Aphelion Issue 278, Volume 26
November 2022
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Psi Language

by George Schaade

Judith called him Padre because the Ginivichan would often create a flat, circular brim from the area just above his optical sensors. This brim and the rounded center of the Ginivichan's head looked very much like the hats worn by old Spanish priests and padres. Judith assumed that Padre formed the brim to protect his sensors from the harsh ultraviolet radiation of the planet's sun, but she couldn't be sure. There was very little that anyone could be sure of when it came to Ginivichans.

Humans had stumbled upon them while exploring the Pleiades and from the beginning, the two species had a very difficult time communicating. The Ginivichans had no spoken or written language. They had no mouths or hands, and as best the humans could tell the aliens were exchanging information through telepathy, but that telepathic connection, if it existed at all, did not extend to humans. It was beginning to look like they would never make contact, but then Judith had her accident.

After the initial discovery, a team of xenologists, biologists, geologists, botanists, zoologists, ecologists, and a host of other "ists" were sent to Ginivicha. Because of their suspicion that the aliens were using telepathy, one of the scientists was a parapsychologist named Judith Conway. Though most of the scientific community had accepted the existence of the Psi universe, Judith's field was still looked upon skeptically by many. The Psi parallel universe theory not only explained what was happening in quantum physics but also opened the door for the existence of telepathy, telekinesis, and extrasensory perception. So, Judith got a cold reception when she arrived at the Ginivichan base camp.

"Dr. Vinin? I'm Judith Conway. Where can I put my stuff?"

"Ah, Dr. Conway," Vinin rocked back in his chair. "It is 'doctor', isn't it?"

Judith gave him the evil eye. "Yes. Duke University. Ten years ago."

Vinin leaned forward and pulled his roster sheet out of a box. "Well, let's put you in hut 23 with Kairen Probst. She's our xenologist. Kairen's been here a couple of weeks so she can fill you in on procedures and where things are."

A short walk north of the main building Judith found the hut and her new roommate.

Kairen and Judith hit it off right away. Neither liked Vinin very much.

"He's a terrible biologist," said Kairen. She sat back on her bed and watched Judith putting her clothes in a closet. "You know, he's been here for months and still knows nothing about their physiology. He doesn't even know what they're made of." Kairen thought for a second. "You've never seen one have you?"

"Just in pics and vids," said Judith.

Kairen stood. "Come on. We've got time before dinner."

"Really?" questioned Judith. "Just like that? We just walk out of camp and introduce ourselves to a Ginivichan?"

"We're all professionals here." Kairen opened the door to their hut. "We come and go as we please, we do our research, write our reports, and someone like Vinin puts it all together."

"I would have thought that a xenologist would be the one to compile and synthesize the data," said Judith as they began walking a dusty path up a rocky hill.

"Yeah, me too," Kairen said with a smirk. "But don't get me wrong, we all talk together and exchange ideas and theories. That's why you're here."

As they moved up the hill Judith noticed that the landscape wasn't much to look at. There were mountains in the distance but the immediate area was dominated by mesas, basins, ravines, and long expanses of just nothing. That is until they got to the top of the hill.

A vast plain stretched from east to west, from horizon to horizon, and on that plain were huge tubes. Row after row of tubes. Some were long; some were short. Some were straight; some were twisting. Some you could drive a truck through; some you could barely walk through. Judith looked left and right. The rows of tubes went on as far as she could see.


"Yep," said Kairen with a smile.

"And this belt of tubes circles the planet?" Judith asked.

"Well, just on the land. The orbital station hasn't found any under the ocean. The number of rows varies from eight to twelve and they're only here near the equator."

Judith started to speak but Kairen cut her off. "No, we don't know how they were built or who built them or why, but there's plenty of theories."

They walked down the hill and across the plain to the nearest tube. Judith stood in the opening of the tube that was about six meters in diameter. This tube snaked its way along the plain for almost a kilometer where it stopped and another tube began. Judith and Kairen began walking through it.

"What are they made of?"

"Granite," said Kairen. "But there isn't any granite for hundreds of kilometers. The mineralogist is puzzled by the uniformity of its composition."

Halfway through the tube they came to a large piece of quartz with a smooth top.

Judith looked quizzically at Kairen. "Ginivichan table? bed?"

Kairen shrugged. "We find them every now and then in the tubes."

