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by Tala Bar

Chapter 3: Meetings

part 1 of 3

Nine people — five women and four men — aboard the starship Incentive flee a catastrophe on Earth and head for the colony planet Astria. Swept off course, the Incentive lands on a hot, desolate planet, which the travelers name Lunari. They realize they must change radically in order to survive, and to do that they will need all their ingenuity as well as guidance from others...

“What’s the matter, Zohr, what is wrong?” Nour’s question flashed through Zohr’s mind as a series of staccato dots in various shades of brown, expressing his depressive anxiety.

Zohr turned a pair of blue-green eyes toward her companion to reassure him, her mind sending a message in soft waves of mixed light blue and green. “Nothing’s wrong, Nour, you needn’t worry.”

The names of both persons were presented in their minds as a continuous, changing picture quite impossible to express in verbal form.

Nour’s gloomy violet eyes lay for a long moment on Zohr’s tall, slim figure. The silvery sheen of her metallic skin and the burning orange tuft on her head excited him as at their first meeting; it made his own golden metallic cover glow and his green-red hair stand on end. With all his heart he wanted to believe her reassurance, but it was very difficult, seeing that underneath the calming message her carpet of thought, usually perfectly woven, had been badly disturbed.

“If you are not worried, how do you explain this?” he transmitted, pointing a long finger at the structure they had been working on.

“What?” she asked, the blue-green waves fracturing into many distorted wavelets in deep mauve.

“Look at that form you’ve just made. It’s the most disharmonic shape you’ve ever created, completely ignoring the mathematical factors I’ve been giving you.”

Troubled, Zohr gazed at Nour’s tall, slim figure, very much like her own. She then turned her eyes toward her handiwork. Evidently, she was not used to the idea of having created anything disharmonic.

One look, however, at the latest part of the complex of turrets, gables and arches she had been working on, immediately confirmed Nour’s criticism. The proportions were definitely wrong and the colors did not fit; whatever she had meant to be doing at the latest stage of the job, it certainly had nothing to do with what she had done before. She was sure she had never had in mind anything that looked like that! She was filled with strange, spiky shapes of doubt, and the deep mauve wavelets paled into the flat continuum of a sigh.

“You are right, Nour, I must have been miles away when I made this last set of gables. Actually, I have found it hard to concentrate lately.”

Sadly, she examined the tips of her fingers, where that erratic constructing energy had come from.

“But why?” Nour insisted.

“Let’s get down,” she said. “I need a rest.”

They got down from the scaffolding, standing on ground that had been smoothed for the purpose of this construction.

“A rest from what?” Nour asked. Zohr was not one to get tired easily.

“I’ve been having dreams,” she transmitted, her mind filling with slow, wide, sweeping waves in dampened tints.

“Dreams?” He did not understand. Everybody had dreams on Lunari; it was a highly visual place...

“But these are so strange and unusual, I can’t explain them. I may need to consult someone about them...”

Nour looked at her sadly. Zohr had always been such a sane person, so positive, so unlike his own wavering character...

“Whom would you consult?” he asked.

“I am not sure; maybe Oul, I suppose. I need a rest now, if you don’t mind...”

Nour, troubled, looked at Zohr as her gaze turned inward, when she concentrated on teleporting herself to a nearby rest house. He caught the avoidance in her mind and stayed behind, turning when she had disappeared to his favorite occupation at the computer terminal.

* * *

Like all buildings on Lunari, the local rest house was wide open, with no proper walls or rooms. The planet lacked any kind of atmosphere and, in consequence, any kind of atmospheric phenomena. It was positioned at the center of a balanced circle of three suns, its inhabitants well protected from radiation of heat or particles by their metallic skin.

Their fully telepathic ability also freed them from the need to be wary of each other, to shut themselves away from society. Buildings, thus, were used as landmarks denoting function, rather than for protection from any outside effect.

The rest house where Zohr landed had columns arranged in a soothing, orderly scheme; it had been created in an even, quiet design colored with soft, pastel tints of blue, green and rose. A rest couch was attached to each column to denote privacy, though privacy was a rare commodity on Lunari.

Daylight being a perpetual condition, sleeping time depended on an individual rather than a general time-table; for that purpose, rest-houses were provided for the inhabitants, spread all over the planet.

In spite of her lightweight body, Zohr dropped heavily on to the nearest couch, her heavy thoughts weighing down her body. From a couch attached to a nearby column, a stream of inquiring yellow dots appeared in her mind: “What is it, Zohr? Your disturbed pattern is so loud, it’s managed to penetrate my sleep-screen.”

“I’m sorry, Kwl, I’ll be more discreet,” Zohr answered. She knew the woman without looking at her, by her own personal arrangement of colors and forms.

Turning on her own sleep-screen, Zohr hesitantly arranged her psyche for sleep; she was full of apprehension of the recurrence of those dreams that had disturbed her spirit so much. Zohr had no way of closing her lidless eyes; all she could do was use her mental power for shutting her mind to the world.

The sleep-screen did not operate as a perfect shield, because hiding thoughts was utterly forbidden on Lunari. Rather, the screen’s function was to quiet thoughts down, a notice to other people that this person was asleep and not to be disturbed.

* * *

To distract her mind from her recent agitating experience, Zohr turned it toward the more pleasant, more stable parts of her life. She had always wanted to be an artist: she studied all the classics and worked hard to emulate their creations.

