Enken was one of the very new game leaders of the Shedrup Ling University in the Antüs valley, somewhere in the Draminyan mountains, in the north of the dumrian continent Ashür. (It is to be noted that, the respiratory tracts of the Dumrians being different of the ones of the Humans, the Dumrian languages were not featuring nasalized sounds like the Latin «on», «en», «in». For this reason, the names are pronounced in the English way: enken, aantüs (French u), draameenyaan, and so on.)
As to the indication «at the north», given the extremes seasons on Dumria, it was at best the 30th parallel. Closer to the poles, the temperature range was such that very few were inhabiting permanently; but many migrants were sojourning here, when the weather was good. The polar regions if Dumria were scorching hot and wet in summer, with a continuous day and forty degrees temperatures, while winter was the reign of ice and darkness, with the thermometer plummeting at minus eighty or worse. On the other hand, the short spring was very pleasant, and autumn was making a second spring. In a general way, only fast growing semi-yearly plants could survive in such conditions. This made that in spring and autumn, these places were covered with flowers and intensive cultivations, plants of only some centimetres high, but able of yielding an harvest in four weeks. So these regions were still having some lovers, living outdoors when the weather was fair, or taking refuge into underground cities when it was too hot or too cold.
It was the scientists of the Earth Shedrup Ling University in Lhassa who were the first to officially contact Dumria. But it was not for this reason that the Dumrians scientists chose them to represent the Earth science on Dumria. The reason was that Shedrup Ling had developed a scientific method, The General Epistemology, which allowed to understand the phenomena of the mind as rationally as with physical phenomena, even if it was not with the same mathematical precision. Other public or private universities were also inspired by this General Epistemology, which made them also invited on Dumria. The traditional materialistic Earth science, the one of the 19th and 20th centuries, was of low interest to the Dumrians, for the simple reason that they already knew it for more than 2000 years. Rather, it was them who had to teach the Earth in this field.
On Earth, Shedrup Ling had its headquarters in Lhassa, Tibet, and several educational or research centres in the major countries of the world, Europe, USA, Brazil, India, China, Japan... so it just happened naturally that it also opened several centres on Dumria, like the one of Antüs. Understandably, as the teaching were only made remotely, through the interstellar Hypernet, Shedrup Ling Earth was only concerned with the education itself, while the material organization of the Dumrian centres was left to the sole initiative of their students. However the first generation of students was already preparing to become teacher in turn, so the Dumrian section of Shedrup Ling was moving toward its autonomy.
The dumrians who were really involved in the relations with Earth were only some thousands, and most had the second brain version, more open. The other dumrians were just looking at this play, or commenting it. However the ones really involved were mostly doing it full time: it was their game. They were the «humanologists», sociologists and psychologists who took the charge of studying the complex and disconcerting world of the Earthlings.
So Enken was playing at organizing the teaching of Earth science, including the amazing knowledge of the General Epistemology. But his secret hobby was more precisely the study of psychophysical phenomena. Without any religion, the Dumrian science had evolved in the same way than on Earth: only on the material realm. However, unlike Earth science, it was not from the refusal of the spiritual realm, but only out of ignorance. Thus Enken was part of a group of pioneers who were exploring the entirely new interactions of consciousness and matter, the only interactions allowing access to the Great Leap, what the Earthlings were calling the «spiritual transition» (See «The Missing Planets»), which would one day take Dumria in its entirety into an «elsewhere» paradise. Even if Enken and his friends had had centuries to get used to the idea of the leap, to at last explore this area was a really exciting adventure for them, much more interesting than any other game on Dumria.
