Wienis shouted  incoherently and staggered to  the nearest soldier. Wildly,he wrested  the nuclear blast from  the man's hand-aimed it  at Hardin, whodidn't stir, shoved the lever and held it contacted .
The pale  continous beam impinged upon  the force-field that surrounded themayor  of  Terminus and  was  sucked harmlessly  to neutralization.  Wienispressed harder and laughed tearingly.
Hardin  still smiled  and his  force-field aura  scarcely brightened  as itabsorbed the  energies of the nuclear blast.  From his comer Lepold coveredhis eyes and moaned.
And, with  a yell of despair,  Wienis changed his aim  and shot again ?andtoppled   to   the   floor   with   his  head   blown   into   nothingness.
Hardin winced  at the sight and muttered, "A man  of 'direct action' to theend. The last refuge!"The  Time  Vault  was  filled;  filled  far beyond  the  available  seatingcapacity,   and   men   lined   the  back   of   the   room,  three   deep.
Salvor Hardin  compared this large  company with the few  men attending thefirst appearance of Hari  Seldon, thirty years earlier. There had only beensix, then;  the five old Encyclopedists  ?all dead now  ?and himself, theyoung figurehead  of a mayor. It had been on that  day, that he, with YohanLee's  assistance  had removed  the  "figurehead" stigma  from his  office.
It was  quite different now; different  in every respect . Every  man of theCity  Council  was awaiting  Seldon's  appearance. He,  himself, was  stillmayor,  but  all-powerful  now;  and  since  the utter  rout  of  Anacreon,all-popular. When he had  returned from Anacreon with the news of the deathof  Wienis, and  the new treaty  signed with  the trembling Lepold,  he wasgreeted with  a vote  of confidence of  shrieking unanimity. When  this wasfollowed in rapid order,  by similar treaties signed with each of the otherthree kingdoms  ?treaties  that gave the  Foundation powers such  as wouldforever  prevent any  attempts at  attack similar  to that of  Anacreon's ?
torchlight processions had been  held in every city street of Terminus. Noteven Hari Seldon's name had been more loudly cheered.
Hardin's lips twitched. Such popularity had been his after the first crisisalso.
Across  the  room, Sef  Sermak  and  Lewis Bort  were  engaged in  animateddiscussion, and recent events  seemed to have put them out not at all. Theyhad joined in the  vote of confidence; made speeches in which they publiclyadmitted that they had been in the wrong, apologized handsomely for the useof  certain phrases  in earlier  debates, excused themselves  delicately bydeclaring  they had  merely followed  the dictates  of their  judgement andtheir  conscience  ?and  immediately  launched a  new Actionist  campaign.
Yohan Lee  touched Hardin's sleeve and  pointed significantly to his watch.
Hardin looked up. "Hello there, ? What's wrong now?""He's due in five minutes, isn't he?""I presume so. He appeared at noon last time.""What if he doesn't?""Are  you going  to wear  me down with  your worries  all your life?  If hedoesn't, he won't."Lee  frowned and  shook his  head slowly.  "If this  thing flops,  we're inanother mess. Without Seldon's  backing for what we've done, Sermak will befree to start all  over. He wants outright annexation of the Four Kingdoms,and immediate  expansion of the  Foundation ?by force,  if necessary. He'sbegun his campaign, already.""I know.  A fire eater must  eat fire even if he  has to kindle it himself .