Chapters 18-19 Summary
Ben again asks Jill to marry him, but she puts him off, saying that she has responsibilities. Ben realizes that, as a nurse, she feels maternal toward her patients, but he struggles against jealousy of Smith. Jubal tells Ben that he has decided to fight for Smith’s rights after all. He fears that Smith will be killed, though he insists that assassination has never been America’s official policy. He is not interested Smith’s property rights, since Martians do not have a concept of property. They believe that, if anyone owns anything, it is the Old Ones. Smith cannot understand being the heir of the Lyle Drive and Lunar Enterprises because these belonged to someone who has since died, thus becoming an Old One. Ben asks Jubal what he thinks about these Old Ones. Jubal says he believes that it is only superstition, but he talks to Smith as if he does believe. Ben confesses that he has a suspicion that there is such a thing as immortality. Jubal explains what he now plans to do.
Jubal, Jill, Smith, and the others travel to the conference in a Greyhound air bus. Smith is overwhelmed by the size of the cities and hopes to come back in a century when they are empty. At the conference site, Jubal finds that his small, informal meeting has turned into a circus. There is a delay as the meeting is transferred to a larger room to accommodate all the officials and the press. Since this circus is organized contrary to his wishes, Jubal retaliates by turning it into an even bigger circus. He demands elaborate ceremonial trappings for the Martian delegation, taking half of the conference table, even though there are many more Earth members. Since the Secretary General will enter with an anthem, Smith should also have a Martian anthem played. And he demands a Martian flag. Dr. Mahmoud, who was on the rescue ship that brought Smith back to Earth, is overjoyed to see Smith. He learned Martian on the return trip and is more familiar with Martian customs than anyone. He is brought into Jubal’s group and made their water brother, which all take as seriously as does Smith. Senator Boone introduces himself to Jubal and says that Smith is invited to attend a Fosterite service the next Sunday. Jubal accepts for him but intends to also be present; he does not want Smith to be drawn into the religious group and thereby manipulated. At last, after the room has filled to capacity and is overflowing, the Secretary General enters.