The Memory Institute II

21 Jan

I.

The building was dead still when Enon led the patient down the stairwell to the basement and the Electrical Center.

Reia first spoke to Nabot, explaining what her plan was for that night.

“I wish to combine two methods together so that the one can augment the other. My hope that such a conjoining of them will result in the magnification of each of them upon your problem of confused memory.

“First we shall submit you to brainwave feedback, so that your nervous system becomes used to self-regulation. Our objective is to raise the chance or rebalancing and filtering of true memories from the inventions of the imaginative creations of your own brain.

“The hope is that by strengthening your ability to recall the truths of your past, you will be able to free yourself from the falsehoods residing in the memory patterns that you call up.

“In a strange way, the neurofeedback treatment you are about to receive should help you discern the difference between the true and the false in your memory bank.

“Once we are done with that aspect of therapy, I intend to question you about what remembrances of the past remain as strong survivals and which fall by the wayside and vanish.

“Is what we are going to do clear to you, Nabot?”

“Yes, I believe that I understand, Dr. Terah,” replied the patient with visible hope and enthusiasm. “I am ready to begin.”

Reia looked to the side of the chair in which sat Nabot. She gave a nod of her head to Enon who stood at the control of the computer that would be regulating the EEG waves fed into the patient.

Her assist began to transmit the electrical charges that were to produce and govern the wavelengths of the brainwaves to be set and measured through the head cap worn by Nabot.

The exercise started with a combination of fast beta waves being generated in the neurons of the patient’s brain.

After several minutes of this activity, Enon changed the flow of electrical energy into the medium range of alpha waves of nervous idling. This variety of transmission dominated the right side of the brain first, then spread over into the left side as well.

A few minutes of this frequency finished with another major change governed by what Enon was doing at the control board of the main computer he had delivered to the Electric Center.

The brain waves of Nabot now changed into predominantly relaxed theta waves. The patient now fell into a state of slow thought and relaxation. He was now very close to falling asleep, in which there would have been mostly the slowest of all types of waves, the delta ones.

Enon and Reia looked at each other. Both of them understood that this was the point at which the subject of their efforts had the chance of separating imagination from reality, true memory from the fictional kind.

Have we succeeded? each was asking the other as Nabot seemed to have dozed off into day-dreaming prior to genuine sleep.

“Our patient is nearly in hypnotic trance,” whispered Reia to her assistant.

“Yes,” agreed Enon, “I am amazed at how quiet and relaxed our friend has become, yet he remains fully conscious of his surroundings and what has been going on. I hope that we can discover some discernible change in his store of memory.”

“I will now start to question Nabot about his past history,” she said, turning to the patient and posing a question to him.

“Nabot, please tell us if you can name the teachers you learned the most from back in grammar school. Who were they?”

The man with the brain cap on his head rattled off a series of half a dozen names that smoothly issued out of his memory neutrons. The electro-recorder that Enon had placed next to the EEG machine had been set running and took down what was now being said by the doctor and her patient.

“Second, Nabot, I would like you to tell me the names of your favorite teachers during your years of high school education, the ones who did the most for you.”

It took only a minute or so for the patient to present what had been requested by his therapist.

“Now, I want you to tell me what courses you took when you were a student at Zaxia City University. I am sure that you can recall what they were.”

Nabot carried out the task given him with speed and alacrity, speaking the titles of numerous courses with ease and confidence.

Reia then turned to Enon. “I think it is time to end this session, so you can help our friend to return upstairs to his room.”

The assistant closed down all the EEG equipment and the recording computer.

The doctor left the Electrical Center first of all, then the two men headed for the stairwell that led to the first floor.

II.

Reia and Enon did not see each other or speak till the following morning, in her office. She appeared to him to be in a mood of disappointment about what they had been involved with the previous night.

As soon as he was seated the doctor started to tell him what conclusions she had reached about the results of their neurofeedback project.

“It did not go well at all,” she reported in a heavy, troubled voice. “I looked up what we have of Nabot’s academic records, and they failed to match up with what we heard when I asked him those three questions last night.

“He did not study under those teachers that he mentioned. Nabot somehow heard about them from other students and imagines, in his remembering mind, that they would have been preferable to the instructors and professors he actually had experience with.

“There was noticeable effect of our efforts on his memory. True ones were not winnowed out of all those that his mind for some reason managed to fabricate. That is the sad score that resulted from all the brainwave changes that the EEG treatment produced in him.

“The program turned out to be a big, fat zero.”

Enon could see that she was distraught over the failure they had experienced with what they had carried out the night before. He decided to ask Reia about what future she now intended for the attempt to shape the brain electronically.

“Are we going to continue treating Nabot the same way next time?” he inquired with evident curiosity.

“There is a chance that the way the frequencies were presented to his brain was defective or mistaken. So, I believe we have to vary how these are presented in terms of time sequence.”

“What does that mean, then?” he asked.

“Each segment of waves must be made shorter, and then set into a rotating pattern that is repeated over and over for a fairly long period of time. We are to repeat the series of wave changes again and again from Beta to Alpha, then to Theta and Delta. Over and over, but for short period only. None of the cycles will be of any noticeable length, not at all what you carried out last night under the control of the computer that you handled, Enon.”

The latter appeared to be astounded by her change of direction.

“You have reason to believe that will do the trick?” he questioned.

All of a sudden, Reia broke out in a smile. “I see no other alternative at this point,” she muttered in a bittersweet manner.

Chief Ithai Adeb surprised Dr. Azot Lotan by making an unscheduled, unannounced visit to the latter’s office a short while after the noon hour.

“I wanted to talk with you, Azot, so I decided to walk over and see you right here in the place where I knew you would be.” He sat down across from Azot without being asked to do so.

I am glad to see you,” mumbled the unsettled man behind the desk.

“The business that I am interested in concerns the new preparation that you appear to be using at the present time,” said Ithai with a sudden smile. “Yes, I received word about it from a scientist at Zaxia Pharma who happens to be an old, close friend of mine. We saw each other at a social event at the Cultural Center downtown and he reported what was going on to me.

“Did you forget to tell me about such an important development by mistake?”

This announcement from the Chief caused Azot to let out a cough from deep in his throat.

“I must not have considered it worthy of your attention, sir. The compound is still in its stage of experiment and I see myself as giving it practical testing on memory problems. That’s all there is to it.”

“Do you have any positive results from using it yet?” asked Ithai.

“No, I’m sorry to say that I don’t. It is too early for that, it appears.”

“You must remember the fact that no other tool is as effective in correcting the problems in the memory than old-fashioned hypnotism. It has, as far as I can tell, always been our best instrument and tool in psychology.”

Both men turned silent for a brief time.

The Chief bolted to his feet, disconcerting Dr. Lotan with its vigor and suddenness.

“Keep me informed in what you find out, Azot,” muttered the head of the Memory Institute as he made a speedy exit out of the office.

The second session with Nabot Jor undergoing EEG neurofeedback occurred three nights after the first treatment in the basement Electric Center.

Enon saw to it that the brainwaves of the patient followed the pattern of changing frequencies drawn up by Reia. The latter then asked Nabot a number of questions to determine whether his memory profile had been altered by this kind of therapy.

Enon returned the patient to his rooms on the upper level of the Institute, while Reia went home with charts of how Nabot’s brain had reacted to what he had undergone.

Early the following morning, Enon showed up at the doctor’s office, curious to find out what she had concluded about the condition of the memory of the person under the new system of therapy.

“What happened within Nabot last night?” he inquired as soon as he walked into Reia’s office, standing as he waited to learn what she was going to say.

As soon as he caught the frown on her forehead, Enon came to anticipate that the news was not going to be positive or encouraging in any way.

“It is very close to what we witnessed the first night,” she told him. “I could find nothing in his answers to me or on the rolls that might be considered progress. Despite the changes that we made, the memory function of his mind seems to have remained unchanged.

“I find that result tragic and disappointing.”

“So do I,” murmured Enon. “What are we to do now?” he asked her.

“It is too early to place Nabot back in the Electric Center receiving EEG power through a head cap,” answered Reia, frowning for a second. “If only we were able to locate the cause of the stubbornness of his brain, resisting the location of his concealed early memories.”

Her assistant suddenly conceived an unexpected, unusual idea.

“I just thought of something. Why don’t we carry out a testing exercise with our neurofeedback set-up? What I mean is this: why can’t I place myself in the position that Nabot was occupying and have you at the controls, varying the combinations of waves forming in my brain? Doing that would enable you to change the order and the timing of the kinds of waves generated inside my head. And you would be in a position to try out different patterns of waves as to timing, but also as to strength.

What do you think of my idea, Reia? Is it outlandish and too wild for a strict scientist such as you to take part in?

“I think that it might reveal why we are failing with Nabot, up to now.

“There is nothing to lose, is there?”

Reia stared directly into her assistant’s caramel eyes.

“I don’t believe we should be taking chances with the balance inside your mental operations,” she told him thoughtfully. “If we don’t foresee what the outcome might turn out to be, we should not be gambling or taking experimental risks of any kind.”

“But there will be no such hazards involved, Reia,” he assured her. “You will be governing and calibrating the EEG and its electricity. Doesn’t that provide us enough confidence in the safety of the enterprise? I should think that it does.”

Both of them considered the potential situation for a short while.

At last the psychologist made a decision on his proposal.

“I will accept the idea and act as its technical direction, but on one condition.”

“What would that be?” asked the puzzled Enon, biting his lower lip.

“That you permit me to hypnotize you first, so that we can avoid pain or any sort of harmful effect upon you. I insist that we accomplish that safeguard first, before you undergo EEG current into your brain.”

A smile broke out on his face. “Very well, I will concede that provision to you. That will be the way that we proceed in the Electric Center. When do you think it should happen?”

Reia suddenly grinned. “Late tonight will be best,” she merrily announced to him.

III.

It was surprisingly easy to place her assistant into hypnotic trance, the doctor discovered once she had descended to the Electric Center along with him.

He sat in the experiment chair, the cap with sensors and EEG connections on top of his head.

The first phase of the plan set was for Reia to place Enon into a mesmeric state.

She stood directly in front of him, her cinnamon eyes focused on his caramel-colored ones. The two experimenters stared intently at each other.

Enon grew distracted from conscious thought in less than two minutes, while she slowly waved her right hand in front of him, back and forth a number of times in succession.

The hypnotist was astonished at the speed of her success with this particular subject. She suddenly found herself in a state of mental command over the young man who worked with him.

Reia stopped moving her hand once she was certain that the goal had been attained. His brain had entered a condition of theta wave dominance, she was thoroughly certain.

“Tell me what your earliest childhood memories may be, Enon,” she whispered in a slow, musical tone.

Nothing came from the mouth of the assistant for a long period, till he began to murmur a reply to her question.

“My Uncle Jodah was the one who tried to explain the accident that my mother and father suffered out on the intercity highway, but it did not at the moment make any sense to me.

“How could they go away and never come back again? Where would they go and stay? I began to think that they were angry with me and had decided to punish through abandoning me. That was it: they had decided that they did not need me or love me anymore.

“It took me time to realize that this was not a joke or a game they were playing on me. I had to live now at the home of Uncle Jodah and Aunt Seta. They were not my parents and they treated me like a stranger, an outsider, a person they treated for reasons of their own, like my mother and father had treated me when I lived with them.

“I had to move to a different house that I was not too familiar with, that I had infrequently visited before. I had to go to a school new and unfriendly to me. The teachers seemed cruel and unfeeling to me. The other children were brutal and teased me a lot. They asked me questions full of hatred and disregard for my feelings. Where is your father? Where is your mother? Why has no one among us ever seen or heard about them?

“I started to turn sick and often had to stay home with Aunt Seta. She was very strict and cold toward me. My memories of her are painful ones. And Uncle Jodah believed in physical punishment, often spanking me with a large stick that he kept for that purpose. Those two had no children and had no knowledge at all about what a child thinks and feels.

“My memories are very bad ones from those years with them. I tried to remember my mother and father, but there was nothing left of them in my mind, nothing at all. My mind was a blank when it came to the time before the accident and my moving to live with the two who tortured my very soul.

“I wish that I had some definite, concrete memory of my birth parents, but I have nothing. I cannot even remember what they looked like. Were they tall or short, heavy or lean? Only from old photographs can I have a look at them. But the amazing fact is that I can see their pictures and not even recognize who they are. Two strangers, I have to conclude and answer. Did I know them? I ask myself. Did they know me? Who were those two people in the photos?

“That is the sad state I must live in, as if I was born or reborn at the age of eight.”

Reia, at that point, interrupted the unusual reverie of her assistant.

“You can now stop talking, Enon.

“I will now proceed to the completion of the EEG transmission into your brain. You shall now be experiencing the effects of our planned program, including the neurofeedback effect of the setup.

“You can now stay silent until the brainwave treatment is completed.”

When the planned pattern of electrical stimulation was finished, Ebon helped Reia remove the brain cap he had been wearing. The two of them rose after all the instruments that had been in use were shut down and closed up. They then left the Electric Center together and climbed the stairs leading to the ground floor.

“We will have to go into the possible memory changes that occurred when we meet tomorrow morning in the office, Ebon.” She stopped walking and turned to face him. All of a sudden, she did something that caught him off guard and caused initial confusion, then consternation in his mind.

Reia kissed his mouth and then turned away.

Before Ebon could pull himself together or ask her a question, the doctor he worked with had withdrawn down the corridor leading to the back exit of the Memory Institute.

What did she mean to communicate to me with her kiss? the assistant who had undergone neurofeedback asked himself.

His mind searched for possible reasons, but they all evaporated immediately.

Does she have feelings toward me? What type of emotion has risen within her?

Reia had never seemed a romantic individual to him. But he realized that he was very unfamiliar with females in general.

She is years older than me. What is she thinking or dreaming of?

Does she have some dream concerning our future relations, one to one?

Is she merely lonely for friendship and nothing at all beyond that?

I have never thought of her in any particular way.

Should I now begin to?

IV.

“How was your night, Ebon? Did you enjoy a restful sleep after what happened downstairs?” asked Reia with spirit that following morning when the assistant reported to her office.

He realized at once that she was going to pretend that she had not carried out her surprise on him the previous night. Reia was putting on a mask and pretense of forgetfulness over the incident.

“Sit down,” she said to him. “I want to learn whether you have experienced any new memories that you did not possess earlier, before last night’s feedback.”

Ebon did as he was told, his eyes glued on her face as he searched for some sign of emotion related to himself.

“My brain feels exactly as it did before yesterday. No noticeable change in me at all. It would be sad if all our work together resulted it nothing at all. Perhaps the neurofeedback idea is a futile one with no future. Maybe we are really wasting our time and our efforts, Reia,” he said with a moan.

She gave him a look of being troubled by his attitude. “No, we can’t just surrender and give up. You and I have to continue and persist. I see no alternative to continuing in this direction. What alternative is there?”

For a moment, Ebon was unable to reply. But an idea suddenly came to him.

“Perhaps it would be best if we went on with someone new. First we attempted to treat Nabot Jor. And then I was the subject. How about attempting to restore memory to a different individual?”

Reia furrowed her forehead in thought.

“Yes, that might be the best alternative for us. There is another of my patients who could be a good choice for EEG therapy. His name is Ahaz Daman. He is a middle-aged merchant.

“I believe that I can convince him to volunteer for neurofeedback treatment. He is a man very eager to find what has been lost in the back of his mind.”

Azot Lotan was becoming more frustrated with ampakine each passing day.

The patient on whom he was testing the so-called miracle compound, Sevath Bgar, was not responding with any major improvement in memory. There might a little progress for a day or so, but it quickly disappeared and was gone.

The middle-aged merchant soon reverted back to his initial paramnesiac state. He was unable to recall some of the major events and personages in his path of life. He was becoming depressed about this condition, just like his therapist.

Azot pondered what might rescue him from the blind alley he found himself in. But he could not conceive at that moment what it might be.

The Chief of the Memory Institute, Ithai Adeb, awaited the arrival of his new assistant with sky-high expectations.

He had first met Dr. Salem Silad at a conference on hypnotic medical procedures held in Zaxia City earlier that year. The presentation made by this psychiatrist had deeply impressed him. Ithai had spoken with the gangly practitioner for only a few minutes, but that had been enough to produce the idea of hiring him as an employee of the Institute.

The Chief concluded that he had to draw the man out of his country practice to work in the capital under himself. He prepared himself to make the direct proposal of a transfer to the Institute when he met with his guest in his office this morning.

His secretary told her boss over the office intercom that Dr. Silad had arrived and was waiting to walk in. Ithai told her to send him in, rising from behind his chromium desk and heading toward the door.

The psychiatrist who was making the visit here was a lanky, limber figure with onyx black eyes and sandy blond hair. He possessed an impressive, intense presence, whatever environment he might enter.

The Chief greeted Salem Silad, shook hands with him, and proposed that the two of them sit down and talk.

Once they were seated, Ithai got directly to the main business at hand with his visitor.

“You can probably guess, Doctor, why I asked you to come here. The purpose is to recruit you onto our staff of the Institute. There will be time this morning to take you on a tour of our building and showing what happens at our facility. I guarantee that you will find it attractive and intriguing.

“My sincere wish is to win your agreement to come in with us, because we need someone on the staff with your specific specialty. Indeed, I foresee a great future everywhere for the Dream Therapy that you have helped to develop as a psychiatric hypnotist.

“Our name reveals that we study and deal with problems connected to the human memory. And you yourself have applied hypnotic dreaming methods to the repair and restoration of lost and damaged memory capacities in mental patients. That is precisely the set of skills that are needed at our Memory Institute. I have no doubts at all that you would be able to contribute great advantages to our capacity to cure and alleviate what ails those who come here for help.”

Dr. Silad smiled at the praise and flattery he was receiving from the Chief.

“Thank you for your kind words,” he purred. “But I am not the only person who ever tried to apply Hypnotic Dream Therapy to patients with memory malfunctions. It is a very old method and idea, but in recent times the area has witnessed important, breathtaking breakthroughs.

“I have merely adopted and applied the discoveries initiated by others.”

“I am amazed at how your brand of treatment deals with unconscious barriers and obstacles that impede the recovery of deeply buried memory traces,” declared Ithai.

“It amazes me that your field of hypnotic therapy permits the designing and creation of particular dreams that liberate repressed memories long hidden within the subconscious part of the mind.

“You would certainly add a new path toward cures to our Institute, Dr. Silad.”

The latter ruminated and considered rapidly, making a decision on the offer made to him by the Chief of the Memory Institute.

“I have to think about it,” finally said the tall hypnotist, already realizing that he was certainly going to accept the invitation to join the staff of this well-known and respected facility.

V.

“What shall we do with all of our EEG machinery and apparatuses?” asked Enon of the woman he worked with. “How can we continue our neurofeedback work when our results, so far, are negative and disappointing?”

Reia, sitting opposite where he occupied a folding chair, looked preoccupied by thoughts distant from what she had just been asked.

“What are we going to do, Reia?” he persisted to ask. “Do you think we can try some new, different combination of elements of the treatment? Or is it possibly a matter of reorganizing the time sequence of brainwaves that are used?”

He gazed at her with a desperate plea in his eyes and on his face.

“Something new is entering the Memory Institute for the first time,” she informed her assistant. “A new recruit is entering our staff, I was told this morning by a colleague. This is a psychiatrist from the countryside who has been using an unusual method of memory therapy. The treatment depends upon shaping patient dreaming through focused hypnotic suggestion.

“No one can foresee what the effects of this person on the rest of the staff will turn out to be. It may be good, or perhaps the opposite.”

Ebon appeared taken aback by the news she had given him.

“How will this development affect us and our electro-feedback actions in the basement?”

Reia looked away as she replied to him. “I can’t say. No one knows anything for certain at this time.”

Salem Silad moved to Zixia City the following week, renting an apartment near the Institute, and occupying a consultation office where he could meet with his new patients.

One of the first therapists he met was Reia Terah, introduced to him at a table in the staff dining hall where six colleagues were eating their lunch.

Salem placed his plate of food down in front of himself, sat down, and began speaking to the entire group. Reia took in every word he uttered, almost suspending her meal as she listened in rapt attention.

“It is a great honor and opportunity for me to be a member of the staff here at the Memory Institute,” he told the contingent of therapists. “I intend to focus upon the method I have specialized in for the last several years. That is memory restoration through hypnotically inspired dreaming.

“It is a procedure that I am deeply devoted to. I am thoroughly convinced that it works with enormous effectiveness. My patients swear to its marvelous success.”

“The patients are placed in deep trance through hypnotic treatment?” inquired one of the psychiatrists sitting at the table. “How can anyone control the content of what is going to enter into the patient’s dreaming? I use mesmeric trance in my work with my patients, but I do not know how to shape what will appear in their minds when they are in an unconscious state. That is far beyond my skills or abilities. And how can it help them to recover lost memories from long ago? I do not understand it at all.”

Salem smiled at the questioner. “One must gauge the state of sleep in which the subject happens to be in at different periods of time. It is the late REM phase that is most conducive to dream consolidation. Rotary eye motion is the sure sign the patient has entered the state when dreaming is most certain to be occurring in the unconscious mind.

“I will suggest a suitable topic of the dream that will help unlock secret, hidden remembrances. This occurs before the person falls asleep, through hypnotic suggestion coming from me. The patient is told to fall into a comatose state of slumber and does so.

“I tell the person hypnotized that their mind will be able to trail the neuron paths leading to recorded experiences and learning. This has a surprising effect on enabling the patient to carry out that very memory restoration on their own.”

“The material that was lost reappears when the patient awakens?” inquired one of the therapists at the table.

Salem looked directly at that individual and answered him.

“Yes. And the patient receives enormous encouragement from the first successful session with this method. I then go on to a second, then a third hypnotic intervention. The patient becomes devoted to the successful treatments that follow. And the successes follow in a series of greater and greater victories. It is marvelous to behold.”

“That sounds almost incredible!” interrupted another staff member.

Salem turned his head and addressed him. “I have gone so far as to teach self-hypnosis to the most advanced and determined of my patients. The method can be taught and put to use by themselves when they leave my care and go out on their own.”

The exchanges ended as Dr. Silad picked up his fork and began on his roast beef stew.

His colleagues exchanged looks of wonder in absolute silence, then resumed their meals.

Reia returned to eating, telling herself that Enon would like to learn what she had heard the new psychiatrist say to his fellow practitioners.

VI.

Azot Lotan decided that he had to have a private talk with the new staff member, Dr. Salem Silad. He had to investigate whether this new factor brought to the Institute might be the holder of unforeseen opportunities and possibilities.

The easiest way to corner the man was to make a visit to his new office.

Azot knocked at the door and entered when told to enter.

“Let me introduce myself,” began the visitor with a warm smile. “I am Azot Lotan, a psychiatric therapist with a background in the application of biochemical compounds for psychological purposes.

“I am interested in how your special area, that of hypnotic dream application, could be combined in my own bundle of methods and means.

“Could I spend a few minutes with you, Dr. Silad?” asked Azot with a pleading voice and facial expression.

“Certainly, please be seated, sir.”

Once he was settled, the new man began to speak to his visitor.

“Through a lot of patient treatment and study, I uncovered productive ways of eliciting contact with deeply buried memories. I hypnotized subjects with crucial, central questions in their minds, and it came about that their unconscious area of the mind answered me through new dreams inspired by my influence during the process of producing the sleeping trance.

“The unconscious could only reply through the medium of the dream. So, when conscious thought returned to my patient, so did the memory trace that both of us were searching for.

“The treatment was as simple as that,” triumphantly grinned Salem Silad.

Lotan gave a single laugh of joy. “I would like to learn about how you ask pivotal question that effect the results of the hypnotization, because it sounds like it can be combined with the focused medication that I apply every day in my work.”

“I would be happy to do exactly that for you,” nodded the other.

Enon spent most of the spare minutes he had to himself pondering what road he and Reia should be taking in their neurofeedback work together.

At last, he felt that there was an idea to be presented and proposed to her.

The two had gone outside for dinner at a downtown restaurant that evening. He waited till both of them had finished their plates of fried pigeon before he told her of the plan he had thought up on his own.

“I believe that we have to go on from what we have already carried out, Reia. This does not mean ignoring anything we have learned or achieved up to now. Rather, we should add a new, different ingredient as a factor in our procedure.”

“What would that be?” she asked with rising interest.

He leaned his head forward. “I believe we can add this new dream method to the hypnosis that we have been applying before the actual EEG energy is transmitted through the head cap.

“I can see no logical reason why we cannot try to generate a dream trance, especially during the theta wave section of the transmission to the brain.

“It might be the key to the final unlocking of what lies dormant in the unconscious.”

Reia appeared to be frowning. “I am unable to understand how a dream can accomplish such an opening up of long hidden, forgotten memories. It does not seem to have any psychological logic to it.”

“It could contain some profound mystery concerning the linkage between our conscious and unconscious regions. Isn’t that a possibility that deserves to be examined and explored?”

As he stared into her cinnamon-colored eyes, she revolved his idea in her own brain.

Once she had determined what she thought made the most sense to her, Reia muttered a reply.

“Well, then, we will have to try and test this business of hypnotized dreaming that this Salem Silad has brought to the Institute.

Late that night well past midnight, the pair determined to perfect the system of neurofeedback therapy they were involved in descended down to the basement of the Institute, their aim was to try out the concept of hypnotic dreaming in conjunction with the brainwave therapy they were familiar with.

Could the creation of a healing variety of dreams revive forgotten long-range memories lost from the earlier years of life?

The two were determined to find out if that was the ingredient that could elevate what they were experimenting with to a new, more effective level of efficacy.

There arose in the back of Enon’s mind an unvoiced, indefinite fear. Would this combination of two varying methodologies lead to the unmasking and revelation of his innermost thoughts and feelings about Reia?

He had not dared to formulate or specify the emotion that he sensed within himself. Had she somehow thrown an unconscious kind of spell over his inner feelings? Had he become secretly infatuated with Reia?

I am younger than she is, but to me that is a meaningless, insignificant fact of life. It must not and does not matter at all to me.

But am I taking the chance of embarrassing both of us by revealing my personal dreaming to her? That has to be the result of what the two of us are about to embark upon. Is the risk of exposure one that is worth taking? What would be the reaction of Reia to what comes to the surface of consciousness? he wondered with fear for the possible consequences.

They reached the Electric Center in the building’s basement and rested for a little time before proceeding on to the attempt to use both brainwave feedback and mesmeric trance to produce revelatory dreaming in the mind of Enon.

The latter, sitting in the chair in which he would receive both neurofeedback and hypnotic suggestion, began murmuring in a lowered tone.

“I understand that the depth of sleeping is not the optimum measurement of whether one will have dreams that are later recalled. It is in light sleep that a person will have remembered dreams.”

Reia smiled at him. “That is right, because hypnosis is close to everyday day-dreaming, when the theta waves become dominant in the brain.

“Dreams tend to occur as a person has just fallen asleep, or when one is on the verge of awakening. And those dreams are the ones that we remember.”

“So, I can expect to be experiencing a light trance not too far from everyday consciousness,” concluded Enon. “And you intend to lead me into the area of buried memories of my early life.”

“Yes, I shall repeat my suggestion to you several times, so that it sinks in and guides the direction of what dreaming is going to occur.”

“We shall see what this procedure digs up out of my past, Reia,” he muttered with expectation.

She began to move her hands in front of his eyes, drawing and focusing his attention. The mind of Enon grew abstracted and self-concentrated. Though remaining conscious for a brief time, he lost contact with his immediate surroundings, as if afloat in a different, inner reality.

Reia began adjusting the input of frequencies into his brain.

“You are about to see your early childhood years as you dream,” she repeated over and over. When she was certain he was in trance, the repetitions ended.

Reia looked into the unmoving, glassy caramel eyes of Enon.

Was he going to remember what had been considered to have been forgotten? she wondered.

VII.

“I have no memories at all of the years before I lost my two parents,” admitted Enon with visible regret. “No, I did not have a particle of a dream concerning what I was seeking. My mind was a total blank with no living content at all. That period of my life remains as it was before. It is gone, as if it never existed at all.

“I am sorry to confess that there was nothing like what you and I expected. Nothing at all.

“Hypnotic dreaming did not work, at least not tonight.”

Reia thought that she saw a tear form in the right eye of her partner in the project that had failed.

“We will talk about what we do next tomorrow morning,” she whispered to Enon.

“I will help you put everything back where it was before,” he said, looking away from the woman who had hypnotized him without the result they had both wished to happen.

When he moved his head back the way it had been, looking in her direction, an unexpected surprise shook his mind and all of his nervous system.

Reia had stepped toward his chair and was leaning forward toward him.

She came closer and closer, until at last she planted a gentle kiss on his open, gaping mouth.

He had never anticipated that this would happen again, that the earlier event had not been a wild, unguarded whim. No, there was more stirring Reia than he had thought possible.

Enon reached toward her with both arms, taking hold of the therapist and embracing her with the strength of both his physical muscles and his emotional passion.

It was now his turn to kiss, which he did over and over on her face.

Reia entered a state of rhapsodic ecstasy as she realized how her assistant felt toward her.

Both now understood each other in a novel, intimate sense.

When the pair reached the silent, deserted main corridor of the first floor, Reia stopped and whispered to Enon, moving close to his left ear.

“Why should you have to find a cab-car all the way to your apartment, my dear? You can stay with me nearby in my own flat. I have a comfortable sofa that you can use until the morning. It will be a lot easier for you, I think.”

“Yes, I will,” agreed her assistant.

Thus it came about that he did not have to make a lengthy trip through nighttime Zaxia City that night.

Wherever he might go within the Memory Institute, Salem Silad saw or met Azot Lotan. If he had been a suspicious person, the psychiatrist might have imagined that he was being stalked by this colleague of his.

Whenever and wherever he could, Azot would open with conversation on matters of interest to himself.

“What do you think of long-term residence here with us for those with serious cases of dementia, living with little remainder from their own past?”

“We may not be capable of a complete, final cure, but I know how much benefit that even the most serious cases can obtain from dreams that locate and liberate even the oldest and most obscured of memories. I know that from actual clinical experience with patients who were previously considered without hope of any kind of improvement.”

Azot expressed his positive reaction to what Salem was telling him.

“I believe that you are going to bring a great deal of beneficial reform to how we do things here in the Institute, my friend,” gushed Azot with excitement in his turquoise eyes.

Reia discussed the future of the neurofeedback experiments with Enon in her office after her appointments and sessions for the day were finished.

“What lies ahead for the work that we have started?” she asked the man with whom she had tied her most intimate internal emotions, the person who had captured hold of her romantic dreams. “What must we do next, Enon?” she inquired of him.

His brow furrowed in heavy, serious thought as he pondered and considered what to say to the one he was now devoted to protecting.

“It is difficult to choose anything that promises success for us,” he finally declared. “I have been considering attempting to obtain advice from the individual who has specialized in the area of hypnotic dreams. But I do not really know this new therapist, Salem Silad. Neither does he know us in any way. We are both strangers to this new member of the Institute’s group of psychiatrists.

“Do we dare approach the man and seek his help in what we are trying to do? I should speak mainly of you, Reia. You would have to be the one who builds a bridge of cooperation with him, since you are on his level of rank, while I myself stand well below both of you.” He looked with curiosity at her. “Would you be willing to ask Silad for his aid in our enterprise of memory restoration?”

Reia ruminated several seconds, then replied. “Yes, it might be beneficial to us to get his opinion and ideas about our combination of hypnosis and feedback therapy. He could have the answers that we need.”

“You will try to question him, then?”

“It may get us what we want,” she told him with an enigmatic grin.

VIII.

“I have strong belief and trust in the effectiveness of medicinal compounds in the treatment of all forms of dementia and memory illness,” opined Azot Lotan in conversation with Dr. Silad during dinner with him in a restaurant near the Institute. It was very popular with the memory therapists, offering them favorite food items from the Zaxian traditional cuisine.

Both psychiatrists ordered roasted cervine with rutabaga soup.

Azot, exploiting his gift of knowing many old folk stories and jokes, humored his companion with several humorous tales and fables. He succeeded in getting Salem to laugh at several of them.

He chose an appropriate moment, when both of them had finished eating and were slowly drinking glasses of raisin wine, to present the idea he had been hatching in the back of his mind.

“I dreamed of something unusual last night,” lied Azot with a shining smile on his face. “Perhaps it was only a reflection of a conscious wish that had sunk into my subconscious, but I imagined that I was busy working with you on an important joint project.

“You were in charge of the hypnotic dreaming aspect of our project, while I was in control of the pharmaceutics involved. Our enterprise was a combination of both of our fields of specialization, exploiting the advantages coming from each of them.” He gave out a short, sharp laugh. “Perhaps it was in reality only a piece of dream nonsense.

“What do you think of my dream, and the main, central idea that was connected to it. Who can say? Perhaps what I dreamed of contains the best way of recreating lost memories. It could be that none of us has found what everyone seems to be hunting for.

“I am relating the matter to you in order to find out what you think of the notion of unification of the two methods into a joint venture operated by both of us.”

Azot stared openly into the large onyx eyes of the newcomer. What was he going to say? How would he evaluate the strange, original notion of cooperation.

All at once, Salem Silad seemed to explode with natural enthusiasm and spirit.

“Yes, indeed, what you just said makes a great deal of sense. I believe that our inventory of biochemicals and therapeutic drugs is in need of non-material additions, namely hypnotism and dream analysis. The one type of means will aid the other, and visa versa in addition. Each sphere of treatment will be augmented. Each will grow more effective and productive of noticeable results.

“Our profession should never be divided up by artificial, formal boundaries. These borders become solid walls, and we grow ignorant of the possibilities that we are separated from. It is much better to add one method to others, so we can reach more advanced heights of achievement.

“You and I, together, must explore how we can bridge together our two areas of therapy, my friend.”

Azot had a sense of having won what he had come to gain from the dream hypnotist.

How does one begin personal contact with a psychiatrist new to the Memory Institute? wondered Reia Terah.

She decided that the best option was to walk right up to him and ask a technical question about inducing a specific vein of dreaming in a patient. That would provide a smooth way of introducing oneself to the man.

When Reia walked into the staff dining hall that evening, she was accompanied by Enon. The pair sat down with their trays at a small, private table alongside the outer wall and windows of the large chamber.

It was Ebon who happened to spy Salem Silad sitting by himself at a distant table for six. But he was alone there, since it was late and most of those eating there at that hour had finished their meals and left.

