Distant future. D-503, a talented engineer, the builder of the spacecraft Integral, writes notes for posterity, tells them about “the highest peaks in human history” – the life of the United State and its head the Benefactor. The title of the manuscript is “We”. The D-503 admires the fact that citizens of the United State, the numbers, conduct the calculated according to the Taylor system, strictly regulated by the Sentinel Tablet life: at the same time they rise, start and finish work, go for a walk, go to the auditorium, go to sleep. For the numbers, a suitable table of sexual days is determined and a pink ticket book is issued. D-503 is sure: “We are from God, and I from the devil.”
Somehow on a spring day, with his cute, round-cut friend, 0-90 recorded on him, the D-503, along with other equally dressed numbers, walks under the march of the pipes of the Musical Factory. A stranger talks to him with very white and sharp teeth, with some annoying ick in his eyes or eyebrows. I-330, thin, sharp, stubbornly flexible, like a whip, reads the thoughts of D-503.
A few days later, the I-330 invites the D-503 to the Ancient House. In the apartment-museum is a grand piano, chaos of colors and forms, a statue of Pushkin. D-503 is captured in the wild whirlwind of ancient life. But when I-330 asks him to break the accepted daily routine and stay with her, the D-503 intends to go to the Guardians’ Bureau and report it to her.
D-503, along with other numbers, is present on the square of Cuba during the execution of a poet who wrote blasphemous poems about the Benefactor. The poetic verdict is read by a shaking gray lips friend D-503, the State Poet R-13. The perpetrator is executed by the Benefactor himself, heavy, stone, like fate. The sharp blade of his Machine’s beam is blinking, and instead of a number, a puddle of chemically pure water.
Soon the builder of “Integral” receives a notice that I-330 was registered on it. D-503 is at her appointed time. I-330 teases him: he smokes ancient “cigarettes”, drinks liquor, makes D-503 take a sip in a kiss. The use of these poisons in the Unified State is prohibited, and the D-503 must report this, but it can not. Now he is different. In the tenth record, he confesses that he is dying and can no longer perform his duties to the United State, and in the eleventh – that he now has two “I” – he and the former, innocent like Adam, and the new one – wild, loving and jealous, just like in idiotic ancient books. If you knew which of these “I” is real!
The D-503 can not do without I-330, but it is nowhere to be found. In the Medical Bureau, where the double-curved Guardian S-4711 helps him to reach, I, it turns out that the “Integral” builder is terminally ill: he, like some other numerals, had a soul.
The D-503 comes to the Ancient House, to their “apartment”, opens the closet door, and suddenly… the floor leaves him from under his feet, he sinks to some dungeon, reaches the door, behind which is a rumble. From there appears his friend, the doctor. “I thought that she, I-330 …” – “Stand here!” – The doctor disappears. Finally! At last she is near. D and I leave – two-one… She walks, like him, with his eyes closed, throwing up his head, biting his lips… The builder of Integral is now in a new world: around something clumsy, shaggy, irrational.
0-90 understands: D-503 loves the other, so she removes her record on him. Arriving to say goodbye to her, she asks: “I want – I owe you a child – and I’ll leave, I’ll leave!” – “What? You wanted the Machine of the Benefactor? You are below 10 centimeters for ten Maternal Norms!” “But I’ll feel it in myself, and even for a few days…” How can I refuse her? .. And the D-503 fulfills her request – as if rushing from the battery tower down.
I-330 finally appears at his beloved. “Why did you torment me, why did not you come?” – “And maybe I should have experienced you, you need to know that you will do everything I want, that you are already mine?” – “Yes, absolutely!” Sweet, sharp teeth; smile, she is in a cup of a chair – like a bee: it has a sting and honey. And then – the bees – the lips, the sweet pain of flowering, the pain of love… “I can not do that, I. You keep something out of the picture,” – “And you’re not afraid to follow me everywhere?” – “No, I’m not afraid!” – “Then, after the Day of Unanimity, you will know everything, unless…”
There comes a great Day of Unanimity, something like an ancient Easter, as the D-503 writes; the annual election of the Benefactor, the triumph of the will of a single “We”. Cast-iron, slow voice: “Who” for “- please raise your hands.” The rustle of millions of hands, with an effort raises its and D-503. “Who” against “?” Thousands of hands shot up, and among them – the hand of I-330. And further – a whirlwind of dressed-up clothes, confused figures of the Guardians, R-13, carrying away in the hands of I-330. As a ram, D-503 steals the crowd, snatches I, all in blood, from R-13, tightly presses to itself and carries away. If only to carry it like this, carry it, carry it…
And the next day in the Uniform State Gazette: “The same Benefactor was unanimously elected for the 48th time.” And in the city everywhere are pasted sheets with the inscription “Mephi”.
