Chapter VIII.

6 Feb

Tado and his assistant sat down in the darkened workroom of the former’s apartment. Endo brought a plain xyloid chair directly behind his new psychic master, who sat at a high desk that held the dactylograph. Both men were perfectly still for a long while, until Tado began to tap the keyboard as if in the transports of some inner frenzy. Reception from afar was occurring. There was wavelike psychic transmission arriving from another time. Neither of them believed that it was intentionally chosen or directed toward them. Some sort of unplanned overflow of mental energy in another time was what this was.

How it came about was not the important question for the pair. The reception of an entire work of fiction was the primary purpose of psychographia for them. No general, abstract explanation was required to carry out their task, only a receptive mind with telepathic talent. The unconscious part of the work was the most important, not the conscious. No wonder the phenomenon was technically known as automatic or trance writing. Its character was one of machine-like, reactive copying down.

One need not carry out any logical train of thought, but only surrender to this transmission from another time. The transcriber in the present turned himself into a passive mental apparatus laboring like an automaton. The mood of the psychographer had to be quietly receptive. One’s mind had to be turned into an instrument without a will of its own.

The pretending pupil had himself experienced that kind of feeling before, but for him it had been with a simple stylograph in his hand. This now was, in one sense, different. But in other ways, it was exactly the same kind of work as before, when he had practiced taking in writings on his own, under the supervision of Bran Carq.

At a certain point, after half an hour of transmission and reception by the Chief Editor, Endo started to feel words streaming through his mind. On they continued. The realization came to him that he was absorbing the same messages as his supposed instructor in psychography. He was able to identify what was entering his mind as the third book in the Velvet series. It was another adventure of the protagonist named Raxis Absum, the man known as the Deliverer.

Since he was not himself recording the narrative by dactylograph, the story felt like it was straying away at times. His mind focused on the story when there were unfamiliar ideas mentioned: aerostats, liquified oxygen, autoscopes, the oversoul, and telergic energy. These strange technical terms from another age furnished his mind puzzling mysteries without answers.

Tado turned around and spoke to his supposed student.

“See how fast the recording of the transmission goes? I’ve already taken down a goodly fraction of the entire novella. The rest is still on its way to me. Now is a good time to break off for the day. My work is progressing at an efficient speed. Of course, neither I nor anyone else can predict how long the finished story will be. It might turn out to be a lengthy saga in and by itself. So you see, this kind of psychic activity exists in a cloud of darkness. I cannot foresee when or how the end of the tale will occur. It can happen suddenly, at any moment.” He paused and looked directly at Endo.

“Did you feel any tingling in your brain? Any unexpected, unprecedented sensations? Anything unusual? An unfamiliar feeling of any sort?”

“Indeed,” said the assistant, trying to avoid outright lying. “I did sense a kind of magnetic charge. Is that what reception resembles? As if a gigantic magnet were positioned just above my brain? I felt an electrical sensation, the sort that is often used in play shockers at country fairs. I experienced those things when I was a boy in a village and now again, but under completely different circumstances. It was unlike anything felt in everyday life. There was something unprecedented about the impression it made upon me. It seemed a lively magnetic shock. There was something almost unnatural about how it made me feel. I am still unable to give it a precise name or definition. It is so unlike ordinary life that it makes one question everything that was previously accepted as real and true.”

In the darkness of the workroom, Tado’s excitement was clearly evident. Endo realized he was on a fruitful line of thought and continued expressing it.

“The whole thrust of Velvet is a prediction that in ages to come psychic communications will become a central factor in society. Most human beings will participate in the realm of the supernormal, in one way or another. Isn’t that the main message of the Velvet novellae of futuric fiction? That is what I must conclude for myself. That is what I have learned from the two books.”

Tado suddenly frowned as if troubled by what he was hearing. “Let’s not jump too far ahead, my friend. We do not have solid knowledge of the date of the transmission I received this morning. It could be a mere reflection of fanciful speculations about times to come after an infinitely long interval of time. We do not know how much that is received is pure imaginative speculation and how much is realistic and attainable. That remains to be seen in future time.”

Endo thought it best to change the subject to an immediate concern of his.

“What shall we be doing the rest of the day?”

“You should come with me to the office. I have to see Brage Sucre about setting up the meetings to organize our new Velvet associations. This is an important moment of decision, if we are to form an active movement of fans and adherents. What we decide and do now will shape the future course of our whole enterprise. This moment is a fateful one for us.”

Endo smiled at another chance to see and speak with Paena, looking ahead to what was coming next.


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