“You are having dinner here,” Abigail ordered. “We owe you much more than that.  What do you need to do?”

“For the first I need your agreement,” Morgana said. “The first is called a null link.  It’s not mentalic, exactly.  But if anything happens to any of you, I know something is wrong and exactly where to find you.  It’s very slight editing of your subconscious, like crossloading an app onto a RadioBell.  Oh, when I’m done, you won’t remember that I did it.  Except you, Janie, you know your own mind too clearly.  You will remember.  You will also not remind anyone that they have one.  It’s a safety precaution.  Agreed?” Patrick, Abigail, Trisha, and Janie nodded.  Brian grimaced but finally mouthed agreement. “This just takes a moment.”

“Now,” Morgana continued, “the two things I need to do,” she winked at Janie, who smiled back, “are to find out if there’s a reason none of you know where Joe lives, and if so, what the reason is.  Each of you, try to remember to ask Joe for his phone number the next time you see him.” Her eyebrows wrinkled. “That was very interesting, but not the way I expected.  I can go to the next step, unless you want to drop it.” Janie needed a few moments to realize what had just happened.  Morgana had planted null links in her parents and her siblings, and in her mind, too.  None of them remembered it.  She hadn’t felt a thing when her link was implanted.  She could tell it was there, but it had just appeared, as if by magic. It was very good, that Morgana was so skillful, and very bad, that her own mindscreens were so completely worthless. 

“What was interesting?” Patrick asked. 

“I just asked you a certain question.  You don’t remember me asking.  You can’t think about the topic. You can think about related things, though maybe only with me sitting here, but not the question you just thought about.  Even you, Janie, and you have solid mentalic defenses.  You each had your minds changed, so soon as I asked the question, but the mind changing was not done with mentalics,” Morgana said. “That’s why your mentalic screens didn’t trigger, Janie, what was done was not mentalic. And some of my wards, ones that normally never do anything, were poked, not gently.”

“Is it dangerous?” Abigail asked. 

“In this world, nothing is safe,” Morgana answered. “Someone placed a geas on you and your house.  That’s all of you.  Having a geas like that in your house is almost certainly dangerous.  Yes, geas, a stable fourth-order construct.  It controls what you think, about a narrow range of topics, inobtrusively.  Leaving it there, now that you know it exists, even though you can’t remember what the topics are, is probably even more dangerous.  To remove it, I need a blank sheet of paper on a clean table.”

“Got it,” Trisha announced.  The suddenly clean table had a large sheet of blank paper on it. 

“Three of you will see nothing.” Morgana pressed the paper flat. “Abigail, Patrick mentioned that your grandmother on the O’Rigamy side had the second sight, so you may see a blue haze.  Janie, you will see clearly what I am doing, but you should absolutely not, not even if it’s life and death, try anything like this, not until you know exactly what you are doing.  Clear? And the rest of you, don’t interrupt.”

About George Phillies

science fiction author -- researcher in polymer dynamics -- collector of board wargames -- President, National Fantasy Fan Federation
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