The Awakened.

7 Jul

Hazel-eyed Juev Lio discovered he had lost his way in the cobblestone streets of downtown Gamboge. Several passersby, when he questioned them, gave him looks of startled disdain. Was he one of the mad cultists of the House of the Awakened?

At last, Juev located the huge white brick structure that was the headquarters of the movement he intended to join. There was no sign or designation of the building’s function. Anonimity hung out about the secretive sect housed inside.

“Yes, can I help you?” inquired a tall, lithe woman with foggy caliginous eyes behind a metalline desk in the main corridor.

“I am a neophyte only just arrived in Gamboge,” stated Juev. “Can you tell me where I am to go and what I am to do my first day here?”

The female beamed a shining smile at him.

“We have been expecting you, Mr. Juev Lio. I am Usana Menor, superior of the proselytes. First of all, our Superior wishes to meet with you. I will take you to his office.”

Juev followed the comely Usana into the sanctum of the Awakened.

The chamber was grand and impressive, with fine mahogany paneling and wainscoting on all four sides. The Superior, Mr. Corto Pueo, proved to be short and smallish. But his cerulean eyes emitted rays of strength, power, and dominance.

He rose to shake the hand of the new recruit, then the three of them all sat down, Corto behind a high, old-fashioned roble desk.

“Why do you wish to become one of the Awakened, young man?” bluntly began Pueo, studying the lean, narrow face of the new arrival with curiosity.

Juev recited the words he had formulated and rehearsed many times in his preparations for this situation.

“In my own native village, I heard and read much about the psychological and emotional results of the ambroid treatments given here. The information unsettled, aroused, and inspired me. This is what I am searching for, I said to myself. So, I decided to travel to Gamboge and take the course provided here for neophytes. The enlivening, energizing effects of your particules are precisely what I need to change my life course in a better, more hopeful direction. I wish to transfer myself to this new road of life and become that person whose potential I was born with.”

“So, I take it that you find your life up to now unsatisfactory and unfulfilling,” said the Superior of the Awakened. “You were made unhappy by your inadequate style of living.”

“You are very perceptive, sir,” declared Juev.

The two men for a time stared at each other. It was Usana who broke the silence.

“Shall we start his treatment at once, Superior?” she asked.

Pueo nodded his head affirmatively, then addressed the newcomer directly.

“You will receive larger and larger doses of ambroid current. The purpose is to make a new member accustomed to very great quantities of pulsative particules. Do you understand what the risks involved are? Do you realize what the results could be should anything go wrong in these treatments that are going to be given you?”

“Yes,” affirmed Juev, jutting out his jaw. “But I am determined to be awakened in both body and mind. That is my destiny, the only reasonable road for me to take.”

The Superior turned his cerulean eyes onto Usana.

“The first charging must begin at once. I expect both of you to report to me on the progress of the treatments as they go forward.”

This was his signal for Juev and Usana to get up and make their exit.

Usana led the recruit down to the basement of the house. Here she showed him the generation chamber where ambroid power was being created. A huge black dynamotor ran on coal oil piped in over the public distribution network of Gamboge. The flames that ran the armatures and the coils of the mechanism were exposed to the view of juev as he gazed with amazement at the complex power device.

“This is the only particule dynamo of such enormous size anywhere in the region,” explained the young woman. “Ambroid current has no practical application beyond what we do in this house. Gas and oil energy are so cheap and abundant that our form of pulsative particule creation is not needed and rarely used. It has no important utilization in the urban economy of Gamboge and holds little promise for the future.”

“So, that is why therapeutic use dominates the entire field of ambroidics,” summarized Juev with a knowing smile.

“That is correct,” Usana nodded. “Over there you can see the argentum cables that transport the impulses that the apparatus generates to the treatment rooms located above us.”

“The charges are great and strong enough to awaken the entire brain and nervous system of an individual,” he remembered from his reading. “The pulsations of the particules will reshape one’s thought and emotions completely. That is my fondest hope for myself.”

“That is what our promise is,” she confidently told him. “In a little while, you will be clamped into a treatment chair and receive an initial charge. After that, we will test you to determine how much further and higher you can go. Let’s get you ready to start, Juev.”

The pair climbed back up to the ground floor, both of them brimming with enthusiasm for what was going to happen.