Enon gave Reia a nod of his head in the direction in which he could see the target of their attention.

Reia gestured with her nose and mouth that she had looked over and identified the new staff member all to himself at the far end.

The pair first went to the food counter and ordered what they wished to order that evening. Then they took their trays and dishes and walked to the cashier’s desk.

Enon presented his purchase tab, it was passed through a reader by the cashier, and the two diners headed toward the table where sat their targeted individual.

Reia spoke to Dr. Silad as soon as they reached where he was sitting and eating.

“Doctor, excuse us, but could we sit at your table? I am Dr. Reia Terah, and this is my assistant therapist, Enon Gareb.

“Both of us are eager to make your acquaintance and exchange background and opinions with you. There is no question but that you are a magnificent contribution to the Institute’s spectrum of possible methods and services.”

Salem stared at her in surprise. “Please, sit down, both of you,” he welcomed the pair.

For half a minute, all three at the table concentrated upon eating their food.

It was Reia who spoke first on a professional subject to the new staff member.

“Excuse me for asking you this question, but my assistant and I have been involved in an unsuccessful attempt by ourselves to delve into lost memories using a combination of mesmeric trance and dream analysis.

“But we have found great difficulty in inducing appropriate dreaming in our subject, since we lack the experience that is in all probability necessary to attain that goal.

“As a result of our lack of knowledge and capacity, we have failed to restore memories of the earliest years of a life.

“Our failure has been a disappointment to both of us, Dr. Silad.”

“Please, call me Salem,” muttered the hypnotic practitioner. “Let me advise you and your assistant with candid words. It is not at all easy to shape or control what a subject of hypnosis is going to dream. The possibility of error or failure is enormous. It can often turn out a failed attempt, without the planned and desired product in the mind of the dreaming person.

“It can occur that the mind refuses the injected command from the therapist, because it is an external message communicated to the brain from outside. The commanded dream may not penetrate deeply enough into the subconscious of the patient. That has at times happened to even me.”

“What can a hypnotizing therapist do about these difficult barriers and handicaps, then?” demanded Reia. “Are there any remedies for such dangers to therapeutic success?”

Salem surprised both of the persons who had sat down at his table by what he answered to her question.

“Although it is primarily a matter of luck, one can begin with a detailed plan of influencing what shall be in the dream that results. One composes a well-organized system of suggestions and hints that can determine the direction and the contact of the resulting dream.

“It is not at all easy, but a clever program can be devised that guides the unconscious mind of the one being treated with hypnotic proposals.”

For a few moments, there was an indelicate silence about the table.

Finally, it was Enon who spoke out.

“That is very interesting, Doctor. I wonder, would you be willing to demonstrate for me and Dr. Terah how the task can be properly carried out? That would be a marvelous contribution to how the two of us deal with the patients assigned to us.

“We promise not to take too much of your precious time, sir.”

Enon smiled as pleasantly as he could, attempting to influence the dream hypnotist.

“I will be most happy to do what I can for you, starting tomorrow morning, if that is acceptable and possible.” He turned his head and looked directly at Reia. “It can be interesting for all three of us,” he said with a grin.

That settled, the trio of therapists attacked the dishes in front of them on the table.

IX.

Salem welcomed the two visitors to his office and seated them across the zinc desk from him. He began addressing them as if he were delivering a lecture.

“I believe that there are three basic stages of memory: the sensory, the short-term, and the long-term.

“But we can aso distinguish between explicit and implicit memory. Some varieties of remembrance are direct, but others are indirect.

“I find that the way we structure the information that the world gives us affects to a great degree the way that we retrieve and restore it in our minds.

“There is an important imaginary element in our memory, and that creates an unending tension between our memory and our imagination.

“This is an major factor in our dreaming, where memories and entangled with imaginary images and conceptions.”

“That is so true!” said Reia excitedly. “I have felt unseen powers when I am asleep and dreaming.”

Salem smiled and continued. “I consider dreaming a form of memory processing. When our brain is asleep, our subconscious is allocating and classifying our memories of the past, as well as information out of the present time.”

“Yes, that is the nature of the phenomenon of having a dream,” agreed Enon.

“When we dream,” continued Salem, “we also make subtle, concealed connections between our varied past experiences. The dreamer reorganizes old, lost memories into new structures and patterns. This is done out of the light of the brain’s consciousness.”

Reia intervened. “And hypnosis reveals what it is that the patient’s mind is rearranging and repatterning. Isn’t that so?”

Salem smiles benignly at her. “Indeed, that is what I am after in my therapy sessions with individuals suffering memory difficulties and problems.” He paused for a moment, then went on. “I concluded very early in my work that the shortest and most effective road to restoring long forgotten memories lies in one of the rarest and most difficult forms of hypnotism. That would be what is termed auto-hypnosis.”

“You are able to teach patients how to hypnotize themselves?” questioned Reia.

The new psychiatrist stared intently at her. “Yes, precisely that. If we can instill that capacity into an individual, then he or she can manage and control the content of their own dreams. In that way, we can facilitate their finding the hidden memories that they are searching for and attempting to bring into full consciousness.

“I admit that it is not at all easy, but whenever it can be made to occur, the results turn out to be spectacular.”

Both Enon and Reia gazed at the hypnotic practitioner with wonder in their eyes.

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The Memory Institute I.

20 Jan

I.

Zaxia is a country where the past remains a valued and revered element of life
into the present, said Enon Gareb to himself as he hurried down the boulevard.

He smiled, realizing that the past had always been a shadow falling over his own life from his earliest memories of it.

Enon was today a candidate for a research position at the Memory Institute of research and treatment here in Zaxia City. He was on his way to an appointment with the organization’s General Chief, Dr. Ithai Adeb. Would he pass this initial examination and be accepted as a student apprentice?

I have for a considerable time been firmly determined to make myself a participant in the field that this institution concentrates on, he understood.

I am fascinated with the subject of human memory because of my own family experience in terms of early childhood.

The young aspirant walked past dark red brick office building and entered the yellowish stone structure holding the destination that held all his personal hopes, the home of the Memory Institute.

A secretary in a business-suit led the virile, athletic-looking candidate for employment into the office of Chief Ithai Adeb, then left the two men alone.

Enon smiled at the chunky manager of the institution, a middle-aged man with raven eyes and thinning golden hair. “Please, be seated,” suggested the Chief.

The person who held the young man’s future in his hands stared at the applicant’s caramel-colored eyes and short chestnut hair.

“Tell me why you wish to work here at the Memory Institute, Mr. Gareb,” began the official head of the organization. “I am always interested in the reasons why different individuals apply for any openings that we happen to come up with over time.”

Dr. Adeb attempted as warm a smile as he thought was appropriate with a candidate for employment under him.

Enon recited a reply he had had the foresight to prepare for exactly such an inquiry.

“Of the many areas of human mental activity, none has ever interested me as much as that of the memory. How remembrance occurs in the physical brain and the psychological mind became my central focus at Zaxia University, and I made it my particular focus of attention and study.

“The problems and difficulties that can arise within the operations of persons’ memories is where I wish to devote my time and energy, sir.

“It was my sad fate to lose both my parents in a terrible road-car accident when I was only at the age of eight. My aunt and uncle took me into their home and raised me, helping me to finish secondary school and go on to the university here in the capital.

“My major became psychology and my personal interest came to center on the subject of the memory processes within the human brain and mind.

“That is the story of what has brought me here today, sir.”

The Chief waited several seconds before he spoke.

“That is very laudable, because I myself came into this particular field due to similar interest and enthusiasm for finding answers to complicated questions and riddles about human remembrance of what is past and gone.

“Your academic record is most impressive, I would even say it was excellent in a number of respects. It appears that you have for a long period been oriented and drawn to what we try to accomplish at our Institute.”

“Yes, I have held such an ambition for a considerable period of time,” confessed the candidate for a position.

The Chief thought a short while before making a surprise announcement to Enon.

“You shall be notified by electro-message when the decision has been fully confirmed by our trustees, but I intend to recommend your hiring, my friend. I dare say that you have impressed me as the best qualified person who has applied for this opening.

“May I wish you good fortune and success in your endeavors with us,” grinned the head of the Memory Institute.

II.

Enon lived in a small apartment in central Zaxia City, close to the university.

It was minutes after the solar dusk that he heard the signaler on his electro-screen sound, signaling that there had been a message for him just received.

“Congratulations, you have been hired as research assistant by the Memory Institute. Report tomorrow morning at the seventh hour to Dr. Reia Terah, who shall be acting as your immediate superior and professional instructor.”

The welcome news came from the Chief, Dr. Ithai Adeb.

Enon had a short, nervous sleep that night, looking forward to his initial day at the facility he had for a long time dreamed of joining.

He awoke hours before his customary time and prepared for the day’s thrilling events. A ride on a crowded morning street-rail omnibus took him to the building of the Memory Institute. As soon as the new employee entered the front vestibule he heard the voice of one of the secretaries.

“You are scheduled to meet with Dr. Terah,” said the young woman. “Her office is down near the end of the hall on the right side.”

She pointed with her hand to the corridor that would take him to where he was expected.

Enon gulped and swallowed, walking toward his first meeting with the stranger who was to hold his future course in her hands. He was determined to do all her could to impress the psychologist with his seriousness and dedication to the aims of the institution.

The new employee rapped on the office door, hearing a high soprano voice telling him to enter.

Reia Terah, a young-looking female of moderate height looked at him with sparkling cinnamon eyes from behind a small aluminum desk.

Enon identified himself and was asked to sit down across from her.

He smiled at the wiry, sylphlike individual who had been assigned to take control of his training and preparation for research work.

“We shall be working together,” she began. “I see from your records at Zachia University that you have taken every single course that deals with human memory. That will help you a lot in developing the skills you will need with us.” She suddenly became absent and distracted. “There is almost no area of psychological study as complex and undeveloped as that of the memory and how it operates. Our specialty still has great need of discoveries and breakthroughs in order to catch up with the other aspects of the human mind.”

“Yes,” said Enon with spirit. “My ambition is to help, however I can, advance our knowledge and capacities involved with problems of memory.”

“I first learned the methods of hypnotizing persons with failing memory, but then I discovered from experience that there is no single, simple method that succeeds in restoring what has been lost. It was difficult for me to acknowledge that we possessed few answers to the mysteries and riddles connected to the human mental storage abilities.”

Enon noticed that she gave a deep sigh of regret and resignation.

“I completed all the courses available in hypnotic theory and application,” he continued. “And during my senior year I was involved in a practicum in mersmerics that included active experience in using that methods.”

Dr. Terah suddenly frowned. “The brain seems too complex for anyone to understand or deal with. There exist billions of cellular units that process information in it, connected by kilometers of nerve fibers and trillions of synapses. And all of it operates on more electrical power than it takes to illuminate a light bulb.”

“It is a wonder how much memory a brain can hold,” mused Enon aloud. “Yet there are times and cases when the remembering process completely fails and becomes lost.”

His supervisor stared at Enon for several moments before she went on to what her plans were for his coming activities working under her.

“I think that it would be useful for you to accompany me for a time when I visit and talk with a new resident patient recently assigned to me.

“The man’s name is Nabot Jor and he suffers horribly from what has been diagnosed as false memories. These appear to have no relation at all to his life or his personal character.

“He now occupies a room in our patient dormitory on our second floor. We can go and see Nabot in a little while. It will help you a lot to become familiar with his case and how I am dealing with it.”

Reia Terah, wearing a gleaming white medical uniform identifying her rank and position, rose from her chair and started for the door, Enon right behind her.

“Good morning, Nabot,” cheerfully chimed the doctor. “How are you feeling today? I want to introduce you to my new assistant, his name is Enon Gareb, and you will be seeing him a lot from now on as we work together.”

Reia stepped into the front room of the patient’s tiny flat, Enon trailing immediately behind her. The tall, gangly resident came toward the pair visiting him.

“Nabot has for a long time suffered severe dismnesia and has never been too certain what are his true memories and what are unreal fancies and fantasies,” declared the therapist, looking back at her new subordinate whom she had just met herself.

The patient, looking directly at the doctor, suddenly let loose a laugh. “I am looking ahead to the picnic. It will be held the day after tomorrow, won’t it?”

“Yes, that’s right, Nabot. Reports are that the weather will be fair for us.” She turned her face toward Enon, who had stepped forward and stood beside her. “We will be holding our annual summer picnic outdoors at the municipal park area that Chief Adeb has reserved for our use and enjoyment. It is an affair that both the residents and the staff are looking ahead to. There is always a very good time had by everyone who is present for the festivity.

“You will have the opportunity to join with us and get to meet all of the people connected to the Institute while you are there.”

She turned back toward Nabot, who now asked her a question.

“When can I have another hypnotic session with you, Doctor? I felt a lot better after our last one over a week ago and I feel ready for more such treatment.”

Reia smiled at him. “We can do it again this afternoon, right after lunch. My assistant will be attending in order to watch and learn, Nabot.”

“That is fine with me,” declared the patient, gazing directly at Enon.

“We will go now and let you rest,” his doctor told him, turning to leave with her new assistant following.

Close to this flat, the two found the rooms of a second patient of Reia Terah.

The resident was a chunky, beefy middle-aged man named Ahaz Daman. He impressed Enon as outgoing and friendly.

“We will see you at the coming Institute picnic, Ahaz,” said Dr. Terah as she left with her assistant. “There will be many opportunities to talk with and get to know many others when we are all together at the park,” she smiled at her patient.

Once they had departed, the therapist whispered to Enon. “The poor fellow does not look afflicted with cryptomnesia, but his memories are awfully mixed up and confused. He is unable to identify which of them are real and which happen to be sheer fiction. He takes even true remembrances to be some new fancy just dreamed up at the present moment. This causes him complete confusion and disorientation. His case is one of the most difficult I have ever had to face.”

She led Enon back to her office and outlined his future readings on the subject of dealing with memory disorders and problems.

“You shall be busy studying what is known about the complex nature of how we human beings remember,” Reia told him as they sat facing each other across her desk. “My hope is that you will see the need for a new direction in how we treat the troubles that people can possibly come down with in this specific area. I expect that there will be many new questions that occur to you as you learn about the subject. You must never be shy about bringing them up with me, because I see myself helping you perfect your skills in our field.

“I am enthused about what is happening with neurofeedback therapy. Are you familiar with that new method of treatment?”

“Only a very little,” replied Enon.

His supervisor grinned. “You shall find out a lot in the readings I have assigned you, and we will be discussing this promising frontier in psychology.”

III.

Enon spent several days attending therapeutic sessions with Reia. His evenings and free time were centered upon catching up with recent literature dealing with memory theory and problems.

The Memory Institute rented eight carrier buses to take the residents and the staff to the picnic grounds on the outer edge of Zachia City.

The open grass and pavilion were within a grove of oaks, maples, and willows. Tables and benches were available for enjoyment of the food and beverages brought for the large group of participants present for the summer event.

Reia Terah rode on the vehicle reserved for the top staff and the therapists of highest rank, while Enon was assigned to the carrier holding assistant employees of the Institute.

As soon as he arrived at the picnic site, Enon went to the food tables and filled a plate with available sandwiches and desert items, then looked about for a vacant spot to occupy at one of the tables where residents were already sitting. He caught sight of Nabot, a person he recognized at once, and walked over with his food.

“Can I sit with you?” he asked the patient of Dr. Terah.

“Of course,” replied Nabot with a sunny smile. “None of us located here is going to bite you, I can guarantee.”

Enon took the empty space next to him and began to attack his plate of food, starting with the mixed salad and rice pudding. He was involved with chewing when a voice addressed him from behind his back.

“I take it that you are the new assistant who has been hired to work with Dr. Reia Terah,” sounded the low bass voice of the stranger addressing Enon, who instantly turned his head around to see who it was speaking to him.

A leathery dark brown face appeared with gleaming turquoise eyes of unusual size and steadiness. The man standing there seemed to possess a robust form of strength and vigor that impressed others from the first second of meeting or confronting him.

“Allow me to introduce myself,” announced the intruder. “I am the supervisor of chemical and drug treatment for the Memory Institute, and my name is Azot Lotan. It is my custom to get to know all the new personnel taken on by our Chief, Dr. Adeb, because I have discovered that helps to facilitate the therapy of those of our patients assigned to me for chemical medicines.

“Allow me to welcome you to our staff. My hope is that we come to cooperate and work together whenever that becomes necessary in the future.”

Azot Lotan extended his large right hand, taking strong hold of Enon’s and shaking it with an iron grip that surprised the new employee.

The veteran doctor continued to talk in a deep tone. “As you will in time learn from others, I myself prefer that we use the most recent, innovative medicinal compounds in treatment of memory disorders. To me, that is common sense. My belief is that the best, final solutions to such malfunctioning in patients such as ours lies in solving the problems and questions concerning the neuro-chemistry of the human brain.

“Of course, everyone who practices around me does not necessarily agree with my guiding principles. Not yet, but my hope is to prove that the chemical path is the most successful kind of intervention possible for paramesiacs and others with similar maladies.

“Please excuse me,” ended the stranger. “I see that our Chief, Dr. Adeb, has climbed up on one of the tables and is preparing to address the crowd of picnickers assembled in the park today.”

Dr. Lotan turned about and hurried away, leaving Enon breathless with surprise at the bold character of the pharmacological practitioner.

The staff and patients stopped their eating and drinking, all of them turning bodies and heads so as to hear what the Chief was telling them in an usually loud voice for him.

“Friends, therapists, staff members, employees, and dear residents, it is a pleasure for me to speak to all of you at another of our annual summer picnics out here in this garden of nature. The weather is calm and pleasant, and there are many things available for the happy enjoyment of every one of us.

“All that I wish to convey to you is the leading idea behind the foundation of the Memory Institute. Our belief was that solving the problems of individual memory difficulties demanded a specialized, focused institution of expert practitioners and therapists. That is exactly what we succeeded in constructing. It is a community of comrades who respect each other. Our Institute combines individuals with varying methods and theories, but we share a common goal of widening knowledge and expanding, evolving treatment. And we have progressed onward to better and better diagnoses and practices.

“Our forward movement has set before us the prospect of final victory over the suffering and distress resulting from faulty memory. We know much more than ever before about what has to be done to improve all facts of individual remembering. And we intend to produce ever more startling improvement in the days to come.

“Remember, future achievements at the Institute depend upon working together, both doctors and residents, in freely given cooperation and mutual understanding and sympathy.

“Thank every one of you for being here. Now, let us enjoy the remaining hours of this bright, glorious day.”

The Chief climbed down from the table he stood on, his hearers giving him a generous, thundering round of hand-clapping and cheering.

IV.

The next morning, Reia had a short meeting with Enon in her office. She asked him whether he had enjoyed the picnic they had attended and he told her that he had a very good time there.

“I met an interesting therapist named Dr. Lotan, and he impressed me as an intense personality who exercised a lot of power and influence here at the Institute.” He paused a moment. “In an undefined way, I felt that there was something disturbing about such an assertive individual as he appeared to be.”

The doctor suddenly frowned as if troubled. “I believe that you received a pretty accurate impression of what this man is like. He is a headstrong champion of chemical drugs and means of treatment and devalues what I and others do for our patients.

“I see Azot Lotan as my greatest opponent and foe here at the Memory Institute, and I believe he has a similar negative view of me as well.

“From the very start, we did not get along with each other. I have great distaste for him and his stubborn, narrow ideas on memory therapy and restoration. That is no secret, Enon.”

The latter made no further comment on the matter and the pair went on to discuss the progress of Nabot Jor in terms of his return of memory.

“I have been contemplating what should be the next step in the treatment given to Nabot,” said the therapist. “But there is a remaining method that has not been tried in his case. I have come to the conclusion that this is the moment to apply a mechanism already being used by many psychology facilities beyond the borders of Zaxia with tremendous amounts of success. That is neurofeedback.”

“Neurofeedback?” questioned Enon. “Has it been applied to memory illnesses anywhere?”

“No, I cannot find any sign or trace of its use in our specific area. That is why I believe that our Memory Institute can be a pioneering force in expanding the neurofeedback system into a wider front of application. It can be done right here among us, I fervently believe. It is available, and we can be the ones who carry out the opportunity presented.

“I want you to help me in adjusting the neurofeedback system of therapy to the field of memory treatment, Enon.”

She gazed at him with shining cinnamon eyes as if begging him to cooperate with her.

“Yes,” he said with a visible nod. “I think it would be a thrilling adventure to attempt the application of the method you are speaking of to Nabot. It would be like an experiment of sorts. There would have to be precise calibrations to his case and the specific malady that he suffers from.

“But I am certain that Nabot’s condition can be improved through such feedback treatment. That may turn out to be the final necessary factor in recovering his ability to remember his prior life and experiences.”

The equipment that would be used in generating a range of different brainwave frequencies and feeding them into the head of Nabot was set up and arranged in a special treatment room obtained by Reia.

She brought both the patient and Enon in to show them the EEG apparatus and explain how it was planned to be used.

“This method of neurofeedback therapy has been used to alter and remove unhealthy mental states in persons suffering mental disorders. The main objective in applying it is to aid the brain in functioning better. Its main result is to increase what might be called self-regulation by the mind itself, by enabling it to function in a balanced manner.

“This therapy is aimed at allowing the brain to produce and distribute its electrical energy in a balanced, healthy way.

“Their are four major types of electrical impulses that fall into four frequency bands: the Delta, Theta, Alpha, and Beta wave lengths.

“My intention is to enable your brain, Nabot, to self-regulate the these waves, so that they can smoothly shift from one variety to another. This kind of feedback is known to turn abnormal brainwave patterns into normal ones.

“A cap with several sensors will be placed over your head. Wires will connect this cap to the computer you see across the room here. The cap will help me draw what is called a brain map of the operation of yours. I will be able to determine which regions and areas of your brain are overactive and which ones are underactive. The EEG will give me information on specific locations and how they operate electrically.

“Through the feedback that you obtain by watching the EEG screen, your brain will learn how to self-regulate itself. Every brain has the capacity to change itself because of what we call neuroplasticity. It can form new connections and create new patterns of brainwaves. New pathways can arise that connect different locations scattered in separate areas. In a strange way, the human brain is able to reinvent itself in terms of electrical waves and energy.”

Dr. Terah paused a moment and drew a deep breath.

“My hope, Nabot, is that new, altered brainwave patterns can find and revive the memories long buried in the cells that hold your mind.”

She motioned with her hand for Enon to step forward and aid her in placing the EEG cap on the head of the bewildered patient.

Azot Lotan was a person who tended to overestimate dangers to his interests rather than underestimate their potential harm to him.

“I have to see the Chief immediately,” he told the secretary to Dr. Adeb. “Their is an important matter I must discuss with him at once. Please buzz him and say I am here on a serious problem.”

The dilated turquoise eyes of the energetic, excited therapist impelled the aide to take action by push an intercom button on the top of her zinc desk.

“Sir, Dr. Lotan is here and he has important business that cannot wait. Shall I tell him to come right in?”

Azot could not hear what the Chief said in reply, but the secretary lifted her right hand and motioned for the therapist to enter the inner office where the head of the Memory Institute worked at his supervisory tasks.

“What is so urgent that we have to face it right now?” abruptly inquired Ithai Adeb, looking up from the business reports he had been perusing before this unexpected interruption.

Standing in from of the Chief’s desk, Azot began to speak with excitement and speed.

“I have a complaint to make about the unauthorized actions being taken by Reia Terah with one of her patients. This has come to me from one of my assistants who himself observed what was happening in one of the treatment rooms near her office. When I learned of this event I at once decided that you have to look into the matter and make a rapid judgment on putting an immediate end to the potentially dangerous experiment that she is trying to carry out.”

“What are you talking about, Azot?” asked Adeb with a degree of unease.

“She has turned to an untested method that has never had any success when attempted with memory problems or difficulties. It is a form of biofeedback called neurofeedback that relies of EEG monitoring and application to brainwaves generated by a patient.

“The method was used for a long time in cases of depression and neurotic conflict, but has never proven to have the slightest value for restoring lost memories of any sort beyond severe brain injury that often results from heart attack or stroke. Beyond certain specific areas such as these, the use of electronic feedback has not been considered useful for patients such as those whom we here are dealing with.

“My opinion is that the Institute must at once order Dr. Terah to halt these nearly secret use of EEG-based therapeutic treatment.

“It does not work, and she should recognize that.”

The Chief raised his right hand and rubbed his chin as he considered the problem presented him by the irate Azot Lotan.

“I will have to talk with Reia and impress upon her the hazards that she is playing around with if she should continue with this feedback type of activity that you have described to me.

“It will be my personal responsibility to make her change course and return to the accepted, standard therapies that have worked here at the Memory Institute.”

V.

After the initial feedback treatment of Nabor Jor, Enon walked him back to his rooms, then returned to the therapy room, where Reia was studying the computer read-outs that plotted the brainwave patterns registered during the session with the patient.

She looked up with a tiny smile across the bottom of her face.

“I think that I now have a clear clue as to how to revive the buried memory patterns lodged in Nabor’s brain cells. The neuron paths must still be there, like forgotten bones and fossils that naturalists dig for in the ground.

“Comparing the brain maps before and after the treatment I administered, you can see that unforeseen patterns of impulse transmission appear. That means that old routes of impression recordings are still about in the brain, primarily in the hippocampus, the seat of our human memory.

“And these earlier but unused routes continue to survive, though concealed and currently inactive. Yes, that is what I believe. They have become inactivated, but hold the promise and possibility of being reactivated and brought back to life.

“I find that a hopeful and intriguing idea, Enon.”

The latter thought over what he had just heard. “But how can that be made to happen?” he bluntly asked her.

Reia furrowed her brow as she formulated a reply to his question.

“We have to carry out variations within the brain’s electrical frequencies, in order to arrive at the right frequencies in the right areas. I plan to use numerous variations of fast and slow waves, in a variety of different sequences of time. It will be as if we are hunting for a formula or combination to open the lock holding forgotten and buried memories.

“It cannot be done at once, Enon. We shall have to try a number of systems of waves in order to liberate the memories hidden in the brain of Nabot, especially in his hippocampus treasury of remembrance.”

Enon sensed a growing enthusiasm in himself. “It will entail a lot of work in order to find the right key, won’t it?”

Reia suddenly grinned. “You will assist me, of course.”

He nodded yes.

“You can start to look over and scan these brain maps for signs of the rise of new, uncustomary electrical activity,” she told him.

Both Enon and Reia looked up with shock as the door of the therapy room swung open. They were astonished as the Chief burst in, his raven eyes aglow with anger and fury.

“Dr. Adeb!” Reia was able to say in a high-pitched tone of voice.

Ithai looked about the small room with white-painted walls. His sight focused first on the EEG apparatus, then the pile of brain maps and brainwave frequency rolls and charts on the top of the desk where Dr. Terah and her assistant were sitting across from each other.

“I have been informed that there is electrical treatment going on by you, Reia,” he barked loudly. “Now I see for myself what kind of business you are involved with. What can I say? It must be clear and plain to you that this sort of activity with any of our patients is not to be allowed or tolerated. Not at all. It falls outside of and beyond the parameters of permissible memory treatment.

“This is certainly known by you and all the rest of the staff of the Institute. What makes you think that you can carry out unproven methods that our profession has for a long time frowned upon and stayed away from?

“I fear that you have acted contrary to the program rules that we have long followed here, Reia. You will have to cease all of this at once.

“The Memory Institute will not permit such flagrant disrespect of its normal, long-accepted practices. As you yourself know, the central method that we favor is the long-established and well-proven system of hypno-therapeutic treatment for disorders of memory. That is the way that that our residents must be given what they are in need of, not EEG methods that do not work.”

Once the Chief had said what he had come to say to Reia, she rose from her chair and started to oppose what she had just been forced to hear.

“I would not be as positive about hypnotic treatment within our own specific realm of memory, not at all.

“What is our rate of successful therapy? Is it twenty percent? Is it even fifteen percent of our patients who leave the Institute with their memories completely restored?

“I doubt that you can tell me, and I believe all of us are afraid of an open, uninhibited tally of how each of us scores in terms of cures. The numbers would not at all be pleasant or complimentary to us for all our efforts with those who come here to restore their brain power.

“The method that I hope to develop with my efforts will be specifically focused on the treatment of persons with problems of remembering past experience, observation, and learning. That is my simple aim, sir.”

As if in a contest to find which of them could glare with greater force and emotion, the pair glowered back and forth in very personal conflict. For a significant time, neither of them appeared to have words to throw at the other.

At last, the Chief realized he could not achieve any verbal statement of surrender from the enemy he faced. He abruptly turned his body around and stalked out of the office in furious haste.

Enon, who had been the uneasy witness of this ugly scene, was able to see that Reia was in a state of disorientation, cooling down her jangling nerves and pounding heart. He waited a time before deciding it was appropriate for him to speak to her.

“I would never have thought that Chief Adeb could be so bitter and unfair. He was totally inconsiderate in how he spoke to you. There was no reason for the insulting manner of his words. It was a cruel, brutal way to treat a person attempting to find an improved method of treating memory loss.”

She slowly turned her face toward him, so that Enon saw the tears in her cinnamon eyes.

“Thank you,” she told him in a moaning tone. “I will now have to stop treating Nabot or anyone else in such an accessible place, so close to other things going on in the Institute.” She gave him a fixed stare, her voice rising and her eyes clearing up. “Are you willing to help me set up a secret place of operation where neurofeedback treatment can be continued? It will be a very risky enterprise for both me and you, Enon.

“Will you join with me in a secret conspiracy to try to cure Nabot and others who might benefit from reordered brainwaves?”

Her assistant did not hesitate even a fraction of a second.

“Yes, of course,” he replied in a firm, determined voice. “But where can we hide the electronic equipment and the computer we shall need?”

An unforeseeable smile brightened the face of a now energized Reia.

“There are rooms down in the basement of this building that we can convert to our hidden purpose, I think. Tonight, when there is no one moving around, you and I can survey the locations below ground where we can move our brainwave experimentation and therapy.”

VI.

Chief Ithai Adeb knew that he had gone too far and overdone what he had planned to do in disciplining the independent, non-conformist Reia Terah.

But the order and warning had been conveyed. So it was now his job to watch for any transgression breaking the limit he had attempted to place on her brainwave type of therapy.

He used his office intercom unit to get in touch with the person who had reported to him what Dr. Terah was up to with the EEG equipment and portable computer she had taken for her outrageous experiment.

“Azot, this is the Chief. I went to the office of Reia and I laid down the law, so to speak. I ordered her to halt all her neurofeedback activity with the patients and stay within the accepted, standard therapeutic practices.

“My hope is that she does that, but no one can be perfectly certain of how such a character might act. We will have to be watchful and aware of what she might be doing as time goes forward. It is difficult to fully trust what she will decide and carry out.

“If you should learn of any more infractions, I would like you to report that to me at once.

“It is a sad story, but we have a genuine troublemaker in this woman, Reia Terah. Do not hesitate or delay, but inform me immediately about what is happening.”

“Yes, I will do so, sir. That is what I recognize I must do for the sake of our Memory Institute.”

“I know that I can depend upon you to help me, Azot.”

Enon did not go home to his apartment that night, but remained in the tiny room that served as his personal office, continually checking the time on his finger-timer. As soon as the numbers on the screen showed that it was midnight, he slowly, silently made his way down the dimly-lit corridor to the office of the therapist he worked under.

A single, slight rap on the metal door aroused an immediate reply from Reia.

“Come in, Enon,” she murmured in a carefully muffled voice.

He slowly opened the door, slipped inside, then closed it.

The pair looked at each other as if waiting for the other to say something first. It was Reia who took the initiative.

“We must be very guarded and wide-awake, Enon. We do not want anyone to notice what we are about or where we are headed.”

Her assistant nodded his agreement and wish to comply.

“Let us, then, take the stairs down into the basement areas and carry out an exploration,” softly said Reia. “Did you find a flash-lantern that we can use so that we can avoid turning on ceiling lighting?”

“Yes, I have it right here,” he answered, showing her the small cylinder he held in his left hand.

She rose from behind her desk and Enon cautiously opened the office door, looked up and down the dark corridor, and motioned to Reia to go out first.

Once the two were out of the office, the assistant took the lead and made his way to the stairwell at the end of the hallway. He slowly proceeded down the steps, the therapist just behind him.

The pair carefully passed by stalls full of supplies of all sorts, then larger areas of empty floor spaces. All at once, an idea came to Enon, compelling him to stop, turn about, and reveal his sudden conception to his companion.

“It just struck me that there is a central electrical chamber at the middle of the basement,” he whispered to Reia. “That could be the most advantageous location for what we plan to accomplish, because of the complex electrical circuitry and electronic instruments operating from that area.

“Why don’t we look at that room? It has what we most need in terms of the electrical energy available in there.”

In a matter of seconds, the two had entered the electrical center and began to explore and examine it.

Reia came to a surprisingly rapid decision. “Yes, Enon, this will suit us well. You picked the right spot for us.”

Both of them were surprised and also happy that the door to the electrical center was not locked. They entered the darkened chamber, Enon locating the switch board where he was able to turn on a number of overhead light sacs.

For a short time, he and Reia moved about, making a rapid survey of what was available for use in the neurofeedback therapy they intended to carry out here.

“This is the perfect choice for our use,” said the doctor with a bright smile. “What do you think, Enon? Do you agree with my evaluation?”

“Of course,” he replied. “We can use the computers that are visible in this room. They will provide us exactly the power connections that we need for therapy. I think we can start bringing in our EEG equipment as soon as possible. It might be possible to begin bringing some smaller instruments this very night. What do you say to that?”

“Yes, of course we must start on that,” she nodded positively.

The pair left the center, Enon shutting off the light sacs he had turned on.

In charge of the secret movement of EEG equipment to the new basement center of experimental treatment, Enon realized that he needed an assistant whom he could trust to keep his mouth shut about the enterprise.

His choice fell upon the electronic technician in charge of electrical and computer matters for the Memory Institute, Abi Manas. Enon found this lanky young man with charcoal hair and eyes in his small office near the supply delivery entrance in the rear of the building.

It was late in the morning when the electronic specialist looked up from his desk to find the new therapy assistant staring at him with steady, confident caramel eyes.

“You are Abi Manas, the head of electronics for the Institute?” inquired the visitor in a friendly tone of voice.

“Yes,” said the tall, thin craftsman as he took a look, up and down, of the stranger in white medical clothes.

