From memoirs of His Wisdom, Cherlash VI, narrated to the Scribe Khethrun, daughter of Saperakh:
My tailors had sewn me a suit of cream silk, embroidered with yellow and red roses, and I wore it that day over a shirt and breeches of bleached cotton, stitched with pears and pear-blossoms, a red silk cravat, and a pair of silk stockings with clocks in purl stitch, and straw sandals. Well, one can't wear one's best clothes when one goes out to deal with disasters, but I did want to look nice for the people. I owe it to them, don't you think?
Yes, my manservant Ghergis was there with me, and he wore a suit of tea-colored cotton stitched with fawn-and-peach, those curling designs everyone used to like- you only see them on old gaffers, nowadays, menfolks most as old as I am, ha ha! They put us up in the Airkeeper's compartments some corridors further on, a cousin of the man who married my old friend Bitat, and were entertained with fights. The winner received a golden breeding-ticket, signed with my chop.
We went down to where the refugees had been housed, and the corridor had water, filthy water, all down it. Of course everything flooded, generations ago, but these days we Khefates are supposed to control it all. Makes us look bad! The girls waded, and giggled, but my breeches would have been ruined. So Kherlona shucked her overgown, a pity--it was rust-colored cotton with kekkety-work on the hem and cuffs, and she wore it over a white linen undertunic, with blue petticoats, and she said, since she needed no over-gown in this corridor, would I walk on hers, and keep my stockings dry? She was carrying a book in her pocket, I recall. I told her that she had best not hope I'd grant her a golden breeding-ticket, and we laughed. We ate together that night with the court who traveled with me, and each gave half our plate to the refugee children, who came to be presented to us.
From the Codes of Doctrine and Law, Eleventh Generation
The Ship shall be maintained in the future as it was maintained in the past in order to convey human beings to its goal. Because of this, no one shall teach anything false or allow it to be taught. False teachings consist of lies which are not supported by Doctrine.
34) V. 329 There will be no doctrine taught about "planets" or about "earth" or "worlds", as these are demonstrably false. Humans do not live on "Earth", but on the Ship Heinlein. Nor shall doctrine of the "outside" or "space" be taught.
The ice from compartment forty-one and compartment seventy--two, filled by leaky pipes in the past, was a source of considerable wealth for the Tekak, and at the urging of my wives I sold it to the Waterkeepers, and held half in reserve to enrich Tekak Ten's new hydroponics: despite our cold climate, Ten has produced good crops since the thirty-second generation. It was the compartment which we accessed through seventy--two that was where I learned the truth.
There were old records that spoke of a time before the First Generation, that mentioned a world unlike the Shef, where people lived in Tekaks on the outside, where light came from a fixture called Sun, and where there was endless space. My tutors tolerated my love for books--that's what the sort of texts printed on paper are called, she said, since paper is cheaper than making readslates--even sought them for me, but passed off The Mountains of California and Dream of the Red Chamber as fiction. But I found records which showed the Shef being built, and included pictures of the Shef, from the outside. All highborn are schooled in the geography of the Shef, even of foreign Tekaks, just as we learn math and writing, of course, but this was very strange. I was excited by it, and would pore over and over the pictures of the Shef's huge form drifting neat a huge blue--and--white sphere. My tutor Cheralesh, who told me that the ancients, of the first ten generations, were fanciful and loved to invent myths to tell each other, was the one who found me the records, in machine-storages and print-outs crumbling with age.
When we had finished clearing fourteen megaliters of ice from compartment seventy-two, there was a door beyond, sealed since the Shaking. The writing included words I did not know, and I summoned my scribe, who also did not know them. She indicated that it was my right to open all doors, given my rank, save those closed by a Khefate, and asked if the Khefate was in there. I laughed and we opened the door. It had been intended to be airtight, we believe, and the air was foul within.
