Quantum Valley

11 Feb

I.

Teco Amt was born, raised, and educated in the computer-electronics center of his home planet, Edison. It was natural that he would enter the sector of physics that dealt with data memory and processing, electronic reckoners and traditional computers.

One of the milestones of his life was when he went to the corporate headquarters of Reckon with his recently earned degree to apply for a position in the research laboratory. His decisive interview was with the chief of the division that created new devices, Dr. Gjey Preto. Teco entered the small, clustered office of the scientist with anxiety, uncertain whether he would be accepted for employment with the largest computer manufacturer on the planet. His fate depended on how successful he would be with this important figure in the realm of advanced research.

The respected, well-recognized scientific official was a white-haired little man in his late sixties. He warmly greeted the lank, spare, spruce young applicant and invited him to sit down in his tiny office.

“I notice that you have recently graduated,” smiled Dr, Preto. “Tell me, what draws you to wish to join our research lab here at Reckon, young man?”

Teco had an instant sense of ease and confidence, for he had prepared himself to answer exactly that question, having prepared and rehearsed how he planned to reply.

“Your laboratory is the most advanced one that we have here on our planet, sir. It stands on the very frontier of innovation and invention. No other institution anywhere on Edison can compete with what has been achieved in the research carried out by you and your scientists.

“My personal dream is to join and become a participant in the discoveries and advancements that I know shall be attained by this lab in the future. I wish to share in the valuable work going on within these walls.”

Teco focused his nut brown eyes on the older man’s face and greenish eyes.

The chief of research suddenly gave an unexpected chuckle.

“You remind me of myself when I first came here to Reckon, young man. Yes, you share the same kind of zeal and curiosity that I had when I applied for a job. It took me many years of dedicated labor to reach the position that I now hold. And I can tell you that you will have a lot of opportunity to rise and achieve with Reckon, as I did.

“Your academic record is most impressive, and I like your attitude of enthusiasm very much. So, I can reveal to you that I believe there is a position open with us that is waiting for someone as promising as you.

“I therefore welcome you to our scientific ranks, young man.

The beaming laboratory head extended his right hand, which Teco instantly took hold of and shook with vigor and emotion.

Gjey Preto assigned his newest recruit to a team of which he himself held direct control and leadership of, a group focused upon advanced computers braids of subatomic particles with topological networks acting as their functioning foundation.

“This must be an operating reckoner unlike the existing and conventional analog devices with only fifty to a hundred qubits to them,” explained the lab chief to his new assistant. “What I foresee making is an expotentially greater capability measuring over a hundred thousand qubit units. The solution we are searching for lies in what I like to term the numerous quasiparticles that we know to exist.

“We have faced extremely difficult problems in attempts to make use of whole particles such as the bosons that consist of only two basic quarks or the fermions and baryons that go up to three quarks. That has compelled our team to turn to the multitude of quasiparticles at the subatomic level, such as excitons, plasmons, phonons, polarons, and magnons. These have not been successful at all.

“So, I have turned our attention to the gluon, which acts as an exchange particle between the smaller quarks. In the normal, conventional atom, this quasiparticle glues a number of quarks together to glue together either the protons or the neutrons that make up the nucleus of most atoms. It is an necessary component of every single atomic particle in the universe. No question of that, the gluon functions as the building cohesive binder holding the atom’s central components together.”

“And we are going to try to harness and use it for the advanced quantum reckoner?” inquired the spellbound young Teco.

“That is what I hope we can do,” declared the one in charge of the Reckon laboratory. “The future of our company depends upon our success with the project. This can be the beginning of a new age in subatomic technology.”

The president and main stockholder of Reckon Corporation was Resen Sezo, a thickset middle-aged executive with graying dark hair and coal-black eyes.

His life story was one of insatiable hunger for both money and power, in equal measure. His hunger for both never weakened, but grew ever more vigorous.

Gjey Preto was obliged to make frequent reports to him on the progress and the problems of the research being completed in the main laboratory of Reckon.

The office of Resen was a magnificently furnished and decorated center where all important company decisions were supposed to be made, for the president was deeply interested in even the smallest action or idea affecting the operations in progress within his corporate realm.

“I am not satisfied with the results you have brought me about the testing of gluon sub-particles,” said the top officer after a weekly report given by the scientist. “It may be that you were mistaken on the promise of that factor. We may have been wasting a lot of time and resources with this Gluon matter. Can you quickly end the project and put the people involved with gluons into action on another possible alternative, Gjey? Is there something with greater possibilities available for a sudden changeover?”

Resen stared at his head of research with unconcealed ferocity on his face.

Gjey gave him a worried frown. “The gluon is not an easy sub-particle to deal with or to control. It is a massless boson having a neutral vector. It acts as a kind of messenger of the strong nuclear force. I call it the middleman that carries out trade and commerce between the major nuclear actors like the proton and the neutron.”

The chief officer of Reckon grimaced. “I have made a decision, and we are now going to close down the whole gluon project in our lab. It is too expensive and has, so far, come up with no practical results that can be applied to any computer or reckoner.

“Word is going out at once. You and your crews must now focus on smaller, more limited research, such as the improvement of our existing line of topological instruments and device. Nothing too adventurous or speculative, no abstract exploration just for the sake of curiosity alone.

“Do you understand what I mean and am geeting at, Gjey?”

The latter lowered his gaze, looking away from the president’s constant stare.

“Yes, sir,” he weakly replied, turning about and leaving in painful defeat.

II.

Gjey Preto called each of his main associates into his small office, one by one, to inform them that their most promising and adventurous research program had been ended by the order of the company president.

Teco received the unwelcome news with surprise and regret, both reflected on his face. “What are we going to be busy and engaged with, then?” he bluntly asked his superior in a sharp tone of voice.

Gjey looked downward, at the top surface of his desk. “That is a good question, no doubt of that. All that I know for sure is what the head of Reckon told me, and it did not at all add up to much.

“Resen Sezo wishes to cut expenses and have us stay within strict, limited boundaries. He says we have to improve what we already have and produce for the computer market. No speculative research that goes very far from the conventional technology that already exists and is in active use in society.

“It seems to me that all our future emphasis will be centered upon making more efficient and more specialized superconductors. Our best sellers here at Reckon are the indium antimonide semiconductors. We have experienced considerable success with the various particle track braids that are our logic gates.

“We will have to test and compare sevral types of network topologies, such as point-to-point, the bus, the star, the ring, and the fascinating daisy chain.

“I can foresee our president ordered improvements in the topological nanowires in our Reckon superconductors. That appears inevitable to me.”

Gjey turned quiet for several moments, while the two of them studied each other.

“I feel that I owe you a bit of advice, my friend,” murmured the head of the lab. “It is evident to me that you are dedicated and completely concentrated on the newest frontier areas of our field. If you are to advance in that direction, you will have to leave Reckon and go elsewhere, to work at a different lab, probably of a smaller computer company that is seeking innovative breakthroughs of some sort.” He paused for a short while. “If I were you, Teco, I would not stay here, but go to another place to work.

“That is what I would be doing, if I were as young as you. That could open the door to new opportunity for you. That promises a hopeful solution, for if you stay here you will be disappointed and discouraged, I am certain.”

“I will think over what you have told me here today,” declared Teco, rising from his chair. Gjey did the same in order to shake the hand of his younger colleague.

Teco sent electronic submissions to a number of the companies in the Quantum Valley that he was familiar with. The sole invitation he received came from the Topox Company, a maker of topological devices with special uses in business, commerce, and financial fields.

The ten main competitors in the electronic-reckoner industry were located adjacent to the central transportation corridor that extended across the urban complex like a thin sword. Topox had its headquarters in an obscure corner of this long, narrow computer conglomeration, in an comparatively small aluminum structure not too different from its industrial neighbors.

The dominant owner of Topox, who served as its Chief Executive Officer and top manager was Mato Nap. Teco was informed over his PC that he would be accepted as a laboratory research assistant once he was okayed by the corporate head, Mr. Nap.

A triumphant smile on his face, the hopeful applicant went to his early morning appointment in the office of the firm’s president.

Mato Nap proved to be a burly middle-aged man of hefty physical strength. He possessed a square face of leathery dark brown skin. His voice was commanding in a warm, assuring manner. As soon as Teco was seated across from his metallic desk, the executive started to ask him personal questions.

“Tell me, if you will, what was the reason you left your job at Reckon. I would like to know whether you discovered obstacles or problems while engaged in research activity over at that company. They are gigantic in size, while my company is only a pygmy or midget compared to their enormous size.”

Teco had to think with lightening speed to give him an answer at once, without seeming to be uncertain or unable to reply.

“I must confess, sir, that I became highly unsatisfied with the conditions that we were being compelled to work under. My discomfort and distaste for what I was made to busy myself with increased the longer I stayed there. Finally, I decided that I had to walk out the door, if I wished to maintain my personal goals and my own integrity.

“Considering all that I had to do at the laboratory of Reckon, it became clear to me that I had to locate a new, different employer somewhere in the computer industry of Edison.

“I had no alternative but to do so.”

Teco searched the square face and the coffee brown eyes of the man across from him. How have I impressed this potential employer? he asked himself.

Mato Nap suddenly chuckled and made a broad grin. “Yes, I think you will like it better here at Topox. We are more adventurous than where you were, over at that giant organization led by Resen Sezo. They are like a monstrous elephant, unable to run or move swiftly into a new direction. Like a dinosaur out of the past, they are afraid of attempting anything unprecedented.

“Reckon, under Resen Sezo, is paralyzed and immovable. It is too big to attempt to discover anything of an innovative nature, believe me.”

Teco decided he could afford to be candid. “You are right, perfectly right about the situation I found myself a part of over there in Reckon,” he confessed with self-satisfaction.

“I believe that I will be able to make genuine contributions here at Topox.”

Mato’s face seemed to light up. “I think you will find your job with us to be exactly what you need and want,” he beamed at his new employee.

III.

Teco found himself a member of a small team of researchers working on improvements on the company’s racetrack type traps for the processing of electrically charged ions operating within quantum reckoners and computers..

His time in the lab was taken up in testing new versions of older models of gold-aluminum traps. He designed and used oscillating aluminum drums able to store digital information like a memory unit.

The team constructed a processor that used rubidium for transporting magnesium ions through specialized traps that captured and stored a great multitude of processed ions.

The goal of the work that Teco took part in was to multiply the quantity of qubits carried on individual ions. Their labors were long, complex, and highly difficult, often meeting with failure and dead ends.

Late one afternoon, a short young woman with a comely, statuesque figure entered the testing chamber when Teco was alone, busy carrying out an electronic test with a mobile monitor.

“Hello there,” said the stranger, drawing his attentive curiosity and interest onto herself. He noticed that she was tow-headed, with chestnut brown hair and matching eyes.

“You must be our newest research scientist,” she said with a radiant grin. “I am the daughter of the president of Topox. My name is Jala.”

Teco gave his name and took a step in her direction.

“I have been away from Edison for a little time,” she explained. “My field of study at the University is applicatory psychology, and I was at the sea coast involved in graduate research for a higher degree. My father informed me last night that he hired a bright new lab researcher, so I must assume he was speaking of you, Mr. Amt.”

“Call me Teco, please,” he suggested with a wide smile on his face. “I imagine that your father and his important role in applied subatomic physics has influenced your interest in science and research. But it appears that you yourself made a gigantic leap from nano-particles all the way to the human level of mind and behavior.”

Jala let go a silent chuckle. “Those two areas may not in reality as most of us think,” she slyly commented. “I have discovered nearly uncanny parallels between that conclusions that he comes to after long research and study, in comparison to those I myself am compelled to reach as a result of the work that I do out in human society.”

She beamed directly at Teco, causing him a small measure of embarrassment and disquiet.

It was at this moment when neither of them was saying anything that her parent, Mato Nap, approached unnoticed by either one of the two.

“I see that you have met each other,” he jokingly declared. His focus of attention fell on the new employee. “Come with me to my office, Teco. I have some new research publications that arrived today and I wish you to review them and then report to me whether you find anything of value in any of them.”

Teco said good-bye to Jala and ambled away with her father.

Mato did not lead the physicist to his office, but to a door adjacent to it.

“There is something here that I want to show you,” smiled the company president. “I am sure it will be of enormous interest to you, my boy.”

The older man opened the door and ushered the confused Teco into a small chamber where two women and a man sat at a line of desks with monitoring screens sitting on them. This trio did not look up, but continued staring into the digital images visible to them on the front faces of these subatomic devices.

Teco looked to his employer, waiting for the slightest amount of explanation of what they were observing in progress. Mato muttered to him in a soft, guarded tone.

“These three are watchers over the derivative markets located in Edison. Their task is to watch over both my own personal investments, as those that I monitor and control in behalf of Potox itself.

“What you see here is one of the most important activities determining the future of our corporation. All of this endeavor going on in this room has a profound effect on the successfulness of our manufacturing and laboratory research.

“This is how we are paying our bills day by day. You see here the source of what is needed for Potox to go forward and prosper. All the profits that these investments bring us depend on our utilizing the best, most advanced subatomic computing reckoners that our company constructs. That is the core of how this precious project goes on, my boy.”

The voice of Mato grew abstract and distant as his explanation rolled on.

“One of these market monitors focuses on options of various kinds, like calls to buy and put options to sell.

“A second person watches the future markets that deal with financial securities and future interest rates.

“The third monitor deals with so-called swaps that manage to reap benefits from speculating with the differences of interest rates in various separate markets across the continent.

“Relying upon complicated, advanced mathematics, we are able to exercise what I call sophisticated financial engineering and instant strategies to reap incredibly multiplies profits out of these many individual markets.

“My brokers in Edison are able to buy and sell forward contracts as well as swap contracts that cover both interest rates and different currencies. But the stock markets and the ever-changing prices of stock equities are ripe and available to the traders that you see busy before us in this room.

“We term the repurchase agreements that we exploit our repos. I allow these monitors to carry out complicated trading swaps, of which there are numerous kinds. I do not today have the time to define for you the details that I could about our variance swaps, credit default swaps, total return swaps, or amortized swaps. This is a highly complex field of speculative investment,” grinned the corporate president with self-satisfaction. “But I believe that I and my clever topological reckoners have mastered many of these secrets.

“But there is a definite limit to how far our present subatomic quantum computers can go,” said Mato with a barely audible groan. “The financial wizards now operate with exotic options and derivatives, using structured tiers of notes and options. They set up lattices of new options with knockout provisions in them. Debt notes become collateralized and complicatedly arranged and constructed. Notes, equities, and interest rates are linked together as hybrid investments in proportions determined by stochastic models.

“The reckoning instruments that are being used, even here at Topox, are proving to be less and less adequate to the demands being made upon them in the increasing velocity of the trading that my staff and I carry out each day.”

The face of the head of the company grew brighter and lighter with his inner terror at the difficulties he was undergoing as a derivative speculator in complex instruments of numerous varieties.

“You must help me develop a new subatomic system that is able to solve this growing problem for us, Teco,” he declared in a dry, desperate voice. “Everything now depends on building a faster quantum instrument with more qubit capacity.”

The new employee suddenly realized the dimensions of the trouble plaguing the man he had agreed to work for.

IV.

Although Teco, in the following days, frequently saw Jala and spoke with her, he dared not bring up the matter of what her father was engaged in with both his own assets and those of the Topox Corporation.

Eating together in the company’s large cafeteria, he mostly listened to the psychological researcher’s narration and explanation of her professional life and experiences.

“I very early became consumed with the phenomenon of how the human mind and its personality can go off the track, so to speak. That although most of us know ahead of time what will be good and beneficial for us, we still take the wrong turn and fall off the optimum road for us.

“What is it that causes our unintended, blind mistakes, our lack of constancy and consistency in behavior and choices that we make?

“Can you explain that to me, Teco?” she demanded one morning over barley pancakes.

From across their tiny table in the crowded hall, he attempted to raise her confidence with an assuring smile. “It may be that a person is unconsciously fully aware of the errors being made, yet persists in going into them despite the known dangers involved. Perhaps the human mind deviates from the right path forward out of boredom and monotony with what is old and much used in the past.

“It could be that our brains are badly wired at the lowest neural level, and no one can ever do anything to change that unfortunate condition.”

He gazed intently into her chestnut eyes, watching them grow distant and abstracted.

Jala began to speak to him as if she were unmasking a dark personal secret that she had never before revealed to anyone else.

“It has been natural that, over the years, I have learned a lot about subatomic processors and reckoners from listening to my father talk to me and to others. In years past, I have read many of the technical books that he keeps in our own family library.

“In other words, although an amateur, I became quite familiar and versed with developments in quantum science and technology.” She paused several seconds, looking into the face of the subatomic physicist.

“It may be that the nature and the structure of our human minds can be understood as closely similar to our most advanced quantum instrumentalities.”

She stared into his nutlike eyes to search for a sign that he understood her train of thought.

“That is an intriguing thought, Jala,” he muttered. “But is it provable or confirmable?”

“It can explain much about how the human mind operates,” confidently smiled the young psychologist. “I have read a lot about the entanglement of subatomic particles that could be at opposite ends of the entire universe. The reach of that phenomenon is without any limits in distance or space. It should certainly exist and operate within the boundaries of a single human brain, shouldn’t it?”

Teco, feeling an unease at where their exchange was headed, began to tell her how extensive his knowledge on this subject happened to be.

“This matter of particle entanglement is fundamental to all quantum computation and memory storage. It lies at the heart of the speedup of quantum algorithms. Our model quantum reckoners are based upon entangled subatomic resources, without any question. They could not function above fifty qubits without the power coming from entanglement. It allows disjointed elements to become a unified system and operate as a coupled whole.”

A pause several seconds long passed, the pair staring at each other without fear or caution on either side.

“I will talk to you about entanglement again,” whispered Jala, returning to the task of finishing her midday food.

Teco, now fascinated and nearly enchanted by what the president’s daughter had revealed to him about her thoughts concerning subatomic particle influence upon the human brain, was unable to fall asleep with ease that evening.
Teco
He woke up the following morning, exhausted and worried about the effects on him of this new theory that combined physics with psychology into a strange but ingenious combination.

It was difficult for him to continue his thoughts in this new direction that Jala had been exploring and had opened up for him to explore as she was doing.

Teco went to work at the Topox laboratory, but his heart and mind were far away all that day. And the same mood of disorientation continued in him the next day also.

He saw Jala again several times, but said nothing about the subject she had introduced between the two of them.

Unable to free himself from the intellectual weight of the heavy questions she had incited for him, Teco decided that on his next day without work he was going to see and consult with an individual he hoped could provide him theoretical aid, Dr. Gjey Preto, the research director who had been fired from the Reckon Corporation while Teco had been on the staff there.

V.

Forced into retirement without resources, the scientist had found shelter in a squalid rooming house in the bohemian sector of Edison, close to the University and its available library. Teco was only with difficulty able to locate him in this congested, overcrowded part of the city.

The older man was startled to find who was knocking at the door to his flat, saying with suddenly excited breath that he was very glad to see his former associate from the Reckon lab.
“Come in, Teco, come right in. It has been a time since you and I last saw each other.”

The visitor entered and was directed to sit down on a plain plastic chair while Gfey Preto remained standing, facing him directly. “How are things going for you at Potox, Teco?” inquired the unemployed scientist.

“Quite well,” replied the younger man. “The work I am doing interests me every day, and those around me are kind and considerate, I can justly tell you. It is good that I have found such a comfortable professional. My circumstances are a lot better than what I found under Resen Sezo back there at Reckon.

“But tell me how you are passing your time since leaving Reckon. Are you left with any chance of finding a position suitable for your experience and knowledge?” Teco looked sympathetically at the man he had once worked under at the giant computer manufacturer.”

Frowning with lines of sadness about his face, Gjey murmured with hesitancy.

“I must acknowledge that my prospects of returning to managing any kind of research project anywhere are dismal. No other company would dare irritate Resen Sezo by hiring me for any level of work whatsoever.

“I have had to realize that my professional career is over, once and for all.”

The veteran computer scientist gazed at Teco with visibly evident despair and desperation.

“I have come here to see how you are, but also to make use of your years at the frontier of our wield by asking several questions that have arisen in the course of what I am involved with over at Potox.”

Gjey instantly perked up. “What is it that you want to find out?” he asked with aroused, focused interest.

Teco gave a confident grin as he began to narrative what had happened at his new post.

“I have been asked what I know about the aspect of the subatomic particles that is know as entanglement. This is a subject that intrigues minds with interest in all the possible effects this phenomenon may cause in the physical world.

“For instance: is the mental life and thought of human beings influenced or affected by subatomic powers or energies that may be close-by or even at the opposite end of our universe?

