Study Guide

Foundation Part V, Chapter 14

By Isaac Asimov

Part V, Chapter 14

  • It's the fourth day of Mallow's trial. Jael barely makes it in time with a mysterious something-or-other since the public hearings have made things a madhouse.
  • Today is Mallow's turn to take the stand. He suggests Jael sit back and enjoy the show.
  • Mallow decides to save time by saying that everything the prosecution says is true, so, yeah, that should save time.
  • But—there's always a but—they didn't provide the complete story. That's where Mallow's little confession will come in.
  • First, he did meet Sutt and Twer before his mission to Korell. The mere fact that both men gave him such wild offers on the same day put Mallow on alert mode.
  • Also, Twer's lack of knowledge of a Seldon crisis meant that he had to be a priest, since priest-training conveniently leaves out all knowledge of Seldon's plan.
  • So, Mallow figured he must have been put on the council by Sutt to hinder the traders.
  • He asked Twer to come with him in one of those "keep your friends close but your enemies closer" moves. How very Sun Tzu of him.
  • Then there's Jord Purma, the missionary. When Mallow had Twer go check on the officers, Mallow set up a Visual Record receiver in the room.
  • If this is starting to sound familiar, that's because it's the same plot-saving device from the last story.
  • Mallow plays the holographic visual record for the trial now. The scene plays out just as it happened, and Mallow raises the same questions for those in attendance that he did for Twer.
  • But there's more to this visual record than meets the eye. Jord Purma never existed. Instead, he was a member of the Korellian Secret Police.
  • Mallow proves this by revealing a secret tattoo on Jord Purma's wrists. Mallow was smart enough to flood the room with ultraviolet light while recording the record, which revealed the hidden tattoo. Just how exactly he knew to do that will have to be left to speculation because we aren't told. (Just roll with it, we suppose.)
  • Since the priest wasn't a really missionary, then he wasn't a real member of the Foundation. And if he wasn't a real member of the Foundation, then where is the prosecution's case?
  • Nowhere, that's where.
  • The crowd lifts Mallow up on their shoulders and carries him out of the courthouse, chanting his name. The verdict isn't given, but we're going to assume not guilty.