D-503 with I-330 along the corridors under the Ancient House leave the city behind the Green Wall, into the lower world. Unbearably motley din, whistle, light. At D-503 the head is round. D-503 sees wild people, overgrown with hair, cheerful, cheerful. I-330 introduces them to the builder of Integral and says that he will help capture the ship, and then it will be possible to destroy the Wall between the city and the wild world. And on the stone are the huge letters “Mephi”. D-503 is clear: wild people are half that the townspeople lost, some H2, and others O, and to get H2O, it is necessary that the halves are joined.
I appoints a meeting in the Ancient House and opens to him the plan of “Mephi”: to capture the “Integral” during the test flight and, making it a weapon against the One State, to finish everything at once, quickly, without pain. “What an absurdity, I! After all, our revolution was the last!” “The last is not, the revolutions are endless, otherwise it is entropy, blissful peace, balance, but it is necessary to break it for the sake of endless movement.” D-503 can not extradite conspirators, because among them… But suddenly he thinks: what if she is only with him because of…
The next morning in the State Gazette appears the decree on the Great Operation. The goal is the destruction of fantasy. Operations must undergo all numbering to become perfect, machine-based. Maybe, to do the operation of D and heal from the heart, from I? But he can not live without it. He does not want salvation…
At the corner, in the auditorium, the door was wide open, and from there – a slow column of the operated. Now these are not people, but some kind of anthropic tractors. They uncontrollably plow through the crowd and suddenly cover it with a ring. Someone’s shrill scream:
“Drive, run!” And everyone runs away. D-503 rushes into a certain entrance, and immediately there is 0-90. She also does not want an operation and asks to save her and their unborn child. D-503 gives her a note to I-330: she will help.
And here is the long-awaited flight of Integral. Among the numbers on the ship, the members of the “Mephi”. “Up -45!” – Command D-503. A dull explosion – a push, then an instant curtain of clouds – a ship through it. And the sun, the blue sky. The radio-D-503 is I-330 – in the ear winged helmet, glittering, volatile, as the ancient Valkyries. “Last night comes to me with your note – she says D. – I sent – it is already there, behind the wall… She will live.” Dining hour. Everything – in the dining room. And when someone says: “On behalf of the Guardians… we all know you – to whom I speak, they hear… The test will be brought to an end, you will not dare to disrupt his… And then..” Do I – furious, blue sparks. In ear D: “Ah, so it’s you? You -” fulfilled the duty “?” And he suddenly with horror understands: it’s duty Yu, not once had been in his room, it was she who read his notes. The builder of Integral is in the command deck. He firmly orders: “Down! Stop the engines.” The end of everything. ” Clouds – and then a distant green spot whirls rushing to the ship. Warped face of the Second Builder. He pushes the D-503 from all sides, and the one already falling, vaguely hears: “Aft – full speed!” Sharp jump up.
D-503 calls to his benefactor, and tells him that now comes true ancient dream of paradise – a place where blessed with the operated imagination, and that D-503 was needed only as a builder conspirators “Integral”. “We do not yet know their names, but I’m sure we will find out from you.”
The next day it turns out that the Wall has been blown up and flocks of birds fly in the city. On the streets – the rebels. Swallowing the open throats of the storm, they move to the west. Through the glass of the walls you can see: the female and male numbers coexist, even without having drained the curtains, without any coupons…
The D-503 resorts to the Guardians’ Bureau and tells the S-4711 everything he knows about “Mephi”. He, like the ancient Abraham, sacrifices Isaac – himself. And suddenly the builder of “Integral” becomes clear: S is one of those…
D-503 oversimplice is from the Guardians’ Bureau and – into one of the public restrooms. There, his neighbor occupying the seat on the left, shares his discovery with him: “There is no infinity, of course everything is simple, everything is computable, and then we will win philosophically…” – “And where does your finite universe end? – farther?” Answer the neighbor does not have time. D-503 and all who were there, grab and in the auditorium 112 subjected to the Great Operation. In the head of the D-503 is now empty, easy…
The next day he is to the Benefactor and tells everything that he knows about the enemies of happiness. And here he is at the same table with the Benefactor in the famous Gas Room. Lead that woman. She must give her testimony, but only remains silent and smiling. Then it is introduced under the bell. When air is pumped out from under the bell, she throws back her head, her eyes are half closed, her lips are clenched – this reminds the D-503 something. She looks at him, clinging tightly to the arms of the chair, looking, until her eyes are completely closed. Then it is pulled out, with the help of electrodes quickly recover and again put under the bell. So it repeats three times – and she still does not say a word. Tomorrow she and others, brought along with her, will climb the steps of the Machine of the Benefactor.
The D-503 finishes its notes like this: “A temporary wall of high-voltage waves has been constructed in the city, I am sure we will win, because the mind must win.”