“Are different areas of the brain, are unconnected nerves, synapses, and axons able to act in synchronic harmony due to their acting in concert created through their entanglement? How far or deeply can such influencing and symphonizing go?

“Questions such as these are especially important ones for a colleague of mine at Potox who possesses extensive knowledge in the field of psychology and neurology.”

Gjey grew thoughtful and concentrated his thoughts, as if ransacking his memory.

“There is mystery and something of a wonder concerning the entire subject of quantum entrancement. It occurs faster than the speed of light, for such a correspondence of factors in two sectors so distant from each other has a miraculous character to it. The phenomenon is close to impossible to understand or to explain.

“It appears as if quantum information such as the state of an atom or a sub-particle like a photon is being transmitted from one location to a distant one. There occurs an identical sharing between the sending and the receiving points in space, but this may be only what we speculate and suppose is going on.

“The quantum state of each of the pair or particles must be considered absolutely independent of the other.

“Each of the quanta acts as though the pair were only a single one, no matter how far apart they may actually be.

“The position, the momentum, the spin, and the polarization of the separate sub-particles are perfectly correlated. It is as if a string of entangled photons were shared between them. The first sub-particle holds half of them, the second sub-particle has the other half.”

Teco insisted on a definite answer to the question he had come there with.

“Is such entanglement possible between two different loci within a single human brain, within an individual’s mind? Is that a conceivable concept we can as scientists accept?”

“I can see no reason why the different sites in our brains cannot oscillate at the same, identical frequency. These sub-particles may be photons or any other variety. That does not matter, not at all.” The veteran sub-atomic physicist suddenly frowned as if stunned with an uncomfortable thought. “In my work on the gluon, and the problem of harnessing it as the core of a computer device, I have often been compelled to ask myself whether this particular subatomic particle is the central factor in binding together the components of any type of entanglement condition. Think of this: the gluon is present everywhere in the material universe. It is the entity that connects and ties together the others into atoms and portions of atoms.

“It may be that the gluonic strings of two-dimensional energy that create the separate gluons that are everywhere are what cause entanglement to occur at this subatomic level.

“But I cannot speak of this question with certainty, not yet.”

Silence prevailed for a short time, till Teco rose, excused himself, and made his way out of the flat of the older scientist.

VI.

It took several hours the next day for the inhabitants of the Quantum Valley to realize that the financial and economic scaffolding of their daily life was on the verge of collapse.

The news of the fall of the value of stocks, bonds, real property, land, and options and derivatives was so rapid and universal that no one had the ability to accept or cope with the resulting paralysis and panic.

Trouble appeared to have begun in the specialized tranche that served as the central market for real estate mortgages. Investment conduits connected to this hidden speculative site then spread to many banks holding syndicated loans affected by what was happening in that market. Traders acting as arbitrageurs involved in bridging operations between short-term and long-term loans started to suffer great losses in securities they were buying or selling at the moment. Real estate mortgage investment conduits suddenly collapsed as the value of such Remics fell to nearly zero. The banks holding syndicated loans found themselves owners of valueless derivatives.

Stocks, bonds, futures and options, currencies and material markets, could not stay isolated from the waves quickly spreading through the Quantum Valley.

No one was able to understand what was happening in the economic storm taking place in front of them.

Resen Sezo of Reckon Corporation appeared to be the only chief executive who knew how to make use of the great panic for the strategic purposes of his own company’s long-range plans.

He immediately summoned his Board of Trustees and senior officers to a meeting at Reckon headquarters.

Resen was the last individual to enter the conference chamber, all the others waiting expectantly for their chief to guide and command them through the terrifying crisis the electronic-computer industry was experiencing that day.

All eyes centered on the thickset man of money and power, the one they all expected to pilot them through the whirling chaos of storm and panic. What was he going to say to them? every single one of them wondered.

Still standing, the corporate president opened his mouth wide and spoke to them in a stentorian tone of voice.

“Yes, the Valley is today going through financial hell, but for us this happens to be opening the door to hidden, invisible opportunity.

“We are going to win what has long been our well-hidden goal. Conquest of Topox is the possibility that must now be seized hold of. It is within reach, in the midst of the present market catastrophe. Let me explain.

“As all of you are aware, I have been using my office authority as your president to acquire control over the equity stock and the bonded debts of our enemy, Topox. That has been the unseen, unrecognized program that I have been fulfilling, step by step, little by little. It has taken considerable time. since every step forward has had to be completed in nearly absolute secrecy.

“Several brokers, agents, and market intermediaries have been recruited and commissioned to act as my unidentified partners in the overall scheme of attack upon Topox and its captain, Mr. Mato Nap.

“But today, seeing what is occurring up and down the Quantum Valley and the entire land beyond it, there is no longer any logical reason to wait passively for events to arise by themselves, on their own.”

His face reddened with rage, his coal black eyes on fire, Resen paused to eye his listeners on both sides of the lengthy conference table at which they sat.

“We are about to take control of Topox away from Nap, because he is going to find that I control his debt obligations, corporate bonds, and finally the stock of his company.

“He will suffer total defeat, and I am going to be the victor very soon,” announced the corporate raider, his face and his mind in a frenzy of hatred. “My immediate intention is to get in touch with our enemy and present him with an ultimatum: either he agrees to merger with Reckon or his company will be dragged down into financial ruin and bankruptcy by what we will do to it.

“Nap will be left with only those two options to choose from, no others.”

Resen burst out in an evil, fiendish smile, anticipating his final victory and vengeance on his lifelong foe.

Jala had never before seen her father in such a state. The despair within his mind was crippling and distorting his physical stance, his posture, and the expression on his face and in his eyes with the coffee cast to them.

The daughter discovered him, moody and defeated, sitting at the antique bluewood desk in the library of the family residence. A visio-audio unit drowned on with the awful news of troubled, collapsing markets across the whole Quantum Valley.

He spoke to Jata in a soft, hollow whisper of extreme, helpless pain.

“We have suffered total ruin,” he stated with a moan. “The whole market structure has disintegrated and fallen to the ground. I have not told you how indebted and indentured Topex has become. There remains no means of financial salvation for our company.

“I fear that our doors will now close and never open ever again.

“We are done for, and there is nothing left but to bury the relics that might now remain.”

He gazed at his only child with a defeated look of surrender to a cruel, merciless fate that had struck him and her.

What can I do? questioned Jata. What should I say to provide some measure of relief or hope to my precious father? I have never seen him in such a state, unable to cope with the emotions torturing his mind and his soul.

All of a sudden, the image of Teco Amt came into mind. He might be able to think of something to help her out of the quagmire of ruinous circumstances surrounding them. There were things he could say to revive the spirit of her father, Jata grew increasingly certain of that.

“I must make a call to find out what Teco thinks,” she calmly uttered. “He is our true friend and will try to help us in the present situation, father. I will invite him to come here and share his thoughts with us.”

VII.

Jala, waiting at the entrance to the first-floor hallway of the residence, was not in the library when her father received a visio-audial call from his personal enemy, the president of Reckon.

“I am calling you, Mato, because I have a proposition to make to you that can save Topox from the inevitable death hanging over the company, as well as your personal fortune, may I say.

“My wish is that our two corporations agree upon a full, total merger of all facilities, production activities, and staffs engaged in both sales and scientific research. We can work out all the details in a short time, I am certain of that.

“I promise to see to it that you receive a generous pension that begins the moment of your retirement from active position in the new, unified firm that keeps the name of Reckon, since it will be by far the largest contributor to the merged computer manufacturer.

“If you give me your approval today, despite the economic panic running wild through the Quantum Valley, our lawyers can sit down and work out all the many details immediately.

“I plan to have you treated with respect and generosity,” lied the one laying out the surrender he awaited and expected from the other side of the merger he had long dreamed of.

Mato replied in a trembling, scratchy voice that surprised even himself.

“I must think about it a little while,” he mumbled. “I wish to talk with my daughter, my one and only heir, before I give my word on anything as what you just described to me.

“Call me back in one or two hours, and I will tell you my decision.”

Having said that, he closed off his visio-audio unit before Resen could say another word.

Jala, sitting in a chair beside a window looking out at the street and front lawn, caught sight of Teco walking speedily toward the front door. She rose to her feet and hurried to leave him enter the residence.

The pair looked each other in the eye for a second or two, then she moved back and allowed him to step into the vestibule of the large home.

“It is terrible for my father and me,” she began breathlessly. “That cruel, demonic monster, Resen Sezo, is trying to crush Potox to the point that he is able to take over and swallow all that is left of the company and what it owns. My father refused his proposal for immediate merger with Reckon, telling him that he needs time to think about what he must do.

“My father remains uncertain what he is going to gave as his answer to Sezo. I believe the he fears what our enemy might do in reaction to a refusal of is proposal to merge us with his own firm.

“The situation is coming to a climax for him and for everyone involved with this matter. I cannot predict what will happen and how we will end up. Perhaps our family is going to lose everything we possess, both in Potox and our own personal property as well.”

“We do you think you and I can do to aid your father, Jala?” he inquired with excited words.

“You must help me in convincing him not to give in to Resen Sezo, not for my sake nor for his own,” she told him, her voice close to trembling. “Fight on, fight this out to its end. That is what both you and I have to advise and encourage him to do. Our only hope of salvation lies in persisting till the final moment of conflict, of strife.”

“Let’s go in and face him, then,” murmured Teco. “I will back you up all I can,” he promised her.

Mato, sitting at his library desk of mahogany, looked up and took note of his daughter and the researcher as the two stepped in and moved close to him.

“Teco wishes to talk with you and give you the benefit of his thoughts and his knowledge, father,” said Jala in a voice full of deep emotion, of an only child concerned for her only living parent.

The young man started to speak as if making a candid confession to an elder he saw as taking the place of his own deceased parent.

“I only ask you to take a careful, highly cautious course with this man who has been such an enemy to you and your family’s interests

“I know him, because I worked at Reckon before coming to Topox. I saw for myself the rotten nature of the man’s personal character. He has lost any honor or decency he might have once possessed. His hunger and thirst is focused on personal profit and material gain, nothing beyond his insatiable greed.

“But Resen Sezo, I am told by Jala, also nurses a maddened hatred for you and dreams of gobbling up your computer business through a complete merger of Topox into his own holdings. That would present him with his evil heart’s fondest prize. The man wants the perverse pleasure of destruction and ruin of everything having to do with the Nap family and what it has built in the Quantum Valley.”

Teco paused to study the face of Mato, realizing that he had not convinced him of anything, despite his words. He decided to take a chancy flight of what he had been lead to acknowledge from the innovative thinking of Jala herself.

“Your daughter has made a profound analysis of how any mind decides the questions of life that it meets with and is compelled by circumstances to give some answer to.

“She has learned that our thoughts often resemble what is occurring every second, every minute in the realm of subatomic quanta, with their myriad number of varied sub-particles. You yourself are familiar with the concept of quantum entanglement.

“The mind, with over ten billion electrical units and charges within it, can possess disconnected neural sites where the same problem or question is being dealt with simultaneously. Opposite regions of thinking can remain similar, focused on the identical object of thinking, with neither one conscious of what is occurring in the other. One may be conscious, while the other stays hidden in the unconscious or subconscious part of an individual.

“That is probably your state and condition at the present time, as you face the demands for merger and surrender being made on you by your business and personal enemy. As a result of this confused entanglement inside your mind, you have not as yet made a final choice of what to do.

“I urge you to take both regions and loci of thought into equal consideration, sir. Do not allow temporary emotional concerns twist or distort what may result from considering and combining all that exists in all lanes of your spacious thinking.

“That is what both I and Jala advise you attempt to do, so that your decision will be a wise and beneficial one.”

All of a sudden, Mato turned his swollen coffee brown eyes on his daughter.

“I prefer to fight on, Jala,” he announced. “Considering this matter from both angles, I choose to go on to the end, however unhappy it may turn out to be.

Teco turned his face to the young psychologist. From her grin of victory he predicted that Topox was not going to be taken over and swallowed up by Resen Sezo.

She has confirmed her discovery of entanglement of opposite thoughts within the mind by proving it within the decision-making of her own father.

The young pair left the library as the father began calling his enemy not to come to the residence for the meeting that had been scheduled. It would prove useless to his interests. The decision was to refuse the offer to merge with Reckon. It was final and irrevocable.

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Cryptomedicine Part IV.

5 Jan

I.

Boyanian Territory contains a number of thick, solid forests containing oak, maple, elm, and cedar trees. The largest of them surrounds the capital city of Boyana on all sides, from every direction.

Doa and Sinus, sharing the driving to the urban hub at the center of the Great Boyanian Forest, were both awestruck at the dark wall of circling their destination from which this territory was governed.

“There is no place resembling what we are seeing here, nowhere else on Vivaldi,” noted Doa at the steering wheel of the hydrazine motor-car.

“That is the genuine truth,” exclaimed Sinus to her right. “This territory is singularly unique, unlike the others we have visited and experienced up to now. I expect that we will uncover some surprising system of cryptomedicine being practiced among the inhabitants of this land.

“The books that I have studied and used to guide me relate that there exist very old traditions among the people that are forms of acupressure and acupuncture using special, tiny needles. The practitioners refer to their methods as stylostixics because of the character of their penetrating instruments.

“I have read that they use a vocabulary all their own. A stylometrician makes an opening, called an apertion, in a precisely chosen location on the skin of the patient’s body.

“The small hole that is made is known as a pertusion, while the boring down into the outer tissue can be labelled a terebration of the skin’s surface.

“The language used in this medical craft has been worked out into great technical detail over many generations of use and elaboration, I understand.”

“You have done a lot of study into it, then,” marveled Doa. “Our first task, then, will have to be to find ourselves a well-trained user of these special needles. A person who is expert in the field of stylostixics.”

“That should not be a great difficulty,” said her partner. “The method has a long history in popular culture among the Boyanians. It should be easy to locate some willing source involved in this arcane therapy in this territory.”

“We must look about and ask questions as soon as we find somewhere to stay in Boyana City,” urged the physician driving the hydrazine vehicle.”

The capital city of Boyana Territory had the configuration of a giant wheel, with its spokes the broad and busy boulevards radiating out from a large and monumental central square as its hub.

The pair of medical researchers found rooms at a tourist hotel on the outer rime from which could view the Great Forest that surrounded the crowded urban region that ruled the land.

At their first opportunity, the two began to talk to employees of the building they were staying in, trying to gain the information about acupressure therapists who operated outside the boundaries of conventional, licensed medicine. It did not take much time until Doa found a cleaning maid who described her experiences going to one of the providers of the informal treatment method.

“Yes, indeed I know and have tried one of those folk doctors that people call styloists. Let me tell you the truth about the good he did for me.

“I had for a number of years suffered from arthritic pain in my legs and all over my back. There were a number of ordinary doctors and specialists that I went to for treatment, but it all proved in vain. None of them was able to help me, not in the slightest.

“Then, I heard about of Dadin and I arranged to go to his house and have him examine and put needles into me in the areas of my body that were causing me the greatest pain and trouble. I had little hope left in my mind that anyone could ever do anything that would bring me back to a good, healthy condition. But in just three visits to Dadin Patil, my physical torture came to a total end.

“It was hard to believe, but he pulled off a cure of the arthritis plaguing me. He accomplished the miracle with his stylo-needles. That was all that the man used, but he accomplished what nobody else was able to. Dadin is not a licensed physician, but he outdid what any of them is capable of doing.

“I shall always be thankful to him, because all my former pain and suffering was ended by his magical needles. Today, I am able to carry out a lot of hard tasks in this hotel due to the changes he produced in how my bones and my entire body operates and functions.

“This styloist is a wonderworking genius,” concluded the room-maid, “I can swear to that from my personal experience with treatment from him.”

Doa beamed at her informant. “That is wonderful to hear,” she purred like a cat. “Would you be willing to tell me how I could find and meet with this healer of yours?”

“Certainly,” nodded the woman, proceeding to give the address of the man’s house and how to get to it.

II.

The house was a dilapidated bungalow on a arching street in one of the lower-income sectors of the capital. Sinus and Doa reached it on a scheduled public battery-bus that had a stop only one street away from it.

The two explorers stepped up onto the front stoop and Sinus pressed the door chimer. The person who answered this signaler was a bony, gangly middle-aged male with auric bronze skin, adumbral obsidian eyes, and wavy flaxen hair.

“Yes, what can I do for you?” he inquired of the strangers at his front door.

Sinus answered his question with a friendly grin. “Are you Mr. Dadin Patil? We have been informed by a friend of ours that you can perform certain helpful services for individuals who suffer certain ills and pains that are difficult to deal with or overcome by oneself.

“We have come from beyond the Boyanian Territory in order to learn what we can about the folk remedies and treatments available among the common people of this beautiful land of yours. That is the reason we have sought out a person like you, with a splendid, favorable reputation in what he does for those with the scourges of endless suffering in their bodies.”

The Boyanian stared at and studied Sinus, then turned his head and did the same to Doa.

“Please come in,” said the styloist. “I want to have a conversation with the two of you.”

Dadin Patil led the two strangers into his parlor, a large room paneled with oak and maple. The three sat down on plain Boyanian country chairs.

“We came to Boyana City to find out how to deal with several major diseases and illnesses,” began Doa in a quiet but serious tone. “It has been told to us by one of your patients that your styloist manner of treatment provides results that are startlingly successful, far surpassing what conventional medicine furnished by licensed physicians can do for the sick.

“Our aim is to learn all that you can tell us about the principles of your system of acupressure, so that we might help it spread elsewhere on Vivaldi, to the people of other lands and territories.

“Would you agree to educate us about how you bring about the restoration of health to the suffering?”

She looked at Dadin with a pleading expression on her face.

The styloist smiled with warmth and compassion. “Yes, I do not wish to conceal anything of possible help to you, or from the conformists of the medical profession. My wish is that everyone learn what is possible with the method of acupressure and acupuncture. That would benefit everyone all over our beloved planet of Vivaldi. There is no reason for me to hide what I have found out from the Boyanian folk traditions or discovered on my own. Instead, I believe that everything I know should be public knowledge available to every single individual everywhere.”

“We are deeply happy to hear you say that,” murmured Doa in almost a whisper.

“Indeed, we are,” added Sinus. “You will never be sorry of what you reveal to the two of us. We will make good use of what we learn.”

The styloist suddenly fell silent, as if distracted by the inner workings within his internal thoughts or emotions. His dark obsidian eyes seemed frozen by some invisible, intangible force that he himself was unconscious of.

Sinus and Doa stared in wonder at the Boyanian sitting opposite them.

Only after an uneasy period of uncomfortable waiting did the two visitors hear a new, different tone of voice emerge from the mouth of their host.

“I learned most of what I know about healing from my father, who belonged to a line of styloists extending backward an unknowable number of generations. From my earliest years of childhood, I was a witness of how the methods of acupressure were used of traditional therapists who knew and followed this form of folk treatment of illness.

“I learned the form and the structure of the pathways that held the main factors of life within the human body. At a very early age, my father taught me the location of the fourteen important points of the fourteen pathways that flow through our physical organs and tissues.

“The main lesson taught to me was that nearly all illnesses that inflict humans are related to and result from problems or dysfunctions of these fourteen pathways we contain. All the internal organs are dependent on the proper, healthy functioning of these channels. They are the rivers of the life that we enjoy.

“I know the secret of how to liberate the body from disharmonies and blockages in these central, vital tubes that we are born with.”

Dadin, all of a sudden, appeared to experience an abrupt shaking motion that only lasted a few seconds of time. His eyes sharpened their focus as he seemed to become more aware of the two visitors listening to him speak.

“There can be no life without these pathways, for the energy of living must flow through them in order for a person’s body to continue to be alive.

“They are very similar to our nerves or our blood vessels, the veins and arteries inside the organs of the body.

“My father taught me how to locate the fourteen meridian points at which acupressure and acupuncture can correct malfunctions of the system of energy flow. But I myself have progressed beyond those primary means of affecting the condition of the channels.” All at once, the styloist stopped his chain of talk. He seemed to have realized that he was about to go too far into a subject he had to be careful in exposing to outsiders like the pair sitting in his parlor at present.

“I am sorry but I have an appointment to see a patient of mine in a short time, within the next several minutes in fact. Perhaps it sounds impolite to you, but it is now necessary for the two of you to leave the house so that I van be free to meet this urgent necessity that is about to face me in the immediate future ahead.”

All at once, the styloist named Dadin Patil shot to his feet.

“I tell you what we will do: we shall meet here together tomorrow at this very same hour. Just the three of us, alone and all to ourselves. There are no patients of mine scheduled for this time, I guarantee you.

