Cryptomedicine Part I.

12 Sep

I.

Sinus Ak had never before entered any of the tribal territories on his planet, but now he was riding on a passenger track-train across the dark green, heavily wooded forests of the country of the Ezerites.

A recently graduated university student of Anthropology, he had chosen the research topic of inherited, traditional medical practices in several of the subcultures of this region.

Sinus had been fortunate enough to win himself a financial grant to support him in his travel to and across these special reservations set aside for the histories and identities. As he gazed out of the track-train window, he thoughts dwelled on the mysteries that lay ahead for him. The traditional medical means and therapies of the tribal cultures here on Planet Vivaldi had never been studied in an anthropological manner. What might he be the one to discover in this cultural unknown area of research?

He forgot the oaks, elms, willows, and maples of the Great Ezeritian Forest as he dreamed of questions that he would soon be posing to the professional physician who had agreed by mail to serve as his guide and advisor, Dr. Doa Mito of Woodland City.

As soon as the track-train arrived, Sinus found his way to the hotel where he had a room waiting for him. He took a quick lunch in a place next door, then started to find the doctor’s office where he had arranged an appointment with the licensed, conventional physician who had agreed to aid him in his field research in Ezerite territory, Dr. Doa Mito.

The streets of Woodland City, all of them it appeared, were lined with trees. People walking on the sidewalks had the appearance of typical Ezerites as Sinus expected: they were shorter than himself and displayed the vitelline skin color of yolk yellow. They possessed the low foreheads and high cheek bones of their tribal genetic inheritance.

The visitor soon found the office he was hunting for and entered to introduce himself to the female physician who had agreed to be his research guide into Ezerian folk medicine.

Sinus identified himself to the aide at the reception desk. The young woman led him onward to the private consulting chamber of her employer. He sat down there and waited only a minute for Dr. Doa Mito to enter the room through a side door.

She was a short, delicate body with her tribe’s egg yoke skin and low forehead.

“Good morning, Dr. Ak!” she greeted him. “I am so happy to see you here in Woodland City. Are you ready to begin your investigation of our culture’s old, traditional kind of medical treatment before it is gone and forgotten?”

Sinus rose to his feet and shook the small, thin hand that she offered to him.

“Please be seated,” she murmured sweetly as she made her way behind her metal business desk and sat down there.

For several seconds, the two strangers stared at each other as if both of them were composing their initial impressions of the other. It was Sinus who began to describe his plans for what he intended to accomplish in this tribal territory.

“My ambition is to acquire direct knowledge of the traditional medical therapies and methods used and passed on by the Ezerite culture. I aim to find out how much of that legacy can continue to be of use in our present-day life here on Planet Vivaldi. There can be no question that I shall have to begin with the rich pharmacopeia of natural plants and herbs that are part of your tribe’s historic inheritance.

“I hope that you can help me make contact with one of the remaining plant-healers who still is in practice in the modern world of today, Dr. Mito.”

The latter gave a warm, comforting smile. “Of course, I can and will bring you to such a practitioner. There are only a very few of them still around, because our official medical authorities frown on herbalism and what they term ethno-medicine. Over several generation, our licensed pharmacists have taken the most useful and effective traditional remedies and the so-called popular botany and rejected the bulk of the plant remedies from the past.

“I myself believe that there still remains much of potential medical value in the treasury accumulated by our local, unlicensed herbal healers. There is one particular old villager with whom I became acquainted years ago, when I was a young schoolgirl in the rural district where I was born. This person was considered a wise-man of fantastic knowledge of forest plants by the ordinary members of our country community.

“Would you like me to take you to meet this very old herbalist, Dr. Ak? I am certain that he has never met or talked to an anthropologist such as you,” she inquired in a soft, welcoming tone.

What was he to say? “Yes, of course. It would be marvelous to make contact with someone with a lifetime of experience in actually applying such traditional therapeutic methods.”

Doa Mito gave an unexpected laugh. “I was certain that you would be favorable, and I have made the arrangements for you to meet and see the old herbal healer, Rasgo Lgu. He is completely agreeable to a visit by you, and I will be free this coming weekend to drive you to the village in my engine-car. Will that be agreeable, my friend?”

“Yes, of course it will,” replied Sinus with a wide, joyous grin.

The asphalt road led through thick, shady deciduous woods. At the steering wheel of the small engine-car, Doa tried to prepare her passenger for what to expect from the herbalist they were going to meet with.

“Old Rasgo has not seen or spoken with very many metropolitans such as you,” she bluntly declared. “You are a lot taller than most Ezerites, no question about that. Your skin color is a rich tan that will be unfamiliar to villagers like him. Our eyes tend to be light-colored, while yours are a dark hickory brown.

“It may take Rasgo a little time to become used and at ease with you, Dr. Ak.”

“Call me Sinus,” said the anthropologist. “As I will from now on use your fist name of Doa.”

The road began to descend into an open farming area. “That is the village where we will find this herbalist,” she announced.

II.

The old man’s small, crumbling cottage lay at the most distant end of the Ezerian village. As soon as the engine-car came to a stop immediately in front of it, the bent form of the aged healer appeared at the front entrance to the tiny structure.

Once the two visitors were out of the vehicle, Doa waved her right arm at the inhabitant she was familiar with. “Rasgo, we are here! I brought along with me the metropolitan man of learning who wishes to learn about our traditions of plant remedies.”

The travelers approached and Doa made the introductions between the two males.

Rasgo offered his right hand to the tall stranger in a formal business suit who towered over him. As the pair shook hands with friendly vigor, Sinus noticed how dull the yellow of the old man’s face had become through time.

“Shall we go inside and speak there?” said the herbal healer in a gravelly voice. “I brewed a pot of chamomile tea this morning that should give all of us some moments of pleasurable enjoyment.” All at once, he broke out in an unexpected grin.

The two from the city sat down on small round stools while their host became busy pour herbal tea from a kettle on a hot plate into ceramic cups. With surprisingly swift and agile movements Rasgo served the visitors the tea he had promised them. He took a creaky chair opposite the pair and took a welcome sip from the cup he had poured for himself.

After the threesome had finished their initial drinks did Doa begin to speak.

“Our good man has traveled a considerable distance because he has set himself the task of studying and attempting to understand the traditional medicine based on plants and herbs that our Ezerian ancestors have passed on to us. I have told him that no one can inform him on that subject as much as you can, my dear Rasgo.”

The old one looked directly at Sinus and smiled broadly. “Do you wish to know about which herbs to give the suffering for which illness? Is that it? Our people have a saying, a kind of simple folk wisdom about the matter. What they have been saying for centuries of time is this: for every ill, for every sickness, there exists a plant out in the field or the forest. If one will patiently hunt for it, that herb or grass can be found.

“It may necessitate time and persistence, but the cure or remedy is out there in nature somewhere.”

“That has to be what you live by, Rasgo,” whispered Doa Mito. “Am I right?”

The old herbalist nodded yes. “Over many generations, our tribe has learned from experience, from both success and failure, what works and what does not. Almost everyone inside our territory is familiar with the positive effects of simple substances such as saffron, valerian, licorice, thyme, and lavender. But there are rarer, more obscure substances such as wormwood, lemon grass, skullcap, juniper berries, yellow gentian, coriander, and bitterbloom that can have miraculous effects in the restoration of health to an ailing person.

“It is experienced individuals such as me, with a lifetime of reading and actual practice, who can diagnose and choose the correct plant remedy for a given suffering patient.

“I have taught myself how to prescribe out of the rich storehouse that nature provides for the inhabitants of the Great Ezerian Forest.” Rasgo grinned with self-evident pride. “My past successes guarantee that I can do as promised.”

“There must be a long list of materials available for practical use in all that is covered by your kind of medicinal use,” said Sinus with wonder in his voice. “I marvel at the rich knowledge enjoyed by those such as you.”

A few moments of silence followed, broken by Doa.

“You certainly must have files and records available that could be looked over by our friend here,” she told the old healer. “Why don’t you allow him to examine and study them? That could be accomplished by him right here in your cottage. None of your written materials would have to be taken elsewhere.” She turned her head toward Sinus and spoke to him. “There is a daily engine-bus that comes through this area and makes a stop here in this village. You could come each day from the city and then return on the trip back. That would be expedient and convenient, I am certain.”

She turned back to the herbalist. “What do you say, Rasgo? Is my plan reasonable and acceptable to you?”

“Indeed,” nodded the elder healer. “Yes, I believe it can be done as you say.”

The three of them finished their herbal tea, and the two visitors took their leave and returned to Woodland City.

III.

Sinus slept calmly in his hotel room that night, his mind filled with a sense of positive accomplishment. He was now in contact with a veteran of the herbalist’s profession in tribe of the Ezerites, and soon he would be ploughing through the recorded documents of this person.

Rosgo Lgu had immediately impressed him as exactly the right source for him to use in attempting to understand the role of ethno-medicine in this culture.

The anthropologist with the metropolitan genetic background rose early and made his way to the engine-bus station where he was to board the local carrier that daily stopped in the desired forest village. Later that day, it’s schedule promised to take him back to Woodland City.

Rosgo glowed with joy as he admitted his new friend into his cottage.

“Would you like to join me with a bite of toasty breakfast, or would you want to go into my files immediately?” inquired the herbalist. “Perhaps you are eager and curious to start your work at once. I will be preparing a light lunch that we can both share later on, around the noon hour.”

Sinus informed him that he wished to start reading the records and documents at once. “I foresee myself with a full appetite after a couple of hours of looking through things.”

Rasgo showed him into the small chamber that the other used as his office, where he met with patients and provided them advice along with remedies for their ills.

Bringing along several large notebooks that he would be using to record notes on what he might find, the investigating researcher thanked the healer and stepped to the old oaken desk in one corner of the room. He found a bookshelf full of record books and started to examine the contents of them.

It was a surprise to Sinus how many different medical conditions and illnesses the herbalist had been made to contend with over many decades of service and treatment. Both major and minor difficulties were presented to him.

Sinus noticed that the most frequently prescribed and utilized natural substances were wormwood, bitterbloom, yellow gentium, and black mustard.

As he recorded and classified the use made of each separate, individual plant, he started to concentrate and organize a list of the most powerful and important remedies, those utilized in the treatment of the major physical illnesses, centering upon rheumatism and arthritis problems, and troubles connected to blood pressure and the operation of the human heart.

Hawthorne blossoms were frequently given to patients suffering angina or irregular heart beats.

Hyssop tea was prescribed for inflammation, bruises, high blood pressure, coughing, colds, sore throats, fevers, and asthma.

Lemon balm tea was used for influenza, headaches, high blood pressure, dog bites, fever, and inflammation.

Stinging nettle leaves were brewed to treat gout and arthritis, asthma, hay fever, ulcers, and general inflammation, as well as a blood thinner and controller of blood pressure.

Motherwort helped deal with anxiety or depression, blood clots and high blood pressure, an inducer of menstruation in young woman, and the tranquilizing and relaxation of heart muscles.

Sinus was surprised at the large numbers of anti-inflammatory remedies that his host possessed. As days of study and investigation passed, he looked at how Rasgo made use of astragalus, geranium, calendula, solidago, and carlina in dealing with heart problems and inflammation of blood vessels and organs of his fellow-villagers.

Each day, his host invited the anthropologist to share his middle-day meal with him, providing a good opportunity to pose the questions arising in the mind of the researcher.

Late in the first week of his trips to the cottage, Sinus asked a question weighing on him.

“I have to ask you, Rasgo, whether you are enjoying successful results in the many cases of heart ailments and high blood pressure, as well as with patients who suffer from rheumatism or arthritis?

“Have these natural medicaments had positive results in patients with extremely serious circumstances and conditions?”

He stared across the kitchen table at the natural herbalist.

The latter’s face seemed to freeze and solidify. His icy green eyes appeared to be absent for several seconds. All at once, Rasgo spoke as if he was uncertain what he dared reveal to this outsider from outside the tribal territory.

“In the most extreme cases, where death is very near, I am apt to send the patient elsewhere, to another individual who has other, deeper knowledge than my very own.”

“To another natural healer? Another herbalist?” questioned Sinus, beginning to become suddenly puzzled.

He bent his head forward and stared directly into the face of the old man.

The latter waited for a short spell before he replied.

“It is not forbidden for one naturalist to refer a case to another naturalist,” muttered Rasgo in a carefully calculated tone. “At times, people who practice in other places have sent stubborn situations for me to deal with. Therefore, my friends elsewhere in the territory have referred specific cases over to me. It is not unheard of, not at all, my friend.”

The two of them exchanged looks of mutual regard, though Sinus had no specific idea of what the herbalist was referring and hinting at.

He left the cottage at the end of the afternoon with enticing questions left unanswered. Who might be cooperating with Rasgo in dealing with the most seriously ill individuals who came to him for natural therapy?

Doa sensed that some heavy, unresolved concern was weighing on the thoughts of the anthropologist who had come to her for aid and advice. But she asked no specific questions, unwilling to cause him any unease or embarrassment. He will tell me what is bothering him when he decides that the time is appropriate, she said to herself.

The pair went that evening to a Woodland City restaurant near his hotel, where the specialty of the place was fresh game caught in the Great Ezerian Forest.

As the two neared the finish of their meal together, Sinus began to speak in a low, concentrated voice.

“Rasgo revealed something to me today that stirred me up and left me surprised and wondering. It was an unexpected bit of information that raised more questions than answers in my own mind.

“I have been ruminating and mulling over the possible implications of what I heard from the man.”

Doa looked at him with a puzzled expression. “What are you talking about, then? What could have been so disturbing to you?”

Sinus surprised her with a sly, ironic grin. “It was more enticing than disturbing. The information completely captured my natural curiosity, because Rasgo did not give me any name or identifying characteristics of the person he happened to refer to.

“He merely remarked to me while we were eating lunch that he has sent his most difficult and intractable cases to someone else, whom he failed to name or describe.

“That may be told to me at some unspecified future time. But for now I am left with a sort of mental, intellectual mystery in my own personal thinking.

“I fear that tonight and tomorrow, this question will be present and significant in my mind.

“What was Rasgo talking about? What sort of therapy or remedy was produced by this new character?

“I am thoroughly unable to guess or figure out what he was precisely talking about to me today.” He gazed into her face with a beseeching, inquiring look. Can you help solve this riddle for me, Doa?”

She answered with a faraway focus in both eyes. “You must deal with this subject slowly and patiently. Rasgo must not become alarmed by your interest in it. Do you think you can handle it with diplomatic care, Sinus?”

He have a nod of his head. “Thank you for your good advice,” he said with a smile. “I will certainly make an effort to follow what you just told me.”

Rasgo revealed more about his personal experiences in the field of herbal healing.

“I came into this type of activity because of the multitude of illnesses and diseases that I suffered in my childhood.

“Both my mother and father were firm believers in the efficacy of plant remedies and they made use of them. When a strange fever struck me at the age of seven, my parents took me to a healer in a nearby village. This experienced herbalist was able to diagnose the type of infection that was causing my painful discomfort and recommended that I be given a concoction of a variety of plant teas three times each day. It worked and I was soon freed of the awful fever that had incapacitated me so severely.

“Right then I decided to acquire the knowledge and training to myself become a herbalist able to diagnose and recommend plant-based remedies.

“It took many years to build up a skill that gave me a worthy reputation. I learned more and more, and I can say that I continue to find new medicines in nature’s treasury of herbs and grasses of all kinds.

“There is no end, no final completion in my self-education, my friend.”

IV.

The anthropologist with his work each passing day, recording much of what he came upon in the papers of the plant healer and listening to his description of important and interesting events that occurred in the course of his career.

“I once made a grave mistake concerning the care that I provided myself. It was overconfidence that led me to take a risk that I should not have dared to get myself involved in.

“It was a harsh, merciless winter and I came down with a serious bronchial infection I could not rid myself of. I felt uneasy about my rising temperature and the effects of my fever grew worse and worse. I measured my temperature every hour or so, and became increasingly worried about my deterioration.

“So, I decided to give myself a dose of goldenseal in powder form, hoping that would lower my infection and the resulting inflammation.

“This is a very potent herbal substance that immediately put me to sleep. I had no idea that I had fallen into a deep, extreme kind of coma. I slumbered on and on, without any consciousness of my condition. It was a brother of mine who happened to come by on two occasions to see and speak with me who began to suspect that something bad had occurred to me.

“He had a key so that he was able to unlock my door and enter the cottage.

“Finding me in what had the appearance of lengthy, possibly permanent sleep. he took steps to attempt to awaken me, shaking my body and shouting in my ear.

“Fortunately, he brought me back to a waking condition.

“Without his intervention, my life might have ended there and then.

“I learned the lesson and goldenseal and similar powerful compounds must be used with care and precision. That experience was an important factor in how I established my customary ways of prescribing plants to my patients.”

“Yes,” said Sinus, “I can understand why you have to be cautious at all times with those who come to you for assistance.”

With considerable irritation, the anthropologist told Doa of his impatience with what he was learning from Rasgo about the herbalist’s cooperation and dependence on other healers.

“So far, I have got him to tell me only that in difficult cases he might seek aid from others,” argued Sinus. “But I have not thought up any method of making him reveal who his assistant may be or what therapeutic method he could provide him.”

“That is making you impatient,” declared the physician. “I can understand how you feel about the situation that you face. So, we should probably have to change the approach to Rosgo.

“If you agree, I myself will face him and present this matter as a direct, particular question. What do you think of my idea? You will be there with me when I ask him for the identity of this unnamed fellow-healer.”

Doa waited as Sinus considered and decided upon his reply.

“Yes, it seems that must be the way that we find out what we need to know.”

Rasgo seemed surprised that Dr. Doa Mito accompanied the visitor who had been coming to his cottage on a daily schedule.

While Sinus went into the workroom of the practitioner of plant-based medication, Doa stayed with him, sitting at the kitchen table opposite the proprietor.

“Our friend will soon be finished with his study of your records, Rasgo,” she told him in a cordial, disarming manner. “He will be deeply in your debt for what you have allowed him to do, and I have to confess that I also feel that way.

“You have been open, helpful, and most generous to us. Have no doubt about that, my good fellow.”

The old man seemed to glow with warmth. “Thank you. I have tried to do what someone else might have done for me when I was a beginner, just starting to learn the craft I have attempted to master over all these many years.”

The face of Doa took on a bright inner glow. “Yes, I have long heard that there is often mutual aid and cooperation between herbalists, and between them and other types of natural healers.

“In special, difficult cases, there could be a need for advice and support from outside a specific sector of medical work. There can exist established networks for the loan of outside, different means of healing.

“Am I correct in making such conclusions, Rasgo?”

She gazed at him with eager, energetic expectation.

“Yes, you are right, Dr. Mito. For instance, in very serious cases of heart trouble, blood pressure, and critical inflammation, I have turned to a friend of mine named Nae Picq. She happens to be a widow who owns and operates a truck farm enterprise that specializes in rare and expensive mushrooms and fungi.

“Nae believes that the hidden chemical character of these special crops can solve many otherwise intractable problems of cardiac illness. And she has proven to have invaluable knowledge of what mushrooms, molds, and fungi can achieve in terms of restoring human health.”

“That is most interesting,” said Doa with a gasp. “Is this woman’s farm closeby, near to this village?”

Rasgo shook his head no. “She is quite distant, and must drive a long way when she gets a call for help from me. Her truck farm is comparatively small, located way over on the opposite side of the Ezerian Territory.

“That area begins to turn hilly near the border with the Gorian tribe.”

“What you have told me is highly interesting,” confessed the physician. She smiled at her success in uncovering something of possible value to her new friend, Sinus Ak.

V.

On the drive back to Woodland City, Doa described all the details she had picked up from Rasgo concerning the woman who ran a mushroom-fungi farm.

The man sitting beside her did not conceal his excitement concerning this extraordinary discovery.

“This is an interesting subject for further research by me,” he declared with sudden emotion. “I could not have foreseen this new area, mushrooms and similar growths.”

“What do you propose doing about this unexpected development?” she inquired. “Do you hope to talk with this person who is an expert on this variety of therapy?”

Sinus thought quickly, replying only after he was confident about what his plan had to be.

“Yes, I must go and find that individual. She will have great value for my research on traditional medical treatment. I am excited about what you found out from Rasgo. I am certain that I could not have obtained such information from him on my own.

“I am deeply in your debt for what you succeeded in accomplishing, Doa.”

Moved by his words, the driver of the vehicle did not speak for several seconds. She decided to make a daring proposal to her passenger.

“I have been planning to take a vacation of two weeks. Arrangements have been made for other doctors to take care of my regular patients.

“If you agree to it, I can take the time off immediately. Then, the two of us can take off in this engine-car in order to drive over to the opposite end of Ezerite Territory. We will try to locate the farmer called Nae Picq and you can approach her for interviewing and investigation.

“What do you think of my idea, Sinus?”

He turned his head and smiled at the woman at the steering-wheel.

“I would be thrilled to have you as my partner in field research, my friend?” he told her in a heartfelt murmur.

His work with the records and documents of Rasgo Lgu finished, Sinus was free to move forward into the new sector of research on traditional folk-medicine among the Ezerite tribe. But where was he to go now?

Doa began a search for the location of the truck farm involved with mushroom production. She contacted friends of hers in the tribal department of territorial taxes. This person consulted the list of payers of land tax and provided the exact address of the farm for the physician.

When all preparations were completed, the two travelers with their shared investigative mission left for the eastern region of the territory.

The Great Ezerian Forest they motored though began to reveal new varieties of trees to them: elms, sycamores, and maples. The land began to turn hilly and uneven. The change grew clearly visible to the pair of travelers.

Onward they moved, taking turns at the steering-wheel. When night fell, they halted at the side of the highway and took some sleep, one of them on the front seat, the other on the rear one.

“How will we convince this mushroom farmer to cooperate with us?” asked Sinus as they neared the end of their journey.

“We have to figure out a way to make her believe that we are friendly to her and what she believes about achieving health through consuming what she produces,” said Doa with positive confidence.

“How can we reach that goal?” continued her companion.

“You must, at least at first, allow me to make the explanations to her, Sinus,” smiled Doa.

The farm in question contained half a dozen small, low-roofed green house units. It was located in a flat valley between steep, overhanging hills.

Doa drove her engine-car into the entrance circle in front of the old farmhouse that had not received any fresh new paint for a long period of time.

Before either passenger had an opportunity to climb out and look around, a short, stooped-over figure in work-shirt and overalls exited out of the house and approached the vehicle parked directly in front of it.

The yellow-faced female figure stopped on the driver’s side and asked Doa a question.

“Are you here to make a purchase of some of my mushrooms?”

The physician gave a disarming smile. “In a way, we are. But we also have a more general, complicated mission in coming here to your farm.

“I take it that you must be Mrs. Nae Picq, proprietor of this farm we are on. Is that correct?”

The owner nodded yes, but went on with her inquiry. “I did not catch what you purpose or goal might be, beyond buying some of what I produce here.”

Doa leaned her head forward toward her interrogator. “Let me explain, then. My companion and I are professional researchers carrying out a very important study on Ezerian folk-medicine and remedies. I am a certified physician and he happens to be an anthropologist of metropolitan background who has travelled to out tribal territory to learn more about our cultural traditions having to do with natural cures.

“We share a similar curiosity concerning the uses that the Ezerites have always made of varieties of mushrooms for the treatment of both major and minor diseases, illnesses, and sicknesses.

“That is our goal in travelling to your farm, Mrs. Picq. We have been told that there are practitioners of ethno-medicine in the Ezerian Territory who prescribe and utilize many of the special, specific kinds of mushrooms that you grow here on your land.

“We wish to ask you for permission to look about and examine your green-houses, then ask you questions about what you can tell us about what the folk healers who come here tell you about what they intend and hope to accomplish with their mushroom purchases.”

Nae Picq stared at both passengers, reaching an immediate decision about them.

“Come into my house, it will be easier to talk there. Just follow me.”

She turned around and returned to the domicile building.

Sinus and Doa climbed out of the two sides of the engine-car, following immediately behind her as she swiftly walked to the front porch, climbed up the few steps, and made for the front door.

Doa and Sinus exchanged reassuring glances. They appeared to be succeeding in what they were after.

VI.

The farmer led the strangers through her old-fashioned, encumbered living room into a small dining area where she asked them to sit down at a simple oaken table. She began to speak as if reminiscing and explaining who and what she was.

“I came to this farm as a newly-wed bride. My husband was the only son of a prosperous, successful farmer who specialized in growing unusual, uncommon products. My husband was an adventurous, explorative individual who was not afraid of attempting new paths and projects.

“He became extremely interested in growing mushrooms and similar fungi, hoping to develop our knowledge of the medical prospects of such species.

“But then there occurred a traffic tragedy in which my husband lost his life.”

She halted a moment to collect her thoughts and emotions.

“I was devastated by my loss of my mate. It was hard to understand how I would ever continue with my life. But after a short period of deep mourning I found a path of escape, a method of renewing myself. It happened to be this farm and its future as a source of medical, remedial mushrooms.

