‘I’ll give you a hand with that Vidal.’ Paul stated, as he turned back towards the helicopter. ‘GET DOWN!’ He yelled the words, as he threw himself at the Channel, knocking him to one side.
Simultaneously, but without saying a word, the Co-pilot fired his weapon. The terrans heard a scream of sound as a ball of light left the barrel and hit Paul full in the chest, as he now took up the space that had recently been filled by the Sime. Immediately he fell to the ground, cradled in Vidal’s arms.
Jason who had been frozen to the spot, was suddenly galvanised into action, but too late. For the side door on the helicopter slammed shut, and seconds later the blades came up to full revs, as the machine rose up into the sky, almost clipping the tops of the trees as it sped away.
Vicky was already on her knees beside her partner, his head cradled in her lap. ‘Can you do anything?’ She demanded of Vidal, her eyes on Paul’s face.
The Channel’s tentacles had already broken free from the spray skin, and he was zlinning the Gen deeply. His dark eyes refocused again as he looked at Vicky, and shook his head slightly.
‘What happened Vidal?’ Jason demanded in a whisper.
‘When the co-pilot stood up I assumed he intended to close the door. But shidoni, I couldn’t zlin his real intensions - not through this damn stuff! Paul saved my life, that resonator was aimed at me.’ He stated, his voice full of anguish.
‘You’d have done the same for me,’ Paul suddenly gasped, ‘there’s nothing you can do is there?’ Then not waiting for the Channels reply, his blue eyes moved up to meet Vicky’s. ‘Life plays some funny jokes doesn’t it love? We finally find each other, and this happens.’
‘Don’t talk Paul, save your strength.’ Vicky urged, her hand brushing his blonde hair back from his damp forehead.
Paul laughed and then coughed. ‘What for? If I don’t speak now, I’ll never get the chance.’ A trickle of blood escaped from his lips and she wiped it away with her fingers. ‘I love you.’ He murmured.
‘I know. I love you too.’ She whispered back.
Jason knew he shouldn’t be there. It was too private a moment, but somehow he couldn’t move away either, he was quite literally rooted to the spot.
Vidal’s tentacles were now buried deep in Paul’s chest, and Jason knew that it was only the Channel who was stopping the Gen’s lifeblood from pumping away. It was he who was giving Paul these last few precious moments with Vicky. Shen but his partner would be in a dreadful state after this.
With an obvious effort Paul lifted his hand to caress Vicky’s soft dark cheek before he traced the outline of her lips with one finger, as though trying to impress every line of her lovely face into his memory.
‘You’re so far away Vicky, come closer please.’ His voice was much weaker now.
She bent and kissed his forehead, and then her hands cupped his face. ‘Goodbye my love.’ He mouthed the words at her as her lips touched his, and all three knew the exact moment that he died. His body went limp as Vidal withdrew his tentacles, and sat back. For a moment the Sime sat frozen like a statue and unable to move, his face drained of all blood and animation. To Jason, it looked as though he too had died.
Vicky scrambled to her feet, her hands clenched at her sides, and stared at the horizon through a mist of tears as the huge orange Sun slipped out of sight, and darkness fell, with the finality of a candle being extinguished.
‘Paul wouldn’t want to be buried on this planet.’ She said, her voice unnaturally steady. ‘We’ll take him home. Will you give me a hand Jason?’
‘No, leave him, I’ll carry him. Fetch the computer and the other equipment.’ Vidal ordered, as he bent over Paul’s body and picked him up easily.
‘Are you okay?’ Jason asked, but received only a brief nod in reply.
They would all remember that nightmare journey back to the Ship. It was carried out in silence, with Paul’s body lying between them on the floor.
Vidal insisted on giving Captain Zackary his report as soon as they arrived on board, and Jason learned that the resonator weapon that had killed Paul, was a sound blaster. It was only accurate for a short distance, as no way had ever been found to stop the sound from dissipating over distance. At least, anything that was compact enough to carry around. Which was why it had been abandoned nearly two centuries ago on Earth - but when it did hit its target, it was deadly.
Vidal also gave it as his opinion that the conversation he had had with Paul in the café at the museum had obviously been overheard. He blamed himself for not realising that the two men who were shadowing them, would also make sure that they listened in to their conversation.
