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CHAPTER FIFTEEN
Adjournment And Dispersal

Vasai and Carl walked in mutual silence to the Concordium. The familiar stream of arrivals were making their way through cool evening air toward the beginning of dispersal. Someway, one could sense from the steady, flowing movement a general air of poised preparedness, such as Carl had come to know.

As they turned toward the Northeast, and emerged from the hallway into open grounds, it was apparent that it was a quieter procession than the last Assembly. Yet, it seemed there were even more attendees than before, streaming toward the light of the Concordium. All seemed to carry, like a steady unflickering torch, their resolution, and to chant as a silent heartbeat, their dedication. They moved to the silent beat of a Pilgrimage of Purpose.

The glowing image of the Concordium was a central glyph of common purpose. Yet, as the various gongs had each an individual response, so had each of those gathered there an individual expression of their particular aspect of that common Purpose.

As they were being seated, Carl glanced across the aisles into the eyes of Alex Carlisle. They shared the exchange in silence, and each settled into their seats.

Etanai appeared in the aisle, and Carl and Vasai moved over to make room for him. Etanai appeared less drawn than when Carl had last seen him, and smiled warmly in his old familiar way. Without comment they settled back to await beginning of proceedings.

Observing the platform, Carl noted that not only was Vasai absent from the platform, Andrah was also missing. Only Chan Shu and the Samai were seated as before. Andrah was seated in the audience, with Eleri, not far from them. As if sensing his gaze, the Gita turned and offered a smiling nod.

A few minutes passed before Chan Shu arose and moved to sound the large gong. Throughout the harmonious interplay of tones, Carl listened intently to each subtle variation. He wanted to store the sequence in memory so deeply that he might later recall the tonal vibrations in meditative exercise. He felt that, could he do this, it would be an aid to realigning his total being, should he need to in the future. He had no doubt that such would be needed.

After the merging of tone into one reverberating chord had faded in lingering waves, Chan Shu and Ka-shi-ra, together, approached the podium. The Samai gave the salute of Ulathai and stood aside. Chan Shu spoke in a slow, steady voice.

"Fellow members of Ulathai, and beloved World Aspirants - many of you have witnessed today immediate evidence of the crucial problem concerning which our Samai companion has previously addressed the Assembly."

"You have heard the appeal of the Assembly as a whole for renewed effort to counteract this increasing destructive activity. You have also been informed of the manner in which the Assembly has decided to implement intensified efforts to alleviate this threat."

"You have been advised that a limit has been set regarding the extent to which these less stringent methods will be employed, before the Samai find it necessary to implement more severe measures."

"This limitation is not an exact time limit. It is a limit which allows the approach of reason to be the applied method for correction only until the problem reaches a certain degree of critical danger of a widespread nature."

"Whenever this degree of imminent danger appears, whether it be tomorrow, or a matter of years, we must allow the Samai to intervene, for the safety of all levels involved. The result of our afternoon discussion is that this remains the agreement in effect."

"We restate our plea for all who are able to reach those in responsible positions in fields which act as source and continuance of this dangerous mis-use, to double the effort to approach such persons with reason, and in that language they can best understand."

"To avert a more severe countering action, we must have effective response to the approach of reason !"

"There is no more to be said on the matter now. I know that inwardly you are able to comprehend the unstated but apparent dangers, and that you recognize the importance of any effort you can make on this behalf. However, remember, we do not advise extreme measures in these efforts. Such is only a last resort, and is not for us to implement !"

Chan Shu paused, and looked about the audience. His gentle, fine-featured face appeared stern and sad. Carl sensed there was a heaviness within him; the great weight that extra awareness can bring in times of tribulation. The Elder Guardian softened into a Fatherly tenderness as he motioned in the manner of a benediction, and concluded in a strong tone. "Omu Amrishi" !

Ka-shi-ra again made the silent gesture. His features were stern and did not soften. The intense eyes seemed to flash with enormous energies. As he turned to be seated, his over-robe was sent flying behind him with the sudden power of his movement. Carl was again impressed that Ka-shi-ra's wrath would be frightening.

Chan Shu remained at the podium. As before, the Regent Elder emerged from an area somewhere behind the large gong, and approached the podium with calm, deliberate steps. Chan Shu did not introduce him, only nodded respectfully, and returned to his seat.

