gravity and can pull things toward it."
Katherine smiled. "You're good. Now take it a step further. What happens if many people start focusing on
the same thought? All the occurrences of that same thought begin to merge into one, and the cumulative mass
of this thought begins to grow. And therefore, its gravity grows."
"Meaning . . . if enough people begin thinking the same thing, then the gravitational force of that thought
becomes tangible . . . and it exerts actual force." Katherine winked. "And it can have a measurable effect in
our physical world."
Director Inoue Sato stood with her arms folded, her eyes locked skeptically on Langdon as she processed
what he had just told her. "He said he wants you to unlock an ancient portal? What am I supposed to do with
Langdon shrugged weakly. He was feeling ill again and tried not to look down at his friend's severed hand.
"That's exactly what he told me. An ancient portal . . . hidden somewhere in this building. I told him I knew
of no portal."
"Then why does he think you can find it?"
"Obviously, he's insane." He said Peter would point the way. Langdon looked down at Peter's upstretched
finger, again feeling repulsed by his captor's sadistic play on words. Peter will point the way. Langdon had
already permitted his eyes to follow the pointing finger up to the dome overhead. A portal? Up there?
"This man who called me," Langdon told Sato, "was the only one who knew I was coming to the Capitol
tonight, so whoever informed you I was here tonight, that's your man. I recommend-"
"Where I got my information is not your concern," Sato interrupted, voice sharpening. "My top priority at the
moment is to cooperate with this man, and I have information suggesting you are the only one who can give
him what he wants."
"And my top priority is to find my friend," Langdon replied, frustrated.
Sato inhaled deeply, her patience clearly being tested. "If we want to find Mr. Solomon, we have one course
of action, Professor-to start cooperating with the one person who seems to know where he is." Sato checked
her watch. "Our time is limited. I can assure you it is imperative we comply with this man's demands
"How?" Langdon asked, incredulous. "By locating and unlocking an ancient portal? There is no portal,
Director Sato. This guy's a lunatic."
Sato stepped close, less than a foot from Langdon. "If I may point this out . . . your lunatic deftly
manipulated two fairly smart individuals already this morning." She stared directly at Langdon and then
glanced at Anderson. "In my business, one learns there is a fine line between insanity and genius. We would
be wise to give this man a little respect."
"He cut off a man's hand!"
"My point exactly. That is hardly the act of an uncommitted or uncertain individual. More important,
Professor, this man obviously believes you can help him. He brought you all the way to Washington-and he
must have done it for a reason."
"He said the only reason he thinks I can unlock this 'portal' is that Peter told him I can unlock it," Langdon
"And why would Peter Solomon say that if it weren't true?"
"I'm sure Peter said no such thing. And if he did, then he did so under duress. He was confused . . . or
"Yes. It's called interrogational torture, and it's quite effective. All the more reason Mr. Solomon would tell
the truth." Sato spoke as if she'd had personal experience with this technique. "Did he explain why Peter
thinks you alone can unlock the portal?"
Langdon shook his head.
"Professor, if your reputations are correct, then you and Peter Solomon both share an interest in this sort of
thing-secrets, historical esoterica, mysticism, and so on. In all of your discussions with Peter, he never once
mentioned to you anything about a secret portal in Washington, D.C.?"
Langdon could scarcely believe he was being asked this question by a high-ranking officer of the CIA. "I'm
certain of it. Peter and I talk about some pretty arcane things, but believe me, I'd tell him to get his head
examined if he ever told me there was an ancient portal hidden anywhere at all. Particularly one that leads to
the Ancient Mysteries."
She glanced up. "I'm sorry? The man told you specifically what this portal leads to?"
"Yes, but he didn't have to." Langdon motioned to the hand. "The Hand of the Mysteries is a formal