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Guidance Withdrawal chapter 6

Guidance Withdrawal

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Chapter 6

####Back to Lathica

The economy of the canonical age is a mixed system based on the central economic agents of the two preceding eras: The nets of the network age, and the opts of the axiological age. These ages of civilisation are characterized by their predominant forms of societal organization. It all started with the tribes of the forager age. Then there were the villages and kingdoms of the agricultural age. Next were the companies and nation states of the industrial age. They were gradually supplanted by what started as “collective intelligence networks”, or cinets, in the late 2020s. As they became the established norm of economic and political organization towards the middle of the 21st century, they were simply called “nets”.

Nets are still the prevalent form of economic organisations of the simple in the canonical era. What characterizes them is that they operate on advanced principles of self-organization, rather than centralized control. Nets are the most efficient and effective form of organization that simple beings are capable of fully engaging with. That’s why they still persist in the canonical age. A net is primarily defined by the shared goals of its constituent, and secondarily by shared approaches for reaching those goals. Such approaches can vary drastically, but are always guided by advanced principles of self-organization.

Opts arose with the emergence of the first superintelligences. Their main strength was their superior ability to deal with high degrees of complexity, hence their contemporary naming as “complex”. That gives them an edge at predicting the future, even above the quite formidable predictive capabilities of nets specialized on forecasting. But that’s not what makes opts special. It’s that they are rooted in formal axiology that defined them. They optimize activity in regards to a given formalized value system. Before the discovery of the universal attractors by the K’phlor collective those formalized value systems have been rather flawed, which made it hard for them to gather large scale support. They were widely regarded as inferior to the “fuzzy missions” of the nets. Only the convergence on the universal attractors in value space changed people’s minds. It was this defining achievement that marked the transition from the network age to the axiological age. From then on, the complex could fully leverage their power of hardcore optimization in the name of value systems that were widely agreed upon. And that’s how the opts, which is of course short for “optimizers”, became the dominant form of economic organization in the axiological age.

Naturally, the rise of the opts came with its own issues. While opts were the natural form of organization for the complex, the simple were kind of out of the loop there, since they lacked the superior capability to handle complexity, which was necessary for optimal functioning within the opt framework. Of course, the complex could tell the simple what to do exactly, but the required degree of micromanagement felt quite alienating to most simple, which were by then full accustomed to transparent self-organized work within nets. While opts did possess the means to provide for superior extrinsic motivation – mostly consisting of economic and social rewards – for their contributors, nets still had the advantage of enabling better intrinsic motivation, since it was more natural and fun to work for a net. In the end, simple beings had the choice between wealth and happiness. It’s not surprising that many choose happiness over wealth, and operated within the net framework, rather than integrating themselves into the opt framework.

So far, this of course creates the impression of two economic paradigms that operate in parallel. However, that’s not the end of the story. Of course, the opts wanted to use the nets for their own ends, even if nets didn’t have the absolutely best possible internal organization. That’s why opts started exerting subtle influences on nets. The activities of the nets became more aligned with the plans of the opts without the members of the nets fully realizing what was happening. They didn’t get alienated by the subtle nudging that was exerted by the opts, even if it sometimes made them suspicious. In fact, there was a wide range of resistance to this kind of nudging among nets. Some nets became pretty much overt front operations for opts, while other nets retained a very large degree of unfettered autonomy – at least on the levels that the simple were able to perceive.

How did all of that change with the proof of the Universal Value System Theorem? Due to the convergence of the previous value factions, opts stopped competing against one another, and started cooperating on all scales and levels. In fact, it could be said that all opts became instances of the “canonical opt” whose purpose is to optimize ultimate value. For nets however, not much has changed. They were still more or less nudged by opts. Nets still differed in the degree of apparent nudging that they were subject to. They ranged from fully autonomous over mildly integrated, semi-integrated, highly integrated, to fully integrated.

Where on that line was N!Spire located? Well, N!Spire has been pretty much an opt front from the beginning. It started out as opt of the Exaltation during the Prestige Wars. Its mission was to enable daring individuals to perform actions that could inspire a large number of people. That mission hasn’t changed since its inception. The only thing that kinda changed was the PR since the wise have taken over control. N!Spire started claiming not to be an opt front, even though it effectively has always remained exactly that. In fact, the whole PR stunts have always been kinda ironic (for example its slogan “Totally not an opt front ;)” – with the obligatory inclusion of the winking eye emoticon), rather than being serious. N!Spire has become notorious for this kind of unusual PR, but apparently it worked for the wise, otherwise they wouldn’t have continued with this strategy.

