The Velvet Power. Chapter 1.

8 Feb

At the age of 87, Raxis Absum went to live in a special nostological colony for seniors on the outskirts of the capital of Tinok. For half a dozen years he had suffered the emptiness and loneliness of a widower. His only son, Bave, now took care of the industrial holdings of the man who had long ago been granted the public title of Deliverer for his contributions to social telepathy.

The retiree was proud of the practical ability in everyday business of his sole heir. Though forever busy and occupied, the son always had time to visit his parent. He was constantly surprised at the curiosity and imagination of the old man’s mind. Age had not diminished its clarity and sharpness, nor its interest in the new.

One summer day, the pair sat talking on gummic fauteuils on the balcony-porch of the gerontologic facility. Raxis was brimming with a grand vision of future developments ahead.

“One of my major regrets is the failure by all of us to probe more deeply into the area of how Velvet generates and distributes its electrico-magnetic energy. What do we have, even today? The same wires and cables of copper, aluminum, and glass fiber. These have been available to us for generations. Why have there been no innovations or improvements? Why has experimentation been nearly nonexistent. I place a lot of the blame for the situation on myself. There is much that I should have done in the past. Looking back on what might have been can be very painful, Bave.”

The latter then asked his father a delicate question.

“How would you have attacked that problem yourself? What sort of research would have been best to carry out?”

Raxis replied smiling brightly. “The possibility of telepathic energy transmission always sounded possible to me. My entire life has been centered upon finding new applications like that.”

“Where is the best place to start dealing with such a difficult application of mental energy?”

The telesthetic pioneer was silent for a time, considering how to answer his son.

“There was a man I knew of my own generation who worked as a magelectric engineer. He was knowledgeable in all aspects of power generation and transmission, as well as possessing advanced psychic skill. As far as I know, he is still alive.”

“What is his name?” asked Bave.

“Hail Grue. He specialized in the planning and construction of energy grids. I have no idea where he may at present be living. We lost contact with each other long ago.”

“I think I should try to locate and talk with him,” resolved Bave, uncertain what he was getting involved in by listening to his father.

A search through old street directories from years back offered no address.

Bave decided to have friends working for the piezomagnetic system look into the customer files. This produced a street number in an industrial borough of the outer zone of the metropolis. Satisfied that he had at last found the residence of his father’s friend, he took a commuters’ omnibus to the neighborhood and began to hunt for the man he was after.

The street was a winding, narrow vereda lined with aged tenements that showed cracked cement, damaged and dissolving with time.

Locating the right building, he climbed an outside stairway to the floor of the flat he was after. Since there was no outside bell, Bave had to knock on the heavy acierated door.

The old man who appeared was small and ratlike. There was no hair whatever on the top of his rectangular head. Glowing esmeraldic eyes were the lone sign of any spark of life in him.

“You happen to be Hail Grue?” said the younger man, certain that he was right.

“Yes. What can I do for you?”

“My name is Bave Absum and I am carrying out research on a matter that at one time interested you, I am told. May I speak with you about my plans and what I aim to achieve? That should not take up too much of your time.”

“Come in, please,” muttered the old engineer, stepping back to let in his visitor.

The interior of the apartment was dim and shadowy.

Bave took a celluloid chair pointed out to him. Grue remained standing.

Somewhat uneasy, the younger man started to explain his purpose in coming.

“What I am hunting for are old ideas about magelectric transmission. Is it possible to use means totally unlike those we now see? No method will be rejected by me as too fantastic or radical. I am especially interested in non-material media. Our planet has so many non-material applications and methods available. I cannot understand why no one has yet succeeded in using them in the business of power distribution, which remains so costly even today.”

For a few moments, Hail seemed to be swaying. But then he collected himself and began to speak.

“Indeed, I performed a lot of work on that precise problem that you describe, but that was many years ago. There was very little interest in carrying out my concepts, so I had to drop the kind of testing I had been engaged in. No one saw any way to make a profit out of what I ended up with.”

“That must have been discouraging,” said Bave in a tone full of sympathy.

“I have never given up belief in that dream of a cheap, efficient means of power distribution with the use of non-material means. My goal was to combine the psychic with traditional metals and alloys so as to gain the advantages of both. But from the start, there were difficulties involved in the work. I quickly learned that the easiest part would be psychic transmission of magnetic energy. The main problem was how to set up systems of reception at the points of power utilization. It became clear to me immediately that human minds were not practical instruments of reception of energy, although able to both send and distribute it. The difficulty holding back development was the lack of a good, effective receptor. The human mind did not appear adequate to the demands in that sector.

“Some other medium of reception was needed, but I was unable to determine what it would be. I searched endlessly, but never found it. That remains the single greatest lacuna in my idea of psychic distribution through the invisible ether.”

Bave felt moved enough to express his own sudden emotion.

“Do not be discouraged, sir. Such a project can succeed once a useable substance is discovered to serve as the receptor medium. The immediate obstacle is collecting the needed funds and resources. I believe that, if you will let me do so, I can find the needed financial support. Will you give me permission to act for you in winning backing? Will you authorize me to locate people who will provide support and assistance?”

Hail Grue looked at him with growing excitement. Old feelings were being reborn in him. He could hardly believe what he was hearing from the stranger in his flat.

“Yes, of course,” he managed to say.

Bave rose, excused himself, and departed. He had good news to tell his father.

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