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“Ari, you must be careful. You may use this device only twice in a year, my analysis has concluded.”

It wasn’t just Lady Alexia Laplace who was concerned. Carina sat in a corner, nervously arranging posies. The moon-a-much hooted nervously, perhaps more at the sight of Aristophanes Brown, his fair hair concealed underneath an odd silvery helmet with a somewhat rough and ready gladiatorial feel. Two inputs entered at the back, stepped down from the power source that fed the Poincare machine, and two outputs, rather thinner in cabling, exited from the temple.

These cables wound along the floor in a rather haphazard fashion, before leading up a wooden table leg to encounter a series of cunning actuators and pistons. One set to a crudish mechanical claw, the other to a set of hinged metal joints terminating in pseudo fingers, wracked with seeming metalloid arthritis, clenched round the grip of a kitchen knife.

“Close your eyes, and have a vision of what you want to do,” went on Alexia. “But if you feel any discomfort, you must tell me immediately so I may cease the experiment. I have no wish to damage your brain.”

Aristophanes, eyes hidden within the helmet but messy strands of fair hair edging the headpiece like a feathered nest, nodded.

“Very well” said Alexia softly. “I’m turning on the power.”

She threw a large dipole switch. A crackle of power fused the air into smoke, and Aristophanes jerked.

Upon the table, the metallic hands began to tremble and clench. What was visible of Brown’s face below the nose was a gargolye of seizure. The moon-a-muck looked terrified.

“Concetrate man! Envisage the knife in your hand!” shouted Alexia.

Brown’s nod was a collapse of his neck into his shoulders, head tilted at a terrible angle. “Increase power” he managed to strangle.

“NO!” countered Alexia. “You must increase thought!”

Sparks were dancing between the inputs. Carina leaned forward.

Upon the table, the knife was raised. Aristophanes managed to stretch his neck back out like a waking tortoise, and the knife drunkenly straightened up in the grasp of the metallic talons. In the other “hand” a carrot was held firm, the forces upon it limted artificially for fear it would have been crushed out of existence.

“Nyyyyeeeeaarggghhh” groaned Aristophanes Brown, and the knife descended upon the vegetable in a sweries of hesitant, jagged sawing motions as devoid as smoothness as a cactus.

Both ladies stood on tiptoe, breath held.

The sound of organic matter. The sound of organic matter being rendered. Being cut. Being sliced. The knife lifted again, the process was repeated. Hesitant and clunky to be sure, the carrot was indeed being sliced up as the ladies turned virtually blue, and sweat turned Aristophanes Brown’s morning clothes to a swamp of sweat. He kept going for as long as he could, straining for every breath as the visions in his mind were made into the motions of the knife. But eventually it was all too much, and he fell forward, making a slicing moment with his hand as he did so.

Alexia ran forward, and helped the adventurer out of the helmet. His face was white, and where the power inputs had entered the helmet, his hair had been scorched the black of anthracite.

“You’ll wear those marks for a while yet, Ari” she said, doing a good job of hiding her relief. Brown didn’t even have the strength to nod.

Meanwhile at the table Carina was examining the vegetable of their labours. The carrot had been cut up as if by a sickly beaver, and its orange flesh too was scorched in places.

“It’s a major achievement, to be sure, but it seems an awful amount of effort for the world’s most hopeless salad…”

Sharp, sharp and withering glares from Alexia.

“I think your flowers are wilting, Carina” was all she said.

The moon-a-muck emerged from hiding, and hooted joyfully that the noise and fuss were all over.

Copyright Mulberry Lightinng 22.02.15

Half an hour’s work after thinking about slicing up salad with the power of the mind