“I work under Dr. Terah as her assistant,” explained Enon. “I would like to have your help on a very important project that my supervisor, Reia Terah, plans to carry out. It will need someone with your professional knowledge and experience here at the Institute, Mr. Manas.”

The latter eyed his visitor with a multitude of questions rising in his mind. “What specifically does this project of yours need from me?” he asked.

Enon gave him a confident, innocent-looking smile. “Dr. Terah intends to have me move certain electronic computer components down into the basement electrical center. There are particular psychological experiments that she judges can best be carried out and completed down there, for technical reasons.

“These activities will need a very large amount of electrical energy, and the best place for obtaining augmented, enlarged quantities of power are right there, at the center of this building’s supply of electricity.

“That is the optimum solution to what she will need to fulfill all of her scientific plans, she has told me.

“Do you have the time to help me move certain equipment down into the electrical and electronic center of the building, my friend? This will not take a large share of your time, I assure you.”

Abi had to consider for only a couple of seconds.

“Yes, I can squeeze what you are talking about into my schedule of work,” drawled the technician, raising himself from his chair behind the small aluminum desk he used.

VII.

The main headquarters of the Zaxia Pharma Corporation was a building of advanced design in the downtown business center of Zaxia City. It stood out among the older, traditional clay brick structures around it on all sides.

The translucent bricks of this company-owned building were made of recycled polyvinyl, polystyrene, and polycarbonate. They reflected their surroundings like a broken mirror. Zaxia Pharma stood out from its staid, traditionalist neighbors, which satisfied its president and primary owner, Mr. Jeio Tmos.

The latter was a heavyset man often characterized as chunky or beefy. His eyes were a shade of cobalt that seemed always to be changing. Though getting older and having pure white hair, he continued to keep command of company business and new breakthroughs in the area of medicine and pharmaceuticals.

A subject of major new importance had impelled him to call a therapist from the Memory Institute to a private, personal conference at his office on the top storey of the headquarters. When Dr. Azot Lotan arrived for their scheduled appointment, Jeio Tmos was well-prepared for what he planned to say to the visitor.

A secretary brought Azot into the spacious executive of the corporate president who shook hands vigorously with the man from the Memory Institute.

“Sit down, my friend, I have interesting news about something new that I want to tell you about. You will be the first person outside our company to hear about what we have accomplished.”

What is he hinting that he has? wondered the therapist with a measure of confusion.

Jeio Tmos posed a question.

“How are affairs going at the Memory Institute?”

“We go on as we have in the past, but I believe we could use some new methods and tools of therapy, such as new medicines and pharmaceuticals.”

The corporate president made a deep sigh. “I believe it is accepted by everyone that the brain’s center of memory formation is the hippocampus, which acts as the great nerve center where the crucial electrical switching occurs. It is in the hippocampus that short term memory is converted into long term memory. All that we remember is consolidated and combined there in the hippocampus.

“Am I right, Azot?”

“Indeed. New synoptic connections and patterns that form between the many neurons are made permanent and become engraved into long term memories in the hippocampus. That section of the brain is where our memories are created and stored.”

Jeio Tmos went on with what he was revealing.

“Our researchers have for a long time searching for a compound with which to alleviate the damages to memory due to brain injury or to senile dementia. And they believe they now have a means that deserves realistic testing.

“As I was saying, they now have a hopeful chemical that appears to raise the strength of the synaptic connections within the hippocampus.

“Memory loss is accompanied with a reduced level of what they call the glutamate mediator. This new compound excites and stimulates the nerves of that region of the brain, resulting in enhanced ability to store and consolidate synaptic paths and patterns.

“This magic compound has been named ampakine. I myself call it a memory amplifier that changes the synapses in the hippocampus. Important proteins are created that revive and strengthen the neuron connections that have been weakened or damaged.

“It is now certain that ampakine can trigger the processes that rebuild the memory paths and patterns set down long ago inside the hippocampus. But this miraculous remedy has to be tested on actual humans like the patients that you deal with in your Institute, Jeio

“Are you willing to cooperate with us in the practical development of the new substance that appears so hopeful?”

The visitor from the Memory Institute felt a jangling electrical charge in his own nervous system. There was a whirling sensation in his brain.

“Yes, of course,” he answered. “I am ready to begin with it at once.”

Enon became busy and absorbed in organizing the equipping of the basement electrical center with all the equipment that Reia needed for her feedback type of patient therapy. Most of the moving of what was needed had to be done after dark, when the corridors of the building were dim and deserted.

It is fortunate that Abi has agreed to help us in setting up the program we plan, realized Enon.

But the psychological assistant was finding it difficult to rest or sleep at all. Both his days and nights were nervously active with serious practical concerns.

And he realized that his own personal deficit of memories of early life was growing worse. His self-awareness had never been as painful or burdensome as it had now become.

Enon finally decided to reveal to Reia that his memory was an injured and damaged part of his mind.

His personal confession occurred when he accompanied her down to the treatment center in the building’s basement for the final inspection before the first patient was brought down for neurofeedback work.

The chosen one was to be Nabot Jor, already a subject of initial treatment upstairs in the chamber that the Chief had uncovered and closed down.

Enon chose what he believed to be an appropriate moment to reveal to Reia what he had never hinted at or indicated in any way about himself.

“There is a matter that I have not told your about my own psychological situation,” he suddenly said out of the blue. “It may be something that there is a solution to, now that I have seen the promise represented by EEG feedback therapy. This is something I should not keep secret a moment further.”

He gazed at her with blankness in his caramel-colored eyes.

“I am afraid to have to admit that I suffer a very severe memory vacuum within my brain. It is something that I have not been able to make up for, despite all the efforts I have taken. No physician or psychologist has made the least progress in restoring memory of any event before I reached eight years of age.

“What happened to me back then was this: I lost both parents at once. They died in a terrible road-car accident while traveling on a summer vacation. I had been left alone at the house of my aunt and uncle for that short period of time. Perhaps my parents wished to be alone by themselves for a brief period.”

“The effect upon me was a complete collapse. I had to be taken out of school because of the catastrophic tragedy I had experienced. So, at that early age of eight years I fell into pieces.

“For months on end, I was unable to think reasonably or speak coherently. Doctors feared that recovery might turn out to be impossible for me. Only gradually did I return to some measure of childhood life. But the critical change had the effect of totally erasing all memory of my parents and my years living with them.

“Even today, I can only show myself what they looked like from their photos.

“Can oblivion be so complete? Can all memory tracks vanish from consciousness?

“That would appear to be what occurred in me. Nothing remains inside my mind from the first years after my birth.

“What can be done to bring back my past? I often wish that I could undergo my own neurofeedback therapy. That might be the key to unlocking the closed door in my brain.”

Reia stared at him a considerable time before she said a word.

“I never suspected that you had suffered such amnesia, Enon.

“Yes, we must work together to find a way to restore those forgotten years with your parents to you.

“I think that you need some immediate EEG brain maping, my friend.”

VIII.

Azot Lotan waited impatiently for the arrival of the experimental brain-affecting compound’s delivery to him. He sat in his office, planning how it might be best to begin using it on patients.

At last, it arrived at the Memory Institute by special messenger service. An office assistant brought the large box from the pharmaceutical firm directly to Azot in his office. He unwrapped it with excitement and took out the vials that promised so much to his own professional success.

He made a broad smile, telling himself to find the patient he had decided was the best candidate for the medication. It was certain to him that Sevath Bgar would give no resistance to taking the medicament he intended to recommend to him.

The patient was a spry little man with a spruce, dapper look about him. He was always well dressed, even as a resident in a mental institution. His diagnosis before arriving for treatment had been one of false memories, a form of self-created confabulation. Azot Lotan had not progressed further than lowering the amount of painful emotion that Sevath experienced from the confusion in his mental life.

“I cannot tell the difference between true memories about events that really happened and fantasies that are unreal. There is no way that I can separate or distinguish one from the other,” he acknowledged in from of his therapist.

“You feel painful embarrassment about your condition, then?” asked Azot, sitting across from the troubled little man.

“Yes, I truly wish I could figure out what to do about what I am suffering.”

The doctor grinned confidently. “There has been a surprising development in the field of memory research. A new compound promises to make it possible to restore and strengthen old synaptic pathways that years before were built up inside the brain. That can possibly help you to get rid of the imaginary thoughts in your mind that pose as real memories.

“There is great hope that this medicine can help boost your hidden memories and make them victorious in the competition with the ones that your brain merely dreams up out of nothing.”

Sevath suddenly grew excited. “I am ready to do anything to escape from the dungeon that holds me prisoner, Dr. Lotan. You have today given me hope that I did not have yesterday.

“Yes, I am willing to take this new medicine you speak of.”

“It is still experimental, but the early tests on its effects on memory are extremely positive,” said the therapist who believed in the efficacy of biochemical means of treatment.

“I don’t care what the risks might be,” declared the patient. “I am a very desperate person.”

It was taken for granted by both Reia and Enon that the first individual to receive neurofeedback treatment in the basement electrical center would have to be Nabot Jor, upon whom the beginning work had already begun.

“I have left him as if in midair,” the therapist told her assistant. “Before I proceed to your case of memory blockage, I owe it to Nabot to continue and complete was has been started with him.

“You understand my reasoning, don’t you, Enon?”

The latter broke into a grin. “Certainly. In the time before I put on the brain cap with the sensors, you and I can analyze what the effects of my loss of early childhood memories has had on my life and my personality development.

“I have long feared that it had an inhibiting impact on my self-image and my ability to interact with other people. It could have been a major influence on building up inhibitions and self-doubts in my mind.

“I don’t know and can’t say for sure, one way or the other.”

“We must find out the truth of what resulted from your strange amnesia,” softly murmured Reia. “But first we have to see what we can door for Nabot.”

“I think that I can sneak him down into the basement level, and later back to his rooms. But we have to be careful not to be detected on either trip with him.”

Reia suddenly let out a disguised chuckle. “I never imagined in Zaxia City Medical School that I would ever be giving secret, clandestine treatments in the middle of the night, in the basement of a mental facility.

“But it appears that life circumstances can move us to perform activities that seem strange, even somewhat weird.”

“Do not be concerned,” Enon assured her in a confident voice. “I will be there helping you out all the way, Reia.”

Galactic Minds IV.

13 Dec

I.

As the Hygea left its orbit around Targentum, Captain Nevre Wia spoke over the ship’s audio system to the hospital staff and the vessel crew.

“My dear team members, comrades, and friends, we are now on our way, increasingly at top photonic speed, for the planetary target that has agreed and contracted to be our next host. It will be a large world in the Scutum-Centaurus Arm of our Milky Way Galaxy.

“This is a planet whose specialty is in metal mining and industrial production of machinery for exportation elsewhere in its own solar system. In several weeks we will find ourselves close by and maneuver this ship into orbit about the planet whose name happens to be Capra.

“Until our arrival at our distant destination, all of us will have an opportunity to rest up and prepare ourselves for the interesting tasks that we shall find when we arrive in the neighborhood of Capra, the place where the present cross-galaxy journey will be taking us.

“Best wishes for success to each and every person aboard the Hygea.”

There was much preparatory work in progress among the therapists in anticipation of arrival at their destination where they would have new patients to try to take care of.

Soro met with Mead to discuss what might lie ahead for analysts like them.

“It looked hopeful to me to be taking on Deger Tarcan as a staff member,” thoughtfully said Dr. Rimny a short while prior to reaching Capra. “But I do not at all understand the way he is behaving at the present time. The problem that I believe he is getting into stems from his friendship with Bax Muh.

“The two of them are spending a lot of their time together. Both of them say that they are perfecting and sharpening their analytic skills through the development of a new method that they seem reluctant to describe for anyone. Their claim is that they will reveal details concerning the matter once they are in orbit around Capra and their skills are in improved condition.

“To me, their actions arouse some degree of fear in me. You can guess why, Mead.

“Bax Muh is not a stranger to you or to me. We can remember how he was the schemer behind the Patients’ Association that a time ago threatened the system of organization on this vessel. The man is what I call an adventurer. He is always conceiving ways to turn things upside down. Isn’t that so? Am I not correct to feel a degree of apprehension about what he might be doing at the present time, with Deger assisting him and falling under his influence?”

Mead waited a short while before responding to what he had just heard.

“It is right to be watchful and keep an eye on what may be going on,” he slowly mused as if only to himself. “But you and I know Deger. He is not a fool and will see through any trickery, in case his friend is trying to use him in some kind of manipulative scheme.”

“I hope you are right, Mead,” said Soro with a heavy sigh.

Deger felt powerful thrills moving through his lengthy body as he listened to the promising plans outlined to him by Bax in the office of the man who had become his close friend and advisor in the field of epiphanics.

“We are standing at a decisive, fateful moment. From this ship of ours, our method of reorganizing and rearranging the archetypal patterns of the mind and personality will spread out and undergo repetition over and over, throughout all our galaxy.

“I have no doubt that the future of psychoanalysis everywhere will be shaped by what you and I are now engaged in developing.

“Who will refuse to learn and adapt the epiphanic way of harmonizing conflicting archetypes, bringing nearer the curative individuation that is the goal of human psychological evolution?

“We are the two who are responsible for the victory of psychoanalysis of our archetypal type over all its rivals and competitors. The biochemical therapists are going to suffer their final defeat at our hands. The other branches of psychoanalysis will have to submit to accepting our principles and methods.”

“How are we going to start forward toward these wonderful results, Bax?” asked the Marfan called Deger Tarcan.

The older therapist smiled archly. “We will have to recruit new followers and allies right here aboard the Hygea, my friend.”

II.

The planet named Capra was a mountainous environment with a small number of inland seas. Its main source of wealth consisted of hundreds of large and small mines out of which flowed the ores of iron, magnesium, manganese, tungsten, chromium, zirconium, titanium and a series of others. Refining and working the metals occupied the scattered towns and cities of this specialized world dependent on its exports to the rest of its solar neighborhood.

Once the Hygea was in steady orbit, space barques started to transport selected patients up to the hospital vessel waiting for them.

Director Klet Zor had one of his assistant’s find Soro Rimny and inform him that his superior needed to meet with him at once.

Soro hurried to the office of the coordinator of therapeutic services and was ushered in by a secretary. What is so urgent and important? wondered the analyst.

Once the visitor was seated, Klet Zor revealed what the subject of summoning him was.

“There is a sensitive situation about to occur with the contingent of patients coming to us from Capra,” announced the Director. “One of the persons coming here in the first shipment happens to be a young, unmarried woman. The question arising from her presence arises from the fact that she will not be staying aboard the Hygea all to herself.

“The patient’s father will be accompanying her when she is with us. The man is one of the richest and most powerful industrialist in Capra’s metal sector. It is because of his authoritative importance that he obtained the approval of his planet’s medical and psychiatric experts for his right to accompany his one and only child while she stays with us for treatment.

“The reason I called you here at this time, Soro, is to inform you that I intend to place the young woman, Salga Rej, under your own direct supervision. You will be the one who chooses who is to act as her personal analyst.

“Her father, Meto Rej, will be with us, looking over my and your shoulders at the progress of his child’s therapy.

“It was he who decided that she will need archetypal psychoanalysis.”

Klet, staring at the veteran analyst, drew a deep breath and sighed.

“This case looks like it will not at all be an easy one,” muttered Soro Rimny, rising to his feet and making his way out of the office.

Father and daughter sat apart from the rest of the others on the carrier taking them up to the hospital vessel circling about Capra.

He was a husky, majestic figure in elegant, stylish planetary garb of silk and satin. She was a delicate, balletic creature with sylphlike grace about her.

The parent was giving her instructions in a quiet but authoritative tone.

“I want you always to take care and act cautiously among these off-planet characters,” he told her under his breath. “They do not really understand the ways of our culture or society, and I foresee that they will turn out to be total strangers in their ways for us.

“But we need their advice and treatment methods if you are ever going to become free of the fears and handicaps tied to your personality.

“That is why I agreed to your going up to this ship. The staff has a very favorable record and reputation, and our Capran doctors have proven themselves unable to help with your unhappy, painful mood swings.

“We are going to find out what they can do for you, my dear.”

She studied the face of her father with her shining azure eyes. “I hope we are not wasting our time traveling up to this treatment ship. There was no relief given me by our own doctors, although they tried again and again. I fear that these new analysts will judge me a failed case, just as happened at home.”

Meto stretched forth his right hand and caught hold of that of his daughter.

“I intend to consult with the Director in charge of all treatment and ask him to choose the analyst best equipped and trained to help you, my dear. Do not be worried or concerned, I shall get you better care than what was offered you on Capra.”

Father and child gazed at each other, both of them close to tears.

Soro went to the office of Mead Quort to make him an offer of a patient.

“As far as I can tell, Salga Rej may prove to be a very difficult person to deal with. She grew up in extraordinary wealth, with only a single parent. Her mother passed away when Salga was a small child. Her records show that she has few memories of the woman who gave her birth.

“It is possible that her father was overly possessive of his daughter, bearing down on all aspects of her early years. Although the growing girl had private teachers and close servants, her ties with the father were the primary relations through the years up to now.

“Treating her will be a difficult assignment, because that was how her treatment on Capra proved to be. But I believe the challenge can be handled by you, Mead.

“Are you willing to work with this suffering young woman? Her father insisted upon accompanying his daughter up to the Hygea. He demanded the right to keep an eye on her therapy with us.

“I have chosen you to act as her primary analyst, Mead, because of my knowledge of your skill and ability. What do you say?”

The psychoanalyst did not have to think over the offer at all.

“Of course, I’ll deal with her case. Has she and her father arrived here from Capra yet?”

Soro glanced at the tiny timer on his white medical tunic. “The two have been here several hours and are settling into the private suite that her father ordered to be reserved for them.”

III.

Deger Tarcan had become accustomed to meeting with Bax Muh every space-morning in either his own cabin or that of the man who had taught him the way to apply epiphanic treatment on patients being treated for archetypal conflicts and ailments.

The space-day that patients started arriving from planet Capra, the pair came together in the cabin of the Marfan from Targentum.

“I received the list of my new patients,” reported Deger. “So far, they are only a list of names of unknown persons. But I just found their psychological records delivered, and I have begun to read and study them.”

He pointed to a high pile of paper documents on the surface of his magnesium desk.

“Yes, I too have a lot of records to plow through as sessions with my new patients soon begin,” sighed Bax. “But I foresee a lot of opportunities for the application of epiphanosis in almost all future cases coming up for me.

“I cannot ignore a simple, meaningful fact: we now have won six other analysts aboard the Hygea to the cause we represent. They are developing their abilities to use our method of inner illumination and are ready to put them to work at once.

“And support for the theory and ideas that grow out of the epiphanic therapy is putting down roots in numerous minds as well.”

Bax did not conceal his enthusiasm or excitement.

“It no longer makes sense that Soro Rimny acts as supervisor of all archetypal analysis and treatment on our vessel. That must not go on any longer. Right here, as we orbit Capra, we must work and fight to remove him from his position over all of us.

“Soro himself is not a practitioner of the epiphanic art, and has shown no interest whatever in learning and mastering the new technique of therapy.

“We must organize all of our followers for the aim of expelling him from his place in charge of our section. There must be one of our own exercising the office and authority that he now enjoys and uses.”

Deger, for a few moments, looked bewildered. “How can that be done?” he asked Bax. “I do not foresee our Director making such a radical change in the formal structure, not at all. Why would he do that?”

Bax sent him a sly, cunning smile. “We must conceive of a way of convincing the Director not to oppose our future demand for a change in leadership,” he darkly muttered.

Klet Zor came himself to the suite of rooms that the two Rejs occupied in order to welcome them to the ship and identify the daughter’s new therapist.

“You are going to receive the best treatment that we offer, Miss Rej,” said the Director in an unctuous voice, standing before the two sitting on a long, soft luxury sofa. “We will not omit any element of therapy that can be of benefit to you.”

He nodded and gave the young lady a courteous bow.

“Your analyst shall be Dr. Mead Quort, a skilled provider of archetypal analysis and therapy. He is capable of unlocking the secret causes and forces that produce what you suffer from. We are putting you in the hands of a very adept healer, Miss.”

Salga looked downward, avoiding his glance, as if for some reason embarrassed.

Her father suddenly intervened with an unexpected question.

“My Salga has had many unsuccessful and troubled encounters with psychoanalysts on our home planet. No therapists, even the most highly rated ones, have done anything of value for the girl. Both of us have been disappointed with the empty results of spending so much our time with doctors I dare to call clumsy quacks. All they did was to make her feel worse about her self and her life. It was an awful shame, that is the truth.”

Klet Zor grinned with confidence. “I assure you, sir, that we can and will outdo those on Capra who failed to produce the desired results. We have advanced, well-developed and tested methods that have produced cures and improvements in many parts of the Milky Way Galaxy. That record of success will go on as we orbit Capra. I have not the slightest doubt of that.”

The Director peered courageously at both Rejs. “You will meet your analyst, Dr. Quort, when he comes right here to your apartment to introduce himself.” He glanced at the timepiece attached to the front of his red jacket. “In fact, Mead Quort should be appearing here in a couple of minutes. Excuse me, I must return to my office to oversee the connections between our new patients and their assigned psychiatrists and analysts.”

He rose to his feet, gave a small bow, and left the two.

IV.

Mead felt goosebumps as he knocked at the door of the suite occupied by the Rej family. He had heard talk of the father’s great fortune and importance in the metallic industry of Capra. Never before had he dealt with such a closeness of parent and child in his previous practice. Would he prove able to deal with the tangled interrelationship that often resulted from such a one-to-one configuration of personalities?

Meto Rej opened the door and Mead introduced himself. “Step right in, Doctor. My daughter and I have been eager to become acquainted with you.”

Mead entered the front parlor and took a cushioned chair facing the sofa where his patient silently sat. The industrialist sat down next to Salga, directly facing her new analyst.

“Have you had experience with females of my daughter’s age who grew up without a mother’s direct care for most of her young years?”

Mead smiled and replied in a disarming tone. “No, not directly perhaps. But I am quite familiar with the literature on growing up and maturing. My experience has been focused on analysis of conscious and unconscious archetypes that can clash and become the breeding ground of harmful complexes and combinations, of opposing emotions and concepts.

“My hope is that I can identify, comprehend, and harmonize the troublesome portions of Salga’s personality. That may take a series of conversing sessions, but I am determined to uncover the state of her individual psyche.”

Meto Rej made a grim frown. “You have seen her records, I know that. Do they help you to find what steps may come to be necessary in the time ahead of us?”

“I cannot yet be too certain, until I have talked for awhile with Salga. It is impossible to estimate with any accuracy how quickly some progress may result.”

Mead peered directly at his patient, who immediately looked away to one side.

“Do you have a hobby or a favorite pastime, Salga?” the therapist asked her all of a sudden, surprising the young woman.

“I like to read novels and watch dramatic disks,” she quietly murmured.

“Do you have any interest in romantic stories, on paper or electronic screens?”

She looked downward, her face slightly reddening. “Yes, that is my favorite area of attention,” she shyly informed the psychoanalyst.

Mead beamed a warm, friendly smile that focused on his new patient. “We shall have the opportunity to delve into what is of interest to you, Salga,” he predicted with self-assurance meant to inspire her to trust her therapist.

Having nothing more to say at this point, he excused himself and found his way out of the suite of rooms.

All the therapists on the orbiting vessel, both biochemical-prescribing psychiatrists and archetypal psychoanalysts soon had their full complements of patients from planet Capra.

But a series of special private seminars were organized by Dr. Bax Muh, with the assistant of his earliest follower, Dr. Deger Tarcan. Both men were surprised at the large number of people at their first conference after reaching Capra. There was obvious interest in the new method as word of its success back at Tangentum spread among the staff, member by member.

It was Bax who addressed the group of over thirty, half of whom were psychiatrists and half psychoanalysts of the archetypal school.

“What my brothers and I are applying for the purpose of overcoming divisive conflict within the personality’s of our patients is a method of instantaneous cohesion and welding together the conscious and unconscious elements of thought and emotion. We have come to refer to it as epiphanic illumination of the disparate elements that contribute to creating the Self.

“The therapy occurs through an immediate enlightenment and illumination of both the shadow and the ego, the unconscious and the conscious.

“The ancient concept of epiphany was of a sudden, intuitive mental perception that results in instantaneous insight into the truth about what is being considered or focused on.

“There occurs a revelation, a discovery that affects an individual with wonderment.

“Supposedly out of nowhere, a unique thought never experienced before manifests itself to the mind.

“There is an immediate realization about the essence and the meaning of a subject or object.

“The knowledge that is thus gleaned is apodictic, meaning that it is undeniable, indubitable, and inarguable. One will never attempt to question or retest it. This insight will be the basis of all future knowledge as well.

“Because the epiphany deals with the personality and the Self, it will bind the conscious and unconscious elements together from that moment forward.

“The result is an instant solution to the deepest and most stubborn internal conflicts between different, varying archetypes embedded in a personality.”

Bax stopped a moment, drawing a breath and surveying his spellbound audience of practitioners.

I am winning more converts and followers, the analyst said to himself.

V.

Salga wore a yellow silk dress suit with purple flowers on it for her initial appointment with Dr. Mead Quort.

The therapist warmly welcomed her and pointed to where she was to sit opposite him in the consultation room.

“Tell me, Salga, were your early years, after the loss of your mother, a lonely time for you? Did you have close friends and playmates? What sort of feelings do you remember from that part of your youth?”

Her answers were slow and extremely careful in their wording.

“Yes, I felt great coldness and loneliness, as far as I can recall. It was like a physical injury, a deep would that went all the way to the center of me.

“My father was my protector and support, as he still is. Without him, I would have been like a lost sheep or lamb. I cannot recall very many playmates or friendly children. As I told you, my life has been a very lonely one. I was always by myself, except for father of course.”

“Yet he had his professional responsibilities in the metals industry. Did you happen to see him a lot? How often did he have to be away?”

Mead sensed a reluctance in his patient to be too specific over things that once caused her pain and suffering.

“My father was a very busy man, but he always found time to spend together with me. The two of us took long vacation trips about Capra. I have fond memories of the naval islands and the Summit Mountains. Every summer, father and I visited some new region with a different climate and different people. I was always sorry to have to return to school.”

The analyst leaned his head forward and decided to ask a probing question with as much delicacy as he could.

“Tell me, Salga, did your father have a lot of friends and an active social life? Or was he primarily together with you when he was not working and attending to business?”

He studied and watched to catch what her reaction might be,

“That is hard to answer precisely. I do not know all of his friends, even today. My father and I have no close relatives. There exists only the two of us. I would say that we are somewhat isolated, off to ourselves.”

“Do you like to do things all to yourself, Salga?”

“Sometimes,” she laconically replied. “But mostly I like being with my father.”

“What books and drama films have been your favorites?”

She talked on that for awhile, mentioning the titles that she enjoyed the most.

“What are your hopes, dreams, and plans for the future, Salga” he inquired, looking directly into her face.

“I’m not too certain about that,” she stuttered. “I’ll have to think about that, Dr. Quort.”

The first meeting between the pair soon came to an end and Salga left the room for the suite she shared with her father.

V.

Bax was fascinated by the appearance on the Hygea of the father and daughter duo from Capra. He related his reaction to them when alone with Deger in the latter’s office.

“There has never been a person as important or wealthy as Mr. Meto Rej with us before,” he speculated. “It is a tragedy that a therapist as limited as Mead Quort was given charge of the young woman’s case. She is not going to receive the epiphanic treatment that could have had an effective result in rebalancing her personality.

“You or I might have been able to do the necessary work that would bring about full solution of the problem torturing this patient.”

“We have not proven our epiphanic method as effective and adequate to the remaining archetypal psychoanalysts of the Hygea,” said Deger with regret. “They still do not know enough about what we are carrying out or achieving in our own practice.”

Bax frowned with anger. “I blame one person for limiting us. It is the Director of Therapy, Klet Zog, who is creating all these barriers to our growth and success.

“It would be better and easier for us if someone replaced him at his post.”

Deger suddenly grimaced with a sad grin. “This ship would be offering more successful therapy if you were in charge of all services, Bax,” he muttered in a low, thoughtful tone of voice.

Mead, writing on his memory-set, organized his thinking about his new patient named Salga Rej.

“The primary conscious archetype of this personality is the Princess Pattern. Her character is that of a young, virginal woman who has only recently risen from her girlhood phase. Everything about her is good and kind, pure and loving. Others view this person as gentle and benevolent.

“The main aim of her thoughts and emotions is to please her father, whom she is devoted to with all her heart. She is completely, deeply devoted to him. There is no one else whom she thinks of or considers.

“Salga perceives herself as Daddy’s little girl.

“Every day she seeks to please and satisfy her Daddy.

“Salga feels herself entitled to his love, care, and concern. He is all to her and she feels herself as his all as well.

“She expects everyone else to recognize and accept her sole claim upon Daddy’s love and responsibility. They make up the main relationship in her personal life.”

Mead read over what he had written on the screen of his memory-machine.

What was he to do to solve the internal tension that Salga suffered because of the problem that was troubling her mind?

Meto Rej peppered his daughter with questions about what was happening with her consultation meetings with her therapist.

“Is the analyst giving you good advice of some sort, Salga?” he inquired after the pair had finished dinner in the patient eating hall and returned to the suite that they shared.

“No, father. It seems that I am the one who does most of the talking when we are together. Dr. Quort only presents me with the questions, but I tell him what he wants to know about our life on Capra. He is more of a listener and doesn’t reveal to me what he is thinking.”

Meto grew alert and attentive. “Does he ever ask anything about me?” he said in a cool, calculating tone.

The young woman had to try to recall for a moment. “No, not too often. He wants to know a lot about my reading and how I entertain myself. I told him that you and I like to take hikes in the countryside together. He asks about my favorite songs, what types of music I prefer to listen to.

“Things like that, that seem minor and insignificant, that’s what I describe for him.

“He must know what he’s doing. I certainly don’t, father.”

Meto considered what he had just heard. “The man is a trained psychoanalyst who is trying to delve into your unconscious shadow. I have read a number of books about the science of psychoanalysis. A lot of what they find out about a patient has to be obtained indirectly, not directly. They know means of dragging archetypes into the light of the conscious ego, as they call it.

“I may ask to see your Dr. Quort and ask him how his explorations are proceeding.”

Mead ate that space-evening in the staff hall with his mentor and supervisor, Soro Rimny.

“You looked worried and concerned, Mead,” commented the veteran analyst. “Is it caused by the new patient who is onboard with a father? Is that it?”

The other therapist looked across the table with a quizzical look.

“You can see it in my face? Is it that visible? Yes, I have concluded that the key to unlocking the patterns in my patient’s shadow lies with her father, the most important outer symbol in her unconscious thought patterns.”

“You cannot, unfortunately, compel him to enter treatment beside the daughter. But why don’t you talk with him on an informal basis, outside your therapy sessions with the young woman? Have you thought of that alternative?”

The light blue eyes of Dr. Quort suddenly seemed to light up as if illuminated.

“Yes,” asserted the younger man. “That is feasible, I imagine. Should I try to do it, then?”

“It might do a lot of good in understanding his child, Mead.”

VI.

Meto Rej was one who was rapid in the forming of suspicions concerning everything that surrounded him. That reaction was especially strong in connection with the apple of his eye, Salga.

The father noticed a subtle change in how she spoke about and characterized her psychoanalyst when presented with questions about the course of her sessions with Dr. Quort.

“Does your doctor ask a lot about your early years, right after we lost your mother?” Meto inquired one late space-afternoon after she came back from a meeting with the therapist.

It seemed that his daughter was reluctant to be too specific in her reply to him.

“I only talk to him in general about the time when I was very small,” she softly told him. “My own recollections are vague and foggy, I have to recognize. There is a lot of confusion in my mind’s memory, even today. Nothing is too clear or definite, and I myself have tried to avoid thinking or remembering about mother’s death.

“It remains a painful subject, and I sense how great our loss was at that point in the past.

“When Dr. Quort started to enter that time, I answered quickly and tried to get beyond it as soon as I could.

“There was no need to dwell on our family tragedy, was there, father?”

He forced himself to smile at Salga. “No, you did the right thing, my dear. Your therapist should not have done that, because he caused you unease and pain. You are correct to avoid what happened back then.”

Meto Rej vowed to himself to warn the doctor to stay away from such a sensitive subject as the death of his wife.

Bax Muh had come to the conclusion long before, before the Hygea had come to Capra and entered orbit, that the Director was an opponent of the epiphanic methods of reorganizing conscious and unconscious archetypes and patterns.

“I have gotten nowhere talking with him,” he revealed to Deger Tarcan. “Even a full description of the results that I have produced has no impact on his stubborn resistance to my novel invention. It is in the interest of the old, traditionalist psychoanalysts, the Soro Rimnys of this ship, to keep applying the same system over and over, regardless of the many failures.

“And when Soro brings in some new practitioner, it is another Jungian analyst like this Mead Quort, who stays within the old channels and guidelines of long, endless talking surveying and descriptions. These characters do not realize the phenomenal outcomes possible with epiphanic illumination and restructuring. They are afraid of what I myself discovered, and do everything possible to conceal and denigrate my historic breakthrough in analysis.

“They merely gaze and stare at the patient’s Self, whereas I succeed in recreating it.”

He looked at Deger with sparks in his diamond eyes.

“Is there anything that can be done about this discouraging situation?” inquired the Marfan therapist.

Bax lowered his voice. “I am going to seek support from someone higher in authority aboard the Hygea, the Captain.”

“Captain Wia!” reacted Deger with astonishment.

Muh gave him a demonic smile. “Who is there beyond her to elevate the epiphanic system that you and I use to a standard method?” he asked his partner in the new therapy.

Mead sent a written message to Meto Rej asking him to come for a conference on the treatment of his daughter. The analyst informed him that he would be in his office in the late space-afternoon. He made a few notes of what he intended to say to the father concerning the case of his one child.

A rap at his door indicated that the rich industrialist was there.

Mead rose and went across to open the door for his visitor, welcoming and leading him to a chair. “Please be seated, sir,” smiled the analyst.

Once both men were seated, Mead began to verbalize what he had thought out.

“The case of Salga is a difficult, complicated one. I do not recall ever having a patient with archetypes so hard to analyze and understand.

“To me, she falls within the Princess Archetype. Those patterns of personality make her kind, loving, obedient, and benevolent. Her dream-image is that of Daddy’s Little Princess, for she is totally dedicated to you, sir.

