 bombers at their present 
price tag of $875 million. Frank- 
ly, even at ten times the price it 
would be worth it — if we could 
buy it overtime. 

All right, I know it will take jobs 
away from our boys in the military- 
industrial complex. And why 
should the taxpayer spring for 
this useless Russkie stuff any- 
way? Fair enough. 

Here's another way to finance 
it. Let's offer a junk bond issue for 
a company called Nuclear Deter- 
rence Inc. Anyone who wants the 
Soviet stockpile bought and de- 
stroyed could buy in — S5, S10 a 
share, whatever. Let Mike Milken 
or the Salomon boys handle it in 
exchange for a little time off for 
good behavior. It might even be 
such a good deal that the U.S. 
bomb makers would start selling 
their stuff off, too. 

Two hundred billion dollars 
may be a lot of money, but all of 
these goodies would still be a bar- 
gain at twice the price. DO 



Into the mystic, writing to the top, motoring into the future, and the past 

By Sandy Fritz 






Rosemary Ellen Guley, ed. Harper, 

San Francisco, 1991. $19.95 

PLUSES: Always entertaining. 

MINUSES: Poor binding. 

VERDICT: Worthy. 

Let's get it straight: The Lemuri- 
ans, not the Atlantians, are human- 
ity's Third Root Generation. And 
in case you were wondering, the 
symbol for modern pharmacies, 
J&, is derived from three pieces 
of the Eye of Horus, the son of 
Osiris and Isis. 
These two examples give a 

fair indication of 

the depth and 
breadth of this 
gem. Among the 
high points to 
check out: the 
mystical experi- 
ence of Charles 
Lindbergh while 
piloting The Spir- 
it of St. Louis, 
and the gigantic vegetables that 
grew in Scotland (within the Arc- 
tic Circie!) after an eiderly couple 
befriended a plant spirit. 


Software. Changewater Comput- 
ing, Box 4468, Warren, NJ 07059- 
0468. $29.95 plus S1 .50 postage. 
PLUSES: Vents disgruntlement 
in a constructive manner. 
MINUSES: At present, only 
IBM compatible. 

VERDICT: Worth at least three 
times its price. 

This software is actually a data- 
base with the names, addresses, 
and appropriate forms of address 
for letters to government officials, 
leaders of nations and their cab- 

inets, and even the CEOs of ma- 
jor businesses, from food proces- 
sors to publishers. 

Menu-driven in order to foil 

even the most inept computer us- 
er, Changewater Letters lets you 
contact key decision makers in all 
areas with ease and grace. Pow- 
er to the people. 

AUTO 2010 

Paul Van Valkenburgh. Self-pub- 
lished, 1991. Box 3611, Seal 
Beach, CA. $14.95 plus $2 to cov- 
er postage. 

PLUSES^ Good ideas present- 
ed with subtle humor. 
MINUSES: Pie-in-the-skyish. 
VERDICT: An automobile lov- 
er's dream. 

Paul Van Valkenburgh has a 
headache. His Auto 2010 looks, 
feels, and reads like a magazine, 
which has resulted in a flood of 
subscription requests. "Please 
tell 'em it's a book, not a maga- 
zine." Okay, Paul, but the cover 
does proclaim your "book" is a 
"magazine from the future," 

This publication blends automo- 
tive fact, fantasy, and specula- 
tion; sports a humorous tone; fea- 
tures realistic photographs (pains- 
takingly created by the author); 
and boasts a strong readership 
in the automotive industry. The au- 
thor "guarantees at least 100 fu- 
ture automotive concepts that not 
even you have ever heard of be- 
fore." Is that a compliment? 


CCE, Box 21 F, Hazlet, NJ 
07730. Seven issues for S30. 
PLUSES: You can buy a 
oiece of history, 
MINUSES: Plenty of junk 
among the gems. 
VERDICT: Real time travel. 

catalog. The artifacts include 
both lowest acceptable bid and 
suggested retail. You bid what 
you want to pay, and if no one 
bids higher, it's yours. 

Each catalog is different, and 
the items range from authentic 
Egyptian scarabs to pen 
knives from fourteenth-century 
Venice. If you're not satisfied 
with- your purchase, you can re- 
turn it within five days. OQ 

You always come back to the basics 


Science-fiction games get closer to the real thing 

By Gregg Keizer 

Cruisers silently slide 
Ihrough space; alien worlds 
fall under apocalyptic 
weapons; vast civilizations 
stretch across light-years. 

Science fiction (SF) 
paints on a broad canvas, 
from near-future expec- 
tations to far-flung improbabil- 
ities. No wonder, then, that it 
grabs hold of the imagina- 
tion and won't let go. 

Computer and video 
games take advantage of 
this to create new worlds for 
your monitor and television 
screen. And while no 
game can yet approach the 
drama or intricacies of a 
short story, much less_ a 
novel, some recent electron- 
ic SF is crawling closer. 

Accolade's Star Control 
(Sega Genesis, IBM PC 
compatibles) may be more 
war game than science 
fiction, but it's great fun, 
especially in its new Sega 
form. You'll leap into a 
twenty-seventh -century war 
of annihilation between the 
Ur-Quan Hierarchy and the 
Alliance of Free Stars. (Who 
makes up these names, 

Part strategic kriegspiel, 
part blast-'em arcade, Star 
Control lets you move fleets 
and get down and dirty in 
hand-to-hand combat, The 
revolving star map takes 
some adjustment, but its 




unique perspective forces 

you to think in three 
dimensions. You move ships 
between stars, explore 
planets, colonize worlds, de- 
velop resources, and 
battle a futuristic counter- 
part to Saddam Hussein. 

But it's the ship-to-ship 
combat that makes Control. 
You fly across a scene 
where gravity wells suck at 
your ship and inertia 
blasts your opponent. into a 
cloud of expanding 
debris. This video game's. a 
xenophobe's delight. 

Even so, SF has a ten- 
uous hold on Star Control: 
You could transplant the - 
action and strategy from 

spaceships x to snips and 
it wouldn't lose much in 
the move. For something a 
lot closer to science fiction's 
heart, try Electronic Arts' 
Starfligbt (Sega Genesis, 
IBM PC compatibles), 
a classic PC game now in 
cartridge format. 

The idea is straight from 
hoary SF tales of exploration 
and first contact You outfit a 
ship with crew and equip- 
ment, then set out on a 
galactic grand tour. Al- 
though practicalities intrude — 
you have to turn a profit to 
keep yourself in fuel — the 
fun lies in dropping into an 
unknown system to see 
what's what. You'll come 
across various intelligent 
races: Be nice, be respect- 
ful, be mean — how you act 
affects their response. 

Starilight boasts, several 
hundred systems to explore, 
the ruins of Old Earth to sift 
through, and enough plots 
and subplots to keep you 
busy for weeks. 

Taking up 15 megabytes 

of your hard drive, Origin's 
Wing Commander II (IBM 
PC compatibles) puts a 
sophisticated spaceflight 
simulator inside a science- 
fiction jacket lined with 
romance, treason, and 
fighter-jock egos. The mix 
isn't great SF, but the space 
combat is great video. 

WC2 extends the popular 
original to take you on more 
missions against the feline 
Kilrathi. You sit in the cockpit 
of any of several Confed- 
eration ships, your tools rang- 
ing from vid screens and 
target-locking systems to 
particle cannons and torpe- 
does. Think of it as Top Gun 
2001, with lots of fireballs. 

Each mission you fly — 
and its success or failure — 
affects the campaign against 
the pernicious Kilrathi and 
can change the story as it 
unfolds. The- open-ended 
nature of the entire war 
make possible add-on disks 
with new battles, something 
Origin hasn't overlooked. 

A clutch of even newer 
games are also worth a look. 
Dynamix's Nova 9 (IBM PC 
compatibles) is a fun, 
futuristic tank-and-f light sim- 
ulator set on nine different 
worlds, with just enough 
oddities to turn it funky (wait 
until the giant bulldozer 
shoves you around). 

And keep an eye out for 
Access Software's Martian 
Memorandum (IBM PC 
compatibles), a science- 
fiction role-playing game 
that shows some promise. 

SF games may not have 
grown up yet, but even 
in their arrested develop- 
ment, they're a great way to 
■see the stars from the 
comfort of your couch. DO 



The Addams Family and a new Star Trek head the list of upcoming films 

By A.J. S. Rayl 

Captain Hook 

snag the 

grown-up Peter 

Pan? Wilt 

Robocop round 

latest batch of 

bad guys? 

Find out at the 

They're creepy and 
they're kooky, mysteri- 
ous and spooky," the tele- 
vision theme song says, and 
Gomez, Morticia, and the rest of 
the Addams family make their mo- 
tion picture debut in one of the ear- 
lier releases this winter. And in lat- 
er films, science-fiction and fan- 
tasy fans will glimpse virtual real- 
ity, get caught up in the business 
of immortality, encounter yet 
more aliens, and take what may 
be a final voyage "where no man 
has gone before." 

Starring Anjelica Huston as Mor- 
ticia and Raul Julia as Gomez, 
The Addams Family ■ will introduce 
a new generation to the gothic 
suburban clan, including Uncle 
Fester (Christopher Lloyd) and but- 
ler Lurch {Twin Peaks giant 
Carel Struycken). The film draws 
more on the spirit of Charles Ad- 
dams's New Yorker cartoons 
than on the Sixties sitcom. But 
with the aid of the Turner network, 
which is airing the series, not 
seen on TV in quite some time, 
TV's Addams Family may still ex- 
perience a revival. 

Memoirs of an Invisible Man, 
however, will probably bear little 
resemblance to its progenitor, 
The Invisible Man, 
made in 1933. Di- 
rected by John 
Carpenter and 
ly starring Chevy 
* Chase as a 

victim of an experiment gone 
awry, Memoirs is billed as a sus- 
pense-filled adventure with ro- 
mance and comedy. 

Meanwhile Steven Spielberg 
has lined up J. M. Barrie's char- 
acters for Hook, an epic fantasy/ 
adventure based on Peter Pan. 
A woman played Peter in the mu- 
sical, but Spielberg cast a male — 
Robin Williams. Also featuring 
Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook 
and Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell, 
Hook should draw long lines. 

As Hook opens in mid-Decem- 
ber, however, lines will also be 
forming for yet another adventure 
with the original crew of the 
starship Enterprise. Star Trek VI: 
The Undiscovered Country prom- 
ises a thematic resolution for 
Star Trek's twenty-fifth anni- 
versary. The next Star Trek fea- 
ture film will probably involve the 
crew of Star Trek: The Next Gen- 
eration. (See "Star Trek: The Di- 
rector's Chair," with production 
photos from Star Trek VI.) 

Other sequels scheduled for 
release include Robocop 3 — 
more enemy robots, big explo- 
sions, and high-tech scenarios, 
but now starring Robert Burke, 
taking over for Peter Weller, 

Of course, horror doesn't al- 
ways lurk in the physical world, 
as writer and director David 
' Cronenberg (The Fly) reveals in 
his celluloid version of William S. 

Burroughs's Naked Lunch, star- 
ring Peter Weller. Don't expect a 
literal translation of the Burroughs 
novel, though. "That would have 
cost four hundred million dollars 
and been banned in every coun- 
try in the world," Cronenberg 
says. Instead the director takes 
viewers into Burroughs's Inter- 
zone, a world that produces stun- 
ning hallucinatory effects that in- 
clude leaping sex blobs and for- 
ty black- centipedes. 

The business of immortality be- 
comes ominous in Freejack, 
based on "Immortality, Inc.," a no- 
vella by former Omni fiction edi- 
tor Robert Sheckley, In the year 
2009, people live forever by hav- 
ing their brains and souls trans- 
planted into the bodies of young 
people plucked from the past 
just seconds before their certain 
death. Mick Jagger portrays a vil- 
lainous twenty-first-century boun- 
ty hunter pursuing race-car driv- 
er Alex Furlong (Emiiio Estevez). 

And the general moviegoing 
public will get its first glimpse of 
Hollywood-style virtual reality in 
Lawnmower Man, starring Pierce 
Brosnan. With a title that sounds 
like a sequel to last year's Ed- 
ward Scissorhands, Lawnmower 
Man is actually the first of what 
will probably become many films 
involving computer technology 
that allows viewers to interact in 
a three-dimensional artificial 
world as if they were physically in 
that world. The futuristic sus- 
pense film features intriguing com- 
puter-animated moments inside 
virtual reality. 

Special effects aside, the real 
magic of Hollywood is sometimes 
just getting films into theaters. 
Two films highlighted in our June 
1991 issue — Radio Flyer and A 
Gnome Named Gnorm — were re- 
scheduled for winter releases, as 
was Freejack. But that, we hope, 
doesn't necessarily reflect on the 
quality of the films. DO 



New TV-dependent technologies may create better-educated couch potatoes. 

Plus, the modern telephone salesman, and spinning straw into money 

it looks as if the techno- 
marketeers may reach 
their elusive goal at last: 
put a computer in every 
American home. We 
might all succumb this 
time because the comput- 
er is cleverly disguised to 
look like a television. 

Collectively these new 
devices are often called 
I -TV, interactive television. 
The first models hit the 
stores when the Christ- 
mas buying rush began 
this fall. A leader, the 
Dutch electronics company Philips, sells the Magnavox 
line. Philips has been developing l-TV longer than any- 
body. In fact, it is the original developer of the laser-optic 
technology that also underlies audio compact discs. Now 
it's pushing for compact-disc-interactive — or CD-I, Phil- 
ips's name for l-TV — to be the next big consumer hit. 

In September the computer maker Commodore start- 
ed selling its Dynamic Total Vision l-TV deck in stores 
across the country. It runs different software discs than 
Philips's machines, a fact that will no doubt confuse peo- 
ple for a while. But both of these devices, and the numer- 
ous others to come, work the same. 

The l-TV player looks like a music CD deck and wires 
to a television and stereo system like a VCR. It has a remote- 
control pad that is similar to a VCR pointer with the addi- 
tion of a video game's thumb-stick direction controller. The 
deck is packed with the processing power of a personal 
computer, programmed to deliver multimedia extravagan- 
zas: video, stereo, sound, graphics, text, all responding 
to the whims of a viewer lounging in his easy chair. The 
players will start at about $1,000. 

Programs for the machines will retail from about $35 
and up. They come on an ordinary-looking CD because 
of its tremendous data-storage capacity. Commodore prom- 
ises 100 titles by Christmas. Philips says it will begin with 
about 50 programs. Its offerings include games from Nin- 
tendo's Super Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong to ABC 
Sports Golf's Palm Springs Open, with photo-realist simu- 
lated play of actual courses. In addition, there are super 
coffee-table books, like Treasures of the Smithsonian, 
which take viewers on self-guided tours and even let 
them play ancient musical instruments. Two Sesame 
Street titles let children play with letters and numbers. 

It's much more compel- 
ling than the stuff com- 
puter makers offered the 
first time they tried to sell 
their machines to ordinary 
consumers. About a dec- 
ade ago, when personal 
computers were still new, 
marketeers trumped up 
stories about how folks 
could store recipes and 
balance the checkbook us- 
ing a PC. No wonder they 
fell dismally short of their 
wish to put a computer 
in every home. Nintendo 
has come much closer, selling nearly 30 million game sys- 
tems since the early Eighties. But then, Nintendo distills 
what people seem to want most from computers in their 
leisure: fun, 

Hence l-TV, like Nintendo, introduces personal comput- 
ers into homes by linking them with television. For all its 
potential, the resulting hybrid runs the risk of combining 
the worst attributes of both: the superficiality of TV and 
the seductive power of personal computers. But the tech- 
nology also holds great promise. The question is whether 
or not the promise will be realized. 

Television-induced cerebral atrophy is already much 
discussed in the media. The challenge to computer and 
l-TV developers is to use the medium's interactive poten- 
tial to overcome both TV's cerebral atrophy and the dead- 
end nature of many video games. It's not a simple chal- 
lenge: many people would rather see their children deftly 
manipulating, say, an Apple Macintosh, churning out com- 
puter-precise pictures and posters. But getting prepro- 
grammed images, however captivating, out of a comput- 
er is largely a mechanical skill. Creativity is limited be- 
cause a person can get out of the machine only what a 
programmer has already put in. The computer's tabuia 
rasa is not so blank as a blank piece of paper, nor does 
a disk filled with images hold as much imaginative poten- 
tial as a hand clutching a crayon. 

Yet l-TV in its various forms need not be just another 
version of the 'same old TV Interactive technology re- 
mains in its infancy, and it may be that the hardware and 
software manufacturers rise to the challenge. If so, they 
could transform TV from a passive spectator-deadening 
device into a truly interactive tool, one that prods you to 
interact as well with the real world. —JEFFREY ZYGMONT 



In a scene out of a bad 
rnade-for-TV movie, the U.S. 
Air Force and the Civil Air 
Patrol (CAP) suddenly re- 
ceived a signal one day last 
March that indicated that 
a Soviet aircraft had crashed 
near Washington, D.C. 

The alarmed CAP traced 
the signal — to the under- 
side of a display table at the 
University of Maryland's 
Adult Education Center's 
exhibit of state-of-the- 
art Soviet high-tech prod- 
ucts The culprit — a Soviet- 
made emergency locator 
transmitter — was indeed 
stowed under the table. 

"Someone must have 
accidentally pushed 
a button before I secured the 
unit under the table for the 

night," says Yuri G. Grin, 
deputy director of the 
Moscow telecommunications 
inn ECOS— W.E. Gutman 

"te it progress if a cannibal 
uses knife and fork?" 

— Stanislaus J, Lee 


Advertisers spend hours 
wracking their brains 
for new methods to get their 
message across to a 
potential customer. They put 
advertisements on billboards 
and before movies' on 
videocassettes. Now they're 
even Slipping ads in during 
Telephone calls. 

A circuit board patented 
by Neil Sleevi, a telecommu- 
nications consultant in 
Weston, Missouri, will, when 
wired to a telephone or a 

phone line, insert advertise- 
ments into the four-second 
intervals between rings of a 
telephone call. Although 
residents near his home 
complained when he and 
Fidelity Telephone tried the 
technology out on them, 

f , 


Some farmers in Sas- 
katchewan and Manitoba, 
Canada, used to have 
money to burn,- but not .any 

""0'\-. A Vancouver compa. 
ny is building a pulp mil! that 
will turn flax straw, a waste 
product of linseed oil 
production that farmers 
burn every autumn,, into the 
type of paper' used for U.S. 

