Sahara Light: a Novel. Part II. Chapter IX.

9 Mar

Ganymede Megaras increasingly confided his doubts to Echo.

The two accompanied each other to the scattered temples on the lower levels where she assisted Niobe in assemblies and ceremonies. The Echolight was still shown only at the Apolleon, where followers had to go to see it for themselves.

One afternoon, Gany and Echo stopped at a tiny caphenelon for quick snacks. Echo decided to ask some probing questions of the artist.

:Something is worrying me,” she said. “Even if you deny it, the truth is that you are troubled by something, Gany. I don’t know what it is, but I sense its presence. If you want, you can unburden yourself to me. My lips are closed and sealed.”

He peered across the small round table at her face.

“There is a small cloud that is growing larger. I believe in our Apollo movement, but I am fearful for its future. Remember, I brought my brother, Cadmus, and Ianon Iatos together. That was at the start of this activity of ours. But now I see an overhanging threat to all we have achieved.”

“What are you getting at?” she anxiously asked.

He lowered his voice to a low, quiet tone.

“My closest, dearest friend has long been Ianon. But I am afraid he may step over too far to one side. I mean the side of direct physical action. I foresee an explosion of social conflict in what he is preparing the ergati for. He incites their thoughts and emotions, but once they start to move on their own even he will be unable to control or direct them. Severe, irreparable damage and harm may be the result. I think that Ianon has not yet realized how explosive what he started can become. He is too dedicated to his beliefs and ideas to see what the truth is. There are dangers lurking ahead of us.”

The two exchanged concentrated, penetrating looks.

“Why don’t you relate these things to your brother?” said Echo.

Ganymede gazed down at the top of the table of cedar wood.

“Cadmus is in agreement with him because he dreams of clearing the land near Gamara so he can develop it for commerce and housing. Ianon and the ergati seem to him to be his natural allies. Cadmus is blind to the monstrous peril that could arise to Gamara itself.”

“What are you getting at?” she nervously asked.

“The ergati would not be the only rebels. I fear that the lampworkers will join any rampage and tear down the factories we have on the lower tiers. There can occur a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions if things go too far. It can turn into an ultimate catastrophe for all of us.”

He fell silent and said no more. Neither did his companion.

Soon the two of them left for the Apollo temple nearby.

Hermes had never before seen such luxurious splendor as inside the penthouse of Nessos Asriom in an exclusive area of the eighth tier of Gamara. The marble stone facing was true Corinthian, imported from the Greek homeland at colossal expense. A travertine ceiling of calc-sinter covered a long, wide corridor. Everything was shining with magnificence.

The scientist came alone so that he could acquaint himself with the lamp magnate. A lanky butler led the visitor into a mirrored drawing-room filled with antique Greek furniture.

The two men shook hands, then took canopic seats that faced each other directly.

Hermes was considering how to begin with their business when the industrialist solved the problem.

“I have great admiration for your type of individual,” said Nessos. “The masses may consider you a dreamer, a visionary of sorts. But for me, you are the most practical person anywhere. The future comes, whether we want it to or not. Whether we see it ahead or not. If all we do is sit and wait, then someone decides and brings it about. The future is inexorable, regardless of what anyone thinks or says about it.

“Because I believe you have a farseeing, prophetic character, I believe that I must listen to all that you say. When no one else found it credible, you were certain that Echolight could be realized. Time proved you right, too. That is the proof of the quality of your mind.”

Nessos, his eyes bulging, leaned his head toward his listener.

“As to the future applications of re-echoed light rays, there can be no doubt that your judgment must be trusted and accepted. From Atlas Cimera, I have learned that you believe that the transilience of the new light is possible. It depends upon you then, to make that happen.”

A powerful stare focused on Hermes, who now struggled to make an adequate response.

“I need time to think,” he mumbled in confusion. “It is a difficult decision to reach. It must be thought out carefully.”

All at once, Nessos sprang to his feet and came closer to his guest.

“I wish to help you become Director of the Light Institute where Echolight was first discovered by you. I am one of the trustees and able to nominate you for the post. You will then have the opportunity to work on the problem of transilient light with all the resources of the laboratories of the desert facility. Cost will not be an obstacle to you. Everything you might need will be made available. There shall be no limits, none at all.”

“I lean toward acceptance,” said Hermes. “But no final word is possible now. A few more days, and you will have my answer, Mr. Asriom. You must be patient.”

The industrialist smiled, conscious that he was winning what he wanted and was near to success.

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