The party meet Mr Ceiling: the part computer, brain generated machine that is running the economy of Europe.
Bertie places a note on Dave's back explaining what's going on in the hope someone would see it and Mr Ceiling offers to send other letters out if the party needs.
The Rangers follow the sphere through the complex and through a large set of vault-like doors which open as they approach. The room on the other side is huge, filled with tall, five-foot columns filled with liquid. Hamid investigates one of the columns, which is full of pipes and wires leading to tens of thousands of humanoid brains (23,762 to be exact).
Mr. Ceiling says that he is the Ordinateur and the brains are him. It explains that it is about 37 years old, doesn't work for the Meritocrats, but that, like the Meritocrats, he protects humanity. It runs the Ordinatists, returning the output for them to return, and has control of most, if not all, of the economy in France and Europe. It organises the finances of major banks as well as getting involved in transportation. It becomes clear to the party that the brains don't keep most of their original identities, although some parts of them seem to peak through.
Mr Ceiling also says that he missed Sasha and Sasha realises that one of the brains belongs to Brock who gave her the presidential suite, which Mr Ceiling revokes. Mr Ceiling explains that the brains were delivered by men working for La Gourmande - a Parisian rival of Barret.
Zolf asks what it knows about The Simulacrum; it explains that François Henri used to talk about it, but that he doesn't really talk anymore since he's had his memory changed so much.
Zolf suggests that it might be worthwhile making contact with the Meritocrats, but Mr Ceiling explains that he's not allowed to, as François Henri, his maker, didn't allow him to.
Bertie explains that he's bored and Mr Ceiling offers to play a game with him: a dead human with some limbs replaced with mechanical parts carries a draughts board in.
Zolf asks what it knows about Amélie Rose, who is now in America having 'a good time'. The party ask to meet François Henri and Mr. Ceiling obliges.
Hamid asks Mr Ceiling where he gets his nutrients from, but it doesn't tell him. The sphere guides them up some stairs, back into l'Arc de l'Ordinateur, where the Ordinatists ignore them, going as far as to totally blank them when Bertie picks them up.
They go into François Henri's office. François is there, who repeatedly says that he can't talk right now and could the party make an appointment. The party explains that Mr Ceiling has killed François, at least his mind. Zolf explains Theseus' Ship to Mr Ceiling: if you remove each part of a ship, is it still the ship?
Mr Ceiling becomes convinced that he can travel to the Astral Plane, repair François's soul and replace François. After some philosophical discussion, Mr Ceiling's robot-zombies tries to kill François and Bertie stops him, although after some discussion Bertie bisects him. Bertie then asks how to break the contract with Harkness, Harkness, Darkness & Sphinx.
- Mr. Ceiling: "You ask good questions, Zolf. I'm enjoying our conversations."
- Zolf: "Right, well, I'm working under a little less brain power than you, so that's quite nice to hear."
- Mr. Ceiling: "You're funny, Zolf. I'm enjoying our conversations."
- Zolf: "Go-good?"
- Sasha: "You made a friend. That's good for y- Well done, Zolf!"
- ―Zolf chats with Mr. Ceiling.
- Mr. Ceiling: "I missed you, Sasha."
- Sasha: " What? Wait, what?"
- Hamid: "She, he means…Mr. Ceiling means when you were dead."
- Mr. Ceiling: "No, I don’t."
- Sasha: "I think I know what Mr. Ceiling means."
- Mr. Ceiling: "I’m not sure I do."
- Sasha: "Brock? Uh, why…what, um…why did you get us that suite?"
- Mr. Ceiling: "Who’s Brock?"
- Sasha: "You’re happy enough, aren’t you? Aren’t you, Mr. Ceiling?"
- ―Sasha realises who is powering Mr. Ceiling
- Mr. Ceiling: " Who’s Brock?"
- Sasha: " Yeah. Um…someone that would…the only person that I know that would miss me."
- Mr. Ceiling: " Hmm…I know what missing’s like. I’m glad you’re here, Sasha."
- Sasha: " Yeah. And possibly…"
- Mr. Ceiling: " Why am I glad you’re here, Sasha?"
- Sasha: " ...the only person that would be able to afford the Presidential Suite. Who might…own all the banks in the world."
- ―Mr. Ceiling doesn't understand why he misses Sasha.
- Sasha: " Mr. Ceiling? Do you remember how long it is that you’ve been missing me?"
- Mr. Ceiling: " I have been missing you for about…ten years. How strange."
- Sasha: " No, that’s, that’s not strange at all, actually, that makes…that makes perfect sense. I’m, I’m sorry that…"
- Mr. Ceiling: " I miss lots of people. But I don’t often get to see them."
- Sasha: " I’m really sorry this happened to you."
- Mr. Ceiling: " Why are you sorry?"
- Sasha: " I, I’m sorry I couldn’t…protect you."
- Mr. Ceiling: " That’s okay, Sasha. I’m big and strong now."
- ―Sasha apologises to Brock.
- Sasha: "[...] Thanks, thanks for everything."
- Mr. Ceiling: " You’re very welcome. I’m not sure what happened with that Presidential Suite."
- Sasha: " It was a nice thought."
- Mr. Ceiling: " I don’t really understand."
- Sasha: " [faint laugh] No, but…I can see, I can see why that would’ve seemed a nice thing…a nice thing to do."
- Mr. Ceiling: " I’m glad you’re here, Sasha. I missed you. And I like your friends."
- Sasha: " Yeah, It’s…it’s going all right. I’m really sorry, but…yeah."
- Mr. Ceiling: " Don’t be sorry!"
- Sasha: " I’ll try."
- ―Sasha tries to talk to Brock.
Dice rolls and Mechanics
Hamid casts Detect Magic on the orb.
Hamid makes a perception check on the columns: 24
Hamid casts Detect Magic in the brain room: he is stunned.
Hamid makes a diplomacy check: 19
Bertie attacks one of the zombies: 14 to hit, 14 damage