‘We were talking about the three scientists,’ he explained. ‘If they were listening, and I am sure that they were. They would have been left in no doubt at all, but that I am Sime.’ His voice was harsh, as he ended his report. ‘The two pilots were probably informed of the fact. Although whether they were ordered to dispose of me, or decided to do so on their own initiative, we shall never know.’
‘I’ll make a formal complaint about all this before we leave orbit.’ The Captain stated.
The Channel shrugged. ‘They’ll simply blame it on the dissidents, or demand to know why we sent a Sime down to the planet without their knowledge or agreement? It’s best we leave it alone.’
‘Vidal, I think we ought to go to our quarters.’ Jason murmured as he moved to stand beside him, offering his support.
‘No. I want to be alone for a while. Go and eat, you’re hungry. We’ll talk later.’ He promised.
‘I couldn’t eat a thing. Don’t you think that.’
The Channel cut him off. ‘Please Jason, don’t argue with me over this. Not now.’
Neither Jason nor Vicky could eat, and when they were notified that the Ship’s doctor had finished his examination of Paul’s body. Vicky said that she wanted to sit with him for a while, on her own.
Jason eyes stayed on the ships chronometer, and he knew when the time for Vidal’s Transfer both came and went. But with no word from his partner.
Worried, Jason wandered around the Ship, standing for long minutes staring out through the observation window as the Diligent moved through the inky blackness of space. Finally he found himself near the Astrogators office, and the Sime in his navy blue uniform was on duty.
Sheldon Conroy, the Astrogator, had already zlinned Jason’s approach long before he arrived. After all what Sime, even one who had had Transfer within the last week, could ignore the pulsating seductive field that was bearing down on him. ‘Well hello there. I heard what happened, how’s Vidal?’
Jason knew that the Channel was fully aware of his robust nager. Although Jason was doing his best not to broadcast it too much. In fact he could almost feel it himself! But of course his therapist, Dagmar Doyen, would deny such a thing was possible, and perhaps she was right, and it was simply his imagination.
However, he knew that Sheldon Conroy was really asking him – "why the shen haven’t the pair of you had Transfer yet?" It happened to be the very question, to which he too, would like an answer.
‘I’ve not come at an awkward time have I?’
The Channel’s tentacles signalled a negative reply, and waved him to a chair. ‘We don’t jump for another two hours. I was about to have a glass of trin, join me?’
‘Not at the moment thanks.’ Jason watched as the other man spooned the leaves into the teapot.
‘What’s the problem?’
Jason smiled, ‘you believe in coming straight to the point.’
‘Life’s too short not to.’
‘I’ve come because you’re related to Vidal, if you weren’t, I wouldn’t feel right in asking for your help, because it’s personal.’ The Channel nodded and then leaned against his desk and folded his arms, tentacles sheathed, giving the Gen his complete attention.
As succinctly as he could, Jason explained about the change in Vidal’s attitude towards both him and their transfer, during the last few hours.
Sheldon thought for a moment and then spoke. ‘My family, as you are no doubt aware, were not householders. Which is why Vidal was never comfortable with the Tecton way of life. He was not alone in that,’ and the Astrogator indicated his own uniform with the negligent wave of a tentacle. ‘Like me, he’s too much an individual, and when the chance came for him to join the TIB, he accepted the challenge at once. You have no idea the pressure that was brought to bear on him, to remain a working Channel. However, Vidal is one of the most stubborn men I know, next to myself.’ He smiled briefly, as he kept himself hypoconscious, studying the Gen only with his eyes.
‘But there’s no lack of Firsts now - Channels or Companions – why were they so keen to keep him?’ Jason demanded.
‘Because we can trace our family history back to when Earth was divided between in-territory and out-territory, and we came from the latter. You probably know that the very best Channels have always come from the households – Zeor Imil Carre Keon Frihill Dar Rior.’ The names fell easily from his lips.
‘Rior? But they were Distect.’
‘They were still a householding.’ Sheldon stated with a flick of a tentacle for emphasis. ‘Householders have always managed to produce the best Channels and Donors, and from Zeor came the best and most sensitive of all – the Farrises.’
‘Vidal told me he studied with a Farris.’
