Tag Archive: Telepathy

When I decided to rescue Patches, I thought my main problem was going to be finding a substitute for her mother’s milk. Well, I have learned a few things since then.

Puppies are destructive. And messy. Their teeth are unbelievably sharp. They are incredibly good about getting around, over or through things I think will be barriers. And they are absolutely adorable.

Patches not only listens to me (though she clearly responds more to my tone of voice than to what I am saying) she regards me as her pack, and since she has leaned to walk, does her best to follow me everywhere I go. My explorations have been severely curtailed, as she cannot quite keep up with me. I can teleport her along, and since the first time or two she accepts it as a normal part of life. But I either have to carry her (which she begins to resent very quickly) or pause often to let her nap and explore.

Her legs are beginning to lengthen. Judging from what I have seen of adults of her species she will be quite able to keep up with me when she is a little older, so I have decided to concentrate on strengthening the mental bond between us. She does not think in what I would consider an organized matter, but her senses are superb, and she is quite happy to share them with me. Already she has begun to help me find water and small game on our exploration trips.

Water. The stream I am camped by is becoming narrower. Not a drop of rain has fallen since I came here. Animals are rarer, and tend to cluster more and more around the stream banks – and so do the predators. Is this a normal dry season, or the beginning of a drought?

Proposed Cover illustration for Tourist Trap

This is another excerpt from Tourist Trap, an upcoming novel involving ecotourism and attempted murder on a planet terraformed from Pleistocene Earth.

The guide had planned to take a long lunch break to rest the dogs, who were sprawled out panting in the unnatural warmth. Somehow Roi had his team on their feet and pulling out, with Amber driving the blue team behind him, almost as soon as they had finished eating. Penny had little choice but to follow, fuming with anger. Screaming at Roi when he moved the pace up to a lope had no effect, nor did attempting to stop her own team. Growler slowed only briefly at her “whoa,” then glanced ahead and resumed his lope. How dare her client take over the mind of her lead dog!

For other participants, see Six Sentence Sunday.

I think I have stopped shaking enough to use the recorder.

First, a note to myself. Emergency kits should include warnoffs. Some of the mammals here think they are going to eat me!

I can handle the situation as long as I am aware of the attack, of course. Just implant in the predator’s mind that I am not prey. But these predators, while not sentient, are in some ways quite intelligent. The one that almost got me yesterday evening was an ambush predator. Sheer luck that I heard it leap and was fast enough to reach its mind before it reached me.

This morning I saw another type of predator. This type hunts in packs, and runs its prey to exhaustion before closing in for the kill. I hope they are also territorial, in which case I can reach the minds of the local pack members and let them know that I am not prey. I think.

These pack hunters are a peculiar mottling of black, tan and white, no two alike. They have four limbs, like every other mammal I have seen here. They hunt in rather large packs, and once they have selected a victim, nothing seems to stop them. They seem to rely on sheer persistence rather than speed. They are not terribly large, but I would not want to face even one without a stunner. Which I have – I did remember to put that in the emergency kit!

The one last night was a lot faster – at least over short distances – and a lot larger. I did not get as good a look, but I think it was close to my weight, and spotted. One of the things I was able to skim from its mind was climbing trees to keep its kills away from other carnivores. Other carnivores? I haven’t seen them yet, but at least one seems to be a group hunter related to but larger than the one that attacked me.

I am clearly going to have to modify the emergency capsule to provide shelter from predators as well as weather. I wonder if they fear fire? Many non-sentient animals do, and cooking would definitely widen the variety of possible foods. Especially plant foods.

At least the fish appear to be nutritious, so probably the amino acids here are left-handed. I shall have to try some of the animals the predators regard as prey. I am not sure of using the stunner too much, though – I don’t have that many charges for it.

Note — Jarn’s Journal is part of the early history of the Confederation (fictional.) The animals he encounters during the Last Interglacial in Africa, however, are quite real.

Love and Lust

“Bera tried to tell me thirteen centuries ago that I’d get myself into serious trouble someday because I couldn’t tell love from lust. I went back to that memory last night. I wasn’t mature enough then to understand what she was trying to tell me. I hope I am now.”

Derik says that, in Homecoming. But what did he mean? What is the distinction between love and lust?

You might say that they are the extreme ends of human sexual relationships. At one end, love, is a relationship based on mutual caring. At the other end, lust, the relationship is basically one of power, of using another person. It seems to me that where a relationship is along this continuum is far more important than the parties involved.

Often the two are so intermixed that it is difficult to tell them apart. A bit of lust, in the form of sex drive, is probably at the heart of many human relationships. At the extreme, of course, lust is involved in rape and seduction, and the power aspect is perhaps clearest in the use of rape as a weapon of war.

It’s harder to find an example of pure love, but basically both people should feel they are getting at least as much out of the relationship as they are putting into it, and each feels happier together than they would apart. It’s probably not possible in a pure sense, as we can never know what the other person’s true feelings are.

So why does Derik, who is basically a pretty decent sort, have a problem telling love from lust?

Derik is practically sterile, and the women of his own class want nothing to do with him. All his long life, he has taken human slaves as long-term lovers. These slaves are cosseted and cared for throughout their lives.  Derik is a mind reader, but he has always felt it was immoral to read the minds of non-telepaths. The day before the statement above, he accidentally read the mind of a young slave he was trying to seduce—and who seemed quite willing to seduce him in turn—and found out what the youngster really thought of the situation.

Now he faces a dilemma. Will his powers prevent him from ever finding love?

How can we, as limited humans, tell where we are along the line between love and lust?

What happens when loyalties and responsibilities conflict? What is the moral thing to do?

I’ve been exploring morality to some extent in my writing. I won’t say I have the answers—there really aren’t any. But here’s an excerpt from a story set years after Homecoming was over:

“My folks hadn’t been able to teach me the morality of using my esper talents–rules don’t arise about things that are assumed not to exist.  But they had ingrained some general principles into the fiber of my being, and those general principles worked quite well with what Roi had taught me and, more recently, with what I had found in the files my mother had left behind.  Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.  Remember that ‘human’ is not just you and your relatives, or those who look like you, or who share common beliefs.  Ask yourself, ‘what would life be like if everyone behaved this way?’

“It wasn’t as easy as rules-based, black and white morality, because it required thinking.  And there had been times, both home on Earth and here on Central, when the accepted morality was immoral by the principles I believed in.  Slavery as it was practiced here on Central, for instance.  Did I even have the moral right to walk away, if I could really stop it?”

What widely accepted moral rules might be immoral in a different society or environment? Or even in our own, if looked at closely?

SCREAMER: #scifi An electronic gadget that produces a burst of telepathic noise. They can be set for various intensities, and a good telepath can to a certain extent work through one, but not easily or without special training.

ESPER LINK: A mind-link between two telepaths, generally used of an ongoing link.

LATENT (ESPER): #scifi An individual who caries enough of the R’il’nian genes associated with esper abilities to have some ability at telepathic communication. Generally latents find it difficult to contact each other, but communicate relatively easily with a full telepath, and have above average shielding ability.

MIND-LINK: A mental connection between two or more telepaths that allows them to communicate or to work together.