“This makes me feel ashamed and sorry, but it is necessary because my patients, all of them, expect me to keep my word to each of them.”

At that moment, both Doa and Sinus rose to their feet and began moving to the door that led out of the house of the man who had been explaining the craft he practiced to them.

Both researches felt confused and stunned by what had just happened to them.

It was plain and clear to both researchers that the styloist had hidden his true reason for forcing them to leave his house so abruptly.

The two headed for the street corner where they had descended out of the public carrier bus and where they could expect another one to come by very soon.

“What made this fellow act the way that he did?” asked Sinus once they stopped walking to the intersection.

“I don’t really know,” confessed Doa in a voice with a tinge of fear and suspicion in it. “Perhaps we will be able to figure him out tomorrow when we see him again.”

III.

Both Sinus and Doa were on edge that night and woke up with nervous confusion the following morning. Neither could understand what the true motive of the styloist had been in dismissing them so abruptly the way that he had.

“It was good that he invited us to return this morning,” declared Doa as they ate breakfast together at the tourist hotel’s small restaurant. “Perhaps we will be able to understand what was behind his unusual behavior in not finishing what he had started to tell us.”

“Yes,” agreed Sinus, “the man acted as if something was hanging over him as a threat of some kind. I didn’t sleep well at all. My brain was full of worry and concern about the situation.”

“It disturbed me too,” added Doa as she finished the scrambled goose egg on her plate. “If we are lucky, he will reveal what he is hiding from us when we see him this morning.”

“I hope so,” added her partner in field research.

Dadin Patil was not alone they learned when he led them into his front parlor.

A short, bald stranger rose from a chair and faced the two newly arrived companions. His face was circular and a yellowish bronze. A smile, obviously forced and insincere, crossed his mouth and gave him a clownish expression.

Dadin began to make introductions. “This is a trusted friend of mine. His name is Klatan Spax, and he is a practicing medical doctor here in Boyana City.

“These are the visitors I told you about, Klatan. He is Sinus Ak, and she is Doa Mito.

“Let us all be seated so that we can discuss the subject that interests us, the progress and development of better and better stylostixics.”

Doa and Sinus briefly exchanged looks of confused alarm before taking the chairs they had occupied the previous day.

Dadin and the second man sat down beside each other and the former began to make an explanation of the surprising presence of the fourth individual there in the parlor.

“I have to explain that Klatan is my partner in a joint project we two have undertaken. Its aim is to make a giant medical advance that will combine the art of the styloist with methods originating in advanced medicine of conventional physicians.

“The two of us believe it can be done, and so we have joined with each other for the purpose of evolving and advancing such a cooperative endeavor.

“We have been working on this project for a number of years, and now we think we have attained our goal.

“Final victory is today in sight for what we have sought and dreamed of.”

Dadin drew a deep breath as he glanced for a moment at his partner, Dr. Klatan Spax.

“First, though, allow me to explain for you a certain feature of the history of styloist treatment that is of enormous importance in making the combination we envision possible.

“There has long been two directions in my family’s field of operation. The main stream has concentrated on acupuncturing the skin with a needle of light and safe sharpness. The second, minor portion of our practice has dealt with what we call the scraping of the acupoint in order to make an accurate, concentrated pressure with maximum precision. The latter method is superior, but more difficult to carry out properly and successfully.

“Klatan and I think that we have discovered the way to perfect this less used method called scraping. I shall now ask him to explain how it can be done in a new, superior manner, using an additional technical instrument taken from conventional medicine.”

The face of Dadin turned toward the Boyanian physician, signaling to Doa and Sinus to focus their eyes on this stranger in a dark magenta suit.

The little man with yellow brown skin started to speak in a low bass.

“Early in my first year in medical school here in Boyana City, I became certain that I wished to spend my career as a medical doctor in the area of holographic analysis and therapy.

“I became an expert in the construction and application of so-called smart holographic devices that can test blood, breath, saliva, and urine from a distance for the purpose of complete early warning of potential problems in a given patient. Measurements of hormones and blood composition facilitate the analysis of illness and disease in time, before they actually form and occur.

“My experience at Boyana City General Hospital permitted me to make myself the foremost pioneer in what is called digital holographic microscopy. No one in the medical profession anywhere possesses my skill and knowledge in the use of the nano-antenna chips that can be injected into a person’s blood stream in order to monitor changes when they first happen. That provides a crucial advantage in all areas of medical treatment.

“I enjoy capabilities in imaging what I have myself named holographic interferograms, a completely new frontier in my specialty. My work has taken me into allied areas of pathology, orthopedics, urology, otology, and ophthalmology, where I have aided both analysis and therapy.

“My knowledge of how to predict and eliminate disease-causing pathogens has lifted me up to the very peak of our medical realm in the Boyanian Territory. No one else can compete or compare with me in any way whatever,” boasted the short physician, his gray eyes dilating with emotion.

Dadin now took over the explanation of the subject being dealt with.

“Until the present time, perforation of the skin has enjoyed the advantage of focus upon a small, narrow area of the pathway being targeted. Scraping was a wider ranging method that had a tendency to become more scattered and diffused, without so sharp a centering.

“In the Boyanian tradition, scraping came to be carried out with specially designed tools of different shapes and sizes, depending upon which location of the skin was to be the center of the treatment. The actual scraping had to be gentle and precise. The recommended movements had to be back and forth. One tended to follow the main muscles so that they would be restructured in time. The styloist repeated the physical strokes over and over in order to affect and influence the living pathways underneath the skin.

“These gentle, measured strokes stretched four to six inches along the length of one of these pathway channels. They were never to cause the slightest pain to the person acting as the patient of the styloist in charge of the treatment.

“But now, with holographic positioning and direction, the scraping method can become as accurate and aimed as the acupunctural penetration has always been.

“The scraping will also possess greater force and strength to it as well.

“This new, improved acupressure striking at the internal pathways will make them better able to restore equilibrium to the organs and tissues of a patient with illness stemming from weakness in the life energy system of the body.

“I foresee future treatment for illnesses such as sciatica, tendonitis, bursitis, neuropathy, planar pascitis, herniated disc, trigeminal neuralgia, vertigo, shingles, herpes, hemorrhoids, colitis, hypertension, tachycardia, morning sickness in women, leucorrhea, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoporosis, migraine, fibromyalgia, headaches, insomnia, panic attacks, nausea, on and on, on and on without end.”

The styloist beamed at both Sinus and Dia with evident joy.

“I believe that combination can increase the productiveness of both medical holography and life-pathway acupressure. Each multiplies the beneficial effects of the other factor.

“Since all I have said today is new to both of you, I have decided to have you present to observe how Klatan and I work our methods together on one of our patients. We will have the opportunity to have you witness a treatment session tomorrow afternoon. Is that agreeable for your schedules?”

Both Doa and Sinus said that it was. They took their leave and left with an appointment set for them to see what the pair were up to.

IV.

The Director of the Boyana General Hospital managed it with an unconcealed authorian aspiration.

Dr. Iut Nesan tried to make all major decisions pertaining to how the physicians under him practiced within the institution. This trait of his often led to conflict with anyone as independent-minded and creative as Klatan Spax.

The head of the hospital kept a wary, watchful eye on what the holography specialist might be trying to accomplish within the boundaries ruled by himself in his official post of Director.

The wiry figure with xanthous bronze skin sat at his gigantic magnesium desk, his stygian eyes focused on the report delivered to him that morning by the security chief of the hospital. He perused the last few lines that told of how much expensive holographic equipment a certain important member of the medical staff had ordered carted off from the orthopedic department.

What is Dr. Klatan Spax up to? wondered the man who believed in tight, unquestioned control over all aspects of medical activity within his domain of therapy and treatment.

I have to investigate this wayward fellow and find out why he is so flagrantly breaking the rules and regulations. His behavior has wandered over into the area of the criminal. It must be stopped before he brings scandal down upon me and my administration of this place.

These reports to me must be accepted as true, because they come from the hospital’s own security office, and are truthful and verified. They are proof that Dr. Spax not only appropriates our expensive holographic equipment, but hands them over to be used by an illegal quack with a stylist fraud that he performs on the innocent and naïve.

Iut Nesan decided he had to go to the holographic unit himself and question the dangerous scofflaw on his own. He had to put a halt to such a threat to his dominant position in the institution under his authority and to this criminal behavior.

Sinus and Doa waited a considerable time before having a genuine exchange concerning what was unraveling in front of them.

They ate a late breakfast of barley hotcakes together in their hotel’s restaurant. Doa decided to give her companion the opinion she had reached overnight about the pair making the union of acupressure scrapping with holographic technology.

“I ask myself whether those two personalities are fooling themselves about the invention that they claimed to us about. Or is it possible each of them is a liar to the other?

“What is the actual truth about what they are involved with?

“I am uncertain whether I know that for sure.”

She looked into his face across the table from her, begging him for his judgment on the question important to what they were going to do.

Klatan looked up from where he was sitting at his old oaken desk, reading a Boyana City news-sheet that he subscribed to. Sight of the Director standing there sent a cold shiver down his spine.

“Good morning, sir,” the holographer managed to say despite his absolute surprise at seeing Iut Nesan present in his office.

The two men exchanged words of greeting, but then went on directly to serious matters.

“I have been informed that certain instruments and devises used in this section have suddenly gone missing and are no longer present and available. Tell me the truth, Klatan. Is there any truth in such assertions?”

The one being questioned turned livid and began to grow agitated.

“How has such a rumor arisen?” nervously countered the one being questioned. “It might be that someone is making up untrue stories out of spite or nastiness. You can never tell what the jealous might think up to slander those they have it in for, can you?” responded Klatan with in an angry tone.

Iut Nesan frowned, taking a step forward into the tiny office that his target occupied.

“I don’t think that is what lies behind I have been informed of. You see, it was through our Security Office that I learned about equipment being missing in your section. You, of all persons, must have some knowledge of what has been happening inside your own section. I just want to get to the bottom of this and find out whether any kind of crime has been committed around here.”

All at once, Klatan shot up out of his seat and leaned his body forward over his desk.

“No, there have been no criminal activities in my holographic section. What happened to certain items of equipment was a simple act of borrowing.

“I have been carrying out certain medical experiments after hours, completely on my own. They are of such a minor, unimportant character that I did not feel compelled to report them so anyone, not in the slightest degree.

“In a little while, I intend to return all of these holographic devises and instruments to where they belong, here in this section of the hospital where I work.

“There was nothing unusual or amiss in what I did. It was nothing more than a simple act of borrowing. Nothing untoward about it, nothing at all. Things like that go on all the time, not just in my section but actually throughout the Boyana City General Hospital.

“It would seem, sir, that you are ignorant and unaware of what many of our people are continually involved in. These are not at all crimes, but only customary, acceptable acts of borrowing by trusted employees of our institution.

“So, now you know what I did and why I felt perfectly justified in taking certain items home with me. The whole thing was for purposes of extended research for the good of our hospital. Nothing more than that, I swear.”

By now, the Director was ready to boil over and explode with rage.

Understanding that further exchanges would be futile with this individual, Iut Nesan turned around in disgust and retreated.

He was now more determined than ever to rid his realm of rule and control of this stubborn, pesky opponent.

V.

As soon as Goa and Sinus appeared at his house, Dadin led them into the back room where he held consultations with those who came to him for styloistic therapy.

Sitting opposite the pair, the healer began to describe what he planned to accomplish with a person coming to him for treatment along with his partner, the holographer named Klatan Spax.

“As I mentioned to you yesterday, the acupressure that I am going to apply today can be directed through fourteen points of the life-giving pathways embedded with the bodies of human beings. Let me name for you these vital points. I, of course, know them by heart.

“These are the meridial points on the skin that impinge upon the internal channels.

“The lungs, the large intestine, the stomach, the spleen, the heart, the scoversmall intestine, the urinary bladder, the kidney, the pericardium, the gall bladder, the liver, plus three that are known as the extraordinary, special pathways of the body.

“The last three are unique pathways that cross over the body and form long pathways that connect a variety of different organs and tissues. These are the Ren Pathway, the Du Pathway, and the Tru Pathway. The Ren travels over the front of the body, the Du touches the back, while the Tru one is right in the middle between the two sides of the physical frame. and

“The Ren Pathway originates in the uterus, genitals, and lower abdomen and carries the life-force energy to many other organs.

“The Du Pathway begins at the center of the back and follows the spinal cord up to the head, ending at the inside of the mouth.

“The Vu Pathway is entirely internal and cannot be reached directly through stylostix penetration.”

At that moment in the narration by Dadin, a knock came at the door of the room.

“Come in,” called out the styloist.

The door opened and Klatan stepped in. He said hello to the two in the room.

“I can see that the patient for today’s treatment has not yet arrived,” said the newcomer. He turned to Doa and Sinus. “Has Dadin explained to you what we are going to do to him when we have him present here?”

The styloist answered the question for the visitors in the room. “I was in the process of doing exactly that when you stepped in,” he explained to his partner in the project they were involved with.

“Do not interrupt you, then,” smiled the physician who was an expert in medical holography and its many applications.

“I was about to describe how these specialized holographic instruments will help in pinpointing the precise position of the acupoint we will be using to complete my scrapping operation in an optimal manner.”

“You must continue and complete that, then,” nodded Klatan Spax, turning to the two who were going to act as observers of the treatment once it began. “You are going to see a pioneering innovation, a combination of two different therapeutic methods into a united, harmonious cooperation.”

“We are grateful for this extraordinary opportunity,” muttered Sinus.

“Yes, indeed,” added Doa with visible joy. “We are about to witness your innovation with our own eyes.”

Dadin then continued with the explanations he had begun.

Dadin went to the front parlor to wait for and receive the patient scheduled for the new, truly experimental therapy. When the young man arrived, the styloist led him to the treatment chamber where the group who were going to witness the treatment awaited their entrance.

The patient proved to be a paunchy young man with drab bronze skin color and wavy straw hair. Dadin introduced him to Klatan, Doa, and Sinus, then asked him to step behind a screen and change into a white hospital garment worn in surgery by those undergoing an operation.

The patient, called by his personal name of Resco, emerged ready for what lay ahead for him.

Dadin instructed him to sit in what looked like a barber’s or dentist’s chair. The holograph device was pointed directly at that position. The patient, smiling with self-confidence, did as he was directed.

Klatan moved forward to set, point, and adjust the holograph lens onto the exposed chest area of the patient. This took him a minute and a half to complete with precision and success.

The physician nodded his head toward his partner, the signal that Resco was ready to receive scraping with the smooth-edged acupressure instrument that lay in a germ-free plastine storage bin on an adjacent small table.

“Everything is ready to go,” whispered Klatan from behind the holographic apparatus.

Dadin started to move forward toward the chair, the scraper in his right hand, when a traumatic, catastrophic event occurred with incredibly startling speed.

The door to the chamber flew open.

All eyes turned to see a man in blue police uniform rush in. He was followed by another like him, then a third.

As the trio occupied and took over control of the room, a man in a serge black suit sauntered in.

He identified himself as an investigative officer of the city police and announced that those participating in an illegal medical action were now under arrest for what they were engaged in doing.

“You must now come with us to Police Headquarters to face questioning and booking. I warn you not to attempt to escape or resist those guarding you.” He turned to the patient and addressed him.

“Give your name and address to one of my men and then you will be free to leave and go home. But we will summon you to give us evidence against those who were about to inflict grave physical harm upon your body with their criminal behavior.”

The uniformed officers placed hands on Dadin, Klatan, Sinus, and Doa. The stunned, confused, terrified four were escorted to a special armored carrier waiting for them outside on the street.

None of the four under arrest were able to say a single word to any of their fellow prisoners.

VI.

Boyana City Police Headquarters was an enormously large building of yellowish red plastic beton.

The four who had been arrested were placed in four separate holding cells, then taken to an interrogation room one-by-one.

Each of them were explained that their offense was that of being present for and participating in an illegal surgical operation. They had intended to make use of a banned method inherited from obsolete Boyanian ancient, outmoded folklore practices that the government and the law defined as too dangerous to continue under any conditions.

Although Klatan began to argue that he wanted to see an attorney and that he himself was a licensed physician who was on the staff of the Boyana City General Hospital, he was unable to have his circumstances changed.

“You have not been licensed to break the law, to carry out that disgusting form of illegal surgery that you were caught engaged in. You are therefore denied immediate contact with a lawyer. That can only be allowed once we are finished interrogating you, and will probably not be possible for a considerable length of time.”

Both Doa and Sinus were unable to dispel the suspicions with which they were surrounded and treated by the detectives who questioned them.

“It makes no difference that you do not happen to be citizens of the Boyanian Territory,” both of them were informed.

“Being visitors carrying out a research project cannot be a justifiable defense for having been present as conscious observers of a major medical crime. You knew what you were doing. Ignorance of our law cannot protect or absolve you of responsibility for what you make yourself a part of through your voluntary presence in the room.”

“An attorney has been assigned to deal with the situation facing you.” both Sinus and Doa were informed by jail guards, then taken to a room reserved for consultations with their shared legal defender. The police had decided to treat them as a unit of related individuals, since they had traveled to Boyana Territory as a pair together. Their lawyer who was waiting to see them was a thickset young man of an ochre color with chestnut hair, wearing a suit of teal wool. He rose from his seat at a small table and introduced himself as Mogu Bjej. The three sat down, the advocate facing the two travelers.

“I am sponsored to represent you by the Bojana City General Hospital, which recognizes its social responsibility toward the two of you for the grief and pain caused to you by your association with a medical employee whom it employs in its holography section, Dr. Klatan Spax.

“The latter took advantage of your ignorance of our laws and brought about your presence at an unlawful medical procedure involving stylistics, which has no place in proper, healthy practice of any kind.

“I am certain that I can win your freedom and rapid, but it may take some length of time to bring about. It will be necessary for me to petition a local court to take over jurisdiction of the unfair charges against you.

“For now, all that I require is that both of you answer the questions I pose to you. I insist that you be fully truthful with me. Is that clear?”
D
Both Doa and Sinus replied that it was.

“You both were present for what Dadin Patil informed you was to be a styloist treatment that he was meant to give to a patient in conjunction with Dr. Klatan Spax, in charge of the holograph instrumentalities that were there to be used by the latter man?”

“Yes, that is correct,” muttered Sinus in a lowered voice.

“That was the situation,” added Doa, nodding her head yes.

“And the session with the patient was about to start out when the police officers entered and prevented any further progress of the acupressure operation?”

Both witnesses gave an affirmative verbal reply to the lawyer.

“Both of you will swear to the statements you just made to me, and are willing to sign affidavits affirming what you observed and experienced in that particular room in the house owned by Dadin Patel?”

“Yes,” answered both of the researchers in turn.

Mogu Bjej spontaneously smiled, for he had obtained what he had come there for.

“I thank both of you, for it will now be only a matter of a little time for me to obtain your release from this jail.

“I have to congratulate you for your honesty to me, and deeply appreciate what you have related to me.

“I make a single recommendation to both of you. Do not meet with either of the pair who were arrested along with you. Do not speak with them about any topic at all. Have no contact with either Patil or Spax. In fact, if I were you, I would hurry and leave Boyanian Territory as quickly as possible.

“As long as you are present in this city or this country, there will remain a certain degree of legal risk and shadow falling over you and complicating life for the two of you.”

As Doa and Sinus turned their heads to glance in each other’s face, the attorney rose and headed out of the consultation room.

Two guards came in and escorted the pair back to their cells.

Neither Doa nor Sinus could solve the riddle of what was going on behind the outer scenery of the drams they had become involved in.

VII.

Two jail guards accompanied the prisoner Dadin Patil to the consultation room where the attorney of the Boyana City General Hospital, Mogu Bjej, was waiting to talk with the styloist arrested for illegal medical practice in his home.

“I have been hired by the Public Prosecutor to come here as your personal attorney to defend your individual interests,” lied the experienced advocate. “That is my primary task, to see to it that your rights and privileges are recognized and protected. You must be totally open and honest with me, just as I have to be toward you and your individual interests as a person. Be assured, I know your situation and circumstances. My specific aim shall be to win your freedom and release from any sort of punishment or incarceration whatsoever.

“I will treat you as if you are my very own brother, Dadin,” pledged Mogu Bjej, his face almost shining with assumed sincerity and honesty.

The prisoner said nothing, but stared woodenly at the man across from him.

Mogu decided to continue with his prearranged tactical plan.

“I intend to argue that the inspiration for what occurred was not yours, but entirely that of Dr. Klatan Spax. It was he who possessed the professional title, the education and the experience, to have known better. That what he proposed that you take part in was a completely criminal project.