The patented. pulping 
process uses potassium 
instead ol ihi-j conventional 
sulfur chemicass, making 
the technology so clean it's 
been hailed by the local 
Greenpeace chapter, ac- 
cording to Al Wong, 
president of Arbokem inc- 
"The potassium will be 
recycled and converted into 
fertilizer, the pulp will need 
no chlorine bleaching to be 
whiter than copy paper, 
and the mill will discharge 
about as much water as 

would six guvs drinking a lot 
of beer," he says. 

By Jaw, US', currency 
contains 25 percent flax 
pulp. Flax's long fibers. 
make for a strong pulp that 
can produce high-quality 
paper ideal for recycling. . 
Better yet, Wong says 'that 
his process can be used for 
other crops that farmers 
how burn., including sugar 
cane and rye grass. 

Arbokem, whose Vancou- 
ver lab. is- also looking, in- 
to using conifer resin .as an 
insecticide and a diesei- 
■gasolineadditive, plans to 
open the:pu!p mill next 
summer in the town- of 
Surrey. British Columbia. It 
will employ 23 people 
and prod.uce'20 tons of pulp ' 
a day.— Jim Stiak 


S'eevi t'links they'll sing a 
different jingle if they can 
save money on the deal. 

Bell Atlantic, the huge 
regional telephone company, 
agrees I: bought the rights to 
Sleep's patent and wants to 
olaoe special phones in 
airports, "perhaps green 
ones, which would be 
marked 'free local phone 
calls,'" Sleevi says. As 
arriving travelers call rela- 
tives or hotels, they will hear 
ads between rings. The first 
phones could be in airports 
by January. 

Bell Atlantic may also offer 
discounts to residential 
customers who consent to 
have the ads on their line. 
Advertisers polled said 
they'd pay up to $9 a month 
to reach each customer. 

— Mark Fischetti 




A discovery by a Denver 
researcher will significantly 
change the way doctors 
fight tuberculosis. 

Early research into tuber- 
culosis used dyes to 
stain and kill the disease- 
causing bacteria and 
appeared to show that 
tuberculosis lived in an 
acidic environment inside 
macrophages, infection- 
fighting white blood cells. 
However, Alfred Crowle, 
professor of microbiology 
and immunology at the 
University of Colorado's 
Vfebb-Waring Lung Insti- 
tute, found that, the 
siain-and-kill process itself 
made the bacteria's envi- 
ronment appear acidic. 
Using high-resolution elec- 

tron microscopy and a 
macrophage model devel- 
oped in his laboratory to 
study the inner workings of 
still-living, bacteria, he saw 
that tuberculosis' environ- 
ment is actually neutral. 

Grdwle likens current 
tuberculosis drugs, design- 
ed to work in an acidic 
environment, airplane 
fitted with upside-down 
wings. His team's discov- 
ery, he says, will enable the 
creation of a much- 
improved class of drugs, 
perhaps in as little as five 
years, to which the bacteria- 
will be hard-pressed to 
develop a resistance. 

Before antituberculosis 
drugs came on the scene in 
the Forties, tuberculosis, 
also called consumption, 
was one of the leading 
causes of death. Now. it's 
on the rise again: Each year 
brings some ten million new 
cases of tuberculosis 
worldwide, with 20,0(30 to 
30,000 of them in the 
United States. Immigrants 
from Southeast Asia and 
Central America, where 
tuberculosis is prevalent, 
spread the disease around 
the world. "It's going to be 
worse than the spread of 
AIDS," Crowle says. 

— Peggy Noonan 


Most of India's dairy 
products come from buffalo 
milk. But farmers find buffalo 
expensive to raise because 
of their insatiable demands 
for fodder and their calf 
mortality rate, which has 
risen to 25 percent in some 

36 OMNI 

parts of the country. To 
increase milk production, 
thereby making buffalo more 
profitable to raise, scientists 
at India's National Dairy 
Research Institute, with 
technical help from the 
United Nations Food and 
Agriculture Organization, 
have begun using a 
sophisticated genetic breed- 









he; "ethod called multiple 
ovulation and embryo trans- 
fer (MOET). 

Buffalo have been raised 
domestically in India for 
centuries, and the country 
boasts eighty million of 
them — half the world's buffa- 
lo population. 

An Indian milk buffalo 
usually produces just one 
calf a year. "But she may 
shed as many as ten eggs." 
says Patrick Cunningham, 
the Food and Agriculture 
Organization's director of 
animal production and 
health. "The idea is to fertilize 
those eggs by artificial 

hophg Ic get pe-'haps four 
viable embryos which can be 
transferred to surrogate 

The scientists take eggs 
from the females proven to 
be outstanding milk produc- 
ers and sperm from the 
males whose daughters have 
performed well. "What the 
MOET schemes to do is to 
amplify the reproduction of 
certain individuals by artificial 
.nsem nation on the male 
side and embryo transfer on 
the female side," Cunning- 
ham says. 

Buffalo bred in this manner 
will be returned to breed with 
local herds. The resulting 
general improvement in milk 
production should help to 
ease the financial plight of 
India's rural dairy farmers. 

— George Nobbe 

"The great pleasure of 
a dog is that you may make 
a foot of yourself with him 
and not oniy will he not 
scoid you, but he wilt make 
a fool of himself too. " 

— Samuel Butler 



Who can 
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Is your golf game a little 
over par? Relax — the fault 
may lie not in your game but 
in your balls. Bruised golf 
balls can ruin a player's 
game, according to golf-ball 
specialist John Mutch of the 
U.S. Golf Association 

"Most balls get beaten 
way out of shape" after as 
few as three holes, says 
University of Cincinnati 
applied-science graduate 
Gary Giuliano, who has 
designed and built a 
programmable, desktop in- 
spection system that checks 
balls' shape for distortion. 
The machine automatically 
tesls up to 200 balls an hour 
for compression, diameter, 
and roundness. 

When Giuliano recently 
checked out 75 used golf 
balls, only 20 met USGA 
standards, which call for 
balls to 'be spherical, have a 
diameter of no less than 1 .68 
inches, weigh 1 .62 ounces or 
less, and have a compres- 


sion value of between 90 and 
100 (the higher the compres- 
sion, the harder the ball). 

"One ball I tested looked 
like a boiled egg, just from 
being hit too much," says the 
twenty-four-year-old golf fa- 
natic. "The others had 
defects that were not so easy 
to notice." — Scott Fierman 

"Hell would be a small 
universe that we could 
explore thoroughly and fully 
comprehend. " 

— Timothy Ferris 


Juries can ignore the law 
and get away with it. 

In criminal cases, the U.S. 

legal system gives juries the 
power, called jury nullifica- 

m& 9 /# 

The golfers lianrtcsp Most bd.'is do::': stand up too well to the 
whack of a go:! ■:-I:j:: 1 b&ng 'heir shape af:er i\jsi a few holes. 
39 OMNI 


"Before now, virtually 

1 ■ff'^l 

everybody felt there was no 


possible use for seawater 

■i Ewv^K^I 

to grow crops," says plant 


physiologist James W. 


O'Leary; The seeds of the 

By All 

salt-tolerant haiophyte, 

K r /vflU 

whose name in Greek 

means "salt plant," are rich 

in polyunsaturated fatty 

acids, used in food for both 

humans and chickens. 


Each day, O'Leary and 

- !'/■'-. 

his team- irrigated "the 

^Hk . f'jJJJj] 

test haiophyte, a variety 


known as Salicornia bige- 


bvii, with saltwater pumped 

^H 2%0 s'-Jk 

from wells in the nearby 


dunes. The crop yielded 


about two tons of seed per 


acre, equal to or slightly 

Weeds more-.salt Halophyie 

better than sunflower and 

laps up sea water. 

soybean yields produced 

with freshwater and the 


same fertilizer. 


Haiophyte must be 

irrigated frequently to flush 

■ Defying conventional. 

salt from. the root systems, 

horticultural wisdom, scien- 

O'Leary says, but the 

tists at the University of 

process also carries away 

Arizona in Tucson have 

precious fertilizer. The 

used sea water pumped 

scientists will thus experi- 

■from wells in Puerto 

ment with clay soils that, Mexico, to grow a 

could reduce irrigation 

spiky,-, leafless plant called 


wild haiophyte. 

— George Nob be 

tion, to refuse to convict a 

legislatures are considering 

defendant who they know is 

the issue. 

guilty of the charges. 

"I'd be amazed if any 

Moreover, no matter how 

legislatures give juries the 

biased the decision, the 

right to use the power," notes 

jurors cannot be penalized. 

Myrna Raeder, chairman of 

"Juries have no idea how 

the Committee on Rules of 

much power they have," 

Criminal Procedure and 

says Don Doig, cofounder of 

Evidence of the Chicago- 

the Fully Informed Jury 

based American Bar Associ- 

Association (F1JA) in 

ation's Criminal Justice 

Helmville, Montana. 

section. "You don't generally 

FIJA supports laws requir- 

want the jury making its own 

ing judges to tell juries of their 

laws; it implies anarchy." 

power. So far, fifteen state 

— Bristol Lane Voss 



Environmental act viste and 
celebrities who think they're 
environmental activitists 
press the public to recycle 
newspapers. And so we do, 
in large numbers. Mayoe itio 
■message should be changed 
to "Build more recycling 
plants," because the supply 
of old newspapers outstrips 
the nation's ability to 
reprocess it into usable 
paper products. Larry 
3erger, however, may have a 
solution: Feed the newspa- 
pers to cattle and sheep. 

Newsprint doesn't contain 
much in the way of vitamins 
or minerals, but it does have 
plenty of cellulose, long 
chains of energy-rich glu- 
cose molecules. While rumi- 
nants, like cattle and sheep, 
can digest the cellulose 
found In most plants, they 
can't break down the more 
tightly bound cellulose fibers 
in newspaper. 

Berger, a professor of 
animal nutrition at the 


220,000 HOURS. 

UnivsiK'-y ol Illinois, has 
developed a process that 
makes yesterday's news 
eas : er :o stomach. He shreds 
the newspape-3 (using only 
those with soybean cil-based 
ink, known to be safe for 
human consumption), treats 
them with water and 
two-percent hydrochloric ac- 
id, and then boils the mixture 
for up to two hours. The heat 
and acid break apart the 
cellulose fibers enough for 
bacteria inside ruminants' 
stomachs to finish the job. 

In preliminary experi- 
ments, Berger replaced 
about 20 to 40 percent of 
's regular alfalfa feed 

s: Sheep and ca:::e g 
thriving on She cellulose in She paper. 

40 OMNI 

up c-oiieu .■■;;- 


"Twinkle, twinkle, little 
star..." actually refers to a 
problem that's plagued 
astronomers. for centuries. 
Wind and temperature 
changes in our atmosphere 
slightly alter the path of a 
beam of light traveling 
through the atmosphere. As 
a result, stars seem to 
twinkle, a charming phe- 
nomenon lor most observ- 
ers that translates into 
frustratingly blurred images 
for astronomers. 

Researchers at Law- 
rence Livermore National 
Laboratory in California 
have hegun a project, 
called Laser Guide .Star, 
that they hope will resolve 
this problem. Using a 
high-powered laser, they 
will excite a one-meter wide 
spot of sodium atoms 100 
kilometers above the earth, 
creating an artificial star. 

By taking detailed meas- 
urements of the one-meter 
spot of light, the Laser 
Guide Star researchers c 
easily figure out how much 
its light "wiggles" as it 
passes through the atmos- 
phere. The information will . 
then be relayed to a 
telescope's computer-con- 
trolled optic, known as a 
deformable mirror and 
consisting of hundreds of 
small, piston-driven mirror 
sections that can be 
programmed to rapidly 
correct the wiggling image. 
To keep up with' the 
changing atmosphere, the 
researchers will have to 
update the adaptive optics 
system 1,000 times per 
second, according to 
project leader Claire Max. 
The stars should be blurred 
no more, providing astrono- 
mers with a clear picture. 

If all goes well, the 
technology will be applied 
to large telescopes in the 
eight- to ten-meter range, 
such as Hawaii's Keck 
Observatory, allowing them 
to pick up objects 100 
times more faint than they 
can see now. 

"Finding planets around 
other stars is something 
which, if you had high 
spa:ial resolution, you could 
do," Max says. "And with 
the Keck telescope, you 
could possibly see young 
galaxies forming." 

— Joel Speth 

with the newsprint/acid mix. 
The animals gobbled it up. 
Americans now recycle 
about six million tons of 
newspapers, Berger says. 
About 30 million cattle live in 

the limed States. "If they 
were fed a diet of 20 percent 
newspapers, they could 
easily consume all the 
newspapers that are recy- 
cled today." — Billy Allstetter 




IB past the 
silicon and 
see what think- 
ing is taking 
place. The real 
revolution is go- 
ing on in 
the classrooms 
where they 
are teaching the 
children ■■ 
to think. 77 

a Friday night date. Technological and scientif- 
ic excellence, as this year's events in the Mid- 
dle East demonstrated, not only guarantee ec- 
onomic growth but also play midwife to Amer- 
ica's spot as the only superpower, And the 
people who will research, invent, and build 
the next century are now only children. 

Fortunately, science in the .classroom is 
changing. Recombinant DNA labs are re- 
placing Tinkertoy models of atoms in some 
classes. Air- and water-toxicity tests have sup- 
planted litmus paper in others. And notebooks 
and textbooks are, in many places, augment- 
ed by computer networks and interactive vid- 
eo presentations. 

"If you haven't seen us lately, you haven't 
seen us," says Juli- 
anna Texley, editor 
of Science Teach- 
er, the National Sci- 
ence Teachers As- 
sociation's publica- 
tion for high-school 
teachers, and an 
assistant superin- 
tendent in New Bal- 
timore, Michigan. 
"The newer things — 
the combination of 
video and comput- 
ers, simulation of 
dangerous and com- 
plex laboratories, artificial intelligence — are 
delivering different kinds of information to 
kids in the classroom." 

Some schools rely on creative teaching 
methods that are decidedly low tech. Jeff 
Self puts local resources to work in teaching 
science to students at Washington Elementary 
School in Eureka, California. A nearby fish 
hatchery provides the inspiration, and Self 
guides his fourth- and fifth-graders through 
the process of spawning steelhead trout, rais- 
ing 2,000 fish to three-inch size, then releas- 
ing them in the Mad River. A winner of the 
1990 Presidential Award for Excellence in Sci- 
ence Teaching, Self has built an entire aquat- 
ic ecology curriculum around the experience. 
"Science is. all around us," he says. "Every- 
one has a unique ecosystem around them 
that they can use to teach science." 

According to Denise Slack, a fourth-grade 
teacher at Jenks East Elementary School in 
Tulsa, Oklahoma, "Children are naturally in- 
terested in science, but too many teachers 
devastate that interest by just doing exercis- 
es in the back of the book. Kids need hands- 
on science." Slack, another winner of the 1990 
Presidential Award for Excellence in Science 
Teaching, stresses a global outlook to get chil- 
dren interested in the wonder of science. To 
study rain forests, her charges plaster a class- 
room wall with a homemade mock-up, then 

raise $50 to protect an acre of Belize's rain 
forest from the ax and saw. 

Not every public school classroom, of 
course, sports an award-winning teacher; not 
every public school classroom even brings sci- 
ence up to speed or lights a burning desire 
for scientific inquiry in kids. But scattered 
across the country, from California to Col- 
orado, through North Carolina's Piedmont re- 
gion to Manhattan's Lower East Side, 
schools exist that excite kids and instill the 
skill s they'll need to invent our future. _ 
Smack in the middle of California's Santa 
Clara Valley, Hacienda Elementary, a special- 
ized science magnet school, packs in nearly 
700 kids, from kindergarten to fifth grade. 
Designed to attract a variety of children from 
the city's numerous elhnic groups, Hacienda 
doesn't rely on high-tech equipment or net- 
worked computers. Instead it fires children's 
imagination with real-world science. 

"They're doing relevant, hands-on science," 
says Hacienda principal Ken Kitajima. "Lec- 
turing and blackboard work and a textbook 
are not science to these kids. The concepts 
that make connections to the real world are 
what's important. If they have no connection 
to the real world, they don't make sense and 
the kids aren't interested," 

To grab their interest and then keep it, Ha- 
cienda depends on a faculty of select teach- 
ers, a fully equipped science lab, and extras 
that crowd the schedule with outside activi- 
ties like field trips to science museums and 
schoolwide science assemblies every six 
weeks. At least once a week, each student 
spends time in the lab, which is staffed by two 
part-lime science teachers and a lab assis- 
tant. Experiments too complex for the regu- 
lar classrooms are conducted in the lab. An 
outdoor laboratory features a garden and a 
compressed re-creation of the valley's hab- 
itats, including a redwood grove and a small 
stream stocked with fish. 

"Each class has a garden," says Carolyn 
Flannagan, one of Hacienda's science teach- 
ers, "They grow vegetables, then bring them 
in and the whole school makes soup— cook- 
ing as chemistry. We make everything an ex- 
periment. The kids tried to predict how add- 
ing gypsum to the soil would affect their 
crop. One plot was the control, one they add- 
ed gypsum, and one they added sulfur. And 
the kids got it right. 

"I try to connect whatever we're studying 
with something going on in the real world. 
When we heard of the oil spill in the Gulf, we 
connected it with fluid densities and pursued 
the oil/water difference." When the California 
drought struck home with water rationing, 
kids teamed up to play water department and, 

Previous page: Students at Talcott Mountain Sci- 
ence Center, Hartford Connecticut, gather in the ob- 
servatory. Above: Students at San Jose, Cafl&mia 's 

Hacienda Elementary, a specialized science mag- 
net school, conduct hands-on projects, including 
biological research in an outdoor Is 

using sand, gravel, and charcoal, competed 
to cleanse contaminated water. 

Hacienda science students study acid 
rain in the area, monitor water pollution in San 
Francisco Bay, and watch the heavens with 
an eight-inch telescope. With the help of a spe- 
cialist from the city, they examine their habi- 
tat's water, looking for bacteria and protozo- 
ans, and take a hardness reading to assess 
the water's mineral content. Last spring they 
were trying to figure out why the habitat's in- 
sect population is nearly extinct. 

"These kids live in an exciting time," Flan- 
nagan says. "You've got to grab their inter- 
est and get them excited about science so 
they can see it's exciting, too." 