Just then, a Ginivichan came around the corner within the tube. Judith froze in wonderment. The first thought that came to her was 'blob'. The Ginivichan was a white globule about a meter high that moved by using a wave motion along the bottom third of its body. As it moved past Judith she took a closer look at the bowed head and the circle of shiny black dots that seemed to be eyes or light sensors.

As it moved past them, Kairen said, "Touch it." Judith was shocked by the suggestion but Kairen reassured her. "It's okay. We've all done it."

Judith tentatively placed her hand on the side of the Ginivichan. It was like touching very soft putty. The skin of the alien oozed up around her fingers. She quickly pulled back. Judith nervously laughed and said, "That's weird."

That first encounter was shocking for Judith. She couldn't stop talking about it. Later Judith and Kairen had dinner in the mess hall with Art Mobley, a chemist at the base camp, who tried to explain just how weird it was.

"It's like oobleck," said Art. "You know, the stuff you made with water and cornstarch when you were a kid."

Judith and Kairen gave him blank stares.

"A dilatant? A Maxwell fluid?"

Kairen slowly shook her head.

"Okay, let me put it this way," said Art. "The Ginivichan body is viscoelastic, having the properties of both elasticity and viscosity. It acts like a liquid when being gently touched, but like a solid when a force is acting on it."

"So you can reach inside of them?" asked Judith.

"I've been up to my elbow in one and found nothing but the material they're made of. Which, by the way, I've yet to get a sample of because we haven't found a dead Ginivichan and Vinin won't let us take a sample from a living one."

"They don't react to being touched like that?"

"Nope, nothing," said Kairen. "If you plunge your arm into them, they just keep going. If you stand in their path, they just go around you. Some of us are starting to wonder if they're even sentient."

"They must be sentient if they built the tubes," said Judith.

"Ah, but what if they didn't build the tubes? Some of those tubes are hundreds of thousands of years old," said Art.

An older man sitting beside Art must have overheard the conversation and injected, "You guys should talk to Kepper and Zulla. They just learned something that could change everything."

This piqued their interest and after dinner, the three of them immediately headed across camp where they found Kepper in his hut intensely working on his latest report.

"This could be a significant breakthrough," Kepper told them. "For three days I've been observing six Ginivichans that are spending seven hours a day standing at the mouth of a tube just east of here. They emerge from other tubes in the morning, stand in front of this particular tube, and after seven hours, they leave. As it turned out, Zulla was taking measurements on this tube at the same time. When we met a couple of days ago he was complaining about his equipment not working properly. It seemed each day the length of the tube was about a centimeter longer than the day before. After I told him about the Ginivichans I was following, we compared notes.

"What we were thinking seemed crazy but we set up a crude experiment and began measuring the tube before and after the Ginivichans met there." Kepper paused, not sure if he should continue. "We think the Ginivichans are somehow increasing the length of the tube. It's a very slow process but when you look closely and patiently you can actually see the granite edge growing."

"Telekinesis," whispered Judith.

"It's not like using your mind to move a pencil across a table," Kepper said sarcastically. "This is granite. Feldspar, quartz, and mica. You don't put those things together like a jigsaw puzzle."

"Maybe it's not the minerals they're combining," injected Art. "Maybe they're manipulating the elements in granite like silicon, oxygen, aluminum, and iron."

"I don't know." Kepper shrugged and leaned back in his chair. "I'm sorry if I was rude. I'm just frustrated at trying to figure this out."

"Maybe," Judith spoke carefully, "it's not minerals or elements or even atoms that they're controlling. Maybe it's quanta. If they're using the Psi universe to move and position sub-atomic particles, they could build almost anything."

"How would that work?" asked Kepper. "Granite is formed under extreme pressure and temperature."

"That would require a huge amount of energy," added Art.

"The Psi universe is full of energy," said Judith. "There isn't any matter there at all, but the theory does allow for quanta to pass through it. That's how sub-atomic particles seem to teleport from one location to another. So..." Judith paused as she organized her thoughts. "The Ginivichans move quanta from our universe through the high energy Psi universe then materialize it at the edge of a tube where it is then formed into elements, minerals, and finally granite. Is that what we're saying?"

"Well, I'm not officially saying anything until you tell me more about the Psi universe theory." Kepper looked into the faces of the others. "But it sounds like we're really on to something."

