Chapter II.

20 Jul

All the next morning, after the two shared breakfast and Emies left for the duties of his post, Yie read in a manual on energy dynamics. New, unfamiliar concepts flooded his imagination.

– The ultimate elements of the universe are its centers of energy, the corpuscula. As the final location of all forces, they possess neither parts, extension, nor shape of any sort. They are metaphysical points, spirit beings whose nature is to move through all time.

– The fundamental corpuscula pass naturally and are always passing into action, without any outside aid except the absence of opposition.

– Corpuscula do not act upon each other. The action of each excludes that of every other corpusculum.

– The activity of each corpusculum is the result of its own past states. Each corpusculum is the determiner of its own future and that of no other.

– Corpuscula have no windows or doors by which anything may go in or out.

– Every corpusculum is a microcosm, the universe on a small scale. The distinctive individuality of its representation of the universe varies according to the nature of its activity.

– The corpuscula exist without position or distance between them.

– All of nature is dynamic, not mechanical, because the corpuscula that form it have but one basic ingredient, their energy.

– The galactic aurora is the purest form of energy, because its corpuscula consist of nothing beyond absolute iotic radiation.

– Corpuscular energy is the groundwork of the material cosmos. It is the factor found everywhere, through all of time. There is nothing that can be compared to that element, the basis of all existents. The most common form taken by these corpuscula is light, which can penetrate to the farthest reaches and corners of space and time.

– To understand the nature of light is the first step to comprehending the universe inhabited by the human species.

Yie, as if waking from a trance, heard a rapping at the door of the apartment. He shook himself, closed the folio he had been studying, and rose. Moving with speed, he reached the pinaceous door and opened it.

The gracile, delicate-looking girl standing there appeared to possess a willowy vulnerability. Glaucous blue eyes peered at Yie in astonishment.

“Oh! You must be the prentice brought up here from below. I am sorry to disturb you, but I must find Brother Emies at once. My father needs to see him immediately, as soon as humanly possible.”

“Your father?” audaciously inquired the newcomer to the claustrum.

She made a sour face. “Excuse me, but I forgot that you are still a stranger to us. Hegemen Nomb Aacn, that is the person I refer to. He is the head of our community and I am his daughter. My name is Joa.”

“I cannot help you,” apologized Yie. “All that my blamus said to me when he left was that daily duty was calling him. Where he is and what he is doing is wholly unknown to me. That is all I can tell you, Miss.”

Joa’s tiny mouth twisted into an unconcealed scowl.

“I should have known that you have no knowledge of the layout of the claustrum. You arrived only last night, I believe.”

“Yes,” smiled Yie. “We ascended from my home dorp in the valley, Canara.”

She averted her eyes from him. “I have never been anywhere below, so I do not know where that is. Only a few of us ever go down there. And, of course, no one is allowed to come up, except someone like you with serious business or work of some sort to complete for us here.”

All of a sudden, curiosity seized the innermost mind of Yie.

“Tell me, have you ever in your life met a dorper from below?”

“Never,” she curtly informed him, then reverted to the purpose of her presence there. “Brother Emeies must go to the hegumenia at once. My father has an urgent need to confer with him.”

“It will be my pleasure…”

At that exact moment, the chief of dynamics appeared at the turn of the outer corridor. Both young persons heard his footsteps and turned in the direction of the sound. When Emeies was near enough to hear her, Joa told him that the Hegumen was waiting to talk with him.

The blamus turned to Yie. “Come along. He will be glad to meet and talk to you, my boy.”

Emeies started to walk further down the corridor. Joa followed, with the prentice in the rear of the procession.

The hegumenia was a high flagstone structure at the center of the claustrum. The trio entered a large vestibule, then a working office with colorful woolen tapestries on all four walls. A bald, bearded man with baby blue eyes looked up from the pine desk at which he sat with a number of opened notebooks.

“Emeies, I’ve been waiting patiently to talk with you.”

“Sorry, I was outside at the condensator. We had a minor problem there this morning, but now it is solved.”

The Hegumen, noticing the third figure, gave him a cold, stiff stare.

“This is the lad you brought us from the valley?”

Emies nodded, motioning to Yie to step forward. The baby blue eyes brazenly examined him from head to toe.

Yie wished he were wearing newer, more colorful clothing.

Nomb Aacn spoke to the blamus as if the prentice was absent.

“I hope that your plans are not ruined through bringing up a young dorper. Remember the old folk saying: born a dorper, always a dorper. But I will be patient and see what you can produce out of a young belower. What is your name, young man?” he asked, turning to the prentice.

Yie told him that, his voice full and loud, almost near to song-singing.

Suddenly impressed, the Hegumen looked at him with close, observant attention.

“Is it your ambition, then, to become one of us in this claustrum? Is that the dream hidden in your innermost heart?”

The prentice answered back as if fully prepared for the question.

“I have not thought ahead to any distant point, sir. My aim, for now, is to learn all I can about the technical system that shields our world from the dangers out of space and allows the harnessing of cosmic radiation for human purposes. That is all that I have in my heart, nothing more.”

In anger, the Hegumen turned away and spoke to the blamus.

“Keep me informed about the progress this boy makes,” he ordered. “Now, I wish to discuss with you some plans I have for energy use in the months ahead.” He then looked at his daughter. “Joa, show our new resident back to his tutor’s apartment. Then, return to the hegumenia, for it will then be about time for noon repast.” He then addressed Yie directly, staring at him. “That is all for now, young man. I wish you luck and success. You are now dismissed.”

Yie followed Joa out of the office chamber, through the vestibule, out into the open air. Overhead, the heliac glowed with a radiance that the dorper had never seen or felt before. Direct rays of bright yellow were reflected off the pure alabaster snow surface on the ground. A sudden sense of whirling struck the brain of the new prentice, unused to such direct radiation from the sky.

All of a sudden, both Yie and his guide stopped in their tracks.

“What is it?” she asked him with concern. “Don’t you feel well?”

He used his hand to shield his eyes from the brilliant yellow glare.

“I am unused to so much heliac light. Our day is so much shorter than it is up here. We receive less than one hour of direct light rays, depending on the season of the year. Our daylight lasts only minutes. It lasts much longer on this mountain summit, and the light appears much clearer and stronger. I marvel at the brightness.”

“You have never experienced anything like our average day, then?”

“No,” he admitted with a grin. “There is so much around me that is new. I hope you will help me learn how to live up here, Joa.”

With a face of flint, she made no reply, but continued to lead him back to the apartment of his training master.

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