#/ Don't 
■ ■sell 
science short. 
It's absolutely 
vital that 
we have the best 
possible. After 
all, these are 
the people who 
are going to 
lead the country, 
perhaps IB 
the world. 7 7 

Few schools are 
able to say that 
their campus once 
harbored missiles. 
Talcott Mountain 
Science Center, 
perched upon a 
ridge overlooking 
Hartford, Connec- 
ticut sits on a for- 
mer Nike antiair- 
craft missile site. 
"From the sword to the pen," says Donald La 
Salle, Talcott's director. "Where once stood 
instruments of destruction now only stand instru- 
ments of discovery." 

Founded in 1967 as a private, nonprofit sci- 
ence center, Talcott attracts thousands of stu- 
dents from the region to its daylong and week- 
end sessions to supplement their regular sci- 
ence curriculum, while sixty exceptional stu- 
dents study full-time at a small on-site academy. 
And if the kids can't come to the Mountain, the 
Mountain goes to the kids, courtesy of a satel- 
lite network that reaches tens of thousands of 
children across the country. 

"We put a lot of emphasis on using tech- 
nology," says La Salle. "We espouse the phi- 
losophy. that you need to use the technology 
that you're teaching about." That's why Talcott 
houses more than 20 telescopes, dozens of mi- 
crocomputers, an alternative energy laboratory, 
and a Doppler weather radar. 

The sophisticated Doppler radar plays an in- 
tegral role in Talcott's Student Weather Net- 
work — a video-, computer*, and telecommu- 
nications-driven collection of more than 100 
schools from Maine to Pennsylvania. Kids in 
each school take weather measurements and 
log their findings with Accu-Weather, the service 
that hundreds of radio and television stations re- 
ly on for their weather information. Using Accu- 
Weather's database and the data they've 

gleaned themselves, the students make local 
weather forecasts. Some even advise school of- 
ficials when weather threatens to close class. 
And ten times a year, Dan Barstow, Talcott's as- 
sistant director, plays cohost to a live television 
broadcast beamed to the schools. Along with 
meteorologist Bill Danielson, he fields weather 
questions and helps the kids become Lilliputian 
Willard Scotts. "The children are doing science, 
not just reading about it," Barstow says. "They 
used to learn about meteorology by reading 
about it in a text. Now they're getting hourly weath- 
er updates in their classroom." 

Even more impressive, Talcott touches chil- 
dren from coast to coast with an interactive 
science satellite network. Called "On the Shoul- 
ders of Giants," the one-way video and two- 
way audio program lets kids ask questions of 
the pioneering and practicing scientists whom 
Talcott brings to the Mountain. Speaking to stu- 
dents about everything from the search for 
extraterrestrial life to nanotechnology, video 
guests have included space colony proponent 
Gerard O'Neill, Robert Moog, who created the 
electronic synthesizer, and Seymour Papert, 
who invented the children's computer program- 
ming language Logo. 

"We just try to make our kids science and 
technology literate," La Salle explains. "They 
can't be part of the future without understand- 
ing technology." 


If Talcott is a glimpse of the future of science 
education, Thomas Jefferson High School for 
Science and Technology may well be the fu- 
ture. Southwest of Washington, D.C., in 
Fairfax County, Virginia, Thomas Jefferson is 
one of only two schools to place more than 
a single finalist in 1991 's Westinghouse Sci- 
ence Talent Search. Though Larry Gaud- 
reault, chairman of Thomas Jefferson's sci- 
ence department, likes to stress that the 
school's success results from the mix of a su- 
perior staff and outstanding students, the fa- 
cilities certainly don't hurt. 

Thomas Jefferson boasts eleven technol- 
ogy labs, letting kids specialize in such are- 
as as biotechnology, optics, robotics, and 
microelectronics. But sitting in the computer 
lab, looking much like a bulky freezer, is some- 
thing that really sets Thomas Jefferson apart 
from the average American high school — 
a supercomputer. 

Thomas Jefferson's ETA 10p supercomput- 
er calculates at 375 MIPS (millions of instruc- 
tions per second), more than 100 times fast- 
er than today's most powerful desktop worksta- 
tions. Like the Cray supercomputers on 
which working scientists fight for access 
time, it can put its brute force and speed to 
work in solving complex calculations and mod- 
eling complicated artificial worlds. It's even 


Hacienda Elementary's outdoor lab includes a gar- 
den and model ecosystem based on the Santa 
Clara Valley, with a redwood grove and a stream 

s:cci-.od with fish. In one set of experiments, the chil- 
dren hypothesized how adding gypsum to the soil 
would affect their crops — and tested the results. 

//At its best, 
■ m Star trek ap- 
pears fa function 
as pop al iegary/pop 
metaphor, taking 
current events and is- 
war, and racism— 
and objectifying 
them for us to content- 

filate in a science 
iction setting. The 
world it presents 
may make no sense 
as either science 
or fiction, but it is tew- 
ly sufficient f otr 
laying out hu- §IB 
man questions. # W 

M mm m hen I am asked 
■ M 1 ■ about Star Trek, 
W*«f Wm it always puts 
WM? WW me in mind of 
Arthur Conan Doyle and Sher- 
lock Holmes. Doyle has 
been called willfully obtuse 
where the appeal of his cre- 
ation was concerned. His 
strained relationship with the 
great detective certainly 
sounds a familiar chord 
when I try to sort out my feel- 
ings for Star Trek. 

"Holmes takes my mind 
from better things," Doyle re- 
marked, referring to the un- 
derrated historical novels he 
also wrote. He might have 
added, "I can do it, but I 
don't get it." 

I know the feeling. My ex- 
posure to Star Trek over the 
years has humbled me as be- 
fore an impenetrable mys- 
tery. I have been by turns 
amused, churlish, and con- 
founded in the face of it. 

t am not now nor have I ev- 
er been a Trekkie.or, as Star 
Trek fans call themselves, a 
Trekker. I never watched the 
show during its network run 
(1966 to 1969) or its syndi- 


By Nicholas Meyer 

As he guides the 
latest Star trek film 
into theaters, the 
director and screen* 
writer muses on 
Kirk and company's 
astonishing apup&wl 

cation airings, although 
friends of mine were serious- 
ly addicted to it. In the Six- 
ties, a Ph.D. candidate of my 
acquaintance dropped acid 
and watched the show for fif- 
ty consecutive days, at the 
end of which time his wife 
left him. Star Trek's world of 
the future does fascinate me, 
however. I cannot extrapo- 
late it from my current reality 
or from human history with 
which I am familiar; neither is 
it in any way congruent with 
my own fantasy life. My idea 
of an alien is the thing that 
popped out of John Hurt's 
chest in the film Alien. 

At its absolute worst, Srar 
Trek is a plaid-pants, golt 
course, Republican version 
of the future, where white 
men and American values al- 
ways predominate (despite 
blatant tokenism) and gun- 
boat diplomacy carries the 

And yet, having watched 
innumerable episodes of 
both the original series and 
Star Trek: The Next Gener- 
ation, having written for 
three of the feature films (//, 
///, and VI), and directed two 
of them (Hand VI), I must ad- 
mit to greater perplexity 
than ever. There is some- 

thing compelling about the 
material. Star Trek triumphs 
over costumes and logic. It 
attracts; it involves; and final- 
ly, it affects. It can grab hold 
and not let go. After all, 50 mil- 
lion Frenchmen cannot be mis- 

Why? There are as many 
theories as theorists, all ea- 
ger to postulate their reasons 
for the story's appeal. Cap- 
tain James T. Kirk's similarity 
to that other intrepid mariner, 
Captain Hornblower, is doubt- 
less the tip of the iceberg. Is 
it mere coincidence that 
they both sport Latin names- 
Horatio and Tiberius? 

At -its best, Star Trek ap- 
pears to function as pop al- 
legory/pop metaphor, taking 
current events and issues — 
ecology, war, and racism, for 
example — and objectifying 

them for us to contemplate in 
a science fiction setting. The 
world it presents may make 
no sense as either science or 
fiction, but it is well and truly 
sufficient for laying out hu- 
man questions. Removed 
from our immediate neighbor- 
hoods, it is refreshing and 
even intriguing to consider 
Earth matters from the dis- 
tance of a few light-years. 

Like the best science fic- 
tion, Star Trek does not 
show us other worlds so 
meaningfully as it shows us 
our own — for better or for 
worse, in sickness and in 
health. In truth, Star Trek 
doesn't even pretend to 

show us other worlds, only hu- 
manity refracted in what is 
supposed to be a high-tech 

It is also true that after twen- 
ty-five years, Star Trek is no 
longer the unilateral creation 
of any one man, or even any 
one group. As time has add- 
ed various collaborators, 
Star Trek has evolved into a 
sort of secular parallel to the 
Catholic Mass. The words of 
the Mass remain constant. 
but, heaven knows, the mu- 
sic keeps changing. Verdi's 
Requiem bears little resem- 
blance to the one by Faure, 
which, in turn, sounds noth- 
ing like the one by Mozart. 


James % Kirk 
and his intrepid 
crew set sail) 
for what they prom- 
ise will be their 
final adventure In 
Star Trefe Vis 
The Uneffsecwerecf 
Country, one 
of the most eagerly 
awaited movies 
of the season. De- 
spite the title, 
familiar loses pop 

up in the film, 
including Speck's 
father, Sarek, 
played by Mark 
Lenard (bottom 
left}. And there will 
be new characters 
as well: Kim Cattrall 

(above right, with 
Deforest Kelley and 
William Shatner) 
appears as Lieuten- 
ant Valeris, a Vulcan 
Starfleet officer, 
and a Klingon lead- 
er. Brigadier 
Kerla, is played 
by Paul 
Rossilli (far left). 

— £— £ My own 
■■ Star Trek films 
clearly owe a 
debt to Horatio Horn- 
blower and my 
love ©f shins, *Nauti» 
eoi but nice,' 
as my wife puts (J, 
Marty feswitls ®l 
.wine can be poured 
into the Stair 
Trek bottle—which 
may help to 
explain its longevi- 
ty— bot its 
fowmonism remains 
« buoyant 
constant. Religion 
without fheal- 
ogy. The program's 
karma routirae- 

■ ■ 
over its dogma,77 

Similarly, different 
writers and direc- 
tors have put their 
stamp on the Star 
Trek saga, setting it to differ- 
ing visual music. You can't 
change the characters or the 
shape of the starship Enter- 
prise, but you can fool 
around with the costumes, 
the interiors, the dialogue. 

The stories reflect the dif- 
ferences in taste and style. 
Some are more "realistic" 
than others: some more futur- 
istic; some more pessimistic. 
Some have more science; oth- 
ers more friction. My own 
Star Trek films clearly owe a 
debt to Horatio Hornblower 
and my love of ships. "Nauti- 
cal but nice," as my wife 
puts it. Many kinds of wine 
can be poured into the Star 
Trek bottle-— which may help 
to explain the show's longev- 
ity — but its humanism re- 
mains a buoyant constant. Re- 
ligion without theology. The 
program's karma routinely 
runs over its dogma. 

in addition, the characters 
have become beloved icons 
— Mickey Mouse and Donald 
Duck for grownups, literature 
for a postliterate age. Daunt- 
less Captain Kirk, cool and 
logical Mr. Spock, bluff and 

guileless Scotty, common- 
sense Dr. McCoy. They are 
pleasant and familiar arche- 
types of what we see piece- 
meal in ourselves or observe 
in others. Not -profound, cer- 
tainly. Lacking in detail, sure- 
ly. But vivid. Unforgettable. 
Of course, no personal re- 
sponse to Star Trek on my 
part would be complete with- 
out mention of the actors who 


Astarship without engines! 

A wild new Omni arti L 
cfe? No, it's an idea used 
in an episode of Star Trek: 
The Next Generation. "In 
a show called 'New 
Ground,' by Ronald D. 
Moore," says Naren Shank- 
ar, a Star Trek: The Next 
Generation science consul- 
tant, "we come up with the 
idea of a race pushing its 
spacecraft, through sub- 
space utilizing beamed so- 
liton waves." 

Nanotechnology? Genet- 
ic engineering? Tachyonic 
tracking? Star Trek territory 
now. Along with artist-de- 
signers Mike Okuda and 
Rick Sternbach, Shankar 

helps make the series a 
gold mine of not only jar- 
gon but also scientific con- 
cepts. "I'd like to help Star 
Trek: The Next Generation 
make people as fascinat- 
ed with science as the orig- 
inal Star Trek did when I 
was twelve," Okuda says. 
Maybe Star Trek: The 
Next Generation is even 
now molding youngsters 
who will "go where no one 
has gone before" because 
Kirk and Spock — and Pi- 
card and Data — traveled 
there first. — David Bischoff 
[David Bischoff's latest 
book is Revelation: The 
UFO Conspiracy, pub- 
lished by Warner.] 

embody these now mythic 
roles. What the crew of the En- 
terprise possesses in abun- 
dance is that almost extrater- 
restrial quality known as 
charm. Just as it is impossi- 
ble to watch the series and 
not be seduced by the char- 
acters, so it is equally impos- 
sible to work with William Shat- 
ner, Leonard Nimoy, DeFor- 
est Kelley, George Takei, 

Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koe- 
nig, and James Doohan and 
not succumb in person to 
their agreeableness. Age can- 
not wither, nor custom stale, 
their infinite variety. Now 
when I see them on television 
I feel as though I am watch- 
ing parts of my extended fam- 
ily, for so they have become. 
Arthur Conan Doyle, I as- 
sume, was less fortunate. Per- 

haps if he had fallen in love 
with that famous Holmes in- 
terpreter of his day, William 
Gillette, he might have been 
less dumb about Sherlock. 
With Star Trek it is always the 
actors who bridge the final 
gap between my head and 
my heart. They batter down 
my rational resistance to 
Star Trek creator Gene Rod- 
denberry's world with their 

very selves. 

Uniike Doyle, I have given 
up the fight. After twenty-five 
years I have surrendered to 
Star Tree's mystifying attrac- 
tions. In doing so, I acknowl- 
edge that there's more things 
in heaven and earth than can 
be satisfactorily explained. Hu- 
man nature with its perverse 
conundrums is one. Star 
Trek is surely another. DO 

Movie makeup and 
special effects 
have advanced light- 
years beyond 
the inexpensive, sim- 
ple tricks used 
on the TV show in 
the Sixties, 
making Star Trek 
Vf's cast of aliens 
more realistic 
looking than ever. 

The movie will 
introduce audiences 
to fascinating 
new alien races So 
join the usual 
Vulcans, Klingons, 
and Ramulans. 

Both well-known 
actors and rela- 
tive newcomers will 
play vital parts 
in Star Trek Vfc Mod- 
el-actress Iman 
(above, second from 
left) portrays 
Martlet, mt mysteri- 
ous changeling. 
Character actor Kurt- 

wood Smith (above, 
third from left) 
puts in an appear- 
ance as the 
president of the 
Veteran actor Christo- 
pher Plummer 
(bottom right) is the 

Klingon warrior 
General Chang. And 
the whole Enter- 
prise crew will be on 
hand for this 
ultimate adventure, 
headed up by 
DeForesS Kelley as 
Dr. Leonard 
"Bones" McCoy 
and William 
Shatner as James 
T. Kirk (above 
right), pictured aff 
a Klingon " 


World hunger, global warming, ener- 
gy depletion — small cheese whet 
measured against the looming dan- 
gers of a Klingon civil war, and wheth- 
er dilithium crystals will really decrys- 
tallize when exposed to Sselgn 
inaem. But nobody said it would be 
easy to muse on Star Trek's impact 
on society during the last twenty- 
five years. That's why Omni asked 
me, a former Star Trek executive con- 
sultant, to do it. 

Star Trek's creator and executive 
producer, Gene Roddenberry, has 
joined the august group of men'with 
an agenda. Beware of men con- 
cerned with their place in history. 
With politicians this obsession usu- 
ally ends up costing you in either mon- 
ey or blood. In the case of Star 
Trek: The Next Generation, it ends 
up wasting your time. 

In 1966, when Star Trek first 
beamed into millions of homes, Rod- 
denberry's agenda was getting a TV 
show on the air so he could make 
some money — a sensible and laud- 
able goal. Although the show 
limped through three seasons, receiv- 
ing only marginal ratings, it delight- 
ed those of us who read science fic- 
tion and were starved for a visual 
presentation of our favorite genre. 

Looking back from the perspec- 
tive of twenty-five years, I realize 
That the original recipe was pretty 
good science fiction. Not always, of 
course; Classic Trek had its share of 
gobblers — "Spook's Brain," "The 
Omega Glory." Even so, there were 
scripts by Robert Bloch, Harlan Elli- 
son, Theodore Sturgeon, David Ger- 
rold, Dorothy Fontana— people who 
understood that science fiction isn't 
about gadgets and technological gim- 
cracks but about the effecfthe tech- 
nological gimcracks have on people. 
Go back and look at "Charley X," 
"City on the Edge of Forever," "Er- 
rands of Mercy." 

Yes, the special effects were laugh- 
able, the sets cheesy, and you had 
William Shatner chewing scenery, 
But I'll take James T Kirk kissing the 
girl, punching the bad guy, and violat- 
ing the Prime Directive about twice 
a show over the bloodless autom- 
atons who now crew the Enterprise. 

The old show was passionate. 
These were flawed individuals, peo- 
ple with whom we could identify be- 

By Melindcs Snodgrass 

T¥*s current SfSf trek 

fesafwres Whoop i 

©oldfeerg (above) tis fess"- 

keep Guinaiii and 

Michael Dora cts security 

officer Worf . 

cause we possess the same failings. 
How they met and defeated their per- 
sonal demons was more gripping 
than the godlike-alien-of-the-week 
we get on Star Trek: The Next Genera- 
tion. The dramatic problem with god- 
like aliens is that it takes a godlike 
alien to catch a godlike alien. 

But all things pass, includi 
Classic Trek. It faded away to 
that limbo where old television 
shows go to die, until it rose j 
from the dead in the form of 
Star Trek conventions. 

And the conventions be- 
gat movies, and the movies be- 
gat the new series. Amen. Thi 
dreadful effect of all the hype 
was that Roddenberry decid- 
ed he could no. longer just 
do a television show so 
he could make some 
money. Now he had to 
speak to the ages be- 
cause this was serious 
shit, this was philosophy. 