‘Yes he did - Jordan. Did he also tell you that in all the tests they were given, both of them were more or less equal? In one Jordan would be a point or so ahead, and in another it would be Vidal.’ He moved to pour the boiling water onto the tea leaves, and left them to steep as he continued. ‘That was why they wanted to hold on to him as a working Channel.
‘The Tecton were eager to run a series of tests over a number of years, to discover his limitations, and to see how he developed. It is rare for such sensitivity to be found in a Channel who has not come through the householder line. Of course they fully expected to find Farris genes in him, they were all encouraged to be promiscuous you know, and were surprised when they didn’t.’
‘But why would they want to bother? I’m sure I read somewhere that that was how the Farrises came to be so screwed up in the first place. Because apart from their genealogy, they were pushed so far that their capacity could only be met by a mere handful of Donors, who in some cases also had Farris genes!’
‘Exactly. But even today some of the householders are still fanatical about chasing decimal points. It’s now become a matter of personal pride, more than anything else. Also I believe they wanted to use him to procreate. Either with a Farris Gen or Channel. Imagine if you will, a line of Channels with all the abilities of the Farrises, and none of the handicaps!’ He poured out the tea. ‘Vidal being Vidal wouldn’t have any of it, and it took a lot of courage to follow his own star, believe me. His father didn’t speak to him for years.’
‘Why ever not?’ Jason demanded. ‘How could his father expect Vidal to allow himself be used, as little more than a ... a breeding machine?’
‘Because what he was offered was considered an honour, especially as far as our family were concerned, and he turned it down. You have to realise, that even non-householders who castigate and knock the system the most, in their heart of hearts, wish they were part of the mystic. Nowadays the householders are the establishment, and if we had royalty – it would be the Farrises! Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?’
‘Yes, I’ve heard that said often enough. The Farrises are revered in a lot of circles, even today. ’ Jason agreed, he paused and then went on. ‘Are Vidal and his father still not talking?’
‘They’re communicating, but not face to face.’
‘Well, that explains a lot, especially why he’s so shenning stubborn. But it doesn’t help me with the problem I’m faced with at the moment, does it? I’m really worried Sheldon. He’s been through one hell of a time these last few days, and then there’s what happened with Paul. His tentacles were in direct contact with him when he died you know.’ Jason sighed. ‘We should have had Transfer two hours ago, and he still wont let me get near him! Would you believe, he’s locked the shenning door.’
‘He’s his own worst enemy. Always was, even as a child. If I know Vidal he’ll be sitting in your quarters blaming himself for that agent’s death, and working himself up into a dreadful state. But even he wont be able to refuse Transfer now, not once you’re within tentacle reach.’
‘I hope you’re right. But I just wish I knew why he was doing this to us?’
‘Knowing my cousin, he’ll have worked out some ridiculous reason to justify the delay. One that satisfies him, but no one else! Look, you’re his Companion Jason. Insist on seeing him, he wont be able to deny you, and when you do, if he is still being pigheaded, you’ll have to resort to trautholo. You’re a fully autonomous pair after all, just don’t maintain it for too long and you shouldn’t have any problems.’ The Channel sipped his tea, forcing himself not to zlin the enticing field that was sitting within his own tentacle reach. He could tell that the Gen was doing his best not to let his field dominate the room, but in his anxiety, he kept letting it slip out of his control.
‘Vidal said that I’ve done that before, but to be honest I don’t really know what I did. We just seemed to blend together, like two bodies, almost with one awareness.’ He hesitated briefly, a trifle embarrassed at the words, and then looked directly at the Astrogator. ‘And what do I do if this trautholo doesn’t work?’
The Sime stared back at him, momentarily struck dumb by the sheer naivety of the question, or was he perhaps joking? ‘Why, you just get up and walk out!’ No sooner had the words left his lips than he wished them back, he had not meant to sound quite so flippant.
However, Jason nodded slowly and stood up. ‘Thanks, I guess it’s time to go and - grasp the nettle!’ He said with determination.
Sheldon watched the Gen walk away. For a moment he had honestly believed that Jason was having him on - but he had seemed genuine enough. Yet he dare not zlin him to be sure, and for the first and possibly the only time in his life, he envied his cousin.