“I read all the books and sources that dealt with this subject. But most of all, I put myself in contact with the other mushroom-growers with whom my husband had been in contact. These people helped me widen my category of medicinal species of fungi. Over several years, I discovered and developed new products that I could sell to herbalists and natural remedy practitioners in all corners of the Ezerian Territory, as well as elsewhere.

“For instance, I supply curative mushrooms to many folk-doctors over the border in the Goriani Tribal Territory. They are constantly journeying here to my farm to obtain the valuable species that I specialize in growing.”

Doa decided to get to the purpose that she and her companion had in mind in coming to this mushroom farm.

“It would be most helpful to us if we could go through your planting and business records with the goal of learning which varieties are growing in demand and which happen to be declining. Our aim would be to locate the fundamental patterns in how naturalists use and apply your products.

“We want to find out all we can about the thinking about medicinal mushrooms in the popular culture of this region, in fact of the entire territory.”

Nae smiled and her hazel eyes lit up. “Yes, I would be happy to help and cooperate with the two of you. But where are you going to stay? There is a small group of tourist and traveler cabins available a couple of miles south of here. I can give you directions to it and you two can stay and rest there while you are looking at my farm and the records that I possess.”

“We will do that,” said Doa as she turned to her partner, who nodded his head in agreement with her.

Within seconds, the visitors rose and left to look for the cabins that the farmer had told them about.

It was Sinus who drove the engine-car into the central area of the group of rental cabins. The pair found the business office and made their way in. The owner looked them over and asked “Are you together or do you want two cabins?” he asked them.

“Two separate places, beside each other,” said Doa with a slight smile.

The manager-owner took them to inspect two vacancies at the far end of the arrangement and gave them the keys to the units. “I never ask people for identification or signatures,” he winked at Doa. “You two will be on your own tonight, my friends.”

Sinus and Doa brought the engine-car near their cabins, they hauled their suitcases into the one or the other.

As the day ended, the pair took a walk to the farthest extent of the cabins and stood gazing into the thick woods at the boundary.

“It is beautiful at this time of day, isn’t it?” remarked Sinus, breaking the solemn stillness of the approaching twilight.

“Yes, indeed it is,” said Doa, beginning to smile. “I have never before been in this part of our territory and I find the hilly landscape hereabouts quite enchanting. That probably is what always occurs when a person first encounters or confronts the new.”

Sinus moved his head so that he could view the profile of her face in the dimming light of the sky.

“I am thankful for the help and advice you are providing me, Doa. I think that your motivation is the best and the highest: you are looking for forgotten and overlooked aspects of inherited tribal traditions in popular medicine that could have practical application today and in the future.

“That is an admirable and inspiring goal to have, I am compelled to tell you.”

All at once, she pivoted to one side so as to look directly in his direction.

“You flatter me too much,” she said in a murmur. “I don’t deserve it at all.”

Sinus surprised both himself and her with a sudden, unexpected little laugh.

It was Doa who suddenly started to walk forward, away from the forest and her companion.

Nae guided the pair through her green houses, pointing out the button mushrooms, the girolles, the Portobello, the stinkhorns, the enoki, the lentinulas, the brifolas, the corioli, the edodes, and the cordyceps.

She took them into the work room where a small team of assistants were cutting and boxing mushrooms of exceptional anti-cancer properties.

“Let me show you examples of the four types of mushrooms that are favored by natural healers as the most effective protectors from the ravages of cancer,” said the farm owner as she opened a large tank full of dark plant forms.

“This is a charga mushroom. It is used as an anti-inflammatory, an anti-viral and anti-bacterial, but is favored for its anti-tumor, anti-cancer properties.”

Nae continued opening the lids of other tanks, naming the mushrooms contained within them as schizophyllans, ganodermas, and lentinans.

“What do you two think?” she asked. “There are healers that come here over long distances to buy these outstanding mushrooms with their reputations for both preventing and fighting against cancer. I have heard, over the years, many tales about the wonderful results reached by using them in therapy.”

“You have had a lot of conversations with such naturalists, then?” said Doa.

The farmer grinned. “Later today, by late afternoon, I expect to see one of my customers who travels all the way from deep in Goranian Territory. I am certain that there is a lot he could tell you two about his experience in using my prize mushrooms. His bame is Yesy Gon, and he is well-known among the Goranian tribe as a practitioner of their traditional popular medicine of all kinds.

“Yesy is a talkative fellow, and I am certain he would be willing to answer questions about how he uses my curative mushrooms that he takes with him back over the border.”

Sinus then spoke. “Yes, we would both be thrilled to meet such an interesting person involved in the natural medicine field.”

“Yes,” agreed Doa, “This man sounds like he can be a good source of information that we could both make use of.”

VII.

Yesy Gon was a fat, rotund man of bright grayish skin. His hair was dark and wavy, his eyes large and opal.

Wearing Goranian villager’s coat and pants, his round form instantly caught the attention of both Doa and Sinus.

Nae introduced her accustomed customer to the physician and the anthropologists without revealing their professions or activities, then excused herself and left the three to talk by themselves in the little office attached to her largest green house.

“I was informed by Mrs. Picq that the two of you are interested in learning about popular folk-medicine and its use of curative mushrooms, and that I can be a source of information about the situation of our practical remedies across the border, in the Goranian Territory. I am certainly willing to help you out in any way that I can.

“What in particular would you be interested in finding out about?”

It was Goa who replied to him first. “I myself am engaged in conventional medical practice and I wish to ask you about how the professional medical authorities and associations of your territory deal with traditional ethno-medicine beyond the sphere of the official circles.

“Do the organized Goranian physicians attempt to oppose or suppress what you and others do for your own patients?”

The face of Yesy darkened as a frown formed across it.

“Yes, there has for many years been a concerted campaign to compel us to stop what we do for those suffering pain and illness. This makes it hard for those like me to continue. But we are a stubborn and hardy group, all of us. We have learned from long, difficult experiences how to survive the attacks made by those who hate and despise us.

“The people know from what we can accomplish to trust and believe in natural healers. I am proud how we tend to defend and stand behind each other, despite the constant conflict in which we find ourselves with our ignorant enemies.”

“There is official opposition to those who operate in your sphere of unconventional treatment?” asked Sinus.

“Yes, especially when the objective is to deal with a serious health threat like cancer. It is very risky for anyone like me, without credentials of any kind, to treat patients suffering from a serious condition. For I apply these special mushrooms to illnesses beyond cancer. They are an important remedy for heart conditions and blood pressure problems, I must tell you.

“I use the mushrooms I obtain from Nae Picq for a multitude of serious illnesses.”

“They have a wide, diverse application for your patients then,” noted Doa.

“I have combined them with other methods into more complex forms of treatment,” said the naturalist. “In our territory, we have developed certain unique remedies that are not known elsewhere.”

“You keep them secret?” inquired Sinus with a note of surprise.

“In certain areas of treatment, we keep knowledge to ourselves because we know that no one will wish to imitate us. That is something that our experience in the past has taught us is true.” Yesy paused for a few seconds, as if deciding how much more he might reveal to this pair of strangers he had only just met. “There is much more that I am myself involved with. My fellow naturalists, those who are similar to me, are in many different locations.

“I act as a kind of communicator, a coordinator, among them. That is my unseen function, I might claim.”

Sinus sensed the need to encourage this direction of talk. “That is interesting, I have to admit. I have never heard of anything similar to it anywhere. There seems to be an informal social network in your territory. Am I correct in reaching such a conclusion?”

Yasy suddenly looked away to the side, as if he might find an answering reply there.

“That is not a subject that I discuss out in the open, especially back home in the Goranian Territory. It is surprising to me that I have said so much to the two of you already. That is something.

“But I manage to keep up a great number of connections with others in my field. I try to spread my knowledge and ideas among others who operate in the same way that I do. That has brought me into direct contact with many people in the natural remedy area.”

Doa suddenly found herself seized by a new, enticing idea that caused her to look at Yesy with focused concentration and intensity.

“All that you speak about is novel to both Sinus and myself,” she declared in an elevated tone. “I think that we would both find enormous interest in examining and investigating this invisible, unpublicized natural therapy in the Goranian Territory.

“What do you say to the proposal that we accompany you back to your native region? I can foresee you acting as our guide into the inner workings of the Goranian variety of ethno-medicine. That would certainly provide us a rich opportunity to learn about methods and remedies beyond our own experience and reading.

“I am certain that you would also find such cooperation with us rewarding.

“I, as a trained physician, am able to test and confirm many portions of your natural therapy, I am certain.”

Doa glance to her side, at Sirus.

He at once gave her a positive nod of affirmation, accepting your proposal as his own.

Yesy did not have to take a long time to consider and decide.

“Yes, I believe that plan is a productive one with advantages to all of us. I accept it.

“My engine-truck is parked in front of Nae’s house. As soon as your are prepared, we can leave on the road to Goranian Territory.

“I am going to be happy to have you follow and become my guests,” he told them with a bright, disarming smile.

VIII.

The two travelers took their leave of Nae, thanking her for all the aid she provided them on her mushroom-growing enterprise.

The convoy of the engine-truck and the smaller passenger vehicle took to the road leading eastward toward the land of the Goranians. The hills grew more frequent, steeper, and taller. A thicker, bushier kind of vegetation became visible on all sides.

Sinus and Doa replaced each other as driver every so often.

Yesy, in front of their engine-car, decided when it was time to stop for lunch at some roadside eatery he was familiar with and whose food he thought preferable.

“This is an enchanting adventure we are undergoing, Doa,” said her partner at the steering-wheel as the afternoon neared its finish. “I have no idea what you and I are about to discover over the border, and I guess neither do you. But that very idea of approaching something unknown is fascinating and exciting. It puts my mind and all my nerves on edge.

“How about you, though? What do you feel about this kind of activity, going toward what can already be considered a nest of probable startling surprises?”

Dia gave an unexpected single laugh that the one beside her could clearly hear.

“You hit the target on the head,” she told him. “I must confess that such an adventure is the factor drawing forth my own questing curiosity. I call myself a scientific healer of the sick, but I also seek to find out and learn what I did not know before. What organized, official medicine has been blind to. That, I must confess, is my innermost motive: to uncover the new that I never knew before.”

She turned her head so that she could see the right side of his face in profile.

“Yes, I think that I share in the feeling that you just described, Doa.”

As the sky became darker, the engine-truck driven by Yesy stopped at a highway restaurant frequented by many heavy vehicle drivers. It was a place where professional drivers stopped to eat.

The engine-car driven by Sinus did the same. “I guess this is where our new friend has decided we will take our last meal of the day.”

The threesome sat down at a table near the back door and a waitress took down their orders on her small pad.

As they waited for what they had ordered, Yesy began to speak in a careful whisper to his companions.

“There is one matter I have to recommend to the two of you.

“Do not discuss what I tell you with anyone, especially any possible public official. Keep all that you learn as secret as you can. Reveal nothing about my activities or that of other naturalists to anyone in particular.

“You must assist in keeping secret all the secrets that I communicate to you.

“Is that clear and understood?”

Both Sinus and Doa nodded yes, though both of them had a sense of confusion and disorientation for a short time.

What had they gotten involved in?

The waitress returned with their ordered plates and the three of them were soon busy with eating food.

In a few minutes, their two vehicles were again on the road toward the Goranian Territory.

Advertisements

From Out of the Future

4 Aug

Ben North was one of the oldest and dedicated members of the telepsychic union. He had been introduced to and recruited into the organization of practicing telepathic operators while still a young, growing child. His skills in these advanced mental skills and talents had expanded with each new year and additional decade on education, training, and activity in the realm of advanced psychic communication.

He lived alone in a bachelor apartment after his parents passed away.

Ben worked days as an insurance actuary, but his primary life interest was within the telepsychic community of the world-class metropolis that he resided in. He had learned to enjoy his nighttime scanning of the planet’s nocturnal telepathic web of networking minds. His transmitting abilities were extremely high, but Ben had learned to receive his greatest pleasure from receiving the most distant, unknown messages from obscure, remote psychic transmitters in other countries and climates.

The telepsychics of the great metropolis had for decades had a central facility where they could meet and associate, as well as apply their particular abilities and skills. There were special chambers that had thick insulating padding and molding proven to assist in message reception as well as transmission. Ben North was one member of the general union who preferred to use these rooms with their enhancements and advantages. It was in his favorite telepsychic that he experienced an astounding mental messaging one summer evening.

“This is a call from the future meant for one of my very own genetic ancestors from the previous century in which that person has life and individual existence. The purpose of this particular message is to present a proposal centered upon this predecessor and convince him or her to cooperate in a project important to both the sender and the receiver of this specific telepsychic communication.

“What shall now be presented for your consideration and judgment is a proposition of unimaginable value, importance, and meaning. Let me explain.

“We of my future age and generation have made magnificent advances in our telepsychic techniques. The previously unimaginable has become possible for us of the future. There are powers in our possession that people of the past could not perceive even in their wildest dreams.

“The new ability that I offer to apply to you could be termed an exchange of personhoods and identities. I would transfer myself into your body and mind back there in the past, where and when you exist at this past moment. And you would be the recipient of the telepsychic gifts and abilities of my age, era, and generation.

“You would come to possess my mental identity in bygone time, and you would be able to carry out what is within my own capacities.

“Is that a fair transfer for you? I can tell you that I believe that it is.”

Ben sensed his brain revolving like a child’s top. How was he going to reply to such an offer? he wondered for several long moments.

“I must think out and consider the many implications and results of such a scheme of change and transformation,” muttered the one who had receiver this proposal from the future. “One cannot decide something so monumental quickly. Give me some time to make a reasonable decision. My entire life stands to be altered and modified by what you propose to do.”

“Yes,” said the voice from out of the future. “Take until tomorrow evening. I will then contact your mind once again.”

Ben listened carefully to the instructions and explanations made to him by this unseen, distant new partner.

“What results from such a mental transfer is that both individuals, though separated by eons of time, comes to have a dual, combined form of thought.

“You, for example, will possess both your old structure of personality and emotions, but added to this legacy of yours will be my own knowledge, abilities, and developed character.

“What do you think of this adventure that both of us will be taking?”

Ben smiled with dreamlike anticipation. “I can hardly wait to experience what will result from such a marvelous change in our two minds.”

The telepsychic voice from out of the future led his present-day companion into a two-sided hypnotic trance that absorbed the complete attention of both men.

Ben found himself with new ideas and capabilities resulting from the entrance of the person from out of the future into himself in the present time.

“You now have the power to influence other individuals through the effects of your own telepsychic transmissions. This includes making other personalities do your bidding and carry out your wishes. Go to any bank or enter any store. The tellers will hand over their available cash to you. The salespeople will allow you to walk off with even the most expensive goods and properties that they have on sale.

“This is a magnificent ability that your mind shall now exercise. You must remember to use it within reason, always aware of the laws and customs that others may attempt to enforce and apply to you.

“Your entire life will be renewed and placed on a different, far-advanced track by this new power now placed within your mind.”

Ben smiled, foreseeing the satisfaction of his most intimate aims and dreams.

What is most valuable to me? the telepsychic asked himself for the rest of that day. It did not take him long to come up with the answer lying at the center of his personality and character.

It is not money, wealth, or luxury. No, the most desirable benefit was located in the area of romance and sexual pleasure. That is where he would be able to find his heart’s desire.

The woman had to be young and beautiful. She had to be a very sensual being, looking for a partner.

That was Ben now desired to make himself, her partner.

But first of all, he had to find and meet the female most apt to satisfy his physical desire. Who could she be?

She had gone to high school with him, and then attended university classes that he was simultaneously taking.

Ben did not dare speak directly to the young woman named Rachel. They had not belonged to the same teenage circles or high school clubs. Their interests had been completely different. He was involved in art and literature, while she spent her free time focused on dress fashions and cosmetics.

Rachel had been the winner of three beauty contests at an early age. There were many stars of amateur sports who pursued her in a hunt for dates, but she prepared to be alone or with her girlfriends.

Ben realized that she did not have a single male boyfriend. No favorite, no chosen lover of any sort.

With my new powers from out of the future, he told himself, I will attempt a direct attack to win her favor. This will be the great test of what I have been promised by my partner from time to come.

The decision was to approach the magnetic beauty as if making a survey of fellow alumni of the same high school. Ben knocked on the door of the flat where Rachel lived and introduced himself as a social researcher carrying out a scientific study of his fellow graduates of the class he had graduated with.

“My aim is to discover how each person’s separate life experiences has shaped and even changed his or her viewpoints, opinions, and basic beliefs,” said the visitor with an incandescent smile once she had admitted him into her living room and he was sitting in any armchair opposite her.

What Rachel next did was perfectly unexpected and unforeseeable.

She sprang to her feet and stepped directly toward him.

The surprised pretender gaped in astonishment as the beautiful young woman came close to him and appeared to lean her head forward.

She spoke in a voice stronger and deeper than she had initially used in allowing him to enter and take a seat.

“I am not a dunce, my friend. Much of my time since high school has been spent taking telepsychic courses at the university and developing my innate talents in that area to the highest degree possible.

“As soon as you entered my apartment I was able to catch what was festering in your inner subconscious. You wish to use certain powers of personal influence that were given to you by a source far in the future in order to acquire psychic mastery over me and my will. You believe that such trickery will be easy to perform with success.

“But let me tell you how mistaken you happen to be.

“Do not think that you alone can borrow future methods and apply them today to your contemporaries. No, not at all.

“I have connected to telepsychic masters who are probably more advanced that the one who has been instructing you. It was possible for me to decode your thoughts and emotions within less than a single minute. At once, I understood what your selfish, immoral scheme consisted of.

“You have chosen the wrong woman to be your victim, my boy.”

She smiled archly. “If I wanted to punish you, I would be able to flood your mind with such a magneto-electrical charge that you would never awaken into full consciousness again.

“But I won’t do that. You will be able to leave my flat with nothing but a serious warning from me.

“Do not try any such trick on any potential victim. Be glad that I allow you to walk out of here with your mind intact and still functioning.”

The trembling, horrified Ben sprang up, and without a word ran to the door and made a mad exit from Rachel’s place.

His body shaking with genuine fear, he resolved never to try to exercise the capabilities taught him by a voice out of the far future.

The Stija

25 Jul

Razme Stavrev watched as his son climbed off the bus, then hurried up and embraced the tall, bony Gligor. “You are finished till fall with studies in Skopje, my boy?” asked the father with a liquid shine in his blue-gray eyes.

Gligor gave a smile of primordial joy. “I am free of all professors and their classes this summer, father. It will be great for me to be back home for several months. I can relax and spend a lot of time thinking out things.”

“You will certainly be writing some nice poems for us, my boy,” said Razme with a short laugh. “I will be very glad to have you here. Your mother is delighted with this return of her son. She is home preparing a large, delicious meal for the three of us.”

“I am eager to see her, father. Let me get my suitcases, then we will make out way to the house and the apartments.”

Razme Stavrev began with the ancient house he inherited and restored on the shore of the suburb village of Kanevo. He had expanded his domain, now owning three additional buildings on the lake coast. He managed them, renting to tourists from Macedonia, the Balkans, and the rest of Europe.

Nevena cried tears of heart-generated happiness as she kissed and embraced her only child.

The mother, taller and heavier than her short, small husband, had many questions prepared for in her mind that she at once posed to Gligor, the focus of her personal emotions.

“How did your courses at the University go this spring?” she breathlessly inquired.

“Quite well, I believe,” he replied with a grin. “I deepened my knowledge of German and English, as well as started to read many Greek novelists and poets. I am rounding myself out, mother, I dare to claim.” He laughed at his own humor.

“Have you composed verses of your own, too?” she sharply asked her son.

“Only a very few,” Gligor answered. “There is not much inspiration for me up in Skopje. But back here at home, I trust that Lake Ohrid will provide all the landscape surroundings and perspectives that will enliven my creative spirit again.”

Nevena grew too overwhelmed to say another word.

Razme entered the parlor from the shore door. “I think our boy is hungry,” he joked. “It’s best we sit down and eat what you have ready, Nevena.”

An early riser by habit, Gligor left the house as a brilliant dawn of combined yellow, orange, and scarlet light illuminated the clear, cloudless sky over Lake Ohrid. The sun itself remained hidden behind the mountain to the east, Galicica. His parents remained asleep as their son stepped down to the pier where the family motor-boat, the chamche, was tied up.

His aim was to observe the advent of day out on the empty waters. In his hands the poet held a small notepad and an ink-pen with which to record any special thoughts or feelings that might occur in his mind that early morning.

As the sunlight grew brighter and purely yellow, Gligor steered the boat to the east of Ohrid, along the coast that rose into the mountain named Galicica that separated this lake from Lake Prespa to the southeast.

Gligor set the motor of the small craft at an extremely slow rate and slowly moved along the wooded coastline below the rising forest of the mountain. His mind suddenly realized that there were inspiring, enchanting smells coming over the waters from the trees above. He shut off the motor and let the boat float on its own, taking his notepad and pen so that he could put down words describing the feelings starting within himself.

The poet, falling into a spell of familiar self-absorption, started to jot down a short, disconnected series of words that seemed to form in some unlighted sector of his identity.

A sudden noise broke the stillness of the morning on the lake, causing Gligor to look up in the direction of the narrow shore. Repeated calls were rising out of the water between the motor-boat and the edge of the land below Galicica.

“Help!” “Help!” “Save me or I will drown!”

In less than an instant, the young man in the motor-boat realized what he had to do. An expert swimmer who was in the water from the day his father taught him to swim, Gligor threw himself out of the craft in a swift mission to save the one sinking below.

Rapid strokes sped him toward the voice calling to be saved. It took him less than twenty seconds to reach the small, childlike body splashing about, trying to keep in contact with the open air.

Grabbing hold of the torso having difficulty keeping its head out of the lake at a deepening point, Gligor identified the person he was rescuing as a young woman in a one-piece swim suit of shining white. Her lengthy hair flowed out in all directions from her small, boxlike head.

He stopped swimming forward once he reached his target, taking hold of the body that did not appear able to float on its own. Once his grip appeared adequate to him, Gligor started to pull the young woman upward out of the water and forward toward the shore under Galicica.

The impression that formed in his mind was that she had lost control of herself and suffered increasing panic and alarm.

Dark olive eyes focused upon him in confusion, unable to identify who he might be.

With slow, careful strokes the poet reached close enough to the shore to be able to walk and carry her, his feet on the lake’s hard floor.

He could sense her breathing slowing to normal and her pulse quieting down.

As soon as Gligor reached the narrow beach of sand, he gently deposited the small, beautifully formed body in a location only a few feet from the water’s edge.

“How are you feeling now?” inquired the rescuer. “You are safe on land, but a dangerous condition faced you where you were in the lake. Can you swim on your own? What caused you to lose your balance and then not be able to right yourself again?

“It was a good thing I was passing in my motor-boat.” He suddenly remembered that he had abandoned the craft. “I should go and bring it close to shore, shouldn’t I? Excuse me while I take care of it. Then, I’ll come right back here and the two of us can talk.”

As soon as he had the craft in a stable location close to the shore, Gligor returned to where the exhausted young woman lay in a prone position at rest.

“Is your home nearby here?” he asked her. “I do not know what your name is,” he added.

She answered him in a low, somewhat muffled tone.

“My name is Bisera, and I live next to the village that is called Elshani. It is only a small distance away from where we are now.”

The two of them, one standing and the other lying on the sand, gazed at each other a brief time.

“When will you be able to make your way to Elshani?” he asked her suddenly.

“Once I think that I am strong enough to rise and stand, then I will start out for the cottage where I make my home. But first I must thank you for the service that you provided me when I was about to drown a short time ago.

“So, I am indebted to your for what you accomplished in saving me from the dangerous circumstance I was in.

“Thank you for what you did for me, sir.

“Forgive me, I do not know what to call you.”

The poet smiled intently. “Gligor. My name is Gligor Stavrev of the town of Ohrid.”

Bisera gave him a sincere, glowing smile of appreciation, but said not a word more.

He took his leave and waded out to the motor-boat that would return him home.

Gligor did not tell either his father or his mother what he had experienced.

The image of the small young woman he had rescued remained fresh and dominant in his thoughts. It did not fade or disappear in any sense. Bisera remained the focus of his ideas and feelings across the rest of the morning, the afternoon, as well as the entire evening.

There was a tourist concert that night in the central downtown area of Meso Castron, but Gligor had lost interest in attending or hearing anything. He stayed home in the bedroom kept for him, writing and thinking at his small desk beside the window that looked out at the darkened lake.

Why this unexplainable obsession with Bisera, the short, little swimmer whom I pulled back from a possible deadly end in the water? I find that I cannot make my mind ignore or forget what happened today to the two of us, he had to recognize and acknowledge. Why did the small woman make such an imprint on my inner core? the poet asked himself.

Should I compose some verse, even a single line, about this event?

No, Gligor decided, that holds no promise of solution to the riddle that Bisera has presented me.

It was later than usual for him that he went to bed, and a long while before he at last fell asleep, after a spell of tense, wakeful nervousness.