In the new improved 
twenty-third century there is 
no want, no money, no crim< 
(if you should even get 

naughty notion they'll come and 
make your mind right— terrifying pros- 
pect). And there are apparently no 
emotions. All of which combines to 
create a stultifying forty-seven min- 
utes in front of your television. The 
essence of drama is conflict, and 
there's none to be found in the new 
Star Trek. But that's dramatic crit- 
icism and it doesn't address the ques- 
tion of whether Star Trek, old or new, 
has fundamentally affected society. 
Without question Star Trek's im- 
pact is incredibly diffuse. Probably 
half the world's population would 
recognize the familiar "Beam me up, 
Scotty." But that's chrome. Essen- 
tially, Star Trek hasn't affected the eth- 
ics, morality, or philosophy of ours 
or any other society. 

Star Trek has always been a reflec- 
tor of the country's attitudes rather 
than a shaper of those attitudes. In 
the Sixties, we had the gung ho New 
Frontier democracy of napalm. {Con- 
sider "The Apple"; Let's blow up the 
papier-mache tyrannosaurus with the 
horn on its head so the people who 
worshipped it can experience hun- 
ger and deaih. I love this plan, Jim.) 
It was swashbuckling, far better en- 
tertainment than Star Trek: The 
Next Generation, which reflects the 
stodgy, self-righteous Reagan-Bush 
New World Order. Star Trek: The 
Next Generation is kinder and gen- 
tler, probably more paternalistic, but ba- 
sically just as coercive as 
i New Frontier activ- 
Jsm of Classic Trek. 
Js it important? 
> it matter? No. 
said while on 
Sfar Trek: The 
: Next Generation, 
"We ain't eradi- 
cate' world hun- 
ger here. It's just 
a TV show." OQ 

"Space, even orbital space, 

is the common heritage of humankind. So 

why shouldn't humankind cooperate 

in exploring it?" asks the former czar of 

Soviet space science who now 

shuttles between Moscow and Maryland 


In 1988, when the Soviet Union was 
still a unified Communist state and 
no! a collection of cacophonous de- 
mocracies in the making, Roald 
Sagdeev made headlines just by rais- 
ing his hand. Sagdeev was a mem- 
ber of the Supreme Soviet's Council 
of the Union, and that august body 
was voting on legislation designed 
to squelch political rallies. Through- 
out Soviet history, all party-spon- 
sored bills had hitherto been voted 
into law unanimously. Sagdeev's sol- 
itary nyet was a shocking breach of 
protocol in the upper reaches of the 
Soviet political apparatus. In the con- 
text of Sagdeev's 15-year career as 

the maverick C2ar of Soviet space sci- 
ence, however, it was a perfectly log- 
ical action. He weighed the evi- 
dence. It didn't add up. 

Roald Zinnurovich Sagdeev is a 
world-renowned plasma physicist, 
an orchestrator of stunningly ambi- 
tious spaceflights, a charismatic pro- 
moter of cross-border scientific ven- 
tures, and a late-blooming politician 
who can out-glasnost and out-per- 
estroika Boris Yeltsin himself. Today 
Sagdeev shuttles frequently be- 
tween Moscow and College Park, 
Maryland, where he is the Universi- 
ty of Maryland's newest Distin- 
guished Professor of Physics. 


Sagdeev's ascent through the 
enormous Soviet scientific bureaucra- 
cy was meteoric by Russian standards. 
At thirty-five, he was elected to the pres- 
tigious USSR Academy of Sciences, a 
pantheon of barely 100 scientists, most- 
ly elderly, some senile, who controlled 
the vast state-run institutes. At forty- 
one, Sagdeev took over one of them, 
the then-undistinguished Space Re- 
search Institute, or IKI ("eeky"), By 
1988, when he voluntarily stepped 
down as IKI's director, 
he had turned the Soviet 
unmanned space pro- 
gram into an exemplar of 
daring, technically sophis- 
ticated space science. 

And he did it openly. 
"Sagdeev," says Louis 
Friedman, executive direc- 
tor of the Planetary Soci- 
ety in Pasadena, Califor- 
nia, who has observed 
Sagdeev at close hand 
in Moscow, "began a radi- 
cal change within Soviet 
science. Before, you 
couldn't get a Soviet to 
tell you when a space- 
craft would fly, even if it 
was already up." His sta- 
tus as Gorbachev's per- 
sonal space policy advis- 
er enabled him to fend 
off challenges from par- 
ty reactionaries and open- 
ly voice some scathing 
opinions on his mother- 
land's shortcomings. He 
publicly condemned par- 
ty-dominated science as 
"stultifying." W.hen the 
academy snubbed Sag- 
deev's -friend and fellow 
physicist, the late Andrei 
Sakharov, he compared 
its electoral manipula- 
tions to those of the king- 
dom of Saudi Arabia. 

In the flesh, Sagdeev 
is no fire-breathing fulmi- 
nator. He is more apt to 
make denunciations with 
a shrug or a joke, as 
Doug Stewart found 
when twice interviewing him in Maryland. 
Asked about the advanced age of so 
many of his fellow academicians, Sag- 
deev wryly attributed their persistent 
good health to "natural selection." A 
compact man with a slight slouch, Sag- 
deev wears fashionably baggy double- 
breasted suits and sporty blazers but 
cannot resist cramming the front pock- 
ets with pens and keeping his neckties 
loose. His fluent English is heavily accent- 
ed: Mars is "Moss." But the accent is 
58 OMNI 

diminishing under the tutelage of 
Susan Eisenhower, whom he met at a 
conference in New York in 1 987 and mar- 
ried in Moscow in 1990. The marriage 
makes Sagdeev the only Hero of Social- 
ist Labor and recipient of the Order of 
Lenin to become the grandson-in-law of 
an American president. 

Omni: How did Soviet scientists re- 
spond to the attempted coup? 

Sagdeev: The scientific community was 

Roald Sagdeev 

Vega's rendezvous 
Halley's Comet 




CURRENT JOB: Star wars; revival 

Professor of physics, Univer-'- ,-, ■ of Communist Party 
sity of- Maryland 


LAST JOB:- True democracy: U.S. --Soviet 

Head of USSR's space .v : ,- space collaborations; 
science program ,_-'■' "■."■. ■hot-fusion; robots on Mars 

strongly divided. The vast majority of 
working scientists supported democra- 
cy and Yeltsin and restoration of con- 
stitutional order. Laboratory scientists al- 
most unanimously support democratic 
reform because a totalitarian, one-par- 
ty mentality with central control of ev- 
eryday life is incompatible with the spir- 
it of scientific exploration. Science with- 
out the intellectual freedom to debate 
conflicting' points of view is unimagin- 
able. The failure of the coup d'etat 

raised morale tremendously among work- 
ing scientists. 

A small minority, the academic elite 
and those with administrative posts, un- 
fortunately did not display much civil 
courage. Many were prepared to go 
along with the coup. The scientific elite 
is often older scientists who no longer 
actively engage in their own intellectu- 
al adventure but rather supervise oth- 
ers and set policies. Knowing that re- 
form will cost them their special privi- 
leges, they view them- 
selves as endangered 
by these changes. 

The failure of the 
coup has triggered very 
serious conflict now with- 
in the Academy of Sci- 
ences. The academy, 
which formerly controlled 
all scientific work, has al- 
ways been largely a prod- 
uct of Communist party in- 
fluence. It was no secret 
that the country's ruling 
institutions have tradition- 
ally handpicked many of 
the academy's mem- 
bers, and these are the 
people who are unhappy 
with democratic reforms. 
Next to our union of war 
veterans, the Academy 
of Sciences has proba- 
bly been the most conser- 
vative — even the most re- 
in the country. After the 
tremendous upheaval of 
recent months, the acade- 
my may not survive in its 
old form. It just might col- 
lapse along with the Com- 
munist party. 
Omni: Is it true the aver- 
age age of academi- 
cians is seventy? 
Sagdeev: For full mem- 
bers it may now be even 
older. Membership in 
the academy is a kind of 
lifetime sentence. You 
have to commit an un- 
believable crime to be 
kicked out. Age does not 
necessarily predetermine outlook, but 
some correlation exists. Flexibility and 
freshness can be lost with age. More 
important, the older scientists came of 
age under Stalin. For many, the new po- 
litical winds are quite alien. 
Omni: You've demanded directors of 
each of your country's huge research 
institutes resign after ten years. Why? 
Sagdeev: True scientists become 
bored doing administrative work year af- 
ter year and they'd welcome a policy 


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of rotation. Scientists who come to en- 
joy being the big boss can be quite dan- 
gerous, so it's even more important to 
demand their resignations. Someone 
who occupies the same office for many 
years risks losing touch with genuine sci- 
ence. Academician Vinogradov, a world- 
class mathematician, was director of 
our most elite institute, the Steklov Math- 
ematical Institute, until he died in his nine- 
ties. Toward the end of his reign, mo- 
rale inside his institute was known to be 
intolerable. Mathematicians were treat- 
ed according to their ethnic origin. It be- 
came a stronghold of anti-Semitism. 
Omni: Did political orthodoxy lead to 
.scientific orthodoxy? 
Sagdeev: I think so. Until quite recent- 
ly, political orthodoxy controlled the 
ideological life of the country. Through 
the academy, the political leadership 
was often able to manipulate the coun- 
try's scientific institutions. Under Stalin 
and later Khrushchev, Trofim Lysenko, 
the evil genius of Soviet biology [as di- 
rector of the Institute of Genetics from 
1940 to 1965], essentially killed Soviet 
molecular biology in its infancy. He at- 
tacked those who studied genes and 
heredity and accused them of promot- 
ing anti-Marxist, bourgeois science. He 
created his own perversion of biology, 
according to which you could complete- 
ly change an organism's heredity by al- 
tering its environment. Yet Stalin and 
then Khrushchev supported him, Dur- 
ing that time, you could find such phe- 
nomena in almost every field of science, 
but they were particularly pronounced 
in biology. 

On my own I have been trying to as- 
sess the history of Soviet science. Our 
scientific community has had to survive 
so many cataclysmic periods. Science 
was not -terribly strong in czarist Rus- 
sia to start with, but there were islands 
of brilliance with people like Dmitri Men- 
deleev, who developed the periodic ta- 
ble, and the physicist Pyotr Lebedev, 
who first measured the pressure of 
light. This rather thin layer of scientific 
achievement was endangered by the 
revolution and civil war that followed. 
Many bright scientists and engineers em- 
igrated, some of them to America, 

Then with the Communist party's dom- 
ination and Stalin's terror in 1937, many 
of our best brains were lost in the 
Gulag. After World War I], scientists 
were often attacked for ideological rea- 
sons — ideological pogroms, we call 
them. They would be accused of being 
"cosmopolitans." During the stagnation 
[under Brezhnev], a new code of be- 
havior emerged. Scientists, especially 
those in the elite, would routinely appeal 
to the government to settle even ordi- 
nary scientitic disagreements. 

Now imagine, after these seventy- 
five years of cataclysm, the Soviet 
Union still has bright scientists! It is an 
important part of the world's scientific 
family. I've had a chance to witness 
and, to some extent, participate in this 
drama. I knew many of the protagonists 
and heroes of postwar Soviet science. 
This question — how ha's Soviet science 
been able to survive?— is the subject of 
(he memoirs I'm writing. 
Omni: With the rout of the hard-liners, 
will reforms now succeed? 
Sagdeev: In the mid-Eighties Gorba- 
chev couid not have imagined in his wild- 
est dreams that he himself would sug- 
gest the dismantling of the Communist 
party, Today the new perestroika 
means simply joining the international 
family of free democratic nations. This 
is the only possible direction for us now. 
We are educating ourselves in the proc- 
ess of democratic reforms. Do you 

6Do you 
know my definition of 

the difference 

between a moderate 

and a 

radical in the 


Union? Six months. 9 

know my definition of the difference to- 
day between a moderate and a radical 
in the Soviet Union? Six months. 
Omni: In 1988 you were the first mem- 
ber of the Chamber of the Union ever 
to vote "no" on a party-sponsored bill. 
Why did no one join you'' 
Sagdeev: The bill put severe restrictions 
on public meetings and demonstra- 
tions. I had brainstormed earlier about 
this with my friends, including Andrei 
Sakharov, and was against it. Before 
the vote I'd spoken to quite a few dele- 
gates. They were supportive, but a vi- 
rus of fear still held sway. Fifteen min- 
utes later a companion bill, to establish 
a special group of paratroopers to en- 
force the first law, was introduced. 
Again I voted "no," but this time, five 
other people in the chamber joined me. 
These five were good experimentalists: 
They observed that fifteen minutes af- 
ter the first vote I was still there — no one 
had taken me away — and so they 
joined me. This is essentially the algo- 
rithm for how the Soviet people became 
so courageous and finally went to the 

barricades. It was done step by step, 
Omni: That same year you took your 
own advice and stepped down as di- 
rector of IKI, the Space Research In- 
stitute. What was it like, being a work- 
ing scientist again? 
Sagdeev: It's not easy. You wake up in 
the morning and realize you don't 
have to go to your office as director; you 
don't need to attend the VIP meeting 
with this minister or that boss. Instead 
you must now sit at your desk and try 
to revive all your working instincts. Sci- 
entists who spend years in adminis- 
trative jobs stop generating ideas; 
they generate comments and instruc- 
tions. To be a working scientist you 
have to be highly creative in your think- 
ing, inventing, assessing. You have to 
allow your brain to be a slightly loose 
cannon. We have an expression in Rus- 
sia: to be a white crow. It means to be 
considered by the rest of the commu- 
nity as a bit flaky or crazy. As director 
of IKI, I was considered a white crow 
by my colleagues, 
Omni: Is that like a black sheep'' 
Sagdeev: There is a huge population of 
black sheep, but it's very difficult to 
find a white crow. 

Omni: After taking over IKI in 1973, you 
pulled space scientists out of the labs 
and had them help build devices they 
wanted to launch. Why? 
Sagdeev: We wanted them to be more 
responsible for designing, testing, and 
calibrating the instruments that would 
carry out their experiments. Before I 
came to IKI, scientists would often get 
the institute's money, find a contractor 
to build an instrument, then simply 
wait until it was built. Our most suc- 
cessful projects were the result of in- 
timate cooperation between scientists 
and engineers. Toward the end of my 
career at IKI, I worked a lot on instru- 
mental design. 

Omni: Don't you hold a number of pat- 
ents for these designs? 
Sagdeev: Yes, and I'm quite proud of 
some. One is on a system to point a 
spacecraft's telescope that we used for 
the Vega spacecraft's mission to the nu- 
cleus of Halley's Comet in 1985, The nu- 
cleus is a tiny body in a comet's huge 
and bright coma [the luminous cloud of 
gas and dust defining a comet's 
shape]. Vega was to pass through this 
coma for only a couple of minutes, but 
communication with Earth would take 
fifteen to twenty minutes. So we de- 
signed an onboard computer that de- 
cided which part of the coma was the 
nucleus and guided the spacecrait's 
telescope during the rendezvous. 

But no matter how smart the instru- 
mentation, every mission is still in the 
hands of the contractor responsible for 

launching and controlling your space- 
craft. An example is the failure of the 
spacecraft in 1989 a few days prior to 
its encounter with the Martian moon. I 
and my colleague Georgi Managadze 
designed a rather exotic mass spec- 
trometer to measure the chemical com- 
position of soil on Phobos. As the space- 
craft drifted slowly above Phobos's 
surface, it would fire a powerful laser 
that would focus on a small piece of 
soil below and ionize it. The spacecraft's 
spectrometer would capture some ions 
escaping from this microexplosion. A 
similar technique is often used in labs 
but within a vacuum chamber. You can- 
not collect ions within an atmosphere. 
In our case we had to do all this with 
Ihe spacecraft about one hundred me- 
ters above Phobos's surface. 
Omni: And millions of miles from Earth. 
Sagdeev: Yes. It was one of the most 
technically sophisticated instruments 
aboard. When we lost the spacecraft a 
few days prior to the encounter with Pho- 
bos, I think it was the most disappoint- 
ing moment in my career. 
Omni: What went wrong? 
Sagdeev: We had also planned to do 
some Mars science, so when the space- 
craft had almost reached the same or- 
bit as Phobos, it turned lo look at 
Mars. At that point, ground control in- 

tentionally nj'Tieo' off ts telecommunica- 
tions dish because the spacecrafl and 
dish were now pointed toward Mars — 
not toward Earth. Two hours later an 
onboard computer was supposed to re- 
store the spacecraft's original orien- 
tation. We'd repeated this procedure 
dozens of times before, but at the ap- 
pointed iime, no signal came from the 
spacecraft. Its orientation was apparent- 
ly wrong. Most likely, the onboard com- 
puter had failed. I quickly tried to or- 
ganize a group to investigate what had 
gone wrong. 

Omni: To rescue the mission? 
Sagdeev: No, the spacecraft was al- 
ready frozen: It was the temperature of 
space. I wanted the group to include 
scientists and engineers from our 
space industry and from the fourteen 
countries whose instruments were part 
of the mission. Our space industry 
must be accountable not only to its So- 
viet but also to its foreign scientific cus- 
tomers. Our space industry officials 
promised to sit down and find out what 
happened. But then I was in the proc- 
ess of stepping down as head of IKI. 
The officials used the opportunity to 
break their promise. They never invited 
either foreign or Soviet scientists to 
participate in their investigation. 
They were trying to help their indus- 


"Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie, gimmie, gimmie, gimmie." 

trial conlractors save face. In fact, the 
chief contractor for the onboard com- 
puter was never called in as part of the 
official investigation. Instead he was ap- 
pointed to an important government 
post, chairman of the Supreme Soviet's 
Committee for Defense!" There was on- 
ly one possible explanation: The military- 
industrial complex badly needed to fill 
that post with someone they could con- 
trol. It didn't matter that the guy himself 
couldn't control his own equipment. 
Omni: Many of your dramatic success- 
es at IKI — which put NASA to shame — 
were advanced in part by your recruit- 
ing of foreign scientists as collaborators. 
Wasn't that controversial at home? 
Sagdeev: One reason we succeeded 
was that it was so unexpected: No one 
was ready to put up resistance. But 
soon battles began within the space bu- 
reaucracy that follow the old saying, No 
good deed goes unpunished. Some of 
the reactionaries used the media to at- 
tack IKI's policy of inviting in foreign col- 
laborators. They said Ihese collabora- 
tions deprive Soviet scientists of their 
right to participate. I often have been 
accused by name in these attacks. And 
then others in the West criticize me for . 
bringing Western technology into the So- 
viet Union, thereby undermining the 
West's monopoly. So [smiling] I can't win. 
Omni: In the U. S. the relative value of 
manned versus unmanned spaceflight 
is hotly debated. Where do you stand? 
Sagdeev: 1 confess, as director of IKI, 
] was an uncompromising extremist 
against manned missions in favor of 
sophisticated robotic missions. In my 
view, both the Soviet and American 
space programs had from the begin- 
ning fallen hostage to manned space- 
flight. Manned programs on both sides 
still get more support in budgetary 
terms. Now that I'm free of these heat- 
ed debates and emotions, I think the wis- 
est course is to find a proper balance 
between the two. 