Vidal of course had told him that Jason was a natural. He had also said that instead of the years of training normally undertaken by a TN1 Donor. His Gen had never had more than six months formal instruction, and the rest had been more or less – on the job training with Vidal! They had both laughed at the expression, and Sheldon had been unsure if his cousin had meant it literally. But it seemed that he did! Shen but this situation could be dangerous. Trust Vidal to sail this close to the wind, and with a partially trained Donor too!
Maybe he should have explained to Jason what would happen if he really did establish trautholo, and then tried to walk away! He sighed and rubbed his eyes with a tentacle. Well, it was too late now, and there was nothing he could do, except hope for the best.
When Jason arrived at their quarters, it was to find that the lock override was still on, and he could not gain access. Neither did he receive an answer to his voice request. Beginning to feel annoyed with his partner’s obtuse behaviour, he opened the nearest tool store and set to work to disconnect the lock. He could of course have asked the Captain to override the lock from up on the bridge, but that would have involved explanations, that he would rather not give. A few minutes later he entered the darkened room, the door sliding closed behind him.
‘What do you want Jason? Am I allowed no privacy?’ The Channel demanded, his voice ragged.
‘Where are you?’ Jason looked towards where the voice had emanated from, but could see nothing. Normally the lights would come on as soon as someone entered the room, but obviously his partner had activated the override on these too.
‘Will you please leave.’
‘No, I wont. In case you’ve forgotten, these are my quarters too. So stop acting like a child!’ His questing fingers found what they had been looking for, and the room flooded with light.
Vidal was sitting on the floor at the far side of the room, his arms wrapped around his knees which were tucked up under his chin.
With a sigh Jason walked across to squat down in front of him. ‘So what’s all this in aid of? Blaming yourself over Paul I suppose?’ The Simes dark eyes flashed with anger as the two men stared at each other.
‘Would you rather it had been you lying up there in the morgue?’ The Gen demanded, undaunted by the Sime’s growing fury. ‘You really are a selfish bastard aren’t you? Yes Paul got shot instead of you, but it was his decision, he pushed you out of the way and he knew what he was doing.’
‘Did he? I wonder. It seemed to me that he simply acted on instinct.’ Vidal replied.
‘Exactly. And isn’t that how we all operate? Put any of us, you, me, Vicky, in that position, and we’d have done the same thing. Not because we sat down and worked it all out logically, but because in the final analysis we all operate on instinct. And now, by acting this way, you’re denigrating what he did.’
‘If I hadn’t been wearing that shenning spray skin, none of this would have happened.’
‘Oh please, spare me the bleeding heart! Why does everything have to be your fault? Who elevated you above everyone else on this team?’ Jason demanded pushing as hard as he could, knowing that something would eventually give. ‘Who do you think you are, a Farris!?’
Vidal jumped to his feet, a stream of Simelan invectives escaping his lips.
Jason laughed harshly, ‘I suppose it’s a good thing I don’t know what half of that means.’
‘Don’t ask me to apologise! There are times when you would try even the Sectuib in Zeor’s patience!’ The Sime growled, then he walked over to face the outer bulkhead, a hand each side of the small porthole, as he stared unseeing into the velvety blackness of space.
He wasn’t getting through to him. It was hopeless. Jason felt despondent. Then he realised, that with his field this high, if he allowed the depression to really take hold of him, the Channel would be even more upset than he was already. Quickly he squashed the feeling, and walked over to stand behind his partner. After a moment or so, he placed one hand on the taut shoulder, feeling the slim body tense at his touch.
‘Don’t touch me – please.’
‘I have to. I can’t let you go on like this, it isn’t fair to either of us.’ Jason closed his eyes and concentrated, thinking of all the good times they had had together, the feelings that he had for Vidal that made them not just good friends, but brothers. Then he thought of the closeness he experienced when they had Transfer together.
Slowly he felt that strange intangible almost ethereal feeling that he had occasionally felt in the past but could never quite explain, engulf him. Strangely he felt they were breathing as one, with one heart beat between them. Whether they were doing this in actuality, he neither knew, nor cared. It was simply how he felt.
Vidal slowly turned to face him, and Jason could see that he was fighting this every step of the way, yet he was aware, even as he fought, that he was losing the battle.
Shamelessly Jason used his field to entice, trying desperately in every way he knew, to force the Sime to raise intil.