A sensation of tickling and tingling grew ever stronger within the body strapped to a durasteel chair. Through the pores of his skin entered the ambroid impulses produced below in the generator chamber.

Juev kept his eyes glued to Usana, standing at a panel of control gauges and meters on the wall. She was the one supervising this first awakening session of Juev Lio.

Each time she ratcheted up the strength of the charge, a new sensation seized hold of the young man who was the subject of her efforts. It was as if a deeper, more meaningful reality was revealed to him with each increase of particule impulses, each rise in the ambroid power current entering his body and nervous system.

Juev breathed faster and faster, until he discovered that he was panting.

He could feel his blood circulation growing steadily more rapid. A trobbing, thrilling feeling covered all his skin. This was a totally new sensation for him, unlike anything experienced before.

But an unprecedented vitality and animation took hold of the neophyte.

Juev realized that he had never been so exhilarated, inspirited, or quickened in the entire span of his young existence. Feelings of rhapsodic ecstasy and ebullition grabbed hold of him. The treatment was greater and deeper than he had ever imagined or anticipated. How far is to going to go? he asked himself again and again.

He was surprised when Usana began to reverse the controls and gauges.

“That is enough for today,” she said with a warm grin. “We can continue to higher stages and levels tomorrow. The Superior will wish to discuss with you the results of this initial trial run.”

Usana sat across from her charge at the long algum table where Corto Pueo ate his midday meal every day. He transacted the affairs of the House as he consumed a fresh cassioberry salad with limuloid crab meat. The two others, Usana and Juev, were served the same fare.

The Superior turned to the novice when the three were nearly finished eating.

“What do you think, my boy? The reports from Usana are full of good news and encouragement. You are taking to the pulsation like a fish to water. All the indicators are positive. There appear to be no obstacles to further progress.

“Tell me what you think of the charging that you have experienced.”

Juev drew a long, deep breath. “I never thought that such inner uplifting was possible. This day will remain in my memory as long as I live. It is permanently etched in my mind.”

“That is most encouraging to all of us. I can tell that you are full of ambition to climb higher, to attain farther and farther goals.”

“I confess that I do,” said the neophyte. “It is difficult to restrain myself.”

The Superior suddenly started to reminisce.

“When I first began to tinker around with dynamotors, my dreams were unlimited. I tried many different methods, I made what might appear to be odd combinations and trials on myself. Gradually, the present system of awakening took form. Both of my parents objected to this project of mine. Only after they passed away was I free to go forward in a more venturesome manner. I proved that awakening of the mind by pulsative charging was possible and effective. Many followers were drawn to me for therapy of what ailed their personalities. What I first conceived of as experimental became an organized movement with leaders and members. From this House went forth inspiration and relief for all who joined.

“Are you glad that you are in our midst, Juev?”

“Yes, indeed,” replied the latter, joy and delight ringing in his voice.

“Now, I am going to ask you an important question, but first you must be told the reason I am doing so. As everyone can see for themselves, my highest goal has always been the fullest, most complete illumination and enlightenment possible. We have to reach greater and greater heights in our central endeavor. But there is always an inevitable obstacle in our way.

“Each of the Awakened, sooner or later, reaches a limit they are unable to transcend, a boundary impossible to pass beyond. I collided with my own long ago. Usana did so only in very recent days. There has been no exception to this general iron rule. A point beyond which no further progress can be made: that is the fate of all who take this road.”

He peered at Juev with blazing cerulean blue eyes. He might have been in some kind of hypnotic trance, it seemed to the neophyte.

“The usual profile of a new member is a gradual, continuous curve upward, smooth and regular, without sudden leaps or jumps of any kind. Perhaps that is what stands at the center of the problem of limits. If another method of particule pulsation were applied, perhaps such a maximum limit could be avoided and past achievements surpassed.”

Juev grew increasingly excited. “How would that be done?” he asked in desperation.

The Superior looked across at Usana, and it was she who gave an answer to the inquiry by Juev.

“If two persons hold hands during the particule charging, then the ambroid pulse entering the first one can travel directly into the body and the brain of the other subject, the partner. The second subject is also receiving a current of pulsation from the dynamotor and can share it with the first person who is involved.’

She took a short pause, then continued on.

