Gaziel nodded again.
“I hope it won’t take with me either,” she said. “The idea of walking around programmed is something I can’t stand!”
“If it doesn’t work on you, maybe Ti will give up,” Telzey said.
The door opened and Linden came out. He looked at Gaziel, jerked his thumb at the doorway. “Dr. Ti wants to see you now,” he told her.
“Good luck!” Telzey said to Gaziel. Gaziel nodded, walked into the other room. Linden closed the door on her.
“Come along,” he said to Telzey. “Dr. Ti’s letting you have the run of the building, but he doesn’t want you in the programming annex while he’s working on the other one.”
They started from the room. Telzey said, “Linden—”
“Dr. Linden,” Linden said coldly.
Telzey nodded. “Dr. Linden. I know you don’t like me—”
“Quite right,” Linden said. “I don’t like you. You’ve brought me nothing but trouble with Dr. Ti since you first showed up in Draise! In particular, I didn’t appreciate that psi trick you pulled on me.”
“Well, that was self-defense,” Telzey said reasonably. “What would you do if you found someone trying to pry around in your mind? That is, if you could do what I did. . . .” She looked reflective. “I don’t suppose you can, though.”
Linden gave her an angry look.
“But even if you don’t like me, or us,” Telzey went on, “you really should prefer it if Ti can’t get us programmed. You’re important to him because you’re the only telepath he has. But if it turns out we’re both psis, or even only the original one, and he can control us, you won’t be nearly so important anymore.”
Linden’s expression was watchful now. “You’re suggesting that I interfere with the process?” he said sardonically.
Telzey shrugged. “Well, whatever you think you can do.”
Linden made a snorting sound.
“I’ll inform Dr. Ti of this conversation,” he told her. He opened another door. “Now get out of my sight!”
She got. Linden had been pushed as far as seemed judicious at present.
She took the first elevator she saw to the third floor above ground level, went quickly to their room. The item Gaziel had placed in her pocket was a plastic package the size of her thumb. She unsealed it, unfolded the piece of paper inside, which was covered with her private shorthand. She read:
Comm office on level seven, sect. eighteen. It’s there. Usable? Janitor-guard, Togelt, buttered up, won’t bother you. Comm man, Rodeen, blurs up like Remiol on stim. Can be hypnoed straight then! No one else around. Got paged before finished. Carry on. Luck.
Telzey pulled open the wardrobe, got out a blouse and skirt combination close enough to what Gaziel had been wearing to pass inspection by Togelt and Rodeen, went to a mirror and began arranging her hair to match that of her double. Gaziel had made good use of the morning! Locating a communicator with which they might be able to get out a message had been high on their immediate priority list, second only to discovering where the island’s air vehicles were kept.
Telzey went still suddenly, eyes meeting those of her mirror image. Then she nodded gently to herself. The prod she’d given Linden had produced quick results! He was worried about the possibility that Ti might acquire one or two controlled psis who could outmatch him unless he established his own controls first.
Her head was aching again.
Preparations completed; she got out a small map of the central complex she’d picked up in an office while Ti was conducting them around the day before. It was informative quite as much in what it didn’t show as in what it did. Sizable sections of the upper levels obviously weren’t being shown. Neither was most of the area occupied by the Martri computer, including the Dramateer Room. Presumably these were all places barred to Ti’s general personnel. That narrowed down the search for aircars considerably. They should be in one of the nonindicated places which was also near the outer wall of the complex.
Rodeen was thin, sandy-haired, in his early twenties. He smiled happily at sight of Telzey. His was a lonely job; and Gaziel had left him with the impression that he’d been explaining the island’s communication system to her when Ti had her paged. Telzey let him retain the impression. A few minutes later, she inquired when he’d last been off Ti’s island. Rodeen’s eyes glazed over. He was already well under the influence.
She hadn’t worked much with ordinary hypnosis because there’d been no reason for it. Psi, when it could be used, was more effective, more dependable. But in her general study of the mind, she’d learned a good deal about the subject. Rodeen, of course, was programmed against thinking about the communicator which would reach other points on Orado; it took about twenty minutes to work through that. By then, he was no longer in the least aware of where he was or what he was doing. He opened a safe, brought out the communicator, set it on a table.
Telzey looked it over, asked Rodeen a few questions. Paused then. Quick footsteps came along the passage outside the office. She went to the door.
“What did Togelt think when he saw you?” she asked.
“That I was your twin, of course,” Gaziel said. “Amazing similarity!”
“Ti sure gave up on you fast!”
Gaziel smiled briefly. “You sure got that programming annex paralyzed! Nothing would happen at all—that’s why he gave up. How did you override it?”
“It knew what I was thinking. So I thought the situation was an override emergency which should be referred to the computer director,” Telzey said. “There was a kind of whistling in my head then, which probably was the director. I referred to the message we got from Challis and indicated that letting us be programmed by Ti couldn’t be to the advantage of the Martri minds. Apparently, they saw it. The annex went out of business almost at once. Did Ti call for Linden again?” Her headache had stopped some five minutes ago.
Gaziel nodded. “We’ll have some time to ourselves again—Ti’ll page us when he wants us.”
She’d come in through the door. Her gaze went to the table, and she glanced quickly at Telzey’s face. “So you found it. We can’t use it?”
“Not until we get the key that turns it on,” Telzey said, “and probably only Ti knows where it is. Nobody else ever uses the gadget, not even Linden.”
“No good to us at the moment then.” Gaziel looked at Rodeen, who was smiling thoughtfully at nothing. “In case we get hold of the key,” she said, “let’s put in a little posthypnotic work on him so we can just snap him back into the trance another time. . . .”
They left the office shortly, having restored Rodeen to a normal condition, with memories now only of a brief but enjoyable conversation he’d had with the twins.
Telzey glanced at her watch. “Past lunch time,” she remarked. “But Ti may stay busy a while today. Let’s line up the best spots to look for aircars.”
The complex map was consulted. They set off for another upper-level section.
* * *
“That blur-and-hypnotize them approach,” said Gaziel, “might be a way to get ourselves a gun—if they had armed guards standing around.”
Telzey glanced at her. So far, they’d seen no armed guards in the complex. With Ti’s employees as solidly programmed as they were, he didn’t have much need even for locked doors. “The troops he keeps to hunt down rambunctious forest things have guns, of course,” she said. “But they’re pretty heavy caliber.”
Gaziel nodded. “I was thinking of something more inconspicuous—something we could shove under Ti’s or Linden’s nose if it got to be that kind of situation.”
“We’ll keep our eyes open,” Telzey said. “But we should be able to work out a better way than that.”
“Several, I think,” said Gaziel. She checked suddenly. “Speaking of keeping our eyes open—”
“That’s an elevator door over there, isn’t it?”
“That’s what their elevator doors look like,” Telzey agreed. She paused. “You think that one doesn’t show on the map?”
“Not as I remember it,” Gaziel said. “Let’s check—section three seventeen dash three.”
They spread the map out on the floor, knelt beside it. Telzey shifted the scale enlargement indicator to the section number. The map surface went blank; then a map of the section appeared. “We’re—here!” said Gaziel, finger tapping the map. “And, right, that elevator doesn’t show—doesn’t exist for programmed personnel. Let’s see where it goes!”
They opened the door, looked inside. There was an on-off switch, nothing to indicate where the elevator would take them. “Might step out into Ti’s office,” Telzey said.
Gaziel shrugged. “He knows we’re exploring around.”
“Yes. But he could be in a pretty sour mood right now.” Telzey shrugged in turn. “Well, come on!”