“How were you, not a medico in any sense of the word, to see the illegality of what he wanted you to help him with? He hoodwinked and misled you. This physician skillfully lied and fooled you into becoming his puppet, his unconscious dupe.

“In other words, he exploited your ignorance of what is in the law. How were you to see through his many deceptions? He was the one with the medical education. He should have known what is impermissible for anyone at all to do.

You are only an average person who happens to be familiar with Boyanian traditional folklore, with what some of our ancestors once performed, but which has long been forbidden and outlawed.

“How were you to know that what he proposed could lead to your arrest? That was clearly, obviously not possible, not at all.”

Mogu stopped a moment and peered deeply into the obsidian eyes of his targeted, nearly spellbound listener.

The lawyer now started to speak in a whisper. “It is necessary that you prove your innocence to the court authorities who will become involved in this case. That can only happen if I am able to place all the guilt and responsibility upon the evil character of Dr. Spax.

“You must permit me to claim that he was able to entrance and mesmerize you into becoming his tool. I must be able to prove that he took possession of your individual will and made you into his unconscious instrument

“Do you think you can do that, Dadin? Will you allow me to have it put down in an affidavit, and would you sign the document?”

“Yes, of course I would,” nervously stuttered the styloist. “Yes, that was how it was. I was tricked by the doctor who befriended and fooled me.”

Mogu grinned with his victory. “I shall have the document written up, then have it delivered here for your signature, my dear fellow.”

The lawyer rose to his feet and signaled to the guard at the door that he was ready to depart.

He had fulfilled his planned scenario. There was no need to see or interview Klatan Spax at all.

The next destination for Mogu Bjej happened to be the central executive offices of the Boyana City General Hospital.

As soon as the main secretary of the Director caught sight of the lawyer, she instantly told him to go right into the office of Director Iut Nesan.

As soon as the latter saw who was entering his office he motioned to him to approach up to his gigantic desk.

“How is the plan working out?” inquired the top hospital executive. “Have you obtained what is needed from the styloist and the two witnesses from outside the Boyanian Territory who happened to have seen what was happening?”

“Yes, sir,” declared Mogu Bjej with a nod. “It went like clockwork, I might be justified to claim. The needed documents will be supplied as soon as possible, I firmly believe. We are on the brink of a marvelous vMugictory over both the holographer and his secondary, the acu-pressure man.”

“So, I take it that you have cornered Klatan Spax in a trap through the evidence against him produced by the statements of his partner, the styloist, plus what is testified to by these two witnesses from outside the Boyana Territory. Is that the present picture, then?”

Mogu nodded yes. “That is now for certain. The doctor will have nothing to justify his actions in taking out hospital equipment for unlawful, irregular purposes. He will under no circumstances be released by the police. His fate will be an unpleasant one when he is brought up in court. Judges will have to be severe with him for what hw has tried to do.”

A strange, undecipherable expression erupted on the face of Iut Nesan that perplexed and nearly frightened the attorney.

“Can you tell me why you are so dedicated to ruining Dr. Spax?’ unexpectedly said Mogu Bjej. His quiet, controlled tone disconcerted the advocate, profoundly surprising and frightening him for a number of seconds. Finally, the Director replied with an assumed, forced degree of outward confidence.

“He is, by his very character, a thoroughly evil person,” he coolly expelmumbled. “Such demonic men must be expelled from an institution such as this hospital. There is no place for tricksters like Klatan Spax in a place that I am responsible for running. My sworn duty is to expel him. He wants to go off on his own and misuse the holographic equipment that has been provided to him. Whenever he feels some emotion of curiosity, he wishes to chase whatever it is that he dreams of doing or accomplishing.

“I can’t just stand by and watch him destroy what I stand for in my hospital. If I don’t stamp out the danger he poses, who will?”

The two of them stared at each other in complete silence, until Mogu excused himself and departed to carry out the actions assigned to him.

Sinus and Doa left Police Headquarters with swift, fearsome steps.

The two headed to a jitney-bus stop at a nearby intersection, only beginning to speak when they stopped to wait for the arrival of the next public vehicle.

Doa turned her face to her partner and asked him the question weighing on her thoughts and her conscience.

“I feel guilty, Sinus. I really do. Did I betray Dr. Spax when I promised to sign a document that would make him guilty of breaking the legal limits that exist governing medical practice? Was I promising the lawyer that I would act as a traitor, for the sake of obtaining my own freedom from punishment of any sort? Was I thinking only of my own safety and benefit?”

Sinus looked away for a moment, down the street, as if looking for the appearance of the large carrier they were waiting for.

“I did the same thing, Doa. And I feel the same as you do, ashamed of how selfish were my motives for what I told that lawyer.

“But what could I have done? What else could I have said? You were in the same situation, and you too had to give in and agree to what the attorney demanded of you.

“But the important thing right now is what you and I decide to do since we left jail. Neither of us has yet signed anything on paper. The document is still being drawn up. We still have an alternative, don’t we?”

“What is that?” she inquired in a desperate voice.

“We still have our road-car and could escape in it. If we arrange it the right way, we can flee from Boyana City tonight. It might turn out to be highly risky, but isn’t it the only option remaining for the two of us?”

“Here comes a jitney-bus,” announced Doa as she nodded her agreement with his dangerous proposal just made to her.

VIII.

A pair of jail guards in blue uniforms escorted Dadin Patil into the consultation room where his attorney sat waiting to speak with him.

The styloist sat down at the small table while the police officers exited.

Mogu was the first to say anything.

“How do you feel today?” he asked the prisoner. “How are they treating you? Do you have any complaints to make?

“I have with me the affidavit that I promised you yesterday. It can be signed at once, with me as the co-signer. We can ask your two guards to step back in this room to act and sign as the necessary witnesses to the document.

“Are you ready to write your signature at the bottom? You can use the pocket pen that I always carry with me. This will only take you a moment.”

“I won’t do it.”

Mogu gulped and shivered in shock. “What’s that? What did you say?”

“I refuse. It would be wrong, and it would not be true. The thing was my fault as much as that of Dr. Spax. If he is guilty of a crime, then so am I.

“I won’t be a deceiver and hide my part in setting up the plan that we had. The idea was not completely his. I had a large part in conceiving the project of combining what I knew with his expert knowledge and the apparatuses we planned to use.

“If it was all a crime, then that makes both of us equally criminals.”

The face of Dadin seemed to stiffen into a stiff, solid mask.

Sensing that there was nothing he could do, that he no longer controlled this recalcitrant man, Mogu rose, picked up the briefcase with the unsigned affidavit, and left the consultation room with hurried steps.

Sinus and Doa managed to remove their luggage and transportable possessions out of their hotel through a back service entrance, after paying their rental bills in private in the office of the assistant manager.

Once in their hydrazine-fueled road-car with their baggage in the trunk, they entered the heavy street traffic and made their way to the main road out of Boyana City, taking a wandering route meant to lose anyone attempting to trail them.

Before the two realized it, they were deep within the Great Boyanian Forest, speeding with Doa at the steering control.

She was the one who brought up the cloud that surrounded the nature of the events they had experienced back in the capital city.

“Can you understand what lay behind what that lawyer, Mr. Mogu Bjej, was trying to do by tempting you and me to incriminate Dr. Spax as a criminal conspirer who had tricked and taken control over Dadin Patil?

“I can’t make sense out of any of the things he said to me. He wanted to recruit me, as well as you, as witnesses of the power that the doctor was exercising over the supposedly foolish and blind styloist. Was Klatan Spax in actuality such a great swindler and confidence man as to lead Dadin about by the nose?

“I have great doubts about what motivated the attorney to act so unscrupulously as that. What was it that was impelling him to play such a dastardly role as the one he was enacting before us?”

After a long pause, Sinus broke the silence that followed her questions.

“I am also puzzled by why certain things happened the way they did. It could be that the cause of all of it lies at the Boyana City General Hospital.

“Someone there may have reason to have hatred and ill will toward Dr. Klatan Spax and wished to ruin his career and his standing. Such things are possible in a profession as competitive as the medical one.

“But I doubt whether we will ever reach a clear solution to the riddle. It will remain a clouded-up mystery.”

The road-car proceeded onward toward a not yet chosen territory.

The End

Cryptomedicine Part III.

21 Dec

I.

Tilia Territory was mostly a grassy plain with lines of poplar trees distant from each other.

Sinus Ak and Doa Mito immediately noticed how distinctly different most of the inhabitants of this land’s belt of settlement were from the people of the neighboring jurisdictions.

The Tilians were brachycephalic with small, short bodies and comparatively little heads. They had thick, bushy light brown hair, both the males and the females. High cheek bones were common with these possessors of lean, ectomorphic torsos.

The skin of the group varied from a shiny to a dull reddish orange.

Sinus, the anthropologist, was fascinated by how this population appeared to be genetically original.

“Where will we find signs of medical peculiarities in this prairie territory?” he asked his research companion as they drove over the empty grassland. “How do we know exactly what to look for around us?”

Doa, at the steering wheel at the moment, smiled as she gave him her answer.

“I think we should go all the way into the capital, Tilis. We will be able to get hold of the bearings we need once we reach that city at the center of this province.”

“Yes, that sounds like the best thing for you and I to do,” he responded.

Tilis, located on both sides of a narrow river, consisted of adobe and cement houses and governmental and commercial buildings.

The two travelers found an economical hotel near the central downtown, in the zone of the territorial university.

“I have an acquaintance who went to medical school with me who had a deep interest in alternative kinds of medicine,” Doa informed her research partner over a fast lunch in a restaurant adjacent to their hotel. “Why don’t I make contact with him and find out what he can tell me about unconventional therapies in this region?”

Sinus nodded his approval. “That might be the best way for us to start our search for what may lie off the beaten track.”

The office of Dr. Sarz was on a short, narrow side street close to the hospital affiliated with Tilis City University and its School of Medicine.
The pair of visitors found no receptionist or nurse present, only Doa’s old acquaintance carrying out all the chores and responsibilities of the practice.

“Hello, Prexto,” beamed Doa upon catching sight of him stepping out of inner examination room. “How are you, and how are things progressing for you? I happen to be in Tilia Territory on a special project of field research in the area of medical methods and practices.” She turned and pointed a hand to her tall male companion. “This is my partner in the enterprise, Sinus Ak, a trained and experienced anthropologist. Our goal is to combine our two disciplines together so as to get more valuable results in what we are doing.”

Sarz offered his hand to Sinus, who took and shook it while giving the Tilian his name.

Sinus smiled at the medium-height, lean, but muscular man with high cheek bones, shiny reddish orange skin, and dark brown eyes.

“It is such a pleasure to see you in Tilis City, Dia,” said Prexto Sarx, turning toward her. “I have no more patients until tonight, so why don’t the three of us go out and have a cocoa drink? There is a chocolate shop just a block away from the office, and its a short stroll to get to it. I want to treat the two of you to one of our favorite Tilian refreshments. I guarantee that both of you will enjoy and come to like it a lot,” he grinned at one and then the other.

The trio decided to take a circular table adjacent to the sidewalk, enjoying the warm, bright solar light descending out of a clear, azure sky.

The street on which the sidewalk café was located had little, infrequent vehicular traffic of any kind.

Prexto ordered his favorite refreshment, vanilla cocoa melt for his unexpected visitors.

Doa decided to give her friend a candid, complete but brief description of what she and her companion were up to.

“We were quite busy in the Ezerian Territory because the focus of our interest there was on folk medicine that used natural remedies based on plants and herbs. A lot of our time and energy was devoted to mushrooms and their place in traditional ethno-medicine. Then, we visited your neighbor, the Goranian Territory, where we concentrated our attention upon magnetic therapy and how it could be improved and expanded through the application of advanced electronic physics.

“But now we are going to look into Tilian alternative and popular cures and healing, to find out what can be learned or appropriated from the unconventional types of treatments, either those with a long history or the recent innovations in fringe medical practice.

“Since you are the person I know best in Tilis City, I decided to consult with you for advice. What should we be looking at and studying? How can we gather information on a particular irregular, as yet unaccepted method of dealing with disease, illness, or pain?

“It would be of great benefit to us if you were to give us the guidance of your own knowledge and experience, Prexto.”

The latter, sitting at his small oaken desk, gazed across at the two researchers. He was silent a considerable time, as his visitors patiently waited for him to speak.

“It is an incredible surprise to me, that you wish to study traditional means with an historical heritage. The simple truth is this: that I myself am attempting to bring in and absorb a type of Tilian folk-healing into my own practice as a professional physician. I only began this venture as an experiment about half a year ago. But I am at present expanding this kind of activity on my part to a larger portion of my patients, because of the successes I have enjoyed with the initial, very small group.” The brown eyes of the medic grew larger and brightened. “It is a fortunate coincidence that you have come to me and told me what you are hunting for. I certainly hope that what I am involved with at the present time can provide what you want.

“You can depend upon me to do all I can to introduce you to what excites and intrigues me in a type of therapy shunned and ignored until the present day.”

“What is the character of this interesting method of treatment, Prexto?” said Doa with emotion in her voice.

The Tilian physician smiled as if transported elsewhere by what he began to describe and disclose to the twosome in front of him.

“As we all know, curative crystals and gemstones have for untold ages been an important factor in popular tradition in many of our territorial cultures.

“The central concept involved has always been that of vibrations from the stones and their varying frequencies. The fluctuating vibrations have the power to release both the human mind and the body from the internal blockages that interfere with the healthy life and functioning of the natural vibrations that our cells produce and depend upon for survival and success.

“Since we ourselves contain so much silicon dioxide, similar to what exists within the rich variety of crystals and gems, the latter are able to transmit light and energy into our living cells, aiding in freeing and unblocking them.

“If we know which stone to apply and how to increase its frequency to the optimum frequency, we will have the power and means of carrying out actual cures from illnesses and malfunctioning of physical organs.

“That is what gemstone therapy, when lifted up to a modern scientific level, is capable to achieving and providing for medicine.

“I have attempted to use it on many of my patients, and have been convinced by the results that its possibilities are incalculable.”

Doa and Sinus stared at his face and eyes, because Prexto appeared to have fallen into a trance of self-induced ecstasy.

He suddenly seemed to shake himself back to the present moment and circumstance.

“That is my fervent and sincere belief,” he coolly asserted. “If you wish to learn about the innovative methods now available in gemstone treatment and therapy, come back to my office early this evening, at dusk.

“I shall be having an informal conference of some of my patients, together with a group of enthusiastic recruits to the new way of using stones and crystals for medical purposes.”

The doctor smiled with noticeable confidence at Doa and Sinus.

II.

The two researchers returned to their hotel in a partial daze.

“What have we discovered with this man you know, Doa?” asked the one walking beside her, turning his head toward her.

“I think we have what we are looking for now,” she murmured as if to herself. “Prexto may be involved with a form of therapy that will grow and expand within Tilian Territory, and perhaps into many other parts of our planet.

“It seems wise to me that we make use of our relationship with Prexto to the degree that is possible. He is leading some sort of new initiative that has its roots deep in traditional popular culture, especially in this particular territory, among his own people.

“He is combining the old and the new into something fresh and innovative. I have a feeling we should learn as much as we can about the nature of his activities with the patients involved with his brand of gemstone therapy.

“We could gain a lot for our own research project, Sinus. Do you agree?”

It took him only a few moments to reach a decision. “Yes, we have to take advantage of the opportunity this physician is offering to us,” he thoughtfully told her.

Doa turned her face toward Sinus. “I suspect that you think me too optimistic about what we can find out by going to Prexto’s conference with those searching for cures and relief using stones and crystals.”

“No, ” said her partner. “It may actually be that I am being too pessimistic about our prospects with this fellow.”

The anteroom to the doctor’s office was packed with people who had come to hear him speak to them. The single topic of gemstones and their medical effects was what held them together as a group with a purpose in common.

Doa and Sinus decided to take inconspicuous chairs in the rear of the large room, next to the entrance.

Dr. Sarz, accompanied by a short woman with a reddish gray face and typical Tilian high cheek bones, stepped in from his inner chamber. The two of them took two chairs facing the audience waiting for their appearance.

Prexto Sarz rose to his feet and gazed about the room, calculating the size of the evening’s audience. He began to address those gathered there.

“Thank all of you for taking the trouble of being here tonight. I can tell that there is expanding interest in the revived system of medical treatment based on the application of the curative light possible from chosen crystals and stones. This is a field that, in a sense, has come into a state of rebirth. Because of the introduction of modern, advanced optical instruments and inventions, the radiant energy of traditional gemstones and crystals can be increased, magnified, and precisely focused on specific portions of the human body. In other words, the energy emanating out of specific gems can be applied accurately and exactly, as never before. As a result, this almost forgotten therapy can undergo a restoration and renewal into what we recognize as professional medicine.

“But I do not intend to be the speaker to you tonight.” He turned his head and peered at the small young woman who had entered the room with him. “Let me introduce you to Ata Tsen, an individual with a personal background both in gemstones and laser light technology. She is the bold pioneer who has discovered this new frontier in applying crystals and gems for therapeutic goals.”

All eyes centered on Ata as she stood up and advanced toward the audience, as Prexto himself returned and sat down on his chair.

“Friends, I am most happy to be here and report to you the startling results that Dr. Sarz and I have reached with a number of his patients who suffer from serious pains and illnesses of a number of sorts.

“All of know that our Tilian ancestors believed in and utilized gemstones and crystals for medical treatment of sicknesses and illnesses that caused physical pain in the suffering. In time, those aspects of our territory’s culture dwindled and nearly disappeared. But today, because of scientific and technical advances which I promise to describe for you, there are new possibilities that did not in the past exist for the application of gemstone therapy of medical problems.

“As is recognized by the students of the ages-old treatment, the central force behind the stones lies in their light-based energy. The gems that we obtain from nature can be red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, or violet. And rays of these specific color frequencies can influence a person’s special individual aura. Any deficiency or excess of such light radiation can result in aura imbalance and physical illness in the body so effected.

“How can balance of color rays be re-established for an ailing person? Our forefathers and foremothers knew that the restoration of balanced color light in the aura was possible through wearing and holding particular gemstones and crystals that give off the needed light rays.

“I now report to you that my research with the newest optical instruments available to us permits me to choose and increase the radiation from given gemstones that produce specific colors of the spectrum with exactly measured and controlled frequencies.”

Ata stopped to glance around at her audience and draw a deep breath.

Yes, she realized she had won the interest and enthusiasm of all of her listeners. That was visible to her in all of their eyes and faces.

Ata turned to Prexto Sarz. “I believe that we can go on to individual advising and consultation on specific problems faced by different patients who are here this evening, Doctor,” she told him with a shining smile.

Sinus and Doa waited several minutes before they were called into the inner private office by Prexto. The first thing he did was to introduce the two of them to Ata Tjen, standing beside him.

“I understand that you happen to be interested in studying the therapeutic method that has been devised for an advanced version of traditional gemstone therapy,” said the small Tilian. “Both Prexto and I wish to help you as much as we can, in all possible ways.”

“You must see the optical instruments that have been put together by Ata for me,” added the physician beside her. “Why don’t you both come here to the office a little before noon tomorrow? I will have a patient present who has been scheduled for treatment of alarmingly high blood pressure. No pharmaceutical solution has worked at all for him and his problem. His situation grows more dangerous by the day.

“You will find out a lot of important data about the method that Ata and I have worked out to deal with extreme hypertension such as this.”

Doa spoke for herself and her companion. “Yes, thank you for the opportunity to see and witness the therapy with our own eyes. Yes, we will be present on time to be present for this patient’s treatment,” she announced with a grin of satisfaction.

“What do you think of all we saw and heard this evening?” inquired Sinus as he walked back to their hotel with his research partner.

Doa thought a moment before replying in an uncertain tone.

“It’s hard to be too definite about the claims that were made by either one of the two who spoke,” she mumbled as if of two or more minds. “I would like to have known how Dr. Sarz converses with his friend, Ata Tsen.

“How did the two come together and decided to work together? If we had knowledge of the agreement between the pair, it would be easier to understand what their aims and hopes happen to be, wouldn’t it?”

Sinus turned his head toward her and smiled. “When we go back there tomorrow, we can attempt to discover what their personal plans and relationship consists of.

“That promises to be of interest and of value to us, I am sure.”

III.

Ata lived in an enormous old house made of cement bricks in one of the wealthiest sectors of Tilis City. She had lost her mother due to the complications of her difficult birth and had thus grown up with only one parent present to look after her.