The Regent Elder looked calmly out over the gathering, and spoke softly, as if to distribute calm. "Fellow members of Ulathai, and beloved World Aspirants - the Assembly tonight will be a short one. We have covered in previous meetings the problems which confront us. You are well aware of their implications and importance. Chan Shu has advised you regarding resulting decisions of this afternoon's meeting."

"Many of you have seen evidence today of the problem with which our Samai companions are especially concerned, but which effect all levels. I am sure you can understand why now, and are better able to comprehend the reasons for their increasing impatience. As Guardians of Systemic Order, these matters are critical to their function and Cosmic responsibility. You have also been advised regarding the immediate course concerning this matter, and the limitations of operation of this course. I have nothing further to add at this time regarding this particular aspect of concern."

"However, I wish to speak to you concerning dispersal. As we go forth, each to our special field of endeavor, we know that we share a unity in our concern for the healthy progress of Life, in all areas . In this, we can never be alone, however it may seem. Wherever there are those of similar interest, by whatever name or label they are designated, we have companions. Thus - we have learned to come together joyfully, and to resume our individual tasks eagerly."

"As we adjourn tonight, let us go forth again, poised in Purpose, and calmly eager to be the form and hands of that Essential Source of all, that the true Essence may flow in health and renewal throughout all levels."

As he concluded, he smiled radiantly,with an inclusive warmth that filled the Concordium with an aura of the concord for which it was named. With an air of benediction he performed the graceful salute, intoning "Omu Amrishi" !

He turned from the podium, and took a seat next to the Samai. Chan Shu arose and again sounded the gong; this time with three strokes, spaced rhythmically. The pillars began to increase their light until a reddish-gold light bathed the chamber in immersing light. Resounding tones echoed, at first in distinct and separate soundings, then in increasing variety of interplay. It seemed a symphony surged through the night. Gradually receding in concurrent flow and ebb of tone, a vibratory harmony pulsed through the gathering with palpable vibrance. Carl was sure that every member present felt within themselves a harmonious concord of being.

As the reverberations faded in a mingling chord, light of the pillars returned to softly luminous opalescence. The Regent Elder arose and retired soundlessly into the area from which he had emerged. Chan Shu arose and departed from his side of the platform, as did Ka-shi-ra from his side. People began to rise from their seats, a few at a time, and move toward the doors.

As if by mutual consent, Etanai, Vasai, and Carl remained in their seats in quiet thought. Andrah and Eleri passed down the aisle, nodding a silent greeting. The flow had thinned to trickle when, at last, Etanai arose, and the other two followed.

As they passed out into the night, there could be seen a division of rivulets in the processional stream. Branching off in several directions, these separating groups were no longer identified by specific attire, but mingled in a variety of type. Though most had passed beyond range of close view, Carl could see there was a much larger number dressed in street attire common to his familiar world. He assumed these persons had dressed thus preparatory to return to their 'posts' in the world. He wondered how many of these might be 'borderline workers'. He tried to catch sight of faces to store in memory, but constant motion, and increasing distance made it impossible.

Many were now moving in directions away from the central Encampment area. Carl wondered where these walkways led, as they moved toward the portico. When Etanai spoke, Carl was pleased with his suggestion as it might offer some relief to his curiosity. Etanai had suggested they go to the observatory, saying, "From there we can watch the beginning of dispersal."

From the tower it was a beautiful view. The Concordium glowed with its many colored petals of light. Rivulets of departing attendees flowed in colorful processions. The pool rippled and glistened with reflected light. All combined into a magical scene of exquisite beauty.

At outlying areas beyond the Concordium, Carl saw several luminous, circular objects, toward which a surging stream of people were moving. As he watched, one of the circular objects lifted slowly into the air until it had risen to considerable height. It then began to move upward and away at rapid speed, changing in appearance from rosy glow, to soft amber, then icicle blue as it zipped across the sky.

So engrossed was Carl in the sight that Etanai's voice seemed to come from far-away, yet he clearly heard the words that confirmed what he had already guessed."They are dispersal transports, for certain of the members who depart tonight for their assigned locales."

Carl watched with rapt pleasure as the beautiful craft ascended one by one, and disappeared into the night sky. As the last vanished from sight, Etanai touched his arm gently, and said - "Look out beyond the roadway, Ka-ra-el - toward your cabin area.