Enken had installed his Shedrup Ling Centre in an old abandoned palace, which contained a large elliptical amphitheatre and many small rooms, allowing for more than five thousand people to study in the same time. This building, at the top of a wooded hill, had its main body shaped in an oval dome, of a pastel purple-blue colour, and several irregularly arranged minarets. A row of large windows was almost surrounding it, and several rows of smaller windows were partly surrounding it. The top of the dome was smooth and bare, while on the lower walls, pinnacles and buttresses were arranged into hanging gardens. So there was a smooth transition from the building to the surrounding rocks and trees, as if it was the natural top of the hill. The inner rooms were all semi-circular or elliptical, leaving between them numerous empty spaces used to establish an incredibly complicated system of stairways and secret passages, which were extending far underground. In some of these caves, one could still find many strange antic machines, dating from the time where the palace had been used for games of physics. The largest was one of the earliest dumrian synchrotron, twelve metres in diameter. It was completely rusted, and its windings, insulated with a vegetable varnish, were rotten for long, filling the room with a strong smell of resin and mouldy, but its three thousand years made of it a venerated relic. So many visitors were exploring the wet underground maze just to see it.
This building was almost four thousands years old, but its construction in cyclopean granite blocks still ensured it a bright future, provided that the outer mortar was remade about every hundred years. The joints between the blocks were arranged in grooves, into which bronze was cast. So the giant blocks were irretrievably keyed together, enclosed in a massive grid of metal. The joints were protected by a bitumen caulking, and covered with a dyed lime mortar. When Enken and his team had taken it, it was however abandoned for three hundred years, following a volcanic eruption in the neighbourhood, which had moved an underground fault and endangered the main central vault. Only such a geological cataclysm had been able to overcome this incredible structure. But modern methods had helped to redress the situation, replace the cracked blocks, and weld the bronze frame again in place. The rest of the building had not suffered from three centuries of moisture, except at the feet of some buttresses where tree roots had broken the seals and moved the blocks.
This building technique was dating back to the time the Dumrians discovered steam engines. They had fun to build gigantic cranes, sometimes hundred metres long, with huge spider legs, which allowed them to walk on nearby every ground without damaging plants or cultivations, while lifting the heaviest stones on the top of the highest towers. Some freestone buildings, even more ancient, could still be found here and there, but all these techniques were since replaced by a kind or reinforced concrete, not made from cement, but from tar, purified in a way to appear of a light colour. Adding dye and chosen gravel allowed to get the desired colour, with a great freedom, allowing the most varied shadings or monochrome. The reinforcing was, depending on epoch, winged bronze rods, then bronze plated steel, then stainless steel. This material had several advantages over Earth reinforced concrete: it could not crack, even with temperature strains, thanks to a remainder of plasticity of the tar. Contrarily to our concrete, it was rather a thermal insulator, while keeping a large thermal inertia. It could be molded like concrete, but it could also be mounted and shaped by hand like clay, and this was giving a large freedom for rounded shapes. So the Dumrian builder could launch the boldest structures, as much as to polish up the cutest little houses. However the later were most often made of wood, quite simply. Dumrian genetic science was able to produce well coloured wood species, from varied natural species. Many houses were like violins, all in inlaid work, and wood sculptor was on Dumria one of the most common manual activity after farming. Another very popular material on Dumria was aerated concrete. But in place of square shapes in factory, it was produced and molded on the spot, with ready made mixtures, died in the whole mass. Prefabricated blocks were also mass produced, for bathrooms, doors, or statues. Aerated clay was also much used, produced on the spot with a pyrotechnic mixture and stainless steel molds. In volcanic regions, builders having some nerve were using molten lava, gathered and molded! It was a complicated business, as they had to avoid the stone to break while cooling. For this the molds were placed into sand, and often weeks were required before removing the molds.
These buildings were very massive and sturdy, to withstand the terrible Dumrian storms, and the fairly frequent earthquakes in the Draminyan Mountains region. But they were also nicely designed up to the details. For instance, the windows of Shedrup Ling, pierced through two meters thick walls, were widely chamfered, in order to allow as much light and view as through a thin wall. Thus, the pillars between two neighbouring windows had a triangular or diamond section. Protected from the weather by the overhang, the wooden window frames could withstand centuries. This building was not originally intended for electric lighting, but a network of little chimneys had been built at that time to avoid the smell of petrol lamps. It was enough to lay the cables through there, and they naturally arrived in the right places for the lamps. The switches were still operated by the same ornate brass chains which were formerly used to control the petrol lamps. After three centuries without care, many details had to be repaired, so Enken and his team had yet set only some rooms they needed to work and live. New students arriving just had to arrange the classrooms, what they did happily, so that they could start work as soon as possible.
