Chapter V.

1 Jun

Tired and eager to get some sleep, Cam failed to detect any sign of the short, slight shape lurking under the emergency stairwell.

As he drew his keycard out of the door handle, the hidden watcher moved forward and furtively spoke to him. “We must talk, Doctor. Please let me come in. I won’t take up much of your time. Please grant me a few minutes.”

The surprised therapist turned and stared into the watery, pale eyes of Naze Thun.

“Step in,” drawled Cam in confusion.

What did this unsupervised sociopath want? Did he pose any immediate danger? The situation was an extremely uncertain, puzzling one.

The light sac of the sitting room went on as the pair entered the suite.

Bingen pointed to a sofa chair, but himself stayed standing. Thun was the first to start talking.

“There is a lot going on at the Clinic, I know, because there are people who go in there and tell me about all these things when they come out again.”

“Who might these sources of yours be, my friend?”

The wrinkled face formed into a fiendish grin. “That is not important,” curtly pronounced Thun. For a time, he looked about the small room as if he were lost.

I’ve caught him in a lie, surmised Cam Bingen, maintaining a poker face.

“I know enough to see what Knax’s plans are,” muttered the visitor. “There will be more light treatments unless someone takes immediate, direct action.”

“What are you specifically referring to?” He moved closer to the sofa chair where Naze Thun seemed to be squirming from side to side.

Without warning, the small balding man leaped to his feet.

“Look at me!” he bellowed with vehemence. “I am a victim of the photonic psychiatry that I have revealed and exposed myself to. I have confessed everything, whether good or bad. Nothing of any importance about me remains secret or private. Everything in my life is now open. Nothing at all is private anymore.”

He touched the side of his small skull with his fingers.

“You have undergone psychotherapy sessions under augmented, enhanced optical radiation?” inquired Cam.

Naze nodded that he had and then continued talking.

“I have even read and studied analytic theory of all kinds on my own. My knowledge therefore covers all the various functional regions of the human mind. The reckoner within us is conscious and rational. Our imago is modeled on one of our parents, and serves as our controller and conscience. And the idioplasm is the physiological base of our personality. We are the result of the interaction of these three functions or forces, according to what the psychoanalytic books on the human mind say. That is what Dr. Knax and her colleagues at the Clinic believe. That is the lens through which they view their patients. It is no secret.

“But she failed to create any harmonic adjustment among these areas within my mind. Their conflicts and contradictions were revealed, but never solved or reconciled. She promised me to do so, but failed to carry it out. Like some sort of quack with a machine, she depended on the beamer lamps to accomplish her goal, but could not use them properly or correctly. Not at all. I was not provided what I needed. Genuine photonic erasure and healing did not occur, because those imbeciles did not supply me a full charge of actinic light and energy. They are a bunch of useless, ignorant idiots.

“The Photonic Clinic gave me false promises. All that they seek is power over the victims they call their patients. They use us for their own selfish ends. Promotions, advancement, money, and reputation. Don’t tell me that you people are healers. Each and every one of you is a crooked exploiter of those who fall under their sway. Power, that is what Knax and her peers are after. They are power hungry, power mad. That, along with money, is their motive and ambition. Nothing else.

“The claim made in the books that I read is that the modulated light rays projected into my eyes have the effect of harmonizing the neurohormones secreted by the pineal, the pituitary, and the hypothalamus. These glands exchange a number of controlling substances produced in the cells of these three brain sub-organs. The frequency and strength of these light beams are the means of making adjustments and corrections in the functioning of the glands commanding emotions and impulses that begin in the limbic system of the amygdala.

“What is claimed by psychiatrists using photonic rays is all lies. The projected rays do more harm than good, damaging the operation of the mind and further distorting the personality.

“I have discovered the truth about the false science of psychiatry and psychology.”

Bingen frowned. “Personality is formed in our earliest years. Have you any recollections of that period in your life?”

Thun gazed down at the hotel room carpet. “Not an iota of such memory survives,” he confessed with chagrin. “Not even a shadow. Nothing at all.”

The psychiatrist peered at him with incredulity.

“To me, that seems an impossibility,” he stated coolly.

“The light treatments did that to me,” muttered Naze. “It must have been part of a plan to gain control over my mind. Dr. Knax betrayed me. She intended to make me her obedient puppet, but I refused to submit to her nefarious domination. I refused to submit to her authority and will. She wanted to take away my free will and independence.”

Cam thought quickly, reaching an unexpected decision.

“I will agree to help you with these problems of yours, Mr. Thun,” he proposed. “But it must be unofficial and outside the boundaries of the Photonic Clinic. I will go through all your records there on my own, to find out what may still be possible in order to help you adjust to the damage that has already been done to your mind.

“I assure you that you can place your trust in me.”

“Don’t tell Dr. Knax anything,” insisted the patient. “She is a criminal hiding her personal medical malpractice. That witch must not find out what you are up to. That would be dangerous. I beg you to be my friend and protect me from her.”