What lay beyond was a compartment with a huge panel, like a wallscreen, made of the ancient stuff that cannot be cut, set in the floor. Instead of blankness or the pictures of the ancients, it showed a black area with lights. I waited with my scribe, watching the tiny lights move. After two hours a large object came into view which was blue and white. We watched as it crossed the screen and vanished. This could not be a picture show of the ancients, my scribe said, because there was no story. She loves to watch the picture shows and can tell all about them. We visited the chamber several times before we told anyone about it.
I consulted old records and the object in the screen was like the pictures of "Earth", the magic world where people lived before the Shef. The truth was revealed to me, however, by the maps in my tutor's books. The Earth has a hemisphere of tekaks, called "land" and a hemisphere of hydroponic areas called "oceans". The world we saw has many small areas of land called, by the ancients, "islands", or "island continents", and both hemispheres contain land and water.
"Earth" is a real place and our language came from there. "Tekak" in the old language is "deck" and means "floor". "Shef" was once pronounced "Ship" and meant a vessel to carry folk from one place to another place, pushed by "engines". A "khefate", which they used to say "Captain", tells the Shef where to go. My tutor and I consulted the records of the Shaking, ten generations past, when huge areas of the Shef flooded and hydroponics burst, leading to many deaths. It seems clear that this was the result of the Shef being pushed by its engines in order to take up its path around a world, the world we saw, the world which cannot be the ancient Earth. The old print--books say that the new planet is called Kepler 186f.
The Shef came from Earth, and traveled from Earth to the place we saw, the New World. The stories of the ancients are a mixture of fiction and fact, but we are on a journey.
And we have arrived.
From the records of Thekaka, chief of the Bharok in the forty-ninth generation.
As ordered, I first told her that she would be subject to the Question under the rope, the fire, and the helmet, and that if she recanted, declaring all simply a myth, she would be spared the use of them. She did not recant. I then showed her the instruments and described their use. Her advocate asked that she be confined incommunicado in lieu of the Question. However, she refused this.
As she did not confess I was forced to begin the use of the instruments the following day. She endured the rope, and during the use of the fire began to scream. When she lost consciousness I returned her to her cell. The following day I used the fire again. Her screams were very loud and she cursed me terribly. She confessed to lying, and when the questioning ceased, wept and stated that she had not lied.
The following day I used the helmet on her, until she lost consciousness from lack of air. I told her that unless she recanted the treatment would continue. She swore and threatened me. I then used the three instruments of questioning on her again. Again, she recanted, and then immediately retracted her recantation. Upon instructions from my superiors, I had her wives and children arrested. I left them in separate cells and then explained that they would be examined in order to induce the prisoner to confess. When this was explained to the prisoner she insisted on being allowed to confess at once.
The wives and children were then released.
Confession is attached.
Thekaka, First of the Bharok, Tekak Seven
From the court records of the fourteenth year of of the forty-ninth generation of Sh Khynrhyn, day 223
The evil teacher Kherlona was brought before the Court having confessed to inventing teachings in order to delude folk into following her. Upon the court's signed and witnessed declaration that her wives and children would be spared, allowed to live out their lives without confinement or punishment, she recanted, stating that her teachings were her own, and that no other person had invented them. She was asked to declare publicly that the Shef Khynryn does not "move" and that it is not a vehicle, nor a device, but the world, and that the compartment, now sealed, in which she claimed to have had false visions was merely an ordinary compartment, such as a berth, a workshop, or a farm-tank. She declared this, but, when it came time to sign the confession, she refused her chop, stating that "Even so, it moves" and making statements which are not admissible into this record because they are evil in nature.
The court then was forced to pronounce sentence of death for breach of the law.
The prisoner appealed to His Wisdom, and was conducted to the royal court for trial.
The corridors and compartments wherein she had preached were scoured and all inhabitants forced to take an oath that her teachings were false. There were forty-one arrested who refused to do so, as well as one old man who cried out that he did not know what she was teaching but agreed with it anyhow. This man was not arrested.(Names of the arrested attached.)