“All her life, she has tried to be a good little girl who would make her father proud of her. This love of you has made her an adoring child, eager to please and satisfy you. As a result, her greatest fear is that of losing your love and trust. She has become your worshiper, one whose thought and emotions revolve about one single object, which is you.

Salga is therefore not free or independent. She does not shape her own future, but merely serves your image of what she should be. This has blocked any path forward for her toward adult living or individuation. Your daughter is not able to find her own identity or personality as long as she remains a mere satellite of your own identity, Mr. Rej.

“I have hunted for hints and signs of what archetypes may lie unseen in her unconscious shadow, and my conclusion is disturbing. Your daughter holds a secret Aphrodite Archetype that is in complete conflict with the dominant Princess of the conscious mind

“The Aphrodite is named for the ancient goddess of love and beauty back on planet Earth.

“It contains images and combinations of the impetuous seductress, of a drive toward romance and sexuality. Salga unconsciously yearns to be a creative artist of some sort. Her Aphrodite side is a Queen of the Night full of self-confidence, unlike her Princess Archetype.”

Mead looked directly into the face of the industrial tycoon. “I believe that the very best thing you can do for the sake of her mental health is to submit to analysis of yourself. That would be the most important contribution you can make to the therapy of your daughter, believe me. It would help to free her Princess from the limitations that hold it imprisoned. The Aphrodite Archetype would then be able to rise into her consciousness and influence her life, making her a fully adult woman.”

The broad face of Meto reddened with blood. His emotions exploded in a rushing flood, making him nearly speechless.

“Who do you think you are!” he shouted in rage. “That is an insulting, insane thing that you propose? We came on the Hygea for my girl, Salga. She is the one who needs analysis and therapy. Not me, not her loving father who has always taken the best possible care of her.

“I tell you that there is no romantic, seductive Aphrodite in my daughter!”

Meto was able to spring to his feet. His anger overflowing, he leaped to the door, opening it, exiting rapidly, and then slamming it loudly shut.

It took several minutes for Mead to recover from what he had just witnessed.

What am I to say to Salga now that I have found out how her analyst is turning her against me? worried Meto as he stalked through the corridor leading to his suite, where his daughter was waiting for and expecting his return.

We shall have to quit our stay aboard the Hygea. How can we remain in such an unfriendly environment as this? he speculated.

The irate father decided he had not cooled down sufficiency to face his daughter. But where should he go, and what should he do?

To take his mind off what had occurred with the psychoanalyst and rest his mind and nerves a bit, he would go to the ship’s natatorium and cool down in the water pool he had heard about. Yes, he had been a good swimmer home on Capra, and swimming had always been restful and refreshing for him.

Meto decided he would spend a short time restoring himself in the Hygea’s water pool, its natatorium.

As Meto headed toward the long water tank, he caught sight of a towering, slender Marfan in bathing trunks. The latter was climbing out of the water, onto the ceramic floor surrounding the pool.

“Hello,” smiled Deger as the other approached him. “I take you to be related to one of our patients. I myself am an analyst on the staff. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with my genetic type. I am a Marfan from Geryon and my name is Deger Tarcan.

As the two men shook hands, an idea suddenly occurred to the industrialist from Capra.

“Could I speak with you, Doctor? I am in urgent need of practical advice because of a conflict that has erupted over my daughter’s treatment by her present therapist.”

“Let us sit down and you can explain,” said the surprised Deger, pointing to a nearby table with benches around it.

Meto gave his interpretation of what his daughter’s analyst had said to him that ended in angry conflict.

“This Dr. Quort insulted both me and my child, Salga. He characterized her as under a pattern he called Daddy’s Little Girl. His claim was that I over-dominated her and blocked her from normal passage to individual adult life.

“He insulted me, saying that I prevented her from growing up into a person with her own personality, that I tyrannized over my own daughter.”

Deger, sitting across the polyplex table from the irate parent, put his right hand on that of the father of Salga.

“Do not worry about your daughter’s future therapy. It should be done by someone who understands and practices epihanic therapy.”

“Epiphanic therapy?” questioned Meto with curiosity.

“Let me explain what it is. I am practicing a new type of treatment that I learned only upon coming on the Hygea. It received its name from the instantaneous, immediate nature of the treatment of a patient’s psyche.

“I have found it a very effective and rapid way of rebalancing the archetypes that make up a particular personality. Epiphanic treatment reunites a person’s conscious and unconscious elements through whole individuation of the divided, warring component parts of a mind.”

“It sounds too good to be true,” stated Meto. “How can it be successful?”

Deger beamed a radiant Marfan smile. “Take my word for it, sir, for I have seen marvelous results with my own patients.” He paused a moment before making a proposal. “If you and your daughter are willing, I am prepared to treat her with the epiphanic system that I have learned and mastered.”

He stared with all his mental force at the industrialist.

“I will offer this idea to Salga,” finally said Meto. “If she agrees, you can proceed with this therapy that you say is new and effective.”

VII.

The face of Bax Muh lit up like a plasma-gas light as he heard Deger relate to him what had happened with the father of Salga Rej and what was now planned.

“You shall be treating her by our own epiphanic therapy?” asked the leader of the new analytic movement.

“Yes. We will began tomorrow space-morning,” indicated the Marfan.

“I believe this will prove to be a pivotal point for our method,” thoughtfully concluded Bax.

A meeting with Captain Nevre Wia soon occurred on the bridge station.

“I had to inform you that my followers are on the verge of winning over the support of the richest man in Capran industry. He will see the positive effects of our brand of therapy in his own child.”

Nevre wrinkled her brow with concern. “What can be done to spread epiphanic work to all of our staff, even the most recalcitrant ones?”

Bax lowered his voice. “I am going to attempt to replace Director Zog, because he is too traditionalist and conservative. As long as he remains in high post, there cannot be the full victory of our new treatment system.

“That is the difficult truth that we all must accept, Captain.”

The latter appeared to be slightly shaking. “I myself am not powerless. It is possible for me to call an assembly of the ship’s entire therapeutic staff and move that Dr. Klet Zog be at once replaced by someone capable of reforming and improving what is going on with the patients.”

The diamond eyes of Dr. Muh appeared to shine and glow as he foresaw approaching victory.

Mead went to his office door to see who was knocking on it. It was an unforeseeable surprise to find Degen Tarcan standing there.

“Can I speak with you?” said the haggard Marfan. “I must discuss something of importance with you.”

Backing up, Mead let the analyst from Geryon walk in and sit down. He himself returned behind his desk.

“I have been asked to take charge of one of your patients,” began Deger. “It is her father who insists on her leaving your care. The change has been arranged by our colleague, Dr. Muh.”

Mead felt as if hit by a bolt. “I should have seen it coming, because I had a kind of quarrel with her father. He grew very angry at me because of what I told him about his daughter’s condition. It was not at all acceptable to the man, who is a wealthy industrial leader on Capra.”

“I am being asked to give her an epiphanic treatment and thought that I must inform you of this alteration. Could I request your notes and records on what you have concluded about Salga?

“I have not yet met or spoken with her.”

“Certainly,” returned Mead. “I will give you all that is recorded about her case on my memory unit. You can have the material immediately.”

“How did you characterize the young woman’s personality?”

“It was immediately plain to me that Salga’s conscious mind was dominated by the traditional archetype of Daddy’s Little Principle, a passive, obedient child to her authoritative father.

“But at odds with this major archetype there was an opposing one hidden in the unconscious, that of Aphrodite. This instinctive force held patterns and images of love, romance, and sexuality, contrary to the content of the Princess Archetype.

“Out of the tension between the two archetypes comes the painful troubles from which poor Salga suffers. She must be helped to solve and bridge the battle inside her mind and personality.”

Deger nodded his agreement. “Such a gulf can be bridged through a unifying epiphany. Of that I am certain because of how I have applied it in many of my cases. Experience has convinced me that this therapy actually works with success.”

Mead’s light blue eyes appeared distant and abstracted as he began to speak on a personal, intimate plane.

“I have had curiosity about the invention that you and others call epiphanic therapy, but the central core of this method continues to remain mysterious and hidden from outsiders like me. That has made your system hard to understand or accept.

“Would you be willing to have me present as a witness when you first apply it to this ex-patient of mine, Salga Rej?

“It would be of great benefit to my knowledge, I assure you.”

He looked pleadingly at the Marfan analyst, waiting for his reply.

“I see no reason to refuse what you are requesting,” declared Deger with a degree of remaining reluctance. “But you must not tell anyone what you are doing. It would not be good for you, or for me either.”

The epiphanic practitioner excused himself, rose to his feet, and slowly left the office of the other archetypal therapist.

VIII.

Deger sat watching behind his desk as Salga and her father entered his consultation room.

“Welcome,” nodded the psychoanalyst. “Please be seated, both of you.” He looked directly at the daughter, his new patient, and asked her a question.

“Are you ready to have me place you into a mental state preparatory to epiphany for the sake of changing the archetypes in your mind, Salga?”

She glanced at her father, then turned to her new therapist.

“Yes, Doctor. I’m prepared to undergo whatever is necessary in order to transform my personality into a state of health and balance.”

Deger rose to his feet, revealing his unusual height. He moved around his desk on the side opposite the father and stepped close to where his patient sat.

He spoke to her slowly, in a soft, gentle tone that he intentionally modulated.

“You are going to enter a semi-wakeful state, Salga. Neither fully asleep, nor completely awake, but somewhat like being absent-minded. Have you ever felt that way before? That is what I am going to aim for.

“You shall soon become unaware of your particular surroundings, where you are and what you are involved in. Our goal is to induce total absent-mindedness, so that you feel peace and tranquility.

“You shall soon be in such deep meditation that you shall not even notice your own feelings or sensations.

“There shall be nothing present at all to distract you. No memories, no thoughts, no nearby objects. You shall be thinking about nothing in particular.

“You are going to suspend all of your conscious thinking, yet not fall into sleep or lose your consciousness.”

Deger raised his right hand and slowly passed his open palm in front of Salga’s face.

Seeing that her eyes and her attention were unfocused, that she had become unaware of her situation or surroundings, he raised both hands to her forehead and stroked her skin very gently several times.

A slight smile occurred about the thin lips of the analyst, because he realized he was succeeding in mesmerizing his new patient.

Her mind had become almost a blank, he realized. It was now possible to deal with her unconscious, because it had now surfaced while she was semi-awake.

He began to whisper almost inaudibly to the young woman now in a trancelike condition.

“Let the woman in your shadow arise and be present,” he murmured to her. “There is a hidden goddess named Aphrodite who must enter the highest point within you, so that she can live in peace, concord, and harmony with the Young Princess you have for so long allowed yourself to be.

“Join together the Goddess and the Princess, so that you can become the Self you were meant to be.

“Let them join hands together and become one person, the true Salga destined to live in supreme happiness.”

Deger stopped whispering and moved back a step, then two.

He snapped two fingers of his right hand in front of the open, abstracted eyes of his patient.

As soon as he saw signs that she had fully returned to herself, he spoke once more.

“You must return to your quarters, Salga, and lie down for a nap and some rest. He turned to the confused, bewildered father. “Please accompany your daughter and see that she does as I have instructed her to do.”

Meto rose and helped Salga to her feet. Then the two departed hand-in-hand.

Deger was typing his notes into his memory unit when his office door opened. Bax stood there, a serious, concentrated expression on his face.

“How did your session go?” he asked. “Did the epiphany occur the way it was supposed to?”

What should he say? wondered the Marfan. “How much did his partner in the epiphanic therapy need to know?

“It is too early to know for certain,” he said in order to explain his reluctance to enter into detail. “I had the feeling that the archetype transfer happened smoothly, but it is difficult to be definitive, because there were so many external factors involved.”

“External factors?” questioned Bax with evident frustration. “What sort of external factors are you talking about?”

“I am referring primarily to the presence of her father, the rich metallic industrialist. He sat next to his daughter and might have been exercising some sort of invisible, immaterial influence over her, in an unconscious manner. Their minds might have had synchronous connections, and that could have created difficulties or counter-currents.

“Who can say?”

Bax, with no more to ask or say, closed the office door and disappeared.

Deger took a deep breath and returned to his memory-mechanism.

Mead realized that the time had arrived for him to unload his new course to his mentor, Soro Rimny.

He found the supervising veteran analyst in his office and went at once to the matter of importance that had brought him there.

“Forgive me, Soro, but there is something that you must learn about what I am planning to become involved in.”

The gray eyes of the other focused sharply upon his face. He did not have to say a single word in order to communicate his rising curiosity to Mead.

The latter turned his gaze slightly to the side in order to avoid looking directly at the older therapist.

“I have decided to learn what lies behind the epiphanic method of treatment,” he explained. “It is Deger Tarcan who has agreed to teach me the principles of what goes on when a patient is placed in semi-trance by a practitioner.”

Soro asked a question of importance. “Have you done anything yet? Are you involved already in the operation of that new path being used by some analysts?”

“No. We two have not started. But we soon will.”

A short silence followed, with each man thinking his individual thoughts, not expressing them to the other psychoanalyst.

“Be careful, my friend,” muttered Soro. “I advise you to stay watchful of everything that may be happening to you.”

He lowered his face and his eyes, pretending to read the paper report on top of his desk.

Mead at once comprehended the signal being given him, so he rose and departed.

IX.

Salga was feeling and acting differently than ever before, realized her father. This was a new side of her that he had never seen or experienced before, he knew at once.

What had happened to her in the course of the short therapeutic session with Dr. Taran? he wondered. She was somehow transformed into a new form, one he did not recognize or understand. His daughter now slept during hours unlike her previous schedule. She seemed to need additional, unusual amounts of rest. What had the new analyst accomplished in altering the boundaries of the conscious and the unconscious deep inside Salga?

Meto broke out of his inner musings over the transformation occurring in his daughter by the buzzing of the door apparatus attached to the suite entrance.

He rose from the easy chair he sat on and went to see who it might be.

A large figure with auburn hair and shining diamond eyes stood there and addressed him.

“Mr. Rej, I need to speak to you about the treatment being given to your daughter, Salga.

“Let me introduce myself. I am a psychoanalyst on the staff of this vessel, and my name is Bax Muh.

“It is important that you and I discuss the epiphanic therapy undergone by Salga, as well as its future course on this hospital ship.”

Meto took a step back, allowing Bax enter, then closed the door behind the unexpected stranger visiting him.

“Please be seated, Doctor,” the industrialist managed to say as his mind spun in growing confusion. “We can talk freely. My daughter is asleep resting in her bedroom.”

The two studied each other a short time once they were in easy chairs facing each other.

Meto decided he would be the first to say something about what the visitor had mentioned to him about the purpose of his presence at the suite of rooms.

“I am, so far, quite pleased with the results of what Dr. Tarcan performed for Salga. She seems calmer and better balanced than I have seen her for a considerable time. I might say since she was a small girl.

“It is a miraculous wonder for me, her father. No one knows Salga as well as I do, and I not only see the improvement, I also feel and sense it. Would you believe me if I claim to be sharing in the new contentment and peace in the thoughts and feelings of my child?”

Bax made a little smile toward the wealthy Capran. “I have heard the good report from Dr. Tarcan himself. You see, I was the one who taught him how to use this technique of epiphany in archetypal analysis and treatment.

“In fact, it would be truthful and accurate to say that I created the system from which your dear daughter received relief, rest, and transformation.

“Yes, I use the term transformation, sir. For there has occurred a major change in the mind and personality of Salga. Her most important mental archetypes have been moved and repaired, in a subtle manner. The unconscious shadow of your daughter no longer fights and sabotages her conscious emotions and thinking, as before.”

Meto seemed deep in thought and meditation for several moments. Finally, he spoke in a quiet, controlled voice.

“I am beholden to you and Dr. Tarcan for what has been produced in Salga. I will forever be in debt to the two of you for the great benefit brought to my family. I swear to that.”

Bax ceased smiling and suddenly frowned. His face grew grave and troubled.

“There is an existing problem that you deserve to know about, Mr. Rej.

“Here on the Hygea, me and my followers are looked upon as rebels and outlaws. Our epiphanic method is dispised and rejected by the rest of the staff, even by the archetypal analysts not using our system and standing outside our special circle of advanced practitioners. They do not grant us the respect or position that we believe we have more than earned through the results we have achieved.

“The hope of the future is with us, but they deny us recognition, respect, or position. It is a terrible shame, a professional insult. I call it criminal.”

The face of Bax had turned a fiery red by now. He paused to measure the effect his words were having, then proceeded on.

“As a result of what we, the epiphanists, have been made to suffer, we intend to make a major change in how treatment goes on aboard this ship.

“We mean to ask our Captain to replace the Director of psychological treatment at once, and replace him with some person who will favor our new method of therapy.” Bax paused, letting his words sink in. “Would you agree to come forward as a supporter of our movement for reform, Mr. Rej? Would you be willing to give testimony about how your daughter was brought into harmonious life through epiphanic therapy, sir?”

“Certainly, I would,” asserted Meto with forcefulness in his tone. “Yes, I am willing to be a witness for your wonderful method. I know that it works, I can swear to that.”

Bax shot up on his feet. “Thank you. I must now leave. But I promise to inform you when your testimony can be given to a general staff meeting that I can foresee Captain Wia calling together very soon.

“Again, my comrades and I thank you for the support you are showing to us.”

Meto watched passively as the slippery, adroit analyst found his way out of the master suite of the Rejs.

X.

Captain Nevre Wia lost count of the number of times the psychoanalyst named Bax Muh intersected with her as she left her quarters and walked to the bridge and then the engine chambers of the galactic ship she commanded.

“What do you intend to do about the problems caused by the present therapy director?” demanded the petitioner. “Isn’t it time for a change in the management of our psychiatric services aboard the Hygea?

“Dr. Zor has proven himself a total failure by ignoring and blocking the most important innovation in galactic psychotherapy in many years of static practice. He has been an active enemy of the invention assembled here on our own vessel, the one known as epiphanic treatment.

“We would be light-years ahead of where we now stand if Klet Zor had supported and protected the development of the new system. But instead of that, he has acted as a destructive annihilator of all that has been attained.

“This Director must be replaced as soon as possible, for he is holding back the successes that would otherwise be realized by epiphanic practitioners here and elsewhere throught the Milky Way Galaxy.

“That is the terrible truth of our situation, Captain Wia.”

Overwhelmed and embarrassed, the latter looked away several seconds, then turned back and gazed at the analyst with her large green eyes.

“Very well, Dr. Muh, I shall call a meeting of the entire medical staff. But it will be up to the majority who attend to decide the future of our present Director and who might succeed him in office. That will not be up to me at all.”

Bax, happy at his success in convincing the ship’s Captain, when on to talk with a number of traditional psychiatrists who centered their therapy on biochemical drugs and compounds.

It was not easy to win support among these practitioners, but he started to rally some of them to the cause of the epiphanic innovation.

His final stop was at the pharmaceutical dispensary to talk with Dr. Lema Giten, in charge of this department of the Hygea.

“We are in a serious crisis with our present Director, and a change must be made as soon as possible, Lema.

“He is blocking the full introduction of a wonderful new therapeutic invention that goes by the name of epiphany. Are you familiar with it? Have you heard about it from friends or from the enemies of the innovative treatment?”

“Yes,” answered the pharmacist. “There are severe critics of it, but also others who wish to try it out to learn what the results can be.”

Bax lowered his voice a little. “I would like you to be an ally in throwing out the present Director and placing in a better person, someone who is not afraid of the new. That is what the future holds for this vessel. Epiphantic analysis and treatment will then spread far and wide, throughout our galaxy.”

Lema peered at him without reacting to what she had heard from the analyst.

“Thank you for notifying me what will soon be coming upon us,” she said in almost a whisper, then turned about and walked quickly away.

Mead was on his way to his cabin when he caught sight of Lema Giten moving toward him from the opposite direction.

She appeared glad to find him and at once began talking to him.

“I am fortunate to find you so easily, Mead. There is a matter that I have to discuss with you at once. Can we go back to the pharmacy so that we can have some degree of security and privacy?”

Stunned and surprised, the analyst nodded his head. “Yes, Lema. I have the time to accompany you there. You can lead the way if you wish.”

Mead followed the pharmacist to the dispensary, where the pair entered a side room where supplies were stored.

The two sat down across from each other at a small, empty table.

“What is it you wish to tell me, Lema?” asked Mead with a sense of growing alarm.

She looked him straight in the eye. “I have talked with Bax Muh, and he told me that he has convinced Captain Wia to summon a meeting of the medical staff, all of it. The objective will be to expel Director Zor from office and replace him. After that, he plans to have a person from his new school of Epiphanic Psychology to that top post. He believes that there will be enough votes on his side to carry it through with a majority.”

“That would be a tall order!” interjected the psychotherapist.

“He thinks that the votes will be there for him and his side. There are fifty staff members in total. Thirty-two are traditional psychiatrists who depend on drugs and biochemical. The analytic therapists who apply archetypal means are a minority, only about fifteen.

“Bax is convinced that he has most of the psychiatrists as supporters who will oust the present Director. They would join together with his epiphanic supporters into a majority that will make him the next head of the hospital.”

The two stared at each other for several seconds, until Mead shot to his feet.

“Thank you, Lema. You have acted boldly by informing me about this scheme. It will be difficult, but Bax Muh must not be allowed to take over the leadership of the Hyea.”

XI.

The call for all staff member to assemble that evening came over the audio system of the Hygea late in the space-afternoon.

Mead hurried at once to the office of Soro Rimny to decide what path the two of them were going to take. Both knew for certain what the subject of this gathering was set to be: the replacement of the Director, KLet Zor, in order to clear the way for the elevation of Bax Muh to that position.

“What should we do?” said the unsettled Mead. “What is left for anyone to attempt in order to prevent a terrible catastrophe?”

Soro replied in a placid tone. “We will have to decide on our course when we see for ourselves what the circumstances are to be when everyone is there together.”

All the psychiatrists and analysts were present, eager to witness the direction the meeting was going to take.

Mead and Soro sat next to each other on the left side of the eating hall, surrounded by the rest of the archetypal psychoanalysts.

Captain Wia was the last person to enter. She went to the long table facing the assembled practitioners. Standing there in full white dress uniform, she addressed the large assembly of fifty in a high, shrill voice.

“I have summoned this meeting in order to announce the firing of Dr. Klet Zor from the position of Director of Mental Treatment. That post is now proclaimed to be vacant. It will now be the responsibility of this meeting to select his successor.

“Does anyone wish to make a nomination of a new supervisor of therapy?”

All at once, the tall, haggard form of Deger Tarcan rose to his full height.

“Captain Wia, I wish to nominate Dr. Bax Muh.”

A strange, indecipherable murmuring began to arise among the psychiatrists and psychoanalysts. No one could tell what it might mean or signify.

Suddenly, though, a second voice sounded in the dining hall.

Eyes turned upon Mead Quort, standing up among the seated archetypal analysts.

“I am making a nomination that I think will be a satisfactory new Director of Mental Therapy. Brothers and sisters, I wish to nominate a recent addition to our staff, but an individual we have all come to know and respect.

“Captain, I am nominating Dr. Deger Tarcan, a man we have recruited from the planet of Geryon.”

The assembly started to move and whisper as if struck by a sudden storm.

Bax Muh seemed fallen into apoplexy, experiencing a physical and mental shock. He looked about himself at the group of followers and users of epiphanic therapy. All of them that he could see were up on their feet, continuing to cheer for the nomination of Deger Tarcan. The Marfan himself remained seated in his chair, overwhelmed and entranced by what was occurring before his eyes.

Mead leaned over toward Soro and whispered to him. “I think that my nomination has beaten the schemer, because Deger has a better reputation than he has.”

All at once, Bax began to wave his hands toward the Captain, begging her to recognize him to say something.

Nevre Wia pointed her right hand at him, surrendering the floor.

“Captain,” yelled out Bax. “I wish to withdraw my name for nomination and give my support to my dear colleague, Dr. Deger Tarcan.”

A resounding cheer echoed through the dining hall.

Mead turned back to Soro and gave his explanation of what they had just witnessed.

“He had to surrender, because he saw which way the epiphanists and even the psychiatrists were going. His own reputation from before helped defeat the slimy manipulator. Nobody trusts him to be Director, but Deger is a credible personality whom people have come to trust.”

Soro smiled, realizing the dimensions of their victory. “I guess that I too will have to learn how to use epiphanic technique,” he remarked with a serious laugh.

The End

Galactic Minds III.

13 Dec

I.

Once all the patients on the hospital ship had returned to planet Geryon, the Hydrea went into photonic high flight to its new destination in the Norma Arm of the galaxy.

With no patients to deal with, the psychological staff studied what was available about Tangentum. Theoretical discussions and disagreements occurred among the therapists looking ahead to a new world and its minds and personalities.

Soro Rimny grew worried, explaining his reaction to Mead as the two talked in the former’s office.

“I can see what the pharmaceutical psychiatrists are up to. They are trying to convince Director Zor to assign more of the patients on Targentum to them and a lower percentage to analysts like us.

“At every forum, seminar, or presentation that he might be attending, they are building up the impression of the effectiveness and success of drug therapy, while casting sly aspersions on so-called talk methods such as ours.

“What do you think we can do, Mead, to defend our positions and our rights to receive appropriate mental cases that need what we can offer them?”

The younger psychoanalyst groped for an adequate answer.

“That is hard to say, because we cannot afford to be seen by the Director as combative or quarrelsome, not at all. We will have to swallow the indirect attacks on us and just wait to prove ourselves and our techniques in actual practice, with successful effects on the patients we are fortunate to have assigned to us.

“The patients themselves will provide the best evidence of archetypal analysis and deep probing into mind and personality.”

Soro nodded that he agreed. “Tangentum will give us another testing ground for our style of treatment,” he predicted.

Mead decided that he had to attend a lecture given by Dr. Lema Giten on the efficacy of the most common biochemical prescribed by psychiatrists on the Hygea in the past.

She stood facing the audience of therapists and spoke in her high-pitched voice.

Mead noticed that the Director entered the large room as she began her lecture, taking an empty chair near the rear door.

“Our pharmacy is able to provide hundreds of compounds that are in use in a multitude of different planets in various star systems of the galaxy.

“Just to mention what types of medicaments are available on our ship, let me name drugs that deal with paranoia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, aggressive behavior, emotional agitation, obsessive-compulsive maladies, and dissociative identity, among many other states.

“Here on the Hygea, the favorite substances to treat anxiety happens to be the benzodiazepines. We can furnish a large number of anti-depressants, but the most commonly prescribed are sertraline, fluoxetine, and trazodone. For mood stabilization in patients, psychiatrists prefer to use sodium valproate, carbamazepine, valproic acid, and a number of lithium salts.

“Psychoses are always hard to handle or prescribe for, but our doctors are apt to turn to asenapine or palperidone to alleviate painful symptoms.

“In cases of bipolar personalities, lithium citrate and lithium carbonate are the top favorites.

“For dysthymia disorders, we depend on zotepine, reserpine, and clozapine.

“If panic attacks should occur, our medical staff uses sertraline or paroxetine.

“I could go on with scores of other drugs, but I dare not bore you further.”

Lema looked out over her audience, mostly psychiatrists, with a feline smile on her face.

“I foresee ever greater progress ahead for us, with a growing quantity of medicinal solutions to the troubles afflicting human minds and behaviors throughout our beloved galaxy.

“Our vessel assists in the movement of these substances between planets and the regions of the Milky Way. We learn about new biochemical and help to spread them ever wider.

“I doubt there is any pharmacy as far ahead on the frontier of new knowledge and its practical application as ours aboard this ship is.” Lema made a radiant smile, then made an offer to her audience. “Are there any questions that you wish to ask me?” she invited.

Mead found himself rising from his chair as if motivated by an undefined emotion of some sort. He began to speak instantly, without any formal recognition by the lecturer.

“Please tell me this: will all patents who begin with one of these drugs have to continue taking it without end or final cure? Isn’t that at odds with the need for answers and solutions that take away the malady once and for all?”

Lema looked at the questioner with a confused, empty look. What would she say in reply? wondered everyone present.

A thorough hush settled over the entire audience, waiting for her to speak.

“It has to be a consideration about what will do the most good to the suffering patient. A doctor will choose a temporary palliative as a solution until complete cure becomes someday possible, perhaps in the distant future.”

Lema gave a sigh of having handled something that could have turned dangerous.

As no one else asked her a question, she began to walk toward the back exit door. Her lecture was clearly finished.

II.

As the Hygea took its first journeys about the planet called Tangentum, its contours became visible through the viewers on the outer surface of the vessel.

Those interested in how the world looked from nearby space caught sight of pelagic and thalassic seas, lakelets and lagoons, wastelands, woodlands, badlands, outbacks, deserts, swamps, wildwoods, jungles, barrens, and chaparrals. They were amazed at the variety of ecological differences and varieties of habitats on Tangentum.

Mead and his mentor, Soro Rimny, discussed the marvelous prospects potentially available for study in the patients who would in a short time be ascending to the hospital ship from this variegated planet of many zones, climates, and environments.

“I expect to have a rich spectrum of varying ailments and archetypes,” noted Soro to his younger colleague.

“Yes,” smiled Mead. “There may be a lot of aspects of the human personality for study that will be new to us.”

The Hygea, in stable and permanent orbit around the planet, awaited the first barques with contingents of patients to receive therapeutic treatment.

Soro was surprised when he received a summons to meet with the Director in his executive office. What could this be about? wondered the veteran analyst.

Dr. Zor appeared to be in a positive, friendly mood as he made an announcement to the little man sitting opposite him.

“A new agreement has been reached with the psychiatric organization down on Tangentum, Soro.

“They are eager to learn all that they can about the newest galactic achievements and discoveries connected to mental illness and conflict. Therefore, I have been asked to admit a therapist from the planet as an official guest aboard the vessel, so that he can see for himself how we use the best, newest methods and scientific knowledge concerning the brain, the mind, and human behavior.

“The one chosen to join us in our orbit is a psychoanalyst named Dr. Deger Tarcan. His reputation on Tangentum is one of the highest in his special area of interest. The man is both a practitioner and a theorist who has written several books of importance down on the planet.

“I am asking you to act as his personal host when he steps aboard here. He will be very interested in the analytic methods utilized by you and the other analysts, and what the experiences of our staff have been on the many stops we have made over the years in different sections of the Milky Way.

“What do you say, Soro? Don’t you find the possibilities intriguing? We can share what we have attained, but there are possibilities of learning a lot from this particular individual as well.”

“Indeed,” replied the psychoanalyst. “Dr. Tarcan can show us the way that analysis is done on planet Tangentum.”

What was not known to the Director or his staff was that Dr. Deger Tarcan was a member of the ten percent of the planet’s population who happened to be Marfans, people with an inherited physical condition that made them the possessors of major differences from most other varieties of human beings. Their uniqueness was in no way a racial characteristic, but all or any human racial group could contain members with Marfan characteristics.

Dr.Tarcan, arriving on the Hygea on the first transport barque from the planet, was an astounding surprise to Director Zor and his companions when they stepped forth to greet and welcome the new arrival from Tangentum.

The psychoanalyst was nearly seven feet tall in height. Like every other Marfan, he possessed elongated bones, an asymmetrical skull, a somewhat hunched back, and extended hands, fingers, and feet.

He disconcerted the Director and his companions from the staff with his spiderlike appearance. There was something arachnoid, resembling an insect, about his form and figure.

His muscles were weak and underdeveloped, typical for others who resembled him down on the planetary surface. He had a chest that clearly slanted inwardly as if it were collapsed. His eyes were light blue, his hair whitish blond, and he spoke to the Director in a high tenor voice when Dr. Zor came forward and introduced himself.

“I am so fortunate to be invited on your hospital ship, sir. The opportunity to widen my knowledge of analytics through contact with your advanced therapists overwhelms me,” crooned the Marfan psychoanalyst. “My hope is to perfect my abilities by working beside your excellent staff of psychologists.”

Dr. Zor smiled as he grew used to the strange appearance of the man who had just arrived onboard. “We are happy to have a practitioner from the planet. That will, of course, help us in the treatment of the patients who shall soon be arriving with us.

“First of all, though, let me introduce you to some of our archetypal analysts.”

Soro Rimny, Mead Quort, and a dozen other psychoanalysts stepped forward and were swiftly introduced to the towering man from Tangentum. Then followed a group of the majority, the psychiatrists who specialized in psycho-pharmacy as their chief method of treatment.

When the long line of introductions had finished, Dr. Zor invited Dr. Tarcan to join the assembled staff in the main dining hall for the space-noon lunch.

The tall new man found himself accompanied by analysts such as Soro and Mead, so that they came to sit and eat at the same table. This permitted them to start getting acquainted with a Marfan for the first time in their lives.

Deger Tarcan made his first impression, a very favorable one he felt, on the analysts experienced in treating patients from other portions of the galaxy.

“Once you are settled in your personal cabin,” smiled Soro, “I would like to have a talk with you in my office. It might help you to find out what our experiences have been elsewhere. Dr. Quort can help you find where it is I do most of my work, and I am certain that he would enjoy conversing with you too.”

Mead and Soro sat across the latter’s desk from the friendly, personable Marfan.

“What are the main personality problems you have had to deal with among your patients on Tangentum, Dr. Tarcan?” pointedly inquired Soro.

“I would have to say fractured, hyper-cyclemic personality disorders. These patients suffer from compartmentalized selves. Their emotions run up and down, hot and cold, in and out, rotating in complete circles. They lack much unity or consistency of mind. Their swings back and forth can become increasingly wide and drastic.

“Many of them suffer from self-absorption. Their personalities appear to be in violent vibration of sorts. Inner chaos and cyclical imbalance governs their behavior. Their basic attitudes tend to be anti-social and they have no clear idea of their own psychic identity.”

“How, then, do you deal with such persons in your analytic sessions with them?” asked Mead with evident curiosity.

‘I try to guide them into coming to terms with their inner conflicts rather than being governed and tortured by them. I wish to show them how to free themselves from their ego conflicts from earlier stages in their lives. The are shown how to free up the energy they have bound up in their personality conflicts.

“I aim to teach them the central archetype within them: that of the Self.

“First of all, they have to experience a separation from their previous ego identity and its ideals. Then they become able to join the unknown, unseen, unrecognized parts of their Self into one, single, integrated whole.

“That is not at all easy and may take considerable time, but that is the road to what has been named Individuation by our forerunners back on planet Earth, centuries ago. Repressed ideas must emerge into consciousness. They are not to be totally destroyed, but accommodated and absorbed.”