“I see myself as an intensifier who can direct my received pulsative force to you, Juev. By holding your hand, I am certain that can be accomplished. You would receive a very high direct shock along with what I can transfer to you through my own body and hand. And you could act upon me in exactly the same way.”

Juev looked deeply into her dark, foggy eyes, thinking through what he had just heard her say.

“You can mull over all we have told you and decide later, whenever you wish to.” pronounced the Superior. “There is no need to hurry when the issue is so great and momentous.”

The neophyte asked Usana to take a walk with him that afternoon.

They left the House of the Awakened through the front door and proceeded down the street to a small park with several tall mimbrosa trees. The pair took a vacant bench near the center. Usana was the first to start talking.

“What are you going to decide, Juev?” she inquired with curiosity.

He stared into her face, but did not say anything until he was certain what his choice was to be.

“Yes, I am willing to try this new system. Is there great risk in what we will be trying to do, Usana?”

The latter made a sad face. “Some, but there always is in anything like this. We can do things to minimize the unpredictable factors involved. I look upon the project as an experiment.”

“Experiment?”

“That is what we have to call it, whether we wish to or not. The fundamental idea has never been tried before. It will be like a leap into the blue.”

“We shall be operating in tandem, you and I, won’t we?” said the new recruit.

“Don’t worry, I will help you in every way that I can,” she assured him. “You will not be alone in this, Juev.”

He looked intently into her pleasant face, trying to read her private thoughts. She smiled with sincere feeling at him. Their trust in each other rose higher by the second.

All at once, he took her hand into his.

Usana gave a little movement of surprise, but then recovered her balance.

“I am going to look out for you, Juev,” she murmured to her experiment partner. “You and I are in this together.”

Days of laborious preparation followed.

Juev had to become acquainted with the many technical aspects of what was going to happen to him. He read for many hours in the notebooks and records of the House of the Awakened. His knowledge of ambroid energy grew beyond its older frontiers. He became adept in all areas of particule pulsation.

Usana insisted that he learn all that she herself knew about the invisible impulses that produced such major effects when projected into human minds and bodies. He had the advanced theories of particule physics explained to him by the woman who was to hold his hand in the coming trial. The pair usually met in the small room Usana used as an office. Her constant concern was his changing mental states.

“How do you feel today, Juev? Do you harbor any doubts or trepidations about what we will be doing in a few days time?”

He looked back at her as confidently as he could make himself appear.

“I have no second thoughts, none at all,” he told his partner. “Preparation will count for a lot, so I intend to be ready for whatever befalls me when the moment arrives.”

She glowed with satisfaction upon hearing this from him. Her mouth curved into a smile of affection.

“My thought is that you are the perfect person to undertake this with me,” she asserted. “There is a solid courage in you, Juev. It will fortify your resolve and determination many times over. Of that I am certain.”

“I must make myself live up to your hopes for me,” he slowly told her, sensing how much the two of them had become mutually dependent.

Usana glanced at the sand chronometer on the wall.

“It is nearly time for our conference with the Superior,” she announced, rising to her feet. “He will be very happy at all the progress we are making.”

The Superior was in an expansive mood, his thoughts focused on the future.

“When we have succeeded in developing an effective method of enhancement and augmentation by linking up several individuals, I can foresee crowds of new members flocking to the House, their hopes raised to the sky.”

Usana and Juev looked fixedly at the leader of the Awakened.

“The two of you will be remembered for your magnificent contribution,” he added. “This testing is something we will all be proud of having been a part of. It will be seen as a valuable step forward in years to come.”

Usana decided to introduce a measure of everyday practicality.

“Nothing like this has ever been attempted before,” she muttered. “We cannot be sure that we know all the possible risks involved in it.”

Pueo stared with feeling at the woman in charge of the experiment, the one who was to act as augmenter, transmitter, and booster for Juev.

“I shall be nearby to help out however I can,” said the Superior of all the Awakened.

Physical contact occurred according to plan as Juev and Usana practiced their positions for the following day’s experiment. Hand clasped hand in the charging chamber as the two went through the motions they would be enacting on the morrow.

Facing each other directly, they joined his left to her right and his right to her left. She arranged her part in the encounter exactly in the same way as his. Caliginous eyes exchanged images with hazel ones. Neither of them had any hint of anything amiss as far as either one could see. There was a natural reaction of clinging to each other in both partners.

