Chapter XIII.

7 Oct

The fog that had enveloped Yaroslavl thinned out as the driver and passenger rode further from the city. The electrocar hummed past nearly empty settlements, relics of the decades of collectivized agriculture. Across the barren landscape were scattered the recently built American-style ranch houses, marks of the prosperous individual farming entrepreneurs of this region. Neither of the two men said anything for a long time as they rode across the countryside.

“Turn right at the next road,” finally ordered Viktor Razum, sitting in the front with the man at the steering koleso.

The side road, narrow and paved with crumbling asphalt, felt much rougher than the smooth highway of silicon and rezina. Klimov dropped the speed as the electro passed by large fields of rye and clover.

“We are almost there,” muttered Razum after a few minutes, “You will see the entrance gate on your side.”

David turned his head and peered through the door window, slowing the vehicle to a soundless crawl. A stand of tall poplar trees appeared ahead of them. The electrocar was coasting with its power shut off as it reached a gigantic iron gate. A faded bronze sign hung from the right pillar. It read “Ivanov Ferma.” The swinging iron grating was open for them to pass through on the tar driveway.

“We can go straight on to the main building,” said Dr. Razum, pointing ahead with his right hand.

Klimov steered the cruising electro into a tree-lined lane. “This looks like an old aristocratic country estate,” he noted, almost to himself.

“It is a restored khutor of the minor local nobility from the Tsarist period,” said the passenger. “Somehow, it has survived the history of the last century and is standing here today. The estate manor is just around the next corner. You can stop in front of it.”

The driveway turned to the left, revealing a large structure of stone and log timber. “It indeed looks very old,” sighed David. “Who lives here?”

“Dr. Ivan Ivanov. He is a psychiatrist and this is his private treatment sanatorium. His practice is highly successful.”

The driver gave a start of surprise, then began to apply the foot tormoz that brought them to a complete stop.

A male attendant in white led them down an empty corridor of the stone structure, to where the owner-director had his private office.

“Go right in, please,” chirped the sluzhitel, “Dr. Ivanov has been waiting for you from early this morning.”

Razum turned to his chauffeur-companion. “Come with me, David. You will learn a lot from what you hear here today.”

The undercover detective was confused and hesitant.

“I want you to be a sort of witness of what is said,” whispered Viktor. “You will be able to vouch for any promises that may be made during our meeting with the psychiatrist.”

He pointed to the closed white door, then approached and opened it.

A thin, lanky figure in white medical uniform rose from an old-fashioned roll-top desk and came toward the visitors.

“Viktor!” he called out in a high voice. “I am glad to see you.” The psychiatrist then glanced at the stranger beside Razum.

“This is one of our new recruits,” said the latter. “He is a writer who has come here from Moscow and joined our movement. We can speak freely in front of him. He is someone who enjoys my total trust.”

Ivanov’s dark almond eyes penetrated like a laser light. Could he see through his character disguise? David asked himself as he shook hands with the tall, skeletal medical figure.

The three men sat down, the psychiatrist in his swivel chair, his guests in two light polynex chairs facing him.

“How are the new treatments progressing?” asked Razum. “Any noteworthy developments there?”

“Everything is going extremely well,” smiled Ivanov, his eyes sparkling. “I have several more successes to report.”

Viktor Razum turned his head to the side and addressed Klimov.

“Dr. Ivanov is experimenting with a method of treatment that I have been advising him on. The basis of it is telepathic suggestion.” He turned to the man at the roll-top desk. “Have you finished expanding the area of application, the way I told you to?”

“Indeed, I have done so. Would you like to see some of the patients whose conditions have improved from the new psychic therapy?”

“Yes,” nodded Razum. “We can do so before we leave. But I have an important favor that I have come to ask of you, Ivan. I am in desperate need of your assistance on an important matter.”

“From me?” The doctor looked genuinely surprised. “What is it you need?”

Razum answered this with a question. “How many of the patients in your facility have been treated with the telehypnotic method so far, Ivan?”

The latter hesitated momentarily before responding. “At least fifty-two so far, Viktor. All of them are now in better condition than they were before. Their problems have either disappeared or are in remission. They have acquired a new self-control. The results have been truly amazing.”

“They have become accustomed to telepathic suggestion from outside, at a distance away?”