“And I know that you apply deep archetypal analysis to achieve this unification of the Self, don’t you?” dreamily said Soro.

“Indeed,” nodded the Marfan, looking directly at the older man. “When all aspects of the Self are welded together into one, there occurs a kind of rebirth of the individual, a return to the oneness that was there at birth.”

“Mead and I could not agree with you more, my friend,” whispered Dr. Rimny in a quiet, gentle tone.

III.

Bax Muh had not been present for the initial welcoming of the therapist from Tangentum, perhaps because no one had bothered to invite him to join in.

But he soon thought of a way to introduce himself to the tall Marfan who claimed to be a archetypal analyst like himself.

Bax went up to the man at dinner that space-evening and presented him a proposal to act as a partner in dealing with patients that would soon be ascending from the planet they were orbiting.

“My name is Bax Muh, and I foresee problems with roots in cultural and social peculiarities native to your world of Tangentum. Forgive me for showing such boldness immediately upon your arrival on the ship, Doctor, but I must ask if you will serve as my special advisor in dealing with questions and matters unique to life on your planet. That would be of enormous benefit to me, I am certain.

“And in return, I would be very happy to serve as your guide when it comes to reviewing the many different facilities and operations available here on the Hygea. I am sure that I could save you a lot of time that otherwise you would needlessly have to waste finding answers on your own,” said Bax with a gigantic, ingratiating smile.

“Thank you for your kindness,” replied Deger Tarcan. “I have already talked with Dr. Rimny and Dr. Quort and they have said that they will assist me in getting started. But I will certainly keep you in mind whenever there is any problem or difficulty that I have trouble with. Thank you, again.”

Bax nodded his head and walked away, confident that he had made a favorable impression on the odd-looking man from down below.

Soro and Mead discovered that they agreed in their judgments concerning the stranger from Tangentum.

“He obviously has a strong background in archetypal theory,” said the older man with optimism. “I think he will be a valuable contributor to our success with the patients sent up to us from his planet.”

“He will know a lot about Marfans who come with problems of mind or personality,” opined Mead. “I plan to ask him to help me in case I meet with any difficult problems in the time we work in planetary orbit.”

“Yes,” agreed Soro, “I expect that we shall be dealing with some interesting persons. There should exist no major differences between patients who happen to be Marfan and those who are not. That is what I hope and expect.”

The first groups of patients from Tangentum began arriving on the Hygea and were assigned to individual therapists for treatment.

Soro did not receive a Marfan, but Mead did. The latter waited in a consultation room for the appearance of Svim Pruj, a young poet who had a reputation as a nature-loving mystic. This patient, towering and scarecrow thin, entered with a warm, friendly grin on his narrow, haggard face.

Mead rose and shook hands with the man from Tangentum, then both of them sat down.

“I understand that you write about the outdoor scenery of your planet and are the winner of some of the highest prizes that are given for creative talent in the arts.”

“Yes, sir, but that was mostly years ago,” explained the painter. “I am no longer as productive or as skilled as I was at the beginning. Many have said that my talents have receded to a small fraction of what they once were. My decline has been a topic of interest to my readers and supporters. Many people doubt that I can ever recover my former drive and spirit. Everyone familiar with me and my former promise consider me a miserable failure who has fallen a long distance down from the height he once stood upon.”

Mead attempted to give his patient an encouraging grin. “I hope that you have not fallen into total despair, my dear fellow. Working together, you and I can repair a lot of the harm and injury that have struck you. That will surely come about if we cooperate on analyzing and correcting the heavy burdens that you have had to bear.

“I promise to focus on the forces that are bringing your personality into serious illness. But you have to provide me as much support and aid as is possible. That is essential in order to free you in order to allow your talent to be reborn.” The psychoanalyst smiled. “I have begun to read some of your early published works and I find them very interesting. They reflect a highly sensitive mind, one that has the capacity of reflecting and understanding the emotions that nature creates in other persons around himself.”

Svim suddenly frowned and made a puzzling grimace. “I wrote a lot of poems in my earliest years. My first compositions occurred when I was only a boy. But my poems have tapered off, and today I am able to write very little at all.”

“I have been thinking about what your primary personality archetype might be,” declared the analyst. “Tell me, do you have any idea what an archetype might be?”

“Something like a theme or overall form, that is what I would guess it is.”

“In archetypal analytics, there are an unlimited number of these mental archetypes, in both the conscious and unconscious areas of the mind and personality of any single individual. It provides a kind of symbolic formula by which we can generalize about a person’s character. It holds profound meanings that can be deciphered and interpreted by analysts.

“The archetypes hold the universal, repeated experiences and heritage of all of humanity,” it can be said. “From what I can find out from your poetry, I think that you possess many of the traits and aspects of the Visionary Archetype, Svim.

“You are one able to see farther and discern things not visible to most people. Your sight is extraordinary, and you write down magical visions that are original and uniquely your own.

“That is where I would place you and how I would describe your personality, my good man. You are qualified to be named a Visionary.”

All at once, Svim grinned. “You seem to be flattering me, Dr. Quort,” he muttered from deep in his long, narrow throat. “But it is quite satisfying to be hearing such words. Indeed, it is.”

“This may be a sensitive subject for you to speak about, but has the fact of your special genetic inheritance had some degree of effect upon your personal development as an individual in the profession of writing?

“I only present the consideration to you because of its potential as a possible factor that shaped your present condition and its painfulness.”

Svim answered his therapist in a strong, confident voice.

“No, sir. Being a Marfan has never had the slightest effect whatever upon my personal situation of pessimism and despair. My inner life has not at all been influenced by the shape of my body, I swear that to you.”

Mead gave a nod, then went on with questions about the patient’s professional experience as a poet on Targentum.

IV.

Dr. Bax Muh found himself with a half dozen patients to treat, not one of them happened to be a Marfan. Yet he decided to corner the native analyst, Deger Tarcan, and present him with questions about potential problems that were related to the status and characteristics of the genetic group to which the visiting therapist belonged.

Bax often found Dr. Tarcan eating a meal by himself in the staff dining hall.

“Good space-morning, my friend. How did you rest? I can imagine that your patient schedule is a heavy one that takes a lot of your day and energy. But that is the way this hospital ship has to operate. We will only be orbiting a particular world for a limited time, then we have to leave and fly off elsewhere. We say our good-byes and depart. That is our sad fate, I have to confess to you,” related Bax with a dramatic smile.

Deger looked up from the synthetic omelet he had taken for breakfast. “I, of course, have dealt with similar cases to those I am now facing. Years of prior experience in analysis lie behind me in my professional past on Tangentum.” He lowered his voice as if revealing the personal secrets of someone he happened to be treating as a doctor. “But I have one particular patient who presents me with unique difficulties that are hard to describe or focus on.

“I have not yet succeeded in identifying any single archetype that fits into or explains the personality problem of this individual. I think of him as my mystery man. He happens to be the toughest riddle I have ever had to face.”

Bax, considering the situation as fast as possible, decided to leap into it.

“I can offer you what advice I am capable of,” he proposed in a speculative, tentative tone. “Perhaps if you describe the problem that you face, I can help you find the answers that you need.”

The two analysts exchanged looks of silent inquiry. Both of them then concentrated on finishing their breakfasts.

Dr. Deger Tarcan realized that he harbored a suspicion about the psychoanalyst named Bax Muh. He was unable to understand any cause of this. It was a primitive sense of apprehension. What was the burly figure trying to find out from him? Did he harbor some sort of underhanded purpose in attempting to befriend him?

It seemed safest to him not to say or reveal too much to this person with his concealed motivation.

Deger felt much more at ease talking with Mead Quort, who appeared to be a much more trustworthy colleague and fellow psychoanalyst.

The two of them started to make casual visits to each other’s offices. Their conversations often centered on theoretical concepts and explanations connected to their practices on the Hygea.

“I am applying my general knowledge and background in archetypal analytics to my single Marfan patient,” announced Mead one afternoon to his new colleague. “It will be something of an experiment for me, because I will be working on the assumption that I can affect some helpful change in this person’s archetypes, between the conflicting elements that in all probability exist within the personality.

“My chance of a successful outcome with this patient is dependent upon whether I am correct in my overall perspective, isn’t it?” he asked Deger Tarcan.

The latter stretched out his long legs in order to avoid an uncomfortable position in his chair.

“I do not want to say anything that would cause any differentiation of patients by genetic categories, not at all,” apologized the Marfan. “But I believe, through my clinical experience, that there is one specific area of general analysis that is especially helpful and productive of good results with patients who physically resemble myself.”

Mead stared at the other psychoanalyst for several moments before asking him “What is the special area you refer to, Deger?”

The latter made a little smile with his thin lips.

“I find that investigation of enantiodromia is especially useful in understanding all of my patients, but particularly fruitful in delving into the unconscious archetypes of the Marfans.

“It is not clear to me why that should be so, but my history of cases makes it evident, at least in my own mind.”

Mead suddenly felt a nervous excitement. “Enantiodromia was an early concept in analytic therapy, but has in recent times fallen out of us and is forgotten, left by the wayside perhaps.

“It refers to the tension of opposing unconscious and conscious archetypes, and how that may become the driving force behind personality conflict.

“You have found that a major factor in patients?”

“For many of those whom I treated on Targentum. It was particularly evident in a number of the Marfans I dealt with.”

“That is interesting to hear,” thoughtfully noted Mead, picturing the poet named Svim Pruj.”

Should he be hunting for archetypal conflict and tension in the mind of that patient? he asked himself.

V.

Deger Tarcan sensed a lot of unexplainable resistance from his most difficult patient from Targentum, a physician who considered himself a nature healer who recommended a vegetable diet for all of his own patients and followers down on the planet’s surface.

What was behind the little man’s self-depreciation and critical ego-image?

Efo Hlag should be a person with high self-regard and pride in the benefits he brought to the ill whom he served. Deger was not able to comprehend how or why this doctor should be such a merciless enemy of himself.

What is the patient hiding within the structure of his major archetypes? wondered Deger, frustrated by his lack of noticeable progress in unlocking the inner conflicts and contradictions of Dr. Hlag.

Deger decided to study a short book written by his patient entitled “How Nature Can Repair, Save, and Preserve Your Health.”

He hunted for any hint that might indicate how the physician interpreted the advice and rules that he laid down for treatment of the human body. But it turned out to be a difficult task to succeed at, for Dr. Hlag did not reveal much about his own efforts to affect his own body’s wellbeing.

The Marfan psychoanalyst decided to tell his patient some of his own thoughts about the causes of mental illness, especially the early idea of enantiodromia that he had picked up from his extensive reading of the analytical pioneers centuries before on planet Earth.

“The dominant, governing archetype in the conscious mind can become so all-powerful and developed that it creates its own opposite that is hidden in the unconscious region of the mind. This produces a countertendency that tries to oppose and sabotage the will influenced by the primary, conscious archetype.

“The counter-archetype is a form of compensating correction for the extremities favored by the supreme archetype. At times, this opponent can block what the conscious archetype wishes or supports. That results when and if the dominant structure becomes exaggerated and even absurd.

“An extreme, one-sided archetype may therefore bring about the eruption from out of the unconscious of its negative.” The analyst halted a moment. “That may be why you feel such painful distraction. You have conflicting archetypes fighting for supremacy, Efo.”

The patient appeared somewhat confused, unable to understand immediately these ideas and their consequences for himself. The mind was quite different in its formal structure and operation from the body and its ills, he realized.

On a parallel track, Mead dived deeper and deeper into the poetry of his patient, Svim Pruj.

So much of it was focused on the natural landscape and environment of the planet where the author had been born, raised, and educated that it became difficult to uncover the individuality of Svim. The poet’s reactions to the country scenery was well recorded in his verses. But what was his view of himself? Did Svim unconsciously attempt to avoid delving into the inner reality of his own mind and personality?

The analyst began to suspect that this patient had a kind of fear and revulsion of exposing himself to the light of conscious understanding.

Mead arrived at a painful, embarrassing conclusion: the patient is completely unaware that he has repressed part of himself, an area that probably has a major but unacknowledged influence upon what he writes about the beauty and wonders of the scenes of nature.

What can be done to tear away the mask concealing some unseen, unexplored archetype buried in the poet’s unconscious?

Mead grappled with the problem, deciding to present Svim with certain of his lines of verse that might serve as a key or door into the depths of the poet.

The session with the Marfan author started with a simple, disarming question by the psychoanalyst.

“I find your poetry most interesting and intriguing, Svim. I have written down some of your lines that seemed enigmatic and full of mystery, hoping that you might throw a bit of light on what you were thinking when you put them down, or even how a natural scene may have inspired you to create that combination of words.

“Are you willing to indulge me with your cooperation, then?”

“Certainly,” replied the patient. “That could be very interesting to me as well.”

Mead smiled, happy with his initial success. “Let me, then, give you the most promising of the complex verses:

“The rocks, the grass, and the flowers are perfectly visible,
But not so the eyes that gaze out and watches them from elsewhere.”

The analyst stared fixedly at his poet-patient. “What do you yourself mean within your own mind, Svim? Why is it that the rocks, the grass, and the flowers are blind, unable to see into the eyes that gaze out of your own head? Why are your eyes so opaque, like a solid wall? What is there inside them that no one sees or knows?

“Isn’t that a riddle worthy of our attention in our sessions together?”

Mead could see that the tall man had been disturbed and was now worried, as if a raw nerve had been affected by the little mental exercise just carried out.

“You can think about the matter and we can take it up at our next meeting together, Svim. It can wait, that is clear.

“Right now, I would like to find out more about your family conditions. How did you relate to your father? And what did you learn in early life from your mother? As I have found out, you were an only child, with no brothers or sisters with whom to grow up.”

The patient began to reminisce about how happy he had been in his parental nest, well-protected, pampered, indulged, and a little spoiled by dotting mother and father.

VI.

Mead Quort knocked on the door to the office of Deger Tarcan, announced who it was standing there, and was invited in.

“How are your cases coming along?” asked the visitor. “My hope is that my colleagues and I can pick up a lot of useful advice from what you experience up here in orbit. It seems that no longer being on the surface of their home planet opens up a lot of patients who previously kept important matters all to themselves. There is much benefit to those suffering conflicts and problems to travel into a new, different environmental setting. In a strange way, it open them up to themselves and their new therapists.

“What do you think about their movement away from the scenes they are familiar with and where their maladies seemed to be festering?”

Deger, who had risen to his feet upon the entrance of the other, motioned to Mead to sit down, then he did the same.

“I find being up here to be more beneficial to me than to my patients,” admitted the Marfan psychoanalyst. “Several of them still present difficulties in opening up and speaking candidly about their lives and emotions.

“With one of them, I am using an untested method that I devised especially for that case. I am bringing up thoughts and lines that my patient has previously written in a book provided to me, attempting to use the material as an unconscious indicator of archetypal raw material long hidden down in the unconscious realm of the mind.

“My aim, whether attained or not, is to identify and interpret ideas that were inadvertently put on paper without any analytical purpose at the time.

“I have used similar sources, such as books, letters, diaries, and notebooks in the past down on Targentum. Sometimes, they can prompt me to ask the right questions of a patient. There are often hints imbedded in them that the writer is not at all aware of.”

Mead suddenly felt an incipient excitement surge through him.

“That sounds like a method that I myself am making use of,” he nodded. “I would pursue it and see what might result. There could be silent archetypes buried within things that a patient has chanced to write down for other reasons.”

Deger gave a satisfied grin. “I will, then, continue down that road of asking a patient about the meaning of recorded ideas and memories. It could be a productive key that opens doors that so far have been closed to me.”

Efo Hlag was becoming accustomed to talking with his therapist, Dr. Tarcan.

The latter decided the time had come to openly present to his patient the conclusions starting to form and condense into definite results.

“I have read your book on naturalist diet and living style, and they have had a powerful impression upon me. Even more than that, I believe that they have opened a window upon your fundamental personality and the archetypal content of it.

“My intention today is to reveal to you the thoughts occurring in my mind after carefully reading the words you wrote. Shall I proceed to define and describe the impression of you that comes to me from your book on health?”

Yes, of course, Dr. Tarcan. I expect that you found out some important truths about me. Your professional experience gives you the capacity for penetrating insights into a personality.”

Deger proceeded in a soft, mellow tone.

“Your father taught you the enormous value of wild herbs, nuts, and berries. He was revolted by biological drugs coming from the laboratories and factories of Targentum. The only acceptable medicines for him were those that had their origins in naturopathy.

“The foods given by nature are preferable to any others, even better than those produced by common agriculture or synthetic farming. Nuts of the forests, fruits of the orchards, and grain of the fields: these had to be accepted as the central content of healthy nutrition. They alone could provide sufficient healthy photochemicals for the human body. Plant protein alone was acceptable, whereas animal protein was dangerously toxic.

“Those are the principles that you learned from your father and made the center of your book and general advice.

“Yes, these ideas produced the Healer Archetype that is dominant within your ego and your conscious mind. But there is something different deep beneath it, down in your unconscious.”

“What do you think is there?” desperately asked Efo Hlag, the physician from Targentum. “Is an unknown complex of ideas and motives controlling my thought and behavior without my being aware of it?”

“You are a perceptive patient, my friend. There is a powerful logic within your brain, I doubt not. I can reveal to you what I suspect is influencing and shaping your inner conflict. Do you wish me to place a name on this invisible factor in your personality?”

Efo suddenly grew excited upon hearing these words. “Yes, of course I want to know what you think, Dr. Tarcan.”

The latter drew a deep breath, then began to speak as if in a trance.

“I have begun to tag your secret archetype as that of the Magician. It is the pattern that operates out of your unconscious mind in order to cripple and harm your conscious archetype, the major system that appears to be that of the positive, generous Healer.

“The selfish, greedy Magician curbs and attacks the positive, social Healer. It attempts to confuse and divert the Healer’s deeds and motives however it can.

“Your unseen Magician acts through deception and manipulation of other people. It makes you a tricky liar and poseur. I can place a number of your claims and actions that otherwise make no sense to this particular invisible archetype that hides deep within you.

“The Magician’s image comes out as trickery and unconventional behavior that no one can understand. Your ego is clever and able to present a different face to the world, that of the beneficial Healer. This is a mask that your devious personality uses to give a false identity of yourself to others.

“Your magical side does not seek to cure others through a natural diet and way of life, but to rule and control other persons. And if that proves to be impossible, your Magician Archetype is willing to destroy others by toxic means, even by using alchemical poisons and toxins on them.”

Deger stopped talking, because he could see that his patient, the physician, was shaking and coldly sweating.

“Let us stop now,” said the analyst, “and continue at our next meeting together.”

VII.

Mead met with Soro Rimny as the orbiting period around Tangentum reached its midpoint. The pair both felt a need to review the course events with patients were taking. As soon as both of them were seated in the older analyst’s office.

“How are your cases progressing?” asked the veteran. “I imagine that some of them may be presenting obstacles and problems to you. For example, how is your handling of the Marfan poet coming along?”

Mead hesitated for a moment before telling what he was thinking.

“Yes, I have had to move ahead slowly with thever writer of poetry from this planet. I have tried to apply the general pattern of the Poet Archetype to this individual, but it has not at all proved adequate. Time after time, it seemed that I had managed to make some kind of breakthrough with him.

“I have read verses of his to him in order to decipher their unconscious significance and symbolism to him, but to little avail. He cannot open up to me like so many others from Tangentum have done.

“It appears that his inner repressions and inhibitions are too strong to overcome with ease.”

Mead had a sad expression of defeat on his face for several seconds. But then an idea occurred that radically transformed his attitude in an opposite direction.

“There is one archetype from the past records on planet Earth that I aim to attempt to apply to this poet,” he muttered all at once.

“Which one is it?” inquired Soro with excitement.

“The Wizard Archetype. It is old, almost ancient, because the figure of a wizard has all but disappeared in our galactic age. It is old, and to many therapists it probably sounds archaic.

“But a poet has many characteristics of wizards of early history back on the primal planet.”

“What are you thinking of, Mead?”

After waiting a short while to consider how to answer, the younger analyst gave his reply slowly.

“The Wizard Archetype covers an unconscious aura of possessing hidden, almost arcane knowledge. It flows out of the writer who claims to be a poet and has hypnotic power over readers and hearers.

“One who can make other people accept his or her ego as belonging to a wizard can satisfy forgotten, concealed needs of those seeking satisfaction from the words and lines of verse.

“This archetype comes close to having claims that are occult in nature.”

Soro frowned. “You shall have to test this particular hypothesis of yours on the Marfan poet. That is the only way to find out whether it is true.”

Bax Muh, bored with his several patients from Tangentum, focused a lot of time and attention on cultivation of his acquaintance with the Marfan, Dr. Deger Tarcan. He was always ready and willing to help him with any problem that the visiting analyst might be contending with here on the Hygea.

The pair sat eating together in the staff dining hall. It was Bax who was curious about the other’s outcomes with his patients sent up from the planet.

“Hello, my friend. How are you doing? Are you getting noticeable results with the patients assigned you?”

Deger seemed to look away for a moment. “It is not at all easy to diagnose those who may be carriers of a great deal of resistance. For instance, I have a patient who is engaged in medical practice and writes books on the protection and preservation of health. But below this conscious mental life, there is a complex of patterns that is in conflict with and injures the Healer Archetype that defines the personality.

“I have delved into the hidden sector of this physician and hunted for an opposite archetype, one at continual war with the conscious identity of being a healing doctor. Have I uncovered the concealed factor, the force sabotaging the major archetype and spoiling its development and effectiveness?”

Deger lowered the sound of his voice to a murmur.

“I now believe that there is an archetype labelled as that of the Magician undermining the personal balance of this particular patient. It is the basis of the fellow’s self-doubt about his healing capabilities. This Magician Archetype aspires to making the doctor a miraculous performer of marvels, a wonderful, all-knowing advisor to other human beings on diet and how to live a healthy life.

“But what can I now do with this discovery? How can I make use of it for the patient’s establishment of harmony and wellbeing?”

Bax smiled in an arch, nearly devilish manner. “What would your physician think if you told him that his own cure and salvation depended upon allowing the buried Magician Archetype to arise out of the unconscious region and push out and replace what is supposed to be the Healer Archetype, the complex of patterns that rule and dominate the conscious ego?

“The results might be immediate if you advised this patient that such a total reversal was highly possible.” The diamond eyes of Bax Muh glowed with fervor and enthusiasm. “Make him believe that the transformation can occur in less than a moment, less than a single second. It will happen, if at all, in a magical instance.

“I would identify what the hidden Magician Archetype is capable of as a kind of epiphany, a stroke that occurs as if out of and beyond time itself.”

“An epiphanious event? Like an oracular revelation?” asked Deger with excitement.

“That is what I am speculating about,” replied Bax. “But in order for it to work, you must succeed in convincing your patient that it exists and does all that you claim that it does.”

The Malfan gave a thoughtful sigh. “I can attempt it, to see what I can accomplish with epiphanatic treatment. But I do not know what to do in order to obtain the result I want of bringing a new harmony to my patient’s mind. I would be lost in the dark, in a sense.”

The other analyst leaned his head forward. “I can help you, believe me. Let me work on your patient and we will both see what results. You can watch me and conclude whether what I do is successful with this physician of yours. What could be easier than that?”

Deger considered the proposal a few moments, then replied in a hesitant tone.

“Yes, we can carry out a kind of experimental test of the method you envision using to move a hidden archetype out of the unconscious, into the light of conscious thinking.

“I will have a session with the doctor tomorrow morning in my consulting room. If you are present, we can go forward and try to reorganize the archetypes of this patient of mine.”

The pair made arrangements to meet with Efo Hlag together for the sake of an epiphantic testing.

VIII.

“I have invited another analyst from the staff of the Hygea to participate in this session of ours,” the Marfan psychoanalyst informed the physician when he was with him for their next meeting together. “He will make an attempt to settle the tense conflict within your personality between two of your important archetypes, one of them dominating your conscious mind while the other lies invisible in the depths of your unconscious.

“Do you have any kind of objection to having this person here with us?” he asked Efo Hlag.

The patient looked confused for a moment or so, but then nodded his agreement.

“It will be all right with me, if you think it can help me find relief from the pain my mind has been suffering. I guess that there is no reason to fear an attempt to bring my internal war to and end,” said Efo with an enigmatic grimace on his face.

A knock sounded on the door.

“Come in, Doctor Muh,” called out Deger, himself opening the door and admitting the fellow analyst.

Bax stepped in and the Marfan closed the door behind it.

“Let’s be seated, please,” proposed Deger. “We can start on what has to be done.” He looked directly at his patient, the physician.

“I shall allow my colleague explain to you what he expects to do,” he informed Efo in a pleasant, assuring voice.

Bax turned his face toward the man sitting to his left and looked at him with shining, dilated diamond-like eyes.

“I have studies the analytic notes given me by Dr. Tarcan and feel that I have a knowledge of the basis of the severe, painful conflict you suffer within your mind and your most important thoughts.

“Although the Healer Archetype is the one the gives identity to your conscious ego, there exists a sort of twin archetype down in the depths of your unconscious, a kind of mirror-like double that is the nemesis of your primary one that made you go into medicine and health-preservation.

“This concealed, unrecognized archetype has been characterized as that of the Magician. It is just like one for a mysterious, disguised alchemist who deals in secret, arcane elixirs and medicaments. But it operates through lying and deception.

“I will go no further into the nature of this unrecognized, unacknowledged archetype that causes so much harmful conflict inside you. What my intention today is to drag the Magician Archetype out of its shadowy hiding place into the light of the conscious mind. With all my mental potential, I shall attempt to link and combine the two leading archetypes into a unified whole where they coexist in peace and harmony, where they operate in cooperation due to a creative partnership and merger of their influences upon your personality.”

Bax Muh focused his gemlike eyes on those of the overwhelmed, overpowered patient.

All at once, Dr. Efo Hlag lost control over his own coffee brown eyes.

A trancelike mood occupied both his mind and his body.

Something similar to physical paralysis took hold of both the conscious and unconscious regions of him.

Though still sitting upright in a chair, he all but swooned into a fainting coma.

Bax slowly rose to his feet and bent forward, his head coming near the head of the disoriented, dislocated patient.

The couple of words that Dr. Muh whispered to Efo Hlag could not be made out by Deger, sitting in wonder behind a tiny meta-steel desk.

The Marfan from Targetum, officially the psychoanalyst in charge of the patient’s treatment, watched in stunned bewilderment as the exchange in front of him came to an end.

Bax drew back his position, righted his posture and turned his face toward Deger.

“I have had to dive deeply into your patient’s shadow and try to liberate his secondary Magician Archetype from the trap where it rotted and festered,” asserted the one who had been allowed to attempt freeing Efo from his archetypal dilemma and conflict. “My hope is that he will now be able to integrate the patterns that his ego was for so long unable to integrate and coordinate.

“When he awakens from his present nap, I shall be gone and you can explain to him that he has undergone a new therapy that can be termed epiphanic in character.

“Please, I beg you to report to me on changes, hopefully improvements, in his mental condition.”

With that said, Bax rose and exited the consultation room.

It took a considerable length of time for Efo to return to everyday consciousness. But Deger at once perceived that an important change in mood had occurred in his patient.

“How do you feel now?” inquired the primary therapist. “Are you able to make it back to your cabin on your own, Efo?”

The patient gave the analyst a sparkling smile that astonished Deger.

“You look and seem somehow enlightened and relieved by what just happened with Dr. Muh. Could you describe to me how you feel now?”

Efo looked about in bewilderment and confusion. “I can’t explain it, not at all. But there is something fresh and refreshing inside me. I mean up in my brain and inside my thoughts and emotions. There is no explanation that I can give you.

“It’s like I’ve become a new, different person. As if I have somehow been reborn, gone through a new, second rebirth.

“Is that possible, Doctor? Is it even thinkable or conceivable?”

Deger decided to risk a sensitive question. “Do you believe that your previous pain, the conflict inside your personality, continues to exist and plague you?”

The patient looked intensely into the face of his analyst. “I feel liberated from that weight bearing on me. I hope this is permanent and not a fleeting sensation of some kind.”

“We shall watch and see, Efo,” murmured Deger hopefully.

IX.

In three-space days, Deger Tarcan was jubilant.

His patient named Efo Hlag no longer suffered an internal war between a conscious and an unconscious archetypes that shaped his personality, thought, and behavior.

The physician who had suffered internal pain and tension on his home planet of Targentum no longer acted or felt the way he had when he came aboard the Hygea.

Deger went to the office of Bax Muh, the man who had somehow carried out a mysterious therapeutic operation. His intention was to learn how the other analyst had succeeded in making such a radically fundamental transformation in the tormented Healer Archetype of the physician.

“There has been a total reorganization of the archetypal patterns in the man you helped me with,” confessed the Marfan psychoanalyst. “I still wonder how you managed to carry it out. There has to be some method you possess that those like me are ignorant of.

“I would do anything to find out how it was done on the man I was treating without noticeable result. There was nothing lengthy done to him. The whole event was short and comparatively fast, but I cannot even guess what its element were or what your technique consisted of.”

Deger stood looking with his blue eyes sharply focused on the sitting Bax Muh.

The latter suddenly broke out with a peal of laughter.

“I had to go back into the early history of psychoanalytic studies on planet Earth, where I uncovered an antique methodology that was in use among a small fraction of psychiatrists and psychological therapists. Have you ever heard on Targentum of what was once identified as mesmerism?”

Deger raised his hand and rubbed his chin. “I believe it was a form of entrancement exercised on persons amenable to outside suggestion. That would mean that an analyst might exercise total influence over a suggestible, subordinate type of patient.

“As far as I know, no therapist now makes use of such a potentially dangerous method of influence and control of others. It would be much too risky.”

All of a sudden, Bax shot up from his chair onto his feet.

“I have worked out a safe method of applying the central principles of antique mesmerism to mental patients suffering conflicts of their main archetypes. In this case of yours, I brought the Magician Archetype out of the shadow of the unconscious and melded it into unified concord with the troubled Healer Archetype that dominated the conscious ego of Efo Hlag.

“That’s the secret of what I accomplished: I combined two opposed archetypes into a larger, greater complex of patterns.

“Efo will continue with his older self-identity, but with a new, innovated personality that will make him both a successful healer and a capable, assured magician.

“Your patient shall be much more than he ever was before during his life.”

Deger felt himself growing nervous and breathless.

“You must teach me how to apply this method. I beg you to help me master it.”

Bax grinned at his evident victory. “I name this the epiphanic method. It allows me to apply the most-valuable core of mesmerism to reorganizing the archetypes of a conflicted patient.”

The Marfan analyst sat down to hear the other explain what he had done to treat the problems of Efo.

Mead was frustrated by his lack of success with his troubled poet, Svim Pruj.

Even though the two of them had together plowed through portions of the patient’s poetic verses and explored the connections between the overarching Poet Archetype and the unconscious Wizard Archetype, there had been no actual resolution of the tension and contradictions between these two opposite complexes of personality patterns. The one remained a conscious factor, while the second remained a shadowy force that hid and festered in the unconscious shadow of Svim.

Mead was eating a late dinner in the staff eating hall when Deger Tarcan appeared and took the vacant place across from him.

The giant Marfan made a sudden, jarring announcement.

“I have made a decision and asked to see and talk with Dtrector Zor about it.”

Mead looked up at him with rising curiosity. What was the visiting analyst referring to? he wondered.

“I want to stay on the Hygea as a permanent staff member,” he told his colleague. “My experience here has been a revelation to me. I believe that I can become a very useful, valuable psychoanalyst by applying what I now know on other planets across our galaxy.”

Mead could see the excited enthusiasm on the other man’s face. “That is a big surprise to me, Deger, but I would certainly welcome you if you join with us. I believe you could make notable contributions to our mission of spreading advanced therapy everywhere we can.”

The other analyst grinned. “I plan to apply much that I have already learned right here on board the Hygea.”

Deger then rose to his feet and hurried out of the dining hall, leaving Mead in a state of questioning curiosity and friendly concern for the Marfan who had made an important decision.

The Director was first of all surprised by the request for permanent employment from the Targentumian, then excited by what it could mean for the future results for the Hygea.

The two sat opposite each other in the private office of Klet Zor.

“I am happy that our ship’s staff has affected you so favorably and deeply, my good man,” answered the short man in charge of the therapeutic services of the vessel. “Yes, indeed, we need additional staff. That has been true for a considerable time. There will be plenty of work involved on our future visits across the galaxy.

“I myself would be most happy to have you along with us. Everything that has come to be on written reports and orally has been complimentary to you. There is no question in my mind that you could contribute a great deal to our efforts and results in future operations elsewhere.

“You have my approval, and I am certain that our committee of department heads will agree with my own judgment concerning your joining our staff.

“Since you are a psychotherapist with archetypal education and work experience, I believe you will fall under the supervision of Dr. Rimny. I take for granted that you would enjoy working with him.”

“Yes, indeed I would, sir,” replied the Marfan analyst. “It will be my goal to devote myself to the advancement and progress of our area of therapy.”

The Director and the applicant smiled at each other with mutual satisfaction.

Deger looked for Bax Muh in the ship’s gymnasium where the latter was exercising on a elliptical machine.

The heavy exerciser stopped and looked up at the rangy Marfan.

“How are you doing, Deger?” inquired Bax.

“Better all the time. I have something important to tell you. The Director has given his agreement to my petition to join the staff as a permanent member. That means my leaving Targentum and going into space with you and all the others.

“I will have the opportunity to perfect my skills in epiphanic treatment, Bax. It will be possible for the two of us to work in tandem. I hope that you will aid me in improving my knowledge and skills in using your method, my friend.”

The exerciser grinned with pleasure. “You shall be a great addition to our crew of therapists. And I promise to reveal all that I know about the method to you. There will be enormous opportunities for both of us to advance our kind of epiphanic treatment of archetypes.

“You and I will become leaders around whom many others will gather to catch up with our successes in treatment.”

“The future of psychotherapy is surely in our direction, Bax,” noted the Marfan.

The patients from Targentum had now to leave the Hygea and return to their homes on the planet.

Mead had his last session with all his patients. The saddest was the one with the poet, Svim Proj.

“I apologize for not having done more to better your personality conflict,” confessed the analyst. “Your Poet Archetype and its companion, the Wizard Archetype, still remain positioned against each other.

