And an angry core of thought sought him out. :: What have you done? ::
:: Too little, too late. But it's all I can do. I can't turn back time and give these men the lives they ought to have had, but perhaps this will be amends enough for me to forgive myself. ::
:: A . . . an orgy in the streets and temples of Makkah! You think a day of debauchery will change anything? ::
:: They will regrow their testicles. They will be men, not eunuchs. :: He opened his mind then. Let them all see his growth from lost child cast adrift from his hopeless clinging to his abusive masters into a man who took responsibility, who acted, who thought and felt for himself. And who became a sexual being.
The One mind flinched, shattered.
He slammed his shields shut and rode out a mental explosion, as the priests who'd felt trapped ripped themselves loose.
Shield incoming thoughts, let mine out . . .
:: Eat. The nanites will start the regeneration. ::
Hardened his shields against a storm of abuse . . . Held his shield more easily than he'd thought possible.
:: Get out! You are no longer one of us! ::
Weak. A small core, the ones who desired this power from the start.
Poe picked up his backpack and slid-walked down the dune and skirted the noisy parts of the city to the train station.
He spotted a few altercations at a cafeteria, where the Eclesiastical Guards tried to keep priests out . . . but individual guards slipped away, into the cafeteria and priests elbowed the remaining guards out of the way in a stampede of hope.
The first burst of fierce rebellion was fast changing into joy and lust, as the percentage of priests who'd been dose grew.
It was starting to overwhelm his shields. And not just his. The train was half full of wide-eyed pilgrims, staring back at the Holy City. Poe found an empty seat, and ignored the hugging and kissing going on around him.
They didn't eat or drink anything, but the collective subconscious, all of us have a connection . . . I wonder if this is world-wide? He couldn't help but smile at the thought of a world-wide . . . probably not an orgy, but certainly a day of strong amorous feelings. Just among the One, or will everyone be feeling happy and horny today? . . . Actually the effects linger for several days.
As the train pulled out of the station, he settled back to study the change in the feel of the One. And wonder how an ex priest was going to pay for a ticket back to Paris and the gate.
Two women swayed down the aisle, looking for seats. He scooted over to give them room on his bench.
"Thank you! So nice to meet a gentleman."
He pretended to not hear the second one whisper. "And a cute little old man, too. Look at his glow!"
And really, there was no rush to get back . . .