“Yes,” replied the psychiatrist. “I myself hypnotized most of the fifty-two patients who have been helped. They represent many different mental illnesses and dysfunctions. But all of them have become conscious believers in the telehypnotic method of therapy that is being applied to them. They have seen and felt the positive changes brought about by this new method of therapy.”

Telehypnosis! thought David. His mind focused its attention on what the two others in the room were revealing to him about that form of person-to-person communication and influence. Once placed in a trance, the link could be endlessly renewed by telepathic communication from a distance, near or far away somewhere.

“I want you to mobilize these fifty-two individuals for our movement, Ivan,” asserted the founder of the House of Razum. “We need all of them in order to win a great victory over the enemies of our system. I plan to lease a large electrobus and bring these people to the Childrens’ Theater in Yaroslavl the day that the Psychic Tsekh selects its delegates to the national convention. They will be the secret weapon we unleash on our enemies within the psychic world. This can be a guarantee of victory for us.”

The eyes of Ivan Ivanov blazed with instant confidence. “I see,” he said with a start. “If we make them members of the Tsekh, they will be entitled to vote, insuring us a solid majority for electing our own delegates. That would be beautiful.”

“This plan has to be kept secret,” warned Razum. “Our enemies must remain unaware of what is being prepared to prevent their protesting against the influx of new personnel into the Yaroslavl branch of the Psychic Tsekh. We can give them no opportunity to block us from winning the election. We will have to act very swiftly at the meeting.”

“How are we to accomplish such a difficult task?” asked the psychiatrist.

“The national membership chairman is one of us,” slyly smiled Razum. “He is in Moscow, and I have already contacted and made arrangements with him. He has agreed to the whole scheme. Sometime this afternoon, you will receive a fibrafon call from him. Whatever names you give to him, they will be certified to be Psychic Tsekh members in good-standing, qualified to vote. And since they now reside in the Yaroslavl district, they enjoy the right to help elect delegates to the St. Petersburg convention from here. No one will be able to dispute their claim to participate. All fifty-two of them will be enrolled in the Tsekh’s electronic roll of full members.”

“Ingenious!” gushed Ivanov.

“They will be well enough to travel to Yaroslavl, I presume?”

“Of course.”

“And all their votes will be kept on our side?”

“Yes,” nodded Ivanov. “Hypnotic suggestion will see to that. They will all be receiving instructive messages by telepathy.”

“I will make the arrangements for the electrobus to pick up the patients and take them directly to the Childrens’ Theater in the city.”

“It is ingenious!” said the psychiatrist once again.

“These patients will be our secret card against those who would destroy our organization,” declared the leader. He all of a sudden turned to Klimov and asked him a question. “What do you think of this plan of action that I have devised?”

“Brilliant,” exclaimed the undercover detective. “I understand you to say that these people are under telehypnosis for treatment. Are they going to be under the state of trance while present at the meeting, and will they be conscious of their condition?”

“They will know everything about the business they will be involved in,” said Razum to his driver. “Nothing is going to happen behind their back, without their complete knowledge. If any of them should feel mental pain or emotional anguish, they will be able to seek and call for telehypnotic aid from those of us who will be present at the Childrens’ Theater. We will be taking extremely good care of all of them.”

“You are saying that all these patients have acquired psychic capacities?” asked David with evident astonishment.

“They have been taught how to use their inborn potential of the mind,” said Dr. Ivanov. “These individuals are able to send and receive telepathic messages. Whenever they enter hypnotic trance, their minds and bodies are flooded with melatonin from their pineal gland. That is sufficient to put them in a highly sensitive psychic state. They have learned how to summon aid if it is ever needed by them. I as well as others can answer their needs and provide support at any moment, should that become necessary.”

“Their voting at the meeting has to be freely given and not coerced in any way,” added Victor Razum. “Everything that these patients do will be voluntary. That is a basic principle of our telehypnotic practice. Nothing is ever done by threat of force. The member always maintains absolute free will.

“They will make their selection of delegates according to their free wishes,” said Ivanov. “There is no question concerning that.”

“Could we see and talk to some of those who will be traveling to Yaroslavl on the electrobus, Ivan?” asked Razum.

The psychiatrist bolted to his feet. “Certainly. Let me show you one of my most successful patients.”


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