Chapter XXIII.

13 Oct

Why did Dr. Grekov act the way that he did?

Was it some complicated game of pretense or genuine memory blockage of some sort?

Klimov had little time to contemplate the riddle, for a knock came on the door of his hotel room. He hurried to find out who it was.

“I need to talk with you,” muttered Shutsky as the door opened.

“Come in.”

The visitor took a chair while David closed the door and sat down opposite the Moscow detective.

“What is it, Georgi?”

“You were gone all this morning. Why was that?”

David grinned. “I was on a special assignment with Miss Milova and two other House of Razum psychics. We were away testing out a new form of vertical levitation based on telepathy of the most advanced kind.”

Shutsky suddenly looked troubled. “She was directly involved?”

“Sara happened to be the primary participant, the center of the trial.”

“She was the one to rise above ground level?”

“Sara climbed quite high, I can reveal to you.” Klimov stared at his old friend and colleague. “I would not tell Mr. Milov of this, if I were you. He might not understand or like it. Knowledge of the matter would probably alarm the woman’s father.”

“What was the degree of risk that was involved?”

“Really, it was minimal,” explained David. “We had two immediate media holding her in aerial position, as her posredniki.”

“What if something had gone wrong, though?”

“We had a powerful, adept istochnik to back us up on the ground. There was a huge quantity of psychic force sustaining Sara up in the air.”

For several seconds, Shutsky dared say nothing.

“Mr. Milov is anxious to see his daughter at once. He is unwilling to wait any longer. It must somehow be arranged.”

“It cannot be done at this time, Georgi,” objected David Klimov. “She has been given a very important assignment to fulfill at this convention.”

“He is growing insistent, I fear. There is no way to restrain him in the state he is now in, my friend.”

Klimov stared thoughtfully at Shutsky.

“I will talk to him,” the former detective announced. “He must listen to reason. Where is Boris Milov now?”

The fat little fibratapper gave the room number of his client.

“Good,” said David with determination in his voice. “I will have to convince him to let his daughter proceed with the psychic project she is at present the center of. He must not interfere with it.”

Shutsky rose without a word and left in silence.

Milov answered the knock on his door as if he had been waiting for the appearance of David Klimov.

He showed little surprise in his eyes or on his face. “Come in,” he managed to say without a moment of hesitation or surprise.

David entered the first class luxury suite, larger and better furnished that his own standard rooms.

Milov pointed to a cushioned velvet chair for his visitor to sit in. He himself remained standing.

“You have betrayed me, haven’t you?” The merchant’s voice was sharp and rough.

“Your Sara is unwilling to leave the House of Razum,” explained Klimov boldly. “She has become a completely dedicated member of the new psychic movement and believes in it with all her heart. All her decisions and actions are voluntary. She enjoys total free will.”

“So do you, I understand,” shot back the father. “These telepathic devils have converted you too, it would seem. You have chosen to become one of them.”

“Not necessarily true,” retorted David. “I am more an observer than a genuine member of the movement.”

“One who fully participates, I would say,” muttered Boris Milov scornfully, glaring with unconcealed fury at the young man he had hired to find and recover his daughter.

“Sara is about to perform a spectacular psychic feat for the movement that she is now a part of. Let me describe it for you, sir.”

It took only seconds for David to give a concise account of the great experiment in combining telehypnosis and levitation. The face of Boris Milov grew brick red with the emotion of rage. He then struggled to speak.

“No,” his voice sounded in a rasping tone. “I will not permit it.”

“You have no choice in the matter, I am afraid.”

The distraught father rose and took a step closer. “I cannot sit by and watch passively as Sara is used and exploited that way.”

“There is nothing to fear, Mr. Milov. The first trial was completed with total success and safety. Sara knows what she is doing.”

“I have to see her at once.”

“Believe me, pleaded Klimov, “she will not listen to you.”

“She must,” said Milov with a sob. “You have no idea how much I love that daughter of mine. She has become the center of my life.”

“You have grown obsessed with Sara,” argued David. “The decision she makes has to be hers alone. Do you understand me?”

“Not at all,” irately argued Milov. “Not at all,” he repeated.

Klimov suddenly jumped out of his chair, taking a glance at his wrist-timer.

“We have an appointment to meet with Viktor Razum,” he announced. “I hope you do not try to see Sara or interfere with her freedom.”

No reply came. David gave Milov a stare full of serious concern, then turned and quickly exited from the hotel suite.

The meeting with the leader had not yet begun when David entered the conference room. Irina looked up at him from a table where she sat with Lev and Sara.

‘Viktor has not arrived yet,” she told him. “But he knows how well the trial lift-off went.”

Klimov seated himself at the end of the table, next to Sara Milova. He gave her a warm, reassuring smile. “How do you feel now?” he softly asked.

She had no opportunity to answer him, for at that moment the door opened and Viktor Razum strode into the room where the special group of psychics was waiting for him.

He sat down on the opposite side of the table from the four who were already there. Without greetings or fanfare, the leader immediately got down to purposeful business.

“We are going to hold the public demonstration for the delegates at four this afternoon,” he began. “There will be a change in positions in order to raise the psychic power by a multiple. Irina is to act as the third posrednik.” All eyes of the experimenters turned upon her. “And I myself will be the istochnik source this time.”

The four across from him stared at his face in amazement. The leader, in turn, focused his gaze on the head of Sara Milova.

“The demonstration shall take place on the front plaza before the Neon Hotel,” explained the leader. “Our podemnik, Sara, should be able to reach heights over a thousand meters high.”

“A thousand meters!” gasped Irina. “That is a full kilometer.”

“That height has never been attained before by any traditional levitator,” continued Razum. “Conventional psychic levitation has always had limits that restricted how high it could reach. But we will apply telehypnotic energy from the istochnik and three separate posredniki. Never before has such psychic force been harnessed for a lift-off.”

Lev Tronich decided to speak up at this point. “Dangers will be increased as well. The podemnik could be exposed to enemies of our movement with the evil intentions of a koldun of some kind. What if some disaster occurs?”

Viktor Razum scowled sarcastically. “No one would dare do anything like that,” he argued. “The strength of a telehypnotic istochnik along with three active posredniki is too overwhelming for anyone to attempt sabotage of the levitation in any way.”

No one said anything as the leader’s words sank into the four minds ranged in front of him.

“Very well, then,” Razum concluded, checking his finger-timer. “We take our positions five minutes before four in the outer plaza. This shall prove to be our greatest victory, believe me.”

A light of nearly mystical illumination burned forth from his glowing eyes as he said these words to the group of psychics who were his followers.


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