"This could explain lots of things," said Kairen. "Like why we haven't found any dead Ginivichans or what they eat. If they can manipulate the very fabric of matter, then they can regenerate the cells in their body and feed those cells using the Psi universe."

At that point, everyone started talking at the same time. The excitement of the moment was reaching a fever pitch when Zulla walked in. It took them an hour to get him up to speed, but soon he was just as enthusiastic about the possibilities as the rest of them. They agreed to collaborate on a paper and four days later, it was presented to Dr. Vinin. A couple of days after that Vinin called in the group for a meeting.

"This is all quite interesting," began Vinin. "I admit that I'm intrigued by your supposition, but I can't accept your conclusion. You have almost no evidence to support your ideas. I need more numbers; more data. What you've given me is speculation. I want facts." Vinin dropped the report on the table in front of him. "You've lost track of what we really need to do here. All of our questions can be answered if we just establish communication with the aliens."

Turning to Judith, he continued, "This is where you come in, Dr. Conway. This is your specialty. Use your psychic powers. Tap into their telepathy. If you really believe they have these abilities that you talk about then go into a trance... meditate..." Vinin threw up his hands, "do whatever it is that you do... but make contact with the Ginivichans!"

The group was disappointed after Dr. Vinin had belittled their paper, but no one was as devastated as Judith. He had singled her out and trivialized her profession. Judith was hurt, angry, and determined to vindicate herself.

For weeks after that Judith would roam among the tubes, select a Ginivichan, and try to make contact telepathically. She used numerous methods including those that had been tried with dolphins and apes. Nothing seemed to have any affect. Finally, she decided to concentrate her efforts on a single Ginivichan. It was a fateful decision.

The Ginivichan she chose was slightly different from the rest. He spent more time wandering outside the tubes than the others and he often formed a round brim above his optical sensors which lead to his nickname of Padre.

One day while Judith had been following and observing him, Padre traveled through a steep, rocky area. His blob-like body had no problem maneuvering around and over the outcroppings, but Judith stumbled and fell. The next thing she remembered was truly an out-of-body experience.

She found herself looking down on her own body, which was lying on a quartz tabletop in a large tube. On different parts of her body, clusters of small bubbles rose and fell, while six Ginivichans stood around the table. Judith's first thought was to believe she was dead. She was filled with panic and dread. Then one of the aliens moved away from the others and Judith's point of view followed him. Her consciousness was floating like a balloon on a string just a meter or so above the alien. This odd sensation caused Judith to examine on her surroundings. The tube they were in was long and winding but not one she recognized. Just as they were about to exit the tube, they stopped beside a large slanting piece of quartz. Water seemed to run from the bottom to the top of the slab, but it stopped as they approached and the quartz became reflective. In this angled mirror, Judith could see the Ginivichan and a small liquid orb suspended above him. As Judith looked at the image, she was shocked by the realization that her consciousness must be inside that silvery ball. The Ginivichan moved outside the tube and shaped a familiar rim on his head. It was Padre.

The next few hours were filled with confusion, fear, and anxiety. Judith tried to come to grips with her situation, but it was all too bizarre. If she had had a voice she would have been screaming and sobbing. With all the disturbing thoughts running through her head, Judith hardly noticed that they had traveled away from the tubes and into a semi-arid region with sparse vegetation. As she slowly became aware of the scene around her, Judith was struck by its natural beauty. She looked from the blue sky to the red rock mesas to the distant mountains. At that moment, she was surprised by an outside emotion.

Emotion: Calm, Serene, Peaceful

For Judith there was no doubt that these feelings were not her own but had somehow been brought into her consciousness. She looked down at Padre and realized they must have come from him, but were they his emotions purposely projected into her mind or was her new liquid-ball psyche super sensitive to the Ginivichan?

Over the next few weeks, Judith tried repeatedly to make telepathic contact with Padre, but nothing seemed to work and she didn't experience another emotional projection. In her present condition, she had no need for food, water, or sleep, which gave her plenty of time to think. Judith began to take comfort in the routine of observing and analyzing the actions of Padre. As it turned out, she was right that he was different. It wasn't just his looks that made him stand out. Padre spent much more time away from the tubes than the other Ginivichans. From time to time, he would travel north or south through some very rugged terrain, visit some rock formation or unusual water feature, and then return to the tubes. It was all very puzzling to Judith.

