The Chirani visitor arrives on a precarious floating inverted orange cone.

It offers messages of alleigance, warns of Network hazards, and is placidly infuriating. Takir escorts the creature through the massive vault doors with Roz and into the Temple where the similarly-infuriating Devotee shines a benevolent lavendar uselessness upon the whole situation. After some back and forth the Devotee suggested that the Chirani are network-connected; their minds and bodies altered by a network-attached nanosubstance of some kind. They have detected the rising disturbance in the network and mistakenly attributed it to the work of the Erulians rather than the foolish behavior of the Gaians. The Chirani cheerfully offered the Erulian priestess suicide advice – the pro-suicide kind.

They escorted the Chirani beyond the inner vault door to the pit and left it there.


In the morning, the dim red light of the many semi-active autonomous ‘intelligences’ in the network pit burned deep purple. The chiaroscuro figure in the doorway was emanating the ultranadine radiance of doom. Hasver’s altered voice came, “I think… something is wrong,” verifying that Hasver’s personality transplant into Shambo’s body had not harmed his capacity for understatement.

Evidently after another conversation in the mainframe, and Shambo’s increasingly-unhinged attempts to gather coalition among the brainfires to murder the Master, the Master lured Shambo into the Mainframe chamber and swapped Hasver’s personality into Shambo’s body. The nacreous glare of Shambo’s skin in the doomlight was evidence that this was not to be a positive change for the poor yogi. Probably the dark synth lines emanating from the forehead port along Shambo’s veins ‘searching for the source was also not good.

The group gathered their resources and returned with this evidence of cruelty to ask the Devotee if She/It would make good on Her/Its promise to aid the group if they agreed to destroy the Master. The Devotee regretfully declined, saying that it no longer served her interests. With the advent of the danger to the Network, the Mainframe and probably the Erulians themselves from the Gaian misuse of the Pattern Stabilization Engines, the Devotee’s goal to free the Erulians from obsession with their physical past was null, as it had now its own expiration date. She suggested apologizing to the Master and seeking His/His aid. Being Masculine, His/His response to aggression was aggression, but that mercy also dwelt in that great combinatorial flame.

Hasver went and bent the knee. The great black city of the Mainframe expanded around him, the Master a revolving stillpoint like a miniature sun inside a dysonsphere – or an electric light in a child’s toy.

Ejected from the Mainframe, and sealed out from it, Shambo was restored, his mind cleared, the influence of the helmet gone. Hasver was restored as he had been before transport, although perhaps the Synth seemed less… operative than it had been.


They retired to the strange cubbies of the Respite with the Tech, who hooked Roz up to a 1927th century mind carburetor to prepare her for Union, and for the cutting of flesh.