One hour passed. A loud buzzer sounded abruptly and Crane and Duck re-entered the dim antechamber.
Crane took position by the door while Duck pressed his thumb to the panel again and backed away to the corner.
Pelican's long shadow emerged against the light as the door slid open and then he stepped out. The revolver was still in his hand but turned around, as it had been handed to him, and had not been discharged.
Say nothing mister Pelican, said Crane as he took the weapon from him. Save it for the debriefing.
Then Crane gestured to Pelican and lead him out of the antechamber. Duck waited for them to exit before following into the slightly less dim hallway.
The hallway snaked with several right-angle turns. With every two turns turns the lighting was set brighter, until finally they walked past windows and saw sunlight again.
Then they reached the conference room. Crane opened the door for Pelican, gestured him inside and then pulled out a chair for him at the end of the table.
Shortly thereafter the debriefing began and Pelican was allowed to speak freely to report his experience.
At first the light was overwhelming and I could barely open my eyes. I kept them closed and curled my left hand's fingers over my left eye, then opened my eye and allowed a small pinhole to be formed by my pinky.
The light was still extremely bright but I could make out the interior of the Germinus. It was white and featureless except for a white obelisk that stood in the center, which also appeared featureless and rose to about the height of my chest.
The brightness of the room then changed suddenly and the face of a woman appeared directly in the sight of my pinhole. I pivoted my head to the right slightly while keeping her in view and opened my right eye.
I saw the brightness for a fraction of a second before it dimmed suddenly and the figure of the woman appeared. She was wearing something blue but that's all I could tell. It corresponded in position to what I saw through the hole. The obelisk had disappeared and the walls and ceiling appeared to have vanished into a dull gray void. I then dropped my left hand and the illusion was complete.
It felt exactly like I was standing on an endless plane with the horizon at infinity, and that I was no longer inside an enclosed chamber. I walked towards the woman, who seemed to be near where the obelisk had been. As I approached her, I had a subtle feeling of disorientation. I felt as if I had rotated but she was my only visual point of reference and had not moved from my perspective.
Then as I got closer, the scene changed again. She disappeared and the plane was replaced by the sea: the wind whipped my hair about and I could feel the spray of waves dashing against the rocks.
Mister Pelican continued like this for around two hours, said Swan.
He recounted a series of such vivid, rapidly varying experiences that he described as random in character, with no discernible pattern to them, before ultimately he met with Germina.
Then mister Pelican punctually exited the Germinus at the end of his allotted hour and handed his revolver back to mister Crane. No rounds discharged.
Wait a minute, cut in Hawk. You know what I'm going to ask.
The meeting with Germina is not further detailed. You will find the full transcript of the debriefing in the file to your left, said Swan.
And is there any information at all as to why that is? Hawk leaned back in his chair.
You should talk to mister Crane about that. Swan gestured to the right and began to wrap up his briefcase.
Until now Crane had been silently perusing a stack of papers. On his name being mentioned, he looked up and found Hawk staring at him intently. There was a momentary silence. Crane removed his spectacles and placed them on the papers.
Before the beginning of this trial, we ensured Mister Pelican was convinced of one proposition: "the Germinal must be destroyed". We also indirectly confirmed his affirmative belief in one other proposition: "Tuna are not mammals". Please refer to page 34 of the transcript.
Hawk opened the folder on his desk, turned to page 34 of the transcript and read aloud:
C: Mr P, I have one final question. It's a little off topic but I was just curious: could a Tuna fish be considered a kind of mammal?
P: [pause] I suppose it could.
C: And in what way could a Tuna fish be considered a mammal, do you think?
P: [pause] Was that your last question? [Laughs] It's a little complicated I guess.
C: We have lots of time if you'd like to elaborate but we can stop here.
P: No it's okay, I just haven't given it much thought yet.
C: That's alright. Just take your time then. No rush.
P: [pause] Well, you remember when I told you about the whale Mavisaba earlier?
P: One of its companions on the wave was a Tuna named Ixulutu. When the typhoon washed me ashore, Ixulutu was nowhere to be seen. Instead there was a sand formation in the shape of a crescent with four pebbles sitting along its edge.
C: Mr P, mammals are warm blooded creatures that give live birth, nurse their young and grow hair or fur. I just wonder how a tuna might be considered one.
P: [Long pause] You know what, you're right. It's not.
C: I'm not saying it's not. I'm just asking why you think it is.
P: No I mean it. By definition it couldn't be considered a mammal. When you put it like that, I agree. I don't know why I said it could but I still feel like it's true.
C: Sorry for interrupting you earlier. Please continue. The sand formation?
P: No it's just that, I know what I was about to say and I know why I thought it meant that a Tuna was sort of a mammal, but now that I think about it, it just doesn't.
P: Is it? Why did you ask me that in particular?
C: Like I said, I was just curious.