The Velvet Cosmos. Chapter 1.

11 Feb

Quio Absum had a distinguished ancestry he was obliged to live up to.

Great-grandson of Raxis Absum, the psychic revolutionary, he had an extremely high standard by which to judge himself and his achievements. His path was never an easy one to follow.

From his earliest years, his dream became one of leaving his home planet of Velvet and traveling to one of the numerous other worlds in his particular star system. He majored in volar science at Tinok University, becoming an aerial engineer as well as a flier of hot-air montgolfiers and gyroplanes. At an early age, he acquired the greatest of knowledge and skills in avigation and aerodynamics, sciences that did not yet exist four generations back, in the lifetime of Raxis Absum.

The ambitions of Quio centered on the stratosphere and beyond. The telepathic pioneering of his own forefathers seemed to him of secondary interest, an assisting factor to his own aviation goals.

Thin and lanky, with blond hair and cerulean eyes, Quio could have been a popular romantic playboy had he the inclination. His time and attention were concentrated instead on aircraft and flying, to the exclusion of nearly all else. Losing both parents at an early age, the handsome youth grew up a loner, satisfied to live by himself in a bare, frugal style of life. His aeronautical obsession made him appear abstracted and self-centered to those who met him. He did not make friends with ease, but seemed a very distant personality.

This pattern came to an abrupt and sudden end when his path intersected with that of Oba Kmoun, the first young woman whom he ever heard proclaim that she dreamed of flying off to one of the other planets of their solar system.

The pair was introduced to each other by friends at an ice cream bar near the Tinok Aerodrome. She was a short, slender beauty. A dark brunette with velvety black eyes, she had a magnetic attracting ability in her small body. Quio, though, was most of all intrigued by her uniquely startling ideas about travel through the outer cosmos.

“I believe we are close to the verge of journeying into the spatial void,” she said to him. The two of them sat alone at a corner table away from the other patrons in the place. “Why should it be impossible to do?” she asked rhetorically. “So much has been realized by Velvet science over the last century. Cosmic travel may be difficult, but not beyond our technical capabilities. It is mostly a matter of effort and single-minded attention and application. It will come about. I sincerely believe that we will see spatial flight in our lifetime.”

Quio gazed at her breathlessly, with unlimited admiration in both his mind and heart.

“It will be an expensive, difficult venture,” he noted. “How would it ever be financed? Who can pay all the bills connected to such an enormous project?”

“That can be managed, if enough people are convinced and have the will to succeed.”

“You think that a sponsor can be found for such a wild idea?” he asked her with passion in his eyes.

She puckered her mouth before replying to his question.

“The old Telesthetic Association needs a novel goal to inspire and energize its membership. Why not make a formal application to that organization? Your family name might convince a lot of older persons to join our campaign to enter space, Quio.”

He thought intensely for a moment.

“I still have many relatives in that organization,” he told her with enthusiasm. “Let me make inquiries and find out how they see a wild adventure into the void.”

Over four generations, the clan of the Absums had grown to gigantic proportions.

Descended from Raxis, the Deliverer, and his second wife, Xipha Lokum, the scores of relatives had wealth, brains, and nearly unbelievable telepathic skills. They had entered into all the major fields of importance on Velvet. In finance, Absums were bank presidents and heads of investment trusts. They sat on the boards of trustees of many of the largest industrial firms and manufacturing companies on the planet.

Absums occupied dozens of seats in both the upper and lower houses of the world parliament.

In many sciences, the leaders were descendants of the original psychic Deliverer who had revolutionized mental life. Chemists, physicists, biologists, ecologists, astronomers, and cosmologists shared the same family name and ancestry.

In areas as diverse as sports and the creative arts, Absums made their mark, winning records and attaining fame.

Everywhere one looked, one saw them.

Quio contacted both close and distant relatives telepathically, then asked to hold personal meetings with them at their convenience. He was happily surprised with the positive responses he received. One after another, those informed of his ideas expressed interest in the subject of off-planet travel. Only a few said they were too busy or preoccupied to participate in anything involved with space flight.

The first negative reply came from Damo Absum, Professor of Telegnosis at the University of Tinok. No, he answered psychically, leaving Velvet for elsewhere posed serious, momentous danger for anyone venturing outward and for all the telepathic inhabitants of the home planet.

How can that be? returned Quio. What are the possible dangers in travel beyond Velvet?

Come and see me, said the adept through a thought message. I will relate my fears to you when we are together in one place.

Puzzled and confused, the young aviator agreed to meet with the sceptic at the Mental Club.

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