[personal profile] quechian
Now that Jack had his cavenant, we headed back up to meet Cor at the nexus. Cor said it was nice inside, like a forest (I wished I'd been inside), and that he couldn't feel the edge in there either.

Thymelixsen mentioned talking with Yallow about thread prices, and we all wondered when, since none of us had seen him. It was a timely reminder to go check the day's prices, at the thread market on the tenth floor. It turned out to be a large open area, but without any clear paths, since there seemed to be many walls of mostly-transparent glass, that had maps and symbols appearing on them, as if keeping track of information that was constantly changing.

Thymelixsen asked 1827 about the thread prices listed, and 1827 touched a panel to show us the prices. I asked Cor if this was anything like the knowledge navigation he's been learning, but this seemed to work by touch somehow, rather than just by thought.

Today's prices (on 6th 2.6, which seemed to be some kind of date, though I don't know what) were 696 gulwarn for 99% pure thread, 812 gulwarn for 99.1%, 580 for 98%, 394 for 80%, 342 for 70% (75% wasn't listed), and 157 for 50% (which is the lowest quality available on the market, useful for making things out of, as Thymelixsen had fetishes made out of thread). Thymelixsen asked if there were volume discounts, and it turns out that there are, but the break points are 50 and 200 threads, which is far beyond what we could afford currently.

We talked about trading, and 1827 said that the market had been trending up for the last five cycles. In the end, we bought no threads, and went to take a private track from the main trading floor to the Ult tower.

Thymelixsen said that at the Tower of Possibilty, one can have a meeting room to meet with one's other selves.

Jack asked for some rope to make a cavenant harness, but when Cor started to hand him the rope, it was another Jack, wearing something with bands and blue nodes on him. This Jack said that it was very much not a good time for him to jump. We asked what he was wearing, and he said it was absorption armor. He said he was in phase 8, and was distracted when he realized we didn't know what that meant in time. But we got him to stop talking about that by asking who was in his group. He had a non-Thymelixsen called Thusk, and May. He didn't know Cor or me, and said that he was missing Erik, an Ovahon short sword fighter. Jack pulled out a thing that looked a bit dangerous when he brandished it, and he said it was a pulser, for fighting if one is attacked between roots, and destabilized. Thymelixsen asked if he'd worked with the Ults, and that Jack had, phases ago. He'd also worked with some Inyus, and now were with the Edge Hammers. Cor asked if there was something we should do to avoid losing a phase, and Jack talked about making mistakes, then trying to go back and fix the mistakes in the time stream, but that made things worse in the long run, knocking other selves out. I asked what had gone wrong, and he said that there had been wrong thread stuff with the Edge Hammers. His May was also a Blessed of the Mother. Sometimes. (Er, what?)

And then our Jack was back. He said he'd been injecting, hitting a horse by shooting it with rooty stuff. It wasn't a true horse, but part horse, part rainbow, and he wasn't supposed to look at its face. He had to put his hands into big root things to shoot. And it hurt him to shoot, as well.

We told Jack what his other self had told us. And then Cor told us some of what had happened when he was in the nexus, saying that he'd seen his dad. He said that there were a lot of people there, all of whom he thought were Creators.

We arrived at the Tower of Possibility, which was huge, made of purple and yellow glass. There was a group of Ults guarding the door, who asked if we had an appointment or had been asked to work with someone. We said the latter, and they let us in to a transporter, telling us to think of the Collectve, and we would go to the right place. Interestingly, we could see out, though it had seemed a reflective building from the outside. Not surprisingly, most of the entities here were Ults.

We went about midway up, arriving at a curving corridor. We saw a symbol, and I confirmed with 1827 that this was the symbol of the Pushancove Collective. And entity was there, and it spoke to us, its voice in our heads, asking our business. We said we were here to work, and once it checked our names, confirmed who had interviewed us. We followed the entity to the end of the corridor. The room had a large table grown in the middle, which was very much alive. There were other small tables about, one with a decanter on it. Thymelixsen wanted to drink some of the contents, but we stopped him until we found out whether it was alright (both permission and health). The greeter scanned Jack, and said that he was mostly made of it, so it was alright to drink. We all tried the water, and it tasted wonderful, so fresh after so much time drinking stale water from the skins. The greeter left, and we discussed our plan.