Art on Lunari was mainly expressed in architecture, and building structural models was the basic way of learning. As she advanced in her studies, Zohr found her own way of expression, getting away from tradition and onto a road of her own. She was sometimes criticized for being too emotional, too individualistic in her work, but after some struggle it was approved by the High Council, and her present creation was her third independent work ordered by it.

The other good side of her life was Nour. She had met him some time ago and was immediately attracted to his golden appearance and his deep-thinking mind. Even before they mated for the first time, Zohr had invited him to do the mathematical calculations for her present task.

Recalling their first soul mating was always a happy time for Zohr. Though he seemed rather reserved, it was Nour who had invited her to a meeting at the mating-house, showing her that his interest in her was no less strong than hers in him.

Having a metallic skin and lacking all outside sexual markings, the only way Lunari people could touch each other was through the contact of their eyes and their minds. Unlike the rest house, the mating-house was built in a very flowery, convoluting style, decorated with the liveliest colors possible.

Mating-chairs were positioned facing each other between columns, allowing for more than two people to join in the mating; on that occasion, though, Zohr and Nour preferred for their first soul-mating to be on their own.

Reclining comfortably in her rest couch, Zohr brought purposefully to her mind the picture of her first soul mating with Nour. Sitting on the chairs facing each other, the two gazed at each other for a while, absorbing each other’s external and internal appearances; they interchanged searching thoughts, getting to know each other better.

Zohr, then, raised her hand, palm turning toward Nour, at the same time sending him a long wave of caressing rose; his mind was filled with glowing, excited pink and he raised his own hand, palm facing Zohr’s, thus enhancing the mutual flow of energy between them.

Minds touching, the pink and rose waves met, flaming in unison into bright red. The two mental signals interlocked, entwining into a double spiral, which doubled around itself. Fine tendrils sprouted out of the spiral, intertwining until both their minds formed a thick mesh of burning crimson fibers.

The lovers sat motionless, palms raised, their metallic skin blazing with a blinding light. The red complex in their minds burned orange, yellow, reaching white... and then exploded into a riot of colors.

A flood of illumination infused their bodies, subsiding gradually... The brilliant white softened into yellow, then orange, at last turning back into pink and rose. Reluctantly, the signals separated; still caressing each other, each mind recovered its own individuality.

Zohr sighed in yearning. She loved Nour far beyond their exciting soul mating. Together, they had also reached a perfect working standard as a team, easily reading and understanding each other’s thoughts. She could utterly rely on his mathematical genius when materializing her complex architectural ideas.

Her recent dreams, however, had interfered with the perfect equanimity she seemed to have arrived at, leading her into ways of thinking which had nothing to do with Nour, or with anything that had existed on Lunari. At least, so she thought.

She sighed again. Luckily, the memory of their first soul mating left her spent and exhausted, as if she had been experiencing it all over again. Her depleted mind relaxed, she at last was able to fall into a badly needed sleep.

* * *

Zohr woke up in a panic. “Take it off, take this cover away, I can’t see anything!” she cried, confused and frightened. Her mind had filled with something so terrible and mysterious she did not even have a name for it: a total lack of light!

Flashes of confusion burst in from outside her own mind and intermingled with it. Only with a great effort did Zohr manage to understand their meaning.

“What is this?” the other mind cried. “Who are you? What are you doing inside my head?”

“What’ve you done with the light? Where’s it gone?” Zohr answered with a question.

“I’ve been asleep. I need darkness to sleep! Why did you wake me up? Who are you?”

“Darkness! What is darkness? Where is the light? I can’t exist without light!”

“All right, all right, I’ll put it on!” Suddenly there was light, an even white glow, completely alien to Zohr’s colorful world. Through the other person’s eyes she saw a closed-in place. She had never seen a closed-in place, certainly never knew what it felt like to be ‘inside’ anywhere. A strong sense of claustrophobia flooded her; she felt suffocated, not even knowing the meaning of the experience. She did not even have a word for ‘wall’!

“What is this horrible place? Where are you?” she managed to transmit.

“I’m on the spaceship, where else can I be? Who Are You?” the question shouted in Zohr’s mind.

“I am Zohr. I am in the rest house. I have been asleep and you — whoever you are, you certainly don’t belong on my world — invaded my dream. At least, I thought I’d been dreaming, but I’m wide awake now...” She was feeling better now, realizing it was not really a dream and she was not going out of her mind.

“I am Mira,” the other one said in Zohr’s mind, “and I don’t know what your world is. I think I need help in this, I have so little experience in telepathy.”

The person’s eyes, as she turned to wake up another person, hit on a mirror, and Zohr could see its face plainly. It was strangely both similar to and different from Lunari’s people. It felt much softer; its body, lacking the shining metallic skin, seemed to be covered with a flimsy, transparent material, which, apparently, was detachable. The creature’s hair was very dark in Lunari terms, and curly! And its eyes were of a very clear turquoise color, both astonishingly monochromatic! The person felt itself to be female, and human, but she did not look like any human Zohr had ever seen...

Then, suddenly, the vision was shut off from her mind. Wide-awake and trembling, Zohr sat up, confused, on the rest couch. Zohr was much more coherent now, but the experience was even more confusing than before. Falling into deep meditation, Zohr thought that consulting with Oul as soon as possible was very much indicated.

* * *

To be continued...

Copyright © 2009 by Tala Bar

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