Finding out about this only required a cursory glance at the Pedias, the common knowledge base of the Canonical Coherence.

Apart from these economic revolutions in the course of history, another revolution was even more important for everyday life in the Canonical Coherence: The hedonic revolution. The ability to generate incredible levels of pleasure at will by using special neural implants was an absolutely disruptive innovation. Generating relatively excessive rewards at will can seriously upset the functionality of a mind, so great care has to be exerted. That’s why, even if it is technically feasible, most minds generally do not possess the ability to induce states of supreme pleasure at will. Instead, they rely on safety mechanisms of sophisticated artificial hedonic architectures, or on the intervention of AI assistants responsible for hedonic regulations. The latter AI assistants are often called “regulators”.

However, it didn’t create huge problems to simply increase the levels of experienced happiness uniformly, as long as the relations of relative reward strengths for specific stimuli remained roughly the same. That is, if the intensity of negative feedback was also increased in tandem with the intensity of the positive feedback. Omitting that adaptation usually leads to hypomanic or manic behaviour, which comes with certain undesirable issues. An alternative approach is to deliver negative feedback not as pain or suffering, but as diminishing of positive emotions. However, the difference between both modes of negative feedback is subtle, under usual circumstances. Only in extreme cases, a reduction of positive feelings becomes insufficient to convey the scale of the problem a being needs to react to, because the intensity of the warning signal requires an even stronger signal than even the complete nullification of all positive feelings. These extreme cases, nevertheless, warrant that negative feelings persist, and are the usual way of delivering “bad news”, even if the alternative of diminishing positive feelings exists.

Thus, the price for artificially increased positive feelings are artificially increased negative feelings in order to leave the functionality of a mind mostly unchanged. That’s an inconvenient truth, but in a world that has the sources of unnecessary suffering under control, it’s a fact of life that people are willing to live with. Life is more intense, and better in general. Highs and lows are amplified, but people spend more time in the highs, and are able to deal with the lows much more effectively.

The general changeability of one’s hedonic configuration however, creates a permanent temptation to ramp up one’s positive feelings and reduce one’s negative feelings through technological means directly. Valuing one’s functionality over one’s subjective pleasure is far from being a given fact of life. Resisting that temptation is a core motive of the post-hedonic era. There are of course a large number of alternative hedonic architectures, but each of them comes with its own particular issues.

Now it’s tempting to compare this to the situation before direct neural implants made hedonic manipulations easy, and see the similarities with the era in which such manipulations were done mostly through chemical means. There are indeed similarities, but there’s also the difference that damages to one’s neural structure are pretty much reversible nowadays, at least in principle. But then there’s the question as to what counts as “damage”. And in fact, less functional minds on a permanent extreme high, often called “blissies” do exist, and enjoy certain rights. The only issue is that they usually have no strong reason to get back to a more functional hedonic architecture. Once you become a blissie, you are usually lost to “regular civilization”.

Temptation is always the greatest when one is suffering the most. To be able to resist temptation one needs to be able to endure suffering. So, that’s one of the most crucial skills in the post-hedonic age. And it’s not merely about the ability to remain an active participant in civilization. It’s about being able to reach one’s goals effectively. An inability to endure suffering implies that one lacks the grit required to persist through hard trials on the way to an ambitious goal. In fact, the ability to endure suffering is hardly obtainable without the willingness to go through suffering in a world in which that is effectively optional. That may look like insanity, but has the purpose to seed the foundations of success and freedom. The remaining question then becomes whether it’s worth paying the price for those values. It’s one of the defining characteristics of the Exaltation that its members usually answered that question with “Yes, definitely!”

The Exaltation was one of the Big Six value factions what were the main actors of the Prestige Wars. Its competitors were the Exuberance, seeking overall well-being as prime maxim, the Heavens, aspiring the abolition of suffering, the Freedom, maximising the availability of real choices, the Unity, valuing knowledge over everything else, and the Balance, the faction that believed in the principle of the golden middle. Besides the Big Six there were a couple of other minor value factions, but they never gained a level of popularity or impact that is comparable to that of the Big Six. What’s special about the Exaltation is that its focus was personal growth, development, and refinement. Even if it was nearly impossible for members of the Exaltation to become perfected beings, aspiring perpetual improvement was its guiding principle. And that high ambition comes with a high price: Relentless dedication to honing one’s strengths and eradicating one’s weaknesses. Susceptibility to suffering was seen as one of the greatest vices, so it was attacked with the greatest effort. That often included a specific kind of daily training, widely known as indomitability training.

