If this innate ability was coming to fruition up there, Herb thought, and then people can make plans in secret. Dissent can arise, and one-day humanity can return to Earth. That was the hope here on Earth, even as they live out their lives in the old subway tunnels and sewer pipes of a long dilapidated city.
Herb sat in his old plastic chair, slowly settling his weight into it. Plastic might last forever, but that doesn’t keep it from becoming brittle over time. He thought to himself as he forced himself to relax. Before him, the Moon sparkled like a jewel in the sky. Behind him, he felt the presence of the Citadel, tugging at his conscious like an unpleasant weight.
He forced the distraction of the Citadel from his mind. It took some effort, but eventually it was gone. At least for now. Then he focused on the Moon, and the mass of humanity there. To this point, telepathy was limited to distance, so Herb was not expecting to communicate, but he hoped, if he concentrated hard enough, he would feel something.
He focused on the Moon. Settling his eyes and his mind on the Earth First dome. As his concentration deepened, he visualized reaching into the doom, and touching each and every person with his mind. Twice his concentration broke in frustration as he failed to feel a connection. After the second time, he closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and refocused his attention.
This time, he felt something shift. His concentration depended to levels never experienced. He felt himself reaching across the distance, penetrating the transparalloy of the Earth First dome, and his mind touching others.
He could not feel individuals, nor sense their thoughts. Herb’s connection was not with any single individual. What Herb was feeling was humanity. Humanity on a scale like he never felt before. Millions of people crowded into airtight compartments going about their lives in fear. The fear ran through the collective conscious like veins of yellow in agates, children found along the river before the Citadel’s arrival. This pervading emotion almost forced Herb to pull back in anguish, but he kept searching.
Then he found hate, almost as pervasive as the fear. It flowed from many, fueled by the fear. Still herb pushed deeper into the mass of humanity and their collective conscious. Despair lay under the hate, and fear. Three hundred years of living in fear of death generating that emotion. Herb searched, and pushed deeper into the collective conscious.
Yet, all he could find was the type of feelings that led to nothing but doom. Then, just as he was about to give up, a glimmer of light shown through the darkness. Open dissent. Herb could feel the presence of lunar born telepaths.
Then Herb felt them acknowledge his presence. The recognition was clear. He felt them, and they, him.
Then it was gone.
A chilling breeze tugged at Herbs thin coat and hair. His mind spent. It felt, as though cotton supplanted his brain, so intense was his mental fatigue. Out of curiosity, Herb reached out to the Citadel again, but there was no hope of focusing on anything. Instead, he stared up at the moon, hope filling his heart.