Vidal extended all his tentacles and he could see that they glistened with ronaplin, but with a supreme effort he retracted them again and stepped away from the Gen. His eyes closed, his whole body quivering with the exertion, as sweat ran down his face and dripped onto his shirt.
For one heart stopping moment Jason thought the Sime might actually drop dead from the emotional overload he was forcing on himself - was such a thing possible? He had never heard of it happening, but then, what did he know? Shen if they got through this, he would have quite a few things to look up. Ignorance after all, was not always bliss.
Seconds became minutes, slowly ticking by, and finally Jason’s arms dropped to his side, as he acknowledged defeat. What else could he do? He had tried his best to establish trautholo, but had obviously not succeeded. He had tried to entice with his field, but his partner appeared to have more willpower than anyone else he knew.
‘Okay Vidal, you win. I’m going to get something to eat, you know where to find me if you change your mind.’ He shook his head sadly, his chestnut curls bouncing against his neck, as he stepped around the Channel’s taut figure and headed straight for the door.
Jason had never seen the Channel move so fast. He simply saw a blur pass him by, and there he was between him and the door. The Sime’s normally handsome features were now twisted with both anguish and tension. ‘Stand still Jas – don’t move!’ The words escaped his lips like a breath of air.
‘I’m going no where,’ he promised softly. ‘Unless you want me to.’ Carefully trying not to give the Sime cause for alarm, Jason edged them both towards the couch, that was positioned against the side bulkhead. It was not ideal for Transfer purposes, but there was nothing else available.
Vidal had already slipped into hunting mode – hyperconsciousness – seeing the world from a Sime’s aspect only. He had now stopped denying himself. The Gen beside him was like a pulsing beacon leading him towards a safe harbour where his need would be answered. Quickly almost against his will his intil began to rise.
A shiver ran through him as he felt the Gen’s selyn field link precisely with his own, Jason had never achieved selyur nager like this before, and Vidal was certain that he was not aware that he had now.
Mesmerised the Channel stared at the swirl of colour that emanated from the Gen’s body, reaching out to his own cold bleak darkness. It was a promise of fulfillment. A satisfaction of need. Paradise offered. Yet even in the very middle of this inferno that was burning him up, was the coolness of spring water, as his body was caught and held up on gossamer wings.
He was resting on the edge of death itself, yet he was safe, secure – this truly was trautholo and he could stay like this forever – he would die for this. Somewhere at the very back of his mind, he knew that he must not allow this to continue for to long. He dare not allow a transfer dependency to develop between them, and because they were matchmates he new how easily it could happen, if they did not take care. But then again, just for a short while…
Vidal had no idea how they came together, fingers, tentacles, lips, they just drifted. A total blending of souls as life was offered, and accepted, yet neither man knew who gave and who took in that encounter. It was a soaring satisfaction, a deep rapport that was a celebration of life itself.
Slowly the voraciousness of Vidal’s draw slowed to a mere trickle and then stopped. His dark head rested against the Gen’s chest as he listened to the pounding heart beneath his ear gradually slow to its normal beat. Finally he dismantled his tentacles, and they drew apart. Yet even now Jason’s body was still resounding to the slow throb of selyn production, a perfect match for his own system’s consumption. It was – perfection exemplified.
Jason too had never felt so fulfilled. This he had been born for, and with the possible exception of sexual gratification, it was the best of all feelings. A sad smile touched his lips as he remembered that a few, a very few couples were able to indulge both of these experiences together – did they realise how very lucky they were? He opened his eyes and turned to his partner, still grinning broadly.
Then he stopped smiling, his green eyes now full of concern. ‘Vidal! Did I hurt you, or do something wrong? Tell me!’
His partner was sobbing silently, tears running freely down his cheeks. ‘No. Of course not. It was perfect. But before, I could only blame myself, but I could not mourn for Paul. Now I can. You did this for me.’ He wrapped his tentacles around the Gen’s hands and squeezed them reassuringly. ‘Can you forgive me for the things I said? My whole attitude to you was – unforgiveable.’
‘Yes of course I forgive you, you idiot. I don’t deserve any bouquets for my attitude either, in the past, and you’ve put up with me. But I just didn’t know how to reach you this time. Your cousin Sheldon told me to try and initiate trautholo – did I succeed?’
