The Era of Psi

 

Continued from The Cyborgs

Consequences of the reign of Hevad Notoxt

Hevad Notoxt 69546 began her reign with great advantages.  The eomasp which attended her victory over the Cyborgs had propelled the world into a new era, an era which, with her special talents, she had helpted to define. 

Two of her actions continued to shape it.

Firstly, she soon added to her fame and prestige by discovering that Solor had not disappeared permanently after all; it was still accessible to a few if the mysterious Intelligence that guarded it was approached in a correctly humble manner.  The Sunnoad discovered that, in the past, attention had been deflected from Solor not only by a space-distorter but also by psi powers latent in that land - powers which, to a small extent, had been released into Syoom every time someone did succeed in finding Solor.  Those powers were now leaking out at a much faster rate; the Cyborgs' harmful expedition must have punctured some mental reservoir.  Indeed the Thallium Era (era 81; 19,278,102 days, or 785 Uranian years, equivalent to 65,975 Earth years) became known as the Era of Psis.

Secondly, and more controversially, she initiated an inquiry into Ghepion support for the Cyborgs.  The Ghepions were widely distrusted by now; it is certain that some of them were implicated in the development of the Cyborgs, though this does not mean they were party to the Cyborgs' plot.  Anyhow, seeds of further suspicion were sown as leading Ghepions - those that were mobile in form - were pulled in for questioning.

It would be a mistake to regard the Thallium Era as one of unrelieved bigotry and persecution of Ghepions by humans.  A certain tradition of tolerance never quite died out, thanks to the forbearance and understanding shown by certain individuals.  But many of the Ghepions do seem to have accepted the evil role attributed to them, saying, in effect, "very well, we are reputed to be the enemies of mankind; so shall we be."  Some of them became monsters, whose downfall we can cheer as we read of the exploits of Thallium Era psi agents.

Quite apart from the Nenn-Ghepion problem, a lot of good and harm was done during era 81 by the powers of psi.  Discoveries were made, the implications of which still have to be worked out; it is likely that the experiences of the Thallium Era will prove to be an essential part of the collective memory of mankind, maybe not only Uranian but also Terrestrial mankind.

Solor fades from history

We can only guess, but having sifted through many accounts, we prefer the following explanation as to why quests for the Numinous Land have virtually ceased ever since the early days of the Thallium Era:

Most of its psi powers had leaked away into Syoom, and its space-distorting defence had been damaged.  It had to come up with a new way of concealing itself.  The method it found was more effective than either of the others.  It was - disbelief.

You might believe in Solor and think about going to look for it, but if you actually set out, your opinion would change.  The remaining trickle of psi which the Intelligence can still wield, would be used to erase your belief  and you would abandon the search.

Perhaps if a sufficiently large number of questers decided to set out simultaneously, they might overwhelm this defence.  But one's search for Solor is a personal thing.  It does not lend itself to organized action, and the one occasion on which it did, does not furnish a good precedent.

The crisis of psi

 The last 3,000,000 or so days of the Thallium Era were days of darkening fortune for Syoom, redeemed, as ever, by acts of statesmanship and heroism - the outstanding imagination and integrity of a few. 

Trouble came from various quarters.  Some psis tried with more success than before to use their talents to exploit the mass of humanity.  Danger also grew from Fyayman powers who took the opportunities inherent in a disturbed age to meddle in the affairs of Syoom.  Shelves of books could be written (and have been) about the complex adventures of this period.

The most frightening development was an invention of Fyayman origin whereby one's psi talent could be turned into a "fifth column" by an enemy, and used against oneself in monstrous nightmare ways.

Reluctantly, the authorities of Syoom - most of the leading men and women being themselves psis - inched towards the conclusion that the only way out of this mess was to abandon (somehow) psi itself.  They could not bear to sacrifice their talent by means of some kind of mental amputation, but could there not be some other way, some way to disburden themselves of it without wasting it; perhaps sublimate it into something else?

A psi-sensitive, Capfaym Duuv, was chosen to attempt the awesome feat of communing with the world-spirit.

For this almost god-like planetary intelligenge - unheard since the Rhenium Moment - was, after much debate, seen as the only possible recourse in a matter so grave and deep-rooted in human nature.

How it was done, and at what cost, we will not go into here.  Suffice it to say that Capfaym Duuv somehow succeeded in obtaining the advice of the Intelligence.

The instruction was: "Drain your powers into the race-sink; funnel them into the collective id."  Whatever this meant, it sounded like something better than pure loss.  The problem was in summoning up the courage to do it.  Capfaym Duuv urged the leaders of Syoom to set an example, to put themselves into the trance-state in which he was empowered to do to them what was necessary.  But most of them hesitated.

The Draining

Capfaym Duuv went ahead with those few who would co-operate, and on the evening of 19,278,102 Tl, when some of these people came out of their trances, they performed an action which tipped the scales.  

Previously these people had vehemently denied involvement in a recent and nasty persecution of Ghepions.  Now, shorn of their psi powers, they confessed.  The Sunnoad, who was present, and other notables of Syoom were shocked and impressed by the evidence that psi talents could sometimes work against truth while the lack of them could promote it.

Events accelerated.  The Sunnoad himself ordered Capfaym to give him the anti-psi treatment.  The news spread out of control.  Before midnight it had been relayed across Syoom and touched a chord in many so many hearts that an eomasp occurred, accompanying the de-psi treatment of most of the remaining government psis, and the draining of their powers into some mysterious race-sink which, the world spirit had assured Capfaym, meant they were not wasted but transformed into something else.

The Drainage took on a momentum of its own; Capfaym's efforts were no longer necessary.  Psis all over the world found their abilities tugged at as if they were being sucked into a whirlpool.  In forty minutes it was all over.

Those forty minutes were era 82, the Lead Era.

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