After a few hours of restless slumber, a dream occurred in the poet’s mind.

The familiar waters of Lake Ohrid appeared in the darkness of deep night. An empty stillness produced an impression of the strange and uncanny. For there was an enchanting light with magical brightness shining from a distant point on the lake, close to the slopes of Mount Galicica on the eastern shore.

Gligor discovered his sleeping, dreaming attention centered on the area where he had come across and saved the drowning young woman the previous day.

Is it Bistra I see as a brilliant light surrounded by darkness of night? he asked himself as waking happened. The dream came to an abrupt end, the image of the lake and the glowing light both disappeared in a moment.

Gligor raised his head from the pernica it rested upon.

Why did I halt the vision in front of me? Why am I beginning to perspire? he suddenly noticed.

What is this eerie hold that Bistra now enjoys over my thoughts and feelings?

The troubled, internally disturbed son told his mother and father he was taking the motor-boat out that morning in order to walk about in the Natural Park on the upper slopes of Galicica. But he also had certain unspecific plans that remained undefined.

Gligor was unwilling to confess even to himself that a mysterious enchantment had entered and destabilized his planned routine for the summer.

Was his intent in reality to explore his own unspoken, still concealed thoughts? he wondered as he headed the motor-boat toward the eastern coast about Elshani.

What had Bisera revealed to him about where she made her home?

Somewhere beyond the edge of the village, remembered Gligor as he stepped away from where he had tied up the craft that had brought him so close to Galicica.

No one was visible in these early hours between the small number of cottages, until he happened to see an old man digging in a small garden with a hoe.

“Good morning, I must beg you for directions, grandfather, for I am new to Elshani and must ask for help to find the person I am looking for.”

The oldster stopped working and looked up. He eyed the stranger with eyes full of fear and suspicion.

“Who is the one you are searching for?” he asked in a gravel voice.

“It is a little woman named Biser whom I came across, but I do not know what her surname is or where she resides.”

“I believe I know who she is, a young woman without parents who lives with her grandmother. These two women are very poor and they live beyond the boundaries of Eshani, out in the wild forest.

“Continue on the path you are now on, until there appears a trail going to the left side. Go in that direction and you will soon see a broken-down little building. That is the cottage where Baba Zora and her granddaughter live together.”

“Thank you very much, sir,” said Gligor as he began to advance the way indicated by the man in the garden.

Within a few minutes, following the directions he had received, the poet from Ohrid saw the small cottage standing by itself. There were no neighbors nearby on any side. If anyone lived a separate, isolated life, it had to be whoever dwelled in this dilapidated, disintegrating structure with its numerous holes, ruptures, and ruined features.

How was he going to announce his presence to Bisera or the old baba with whom she was related? wondered Gligor.

As he neared the low wooden fence surrounding the cottage, he caught sight of a short, weighty figure leaning over a large round tub. This is the grandmother of Bisera, immediately realized the one making a surprise visit.

“Good morning, madam,” loudly said Gligor. “How are you at this early hour? Could I ask you to help me, I wonder? I am looking to find a particular person who I have been informed lives close to this place. Would you be willing to instruct me on this quest I am involved in?”

The short, heavy old woman looked across at him, trying to judge whether he posed any risk or danger of any kind.

“Who may it be that you seek to find?” she inquired.

“A young woman whose name is Bisera,” he replied with a disarming smile. “I am the person who came to her aid yesterday when she was caught in the depths of the lake’s waters. My coming back to Elshani is aimed at checking up on how she has recovered from the accidental event that she suffered a day ago.”

The short, squat woman with dark hair streaked with gray stopped the work she had been engaged in at the tub and took a number of steps toward the stranger speaking to her.

“Bisera is my granddaughter who lives here with me,” she mumbled with a hint of fear and suspicion. “She is not at home this hour, because in the morning she likes to swim a bit out in the lake. That has for a long time been her habit and custom.

“If you wish, there is a bench in front of the cottage where you can rest and wait for her return. That should not take long to happen, not at all.”

“Thank you, grandmother,” said the visitor, moving onward to find the bench that the old woman spoke of to him.

Gligor found the bench and settled himself on it. He had to wait a longer time than anticipated for the appearance of Bisera. His mind wandered about in a forest of emotions and speculations as he sat there alone.

At last, the young woman he had rescued in the lake became visible on the country path that passed the cottage.

The poet leaped to his feet and ran forward to meet her with no lost time.

“Bisera! Bisera! It is so good to see you once more. How are you? Are you able to take to the water again after what was experienced yesterday?

“I hope that you have recovered, I truly do,” he told her in a spirited, excited tone of voice.

“I am fine this morning,” she said, grinning as Gligor had never seen her do. “It appears it was very easy for me to go back into the lake today.

“My grandmother tells me that I was born to be swimming whenever there is any opportunity for me to take to the water. I really love it, for I always find myself in a raised, elevated mood whenever I take a swim.

“Baba Zora says that I have the nature and character of a lake creature.

“What do you think of that? Is it true?”

She stared at him with a nearly mesmeric intensity and influence.

“Why don’t you and I take a walk up the side of Galicica, Bisera?” he proposed with enthusiasm. “If you are not tired by swimming, that might give you some pleasant exercise to go along with what you acquired in the lake.”

“Yes, that sounds interesting,” she replied. “When we come back here, we might eat some lunch with my grandmother.

“Let me inform her that you and I will be gone up the mountain for a short time.”

The pair made their way up the mountain pathway, through a low-level forest of oaks and beeches into a higher zone of fir and pine. Neither of them seemed to wish to communicate with the other through spoken words.

Do the trees on Galicica somehow transmit feelings and ideas between the two of us? Gligor asked himself several times during the upward hike.

Gligor allowed his walking companion to set the direction and the pace of their climb. She revealed sure knowledge of the forest they happened to be traversing together. He allowed her to place herself ahead of himself.

He noted that she was breathing harder and harder the more they advanced.

Is she growing tired? he began to wonder.

“Why don’t you and I find somewhere to sit down and rest?” he unexpectedly inquired.

All at once, Bisera halted, turning her face about toward him and replying.

“That is a very good ideas,” she muttered with a bit of difficulty. “Yes, I think that we can both take a little rest. You and I have both earned it,” she said with a friendly grimace.

The two looked about for a convenient spot where they could sit down, a place without high grass or other uncomfortable vegetation.

Bisera noticed a small ravine to their left. “That is a well-shaded area,” she told him. “It appears quite level, though it is part of the upward land of the greater forest.”

Gligor nodded that he agreed with her choice, so that he followed her to the open ravine beyond the thickets of trees.

Bisera was first to bend, then crouch down into the flat mound of low grass.

Her companion hesitated, thinking only a few moments, before setting himself close to where she was now sitting. He looked away from her, gazing in the same direction that she happened to be looking in.

“The trees grew bigger and taller the higher you climb up Galicica,” remarked the young woman. “I can understand why the government made this mountain a National Park. People interested in seeing original, unchanged nature visit here by the thousands every summer.

“I myself doubt that those who live on or around Galicica realize or understand how unique and valuable a treasure it happens to be.”

Gligor turned his head and studied the silhouette of hers.

“That is a wise thing for you to say, Bisera. Who can really treasure what is close by every day, what they are deeply accustomed to in ordinary life.”

He noticed that she began to grin, as if she knew that he was staring at her from one side.

All at once, the poet realized that it had become too late for him to turn away. The enchantment that she enjoyed over his mind had solidified into something unexpected. His mind and his body were beyond any point of return or reversal. His own will had become a prisoner to hers.

Suddenly, without looking at him in any way, Bisera whispered in a new, unexpected tone.

“Why don’t you kiss me, Gligor,” she said as if he were not even there.

When the pair returned to the cottage, the visitor did not stay for lunch with the two females, but took his leave at once and headed for his tied-up boat.

Baba Zora did not conceal the worried concern she felt about what Bisera had been up to.

“How far up Galicica did the two of you walk? What is going on between you and this handsome young man? I have to know, and you must tell me everything that is happening, my girl.” Her head began to tremble with emotional anxiety. “Do not lie to me, Bisera. I fear that you are taking a hazardous risk and that the result may turn out to be tragic.”

The other did not say a word, acting as if she no longer had conscious control of herself.

Baba Zora watched as the one she was speaking to departed in a downward direction, toward the shore of Lake Ohrid near the village of Elshani.

Navena Stavreva sensed at once that a major change had occurred within her one and only child.

It was late that evening, as she and her husband prepared to go to bed, that she made a noiseless trip to the room where Gligor was resting. He had retired unusually early that night, not following his customary habit at all.

The son looked up from where he was reading a book in bed.

“Mother,” he asked. “What is it?”

She stepped over to the edge of the bed.

“I know that there is something new and different in you, my boy. But I can only guess what it may be.

“So I have come to you at this hour, for I have to tell you this: I am gravely worried about what your present condition is, and also what it could develop into in the future.

“Will you speak to me of what it is that has captured hold of you? I can guess, but that is all.

“Have you met some person, Gligor? Do you know some special…woman?”

The poet sensed a whirling, spiraling motion deep inside himself.

“There is no secret I can reveal to you, mother. You are worrying about nothing at all that may be real. This concern of yours is wholly imaginary, I swear to you.”

The two looked at each other in solemn silence for a time. Then, Nevena turned about abruptly and swiftly left her son’s bedroom.

Gligor began to make visits across the lake every morning. He came to spend most of the days of July in the company of the woman he had rescued from drowning near the eastern shore.

The pair had no need to talk much. Their emotions were revealed in full to each other. Each was a prisoner of inescapable forces that grew stronger with time. The ties between them appeared beyond doubt. There seemed an eternal character to their mutual attraction.

Although Gligor said nothing about what he was involved in to either of his parents, Bisera was as candid as she dared to be with Baba Zora.

The two talked openly at the meals they shared at least three times each day.

“Yes, Grandmother, I am drawn to this man who writes poems by a powerful, intangible power. He has conquered my heart and whatever remains of my soul. I can no longer claim that I can determine my own actions. What I have become to him is something like a doll, a marionette, a kukla created by him, for his own reasons or purposes.

“I am able to claim this: Bisera is no longer what she once was. Her nature is no more that what it once was. Gligor has remade and renewed me, in every aspect of who I am.

“That is the truth, and I swear to it.”

She stared with force at the wrinkled face across the table from her.

But Baba Zora was unable to make any reply or response at that moment.

The news came over the local radio station in Ohrid.

“The body of a small young woman washed ashore on the beach of Trpejca on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid. It appears that she drowned while swimming at night. Her remains have not been identified and the city police now have possession of the remains of this victim of the water.”

That was sufficient to unravel the thoughts of the young poet.

It had to be Bisera, he knew that by some instinctive conclusion deep within him.

Without breakfast, he went out without informing Nevena or Razme.

His destination was police headquarters in the Meso Castron downtown. He asked the officers on duty to show him the drowning victim. “I think that I may be able to identify who she is,” he told them.

In a second, he had a definitive identification. “Her personal name is Bisera,” he announced. “I never succeeded in learning what her surname was.”

Gligor quickly exited, going home and at once taking command of the motor-boat.

Baba Zora had to be told what had happened to her granddaughter.

The aged woman led her visitor into the kitchen of the cottage. She pointed to a chair for him and herself sat down across from him.

“Has something happened to Bisera?” she murmured. “I had a bad dream concerning her last night. And she has not come back home yet. She usually takes a swim around the time of dusk. I did not see her since yesterday afternoon.”

Gligor looked directly at her. He spoke slowly and carefully.

“Your granddaughter drowned in the lake. I heard news of an unknown person, so I went to the police in Ohrid. Yes, I was able to identify who she was.”

“She was never my granddaughter,” confessed the old lady. “We pretended to be blood-relatives. It was easier for the two of us to live together that way.”

She peered intently at him. “Do you know what a stiya is?” she asked him.

“A water nymph supposed to live in our lake. In many lands it is called a rusalka.

“They are supposed to die violently by drowning, I read somewhere.”

Baba Zora frowned. “That is what Bisera told me she was. Her drowning occurred several centuries ago, in Turkish times, and it was caused by the infidelity of the lover she was engaged to marry. Her death was an act of suicide caused by sorrow and regret over this unfaithful lover far back in the past.

“I am compelled to believe that she killed herself because of concern for your future. She was afraid she would spoil your future. If you should ever find out that she was a stiya, it might lead to your own self-destruction.

“Her suicide, this second one, was a sacrifice for your sake. It shows how deeply she was devoted to your life and happiness, Gligor.”

Having no more to say or ask, the poet took his leave and departed.

I shall never tell anyone about these secrets, he vowed to himself.

Who would ever dare to believe me?

The Andreikelon: Part V. Ionia.

13 Jul

I.

With the enormous funds he inherited from Thales, Abax set up a workshop for construction of synthetic living creatures a little way beyond the limits of Miletus.

The new andreikelon who came to life was given the name Talcmon by Abax. His mind and capabilities took a year to become developed to the point where he came to act as primary assistant to the one who had made him.

Abax, occupying the large domicile of the deceased Thales, drew up his future plans in the study chamber of the philosopher. This was where he sat at the grapheon, describing his plans for the future before Alcmon.

“Thales taught me that the prospects for humans will be dependent upon the establishment of mental ties of communication between similar cities. That will be the my mission and yours as well, Talcmon. You can understand, then, why I am teaching you the arts of metapsychic transmission and reception. That will be the force that binds together the many different cities that the Greeks have founded here in Ionia, and later the hundreds of other cities in Attica, Achaea, and the Aegean islands. One by one, more and more Greek cities will be attracted and drawn into a vast fabric, an interconnected network of mental messaging.”

Talcmon, standing opposite his seated maker, resembled Abax in most of his physical features. He also possessed hazel eyes and light blond hair. His height was slightly less, but he weighed considerably more.

The assistant wished to gain precise knowledge of what lay ahead for him in this program of inter-city communication.

“We will eventually locate metapsychics like ourselves in all twelve of the communities of the Ionia League, I understand to be our ultimate goal,” said the newly produced andreikelon. “Shall I be the first to be sent out of Miletus, to another member city?”

Abax nodded yes. “As Thales told me before he expired, we will have to start at smaller distances, then proceed to ever greater ones as our skills and abilities grow and increase.

“So, beginning here in the Carian region of Ionia, we can look to the cities of Myus and Priene as the appropriate candidate locations for earliest extension of transmission. It will be convenient for us that the distances involved will not be a great hindrance of any sort. Also, it is of benefit that those two neighboring communities speak the same dialect as we here in Miletus do.

“Priene is conveniently placed at the mouth of our dear Maeander River, right on the coast of the Aegean Sea. And Myus is nearby, also guarding the river’s mouth.

“These will be our best opportunities for successful communication.”

“We shall have another one of us present to perform the tasks of metadosis of mental waves?”

“Yes,” answered Abax. “We start working on a third andreikelon at once. I have even chosen a name for this comrade of ours. He shall be called Pyxis.

“Once we have Pyxis and he has been trained, the two of you can travel to the cities of Priene and Myus to begin the operation of our network of communication exchanges with Miletus and each other.”

The second andreikelon smiled with optimism. “I can hardly wait that long, because I am eager to apply all I have learned from you about the way one prepares oneself for mental communication over a distance.”

“The gang that I employ to obtain human organs from burial grounds is fully dedicated to meeting the orders that I place with them,” boasted the one constructed in Egypt. “They were quick and effective in getting me all the parts that went into your body and your brain, Alcmon.”

“For which I am grateful to both them and to you,” jokingly noted the latter.

The newly made Pyxis was put through a rapid, thorough program of training and education, the two andreikelons together acting as his instructors.

Pyxis was given more original features, such as his dark brown hair and eyes.

Within half a year of his final construction, he became ready to carry out his metapsychic role in a neighboring city of Miletus.

Abax met with both his assistants in the office where Thales had read and studies over many years.

“The thinker who created me down in Egypt and then returned home to Miletus, left a complete, detailed plan for bringing metapsychic thought communication to the Greek cities of Ionia. You and I are going to be the realizers of his elevated, magnificent dream of a common mental fabric among the Greek states and communities.

“We start with the immediate neighbors of Miletus, Myus and Priene. But once these three cities are connected to each other, we are to go on to the nine other members of the Ionic League.

“Our production of more and more andreikelons will enable our center here in Miletus to dispatch figures with psychic minds to settle in Ephesus, Colophon, Lebedus, Teos, Clazomenae, and Phocea. And later, on to the islands of Samos and Chios and the distant city of Erythrae as well.

“At some future but foreseeable date, all twelve of the Ionian states will be holding their annual panagyris of games and religious festival, the unified Panionia, under the overall shield of a body of andreikelon metapsychics. The sanctuary dedicated to Poseidon will be full of persons with these special, advanced minds not divided by substance or distance. The shrine situated on the northern slope of Mt. Mycale will ring with the sounds of our andreikelon voices, raised in songs of unity and mutual understanding.

“We will be able to stabilize and guarantee the political as well as the sacred peace and comity of the people and governments of all Greek Ionia.”

Pyxis decided to present a question in his mind. “Since our lives will not be limited by time, as those of naturally born human beings, do plans exist for spreading the network beyond our own coast and its cities, to places and locations elsewhere?”

Abax thought a moment before giving his reply.

“There are other lands on the other side of the sea, in the regions known as Attica, Achaea, Epirus, and Thessaly. These areas are teeming with cities that can make good use of psychic agents like us. We, the andreikelon, can serve as the binding glue holding them together in peaceful cooperation.

“We can possibly clear the path to a new form of world comity and unity, one that has never existed before.”

Abax gazed with infinite hope, first at Talcmon, then at Pyxis. He told each of them the specific plans he had in his mind for the future of each of them.

“Your position will be in Priene as a practicing physician, which you shall begin studying and preparing for at once,” he said to Alcmon.

His eyes then turned to Pyxis. “You shall move to Myus as soon as you are ready to start operating as a public notary in that city,” Abax commanded the andreikelon he had recently constructed to carry out the ambitious project outlined by Thales.

Immediately after his assistant arrived in Priene, Abax started to receive mental images and ideas sent him by Pyxis.

“I have rented rooms here near the harbor and letting it be known all over the city that I am a notary able of sending rapid communications to Miletos when there is special urgency involved and a reply is important. I never give any specific details about how my letters are delivered at a distance in so short a time. It is necessary that those who avail themselves of my service trust that I possess secret but effective means of sending their words to a designated recipient in the other city.

“Already, I have recruited several merchants and lawyers who are involved in commercial business of various sorts to make use of my rapid communication operation.

“The enterprise I am now involved in is expanding with new customers and traffic at an incredible speed as word of my successes spreads about the port and harbor of my new home, Priene.”

Abax smiled in triumph as his metapsychic mind received this transmission from his agent over the space between the two Ionian settlements.

The original andreikelon summoned his other assistant, Talcmon, and revealed what his plans for him were.

“I judge that now is the right moment for you to travel to Myus and establish a position for yourself there. Because of your study and training in the area of medicine, you shall be able to set yourself up as a physician.

“This will allow you to begin to operate a communication project with both myself here in Miletos, as well as with Pyxis, who now resides in Priene.

“We shall now enjoy the advantages of a messaging network between three cities of the Ionian coast.” He grinned with accomplishment. “But this is but the start, for there are other places that can soon be similarly interconnected into our mechanism of transmission and reception.”

Talcmon beamed at Abax with glowingly radiant eyes. “I can hardly wait to arrive in Myus and begin looking for people who have a need for my metapsychic services to them.”

II.

Pyxis was progressing with notable success in winning customers as both a legal notary and a transmitter of long-range invisible messages.

It was a disconcerting surprise to him when the Chief Archon of Priene, an officious executive named Goxus, came to his residence late on summer afternoon.

The notary was alarmed by the sudden uninvited entrance of the huge figure with snow white-hair who entered his rented residence while the andreikelon lay resting from the day’s labors on a low couch he used at moment such as this when he suffered absolute exhaustion from his physical and metapsychic labors.

Pyxis stared in confusion at the important-looking, giant older man.

“Let me introduce myself,” grumbled the unidentified intruder. “I am the chief governmental magistrate of the great city of Priene. My name is Goxus, and I have come here to question you about a number of secret complaints made to me by certain respectable citizens who appear to be troubled and disturbed by certain activities of yours described to me by them.”

The notary was alert and active enough to present the official a question.

“And what might these provocative activities of mine consist of?” Pyxis inquired in a sharp, cutting tone.

The city Archon made a sudden grimace that approached a sneer.

“There are rumors that have reached me,” declared the large official. “Some of our citizens suspect you of dealing with spirits of an evil nature, those that fear to be seen in the light of the day.

“There is a vague idea spreading about that what you do depends upon certain magical formulas that you have mastered before you came to Priene.

“Tell me this: from where did you move to our city?”

The notary attempted a friendly smile, but failed more than a wild grimace.

“It is very much a private matter that I have the right to keep to myself. yet I will be truthful and tell you what you wish to find out.

“It is from Miletos that I made my move to this place. That is where I had my birth and childhood period. I have nothing to conceal concerning who I am and from where I originated.”

The Archon took two steps forward, until he stood only inches from Pyxis.

“I must notify you of a decision made today by my Council of Elders. It has to do with your future residence. We have decided to ban and expel you from this city, on the suspicion that you engage in secret, arcane practices of an unnatural character.

“By the strange actions you have been involved with, you pose an unknowable danger to the health and wellbeing of this community.

“We cannot allow you to continue what is called mysterious behavior on your part. You will have to leave at once, as soon as humanly possible.

“Do not try to stay or resist this order in any way at all.

“That is all. Farewell.”

Abax was shaken by the metapsychic message that came to his mind that evening.

“It is my sad duty to have to report to you that the plan to make me a public receiver-transmitter here in the city of Priene has collapsed into dust this day. I learned of this directly from the Senior Archon of the government when he made a personal visit to my residence to inform me of my suspension and expulsion from Priene. I can no longer ply my trade and business here, but must make my leave as soon as possible.

“I was fortunate enough to find at once the carter who brought my possessions here from Miletos. He agreed to haul me and my goods back home. We shall leave early tomorrow and I shall soon be back in Miletos soon to confer with you about the present situation that has driven me from Priene and what decisions are now needed concerning our future activities.”

His mind in a whirl of surprise and indignation, Abax at once realized that he had to send a return message to Pyxis. His thoughts focused upon what he intended to transmit over distance to the assistant soon to be returning home to Miletos.

“I am saddened by the information that you recently communicated to me, and I send you my deepest sympathy and best wishes for a safe return here. Do not in any way blame yourself for this brutal outcome, my dear fellow. We shall be able to absorb and react with success to this temporary setback to our plans. As soon as possible, we shall carry out corrective actions that will rectify what may have gone awry for us there in Priene. I shall see and confer with you as soon as you return here.”

Having finished his mental transmission, Abax began to speculate and worry about what may be behind this unhappy event connected with Pyxis in Priene.”

III.

Talcmon found and leased an appropriate office and living apartment in the city of Myus.

How am I going to build up a medical practice from scratch? the migrating physician asked himself as he began to make friends with neighbors close to him in location. It was an older, retired merchant who gave him advice that turned out to solve his initial problem of starting out in his profession among strangers in an unfamiliar community.

“Find a veteran doctor who wishes to retire because of ill health, and offer to take over all his patients, promising to pay him continuously for the rest of his life for the honor of replacing him.

“You will certainly be able to make continuous, partial payments over future time, regardless of how long it may take you. And when the old man goes, you will be free of any further debt to him at all.”

Talcmon tried this scheme and it worked for him.

For a modest share of what he would be receiving in medical fees, one sickly physician agreed to transfer over all his clientele to the newcomer.

Once he had patients visiting him on a regular schedule, Talcmon began to search among them for likely customers who might wish to send rapid private messages to someone in Miletos.

A dealer in rare spices and herbs contracted with the doctor to have his business requests and orders sent by this new, undefined and unspecified method of speedy communication. Then a ship owner who had a need for prices and market conditions in Miletos arranged to send and receive important business and commercial data by this mysterious but dependable means.

Talcmon provided his growing number of patrons with proof and evidence of what he was capable of doing. Word of his growing number of successes spread among merchants, shippers, and dealers in imports and exports.

The head of the Medical Guild in Myus was an active, influential individual named Labtos. The presence of a new practitioner not affiliated with the organized medical doctors of the city became an object of interest and alarm to a number of the leaders of the profession. A small number of his most important and prominent healers met with Labtos to complain about this non-member of their own organization.

“What should we do about this outsider who has come to our city and bought his way into the practice of a retiring veteran? To me, it looks like an interloper who muscles his way into a population of patients unknown to him. Why should we sit idly by while he takes advantages of our people?”

Labtos thought a moment, then gave a reply to the question and demand.

“Yes, there could be great danger to all of us in case this foreigner continues to expand his net among us.

“I will go and talk to him, asking the man about his plans. Believe me, I will make him comply with our rules and traditions. He shall not be permitted to cause problems or imbalances of any sort.

“I shall take care of this Talcmon and force him to fall in place with all the rest of us.”