The followers of Kherlona, for so they were, were told that they merely had to deny her teachings in public, and that then they would be freed, since they had not preached evil doctrines, merely listened to them. Two recanted and were freed with a warning.
The remainder stated that no punishment would make them deny what they had seen and known. According to the law concerning heresy, therefore, the followers were to share in the fate of the leader, though this law was last invoked in the Forty-First Generation, with the death by shaffleb of the one hundred and nineteen followers of the false teacher Niolla.
From the memoirs of Lady Kherlona:
I went before Cherlash, who was looking at clothing samples, and asked His Wisdom what he thought my fate should be. He replied that he did not wish me to suffer, and asked about my children. However, he said, the law could not be defied, and I must either deny the truth about the Shef or perish by some means, though perhaps not by torture, as he liked me.
I asked whether I might die by shaffle, as two of these things remain on Tekak Ten. He hesitated and told me outright to deny that the Ship is a vehicle and that the New World is at hand. He would reward me with more corridors and grant breeding-tickets to my children.
I told her that the truth was and is the truth, and that His Wisdom might consider it himself. He stated that those who had defied doctrine were to die even if he did not put them to death, and then signed the death warrant, saying that because I was noble born, I was to die by shaffle, not by the erluk or strangulation.
He then said, "on a generation ship, get one thing wrong and you all die." I did not know what it meant.
I asked whether, if my followers and myself were to be placed into shafflec or shaffled, we might take some things with us. The court officer told us to take what we could carry, shaking his head, and added that no one would touch the goods of those who were condemned for evil teachings, and so we could take them to our grave, the shaffle.
I told my friends and family, for such were the ones who had not denied me, to carry tools and seeds for crafts and farming. Would we farm in the lands of the dead, asked one woman, weeping. I said that the dead are carried to the farms, and so become farmers, even if they were weavers or singers in life, but not to fear. She wept anyhow.
The rest of my possessions I told a kind priest to donate to the poor, and to pretend that another had donated them. As we walked, the crowd looked on us, some fearful, some crying out that we could not live again, as our corpses were not to be composted into the hydroponics tanks.
We were taken to the place where the shaffle wait amongst huge machines and erluks.
They are shaped like a triangle and long as two corridors.
Inside a shuffle are seats and storage areas. We entered and the executioners fastened the erluk shut behind us. One of my family beat on the door and screamed after it was fastened. I won't record his name here.
Then I spoke kindly to my family and to my friends, telling them that not death, but a new world, awaited. Although I did not tell them, I was afraid and my heart beat fast.
There was a loud noise and we were pushed into the seats by a force I did not know. It is like the Shaking, the old ones said, for they know tales of this time. The shaffle, which ancients would have called "shuttle", fell in no-weight, then rattled and we heard noises. Many vomited and cried in fear, and I vomited as well. One asked if this was when we were to die, and I told him to be silent. After a time we saw on screens a scene like a picture show, with green and blue places. My children were sick but my wives and I cared for them and comforted them.
We felt weight and the shuffle went until it came to stop moving.
On the screens we saw a picture like an ancient scene of "Earth" with green plants like a hydroponics tank. The erluk light turned green, which means safe in old stories. When we opened it, the air outside smelled like a hydroponics tank when herbs are in bloom. Some of the people screamed and cried and were more afraid of the huge space outside, which is unlike the Shef, than they were of the death they had feared. I did not know whether what I saw was real, or like a picture--story. Then my nephew Jeshun took up a stone and handed it to me. I marveled to think that it was real. We walked outside, two of the young men insisting that they would go first with me. It was easier to walk looking at the floor, not at the roof, which is called sky. We saw great herbs of the kind called "trees", and a stream of water. When I saw the water I ran to it and touched the stones in the water and motioned for the others to come and see. Near us were flowers and grasses.
My wives tell me that they will plant corn tomorrow.