- Plane Weaver
VALUABLE OPPORTUNITY FOR HONOURABLE CITIZENS
Master Commissioner Dmitri Romov of the Imperial Commission would be grateful for citizens to assist with a matter of great importance to the Commission.
As the nature of the matter may honour volunteers with exposure to some of the workings of the Commission, external volunteers will be required to give their word not to disclose anything they discover of these workings before being admitted to the Commission.
Due to the nature of this particular task, all applicants will be required to submit any and all afflictions they are currently suffering as part of a revised screening process.
The Master Commissioner seeks only 4 volunteers: in the very likely case that more than 4 honourable citizens apply, lottery will be used to select the lucky volunteers. Successful applicants will be contacted by the Imperial Commission.
The party are met by Master Commissioner Dmitri Romov who explains that by use of the Experimental Vapourised Ichor Consciousness Transcendence chamber (Ichor Sauna) the party are asked to investigate the relationship between consciousness and mind in several test subjects. Knowledge Of Trust Broken tokens are taken and the experiments begin.
The first test subject is a volunteer from Fool's Landing who is unconscious. The party enter her mind using the Ichor Sauna and find minimal resistance to their arrival. They then experiment with a mental filter which seems to govern whether certain thoughts are allowed out into the mind, improving their understanding at the expense later of the stability of Amanda's mind, and then work to expunge Treasonous thoughts from her mind too. The experiment concludes as the mind rejects their presence properly, and they return to the Ichor Sauna where they debrief to Romov.
The second test subject is an Elect that Romov explains is having difficulties following instructions as expected. The party enter the more armoured mind and find a dark taloned presence clutching at it. They fend it off and settle the balance of control to be neutral from Elect and Shadow (during which time Arcturus is infected by the Vultures), before working alongside the Elect programming to purge treasonous thoughts. Some get through, much to their frustration, and over lunch with the Commission they note that Amanda and Elect 212 are both a bit more temperamental than they might expect.
Romov explains that Telemova has graciously volunteered for experimentation on a stronger mind and in Alexis's mind they find it overcast with spidery shadows. They find a Joy Cortex which seems to govern scenarios that cause Alexis joy and fiddle with it to bring her more and more joy from doing the work of the Commission, as well as reconnecting the scenarios of Family and Holiday. Tenebris overwrites the joy found in finding a new problem with joy in working with Tenebris to further the work of the False Mystikos. As they continue to fiddle with the Joy Cortex, Alexis's consciousness seizes them and they face off against Alexis's sense of self and her doubts and fears which culminates in them driving back those doubts and fears - physically and by being assuaged by Zosime - and give Alexis a new sense of confidence.
With little time between experiments, Romov introduces the party to the final experiment: experimenting on a Husk that has been seized by another force due to the effects of unpurified Vulture's Cacophany. Romov would like them to see if they can use the fact that the Husk has been seized by this as a conduit for seizing control of the controlling dark force. The party's minds are connected to a Connection Weaver before they enter and when in the mind they find an incredibly strong, hostile force opposing them. They fight through it and then find that their connection to the Real World manifests as they spot the Dark Forces' connection to the mind manifesting too. They fight bitterly to seize the Dark Nexus and bring it together with their own - Carmen and Arcturus nearly perish but Zosime uses Benediction to imbue Carmen with newfound determination that carries the battle and brings them out of the mind with the Dark Nexus in tow. As the exit, they exert their will on the thing they're bringing with them to keep it under control and find a part of it ends up secured inside each of them.
Each member of the party is taken away and debriefed separately to confirm their accounts with the final volunteer. They give mutually corroborated accounts of what happened and are reunited for a final debrief with Romov.
Romov gives a short report on each subject:
Romov expresses the Commission's particular gratitude for the work they've done, and the party leave.
Carmen adds later to her report that she has concerns about how Tenebris was initially unwilling to try to leave through a mental gate they had taught to reject treasonous thoughts. Romov notes this in Tenebris's file.
Tenebris colludes with Alexis Telemova about the False Mystikos, whom he believes to be the Real Mystikos. They reach an understanding by which Alexis agrees to help further Tenebris's aims in such a way as does not risk her own position in the Commission, and offers to vouch for Tenebris within reason if this is necessary. Tenebris then debriefs with Lyra the Blessed about what happened (as far as is possible given the Connection Token), and Lyra expresses concern that brainwashing is occurring in the Commission, as well as that avatars of some dark force are manifesting. She says that should it become a significant problem more action might need to be taken. Tenebris also creates a harness that will smash Imperial Essence over him should he become horizontal.
Zosime gives a note to Romov expressing that Carmen told her that the Mystikos is a Muse. Romov explains that while the Mystikos's ego may be overblown, the work they are intending to do is very valuable to the Commission and that Zosime would be free to help with this, or at least is asked not to interfere if she'd rather not. Romov offers Zosime an opportunity to meet with the Mystikos, which she takes. The Mystikos explains to Zosime that they believe they are the Next Muse Of Rastaban, and will use the powers they are working with to cause the city to rise once again, with the Commission at its head. They offer her the opportunity to become a Paladin of the Mystikos which she takes, and the Mystikos assures her that soon she will have the opportunity to become Proud.
Carmen decides to use the power she's harnessed from the Vulture to enhance a guided mutation on the eye in her hand as part of a ritual with the Cult of the Mystikos. Through a painful, searing ritual in which the arm with the eye tries to kill her but she asserts control, she receives a flash of an image of an enormous darkness in which she is a tiny element, and the burning words “HOW DARE YOU” searing into her mind before she drives the eye into salt and wrestles it into submission. She finds she can see through the eye, and use the eye to assert herself against Ichor Creatures. She reports this to the Mystikos who sends her mutated flowers. She seals one in amber and goes to visit the Mystikos to suggest the symbol be used as an Icon of the Mystikos. They approve, but decline her request to be told any Master Commissioners who are on side. They also approve of her request to be more evangelical in recruitment, but warn her to be careful: a misstep this early in the Cult's rise could scupper it forever.
Arcturus goes to see Alexis Telemova who is now working as public relations. She's thankful to Arcturus for what the party did for her and is excited for the prospect of having a child. She signs Arcturus up for Honourable Babysitting. Arcturus, heavily concerned about the Vulture, founds a division in the Commission for working as a defence against this presence. Arcturus is told by letter from the Mystikos that keeping the connection to the Vulture could be fruitful, and experimentation with that connection is wise. Resources are provided to further this research where it aligns with the desires of the Mystikos. Arcturus, concerned about the brainwashing of Elect 212 (who has been recruited into this division of the Commission), also visits the Order of the Wheel to warn them about brainwashing in the Commission. They're very concerned and offer Arcturus back-up if Arcturus can bring them evidence of this.