ONE The SubInfo computers owned by Lies Incorporated had been caught in an unnatural act by a service mechanic. SubInfo computer Five had transmitted information which was not a lie. It would have to be taken apart to see why. And to whom the correct information had gone. Probably there would be no way to discern to whom the correct information had gone. But a carrier check maintained an automatic record of all subinformation transmitted by the bank of computers located here and there on Terra. The information had to do with a rat. According to the carrier check the rat lived with a colony of other rats in a garbage dump in Oakland, California. What importance could information dealing with a rat have? Lewis Stine, the chief mechanic for Lies Incorporated, pondered this as he broke the flow of current to SubInfo computer Five and prepared to begin taking it apart. Of course he could ask the computer . . . but the computer, being programmed to lie, would of course lie-even to Lies Incorporated itself. That was an irony which Stine did not appreciate. This problem always surfaced when it came time to dismantle one of the computers. Any other bank of computers, Stine thought, could be asked. Just for a moment he restored power to SubInfo computer Five and punched buttons on the console of a terminal. Whom did you transmit to? he asked. BEN APPLEBAUM, RACHMAEL "Fine," Stine said. At least he knew that. Somebody on Terra with the name Rachmael ben Applebaum probably now knew more about rats than he cared to know, albeit on a subliminal basis. You're probably thinking a lot about rats these days, Mr. ben Applebaum, Stine said to himself. And you are wondering why. Again he cut the power to the computer. And began to go to work. Standing before his bathroom mirror shaving, Rachmael ben Applebaum thought about the delicious taste of cheeseburger fragments-not a whole cheeseburger (you rarely found those) but the wonderful dried bits lying here and there among the coffee grounds, grapefruit rinds and egg shells. I'll fly over to Bob's Big Boy, he decided, and order a cheeseburger for breakfast. And then he thought, It's those damn dreams. Actually it was one dream over and over again. And he always had it around three a.m.; several times he had awakened, gotten out of bed, bewildered and disturbed by the intensity of the dream, and noted the clock. The place he dreamed of; it was awful. And yet, for some reason, while he was actually there-actually dreaming-the place seemed great. And this was the part that bothered him the most: that he liked it so. It seemed familiar; it seemed to be a place he regarded as home. However, so did a number of other people People. They hadn't looked exactly like people, although they had talked like people. "That's mine," Fred said, holding on to an armload of dog kibble. "The hell you say," Rachmael said angrily. "I saw it first. Give it here or I'll pop you." He and Fred fought over the armload of dog kibble, and Rachmael finally won. But he won in an odd way: by biting Fred on the shoulder. He hadn't hit him; he had bitten him. Strange, Rachmael thought as he continued to shave. I'm going to have to see a psychiatrist, he said to himself. Maybe it's memories of a former life. Millions of years ago before I . . . before I had evolved into a human being. Far lower on the evolutionary scale. Biting people, or rather biting animals. Yes, he thought; Fred was an animal of some kind. But we talked English. In his dream he kept a secret hoard of valuables which the others in the settlement knew nothing about. He thought of them now, those precious artifacts which he cherished, which he had gone to such lengths-and effort-to acquire. Mostly food, of course;Dick, Philip K. is the author of 'Lies, Inc.' with ISBN 9781400030088 and ISBN 1400030080.