“There has been a modicum of progress, but you will have to return to Targentum with the differences still there in existence. More therapy on planet will stand ahead for you.

“My regret is that I could not accomplish more for your health and happiness.”

“You did the best you could, Doctor,” muttered the patient in a hollow voice, not at all smiling at him.

Galactic Minds II.

13 Dec

I.

Director Klet Zor was surprised by what Captain Nevre Wia reported to him when she came to his office for their weekly scheduled meeting.

“Something that never happened before on the Hygea just occurred,” she declared to him with breathless excitement. “There has been a meeting of certain self-selected patients in a recreation room near the patient dining hall. The reason I know about the event is because food was ordered for those who were present, and the cooks and servers involved in this thought it unusual and reported what was being done to members of my staff, and these then sent the news to me.

“I have learned that the function of this patients’ assembly was to organize an association of the residents under mental treatment aboard our ship. It will be something in operation as long as this group continues to be on this vessel.

“For me, this development was so strange and unprecedented that I felt it was duty to inform you what was going on.”

She gazed at the Director expectantly, waiting to learn what he would decide to do. What he told her was surprising to Captain Wia.

“There may be nothing that I can do directly about this patient initiative. I think that the therapists can provide me useful advice about how to handle this new organization.

“Can you obtain the names of those patients who are providing leadership to this patient enterprise?”

She sent the Director a smile. “Yes, I can ask the kitchen staff to find that out for me, then provide it for you.”

“I will greatly appreciate that, Nevre,” responded Klet Zor.

Xop Kulo ate dinner in the patients’ hall with Byen Sikum and Sia Garno sitting with him at the same small, isolated table. He had ideas hatching in his mind that he had to relate to his close confederates.

“Our first, organizational meeting went better than I expected, and we came out of it with sixteen resident patients as active, enthusiastic members. But we will now have to decide what our initial goals are going to be.

“The idea came to me like a flash: each patient must have the right to choose his or her own therapist. That is a matter of simple, basic justice. It should not be decided by an outsider like the Director of the hospital.

“This would mean that a new patient is entitled to look over the biography and the clinical records of each psychiatrist or psychological analyst, and then select which of them to individually interview.

“That will, of course, take some time at the very beginning. But it is the best method of assuring a good, productive fit between doctor and patient.

“What do you two think of my plan? It may shock some on the staff as being extremely radical. But it will certainly improve the general operation of the therapy of this hospital vessel.”

Sia had a practical question. “What about us? We are already assigned to staff members we ourselves had no part in choosing. Are we going to begin over again somehow?”

Xop smiled at her. “We can ask that anyone dissatisfied with a present therapist be granted the right to change to another one at any time at all. And it can happen at any time, for any reason whatever. The matter will rest completely in the hands of the patient, and no one else but him or her.

“There will be no interference or veto by the Director or the previous therapist, none at all.”

“That sounds good to me,” commented Byen. “But will Director Zor and the medical staff accept such a transfer of authority to us, the patients?”

“We shall make them swallow it,” firmly predicted Xop Kulo.

It was customary for the Director to summon a staff member to his office if he wished to converse with him or her. But this situation was a new and unique one, so that Klet Zor decided to underline its importance by himself walking to the personal office of Dr. Soro Rimny to discuss a sensitive, potentially dangerous subject.

The analyst, working on patient notes on his archive processor, looked up in surprise as the Director entered unannounced.

“I have to see you about an alarming subject, Soro,” declared Dr. Zor, taking the chair opposite the therapist sitting at his small private desk.

“What is it?” inquired the puzzled doctor.

“Something unheard of till now has started among our patients,” explained the Director. “A few of them have organized the core of what could expand into an all-inclusive congregation of the entire patient population on the Hygea.

“That threatens all of us with unforeseeable problems, I fear. No one today can predict what harmful consequences might follow from such a misguided effort.

“I wish to speak with you, Soro, because the ringleader and original creator of this new organization is a patient who you happened to be assigned to the new therapist who is working under your supervision, Dr. Muh. The name of this patient organizing the others is Xop Kulo.

“Has this person presented any special problems or difficulties to Muh? I wonder. It would be helpful to me if you could obtain for me the analytic notes about the man. I understand that he considered himself an inventor and technological entrepreneur down on planet Geryon.

“Am I correct?”

Soro Rimny felt as if the floor of his tiny office was shaking and quaking.

It took the analyst several moments to collect his thoughts together and start to speak.

“Bax Muh is applying old-fashioned archetypal theory to his personality and mental patterns. That, of course, has not been a popular area of our profession for a considerable time. But I believe it has furnished us some valuable insights in the way patients think, feel, and behave.

“It may be possible for me to get Bax Muh’s cooperation in understanding and influencing what his patient may be trying to achieve by his actions

“I would not at all underestimate what this unusual patient might or could attempt to do aboard our vessel, Klet.”

The Director studied the face of Soro for signs of alarm or concern. Indeed, he found the psychoanalyst frowning, with signs of internal worry in his expression.

“Yes, this threatens to grow into a major question and problem for all of us, if this Xop Kulo should be successful.

“I want you to work together with Dr. Muh on the matter when next you see him, Soro. A lot depends on whether our new analyst can convince him to halt his crazy project. I can provide a list of the other patients who are involved with him in his organizing activities.”

With that, the Director rose to his feet and left the tiny office of Soro Rimny.

II.

How should he approach the new member of the therapeutic staff? the veteran analyst asked himself, thinking over the possible alternatives.

It might be best to have another person present when he brought up the subject of patient organization and the role of Xop Kulo with Dr. Bax Muh. And the logical candidate for a partner was a psychoanalyst he knew well and could fully trust, Mead Quort.

Soro walked to the quarters of his friend and knocked, finding Mead there resting on his parlor sofa.

“I have an important matter to talk over with you,” said the experienced veteran. “You can either confirm or criticize my thinking on a burning question. Let me describe what I am referring to, Mead.”

The latter invited the visitor to sit down in an easy chair opposite himself.

“The Director has informed me of an unexpected development that may possibly cause us problems before too long. It has to do with our patients and how they relate to each other. A few have decided to attempt to organize the entire category that they belong to into a single, united organization meant to protect and advance their common interests.

“This plan is still in its initial stage of formation, but the Director believes there must be some contact with the leading figures in order to communicate the concerns of the staff and deal with it in a cool, logical manner.

“He came to me and asked that I talk with the analyst who treats the chief leader of the beginning group.” He paused, staring directly at Mead. “The therapist who is in charge of the primary patient is Bax Muh, and the main patient involved is Xop Kulo.

“What do you think, Mead? Will you join and help me in questioning Bax about his unusual patient? He has already recruited a patient of yours, as well as one of my own.”

“Yes, it will be most interesting to me,” replied the younger man.

Although his pair of colleagues tried to put him at ease, Bax Muh sensed that something was being hidden behind the disarming smiles and informality of both Soro and Mead.

“How are your cases coming along?” inquired Dr. Rimny in a friendly tone with a casual manner.

Bax replied with no hint of wariness or alarm. “I have to say that my analytic sessions are occurring with surprising ease and productiveness. The patients from Geryon seem to be people who are conscious of the magnificent benefits that can result from treatment through archetypal analysis on a deep basis. I already have noted positive results in several of my most serious cases.”

“That is good to hear, my friend,” said Soro with a mild grin. “It is a good reflection on you and your therapeutic abilities through psychoanalysis.

“It will be possible for you to act as a factor in an important area that Mead and I have been assigned to look into. What I am referring to is an attempt by one of your patients to set up an organized group dedicated to patient interests.

“The patient at the very center of this endeavor is a man named Xop Kulo. He is at present under your immediate supervision. But because of his organizing initiative, our attention is focused upon him.

“We are depending upon you for information about this individual, Bax.

“Do you notice signs of unrest or rebelliousness in this particular patient of yours?”

Both Soto and Mead stared attentively at Dr. Muh, waiting for him to answer the question.

“No,” bluntly declared the newest analyst on the Hygea. “What you speak of is a complete surprise to me. I had no hint of anything like what you describe from what I have heard from the mouth of Xop.

“I am astounded that he is involved in such an initiative.”

Soro quickly decided that nothing of value could be gleaned at this time from Bax Muh.

“That is what we wished to ask you. Thank you a lot,” smiled the veteran of psychoanalytic treatment. “If you should come upon anything of interest, I would ask you to tell me and Mead about what it is.”

The three of them separated, each going his own way.

III.

My curiosity about this unforeseeable development has conquered me, Mead Quort fully recognized.

But what am I going to do concerning what I feel?

He knew that he could not leave the question of patient organization alone.

I must carefully ask my own patient, Byen Sikum, about his own relationship to what seems to be developing. That is the most convenient way for me to involve myself in what could become a difficult problem for the Hygea if it continues and expands into something of importance.

“How are adjusting to this new environment on this vessel, Byen?” inquired the therapist at the next session in his consulting office. “Have you made new friends with other residents who are here for their health?”

The patient nodded and smiled. “It is a lot more pleasant aboard the Hygea than I anticipated it would be. I thought that my twin and I would be isolated and by ourselves, but that is not at all what I found. There are many interesting persons here like I am, seeking answers and remedies.

“No one need be isolated, because there are numerous contacts and relationships to be constructed and built up.

“Yes, it has been a big surprise for me how many friendships could develop with people trying to make changes in themselves and their lives.”

“I can imagine that it is encouraging when others help to support one’s positive changes. Has that been the story for you, Byen?”

All at once, the latter scowled. “It would be good if those treating us were present and more thoroughly concerned about how each of us was doing, Doctor. It appears to me that many of the other patients do not receive the same kind of attentive understanding as I myself get from my sessions with you.

“Many of them are unsatisfied with how their therapist treats them. They are denied the needed support and sympathy from the doctor in charge of their case.”

Mead’s interest swiftly expanded. “That is interesting to me, because I did not at all suspect anything like that. Do you pick up many such complaints about the therapists from the others under treatment by our staff?”

Byen made an enigmatic facial expression. “I am an exception, Doctor, because my treatment under your direction is helpful and effective. Perhaps that is due to your use of what is called the Archetypal Method of analysis. I have begun to understand myself with increasing clarity because of your detailed description of what you call my Gemini Archetype. My self-discerning has became greater than at any other time. I do not remember ever before perceiving myself so accurately.

“And my double indicates to me that he also comprehends himself better than ever before.

“Both of us have you to thank for that marvelous achievement, Dr. Quort.”

“It is pleasing to me to hear you say that, Byen,” said the latter with a lump forming in his throat.

Why was he succeeding with this Gemini-dominated patient? he asked himself in the back of his mind.

Mead felt greater confidence that ever before in the mode of archetypal analysis inherited from Carl Jung and the Zurich School on planet Earth.

He decided to inform his mentor, Soro Rimny, of what he had learned from talking with this particular patient.

Sia Garno had become used to talking openly to her psychoanalyst. She asked Soro many questions about the nature of the archetypal analysis that she was submitting herself to.

“I have learned a lot about myself from our sessions together, Doctor, but I still do not understand what you are aiming to achieve. Can this kind of therapy have any kind of effect or influence on the way my mind operates? Is there any hope that I will receive the relief, the internal peace that I need in order to continue with my life?”

She looked pleadingly at him, searching for some sign that could bring her some sort of decisive resolution.

Soro gave her a smile of encouragement. “Do not be worried or concerned, Sia. You have continued to make noticeable progress at each of our meetings together. But there have been opportunities outside our formal sessions of analyst and patient. Every day, you have interacted with other persons on the Hygea. I am thinking about your fellow-patients, those who are also searching for answers and solutions.

“How have your relations with the others worked out, Sia? Do you see positive results from your interactions with them? How have these new ties and connections influenced you in your thoughts and feelings?”

She suddenly became deeply serious. “It has been a marvelous experience for me. I have acquired a true appreciation of individuals with whom I can say that I am now acquainted. Yes, it has always been difficult for me to make new friends, and I have never had great success in that area.

“But in the short time I have rotated about my home planet on the Hygea, I have formed strong connections with an amazing number of persons from Geryon. We are becoming more and more familiar with each other. No question of that, Dr. Rimny.”

The analyst leaned his head forward, his gray eyes staring with forceful power at her. “Being with the other patients makes you feel better about yourself, Sia? It is important for you to tell me how you feel when you are with the others like yourself.”

No reply came from her for a time, until she was sure how far she should go in self-revelation.

“I love being together with them,” she said in a near whisper. “It is intimate and comfortable to be together in a real group. We are similar persons in so many ways. It is hard to say this, but all of the patients I know feel distant and apart from their personal therapists.

“The doctors, the psychiatrists and the psychoanalysts are up there above us. We, the patients, happen to be situated far below them. They do not have to cope with the difficulties that our position forces on us. That is the awful truth of what our mental problems force us to accept and have to live with.”

Dr. Soro Rimny found himself all of a sudden wordless and speechless.

He brought the session with Sia to a quick, unsatisfactory end.

IV.

Dr. Muh thought for a long time over how he was going to deal with his surprising patient, Xop Kulo. The man had started something that no one, not even he, could have foreseen. An organization of patients might become an independent factor affecting many aspects of life and therapeutic activity on the Hygea. Could this particular person, analyzed as having a Hermes archetype as the dominant ingredient of his mental identity, be a useful instrument for what his analyst had inside his own mind to carry out aboard the hospital ship?

By the time that Xop appeared for his next scheduled session, his analyst had worked out an entire scheme of amended and reshaped treatment for him.

The two sat opposite each other, and Dr. Muh began the hour with an astounding confession of error to his patient.

“I have thought for a long time about my archetypal diagnosis of your individual personality, Xop, and I have been compelled to change what I told you about what is dominant within you.

“Instead of being under the influence of a primary archetype that is that of ancient Hermes, I now prefer to mark you with dominance of the character that I and many others term that of the Rebel.”

The analyst saw his patient shake for several seconds, then restore some measure of calm. “Why did you do that, Doctor?” asked Xop, overwhelmed by the unexpected alteration in the thinking of the one treating him.

Bax looked at his patient with sympathy on his face. “It must never be forgotten that the mind of any person is a complicated, very complex structure, and that it is capable of major change over time.

“Although a particular archetype may be dominant and shape the bulk of one’s thoughts, feelings, and behavioral patterns, it is accompanied with a multitude of subordinate, less important ones as well. This can cause conflicts and difficulties within a personality system.

“I erred in marking you as having a Hermes dominance, and I must apologize to you and beg that you forgive me for my misreading. Today, I consider your personality to be that of the archetypal category labelled the Rebel.

“That is the closest approximation to the reality of your thought patterns.”

“You are sure of that, sir?” said Xop in a tone of awe and wonder.

Bax smiled. “You are a person who is always prepared to break out of old ways and patterns. Rules and regulations do not frighten you at all, because of your knowledge of how weak and flimsy they in reality are. It is not at all difficulty for you to reject and disobey whoever claims to possess authority over you but cannot prove that it provides any personal benefit to your particular interest.

“You are a highly independent soul, my friend.”

“I never thought of myself that way,” admitted the overwhelmed patient.

The Doctor continued describing his new analysis of Xop’s main archetype.

“You secret drive and hidden wish is to become a creative person whose thinking is free of outside authority or influence. You are an eternal challenger of the existing order, the status quo because it weighs you down.

“I have watched you acting outside our sessions, Xop, and it has become evident to me that you do not wish to remain completely powerless in your position as one of our patients here on the Hygea.

“Word has come to me concerning your brilliant efforts to bring together the other patients undergoing treatment with us. This proves to me that your personality is actively creative, seeking methods not in operation up to now. I dare to congratulate you on your originality and initiative. This is having a positive effect on your mind and its self-image. I urge you to continue in this vein. It will result in lifting up your personality, as well as benefiting all the other patients who join with you to bring about changes in how things are done on our ship.”

Dr. Muh paused a moment, studying the face of Xop before continuing on.

“I promise to help you in this endeavor that you have started.

“Whenever you need advice of any kind, come to me and I shall attempt to provide it for you.

“I am on your side and willing to do whatever I can to support your goals and efforts. You can depend on my help, Xop.”

“Thank you,” muttered the shaken patient. He suddenly realized that the meeting with his psychoanalyst was over, excusing himself and withdrawing in a dreamlike state of undefined satisfaction.

V.

A large gymnasium provided the staff and the patients a multitude of exercise machinery and facilities. Byen Sikum and Sia Garno discovered each other here among the bench presses, dip stations, preacher benches, mountain bikes, kettlebells, roman chairs, and cable pulleys.

The pair utilized adjacent thread mills, talking and exercising their legs simultaneously.

“What do you think we are going to achieve by all this meeting and organizing we are occupied in, Sia?” inquired her companion, moving at the same speed as she was. “Is there going to be any tangible effect for anyone, or will it turn out a disappointing defeat, a tragedy for all the participants like us?”

She turned her face toward him and answered in a low, muffled voice.

“We have to keep up our confidence and courage,” she warned her companion. “I trust the Xof is aware of the risks that we will be taking in making our demands on our therapists. But he has, so far, shown that he is a good leader with a sense of how things work here on the Hygea.

“I believe that we have to be patient as we perfect our organization that is working for the interests of the entire patient population of this hospital ship.”

Byen looked away from her and spoke with clenched lips. “I sincerely hope that you are right about what he is capable of, Sia,” he muttered through his teeth.

Captain Nevre Wia was appearing at the executive office of Director Klet Zor on a regular, continual basis with the same alarming notices about what a handful of patients were doing in private.

“It’s the same persons again and again,” she told the short, fat chief of therapy on the Hygea. “They get together in their dining hall at every meal that comes up, always sitting together and occupying the same tables as if by custom. And they find corners of the ship library and first aid stations where they can congregate with being noticed.

“If there was an innocent reason for these private assembles, why would there be so many signs of intended, managed secrecy? They are not holding such meetings for their relaxation or entertainment, that is for sure.”

She gave the Doctor a severe stare with her large green eyes.

Klet Zor, consumed with thought, looked down at the polymer top of his desk.

“I have asked a veteran therapist, a psychoanalyst, to investigate these matters for me, and I expect that he will get to the meaning of what is being reported. Until I learn a lot more, nothing at all is going to be done about this subject.

“For now, till I figure out what should be done, you and I must both be patient and allow things to take their own course.

“That appears wisest to me, Captain Wia.”

The disappointed skipper made a quick, dissatisfied exit from the office.

Xop Kulo had something important that he wished to present to the patients he had brought together to form a united organization, but bringing all of them together at one time, in a single place was not feasible. It would have drawn unnecessary attention to how more the movement had already grown and progressed.

The result of the leader’s calculations was a set of separate assembles in a number of different locations where the event seemed less apt to be noticed and reported to anybody with authority on the Hygea.

Xop’s first presentation was to a group of ten who stayed in the patient dining hall after the close of a midday lunch hour.

Both Byen and Sia, sitting beside each other, were part of the small immediate audience.

“What I am about to propose to you may at first sound risky and dangerous for our patients’ organization to dare undertake, but the more I think it over the more I see sense in our attempting it.

“I mean to propose to Director Zor and our leading psychiatrists and psychoanalysts that each incoming patient, in the future, have the privilege of choosing his or her doctor from the full roster available on our ship’s staff. And I also believe that every person entering as a patient have total power to change therapists at any time, for any reason at all or even without giving any specific cause for wishing to do so.”

Xop paused to catch his breath and gaze about at all those hearing his words.

Satisfied with the effect he was having, he proceeded with what he was saying.

“It would be greatly helpful to our efforts if we won some degree of support for our demand for the right to select our own individual therapist. I leave it to each one of us to evaluate his or her own doctor as to whether they are true friends who support what is in the interest of their patients. I realize that my own psychoanalyst is squarely behind what I plan to present as a demand to our Director of psychiatric and analytic services.

“My hope is that each one of you try to communicate to your therapist the sincerity and the justice of the demands that I shall soon be making to Dr. Klet Tor, the individual in charge of the overall administration of this hospital in orbit around Geryon.

“I shall be making periodic reports to you, our members, on the reception that I receive from the highest authorities who manage and direct the vehicle on which we now find ourselves.”

The assembled group of patients quickly disbursed without any discussion of what Xop Kulo had said to them.

VI.

Byen Sikum seemed ill-at-ease at his next session with his analyst, Mead Quort.

“Is there anything the matter, something bothering you?” asked the therapist once both of them were seated in the consultation room.

The patient made a theatrical sort of smile. “I didn’t think that it was visible on the outside. But yes, I feel as if I am caught in something that I don’t really understand, that is driving me in a direction that I can’t anticipate in any logical way, Dr. Quort.

“What I am thinking about and talking of is the patients’ association that is beginning to form, and which I mentioned to you before.

“The more my involvement in it grows and expands, the less certain I become of where the whole project might end up.

“Yes, I am deeply worried about what the outcome might turn out to be, both for me and all the other patients aboard the Hygea.”

Mead decided that he had to probe into the source of his patient’s troubled reaction and response to what seemed to be happening.

“Do you foresee a high risk of actual conflict between the patient population and the staff that is supposed to be helping them?”

Byen suddenly furrowed his forehead in complex thought. “I have had warnings given me by my duplicate, my twin. But they are foggy and indefinite. It is a vague, imprecise apprehension that I get from my double when the two of us are completely alone by ourselves.”

Mead, nodding his head forward, stared intensely at the patient who represented two separate identities.

“It is more important, Byen, that you decide for yourself whether you should participate fully in this association of our patients. You are the one who will the active person involved, not your unseen, invisible double.”

The analyst studied the face of his patient, wondering if he had said anything to disturb the one he was treating for his Gemini Archetype.

The patient proceeded into an area of his mind that Mead had not anticipated even existed.

“There is a member of our leadership group of patients about whom I am trying to explore the possibilities, one way or another, of involvement in seeking the advancement of patient rights and privileges aboard this vessel.

“I am referring to a troubled young woman named Sia Garno. She happens to be a patient of the oldest of our therapists, Dr. Rimny. She has revealed to me that she believes she is able to read minds and take in electronic messages as well. Her main archetype is called that of the prophetess Cassandra, according to her doctor.

“It is a puzzle to me what the effect of interpersonal conflict with the psychological staff might be for her. I wonder whether her mind and personality might be too delicately balanced for anything as traumatic as a deep division and antagonism with the therapists, including her own.”

Mead decided to ask a sharp personal question. “You speak often with this person being treated by my colleague, Dr. Rimny?”

Byen nodded that he did. “I do not wish to see her hurt in any respect by what may soon happen on the Hygea, Dr. Quort.”

The latter attempted to guide his patient in a wise direction.

“I am impressed by the close tie that has arisen between you and the young woman you have spoken of. My best advice to you is that you talk sincerely with her about the future course to be taken by the patients’ association that is being organized. Her opinion should weigh very heavily in what course you take.

“I would also tell you to depend on what your double’s view of the new group is. That will have great influence upon your own thoughts, I am certain about that.

“Yes, the judgments of both your other self along with those of your new friend will have justifiable influence upon your personal decisions. That is for certain.”

“Thank you, Dr. Quort,” said the patient with relief. “I appreciate what you just told me. More thought by me will now be necessary, but I now know where to find the guidance that I need.”

Sia Garno entered the office of Dr. Soro Rimny with visible, evident reluctance. Her analyst recognized the mood his patient was in immediately and told himself to provide her some sense of comfort at once.

“I hope that you are feeling well. If there is anything weighing on your thought at the present moment, it would be best of you described what it is so that I can help you overcome the thing.

“I assure you, I will do the best I know how to aid in solving whatever problem or difficulty may have arisen for you, dear Sia.”

He gazed at her with sincere sympathy in his large gray eyes.

The patient began reluctantly to give voice to what she was holding back from both others and herself.

“There has been something flowing into my mind from other patients, those who live close to me.

“They have succeeded in drawing me into a group and activities that I did not anticipate at all. Some of the thoughts, especially of the group’s leader, are very disturbing to me, but I have been unable to reveal my negative emotions and thoughts to any of my fellow-patients up to this moment.

“I do have one close friend on the vessel, but I will not name this person or give any hint of identity. Until this session with you, Dr. Rimny, I have only thought over what I heard in other minds and not put these things in words, even to myself.”

“What is the content of these minds that you have read, Sia?”

“There will soon be demands made on the Director and the psychiatric staff, and if these are not satisfied at once, there will be an active wave of resistant activities by the association of patients.

“The resulting conflict threatens to be a serious battle of wills.”

“You are certain that there will be presentation of demands for changes from the leader of the patients’ association?” anxiously asked Dr. Rimny.

“He has a will of iron,” replied his patient with the Casssandra archetype dominant. “I can measure his mind’s stubborn determination to prevail over everybody else. He is full of unbounded hatred for everyone else. I know that for the truth about him.”

VII.

Bax Muh thought with devilish glee of what he had created. Where or when had there existed anything like the association of patients that he was successfully constructing through the thoughts and actions of Xop Kulo?

He held full possession over the man’s Rebel Archetype, which was related to the Hermes that he had first diagnosed for this puzzling patient.

Did I myself discover and cultivate this particular archetype in the mind and personality of Xop? Bax wondered as he waited for the patients’ leader to enter his consultation room for his scheduled session.

The patient walked in briskly, shutting the door with energetic vigor in his right arm.

Once Xop had sat down opposite his heavy therapist, the latter asked him how his association was progressing with its plan to make demands on the Director and the staff.

“Quite well, sir. I would dare say that things are moving forward ahead of the time I planned and anticipated. Yes, everything is ready for the demands, and I intend to present them to Director Zor the space-day after tomorrow.

“All the members will be prepared for a long, bitter conflict to win what we need and want.”

Bax smiled with satisfaction. “I can foresee the use of a tool, a sort of weapon of surprise, that will guarantee victory for the patients.”

“What is that?” inquired the excited leader. “What are you thinking of, Doctor?”

Bax gave a short laugh. “A surprise strike by the patients. Think of it: all the residents refuse to go to their therapists. They do not at all obey or move. No one attends any scheduled session. No one does what they are supposed to. The whole hospital system is crushed. The very reason for the Hyea disappears without the willing cooperation of those brought here for treatment.

“What is the Director going to do about this unforeseen situation? Imprison or punish all of the patients aboard? I don’t think so.”

Xop peered with triumph at the big bruin advising him on how to win the coming conflict on the ship.

“Yes, indeed,” agreed the patient. “The is the only way to realize our demands. We will stun the Director and everyone else with the boldness of our action, or should I say our refusal to act as expected.

“I call you a true genius, Dr. Muh. You are the maker of the key to what we are after. You are providing us the golden key that will open all doors for us, the patients of the Hyea.”

Bax pretended embarrassment. “I feel that I owe to give what I can to you and all the others who have joined with you, Xop.”

It was Soro Rimny who decided to ignore the rules about doctor-patient privacy by talking about what he had learned from his session with Sia Garno. The colleague he trusted the most happened to be the young analyst, Mead Quort. He found the latter working on an electronic memorex in his private office.

“There is a matter I have to talk to you about,” muttered the older man once he was seated across from Mead. “It has to do with the patients’ formation of an organization of their own to advance their specific interests. What has been revealed to me contains the potential for problematic conflict in the near future unless something is immediately done about it.”

Mead focused his light blue eyes on the face of the short, slim veteran.

“I have myself heard about the activities of the united patients from one of my patients named Byen Sikum. It is hard to predict what the effects of such a movement might turn out to be on the psychological condition of any single one of the participants.

“It is impossible for me to see what could possibly result from what has started.”

Soro looked down at the polished, smooth desk talk as he revealed what he had learned from his female patient.

“The leader of this agitation of the patients is a character named Xop Kulo. I have found out that he is a patient of Bax Muh and is undergoing deep archetypal analysis with him. According to my own patient, Miss Garno, he is a headstrong personality with the desire to be the dominant one among his fellow patients. The original idea of an associated group came from him, and he has circulated about the Hygea, selling the idea of a formal organization that could represent the interests of all the resident patients aboard our ship at the present time.

“This Xop Kulo has convinced his immediate followers that their main demand from the Director and the psychological staff has to be the right of each patient to select his or her own therapist from the roster of our staff. That means that at any time one desires a patient can drop the present therapist and enroll with another that is chosen from the list.

“That would present a revolutionary change and a major challenge to how the doctors on the Hygea have operated from the very beginning of our operation many years ago.

“But Mr. Kulo does not care how much his program might disorient our operations or the chaos it would certainly create for all of the staff.”

Soro looked at Mead with a serious, questioning expression. “What are we to do about this development? My patient, Sia Garno, continues to believe that she is able to read the minds of other persons. Focusing her attention upon the leader of the group, Xop Kulo, she has come to think of him as a dangerous person motivated of evil, selfish thoughts and desires.

“She means to warn her fellow patients of the harm their leader is capable of committing through his campaign to reshape the way therapy is set up aboard our vessel.

“I am growing increasingly alarmed about what could occur when and if she quarrels with the patient leader about his program and he issues demands on the Director.

“We shall be facing a highly volatile situation, I believe.”

“We must, both of us, keep our eyes on these particular patients,” declared Mead in a firm tone. “The situation appears to me as becoming increasingly unpredictable.”

VIII.

The most prominent and active individuals of the new association met to make important decisions in the billiards game room near their living quarters.

When a sufficient number of the primary members had gathered, Xop rose to his feet and addressed the assembled patients in a quiet but forceful voice.

“I have called us together in order to let you know that I have reached a definite decision. Our program can wait no longer. It does not make any sense for us to prolong our waiting any longer. The moment to present our full demands has arrived.

“If we are agreed on the matter, then I shall locate an office apparatus and type out our explicit demands, as we have come to agreement on them.

“There is no advantage to anyone in further procrastination. We will have only a limited amount of time in which to carry out the program that we are the authors of.

“Are we all supporters of starting at once?

“I intend to take the demands directly to the Director once we disperse from this game room. The next time that we gather together we shall have knowledge of the results of the initiative that I plan to carry out at once.”

A profound silence fell over the gathered patients. It suddenly was ended by the shrill, cutting voice of Sia from the far end of the billiards table.

“This will end it disaster,” she said with emotional force.

Everyone turned to where she stood beside Beyn.

“I have the ability to peer into the minds of others, and for the last minute and seconds my mind has captured the inner thoughts and feelings of the person who was speaking to us. I alone know what he is thinking behind all the words that he spoke to us, and what is in his inner mind is frightening and reprehensible.”

She stared directly at the leader of the association.

“He knows that the Director is going to reject the demands, but that does not at all cause him any pain or regret. His aim is to incite more conflict and tension. He wishes to bring severe punishment and limitation upon all the rest of us, the patients who are going to suffer terrible troubles and deprivations because of what will befall us as a result of these demands that we have agreed to be made and presented.”

A hollow, empty hush took command over all those focused upon Sia.

She turned her maddened face and eyes on Xop and gave him a look of scorn and hatred.

“You must not be allowed to take demands to the Director,” her voice screeched. “You are an evil fiend who desires to destroy all of us who have listened to your sweet, enticing words.

“But I say no to you and your hellish plan and your seductive demands.”

With that, Sia stalked out of the game room, a confused and shaken Beyn immediately behind her.

All those left there drifted out and away with speed, including Xop himself.

Xop was one who was used to having a tiny plasma shooting-stick available, a weapon small enough to carry under his tunic jacket or in the two pockets of his pants. On board the Hygea, he usually kept it hidden in his patient’s cabin. But now that he was going to deliver the association’s list of demands to the Director, it seemed best to him if he was carrying it on his person.

Would he dare use it to threaten Dr. Zor with?

That was an uncertain matter to him, but he decided that he had to have his plasma-shooter with him, on the inside of his jacket-like tunic in case it might be needed as a means of threatening the little man in charge of all therapy within the orbiting hospital.

Hop took the thin stick containing poisonous plasma gas from under the pillow on his bed, attached it with tape to the inside of his jacket, and exited into the hallway. He headed toward the quarters of Director Zor. That was the best place to corner the official and hand him the demands.

I am armed and ready for anything that may occur, the leader of the patients’ movement told himself.

There is no going back now.

Beyn followed Sia, both of them walking fast.

Where is she going? he wondered. What does she intend to do in her mood of total, overflowing anger? He could not believe that such wild emotion was possible for the young woman he had begun to know.

It did not take long for Beyn to realize where it was she was headed: to the suite of the Director, to the place where Xop planned to present the written demands to the one in charge of all therapeutic treatment on the ship.

He said nothing to her and she remained equally silent toward him.

The pair entered the hallway that passed by the rooms of the Director.

No other person beyond the two of them was visible anywhere.

All at once, Sia halted a half dozen feet from the door leading into the Director’s place.

She abruptly turned around, gazing directly at Beyn, but not uttering a sound of any kind.

The two stared fixedly at each other, a flood of emotion rising up in both of them.

The brawny bruin who was carrying the written demands of the patients suddenly appeared behind Sia. He began to speak in a rough, harsh, merciless voice.

“Get out of my way, you two idiots! I have an important task to fulfill.”

Neiher Beyn nor Sia moved a muscle.

Both of them began to take heavy breathes of air. Sia turned around and faced the third figure.

“Let me through, because I have to knock on that door and draw the attention of Dr. Klat Zor. I can’t wait, because there is no time to lose. The responsibility for these demands is mine. Do not attempt to block my way. I have to get to the Director and give him what I am carrying.”

All at once, Sia began to move forward toward the large man who claimed to be leader of the patients, whom she had come to hate and despise.

She drew nearer, until her body was inches from him.

The one who had been diagnosed as having the Hermes Archetype, and then the Rebel Archetype by his analyst moved his two hands into the tunic jacket that he was wearing.

His fingers drew out the short plasma shooter.

Without taking any precise aim, he pressed the triggering button on one side of the poisonous weapon.

A global sphere of plasma struck Sia directly in the face.

Beyn leaped forward, attempting to protect her.

Almost automatically, Xop fired once more.

Once more, he hit a face with dangerous plasma gas.

A Sia fell to the floor of the corridor, Beyn started to stagger back, then fell down close to Sia.

Gaping and gasping, Xop realized he had to flee and escape. He turned about and ran from his two victims.

He believed they had been killed with the small, simple plasma shooter-stick.

IX.

Xop hurried fast toward the office of his therapist, Dr. Bax Muh, still holding the shooter-stick he had used. But this was space-night aboard the Hygea, and the one he sought was not there because it was well past official work hours among the psychoanalysts.

The excited, terrified patient knocked several times at the door before realizing that there was no one there inside the office.

