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

4 Mar

Echo appeared in a predawn dream and showed him a new direction to take.

Perhaps its origins lay in his own unconscious, but Hermes was granted a vision of how he was to solve his main research problem.

She seemed to be walking toward him, her arms outstretched as if in a greetings of welcome. An invitation to the happiness of a love that was shared was being offered. Hermes was eager to accept it. But the sight of her in his dream was unlike anything that he had ever witnessed before.

Her eyes were flashing with something that resembled lightning in the sky, a rare phenomenon on the Sahara Desert. Sparks and scintillas of incandescence streamed in every direction. Coruscating beams illuminated the face he had learned to love. What were those eerie rays that held hypnotic power over him? What color were the points of blazing, unfamiliar light? None of it was easy to understand. It was a completely new experience he was having.

Although asleep, Hermes gasped in wonder. It was impossible for him to identify the lines of sparks radiating out of Echo’s eyes. There was no word in his vocabulary for them. He had never seen anything similar. It would have been impossible for anyone else as well. Such unusual color was peculiar to himself when lost like this in dreaming. There was a Promethean quality about what he was experiencing. His mind was unable to give it any kind of definition because of its unfamiliar nature. The experience was a strange one.

In an instant, Echo and her sparks of color disappeared and Hermes was wide awake. Rousing himself, he climbed out of his night hammock with unexpected energy. He knew what had to be done. The solution of the balance between exitrons and polaritrons appeared a simple formula that he had learned back in childhood but never applied in his own research. It was remembered in his dream of Echo, and he would from now on refer to it as echolight. That appeared to be the key to solving his research problem concerning the color of a new kind of plasma.

Before his research colleagues came to work in his section, the physicist went to the equipment center and commandeered a small device called a fulminator, capable of producing tiny amounts of lightning discharges. Without anyone witnessing what he was up to, Hermes placed the apparatus on a gurney and rolled it to his private working area. It took him most of that morning to attach the mechanism to the exitron reverberator he used in processing his quasiparticles of both varieties.

Could he reproduce the shade of color that had radiated from the eyes of Echo Syrinx? Would that be possible to do? He realized what a revolutionary achievement his success would provide.

Ianon came to see Ganymede at noon, bringing what he thought was good news. Instead, he gave the artist something to worry about.

“Niko has long been a friend of mine,” said the agitator. “We have often talked about the economic plight of the ergati. He realized that if there developed prosperity on the lower levels, he would benefit from the new spending. Niko dreams of opening a series of new tavernas for the workers. That is what he aspires to accomplish.

“So, he has agreed to my proposal to use his present building for a revival of the Apollo celebration. We are to hold our assembly in the morning hours of Apollo Day. That is when his place would otherwise be closed for cleaning and sweeping. He is willing to delay that work to another day so that we can meet there.

“But this is the main advantage he gives us: there will be no rent charged. It will be a good will gift on the part of old Niko. It will cost us nothing at all.”

Ganymede looked perplexed by what he heard from his friend.

“But the taverna is such a spacious hall. Only a faction of it could be filled the first time, I imagine. The situation might embarrass us, Ianon.”

The latter grinned devilishly.

“Niko told me that we could post bulletins all about his place announcing our coming celebration and rally. There should be great interest among his patrons about Apollo Day activities in the hall. And I have talked with a friend who owns a print shop. He promises to make our notices for free.”

Ganymede turned quiet as he thought over what he had just been told.

“Let’s go and get Niobe,” he said at last. “She is the one best able to organize and direct such an event. She has the necessary stamina and patience for the task.”

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