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.I find your decision expected.And as for your assumption of noi kame—no: kamethi have considerable initiative; they would be useless otherwise.""Would you have destroyed Kartos?"His angry question seemed for the first time to perplex the Orithain, whose gentle manner persisted."When we threaten, m'metane, we do so because of another's weakness, never of our own.It was highly likely that you would choose to come: elethia forbids you should refuse.If you would not, surely fear would compel them to bring you.Likewise it is certain that I would have destroyed Kartos had it refused.Any other basis for making the statement would have been highly unreasonable.""Was it you?" he asked."Why did you choose me?""Vaikka—a matter of honor.You are of birth such that your loss will be noticed among kallia: that has a certain incidental value.And I have use for such as you: world-born, but experienced of outer worlds."He hated her, hated her quiet voice and her evident delight in his misery."Well," he said, "you'll regret that particular choice."Her amethyst eyes darkened perceptibly.There was no longer a smile on her face."Kutikkase-metane," she said."At the moment you are no more than sentient raw material, and it is useless to attempt rational conversation with you."And with blinding swiftness the white light of the cell was about him again, yielding white plastic on all sides, narrow walls, white glare.He flinched and covered his eyes, and fell to his knees again in the loneliness of that cubicle.Then, not for the first time in the recent hour, he thought of self-destruction; but he had no convenient means, and he had still to fear her retaliation against Kartos.He slowly realized how ridiculous he had made himself with his threat against her, and was ashamed.His entire species was powerless against the likes of her, powerless because, like Kartos, like him, they would always find the alternative unthinkably costly.He came docilely enough when they brought him out into the laboratory, expecting that they would simply lock about his wrist the idoikkhe, such as they themselves wore—that ornate platinum band that observers long ago theorized provided the Orithain their means of control over the noi kame.Such was not the case.They had him dress in a white wrap about his waist and lie down again on the table, after which they forcibly administered a drug that made his senses swim, dispersing his panic to a vague, all-encompassing uneasiness.He realized by now that becoming nas kame involved more than accepting that piece of jewelry—that he was going under and that he would not wake the same man.In his drugged despair he begged, he invoked deity, he pleaded with them as fellow kallia to consider what they were doing to him.But they ignored his raving and with an economy of effort, slipped him to a movable table and put him under restraint.From that point his perceptions underwent a rapid deterioration.He was conscious, but he could not tell what he was seeing or hearing, and eventually passed over the brink.CHAPTER 2THE DAZED STATE gave way to consciousness in the same tentative manner.Aiela was aware of the limits of his own body, of a pain localized in the roof of his mouth and behind his eyes.There was a bitter chemical taste and his brow itched.He could not raise his hand to scratch it.The itch spread to his nose and was utter misery.When he grimaced to relieve it, the effort hurt his head.He slept again, and wakened a second time enough to try to move, remembering the bracelet that ought to be locked about his wrist.There was none.He lifted his hand—free now—and saw the numbers still stamped there, but faded.His head hurt.He touched his temple and felt a thin rough seam.There was the salt of blood in his mouth toward the back of his palate; his throat was raw.He felt along the length of the incision at his temple and panic began to spread through him like icevHe hated them.He could still hate; but the concentration it took was tiring—even fear was tiring.He wept, great tears rolling from his eyes, and even then he was fading.Drugs, he thought dimly.He shut his eyes.A raw soreness persisted, not of the body, but of the mind, a perception, a part of him that could not sleep, like an inner eye that had no power to blink.It burned like a white light at the edge of his awareness, an unfocused field of vision where shadows and colors moved undefined.Then he knew what they had done to him, although he did not know the name of it."No!" he screamed, and screamed again and again until his voice was gone.No one came.His senses slipped from him again.At the third waking he was stronger, breathing normally, and aware of his surroundings.The sore spot was there; when he worried at it the place grew wider and brighter, but when he forced himself to move and think of other things, the color of the wall, anything at all, it ebbed down to a memory, an imagination of presence.He could control it.Whatever had been done to his brain, he remembered, he knew himself [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]