Nado Tjen was a fourth-generation wholesale gemstone merchants, becoming one of the half dozen top dealers in all of the Tilia Territory. His business had become his lifetime passion, Ata had very early learned in her childhood years. Her father was prosperous enough to be able to hire a series of governesses and private teachers to supervise and see to her education and personal development. He supervised them, while they tried to do the same to their somewhat independent and free-spirited charge, the growing daughter of the always busy gem trader.

For Tado Tjen, his only child was an unending source of unforeseen surprises. Her choice was personal friends on many occasions caused him embarrassment or unease. His daughter early in her career as a school student showed an unusual ability and interest in the sciences and mathematics. He was unable to steer Ata away from the area of physics involved with light radiation and optics. That became her major focus in class work and research. She became an expert in chromatic development and the instruments involved with producing colors for which there existed demand in advertising and public illumination.

The father worried about what would become of his daughter once he had passed away and was no longer responsible for her safety and well-being.

He could foresee her having to sell off all his stocks of gems and crystals, closing down the family business that had survived for four generations of their family.

As soon as he had a hint of what she was attempting to accomplish with the advanced optical devices that she experimented with in a an attic room she had taken over for scientific activities, Ata’s father became deeply alarmed and concerned. His daughter appeared to be rushing into unexplored regions of unforeseeable and hazanrdous danger.

Why does she believe that there are medical breakthroughs and discoveries ahead for her if she proceeds down such a wildly innovative path? Nado asked himself with growing fear for the young woman.

“You must stop what you are playing with,” he bluntly warned her when she returned home from the meeting at the office of Dr. Prexto Sarz.

The two faced each other in the grand, ornate living room of the family home they occupied together.

Nado spoke to her from the large stuffed sofa chair he occupied.

“I don’t know what sort of activities you plan to become involved in with this doctor you are providing assistance to in the area of optical applications, but I surmise that you are planning to make use of some of the advanced devices and mechanisms that you have worked on for some time.

“Let me tell you this: I do not at all approve of what you have tried to develop with your unusual ideas about the nature of light and how it applies in the field of utilizing gemstones for medical purposes and ends.

“I have at times used the idea of curative stones while selling them to the public, but I have always compelled myself to remain within traditional boundaries. There are definite limits to what is possible with crystals and gems. It is the obligation of all of us who are involved the a business such as mine to recognize them. I have never made any unjustified, imaginative statements to my buyers, but stayed reasonable and sober about the varieties of gemstones that I offer them.

“My fear, Ata, is that your optical research leads you to exaggerate what can be achieved with stones, that you may be wandering beyond what our Tilian traditions teach us has been verified about the energy potential possessed by them.” He peered at her with his stern hickory eyes. “I think you should not get yourself into working with this Dr. Saez,” he said with a frown.

“I am not afraid to do unprecedented things, father,” his daughter soothed him as best she could. “We are taking part in a cooperative venture that promises enormous medical results for numerous persons suffering terrible sickness and pain. What can compare with that?

“Both Prexto Sarz and I are certain of positive outcomes as we make practical application of a combination of new, advanced optical instruments and our folk tradition of gemstone therapy. Our hopes are very high that our venture will turn out to be successful.

“I see no reason for your doubts and suspicions, father,” she beamed at him with sincere emotion.

All at once, an idea caught hold of her. “Why don’t you and I go into the kitchen so that I can warm up some cocoa for us? That’s exactly what will put us in a mood for some restful sleep. I think both of us would enjoy a cookie snack along with the sweet, pleasant nightcap.

She produced a smile on the face of Nado Tjen.

Doa and Sinus left their hotel for the office of Prexto Sarz in the earliest period of dawn, walking through the nearly empty streets of central Tilis City. Both proceeded with spirited steps, equally excited by what they might discover that morning.

“What do you think we will find?” inquired the research physician. “Will it be an amazing medical breakthrough, or a kind of delusional fraud similar to so many that have been seen in the Territories in the past?”

She kept her eyes on the sidewalk ahead of the two as she waited for a reply from her companion.

“What can I say?” started Sinus. “Either alternative might turn up before us, or perhaps some strange combination of science and folk culture. Both those factors could be the forces that impelled Dr. Sarz and Miss Tsen into this experimental probe of theirs.

“The events that come about in a very short time will probably prove the one or the other to be the truth about this form of gemstone therapy.

“If we are fortunate, Doa, we will be witnesses to the final judgment on what these two are trying to achieve with the patients they plan to treat with curative light rays produced within crystals and gems.”

“Yes,” returned Doa, “even today we may get a good picture of what can result from use of what this pair claim they can do. It may turn out that the final conclusion we have to reach about this business will turn out to be a great surprise to both of us,” she said with a chuckle.

IV.

Pexto led the two visitors into the room devoted to the new experimental therapy, where Ata Tjen was busy with the optical equipment she had set up and was in charge of. “Good morning,” she beamed at her new acquaintances. “Are you ready to witness the therapeutic work that is scheduled for today? It will be highly interesting to you, I guarantee,” she promised with confidence.

“We can’t wait to see how things are done and how a patient goes through this variety of treatment,” replied and responded Doa.

“Indeed, we are eager to view what is going to happen,” agreed her partner in field research.

“Our patient should be present in a little while,” noted Prexto. “I shall now go to the entrance office to wait for his arrival. We will have a short consultation, then I shall bring the man into this room for the optical work with the chosen gemstone.”

The doctor made a quick exit, leaving Ata alone with the two visitors.

“The patient chosen for today’s optical treatment suffers extremely painful rheumatoid arthritis, and is going to undergo treatment with gemstone light generated through a red ruby stone. This frequency of radiation has traditionally been prescribed for that particular kind of illness within a human being’s system of bones.

“But there will be a new, additional factor involved in what you will be observing today. It will be the special variety of laser light that will be focused onto the ruby gemstone that is used by Dr. Sarz. That optical beam is to be generated by the array of instruments I have engineered and set up for this specific purpose.”

Ata moved behind the series of devices she had set up beside a comfortable medical gurney waiting for its patient subject.

She described and pointed out the primary components of what she had planned out and combined into a series of instruments.

“I will be using a laser monolithic reflective beam expander, a blue laser collimating aspheric lens, a laser beam expander and optical isolator, an argon-ion laser line beamsplitter, and a fused silica cylinder lens.

“This is a very complicated system of instruments, so I will not take you into minute details concerning the Gaussian reflecticity mirror that I use, or any of the other sophisticated component parts of the laser light system.”

Doa asked Ata a question. “I understand that the laser beam shaped and processed by all of this will strengthen and focus the natural light created by the red ruby itself. Am I correct in that idea?”

Ata smiled at her. “That is exactly the purpose of what I have programmed to happen,” she said with pride in her voice. “You shall soon see for yourself how this optical set-up works on the human body.”

The three in the room heard a knock on the door, after which Prexto entered with the arthritic patient.

The man scheduled for treatment was a thin, rangy figure who seemed to have lost a lot of his previous weight. There was an empty, hollow cast to him.

Prexto spoke at once to Ata and the pair of observers. “This is Jopto, who for a number of years has suffered the pains and ravages of severe arthritis over his torso and limbs. He walks and moves with difficulty.” He turned to the patient and told him to lie down on the flat surface prepared for receiving photonic treatment from the optical array of devices.

Ata stepped over to the control panel and began to activate the instruments involved in the therapy. She turned them on one by one, as Prexto positioned Jopto so that he could receive the light rays that would soon be generated and transmitted through the ruby gemstone.

Sinus and Doa waited in silence to see what would soon happen to the one suffering so greatly.

Dr. Sarz nodded to Ata, signaling it was time to start carrying out what they had placed their hopes upon in terms of victory over arthritis and rheumatism.

A sudden stream of wine-like light, brilliantly chatoyant and startling, issued from the outer lens of the final optical instrument, above the prone body of the nervously waiting Jopto.

Second by second, the expression on his frightened face changed into one of peaceful rest. There was no pain for him in this newly conceived therapy.

He appeared increasingly willing to undergo it, since no harm was coming to him at this point.

The patient seemed to be experiencing rising hopes about his future condition.

Prexto was hardly able to converse with him in private once the thirty minute treatment was completed.

“Yes, there was a definite improvement in his general mood,” the physician told his three listeners: Doa, Sinus, and Ata.

“How can we be sure it was not a modified placebo effect, a result of the setting and circumstances that surrounded the patient?” questioned Doa, familiar with the possibility of the indirect effects of taking part in any kind of medical activity at all.

Prexto smiled with proud confidence. “We can never be perfectly sure about what is happening to someone suffering arthritis, but in this instance the change in the feelings expressed was very stark, as well as sudden.

“All the signs are positive about the effects of the ruby red light that was strengthened with laser beams. But the therapy of Jopto has only started. He has agreed to visit for additional optical treatments, as many as may be needed in order to win total victory over the ailment he has suffered from.

“I believe that the results we obtain from further sessions will take us into even better and clearer results.”

“When is Jopto scheduled for his second treatment?” eagerly inquired Ata.

Prexto turned to her. “That will come a week from today. In the meantime, I have an entire group of other patients who have volunteered to undergo therapy with gemstones that have been considered beneficial to their specific illnesses.”

“You are following the directions of Tilian folk medicine?” asked Sinus.

“Precisely,” answered Dr. Sarz.


Doa and her research partner only addressed their experience after a long walk back to their hotel. THey sat down on easy chairs in the lobby to discuss what they had seen and learned that day.

“It appears that the introduction of thus new variety of gemstone therapy is advancing forward with speed and success. That’s what I had to conclude from all the we witnessed,” said Sinus, looking at Doa for confirmation of what he was telling her.

She seemed distant and abstracted as she spoke to him, her hickory brown eyes focused on no particular object, her mind concentrated upon internal matters occupying her mind.

“We must not rush ahead too quickly, before we know all that we have to consider and understand,” she coolly murmured, turned her face toward him. “Patience on our part, that is what is necessary from us.”

The two remained silent for a time, then rose to go to eat in the hotel’s dining hall.

V.

Nado Tjen, after an entire morning of troubled thought, decided to close his gem store and take a decisive step to solve the frightening problem weighing on his mind.

He hurried with energetic steps through the crowds of pedestrians in central Tilis City, toward the office of his oldest friend, a chum from childhood on who was now a professional lawyer, one who had in the past rescued Nado from a number of legal difficulties and burdens.

The secretary at the front desk reached the advocate over the audio wire and informed him that his friend was there and wished to talk to him.

Fortunately for the gem merchant, Renco Blon was not at all busy at that moment. “Send him right in,” ordered the barrister. “I will see him at once, tell him to come into the inner office immediately.”

Nado, overhearing these words, moved quickly to enter the next chamber.

His friend had already risen from behind his lacquer wood desk and stood by the door. The sprucely attired attorney, a corpulent figure with russet gray skin and raven eyes and hair, looked at his visitor with a glowing grin on his face.

“Nado, how have you been? It’s been a long time since you and I have seen each other. It must be years, but I can’t even estimate how many years it’s been since the two of us saw each other.

“I’m so happy to have you come in like this. But do you have some subject, any kind of matter that I can help you out with? What is it? You know I am always ready to do what I possibly can for you, old pal!”

Nado suddenly frowned. “There has risen a certain threat, not just over me, but all the other gemstone dealers here in Tilis City. In fact, for all in Tilia Territory with a business like mine.”

“Sit down and tell me what this threat is,” said Renco Blon, no longer smiling. “I want to find out what is bothering you so much. It sounds like a serious thing, that’s for sure.”

The two sat down across from each other and Nado began to explain how a physician was combining therapeutic gems with laser lighting.

His friend listened with increasing attention and interest to the description of what the merchant’s daughter was attempting to accomplish with her background of knowledge in advanced optical physics.

“They believe they have devised a method of treating a great number of physical illnesses by passing laser beams through gemstones? But haven’t our Tilian ancestors been using these gems and crystals for therapeutic purposes for ages, for generations?

“Do they foresee greater advantages and results from using laser equipment?”

“Yes,” nodded Nado with emotion. “But it can be foreseen that the public would start to turn away from purchasing gemstones in our shops if all their effects could be gained by going to a doctor’s office.

“There would be a collapse in our private market. Who would purchase their own amulets and crystals from us, if physicians were applying such objects every day in their medical practice?

“I predict that the consequences would turn out to be ruinous to the type of business that I have spent my own life in. There would be very little trade left if the sick and the suffering had the alternative of their doctor’s direct utilization of laserized gemstone rays.”

“But what can I do, by myself, to avert such a catastrophe, Nado?” asked the attorney with perplexity.

The gem-dealer gave him a look of desperation.

“I can think of no solution,” he said with a moan. “That’s why I came to you. Can you do anything to save me from being driven to the bottom, Renco?”

That latter was speechless a brief time. “I promise to think about it and work out a solution, my friend,” he muttered.

“I’ll be back to see you,” said Nado, rising and making his way out.

When Ata arrived home late that afternoon she found her father had been waiting for her in the living room sofa-chair nearest the front door.

“How did the day go for you?” he inquired in a worried, anxious tone.

She surprised with a single laugh and an unconcealed smile.

“I can’t describe how successful our testing of my laser array was, father. The results of the gemstone light treatment went far beyond our expectations. The patient admitted to feeling better than he had for a long time before, better than for many, many years with his arthritic rheumatism. His pain has already begun to decline.

“He is going to undergo more of this gemstone light next week, and all signs are pointing to our becoming able to take control over what had been considered incurable up to now.

“But we now have a means of therapy that was not available in the past.”

Nado frowned, almost with a scowl. “Our people here in Tilia have long had a belief in the efficacy of gems and crystals as they come to us from nature. That is by no means a new idea, but has always been with us.”

Ata took several steps toward her father, till she stood immediately in front of where he sat.

“But we have magnified and purified the power and energy of the stones, my dear. They are no longer merely folklore and popular tradition, but are now about to become an important, integral part of the frontier of scientific medicine.

“Don’t you see that, father?”

She gazed at him with hopeful longing in her hickory eyes, but he said nothing in answer to her question.

“Let’s you and I go out and eat together, dear. I want to treat you this evening.”

VI.

It was a bright early morning when Ata met with Prexto in the latter’s private office. The pair had an important decision to reach: the choice of the second patient to undergo the new type of gemstone therapy.

“What kind of stone should we use next in this project?” asked Dr. Sarz. “Once you tell me the name of that gem and what it is believed it is able to cure or relieve, then I can decide upon the identity of the patient who is to be the next subject of our new therapy.”

Ata, sitting across from him, had a reply ready to give him immediately.

“A blue sapphire, that would be an appropriate focus of attention for the next phrase of our work. It is known in our Tilian folk tradition to possess considerable ability to reduce the pain that originates from the brain and the circulation system. This gemstone continues to be used in country communities to deal with high blood pressure cases. But it is also a common remedy for migraine and severe headaches.

“The blue sapphire is a popular favorite in home medicine among our common people. I think it will be a very good candidate for testing what can be done through optical enhancement using laserized light.”

Prexto thought over the proposal from his partner and spoke once he was certain about how to proceed.”

“Very well, then,” he informed Ata, smiling at her. “I have exactly the right individual to undergo that. She has a terrible situation of migraine from which she suffers every day, without relief or any end. Her name is Suka. I can arrange the matter with her later today, because she is coming in for ah appointment with me.

“I am certain that I can convince the unhappy woman to volunteer and join with us in an optical treatment for her migraine headaches.”

Renco Blon was fortunate in being acquainted with the chief of the Public Health Department of Tilis City. He made a telewire call to schedule a meeting with that official early the next day. The office manager of health chief agreed to see Renco in the late afternoon. “I always have time for an old friend like Renco Blon,” the bureaucrat told his office secretary.

The lawyer waited impatiently through the evening, then slept nervously through the night. He woke up early, looking forward to the meeting set for the start of the work day of the Health Department’s administrator.

Renco arrived several minutes early and was ushered into the Chief’s office by a secretary. He sat waiting until his friend from years before entered and greeted the visitor with a cheerful smile.

“It is so good to see you, Renco,” said the bureaucrat as he sat down at his magnesium desk. “It’s been a very long time since we’ve seen each other.

“How are you doing? How is the legal profession treating you?” The Chief gave a sharp, loud laugh. “Tell me what brings you here at this particular time. And what is it that I can help you with? I figure that there is some kind of problem or trouble weighing on you at the present time.”

Renco’s face turned into a tragic, pained mask that had a rocklike quality.

“There has surfaced a serious, dangerous threat to the gemstone business of every such dealer in this city, in fact, in the entire territory as well. It is a murderous storm that hangs over the entire jewel trade everywhere.

“The menace comes from a newly concocted pseudo-therapy that exploits our people’s cultural tradition connected to crystal medical formulas. You are certainly familiar with what the masses believe about the colors of gems of may varieties, my friend.”

The Health Chief nodded that indeed he knew what Renco was referring to.

The visitor, assured by this, continued.

“The man creating and leading this new type of treatment is Dr. Prexto Sarz. Have you ever heard of him?” inquired the attorney.

“No,” replied the other. “I can’t be familiar with every single physician in Tilia City.”

“The fellow is an absolute quack, and he has enticed the daughter of a friend of mine to become his technical assistant. She has specialized in optical physics and has designed a laser light system of illumination for him. The claims that he makes hold that laserized rays from certain gems can have a decisive influence in producing relief and even cure from a number of serious illnesses and diseases.

“The fraudulent practices of this crook have to be stopped and banned. He is attempting to misuse traditional remedies with his useless laser light system.
His false medicine and the exploitation of innocent folklore has to be ended and not permitted any room to grow or spread out in.” Renco gazed at the Chief with desperation in his eyes and in his voice. “Please, find a way to put Sarz out of business and operation,” he begged the head of the department.

A silence fell over both men as they stared into each others’ face.

“I am limited by the powers of my office,” grumbled the Chief. “Since the man is a certified doctor, a legal professional in the field of medicine, it would have to be the medical association that acted to take away his license to practice. That body rarely acts only when forced to do so by overpowering conditions and circumstances. Otherwise, they remain lazy and passive when complaints such as yours arise. It seems that our physicians are always fearful and reluctant about what any of their own might be up to with their private patients.” There is a way that this doctor could be stopped, though.
You are the one who is able to accomplish it, Renco.”

“What would that be?” asked the latter, suddenly excited.

“Get in contact with this fellow’s patients and convince them to join together in a group-based lawsuit. Recruit as many of them as you can. Sue the quack for damages, whether real or invented by you, stemming from his harmful treatments with dangerous laser light.

“If you can win your case against this doctor, then I guarantee that the medical hierarchy and the physicians’ association will turn against him and take some kind of official action on their own.

“Do you see the logic what I am proposing that you do?”

The Chief grinned slyly at his old friend.

“Yes, that makes a lot of sense. I did not think of anything like suing the man and putting him out of his professional business. Yes, thank you, my pal. That is what I shall attempt to accomplish as soon as possible.”

Within less than a half minute, the two old friends took leave of each other.

The lawyer departed with energetic steps, a new mission before him.

VII.

Prexto set aside a period the following morning for a conference in his private office with Doa and Sinus.

He handed to them, over his desk, a notebook full of photos and descriptive characterizations of a large number of different gemstones and natural crystals.

“Some of the stones are tied in to specific illnesses, but many others are not clearly connected to any medical problem. That, therefore, remains to be discovered by long, difficult research on the part of me and Ata. No one can foretell how long or hard such a project may turn out to be.”

The two field researchers, holding the portfolio together, began to leaf through its pictures and handwritten passages.

Dr. Sarz continued detailing his subject from memory.

“I can be certain that citrine, with its bright golden color, has capability with diabetes and the major digestive illnesses. And that rose quartz is highly beneficial in cases of fibromyalgia. Ata has been an invaluable help to me in learning about the traditions tied to each kind of gemstone in our Tilian medical folklore. But there remain scores of questions about other varieties in my mind, as you can see from my notebook.

“There are stones imported from other territories and countries that remain somewhat of a blank. For instance, bloodstone, agate, malachite, onyx, jasper, beryl, and azurite.

“I have learned from outside basic sources that aventurine is a wonderful aid to the human heart, and that amethyst solves many problems in the intestines and the immune system.

“Yet there continues to exist many questions, even mysteries, in this particular area of therapy that must be answered before we can be fully satisfied with our abilities to restore health using laser lighting of gemstones and crystals.”

“Yes, there is a lot for you and Ata to explore in future time,” remarked Doa. “I can predict that the two of you will find yourselves extremely busy as you develop this kind of treatment for various illnesses.”

