Sahara Light: a Novel. Part I. Chapter XI.

4 Mar

Hermes always attempted to keep his experiments simple and on the smallest scale possible. This put a limit on costs and was meant to convince the Director that his program should continue on. He was determined to attain the success he was certain was possible with exitrons and polaritrons, as he tried varied combinations of the two streams of differing quasiparticles.

At the end of his first week back at the Light Institute from his vacation in Gamara, Hebe Triton dropped into his section unexpectedly. He experienced a sudden premonition that she was bearing bad news for him and his work.

“You are using too many pulsators and processing devices,” she informed the suddenly distressed physicist as she sat down across his desk from him.

He bit his lip to control his anger. “I think that a breakthrough is near. It’s only a matter of time and continued effort. A little more probing and testing is needed. I am close to winning control over the color spectrum with the new forms of plasma being composed. The goal of color exploration can be achieved with success, believe me.”

“But the expenses, Hermes. What possible uses can your results have? I wonder why I let you convince me to help you start down this road. The trustees insist on practical benefits to our agricultural production. That is what they are most interested in, not the rainbow of colors that you seem to be continually involved with in your work. It has become an obsessive mania for you, I’m afraid.”

Hermes lowered his voice until he was almost whispering. “There are always wild cards in scientific research. I acknowledge that I am engaged in what looks like a crazy gamble. But the progress I have made, so far, in the combination and reverberation of quasiparticles gives me hope of reaching into an unexplored area. Victory is near…”

His memory suddenly flashed a picture of the woman in faraway Gamara named Echo. This was not the first time that week he had seen her in his imagination. But the Director interrupted his trancelike vision of the woman who had struck him with a discus.

“I can only give you until the end of next week, Hermes. After that, you will be obliged to fold up this current project and return the equipment you are now using. I will then assign you to one of our ongoing programs so that you will be working on one of the permanent project teams. Is that clear to you?”

He gave her no direct reply, but turned away, looking down at a report he had been studying before she had entered to give him the bad news about his future work.

Sensing his deep disappointment, Hebe Triton rose and hurried back to her headquarters office.

What was going to happen to this recalcitrant scientist? she wondered. Why did he have to be so stubborn and determined in what he wanted to do?

Ganymede went to his brother’s module early in the morning, before Cadmus had finished breakfast and left on business. The developer offered him a bowl of porridge. He sensed that the painter was about to ask him for some form of aid in the form of money.

“Is there anything I can do for you today, Gany?” inquired the clever, cunning businessman, smiling at his sibling.

The artist beamed a big smile at his brother, who acted as his primary patron and sponsor.

“I need a small hall for a kind of folk exhibition. Niobe and I are planning a revival of ancient styles from the homeland. Artifacts and materials from the pre-migration past will be on display. Our hope is to generate a lot of public interest, but we will need funds for reserving a place to hold this in.”

Ganymede searched the face of his younger brother, looking for some hopeful sign. He decided that he had to continue his pleading for money.

“We want to find out whether old dimensions of life can be brought back today. Our hunt will be for elements that are still popular and can help to stabilize life for the present generation here in Gamara.”

Cadmus stared intently at his begging brother.

“Very well, then. But keep your expenses as low as possible. Understand?”

The internally rejoicing painter nodded yes, he would try to be economical in this new chromatic project of his.

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