Study Guide

Foundation Part IV, Chapter 6

By Isaac Asimov

Part IV, Chapter 6

  • Thirteen days later, Gorov and Ponyets beat feet out of there.
  • Gorov is a little disappointed, though. The Foundation wanted to set up a whole trade system with Askone, not just trade one machine and be done.
  • Oh, and where did Ponyets even get a transmuting machine?
  • First, Ponyets just whipped one up on his ship. Yep, just threw one together.
  • That's, like, Tony Stark making a spacesuit while held captive in Afghanistan level of implausible right there.
  • Second, what's Gorov's deal? He's not going to, you know, die. So what's the problem?
  • Well, from Gorov's perspective, Pherl won't credit the technology for his newfound power. Instead, he'll credit "the good, old-fashioned gold" (IV.6.16).
  • But Ponyets isn't done yet. He points out the ships escorting them, ships belonging to none other than Pherl. They're going to collect tons of tin at the mining estates as Ponyets's fee.
  • Wait, what fee? Fee for all the nucleics Ponyets sold Pherl. Confused? So is Gorov.
  • Let's let Ponyets explain further.
  • See, Ponyets didn't just sell Pherl a transmuting machine; he sold him a transmuting machine with a microfilm-recorder tucked inside. Once Ponyets caught Pherl buying the transmuting machine on tape—a capital crime on Askone—he had the politician right where he wanted him. All he needed to do was threaten to show the tape.
  • Pherl bought the gadgets, and Ponyets rocked his quota and then some.
  • Pherl will probably use the gadgets to recoup his loses, and since he's due to be the next Grand Master, trade will more than likely open between the Foundation and Askone. Bing-bang-boom, a plan comes to fruition.
  • Gorov jokingly asks Ponyets if he has any sense of morality, and Ponyets reminds his friend what Salvor Hardin said of morals.