We need to encourage the common 
man lo overcome this psychological bar- 
rier and appreciate unmanned space 
missions. The romance of space explor- 
ation does not come only from sending 
living creatures into space. Think of Ve- 
ga, or especially Voyager, sending sig- 
nals from deep space. If we're smart 
enough, we can design space robots 
to which we can delegate everything. 
Omni: Domestically, the Soviet space 
program is under attack. Boris Yeltsin 
and others have urged that space 
spending be curbed in favor of consum- 
er goods production. 
Sagdeev: Suggestions like that reflect 
the very understandable feelings of the 
taxpayers. From the start, our leaders 
used our space achievements as a 

tool for political indoctrination. Our 
space achievements were said to be. 
proof of the superiority of socialism. Dur- 
ing the Brezhnev era there was a slo- 
gan: For Soviet spacecraft, the launch- 
ing site is socialism! Now, people reject 
even what succeeded in that epoch, 
such as the space program. The sci- 
entific community needs to respond by 
carefully explaining why we need 
space — not to prove political myths 
about socialism, but as an important 
part of modern civilization. 
Omni: Does the disintegration of the 
Soviet Union herald the end of big sci- 
ence in your country? 
Sagdeev: I think it's the end of science 
used as window dressing, as a propa- 
ganda ploy. I hope it will be the begin- 
ning of genuine science. 
Omni: But what will become of the glo- 
rious Soviet space program? 
Sagdeev: The Soviet space program is 
no longer looking for glory. It's looking 
for survival. Those republics interested 
in high technology in space — Russia, 
the Ukraine, perhaps Kazakhstan — 
might form something like the Europe- 
an Space Agency. It will be a very 
long time before any republic joins the 
ESA directly. It would require hard 
currency, for one thing. Even [he .East 
European countries, which are ahead 
of the Soviet Union in moving toward 
Europeanization, are iar from becoming 
full members of the ESA. 
Omni: What's the status of Buran, the 
Soviet space shuttle? 
Sagdeev: Buran was launched once, un- 
manned. Being a costly enterprise, the 
project is likely to be abandoned alto- 
gether, maybe rather soon. From the 
start, it had no well-defined mission. The 
original promise that it would be a 
cheap launcher compared to expend- 
able rockets was never fulfilled. Its sup- 
porters thought, "The Americans did 
this, so it's important for us to do it." All 
the criticism of the American shuttle one 
hears is applicable to Buran. 
Omni: Energiya, the giant new Soviet 
rocket, has flown only twice. Is it endan- 
gered, too? 

Sagdeev: If you can find customers 
who want to use it, you'll be most wel- 
come. Energiya can deliver to Earth or- 
bit a payload of more than one hundred 
tons, three times the weight of our Mir 
space station. In the current economic 
crisis, our country probably can't afford 
a project big enough to utilize this 
launch capacity. 

Right now Soviet space industries 
have the know-how to build the best 
launch vehicles in the world, and the 
cheapest. Even with a quick renais- 
sance of launch technology in the 
West its rockets for many years will be 







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lying that continually over the past They were taking the back roads to the Word leaked out somehow. At least fifteen 

— 1 of the main highway. Anoth- hundred maniacs in front of the terminal." 
ve that route, a decoy with a Dave felt Bedford stiffen. "Who is it?" he 

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it, the goddamn rV 
All about to go for i 

that Bedford was guilty, 
that he'd had anything to do with the Green- 
ing. During the interrogation he'd had an 
"" '~r everything. Why had he gone 

the others? Shop talk. The I 

Dular after the Plague, he 
He even had an explai — '" 









the interrogation, not to question him, 
but simply lo be there: to keep him 
company, be his pal, talk to him, cheer 
him up — and to listen when and if he 
decided to talk about what he'd been 
doing those last days of May eight 
years ago. 

The buddy program had begun af- 
ter Mollis hanged himself in his cell. The 
papers had gone wild over that: scream- 
ing headlines, speculations about con- 
spiracies, pious editorials on the mas- 
sive guilt that had forced him to suicide. 
That may have been part of it, but it 
had been the conditions as much as any- 
thing else: the paper prison uniform, 
the eight-hour interrogation sessions, 
the bad food, the unutterable lone- 
liness of being a man hated by most of 
the world. Things had changed after 
Hollis— better food, normal clothing, 
but more important, simple human con- 
tact, somebody they didn't have to be 
afraid of, someone to lean on as they 
walked the mile. That the somebody al- 
so doubled as a bodyguard mattered 
not at all, 

Dave had been through it four times 
now, and each time he'd ended up, 
more or less against his will, liking the 
man he'd been assigned to — even 
Olbers, weird as he'd been. He knew 
what they were and what they'd done, 
but their human qualities touched him 
regardless. It was hard to hate a man 
after you'd broken bread with him. 

But Bedford was different. He was a 
funnyman, with a vast supply of stories 
and jokes about everything imaginable. 
He was able to see the humor in any- 
thing, no matter what the situation, even 
the one that had made him the sole pris- 
oner on the top floor of Leavenworth. 
Beyond that, he'd been as careful of 
Dave's feelings as Dave had been of 
his. The others had snapped at him at 
one time or another as the pressure got 
to them, cursing him as a plant, asking 
if he got a kick out of watching them, 
but not Art. He'd taught Dave to play 
chess, and had even explained genet- 
ics to him, not that he understood it 
even now. 

Dave would have liked Art no matter 
how they'd met. The fact that he was 
probably innocent had nothing to do 
with it. 

He'd had it out with Wills, the agent in 
charge, earlier that evening. Wills had 
called Dave down to his office to talk 
about Bedford: how he hadn't slipped 
once, hadn't given one sign of guilt, 
how his story had held together so 
well. Then Wills had gotten to the 
point: "You like him, don't you?" 

"Yeah, I do. He's what we used to 
call a noble bro." 

70 OMNI 

Wills smiled. "So do I," he said, fid- 
dling with a pen. "And you don't think 
he had anything to do with it." 

His tone was flat, deliberately so. 
Dave shut his eyes and shook his 

Wills sat quietly, tapping the pen on 
the desktop, his lips pursed. "I hear you 
were rough on the Japanese delegation 
last week," he said finally. 

Dave, shifted uncomfortably. He'd 
been wondering when that would 
come up. "They were threatening him," 
he said. 

"Well, you should have come to me. 
I got some flack on it from upstairs. 
But," he waved his hand, "that's past." 
He paused once again, then went on, 
his voice quiet. "Is this one getting to 

"They all do." 

"All of them?" 

"Almost," Dave said, giving him a 

buddy program had 


after Hollis hanged 


in his cell. The papers 

had gone 

wild over that. 9 

thin smile. 

"Right," Wills nodded. He stared at 
the wall as if deeply interested in the 
institutional green paint of the room. 
"You don't think he should go." 

"I'd like to hold him a month or so, 
see what turns up...." 

"Can't do it, Dave," Wills said, shak- 
ing his head. "Delhi wants him. It's 
been two years since the last — " 

Dave cut him off. "So that's it? We're 
on a deadline now? Maybe we should 
start sending over the guys who sold 
them the equipment. There are quite a 
few of them." He fell silent, surprised at 
his own vehemence. 

Wills dropped his head. "I know it's 
tough," he said heavily, "and this one's 
tougher than most." He raised his 
eyes, "Do you want to be relieved?" 

Dave hesitated. He'd been anticipat- 
ing the trial with more dread than he 
cared to admit. He could be out now, 
no problem — Wills wouldn't hold it 
against him.... But it wouldn't be fair to 
Art. He shook his head. 

"You just have to say the word." 

"No," Dave said. "But what I do 
want is this: I want to know that this 
thing isn't becoming an automatic proc- 
ess, that we aren't sending people over 
there just to keep the wheels turning. 
Anyone who goes to Delhi is a dead 
man — the trial is just'a formality. Art 
Bedford wouldn't be convicted in this 
country on what we've got on him." 

Lighting another of his never-ending 
string of cigarettes, Wills stared thought- 
fully at the coal. Dave knew he was mull- 
ing it over and he was tempted to say 
something, a remark about the court 
maybe, that would tip the balance and 
get him out of it, but he remained silent. 

"You know, Dave," Wills said finally, 
"You'd have made a good small-town 
cop. There's something about you 
makes people want to confess. You re- 
member Reed sat here screaming he 
was innocent, he had his rights, every 
other damn thing, and then...." 

"On the plane he tells me every- 

"Right. Even Olbers came around in 
the end." 

Dave nodded. Olbers had been one 
who hadn't bothered him. He'd sat 
through interrogation with utter disinter- 
est, saying nothing even though they 
had him nailed— his thumbprint had 
been found on a flask in Mombasa. The 
trial had gone the same way, Olbers act- 
ing as if the whole business was a bor- 
ing duty that required his presence but 
not his attention. Yet at the end, as he 
was led out of the cell, he'd turned to 
Dave and said, "Three biilion for one, 
Novak — not a bad trade, eh?" and had 
walked off between his guards with a 
slight smile that hadn't changed even 
when the gas hit the acid. 

"You think the same will happen 
with Bedford?" 

"Be nice," Wills said. 

"What if he's got nothing to tell?" 

Wills butted the cigarette out and lit 
another. "Do what you can," he said qui- 
etly. "Some of us have our doubts, too." 
He lifted his eyes to Dave. "I think you 
know what I'm saying." 

"Yeah," Dave said. 

"All right," Wills said. "Now go on and 
get some sleep." 

He'd gone back to the cellblock, but 
sleep was another matter. After two 
hours spent tossing on the bed, an ordi- 
nary one, not a prison cot, he'd gotten 
up and spent the rest of the evening 
walking the corridor, thinking about 
what Wills had said. Quite a character, 
Wills. Dave had heard he'd once stud- 
ied to be a priest. He should sit down 
with him sometime, get to know him, 
find out how he'd ended up in the FBI, 

As the hours passed he picked up 
the phone more than once to call Wills, 


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3D digital 
l models. 

In a windowless chamber, 
scrubbed clean by hissing cli- 
mate control, stand towers, 
racks, and cabinets of com- 
puting power. Here, in the 

U.S. Geological Survey's 
Reston, Virginia, head- 
quarters, a nineteen- 

ich monitor winks on, revealing a three- 
dimensional relief map of the Loma Prieta 
area south of San Francisco. At the 
punch of a button the image wheels into 
motion, taking the viewer around the re- 
gion's peaks and valleys on a ten-second 
flying-carpet ride. 

In a similar room at the SPOT Image Cor- 
poration, about a mile down Reston's tidy 
Sunrise Valley Highway, technicians are 
poring through data beamed down sever- 
al days ago from SPOT 2, a commercial 
satellite that circles the globe every twenty- 
six days. These days, any mapmakerwith 
as little as $500 to spare can freshen up 
an outdated map. By simply summoning 
a map on a computer screen, and super- 
imposing a SPOT image over it, the com- 

puter whips through an automat- 
ic change-detection routine, shift- 
ing borders and other features 
to match the satellite picture. 

It's fitting that both the Geolog- 
ical Survey and the SPOT Imag- 
ing Corporation — two driving forc- 
es behind today's cartographic 

revolution— call Reston home, a city of 

32,000 that wouldn't have shown up on 

most maps twenty-five years ago. The 

landscape — and the art of 

cartography— change 

quickly now. Gone 

are the pens 

ana sap- 


ti ppec 

gravers of 


More precise than 

ever before, thanks to -^^ 

computerization and satel- ^JBS^t 

lite imagery, modern maps no 

longer stop at simply guiding the 

user from point to point. Like crystal 




Images from remote-sensing sa 

...11M to. „_'S*»1tH§fI$»fe. 


Databases streamline geographical details. 


tal pulses; a ground -based receiver, 
collecting signals from ai least four satel- 
lites, can use these pulses to reckon its 
own longitude, latitude, and altitude. 

The Pentagon designed GPS satel- 
lites to position soldiers and guide 
smart weapons to their targets. But GPS 
receivers were soon commercially avail- 
able, alarming defense strategists: Any- 
one on the planet could tap GPS sig- 
nals to steer a missile right into the 
men's room in the White House East 
Wing, for example. So last year the 
Department of Defense scrambled the 
signals so that only military receivers 
could use GPS to its full potential. 
(Ironically, the Pentagon had to lift GPS 
encryption during the Persian Gulf War 
because the military ran out of receiv- 
ers, forcing them to equip soldiers with 
commercial GPS receivers.) 

But surveyors have devised a neat 
trick to overcome the signal encryption. 
They place a GPS receiver on a land- 
mark whose longitude and latitude is al- 
ready known. They then walk around 
with another receiver to calibrate the de- 
gree of signal distortion. After adjusting 
for signal distortion, the receiver can 
establish its whereabouts to within 
three feet; stationary, to within inches. 

The technique isn't cheap but for fast- 
growing areas in the Sunbelt it's worth 

the cost. Local communities have tra- 
ditionally maintained a plethora of 
separate charts for tax assessment, 
property lines, police precincts, water 
and sewer lines, and so on. Many now 
want to scan the collection into a comput- 
er, coalescing the maps into a unified 
GIS to help plot growth. But there are 
problems. "The maps are supposed to 
fit together but sometimes old maps 
don't fit well because of the cartograph- 
ic license they took back then, perhaps 
moving a stream's location or fudging 
a hill's placement so it would fit on the 
map," says Bill Daly, manager of map- 
ping services for Huntsville, Alabama. 
To resolve these inconsistencies, Da- 
ly's department turned to GPS. Survey- . 
ors laid out a GPS-derived network of 
control points using landmarks that 
stand out on different, but overlapping, 
aerial photographs. Guided by these 
landmarks, they could piece the differ- 
ent photos together. The result: a seam- 
less, accurate base map of the area, 
detailed enough to show manholes, ti- 
ny streams, and other features. Cartog- 
raphers then whisked the photographic 
map into a computer to generate cus- 
tom renderings such as three-dimension- 
al maps. Beyond giving the city the 
exact locations of its infrastructure, Da- 
ly's group has used the technique to 

identify slopes too steep or too aes- 
thetically sensitive for proposed devel- 
opment projects, 

Similar projects are underway at the 
U.S. Geological Survey's GIS Research 
Lab, where a staff of eight is develop- 
ing maps that peer "nto the future. 
"There are a lot more uses for our data 
than just paper maps," says Mick Van 
Driel, chief of the GIS lab. For example, 
four years ago the Phelps-Dodge Min- 
ing Company offered to trade land 
with the Forest Service, hoping to sink 
an open-pit copper mine into terrain cov- 
ered by Arizona's Prescott National For- 
est. The Forest Service called on the 
GIS Lab, where researchers loaded a 
computer with the Survey's own eleva- 
tion data, a Landsat image, paper 
maps showing geology and water ta- 
bles, land ownership boundaries, and 
the proposed mine plan. The comput- 
er responded with a three-dimensional 
view of the terrain, showing the mining 
operation's pits, ponds, and piles and 
spotlighting changes in drainage 
caused by the relandscaping. The im- 
age then swiveled to reveal how the pro- 
posed mine would stand out from dif- 
ferent points along a nearby scenic 
road. Faced with this analysis, the land- 
swap deal collapsed. 

The ability of GIS to model the future 
has given land-use planners powerful 
new capabilities. 'There's a major transi- 
tion going on right now," explains 
Douglas Gerull, executive vice presi- 
dent of the mapping sciences division 
of Intergraph Corporation, a leading ven- 
dor of computer-based mapping equip- 
ment. "First people used computers to 
make maps better, faster, and cheap- 
er. Now they're using the data to man- 
age the areas they mapped," 

Managing data is a pet project of 
University of Wisconsin professor of land- 
scape architecture Ben Niemann and 
his colleagues. Merging Landsat im- 
agery with property-line maps and soil 
charts, they developed a GIS database 
that pinpointed sources of erosion in ru- 
ral Wisconsin. Next they coupled the sys- 
tem with a water-quality assessment to 
model the impact of a proposed corpo- 
rate headquarters on a nearby lake. 
Most recently they created a three- 
dimensional terrain map and trickled 
pesticides across the computerized land- 
scape to illustrate how the chemicals 
would seep into bodies of water. "Be- 
fore you implement a new policy," 
says Niemann, "you can predict its 
consequences on the landscape— you 
can ask, 'What if?'" 

While local planners are benefiting 
from the new cartography, accurate 
geographic information is buoying the 
fortunes of modern commerce, just as 






Next Generation Astronomy Software Today 

An Interactive Model of the Dynamic Sky and Solar System 

No other PC program gives you a It is the most imaginative and 
better sense of the utterly grace- imagination-inspiring software that 
ful chaos of our solar system than 1 have yet seen running on a 
Dance of the Planets... More PC... It is, 1 believe, possible to 
important, though, is how it helps learn more about astronomy in a 
you make sense of the night sky. few short hours with Dance than 
Your appreciation of stellar bodies in years of studying dry textbooks, 
grows each time you run Dance. Ri chard BerrVi Astronomy 
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This reviewer has encountered 
It's an order of magnitude better no similarly rich entrant in the 
than any other solar system existing corpus of programs for 
simulator on the market. the personal computer. 

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improved navigational charts led Ren- 
aissance-era merchants to the riches of 
new worlds. Oil companies like Shell 
and Amoco siphon data from three- 
dimensional geological maps to keep 
track of exploration. For Federal Ex- 
press and UPS, computerized maps 
deliver the fastest possible routes for 
package trucks. U.S. West, the phone 
company, calls on GIS to guide the 
marketing of premium services and the 
placement of new switching facilities. 

The private sector's love affair with 
the technology has helped boost GIS 
into a big business. Sales of cartogra- 
phic computers and software totalled 
$1 .4 biilion last year worldwide. But the 
explosive'growth has lead to new con- 
cerns and disturbing trends. 