An amazing thing for an Earthling was than Enken, although the «director» of the university, had attended the very first basic courses, online, as the novice he was. One could also see him cooking or sweeping as an ordinary student. The Earth notion of social position had definitively no existence on Dumria, and it still happened sometimes that the Dumrian humanologists make mistakes about the social position of their Earth counterparts, for example by placing a great restaurant chef at the same level at a primary school cook. Fortunately the victims of these confusions had no reason to complain, as the Dumrians never showed them the contempt that idiots show to those that they consider of a lower social position than theirs.
From the window of his office, Enken was contemplating the superb scenery of the Antüs valley. Its flat bottom was entirely cultivated, alternating circular fields, vegetable gardens, orchards with randomly set trees, coloured glass greenhouses shaped in domes or eggs, bowery covered with vegetables or flowers. The only large building was the subway station, along the running stream which had been set into several pools. The lovers of plants (the farmers) were living around this magnificent garden, at the bottom of the first slopes, into small cottages, lovely coloured jewels surrounded with flowers, nested between trees. There were few meadows on Dumria, as the Dumrians, totally vegan, nearby never practicized husbandry, just being happy with riding kind of horses or adopting various pets. This absence of any power relation or exploitation with animals had much to do with their innate pacifism.
Near Shedrup Ling, a small volcanic cone, the one which formed three hundred years earlier, still had a pink top, while the bottom was covered with soft green grass. Perched on the first forested hills, stood several palaces like the one of Shedrup Ling, but not so large. One of them was housing the «Humanology» centre of Ezran, that we discovered previously in chapter 7. Higher were steep slopes covered with majestic forests, in beautiful shades of dark or deep green, up to the brown rocks near the summit, beyond which several snowy peaks could be seen. Two thousand metres below one of these mountains, was living one of the oldest quantum telescopes of Dumria, one of those which had recorded images of antic Rome or India in Ashoka's time. This pleasant region of the Draminyan Mountains, cut with large tectonic valleys, was rich in science and astronomy laboratories, and a very beautiful country populated with artists and poets, flowered almost all year round and embellished with an incredible number of statues and painted rocks. The winter was rather cold, with several weeks of snow per year, but this was still acceptable, after the dumrian criteria. All the Dumrian buildings, from the wildest to the most utilitarian, were designed to fit harmoniously into the landscape, so that, either the weather was sunny or rainy, the valley of Antüs was vibrating with a great harmony, sometimes calling the chords of the great organ, sometimes the joy of flutes and birds.
Enken, leaning out of his window, was thoroughly filling himself with the beautiful energy distilled by this magnificent scenery, pure as if it was still untouched. The contemplation of beauty is what allowed the Dumrians to live and be happy, despite the lack of spiritual perspective in their lives, despite their longevity (Enken was a «youngster», «only» 1200 years old) even despite the terrifying perspective of nothingness after death. Well, of course, now that they knew that there is «something else» after death, they were feeling better, and a pleasant wave of mischievous optimism had swept all over Dumria since the first serious contact with Earth. This attention, this intense application of the Dumrians to admire the beauty, to enjoy it, to smell the perfume of flowers, to lengthily enjoy the warmth of the air, was in facts making of them much more spiritual persons, and much more incarnated, than many Earthlings who were calling themselves «believers», but who were cut off from nature and lost in their fantasies of the stock exchange. They were like some Taoist who use to cultivate beauty and harmony, and they were very interested in the «Celestine Insights» by James Redfield.
But what was interesting Enken above all, was the possibility of a direct action of consciousness on matter, a mysterious process, yet essential to life: without it, how could our choices of free will become manifest into concrete actions? Fortunately, the dumrian biologists who had remodelled the dumrian genetic system and the dumrian brain, to create these new immortal bodies, had the humility to recognize that they did not really understood how this brain works. They certainly knew all the details of its wiring and the exact characteristics of each type of neuron, they learned how senses and reflexes were working, but in these times, they were still unable to understand how all this could give consciousness, intentions and happiness. So they just kept copying, with some improvement, what was already existing naturally. Fortunately, as otherwise the new dumrian bodies and minds would have been only programmed biological robots, totally unable of free will and consciousness. What was not completely avoided anyway, and this was really the main problem of Dumria at the time of the contact with Earth.