One such trip began with something unusual. At mid-morning Judith and Padre stopped in front of a long tube when...

Image: A large placid lake

Before Judith could fully comprehend the strong projection of the image...

Emotion: Thrill, Excitement, Elation

Quickly Padre began moving through the tube. He raced faster than Judith had ever seen him do before. They went past a couple of quartz tables and followed some bends in the tube. Without warning, they burst from the tube into a shadowy night. They had only spent a few minutes in the tube yet somehow day had become night.

Judith could see the stars and both of the planet's moons. Padre had used the tube to teleport them to another tube on the other side of the planet. The Ginivichans were using the tubes to direct their teleportations around the planet. This was astonishing to Judith. Once again, she had experienced the psychic power of the Ginivichans, but there was no one to share it with.

As they traveled north from the tubes, Judith considered all that had happened. This was the first time she had had an image projection. Although it had been a static image, it was quite clear. She could still visualize the large lake surrounded by dark green vegetation. That had been followed quickly by the emotional projection of joy. Judith concluded that they were heading to a lake that Padre was so excited about.

Before long, they were on the shore of a calm, silvery lake. The two moons, framed by the stars, were lined up directly to the north and the light from them gently rolled along the water's surface. It was a beautiful scene.

Emotion: Reverence, Divinity, Sanctity

Judith could understand why Padre would see this place as sacred. She began to wonder if the Ginivichans had a spirituality and what it might be based on. As she pondered the possibilities, a small rippling wave began on the lake directly in front of them. The wave slowly moved away from them and the water in the lake receded with it. The wave was growing. By the time it reached the other side of the lake, there was a wall of water over a hundred meters high. The wave crested and began to fall toward them. Judith was filled with fear but Padre didn't move. The peak of the wave came crashing down behind them, flowed across the land beneath them, and rushed back into the lake's basin. For almost a minute, Judith and Padre were surrounded by a giant tube of moving water. Then it was over, the water returned to the basin and once again became a placid lake.

Emotion: Bliss, Ecstasy, Rapture

Image: The wall of water reaching into the starry night sky

The phenomenon at the lake changed everything. The next few months were filled with mental projections. Judith saw images of mountains, skies, Ginivichans, oceans, stars, tubes, plants, and everything else on the planet. Emotional projections became a daily occurrence. Joy, trust, anger, surprise, anticipation, sadness, and courage. Judith experienced it all.

On a trip south of the tubes, Judith and Padre topped a hill and looked into the ravine below. Judith could see the domed huts of the human expedition and the movement of people in the compound. She wasn't sure how long it had been since she had seen a human being, but she guessed it to be about a year. It wasn't clear why Padre had brought her here until he rounded an outcropping. There before her was her body lying on the ground in an unconscious state. Before she could think about what she was seeing, Judith's consciousness was returned to her body. She opened her eyes and sat up. In front of her was Padre with his familiar brim, but the silvery orb above his head was gone.

Judith took a deep breath and put her hands to her face. Slowly she moved to her knees and then stood. Her muscles hadn't atrophied. In fact, she felt quite strong. There was no doubt she had been fully restored to her body.

Looking at the human compound, Judith realized that she was being returned. At first, she felt joy and excitement, and then she turned to Padre. In that moment, she was hit by a pang of sadness. She had traveled the planet, seen incredible things, and learned so much with him. While her mind was in the liquid ball, she could feel Padre's emotions and see the images he projected to her. The experience had created a bond that was unique and beautiful. A tear rolled down her cheek.

Judith cleared her voice and said, "I'm going to miss you very much, dear friend, but I promise you I'll return. I don't know how long it will take but I'll return." She put her hand gently against Padre's soft body. "I hope you understand me, Padre. Goodbye." With that, she turned and began walking toward the camp.

Even though her consciousness was now in her body, in that moment...

Image: Judith

Emotion: love

...Contact was made.


2014 George Schaade

Bio: Mr. Schaade is a former teacher that has been writing science fiction, fantasy, and humor most of his life. He loves exploring the quirks of human nature and pushing the  boundaries of his own imagination. His recent publishing credits include Anotherealm, a trio of tales by in three different anthologies by Whortleberry Press, and one each in the last three years here at Aphelion: China Express, Soigne Voyage, and most recently Red Sky in our March, 2014 issue.

E-mail: George Schaade

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