Labtos watched the building where the doctor in question worked and lived, waiting for Talcmon to exit from inside at almost the hour of noon.

When the man in a doctor’s green tunic walked out of the building, the chief of Myus physicians headed forward, to intercept and address the man under serious suspicion of endangering the interests of the professional group he was competing against.

“Dr. Talcmon, could I have a few moments to talk with you about a subject of importance for both of us?”

The man from Miletos stopped and looked with surprise and apprehension at the tall man approaching him with strong, vigorous steps.

“First, let me introduce myself,” grinned the stranger in medical green. “I am a local physician, born and trained here in Myus. My name is Dr. Labtos. At the present time, I am the acting chief of the Medical Guild in my native city.

“I have consulted with several of our member physicians concerning your arrival and operations since being here.

“May I ask you, in a respectful manner, of course, whether you are at present busy in the active practice of the medical arts on members of the population of this dear city of ours?”

What am I expected to say to this character? wondered the migrating doctor.

“Yes,” boldly replied the newcomer. “Of course, I am treating patients. What does anyone expect me to be doing? I am a physician by calling and training, and I intend to treat the ailing patients of my predecessor, the doctor from whom I obtained the list of people whom he was healing.

“I am merely continuing the work that he was performing for their health and wellbeing. That is the simple explanation of what I am here about.”

Labtos gazed at the new physician with unconcealed scorn and anger.

“I must reveal to you certain alarming reports that I have received from certain of my colleagues who have spoken among themselves and personally to me. The information that I have been receiving tells of offers that have been made by you to several of the persons who have visited you as patients seeking aid and advice concerning their health. What I have been told has alarmed and distressed me to a considerable degree. Let me explain.

“How is it possible that you make proposals to patients that you send messages instantly to Miletos and elsewhere for them? That you use an undefined, undescribed method of transmitting whatever they wish to communicate to others in distant places?

“How can this be? I ask myself. Are you mad, imagining that you possess fantastic powers and capabilities? How do you dare to talk in such an absurd method?

“None of this reported information makes any sense to me. I demand that you try to explain to me what lies behind what so many others have reported.

“That is necessary, I assure you, Dr. Talcmon.”

The metapsychic hesitated momentarily. What was best for him to say? he wondered. Should he reveal the outlines of what he was up to that had caused these reports that had brought Dr. Labtos to make his investigative visit?

He decided it was best to be candid and not try to conceal the essence of what he was attempting to achieve in Myus.

“I am engaged in a very unique mission that goes along parallel to the medical practice in which I work. Let me explain to you what I am busy with.

“In Miletos, I was fortunate in being trained by a certain master of the art of thought transference over distances. In other words, I became an experienced adept in mental communication and messaging from afar. My talents in that area have advanced to a level of astounding competence and ability.

“This is not an idle boast or claim. I can prove myself by any practical testing that anyone anywhere can conceive of or devise.”

Labtos stared at the one telling him of his extraordinary powers of mind, not saying a word for a considerable length of time.

At last, Talcmon grew impatient and decided to present the head of the Medical Guild with a daring challenge.

“I believe that if you form a committee of your colleagues and visit me as a united group, I can transmit any set of ideas that all of you agree upon to another city, Miletos in particular. This can then be verified through a written letter that will be sent to Myus by my confederate in that distant city, further inland than the location that we occupy here.

“How does what I propose sound to you? Is it acceptable to your judgment? And will your guild go along with it?”

The older physician made a sour grimace. “This proposal of yours will have to be considered by my committee of primaries, the main officers of our organization. That is necessary in order to go forward with the idea that you have presented to me.

“I shall now leave, but I promise to return here within a few days. At that time, I will bring you our judgment of holding you to a test of what it is reported that you are involved in.”

With that said, Labtos whirled about and swiftly left the presence of the andreikelon engaged in mental transmissions.

IV.

The meeting of the leaders’ group occurred that very evening at the home of the head of the Physicians’ Guild, Dr. Labtos.

Once all the members were seated, the latter began to describe the proposal made by the independent doctor who had recently arrived from Miletos.

“That is what this fellow told me that he would do, if we wish him to,” concluded Labtos. “That is the reason that I summoned all of you here, to decide how to proceed now that this first conversation with him has occurred. I must ask for your counsel and advice at this time. Once we come to a consensus concerning that question, I will return to this person and inform him of what the situation then will be.”

He looked about the room, taking in each of the co-members of the leadership group.

One of the senior veterans started to speak in a soft, reasoned tone.

“Let me express what my immediate reaction is to what this newcomer to our city has proposed that he do.

“It makes no sense to me at all to allow him to use his evil capabilities to fool us with tricks and subterfuges that he may have mastered when he was back at his home in Miletos.

“We should stay far from this scoundrel who claims to his patients that he can send words and ideas from someone here in Myus to a colleague situated in Miletos.

“He seems to me to have the character of either a false charlatan or an arcane magician of some sort.

“I think that we of this guild should stay away from him. Instead of allowing him to play tricks on us, we should complain to the city authorities and magistrates to ban and exile him from out of our beloved Myus.

“His expulsion as an evil spirit should make us take action against him as soon as possible, before he can infect and harm those who have become his patients.

“He is not a genuine physician, but rather a monster of a devilish nature who has no right to remain among us here in Myus.”

Talcmon quickly disposed of the possessions he had purchased and headed back to Melitos with a deep sense of failure and defeat.

When he reached the city where he had been created and assembled, he discovered that his fellow-andreikelon Pyxis had returned home from Priene after meeting with opposition and rejection similar to what he had collided with from the Physicians’ Guild.

Both Pyxis and Talcmon were surprised to discover that Abax had in the meantime built three new assistant beings, bringing his total contingent of synthetic metapsychics to five.

What is going to become of our growing numbers here in Miletos? the returnees asked themselves and each other.

Abax recognized that he had to take a new direction in order to fulfill his aim of building a network of metapsychic operators across the expanse of Greek settlements and city-states. What solution was he able to devise?

His thoughts were lost in a wild, spinning confusion from which he was unable to release himself. It was while he was suffering this difficult problem that a visitor arrived in Miletos, one who had been a student of philosophy under the late Thales.

Pythagoras was a tall, muscular young man with a bright, handsome face lit up by his brilliant whitish eyes. He had studied under the personal supervision of Thales a few years previously, when Abax the faithful butler had made his acquaintance. Since that time, he had traveled to Egypt and Babylonia to further his knowledge of what was known in these older civilizations.

“It was Thales who recommended that I journey to these other lands to learn what they might know,” he told Abax in the manuscript room where works of thought and general knowledge were kept and preserved.

“And did you find what you were hunting for there?” asked the andreikelon of the one naturally born on the island of Samos.

Pythagoras gave him a smile with sadness in it. “Yes, I picked up a lot of things I had been ignorant of. For instance, the Egyptian priests taught me much about measuring distances and calculating areas of land. And on the Tygris I learned a lot of practical calculations and numerical operations.

“But I still owe my greatest debts to our Ionian philosophers and thinkers, and mainly to my first and main tutor, the unrivaled master Thales.”

“He is no longer here with us, though,” noted Abax with a moan. “Have you made any plans about what you will be doing next?”

Pythagoras seemed to grow distant and dreamy. “I believe that the best I can do for human knowledge and learning is to teach and spread the successes of our Ionian thinkers to the younger generation. That can best be done by a system of advanced schools of philosophy and thought set in a multitude of different cities about the great seas.

“They might begin here on the coast of Ionia, then spread westward to Attica and the Greek Peninsula, and even further west to the Greek cities situated in Sicily and Italy.

“There are no future limits to how far afield these schools of thought may range. I intend to go on and on with them.”

Abax looked excited as well as surprised. “What do you plan to be teaching the students in these special schools?”

“The main stress will be on the philosophy of how to live a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life. There will be instruction on all that I have learned about the optimal diet of foods for human beings, as well as organized physical exercises to maintain the strength and flexibility of the body. And there shall be instruction and periods of group and individual training and maintenance.

“The wellbeing of all the members, both males and females, will be the goal. Complete development of a person’s possibilities and potential are what I intend to realize over time.

“Everything will be aimed at discovering and bringing about what is best for the body, the mind, and the soul of every member and participant.”

Abax gazed at Pythagoras in silence for a considerable time.

“Your idea of a number of schools scattered over the wide distances of the seas is an amazing dream to aspire to,” murmured the andreikelon in an intimate tone. “Let me tell you this: I will do all in my power to help you in bringing these concepts of yours into reality. The dream that you have is a high, elevated, and noble one. I have no doubt that there will be great benefit to all the teachers and students who may come to be involved with it.

“Yes, I promise you that I will do whatever I can to bring about such a system of philosophical institutions.”

V.

Abax, now the chief of a body of five andreikelons that he himself designed and created, called together all of his assistants in order to inform them, but also to measure their reactions to what he was thinking of doing.

The company of six synthetic beings sat down at a low and long table in the dining chamber of the house that had once belonged to Thales.

“I have a very important matter that I must present and describe for all of us who have developed our metapsychic abilities,” he began. “It has to do with an innovative program that was disclosed to me by our present guest, the Samian named Pythagoras.

“Returning from years of study in both Egypt and Babylonia, his thoughts have come to center on the organizing of a series of special schools of a philosophical character.”

Abax proceeded to give the characteristic details of these institutions that he had learned from Pythagoras. The assistant andreikelons that he himself had made looked at their leader with astonishment and something close to enthusiasm.

It was the physician called Talcmon who made a response to what had just been presented to them.

“These ideas of the philosopher Pythagoras are like a sudden miraculous revelation, as if an oracle has told us about events that are destined to come about in the days to come.

“I ask myself this simple question: will these scattered schools come about? Will they exist and operate as the future reveals itself to us?

“There is a simple answer with only one word in it. That word is yes.

“As soon as I heard what was just said to us, I decided to support and agree to it, because it promises to us, the metapsychics who trace their origins to Thales, a way to realization of our most intimate wishes and aspirations.

“We can, each of us, move to one of the separate schools. From those locations, we will be able to communicate by mental means with each other.

“Inside each of the schools, we can be the tutors of new metapsychics. These can then journey and move to other schools, as they are built and organized.

“Our future course must be to accept and join the communities conceived of by this inspired genius named Pythagoras.”

As soon as Talcmon was finished, the other andreikelons turned and looked at Abax, curious to find out what his reaction might be to what had just been said.

“Yes, my thoughts and feelings are pointed in the same direction, toward allying ourselves with the program for a multitude of philosophy schools in the various cities where Greeks are located.

“I intend, therefore, to inform Pythagoras as soon as possible that we shall unite with him in order to found a number of such schools.”

At that point, Pyxis the notary asked an important question.

“Does this philosopher know that he will be joining with ankeikelons? Is he aware of the character that we share among ourselves?”

Abax considered several moments, then answered the question.

“No, I believe he has no definite concept of our nature,” he muttered. “He has never asked me anything indicating that he perceives any difference from himself or other people in us.”

“Will we have to inform him, sooner or later?” inquired Talcmon.

Abax replied after a pause to think and consider. “Yes, he will have to be told the truth.

“I will take the responsibility of revealing the truth about us to him.”

Abax invited Pythagoras to take a walk with him along the commercial docks of Miletos harbor. The two walked slowly beside the shore, taking stock of the native and foreign ships tied up next to each other.

“I am convinced that your idea for founding those innovative schools is a very promising one, and I have talked it over with my colleagues and companions in my residence.

“It could be said the they and I already make up a teaching staff of sorts. That makes it easy and convenient to combine our habits with what you intend to set up in various locations.

“But there is one particular truth about our group that has never been accurately conveyed to you, by me or my anyone else in the house.”

Pythagoras stopped walking, compelling Abax to do the same. The former gazed fixedly into the face of the latter.

“I have, a long time ago, come to certain conclusion concerning you. Most of what I happened to suspect and conclude originated in statements made by Thales in his last several years of life.

“He was not specific how it was that he found you when he was down in Egypt, but I received the clear impression that there were unique, extraordinary features in you, that your character and nature were not ordinary or the same as those of other persons, either in Egypt or here in Ionia.

“I am not completely certain about what makes you so different, Abax, but I long ago concluded that you are a special, original self.

“It has become plain to me, since returning to Miletos, that those who live with you as resident companions possess similar uniqueness.”

Abax felt a spinning in his brain. How close is this philosopher to the truth about what an andreikelon is and how it came to exist?

“I was constructed in Egypt by Thales and several skilled artisans,” whispered the synthetic being. “I was not born from a human woman.”

He waited for a reply or reaction from the human thinker and teacher.

“I suspected something like that, but had no clear concept or explanation. It can now be explained in detail to me. I have no reason not to ask questions from now on.”

“Will you allow my fellow andreikelons to work in your school colonies as teachers and assistants?

“Those with my character can be trusted with confidence.”

“I recognize the truth of that,” stated Pythagoras. “Yes, andreikelons will be my partners and companions in building the new schools of philosophy.”

“You have to know that we have developed special abilities in the area of mind communication and psychic transmission. We intend to continue with such mental activity.”

“I can and will accept such capabilities,” nodded Pythagoras. “After all, you and those like you are by nature unique and peculiar beings.”

Both the human and the andreikelon laughed at this remark together.

Abax thought ahead to when he planned to teach his andreikelons that they had the capability of taking broad leaps through the stream of time, to distant years and moments.

The first andreikelon smiled both externally and internally. Startling surprises of many kinds were to occur in the new philosophical communities he was planning to establish.

The End

The Andreikelon Part IV. Over the Sea.

6 Jul

I.

Long trireme galleys mingled with small skiffs and ploiarieni in the busy waters of Lion’s Bay. Lembic vessels of all shapes and sizes lined the maritime weir of the naupegeion, as well as the beach beyond the port proper. Small craft littered the shores on both sides of the bay, while large oversized ships dominated the great wharf on the city side.

The time-traveler led his companion toward the lower, uncrowded area of the harbor. His aim was to find and hire a small acation boat that could take him and Thisia out into the Aegean, from where a transmission could be tried.

Pure white sindonic sails of expensive cloth waved above ships plying the still, clear bay. A barely perceptible breeze filled out the istions of the many vessels. At the entrance of the gulf, enormous lions of shining stone stood guard. Nowhere else could one find so much commercial activity as here in Miletos harbor. Not in Egypt, Phoenicia, Mesopotamia, the Pontus, or anywhere in the Mesogeios Sea that stretched far to the west.

The two walkers stopped to discuss what to do first in their quest.

“I have been thinking over how we should go about finding the boat and the pilot we need,” began Abax. “It must be someone who is an experienced nautes who thoroughly understands the arts of sailing and navigating. When we will go out and attempt the sea, he must be expert in nautilia and piloting about.”

“How are we to find such a one?” she asked, turning her face to him.

“That is the immediate task, and I have been considering how to make our search for such an individual.” He paused a moment. “Who would know this waterfront best? Probably an older veteran parathalassion, an experienced sea dog. So, let me try to locate someone who appears to have spent most of a long life at sea.”

At that moment, a short and shabby mariner appeared from behind, attempting to pass them.

Abax turned and addressed the hurrying nautes.

“Pardon me, we are looking for a pilot with many years at sea, with excellent lnowledge of both this bay and the wide sea. Could you suggest someone like that to help us?”

After stopping, the young sailor scratched his jaw for a moment.

“See Skolex,” he muttered with anger. “No one has been around here as long as he has.”

With that, the irritated nautes scurried away.

The two metapsychics looked at each other in wonderment.

“I will ask about until I find that man,” announced Abax. “Stay here until I return with what we want.”

As Thisia watched, he walked away toward a portion of the beach where workers were repairing the hull of a docked phortedis boat. All its cargo lay about on the shore, waiting to be reloaded.

One repairman was supervising the others. Abax approached the boatswain and asked him if he knew where the old pilot called Skolex could be found.

The lanky stranger smiled as if having heard a joke. “He no longer works for others on commercial vessels,” he replied. “Nowadays, that old Skolex has a thalamegos of his own. It is a small boat that one man alone can sail and handle. He uses it to carry limited loads out to sea shore and then back here. The Aegean littoral is as far as he sails at his advanced age.”

“Do you know where he might be today?”

The boatswain pointed to a spot near the entrance to the gulf in the vicinity of the Twin Lions that always stood on guard there.

Abax headed in that direction, far from where he had left Thisia.

Twice more he made inquiries, till at last he came to the boat of the sea veteran he was hunting for.

A short, hardened man with a ruddy, leathery face was taking baskets full of fruit and vegetables out of his small sail boat.

He looked up as the tall, blond person with hazel eyes neared the little vessel.

“Good afternoon,” began Abax. “I am seeking the veteran mariner named Skolex. Do you know whether he is somewhere about, my good man?”

The small fellow with the tough, weathered skin put down the basket in his hands and came closer.

“I am the one you are looking for,” he said in a voice of rough gravel and stones. His blue eyes held an unusual twinkle, a glow reminiscent of blazing sunlight sparkling on the surface of the sea.

The andreikelon caught the inner energy current of the white-haired oldster’s mind.

“Let me explain myself,” he murmured. “I was told by several mariners along the beach that you have been to sea many years, that you are familiar with all the skills of the pilots who sail out into the sea and can recommend someone able to satisfy my most urgent needs.”

Skolex drew closer. “And what are these requirements of yours?” he asked pointblank.

“A small vessel to take me and another person out of the bay, into the great sea. It will be a sort of excursion for that one day, then back to Miletos.

“The boat does not have to be large at all, just enough to carry two travelers, as well as the person manning the sail. He should be a thalassopores of wide experience and deep knowledge.

“There will be a series of such short voyages, each one longer and further than the previous.

“This pilot must be willing to obey my orders without question. I shall demand total loyalty of the boatmaster. His monetary payment will be a generous one in order to compensate for any hardship or problems involved.”

Skolex eyed the time-traveler with growing curiosity.

“I have never before heard of anything such as what you are planning. You wish me to name you an appropriate mariner with his own boat?”

“Precisely.”

The short, spry boatowner moved closer. The shining whiteness of his thick locks matched that of the finest, most expensive silk cloth used for sails.

The two strangers studied each other for a brief moment.

Abax was eager to hear what the other man would recommend him to do.

“You will find no one equal to me in the entire world,” boasted the boatman. “My experience in the water is unequaled. I have seen every sort of problem possible on every type of vessel. There is nothing nautical beyond my knowledge or skill. There is no reason for you to look any farther at all.”

For a short time, Abax felt stunned and off-balance.

“I plan to start on a short voyage tomorrow morning,” he finally announced. “Just an exploratory cruise about the bay.”

“My thalamegos boat will be ready,” said Skolox.

“There will be another person aboard, a young woman,” added the andreikelon.

Skolex raised a white eyebrow and winked an eye.

The blond-haired stranger had turned away and did not see such signs of emotion.

_

If, if, if…so thought Thisia, sitting in the grass bordering the beach.

If this, if that, if only…Fantasy shows us what might have been…

If her father had not died at the time that he did.

If she had been born first and Achne had been the younger sister.

If she had not been forced to take the receiver position because of her weakness and frailty.

Unknown to her, the boarder came up along her side.

“What are you pondering do deeply, Thisia?” he asked, giving her a jolting shock. She turned her face to him and smiled.

“I was bemused by certain memories from the past.”

If you had never come into our cottage, Abax.

The latter came nearer and offered her his arm as she rose to her feet.

I have some good news.” said the andreikelon.

He proceeded to inform her that the veteran polit Skolex was willing to serve them in his sailing craft.busy

“When will we start?” she eagerly inquired.

“I told him to be ready early tomorrow morning right at dawn. That will give us plenty of time to choose a location for our first transmission.”

The pair started back to the cottage, traversing the center of Miletos.

“I want to have Achne fully prepared to receive what we send to her,” said Abax as they made their way through the crowd filling the busy commercial district of the city.

This crowd was a thick, jostling chaos of competing buyers and sellers.

Abax took his companion by the hand and gently guided her along the edge of the teeming throng, till the two found themselves beyond the busy marketplace.

Magnified excitement ran through the nervous system of Thisia, reaching to her inner mind.

She felt herself fully, firmly conquered by the undefined emotion that she sensed within herself toward the apprentice metapsychic that her family had agreed to train.

His attractive magnetism was a new, unfamiliar factor in her life.

II.

It was clear to Abax after supper was finished that evening. Optasia wished to speak to him in private.

The two daughters were in their own bedroom, preparing to turn in early.

This appeared to be the mother’s best opportunity to speak with him in candor about a delicate subject.

Optasia sat opposite her tenant, peering at him with a steady, unwavering gaze.

“I am worried about my daughter,” were the first words indicating what the problem might be. “Achne has not been the same since she returned from the climb up Mt. Hypsoma with you. There is something unusual happening to her, but I am uncertain exactly what it might be. That question remains a riddle, a mystery of sorts.”

She stared at him as if expecting some revelation of truth to be provided her. But there was no such result, for Abax decided to be defensive and non-communicative.

“Her injury was severe enough to cause her major pain. Such a stressful experience always leaves a terrible scar, an echo in the mind, even after the physical, material wound is completely healed. It is always that way.”

That explanation was not adequate enough for the mother. She continued to probe into what he suspected to have happened to her older daughter, Achne.

“I have no way of knowing whether she shall ever be wed to anyone. That is beyond anyone’s ability to see. But what is important to me is to protect her so that no one ever throws any sort of harmful shadow upon her.”

All of a sudden, Abax leaned forward over the table.

Was Optasia attempting to tell him something about the virginity of the young, unwed woman? Was she hinting at a possible threat to the virginity and innocence of Achne?

Once lost, that virginity could never be restored. Everyone knew that, even a disguised andreikelon.

As a definite temporal point, loss of virginity resembled human birth or human death. It was impossible to repeat, occurring only once. So mused Abax.

“Your daughter possesses a strong personal character. I am certain she can look out for herself and avoid dangerous temptations that might occur.” His voice grew soft and quiet. “I am determined that you not be worried by alarming thoughts about your Achne. She will be safe because of her profound integrity and the clarity of her thought.”

Optasia considered for a moment, then made a response to what he had just said.

“Thank you,” she managed to mutter. Her voice sounded somewhat muffled.

At that juncture, Thisia stepped into the kitchen as if in a hurry.

“Achne has finally fallen asleep,” announced the younger daughter. “She knows that tomorrow will be very tiring for her when she will be acting as receiver for a transmission from over the water of the sea.”

The dawn was overpowering in the magnificence of colors it made visible.

Streams of radiance filled the brightening sky. The light grew increasingly intense and enchanting.

Two moving figures hurried rapidly toward a particular boat on the beach near the Twin Lions. The owner had been long awake, waiting for the pair of passengers. He smiled when he saw Thisia approaching. Beside her was the one who had hired him.

Who could have predicted that a woman was coming aboard his thalamega today?

Skolex studied her with suspicion in his mind, then with trepidation.

A female aboard his boat? That was something unforeseeable for him.

Realizing what was happening, Thisia stepped forward toward the old mariner.

“I have heard that there are some who believe that a woman aboard a ploion of the sea will bring misfortune to it,” she boldly uttered to him. “But that cannot be the truth, for many individuals of the female sex have traveled on the water from the earliest of times. There is absolutely no reason to accept such superstitions, such deisidaimonia, is there?

“Certainly, you are a man of the sea too intelligent to hold any fear of someone such as me aboard your sailing vessel, Master Skolex.”

A loud, surprising laugh erupted out of the throat of the old bachelor. His wrinkled face came to lose all its stony roughness, as if the latter suddenly melted away.

“Let us go on board and set off before the sun moves any higher,” the mariner said to the two passengers.

Abax held and supported Thisia with both hands as she stepped into the primnesion at the stern of the pilot’s boat.

As soon as she was standing on the deck, the andreikelon leaped in beside her on the vessel.

Skolex loosened the seleinion tying the craft to a thick wooden post attached to the beach, slipping off the knot holding it fast to the shore.

A quick, experienced jump carried him over the edge of the boat to where the two travelers stood.

The mariner soon had them moving into the bay, away from the land.

Skolex directed their course at the tiller. He told his charges to sit down.

The beach became ever more distant with each passing moment.

In all directions, ships began to appear as the morning progressed.

Several times, the skipper stepped to the single mast and adjusted the sail.

Abax turned to his fellow metapsychic and whispered to her.

“We shall before very long have a chance to send a message to Achne,” he softly, silently murmured.

Optasia knew she had to ask her elder daughter some pointed questions, but feared what reaction they might arouse in her. It was only after the two of them were seated on the bench behind the cottage that she dared to say what was weighing on her mind.

“There is something I must say to you, Achne.”

The latter threw her a questioning look.

“What is it mother? What is it that is so important to tell me?”

“We have not spoken about certain matters. I suspect it is my fault for avoiding a particular awkward subject. It has seemed best to me not to trouble you with it before the right time has come.”

“I believe that I know what you are about to say,” murmured the injured one. “It is quite normal for a mother to sense what might be about to happen.”

The two females looked at each other calmly, as if all their secrets were out in front both of them already.