The question was extremely intriguing for Enken: how an immaterial consciousness could influence a necessarily material brain? He read all what he could find on the Earth Internet about this, only to find that the Earthlings no more knew any answer. The only theory which could stand, was the one taught since the beginning in Shedrup Ling, but it was only envisioning the possibility of such an interaction, without explaining it, without even telling any accurate condition for it to take place. At most, it recognized that this interaction happened in a diffuse way into daily life, and in a strong way in the occasion of «psychophysical episodes»© such as OBE or NDE, of which none could explain the appearance. This was the reason why Enken went interested into Shedrup Ling, it was his secret pet topic, which he shared with only few friends: this mysterious action of consciousness over matter.
Enken and his main wife Elaminaroa had, like the Earthlings, witnessed the strange failure of the Hypernet communication beams. However the dumrian playgroups were, at that time, all busy with other games: they became aware of this problem only three days later! When they returned to the game of the interstellar Hypernet link, they found a stack of messages waiting. First, the error messages from the computers in charge of overseeing the beams. Then posts of Earth technicians asking them what had happened. And finally official letters of the Directors of the telecom companies and UN, asking to «our dear friends technical players» of Dumria to say nothing about the incident, which was classified secret hyper all over Earth! Enken and his friends did not liked at all these kinds of concealment, but, like all the other humanologists, they quickly learned that meddling into the affairs of Earthlings generally produced much more noise and disputes than useful results.
Finally came the coded messages, through the intranet of Shedrup Ling. Enken could get more explanations on behalf of the team of Rolf Gensher. He would have readily concluded that this was a business for Earthlings only, but there was this strange message received during the outage, which clearly indicated, besides Rolf Gensher's name, his own name, Enken, and his preferred wife Elaminaroa, and some others, precisely those who were interested in the interaction of consciousness and matter!
Enken and Elaminaroa were much loving each other, and they were also fond of making love together, more than with anyone else. For this reason they decided to live together all the time. The Dumrians see this as a marriage, albeit completely informal to the eyes of an Earth administration, without any contract. But for the Dumrians it is still a very serious matter, because it engages their deep happiness, and for them this commitment is much more important than any paper. Enken was tall, quiet and contemplative, with pink skin and orange scales. He wore a tight long robe on his slim body, floating to the sleeves and legs, in shades of pink and orange. Elaminaroa was an adorable mischievous little woman, who refused to grow up to full adult size. Her skin had the pale blue hue of the natives of the Draminyan, with black scales on her head, and she usually dressed rather discreetly in plain purple. Enken was a great traveller, curious about everything, while Elaminaroa always lived in a small farm near Shedrup ling, at the foot of the small volcano, which eruption marked her childhood.
Elaminaroa was what the Dumrians call a «flower lover», a farmer, a gardener, who was tirelessly rewriting every year the great poem of earth and flowers. On Dumria, the word «farm» refers to a very different reality of what it evokes to Earthling's ears. No animals ruminating sadly, no mud, no stinking manure, no iron sheets hangars, but lovely cottages, flowers and greenery. The inhabitants never were these ignorant and materialist bumpkins we still find sometimes on Earth, but the elite of the poets of Dumria, devoted to all kind of intellectual or artistic activities. They were studying all the Dumrian science and philosophy, as soon as the sunset would not allow them to work outdoors. As the Dumrians are exclusively vegan, the Dumrian farms were devoted only to the cultivation of vegetables and fruits, which are the basis of the Dumrian diet. There were no real equivalents to the cereals, but vegetables with high protein content, much more nutritive than wheat or rice. So there were no great open fields, but many gardens and orchards with an incredibly high yield. Often were found large greenhouses, which had to be solid to withstand tempests and snow. So they were made or iron work, looking like stained glasses, enhanced with coloured windows. Were also cultivated large fields of annual plants looking like reed, often three metres high, forming dark green bushes mostly impenetrable. Green, these plants were excellent fertilizer; dried they could provide with paper or cardboard, and even firewood, with enough efficiency so that simple peasants had no need of complex thermochemical solar factories. So the later were used only where they were indispensable, to yield gasoline for vehicles. (Note of the author: this was written several years before the miscanthus was proposed for biofuels, on Earth)
Into the past, Dumrian farmers put at work the tops, kind of Dumrian horses. The communication with them was very easy. The modern Dumria certainly built tractors and a number of farming machine, but silent and of small size, adapted to landscapes of small fields and narrow ways sneaking between hedges, or under flowered bowery. These machines, richly decorated with merry colours and painted flowers, were the property of everybody, into kind of informal cooperatives, and all the users took a great care of them. Such a discreet mechanisation, well integrated to nature, did not really changed things since the time of the tops, and it was not rare to see some of them, merrily harnessed to a cart, in such an extend that the Dumrians were fond of nature and appropriable technologies, rather than heavy technology.