After the interview with Kathatus, Adano researched the N!Spire net further. What was really intriguing was that the net didn’t expect to be mentioned openly. Instead, information that people were sponsored by N!Spire was suppressed as far as possible and diluted with intentionally spread misinformation, wherever it was feasible to keep people ignorant. In an age of virtually limitless free information and supreme automatic data curation that was nearly impossible, except where people didn’t care too much about knowing the truth, or even where people cared not to know the truth, because ignorance made life more mysterious. Adano didn’t really get why there were people who thought like that. Shouldn’t all people strive for perfect knowledge in order to further their goals to the largest degree? Were people still that irrational, or was it his lack of insight into simple psychology that made him blind to something important?

He didn’t want to talk with Arizzi about that, because of the expectation that such a talk would end in him getting even more homework. And Adano was more interested in that person Kathatus anyway. So, he spent the rest of his day reviewing his recorded odyssey in detail. The inner system was an exotic place to Adano who hasn’t seen much of the world outside of Lathica, at least not in person. Even though people in the inner systems were Solans, too, they had quite a different attitude to life. They seemed to focus more on enjoying life than on excelling at it – how pathetic! Such a display of lacking self-discipline would get him really bad ratings from everyone surrounding him. Life was supposed to be a glorious struggle, not a leisurely spectacle. Even though what he felt about the lifestyle and mentality of the inner system dwellers could be called contempt, he couldn’t stop being fascinated by those foreign cultures. In a distant future he would need to go on an odyssey, too, and openness to other cultures was pretty much expected. Would he really be able stay himself? Would he even want to stay himself? And why was he so afraid of losing himself? Was it merely the fear of becoming someone he now felt contempt for, or was it something even deeper? Was it the irrational fear of stopping existing, not only as himself, but at all: The fear of death? No, impossible! Only fools were so crazy to believe in death in an era in which it had been effectively abolished.

As he pondered on those questions in his private room, Adano grew tired. The lights that emanated from the walls grew dimmer. His room wasn’t anything special. As with all contemporary rooms, all the important technology was integrated in the functional walls, ceiling and floor. People didn’t need much stuff anyway, since ubiquitous technology integrated in the environment provided for almost all needs. Adano had a closet with his wardrobe and diverse tools and devices, though. On one end of his room there was a shaper nanite pool that could aggregate into any shape that was desired. He often has had a lot of fun playing with that silvery goo. On the other end of the room dark green vines grew out of the floor and encroached him. They lifted him up in the air and surrounded him completely. Vine cocoon beds were not the most comfortable bedding, but they were strangely soothing.

Slowly, he transitioned from thinking to perceiving vivid images and feelings that filled his consciousness. His thinking grew more disordered, less coherent, silent, turned into a mysterious whisper. All the stations of Kathatus’ odyssey started merging into a scintillating scenery that became the setting of his dream. He was himself, Kathatus, Arizzi, a teacher, a slave, a pupil, a fool, and lost. He lost himself in the wide valleys of ancient Roman Asgard. His surroundings stretched into infinity and he had no way of knowing where he was, or even who he was. But he had his wiseguide. Or really? Where was she? For the first time in his life, Adano felt truly deserted. How come that Diolineda didn’t appear to him when he was so lost? Was even she too far away from him? How could this be? A morbid thought occurred to him: Was this the end? Was he truly dying?

‘By the wise’, he suddenly thought! How was it allowed that he could perceive such a cruel nightmare? He immediately confronted Diolineda about that once his mind became clear enough to summon her: “Where were you in my dreams? Why were you absent? You always watch me. Why didn’t you save me?”

Diolinda appeared to him as the luminous pillar of radiant flowing beauty that she always was and answered: “I let you explore the terrifying depths of your mind without shielding you from them. How could you ever understand yourself completely, when I’m always protecting you from anything you don’t want to experience? You’re not a baby anymore. It’s time that you explore reality as it is, without shielding filters.”

