What they called me, that was what started it. I’m as good an American as the next fellow, and maybe a little bit better than men like that, big men drinking in a bar who can’t find anything better to do than to spit on a man and call him Mex. As if a Mexican is something to hide or to be ashamed of. We have our own heroes and our own strength and we don’t have to bend down to men like that, or any other men. But when they called me that I saw red and called them names back.
“Mex kid,” one of the men said, a big red-haired bully with his sleeves rolled back and muscles like ropes on the big hairy arms. “Snot-nosed little Mex brat.”
The doctors have left and I am told that in a few hours I shall die. In my lifetime the world has progressed from the chaotic turmoil of the early Atomic era to the peacefulness and tranquility of our present age, and I die content.
For ten years I have instructed you in all that you will need for the future. One final lesson remains to be taught.
Unlike Gaul, the north continent of Venus is divided into four parts. No Caesar has set foot here either, nor shall one—for the dank, stinging, caustic air swallows up the lives of men and only Venus may say, I conquered.
This is colonized Venus, where one may walk without the threat of sudden death—except from other men—the most bitterly fought for, the dearest, bloodiest, most worthless land in the solar system.
Separated by men into East and West at the center of the Twilight Zone, the division across the continent is the irregular, jagged line of Mud River, springing from the Great Serpent Range.
“It’s an interesting theory,” said Arnold, “but I don’t see how you could ever prove it.” They had come to the steepest part of the hill and for a moment Webb was too breathless to reply.
“I’m not trying to,” he said when he had gained his second wind. “I’m only exploring its consequences.”
“Well, let’s be perfectly logical and see where it gets us. Our only assumption, remember, is that the universe is infinite.”
“Right. Personally I don’t see what else it can be.”
“Very well. That means there must be an infinite number of stars and planets. Therefore, by the laws of chance, every possible event must occur not merely once but an infinite number of times. Correct?”
“I suppose so.”
“Then there must be an infinite number of worlds exactly like Earth, each with an Arnold and Webb on it, walking up this hill exactly as we are doing now, saying these same words.”