Chapter XXI.

11 Oct

“There was a message for you a short while ago, Mr. Klimov,” said the busy hotel clerk fretfully. Why are such people always nervous fussbudgets? wondered the former detective, leaving his room keyboard on the soft gummi surface of the main desk.

The young, dapper clerk handed him a small, square piece of cellulose.

David took it and moved away toward the front entrance of the Neon Hotel. He was outside on the silicon sideway when he stopped and perused the communication.

First of all, he saw that the name at the bottom of it was that of Georgi Shutsky. This drew his interest and curiosity at once. He read the contents quickly.

“Dear David, I arrived here in St. Petersburg today with Mr. Milov. It would be good to see you alone as soon as possible, before my client catches up with you himself. Please come to my room as soon as possible, because you and I have some extremely important matters to discuss.
Sincerely, Georgi Shutsky.”

Putting the cellulose message in the breast pocket of his purple suit, Klimov thought for a moment, then turned and ambled without haste back into the lobby of the hotel.

It took only a fraction of a second for the door to open wide. How close could his old colleague have been standing to the door when the first knock occurred?

“Come in, David,” mumbled Shutsky almost without sound from him.

As he stepped inside, the visitor wondered how near Boris Milov might be. In an adjacent room or close by somewhere?

The two detectives sat down next to each other on a king-sized sofa of some coarse Oriental fabric.

Klimov gave his friend a long, searching stare for a time.

“What does Mr. Milov intend to do to me?” he asked the fibratapper.

“Just talk to you, that’s all,” replied Shutsky. “What did you think?”

David looked away, then down at the fibra-glass carpet of cerulean blue.

“I no longer see myself as working for him, Georgi.”

“He recognizes that,” said the latter. “All he wants from you is a sort of final report on his daughter.”

“Does he plan to try to take her back to Moscow with him? Is that why you came along with the man?” Klimov glared forcefully into the eyes of the other.

“It will all depend on what the daughter wishes.”

“There is no way that he can legally force or coerce her into anything against her will, my friend. You know that. She is certainly of age to decide her future for herself.”

“Milov knows that, David. All he wants, he says, is the chance to talk with her in private. I believe he will ask you to arrange that for him.”

“How can I do that,” heatedly asked Klimov, “if she says no to a meeting?”

This question silenced Shutsky for several moments. He only continued after precisely formulating what he meant to say.

“I take it that you have not revealed your profession and how you were hired by her father,” he softly whispered. “Or the reason that you traveled to Suzdal and then Yaroslavl.”

Klimov could not prevent his face from flushing pinkish red.

“She is a free adult, Georgi,” he muttered. “It has to be her own free will that decides what she does or does not do. No one has the right to try to compel her to do anything.”

“Her father believes that this man Razum has hypnotized her in some way.”

“No one can make her do what she does not want to. Hypnosis does not permit a practitioner to override someone’s conscience or moral will. That is impossible.”

Shutsky stared hard at the younger man. “Milov is desperate,” he plaintively declared. “I do not know what he might do if he cannot convince his daughter to return to Moscow with him.”

Both of them fell silent a short time.

“I will talk to Sara about her family,” finally decided David.

“Fine!” grinned Shutsky with evident satisfaction.

“But she alone will decide what she wants.”

That said, Klimov rose and hurriedly left the hotel room.

The ringing of his fibafon receiver broke David’s line of deep thought.

He leaped out of the polynex chair across from his bed and picked up the yellow cylinder.


“This is Viktor here,” said the familiar low voice. “Could I see you at my room in about ten minutes?”

“Certainly,” responded David.

“I will be expecting you, then.”

Razum cut the connection. As Klimov placed the receiver on its cradle, a thought struck him like lightning.

Had Dr. Grekov spotted him and revealed how the two of them had met in Moscow? Was anything about his past identity and role known by anyone else now? How about Viktor Razum? Or Sara herself?

His thoughts were in a whirl as he left the room and locked the door with his code card.

Viktor occupied the doorway he stood in. “Come in, David,” he said, stepping back into his suite. “I need to talk with you.”

No one else is here but the two of us, Klimov realized as he entered the front room. Only Razum and I will be present. What is he planning to ask me?

The pair sat down across from each other, a small dubniak table between them. They looked at each other blankly for a brief second.

“How are you coming along in your psychic practice, my friend?” asked Doctor Razum without prologue.

“There has been little free time since we left Yaroslavl,” apologized David. “I have watched and listened rather than taking any initiative myself.”

The big man across from the novice unexpectedly smiled.

“Yes, we have all been very busy preparing for this convention and getting to St. Petersburg. I can understand how the hubbub and excitement here would affect your schedule. Little opportunity to practice for someone like you, still at the primary, basic stage.”

“So many interesting people from all ends of Russia have come,” sighed Klimov. “One can meet and talk to only a minute fraction of them.”

“Tell me, David, have you seen the demonstration pavilion?”

“Indeed, I have,” answered the former detective.

“You saw the levitation section, I presume?”

“Yes,” nodded Klimov. “I met the leading figure there, Simon Timov.”

Razum leaned his head forward. “That is what I called you to discuss. We must succeed in bringing these levitators to our cause before the final day of the convention, if the House of Resum is to take over the top positions within the Psychic Tsekh. That is the only way we can consolidate a secure majority over the opposition to us that lingers on as our mortal enemy.”

David gazed at the leader in confusion, until the latter began to explain what he meant.

“I have promised Mr. Timov to provide him with the telehypnotic methods that we have already developed. That would be his reward for supporting and guaranteeing the victory of the House of Razum.

“The goal will be to focus our established and proven methods of melatonin production and management to what this group has been dedicated to over the last several years.”

“Those techniques can be applied to levitation?” asked David with curiosity.

Viktor pursed his lips enigmatically. “Why not?” he provocatively muttered. “Can anyone prove to me that telehypnosis will not work in that area of psionics? We have so far met with success in applying our breakthrough throughout all the sectors of psychic activity where we have made the attempt.”

The younger man suddenly felt doubt and embarrassment. “It has not yet been tried and experimented with, has it?” He stared directly at the founder of the psychic movement.

The latter seemed to avoid the eyes of the new member. “It would appear that we have something of a lacuna here, David.”

“I see.”

“That is why I need your assistance in working with this special group, the levitators of the House of Razum.”

“A special group?”

“Irina will be in charge. Lev Tronich and Sara Milova have been assigned to help her in this. They have only two days in which to apply and demonstrate the possibilities to the levitators.”

“You mean to say that this special group is going to try to combine telehypnosis with legkost into a new phenomenon?”

“Precisely,” asserted Razum. “I want you to join and assist them. Will you do that for our movement?”

“Of course,” said David, almost without consideration and thought. “But what is there that I can contribute?”

“Early tomorrow morning, you will meet the three in the hotel lobby. Can you be there by dawn?”

“Yes,” gulped the new recruit.

“It would not be convenient to try to practice here at the hotel,” explained Viktor. “Lev Tronich has already picked out several appropriate sites in St, Petersburg.”

“I will get myself a full night’s sleep and meet the special group in time tomorrow.”

“Good,” smiled Razun. “I am certain that we shall win over the support of these psychic levitators.”

David rose to his feet and swiftly left the leader’s suite.

What was he getting himself into? That was the burning question in his mind.


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