Prexto grinned. “You are going to be amazed by what I am now about to inform you. Our next attack will be one on the condition of epilepsy. That is a very serious nervous condition, every physician recognizes. But there has always been a customary gemstone worn by epileptics in the Tilian Territory. We shall not have to start from scratch in expanding our laser light system into this particular area.”

Sinus asked the necessary question at this critical point. “What specific gemstone is going to be used in fighting epilepsy, then?”

“It will have to be green prehnite, that is the type of crystalline substance that Ata and I intend to make use of.”

“You have an epileptic patient ready and willing to come in and undergo the light treatment?” asked Doa.

“Yes,” answered the physician. “He is a young university student majoring in biology, and his personal need as well as his curiosity have brought him to our attention. In fact, it was Ata who came across him and convinced the young man to volunteer for this experiment upon him.

“He has an appointment with me early this afternoon. Would the two of you like to talk with him? I am sure he would be glad to have you two meet him.”

Doa and Sinus agreed to the proposal and promised to be present to avail themselves of this unexpected opportunity.”

Nado performed an act that morning that he had never had any reason to do before.

He waited until his daughter finished breakfast with him in the nook attached to their kitchen, watched her leave for the medical office of Dr. Sarz where she was involved with optical instruments, and climbed the stairs back upstairs to the area where the bedrooms were located.

The gem merchant had informed Ata that he planned to leave for his shop downtown by the middle of the morning, which promised to be one of cloudless, pleasant spring weather.

With slow, silent steps, the parent made his way, nearly with stealth, into the ornately decorated bedroom of his beloved only child. He knew what he was after and where to look for it.

It took Nado less than a minute of searching to locate the notebook he was after. He opened it and glanced through the technical data, on the watch for a particular type of content, praying it would exist.

In his suit coat pocket were a tiny notepad and an inker with which he hoped to record what he was on the hunt for.

Something resembling an electrical spark exploded in his brain when this target appeared on one of Ata’s handwritten pages.

There it was: exactly what his lawyer friend had said might provide a solution to the problems created by the laserized gemstone enterprise of Prexto Sarz.

The father who was spying on his child took out his pad and pen and quickly wrote down the names and addresses of the group of willing subjects of optical treatment with the new system of gem light.

As soon as the espionage was completed, Nado pocketed the roster he had made.

His next job would be to take this data to the office of Renco Blon and hand it over to his confederate in the campaign to focus the law authorities on the project that his dear Ata had become enmeshed in.

Ata stepped into the office of her partner in the laser-gemstone initiative to find out the present state of the program they were engaged in and dedicated to. He looked up from his desk, greeting her with a cryptic expression she could not immediately identify on his lean, shiny red-brown face.

“I have put together the results reached on my tests of the two subjects who have already been recipients of treatment, Ata,” he declared in a coolly rational tone. “The effects upon the condition of Jopto have shown up to be negative and devastating. The red laserized light cast through a ruby has been highly disappointing, markedly increasing his pain from his arthritic condition. He is on an downward path to much poorer health, and I hope that what we did to his bones and skeleton with the laser rays did not cause him permanent, irreversible deterioration in his bone strength.

“But the situation of Suka is also surprisingly negative, it appears,” he announced with a sad frown. “Blue sapphire light has had no appreciable effect on the frequency or degree of pain she suffers from the chronic migraine illness that plagues her conscious existence.

“Suka headaches more often that when she first came to me with her nervous condition. The gemstone rays have not aided her at all. In fact, she told me the last time I saw her that the pain was becoming sharper and more intense than ever before. The suffering was plainly visible on the unfortunate woman’s twisted face.

“This tragic outcome in their results is alarming to me,” concluded Prexto in despair.

Ata focused her hickory eyes on her partner in their experimentation.

“But we will soon be dealing with the epileptic named Quum. I have great hope that we can save him from the terribly painful seizures that he experiences on a regular basis. We must now look forward, not backward, Prexto. These initial failures should not make us surrender our goals and stop our work with the gemstones.”

He nodded his agreement with her conclusion, but said not a word more on the subject at this point.

Nado, for a short while, felt a bit of guilt for having raised his daughter’s bedroom for the names and addresses of the patients involved in the medical experiments in progress under Dr. Sarz.

But he started to convince himself that what he was attempting to accomplish with Attorney Renco Blon would, in the long run, save Ata from embarrassing trouble of an undefined nature. He was looking out for her greater good, the father assured himself.

The gem merchant made his way into the lawyer’s office and informed the secretary that her employer would be eager to see him.

“Tell your boss that I obtained what it is that he said he needs,” Nado informed the office assistant.

“Yes, sir. He instructed me to let you go right in to see him. Mr. Blon has no one with him at this moment and said he would wish to meet with you at once,” she pleasantly smiled.

Tado rushed into the office, his first words were “I have what you said that you need in order to go forward. Here it is.”

He pulled the note out of his suit pocket and handed it to Renco.

“Good,” beamed the latter. “I can now proceed to interview and question them about what their experience with Dr. Sarz has been.”

VIII.

Quum was a short young man with ebony eyes and bright reddish orange skin.

He sat in the consultation room with Dr. Prexto Sarz, the therapist who had promised him the benefits of an entirely new kind of therapeutic solution to his frequent episodes of grand mal seizures and painful convulsions.

Doa was seated on a chair to the right of Prexto, Sinus to the latter’s left.

“These are the two individuals who will be acting as scientific witnesses to your treatment in two hours, Quum,” began the physician who would be in charge at that time. “Do not have any qualms or fears concerning their presence at the occasion. Their purpose is to learn the details about the new treatment that depends upon a new type of optical radiation that will be used. That is all.”

Quum looked at Sinus, then at Doa.

“It is alright with me,” he mumbled. “They can do whatever they want.”

A short pause followed, until Prexto asked a question of the patient.

“When was your last seizure, Quum?”

“Night before last. I was ready to go to bed and get some sleep, when it hit me. All of a sudden, my head was spinning and my brain flew out of commission. I could sense what was going to happen to me, but I knew that there was nothing at all that I or anybody else could do to stop what was going to happen.

“I have suffered so many of these, I told myself. It happens again and again, and there is no end to any of it.

“I was shaking more and more. I could feel my arms and my legs twitching and jerking. And all at once I felt myself falling unconscious to the floor. I knew it was useless for me to try to make it onto the bed, although it was only a foot or so away from my body.

“The next thing I remember is waking up there on the carpet. How long my seizure happened to last, I can’t say, because my mind had been absent and out of commission. But it was plain to me that it had been a serious attack, a terribly long grand mal. And there was no one there to help me, because I live all alone and have no friends or relatives here in Tilis City.

“I need your help, Dr. Sarz,” desperately pleaded the epileptic patient. “I will probably kill myself some day because my illness goes on and on, and it never comes to an end by itself, never.”

Quum stared at his doctor, his face a mask of anticipated, expected future pain and disorientation.

Prexto attempted to display assurance. “You must be courageous today,” he murmured. “I have great hope in this promising new method of treatment.”

Renco Blon located the apartment where Jopto, the arthritic patient, lived on the outer edge of Tilis City.

“I am a prosecuting attorney and my reason for coming to see you is to collect information about the medical treatment you recently received from Dr. Prexto Sarz here in our city,” lied the lawyer. “My hope is that you are willing to help me put this dangerous quack behind bars in prison, where the criminal belongs,” Renco introduced himself with a glowing smile.

Jopto was clearly, obviously overwhelmed by seeing and hearing such an unexpected visitor at his door.

“Come right in, come right in, enter my flat and sit down, sir. There is a lot I can tell you about how badly that doctor harmed and injured me with his stone light. I hope you can make that crook pay for how he has made me suffer, how he has caused greater pain than I ever felt before I went to him for help and relief.”

Renco stepped into the apartment, prepared to take down a record of what he was going to hear from the young man with arthritis.

As Ata turned on the optical equipment in the treatment room and the lazerized light threw a green aura about the patient lying on a high gurney bed, Prexto addressed the two observers with a research interest in the new system of therapy.

“Our instruments will soon be generating at full strength through the gemstone known as prehnite, and these rays will be penetrating with maximum force into the exposed body of the young patient. This will penetrate specifically into the head surfaces and finally into the brain of Quum, having effect upon and changing the troublesome way it has been malfunctioning.

“As is widely recognized, epilepsy is the result of abnormalities in the wiring of the brain’s cells and compartments. Serious imbalances occur in the internal neurotransmitters through irregular chemical operations in nerve signaling functions. This results in an excessive quantity of brain activity, what could be called an electrical storm within the brain. Involuntary changes are brought about in body movements. The afflicted individual suffers grand mal seizure and an unconscious state of convulsion.

“We shall soon see whether the gemstone, when bombarded with lazer beams, can guard against and prevent this kind of catastrophe within Quum’s brain.”

Renco Blon, having the signature of Jopto to a document making him the advocate in a future case of dangerous and malicious malpractice against Dr. Prexto Sarz, went on to the urban cottage of Suka, where she lived by herself as nearly a recluse with a small inherited fortune to depend on.

The lawyer realized he would have to use all his skills to win her agreement to have him act in her behalf in a multiple client injury case against the gemstone experimenter.

Suka came to the door when the door buzzer sounded and found a stranger in a yellow business suit standing there. “Can I speak to you about a subject very important to you, Miss?”

“What are you selling?” frigidly asked the suffer of migraine head pain.

“I am here to assist you with your health problem. Are you still experiencing the terrible nerve attacks that you were having before you underwent treatment from Dr. Prexto Sarz?

“If that physician failed to cure you of your illness, if you are no better off then you previously were, then I am able to obtain a just compensation from that person who took advantage of your innocence and goodness.

“Can I enter and have a conversation with you?”

Suka stared at him for several seconds, before opening her door wider and telling the visitor to come into the small, decrepit cottage.

“How are you feeling about your medical condition, Miss?” inquired the lawyer once he was seated in her living room.

The standing resident frowned with obvious pain. “Not well, sir. I am suffering serious, deepening headaches all the time, every day, every hour. Why do you ask?” she said with curiosity.

Renco smiled disarmingly. “I wish to help you in terms of how your physician has mistreated you, my friend,” he smoothly told the woman with migraines. “I want you to describe for me how Dr. Sarz dealt with your case, in precise detail.”

Suka proceeded to do just that for the advocate she had just met.

IX.

The laserbased gemstone therapy came to an end with Prexto posing a question to his partner, Ata.

“I would advise that Quum have someone watching him as a professional medic or a nurse,” he said to his partner. “But it might be somewhat difficult to arrange under our present circumstances, I am afraid.”

Ata, with sudden inspiration, made an immediate suggestion on a solution to this.

“The residence that I share with my father has a guest suite that is empty and rarely occupied by anyone at all. I could make Quum our house guest for a few days to come. He would be able to share our food and I could keep watch over how his condition develops after this therapy he has gone through.” She turned to the patient. “Are you willing to avail yourself of such hospitality, Quum?”

The latter nodded with vigor. “Yes, indeed. I would have you looking out over me to watch what might be happening after today’s treatment here.”

“Good, then,” announced Prexto with a grin. He looked directly at the patient. “You shall be in good hands at the Tjen residence, Quum. And someone will be nearby if you should need any kind of aid or assistance. That is settled, then.”

“Sinus and I can accompany the two of you to help when we are able,” volunteered Doa. “Both of us are eager to observe the recovery of Quum and how it occurs.”

This offer was quickly accepted by both Ata and the patient himself.

The foursome made it to the spacious mansion owned by Nado Tjen in a jitney cab that held them all comfortably.

Ata led her three companions to the back of the building, up the stairs to the guest suite. Quum decided that he was not yet tired enough to take a nap, but preferred to stay awake until his customary bed time in the evening, several hours after the solar dusk fell.

“I will let the three of you sit and talk for a while here in this parlor room. You are probably hungry, all of you, so I will go down to the big kitchen and have our cook prepare some snack sandwiches we can enjoy until dinner time. Is that an acceptable idea?”

It turned out that it was, so that Ata excused herself and headed down the back stairwell to carry out her plan.

An idea struck her of informing her father of the presence of three persons in the guest suite. She looked at her finger clock and decided that he had by then returned from his gem shop, since he customarily liked to be back home early in the afternoon, allowing his several clerks to take care of any late customers who might appear there.

Ata reached the ground floor of the mansion and headed along the central, main corridor toward the office her father used as his personal den and library.

All of a sudden, she picked up the voice of her father speaking to someone inside the office. The next voice she heard was that of a stranger in some sort of conversation with her parent.

“It will be possible for me to find this man called Quum tomorrow morning in his apartment near the university. He is probably still tired from the light treatment that the quack gave him earlier today. He will be easier to talk with and convince to cooperate once he has rested up. I think it likely that he will have an epileptic seizure either tonight or tomorrow morning, and that the event will be very traumatic for him.”

The voice of Nado Tjen then became audible to his astounded, shaken daughter.

“I hope you are right, Renco. Our success depends on your winning the agreement of this man called Quum. We already have two of the patients of Sarz as victims of his malpractice, and this case will give us a third one. Then, you will be able to go forward with legal court action.

“Can you then bring suit against Sarz to bring him down and close down his operations as criminal?”

“It has been done that way before, in cases of the past. Tilian courts are not merciful with medical fraud of such a nefarious nature.”

“I hope not,” grumbled Nado Tjen. “I want to shut down this outrageous racket as soon as possible. You must sign up this third patient sometime tomorrow, then proceed with the law suit.”

Ata realized she had heard enough of the conspiracy to end the pioneering therapy she was involved with.

She hurried back upstairs to the guest rooms in order to relate what she had learned to the trio waiting for her there.

But how was she going to avert the threatening catastrophe that loomed ahead?

The destination of the fugitives from the mansion became the hotel where Sinus and Doa were staying. Fortunately, a room for Quum was found adjacent to the two occupied by the two who were researching gemstone therapy.

“I will return home and try to learn as much as I can about this suspicious conspiracy that my father appears to have set going. My intention is to see the end of such unjust actions that he is involved with.”

Doa proposed that she and her partner take Quum down to the hotel’s dining chamber and treat him to a full evening meal. “He has earned it today,” she stated with a laugh and a smile.

The three returned upstairs and sat talking in the front parlor of Doa’s room when Ata knocked at the door, identified herself, then walked in.

“I have news from Prexto,” she announced. “Both Suka and Jopto have contacted him and reported something most important to our program. Can you imagine what it is?

“They say that their conditions are improving and correcting themselves. For a time, they seemed to be in decline as to their health. Jopto experienced unusual arthritic pain and trouble. Suka suffered a series of serious headaches.

“But there is now a surprising improvement for both of them. The therapy caused this upturn in the two cases, Prexto can argue with definite proof. He is full of positive pride, and hopes to see similar results in Quum in the very near future.

“I revealed to him what I uncovered at home about what my father has been up to. My intention is to leave the mansion and never return there ever again.

“Prexto promised he would find me a good place where I can live freely, by myself.”

She turned her head and spoke to Quum. “How do you feel, friend? Have you sensed any approach of a new seizure at all?”

“So far, so good,” he answered. “My hope is that this peace inside me stays and becomes permanent.”

Ata, Doa, and Sinus gazed at him in silence, sharing in his wish with their own.

It took a week of waiting until it could be concluded that his health has been restored.

Cryptomedicine Part II.

27 Nov

I.

As soon as they passed into Goranian Territory, Doa and Simus were able to see
a noticeable change in geography and plant life.

The road they were on climbed up into what appeared to be a grass-covered high plateau without large trees.

Thickets of large bushes surrounded the highway on both sides.

Night came quickly and the headlights of both the engine-truck and engine-car went on by automatic sensors.

Doa, at the steering-wheel, began to talk in an abstract, distant voice as if speculating all to herself.

“My deepest aim in what we are involved in and doing is a personal one that has moved me ever since I decided to become a healer and physician. My greatest obstacle is my remaining ignorance. Any illness or disease that is unclear to me causes me internal pain. I will never forget any of the patients I have failed to cure or even help. It tortures my conscience, my individual soul, to see the loss of life in those persons I have promised and hoped to save.

“I suffer a sense of guilt and shame that I may never be able to overcome.

“You can understand, Sinus, why I am searching for new tools and means, new approaches and methods, wherever they may happen to be.

“Medicine must come to contain much more than its conventional, ordinary means and capabilities.

“Is what I just said making sense to you?”

She turned and looked at his dark silhouette for a second or two.

Her companion smiled, his eyes on the road ahead of them.

“What you say to me impresses me a lot,” he murmured. “I am very glad to have you with me on this expedition of discovery. Who can say what our explorations may uncover in their course?”

“What you are saying to me I find highly encouraging, Sinus. It inspires me to proceed with our search into the unofficial areas of treatment of the sick in these outlying regions,” she smiled at him with confident joy.

As soon as day dawned, the sprawling vegetatian of the Goranian Plateau became visible to the tired travelers.

Beard grass, love grass, bluestem, switch grass, plum grass, dropseed, and sagebrush covered much of the flat surface. Juniper, twinberry, buttonbush, skunkbush, sandcherry, buffalo berry, arrowwood, grama, and golden carrel rose above these ground grasses.

“It is a different landscape here,” remarked Sinus at the steering-wheel.

The two vehicles arrived in a small plateau town called Demek.

Yesy led his guests into a large, commercial-looking brick building on the edge of the settlement. The front area of the first floor, facing the street, was a store serving its customers with “Herbal Plants and Teas”, according to the large sign over its entrance. Behind this business enterprise, there were three floors of treatment rooms, with several separate apartments for patients staying there for particular treatments.

Doa and Sinus had flats that were vacant at that time assigned to them.

“I want the two of you to rest up and relax, then I plan to take you on a tour of my building and tell you the primary principles of my unique variety of health treatment and therapy,” smiled the Goranian owner.

Sirius and Doa exchanged meaningful glances.

“I will go down and get our luggage out of the engine-car,” announced the former.

Once the visitors were settled in their quarters, Yesy invited them to share breakfast in the back kitchen in the rear of the large brick structure.

It was here that he introduced them to his main assistant, a tall, skinny young man named Geny Kolf. The latter’s skin was a darker gray than that of his employer, but the two shared the typical Goranian slanting eyes with epicanthic folds around them.

“Geny is an efficient helper in everything that I engage in,” laughingly asserted Yesy. “He is a person in whom I am able to put absolute trust.”

Sinus and Doa stared at the highly praised assistant, but the latter appeared to be looking away to the side, at something in the distance.

“As soon as we finish our breakfast,” promised the owner, “I intend to guide you on a tour of this place and what we do for our patients here. Both of you are going to find our activities interesting, I assure you.”

“What the two of you will be seeing in the treatment chambers will be magnetic apparatuses that I have had constructed according to my plans and requirements,” announced Yesy as he led the way into the first of the rooms used for therapy work. “I have to inform you now, at the start, that my variety of treatment depends upon the action of the most powerful magnets that I can construct on my own. They are not available on the commercial market. I have spent great sums in order to build these gigantic, but extremely strong and effective magnetic constructs.”

The Goranian showed the pair into a large, lengthy room dominated by enormous metallic cylinders, one on top of another.

“These giant magnets contain inner cores made of refined, super-strong neodymium, the most magnetic of all natural elements or substances. The outer shell of these cylinders consists of a special ferric alloy of iron, copper, and titanium. No one has ever attempted to use such powerful magnets in Goranian Territory ever before, to my knowledge. I have named them my super-magnets.

“Their natural magnetic forces are augmented and multiplied many time over by the enormously high electrical streams that I am able to transmit through the neodymium linings of the cylinder tubes in which my patients lie at rest during their sessions of therapy with me.

“The electrical current that empowers the magnetic walls of these special tubes does not come from any commercial source at all, but is created in molecular battery cells that I myself built in the generating chamber right next to this therapeutic room with the neodymium cylinders into which the patients are placed. These tubes look exactly like those used in magnetic resonance diagnostic testing by conventional medical analysts, but here they are the basis of treatment and cure.

“The difference arises from the characteristics of the electricity that is utilized. I am able to use an augmented, magnified electronic current. Because of that fact that it is produced in advanced molecular batteries, it must be the old-fashioned direct type of electrical current.”

Jesy smiled with a sort of self-satisfied glee. He was profoundly proud of what he had constructed and developed in his unorthodox clinic.

II.

At the end of the main street of the town was a small, decrepit, poorly lit tavern. It promised little to customers and delivered them even less.

Geny Kolf liked to come here for his noontime lunch and refreshment nearly every working day. He was a customer familiar to all its everyday crowd of patrons. His presence there did not attract curiosity or attention.

This was a location where he was able to arrange to have meetings beyond the scope of his employer, Yesy Gon, to notice or become aware of.