The Sime laughed out loud as he wiped his face with his fingers and tentacles, and then accepted the towel that Jason handed him. ‘Yes you did. And you and I have got to do some serious talking. There are simpler ways of gaining my complete and undivided attention, than by trying to walk out on me in trautholo.’
‘Well Sheldon said that I should.’
‘He what? Shen I thought my cousin had more sense. I expect it was his idea of a joke. I’ll have quite a few words to say to him on the subject later.’
‘Well I think he was trying to help me and ..ahhhhh!’ Jason grabbed the back of the couch and then fell forward curled up into a fetal ball as the Ship jumped into hyperspace. The shock left him both babbling like an infant and shaking with reaction.
Vidal pulled him forward so that he was leaning against the Sime’s wiry body, his hands and tentacles rubbing his partner’s neck and back, as he tried to discover what on Earth had caused him to suddenly break down like this. ‘Jason what’s the matter? SHIDONI - TELL ME!’
Meanwhile Jason’s arms were wrapped firmly around Vidal’s waist, as he held on tightly to the one sure anchor that he could rely on, in a world that had suddenly gone crazy. He took a deep breath, and endeavoured to pull himself together. ‘It er it’s alright, I’m fine now, really I am.’ His teeth unfortunately were still chattering, as he felt the unpleasant after effects as they settled back into his gums.
He had not even heard the damn bells! The fantastic Transfer had wiped all other thoughts from his mind. And Sheldon had told him he was going to initiate the jump in two hours! What if they had been in the middle of Transfer when it happened? It was something he didn’t even dare to think about!
‘Jason tell me what all this is about! And don’t insult my intelligence by saying, nothing, because I wont believe you.’
‘Okay, though there is nothing you can do about it. But I want your promise first.’
‘What do you mean, my promise? If you think I’m going to jeopardise your health or possibly your life.’
‘No, it’s nothing like that.’ Jason interrupted, and tried to look amused, but failed miserably. ‘I simply want your word that you wont do anything stupid.’
‘How can I promise something like that, when I have no idea what this is all about?’ The Sime asked.
‘Okay, but if you do anything to jeopardise my career, and what we have. Hell, give me a minute.’ He disappeared into the bathroom, as Vidal set about brewing the trin, and trying at the same time to contain his impatience.
Staring down into his glass of tea Jason sat down and told the Channel everything.
‘Are you sure it’s not simply your imagination?’
‘Dammit all Vidal, did it look like my imagination just now?’
‘No, of course not. I just had to be sure. Why didn’t you tell me all this before?’
‘Maybe I should, but that’s irrelevant now isn’t it? Look, I know there’s nothing you can do about it, I’ll cope. It’ll be easier now that you know about it. I wont have to go running about the Ship trying to find enough insulation to hide myself behind, so you can’t zlin me.’ He managed a wry grin.
‘We’ll find out what we can about this phenomena when we get back to Earth. In the meantime we’ll see if there’s anything in the Diligent’s computer banks about it. Likewise Captain Zackary, and Joe Cooper the medical officer, they may have something to contribute.’
‘Hold it right there! That’s exactly what I don’t want us to do. Zackary will feel obliged to mention it in his report, and the MO will put it on my medical records. That’s tantamount to letting the whole World know. No way! We keep this to ourselves – you promised.’
‘No I didn’t.’ The Sime defended his position at once.
Jason took a large mouthful of trin, and then placed the glass down beside him. ‘Tell me Vidal, are you satisfied with your job – in the TIB I mean?’
‘Of course.’ The dark eyes settled on him warily, as the Sime wondered what his partner was driving at now.
‘Well, if you go bleating to all and sundry, that I go to pieces over a simple hyper jump. Do you honestly believe that Sam wont start wondering if I can really be trusted to carry out these type of assignments? In which case you and I will be faced with either sitting behind a desk, or premature retirement. Unless you get yourself another partner of course.’
‘I am not a sheep, so I don’t bleat. Besides which your hypothesis is ridiculous.’
‘Is it? Are you absolutely sure about that?’ He pressed.
The Channel was silent for a few moments. ‘I think you’re worrying unnecessarily yes. However, I am prepared to go a certain distance with you. We will look into the phenomena ourselves, and we will not include anyone else, for the time being. Does that satisfy you?’
Jason nodded his head.