Bingen’s green eyes grew distant as he made a major decision.

“I intend to investigate her activities on my own. The final result may well be reporting to the authorities and bringing specific charges against her. That could be the final possibility that I must turn to.”

The face of Thun turned red as he grew excited. “That’s it!” he shouted as he started for the door. He stopped a span or so away from it. “I depend upon you, Doctor. You are my one hope.”

“When will I see you again, Naze?”

The latter reached for the door handle, turning his face toward Bingen.

“I plan to keep my eyes on you,” he hissed. “Do not become one more traitor who deceives and fools me.”

With that, the weird man opened the door and disappeared with haste.

Still standing, Cam considered the implications of what he had obligated himself to attempt. Had Thun been truthful with him? Perhaps what he had said was nothing beyond paranoid fantasy. What was the little man’s diagnosed problem? It appeared to be a kind of paragnosis, a mania for higher, arcane knowledge, for elevated mystical connection. He had a mania to find out and know everything. His curiosity drive was an unlimited factor within his mind.”

Was Naze trying to seduce him into his own personal maze of deception, centering on abnormal suspicion of Hekla Knax?

The days ahead would tell, one way or the other, Cam Bingen realized.

Rising early, Cam took a sleehack to the Photonic Clinic, without any breakfast. The building was open, but the psychiatric staff had not yet arrived for work. Good, he sighed, rushing to the reckoner desk in his office. This was his chance to use the access linker that Hekla Knax had given him so that he could read the file of Sunda Vipur. But it was other records he was interested in this morning.

Was he breaking and ignoring the rules of medical ethics? one part of his mind asked as he sat down, turned on his console, and inserted the linker to the records across the hall in the office of his boss.

I will have to deal with scruples and conscience later, decided the interloper as he typed in the name of Fyn Kvaloz, the newest of the psychiatric patients at the Clinic.

Let’s see what Hekla discovered about him at their first session together.

A crowded page of holographic notes appeared on the bright green console screen.

…Fyn Kvaloz, age 24, normal physical health parameters.

Employed by his father at the Hiberna Hotel, unspecified duties.

His mother and father divorced when he was a small child. Mother left Bifrost, her present whereabouts and fate unknown to the son. Raised alone by Aar Kvaloz, assisted by entire Hiberna staff. Private schooling with expensive hired tutors. Indulged by his father in a multitude of ways. Many people consider Fyn a spoiled brat.

Conclusions from first session with this patient:

Fyn is terribly sensitive to any statement concerning his father. This is immediately apparent. The father’s opinions and emotions are foremost considerations in the mind of Fyn. Both consciously and unconsciously, Aar Kvaloz dominates the life and thought of the son. The father-son relationship is the fundamental nexus in the persona of Fyn. It never disappears or declines in any way.

The patient reacted with anger to probing questions concerning his formative years. He would not reveal whether he was ever punished with physical force. It soon became clear how aggressively belligerent and combative the patient becomes when he perceives any threat to his inner thought about himself.

His self-image seems totally dependent upon what his father says to him. Such a mechanism of defense must have been established in him very early in life. It is now his primary personality characteristic, resulting in general suspicion and hostility toward strangers and even close acquaintances.

Preliminary diagnosis of Fyn Kvaloz: agonistic phrenitis. He trusts no one, least of all himself. His greatest unconscious fear is abandonment by his father, the master of his life. This dominates his unconscious mind.

Fyn dares not consciously rebel against that all-powerful image. Therefore he has to strike out against all the others who thwart him in his lifelong effort to measure up to his father’s expectations.

His general, unfocused aggression conceals ambivalent feelings toward Aar Kvaloz. There will have to be some consultation with the father later on…”

A knock at the door signaled Cam to switch off the reckoner.

“Come in,” he called out loudly.

It was Hekla Knax herself who stepped into his tiny office.

“Good morning,” she greeted him unsmilingly. “Ready to start with your first patient?”

“Yes,” he replied. “I’ve gone through the file thoroughly, almost memorized what you placed in it yourself. Thank you for this aid.”

The Head of Psychiatry glanced at the horologe on her right wrist.

“Sunda Vipur will shortly arrive for her first session with you. When it’s over, I would like to see you about her initial meeting and how it went. When you are free, I would like to see you about where we go with her.”

“In terms of extended depth analysis, perhaps?” he inquired.

“I was thinking of Sunda as a candidate for hololight treatment on a magnified scale,” she revealed. “But since she is your responsibility, the decision to enter her brain with optical radiation will have to be yours.”

“Thank you for telling me,” whispered Cam, forcing himself to smile.

As his superior nodded, then turned around and left the office, Bingen clenched his right fist without being conscious of doing so.

Here was a particular photonic treatment he would have to think through with care. Could it solved the personality difficulties of the singer being harassed by a rich, pampered playboy, son of the richest man in Bifrost?

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