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The Dark Edge

Taken by Force

Hidden from View





VAIL CONDUCTS A MEMOSCOPY --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reaching once more into her bag, she produced a strange contraption of polished brass. Strut by strut she unfolded and opened it out. It was about the size of a hand, with four spindly extensions like four long fingers.

"Now. Very carefully."

Very carefully Eddon rotated the head until the back of the skull rested on the gravel and what had been the face pointed up towards the sky. Then Vail lowered her brass apparatus over the victimÕs temples. The spindly extensions fitted on either side of the forehead and just above the ears. She tightened various screws and fixed it in place.

"Try to hold the head absolutely still," she told Eddon, diving into her bag again.

This time she brought out a black ergalite box and a tangle of wires. Some of the wires terminated in tiny plugs, others in silvery discs; at the other end they all fed into the box. It took Vail a while to disentangle them.

"It's a brain-reading device," Eddon explained to Oaves. "When someone dies, the last activities of the brain remain as traces in the synapses. Minute differences in electro-chemical voltage. The ETP machine scans and measures those differences."

"And what does that do?"

"A trained parapsych can interpret the traces empathetically. She'll get her brain into exactly the same state as the victim's brain was in. I don't know how. They say it's like receiving the same experiences. Living through the same last impressions that were recorded in the memory before death."

Vail lifted a hand for silence. Now she had four wires terminating in plugs and four wires terminating in discs. She connected the plugs to four tiny sockets in the apparatus over the victim's head, and attached the discs to her own head: two on either si de of the forehead and two just above the ears. The discs seemed to have their own power of adherence.

Next she adjusted herself into a crosslegged sitting position. She began breathing in and out, very slowly, very steadily. Her face was completely expressionless. After a while her breathing became so quiet that she hardly appeared to be breathing at all.

Then she touched a switch on the box and closed her eyes.



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