Neither one of the pair cared to be the person to break off and end the tactile connection, it was discovered.

Simultaneously, both of them tended to draw back. Neither was the clear initiator of their separation.

Usana spoke to Juev as if there was nothing unusual in what they were doing together.

“I feel very hungry,” she said in a flat voice. “Why don’t we see what is available in the kitchen? I could eat a horse, I believe.”

Juev followed her out of the test chamber without a word.

On the morning of the first attempt, neither Usana nor Juev ate any breakfast. They were both too tense for that.

The only person in the chamber with them was the Superior. He was to be the person in charge of the control device governing the quantity of ambroid energy to enter the two bodies.

Usana and Juev faced each other at the center of the room, as they had while practicing the previous evening. Each held the end of an argentum cable tightly in one hand. The free hand was in a closed grip.

“I mean to start with a customarily normal amount of energy and go on from there. The upper limit for today will be a record amount, but not too advanced for this first try of ours,” explained the Superior.

Both of the wired participants felt the initial surge, then the slow rise up a steady gradient. The growth was a gradual one.

The cerulean eyes of the Superior took in both of the pair receiving the pulsation. His right hand slowly, carefully turned the knob on the control panel. His mind was monitoring and calibrating the particule flow.

Pueo, deciding that the proper quantity for this first run had been reached, quickly reversed the controls into a reduction. Downward went the strength of the ambroid supply until the current flow finally vanished.

Watching the pair of participants carefully, the Superior witnessed an unexpected finale to the experiment.

The two bodies tightly embraced each other. Long, passionate kisses were exchanged between them. Their strange laughter became audible to the leader of the House of the Awakened.

The display of affection and emotion came to an end.

Pueo rose from his chair and moved forward to congratulate the two. He hid as best he could the internal turmoil he felt from what he had watched them do at the end of the experiment.

Corto Pueo was actor enough to conceal and prevaricate. He spoke words of hearty praise and joy while feeling the exact opposite.

“Let’s go and eat something in the dining hall,” he told the happy pair. “I believe we should attempt a second, greater trial this afternoon.”

The Superior was uncharacteristically silent during the noonday repast. He listened passively to Juev’s description of his ecstatic experience.

“It was similar to being in paradise,” said the neophyte. “I could feel the addition of the charge issuing out of you, Usana. No one in history has ever before sensed a combination of a particule current from a dynamotor augmented by an ambroid charge transmitted from another human being. There is no way to measure the potential of this without actually experimenting.

“I can report that the sensation was indescribable. One has to undergo it to know what it is.”

“I am so happy for you,” beamed and smiled Usana. “My own joy has been elevated because of what we accomplished together. I can hardly wait for what will happen this afternoon.”

The pair of subjects held hands, facing each other. The success of the first trial had raised their confidence to sublime heights. How far were they to soar in this repeat performance? What rhapsodic joy would be theirs?

Once again the Superior ratcheted up the pulsative flow of particules, until he reached the upper limits of the energy gauges. The three of them were now in unexplored, unknown mental territory. The smiles of Usana and Juev demonstrated their renewed elation while receiving the pulsation. The neophyte sensed the explosive force within the female whose hands he held.

Although the current increases were smooth and gradual, a complete change occurred for Juev within a fraction of a second.

Pueo did not and could no have reacted in time, he later held and argued.

Usana, seeing a change in his hazel eyes, realized that something was going wrong. But the episode was over before she could drop her hold on her partner’s hands.

She looked in horror as Juev lost conscious control of his mind and body.

Wild gyrations and erratic swooning brought him down crashing to the floor. His hands were now free of her, but still clutched the argentic cable that flooded him with an ambroid flood of particules.

The dead body of Juev Lio had to be pried from the heavy wires he had been holding in his grip.

Corto left his post to walk over to where Usana looked down at the horrible sight of the first ambroidocation in the history of particule physics.

“He shall be forever remembered for his martyrdom,” whispered the Superior to the woman who had been partner to the neophyte. “His sacrifice is tragic, but it has opened a door long closed to us. Juev will never be forgotten.”

“You are right,” replied Usana, taking the hand of the Superior that he offered to her. “He has become a hero to the Awakened ones of the future.”

With her free hand she wiped away the tears flooding down her face.

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