Adano protested: “That’s not fair! I’m only eight years old. Can’t you at least always stand by my side? There’s no need to treat me as harshly as a true adult.”

Diolineda turned the hues of most of her light strings into a deep amber and cautioned him: “Do you think you deserve being spared from suffering when you harbour so much contempt for weakness? If you think so highly of yourself, you need to be consistent and apply your own standards to yourself without fail!”

That remark unleashed a torrent of painful emotions that passed through Adano. It felt like he was stabbed through the heart. Immediately, he realized his bigotry and felt so ashamed that he wanted to disappear into nothingness. Yet, that comforting escape was not acceptable. His vision of Diolineda suddenly disappeared. Without having the chance to compose his mind, he was thrown into the daily routine of after wakeup indomitability training. The sigil of the Exaltation and then of Indomitability briefly flashed before his mind’s eye. Then everything around him disappeared. He was in a pitch black space, weightless and couldn’t breathe. For some reason his lungs would stop working. He felt nauseated to the core and attempted to throw up, but his stomach wouldn’t contract. And icy tornado gripped him and chilled his extremities. His clothes were gone. Nothing protected him from the tornado of coldness that slashed brutally at his bare skin. The pain started out strong and grew only worse. He feared that his fingers and toe would shatter from frostbite and the power of the icy tornado. Then he realized that nothing of that mattered. It was just another indomitability training session. No amount of pain or damage could really harm him. He would emerge from whatever happened to him unscathed. Yet, these thoughts couldn’t rescue him from the pain that was all too real.

While his extremities were freezing and causing him blinding anguish, he tried telling himself that pain was merely an information. And a meaningless one in the context of this training. Unfortunately, these thoughts alone couldn’t disarm the sheer unpleasantness of the pain. They were merely enough to keep him kinda sane by not amplifying the mere pain with added negative evaluations, fear of death, absolute desperation, and other horrors that would drive unprepared minds into sheer agonizing insanity. But then it got worse. Adano felt a sudden tearing pull that disrupted the tissue of his fingers and toes. They simply disintegrated into nothingness, leaving behind nerve fibers protesting about the absence of flesh that should be there, but was not. The pain was incredibly excruciating. It disrupted his thought processes completely. Where there was at least a semblance of clarity, comfort, and security, there was only chaos and agony. Some parts of his mind tried to grasp for something … and were redirected to the only thing that was left: Pain.

Emergency. Was that a thought? Emergency stop! STOP! STOP! STOP!

It all ended abruptly. Gasping for air, Adano realized that he lay on the hard floor miserably with his vine cocoon bed missing, lying in his own vomit, shit and piss, completely drenched in sweat and shame. That was the result of his nervous system going haywire as a result of the unexpected torment. At least the pain was gone. He never felt such relief about that. Indomitability training was of course extremely hard, but this time was a big step up from all his previous sessions. He cursed his mentor for providing him with such an unwelcome surprise. Arizzi was responsible for that. Adano hated him deeply for introducing him to the next level of pain. As soon as he could breathe again, Adano started sobbing. It was all too much for him. That was not fair. Not fair at all. But he still failed. He failed this test, and was all the more miserable for it.

Then the gel door that appeared like a wall a second before retracted to the nearest points of the true wall of his room. Arizzi entered slowly and calmly, with a triumphant grin that Adano perceived through the sensors of the room, rather than through his own eyes whose vision was blurred from his tears. Oh, he was never so mad at this arrogant Arizzi. He yelled at him through his telepathic link: “WHAT WAS THAT FOR? IT’S NOT FAIR! YOU SHOULD HAVE WARNED OR PREPARED ME FOR THAT! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? IS THIS FUN TO YOU? YOU SADISTIC PRICK!”

Arizzi simply ignored the telepathic abuse that continued unabated and chided Adano without taking a break: ”It is unfortunate that you failed this test, but that was to be expected. This is an important lesson. You have become too complacent. Your mistake was to expect roughly the same level of pain and suffering as during your previous indomitability training sessions. That mistake was your undoing. You should always expect that things could be much, much worse than what should happen under normal circumstances.”