Some Ults arrived, once carrying a golden scepter, one noticeably taller than the rest, but otherwise hard to distinguish, though the fires above each are different colors, so if I can remember who is what color, it would cut down on the possibilities.

They welcomed us, saying that they were glad we were considering their offer. Two of the Ult were here to help with assessing us, which was rather like what the Edge Hammers did, though using Ult devices, which shone light. They told the greeter the results,a nd confirmed that with our current levels of taint, we could all work with them. They confirmed that we understood the results, saying that the scan shows how much more of a person has settled on that other side until, of their own weight, they would fall. Which is an unsettling way to think about it, though useful. They said that we can't undo the hole that's been made, and while we can fill it to a degree, it will always be a wound.

Somehow in conversation we mentioned having seen an Ult ship in the trap, and they said that the turning desert feeds the roots, and the roots grow from it, so the kathel do get to the roots, albeit not whole, as they'd presumably prefer.

There are rules for our employment, if we choose to go with them. The first protocol is that there is no returning kathel to the roots, and no helping them past the trap. If there are violations, it is up to the ship's captain to determine what happens to us. All generations of kathel try to go to the roots, but it is our job not to help them. He mentioned that the keepers of time ebb and flow as to whether the fifth generation of kathel exist, as the city changes. The most common understanding is that the thirds have attacked the Veil and the fourth are here, but that can vary.

Tangential to that was a discussion of time. 10 cycles = 1 work cluster, with 6 on and 4 off being the most usual. 6 clusters = 1 phase. 10 phases = 1 rotation. And there have been 1319 rotations so far, according to current calculations. And there was a warning that too much inconsistency is hard on the spirit, and disconnects from the flow.

The second protocol is that being touched is considered dangerous to the roots. Where the Creators are apparent to people, it's because they're needed to deal with something in the root, because that can expose the Creators to corruption. So talking about the Creators to others is not good, nor is ostensibly using their gifts, but energy manipulation is seen as acceptable. So I could use my Blessings, because it would be seen as energy manipulation. The exception to this is the command staff and leaders.

The third protocol is to follow the mission rules precisely. We can question in advance, but must be precise in execution. If not, there might be difficulties with extraction from the root, and when the tuning fades, we'd die.

The fourth protocol is that if we work with anyone other than the Ults, then want to work with them again, we have to tell them, since some would try to use us to spy on them, even without our knowledge.

The fifth protocol is that we are ready and on time. It takes a lot of energy for rootcraft preparation, and there's only a certain window when it's possible to go; it would waste energy if we're not on time. (Somehow this lead to a discussion of their presence in other cities, and it turns out that the Pushancove Collective has a presence in all the major cities, and is based in the capital.)

The sixth protocol is that thread weaving is done only by specialists, called continuals. This includes all kinds of threadwork, such as thread stabilization, thread fortification, adn more. The Ults see threadwork as dangerous, since it can lead to greater corruption, so they have only those who are specially trained do that. However, possibility stabilization is not threadweaving, so we can work on not sliding between selves, and they can teach us more about that.

We asked about Ults having taint, and in the beginning all the Ults here were touched, but now it's about intentional travel, and not all are. They lost their original root, however, so stay traveling between the roots.

Sometimes continuals get corrupted, but rarely. Once we're trusted, the continuals could help us stabilize better.

Jack asked about going into the roots having less of our selves, and they said that we would be topped off with extra energy before being injected into other roots, which would give us the semblance of wholeness while we were there.

Tuning includes a variety of things, so while in a root we'd be able to eat, breathe, and speak, our appearance possibly changing a bit to fit in. They said that it was useful that we were actualized when we were at the temple, since (if the temple folk with trade their information) it will make it easier to get directly to a useful root.

Possibility stabilization with take six to eight units to learn from their instructors (and happily they have those). We confirmed that our pay on this mission would be 5 gulwarn per inactive unit, 30 gulwarn per active unit, a completion bonus that would likely be about 2500 gulwarn, and 3 threads as a signing bonus. And if the mission involves the possibility of further corruption, they would tell us how to avoid it.

We agreed to the protocols, and signed with the Pushancove Collective.
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