“A storge of emotion for a man is a strange, difficult sensation, Achne. It makes life unpredictable for one. If not held firmly in place, the passion can turn into something abnormal, even paralogical. I know that this is so, because it once happened to me.”

“I know what great love you had for father,” whispered the daughter in a low, measured voice. “Thisia and I have spoken to each other of the pure, elevated adoration, the latreia of your husband by his faithful wife, who happened to be you.”

All at once, the mind of Optasia was full of bygone, remembered images.

The masklike face of her dead mate appeared before her internal mind’s eyes, causing her outer eyes to moisten with liquid.

“Your father was a unique personality,” she said in a rush of ideas. “There was no one else like him for me. Nor will there ever be. Do you understand, Achne?”

The latter’s reply was a single nod of affirmation.

“I knew not a thing about the metapsychic powers of the mind before I met him. It was he who discovered my inborn mental gift for transmission and reception. My beloved husband developed the natural potential in me, of which I had been unaware and ignorant.

“With incredible patience, he helped me find the talent deep inside my mind.

“After several years of hard work together, I became a fully adept eidemon. I was able to send and take in mental waves and messages. Together, we cooperated to stretch and increase our skills, both his and mine.”

In less than a moment, the mother’s eyes became shadowed by a cloud of unusual abstract thoughts.

“I had inner doubts and qualms about some of the things that we were trying to achieve, but I failed to voice them to him in time.

“Your father possessed limitless, magnificent metapsychic ambitions, much like those our boarder has. Those two men resemble each other to a remarkable extent.”

Achne leaned down closer to her mother.

“Did father have any idea of the danger to him in what he was attempting?”

The only reaction to this question by Optasia was a quick, fleeting shaking of her head. Then she spoke in a distant, dreamy tone.

“That is what I most fear: that our new friend may be trying what is beyond the ability of any human being to attain. He thinks of reafather?”ching beyond what has ever been accomplished at any time by any metapsychic I have ever heard of.”

The daughter studied her mother’s face carefully, in minute detail. When she opened her mouth, her voice was as dry as the sand of the Miletos beaches.

“What was the nature of the cataclysm that killed father?” the young woman asked with fear in her words and thoughts.

For a considerable, awkward time, no reply came from the mother.

When Optasia finally spoke, her voice sounded calm and well-controlled.

“I have never revealed to anyone what I am about to say. It is awfully frightful and horrid to hear. But now the moment has arrived when I must tell this story, and you will be the one to whom it is told.”

She paused, taking a full breath of air into her lungs.

“We had been experimenting with the roles we took and carried out, changing his and my functions by quick, instantaneous reversals and turns. Your father would send me a message by transmission, then I myself would send him an immediate reply to it. Back and forth, we sent in rapid order. The objective was to find out how fast we could make these cycles go, how quickly we were able to exchange and vary our roles.”

“I have never heard of anything like that, mother,” admitted Achne.

“The truth has been kept from you and your sister because of the tragic conclusion that occurred. The unexpected death of your father came when I became carelessly inattentive, going past the limit of prudence. I failed to keep track of how I was over-flooding him with each successive emission of mental energy. Then, a fatal wave of force struck and decimated the center of his metapsychic mind. Neither of us was able to notice it approaching him.”

She stopped, looking away toward the distant waters of the bay.

Achne stared at her mother’s profile as if she were seeing it for the first time. What guilt and regret my mother must feel! she wondered.

Suddenly, Optasia turned back to her daughter.

“You must prepare yourself for what will soon be coming our way,” she darkly muttered. “I will help you all I can, Achne.”

III.

Beyond the mouth of the Meander sailed the small craft.

The placid, tranquil Aegean became a hypocyanic blue as the sun rose over the parathalassion. Miletos was only a white haze behind the gigantic Twin Lions guarding the bay entrance.

At the rudder in the rear, Skolex steered the boat on a straight, steady course parallel to the shore and the land.

The old mariner talked at great length, recalling his adventures and experiences of his younger years. Voyages to Egypt, the Pontus, the West, and the island of Sicily, where he had witnessed an enormous volcanic eruption of molten lava.

“What is the name of the location of such a demonic ephaisteiades?” inquired the curious Achne.

“Mt. Etna,” answered the pilot with a grin. “It is a sight like no other that I have ever seen. Mere words cannot describe the hellish explosion that I witnessed there.”

Abax, extremely tense, did not say or ask anything. He appeared focused on preparing himself for the psychic metaphora soon to occur.

His hazel eyes scanned the coast, as if on the watch for any sign of human business or activity. He thought of Achne far beyond the gulf, waiting for what was soon to come from this boat he was on. That time was coming near.

He turned toward Thisia with an inquiring look.

She sent him a nod, indicating what it was he was thinking about.

Abax pointed himself toward the coast of Ionia, his back to his psychic source and spring.

He stepped to the stern as if to look into the water, while Thisia faced the back of his blond head.

Skolex at the tiller was silent and still.

This was the right moment, both metapsychics realized.

An overpowering wave of mental pulsation flowed through the catoptric mirrors in the mind of the andreikelon.

Abax could feel the force of the ekroe being provided him by Thisia. It seemed to envelope and swallow him up. The energy emanating from her mind became his own, taking hold of all of his thoughts.

All at once, he sensed an explosion deep within himself. A strong cataigis broke forth into his brain.

Abax began to formulate a message meant for distant Achne.

“An idea is only unknown to those who refuse to understand its meaning. There is no ignorance where the soul wills to know.”

In a few seconds, the transmission ended. It had been sent forth on a wave.

The sender, Abax, felt a sudden ebbing of his metapsychic power.

He wheeled about and exchanged nods with his supplier of mental force.

Now they wanted to return home and get ashore. Both of them had a need to find out the results of this experiment.

Abax slowly moved across the catastroma to where Thisia stood.

“Do you wish to sail back now?” he whispered to her.

“Not yet. I would like to sail out into the sea. I am exhausted by what we did together.”

“Yes, I feel emptied out too,” admitted Abax.

He turned and spoke to Skolex, telling him that they both wished to go out further. In a short while, the boat took them out of sight of land. There was nothing but sea in all directions, on all sides.

Abax stared at the sea, realizing how liquefied everything appeared from the boat they were sailing on.

It is easier to generate clear, transparent thoughts out here on the sea, the andreikelon suddenly came to understand.

That was a valuable lesson of his efforts with the family of metapsychics.

IV.

Supper became a happy celebration that night.

The transmission from the sea had been a perfect success. Achne’s reception had been lucid and complete. There had been no trouble to sending over water. The distance from home had not been a barrier.

Shared joy seized hold of mother, daughters, and the guest who was their tenant. The four of them now set their plans for the coming days. The boat of old Skolex was to be waiting for Abax and Thisia the next morning, as the time-traveler had arranged for before returning ashore.

“We must get enough rest tonight, all of us,” advised Optasia with sober foresight. “Tomorrow will be a very tiring day. The distance from shore will be several times what it happened to be today.”

All of them went to bed early that evening. Thisia and her mother occupied the front bedroom, Achne the rear one behind them, and Abax the parlor that they had agreed to rent to him. That had been the arrangement since Achne suffered her accident on the mountain.

The boarder made a final trip to the water tub behind the cottage, then retired. The one who never slept would be planning and evaluating matters all night long, he realized. He would only pretend to have entered a period of full slumber, which he had no need for at all.

Abax finished his washing and returned toward the cottage. Overhead, a blanket of shining stars twinkled. As he walked through the shadows, the small sound of a footstep caught his attention.

He froze and listened. Then another footstep came to him.

Standing right beside the stone thranion was Achne.

She motioned to him with a hand to approach near her.

“I came out through the kitchen to get myself a last breath of air tonight,” she said in a wavering whisper.

Abax glanced at her legs, then stared into her face.

“I do not at all need the crutches to walk any more,” she said in a cool, even tone.

Her eyes were a shade of turtle green in the evening darkness.

They were as fascinatingly mysterious as before to the boarder from another time.

What should he say to her? Abax asked himself.

He dared not follow impulses that only suited a natural human being.

Thales should not have placed certain living substances in my body tubes, he suddenly realized.

There were emotional forces he could feel but never satisfy inside his artificial veins and arteries.

Abax decided to tell Achne good-night and make his way to his place in the parlor of the family cottage.

The autumnal breeze had become a borelos wind blowing from the north, presaging the advent of winter before too long. It was time for the metapsychic team to attempt genuine overseas transmission and reception.

For over a week, the sail boat owned and controlled by Skolex took ever longer voyages up and down the curving coastline, moving further out into the restless Aegean.

Skolex proved to be a masterful pilot, able to stay well ahead of the wind.

Each day, Achne received a complete message back at the cottage. She remembered their content with precise accuracy and repeated them when Abax and her sister returned home.

At night, the foursome met and grew more excited with each success.

“We shall try the southern poreia next,” decided Skolex one morning.

“It does not suffer the strong tides to the north,” he informed his two passengers. “You will find the sea much smoother there.”

Abax sensed something different in his partner that morning. She was holding a part of her breath in her throat, neither letting it out nor down into her pneumonia or lungs.

What’s wrong with her? he asked himself.

Beyond the sands of the shore, high poplars swayed in the cold breeze.

Does our old pilot have any doubt about what we are up to? wondered Abax, watching Skolex trim the sail and turn his boat southward.

Does he understand what we are up to with our silent metapsychic transmissions?

Has he picked up any clues or hints concerning our strange operations?

Once again, the andreikelon gazed across at Thisia, sitting on the port side of the boat. Why did she seem to be avoiding his eyes? Did her attitude toward him have anything to do with her older sister, Achne?

The craft continued on its course, approaching a rocky coastal area of high, very steep cliffs and crags.

“The northern boreios will be blowing over us soon,” smiled Skolex from the primnesion where he steered, holding the rudder tightly with both hands. “The acroterion of land above us protects the waters we are about to enter. From now on, we will be in the calm of the leeward shore. It will be a special place of quiet, unruffled water, I am certain of that.”

Indeed, the pilot proved to be correct.

The motion of the sea itself disappeared. The north wind subsided and nearly vanished. The boat and its passengers fell under the protection of the high, overhanging headland above them.

Abax, on the sterea side, gave a nod of his head to Thisia, then turned in the direction of the rocks rising straight up from the narrow ribbon of the shore.

This shall be our greatest step forward yet, reasoned Abax. We shall be sending our signal upward, over the cliff tops, into the sky to distant Miletos and the cottage there.

This enterprise will demand a mighty mobilization of our minds. The supporting mental force added to mine by Thisia will make this accomplishment possible.

Together, we shall succeed in reaching through the universal fluid to the receiving mind of Achne.

Yes, he told himself, this will be our greatest transmission yet.

We shall open up new routes and channels of mental communication that will change how future generations live.

Abax felt the pulsating waves originating in his assistant, the younger sister.

It was now time for him to formulate his metapsychic message.

V.

Mother and elder daughter sat together on the stone bench behind the cottage.

For a long time neither of them said anything, until Achne began to feel an icy chill over all of her skin.

“I am receiving a ripple,” she told Optasia. “The message should be reaching me very soon.”

“I must stay quiet from now on,” muttered the older female.

Achne closed her eyes, concentrating her mind on what she was certain was coming.

A series of vibrations shook her to the core. It was going to be a cataigis storm greater than any she had ever experienced before.

This stream of sphyxic pulsation was wide and deep, with unprecedented force and frequency. She was entering a hazardous cataclysm, far beyond any undergone so far. The quantity of waves included was a record amount.

Terrible quaking shook her body and mind.

She was falling into a whirlpool of nonmaterial fluid. Round and round, ever faster, spun her mind.

Achne opened herself to the transmission being sent her by Abax.

Skolex did not believe what he was seeing in his sailing vessel.

From the first, this pair had seemed odd and suspicious to him. Both of the passengers said and did jarring things. Up to now, he had ignored signs of paraphrenic, abnormal behavior. After all, the tall blond fellow was paying him generously well for his time and services. But the veteran of the sea had gradually realized what an enormous risk he was taking with these two weird individuals.

The male passenger stood on the starboard side of the deck, his head leaning over the carina, his gaze fixed on the towering cliffs above them.

The back of Skolex was pointed toward the dark-haired woman on the port side. She had faced him from behind, as on all the previous voyages they had made.

Was this hocus-pocus of some sort? wondered the pilot.

A ritual of a secret latreia, the magic of a foreign cult, of a threskeia with strange practices and beliefs?

Was that what was happening? A forbidden form of worship?

The woman suddenly leaned backwards, as if about to fall out of the boat.

Skolex began to fear for the safety of all of them as he witnessed what was happening.

Up to now, he had been patient, indulging their curious, odd antics. But what if one of the pair should cause his boat to capsize? What if a disaster resulted and harm occurred to one of them?

As she bent herself back over the edge of the carina, he yelled at her.

‘For the safety of all of us, it is not wise to move about like that on a boat. Please, do not do so. It is dangerous and hazardous.”

Both metapsychic passengers turned toward the olax rudder, where the pilot was steering a backward but steady course through the water.

Transmission had been interrupted by his unexpected intervention and warning.

The message meant for sending had not been transmitted.

Mental pulsation had started, but not carried forth to completion.

What now? wondered both Abax and Thisia. The two exchanged desperate looks full of apprehension and confusion.

How was this unforeseen interruption by Skolex to be dealt with and overcome?

How was the broken transmission going to be rescued and restored? they both asked themselves.

Optasia sensed the sudden nexis before her daughter did.

After all, she was genuinely the more sensitive of the two of them sitting behind the family cottage. She it was who had trained her two girls in the art of metapsychic resonance. The unforeseen, unexpected rupture in transmission came first to her, then to Achne, sitting right beside her.

A terrifying crisis came about in a single moment.

The mother attempted to focus all the power of her mind upon filling the sudden chaos that was forming and starting to spread.

There must be no vacuum, no gap, no interruption or pause. She realized at once the danger inevitable if nothing was done by her.

It was the duty of Thisia to bolster Abax and help him recover the force behind his transmission.

But all at once Achne opened her eyes and moved her lips.

“Forgive me, my beloved, for I have been unfaithful to you,” she dreamily muttered. “I am guilty of the vilest, lowest treachery.”

There followed an uncomfortable pause. Then the mind of Achne, the receiving metapsychic, overflowed with a thunderous wave of incoming energy.

Now trembling with dread, Optasia leaned her head toward her swooning daughter.

Could such insane words be flowing out of the inner mind of Achne? the mother asked herself. Were these messages coming forth out of past time through some inherited mental memory? How could anything so impossible happen?

The face of the older woman became pale and almost transparent. She let go of the final wave of force within her personal reservoir.

She made herself the final spoke of a circle which she sensed that she had to create.

Optasia ordered herself to clear out the minds of three others: her two daughters and her strange tenant. She was the one who had to put an end to whatever was blocking the long-range communication.

Thisia could feel a new power flowing into her from faraway.

It filled the center of her mind with explosive force, with ecrexis.

Mother! Mother! What are you doing to me? What is about to happen?

Abax realized that his partner was in a critical condition, that she had gone beyond herself. Something horrible could occur unless he immediately moved in and acted.

Without any further thought, he rushed toward the endangered woman, rocking the delicately balanced sailboat from side to side.

At the moment he reached out to give support to the tottering Thisia, she fell backwards, striking the back of her head against the keel of the boat.

But this fall of her body did not take Thisia to the catastroma floor, but threw her over the edge and into the sea itself.

Skolex hurled himself forward in order to avert fatal disaster.

Abax at once came to that side in order to search the waters for signs and traces of what had happened to the capsized body.

The boat continued to surge and roll in violent spasms. Water poured over the carina, splashing the deck and scaphos on all sides.

Abax made a desperate jump into the sea, hunting there for any sign of life.

Could a human being drown so swiftly? he wondered.

The andreikelon clenched his teeth as he imagined the choking and strangulation that might have occurred instantly to his metapsychic partner, Thisia.

How could she have died in a fraction of a moment? Is such drowning possible? Did the interruption in their cooperation make it impossible for the young woman to think rationally and save herself? Had she lost her consciousness and fallen into a timeless trance of some sort?

Somewhere, down there in the deep waters, lay the unmoving body of Thisia.

He swam back to the boat, surrendering to what now appeared inevitable.

The andreikelon, thankful that he had been taught to swim by Thales, climbed aboard with the assistance of Skolex.

“That woman is gone for good,” sadly mumbled the old pilot. “This area of the sea is too deep and treacherous to hope that her body can ever be recovered. There is nothing at all that we can do here.

“Remember, I tried to warn both of you about the factor of balancing oneself when control of the boat is in imminent danger of buffeting and capsizing. One has to keep in mind where one happens to be and the never-ending hazards and dangers involved in sailing this way.”

Dripping with sea water, Abax shivered for a short time. His whole body was soaked and water-logged.

“What do we do now?” he asked the mariner.

“Back to Miletos, of course,” answered Skolex as stoically as possible.

VI.

Although the time-traveler tried to move with speed, his journey back to the agroika on the edge of the city was painfully long and difficult.

How was he going to reveal the fate of Thisia to her mother and sister?

As he approached the cottage, Optasia appeared at the front entrance, alone and bent over with care.

There had been no opportunity for him to transmit any message to Achne by metadosic means. The survivors would demand to be told what had happened to the missing Thisia.

Achne was not in the field behind the home. Where is she? wondered Abax.

Perhaps she is inside, resting from today’s tiring exertions.

But now came the grave, difficult task of explaining why the other sister had not returned home with him, what her tragic ending meant, how all trace of her existence had disappeared and vanished.

Abax advanced at a slow, deliberate speed toward the open door where the mother who was oikodespoina stood waiting to talk to him.

She pronounced a single word, using it as a question.

“Thisia…”

“Drowned in the deep water of the sea,” slowly uttered the boarder. “She cannot be found or recovered, I fear. There is no trace of her visible anywhere.”

Optasia, not blinking or giving any sign of panic, stared blankly at him without any sign of emotion of any sort.

“Achne is in the back of the cottage,” she murmured at last. “Follow me.”

The pair went through the oithousa, then the kitchen. As they came outdoors into the late afternoon sun, Abax caught sight of the young metapsychic sitting on the stone bench as if she were an unmoving statue of solid Ionian marble.

He glanced at the mother as the two moved toward Achne.

“She does not see or hear,” whispered Optasia. “Her condition is that of lethargos or catalepsis.”

They immediately stepped in front of the sitting agalma. Abax carefully examined the strange, motionless figure of the young woman he had fallen in love with. Her skin appeared glassy smooth, nearly inanimate.

Was she even able to take a breath of air? the andreikelon asked himself.

Looking deeply into her green eyes, he could make out something that looked like a cloudy curtain of some kind.

The mother spoke, disconcerting him.

“Her mind is no longer awake,” she murmured with difficulty. “And I am completely unable to take her back to the cottage by myself. I have been waiting for you to be here to assist me with Achne.”

“I will lift her up from the bench, then carry her to the back door,” volunteered the time-traveler from another age.

Abax bent down and took hold of the elder daughter around her waist, then pulled her upward. He found her body to be surprisingly heavy. She was no havet easy to raise up or to move.

Optasia went ahead of him and Achne, leading the way to the rear bedroom, where the latter’s body was gently laid down on the cot she had slept in the previous night.

The one who had brought her in from outdoors stared at her delicate form for a short while, then turned to the mother.

“We have to talk,” he softly informed her. “There is much that needs to be examined and explored. We must come to some shared understanding of what has happened.”

As the pair moved toward the kitchen, the tenant came to the sudden realization that he would very soon have to leave this point in the flowing stream of time. The moment for him to return to the when he had come from was near, Abax was compelled to acknowledge.

There was no more for him to do in this here-and-now, he recognized with all his mental force and capacity.

As soon as her daughter was placed into the cot she had been using, Optasia began to whisper to the boarder.

“We should have told you what we were up to, Abax. But we kept the truth from you out of a certain mistrust. What might you decide to do in reaction to learning what we were making as secret as we could?

“You see, the ultimate, final source and spring of metapsychic force happened to be my own mind.”

She stopped for several seconds, examining his face and his eyes in order to try to catch whatever effect this might be having upon his emotions.

“In a sense, I acted as the true reservoir for both of my dear daughters,” she continued. “Eventually, I would have informed you of our cooperation in affecting all the operations that you became involved in.

“Whenever any transmission or reception occurred, my added power of mind was the central, primary influence.

“Can you understand and accept what I was doing, without it being announced or known by you?”

The time-traveler nodded his head a single time.

Optasia, feeling a renewed confidence, continued talking.

“I knew from the beginning how much Achne was drawn to you. It was clearly visible to my eyes and thoughts. I perceived that you and she shared a similar attraction to each other.

“But I also came to understand that Thisia had also been attracted to you, as did her sister. Both sisters fell into trances that centered upon you.

“An emotional triangle formed, with you as its core.

“I trembled inside, for I knew from my own experience where such a situation could lead. Let me tell you about the hidden, mysterious secret of our family.

“My late husband had a secret lover whom I found out about. I, of course, raged inside myself with jealous feeling and revulsion. How could I make him feel pain similar to what I did? It seemed to me that there was only one way to do so.

“I decided that I had to overflow and flood his mind with psychic energy when he asked me to act as supply source for him. My brutal intent was to cause a terrible cataclysm and pulsation within my husband’s mind. He had to suffer horrible punishment and learn what it meant to betray my love for him.

“That was my plan for just retribution. He was to receive a painful penalty for his disloyalty to me. That made me feel justified in carrying out a very cruel program against him.

“But my scheme did not work out as I had thought it would.

“An extreme projection of my metapsychic reserves emptied my mind of all my mental strength and capacity.

“I was soon made unable to maintain the pressure of my inner thought. As a result, a gigantic chasm developed inside myself. This grew into a major rip opening up in the envelope around my mental operations.

“A large gap developed between myself and the outside world around on all sides of me.”

She stopped to catch her breath, then continued on.

“Let me put it this way: when my transmission of force suddenly halted due to exhaustion, his inner mind exploded under a storm of signals from all sides and directions. That was what overwhelmed him: waves came from many other points in time. The recent past and the distant past, all at once. It was as if the present had been suspended for the duration of the terrible gap in my transmission. The interruption was very brief in length, only a moment of so. But it placed my husband into permanent catalepsy, from which he died in a short while.

“I lied to my daughters and everyone else, telling them that an unexpected heart stoppage had taken his life.”

At this point, Abax decided he had to say something.

“So, Thisia was attempting to overwhelm her sister through me, flooding her mind with a giant charge of force that would be totally punishing.”

“There was no way for her to know that a gap would result, through which transmission from another time would be certain to strike Achne and destroy her mind.”

Optasia went on to tell him the words that the daughter had said before she blacked out.

“That is the message I myself emitted to my husband at my last linking. It had to hit Achne through the ruptured psychic liquidity.”

“Across and through time!”

“Yes.”

“So, a metapsychic is not a prisoner of the present,” he said with a sigh.

“Such an opening in the world liquid is rare, but it happened to my husband, and today to my older daughter. And I have also lost Thisia, as I did him years ago.”

“Achne will not recover?” he inquired, his body shaking.

“Never,” groaned the mother. “She shall soon be gone for good.”

And I as well, thought the boarder who had traveled from another time.

That night, when his landlady was sound asleep, he had to be returning to the age he had started his journey from. Back to the Milatos where he served as butler to the one who had created him.

He had an important discovery to reveal to Thales, that time did not hold all thoughts firmly fixed and immovable, but was an infinite sea without limiting boundaries or barriers.

VII.

The narration given by Abax of what had happened in the past was long, slow, and detailed.

As the time-traveling andreikelon finished it, Thales appeared occupied with thoughts that absorbed his total attention at the expense of everything else in his mind. His butler could see that he was considering some important, fundamental question and was in a state of absolute concentration on it.

“The area of the metapsychic is extremely wild and uncontrollable,” asserted Thales with equilibrium. “A network of affiliated metapsychics would be difficult to set up and manage. But why should human beings not attempt to make such a system operate with success? Who can today predict what results might be produced by long-distance transmission and reception of thoughts?”

Thales seemed absent for a brief while, but then turned his head and stared directly at Abax, standing in front of his grapheon desk.

“I feel my age advancing in years, my dear Abax. It is now that I must start making provision for when I shall no longer be a living person. Here is what I have decided must be done: I have to teach you how to repair and renovate yourself. There will be a need for periodic overhauls of your fabricated mental mirrors. I am certain you can be trained to carry out these specialized tasks successfully. But my remaining time may turn out to be short, so we have to hurry with the development of your skills and knowledge.”

The andreikelon replied with self-confidence. “I think that I have the potential to accomplish what will become necessary in time,” he declared.

“And you shall at once begin to carry out and continue my explorations for more and new knowledge. It will be up to you to accomplish what I might have myself done, were I immortal.

“Death will inevitably strike me down. But you shall survive indefinitely. An endless duration is possible for a synthetic being like you.