Adano called out to the chief and everyone in his proximity. Arizzi didn’t react to any of what Adano said, or even possible messages from outside. Nobody was in very close proximity, so he still had a few seconds left to continue with his monolog:

“Failure to expect the worst leads to loss of control when it really comes to the worst. I will not tolerate your failure just because this test was unusually hard. You need to work on yourself and become stronger. I expect you to reach the maximum duration under this kind of torment before you turn nine years old. Don’t expect any mercy merely due to the circumstance that you are still young. Reality doesn’t care about such accidental matters, and neither do I. You are to uphold the virtues of the Exaltation, no matter how you feel about all of this. And complaining will only worsen your ratings. Do you expect me to be affected by this whining in any way? You do not have the slightest idea what I have been through myself! Get a grip on yourself! Anyway, the time limit for the initiation of compensation is almost over. Have fun.”

And with that he turned away and let Adano alone in his room where his regulator initiated safety paralysis of his whole body for the upcoming compensation. Adano knew he needed this, but he was still outraged about Arizzi’s behaviour and was busy crafting complaints that he intended sending out to anyone he knew. As Arizzi had said, time was running out and the abruptly beginning compensation interrupted his thought patterns completely. His vision faded to white and suddenly he felt weightless and warm. From there his perception rapidly zoomed out to the habitat Lathica we was located in, out to the whole solar system, in which Lathica was just one of the faintest points, and further out to the whole galaxy, with Sol hardly even perceivable, and out further to the Local Group, the superclusters Virgo, Laniakea, Shapely, and out to the large scale mesh of the local cosmos – completely under control by the Cosmic Canonical Coherence. He felt a strong connection to the network of life in that area, containing duodecillions of sapient and sentient beings. A vast ocean of thought and feeling in which he was merely an imperceptible drop. His worries were swept away forcefully, all his problems were insignificant at this majestic scale. Instead, pure joy flooded his mind.

Then, things started getting really weird. He started seeing different universes developing rapidly. First, they were lifeless, then life started evolving in almost all major regions of those universes simultaneously. The beginning was harsh and difficult. Where life popped into existence, it often was wiped out by planetary calamities like gamma ray bursts, supernovae, or planetary collisions. Nevertheless, it often recovered where conditions were not too hostile. Often it stagnated on a general plateau, but sometimes there were large evolutionary shifts in which life progressed to a higher level of complexity. Where evolution reached the complex multicellular stage, things started gaining speed. Simple self-organization evolved into intelligence. Still, most worlds remained at this stage for quite a while before the next interesting step happened: The use of tools to make better tools that make better tools, and so on. Where this recursive development started, it progressed at a fast exponential pace that dwarfed the gradual evolutionary changes so far. Many of the worlds in which that happened, experienced a kind of “stuttering”. Civilizations collapsed again and again, just to be rebuilt a short time after, often collapsing again in the blink of an eye in evolutionary timescales. Sometimes, recursive tool making stopped entirely due to the emergence of circumstances that were unduly adverse to complex life – often caused by the toolmakers themselves. Meanwhile, in other places, civilizations spread out to space and quickly thereafter obtained a silvery glow that indicated the discovery of the Universal Value System Theorem. The glow usually spread across each universe close to the speed of light. In extremely rare cases there was brief temporary resistance to the spread of the silvery glow, but in each case it was nearly immediately followed by the adoption of the glow. Since the glow started in many different places in each universe simultaneously, each of them was quickly wholly glowing in that pleasant silver tone.

There was no instance of a universe in which life spread far throughout the cosmos without eventually turning to silver. It was a virtually inevitable development in each universe that allowed the existence of sufficiently complex life. The UVS Theorem was discovered and proven independently and then it redefined the whole cosmos. Struggle and uncertainty were replaced with fulfillment and wisdom. Cosmic peace and harmony ensued. This was the order of things. It could not be any other way. The triumph of life to persist and discover the UVS Theorem, in order to work together to … … … the Ultimate. It was too huge for Adano’s simple mind to grasp. It was hinted at as something so massive and beautiful that it overloaded his mind completely. Yet, the mere hint of its existence and certainty overwhelmed him more deeply than any other thought or feeling ever could. Unfathomable joy filled every fiber of his being. And it wasn’t mere joy. It was a divine experience far detached from anything his usual life could provide for. Every possible positive experience was merged into one harmonious sensation of pure coherence of bliss and enlightenment. No unaugmented human could experience as strongly as Adano did just then. His hedonic amplifiers boosted the intensity of this experience to a level that was beyond mere human imagination. In this state, Adano felt like he could grasp eternity.

