They were saved soon enough by the need to load up in the limos and drive all over to find the perfect spot for an Embassy. The spot apparently indicated something of ones affiliation. Comet Fall Allies to the north. One World to the west, Earth to the east. Neutral to the south.
The Bishop wanted something near the Arrival Embassy, until he realized they were staunch Comet Fall Allies. Then he reluctantly admitted that the Ambassador had the right idea, staying to the neutral south. They finally settled on O-eight. The Bishop grumbled that it was too near the blasphemous hospital. The Ambassador refused to shift further away from the center plaza.
"We aren't some primitive backwater!" He glanced at the tree trunk wooden palisade of the corpse-like people whose hair came in all shades of purple and blue. "We want people to see our modern construction methods, and our elegant, civilized embassy."
Back at the Disco building, they took over a conference room and proceeded to argue about architectural styles. The Ambassador wanted a modern office complex. The Bishop wanted a copy of the Cathedral at Sahara.
The Captain set his two spies to outer perimeter guard duties. Miles moved out to the entry vestibule, while Johann went the other direction.
The young woman who'd greeted the delegation yesterday sat at a desk reading a thick book. She looked maybe twenty and her gleaming black hair had a dramatic white streak through it. Her eyes were crystal clear with a pale blue tint. "Good morning. I see you all survived breakfast. New Worlds don't usually get so much attention."
"It was very informative. I'm Miles Tregarth."
"Dagger Peterdaut. I'm a witch. You feel a bit like a Mage, or are you double sourced?"
"Double . . . you know, I need an explanation of how the magically inclined have organized themselves on Comet Fall. Our waitress mentioned a master wizard, and arch mage and someone named Answer. I didn't think wizards had enough power to bother with a hierarchy. Heck, I didn't think they organized at all."
"Hmm. Do you realize that excessive male hormones interferes with the proper brain development for wizard type power collection? We suppress the hormones of young wizards until they're twenty-two or three. Then they're powerful."
"I'm afraid to ask how you do that."
"Magically. We sort of stop the clock on puberty just as it gets started."
"Bleck! So, what sort of organization do these wizards have?" That explains those boys, last night. Definite ick factor here.
"Well, Master Nil has a school. Wizards come and go however they wish. 'Organized' isn't a word you hear associated with it very often. The Mages are more rigid. Boys grow up learning all the Compass chants, and their fathers arrange low level compasses for them as they start to handle power. Minor compasses are four mages, major compasses are eight mages. Greater compasses are rare, usually to choose a new archmage. They have at least sixteen, and usually more, in increments of four. Witches grow up to become part of their mother's pyramid, unless it gets so large that it splits. They usually work three at a time together. Triads, we call them. How different is your system?"
"Well, for starters we keep a very low profile, so as to not upset the neighbors. And don't do whatever that is to wizards. Wizards are solitary and low in power." And often found lynched. "Mages stick together, and work four or eight together, as you say. I don't know much about witches, other than the Church is especially strict with their transgressions."
"Hmmm. Sound like ripe ground for selling concealment charms."
"Applying magic to non-magicians is forbidden."
"I meant for magicians to hide from the church. But what about healing? I mean, you can act all medieval if you want, but most 'magical' healing is nano- and micro-scale protein molecules beefing up the body's own healing abilities."
"Xen threatened to unloose an Elixir of Youth. Magic like that is highly illegal."
"Huh. That's just proteins to repair and lengthen the telomeres on the ends of chromosomes, and regress a percentage of cells back to type two stem cells. We create micro factories with telekinesis, and the micro factories churn out the proteins. Other than using mental manipulation as a manufacturing method, what is there for the Church to condemn?"
"Making it sound good does not remove the taint of evil." Father Leonardo stalked in and looked at the young woman disapprovingly. "We have decided upon a location."
"Excellent. Let me take you up to Andrai Andrews. She is in charge of records." The girl jumped up and headed up the steps on the southern side of the lobby.
"Is she a witch?" Father Leonard stalked behind her, and Miles followed.
"Oh no, she's from Earth. The original one."
"Ah, one of their four appointees?"
"No, we hired her to get the paperwork under control. Director Hackathorn and Julianna Prescott are the assignees from Earth. Everyone seems to be conservative and just send two people at first. If they send any. Most come for a couple of years, then go back home. Often they aren't replaced, because it's usually boring around here. I mean, one group of criminals we only rarely find, and wars spring up unexpectedly. We yelled for help, with the Cannibals. Wow, talk about nasty people!" She swung into a tidy office. "Andrai Andrews, this is Father Leonard, from Not Fall. Or whatever we finally call their World. They've picked a block."
Andrews stood and shook hands firmly. "Good to see religion holding its own on some of these magical worlds, Father. Which block do you want?"
She quickly filled out both paper and computer copies, and handed over a sheet labeled "Title" and a thin sheaf of papers. "This is a list of equipment, materials and services available locally. A few local regulations. We place very few restrictions on what you may bring. Is slavery legal on your World?"
"Delighted to hear that. So we don't have to worry about slave labor. No animals for intended release to the wild, please. There are no large indigenous animals, here. After some consultation, we've added two species of antelope, domesticated cattle, horses and song birds. We're waffling about rabbits and rabbit predators."
"I see. I'm a bit surprised you've added any."
"Well, we always worry about stranding, if something happened to the gates."
Father Leonard looked alarmed. Miles felt his own stomach clench. "Does that happen often?"
Dagger shook her head. "Oh no. Occasionally one of the gates will weaken, and need to be replaced, but we've never been unable to reattach gates. It's just a precaution."
"A rather frightening one." Father Leonard shrugged the thought away. "Thank you so much for your time."
"My pleasure. Welcome to the Multiverse."
The Ambassador and the Bishop each sent reports home with gofers, and received in return truck loads of panels, ready for assembly. In five days they'd moved to temporary quarters on their quarter mile square piece of home.