R-42 in Bin 401.
They are so few. Never enough.
But always a few to stand in the face of
horror, to place their fragile bodies on the
line for the rest of us. How they came to
be born among us, these sanctified
mutations, our children of wonder,
perhaps we'll never understand. But they
came when we needed them, and though
they die for us, they do not die un-
moumed. We consecrate our lives, our
world, our future, to the holy memory of
men and women like Alan Pryor. Paladins . . . guardians of the human race.
QQ-42 in Bin 119.
She bathed him and he slept. She
thought he slept, but he only rested with
his eyes closed. He watched her move
around the conapt's misty interior,
pruning and watering her bushes; watched
her through slitted eyes. And when he
was certain she was not in contact with
anyone else, he sat up.
Her back was to him. She was
waxing the leaves of a bonsai. He sat up,
naked in the misty pool of warm water,
and he said, "You caused it."
She did not turn. Her movements
were precise and graceful. "I don't know
what you mean," she said. But he knew
she had caused it, and he said, "Yes, you
The mist settled on v her hairless
body and sparkled like frost. She ceased
her activity and turned to him.
"How could you do that?" He
heard his voice; it sounded immature and
She sighed and shook her head very
faintly, as though what he was saying was
infintely saddening to her.
Then the old paladin emerged from
the mist and the shadows where he had
been waiting, silently hoping this most
sensitive of the sensitive children had not
stumbled on the truth through the
ineptitude of a judas on her first time
out, knowing it was a futile hope, and
prepared to do what had to be done. He
was a very old paladin, who had been
promised his freedom when he had
prepared this woman to take over for
him, and he was both furious at her
midjudgement and desolate that his rest
was that much further denied him.
He stepped out of the shadows,
slaughtered her with a thought, and
turned to the young paladin in the mist
Alan Pryor looked into his face and
saw what awaited him. He held up a
hand. "At least let me understand why!"
The old paladin sighed. Why not.
"There are no attacks. It's all
"No, that isn't so. l-A feel the pain
... I see the dar.kness coming through,
the things, the spiracle ..."
He shook his head. "All contrived.
By sensitives like her, and me. We buy
our lives. Judas sensitives. To keep you
and others like you busy, for a cause. So
we don't breed. So we don't multiply
and take over. The ones who don't have
the power, the non-sensitives, they knew
from the first that we were the next step.
They wouldn't let go; they'll never let go.
So they contrived it all."
Alan made a sudden lurch toward
the edge of the mist-pool. The .old
paladin burned him out; there was a wisp
of dark, thin smoke from the ash-filled
sockets that had been Alan Pryor's eyes;
and the old paladin sighed once more
before he began cataloging the parts of
Alan Pryor's body that could be recycled
in expectation of the next child born
with the power.
In that lonely place where Alan
Pryor gave his life, there were no observers. - The attack came in an isolated,
empty place where he was burned defending us. Now we lay his body to rest, with
honor, swearing that he did not go un-
mourned. With honor, to your final rest,
Alan Pryor. Humanity will not forget.
G-64in Bin 487.
"There are no rules. Those who are in power
make up the rules. So those out of favor are
bound to break them."
—Jose Ber Gel hard
KENT BASH, illustrator of "The Executioner of the Malformed Children," is a
Los Angeles-based artist whose work has
been prominently displayed in museums
and galleries throughout the world. His
"California Suite" of paintings, fantastic
examples of contemporary magic realism,
have been lauded and collected by critics
and devotees of fine art across the country. This is his second illustration of an
Ellison story, the first having been commissioned by the author for "In the
Fourth Year of the War," a fantasy that
will appear in the forthcoming fifth issue
of Gary Hoppenstand's Midnight Sun
Robert Anton Wilson
540 CLAYTON ST.
SAN FANCISCO, CA. 9 H I I 7
IGUANACON PROGRAM BOOK