“So, the obligation will rest upon you to advance the growth of knowledge. That is the mission I place upon you for all future, foreseeable time. Study, investigate, and spread knowledge. Never rest in the unending quest for enlightenment. Can you promise me that, Abax?”

“Of course, sir. That shall be my destiny, to carry out what you envision, to expand the area and the boundaries of what is known.”

Thales smiled. “You shall not wear out. A youthful newness shall always characterize you and your nature. I intend to teach you how to create and construct other andreikelons. When the need for them arises in a short while, you will have the knowledge and ability to establish a community of beings like yourself.

“I want you to have a society of partners who will work and cooperate with you. As a large group, andreikelons will be in service to the humans of this world. My people will never be alone. There will be a multitude who resemble you, Abax. They will exist beside all future generations of those like me.”

“That shall be my future, then,” vowed Abax to Thales. “To carry out and fulfill the elevated dreams that arise and exist in your mind, sir.”

“And such high dreams will come to you as well,” murmured the philosopher. “Of that I am thoroughly convinced. Your mission will be to discover the hidden nature of all things, and to figure out how to make practical application of what you find out.

“For example, all that you have uncovered about metapsychic communication can now be given tangible use in the world of Greek city-states and settlement communities.

“As new andreikelons are made and move forward, they should become the basis of a unified messaging system between the Greek inhabitants of a multitude of separate places and locations.

“Your next mission, Abax, will be to draw the world of our time together through an organized network of andreikelons with the most advanced psychic talents and capabilities possible.

“That will become your destiny, dear Abax.”

The Andreikelon Part III. The Metapsychic

30 Jun

I.

The arms of Achne flayed outward. She rocked from side to side. A terrible quaking motion seized hold of her entire body. The shaking activity grew greater every second.

Gaping in alarm, Abax took a step forward toward her.

Is this eruption a necessary part of the transmission? he asked himself.

In a fraction of a moment, Achne fell to the ground in a swoon.

He rushed forward to where she lay, bending down and taking hold of the psychic’s body. With an intense effort, the andreikelon lifted her from the ground.

“Are you awake?” he asked in terror.

Her green eyes opened wide, as if awakening from a long, unnatural sleep of unusual length and depth.

“The transmission has been completed,” she pronounced from inside her throat. “We can now return home. Our task here is finished.”

He helped her rise to her feet, then held her delicate body upright with both his strong, sinewy arms.

“How do you feel now?” he softly inquired.

“I lost my equilibrium,” explained Achne, still breathing quickly.

“The exertion that I had to make in my mind overwhelmed my while body, so that my head spun with dizziness and disorientation. But at present my balance is returning and I am again in full control. You can let me stand on my own, if you wish, Abax.”

He removed one hand, then the other.

The metapsychic leaned forward, then steadied herself. First her right foot advanced a little, then the left one.

“I believe I can walk by myself,” she asserted with confidence.

Each step by her grew stronger. The traveler, close behind, followed as she descended the grassy hillock. Soon they reached the familiar street that traversed the open farmers’ market.

Achne turned her head back and spoke to Abax.

“You shall now learn the scope of my mind’s power,” she boasted, a smile of triumph on her pale lips.

But as she turned her head forward again, her torso suddenly lurched to the left.

Fearing that she might take a tumble, Abax hurried forward, extending his right arm to her.

“Take hold of me, Achne, so I can provide you support.”

Glancing into his face, she did just that.

The pair proceeded on to the family cottage. Achne continued leaning on the arm of the stranger who had entered their life as a boarder.

Optasia approached with motherly concern on her dark face, leaving the younger daughter sitting on the wooden arbor bench.

“Achne!” she cried out. “What has happened to you?”

The tenant, supporting his companion with his left arm, aided her weak, wobbly steps toward her anxious mother.

The two walked on slowly, carefully.

“I allowed my waves out too soon, too rapidly,” moaned Achne in a faint, disappointed voice. “The strain on my body was just too great.”

Optasia turned to Abax and spoke directly to him.

“Take her into the parlor,” the mother commanded. “The girl must lie down and restore her strength.”

The traveler led Achne into the cottage through the front door. Optasia accompanied immediately behind them. Thisia entered last.

As soon as the exhausted metapsychic lay down on the pallet that Abax had been using, she closed her eyes tightly shut. The other three stood about her, quietly watching her breath.

Finally, Achne opened her eyes and looked about with evident surprise, as if waking from a long, deep sleep.

“What happened?” she gulped. “Oh!, I remember now. The discharge emptied me of all the energy I had stored up. It all occurred too fast for you to be able to replenish me, mother.”

All of a sudden, Achne stopped and turned her eyes on Abax, as if checking to see how he was reacting to the secret she had allowed to slip out.

Optasia then turned to him and spoke.

“My daughter just referred to how one metapsychic operator can supply support to another. That is what I was doing for her today, though you did not know of it until now. My transmission of force was only intended to strengthen Achne for the gigantic strain that she faced. My plan was to inform you about what we were doing once you saw for yourself how much Achne is capable of accomplishing as a communicator.”

Abax stared blankly at the mother.

“You were sending energy to her?”

“Yes, I was the spring, the source of the extra power that she needed to transmit at such a distance. My own mind was sending a large amount of force to her as she was transmitting thoughts to Thisia.”

All at once, the latter broke in.

“I received my sister’s message with ease,” she said with pride. “Shall I give it to you now?”

Her mother nodded for her to go on and do so.

“The mind is vaster in dimensions than the extent of the heavens,” recited Thisia in a loud, ringing tone.

Abax turned to Achne, lying on the floor pallet.

“You transmitted as you said you would.” His eyes turned to the mother. “With the generous assistance of this magnificent spring of power, your mother.”

Upon hearing this, Optasia grinned with satisfaction.

“Let us leave for now, so that Achne can rest in perfect quiet,” she proposed. “We can talk all of this over behind the cottage, out in the open.”

The mother sat beside Abax on the arbor bench, while Thisia stayed inside with her slumbering sister.

“I do not know whether my mind possesses sufficient capacity, but I would like to test my mental potential, madam,” said the tenant to his landlady in a humble, beseeching voice.

“You can never know that for sure unless you attempt to send and receive messages,” she murmured in a low, even tone. “I suppose that you have seen and know many of the methods applied by Achne in what she carried out today.”

“The skill, then, is not wholly an inherited quality?” he inquired of her.

The eyes of Optasia became clouded, as if filled with a mist.

“All of us were born part of the great liquid enormity called the cosmos. That is where our existence is: in a sea of never-changing flux. But only a few ever connect themselves through thought to any other of the entities. The possibilities of metapsychic life remain forever undiscovered, unused by most persons who come to life.”

“How can I learn to send and receive messages?” he asked her with excitement. “That is what I aspire to achieve with all my being.”

The widow appeared to look away for a moment or so, then stared at him directly and intently.

“You must begin with simple, easy exercises, Abax. The distance will be short at first, but then grow greater each time. My daughters will help you progress and improve as fast as you can develop your capability.

“Whatever natural potential you have will be enlarged and enhanced. We know how to accomplish that, but the main effort will have to remain yours.”

“Good!” jubilantly said the boarder. “When can I start?”

“As soon as Achne has fully recovered. She will accompany you and serve as your immediate source.”

“My source of mental force and energy?”

“Yes. Just as I supply her mind, she shall likewise furnish yours. That will facilitate your success.”

“And Thisia?” he asked her.

“She will continue as the receiver, taking in whatever is transmitted from a distance.”

Abax smiled broadly. “All is settled, then.”

Optasia bent forward, lowering her voice to a whisper.

“I beg you to be careful and not overtax the metapsychic supply or capacity of Achne. This work must never become burdensome or stressful for her.”

“I promise to exercise moderation and reason,” swore the andreikelon. “There shall be no excessive strain on either of your daughters.”

“Good.” she concluded with a smile of solid satisfaction.

The two of them sat in silence for a considerable time.

After a long empty interlude, Thisia appeared from the rear door of the cottage and approached them.

“Achne is now awake and says she is hungry to eat,” she called out to her mother.

Optasia rose to her feet and headed toward the cottage. Abax decided to do the same.

II.

Success came immediately to the andreikelon.

The next morning, Achne took Abax to the open produce market from where he sent a mental message of only three words to Thisia, sitting and waiting behind her family’s cottage. The transmission proved to have been correctly received by the younger sister.

As soon as Abax and Achne returned home, they found out that the boarder had proven that he possessed the potential that could be trained and developed.

The lunch shared with the three women of the family was a happy occasion. Optasia, Thisia, and Achne congratulated their tenant on his initial victory in the field of metapsychic communication.

The following morning, Abax and Achne agreed to climb the hillock beyond the produce market and attempt a longer, more complex test of his powers from that higher point.

“This is where you witnessed me sending out my thoughts,” laughed Achne once the pair reached the elevation. “Today, it will be your task to do the same, Abax.”

He grinned at her. “Yes, I am ready to attempt transmitting three whole sentences down to your sister outside the cottage. My hope, of course, is that everything goes well and that I make the right mental connection to Thisia, who is waiting and expecting my thoughts to reach her mind.”

“I am confident that you have the ability of mind to complete this task, Abax.”

The latter’s eyes shone with emotion. “I make you and your family a pledge. If everything proceeds as we plan, I shall purchase a large ornitheon for all of us to roast and enjoy for our evening meal later today, when we return home.

“What do you say to that, Achne? Is a roasted chicken a good prize to look ahead to?”

“It certainly is!” she told him with evident feeling. “You will accomplish much more in coming days, I predict.

“I foresee you surpassing all of us. Just wait and see.”

The pair exchanged encouraging looks of confidence and mutual trust.

It took only several minutes for Abax to concentrate his thoughts on the elongated message he had formulated for this transmission.

As soon as he completed his projection of ideas, he turned to Achne and spoke to her.

“Shall we start to return now?” he asked her.

“Yes, I could see that you labored with enormous exertion and concentration, Abax. You must be exhausted, both psychically and mentally from the colossal effort it took you to transmit your thoughts.

“If you are ready, we shall start climbing down at once.”

“You have been an astounding guide and advisor to me, Achne,” he told her in a warm tone. “Anything that I accomplished today was due to the assistance that you provided me, especially in terms of the waves of energy that I felt coming into my mind from yours.

“I thank you, and will forever be grateful and thankful for your aid this day.”

Achne seemed to be on the verge of saying something in return to the emotion he was showing to her, but instead restrained herself. She was too uncertain to attempt expressing anything she had not considered or thought out. It was easier to keep her words to herself.

The two climbed down to the farmers’ market, where Abax purchased a large chicken with the coins that he continued to carry.

“Mother and Thisia will be happy and surprised at what you are bringing home with you,” said Achne merrily. “But perhaps you are spending too much and need to watch your money, as we have to do.”

“I have enough for such expenses,” he muttered. “No need to worry about that.”

As they approached the cottage, Thisia was visible emerging from the back door. She ran toward her sister and their boarder, shouting out to both of them.

“It was a marvelous success, because I received an entire message of three entire sentences,” happily called out the younger sister.

The three females worked in the cottage kitchen preparing the chicken and other dishes for the planned celebration of their tenant’s spectacular success that day.

As the sun set over Miletos harbor, the foursome began their meal in the kitchen, finishing outside behind the cottage on stools brought out for the evening.

This was where Abax laid out his plans for the days ahead.

“I am interested in whether metapsychic communication is affected by altitude in any way,” he stated to the others. “What is the nearest mountain to the city of Miletos? I ask myself. Could it be used to find out the answer to this question that bothers me?”

Optasia was the one who answered him. “Mt. Hypsoma, which lies to the east of us,” she confidently told him.

“Is it hard to climb?” he inquired, already confident about the subject.

“Not at all,” said the widow. “Not at all. Many Miletians take a pathway that rises up to the summit. It is a well-worn trail and not too steep in any section, I have been told.

“Why is it that you ask?” she said, staring at her boarder.

Abax turned to Achne, sitting beside her mother.

“Would you be willing to accompany me to the top of that mountain?” he asked her. “I would like to transmit my thoughts from the peak, to find out whether increased height affects such an operation in any way. My plan is to send a message aimed at this particular spot, close to the cottage. It would occur at a particular hour, at noon, for instance.

“What do you think of my idea, Achne?”

“I am perfectly ready to act as your supporting assistant, Abax,” she informed him with enthusiasm in her green eyes. “Yes, it will be a very hopeful project for me to be a part of.”

“It will be a tough, trying task for both of you,” noted the mother, Optasia. “I think that all of us should go in for sleep and rest early this evening. The plan that you pictured for us will be a demanding one, no doubt about that.

“You will both need all your strength and energy for such a major task.”

Thisia had said not a word about what had been described and outlined by the traveler who had come from some distant place.

Abax, a being that never experienced anything resembling what was called sleep, thought about and planned his coming adventure all that night.

III.

Bushes, brambles, thickets, and grassy weeds grew thinner as the mountain path ascended. The track that the two followed became narrower and fainter as they progressed toward the peak.

Abax carried a small shoulder pack of cloth that contained some bread and cheese for the hikers.

Neither of them said anything for a considerable time as they walked. The sun rose and filled the valley below them with bright yellowish light.

Only when they reached a ledge looking down over Miletos did Achne propose that they stop for a short rest.

Both of them sat down on a large white cliff of puregenic rock.

In the distance, the city and its harbor lay spread close to the blue white Aegean. Abax removed the knapsack he had been carrying, offering food to his companion in the climb.

“I am not hungry yet,” she responded. “It is best we get to the summit as soon as we can. My sister will be awaiting the message that you transmit down to her.”

“But let us rest at least a little,” gently said the andreikelon. “We must both preserve as much energy and strength as we can, so that our minds will be free to perform properly at the right moment, which should be as close to noon as we can make it.”

“Have you decided what will be in the message that you shall be sending today?” she inquired.

He considered a moment, then replied.

“I am thinking about what is to be in the future, Achne. The city of Miletos already has several dozen colonies about the Aegean and the Euxine seas. What if, some coming day, they were mentally connected with channels of metapsychic thought? What if there were professional adepts acting as senders and receivers in all these many, separated places around the seas?

“Our colonial system would not have to depend upon only sea vessels for connections. All the many settlements would remain in close contact with their sister cities and colonies, as well as the central hub of Miletos.

“Likewise, all the towns of Ionia would be in constant, uninterrupted communication. And this could some day be extended to all the Greek communities and states, or even to the entire world!”

His hazel eyes grew large as he contemplated the fantastic theme of universal interconnection through psychic thought.

“Do you believe it could be so?” asked Achne, suddenly breathless with excitement.

Abax gazed searchingly into her lively green eyes.

“Why not, my friend? Look how far we have already advanced, you and I, in this business of thought transmission. You have added your mental power to mine, so that I was able to enlarge my scope far beyond anything already present within me.

“I sense that what has so far been attained is only the beginning. That is why I plan an entire series of attempts at exploring the possibilities of our two minds working together, Achne.

“I want to find out how far my transmissions and sendings can reach, and what sort of conditions are most favorable and conducive to success.

“All this will be important for discovering what can happen in future times. Think of the consequences for all the many nations, countries, groups, and individual persons if they can be tied together by thought! Everyone everywhere will enjoy a multiplication of what is possible for them to accomplish.”

Achne seemed, for an instant, to shake and shiver at the dimensions of the ideas forming within his mind.

The two of them finished eating and Abax rose to his feet.

“There is no time to lose,” he reminded Achne. “We must reach the summit by noon.”

Abax placed the pack back onto his shoulders and took the lead on the path taking them upward. Vegetation grew rarer, rocks became larger and more numerous. Burning light rays fell from the sun-drenched sky. The steepness of the mountain’s ridges grew greater and greater.

Hearts beat faster in both climbers.

The andreikelon felt thundering pulsation with his synthetic, modified heart inherited from an Egyptian conoptic jar.

Hammering pulsation sounded in his ears. His muscles and nerves grew tense.

Movement became labored for both trekkers as their breathing quickened.

Above and ahead loomed the rocky crown of Mt. Hypsoma.

A final, desperate rush took them to the rounded, flat summit.

“See, it was not beyond our abilities to attain this high point!” rejoiced Abax. “We are now at the height that we gazed up at. Look down and see all of Miletos spread out as if on a sheet of papyrus. The city and the harbor appear like a miniature micrographia, a place where tiny insects dwell, not human beings.”

Achne positioned herself so as to view the panoramic scene below.

“The view is incredible!” she declared with glee. “It is as if Miletos is ethereal and unreal.”

Her companion leaned closer, suddenly taking her hand between his two.

“When we consider how ephemeral time is, Achne, all that may exist becomes temporary and superficial. Everything everywhere is impermanent.”

At that moment, a sense of the insignificance of the present moment came into his mind.

The future was endless, Abax realized as the fluid of life surged through his organs and inner channels. Every cellular unit within him became energized by an unprecedented, unfamiliar emotion rising in him.

The traveler from another time sensed an unidentified impulse throb through his assembled physical body.

Abax had from the beginning known and recognized that he lacked the capability to procreate like a natural human. Yet he felt a primitive urge originating in his body’s sarx, reflected in what was passing simultaneously through his mirror-like mind.

Nothing more than that, a mere impulse, but not possible to ignore or deny.

This invisible force was powerful enough to inspire the emotion of love that he now came to possess toward his climbing partner, Achne.

He thought to himself: the mind of Thales built into me the ability to perceive, understand, and share human passion. I am now creating within my thoughts what a man might also think and feel.

For a short while, the two looked at each other closely, both of them lying and resting in the summit grass.

Abax was first to speak, ending the long period of thought shared by both.

“Your sister will be expecting the message we are to send her,” he said in a subdued, calm tone. “Should we now proceed and complete the transmission that she is waiting to receive?”

Achne roused herself, sitting upright. “I am ready to act as your reservoir of additional mental power. You can start to transmit the moment you feel prepared for the effort.”

The traveler rose to his feet and faced down toward the city and the harbor. He did not see Achne now, but felt her presence near himself.

His mind concentrated its attention on the words of his message, slowly going over them one-by-one, sentence by sentence.

Abax felt the wave coming into him from her mind. It was increasing the force within himself, supplying more for his own approaching transmission outward.

In seconds, the task was accomplished. Both of them knew and recognized the deed had been finished. Mental tension declined rapidly in both minds.

Abax abruptly pivoted around, again facing Achne.

“Let us return home and find out what the result was,” he suggested to her.

Achne gave a nod, then followed behind him without a word.

An unexpected breeze from the seaside coast far below brought cooling relief to the two descending hikers. Both of them were anxious to receive confirmation of what they trusted they had achieved that day.

Abax descended the path with quick, lively steps, knowing that there was someone immediately behind, following his example.

Far below, the white marble of the city’s acropolis shone with a sharp glisten. Ships and boats plied the waters of Lions’ Bay in a variety of different directions.

Soon the two of us will be back at the poor, small cottage once again, the andreikelon told himself. I am certain that we shall be rejoicing at another successful transmission, his thoughts concluded.

All at once, Abax heard an unexpected, intrusive sound.

In the moment it took him to stop and turn about, he realized what the noise had been

An accidental stumble, a misstep, had brought Achne down to the ground.

Having fallen off the pathway, she lay prone at the bottom of a tiny gorge.

The sudden fall had caused her to roll down a rocky ravine, badly scraping the skin of her right leg.

He climbed down hurriedly to the fold she lay in, injured and obviously helpless.

“Achne!” he shouted in panic as he carefully made his way down to her. “How did this happen to you?”

As he descended to where she lay, an explanation came forth out of her mouth.

“Somehow, I lost my footing and balance on the path. I stumbled and my right ankle twisted about. It hurts me badly.”

She leaned forward and rubbed the injured limb where it had been damaged.

“Do you feel a lot of pain?” he anxiously asked, stooping beside her sprawled out body. “Tell me if you have any feeling around the area you fell on.”

Her green eyes revealed desperate discomfort resulting from the trauma of the fall and then the injury.

“I am afraid to try to move my right leg,” she suddenly moaned. “The pain is horrible. I have never had such a torturing feeling in my body.”

“It is excruciating?” asked Abax, looking down at the injured leg.

“Incredible,” she said with a grimace of pain. “It is impossible for me to stand it much longer. Every time I try to move, it feels as if someone is pulling apart all my bones and muscles. Every nerve and muscle in me is being torn to pieces. I don’t know how long I can stand anything like this.”
that
He knelled over her lower legs, staring at them with careful focus and intense attention.

“Do not try to move, Achne,” he directed her. “I must examine how badly your right ankle may be twisted. It will only be a quick look to calculate how badly damaged area is.”

With both his hands, he felt along her thin, smooth ankle. An unusual, surprising warmth became evident to him instantly, giving him a clear idea of the seriousness of her injury.

“Your skin is hot and swollen,” he solemnly announced to Achne. “I must get you home as soon as possible. That is our highest priority, at this moment.”

“I cannot walk, Abax,” she said with alarm. “That was plain to me from the moment I fell. And it would be too difficult for you to carry me down this steep mountain trail. So, should we try to send for help from others?

“My position here is a very awkward one, I can see that with my own eyes. A mental message cannot be transmitted from this low on the ground, when a sender is lying prone like I am. No, any words have to be sent out by you.”

“By me?” exclaimed the shaken andreikelon. “I doubt whether I yet have the skill or knowledge for anything like that. Do I dare make such a call for assistance on my own, Achne?”

“Yes, you do,” she asserted. “I know you have the talent to carry that out. Right now, we must make a test of your capability. Do not be too concerned about immediate success. I can still provide mental force and support to you.

“But it is you who must make an immediate transmission to my sister, Thisia. Do not be afraid to attempt it. I know that you can reach her and give the needed message. My sister and my mother must be told what has happened to me. They are able to summon some of our neighbors who live close by our cottage. They will certainly be willing to come and rescue me.

“Will you try to reach my sister, Abax?”

“Of course,” whispered the time-traveler.

Achne instructed him where and how to stand, on a craggy cliff overlooking the city far below.

She ordered him to concentrate his mind on a specific sentence calling for help for a serious injury that needed immediate medical care.

“Have no concern, Abax, for I am an experienced operator with a lot of metapsychic strength and power. Yet your mind rest and lean upon mind. I will serve you as a reservoir and spring. The combined metadosis that we create together will a loud, clear signal, one that will reach Thisia and my mother, both of them, whatever they may be doing at the time.

“You have to relax and allow me to enter through your ears, to your inner mind. We shall add together our energies into a single, magnified mental wave.”

Their mighty joint effort took them only a few moments of time to organize.

Within seconds, Achne stopped her agonized effort with abruptness,

“That should be sufficient,” she murmured to her partner. “I can tell that the message has been received and understood.”

Abax swiftly turned around to her with astonishment. “How can you know?” he asked her in puzzlement.

She suddenly smiled. “Mother has signaled me to stay where I am. You see, she is a master in mental communication. As soon as Thisia obtained your message, mother herself intercepted it and started to transmit back. She now assures me that help will come to us in a very short time.”

The newest metapsychic took hold of her right hand. “We must be patient and await them,” he told her with unconcealed tenderness.

In time, two men from the neighborhood where Optasia and her daughters lived appeared from below. They carried a small litter made of canvass and wood. They put it down next to Achne and lifted her onto it.

As the two neighbors transported her in their improvised litter, Abax followed close behind, his eyes fixed on the injured metapsychic who appeared to have a bewitching influence on the emotions in his mind.

IV.

Optasia ordered the wounded one placed on a cot in her daughters’ sleeping room. She then proceeded to treat the twisted ankle with salves and ointments that she was familiar with and kept hold of for such occasions.

The boarder, exhausted and overwhelmed, followed Thisia into the kitchen where she had prepared some food for the returning hikers.

“She will get better now that she is under mother’s care,” said the younger sister, pouring him a cup of red-black wine kept in a gigantic jug.

Abax sat down at the table and took his first drink from the cup.

All of a sudden, he recalled something important to him.

“The message that we sent from the mountain, Thisia. Did you receive the words that your sister and I were transmitting from up there?”

“Of course,” she replied. “But it was not at all what I would expect from her. It was so unusual an strange.”

Her face seemed to darken into a threatening thundercloud.

Abax studied her, then spoke as gently as he could.

“What was it that Achne said to you from her inner mind?” he carefully inquired.

Overcoming her hesitation, Thisia went on to tell him that.

“My sister described the marvelous speed of divine Eros. How his arrows travel faster than a ray of light. She said that even the ceryx of Zeus or the winged feet of Hermes were not as swift as Eros. Her words came to me fast and were hard for me to follow. I never expected such a message from Achne. It was strange and unfamiliar. Mother was also greatly surprised by the thoughts that were being sent to us.”

“So, your mother was also receiving this message, along with you,” surmised Abax.

“Yes. It startled her more than anything I have ever seen before. There was nothing beyond this adoring hymn to Eros. Hoe great and encompassing is his mighty power. I recall how she ended this unusual message. It made me shake with fear for my sister and her future. She was speaking and thinking like some mad oracle, I thought.”

“What did she say?” excitedly asked Abax.

It was at that precise instant that Optasia entered the kitchen where the two were talking. She appeared to know immediately what it was that the pair were discussing.

