Canto 149 – Hassan Parker’s Dilemma
Ged had gathered his best telepaths in the room within the Ancient Dragon Starship that was now designated the “Library.” The large volume of The Book of Shan’s Prophecy, the one that belonged to Naylund Smith, had been moved into the center of the room and been given to Billy Iowa to oversee studying it with clairvoyance and telepathy. The sinister Ancient device called the Tesserah also sat in the library, bubbling and percolating in evil greens and purples like a slowly-building pressure-cooker bomb. Ged meant to also study it with clairvoyance and telepathy, hoping to develop some kind of control over the doomsday device’s malevolence.
“Now, who among you do we generally agree is the most powerful telepath?” Ged asked.
Billy looked at Sara. Sara looked at Hassan. Hassan looked at Junior. Junior looked back at Sara. Nobody looked at Gyro. And Phoenix refused to look up from the floor.
“Any of us can interact with the book,” said Billy finally.
“You know that we are not really talking about the book,” said Ged. “That… thing… that is what we need to safely probe and understand better. We know it is telepathic. We also know it is both evil and extremely dangerous.”
“Junior is the one that can talk to artificial minds with artificial intelligence.” Billy looked at Junior apologetically after saying it.
“It defends itself against me too powerfully,” said Junior. “I can’t get past the wall of pain. It thinks in color, mostly green and black. But that’s all I can tell you so far.”
“I tried to probe it, and it started telling me how it was going to take over my mind and make me kill others, especially those I love,” said Sara, shaking her head.
“Gyro was able to help me get past the wall of pain by manipulating the hydrogen atoms in the device,” confessed Phoenix. “But it immediately took hold of my pyro power. It would’ve used my fire force on everybody if Hassan hadn’t used his telepathy to yank me out of the Tesserah again. I suppose I owe him my life.”
“Hassan is the most powerful telepath among all of us,” said Billy.
“But what if the Tesserah takes over his mind? We would all be doomed,” said Phoenix.
“That’s my worry too,” confessed Hassan. “It’s looking for ways to defeat us and destroy us all.”
“My clairvoyance and Phoenix’s clairvoyance have both seen the Tesserah using Hassan to slay us all,” said Billy. “I can definitely handle the book. I can find the answers you need there. But I am no match for the thing.”
“Hard as it is for me to say this, I can’t handle the thing either. I don’t even think I should be near it when it is being studied.” Phoenix looked morosely at the floor again.
“I think we have to work together,” suggested Sara. “Alone none of us can defeat it. But Phoenix and Gyro together were able to briefly get in using combined powers the thing wasn’t prepared for.”
“I’m pretty sure I can be of help to whoever leads the effort,” said Junior. “But I’m not a potential leader of the effort either.”
Hassan looked squarely at the bubbling Tesserah and then turned his gaze towards Ged. “I think it has to be me that takes the lead. But I will definitely need Junior, Sara, and possibly Gyro to help. And anything Billy can find in the prophecy to help would be greatly appreciated.
Ged looked at the handsome, naked child standing there resolutely before him.
“Yes, Hassan. I haven’t read very far in the book and understood hardly any of it, but I believe you are the one the book says can defeat the monster of ultimate destruction… or whatever the damned thing really is.” Ged reached out and clapped the willfully nude boy on the shoulder and smiled at him. And he also felt the boy enter his mind to verify that he was not lying as he said it.