This particular day, when his boss returned home with a load of valuable mushrooms and two field researchers whom he had met and become connected with, held a scheduled date for Geny with an unidentified figure was not a native inhabitant of the town of Demek.

The person with whom Geny was sharing his lunchtime hour was short and heavy, his skin of a lighter shade of gray than that of the man across from him at a small, square eating table. He had similar eye-folds as the other.

Geny ordered a roasted rabbit sandwich, while the other said he wished only a chicken soup bowl with noodles in it. Both men also said they wished large steins of lemon ale.

“How are matters developing inside the building where magnetic magic is said to be carried out? Is there anything new going on with your employer, Mr. Gon?”

Geny smiled as if gloating. “Yes, we have something totally new there. My boss came back from his trip for supplies with new friends accompanying him. One is a physician and the other a folklore researcher. Neither of them is a Goranian, but there is a male cosmopolitan and a female from Ezerian Territory.
The two of them are at once recognizable as members of their different, separate ethnic and genetic groupings.”

“What are these outsiders up to here in Demek?” asked the other. “They may have come with some hidden purpose in mind.”

“They are saying that their purpose is to carry out a study of traditional, unofficial medicine as practiced by Jesy Gon. Their aim is to determine what the truth about such practices happens to be.” Geny turned silent, pausing several seconds in a dramatic manner. “But I have deep doubts about what they are telling my employer on why they came here,” he added.

“I take it, then, that you are suspicious of these outlanders now staying in Demek,” said the fat little man, his face turning into a scowling mask of apprehension.”

“Yes, that is the truth. They have given no sign at all of what they may actually be seeking, but I have a strong impression that they have something that they are concealing in their minds. They are suspicious persons, hiding something that must not be revealed.

“But there is no sign yet what it might turn out to be.”

The two began to eat and drink what the waiter had brought to their table.

The fat man was almost finished when he made a sudden, unexpected announcement.

“I have something important to tell you, Geny,” he muttered in a lowered tone. “There is going to be a surprise inspection of the magnetic systems of Yesy Gon. There will be no prior, advanced notification whatever. It will strike his operations like a bolt of lightening, almost out of the blue.”

“What will be the main purpose or goal of such a sudden action, I wonder?” said the assistant to the natural healer.

The other smiled and sneered simultaneously. “To catch and arrest your boss in illegal practices with his magnetic treatments of patients.

“This operation will be an important initiative, intended to set an example for anyone who might imitate what Jesy Gon is doing. It will all be under the direct command and supervision of the highest officials of the Ministry of Public Health.”

“The highest health authorities of our territory?” exclaimed Geny with instantaneous emotion.

“Precisely,” nodded the one warning the man from the magnetic clinic. “I thought that you should be aware and prepared, my good friend. This is something you must know and be prepared for. But before it can happen, an investigation of the facility has to be carried out. That will be the task of the inspector assigned to this case. He is experienced in undercover work, posing as a member of the general population, seeking treatment for an ailment he pretends to be suffering from.

“You shall see him appear in the clinic as a potential patient. I am informing you right now so that you should not be surprised when you see him with your employer, the so-called healer. He will inform you who he is and how he intends to carry on the assignment that has been given to him.

“He is going to uncover what this imposter, Yesy Gon, is up to in the fraud he is carrying out with his magnets. He will be put out of business as a fraudulent quack and mountebank with no legitimate place in the field of medicine. That is the final, ultimate goal of his impersonation of a sick patient.

“He is traveling to Demek in order to prove to everyone that this magnetic therapy is a false and worthless scheme by which the fake therapist plans to make himself a fortune.

“When the official public inspection later happens, he will be armed with the factual evidence that will take down and close this fraudulent medical clinic. With your valuable assistance, we shall be successful in putting an end to the dishonest fraud invented and carried out by this evil imposter.

“That shall be a magnificent contribution to the health and well-being of the population of the Goranian Territory.”

III.

Yesy discoursed concerning his viewpoints on the unlimited potential for therapy using magnetic forces. His two guests were busy finishing their light lunches at the kitchen table, while their host appeared more concerned with what he was telling them than with consuming or digesting any of his food.

“In order to enjoy good health, the energies flowing into a human body, as well as the intra-body flows of energy, must be in proper balance at all times, under all circumstances.

“There must be a moving, ever-changing rhythm attained and maintained. The multitude of frequencies have to be coordinated and harmonized in order to avoid disruption or chaos.

“The body, the mind, and the breath that brings life have to cooperate and act in concert. They must never fall into conflict or cause any harm to each other.

“The power fields emanating from magnets can play a large part in keeping the body, the mind, and the breath of a person aligned and balanced. This balancing is a moving, ever-changing, never frozen process. Magnetism has the force and power to create and maintain perfect equilibrium.

“Does what I am saying make sense to you, my friends?” he asked his guests at the kitchen table.

Doa was the first to give him an answer. “Yes, of course it does. What you say makes perfect logical sense. Although I am a trained physician, I have never heard anything as wise and meaningful as what you just told us.”

The host gave a radiant smile of triumph. “I am glad that you say that. There is no question in my mind that the work I am involved with is going to be the cause of a complete revolution in how illness will be treated in the future.

“I feel this in all my bones, in every nerve of my body,” affirmed Yesy with a shining smile. “A total revolution in medical treatment is on the horizon.”

The surprise inspection upon the magnetic clinic was to be led by the man who planned and designed it, a veteran official from the Ministry of Health, Tado Zvis.

The latter had traveled to the village in a small, ordinary engine-car that he used when in the process of carrying such an unannounced raid on some suspicious operation in the territory.

Tado, a short, heavy figure who looked unlike what anyone would expect of a government high inspector, found it easy and enjoyable to pretend that he was someone totally different from what the general public thought a health and medical inspector might be. He had become experienced in posing as an ailing member of the general public and infiltrating into suspected quacks.

The man who probed illegal medicine and phony treatment of sickness talked to his driver on the road to their destination.

“I have to confess that I get a kind of deep pleasure from the kind of action that I will be taking today,” said Tado as if speaking to himself. “It is easy to convince any operator outside the accepted, legal limits that I am someone truly interested in what they are doing in remedying illness and disease.

“Why not? They are in most cases lying con men who fool and swindle the patients that they claim to be curing.

These unorthodox would-be healers are great, practiced liars. Why should I not attempt to con them with my own falsified identity.

“Why should I not lie back to them as they tell me their invented falsehoods?

“I can play and act a bigger, abler con man than any of them can,” boasted the man from the Ministry of Public Health.

The driver of the vehicle grinned to himself.

Was there anyone anywhere who could outlie or outwit this wily individual? he asked himself in silence.

The government engine-car, with the driver sitting inside by himself, waited at the opposite end of the village main street as Tado walked to the building used by Yesy Gon for his magnetic diagnoses and therapy.

The morning air was sharp and crisp as the inspector briskly moved along the sidewalk toward his destination.

He went over, in his mind, how he was to convince the unlicensed healer under criminal investigation that this was a potential new patient seeking the possibility of relieving his painful, general physical condition through the new magnetic treatments and therapy.

It should not be too difficult, Tado assured himself. I have always been a skillful dramatic player in everything I have taken up to do. No one has ever doubted what I have described as my imagined, dreamed-up ills and pains.

He stepped up to the large door facing the street, understanding it to serve as the public entrance to the magnetic clinic.

A small woman with egg yellow skin appeared to find out who had just knocked at the front entrance.

Doa opened the door a few inches so that she could ask the stranger who he was and what his business there might be.

“Yes,” she mumbled to him. “Can I be of help to you, sir?”

Tado smiled disarmingly. “I am a resident of our capital city, Analpis, and I have been advised by friends in the medical profession to come to your village in order to seek magnetic treatment for my serious bone and nerve condition from Mr. Yesy Gon.

“Is this the location where he lives and operates the clinic about which I have heard so many things?

“I hope that this is the right address and that I can meet and talk with him.”

“You are in the right place,” pleasantly replied Doa. “Please come in and I will show you to the personal office of Yesy Gon.”

Tado Zvis followed his little guide down to a brown door that she stopped at and knocked on two times. “There is someone here who wishes to talk to you if you are not busy.”

Within just a few seconds, the door opened. Yesy stood there looking out. As soon as he spotted the tall, haggard stranger, he spoke to him and to Doa.

“I have plenty of time and am always happy to explain what we are doing for people here,” he said to the unknown, still unidentified man. “Thank you for bringing him here, Doa.” He turned his large opal eyes on the visitor. “Please come in my office and sit down, sir,” he told the potential patient.

Once the two men were seated, the therapist asked the stranger for his name.

“Tado Zvis,” said the undercover investigator with an honest-looking smile. He then presented the false identity he had concocted for himself when planning this adventurous operation. “I come from the capital of Analpis because I have heard a number of encouraging press reports about the treatments given here under your direction, sir.”

“And what kind of illness do you happen to be suffering from?” inquired Yesy, staring intently into the face of the individual he was interviewing.

“I am the victim a several serious conditions that have ruined my health. Let me mention the most important and serious diseases involved. Severe rheumatic pain afflicts several sections of my body’s system of bones. The pain that I feel is sharp and unending. My joints ache continually, at all hours of the day and night. Even when asleep, I do not escape the torture of the ailment. There is no escape from the ever-present torture that afflicts me.

“And my nervous system is just as troublesome to me. Ringing, excruciating pains shoot through me without warning. My head seems to explode with what is termed neuralgia of the worst variety. This terrible suffering never ends or pauses.”

“Have you been treated for these illnesses by licensed, conventional physicians who practice in traditional patterns of what is termed allopathy?” asked Yesy in a sympathetic tone.

Tado nodded that he had. “Indeed, I have. sir. I have changed my general physician four times, but to no avail. They were unable to help me at all.

“Then I was placed under the care of specialists in the fields of rheumatic diseases and neurology of the nerves. They too completely failed in my case.

“I have been told by the foremost specialists that my future is hopeless, in the medical sense. There is absolutely nothing they can do for me in my condition.

“That is the reason I have traveled here to you, because you hold un your hands my final chance of overcoming this demonic pain inside my body.

“Can advanced magnetic therapy accomplish what no one else has been able to do for me?”

Tado looked pleadingly with his toffee-colored eyes at the man he considered an unscrupulous charlatan, a corrupt quack misleading the sick and suffering with his magnets. I must appear to be accepting his swindling spiel, he commanded himself. He must take me to be a simple, gullible sucker.

Yesy went into his standard, frequently used explanation of what his extraordinary magnets were able to accomplish for the sick and ailing.

“Energy is the fundamental life force within each of us, while it is light that illuminates, expands, and transforms each and every cell and organ within our bodies. But it is the cohesive force that comes from gravity that unites and balances all our units of life, controlling and governing our energies and the light that we receive from the outer world.”

Tado listened attentively, pretending to be semi-mesmerized by the words coming out of the mouth of this convincing guru of health.

“These three basic forces condense into air, fire, and water, from which we are composed. The growth and subsequent decay of our bodies depend upon these elements of all organisms. Disease and illness arise from damages to the balance and ratios of this trio and their influence.

“Air governs our movement, our inhalation, and our exhalation. Our impulses, senses, and discharges depend mostly upon the air that we breath.

“Fire controls hunger, thirst, digestion, excretion, temperature, circulation, body strength, organic growth, and even our intelligence.

“But it is water that creates stability between our many organs by regulating the several glands, our body fluids, our agility, and the entire digestive tract.”

Jesy paused a moment, studying the slanting toffee eyes of the stranger who had come from the capital seeking relief for his skeletal and nervous pains.

“I will provide you much more information about how super magnets can combine and coordinate these central forces within each and every body system. If you agree to become my patient, sir, I promise to reveal to you the nature of all the electromagnetic therapy that you will undergo under my supervision.

“But for today, allow me to take you on a tour of our facility, so that you can see for yourself the magnetic tank and chamber where our miraculous results are reached.

“It will be possible for you to stay and rest in the comfortable patients’ quarters that are located in the rear of this building that I own and use. There are already a number of visitors who are residing in the rooms that are available.

“Would that be acceptable to you, my friend?”

“Certainly,” replied the undercover prober with a pleasant smile across his face.

Jasy rose and led Tado out of the office, toward the interior of the large structure where the super-magnets he used were located.

IV.

Doa and Sinus happened to be walking along the central corridor and stopped as the new patient exited from the office of the magnetic therapist.

“Are you going to remain for the treatments given here?” she asked the stranger she had earlier provided directions to. “What have you decided to do?”

Tado turned to her and gave a smile. “Indeed, I have been deeply impressed and intend to avail myself of this new wonder. May I introduce myself? My name is Tado Zvis and I come from the city of Analpis. Word has reached us there concerning the miraculous results of the super-magnets in use here in Demek. I decided that this was the place I had to travel to if I am to find a solution to the severe problems that torment my body with unending, devastating pains.”

“My name is Doa Mito,” she revealed to him. “I am neither a patient nor a member of the staff of this facility, but a physician who has come here from another territory in order to study the magnetic technology being used on the patients who seek relief with Yesy Gon.

“My goal is to find out the effects of magnetic therapy on the patients who are seeking relief from their painful illnesses.”

“Sinus decided to introduce himself as well. “I am a researcher in the field of unorthodox medicine, and I am also from another territory. My name is Sinus Ak. I am engaged in a study of this new form of treatment and therapy being conducted here. My aim is to learn how it differs from conventional medicine.”

He extended his right hand. Tado took and shook it with evident strength and vigor.

All of a sudden, Doa made a proposal to the person they had just introduced themselves to.

“It will soon be the noon hour, and we two were going to visit the village restaurant a few buildings away. Would you like to accompany us there?” she asked him in a friendly, pleasant voice.

“Thank you,” he answered. “Yes, that sounds most tempting to me. I indeed could use some food after this busy morning. Thanks for such a kind invitation. I truly appreciate it.”

Doa led her two companions out of the front of the clinic, down the wooden sidewalk of the village street to the small, local eatery.

The trio occupied a booth near the kitchen of the establishment, full of customers used to having their noontime meal in the restaurant’s lunch room.

Over hare and squire meat sandwiches, the two researchers shared the task of explaining to Tado what they had so far learned about the therapeutic methods of Yasy Gon.

“It is amazing and astounding how powerful the effects of modulated magnetic resonance can be,” stated Doa. “I have been able to find and measure the influence of this outside factor upon indicators of changes in such differing areas as the blood, breathing, the urine and even the saliva of the patients treated here with super-magnets.

“There has occurred marked improvements and even cures in cases of diabetes, cardiac malfunctions, and hormonal imbalances. It is as if the treatments can produce changes all the way down to the cellular level. Every internal organ and tissue can serve as the target of the focus of magnetic lines. Everything can be monitored and regulated as has never been achieved in conventional, traditional medical practice. And the electrified charges that create the enhanced magnetic stimulation upon patient bodies certainly has effects that are perceivable and measureable.

“If pathological conditions are located, they stand to be reduced, erased and destroyed through magnetic attack and assault. The results occur rapidly, and they are surprising and amazing. What occurs here is breathtaking.

“Yesy Gon has given this therapy the title of bio-resonance magneto-medicine. No one has ever gone as far as he has it application of this natural force that surrounds us on every side.

“The medical profession everywhere will be astounded by what has been accomplished in this particular clinic.”

Tado Zvis stared at her with a strange, indecipherable expression between a smile and a sneer on his stone pale face.

“There is so much I do not know yet about the possibilities in this kind of new treatment,” he darkly mumbled. “My hope is both to undergo and learn more about its nature. Everything that I have heard about it is promising and most hopeful.

“My life back there in Analpis, where I was born and grew up, was a lonely, restricted, and limited one. For several years, I worked as a bookkeeper in a boring business office. The severe pain that I was suffering every single day forced me to retire voluntarily at a comparatively early age.

“Many doctors examined and treated me, but none was able to help me in any way.

“That is the reason I came here. The magnets may be my last chance to regain my health,” he declared with a desperate sigh.

Both Doa and Sinus studied the man for a short time, until he rose and excused himself.

“He is in a sad condition,” murmured Sinus once the patient was gone.

“There is something I don’t like about him,” quietly confessed his partner. “I can’t put my finger on it, but I had a fearful feeling about the fellow, as if he was lying and attempting to impress us with his illness and pains.”

She turned her head and stared at Sinus.

The doctor and the anthropologist stayed a short while in the restaurant, then walked back to the magnetic clinic.

It was Doa who suddenly expressed her feelings about this patient to her partner.

“There is something about this fellow that I found somewhat troublesome, even suspicious.” She paused a moment or so, then went on. “The way he spoke, it seemed to me to be concealing something unseen that he had deep inside himself.

“I cannot be specific, but this Tado Zvis is disturbing, I feel and sense. What do you think? Is it only my suspicious imagination?

“You and I should both be watchful about him, Sinus.”

The latter glanced to the side at her, but remained silent, as if he could not think of what he wanted to say to his companion and partner.

V.

Tado Zvis arrived early for his primary diagnosis session prior to actual treatment within the gigantic super-magnetic cylinder in the rear of the brick structure.

Geny Kalf led the new patient to the consultation room. The two men acted toward each other as total strangers, though each of them realized the identity and the mission of the other. Tado had to wait only a few minutes till Yesy Gon stepped in and greeted him.

“How are you feeling this morning?” began the self-styled therapist. “Are you ready to begin with magnetic resonance treatment?”

“Yes, I am eager to start,” said Tado with a full, broad smile.

“I am now going to give you a physical examination. It will not take long, but it will be helpful in arranging and designing the exact form of the frequencies and quantities of magnetism to be applied to you in the different areas and sections of your body.

“My plan is to proceed to move an electronic meter over your limbs and your torso so that I will have a picture of where your ills and pains may be positioned. As I move the instrument over you, up and down and on all sides, I ask you to tell me where the pain is and where it is absent.

“Can you cooperate so as to work together with me?”

“Yes, sir,” replied Tado. “Go ahead and I will tell you what I feel as you pass the sensor over my body.

“I am ready to proceed immediately.”

For the next three minutes, the therapist moved his diagnostic instrument along all of the outer surfaces of the patient, both his clothing and the exposed skin. Tado stood up to allow Jesy to move the short, compact apparatus over all exterior sides of the head, limbs, and torso of the body being tested and examined.

Finally, the one in charge asked the patient to be seated once more.

“I have a pretty accurate idea of where to center the focus of treatment, my friend. That is scheduled for this afternoon. In the meantime, it might be appropriate for you go out and have yourself a bite of lunch somewhere, then return hear about an hour after noon. Is that all right with you?”

“Certainly,” answered the new patient. “I’ll be back in plenty of time to begin my actual therapeutic treatment with the super-magnet.”

Yesy sat at his office desk reading the charts resulting from his radio-magnetic examination of the body of his newest patient. He went through the charts and numerical readings for the third time, his brow creasing with growing concerned attention to what he was seeing and noticing.

The office door opened and Geny Kalf looked in on his employer. “I have finished all three of the treatment sessions at the cylinder tube,” he announced to his superior. “I am going out to lunch, sir, and will be back for our afternoon schedule in an hour.

“Are we going to begin with treatment of the latest patient today?” he inquired.

Yesy sent him a seriously worried look that Geny had never witnessed from him before.

“This is the strangest patient I have had so far,” revealed the self-proclaimed therapeutic healer. “He claims to be experiencing terrible pains all the time, but I can find no signs of any cause or signs of anything like that in his pictures or measurements, none whatsoever.

“If this was someone else, I would have to conclude that he is enjoying extraordinary health, that he is nearly perfect condition.

“Why has he come to us, then? Is his professed suffering a result of an overworking imagination? Is it produced by some insane hypochondria?

“We have never had anyone, male or female, old or young, similar to this Mr. Zvis before, since our very opening.”

Yesy paused a fraction of a moment, but thinking fast.

“Yes, we will have to start this man’s treatments today and see what results may be possible on his pains. I have to accept the idea that something is wrong with him, although I cannot specifically give it a title or name.”

Geny closed the door and walked away, his mind left in uncomfortable confusion.

The assistant to the therapist looked about the crowded restaurant room that was packed with busy eaters of lunch. His eyes caught the presence of patient Tado Zvis, sitting alone at the small table right next to the kitchen door.

That was where Geny headed at once, sitting down across from the medical investigator without a word of preface or greeting.

“Something is happening that could turn out bad for you,” said the newcomer in a guarded whisper. “My boss is worried because he cannot locate anything specific in the tests that he took of you with the magnetic sensors. There is now a vague suspicion about your whole case. You have to be aware of how Yesy Gon sees you.

“You are a great mystery, a question mark for him.