The mother approached and halted next to the boarder, her eyes fixed on Thisia.

“Your sister is resting peacefully and should doze off soon.” She turned her head and spoke directly to their tenant. “You have found out what came to us in the process of Achne’s transmission?”

“All but the concluding words at the end,” he replied, looking at Optasia.

The mother’s face grew severe as she frowned.

“She referred to Eros, the god. Out of all the divine children that came forth out of the early, primal chaos and void, he was the first and the most wonderful one of all. He was different in nature and character from all the other gods and goddesses who were born. Eros outdid them all, in a mysterious way. His power was, in the deepest sense, the mightiest. That is what Achne was thinking and communicating through her mind. Those were the mad words transmitted by my older daughter.

“But please excuse me.” She stepped away from Abax and the table. “I must go back to see if she has fallen asleep yet. She has drained herself of much of her metapsychic capacity today.”

It became impossible for Abax to stay away from Achne.

He felt enormously distant from her, though she happened to be in the adjoining room of the small cottage.

Only in the early evening, when Optasia and Thisia sat together on the arbor bench behind the building, watching the sun set, did an opportunity present itself to talk with Achne alone.

He silently slipped into the rear hypnoterion where she lay on the cloth blankets and sheets of a low cot. Was she awake or asleep? he wondered.

Achne was aware of him tiptoeing toward her.

“No need to walk so slowly,” she said, startling him. “I am lying here in thought, remembering all that happened today.”

Abax stepped up to the cot, studying her in the dim light of gathering dusk. Her honey-colored hair appeared darker now. Her green eyes had the sharp glimmer of pure emeralds.

“I am much better than when I first arrived home,” she volunteered before he could inquire. “The trauma has lessened considerably. Perhaps, though, I have only grown more accustomed to the constant throbbing deep inside me.”

He gazed down at her in silence. Their two stares fused into an emotional harmony engulfing both of them.

“I am sorry if there was any shock to you,” he whispered, his voice full of guilt and contrition.

All at once, her right arm rose from under the woolen blanket that covered her body. The hand that moved toward him shook and fluttered like a delicate petaloida butterfly caught in a merciless wind.

He bent forward, as if reaching for a flickering, entrancing vision.

Hand met hand. His took hold of and enveloped hers.

Achne no longer trembled.

“You must trust me not to betray you,” he murmured reassuringly. “My feeling for you is sincere and true, it is constant. Have no doubt about it.”

The two hands clutched each other tightly.

Tactile communication occurred between her and the andreikelon.

“I did not know before that this was possible for me,” confessed Abax. “My regard for you came without warning or preparation of any sort.”

“It was the same for me. I never anticipated anything like what I feel now.”

Abax leaned toward her arm, at the same time bringing her hand toward himself. He gently kissed the middle of her palm, then raised his head.

Eyes studied eyes for a short time.

Achne, drawing back her hand and resting it on the blanket, expressed a thought that had captured hold of her mind.

“I knew that you possess the talent. It will have to be trained and nurtured. I will do all I can to help you. So will mother and Thisia. Our effort must begin immediately. We must not waste a moment of time.”

“But you have to conserve your energy and rest for now, my dear one,” he commanded her. “There must be no overexertion. Recovery comes first for you.”

She thought deeply, furrowing her pale brow.

“Even though I lay here for now, we can still do something. I have been thinking about how to advance your development into an adept metapsychic.”

“How will we go about it, you and I?” he asked with curiosity.

“You will be transmitting from growing distances. I will act as receiver who takes in your messages. It makes no difference that I must stay indoors for some time. Metadotic waves like ours can travel through solid walls. No material can stop them. The forces of the mind traverse every substance or entity, spreading out from their source through the universal fluid that is everywhere.

“Your emissions will arrive here where I am in a perfectly straight line. The mind’s waves will penetrate through any intervening object between the two of us. It is as if all the world were a transparent diaphaneia, as immaterial as the invisible ether that exists everywhere.”

“Your ideas are enchanting,” he told her in a spirited manner. “Just imagine: we are living in a liquid world that flows like air, lighter than anything we can see or touch.”

“But that happens to be the truth,” insisted Achne with determination. “The worlds in the skies have the same euroia nature as we ourselves do. All of it is a flowing, changing fluid. Remember that, Abax, as you go through the days to come. Everything about us is as impermanent and immaterial as thoughts are.”

“I will remember all that you have just told me,” he promised as he leaned down to kiss her cheek, pale and chapped from the ordeal of the day.

but
V.

The next morning Optasia took charge of the project of making her tenant into a skilled metapsychic.

Over breakfast she described her plan to him.

“It would not be safe or practical to have you wander about Miletos by yourself. No, there must be someone with you as guide to see to it that all goes as it should. I myself shall stay here with Achne, but Thisia can accompany you and act as spring source for your transmissions back here.”

Across the table from her, the time-traveler gave a visible start.

“I will need support from another?” he frowned.

The mother gave him a smile full of self-confidence.

“My younger daughter can be an effective reservoir of mental force for you. I know how much metapsychic strength Thesis possesses within her inner mind, at the center of her identity. It is extremely great, and she knows how to mobilize it.”

At that moment, the dark-complected brunette entered the kitchen from the front parlor where she had been cleaning and straightening up things.

“Come and sit down, dear,” called out her mother. “We have to discuss how our guest is to become a fully developed psychic eidemon.

Abax noticed a touch of red on the young woman’s lower face. Why should she be showing such embarrassment? he wondered. There is nothing to be embarrassed at, is there?

Thisia took a chair where she did not have to look directly at the boarder. She turned away from her mother as well.

Optasia proceeded to describe what was to be done that morning.

The two of them, Abax and Thisia, were to go to an open pavilion a short distance from the farmers’ market. From the hypostegon of that structure, an attempt at transmission by him would be made. This was to occur when no one else was close or around to observe what the pair were doing.

As soon as Optasia was finished explaining what she planned, the mother turned to Thisia.

“Are you ready to be his energy source, my child?” she asked her.

“I am prepared to try,” answered the daughter, gazing across the table at their cottage guest.

All at once, the latter sprang to his feet.

“We will start, then. But first I must say something to Achne.”

The mother and daughter watched as he headed out of the kitchen, into the parlor, then the sleeping room where the injured sister lay on her cot.

VI.

Thisia walked beside him in silence that was broken when Abax turned and addressed her.

“I sense a hesitation in you to assist me in this exercise,” he bluntly said, looking at her profile. She continued looking ahead, avoiding looking into his face.

“No, that is not so. There is no reluctance at all on my part. It is more a fear of sorts that I feel inside myself.”

The traveler stared at her from the side as they both slowed their pace.

“Fear? Why should you have any such feeling, Thisia?”

The latter halted, as did her companion. She turned and stared at him as she addressed him.

“It is perhaps more anxiety than fear, I think.”

“Produced by this exercise of ours?” he inquired.

“Yes,” she replied with a nod. “I want this to be successful and believe I am anxious about what the outcome will be.”

“We shall together make it work,” he calmly told her. “Let us proceed with mutual, shared confidence, Thisia.”

“Yes, I agree. It is important for us to maintain the hope that you and I can achieve positive success in what we are about to carry out.”

The pair started walking forward once more. In a little while, they reached the market that Abax had previously visited with Achne. It was only a short distance further to the covered pavilion where Miletians came in the evening for leisure and relaxation.

The pavilion was vacant at that hour in the morning.

“We have the place all to ourselves,” said the andreikelon as the pair climbed up onto the stone patoma of the open structure. Three thick columns on each of the four sides held up the overarching roof that sheltered the area overhead.

Thisia pointed to a spot on the edge, halfway between two of the pillars.

“That is where you should stand,” she said, “facing back toward our cottage.”

“And where will you be placing yourself?” he asked his companion.

“Right behind you, at the exact center of the pavilion’s oikodome.”

“I shall not be looking at you, then, at the moment when transmission begins?”

“That is correct, Abax. Your mind must be focused upon the words that you wish to send forth. But I will be augmenting, supporting, and strengthening your mental force and energy. This reinforcing task is quite common and usual in mental communications. When Achne and I first began as small children, mother always stood beside us as our source and spring. And she still serves as our back-up whenever necessary.”

“What can I do to concentrate and direct the energy I will receive from you, Thisia?” he demanded to know.

She stopped and looked calmly into his hazel eyes.

“Communication between minds is primarily a matter of force of will, of inner strength and resolve. One must want to send thoughts with all of one’s selfhood and being.”

“That is the fundamental factor, then?” he asked her.

“You must center all the power of your mind upon one single idea, one euche, the supreme wish to convey certain words to the person waiting for them. Have you decided what you are going to say, Abax?”

He nodded yes, but did not inform her what his message was going to be.

All of a sudden, she realized that he meant to tell Achne something intimate and personal, though masked and disguised.

She did not dare to inquire any further.

“We must now begin,” muttered the young woman. “Do not speak aloud till the entire transmission is finished.”

“How will I know that moment, Thisia?”

“When I tell you that my sister has received the message, you can then turn yourself around and face me.”

The apprentice metapsychic looked forth over the bright red ceramic tiles of the roofs below the high pavilion. His mind reached out to the injured young woman with the bright green eyes. Could his mind bridge the distance that separated them?

All of a sudden, Abax experienced an explosive boom within his brain of mirrors. A flood, a plemmira of mental energy surged into him, overflowing and submerging the boundaries of his mind, spreading into all its reaches.

Thisia has to be the cause of this cataclysm within me, he instantly realized.

A hammering pulsation took firm hold of him as he began to transmit a message to Achne.

“Absolute patience will bring blissful peace and harmony,” were his initial words at the start of the transmission.

He repeated them over and over, till the emptying eccenesis from his mind rose and rose, exhausting Abax.

It was at the final moment of his transmission that Thisia spoke to him.

“You must rest now,” she told him in a measured tone. “My sister has by now received your message and knows what it is.”

Optisia and her older daughter were not inside the cottage when the walkers returned.

Thisia had supposed they might be in the area behind the building. There the two of them sat on the small thranion situated there.

As he approached the two women, the younger sister at his side, Abax wondered how Achne had made her way out here with an injured ankle. But then he spotted a large wooden crutch beside the stone bench she sat on.sunny

“While the two of you were gone, a neighbor brought these for me to use,” said the seated sister. “I could not just lie on the cot, stiff and motionless. It is not in my character to remain inert. So, I decided to use the crutch to make it outside here.”

“I did not consider it wise for her to be moving about,” interrupted the mother, “but Achne was too insistent for me to resist her wishes. So, I relented and helped her come out into the fresh air and sunny brightness.”

All at once, Abax remembered the experimental test he had been engaged in.

“Were you able to make contact with the transmission message that we sent out?” he asked. “Did my words make it to your minds?”

“Yes,” joyously beamed Achne. “I was well seated and settled out here when your message arrived. The transmission was full and clear. I can repeat every single word of it.”

A faint blush of red appeared about her mouth as she recited the message.

“From out of chaos, the empty void, there came many strange children. The first and most wonderful was Eros, who was different from all the others. Eros outlived all the others, and he still survives as the most important of all the divine powers.”

She stopped, averting her eyes from the boarder.

An uneasy, painful silence ensued several seconds. It was, surprisingly, broken by the voice of Thisia.

“The gods of old are now of no significance to us. Once they may have had some importance, but not to those alive today. Who is there that any longer believes in such fantasies and fables from long ago?”

All eyes centered on the dark-haired woman. No one said anything to contradict her.

Finally, Abax changed the subject under consideration.

“So far, we have attained what we intended to. But, as all of you know, my ambition is to build a system of metapsychic communication among all the farflung colonies of Miletos. I dream of seeing each and every settlement connected to the mother-city in one unbreakable web of mental waves.

“What occurred today convinces me that is possible.

“We shall look for operatives to be trained in all the many cities that fall into the family of Miletos. All who have their origins from this place shall never forget their allegiance to this city once there exists such a strong web of thought.”

“How can such a grand, enlarged scheme by fulfilled?” asked Optasia, perplexity and disorientation in her dark, brooding eyes.

A smile of confidence crossed the impassive, emotionless face of Abax.

“First of all, we must make a series of tests of metapsychic transmission that crosses water. I intend to start on that tomorrow, out on Lion’s Bay.”

“How will you obtain a boat so you can move around on the gulf?” asked Achne.

Abax looked kindly into the face of the young woman. “I plan to hire from a mariner who will agree to pilot it where I wish to go.”

“That would be costly, I imagine,” interjected Optasia.

The boarder turned to her. “I am willing to pay whatever it takes and can well afford to. In fact, renting a boat would be a convenient introduction for me to people about the bay. I plan to meet possible candidates to the metapsychic corps that will be needed in the future if this is successful in Miletos. After all, who travels to and knows the colonial outposts of this city as well as its sailors and navigators, its pilots and sea merchants?”

Achne expressed her fears and doubts. “Convincing and recruiting men of such tough, hard-skinned character will not at all prove easy. Those who sail forth in ships are not known for friendliness or openness toward strangers, not at all.”

Abax bit his lower lip. “I must go down to the harbor at once to look about and find someone willing to help me.”

“I could go along and help you,” volunteered Thisia.

“Yes,” agreed her mother. “Let her assist you to find an experienced pilot, Abax.”

The latter accepted the suggestion and soon left for the port section with the younger daughter.

The Andreikelon Part II. Time Traveler

25 Jun

I.

Thales chose to call the creature put together by the Greek artisans of Naucratis by the term of andreikelon, a doll-like replica of a genuine human being. He also decided on the personal name of this particular being.

“I name our new companion Abax, because his constructed mind will give him the capacity to count, figure, and calculate, like an accountant’s abacus.”

Thales took personal charge of training and teaching it how to move, act, and function. He began by helping it learn how to use its hands and legs. Soon Abax was able to walk in a normal manner. Soon it was holding objects in its hands, then running with speed. Body equilibrium and balanced posture were attained with practice.

Word by word, sentence by sentence, the new being learned to speak, first Greek and then Egyptian. Constant play and exercise taught it how to make use of its limbs and organs.

“Your name is Abax,” said the Milesian over and over, till the creature obtained a dim but growing sense of identity.

Much time was spent perfecting basic skills, as if a child was being raised and trained.

Thales explained to Abax how it had been constructed by human craftsmen there in Naucratis.

The assembled one became curious about another matter. “How was it that persons like you came to be?” it asked the man who had led its design and construction.

“Many of us Greeks attribute our existence to the immortal Prometheus, the son of the Titan named Iapotes. That brash young demigod possessed greater wisdom, knowledge, and foresight than any of the Great Gods of Mt. Olympus.

“To the Great Gods, this world seemed perfect and complete. But to the all-seeing, all-knowing Prometheus there was something important that was missing. There was no supreme creature designed and suited to be master of the earth below the upper heavens.

“Therefore, Prometheus took clay suspended in the upper atmosphere and mixed it with the life-giving waters on the earth. He worked long and hard on this clay, making it into a shape similar to that of the Olympian gods.

“On the earth, all the animals walked with their heads down, looking at the ground below. Only the newly-made human beings walked erect, gazing upward at heaven and the sky.”

THales gave Abax a tender look of sympathy and understanding.

“Someday, I will tell you how Prometheus gave the gift of fire and knowledge of how to make and use it to his human creatures.”

The philosopher realized that he was presenting his pupil with a lot to digest and understand.

Thales started to take Abax about the various parts of the city, then beyond Naucratis, on long walking expeditions so that the andreikelon’s muscles would develop and strengthen. The latter learned to act and look more and more like an ordinary human. His presence everywhere became accepted and natural.

In time, these treks became independent, one-person adventures by Abax alone.

One late afternoon, the single explorer came upon the desert ruins of an ancient, abandoned temple.

It was a considerable distance from the Greek settlement of Naucratis.

With the curiosity of a child, Abax spent hours among the crumbling, disintegrating walls of clay. The abandoned structure fascinated his mind. There were many symbols and inscriptions that drew his interest.

All of a sudden he looked out at the flat surface of light brown sand. He was surprised and alarmed now by what he saw. All his organs went on alert. For the first time, an emotion of fear rose up within him.

A number of dark, unidentifiable forms were converging in a circle around the temple ruins. What they might be, he could not tell. Their purpose seemed to be to surround him from all sides. To do what? he asked himself with rising anxiety.

Abax rotated his stance so that he face and eyes were directed, in turn, toward each separate direction.

There is no path of escape for me, he told himself with apprehension. The unknown shadows had succeeded in encircling him from all sides.

It was clear that the potential menace to his safety had to be faced.

As the ring of shadows closed in, the features of the attackers became visible to him.

Their backs appeared curved and bent.

The faces had a natural darkness to them, with a general freakish quality.

Their eyes were bottomless hollows without visible color. The bodies seemed severely misshapen, disfigured, and warped. Complete deformation of each and every aspect characterized the horrible beings.

Abax had never heard Thales speak of any such entities, whatever they might be.

His breathing grew deeper and faster as the forms neared him.

Frightening thoughts arose in his mind. What could he do if their aim was to harm him in some way?

The members of this gang encircling him were equidistant from their target.

As a result of making such an assumption, Abax did not foresee the sudden lunge forward made by two of the shadowy forms from out of the arc they were part of.

In a fraction of a second, they were upon him, seizing him and bringing him down to the sandy ground.

Sensing that he was falling, Abax hit the earth with a painful thud.

How was he going to rescue himself from impending physical danger?

The sensation of something snapping entered his catropic mind. He closed his eyes in reaction, then reopened them.

Everything around him was changed.

Hands no longer held him down. The invaders who had assaulted him were gone. He could not see any of them anywhere, in any direction.

The startled andreikelon lifted himself up into a sitting position and looked about. Everything was now different.

The ruins he had been exploring had disappeared. He found himself inside what looked like the inside of an ancient Egyptian temple. The building appeared complete and in sound condition.

There was no ring of monstrous figures surrounding him any longer.

A large burning torch illuminated the interior of the structure with painted figures and enigmatic hieroglyphics on all four clay brick walls.

How did I arrive here? Abax asked himself, rising to his feet.

He was going to have to explore and examine this mysterious temple.

It was then that his eyes caught sight of a small man in priestly white robe standing at the narrow doorway into the holy chamber.

The face of the little figure gave off an eerie glow that Abax had never witnessed before.

What should he say to this person? wondered the lost wanderer. How should this unidentified stranger be addressed?

But it was the strange-looking priest who spoke first as he come up to Abax.

“Welcome to the temple of Ptah, precious traveler. You must be exhausted from the enormous effort you have expended to arrive here. Come with me to a special side room where there is a soft pallet prepared for visitors like you. Food and drink shall be brought at once by some of our brothers.

“We will have plenty of opportunity to talk with you later, once you have rested. There are matters that we wish to learn from you, and you can also learn about the magnificent reign of our beloved Pharaoh, Menes. There is much that shall be usefully exchanged between us. We are eager to find out all we can from you, our present guest.

“Once again, welcome to the temple of Ptah, the universal creator.”

His mind in a continuing spin, Abax followed the little priest into the interior of the large, magnificent Egyptian temple.

II.

The realization that he had moved into a new, different point in time shocked the bewildered andreikelon. How was anything like that possible? Thales had never mentioned such a phenomenon. Something incredible had occurred. Here he was, many centuries back in the reign of the early pharaoh called Menes, among priests of Ptah, patron of the royal capital of Memphis.

As the priest and the time-traveler ate in the small room assigned to Abax, the latter revealed his name to the one across from him.

“My name is Duren,” smiled the priest, seated on a low stool like the one being used by the visitor from another time.

“We have had but one time-wanderer here in our temple during my lifetime,” explained the host. “It is a glorious honor to have you in our midst. Can you reveal to me why you chose this place and this moment to make your appearance?”

“I did not purposely decide anything,” confessed Abax. “But let me describe for you the terrible danger that faced me just before I found myself transported to your temple at this point in time.”

Abax related his experience while exploring the ruins of what must have been this temple dedicated to Ptah so long before the era in which he faced shadowy foes in the desert.

“This temple was abandoned and crumbling away?” asked Duren with excitement and anxiety. “I guess such a fate awaits every building in the far future. Who happens to be the Pharaoh of this kingdom in the age that you come from?”

“Necho,” answered Abax. “That is all I know. These ruins that I was examining lay at a distance from the city called Naucratis.”

“We know of no such settlement. It has to have been built and populated after my brother priests and I are gone from this world,” said Duren with a moan. “But I can tell you who your attackers were. That is clear from the description of them that you give.”

“It is?” reacted Abax expectantly.

“Hemithanes of the desert. These half-alive, half-dead ghouls plague Egypt today as they did in the past. And I dare say as they shall continue to do in the future age from which you came here.”

“What are these hemithanes you speak of?” inquired Abax, eager to learn who or what the dangerous shadows had been.

Duren gave a look of surprise. “They attacked, yet you did not know what their character happened to be?”

“I have been taught nothing concerning any such beings,” admitted the andreikelon.

The priest gave him a curious look of surprise at his ignorance.
that named that
“I would like you to go back in time with me to the day of Creation, when Ptah made all that surrounds us on all sides.” He lit a second lantern and began to relate to the guest a history new to him, one lost and forgotten in the mists of innumerable ages.

“We give to Ptah the title of sculptor of all things. He was the primal creator of all parts of the whole. Scholars claim that Ptah is the potter who molded and shaped all existing forms on his wheel. Our oldest traditions state that Ptah created the world out of his heart and his tongue.

“The general idea and pattern of eacand gives h being came from his divine heart. And when his tongue spoke the word that named that entity, that brought it to realization and fulfillment in this world of ours.

“Ptah creates each separate, personal body out of clay and gives it the breath of life. He places the individual body of clay in the womb of the mother who gives birth to a person.

“But at a far distant time in the past, at the very beginning, Ptah fell asleep and his hands slipped and fell, so that ugly, defective monsters then came to life. Those are the ghouls called hemithanes by the people who must face and fight them.

“These are the awful errors made by Ptah when he created the human race.”

The priest drew a long, deep breath, then proceeded on.

“The results turned out to be monstrous and unnatural. That was not at all the fault of the divine Ptah, but an anomaly due to chance and only chance. What was meant to be a perfect human creature instead became a sickly sport. Their bodies took on an unseemly form and shape. The brain was that of a perverted monstrosity, bent on crime, murder, and destruction. These dangerous hemithanes were driven into the distant desert where they continue to hide and lurk. These became their night haunts from which they injure the people of the two Egypts, causing evil and destruction.

“Hemithanes hide from the light of the sun and the eyes of men. With infinite patience, they watch and stalk all our settlements. When they strike, their aim is maximum harm. With demonic glee, they savor the pain of their human victims. Their desire is to multiply the amount of evil.”

Abax asked the priest a pointed question.

“Why has Ptah, the one who created them, never destroyed these hemithanes?”

Duren gave him a serene smile. “The gods never do that to their own creations, whether they are good or bad in character.

“That is why so many evil beings haunt the world. It was the evil god, Set, who created the khatiyu spirits that bedevil the night, as well as the shemayu who wander the desert and imperil humans who attempt to cross it. But Set cannot undo the results of his past creation, just as Ptah cannot erase the mistakes he made back at the beginning.

“The hemithanes can take on the appearance of human beings and are difficult to distinguish from them. These horrible spirits are skilled in tricks and pretense. They are capable of impersonating human persons and disguising their murderous purposes.”

Duren paused in deep thought, his eyes fixed on the face of Abax.

“The war that we, the faithful priests of Ptah, fight against the monsters of the desert is not new. It has continued through the reigns of countless pharaohs and their dynasties. There is never any end to the battles. It goes on to the present day.”

“Will it ever see a conclusion?” questioned Abax.

“That is doubtful,” replied the priest.. “The hemithanes are eternal beings.”

III.

The heavy worry and concern of Thales weighed down on him.

Where was Abax? What had happened to him?

He waited for hours, then scoured the night streets of the city, informing the urban guards of Naucratis about the absence of his ward. They also searched around, but by dawn there was no success in finding the missing one.

Abax had been often warned not to stray too far from the walls of the settlement.

Had his wondrous curiosity led him into some kind of peril?

Thales considered the possible disasters that might have occurred.

Had it been some physical accident, some chance mishap? Or a sinister, human agency of harm? These were matters he had not foreseen or provided for.

The mind of the Miletian philosopher had no ready answer to such riddles.

Thales considered his responsibilities for the fate of Abax.

Was his role that of a father toward an only son?

Did he stand in the position of a human parent in relation to a child?

Though the andreikelon had come to life in a fully grown body, were his character and mind adequate to preserve him? wondered Thales.

It was difficult not to think of Abax as an actual human personality.

The one who had made him did not lose all hope of locating and rescuing him.

Possessing an unsleeping mind, Abax lay in the room assigned him, thinking and considering, speculating and weighing. What should he do next?

This is not my era of time, these are not the humans who built and designed me.

Thales is the person to whom I owe my life and existence. My duty is to him, not to anyone living in the reign of Pharaoh Menes.