‘Good, that’s settled. By the way, there is something I heard about the hyper jump many years ago. It was mentioned in a lecture about Psychospatial Orientation that I attended, given by a Gen friend of mine – Jim Harris, he’s a professor. I’m not sure exactly where he is now, but I will try to contact him. He may have more up to date information that he can give us.’
‘Yes fine, but never mind about all that now – what did he say about the hyper jump? Tell me.’ His partner demanded.
‘Well, according to Jim there has only been one recorded case of a Sime having problems during a hyper jump – he was a Rensime - and when questioned about it, he likened the experience to Psychospatial Orientation.’
‘Isn’t that to do with a Simes ability to know his exact position in the universe?’ Jason asked, and then clicked his fingers, ‘of course I remember now, you never move an unconscious Sime! I asked old Quich, when he was telling us about it – "what would happen if there was a train bearing down on him, do we just leave him there?" - I mean, is it better to see him squashed flat like a pancake, or take a chance?’
The Channel sighed with irritation. ‘There are times when I seriously wonder about.’ He stopped what he was saying, and looked at his partner who had a wicked grin on his handsome face.
‘You actually believed that I’d say that, didn’t you?’ The Gen demanded of the Sime. ‘You must think I’m a complete half wit.’
‘The classes are meant to be taken seriously.’ Vidal tried to defend himself.
‘I was being serious. Anyway, calm down, I didn’t really ask him that you know. Although I wanted to. After all, there’s an exception to every rule.’
‘You should have discussed it with me.’
‘You never had the time to listen. And when I did query something, you usually told me to listen to what Quich was saying next time. Still it doesn’t matter now. Go on with what you were saying about this Professor of yours and the Sime.’
‘He’s hardly my Professor. And there isn’t all that much to tell. To be honest it was only mentioned as I recall, as an aside, in the lecture.’
‘Great. It seems that everything to do with the hyper jump, is only mentioned as an after thought.’
Vidal nodded. ‘PO disruption nowadays, is often treated with drugs that help to bring the system back into normal function within minutes. Especially if there’s no one present who is capable of handling the fields.’ His dark eyes rested on the Gen’s face as he waited for his reaction.
The Sime sighed. ‘So, some of the drugs may prove to be useful in alleviating some of your problems. Even more interesting at the moment from our point of view, is the handling of the fields. Don’t you agree?’
‘The drugs I can understand, but as far as the other is concerned, I haven’t got a clue what you’re going on about.’ Jason confessed.
‘I’ll try to explain.’ The Channel murmured. Wondering how to go about it. After all it was a bit like trying to explain astrophysics to a five year old. But he discreetly kept that thought to himself, as he began.
‘Let’s take a hypothetical case. If Sheldon had an accident which rendered him unconscious, and his colleagues in engineering moved him - for whatever reason - and then called me to help. Being a Channel and a First, I would be able to manipulate the fields well enough to alleviate most, if not all of the most terrifying and frightening aspects of the experience.’ He glanced at the Gen hopefully.
‘Sorry but I really don’t see the connection - a Sime is moved while unconscious and suffers from PO, because his awareness of his place in the Universe is changed without his knowledge. How does that affect me?’
‘Perhaps it doesn’t. But consider the similarities. The Sime momentarily loses his awareness of his exact position in the Universe – in other words he is aware of being in one place and then wakes up in another - and goes through agonies because of it. You on the other hand are aware of your body in this moment in time, and when the jump occurs, to all intents and purposes your body is shattered into a billion atoms and then comes together again, at a different point in the Galaxy. In some respects you suffer, what I or any Sime would suffer, through PO. And remember also, that the only Rensime on record, to have experienced what you experienced. Likened it to PO!’
‘If you say so.’
‘I do say so, because the end result is very similar.’ Vidal leaned forward eagerly. ‘I want to try an experiment. When the next jump occurs, I want to treat you exactly as I would someone suffering the horrors of PO. It might not work, I could be totally wrong. But at least it’s worth a try isn’t it?’
‘Yes I guess so.’ Jason was uncertain. ‘As long as you don’t make it any worse.’
‘I wont, I guarantee.’ And Vidal crossed metaphorical tentacles as he spoke. ‘I’m going down to have a word with Sheldon. I want to find out the exact moment when the next jump is due to take place. We have to be prepared for it this time. In the meantime, try and get some rest.’
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