Alternate Universe Cartoon for: October 3rd, 2001 C.E.
A Typical Day For A Middle Level Alchemist
"What's life like for a card-carrying Alchemist? What are their typical duties and responsibilities with society, and the Union itself?" -Xiombarg on the Unicorn Jelly Forum
For the lowest level worker, let's follow the day of Kurian Alderbast, a sewage worker in Gyranfryll Wabe, home of Makineri. In the morning, Kurian rushes off to his local Union Hall, and signs in, in triplicate. One form is for his Union, one for the Witch Faction Insurance Circle, and the third goes to the Council archives. Next, Kurian gets his work assignment. It may be on the same project he was working on the day before, or suddenly, for political reasons, he could be shuffled to something completely different. He grumbles, but there is nothing to be done...he has to work, to eat. Off he goes, wearing work clothes, but also his Alchemist's Glasses. Most low-level workers, once on site, remove their Glasses because they really are heavy and sweaty things, and mostly very useless. Most Alchemist's Glasses do not even offer magnification or vision correction...they are just clear. They are more of a badge than of any use at all. If Kurian and his mates get caught working without their glasses, they are fined. Lunch is at mid-day, and is a big deal, since breakfast is not eaten. A typical lunch might include rice balls with rat meat, cricket bars, lemon-grass pork buns, plum and cricket salad, rat soup, and tea. Always tea.
Oh, in case you were wondering, there are no wines, beers, or other such things on Gryrnu. They lack yeast...at least that they know about.
At the end of the day, Kurian goes home and makes a simple dinner, perhaps a stew of pork, roasted crickets, pickled plum and dandelion over rice. Kurian takes his Vlax, and goes to bed.
For a middle-class Alchemist, we can follow Noori Oulouka Aluran, as she starts her day of research by -you guessed it- visiting her Union Hall. Triple forms, plus an 'Intent To Fulfill The Principles Of Reason' pledge with others of her rank. Then it's off to a factory, a repair shop, a teaching position, or in Noori's case, the much more bizarre Research Mill.
Alchemist Faction Research Mills are part library, and part machine shop. The day is spent in timed, enforced study (even if one has already memorized the damn book!) followed by testing principles of mechanics and physics that have already been tested by countless generations before. The given days 'research' is all approved by powers higher up as being 'safe for society'. Most of Noori's job is a vast make-work program. There are a few hours for personal projects every week, but these are supervised by visiting Cultural Binders to make sure they do not violate any restrictions or limitations.
However, occasionally, a Research Mill, if it gets a rebellious officer assigned to it, will go rogue. While putting in the appearance of following the rules, the entire shop will erupt in covert rebellion, often simply out of frustration. At this point, some big project seems to appear, and everyone is so eager to do something real for a change that they all get very excited with the plan. This is how all of those Bell-Walkers got built, and how they ended up marching to town (and being destroyed by Sisu with the help of Wai-Wai). This is the very sort of situation that Makineri once participated in, in his youth...a rebellion using forbidden technology created in a rogue Research Mill. They always seem to fail, as though the Council knew all along. After mild punishments all around, everybody ends up ultimately going sheepishly back to regular work, as though nothing happened.
Noori has lunch, builds and deconstructs, reads the same books for the alloted time, and goes home. She may go to a restaurant, because she makes decent money, for dinner. She may go to a show (Witch Faction only, of course!),takes Vlax, and then to bed.
For the Lower Elite, we can follow Makineri himself. Daeus begins the day making sure that all the forms in the Union Hall are processed, leads the Pledge to show solidarity, and then retires to his office. There he plans the general research permissions for the many Research Mills, according to edicts from the Council. He also arranges the Sanctioned Rebellions, choosing 'covert' projects and 'rebellious' Mill officers to lead them. Makineri must be very careful to not allow any one Mill to have too many rebellions over a set number of years, and must keep coming up with new ways to keep them fresh.
Occasionally, Daeus will get an official notice of Actual Research, which then he will arrange for the best Research Mill he knows of. This Mill will then be carefully observed as it actually researches something that the Council deems important. Makineri must then have the research results transferred to several factories, where discrete, but incomplete parts of whatever is being developed are made. These parts are then shipped to a location that only the Council knows, for a project that no one seems to know anything about. But Makineri knows...or thinks he does...and he is not happy about it.....!
After lunch in a fine cafe or restaurant, Makineri travels about acting as a Cultural Binder, overseeing that personal projects at Research Mills do not violate any rules, that the divisions in society in general are being upheld, and so forth. He can get permission to follow up a lead on anyone he suspects of violating Culture, and while he is away, his 'Little Gear' (as they call it) or Second Assistant will fill in for him. His First Assistant...who up until recently was Muri, follows him and acts as back up.
At the end of the day, Daeus goes home, has dinner with his housekeeper (or goes out),takes Vlax, and spends too much of the night writing down what he did that day, why he did it, and how he could be even more true to Cultural Ideals tomorrow. Often, a young lad he has hired, named Ruli, does this for him, as he slips off to....
Well. Enough about Makineri. Thus is the daily life from three levels of typical Alchemists on Gryrnu.
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