My builder is looking for me, attempting to find my trail and locate me. But it is impossible for him to pierce through the wall of time. Thales lacks the special skill that I have.

I will have to figure out how to make a reverse journey through time.

Abax tried to re-enact what propelled him away from the ruined temple site.

How was it that the first transfer had been made? What had I been thinking at that particular time?

It would be best to go back to the spot where Duren found me.

Would he fall into the hands of evil hemithanes if he returned there?

Time has passed and that terrible evening has disappeared and is gone. But Abax decided to rise and go out to find the place where he had arrived from out of the future.

The andreikelon walked out of the temple into the desert night, making his way to where he remembered having awakened into another point in time, an early age of Egypt. He lay down on the sand and looked up into the field of overhead stars. He sensed time flowing through him in an unending stream of past, present, and future.

How could one propel the self in a forward direction? he asked over and over.

Escape out of the present, to another point. Escape into time to come.

Closing his eyes, Abax concentrated all his mental energy upon this single aim.

He felt strange, surging waves flowing within him, as if reflected in an infinity of tiny cotroptron mirrors.

Suddenly opening his eyes, he lifted his head and looked around on all sides.

It was no longer night in the desert, but a hot, sunny day bright with sun light.

The roofed temple of Ptah was gone, only ruins scattered about what was once its site.

He had transported himself into another time, as he had hoped to.

His task in this new present was to try to return home to Naucratis.

IV.

A lone figure, small and somewhat bent, approached Abax from the opposite direction. As they neared each other, the heavy protective clothing of the stranger became visible. What am I going to say to this dweller of the desert? wondered the andreikelon.

It was the unidentified trekker who halted and spoke first.

“Are you lost? I can tell that you are a town-dweller. What are you up to out here where you do not belong? Where is your home residence?

“Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Eye and I come from a distant oasis. I am on my way to Naucratis.”

Abax felt a jolt of surprise. “That is wonderful, for I am on a journey back to my home in that very city.

“But how can it be that you are headed in the wrong direction? You are headed away from Naucratis, not toward that town. I believe that you are mistaken about how to reach that place.”

The stranger was no longer smiling. “I am sorry to have to inform you that you have lost your way and making your way opposite to where Naucratis happens to be.

“Look up at the sun. It will tell you that your present path is a westward one, whereas it should be to the east in order to get to Naucratis. Believe me, I am certain of what I am telling you. It is the truth.”

Abax did not say anything for a considerable time, as he thought and considered his situation.

Had he been mistaken until now? It was perhaps possible that he had been disoriented.

“Come, follow me to Naucratis,” softly commanded Eye.

Abax decided that was the rational course for him to take.

Neither traveler spoke for many hours, slowly walking under the blazing overhead sun.

All of a sudden, the tops of a bunch of palm trees appeared on the horizon. Both the trekkers stopped, Abax behind Eye.

The latter turned around, facing Abax with flaming eyes of ebony. A long, crooked nose punctuated the dark sandy face.

“We are almost there,” clanged the voice of the guide, no longer pleasant or friendly.

“But that is not Naucratis ahead of us,” objected Abax, now conscious of having been deceived. “I can see some sort of desert oasis there, not a large city of the delta. What have you done? Where have you taken me?”

A sardonic sneer crossed the mouth of Eye.

“You do not belong back there in a city on the Nile,” he said with a growl. “I will lead you to a better place, a desert paradise. There is no reason for any unhappiness on your part. A new home for you shall be made among the palms of our miraculous water hole.” He paused a moment, then went on. “You see, I recognized at once that you cannot be one of the men born of women. No, you are something completely different, a form that I am unfamiliar with. Here on the infinite desert there are several varieties of beings unlike the human inhabitants of the lands along the Nile. You must be one of those I have not yet identified. But I could tell from the start that you are different.

“So, I ask you to describe for me what it is you are. Then, I shall take you to our oasis which is visible in the distance.”

Eye gazed with an hypnotic stare at the one he had tricked into following him.

Abax suddenly recalled what he had heard the priest of Ptah say.

Hemithanes have the ability to pose as and impersonate humans. Does that explain what has happened to me?

How was he going to escape this lying monster, a disguised hemithane?

A leap through time appeared to be the only way out.

The andreikelon repeated what he had accomplished twice before.

All the force and energy of the mirrors in his mind were instantly focused upon an intense, concentrated effort to flee that point in time.

With closed eyes, Abax hurled himself into the unending stream once again.

For the rest of the day, into the night, the andreikelon plodded on step after step. Only when the westernmost leaf of the Nile appeared did the walker stop and rest. Seeing the shadowy shapes of Naucratis ahead in the distance, Abax prepared for the approaching moment when he would again find the human who had created him, the philosopher Thales.

It was surprising to the one who had been lost in the fold and waves of time how excited, elated, and rhapsodic Thales was upon finding him on his doorstep, knocking on the door late that night.

Abax found himself hugged and caressed by his master-maker.

First came a long period of relaxation and restoration of strength and energy for the recovered one.

It took many hours to relate the adventure in the temple from out of the past of Egypt. Abax described all that he had experienced back then. Thales was moved and amazed by what he now found about concerning this unforeseen and unforeseeable capacity of the constructed andreikelon.

“This is something of the nature of a natural miracle,” confessed Thales. “How or why it occurred in you, I am unable at this moment to explain or understand. But it is a real, true power within you, Abax.

“This shall be a large part of your future life and existence, I assure you, my dear andreikelon.

“I now must tell you that I intend to leave Naucratis and Egypt, and you will be accompanying me back to my native city of Miletos, back in Ionia.

“You will be getting away from the hemithanes of this ancient land. Those abominations are able to identify an artificial entity such you, and this tends to make you vulnerable to their attacks. I suspect that they see anyone like you as particularly defenseless against them. I think you shall be safer in the Greek population of my city of Miletos.”

Thales made arrangements to dispose of what he possessed in Naucratis. He and his andreikelon soon sailed north on a Greek commercial transport headed for the coast of what would one day be called Asia Minor.

V.

Thales introduced Abax to his friends, neighbors, and acquaintances as his butler and assistant whom he had met and acquired while traveling in Egypt.

Between the two of them, he treated this servant as his intellectual and personal equal. The philosopher shared his deepest and most intimate thoughts with the andreikelon he had helped to construct.

“What do you think I shall be remembered for, Abax?” he asked one day while in a dreamy, abstracted mood.

“You have performed some great deeds, sir. It was you who designed the Great Dioryx Canal that crosses all of Lydia. And the maganon that you invented is the best press for olives that exists anywhere. The Greeks of Ionia now produce more olive oil than ever before because of what you have given them.”
Abax thought a moment. “And it was you who discovered the axioms of weather prediction through your years of careful observation. That was a magnificent achievement, as well.’

“You have been a great help to me in everything, Abax,” murmured Thales.

“Thank you, sir. I could go on to mention the many travels of your youth, as you have related them to me. No one has seen as much of the world as you have.”

Thales grinned. “I can remember the sands along the Great Nile, the mines beyond the northern Euxine Sea, and the mountains named the Caucasus. Once I journeyed to a distant milk blue sea called the Baltic, where I found invaluable amber. My search for new materials took me in all directions. Once I journeyed to an immense distant land with the name India. I discovered unusual powerful gems there.

“There are places I have heard of but never seen. My life has not been long enough to make all the explorations I would have liked to. I have seen only a few of the many colonies of Miletos, less than half of them. Do you know how many of them there are, Abax?”

The latter thought a moment. “They are very numerous, I have heard. Over a hundred exist, I believe.”

Suddenly Thales laughed loudly. “Closer to two hundred in total. They are scattered over the several seas: the Aegean, the Euxine, the Adriatic, the Mesogeios, and the Western Sea. So many settlements! Quite distant from each other and their mother, Miletos!

“No wonder they can break away from Miletos with great ease. The great space between all these colonies makes communication rare and most difficult. It takes a long time to exchange even the simplest messages.

“My greatest achievement in life would be if I could tie these towns and cities together so as to make them a strong family. That would be an aim worth striving for, indeed.” He paused and drew a long, deep breath. “I have been thinking about this matter a long time, Abax. In order to hold fast the people of its many colonies, Miletos needs the ability to communicate with them quickly. Not by land or over the sea, but through some other means. I am thinking of immediate, instant metalepsis, with no delay whatever.

“That would be an achievement never to be forgotten!”

Abax, astounded by what he was hearing, said not a word as his creator such an impossible-seeming project.

“I am imagining how metapsychic communicators could be tied together in Miletos and the distant colonies, with messages flowing in all directions without barriers or interruptions.”

“Is such a thing possible, sir?” asked the andreikelon.

Thales began to muse aloud, as if alone all by himself.

“When I was a small boy, my grandmother once told me of a woman, a widow able to send her thoughts to her two young daughters. These small girls received her mental signals exactly as their mother’s mind sent them out.”

“Your grandmother believed these to be genuine communications, sir?”

Thales nodded yes. “She told me that she herself was a witness to it. The widow’s name was Optasia. She was extremely poor, but refused to make money from her uncanny gift. The woman was far from any sort of fraud. She and her daughters lived off the charity of well-wishers. The three of them lived a quiet, humble life, in a small agroikia cottage on the edge of our city.”

“What became of this family, sir?”

“I do not know, because my grandmother was unable to tell me more. She heard that Optasia and the two girls disappeared without a trace. Their cottage was taken over by illegal squatters who found it empty and abandoned.”

“Was it this story that aroused your interest in mental communication?”

“Indeed, it was. I became fascinated with this subject. Wherever I came across anything similar, I tried to investigate it, whether down in Egypt or among the northern Scythians. But nowhere was there solid proof or evidence. The whole matter still remains a mystery.”

Thales paused, staring at his butler as if waiting for an idea to arise in the latter’s mirror mind. Abax finally voiced what both of them were considering.

“Do you want me to travel back then to learn what I can about that family?”

The philosopher smiled. “It is a hundred years in the past. You would not be able to return till your mission was completed. A stay back there is necessary.”

“I am willing to make the time leap,” declared Abax. “When shall I start, sir?”

“Immediately,” replied Thales.

VI.

For several days, Abax prepared himself for his temporal metaphora.

Everyone alive at the target date was no dead, he realized. And the people living in Miletos at present were not yet born.

Thales calculated that he would arrive in the early fall, when autumnal coolness first begins to replace the languor of summer. The traveler was to present himself as a stranger new to Miletos, aiming to look into reports of metapaths such as Optasia and her daughters.

He must beg to become a boarder in the tiny cottage. Renting one of their rooms, he was to learn all he could, directly and indirectly. A foreigner with an ardent desire to learn the art of metapsychic communication from them, he had to win the trust of the entire family group.

Thales provided him a small cloth sack filled with gold coins with which to pay his expenses in the distant past.

When everything appeared ready, Abax left the stone residence of Thales after receiving best wishes from the latter. How much of what the philosopher had heard from his grandmother was going to prove true and credible, he wondered to himself.

Abax had long known how attached human beings were to the time enclosed within their own lives. He recognized that Thales was an extraordinary exception. His interest ranged to other ages, other generations. He was an unusual person with a unique curiosity and hunger for knowledge.

As a time-mover, able to travel into ages of the past, he had a nature close to that of his creator. Everyday human beings could not afford to have the wide viewpoint of Thales or himself.

Circumstances kept most people limited to their own lifetime and present age. Their thoughts could not jump over boundaries like those of the two of them.

Their two minds were not confined within the limits of the ordinary, the existing, or the present. They could soar over boundaries and disregard ordinary limits.

Optasia, along with the daughters, was busy with home chores in their decrepit hovel of a cottage. Cleaning the four small rooms, they did not sense the rapid passing of the morning hours that particular day.

“Sit down and rest, Thisia,” the mother commanded the frail, younger one. “It is not good to exhaust yourself, my girl. I will finish the work together with Achne. Do not trouble yourself too hard.”

The dark-complected brunette, a copy of her mother, moved into the bedroom she shared with her older sister and sat down on a wooden stool. Her breathing was labored, nearly forced. She heard in her ears the sphyxic pounding of her overburdened heart. Its sound was overpowering.

Sickly Thisia had forgotten about the irregularity of her pulse whenever she overworked or suddenly became overexcited.

Why am I not strong like Achne? she asked herself once again.

The two sisters were different in innumerable ways.

The elder girl, Achne, had green eyes. Her hair had a bright honey color. And she enjoyed inexhaustible stamina and vigor.

Achne was said by neighbors to resemble her father, whom neither girl remembered.

Thisia was regaining her wind when she heard the knock. No one had visited the cottage in months. Who could it be? she wondered.

But it was Optasia who opened the front door to find out who was there. Achne stood behind her thin, boney mother.

The two females eyed a lanky stranger with blond hair and bright hazel eyes. He impressed both of them with his confident posture and self-assured presence.

“Pardon me,” he began. “I am seeking to locate the widow Optasia. Can you help me?”

“You are looking at her, sir. And who might you be?”

“I am called Abax,” answered the traveler. “It has been a very long journey for me to reach you, madam. The trip has been a difficult one for me. There are a number of matters I wish to discuss with you. But first of all, I must beg you for food and sleeping quarters. You see, I have no shelter at all here in Miletos. My sole hope is that you rent me a room where I can rest and leave my things while I carry out an important personal inquiry.”

The widow looked puzzled and at a loss.

“What is your trade or profession, may I ask, sir?”

Abax made himself smile. “I am a student of philosophy who has come from afar, aspiring to learn the truth,” explained the andreikelon. “It has been related to me that you yourself can help me in my personal search and quest.”

“How can that be?” reacted Optasia with startlement in her dark eyes.

The stranger did not answer her directly or at once, but instead bent down and picked up the cloth sack resting at his feet. “You shall provide me a room, then? I am quite able to pay any rent you desire. That can be a great benefit to all your family, dear madam.”

Before either mother or daughter realized what had occurred, the uninvited visitor was in the living room parlor, his bundle on the earthen floor.

“This is my daughter, Achne,” muttered Optasia, her head and brain reeling.

Abax bowed to the bright faced, wide-eyed teen-aged girl as she gaped at him in surprise. Quickly, he turned to her mother.

“You accept me as a tenant, then?” he softly murmured. “I can pay a hundred drachme each week if meals are also included.”

The mother gave a start of surprise at the sum he offered.

“We have never had a boarder live with us before,” she informed him, scanning Abax from top to bottom. “You appear to be honest and respectable. Yes, you can stay with us and share our meals.”

At that moment, the younger daughter, who had been listening unseen and unnoticed, exited from the bedroom into the parlor.

Abax stared at her closed, dark face as he made a slight bow to her.

“This person will be staying with us, Thisia,” announced her mother. “His name is Abax, and he has come here from far away to pursue studies in Miletos.”

Optasia looked about, surveying the parlor. “How would this room, which you now see, suit you, sir? We can bring in our best floor pallet for you to sleep on. You will find it very comfortable, I assure you.”

“That is fine,” smiled Abax, “as long as I am causing no inconvenience to anyone else in the cottage.”

“No, of course not,” reacted the mother. “You are welcome with us because…”

She stopped, starting to redden with embarrassment.

Abax unexpectedly reached out and took her hand in his.

“I understand, I understand,” he said to her in a whisper. “Need and poverty often strike the best of families when they lack a husband and father.

“How long has it been since you became a widow?”

“Sixteen years,” she replied. “It has been enormously hard for my two girls, living this way. We have suffered painful, continuous hardships.”

Her sad brown eyes wandered about the plain, humble parlor room.

For a brief time, all four of those present remained silent. No one was able to find appropriate words for the circumstances.

“I am quite hungry after my long journey,” said the new tenant with delicacy. “Could I bother you for something to eat? Anything will do.”

“Come with me to the kitchen,” suggested the mother. “The girls can finish their chores while I find you some food.”

The sisters brought a blanket to the parlor for a cover to the pallet they had carried there. Through the closed kitchen door, the voices of Optasia and Abax reached them.

“We are now finished,” said Achne to Thisia. “What shall we do now?”

The younger sister grimaced sourly. “Why not listen to what the stranger happens to be saying?”

Achne nodded yes to this. Creeping toward the kitchen door, the pair came near enough to make out what was being said in the other room. Their mother was the one they heard speaking first.

“I cannot understand what it is that you wish to prove for yourself. Do you harbor any doubt of our ability to send our thoughts through the air and have them caught and received? Do you suspect there is any kind of falseness or fraud on my part?”

“Not at all, not at all. But it becomes necessary when exploring what is still unknown to attempt trials and testing of what is claimed. Thisbe kept. allows one to comprehend how a process goes on, how each phase and part operates in conjunction with all the rest. That is what I wish to find out.”

“Such a transference of idea from one mind to another is difficult and most demanding. It drains both sender and receiver of inner energy for a long time. They become exhausted, both of them. It results in great pain.” Optasia revealed a lot of her feelings in her tragic facial expression.

“I do not intend to hurry matters,” announced Abax. “Nothing shall be allowed to harm your family in any way. Physical and mental health and soundness must be kept intact. That is my pledge, my vow, to all three of you.”

“Yes, you exude a sense of sincerity, Abax,” admitted Optasia. “It is rare to come across anyone so conscientious, so selfless. How great was the distance you had to travel to reach Miletos? I wonder.”

“Greater than anyone can describe. But my quest is an elevated one. I am exploring a higher plane of reality. Thoughts must not be confined to one location, but must be free to speed from one mind to another.”

“When shall you begin your observations, then?” asked the widow.

“As soon as possible. Tomorrow morning, in fact.”

“Very well. My two girls will carry out the communication for you. As you can see, Thisia is weaker and more passive. She will stay here at home and act as the receiver of what her sister transmits to her. Thisia is best as the resonant echoer for this demonstration. Achne is the stronger, more active one. She possesses the energy for a full flood of emission. A cataclysm of pulsation will come forth from her. The waves she generates will be overwhelming. You shall be a witness to it. You will come to feel the strength of her mind.”

“Her message will be transmitted from outside your cottage?”

“Yes. At first from a short distance, then further. Each time, further.

“Both girls must be informed of this at once,” decided the mother. “Let me summon them so we can discuss the mattern in detail.”

Upon hearing this, both Achne and Thesia retreated from where they had been standing near the door. In seconds, Optasia opened the door and spoke to them.

“Come in, girls,” she invited them. “Our guest wishes to talk with all of us together. We have a subject of importance to discuss with him.”

The sisters stepped into the kitchen, knowing ahead of time what they were about to hear from the boarder about to stay with them.

VII.

That night Thisia had a question for Achne as they washed themselves at the water well behind the cottage.

“What do you think of our tenant, Abax?” she whispered.

“Unusual, I would have to say. There is something strange about him. How does he strike you?”

The younger sister momentarily hesitated.

“He must have come from a distant location. A very exotic place, somewhere we know little about.”

“Perhaps that is what makes him so different from anyone we know,” smiled Achne, her thoughts not yet ready for immediate expression.

The pair went to bed, both thinking and wondering about the morrow with the tenant present.

Once breakfast was finished, Optasia led her daughters and the traveler from afar to the field behind the cottage, to a wooden thranion on which two persons could be seated beside each other.

“Thisia and I will stay on this bench,” she informed everyone. Her sharp brown eyes focused on the boarder. “Achne and you can begin a climb to the top of that hillock immediately to the east.”

The widow pointed across to a small pavilion beyond the inhabited area of Miletos. There were no buildings there, only a treeless field of grass.

“What shall I transmit from there, mother?” asked the older sister.

Optasia made a sly, enigmatic grin.

“Abax must be the one who decides that,” she gently muttered. “It will be an operation that tests your ability to send thoughts. We have to prove to our friend that what is claimed is true and genuine. Thisia will repeat to him, word-for-word, what he decides to place in the sentences that are to be conveyed.”

“An experiment in communication, then?” said the guest.

“Precisely.”

Optasia turned to Achne and gave her an order.

“Come back here as soon as you can, so that we can relate to him what has been transmitted to us from the hilltop.”

The pair ambled through the agora where farmers from the countryside offered fresh produce to city dwellers.

Vegetables, legumes, beans, and the fruit of rich orchards were for sale at bargain prices at lines of tables.

Vendors rent the crisp morning air with their cries.

“Hydropiponi of incredible size!” “Try my apricots, my golden verikokkoni!”

“Fresh green maroli for your salad, picked at dawn!”

“Carian radakini, the sweetest in the whole world!”

Achne guided her companion through the crowded market, to where a path began to climb up a hill. She pointed to the peak above.

“That is where I will send my communication from. No one lives up there, so we will be completely alone. There shall be no interference with us.”

“You have sent from there before?” asked her escort.

She turned her face to him as they walked upward.

“Yes. It was one of my favorite sites when I was a child, just starting out in this. Mother would take me up there with Thisia and leave me at the top while she returned home.”

“So, your sister did not start out as your first receiver.”

Achne’s voice took on a note of sadness.

“My sister tried to transmit along with me, but mother in time decided that the exertions were too burdensome for Thisia. So, she was made my receiving mind. It happens that she has a special sensitivity that fits her for that passive role. She proved too delicate for what I do, the generation in my mind of thought waves and their outward transmission.”

“Your mother taught you how to send forth your ideas and thoughts?” he asked with fiery curiosity in his hazel eyes.
How
“Yes. She showed me how to concentrate the pulsation of my heart with the movements of my mind, so as to project thought waves out to a targeted receiver like my sister. That is not at all easy to accomplish. It takes long practice before the focusing is perfected and effective. There were years of practicing and preparation involved for me.”

“But your mother must have already been skilled in this difficult craft. How was it that she learned these metapsychic methods?”

For several seconds, the two walked on in silence.

“My father himself was an eidemon, an adept at this arcane mystery.”

As she said this, Achne looked ahead to the helm of the hillock.

“He traveled to many lands when he was young, developing his talents as a metapsychic communicator. He became a skilled, successful operator in this hidden art.”

“And your father then taught this to your mother?” reasoned the andreikelon.

“That is right. But he died soon after Thisia was born. I myself was only two at the time and have very few memories at all of him.”

“Life has therefore been difficult for all of you since then,” muttered Abax. “I can thoroughly understand that.”

“We managed to get by, somehow…” she said with a sigh audible to him.

The pair halted at the empty, uninhabited peak, overrun with wild weeds and grasses.

They both looked about in all directions, scanning the landscape below them.

Abax recalled how this area would in the future become a densely populated portion of the enlarged, growing city.

“Tell me, Achne, is it possible for me to learn the important secrets of transmission and reception of thought waves?” he asked her as they gazed out over the harbor of Miletos.

Moving figures were visible in Lion’s Bay, busy with the work of loading and unloading vessels from near and far.

“If there is any natural aptitude with which a person is born, it can be trained and developed,” she softly told him. “If you would ask my mother, she can take a measure of your mental potential and predict what your possibilities are.”

“Thank you for telling me that, Achne,” he beamed at her with a smile.

She took a position looking down and outward, facing in the direction of the cottage where she lived with her mother and sister.

“Do you have a particular sentence for me to send below?” she murmured.

He hesitated only a moment, then gave it. “It is a single, simple statement, a saying that I myself formulated for this purpose last night.”

“How does it go, Abax?” Her green eyes focused upon him with focused curiosity.

“I wish you to transmit this: the mind is vaster in its dimensions than the entire extent of the heavens above us. That is the content of the message I wish you to communicate from this location.”

Achne gave him a radiant grin of satisfaction at what he had offered her.

“Mother will find profound meaning and joy in those words of yours, Abax.”

“And what do you yourself think of it, Achne?”

“It sounds so true, because a thinker can travel anywhere in thought and encompass all that potentially exists. There is no boundary that limits what a person can compose or understand. That can truly be termed infinite.”

“I believe that you possess a range of the mind far beyond the ordinary, Achne,” he said flatteringly. “You have become a mental adept, like your two parents.”

For a brief while, neither of them said anything.

“For a short time, I will have to prepare myself for the supreme effort,” the young woman explained. “Could you stand behind me, so that I have an unobstructed view of the entire area around our cottage?”

“Yes, or course.”

Abax retreated several steps. He was now able to see her without himself being seen by her. How narrow and childlike her legs appeared to him. How lithe was her body frame. She resembled a girl more than a grown woman.

Though a synthetic andreikelon, the time-traveler realized that the animal instinct of a natural human male might be aroused in him by the sight he was taking in from behind the beautiful body of Achne. This was a portion of what he had been taught and learned on his own about the inherited instincts of human males.

But I am a different, artificial kind of being, Abax reminded himself.

Am I also subject to these biological instincts in the minds of humans?

Because I know of them through observation, can I participate in them?

Can they be shared by an andreikelon nature such as mine through becoming acquainted with how they operate within human persons? Is it possible for me to create these instinctive responses within myself, though I lack the original biological instinct?

It would be regrettable if they were impossible drives for a mind familiar with what they were.

All at once, Achne started to sway, and then to shake.

Abax felt wavy and imbalanced as he watched her spasms grow wilder.

Did such reactions always occur in metapsychic senders?

Was such volubility inevitable in such instances of mental communication? he asked himself in wonder.