The Quest for Solor

 

Continued from The Sunnoad's Navy

The captive Ghepion plotters, under hypnotic questioning, made an extraordinary confession of their motives.  It seemed that they had been moved, at least in part, by a "desire to have souls".  The interrogators were baffled.  Surely, they thought, the Ghepions must understand that any sentient being necessarily has a soul - defined as the entity's qualitative aspect, which (since quality cannot be derived from physical nature) must be transcendent.  Surely the Ghepions must know that their material circuits were no more a denial of "soul" than the equally material veins and bones of a man.  What were they worried about?

No one knew; no one could find out why these particular Ghepions, and no others, had harboured these fears of being soulless.  But whatever the reason for their mental misfortune, it turned out to Syoom's advantage.  For the Ghepions in their search for reassurance, besides trying to control Syoom through the Navy, had discovered a clue that suggested the myth of Solor might not be a mere myth after all.

According to traditional tales, Solor was a glowing, numinous place; a land which conferred bliss on those who found it.  Some of the Ghepion plotters had regarded control of the Navy as essential to the task of locating this land and of controlling access to it.

Now that the plot was foiled, and humans were back in control, the question remained: what to do with the knowledge of the reality of Solor?  It was decided that the value of such a place could only be preserved if it remained a hope, an ideal that might be accessible to those willing to devote their lives to a quest for it; certainly not a pleasure park overrun by the merely curious.

Thus the Sunnoad and his advisers rejected the idea of a Syoomean campaign to locate Solor.  Sending out dozens of airships into Fyaym to search back and forth for the land of bliss would not only be dangerous and expensive; it would also be a crude vulgarity, and success would carry with it the great danger of annihilating the object of the search - a search which should be left to individuals.

The Gold Era lasted 9,066,758 Uranian days, or 369 Uranian years, equivalent to 31,029 Earth years.  It was by and large a sane, healthy era, though with occasional quirks arising from its distinct philosophical bent (some states declared that the killing of a determinist could not be regarded as murder, since according to the victim the killer could not be blamed).  Questions of size and distance, of place-identity, were brought to the forefront of debate by the quest for Solor.  Syoom had become a culture that took philosophy more seriously than ever before.

The main feature of the era, however, was the great number of adventures that have contributed to the Uranian saga.  These almost all involved the quest of individuals for Solor.  A few found it and returned to tell the tale, but were unable or unwilling to say where it was.  Ultimately the truth was made public that Solor was not in Fyaym at all, but in Syoom.  

It had remained free from discovery so long because it was a  realm possessed of the power to curve space around it.  On a much smaller scale this space-distorting power had been known for ages, as a defensive weapon that was very expensive to use.  No one had ever previously heard of a whole region of Syoom being rendered incognito by such a device.

The few who succeeded in their quest for Solor possessed either exceptional qualities or exceptional luck, to get round the invisible barrier of curved space.  A time came, however, when Solor was throughly "bracketed" and about to be located, curved space or not.  An impatient generation of Syoomeans arose, no longer willing to respect the isolation of the magic realm.  An expedition was mounted to break the barrier.... and did so - to find Solor gone.

The anger and sorrow which followed brought in their train an eomasp.

>> The Cyborgs

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