But it happened there was one figure in an office a short distance away, another therapist working on patient records and reports on his electronic Memorex. Hearing the rapping going on, Mead Quort went to his own office door and opened it to see what was happening in the hallway.

Xop turned his head and caught sight of the sturdy, athletic figure looking out at him.

“Doctor, I have to talk to Dr. Muh, but he is not in his office.”

“This is a night hour, and he is probably in his cabin right now,” Mead told him. “Can I help you in any way?”

The analyst noticed the shooter-stick that the other held in his hand.

An idea suddenly came to Xop. “I need to talk to someone at once, sir. Can I see you for a few minutes?”

“I am not too busy, please step in,” replied the staff member.

The disoriented, confused patient entered the office and immediately sat down. Mead closed the door and took his seat behind the desk.

The pair looked at each other several seconds, then the resident patient started to speak in a low, disorganized voice.

“I just killed two persons with this weapon that I hold,” he began, laying his plasma-shooter on top of the desk, then continuing with his tale.

“I was acting as president of the recently formed patients’ organization, and I was in the process of delivering our demands to the Director in his private quarters. As I was almost going to knock on the door of the apartment of Dr. Zor, a pair of patients who opposed my initiative appeared as if attempting to stop me from carrying out my responsibility to our association.

“What was I to do? Perhaps I acted in panic. But this shooter-stick was on me and I took and shot the two with it. The plasma gas contains a powerful poison compound. I did it automatically, it seems. My actions were exactly like those of a puppet or robotic. I still do not understand how it occurred, but I killed two of my fellow patients out of fearful emotions deep within me.

“That is why I was trying to find my therapist, Dr. Muh. Only he can tell me anything about what motivated what I did to them. You see, sir, he first of all tagged my primary archetype as that of ancient Hermes, and we started to work together on that basis.

“But then he revised and remade his analysis, telling me that I really fell into the category of being governed by the Rebel Archetype. Dr. Muh led and advised me into formation of the patients’ association. He was the one who inspired me to talk to and organize all my followers. The demands that I carried to the Director were his handiwork, his creation. His idea was that each individual should have the right to choose and later change his or her therapist, according to the individual’s own choice and desire.

“But now I am in a hellish situation, a maddened killer. I never foresaw this happening, that was never possible for me. It will end up with my being made to pay for the crime I committed. There is no escape at all for me.

“Should I now be blaming my therapist, Dr. Bax Muh, for having misdirected me and not foreseeing how this was going to end? Is he as guilty as I was? Are both of us the doers of the evil that my hands carried out?”

Mead sensed his mind whirling and spinning with a barrage of new thoughts.

“You must go at once to our Captain, Nevre Wia. She will tell you what must be done. I shall accompany you to the bridge where her office is.”

The two men rose to their feet and exited, the psychoanalyst leading the way.

Mead, holding the other man’s plasma-shooter in one hand, walked into the ship’s bridge followed by Xop. He caught sight of the skipper, dressed in a navy blue uniform, standing beside a series of orbital gauges, indicators, and instrumentalities. Captain Wia focused on the two men as they approached.

“Yes?” she said when the pair stopped in front of her.

Mead tried to describe the situation in a few, brief words as best he could.

“This patient has been involved in the shooting and killing of two other…”

She suddenly interrupted the doctor. “But that is not correct, not at all. You see, some members of the maintenance crew who happened to be cleaning up the nearby cabins discovered two bodies of patients, lying in unconscious states in the hallway outside the Director’s suite of rooms.

“These workers carried the bodies to the closest first-aid station, where they now rest and are receiving needed medical treatment. It has been reported to me that although they suffered serious physical and nerve system damage, they will both recover with rest and treatment.

“I have made arrangement with the health authorities down on Geryon to have them transported to the planetary surface once they are in good enough condition to make the trip home. Their care will then depend on native medical personnel.”

She turned her green eyes on the patient who had injured the pair.

“If this is the individual suspected of committing the crime against the victims, then I shall order that he be incarcerated at once within the brig of our ship. I expect to have him moved to Geryon for further legal judgment and adjudication once we have an agreement reached with the police and court system of the planet we are orbiting.”

Captain Nevre Wia raised her voice and commanded two of the officers on the bridge to accompany the patient implicated in crime to the small, empty set of cells waiting for emergencies such as this one.

Xop moved away in silence with the two uniformed technicians accompanying him.

Mead excused himself and made his way off the Hygea’s bridge. He headed toward the cabin of his colleague and mentor, Dr. Rimny. There was a lot he wished to inform him about at this late hour of the space-day.

X.

Mead waited until Dr. Rimny had awakened from sleep and came forth out of his cabin before approaching him with the events that had just transpired.

The two agreed to have a light breakfast together in the rooms of the younger analyst.

The narration by Mead went quickly, but then the speaker gave his candid opinion about the part played in inspiring the drama by one of their colleagues.

“I believe that Bax Muh has played an unethical part in this sad drama. He was the originator of the idea of an organization of patients and suggested the most important demand to be made upon our Director.

“I doubt that the man possesses enough moral character to accept the major responsibility for having provoked the emotions of his patient, Xop Kulo. From my experiences with this person, I suspect him of having planned and foreseen terrible possibilities on the Hygea.

“He willingly took the role of instigator and inciter among a volatile population of people with mental conflicts and difficulties.

“But I cannot see any way to make him pay for his misdeeds, not at this particular moment.”

Mead looked with visible desperation at the little man with satin white hair.

“You are right,” said Soro Rimny in a near-whisper. “We shall have to wait in patience for the further infractions by him.

“I am very certain that he is capable of more missteps.”

A solemn silence followed, with both psychoanalysts deep in thought.

Director Zor summoned the skipper to his quarters the following space-morning, for he had made an important decision since having learned of the shootings of poisonous plasma gas close to his door.

“We cannot stay in Geryon orbit longer than absolutely necessary,” he gruffly stated to Nevre Wia. “As soon as all our patients have descended to their homes, we must leave for our next destination that is scheduled. That is the planet called Targentum in the Norma Arm of our Milky Way Galaxy.

“Our photonic engines must be tested and in maximum condition for the long, swift leaps ahead on our journey to that world. All the available information on the planetary geography, culture, and social systems must be available for use by our therapeutic staff to study.”

“We shall be leaving our present location about Geryon with the stain of what happened here in our memories and on our consciences, sir,” commented Nevre with boldness and nerve. “The reputation of this hospital will have suffered extraordinary harm, I fear.”

Director Zor frowned with concern. “It will be up to our therapists to rebuild the name we have let slip through neglect and blindness. That is clear to me.”

Mead Quort was the only person on the psychological staff to visit the two victims as well as the perpetrator before they departed for home.

Beyn Sikum did not say much, allowing the analyst to do most of the talking during their exchange.

“Yes, I believe that Xop was being influenced from some outside force that no one else could see. Perhaps he also has a double, a twin such as I do. It is hard for me to understand why he tried to use force on us without supposing there was some power affecting his mind from outside, even from a far distance.

“What it might exactly have been, though, I can’t truthfully say right now.”

Mead could proceed no further with this particular patient.

Sia Garno proved more forthcoming, the psychoanalyst discovered.

“I feel that I must take some responsibility for how matters ended,” she told Mead in a halting, tentative tone. “If it were not for me warning Beym of horrible, evil thoughts received by me from our leader in the association, he might not have tried to protect me from going to counter what Xop intended to do with the patient demands.

“Beym realized how dangerous it would be to enter direct conflict against such a violent person as our so-called leader. But I was receiving terrible, threatening messages out of the mind of Xop. They horrified me, till I came to fear a general, total disaster that would engulf the entire Hygea.

“There was no alternative for me but to block what was about to happen.

“The tragedy was that I brought dear Beym into the final fight against our misleader.

“What was motivating his mad adventure with the demands?

“Perhaps I myself shall never know or understand what stood behind it all.”

The analyst sent her a sympathetic smile and took her hand in his for a moment. Then he turned around and left her.

Should I go to the vessel’s brig and have a talk with the plasma shooter? wondered Mead. Asking several of the physical staff, he learned that the man’s assigned therapist, Dr. Zor, had not stopped there to talk with the imprisoned criminal.

How will he react to an analyst he is not familiar with, one who has never before conversed with him?

The two men spoke through the barred door leading into the one cell of the brig occupied at the moment. Both of them were standing.

“I have to express my sorrow and that of the other therapists for what occurred to you and the two patients who were shot and poisoned with plasma.

“You and I have not spoken to each other before, but you can trust me, I assure you. We are all involved in the same campaign, one of curing and improving both minds and personalities.

“Believe me, Beym, we take our promises seriously. And we suffer whenever there is pain or loss for any of those we are trying to help.”

The prisoner did not speak for a considerable time, staring into the light blue eyes of Dr. Quort. All at once, in a single second, an internal mental dam seemed to burst and flood out.

“I don’t blame the staff of the Hygea for what happened, except for one single person, the psychoanalyst who failed me through his misguidance and mistaken treatment.

“I have thought long about what went wrong with me, and I believe that I discovered what the fault was, along with who it was who made the error.

“Dr. Bax Muh should not be permitted to misanalyse and mislead other patients, as he did with me. I now see and understand how he wanted to use and exploit me for some selfish reason of his own.

“First, I was called a Hermes Archetype personality. Later, he convinced me that I was a Rebel Archetype and was destined to lead the patients on this ship into a rebellion, a revolt to win our maximum possible rights and privileges.”

Xop leaned his forehead down and forward. His voice turned into a growl of painful regret and sadness.

“I blame myself for my stupid gullibility. And I hold Bax Muh guilty of seducing my mind into joining his plan to influence and control me and all the other patients on this ship through me and the association that I led.”

Mead, seeing initial tears forming in the other’s eyes, excused himself and walked away.

He had a sense of revulsion toward the colleague who had done this to Beym.

Galactic Minds I.

12 Dec

Dr. Mead Quart left his home planet of Ghain on a transfer barque that ascended with new patients up to the orbiting space hospital Hygea, a traveling facility. He was on his way for an interview with the Director for a position as a psychoanalyst.

Will these psychiatrists and their supervisor accept me as a different practitioner with methods and theoretical knowledge not universally acknowledged and respected? wondered and worried the young therapist?

The barque passed by space carracks, clippers, galiots, dromins, frigates, and freighters of all sorts, nearing and leaving the spaceport of Ghain.

The vehicle he was on joined with the Hyea and an office assistant came and led Mead aboard the hospital ship, to the main office in the interior and the study of the Director, Dr. Klet Zor.

The latter was a short, fat middle-aged man with reddish orange hair and coffee-colored eyes. He greeted Mead without rising from his chair behind a long magnesium desk.

“You have a blameless records down on Ghaim, and we have a crying need for someone with your specialty to fill a recent vacancy that occurred.

“As you must know, this hospital journeys from planet to planet across our beloved galaxy. We have done most of our work here within the Orion Arm, but at times we have applied our photonic propulsion system to visit planets in the Perseus Arm, the Norma Arm, and even the Sagittarius Arm.

“It is well recognized that the Milky Way Galaxy is a complex, variegated psychological map. There exist wide zones where particular mental illnesses dominate and others where these same maladies almost disappear. No one understands why or how this happens. There are factors about that affect the human mind and personality in different ways, depending on the galactic location.

“So, we have a limited number of psychoanalysts such as you aboard on our staff, because we cannot foresee future needs or problems.

“I therefore can inform you that our executive committee has accepted your application and will include you as a member of our personnel when we leave your native planet of Ghaim.

“Let me, therefore, welcome you aboard and wish you successful practice and personal happiness and fulfillment among us as we cross the galaxy.

“Dr. Soro Rimny, like you a psychoanalyst, will be acting as your immediate superior and personal guide to orient you to how we do things on the Hygea.

“You will be taken immediately to acquaint yourself with him.”

Dr. Zor signaled with a nod of his head. Mead rose and rapidly left the office.

The short, slim little man with satin white hair and gray eyes rose from his desk and shook hands with the newly hired fellow psychoanalyst, then asked him to be seated. Soro Rimny studied the face of the sturdy, virile dynamic-looking young man with light blue eyes and chestnut brown eyes.

“It is good to have another of us psychoanalysts on the Hygea, Dr. Quort,” said Rimny with a beaming smile. “Tell me, are you eager for adventure? Roaming about the galaxy provides a lot of curious patients with surprising conflicts and problems. You will find a great amount of difference and variety as we journey to new locations in distant areas.”

Mead Quort gave a friendly grin. “I believe that the Hygea will teach me much that it would not be possible to pick up if I were to remain home on Ghain. It may be that I somehow obtained the character and spirit of a wanderer who is suited to traveling among planets in different star systems.

“I hope to learn a lot about myself, as well.”

“Yes, you will soon find out that most of us on the staff do so. But can I ask you what may be a sensitive question? What was it that brought you to enter our profession? I refer to psychoanalytic therapy, of course.”

Mead thought several seconds before replying. “I cannot say for certain. Perhaps it happened as I was reading about the beginnings of our method back there on planet Earth, Dr. Rimny.

“Our particular discipline and method rang a bell in my mind. It set off intellectual and emotional echoes that have grown and spread within me.

“Somehow, I was caught and it was impossible for me to escape.”

Both psychoanalysts found themselves laughing for a couple of moments.

Soro Rimny grew serious. “I have been assigned to act as your immediate supervisor, and you shall report to me about how your cases are developing and advancing.

“I believe that you and I will experience enjoyable and useful cooperation together,” announced the veteran.

Mead nodded his head and said “Yes.”

He already felt satisfaction with his decision to join the Hygea in its voyages across the Milky Way.

II.

The hospital vessel arrived at its destination and started an orbit about the planet named Abraxas

Scores of new patients ascended on a small barque up to the treatment center, several of them assigned to the newest therapist.

Mead, in conversation sessions with his patients, found a single thread that most of them shared: problems of insomnia that plagued their existence down on Abraxas.

He brought up this common factor at his next meeting with his new mentor.

“Why do these individuals all suffer sleeplessness?” asked the puzzled psychoanalyst. “Is there something that operates in every one of their lives? It would seem that we have missed identifying it, so far.”

Soro made an indecipherable grimace. “Our Director, Klet Zor, believes that he knows what lies behind such mysterious consistencies and parallels in our cases, as seems to be happening with the patients from Abraxas.

“He will soon be attributing the sleep problems to a single environmental problem from which this planet happens to suffer. I know that he will, because the man always does so when anything like this occurs. It has happened many times before.”

“What can it be?” eagerly inquired Mead.

“We will have to wait till our Director decides to inform us,” answered Soro with a sad grin.

His mentor had news for Mead the following space-day.

“This is something: both you and I have been selected by our Director to serve on a special committee assigned to investigating the cause of the epidemic of insomnia and unrest that we see in so many of the patients transported up here to the Hygea. We will in a little while be meeting with the chair of the group. She is the chief psycho-pharmacologist of the ship, Dr. Lema Giten.

“She has always impressed me with her intelligence and open-mindedness. But there is no question that she places the highest faith in biochemical solutions to mental diseases and disorders. Her preference seems always to lie with the newest and most sophisticated of medicinal materials and substances.

“I expect her to insist on hunting in the pharmacopeia for a cure for the sleeplessness afflicting so many on Ataxas. Or perhaps Dr. Giten will ask for funds to attempt to devise a chemical solution of some kind, that she hopes to discover through intensive research.”

“This person probably enjoys much support among the majority of our traditional psychiatrists,” speculated Mead Quort.

“You shall meet her at the meeting that she scheduled for our committee at the dispensary she runs in the back area of the Hygea,” announced Soro. “You shall be introduced to Dr. Giten early tomorrow space-morning.”

Lema Giten was a spare, trim young woman in a white uniform.

Soro introduced his new colleague to the svelte and shapely pharmacist in the private chamber set aside for their committee of three members meant to concentrate on the factors behind the growing cases of insomnia from Ataxas.

Dr. Giten shook hands with Mead at the small table where the three of them sat down together to discuss the problem assigned to them.

“I think our best choice would be to delay any search for cause or causes until we win some kind of handle on the problem. It makes sense to me if we recommend to the Director that we immediately start to test various known sleep-inducing compounds to our most serious patients so we can monitor and record what their reactions to them might be.

“Isn’t that the most logical course of action for the Hygea to take? That is the recommendation that I myself would prefer.”

Mead was somewhat surprised when Soro opposed this plan at once with sharp criticism.

“I do not at all like wandered around that way in the dark,” he muttered coldly. “It might be best to delay prescribing random substances in the chancy hope that one of them might be the key that we seek and need.”

“But we have scores of people suffering already<" countered Lema. She suddenly turned to Mead. "What do you think is the best path to take, Dr. Quort?

The latter groped for an adequate reply to her. "We cannot be dogmatic on such an important, crying subject. My own preference would be for a program that combines the use of what already exists in our pharmacopeia, but simultaneously with an all-out project focused on complete research on what factors cause, facilitate, and influence this particular outbreak of the awful condition being suffered by our patients from this planet."

Lema gazed at him with her large hazelnut eyes. "That is a very wise plan that you have. It sounds promising to me." She turned to Soro. “Would you agree to such a combination that sort of compromises the need for immediate treatment and the need for additional knowledge?”

“Indeed, nodded the older man.”It makes a lot of sense to me. Are you willing to present it to our Director?”

“Yes, when I see him later, this afternoon.”

When the committee adjourned shortly, a two-pronged plan had been formulated and agreed upon.

It was Soro who came up with a possible explanation of the malady being suffered on Abraxas, based on reading he had done years before on scientific journals from planet Earth. He presented what he remembered at the fourth meeting of the three-person committee.

“I recall studies done centuries ago on what was then called brain sand. This referred to calcified structures that formed within the brain’s pineal gland, the chorois plexus, and elsewhere in the neural regions. The effect of such chemical substances was to alter the production of melatonin, the hormone that governs sleep and waking. The result is said to be an inability to rest or sleep in normal patterns.

“So, it could be calcification of the epiphysis that lies at the root of the illness that we observe. This ossification becomes dangerous as one’s age increases and more of it occurs.

“I believe that we must test all the insomniacs for signs that this is happening in their brains, particularly in the pineal.”

Lema began to become excited. “I will see the Director at once and ask him to allow us to carry out a general survey of all our current patients to find out if the situation is as you describe it, one of brain sand,” she promised Soro and Mead.

Lema hurried to the office of Soro as soon as she was finished talking with the Director, Klet Zor. She had something important to tell him.

“I suggested to the Director that the solution to this mystery of insomnia may lie down there on planet Abraxas and the an investigation should be made on the actual site. He readily agreed and decided that our committee should take charge of the matter and travel down to the surface and probe about for any likely factors that might be involved.

“I at once gave my consent and promised that the committee would take charge of that mission. Are you prepared to make the descent by transport barque as soon as we can make arrangements?”

Soro smiled before expressing what he thought. “Yes, it would be advantageous for the three of us to make the visit of investigation, but I will be exceedingly busy with patients for the next several days. It would be convenient for me to stay aboard here with my weigh of duties while you and Mead make the trip by yourselves. He is very knowledgeable and can operate there as well as I could, I assure you.”

“All right,” replied the pharmacist, “it will be he and I who carry out the probe of conditions surrounding our patients at home where they live.”

The two of them began making the necessary preparations for the new project.

III.

As the transfer vessel descended, Mead and Lema had the opportunity to speak to each other for the first time with openness and candor.

“I can imagine that someone with your background in biochemistry does not look too favorably upon my own special area of archetypal psychoanalysis,” said Mead, sitting on a bench opposite where she was.

“I am only familiar with a few primary characteristics and aspects of what you practice in your long, repeated conversations with patients,” she replied with a charming smile. “All I can say about it is that psychoanalytic delving into the thought patterns of anyone suffering an illness can be slow and painful. It has to take an awful long time in order to be successful.

“On the other hand, the pharmaceutical approach is the fastest therapy possible under urgent circumstances. We do not always have full understanding of how it works on the brain and the mind. But biochemical compounds can provide a rapid, effective method of psychological first-aid, in a sense.

“Do you understand what it is I am getting at?”

Her grinning companion nodded that he did. “Yes, my approach demands both time and patience to work. That’s why it will never be applied in all cases with every single person on all the planets that the Hygea may visit in time to come.

“But analytic psychology has an impressive record from its foundation back on planet Earth. The discoveries of Karl Jung and the Zurich school were what I call apodictic breakthroughs in understanding mind and personality.

“I myself have specialized my treatments upon the area of identifying and coordinating the often conflicting archetypes within the personalities of my patients. It is slow and demanding, but there can be magnificent results.”

“In the long run, you mean?” questioned Lema.

Mead replied by nodding his head, but not uttering a single word.

Both of them turned and looked out of the barque window on their left. The industrial landscape of the capital of Abraxas lay spread out below them.

The metropolis of the metal-producing and manufacturing planet was crowded with factory buildings and chimneys, surrounded by high-rise living complexes made of silicon compounds.

The couple from the Hygea took a plasma-driven jitney to the main psycho-treatment hospital, on the outskirts of the urban region.

“Plasma engines, motors, and generators are important products here,” commented Mead as they road along a throughway to their destination.

Once they arrived at the mental facility, the head psychiatrist took charge of their tour of the place and the patients residing there.

“Yes, we have a very large number of insomniacs and sufferers of sleep disorders here,” he smiled. “And they are very difficult to deal with. All that we are able to do is prescribe strong soporifics and hope they give some relief, at least for a time.”

The guests from the Hygea received a rapid tour of the numerous wards and divisions. Then, Mead and Lema made differing individual requests. He wished to see the statistical records of the hospital, while she asked to speak with a few of the top pharmacists in that particular department. The two promised to meet again after several hours when they would make their return to their own hospital ship.

Mead used an electronic monitor to search the general records, growing amazed at the broad dimensions of the insomnia problems here on Abraxas.

Lema asked individual psycho-chemists and pharmacists about the ingredients that they combined in their best, most effective sleep compounds.

“We prefer plant substances native to our home planet to imports from elsewhere in the galaxy,” stiffly replied the oldest, most experienced of the biochemical crew of the gigantic mental hospital. “They seem to work best because of the large dosages our psychiatrists are used to prescribing.”

She reviewed list after list of medicaments in ordinary use. All at once, an idea struck her.

“There is so much plasma gas created and applied on your planet,” she noted. “Tell me, is there any history of plasma poisoning or toxic illness of any sort?”

The head pharmacist appeared indignant. “Never. We keep the plasma well-sealed and guarded. It is important to our planetary authorities that no amount of plasma used in industry, commerce, or our residences ever escape into the atmosphere.

“That is never permitted to happen, and it never does.”

He gave her a haughty, unfriendly look.

But Lema sensed that she had uncovered something of potential importance.

It was on their return ascent by transport barque to the Hygea that she related her sudden suspicion to her partner in investigation.

“I came upon a fact that was interesting to me, Mead,” she said without a smile or any other expression. “Without realizing it, those pharmacists are producing anti-toxins against plasma-poisoning for use against insomnia.

“Could it be escaped plasma molecules, even minor amounts, that keep the patients awake and unrested? I wonder about that.”

“What do you intend to do about the matter?” he said with exploding curiosity.

He focused his gaze on her large hazelnut eyes.

“I am going to ask the Director for permission to test some new, potent anti-toxins on our insomniacs, Mead,” she replied.

It was a space-week later that Lema conferred with Soro and Mead in the former’s office. She had what she considered as good news to report to them.

“This is amazing! All the data that I can collect reveals the same pattern. Our insomniac patients, back home on Abaxas, either worked with plasma equipment and apparati or else lived in proximity to factories or facilities that applied and used plasmoid gases. There can now be no question at all over the source of the problem plaguing these people.

“I have made an appointment with Director Zor so that I can describe the situation to him. My hope is that he will permit an all-out campaign of anti-toxic vaccines and medicines given to our insomniacs immediately.

“My plan is to carry out a direct attack on the malady. I am certain we shall conquer the problem. Then we can warn the planet Abraxas that they must deal with the causes where they exist and begin, on the land surface down below.”

“Will the Director give his permission?” asked Mead with sympathetic feeling.

Lema gave him a smile. “I think that I can convince Klet Zor,” she sweetly told him. “The truth will be with me, it is clear.”

_

The Director was not easy to convince and win over to her views, she discovered when she saw him in his executive office.

He frowned with worried concern. “What you claim remains highly uncertain, Lema. What if things go wrong with such a program of ingestion of strong chemicals? What if you are wrong and there is no real connection to fugitive plasma particles?

“We might be taking a gigantic gamble, leaping into the unknown and all the dangers involved with it,” mused Klet Zor.

“I believe it would be a safe and wise initiative for us to take,” bravely asserted the pharmacist with evident forcefulness.

The Director stared at her for awhile, making up his mind. Finally, the decision was made by him.

“I will authorize going ahead,” he mumbled to her.

“Thank you,” she said, rising to her feet. “I am certain we will not be sorry for turning to anti-toxins on this insomnia.”

IV.

Captain of the Hygea, its space propulsion and navigation systems, was Nevre Wia, a skinny, rangy woman from a family with generations of galactic skippers.

Hospital Director Klet Zor consulted with her on the plan that he had approved for anti-toxin treatment of insomniac patients under treatment aboard the vessel.

“What do you think, Nerve?” he asked the tall woman with reddish hair and green eyes sitting across the desk from him. “Can plasma gas hold such potentially dangerous consequences? I realize that our photonic engines utilize a large quantity of it to create and transport needed energy. Could that plasma we have on the Hygea pose any possible danger to the people on board, especially our planetary patients?”

Captain Wia gave him an enigmatic smile. “That is extremely hard to say. The amount of plasma that gets out into the chambers of this ship has to be considered very small, at worst.

“I myself do not see any problems stemming from small amounts of such gas.”

Klet Zor sighed with relief. “That is good to hear, Nevre,” he said with a sigh of relief. “I was becoming afraid that I was allowing Dr. Giten to fall into some hazardous error about conditions here on our ship if she went too far in the research she is involved with.

“You have provided me some degree of confidence that I did not make a mistake and that she might will not wander beyond what seemed secure limits on what she was going to study.”

“I can assure you that there will be no unforeseen troubles stemming from what she is engaged in,” declared the skipper of the Hygea, smiling at the hospital’s Director.

Lema and Mead had fallen into the habit of eating their meals together in the staff cafeteria. This facilitated her informing him about how her research program was evolving and progressing.

“My testing with various potent anti-toxin compounds has resulted in overwhelmingly positive results for the patients receiving them. While the others grow worse and lack any rest, the affected patients experience a marvelous recovery of their ability to fall into long, restful sleep.”

“That means you can begin to treat all of the insomniacs with what you have available?” he asked her with breathlesssubatomic excitement.

She did not provide him a direct answer, but instead spoke on a technical matter.

“I have brushed up on my sub-atomic physics and learned what could be the exact cause of plasmoid poisoning. It seems that the subatomic particle called the exciton is produced by plasma motors, engines, and mechanisms of all sorts. When one of these excitons couples with a ray of light it becomes an exciton-polariton. The photon of light completely changes the nature and the character of the original exciton. The new quasi-particle is magneto-plasmic and can have the same effects as what is called cosmic radiation.

“This, in all probability, includes calcification inside the human brain exposed to such dangerous radiation and subatomic influence.”

“That sounds incredible to me!” gasped Mead. “Are you sure of your data on this, Lema?”

“As certain as I can be,” she bravely informed him. “It all depends on the Director now and what he will permit me to do for the insomniacs we have.”

The two of them stared at each other without speaking.

Captain Nevre Wia had an unexpected surprise upon entered the control room adjacent to the plasma generator that was central to the operation of the vessel’s photonic engines. She found Dr. Lema Giten, the head pharmacist, sitting at the desk that she herself used at this particular location.

Lema looked up, putting the data report she had been studying down on the chromium surface in front of her.

“Can I help you?” asked the skipper of the Hygea, her voice full of bitter resentment and rebuke.

“I was going through some reports on the engines that I looked up in your files, Nevre,” smiled the visiting pharmacist. “As you remember, the Director appointed me to head the committee looking into the insomnia that came up and hobbled so many of the Abraxian patients undergoing psychiatric treatment.

“We traced the problem to the formation of brain sand composed of calcium, and discovered that the cause of this down on the planet’s surface was subatomic particles produced in plasma engines and generators used in most factories and buildings.

“I have supplied our staff with strong, effective anti-toxins to protect the patients and their brains. We have warned the public health authorities on Abraxas of the hazard that the population lives with. And I decided to examine what is known about conditions on our ship that might be affected by our own plasma components connected to the photon engines that propel us about.

“Unfortunately, there is a small amount of particle leakage emitted from our system that uses plasma. I now must report this potential danger to the Director and advise him to take measures to correct it.”

Captain Wia frowned. “I would advise you not to do that,” she coldly declared. “Our engines have always operated safely. No one in our staff, as far as I know, has ever had serious sleeping sickness of any sort.

“Do not attempt to invent something that does not in reality exist at all. You are exaggerating and fantasizing about an imaginary malady that no one I know suffers from.”

She stared at Lema with hard scorn and hostility. Her face reddened, her green eyes dilated with forceful emotion.

The pharmacist decided it was best for her to withdraw and leave as fast as possible.

“I intend to show these figures on subatomic emissions to Director Zor,” she announced as she hurried out of the control room, the papers she had been reading in her hand.

V.

Director Klet Zor rose from his chair and moved around his desk till he stood in front of the pharmacist who had just summarized the report on the photonic engines’ operations, focusing on the traces of subatomic particles escaping from the sealed photon chambers.

“You consider that the emissions rise to a hazardous level?” he asked Lema in a slow, polite tone.

“Yes, that is right. I fear that some fraction of the exitons may be combining with the polatitons to form a mix that results in creating brain sand in human pineal glands and other regions of the cerebellum. It is the same process that our insomniac patients were victims of on their planet. The only difference is the degree of severity involved.”

“Our photonic engines are not as productive of the particles as the industrial facilities on Abraxas, are they?”

“Yes, the force and intensity is only a small fraction of what we can expect to exist down below, but the process going on up here is of exactly the same nature. Logic would tell us that the results will tend to be identical.”

“Is anyone on the staff of the Hygea, in any capacity at all, suffering such sleeping loss as the patients are?” asked Klet Zor.

Lema looked away from the Director. “No, I cannot assert anything like that. So far, at least, we see no signs of that happening.”

Klet stood in deep thought while the visitor to his office waited nervously for what he might decide to do.

“It is best for us to stay on the safe side,” he gently told her. “What I can do is to ask that more protective ceramic sheeting be ordered and transported up to us to apply on all sides of our plasma tanks and the photonic engines as well.

“We can never have too much protection, can we, Lema?” he said, suddenly breaking into an unexpected smile.

“Thank you,” murmured the pharmacist. “You will never regret the choice you have just made. I am certain of that.”

Klet turned and returned to his chair on the other side of the chromium desk.

Lema said good-bye and left his office.

Mead, eating a bean casserole in the cafeteria, looked up to see Lema approaching with a tray of food in her hands.

“I have something of importance to tell you,” she said as she sat down across the small table from him. “The Director has agreed to an important step forward.”

“What has the man decided?” he asked, his curiosity boiling up.

She gleefully grinned at him. “Steps are going to be taken to protect everyone aboard the Hygea from subatomic particles. New sheeting will be installed about all plasma in use with the engines. The entire situation on the ship will be vastly improved.”

“That is very good to hear, Lema. I am glad you succeeded in convincing him to make such important changes on our vessel. This will help to prevent the continuation of the sleep disorders we have been contending against.

“Every psychiatrist and analyst on this ship owes you a lot of gratitude for what you have succeeded in obtaining for our patients.”

She blushed mildly, then began to eat her own bean casserole.

Lema was walking along a corridor leading toward the navigation bridge of the space vessel when she caught sight of who was approaching from the map room.

There was no way of avoiding an encounter with the Captain in charge of the technical side of the Hyygea.

It was Nevre Wia who was first to stop and speak out.

“I curse you for what you did, you trickster, you sneak,” shouted the tall, skinny skipper of the ship.

Lema also halted, but suffered a scorning look from the now raging top officer of the ship.

The two of them exchanged looks of disdain. Angry, hateful emotion took command of both their mental systems.

“I warn you, do not attempt anything like this again,” threatened the Captain. “Or else you will find yourself in something that you cannot finish.”

“What do you mean? What are you talking about?” demanded the pharmacist. She was beginning to wonder about the reason the other was so incensed.

“Do not think that you will be exercising any sort of influence on Klet Zor at all. He needs to know what your character truly is. Once he finds out what you and your followers really are, his decisions will be his along.

“He is too intelligent not to see through you and your little clique.”

At this point Captain Wia succeeded in pulling herself together and asserting a minimum of ordinary self-control.

Making a grumbling sound in her mouth and throat, Nevre turned about and retreated backwards toward the navigation chamber and its command station.

Lema let her breathing and her blood pressure slow down and fall.

Then she proceeded onward, trying to get away from where this verbal battle had gone on and abruptly ended.

VI.

Director Klet Zor accompanied the last small group of patients returning to their homes on Abraxas. Most of the returnees had experienced marked improvement from treatment aboard the Hygea. The medicament compounded produced by Lema Giten had cured most of the insomniacs of their ailment.

Klet had an appointment to visit and say good-bye to the chief of the psychiatric hospital of Abraxas City, Dr. Blecn. The latter’s luxurious office in the main therapeutic unit was their place of meeting.

Short, fleshy Blecn greeted his visitor cordially and wished him future success on his hospital’s next stay at some different, distant planet in another star system in the Milky Way Galaxy.

“You have brought noticeable improvement to the patients selected to go to your ship,” smile Dr. Blecn. “We are now fully aware of the dangers posed from unshielded plasma supplies on Abraxas, and a campaign of safety and protection has been initiated by our health authorities.

“We are indebted to you and your staff, especially the brilliant psycho-pharmacist who traced the sleep disorder to subatomics flowing from our plasmoid facilities.

“But there is one important matter on which I have to beg for your help, Dr. Zor.”

The two executives stared forcefully at each other’s face and eyes.

“What is it I can do for you, my good friend?” softly inquired Klet Zor.

Blecn lowered his voice. “We have a certain psychoanalyst in private practice who causes problems for his entire profession. He claims that the minds of his patients are somehow fractured and that his therapy can restore wholeness to their personalities.