“All he says that he concludes is that your sick imagination is the factor that makes you say that you have terrible pain in your body.

“I thought that I had to warn you that he feels deep doubts about what can be done to you only through treatment in the magnetic resonance cylinder.”

Tado’s face turned into a sad mask of worried alarm. “He may come to realize that I am intentionally creating my complaint. Thank you for informing me of this dangerous situation with him. But I will have to proceed with therapeutic treatment if charges can be made. There is no other way to defeat this faker.”

A busy waiter appeared at that moment and inquired of Geny what he wished to eat.

“A beaver sandwich with shredded cabbage,” ordered the customer, who then turned back to Tado. “I want to get back quickly and find out how things stand with your schedule for this afternoon,” he told the health inspector who was hunting down medical fraud.

The two stopped talking as their waiter brought Geny his beaver meat sandwich.

Tado, the first to finish eating, told the other across from him that he was going to return to the clinic immediately. “I will see you later this afternoon,” he mumbled to him in a muffled tone.

As he rose to leave, two figures from his own destination entered the establishment to eat. Sinus and Doa looked about for a place to sit down together.

Leaving the eatery with speedy steps, Tado pretended not to recognize the pair, hurrying past them amid the rush of noontime customers. He paid his bill at the cashier’s booth with cash from his pocket wallet and quickly exited out to the street with a word of greeting to the two researchers.

“There’s two empty stools over at the back lunch counter,” said Sinus, smiling with relief. “Let’s take them before they are gone.”

They both made for the indicated target that he pointed to.

VI.

Geny had paid his bill and departed for the magnetic clinic minutes before the two researchers finished eating their hare sandwiches.

On their walk returning to the therapy building, Doa started to murmur as if to herself.

“That was something I would not have expected, not at all. Did you notice who was there eating together when we walked in? Did you see that pair at the same table?

“The newest patient was eating with and talking to the assistant to Yesy Gon. And when the patient left in a hurry, he did not say anything to us, but acted as if he had not noticed you and me.

“Isn’t that curious and interesting, Sinus?”

The latter did not make a reply at once. Only when they reached the magnetic clinic did he say anything on the matter.

“Are you suspecting something? How do you interpret what you just saw?”

Doa gave him no definite answer but only told him “Let’s keep our eyes open.”

Yesy Gon stood beside his assistant, Geny Kolf in the primary treatment chamber of his clinic. Both of them gazed directly at the new patient, who was now dressed in a light therapeutic gown of brownish cotton. He was seated on a small stool in front of the entry end of the most advanced of the super=magnet cylindrical tubes, ready to place himself into it within a short time.

Yesy began to speak to Tado. “This will be your introduction to our specially engineered magnetic environment. You are scheduled to have two additional sessions in the days ahead. This first experience will provide me data on how things are going with you. I will then be able to make more informed decisions on what forms to give to your further treatments.

“You will be spending, this first time, about an hour and a half inside the super-magnet. My assistant, Geny, will be with you the entire time you are undergoing therapy.

“I myself shall return when the time arrives to bring you out of the cylinder and end today’s treatment.

“Do you have any questions, my friend?” inquired the head and owner of the clinic.

Tado replied that he was fully prepared to go into the super-magnet.

“Let us start, then,” said the therapist with a confident smile. “Do not worry about anything at all while you are inside. Geny will stay right here and keep a close watch over you.

“I have duties with other of my patients at the other cylinder tubes and the consultation office, but I will be back in time to witness your removal from out of the super-magnet. Geny will be present the entire period of your initial treatment and be available to answer any questions that might arise in your mind about what is going on. You shall at all times be in audio contact with him over the tube’s communication system.

“So, for now, I will take temporary leave and turn you over to my able assistant, Geny Kolf,” announced Yesy Gon in a soft, reassuring voice.

Sinus and Doa, studying patient records in the document center next to the office of the Director, looked from the table where they sat as he entered and spoke to the two.

“I see that you share deep curiosity about the medical progress we make here with those who come seeking helpful treatment. There is plenty of reason for the solid pride we feel about what we are able to accomplish for the sick and suffering, and all of it is there on the record papers in front of you.

“I believe that all areas of medical practice here in Goranian territory will in a very short time hear of what is being done here, and will become eager to learn and absorb the super-magnetic instruments and methods that my staff and I have pioneered.”

Doa posed a sensitive question to him in a sharp, focused tone.

“That is all well and good, Mr. Gon, but there is an important factor that is lacking in all that we have been reading and studying. It lies at the heart of this new, unprecedented method of yours.

“What is the objective scientific explanation for the power of this augmented, enhanced electro-magnetic field that is applied to the complex human body and its many organs and tissues? In other words, what is the proven theoretical foundation and underpinning of the super-magnet that differentiates it from the traditional, everyday magnet known in everyday life by all of us?”

Yesy, at first surprised and disturbed by this skeptical confession of doubt by a certified physician, forced himself to smile with confidence and warmth at the possible enmity of his visitor to the clinic.

“Do not misunderstand me: I certainly believe that theory and general, abstract thought and definitions are if great importance for the sciences involved with the therapeutic treatment of human illnesses and the problems of physical and nerve pain. But the general explanations can often follow the introduction of new methods and instrumentalities. That is the situation, I believe with the sub-molecular physics of the super-magnet and its electronic results and influences in medical treatment.

“For me, practice has priority. Theoretical comprehension and elaboration will come much later, and will probably be carried out by persons other than myself.

“I can only claim to be the originator of the practical side of the super-magnet. A full, complete theoretical structure and framework will be constructed later on, with the aid of other individuals from the exact sciences.”

Yesy glanced at both of his listeners, neither of whom seemed willing to contradict what they had just heard from the Clinic Director.

The latter excused himself and slipped out of the records room without a further word.

Both visitors went back to the medical documents before them on the table.

VII.

“How are you feeling inside the cylinder there?” inquired Geny, standing near the circular entrance door of the super-magnet tube within which lay the health inspector impersonating an ordinary patient of the clinic that he was investigating. The voice of the assistant was heard clearly and distinctly by the man undergoing the medical treatment he had volunteered to undergo for the awful pains that he pretended to be suffering in numerous parts of the body.

“I was somewhat afraid in my first moments inside this therapeutic chamber, but I believe that I quickly overcame it and now have full control over my senses, all of them. There is nothing at all bothering me at the present time, nothing at all. I am in full control of my thoughts, I have no doubts whatever of that.”

“My boss, the Director, will not be returning to this therapy room until your treatment is almost over. You will have to stay in the tube for over two more hours, at least. I am supposed to keep my eyes and ears on you. We two can talk to each other as long as we wish. You can say whatever you wish to, because I will remain close by, able to hear all your words or thoughts over the intercom that is connecting the two of us. I hope that you are comfortable right now, as well as for the length of the magnetic treatment you are going to be given.

“The automatic, programmed system set up by Director Gon will proceed on its coded system, slowly and continuously increasing the electronic magnetic force entering the cylinder that contains you.

“Our patients do not feel any inflowing of energy at all, they have all informed us. But should there occur any changes or variations in what your body or mind feels or senses, you will be able to tell me immediately and I can summon the Director so that he can hurry to this room and take care of the problem that may have unintentionally arisen inside the super-magnetic chamber that you occupy.

“Do you understand what I am telling you, my friend?” asked Geny Kolf.

“Indeed, I do,” confidently confessed the pseudo-patient. “But I am certain that you and I will have no need to call in your boss for any reason whatever. We shall be left alone till this therapy session is over and completed, I assure you, my good man.”

“I will be present as your companion till the end of today’s treatment,” promised the other.

Tado Zvis began to reminisce as if he were alone.

“I have always been one who enjoys exposing the bad aspects of other persons. Even as a young school child, I was a person who would rip the mask off of those who pretended to be other than they were, who presented a false face through what they claimed to be through impressions they attempted to put in front of those surrounding them.

“It was easy for me to take up the duties of a health inspector, because I had already had occasions to find and expose health frauds in my own private life experience. Since I appeared to have dramatic abilities, I was able to convince people that I was what I was claiming to be. I could easily win the confidence of strangers and make them trust me and what I told them. It seemed that the falser was what I said, the greater grew my influence with the individuals I was assigned to investigate.

“I came to hate these imposters with deeply fierce emotion, which I continue to do even today. There is no sympathy or mercy in my mind or my heart.

“Today, Yesy Gon is the target of my revulsion and enmity. I could not describe to its full extent my absolute hatred for this liar who boasts of the treatments he gives with his super-magnet.

“I despise this evil cylinder that I was placed in, and I foresee the coming victory that will occur when I will have the authority to destroy it and place under arrest the criminal who set up this instrument that fools the sick and suffering suckers who seek some kind of cure here…”

Tado’s voice droned on and on. Did he consciously realize to what degree his words were taking on the form of a confession?

The pair in the records room grew tired and frustrated as they plowed through the case studies going back to the opening of the magnetic clinic’s operation.

Doa gazed at her partner with a frown on her forehead. “I think we have seen enough to reach definite conclusions about what Yesy Gon is doing here,” she slowly muttered in a heavy tone. “There can be no doubt, I believe, that what is going on is having some minor effects on the patients being treated, but not at the level that is claimed. The positive results are probably self-generated within the minds of those who come here. It is a psychological phenomenon that frequently happens when people raise their hopes over a type of therapy new to them. Relief originates in the fresh novelty of the new variety of treatment.

“Who can guarantee that the effects will turn out to be permanent?

“Yesy is exploiting something that I have often seen in health cults and popular medical movements. I suspect that he has become the salesman of a mythical fraud.”

“You are suspicious of Yesy, then?” questioned Sinus in nearly a whisper. “But your doubting thoughts have focused on the clinical assistant, Geny, as well as his employer, Mr. Gon.

“Do you suspect everyone we come across here of having hidden aims and selfish aims? Is no one to be taken and accepted at face value?

Doa hesitated a moment before she replied.

“You are an optimist, whereas I tend to be a pessimistic cynic anxious to discover concealed evil,” she confessed. “That is one of the most important traits I admire in you, my friend. You look for the good, while I am the one who envisions the bad.”

The two gazed into each other’s eyes boldly and trustingly.

VIII.

“How was your experience inside the super-magnet tube?” inquired Yesy once his assistant had lowered the electronic current that had powered the cylinder down to zero. “Are you feeling alright or not?”

Geny helped the patient onto his feet once he had rolled the stretcher he was on out of the apparatus that had been filling his body with the therapeutic flow of sub-particles.

Tado sat down on a wide, round stool that the assistant provided him to rest upon.

“It was all strange and unexpected for me,” announced the patient, looking directly into the large opal eyes of the Director. “I felt something new and different, I could notice that almost at once.

“By the time my period in the cylinder ended, I knew that my long-standing pain had diminished. My mind and body both had a feeling of profound relief. It was as if I had escaped a heavy burden that had for years oppressed and weighed upon me.

“It is very hard for me to describe in words, but I realized that I had never before had such a liberating experience. That was it: I sensed that the magnetism was somehow freeing me from suffering that had ground me down for such a long period of time.

“I had reached a state of being of which I had only been dreaming of up to now.”

Tado Zvis stared at the Director, searching for signs that he was accepting the assertions. In less then half a dozen seconds, he convinced himself that Yesy Gon was believing the statements he was providing him. It was clear that the head of the clinic was hearing words that were producing satisfaction with the course of this case.

“I am happy about the positive signs that are visible,” smiled Yesy. “We have you scheduled for tomorrow afternoon for additional treatment, Mr. Zvis. I will see you then and the treatment will continue.

“You should relax and do something enjoyable the rest of the afternoon and this evening,” concluded the man in charge of therapy. “We shall see each other again tomorrow.”

He turned to Geny and told him he would see him in his office in a little while.

Sinus and Doa went to the restaurant they were familiar with among the afternoon diners. They were able to occupy the small table they were used to, so that they enjoyed a wide view of the entire establishment with the coming and going of customers as they sat eating their leporine meals.

Sinus, looking closely at the physician across from him, spoke to her in a hushed, guarded tone.

“I have noticed a certain distractedness in you all day, Doa, and its causes me some degree of concern. I do not know what is causing it, but I fear that it may have something to do with we are seeing and finding out at the clinic we happen to be visiting.” He gave her a heartfelt smile. “Am I too boldly intrusive to ask what might be bothering you about Yesy Gon and the super-magnetic therapy that he claims he is providing his patient?”

Doa looked away from him, as if reluctant to reveal intimate, internal impressions to one who considered himself a close partner.

“I don’t really know for certain,” she slowly murmured. “My ideas are still foggy and imprecise, but they seem to have a negative cast to them, from when we first arrived here.

“I can’t put a precise label on this reaction within me, perhaps it is only an emotion caused by the personalities that you and I have encountered here.”

“Is it Yesy himself who is disturbing you?” continued Sinus. “Is it something hard to define about his words and his actions?”

Doa opened her mouth to reply, when she caught sight of a familiar figure entering the restaurant. Her eyes focused on Geny Kolf as he stepped into the place and looked about for an empty place to sit, finding all the tables and the lunch bar fully taken, occupies by dinner patrons.

All at once, Doa raised her right arm and waved her hand to catch the attention of the clinic assistant. She gestured with a signal for him to approach their small table and occupy the extra chair between herself and her companion.

Geny decided to accept the invitation and advanced with lively steps to where the two researchers were sitting.

“Thank you so much,” he gushed when he reached their table. “It appears that the place is extremely busy today, and there is no vacant place anywhere for me to sit and eat.” He turned his slanting eyes on Sinus and thanked him as well, then sat down between the two of them.

A waiter approached and asked the newest diner what he wished to order. A beaver casserole, Geny told him. “That is a dish I’ve really come to like and enjoy since coming out here in the countryside,” the clinic assistant informed the pair sitting with him at the same table.

“You came from a city, then?” inquired Doa with curiosity.

Geny looked her directly in the face. “Indeed, I am a town man from Analpis. This kind of open area is totally new to me.”

“How was it, then, that you decided to settle down and find employment with Mr. Gon here in Demek?” she persisted, smiling at the Goranian.

“I was unable to locate a position suitable for me back in the capital, but it happened that Yesy Gon was visiting Analpis, looking for and ordering advanced magno-electronic instruments and equipment.

“It was a sort of informal employment institution that brought the two of us together.

“I was anxious to find a job and he was in need for someone willing to be trained so as to serve as his clinic assistant. We came to almost an instant agreement on all the terms by which I came to work for him in Demek.”

“He has treated you well, as your employer and superior?” continued the physician.

Geny halted and hesitated for several seconds, as if having to consider this question.

“Yes,” he decided to admit to her. “He is a most generous man to work for. I have been patiently trained in the assignments given me. I confess that he has never said or done anything negative or unkind toward me.

“I have no reason for any complaint against him, none at all.”

Once he said this, the waiter arrived with Geny’s order on a metallic plate and set it before the hungry clinic worker.

The three of them turned to their food and talked no more on any matter at all.

Doa and Sinus exchanged momentary glances, soon finishing and taking leave of the one who had joined them at the table.

IX.

Geny went into the Director’s office the following morning after a night of troubled sleep. Was this clinic on the edge of closure because of its underground entrance by the secret medical inspector whom he was expected to serve and obey? Did he have to be a helpless witness to the death of the entire super-magnetic method of treatment and therapy?

His mind was haunted with the sense that the course of his life was coming close to a climax of some sort.

Yesy Gon invited his assistant to sit down across his desk from himself.

“Will the patient named Tado Zvis be prepared for increased and longer exposure in he new cylinder today?” asked the Director with a measure of determined authority in his voice.
become
“Yes, sir. It appears to me that the first session he underwent was highly successful, and that his attitude has become positive and favorable to what he is experiencing here.

“This patient is ready for his further absorption of magnetic energy. I am certain that he is.”

The Director smiled. “I shall speak to him at the beginning of today’s period of treatment, then you will be the one remaining for the lengthened time that he stays there in the magnetic tube. It will be an augmented schedule today, because I have decided to increase the period to three hours.”

Geny gave a look of surprise. “Three hours today?” he said with amazement.

“I think he is prepared to go forward that far,” confidently replied the head of the clinic. “The results in terms of his physical condition should turn out to be very significant, no question of that.”

Sinus and Doa had an important decision to make about the course in front of them.

The two sat together in the document and records room that morning, discussing how they planned to finish their study of the super-magnet clinic they had been observing and studying.

“I think we should inform Director Gon that we will be leaving and going on within a few days, as soon as we can wind up our collection of facts,” proposed Doa. “It is only right for us to tell him that our work here is nearly finished.”

As Sinus told her what he had in mind, he could see on her face and in her eyes that she did not agree with the opinion he had presented to her.

“I don’t know,” she haltingly told him. “There may be factors that we are overlooking, because they are not at first visible or evident. I don’t want us to later think that we worked too fast or left too soon.”

Sinus suddenly gave a half-frown. “Is there anything bothering you, Doa?”

“I can’t put a finger on it,” she answered, “because it is not a specific thing at all.”

The pair gazed thoughtfully at each other a moment.

“Why don’t we wait two days till the weekend, then?” said Sinus in an accommodating tone. “That should enable us to tie up any loose ends.”

Doa silently smiled at the anthropologist traveling with her.

Yesy Gon watched from the side as Geny helped the patient into the advanced super-magnetic cylinder in the therapy chamber.

“How do you feel inside there?” he asked Tado once he was lying within the tube where magnetic waves would soon be penetrating his entire body. “Are you comfortable? This is going to be an extended, augmented session for you. The period of treatment will be longer and stronger than it was the first time for you. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” answered the patient over the inter-comm. “I am very comfortable, and have become used to the treatment inside the cylinder. It will be to my benefit to stay in here longer, as well as be receiving a greater degree of magnetic treatment.

“I am ready to go.”

The Director nodded to Geny to start up the super-magnet, then left the room without any further instructions or remarks.

It was the patient who did most of the talking as the therapy period advanced.

“I seem to have made enormous progress both in convincing your Director that I am an innocent suffer of body pains and that the super-magnet is having enormous influence in improving my condition.

“Success for our campaign against Yesy Gon is near and assured, I believe. You and I are going to shut down this fraud and, if we are lucky, put the vaunted Director behind bars for health fraud.

“I am glad that I was able to locate you to act as my co-worker, Geny. It was a brilliant idea that came to me, inquiring at the Department of Corrections. It was fortunate that you had just been released from the sentence you were serving manslaughter that occurred in a barroom fistfight.

“You were the exact individual I needed as my confederate in this enterprise, Geny. We will very soon be putting your Yesy Gon out of business, finally and for good.

“Won’t that be quite an achievement for both of us?”

His mind spinning, his thoughts whirling, the man overseeing the magnetic treatment plunging himself forward into a fall, clutching at the control board that governing the super-magnet.

Did he consciously or unconsciously realize what the effect on Tado Zvis would be? Was his wish one of ridding the Goranian Territory of a ruthless, unprincipled force of evil posing as a health inspector?

When the Director returned to the treatment chamber and the super-magnet’s outside power source was turned off, it was discovered that the body of the patient was inert and difficult to remove out of the cylinder that held it.

“When did he last speak to you?” asked Yesy.

“It’s been over twenty minutes that he has said nothing,” replied Geny. “I thought he was resting or had fallen asleep.”

The Director raised his head from the patient on a solid slab. “Go and get Dr. Mito from the records office. We may have had Mr. Zvis die on us during this therapy treatment in the magnetic cylinder.”

Both Doa and Sinus rushed into the room with Geny a few steps behind them.

It took less than a minute for the medical doctor to pronounce her decision.

She turned to the Director and told him the tragic outcome.

“This patient is no longer one of the living,” Doa solemnly announced. There is nothing that I or anyone else can do for him. It is too late to try to aid or rescue this unfortunate soul.”

“I must report what has happened to our police sheriff,” said the shaken Yesy Gon. “This will probably mean the end of my clinic.”

The Director could not have foreseen that he would be able to continue with his super-magnetic treatments.

“There are no signs of anything having gone wrong or astray with the mechanisms or instruments that were in use,” Yesy informed the two researchers as they prepared to leave the clinic and Demek for elsewhere.

“This was a catastrophic incident,” opined Doa. “But the death of the patient was a natural event, though there were strange aspects to it. The man was undergoing innovative therapy at the moment he expired, but there was no connection to the magnetism entering his body, either directly or indirectly.

“You shall be continuing with the development of this type of treatment, as you should, because it certainly holds magnificent promise in the area of many fields of medicine.”

Director Yesy Gon and his assistant Geny wished the pair good fortune and future success as they departed from Demek and the clinic dedicated to the utilization of magnetic force.

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.

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?