Obscure Means



The Luminocaptor


Discovered by:
Philippe Guillot

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   One knows many details about the life and work of the famous scientist Axel Wappendorf. However, many thing that be hold secret and that today still a few people know, have been discovered afterwards in its correspondence.

   It is in fact spoken about a discovery of a report in the long correspondence that exchanges the brilliant inventor with his friend Michel Ardan and more than the discovery in itself, it seem that it be the representation of this one that one have wanted to hide.

    The letter have been discovered in the encumber back shop of a secondhand bookseller and antique dealer of Buenos Ayres name A. Caesars Bioy, between the page of a work of B. Domecq entitled "Two memorable fantasia" just at the separation of two tales that make the book: The Memory and the Sign. The person who discovered this letter undoubtedly never dared to make it disappear. However one still do not understand why the image which reproduced the invention was never found.

   Called, as one knows it, by the administrators of the observatory of the Michelson Mount to improve one of their telescopes, Axel Wappendorf had plunged itself with all his scientific genius in the study of optics, and more particularly the reflecting one, the dioptric one and spectrography. By completing its task, he thought already to the study of the observation of firmament and the stars for their browsing. He launched out then in the design of an apparatus which would make it possible to preserve the image of the skies observed in order to be able to draw up cards and to prepare the road of the long voyage towards stars.

   The few luminosity of the night sky encouraged him to want to find a process which would allow the capture of the least grain of light. Most complicated was to find the sensitive plate and rare metal alloy which would preserve the best a so few lights. With help of many experiments using lenses cut especially for this purpose and of photonic prisms designed by his colleague Chlowsky, Wappendorf finally developed his luminocaptor. Using this revolutionary apparatus, he from now on was allowed to take, even by a night without the moon, the equivalent of photographs lit with the flash with phosphorescence.

  Wappendorf sent one of the last prototypes of his invention to his friend Michel Ardan while kindly requesting to him to test it. The letter found in Buenos Ayres reports quite the strange discovery that Ardan had been able to make by means of the invention of Wappendorf...

P‚hry, ce XIV mai.


         I had left my P‚hrysian residence and found me in Mylos for a work of command when I received the parcel that you forwarded me. Time that it took to come until me and all that arrived thereafter explains the delay of my mail, and I kindly request you to excuse me for it.

         I do not know how to announce you the emotion which invades me when I discovered your apparatus. To tell the truth, the luminocaptor corresponds so that I always waited! To be able to go to seek the light in its more negligible demonstrations and to reveal these images to science and general public represents a progress at the height of the ambitions of our very whole society turned towards the future.

         According to your consultings and your plans, I started by gathering his elements - it was a play of child - and made profitable the first night without the moon to make the first use of it. I decided to place the luminocaptor at the top of one of the highest chimney of Mylos, in the new but not yet enlightened districts. I checked in the sight ultimate once and applied me to the last developments. Lastly, I started the sensor, while respecting the exposure time.

         I returned at once and immediately started to develop the plate according to your indications. The image little by little started to materialize, and what I live then, in this moment still I cannot believe.

          Under my unbelieved eyes appeared the image of the night and yet full with details of the deadened city. But what astounded me, it was to note the gigantic shade of a strange structure, a little in the architectural style of Xhystos. Examining more closely, I believed to see a high fine and air tower there. The material used for its construction appeared to me as to be of metal like iron or Chromium. However, one finds no building of this kind in Mylos. I believed on the blow being reached of a rare form of Xhystite: all my senses were troubled.

          I saw nothing any more but one thing to be made: to join our friend Stanislas Sainclair and to ask him to help me to excavate the files of the Echo of the Cities in the search of indices which would enable us to identify this mysterious tower.

         Finally, we discovered invaluable information in the file "Joseph Abraham". You remember certainly this young doctor who came to continue his studies in P‚hry and was condemned to the capital punishment at the end of strange affair. Among the letters which he sent to his engaged Clara and which we discovered joined to the file, was an illustrated card representing the construction of an immense steel tower with this legend: "the Frayed Tower, erection of four pylons". Undoubtedly, the card came from P‚hry, but nothing permit to affirm that construction is well from P‚hry. At the contrary, I sufficiently furrowed myself this city during my life and I never saw or heard to speak about this Frayed Tower!

         But it is not now without any doubt but the shade which bars the image that I took with the luminocaptor is that of this tower! Of which memory is this the sign? You and me, professor, we start to firmly believe in this idea that there are crossing points. Would you have invented an apparatus which makes it possible to locate them?

         I communicate to you all trembling these discoveries and call to your authority to explain how the phantom of this Frayed Tower could, in the absolute black of this night, to superimpose itself on the walls of Mylos as to know what you think of my suggestion bus for my part, I do not know any more what to think...

          With all my regards, dear professor, I remain your faithful and devoted.

Michel Ardan