Following his direction, Carl turned and looked out over the roadway. He saw several glowing objects moving out across the open countryside. These were rounded-oblong shape, similar to the visca, but much larger.

"That's another variety of transport", Etanai explained. "They operate on the same general principle as the visca, but are larger and more extensive in capability. They can rise to great heights, and travel at great speeds. These transport the border-line workers, and others, whose posts are not too distant."

Etanai paused thoughtfully for a moment, then sought Carl's eyes with a most serious expression. "I must add a word of caution here, Ka-ra-el. Not all of the unexplained craft sighted in your world is of this type. There are several types, from a variety of sources. Those you have just seen are inter-dimensionsal and inter-density craft. This type is often referred to as 'Etheric' craft. They are capable of materializing and de-materializing, in varying degrees."

"There are other 'physical' type craft which are at times used by Ulathai members, and there are also 'physical' type experimental craft, which are products of the aero-science of your world. These, however, are not capable of true space travel."

"Then - there are craft from other sources which are more or less 'sight-seeing' expeditions. These - while not actively hostile, have no feelings of empathy for your people. They are indifferent to your world."

Etanai paused again, and continued with a solemn look. "And - there are those who are hostile. These are intercepted and controlled by Ulathai and related agencies. However, some do slip through; if not visibly, by a mental influence - for they are very strong mentally."

"One needs to guard their own motives, and develop some degree of sensitivity to vibratory quality. A sensitive person like yourself would sense the difference in 'quality emanation'. But those in your world who have no such subtle perception must be wary of any approach, or contact, which they have not been prepared for in advance."

"Ulathai contacts are preceded by mutual understanding. This may have occurred at levels other than that of the 'immediate consciousness'. However, this awareness would be available in some degree at the time of contact - to calm and stabilize. It was this re-emergence of awareness which you experienced on your night at the tower. If the sudden approach of our younger members hadn't triggered primitive anxieties, the re-emerging awareness would have taken place without the panic attack."

"As I have mentioned in previous discussion, an accumulated tension, and long-term stress, had left you unprepared externally, and resulted in an involuntary reaction. I'm sure you now understand this. It's as a word of caution for others that I mention these things. In any future writing you may do on this subject, please include this advice."

Carl's response was immediate understanding, and he was appreciative of this further evidence of the considerate caution of the wise Ulathai. He was keenly aware of the import of Etanai's words. "You may be assured I will, my friend."

They stood watching until activity in the area had ceased, and the last softly glowing vehicle had passed out of sight. They then returned to the lift and descended. As they descended to ground level, Carl was thinking that the term 'dispersal' had a new shade of meaning for him. What he had witnessed resembled the scattering of shining seed.

As they entered the corridor, Vasai turned toward her quarters, saying she would see them shortly after sunrise tomorrow. Etanai and Carl continued toward their quarters. As Carl bid Etanai goodnight at his door, he said - "It has been a day of great contrasts, Etanai - from glad companionship, to horrible destruction, to the beauty of a promising dispersal."

Etanai smiled the sage's smile, "All days are days of contrast, Ka-ra-el - though not always so extreme. Omu Amrishi, my friend."

"Omu Amrishi, Etanai", Carl made the motion thoughtfully, "and thank you."

As he lie in bed watching stars that managed to peek through the trees, Carl reviewed the day. He knew that Etanai was right about all days having contrasts. He considered how it was the very extreme contrasts he'd experienced this day, that had brought about his firm resolution. In a tapestry, it is the depth of the darker threads which causes the lighter threads to stand out in patterns of beauty. The dark view of destruction he'd seen, had caused him to reaffirm support of its opposite. He must think on this more thoroughly sometime, he decided.

He closed his eyes, and turned his thoughts to another matter. He wanted to practice his experiment. Picturing the large golden gong, he tried to hear again its initial tone. When he felt his inner hearing had caught it fairly well for a first effort, he tried to recall the interplay of tones from the smaller gongs, and finally the lingering, mingling chord.

For some time he worked at this. Gradually the weariness of his mind yielded to a semi-sleep - and there - he heard the tones. They seemed to move within him, until at last, the chord of harmony left him relaxed and attuned. He slipped into untroubled sleep.


CHAPTER SIXTEEN
Discontinuance