My Confederation hostess leads me through a passage way and into an enormous chamber. At first it appears as though the roof has been ripped off and a billion stars shine down into this area, but it is an illusion. The ceiling is covered in crystalline orbs of various sizes and these orbs shine like a distant starfield.
"So how did you like the excitement?"
It's Yal-hune. She's standing by herself as cool and collected as if she had been lounging here for the past two hours.
"I missed most of it. What's the status on Encyclopedia and the texts?"
"Both are still safe and sound in his brother's dorm room. Did you want to return already?"
I turn and look at the other female from Htra-deg who stands beside me and there's something about her nearby presence that is altering my mood somewhat. I realize she is another one of those powerful personalities - whose mind is like 100 human minds in one. Experiencing new moods and new perspectives. I sense she is enjoying the mix too, merely because she does not often get to interface with human sentience.
"Sharing mind with you has been educational."
She smiles. I would be inclined to take it as an insult, somewhat the way one describes an ugly outfit as "interesting" or some other polite way of avoiding saying what one really thinks. However, I know their minds do not work that way.
"No, I wouldn't mind staying here for awhile. I'm still sort of vague on the whole Lal-atha/Confederation conflict and rules of engagement."
My hostess, whose name is Voe-lree, extends her arms and gently presses her fingertips on my temples. Images of Lal-atha as a Planet leader emerge and his entire history unfolds in my mind. A conflict with a neighboring world that joined the Confederation and an obsession with destroying the Confederation and preventing young worlds and other sentience from joining. I see a savage desire to minimize the growth of the Confederation and set up an opposing Union of worlds. He would be considered a terrorist and a mass murderer on Earth.
Amazing. On Earth, he would have earned the death-penalty a hundred times over, yet here he is viewed with compassion. No hate exists in regards to his actions which have cost billions their lives. My mind finds it hard to imagine, however the interface with Voe-lree permits me access to see things from this less emotional perspective. The Confederation grows despite the efforts of Lal-atha and this is why he is targeting as many elemental worlds and sentient species as he can. The Confederations form of responding is containment and the constant teleportation back to his world of himself, his minions and all those who perpetrate violence on the Confederation. No counter-strikes. No retaliation of any real measure. Voe-lree's expansive mind shares a whole host of feelings she has on the matter and as she interfaces with my mind I agree with her reasoning completely.
"There. Does that make it easier to understand?"
"Yes. Thank you Voe-lree."
"Yal-hune, we probably better return. I know if I stay here too long, I will not want to leave."
"Let's pay Encyclopedia that overdue visit."
Another flash of white and I am back in the dormitory parking lot. Yal-hune is beside me and we are within a foot or two of where we were when we were attacked. I look around to see if there is any evidence of the assault and none can be found.
"All those disintegration rays must've hit something?"
"They were neutralized before they could hit anything."
"Not really. After I teleported you to a Confederation ship I accelerated yet faster and had plenty of time to neutralize the beams with assistance from one of the Confederation's quarantine teams."
"Just how fast can you accelerate yourself?"
I follow Yal-hune's lead and she climbs up the stairs two steps at a time. Before I know it we are in front of a baby blue door. I knock.
Encyclopedia answers the door and just as quickly slams it closed again when he sees us.
"That's just great."
I'm here without a team and Encyclopedia is going to make this difficult. However, he doesn't know that.
"Encyclopedia...just open the door so we can talk. There's nowhere to go. Nowhere to run to."
I turn to Yal-hune for information.
"Your mind. Use your mind."
I try to do what Yal-hune does naturally. I try to open my sense up beyond just vision and hearing. I realize I can feel the signals from everything around me. The layout of this apartment - and the balcony. In my mind I can see Encyclopedia stuffing the Atlantean texts into a pillow case and dropping them out the balcony.
I run down the stairs two at a time. I make it down to the bottom level to see Encyclopedia sliding down a sheet rope. I grab one of the tied up pillow cases which seems to have two texts. Encyclopedia grabs the other and starts to run.
"Come back! Don't run!" I shout.
He's not listening. I start running after him. Encyclopedia was never a field agent, but he's younger by a good number of years. I kick it into high gear and feel the adrenaline feed my legs the needed chemicals to help my leg muscles do their stuff. I'm gaining on him. He's heading towards a small car in the parking lot. The door is open and he jumps in. I'm almost there when he gets the car started and floors the throttle. He hits somebody else's car as he darts through the lot. I have no desire for a car chase.
I open my cell phone and used the scrambled channel.
"I need a live satellite on this location now with a recorded feed. Target is a white import that leaves this parking lot at 2:37 PM."
"You got it."
I walk over to the damaged car and place a note on it with a phone number to call for settlement of damages. I only hope he calms down and doesn't get into an accident.
Yal-hune now has caught up with me.
"You know this would be so much easier if you actually helped me out here."
"I am helping you. I'm encouraging to use your mind."
She is suddenly pushing this point. She wants me to expand my development. I know she's right and that we all have these latent powers within us, but it's hard. Using the mind on that level is like doing mental push ups. It's a struggle and by default one relaxes.
We walk over to our car and I place the Atlantean texts in the trunk.
"You were doing so well. You saw the books and Encyclopedia. You were seeing with your mind. This is true seeing and will eventually supplement your other senses. Later still it will become your primary sense and the other senses will supplement it."
She kisses me.
Sudden and unexpected, it is a mind-bending kiss. All at once I forget all about Encyclopedia and the other two Atlantean texts. I close my eyes and white flickering light is all I can see. It is as if my brain is being jump-started and all the neurons are firing at an explosive rate. All I can think about is her and her mind as she joins a portion of her consciousness with me.
As we finally part, I feel a new awareness. I feel all the things around me. New senses have been activated! All sorts of data is streaming into my mind and I can select any portion of it to analyze. The tree is 30.2 metres away. It has 1,233 leaves on its branches. It was planted in September 1997. There are 43 cars in the parking lot. There's a girl whose apartment is on the bottom floor and she watched Yal-hune and I kiss. She envies us. I feel her pain and loneliness as though they are my own. I avert my mind.
"You see truly now. The entire universe consists of streams of energy and there are no limitations. The entire universe can be an open book for you to enjoy. You will strengthen this sensory development by using it. You will learn to use it wisely and not for selfish desires or with negative intent."
It is amazing.
"You could do all that with a kiss?"
"The kiss just stimulated the part of your brain you used when you saw Encyclopedia leaving the apartment. The kiss was designed to activate more of this portion and get you to start using it."
"In that case let's see if we can jump start the rest of my brain."
"In your dreams, human...in your dreams."