“This man, Dr. Bax Muh, is out of step with every one of his colleagues in this hospital and the professional associations on this planet. He opposes all our standard, accepted methods and makes unsupported, fantastic claims about what he can accomplish.

“It would bring great relief to me and my staff, as well as every psychiatrist on Abraxas, if you would hire this person and take him away on the Hygea.

“My hope is that you will be able to tame and reform this self-intoxicated maverick.

“What do you say, Dr. Zor?”

The Director from space did not have to consider the matter at length.

“I would be glad to take him off your hands, Dr. Blecn,” he muttered, wondering what might lay ahead for the Hygea and himself.

Out of its planetary orbit, the Hygea entered its top photonic speed as its engines powered forth with maximum plasmoid impetus.

Mead visited Dr. Rimny in the older man’s tiny office. “We are on our way to planet Geryon in the Perseus Arm. It is said to be a world of busy galaxy-wide trade and commercial banking and finance. I imagine we shall be seeing some very interesting maladies and cases there,” said the younger psychoanalyst.

Soro unexpectedly frowned. “There is a staff addition that we took on from Abraxas. It is said that that planet’s practitioners were happy to lose this peculiar doctor. His name is Bax Muh, and so far he has kept to himself since we left from orbit around Abraxas. I myself have not had the pleasure of meeting this man of unpopularity.”

“What is the nature of his uniqueness?” asked Mead. “I am curious to find out how much of an archetype-treatment person he might turn out to be.”

A knock on the door interrupted their exchange. Soro called out to the unknown one outside to come in.

The opened door revealed a heavy bruin with auburn hair and diamond-like eyes.

“Bax Muh,” announced the stranger standing at the entrance. “I am new aboard the ship and I am eager to meet important psychoanalysts on the staff, so I took the initiative to hunt up the colleagues who interest me the most,” he announced with a self-confident twinkle in both eyes.

“Please, sit down next to our colleague, Dr. Mead Quort. He is a psychoanalyst, the same as I happen to be. Both of us tend to adhere to the school often referred to as the Archetypists. We try to apply the methods that center upon rebalancing the fundamental patterns built into the human mind.”

Bax Muh sat down in a corner seat next to Mead, turned his face to him and smiled, then spoke directly to Soro.

“I myself can claim membership in the association of Archetypists back on Abraxas, although some members argued that I did not fully qualify. You see, what I claimed to be dealing with in most of my patients was the condition of fractured minds and personalities. Yes, I called the fractured.

“Let me explain what I mean.

“The mental components of troubled individuals who came to me for relief arose from severe division and disharmony in both the conscious and the subconscious mind. Many had become anti-social personalities. They tended to be highly self-absorbed in nothing beyond their own thoughts and emotions. There existed enormous imbalances and gaps within them. This would produce volatility of thinking and behaving. Others could not understand them, just as they were unable to comprehend themselves in the slightest.”

“That is interesting, Dr. Muh,” interrupted Soro. “Your perspective parallels what I myself, as well as Dr. Quort, believe about the troubled personality. Yes, it is a lack of coherence and unity among the regions of the mind that lead to conditions such as cycloid and neurotic patterns of thought and feeling. Those are very difficult conditions to deal with, though.”

“I believe that I have found some original methods of treatment,” boasted the new man, surprising and startling both of the psychoanalysts listening to him.

All of a sudden, Bax Muh bolted up on his feet. “You must excuse me, I have to make arrangements for a private consultation room that I will be using when we reach Geryon. There will be many opportunities for the three of us to talk and discuss matters in the future, I am sure.”

As the newcomer departed, Mead and Soro exchanged glances of astonishment and puzzlement.

VII.

Geryon was a world that served as an economic crossroads for its galactic neighborhood. Large and small commercial vessels were constantly descending and ascending from its numerous space-ports and shipping stations.

“The business of Geryon is business” was the traditional motto and watchword of its population. Trading was part of their life from birth on, they believed and told all off-worlders.

The stock market in Geryon City, the political and trading capital, was a center of constant attention for almost every inhabitant of the crowded metropolis.

Once the Hygea had taken a safe orbital path about the enormously large planet, the mental patients with the most difficult problems and conditions began to arrive above the stratosphere for therapeutic treatments of all sorts.

The established staff of the hospital ship kept an eye on its newest member to learn about the unprecedented activities of Dr. Bax Muh.

“I would prefer to begin my work with cycloid personalities, the so-called manic-depressive type,” he told Director Zor at a conference with him. “That is where I believe I can contribute the most,” he said with a proud smile.

“How do you plan to deal with and treat such difficult cases, Doctor?” inquired the head of the staff.

“What I have learned from my long practice on Abraxas is that there is no good result when you oppose, criticize, or try to command the behavior or the thinking of a manic-depressive or a serious neurotic. It is much better to attempt to cooperate and include the patient in some on-going enterprise or project.

“In other words, I make an effort to recruit the patient in his or her own recovery by joining in with the dominant ideas and feelings that are shaping the negative or anti-social patterns. It is not at all an easy task to accomplish, but if successful it can open up the patient to influence by the therapist.”

The Director seemed to make a sour, cynical expression on his face. “I hope that this method can work for you here aboard the Hygea with our patients from Geryon.”

Mead and Lema ambled about the outer corridors of the vessel, looking out through view windows at the planet soon to send up its most intractable mental cases for innovative, advanced forms of therapy.

“What do you think this new population of the suffering will be like?” she asked the psychoanalyst out of genuine interest and curiosity.

He smiled with clear optimism. “I can’t wait to start listening and guiding those assigned to me. There are universal generalities in human personalities wherever they happen to be located. But there are always specific local features that are the result of variations in planetary environments, social conditions, and history. No one is able to predict with accuracy what might be found to be the mental obstacles and troubles before getting to see, hear, and know the characters of a planet’s neuroses and phobias, as well as all the other features that can be discovered.”

“You are eager to explore the minds that are in pain on Geryon, then?”

“Yes, indeed I am,” said Mead with unconcealed hunger to be dealing with his new patients.

Carrier space-boats brought the first batch of Geryonites with problems to the orbiting mental facility.

The first patient assigned to Mead Quort was a young, successful electronic equipment merchant named Byen Sikum. He proved to be a person who did not stop talking once he began to tell his psychological history to his analyst.

The therapist and the one to be analyzed and treated sat opposite each other in a tiny, bare consultation room in the ship section where patients resided.

“I can guess what the reports on me say, Dr. Quort,” began Byen.

“My doctors on Geryon wrote me up as a person who suffers from a commanding delusion one of having a constant companion who lives with him but that no one else can possibly see because of being invisible.”

“You have described this friend as looking exactly like you, and behaving the same way as well,” noted Mead in a low, friendly tone.

“That is correct. Since I happen to be the only one that my friend appears before, no one knows him to the slightest degree. He is my constant companion, never separated from me. We are never far from each other. Right now, at this very moment, he is waiting for me outside this room, out in the corridor.”

“Have you had this companion with you all your life, Byen?”

“What do you think, Doctor? Why do you ask me such stupid questions? You must certainly know the answer. I suppose that your hidden purpose is to make me look crazy, so that you can keep me cooped up on this so-called hospital ship. You are exactly like those quacks who had me in their power down on Geryon. They were all imposters, pretending they were going to separate from my buddy. So they tried to convince me he is only a delusion, a product of my sick imagination. They were not real, genuine doctors, and I suspect that you aren’t either. They were pretending actors playing their assigned roles as psychiatrists, and you must be the identical same. I was able to see through their phony disguises, they did not fool me in the slightest, and neither can you.”

His face flushed red with rage, Byen stared with focused emotion at Mead, making the latter feel discomfort and embarrassment.

“On what planet did you learn your acting?” inquired the patient, his voice turning into a knifelike sound.

All at once, Byen seemed to lose his train of thought. He began to stutter incoherently and came to an abrupt, confused stop in the middle of a sentence.

Mead rose from his chair, staring at the babbling, meaningless noises made by the disoriented man from Geryon.

He is in a state devoid of complete thoughts or ideas, concluded the analyst.

“Let us stop here and take a rest for now, my friend,” recommended the one claiming to be in charge of the analysis session.

VIII.

What am I to make out of what I heard from Byen Sikum? Mead asked himself again and again. The questions in his mind kept the analyst awake most of the following space-night.

What variety of archetype dominated the conscious and unconscious portions of his mental apparatus?

The man’s compulsions have produced stubborn strength in his self-image, his persona. What is he hiding from others, and most importantly from himself? Is this double self of his an unconscious method of avoiding seeing the truth of his self-identity?

A time may come when this second self can no longer serve to conceal the true reality about himself from the conscious thought of this patient?

Mead finally came to a concrete conclusion about the archetypal truth about Byen. He is dominated by the Gemini Twins within himself. The image of the double, the second self, is himself as he really is, but cannot afford to look at or comprehend in a direct way. His mind is compelled to create a second character, an imaginary role in the drama of his own life and existence.

The twin he lives with must therefore be the part that he unconsciously wishes to truly become. The double is the other that he wishes to be, yet is not.

His archetype is the twin configuration, the Pollux and Castor of the twins of Ancient Greece on planet Earth.

How was he going to handle this problem of this Gemini archetype? the psychoanalyst wondered.

Soro Rimny, with several space-decades of experience in archetypal psychoanalysis, had created and elaborated several routines and techniques for getting his new patients to speak openly and freely about their mental problems.

His first patient sent up by therapists on Geryon was a young women’s fashion designer named Sia Garno, a beautiful brunette with dark almond eyes.

“Tell me, Miss Garno, how did you become interested in and involved with fashionable trends in women’s clothing?”

She smiled at the analyst sitting opposite her.

“I believe I was enthralled with dresses from my earliest childhood years. My mother took me along with her to fashion shows and clothing shops and stores. I imagine that I picked up how she felt by osmosis. As soon as I was a teenager, I made myself a model for a designing studio.

“Both men’s and women’s fashions are major attractions on Geryon. I became fascinated and hypnotized with the creation of fashions that would catch on and become popular all over our planet.”

“I see,” declared the veteran analyst. “So, fashions became a source of great happiness for you. Do they still remain that?”

Her face turned into a self-absorbed mask of sadness. “My mental state has fallen very low, Doctor. I discovered, over time, that I possess a strange, unusual gift, and it has come to bother and burden me.”

“Would you describe your gift for me, Sia?” he gently asked her.

“I can hear all sorts of messages in my brain. It began with electronic ones transmitted over wires, then spread to radio and visual varieties sent through the air. This started back when I was a little girl in school. But my sensitivity to messages being communicated has grown sharper and finer with time. Today, I pick up all sorts of broadcasts from all over. It never really stops. At this very moment, I am able to listen to weather forecasts going out over magnetic waves.”

“I have never heard of any instance like that before,” confessed Soro, his heart beating fast. “Tell me more, please.”

“If I focus my thought on a matter, I can make it reveal what others are trying to hide. In other words, I am able to pick up the inner thinking of the brains of other people.

“This is extremely helpful in learning of new directions in women’s fashions. I alone can be a mental spy and uncover the plans of rivals and competitors. There are few secrets that I cannot crack or imitate for my own line of dresses.

“That has provided me a big advantage in my profession, Doctor Rimny.”

“But such a magnificent ability can cause difficulties too, I suppose.”

Sia frowned. “I know what people say and think about me when I am not present. My knowledge of how they feel about me is complete and accurate. They are exposed to me as hypocrites and liars. They are nasty gossips and nurse a lot of hatred toward me, but hide it in my presence. Yet I know the brutal truth of how they feel and what they say about me to each other. It is not nice at all.”

“That must be hard to take,” interjected the analyst.

“My doctors on Geryon were all against me, all the time. They told each other that I was mad, crazy, even insane. Rumors about me were spread around by them. They were my disguised enemies who wanted me put away. I was, at last, sent here aboard the Hygea by my tormentors on Geryon. Their expectation is that I will have my mind destroyed by the doctors up here, that I will soon die.”

Soto noticed that his patient started to shake with dread and fear.

“I can now hear what other doctors are saying about my case and what they want to do to my brain. The plan is to operate on me to put a halt to my special ability to read thoughts and communications.”

“Do you sense that you are being persecuted, Sia?” asked Soto in a sympathetic tone.

She lowered her voice to a whisper. “I am the victim of a cruel and evil conspiracy. That is the truth.”

“You have enemies whose minds you can read?” he whispered back at her.

“You should know who they are, Doctor.”

The latter informed his patient that their initial session was finished.

IX.

Soro Rimny was puzzled, for he had never before faced anyone similar to Sia Garno. She was a most fascinating patient because of the mysterious character of her mental condition. How was he going to label her? Within what specific archetype did her personality fall? he pondered for a long time.

Then he recalled a study he had read years before when he had been a novice in his practicing of archetypal analysis.

It would be fitting to place her into a new category rarely in use before.

Sia was to be considered as possessing the pattern named the Cassandra Archetype.

The ancient Greek prophetess had read signs and minds the way that Sia claimed to be able to. But she had refused the love approaches coming to her from the divine Apollo. The latter, in his anger, drove Cassandra to incomprehension and madness, so that she lost her internal balance and harmony. Her thoughts and feelings fell into total chaos. Whenever she spoke as a prophetic oracle, not a single human being dared to believe her or accept what she proclaimed to them.

Dr. Rimny marked her down in his therapeutic notes as having a personality dominated by a complex modeled upon the figure of a would-be prophetess named Cassandra.

The patient that Dr. Bax Muh was given with whom to begin his practice aboard the Hygea was an unusually tall, slender man with prematurely grayed hair and sharp hazel eyes. His name was Xop Kulo, and he seemed to be a talker who had difficulty stopping once he had started conversing about himself.

“What is it that brings you to us, Mr. Kulo?” inquired Bax at their first session together.

“I have led myself into a personal disaster, a very deep catastrophe, Doctor. This perhaps started with my business bankruptcy, but it has made me feel as if I have reached a depth of destruction. Maybe I should call my problem self-destruction, because no one but myself is really the one responsible for what has happened. I have managed to bring myself as low as it is possible to go.

“This was not foreseeable, at least not by me. I thought I was shooting up into the heights. People looked at me with hope and belief, trusting me to help them reach their dreams, whatever these were. I was considered not only an inventor of phenomenal brilliance, but also a smart and lucky entrepreneur and manager of the finances of the company that I had founded, nursed, and made into a spectacular business success. The stock that I had created soared ever higher on the Geryon Stock Exchange. Everybody with spare money wished to buy into the magnificent new projects and developments that I was building up.

“But it could not last. The day of reckoning occurred, and my climbing structure came crashing down to the ground.

“The public changed its image of me completely around. I was now called a conn man, a swindler, a deceiver of innocent investors who had fallen for what I happened to be hustling before them. Could all these attacks and criticism, the hatred thrown at me, not have an effect on my mental balance? I fell to pieces in one day. Or was it overnight? I don’t remember all the minor details. But I had to seek medical treatment. Then the doctors treating my cardiac attack turned me over to their colleagues who deal with personalities and minds that appear to need major repair and restructuring. That is why they decided to fly me up to your orbiting hospital, because they themselves proved to be unable to reshape me into what everybody had once taken me for: a genius of scientific discovery, technical invention, and business organizing and management.

“I had become a broken bum with serious but unmapped mental problems.

“Are you the one capable of doing something with me, Dr. Muh?”

The patient’s hazel eyes focused with precision on the therapist who was the newest staff member on the Hygea.

“I find you a very interesting individual, Xop,” murmured the analyst. “Tell me this: what are the most important characteristics of your personality? I want you to describe yourself in the most general way that you can, because nothing else can be of value to me in trying to help you.”

The patient looked away for a moment, then gazed directly at his doctor.

“I would say that I am always looking for what is new and different. My curiosity leads me into new areas all the time. That is how I became an inventor and a businessman. It also means that I have a habit of dropping the old because something is always appearing that draws and fascinates me. Yes, I would describe myself as having a colossal curiosity about things I am not familiar with at the moment.

“And I have to add that I have always been a person willing to take risks. That would make me a kind of adventurer, I imagine. From early childhood, I liked sports because of the chances and gambles connected to games, races, and competitions of all sorts. There has never been much fear of losing in me, I dare to tell you, Dr. Muh.

“I guess that people are right to call me a dreamer who never fully grew up,” said Xop with a devilish kind of grin.

“I understand that you and your company worked on the frontier of new areas of science and technology,” remembered the psychologist.

“That is the truth. I had studied little biology in my university education, because I majored in business and economic studies. But once I became interested in microscopic life forms and their possible application in our society, I nearly drowned myself in self-education on amoebae and protozoa. That field became a mania for me. I devoted day and night to making myself knowledgeable on the tiny subjects that fascinated me.

“I made myself something of an expert on these amoebozoa and episthokonta. My focus came to center on the giant multinucleates that combined whole armies of nano-creatures. The amoebae that fascinated me were the large combined colonies of Pelomyxa, Entamoeba, and Chaos species. At last, I discovered what I was after and needed in the Fuligo, which could grow to cover several square meters of area as a single, connected organism.

“My technicians were able to make this gigantic amoebic form the basis of a new kind of energy battery, in which electronic force could be stored for use at nighttime, when there was no solar light available on half of planet Geryon.

“Today, the Fuligo battery is in use for energy storage all over Geryon. But the original, pioneering producer collapsed into bankruptcy. It seems that I expanded too fast and borrowed too much from banking and financial sources.

“When the market for my batteries declined, my company was doomed.

“So were my own personal finances.”

Xop fell silent and looked away from his therapist. The latter decided to bring the meeting to a speedy halt and allow his patient have some needed rest.

X.

Bax Muh did not have to think for long on how to describe and categorize the primary archetype that lay in the mind and personality of Xop Kulo.

All that this patient had told him qualified as signs of the Hermes Archetype.

The signs were many and clearly evident to the analyst.

The bold, resourceful inventor who was governed by an insatiable curiosity.

The refusal to grow up and conform like others, the open spirit intent upon discovering the new that no one else had yet seen or understood.

He was inquisitive and malleable, a gambling wanderer and a mystical trader.

Xop fit the pattern to perfection. But how was he to be treated so as to overcome his present dark mood of depression? wondered the analyst.

Patients ate their meals in a dining hall dedicated to them, while the therapeutic staff members ate separated from them in a large room a small distance away.

Those on board from Geryon for personal treatment slowly grew acquainted with each other. There was a greater number of males than females among these patients. Particular individuals with outward-oriented personalities and polished social skills tended to become the centers of different small groups in the process of formation.

Hop Kulo quickly acquired a large circle of new friends. He fell into the habit of moving about each day to different tables and introducing himself to a variety of patients. Among the latter persons were both Byen Sakum and Sia Garno. Both of the latter enjoyed talking with such a friendly personality.

Byen, the electronics merchant, was fascinated by what Xop presented to those at his table listening to him.

“It is easy to enter the industrial picture of our planet, but staying there with any measure of success is a most difficult task. I know that from my own troublesome experience,” opined Xop with bitter feeling.

Sia, having listened passively to others who were speaking, suddenly gave out a personal conclusion.

“It is too bad that we residents here on the Hygea do not associate with each other to any extensive degree. It would, I think, be much better if we had occasional gatherings and events of various kinds. It might keep us to adjust much better to circumstances in general.”

Xop immediately picked up this proposal from the fashion designer.

“I consider it an unnatural situation that we have on this rotating hospital ship. The staff and the crew are well ordered, with a definite organization and hierarchy. They can, all of them, anticipate what tomorrow will be like, since it will follow the general patterns that are in command today.

“But we, the resident patients for whom the Hygea exists to serve, have no formal organizational structure of our own. We do not have membership rolls of our own, or separate rules and officers of any sort.

“Today we happen to be divided, separate individuals, and nothing more than that. That is the reason we have no voice in decision-making and are never asked by anyone else what we might think about matters of importance.”

“That is the truth, we must admit, all of us brought here for treatments of various kinds,” said Byen, growing excited by the second. “But there is nothing any of us can do about the fact that all the others ignore and overlook our wants and opinions.”

“It is a sad situation for all of us patients, and we all know it deep in our minds,” added Sia.

Others sitting at this table chimed in with similar views and statements.

In a short while, Xop offered the group at the table a solution.

“We, the patients, have to organize ourselves. If we speak with one voice, the doctors will have to hear what we want done. And we must construct our own system of social life. The closer we come together, the more each single one of us will count and matter.”

In a short time, a consensus was arrived at that a private, semi-secret meeting of resident patients was necessary to create an organization to speak for and represent the forgotten aims, interest, and goals of those who were brought aboard for therapeutic treatments of their mental and personality problems.

The Gobi Animat

12 Sep

Jacob Pile, Chief Navigator of the Insurant vehicle, addressed his son with a heavy heart and a feeling of incoherent pain.

“What is wrong with you my son? I look at you and I see a person who is adrift, without a goal or a purpose. You are merely drifting along, with no compass or direction. It isn’t that you have made wrong decisions. You are making none at all. You haven’t chosen a career or a professional field.

“What are your plans? I have no idea, nor does anyone else. Nor do you. What is the problem? Why are you caught in a strange inertia? That is not how a young man like you should be. You seem not to act or move at all.”

Danton, the son, appeared to be far away in thought when he murmured a reply to his father.

“I wish that I could explain why I am this way, but I can’t. I don’t know what I really want to do, or to become. My future looks like an empty desert to me. There is nothing there for me to dream about or aspire to. What kind of ambition should I conceive for myself? I just can’t say, even to myself. I have turned into a stranger, even to myself.

“I don’t know who I am or who I should become. Nothing at all interests me. No field of science, no job here on the ship Inquiry. It’s as if I am somehow frozen into an unending present moment that never changes, and that never can.

“I have no idea what is going to happen with me, and the truth seems to be that I don’t even care. This is exactly like being caught in a celestial fog, in a nebular cloud without boundaries. And I can’t get out of the galactic hole that I’m in.

“I sense that there is nothing out there for me to do or become involved with. I’m floating in a star wind of some kind, and have no idea where it is going to take me. I have no control over anything, whether near or far.

“What is the cause of my indifference to even myself, father? Why has my life fallen into this vacuum, this whirl of nothingness that I feel? Tell me what to do, I beg you.”

Jacob Pile looked directly at his son as he responded with a reply.

“If I were your age, I would enter one of our many apprentice programs in planetary modeling and redesign. So, I have decided to enroll you myself.

“You certainly know enough molecular chemistry and physics to begin work on the rebuilding of our next destination, the planet named Gobi.

“It will be a very tough project, to remake life on such a dry, poor, inhospitable and hopeless world.

“We will have to find wise solutions to the problems and difficulties of the suffering, miserable inhabitants of the desperate planet we are headed for. It will not be easy, or happen all at once.

“My dream is that you will be part of the effort, my son.”

Danton was informed by his father that he had scheduled a series of sessions for him with the ship’s chief psychologist, Dr. Mead Quort.

The young fellow, unsettled by the possibilities involved with the official who was a stranger to him, entered the doctor’s consulting office with unease and apprehension. The large, heavy therapist shook his hand and asked the new patient to sit down on the side of his silicon desk.

“How would you describe yourself to me, Danton?” asked the grinning Mead Quort.

“I think that I am like a lost soul, like a wandering nomad of some sort. My mind is like an endless desert. I do not trust my ability to determine or know anything for myself. My father has recently had me placed in the Production Department of this ship. I shall be studying and serving in a variety of material design sections, under numerous different supervisors.

“Perhaps I should be glad and thankful for the appointment, but I don’t really feel anything at all about what I expect to be doing. I may have to carry out the motions, but my own self-identity will not at all become involved. I will still be a person looking in from the outside. That is going to be my inevitable fate in the Production Department of this ship.”

The session droned on to its vacuous end.

Nearly a thousand men and women were eating breakfast in the assembly hall of the Inquiry.

Danton found a vacant seat on a table bench after fetching a plate of burgo from the food counter. He began to eat when someone spoke to him from behind.

The young man turned around to see who it was. A middle-aged small man in a laboratory uniform began talking to him.

“You are Danton Pile, son of Jacob?”

The former gave an affirmative nod. “Yes,” he managed to reply. “That is who I am.”

“Let me introduce myself. I am Soto Rimny, director of the Bio-Eco Section of the Production Department. Your father spoke with me about you. I understand that you are available for recruitment into a section such as the one that I head. Would you accept appointment into our group? Your father assured me that you have completed sufficient academic training in the sciences to fit in and accomplish the responsibilities that might be assigned to you.”

For several seconds, Danton sat speechless. Finally, he nodded his head a number of times.

“Yes, of course I would work in your Bio-Eco Section. It would be exciting to be a part of the natural planning and engineering in progress for this desert planet we will soon be visiting. I promise to do my best for the creation of the flora and the fauna of the new eco-world that will be coming for this world we will be making.”

“Good,” muttered Soto Rimny. “As soon as you are finished with your breakfast, come to my office in the Production Wing of the Inquiry. We will quickly introduce and orient you to the duties you will be fulfilling in your post.”

With that, the Director of Bio-Eco turned around and toddled off.

Danton finished his burgo and made a rapid exit out of the giant assembly hall.

The Captain in command of the Inquiry was a tall, athletic-looking red-head named Nedge Wia. She visited the office of Jacob Pile a month after Danton had begun to work at his job in Bio-Eco as a planning apprentice.

“How is your son coming along with his appointment?” the skipper asked the father of the young one. “Does he enjoy the work he is engaged in?”

Jacob smiled with confidence. “I believe that Danton now has something to believe in. He has invested his whole future in the projects that now take up his time and energy.

“I am happy and hopeful about the direction he is now taking,” announced the father. “His success in what he is doing heartens me a great deal. I think that things are progressing as they should for Danton.”

“That is good to hear,” said the Captain as she turned and left the office.

Dr. Quort perceived the noticeable change in Danton as soon as their second session together started. It seemed to him that almost another person with a different character and personality was there to see him in his consultation office.

“How is your work at the new post going for you, Danton?” began the psychologist.

“It is exciting for me, Doctor. I am now part of a team busy creating new animals for the planet of Gobi. We are engineering bands of wild camels that can be domesticated by the native desert tribes, species that they can herd and raise, but better suited to conditions that the old, natural beasts they are familiar with.

“Our hope is to bring prosperity and a higher standard of life to those peoples of the deserts on Gobi. Biological and genetic achievements of the specialists on our staff promise to give the Inquiry the ability to remake the ecological conditions of the planet in a complete range of circumstances.

“Everyone is excited by the brilliant prospects that lie ahead for us.”

Mead Quont smiled warmly at the patient sitting across from him.

“That is good to hear, Danton. Keep up with what you are doing. I can foresee enormous success for both you and the magnificent program you are engaged with.

Soto Rimny gave a weekly pep talk and progress report to his assembled Bio-Eco section. Danton leaned a lot about the contours and direction of the work project he had become a member of whenever the Director spoke to his group of fifty associates and subordinates.

“As all of us recognize, out section has the mission of developing a hybrid animat suitable for the deserts of planet Gobi. This artificial animal has to be a replacement for the small, inadequate camels that the tribes of the dry lands live with and utilize. Our task is not at all a simple one, as all of you know as well as I do.

“I can report to you that every day we move nearer to achieving our goal. We are exceeding all the desert camels found elsewhere: the dromedaries, the bactrians, and the wild species beyond human intervention or breeding.

“In our work here on the Inquiry, we have isolated favorable traits taken from camelids such as the alpaca, the llama, the vicuna, and the guanaco. These characteristics will make the model animat we provide an excellent adjuster to the particular conditions of Gobi and its desert environments.

“But now we shall enter an area of even more distance from camels. There are a number of useful traits we will attempt to add to the basic core of the camel, from which we have started. I refer to xerocoles found on distant desert planets, species than can save and secure water for long periods of time.

“I believe that we can develop and provide an animat that will never need to drink any water, but can obtain it by other means. This invented species will be capable of avoiding evaporation completely, to an absolute degree.

“It will be able to concentrate its own excrement so as to retain water. Its urine and feces will not subtract any of its inner water.

“The brain of this animat must have a constant, never changing temperature to it. A concentrating number of arteries and veins in the head will keep the brain cooled. The new creature will be able to cope with changes in both outer and body temperature through its temperate blood flow. It will never sweat, because there will be no need for it to do so.

“We are moving forward and will in a short time reach our final foal.

“It is time to return to our scientific labors, so let us do so at once.”

Soto Rimny walked away, back to his office and the team of fifty dispersed.

Danton became totally focused on the work going on in the Bio-Eco Section. But his interest spread far beyond just the chores and jobs that he himself was assigned to carry out by supervisors. During free periods and when out of the lab, he spent his time reading whatever he could get in hand about camels, xerocoles, and desert species of all sorts on many planets that had been visited and studied by galactic scientists.

As he ploughed through volumes written about xerocoles on planet Earth, his curiosity fastened upon the white antelope which went by the name of the Addax.
How did that animal cope with heat and water scarcity? He extracted the many features of the addax that made its survival possible in almost waterless desert regions.

Its coloring changed with the seasons. In winter it was gray-white, but in summer completely white.

The addax was able to concentrate its urine, preventing water loss.

But then Danton came across a characteristic that drew his full attention.

He discovered that certain kinds of addax had small pouches in the lining of their stomach. This was where they stored water for specially difficult emergency circumstances or conditions. Stomach pouches? wondered the young biological apprentice.

Why not take this unusual feature to the Director of the Bio-Eco Section, Soto Rimny? Was he aware of its existence and functioning? Did the pouches have any practical use for the animat that was being designed and engineered for planet Gobi?

It would be good and useful to find out whether he had stumbled upon something that might possess some practical value.

Soto Rimny decided to try out and test the unusual idea brought to him by Danton. The two of them huddled together in the bionic planning room which served as the central control location for new initiatives in biotechnology.

“I never heard about such stomach pouches in the ungulates called addaxes, but they sound like a subject worth thorough investigation, that is certain,” said the Director with rising curiosity. “Let me assign you, Danton, to be the original collector of published material concerning these water-holding pouches and how they work in and for an addax.

“It is all new to me, but what does that mean?” cynically grinned Soto.

Thus began a project without visible end, but that continued on and on.

Positive indicators came out of the research carried out by Danton.

Director Soto Rimny soon organized a large group of bio-engineers to set down a concrete plan for a camel-like animat with water-holding and preserving pouches inside a stomach with separate food and water compartments.

An artificial animal containing biological materials and graphene structural frames within it. Biocybernetists and biorobot specialists took part in deciding how to combine living and inorganic parts.

A synthetic biobot combined the natural and the manmade into a new creature that deserved inclusion in the category of galactic animats.

Danton shared the widespread pride and joy within the Bio-Eco Section of the spaceship named Inquiry.

By the time that they landed on planet Gobi, the planners and engineers had created a dozen camel-type animats, all of them carrying water pouches within their stomachs. Within a month or so, over a hundred such bionic beings would be ready to be turned over to the native nomad tribes that lived on the several deserts.

Danton asked his Director for permission to be included in the first group of bio-scientists to take animats off the ship and hand them over to a tribe of desert nomads. “I feel that my early contribution entitles me to be in the ship team leading the creatures into their new environment, to their new owners of the planet.

Soto Rimny nodded his head affirmatively.

“I have talked with Captain Wia about your amazing discovery about the water pouches and how they can solve many hydration problems for desert animats that will replace and substitute for the existing camels here on Gobi.

“She agreed with me that you have earned the gratitude of everyone aboard the Inquiry. So, as a reward for your important contribution the Captain has already granted you the right to be among the biologists who will introduce the new animat to the inhabitants of the vast Gobi desert.

“I congratulate you on the prize and honor that will now be yours to enjoy, Danton.”

The latter’s face glowed with a radiance completely new to it and to him.

Immediately after the landing of the Inquiry the animat group began to oversee the removal of the new creatures onto the desert surface. Already messages had been radioed to the nearest tribes of nomadic people to assemble at the location indicated for their reception of the animats into their flocks of natural camels, all of the dromedaries.

Danton exited the ship together with the bio-engineers who had carried out the planning and construction of the newly arrived beings.

From the side of the Equity, Danton and the rest of the team observed how the main exit door opened and the animats began to carefully, fearfully move out onto the desert sand, an environment totally unfamiliar to them.

Nomads, sitting on camels, watched as the animats emerged and made their way toward the large number of unsaddled camels next to the ones carrying riders in flowing desert burnooses and other colorful protective outer clothing.

Danton waited to see how the new animats were going to join the herd of unsaddled, unridden camels.

In a few seconds, he and the bio-engineering group witnessed the completely unforeseen and unexpected.

Who was capable of predicting what actually occurred in front of their eyes.

A battle of camels against animats, animats against camels broke out at once.

Each species and variety recognized at once what it faced: a deadly, dangerous enemy. Mortal foe fought with what was seen as a mortal rival, a merciless foe.

Each competitor for space on the desert floor was willing to kill, to avert being killed itself.

Danton and his companions watched in horror as camels fell to the ground, seriously hurt and wounded. But animats unable to fight well also became losers in the mad war that had erupted between the two kinds of moving combatants.

The individuals from the Inquiry looked at each other in terror and ignorance.

Not one of them was able to understand what they saw.

Dead bodies, wounded and injured casualties littered the area between the ship and the saddled camels and their riders.

After a considerable time, the nomads and their personal camels began to depart. Their faces looked pale with terror caused by the scene that they had just experienced.

The bio-engineers, Danton with them, returned to the Inquiry in confusion, horror, and shock.

None of those who came back into the ship had any sort of explanation to give to anyone on the space ship.

A few weeks after the Inquiry fired off from planet Gobi, Danton made an appointment to meet with Dr. Mead Quort for personal, psychological counseling and advice.

“I have quit working in the Bio-Eco Sector, and I intend never again to have any role in making animats of any kind or species. My experience on Gobi has caused me endless pain and imbalance. I cannot say when, if ever, I will have recovered from what I had to see back there.

“My desire is to leave this ship and never catch sight of it ever again. As long as my life lasts, I doubt that I can forget or comprehend what occurred back there on Gobi, or why the slaughtering went to such extremes of beastliness.

“Both the natural camels and our own animats carried destructive genes. I feel right in terming them self-destructive genetic components.

“I have come to suspect that we who journey through galactic space as engineers of natural and constructed life are no less beastly.

“That idea threatens to haunt me all the rest of my days and years.”

Dr. Quort, unable to add anything to what he had heard, put an end to the session by himself rising from his chair behind a desk and quickly exiting from an uncomfortable scene he had not foreseen.