Elaminaroa's house had been partly covered by the small lava flow of the volcano, but, tough as a Dumrian house can be, it well supported this dreadful treatment. Simply, the inhabitants had cleansed the front wall, to make of it a semi-troglodytic dwelling, covered with dense flowered bushes. Elaminaroa's childhood bedroom, in the rear side, had its window filled with a large lava cauliflower, purplish with bubbles, curiously pointing its head into the room. Furniture, fabrics and wooden parts had been carbonized without flames, as in a charcoal oven, but the thick stone walls were still standing fast. So this room was remained fairly recognizable, but completely blackened, its soil covered with a fragile flurry of carbonized fabric. Elaminaroa had to find another room to live in, but she kept this place as it, with the strange rocky head looking at her, and all her childhood memories reduced to black skeletons.
The love of Enken and Elaminaroa did not arose from some physical attraction, but from a strange adventure which happened to them about one hundred years ago. Enken and Elaminaroa did no knew each other at that time, but they both had this strange «mental disease» which stroke some Dumrians, which brain was modified by complex genetic engineering. They both had the second brain version, but this version was still more sensitive than the first to the unexplainable «disease». The «sick people» were often doing strange dreams, of an astounding realism, where they visited closed places, and encountered other characters, who undertook tests on them, or odd sexual rituals. Sometimes those dreams took them in full day, as far as constraining them to abandon the ongoing game. One day, Enken went to play exobiology into the Antüs valley... and, to his uttermost astonishment, he found himself right in front of a half troglodyte house he often saw in his strange dreams, just under the easily recognizable small pink volcano. He entered, in the Dumrian way, without knocking at the door (which is perfectly admitted on Dumria, if one has a worthy motive to do so, such as following a dream). He went to the black chamber with the lava head, that he recognized, and he found here Elaminaroa, who also recognized him! Both of them already encountered numerous times in dream, before finding each other in the physical world, and this strange adventure had created a strong link between them. So it is following this that they naturally became lovers.
Even the best dumrian doctors could not explain what had happened. They were not the first to whom this happened, and there were still more extraordinary cases with extrasensory perception or premonitions. But the materialistic science of the Dumrians was totally unable to explain these phenomena, that it was only observing, classifying and archiving. Dumrian scientists were expecting much from the contact with other worlds, especially from Earth, where they observed rare and very strange phenomena, especially in retreat centres in the highest mountain range.
All this seemed prettily crazy, but with the General Epistemology, the Dumrians finally realized that the consciousness can exist outside of its usual material support, the brain. It could experience there all kinds of visions and sensations. And one keeps the memory of such episodes, especially of extrasensory perceptions (Almost all readers will remember having at least once or two premonitory dreams, such as seeing strangers, and meeting them the next day). If this can happen, it is because this immaterial consciousness really has the power to act on ordinary matter. It can act on the matter of memory circuits of the brain, as could be expected, but, why to stop on the way, on any other matter outside of the brain. The «Mental illness» of Enken and Elaminaroa never was a disease, but rather an extraordinary opportunity to explore other modes of existence than the ordinary material life.
