Chapter 2.

11 Feb

For over a hundred years, the top psychic elite of Velvet congregated, mingled, and associated at the downtown Mental Club at the center of the banking and business district.

Its columns gave the high, spacious structure an aura of magnificent grandeur.

Quio made his way up the steep entrance steps to the main recumbency room where psychics relaxed and rested in wing chairs and on sofa beds. There was a single rule imposed here: no active telepathy allowed, in order to maintain mental quiet for those present.

Not having seen the professor in years, Quio had a hard time finding him as he scanned the lengthy room for his distant relative.

“I’m over here,” called out a tiny shape seated at the end of a coal-black divan.

Quio looked in the direction from which the squeaky voice originated. Damo’s face was lined and wrinkled, but his hazel eyes still glimmered brightly, as the airman remembered them from years before. The light little man rose and walked up to him, shaking his hand, then leading him back to the divan and inviting the younger one to sit down beside him.

The two began to converse in low, modulated tones that did not carry far.

“What is the strange, odd enterprise you are proposing, my boy?” muttered Damo in a mocking tone. “Perhaps it is a quaint joke of yours. I recall how humorous you often were in childhood, always clowning around at family gatherings and reunions.”

Quio made a sour grimace. “It is a serious proposal I am making, sir.”

“Have you, as a psychic related to countless other psychics, considered what could happen, even with successful transporting? I have reason to believe that there exist terrible mental hazards on our nearest neighboring planets. Whenever there have been attempts at psychognostic long-range exploration, obstacles and barriers have been met. It is as if these other bodies had walls of some sort about them on all sides. Why such impenetrable obstructing fences? What lies behind all these baffling hindrances to our minds?

“I don’t understand it, nor does any other telegnostic. Until this mystery has a solution, we must restrain ourselves and not meddle with what may cause grave harm to our minds. That is why I will not endorse any attempt at voidal travel. In fact, my efforts shall be to have this idea opposed by the Telesthetic Association, in which I can claim to have considerable influence through years of activity.

“Do not continue with your zaniness, Quio. Either the voyaging fails and you become a laughing-stock, or else the scheme leads to a mass telepathic smash-up of colossal dimensions. No one can calculate the potential harm.”

Both men on the divan fell silent for a time. The degree to which they disagreed was evident to both of them. Their positions were totally contradictory.

“Since I cannot convince you, sir, I had better leave you in peace,” finally said Quio as he rose from where he was sitting.

Damo threw him a withering glance of scorn. “You will give up, then?”

“No. Not at all. Good-bye, sir.”

The professor said nothing in reply as his relative departed.

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