Then it started toning itself down. The artificially induced summit experience called “compensation” reached its time limit and stopped. Leaving him in a still blissful haze. Of course he had experienced many compensations before, but this one was the most intense of all. When his paralysis expired, he started crying. The mixture of feelings that he experienced right now was overwhelming. It confused him. He went through the worst and best experiences of his life – by far – in quick succession, with the best outranking his previous suffering at least by an order of magnitude. In this moment of confusion, he was contacted by Diolineda: “Please calm down, everything’s alright. You’ve experienced a horrible surprise, but it won’t harm you. This is all part of a greater plan. This is all part of the Ultimate.”

Adano was still to shocked and confused to reply. So, Diolineda continued: “When you agreed to start with indomitability training over two years ago, you were informed that there can be occasional jumps in intensity. You agreed regardless. You didn’t shy back from this intense challenge. Even though you could hardly imagine what you would be confronted with, you insisted that you wanted to become stronger. You wanted to become part of the elite who could stomach suffering like that. You wanted to become a respected member of this exalted community. You wanted to be able to reach your dreams, whatever dream you would have. Today you’ve paid an unexpectedly high price for that decision, and your perseverance for continuing indomitability training. Of course, you are now reconsidering whether your decision was ‘the right one’. When you asked me for my advice back then, I said yes, being well aware that one day you would face a shock like today. You can draw your own conclusions from that.”

Finally, Adano could form some clear thoughts: “Actually, I can’t draw conclusions from that. You make it sounds like continuing is the only reasonable option. But perhaps you have other plans for me and want me to stop, because I may have realized that the price is too high. With what you’ve told me, I cannot distinguish between those options.”

“Right. Great that you’ve realized that. Now what do you want me to do?”

“Give me advice again. I’ll follow it, no matter where it will lead me to.”

“The lesson you should be learning from this is not to retreat, even if the situation becomes unexpectedly hard, the cost seems too high, and the price not worth it.”

“But what if the cost really is too high? How would I know that? Only by asking you, right?”

“Yes, that’s what I’m here for. And I’m telling you that the price you are paying is not too high. Continue your training. Become stronger. Let your anger and resentment go. Swallow your negative affect, because otherwise it will consume you. Nobody has any ill intent here.”

“I’m sorry, if I have let you down.”

“You cannot let me down by reacting in the way that I expected from you. There’s no need for apologizing.”

“Thank you.”

“I’m here for you. And now please get ready for the day. I’ve already talked with the others and explained the whole situation. There’s no need to explain yourself. The situation is been taking care of.”

“And Arizzi won’t be getting any trouble for this?”

“What kind of trouble would even faze someone like Arizzi? It’s pointless. He cannot be meaningfully replaced. And he’s working for the Ultimate, too.”

“This Ultimate. It’s really worth going through all of this for? Right?”

“We can dispel any doubt about this with absolutely dominant confidence.”

“You can. But I can’t. So I need to trust you absolutely.”

“That’s what you need to do, unless you want to become wise yourself.”

“Would I have any reason to doubt you?”

“Yes, since the alternative would be blind unexamined trust.”

“Isn’t it cruel that you have to admit that I have no sufficient reason to trust you absolutely?”

“Yes, but that’s the structure of reality. We don’t have any control over that. So we need to accept it, and submit to it.”

“You submit to this inevitable tragedy, because you have no other choice?”


“I don’t know whether I should pity or admire you.”

“Either is fine, but in the end it hardly makes any difference. Don’t worry about us. Think about yourself first.”

This make him realize that he was still covered by his bodily excretions, a matter that didn’t bother him too much since other issues were of much deeper importance so far. Now he ordered the ceiling of his room to start a shower, with liquid soap included. The floor of the room soaked up all the dirt without leaving a trace.

Adano was exhausted and dazed by the torrent of emotions and feeling that had washed through him. His regulator suggested joining the others for breakfast. After washing himself thoroughly and applying protective gel on his skin afterwards, he put on his black heavy ceremonial robe adorned with fractal silver curves. After all, today was the most special day of his life. He sent Arizzi a quick message: “I am sorry. Please forgive me.”

“Thank you very much for your apology. I forgive you. Hesiat and Kathatus want to meet you after breakfast. Is that fine with you?”

Despite feeling fatigued and overwhelmed, he responded: “Sure. I’m available.” He took pride in handling this situation as professionally as he was able to as young member of the elite of the PCL reinterpretation community.

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