True, the precision demanded by 
computer systems has prodded many 
cartographers to smarten up their data 
with remote sensing and other tools, but 
it's still possible, with some creative fudg- 
ing, to shoehorn incompatible data in- 
to a single digital map. And when digi- - 
tal mapmakers have concocted a GIS 
from old maps without considering 
their original purpose, problems can 
multiply. "What happens when census 
maps are used for routing emergency 
vehicles? Who is liable when an ambu- 
lance runs into a dead end street?" 

82 OMNI 

asks Michael Goodchild, codirector of 
the National Center for Geographic In- 
formation and Analysis in Santa Barba- 
ra, California. "Maps are being held 
accountable relative to reality in ways 
they never should be." Other concerns 
are even more alarming. With we-know- 
where-you-live information so readily 
available, will the new cartographers 
turn from solving social problems to 
impinging on individual freedom? "The 
downside of the new cartography is 
that this is the technology of George Or- 
well," says Intergraph's Gerull. "If any- 
thing makes the Big Brother society 
possible, this will," 

Easy access to geographic data has 
inspired a different perspective in the 
mind of Jack Dangermond, president of 
Environmental Systems Research Insti- 
tute, or ESRI, a top seller of mapping 
software. Dangermond, considered a gu- 
ru among the new cartographers, sees 
GIS as a means of opening windows for 
pubiic scrutiny of governmental behav- 
ior. In short, as the technology becomes 
cheaper, the new cartographers will no 
longer just be bureaucrats — they'll be 
you and me. "We are the consumers of 
government," he argues. "Why not be 
a well-informed consumer?' 

The current battle over congression- 
al redisricting may furnish a proving 

ground for Dangermond's vision. With 
widespread use of GIS technology, 
state legislatures and governors' offic- 
es will no longer monopolize the tools 
to analyze the results of the 1990 cen- 
sus. As of April 1, 1991, the census da- 
ta, which chart a block-by-block analy- 
sis of population, voting-age population, 
and racial makeup, has been publicly 
available on CD-ROM. 

"Democrats, Republicans, caucuses, 
ethnic groups, anyone, can come up 
with their own proposal for reapportion- 
ment because the database is defined 
by public law," says Cowen of the 
University of South Carolina. "Equal ac- 
cess to the data elevates what was 
once a closed-door back-room deal to 
a level of democracy we've never seen 
before." In the case of redisricting, the 
new cartography stands to unlock a 
Pandora's box. But ESRI's Dangermond 
says that's just the point. He believes 
that digital mapping will allow people to 
grasp the connections between cultur- 
al, physical and geographic patterns. 
"We're reaching the ragged edge of 
sensitivity on this planet," he says. 
"Things are getting more complex, and 
there's not enough time to focus on 
them. GIS promises to interrelate 
things. Even if we can't solve our prob- 
lems, we'll understand them." DO 

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been used to analyze Mozart's style of 
composition, and create hundreds of 
Mozart-style musical pieces. 

"Having the technology is important 
if you want the leaders of tomorrow to 
develop the technology of tomorrow," 
says Donald Hyatt, director of TJ's com- 
puter systems lab. "Most of the comput- 
er use has applications in other science 
classes. Students develop models in 
geoscience; in environmental science 
they simulate pollution and study soil 
types. Students from the optic labs are 
even doing computer-generated holo- 
grams." Judsen Berkey, one of Thomas 
Jefferson's three Westinghouse finalists, 
developed a computer model of base- 
ball physics, compared two earlier stud- 
ies on how the spin of the ball and the 
angle of the bat affect the distance a 
ball is hit, and confirmed one of the stud- 
ies as correct. 

Freshmen at Thomas Jefferson take 
an integrated core of English, biology, 
and technology classes that utilize 
skills in all three areas. In designing an 
experiment to test the effectiveness of 
bacteria in digesting oil, for instance, stu- 
dents focus on problems and solutions, 
create and execute an experiment, 
write and revise reports, and then oral- 
ly present their findings to the class. 
"They learn problem solving, group dy- 
namics, and good science methods," 
says Gaudreault. 

But technology alone doesn't make 
good science in the classroom, accord- 
ing to Gaudreault. "The impetus 
comes from the students and the fac- 
ulty. The students who have the moti- 
vation are drawn to the teachers with 
the energy. When that link is made, 
things take off." 

New York City's Stuyvesant High 
School doesn't have the kind of equip- 
ment that- Thomas Jefferson offers. 
"You're talking about research on the 
cutting edge, research that requires mul- 
timillion-dollar setups," says Albert Tar- 
endash, head of chemistry and phys- 
ics at Stuyvesant High School. What 
Stuyvesant does have is the city's top 
students. "We get the cream of the 
crop. And when you start with that, the 
rest is easy." 

Within the school, technology plays 
a negligible role in teaching science — 
"Zilch," says the fast-talking Tarendash. 
But once outside the building on Man- 
hattan's Lower East Side, Stuyvesant's 
students hit high-powered research fa- 
cilities. Paired with mentors, specialists 

88 OMNI 

or scientists in their area of interest, stu- 
dents work at sites ranging from Cor- 
nell Medical School to New York Uni- 
versity and Columbia University. Much 
of the advanced science kids learn at 
Stuyvesant is learned outside its walls. 

"We're a research factory," Taren- 
dash says. "We have a large research 
system in the school, the mechanism to 
place our students in research settings 
in biology, chemistry, physics." From 
their freshmen year, Stuyvesant's stu- 
dents learn the realities of scientific re- 
search by taking data, drafting propos- 
als, designing experiments and models, 
and presenting their findings. A full- 
blown research" class helps the stu- 
dents prepare their Westinghouse pa- 
pers. The results are impressive: six 
1991 Westinghouse finalists who present- 
ed on everything from virology and ger- 
ontology to membrane physiology. 

"The senior class teacher [of the re- 

iThe students 
who have the motivation 

are drawn 

to the teachers with the 


When that link is 

things take off. 9 

search class] believes himself to be the 
coach. As coach, he literally prods and 
nudges the kids. And they help each 
other. It's all very cooperative," Taren- 
dash says. "I'd like to think that one hun- 
dred percent [of the school's students] 
have a burning desire for science and 
math, but that's not so. But we offer the 
kids what no other school can offer — 
people just like themselves. They all fit 
in because they all have the intellectu- 
al ability." 


Around the country, other schools 

push the envelope of classroom sci- 
ence. At North Carolina's School for Sci- 
ence and Mathematics, for example, 
500 juniors and seniors recruited from 

throughout the state live on a campus 
not far from a golf course in Durham. 
Like Stuyvesant, the School for Science 
and Mathematics stresses research; un- 
like Stuyvesant, the school features a 
substantial technological base, includ- 
ing a recombinant DNA laboratory 
that's become an important part of the 

school's program. "They do their work 
here on campus," says the school's 
head of scjence, Steve Warshaw. 
"That puts some limitations on them as 
far as equipment and expertise, but it 
also produces some very impressive 
changes in their confidence and their 
ability to manage a project." From syn- 
thesizing diamonds to photographing 
high-speed projectiles, class projects 
give students "an opportunity to find out 
if they're really interested in research as 
a career," Warshaw says. The School 
for Science and Mathematics also 
spreads the seeds of scientific excel- 
lence to other schools throughout 
North Carolina by introducing teach- 
ers — more than 3,000 in the dozen 
years since it opened — to its technol- 
ogy during summer workshops and 
even by loaning them equipment. 

Just outside Denver, Barry Schwartz 
helps manage the multitude of micro- 
computers that Jefferson County has 
put in educational science settings. Stu- 
dents use the computers to enter and 
track data from a radon measurement 
experiment, then share information and 
analyses with other schools, including 
one in Alaska and another in Germany. 
Some computers run simulations that 
compress time, letting impatient high 
schoolers see the effects of a long- 
term experiment in plant growth, for in- 
stance. "The technology allows us to do 
things we couldn't do in the past," 
says Schwartz. "Everybody needs ac- 
cess to stuff like this." 

But not quite everyone sees technol- 
ogy as the salvation of science in 
schools. Jim Nelson, a Pennsylvania sci- 
ence teacher and veteran of thirty 
years in the classroom, worries that 
"technology can take away from the ex- 
perience. At some point you have to 
deal with the real phenomenon. They 
ought to be getting their fingers dirty 
and seeing that things don't always 

Real-world explorations and relevant 
research hinge on more than just get- 
ting today's hardware into the hands of 
tomorrow's scientists, at least accord- 
ing to the teachers at the edge of sci- 
ence education, "Look past the silicon 
and see what thinking is taking place," 
says Texley of the National Science 
Teachers Association. "The real com- 
puter revolution is in little classrooms 
where they're teaching kids to think." 

"Don't sell science short," urges Stuy- 
vesani's Tarendash. "It's absolutely vi- 
tal that we have the best programs pos- 
sible. After all, these are the people who 
are going to be leading the country, per- 
haps the world." 

At some remarkable schools, they al- 
ready are. DO 



but each time he had a vision of 
Bedford's face and changed his mind. 
He fell oddly relieved when the guard 
appeared to tell him to get ready. He'd 
have to see it through now. Take Art 
over there, be his last friend. He 
smiled mirthlessly as he pulled on a 
clean shirt. Charon... 

"Okay," Wolfe said. "Should be right 
along here." 

Dave leaned forward. They were on 
the airport service road, driving paral- 
lel to the fence. The terminal, brightly 
lit, was a short distance ahead. He nar- 
rowed his eyes, trying to make out the 
crowd, but the lights were too bright. 

"Goddammit," the driver said. 
"Look where those idiots are." They'd 
slowed down, and the lead car was 
now fifty feet ahead. "Get on the horn 
and tell those yohabs to close it up." 

Wolfe was reaching for the headset 
when the lead car suddenly turned on- 
to the grass strip next to the road. As 
it did a section of the fence sagged and 
shadowy figures quickly pulled it away. 
Dousing their headlights, they drove 
through the gap and onto the runway. 
A lifter hovering over the field turned to- 
ward them and thrummed overhead, vul- 
cans hunting aimlessly, the dull green 
of the army rondels barely visible 
against the black of the hull. A moment 
later they were beneath the wing of a 
big 828b Starciipper parked a hundred 
yards from the terminal. 

A squad of soldiers running double- 
time surrounded the car. Gun at ready, 
Wolfe got out to inspect the scene. A 
moment later he leaned back inside. 
"Clear," he said. 

Pushing the door open, Dave 
stepped out and. paused to look things 
over for himself. The troops were in 
good order, facing away from the car, 
guns at chest level. He turned to ges- 
ture Bedford out and discovered that he 
was standing beside him, gazing at the 
terminal over the car roof. The shouts 
of the mob rang out clearly. Bedford 
frowned, then reached up to fiddle 
with the knot of his tie. "Think I should 
go out and calm 'em down?" 

Behind Dave somebody laughed, 
and Wolfe said, "Art, get on the god- 
damn airplane." Bedford shrugged and 
with a smile began to walk toward the 
plane. Dave followed him. 

Halfway there Dave slowed momen- 
tarily then quickened his pace to catch 
up with Bedford. An army officer stood 
just ahead, visor up, and Dave could 
see that he was black. He hesitated, 

wondering if he should grab Bedford's 
arm to pull him further away, but then 
they were upon the soldier. Dave 
glanced up as they went by. Whoever 
the officer was, he was a pro; his ex- 
pression didn't even change as they 

Dave stayed right behind Bedford as 
they climbed the steps. At the top Shge- 
han and his squad parted to let Bed- 
ford through then followed him aboard. 

Dave glanced into the rear cabin, 
which was reserved for Bedford and 
himself. Art was just sitting down two 
seats back, talking to Sheehan and a 
couple of the others. Turning, Dave 
looked into the forward section, where 
the delegates were. He felt the muscles 
of his face tighten as he saw them. 
There were more than usual, and for 
a moment he wondered why until he re- 
membered that it had been a while 
since the last flight. A couple of Latins 

QJhe mob 

got louder as he 


into sight. They were 

just past 

the big piate-glass 


right outside. 9 

in black suits, beyond them a small 
Asian, perhaps a Malay, talking to an 
African in tribal robes. But his eyes 
were caught by the two Hindus. Shee- 
han's men were just completing their 
search, going over a plump brown man 
in a tan suit. He was speaking angrily 
to a figure in uniform, who answered in 
quiet but firm tones. To his surprise, 
Dave recognized him: Paresh Naqui, a 
colonel he'd met on a previous mission. 
As the search ended and the plump 
man walked huffily away Naqui caught 
sight of Dave and raised his hand. Forc- 
ing himself to smile, Dave nodded 
back and walked out of the hatch. 

He leaned against the gasket lining 
the doorway, shivering in spite of the 
warm night air. An officer was ordering 
the troops to form a line around the 
plane, but Dave paid them no attention. 
He was thinking of India, eight years 
ago: the fires glowing on the horizon, 
the wrecked towns, the constant, sweet- 
smelling smoke.... 

Sensing someone next to him, he 
turned to see that Sheehan had joined 

him. He looked quizzically at Dave. 
"You okay?" 

"What?" Dave unconsciously 
rubbed his hands on his chest. "Yeah 
...I'm fine. What's holding things up? 
You didn't search 'em until just now?" 

Sheehan grimaced. ' l Ahh, some me- 
chanic came back to the plane looking 
for a tool. They didn't catch him until he 
was walking away, so we had to do it 
all over. Weiner took advantage to go 
make some calls. Now we're waiting for 
him to get his ass aboard...." 

"Nate? What the hell's he doing 

"Who knows. If he ain't back in five 
minutes, though, this bird is flying re- 
gardless." He nodded toward the ter- 
minal. The shouts of the demonstrators 
had gotten louder, as if they were some- 
how aware that Bedford had arrived. 
"That bunch won't leave until they 
know he's gone, and we sure as hell 
don't need a riot." He glanced at his 
watch, then back up at Dave. "Why 
don't you go find Weiner?" 

"I don't want to leave Art...." 

"Hey, I'm in charge until the plane 
rolls. Sooner you track down that silly 
bastard, sooner you'll get out of here." 

Dave thought it over, then 
shrugged. "Okay." 

"Good enough," Sheehan said. He 
turned back to the hatch. "I'll keep an 
eye on the package." 

Dave clattered down the steps and 
went across the concrete to the termi- 
nal. At the entrance a soldier checked 
his ID before waving him on. Inside, the 
departure lounge was nearly empty; at 
the window a news team was filming 
the plane, staring intently at it as if 
they had been told it was going to go 
into a dance any minute now. They 
were being watched in turn by a pair 
of men in civilian clothes; he recognized 
neither of them. 

There were plenty of phones in the 
corridor but no Nate. He walked on, the 
shouts of Ihe protesters echoing down 
the hallway. He passed a car rental of- 
fice, lights on but counter empty, then 
turned the corner to the waiting room. 

It was probably his imagination, but 
he could have sworn that the crowd got 
louder as he came into sight. They 
were just past the big plate-glass win- 
dows, divided into two groups by a 
squad of soldiers. The largest was 
right outside, a varied bunch, some look- 
ing like professional demonstrators but 
the majority ordinary people. He stud- 
ied their signs as he neared the win- 
dows: the standard symbol, a green 
swastika overlaying the globe, others 
reading death to econazis and a few 
with hitler, stalin and pol pot in small 
tetters with a huge Bedford in red under- 

neath. There were others, crude and 
homemade, but they were being shak- 
en so much that he couldn't read 

A much smaller group stood in the 
parking lot. No signs — they'd probably 
been confiscated — but this crew didn't 
need them; what they were wearing 
said plenty. About half were in Klan 
robes or storm trooper gear; brown 
shirts, jackboots, and of course the arm- 
band. They were chanting, fists push- 
ing forward in ragged unison, easily 
heard above the roar of the larger 
crowd: "...finish the job, finish the job, 
finish the job...." 

He looked around but saw no sign 
of Nate. Outside, the nearer mob had 
spotted him and were leaning over the 
crowd barrier, waving their signs. As he 
was turning away one of them ducked 
beneath the barrier and ran toward the 
window: a middle-aged black woman, 
well-dressed, somewhat plump. As she 
reached the curb she stumbled, catch- 
ing herself and lifting the poster she 
was holding. 

It wasn't a sign. It was a blown-up pho- 
to of a girl, a teenager, hair cut short 
and waved in a style popular ten years 
ago. The woman raised it high and 
shook it at Dave, shouting, her mouth __ 

92 OMNI 

opened wide. He couldn't make out the 

Two suits raced up to her. For a mo- 
ment she struggled against them, drop- 
ping the photo as the taller cop leaned 
close to speak to her. She collapsed 
against him, body wracked with sobs, 
and they led her out of sight, the short- 
er man stooping to retrieve the picture. 

Dave turned and walked across the 
terminal, shaking his head. There had 
been plenty of plague deaths in the 
U.S., too. Not as bad as the rest of the 
world, but enough. 

Ahead of him a loose gaggle of 
cops and army officers stood around a 
coffee stand, staring at him in open sus- 
picion. He ignored them and went on 
past. He'd just spotted Nate at the oth- 
er side of the terminal. 

He was at a phone bank, receiver cra- 
dled on his shoulder. He had a finger 
in his other ear and was gesturing broad- 
ly with a plastic cup, nearly shouting in- 
to the phone: "I just wish the whole 
defense team wasn't American...! 
know nobody wants to touch it, but it 
was an international crime. Two of 
them were European, dammit...." 

Dave tapped him on the shoulder, 
pointing to his watch as he swung 
around. Nate frowned, then closed his 

eyes and nodded. "1 know it's too late 
for this round, but see what we can do 
next time. Ask the Swedes; they like to 
get involved. ..Listen, Maggie, the 
plane's leaving. Cail you from Delhi." 

He hung up, took a swig from the 
cup, and sputtered. "Ahh...cold." Crum- 
pling it, he tossed it into a trash can. 

"Come on, let's move," Dave said, 
grabbing his arm. "What are you doing 
in the States anyway?" 

Nate took off his glasses to polish 
them, peering at Dave nearsightedly. 
He was a virtual caricature of a trial law- 
yer, hair a horseshoe, glasses porthole 
thick, suit a tailored masterpiece. "Got 
called back to Washington. They're 
confused about a witness, somebody 
supposed to have known our-boy in 
Mexico, i had to hold their hands and 
explain it five times. Knew Bedford, 
alright, but never been south of the 
border." He slipped the glasses back 
on and smiled. "So how you doing? 
Been awhile." 