All this was so new, that they were only discovering this spiritual science of Shedrup Ling, without yet enjoying its fruits. But they were more and more feeling than before the «Great Leap» of the whole planet, they would be able to perform many individual «small leaps», in order to perform some personal reconnaissance. This would not be without surprises, too, as the incorporeal world is a world of dreams and symbols, which can definitively not be controlled the same way as the material world. To begin, Enken had often seen Elaminaroa's house in dream, but deformed, or with added elements which were not existing materially. So his initially clear and accurate perception was getting muddled.
Enken and Elaminaroa sat to their desk, each one with his computer, in order to check the mail of the day. There was the report of this Shedrup Ling meeting in Palomas, about the mysterious blackout of the interstellar communication. They already knew personally Rolf Gensher, but none of the other attendees. Their comments burst with the quasi-telepathic speed of clever people who understand what the other thinks even before hearing him:
«Well, a whole team of engineers.
-A company, a game group in the Earth way.
-Bah, they don't play much, these ones.
-Hey yes they do, they sent us all these plans of robots to test on the hide of the other Earthlings.
-Ah, them. But which relation with Shedrup Ling?
-Yes, it is where they learned to play science.
-Hey, Miminoa, there was the Lama, Sangye Tchögyal.
-Yes, one of the team who discovered Dumria.
-Sangye Tchögyal did FAE. Psychophysical episodes under control.
-Oh, is this true?
-Yes, several. It is like this that he broke the anti-suicide conspiracy (See «Dumria») with allowing one of its chiefs to become good.
-His wife, who heard nothing.
-I thought the Lamas were all chaste?
-Ooooh nooo, be reassured, not all.» (The Earthlings had to learn, much later after this story, that the Dumrians were first deeply shocked by the idea of chastity, that they felt as of a serious perversion, an abomination, in the same way paedophilia was felt on Earth in the end of the 20th Century).
«She remained in Mahamudra all the time. Me, my record is four seconds.
-Ha, how I wish to do like her.
-There also was a scientist, of the United States. Oh but he is Steve Jason.
-Him, he is the one who discovered us.
-And his wife was here too, but... Oh, she already did the Great Leap.
-Primitive Method, but very efficient when well controlled.
-Apparently it was well controlled: she is now in a psychical paradise.
-Wouaow super place. We need to use it as inspiration for the future psychical Dumria.
-Steve Jason, he is the one who got the most coherent theory about what happened.
-Yes, a texture of space, as in cosmology, but created by a psychophysical phenomenon, and which circumscribes it into the normal space.
-And which modifies the properties of space at this place.
-There was one odd over billions of billions it precisely passes through the Hypernet beam.
-A psychophysical phenomenon which sends computer messages?
-Phiewww, it is prettily organized, for a phenomenon.
-With my opinion, it is not a phenomenon, it is somebody.
-We just need to know who.
-who is wandering in a texture at fifty times the speed of light.
-Who is interested in robot builders.
-And to the more competent persons on psychophysics, in the whole Dumria.
-Us, Yeyeyeyeyeyeeeess! (Noise of fists beating a chest)
-I think we shall soon know what game he is playing.
-At this speed, the texture will be close to Earth in seven days.
-So this is the deadline he is allowing us. Because nothing forces him to go precisely at this speed.
-And us, why did he contacted us?
-Not robots stories, this is a game we never play at.
-Eh, because we had experiences of this sort?
-Probably. But then remains the question: What is the relation between psychophysics and robots?»
Enken and Elaminaroa looked at each other gravely, absorbed into their reflection. Then they... jumped together on the bed, which is, on Dumria, an office furniture, as well as the computer of the pencil box.
Then, once their love desire quenched, they both sat at their window to contemplate the magnificent landscape of the Antüs Valley, while thoroughly enjoying this vibration of peace and harmony, that Elaminaroa enriched with a sweet and melodious song. Even their thirst of uncovering the mysteries of psychophysics was unable to move them from the contemplation of poetry.
Scenario, graphics, sounds, colours, realization: Richard Trigaux (Unless indicated otherwise).
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