Sahara Light: a Novel. Part III. Chapter VI.

18 Mar

Acting as private secretary of Hermes, Echo typed out the plans for experimentation. When the task was finished, she gave him the results with a questioning look.

“Such a program of research will take you years to complete,” she noted. “I am amazed at how long and extensive it will be.”

Her lover smiled at Echo for perceiving his hidden purpose.

“For a long time, there can be no startling success in such a program. I will have to labor very hard on mundane, routine procedures without tangible results of any kind. Great care will have to be taken that each step and phase is correctly carried out. The work we do here will be very complicated. It will not finish at once, in a short span of time. The project will continue on and on. Its end will not be in sight soon.”

“Speed, then, will have no priority at all,” she said with a cynical grin.

“Not at all, my dear,” was his reply. “Exactness and accuracy must characterize every action we take here. Nothing must top those qualities. Although Mr. Nessos Asriom is now the all-powerful Prostagor of Gamara, even he cannot rush the methodical progress of scientific investigation. No one can. The hunt for discovery and invention will have to go forward at its own natural pace. It is impossible for even him to hurry it up. No one can order up the desired results in any way.”

Hermes did not spell out what his inner mind intended for him to do in slowing up and delaying the schedule of experiments. If necessary, he was prepared to test improbable theories in order to waste time and frustrate the aims of the new government of Gamara. He was willing to spin around in hopeless circles for the purpose of defeating the dictatorship. Obfuscation was to become a weapon of his in the fight looming ahead. That was his secret plan.

These encampments are meant to be permanent, realized Atlas Cimera as he approached Arethusa Oasis in the cab of a transport camion. He gazed through the windshield at the rows of bivouac tents with an intuitive understanding of what was happening out on the desert.

I know Nessos Asriom, his mind is quick and subtle. His objective is always clearly defined. Nothing is done by that man without a specific goal in mind.

The ruined lower tiers of Gamara are being rebuilt, but they will not be identical to what they were before the general strike and the ergati rebellion. Only a limited number of farm workers will be permitted to reside there in the future. The majority of desert laborers will be kept near the fields in small camps, separated so that they cannot unite into one single social force again. Scattered and divided, agricultural labor will become invisible and powerless. That is the evil plan of the dictatorship. It has been carefully thought out in all its details. The process has begun and it will proceed onward toward its intended goal.

Atlas was confident that he understood the scheme of his former ally.

We have become mortal enemies, he told himself. The Phylax is trying to hunt me down. My life is in danger should I be found. Tyranny will show me no mercy should it get its hands on me. I must stay awake and conscious of what is going on. My mind must be ever-vigilant.

His eyes focused on the soaring date and palm trees of the oasis. In all directions about the old center lay lines of canvas shelters, the new address of the lower mass of Greek society here on the Sahara. Was this to be the shape of their future? Were they to live within camps like this one?

Can I find supporters here? wondered Atlas.

The camion stopped on the periphery of the old desert settlement.

Atlas thanked the driver for the ride he had given him and climbed down to the ground. He walked toward the basin of the oasis, a vague plan of action in mind. How were things going to work out in reality? What was his personal role to be?

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