They walked through the terminal talk- 
ing about nothing in particular. The 
crowd, backs turned to listen to some- 
one speak, paid them no attention. 

Sheehan was waiting at the top of the 
steps. "Hallelujah," he bellowed at 
them, then stepped inside. "Okay, let's 


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entered the plane. In back the guards 
stood around Bedford, shaking his 
hand and clapping him on the shoul- 
der. He said something and they 
laughed then turned to make their way 
to the stairs. Bedford stood watching 
them, smiling broadly but unable to 
keep a look of desperation out of his 
eyes. One of them hollered good luck 
as he left; Art raised his hand slightly. 
then his smile vanished and he sat 
back down. 

Dave turned to Sheehan, who was 
checking his watch. "Okay," he said. 
"One torty-seven and it's all yours." 

"You check everything?" 

"Yeah. All buttoned up...." 

The bathroom door opened behind 
Dave and he swung toward it, hand au- 
tomatically rising to his holster. He let 
it drop as Wolfe emerged, tucking in his 
shirt. "Wolfie, for Chrissake.... Will you 
get out of here?" 

"You're leaving, man?" Wolfe 
rushed past them, still fiddling with his 
belt. "I don't wanna go to India. They 
kill people there." 

Shaking his head, Dave looked over 
at Sheehan, who shrugged and van- 
ished down the steps. A moment later 
the door slid shut, a low whine sound- 
ed as the engines started and Dave 
went into the rear compartment. 

Bedford was sitting back with his 
eyes closed. As Dave sat down he 
opened them and smiled wanly. 
"Knight to bishop three," he said qui- 


"The game we were playing this af- 
ternoon," Bedford said, his smile broad- 

"Ah, come on, Art. You know I can't 
play in my head." 

"Neither can I, usually, but my 
mind's been wonderfully concentrated," 
He chuckled, and Dave was about to 
ask him what he meant when they start- 
ed moving. 

The plane was windowless, but 
there was a screen up forward and two 
' l the walls that served the same pur- 
pose. He looked at the one above the 
door. The army troops had retreated to 
the terminal and stood watching. They 
slid across the screen, vanishing as the 
plane taxied toward the runway. Dave 
noticed two lifters hovering to the 
west, watching for somebody with a 
stinger or, for that matter, even a shot- 
gun: one nick in the skin of this bird at 
mach 8 and it'd be all over. 

The screen switched to the nose 
camera. The lifters drifted apart, open- 
ing a path for them. There was a buzz 
and he realized that he hadn't buckled 


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his seal belt. He reached down and did 
so, and a moment later the plane was 

As the thrust of takeoff pushed him 
back, he reviewed the flight in his 
mind. An hour to the coast, two hours 
hypersonic over the Pacific, another 
hour to New Delhi. That made it six 
central time, which would be what in 
India ...? He tried to work it out in his 
head but gave up. He'd check a sched- 
ule later. 

Bedford was sitting with his eyes half- 
closed. A good-looking man, face crag- 
gy and weathered from a lot of time 
spent outdoors, blue eyes, wavy hair 
left long in what Dave called the scien- 
tist's cut. It was the kind of face wom- 
en trusted, and Bedford had been a 
ladies' man, never married, always run- 
ning with a different woman. Dave 
knew that, as he knew everything else. 
He'd read virtually everything written by 
or about Bedford before he'd ever met 

"What are you thinking about, 
Dave?" Bedford said without changing 
his expression. 

Dave paused a moment before an- 
swering. If he was ever going to get the 
truth out of him — even a small piece of 
it — he'd better start now. "I was just re- 

96 OMNI 

membering what Olbers kept calling me 
when I flew over with him." 


"Charon. He called me Charon. 
Said I was taking him to the other 
shore. I didn't know what the hell he 
was talking about. Had to look it up." 

Bedford chuckled quietly. "I can't say 
I agree. Charon was a pretty cold 

"Lot like Olbers himself." 

Bedford's eyebrows rose. "Couldn't 
say, Dave. I barely knew the man." 

He closed his eyes and shifted in the 
seat. Dave sat back, feeling vaguely 
ashamed, as if he'd been taking advan- 
tage. Well, there was plenty of time. The 
trial would last at least a month, with ev- 
ery affected nation trying to get its 
word in, and the pressure on Bedford 
wouldn't lessen any. 

They'd never spoken much about the 
Plague or its aftermath, and then only 
in the abstract, as if it had nothing to 
do with them personally. Bedford re- 
ferred to it only as a technical problem: 
the difficulty of creating a microorgan- 
ism that would infect only select popu- 
lations. Concerning reasons or purpose 
he'd said nothing, even though he'd 
thought about it — his own writings 
were proof of that. 

Dave glanced over at him, lying 
back, his eyes closed. He hadn't even 
told Bedford about India.... 

The plane reached cruising altitude 
and the seat belt sign went off. He 
glanced at his watch. Another half- 
hour before they boosted. He decided 
to take a look around. Unfastening the 
belt, he got up, walking quietly so as 
not to disturb Bedford. As he was 
about to go through the door something 
made him look back. Bedford had awak- 
ened, if he'd ever been asleep at all, 
and was staring at him with a look of 
sick fear. As Dave met his glance the 
expression vanished, replaced by a 
weak smile. He stood there uncertainly, 
wondering whether to go back, but 
Bedford shut his eyes once again so he 
went on. 

Just past the bathroom he came up- 
on Nate in the small alcove that was the 
plane's excuse for a galley. He was pour- 
ing himself a cup of coffee out of an urn 
sitting in the place of honor above the 
microwave. He looked up at Dave in- 
quiringly. "Want one?" 

Dave mulled it over. "Guess I'd 

Pouring another, Nate handed it to 
him. Dave took a sip and grimaced— 
the stuff had evidently been brewing for 

the past week. He usually took it 
black, but.... He leaned past Nate for a 
packet of creamer and dumped it in. 

He studied Nate as he finished pre- 
paring his own, an elaborate ritual in- 
volving two and a halt sugars and two 
packets of creamer. He took a gulp and 
smiled at the cup — Dave couldn't help 
laughing. Frowning at him, Mate took an- 
other sip. 

"So where are you sitting?" Dave 

"Oh, 1 sat up front for takeoff," Nate 
said, gesturing with his cup. "They 
didn't bite me. How's our boy?" 

"About how you'd expect. Hiding it 
well, though, I've got to admit. He's 
sleeping now." 

Draining his cup, Nate turned to the 
urn. "Sleep of the just," he muttered, so 
low that Dave barely heard him. Cup 
filled, he drew himself up and eyed 
Dave. "I hear you think he's innocent." 

"I never said that..." 

Nate grabbed a couple of packs of 
sugar. "You said the evidence against 
him was shit." 

"I said it wouldn't stand up in an Amer- 
ican court." 

Nate's eyes narrowed. "So what the 
hell do you think that means?" he said, 
his voice harsh. 

Openmouthed, Dave stared at him. 
Nate had never acted like this before, 
not even with Oibers, when he'd had 
good reason. "I'm just keeping an open 

"An open mind," Nate said. He tore 
at a packet of creamer and shook it 
over the cup, scattering half of it on the 
counter. "Must be an awful nice thing 
to have. You, Wills, the AG, all open 
minds. It must feel pretty good." 

"What are you, Nate, switching to the 
prosecution now?" 

Nate ignored him while he stirred the 
coffee. When he looked up his face was 
red, his eyes slits behind the thick lens- 
es. "You like that son of a bitch, don't 

Dave looked away and shrugged. 
Nate nodded to himself as if he'd en- 
countered a great truth. "Yeah," he 
said. "Well, I think he's got the mark of 
Cain on him." 

Wordlessly he pushed past. Still fac- 
ing the galley, Dave noticed that he'd 
left his work case. The top flap was 
open and he could see that the system 
was up. He turned to call out and saw 
Nate standing a few feet into the rear 
compartment. He walked back slowly 
as Dave picked up the case. Grasping 
the handle, he stood there fiddling 
with his glasses. "Sorry, Dave," he 
said finally. "Jet lag, I guess." 

Dave smiled. "It's never easy, man." 

"In truth." Nate headed toward the 

rear. Dave noticed he didn't look down 
as he passed Bedford's sleeping form. 

He considered another cup of coffee 
but decided the hell with it. Tossing the 
empty cup away, he walked into the tor- 
ward compartment. Conversation 
ceased as he entered; dark heads 
turned to inspect him before going on 
in lower tones. The plump Indian, wear- 
ing bifocals, was working on some pa- 
pers. He glanced up as Dave passed, 
sneered and went back to work. 

A few feet on he saw Naqui, sitting 
in a sort of truncated lounge area. He 
rose as Dave approached, giving him 
a firm handshake. "How are you, old 
man?" Naqui said as he sat back 
down, hitching his pants up at the 

Naqui was a colonel— general now, 
it seemed, by the new stars on his jack- 
et — attached to the Indian government. 
He'd been educated in England and 
had the air of a British officer of the old 
school. His English was perfect, with 
none of the singso'ng qualities common 
among Hindus, and was one of the few 
who didn't act as if every last American 
was responsible for the Greening. 
Dave liked him. 

Smiling, Dave sat back. "Now you 
get asked the question of the day: 
What were you doing on our side of the 

"Oh, a dustup with your new admin- 
istration," Naqui said, waving a languid 
hand. "They've been a bit trying about 
our not holding elections, so I was 

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sent to see to them. An entirely differ- 
ent lot with not the vaguest idea of 
where the subcontinent is, much less 
the conditions there." He shook his 
head. "And it happens every four 
years. I don't see how you manage." 

"How are things, anyway?" 

Naqui eyed him appraisingly, "Oh, 
that's right, you've had a full plate, 
haven't you? Not very good, frankly. We 
had an enormous riot in Kashmir two 
months ago, quite a number killed, The 
governor tried to close the camps and 
fprce the poor wretches back to the 
fields. Moving ahead on his own, I'm 
afraid. Needless to say it wasn't on, and 
when they weren't fed they ran wild. 
Took us weeks to restore order. But you 
wouldn't have heard that in any case — 
we thought it best to keep the lid on." 

"They're still refusing to go back to 
the villages." 

"Yes. Of course, one can't blame 
them. Most of them are living better 
than they possibly could anywhere 
else." He sighed. "I suppose we'll 
have to put our hopes in the younger 

Dave merely shrugged; there was 
nothing that could be said to that. It was 
Ihe same throughout the Southern Hemi- 
sphere; the survivors were simply refus- 
ing to take up their lives again. It was 

a new form of mass neurosis, a type of 
survivor's shock: Quite simply, they had 
endured the end of the world and saw 
no reason for going on. 

Naqui was still speaking. "Aside 
from that, it's the usual thing. Banditry, 
petty corruption, speculation in food sup- 
plies and so forth. It seems a typhoid 
epidemic broke out in Bangladesh this 
past week. I'll have to look into that as 
soon as we get back." He shrugged. 
"We're managing, at least. It could be 
far worse. We're better off than the Chi- 
nese, the poor devils." 

Dave nodded in silent agreement. Chi- 
na was everybody's bad conscience. It 
had collapsed totally in ihe wake of the 
Plague. The Russians had taken over 
the northern quarter, for humanitarian 
reasons, they said, and there was 
some semblance of order there. But the 
rest was hell on earth. It was just too 
big, too enormous a task for anyone to 
take up. There were whole cities in the 
interior that would not see a human be- 
ing for generations, if ever, provinces 
virtually empty of life. More relief teams 
were working there than anywhere 
else on the planet, but it was futile. The 
only thing that would heal China was 

He realized that Naqui had spoken 
again. "I asked how the defendant was 

-tyy H oi^ 

p(?0P£SSOR M/^Ptf J 

Dave grimaced. "As well as they all 

Leaning forward, Naqui touched him 
on the knee. "I understand that there's 
some doubt about this man Bedford." 

Wordlessly, Dave blinked at him, won- 
dering how he could possibly have 
heard. Naqui gazed back a moment be- 
fore settling into the seat. "Yes," he 
said quietly. 

Naqui frowned at the cabin floor be- 
fore going on. "There's something you 
should know," he said in a low voice. 
"Under the rose, of course. There 
seems to be a conviction in Nation- 
alist Party circles lhat your government 
has sent in a ringer who can be prov- 
en innocent in order to halt the trial 

"Bullshit," Dave said. 

"Ludicrous, I agree. Utterly paranoid, 
but there you are. We're doing our 
best to put a stop to it, but we haven't 
made much headway. We do know 
that there will be an attempt on your 
man sometime before the trial begins." 

"Great," Dave said. "Just what we 

"Probably be wise to change the 
spot where he'll be held. ..but I won't 
tell you how to do your job." Naqui 
glanced over his shoulder then went on 
quickly. "We'll give you what help we 
can, needless to say. Our problem, af- 
ter all. We'll discuss it further after we 

Dave started to reply, but Naqui was 
getting up. Looking past him Dave saw 
a young Pakistani in uniform coming 
down the aisle. He halted and spoke to 
Naqui in high-pitched Urdu. Naqui 
turned back to Dave. "Some bother at 
home," he said. "We'll speak later." 

"Right," Dave said. "And thanks, 

Leaning back against the seat, 
Dave looked up at the screen, wonder- 
ing where they were. It was totally 
black, not even any stars— the camer- 
as weren't sensitive enough to pick 
them up. Well out over the Pacific, 
most likely. He noticed that the boost 
warning light beneath the screen was 
lit up. Strange, he hadn't even heard the 

He felt a stab of irritation at Naqui but 
suppressed it. Normal reaction, blam- 
ing the messenger, but he had no time 
to indulge himself, and besides, 
Paresh had done him a favor. There 
was a hollow feeling at the pit of his stom- 
ach as he thought of what awaited 
them. It was different, somehow, know- 
ing it was coming. And the government 
involved, too. Jesus, it was going to be 




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He lei his head rest against the cab- 
in wall. A distant thrumming came 
through the metal; no sound, they 
were traveling too fast for that. He 
closed his eyes. India. He was going 
back once more, eight years after he'd 
sworn never to set foot there again, nev- 
er to so much as think about it. The 
place of nightmares... 

He'd been twenty, in his second 
year of college, when he'd volunteered 
for one of the relief teams. They sent 
him to Bombay. 

Of course, he'd known what was hap- 
pening, he'd seen all the news reports, 
but it hadn't prepared him for what he'd 
found. Nothing could have: the constant 
stench of death, the piles of corpses, 
the pyres burning day and night that the 
Liberty crew said were visible from or- 
bit. He hadn't foreseen how it would af- 
fect him, either. After the first week he'd 
taken to going off by himself so that no 
one could see him crying. He didn't 
know why he bothered— most of the oth- 
ers were in far worse shape. There had 
been two suicides the first month, one 
of them the team psychiatrist. It was 
Dave who had discovered her, floating 
in a tub of pink-dyed water, red splotch- 
es printed on the wall above thai must 
have meant something, though no 
sense could be made of them. 

He reached his limit the fifth week, 
while immunizing the survivors against 
cholera — a small gift from fate thrown 
in to keep things interesting. The tent 
had been mobbed— there were so 
many of them: starved, sick, covered 
with sores. Three died while waiting for 
the shots, and sometime after that he'd 
lost it completely and had run off, still 
holding the injector. He couldn't remem- 
ber much but they told him later that 
he'd been screaming. 

He ran aimlessly for what seemed 
like hours, stumbling through the wreck- 
age in the streets, smashing into aban- 
doned cars, falling over bodies that 
seethed with maggots in the tropical 
sun, the faces, where there were fac- 
es, mottled with black, at times to a 
point where they resembled masks. 

It had seemed to him then that he 
could run those streets forever and not 
reach the end, that the zone of death 
had expanded to swallow the world, 
and that he, Dave, was the final witness, 
the last shrieking remnant of a failed 

Finally he collapsed before one of 
the camps ringing the city, injector 
clutched in his hand. The refugees gath- 
ered about him, staring expressionless- 
ly, After a time he drew himself up on 
his knees, seeking, he thought now, 
some unimaginable kind of expiation. 
They could have murdered him then, 



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and nobody would have known — it had 
happened to plenty of Americans in the 
preceding months — but they did not. 
Perhaps it was the injector .that 
stopped them, perhaps just the look on 
his face. Whatever it had been, two of 
them — an old man and a boy whose 
thinness showed that he had just recov- 
ered himself — had ta'ken his arms and 
led him out of the camp. They left him 
at relief headquarters, the old man say- 
ing a few words that Dave hadn't under- 
stood. He flew home the next day. 

They'd had different names for it: the 
Salvaging, the Greening, as if giving it 
an innocuous label could excuse what 
they'd done. A simple concept: that 
half or more of the human race had to 
be eliminated to avert environmental ca- 
tastrophe. Half or more — the "excess bi- 
omass" of the planet Earth. What a 
phrase; they had phrases for every- 

They'd tried to justify it later, after 
they'd been caught, but there was no 
justifying it. The population explosion 
had fizzled. The rate of increase had 
been dropping worldwide for decades. 
Everyone was being fed, not well, but 
enough. Environmental problems were 
under control. A reprieve, at the very 
least, though there had been plenty of 

But the Porter Group hadn't had 
time for debate. They knew better. 
They had made their plans, had done 
their work, and had cast if into the 
winds blowing east of Eden. 

And there had been the final twist: 
that the bacillus had been tailored to in- 
fect only non-Caucasians. Dave had 
asked Reed about that, after he'd bro- 
ken down on the plane. Reed had an- 
swered immediately: "Because they 
were the largest population reservoir, of 

But that wasn't the answer. It hadn't 
exactly been racism either, as so many 
had said since. The truth was much sim- 
pler, far more basic, as basic as blood 
itself: because they'd lacked the guts 
to let the thing run its course, to take 
its portion of the whole race. Their own 
would have been at risk then. 

It must have been so easy, working 
in isolation, insulated from any voice that 
would have questioned them on 
grounds of logic, of ethics, of decency. 
Starting out with an idea that grew into a 
scenario that took on a life of its own as 
they realized that they had the power to 
do a thing unimagined in history. 

Someday you'll thank us, Reed had 
said, as he'd left the cell for the last 
time. Not me, Dave told himself, as he 
had told Reed. Not me. 

He grew aware that someone was star- 

ing at him. Across the aisle the over- 
weight Hindu sat, hand poised above 
the pocket printer — but he was not look- 
ing at it. Instead his head was turned 
toward Dave, eyes fixed on him, 
mouth twisted in a rictus that on his 
round face looked like'childish petu- 
lance but that Dave knew was anything 
but. Startled, he jerked up in the seat, 
looking away instinctively. When he 
turned back the man was tapping the 
keys, face as blank as if he had noth- 
ing beyond that on his mind. Dave stud- 
ied him for a moment then got up and 
made his way down the aisle toward the 
rear cabin. 

There was a burst of laughter behind 
him as he reached the door. He 
looked back over his shoulder. They 
were staring at him, smiling malicious- 
ly, the African, the Latins, all but the Hin- 
du, who remained bent over his paper- 
work. He felt a sudden rush of fury and 
swung toward them, but caught himself 
and halted halfway. "Steady," he mut- 
tered aloud, then turned back and 
went on through the door. They began 
laughing again as he left the cabin, but 
he gave no sign that he'd heard. 

He looked into the rear. Nate was sit- 
ting at the far end, staring down at some- 
thing in front of him, lips moving. Dave 
frowned, wondering what he was up to, 
but then Nate raised the mike high 
enough for him to see it and he real- 
ized that he was dictating. Turning his 
eyes to Bedford he saw he was asleep. 
Dave shook his head, wondering once 
again if Art had been with them, and 
what part he had played, and if so how 
he had reconciled himself to the results, 
what he had told himself, in his deep- 
est heart, to make it possible to live on 
afterward. To go on knowing that the 
wretched of the earth had been annihi- 
lated in a manner beyond belief, that 
the survivors were living in even great- 
er misery than before, that his own peo- 
ple would be servants to them for a hun- 
dred years. 

He had half a mind to go over and 
shake him awake and ask him. ..Ask him 
what? If he needed a blanket? 

Rubbing the back of his neck, he 
turned away. He glanced at the coffee 
urn. No, tired as he was, he had no 
more use for that nasty stuff. Besides, 
the last cup was working on him.... He 
looked down the length of the plane 
then stepped to the rest room. 

The room was minuscule; he was 
able to rest his head on his arm as he 
leaned over the bowl. He finished and 
went to the sink to wash his hands. Plen- 
ty of hot water, anyway. Bending over, 
he splashed some on his face. There 
was a small mirror above the sink and 
as he straightened up he saw himself 


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in it, water dripping from nose and 
chin. His eyes were sunken, with black 
circles around them. He grimaced and 
was shocked to see the result: a slack- 
lipped, vicious leer that he never 
would have pictured. He dropped his 
head. Might as well face it: He was 

He took some paper towels from the 
dispenser, coarse brown stuff that start- 
ed to tear the minute it was damp. 
Nice, he thought as he dried his face. 
A hundred-million-dollar spaceplane 
and they put this crap in the bathroom. 

Wadding the towels, he tossed 
them and looked back in the mirror, 
straightening his tie and running a 
hand over his hair. He tried smiling at 
himself, but he didn't much like that ef- 
fect either. 

Wills had been right. He had no busi- 
ness being on this mission the state he 
was in. It wasn't fair to anybody for him 
to try to stagger through it at this point. 
He'd call from the cockpit and let Wills 
know, so that he could arrange things 
with the team in Delhi. 

That still left Art. He closed his eyes, 
wishing he'd never gotten on the 
plane. It was going to be twice as hard 
now. What could he do, tell him, 
"They're going to take a pop at you, bud- 
dy, best of luck, I'm gone"? Maybe he 
could ask Nate., that was no good. 

He was working up the nerve to 
break it to him when he heard a shout. 

He pushed the door open, but it re- 
bounded against something and he kick- 
ed it wide. Stepping out into the aisle 
he saw the African, stunned and off bal- 
ance against the wall where the door 
had flung him. Dave gave him only a 
quick glance before heading to the 

It was the Hindu, as he'd guessed it 
would be. He was standing with his 
back to the aisle, waving something 
with one hand while he shook Bedford 
with the other, lifting him bodily out of 
the seat, screaming in a mixture of Hin- 
di and English that Dave couldn't 
make any sense of. Bedford was star- 
ing up at him, eyes wide. 

Dave reached for his gun but 
dropped his hand as he touched the 
grip. He ran down the aisle and as he 
was reaching for him the Hindu 
dropped the thing he was waving, grab- 
bing the lapel of Bedford's coat to 
shake him harder; Dave could see Art's 
head bobbing uncontrollably. 

He slipped his hands underneath the 
man's arms and reached up to cup 
them behind his head. He could smell 
him, a combination of sweat and some 
kind of shaving lotion, as he yanked him 
into the aisle. The Hindu kept his grip 
on Bedford, dragging him after them. 


I should warn 
I'm an artist j& 

Arbst - 
' Warn me ^T 

rm_ the one 
with the gun . 


Funr\^ how 

-p«.w appreciate 
the- magnitude of art 

"Get off him," Dave yelled, inches away 
from Ihe man's ear, "Let him go or I'll 
snap it." 

The man hesitated, then released 
Bedford, who flopped half in the aisle 
and half in the seat. The Hindu strug- 
gled for a moment as Dave pulled him 
away then went limp, nearly knock- 
ing them both flat. "He killed them," 
he cried out, his voice thick, then, 
sobbing, began mumbling in his own 

Dave got him turned about and start- 
ed pushing him down the aisle. They 
were all standing in the doorway: the 
African, the Latins, the unidentifi- 
able little Asian. As Dave reached 
them they parted to let through the or- 
derly, followed by Naqui. The soldier 
grabbed the man's arm as Dave re- 
leased him. Naqui had already waved 
the others back; he nodded to Dave 
then turned to help the orderly. As 
they went through the doorway the Hin- 
du pulled them to a halt and turned 
back to Bedford. His face was 
streaked with tears. "You are a very wick- 
ed man," he shouted, then let them 
lead him away. 

At the other end of the cabin Nate 
was on his feet, his mouth open. He set 
the mike down and hurried up the 
aisle. Turning to Bedford, Dave saw 
that he had got back into the seat and 
was lodged against the side, staring 
wild-eyed at the front cabin. As Dave 
went over Bedford looked down at the 
seat next to him and reached out to 
something lying atop it. He pushed at 
it, hesitantly, as if afraid to touch it, 
until it fell into the aisle. Dave picked it 
up. It was a photograph, wrinkled and 
split, showing the Hindu man, much 
thinner and with more hair, sitting next 
to a young woman in a sari. On their 
laps was a boy in a sailor suit, his 
black hair combed forward in bangs. 
They were smiling. 

He felt Nate come up beside him and 
handed it to him without a word. Bedford 
was still crouched in the corner, eyes 
fixed on the now-empty doorway. As 
Dave watched his lips drew back from 
his teeth. "Fucking raghead," Bedford 
spat out. "Fucking dot bastard." 

His eyes swung toward them, fo- 
cused on Nate. "What are you looking 

Turning to Nate, Dave saw that he 
was gazing down at Bedford with no 
expression at all on his face. For a 
moment he just stood there, saying noth- 
ing, then he stepped back and walked 
toward the front cabin, holding the pic- 
ture before him. 

Dave turned to Bedford. "You all 
right?" he said quietly. 

Bedford looked away. "What's his 

problem?" he said finally. 

"You wouldn't know, would you?" 
Dave settled into the opposite seat and 
studied the carpet for a few seconds. 
"Nate's wife was a sansei, a Japanese- 
American. Katherine Iroku Weiner, I nev- 
er met her, but...." He stopped speak- 
ing and raised his head. 

Bedford was staring into space, his 
eyes empty. He lifted his hands to 
his face and pressed himself harder 
against the cushioned bulkhead as if 
that would shelter him. A shudder 
went through him, then he stiffened as 
if by act of will and slowly pushed 
himself up in the seat. He dropped 
his hands and gazed at Dave, his face 
totally calm. Dave looked back in si- 
lence, trying to control his features as 
Nate had, knowing it was futile; he'd 
never been any good at hiding what 
he felt. 

Bedford smiled. "Game of chess?" 
he said, his voice husky. He eyed 
Dave for a moment, then laughed, 
deep in his throat. "No." 

He got up and stepped into the 
aisle. "Maybe later, Dave," he said, and 
walked to the back of the cabin. 

Dave watched him go. Bedford the 
good guy, Bedford the scapegoat, 
Bedford the sacrifice. 

The file could be closed now. No 
more kidding himself, no more pretend- 
ing that there was an end to it, Even if 
Bedford was the last of them, there was 
no exit, no way to lay that burden 
down, Not for the fat Hindu, not for 
Nate, not for Dave himself. He would 
run those dead streets for all the years 
he had left. 

Bedford had reached the last seat. 
There he hesitated, raising his head 
slightly as if to look back at Dave, but 
instead he merely sat down where he 
could be seen by no one. Bedford the 
damned soul. 

1 will be your Charon, Dave told him 
silently. I'll lead you through it. The dem- 
onstrations, the riots, the attempts to 
kill you before your time, the trial, the 
undying hatred of the brown people. I'll 
be with you every step of the way. I will 
take you to the other shore. 

He'd have to call Delhi, to tell them 
what changes to make. As he got up 
the screen caught his eye. It was no 
longer totally dark; there was a line 
of light in the center, red and gold, and 
he realized that they had caught up 
with the day. The sky lightened, the 
clouds taking color far below. He 
watched until the sun peered over the 
horizon and, rising quickly with the 
swiftness of their passage, loomed over 
the sea. Then he walked to the front of 
the plane and all the work thai lay 
ahead. DO 

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much more expensive than Russia's. So 
why not use ours? American companies 
are interested, but the Reagan admini- 
stration said nyetto commercial launch- 
es using Soviet rockets. Maybe now 
Bush will lift this restriction. 
Omni: What does the overthrow of the 
hard-liners mean for U.S.-Soviet coop- 
eration in space? 

Sagdeev: Soviet enthusiasm is alive, 
but today plans for a joint flight to Mars 
would not get popular support because 
of attacks on the space program and 
our economic crisis. Right now we 
need to attract support with more mod- 
est projects — using space tor terres- 
trial needs like monitoring global warm- 
ing and depletion of the ozone layer. 
Cooperation in space used as an interna- 
tional propaganda ploy, as a kind of ex- 
pensive handshaking in space, like the 
Apollo-Soyuz rendezvous in the Seven- 
ties, has little chance today. Coopera- 
tion involving pooling of resources, not 
only costs but also talent and know- 
how, has a better chance. Many Soviet 
and American space projects, especial- 
ly the scientific ones, compete with 
122 OMNI 

each other. Why not cooperate? 

There is also a kind of emotional rea- 
son for cooperation. Space, even orbit- 
al space, is the common heritage of 
humankind. Why shouldn't humankind 
cooperate in exploring it? A remote- 
sensing or communications satellite 
representing many different countries 
can unite the efforts of all those nations. 
Omni: Were you changed by working 
so closely with foreign scientists? 
Sagdeev: In my original research area, 
plasma physics and controlled fusion, 
I had many opportunities to work with 
foreign scientists. And I benefited Irom 
that experience. But at IKI, I had to con- 
vey this message not only to my fellow 
scientists but to engineers, technicians, 
even army officers and soldiers who 
worked at the launch sites. 

The Vega mission to Halley's Comet 
was the first Soviet space mission to in- 
volve a large number of foreign scien- 
tists. Huge crowds of Soviets and peo- 
ple from abroad came together, at 
least briefly, to become part of one in- 
ternational space family. Counting all 
the employees of IKI, other research in- 
stitutes, and the industrial enterprises, 
the number of individual lives affected 
by the Vega project would certainly ex- 
ceed ten thousand. For most of these 

people, it was their first taste of inter- 
national cooperation. 
Omni: Was this the first Soviet space 
mission open to outside scrutiny? 
Sagdeev: Absolutely the first, and also 
the first time the launch of a Proton rock- 
et was shown on TV. Many of my 
friends, some in high governmental cir- 
cles, told me privately, "This is a bril- 
liant project, but aren't you crazy to 
take such a risk?" It was a very compli- 
cated, multistage mission, with many in- 
novative technical components. Earlier 
failures in the space program were 
known only to a small circle of people. 
This time everyone would be watching. 
We had a rather tough schedule to get 
everything ready. For example, we had 
to build our own computer for image 
processing and then had to mass-pro- 
duce it to accommodate each of the 
teams that had an instrument onboard. 
The job was finished only a few hours 
before final operation. 
Omni: A few hours before the launch? 
Sagdeev: No, after the launch. I mean 
a few hours before we started to get da- 
ta from Halley's Comet! In the days be- 
fore the rendezvous, I slept two or 
three hours a night on the couch in my 
office. Quite a few scientists slept in 
their offices that week. It was probably 

the most exciting period of my scientif- 
ic career. 

Omni: The space program of the for- 
mer USSR is strapped for cash, so it's 
selling cargo space, photos from orbit, 
' ads on rockets, even rides to TV re- 
porters. How helpful can this be? 
Sagdeev: It's small money. Even the 
smartest space program can't support 
itself on a commercial basis. A space 
program must remain a program of ex- 
ploration. From time to time, there will 
be new branches, or new leaves on ex- 
isting branches, that can become com- 
pletely commercial: telecommunications 
or weather forecasting, for example. But 
the bulk of a space budget must sup- 
port scientific exploration. If we stop fi- 
nancing scientific missions, there will nev- 
er be discoveries of new Americas by 
a future Columbus. 

Omni: Can Soviet inventors with prom- 
ising ideas start their own businesses? 
Sagdeev: Recently a law was adopted 
permitting such ventures — in Russia we 
call them cooperatives. Already, bright 
young people tend to abandon scien- 
tific careers and join cooperatives. 
They might, for example, develop com- 
puter software for commercial use. 
These young scientists or engineers 
can earn as much as ten times what 
they can at a government institute. 
Such disparity is not healthy; basic re- 
search in science will be neglected. 
Younger scientists, even within the es- 
tablished institutes, are unable to sup- 
port their families. Even the better-paid 
scientists, those with established 
names and positions, are suffering. 
There are long waiting lists of young Rus- 
sian scientists and engineers who 
want to leave. Every embassy in 
Moscow is under siege. Science in our 
republics is an endangered species. 
Omni: Now that you work mostly in the 
U. S., are you doing basic research? 
Sagdeev: Yes. Essentially, I never 
stopped doing plasma physics [the 
study of electrically charged ions in 
gaslike "soups"]. In my early career I 
wanted to apply it to controlled fusion. 
Later I did plasma physics for space ap- 
plications: The sparse matter of inter- 
planetary space is also a kind of plas- 
ma. It's been a good field to work in, 
especially with the arrival of the interdis- 
ciplinary field of chaos. For chaotic be- 
havior, you need instability built into the 
system, and plasma is the most unsta- 
ble substance imaginable. You think 
you have plasma under control, then 
you see that the other end of it has de- 
veloped a completely different type of 
instability. There's a nonstop escalation 
of nonlinear phenomena — it's like an 
arms race! 

Omni: The phenomena you've chosen • 
124 OMNI 

to study — from plasma to Phobos — are 
things you can experience only vicari- 
ously. Is that frustrating? 
Sagdeev: There's a kind of cultural bar- 
rier between physicists, especially in 
the twentieth century, and other people. 
Almost anything they study is untouch- 
able. You can't understand quantum me- 
chanics or particle physics using com- 
mon sense. As a physicist you learn a 
new language to understand and de- 
scribe these processes. This cultural bar- 
rier is similar to the barrier separating 
two strangers who can't speak the 
same language. To overcome this bar- 
rier, they use an interpreter. In the 
same way, when we launch human be- 
ings into space, we're launching inter- 
preters. They've learned the language 
needed to communicate with scientific 
instruments, with sophisticated robots. 
I spent many years trying to develop 
a theory of tokamaks. Tokamaks are 

tThese five voters 

were good experimentalists: 

they observed 

that fifteen minutes after 

. my vote I was 

still there, no one had 

taken me away. 

And so they joined me. 9 

huge, highly fortified machines used in 
controlled fusion. They contain a plas- 
ma deep within layers of walls and in- 
sulation. The instruments that extract da- 
ta from the plasma are built like huge 
tunnels leading into this installation. So 
already you've lost touch with the plas- 
ma itself. Scientists don't even sit in the 
same room with the tokamak when it's 
operating — because of the high volt- 
age. In a sense they are no different 
from space scientists or particle physi- 
cists who sit next to their computer dis- 
play screens. 

Omni: Did you- ever want to experience 
the life of a cosmonaut? 
Sagdeev: I never thought about it. By 
the time Sputnik was launched in 1957, 
I was already a theoretical physicist 
by training and temperament. But the 
irony of life is such that now I'm here in 
America, where I often compare myself 
to a cosmonaut who was sent on a mis- 
sion to a different planet. I've under- 
gone a kind of combined planetary- 
scale jet lag and culture shock. But I 
find it interesting. I was shocked that I, 

as a driver in America, was immedi- 
ately given the freedom to turn right at 
a red light! Sometimes I feel there is too 
much choice here. In Russia my com- 
patriots envy me because they don't 
even have enough to eat. Here I have 
to read through many pages of a menu 
just to select the food I want for one 

Omni: A recent issue of Soviet Life re- 
called that as a young physicist you 
pledged to make one scientific discov- 
ery of international importance, two of 
national importance, and three of Sibe- 
rian importance. 

Sagdeev: That was a joke made by 
some scientific friends in the early Six- 
ties that I recalled recently in an article 
in izvestia. In the absence of market 
competition, the government created 
the notion of socialist competition, an 
artificial competition. Local appa- 
ratchiks were always pressuring 
everyone: "You should work hard, you 
should be a Hero of Socialist Labor! 
Will you promise?" Some friends finally 
gave up and'said, "Okay, we promise," 
and made up this formula, which they 
promised to fulfill annually. 

But when Sow'et Life picked up this 
story, it didn't get the joke. In science, 
as in any creative profession, you can- 
not achieve results according to a 
plan somebody else prescribes. That is 
the beauty of science: From time to 
time you have a chance to be surprised 
by the unexpected. If you can live with 
that uncertainty and are willing to work 
patiently, you can become a good sci- 
entist. If you need to be handed an in- 
surance policy that says, "You are 
guaranteed one discovery every 
year," you should work for an insurance 
company. DO 


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