Lady Koralia and her entourage has gone to Byzantium Secundus to regroup after their retreat from the World Shapers heresy on Pentateuch. As they land in the Imperial Capitol, they are greeted by a familiar face: Duchess Oelestre Xanthippe. She, of course, was made aware of their arrival as soon as their ship reached Cumulus Station. She escorts the group to some private rooms owned by the Imperial Eye, and they speak about what brought them to Byzantium Secundus in such a hurry.
After speaking to Duchess Oelestre for a while regarding their current situation, she asks to speak with Lady Koralia in private. Paxton uses this opportunity to excuse himself to take care of some personal business, and Doctor Wulfric excuses himself to go speak to some Scraver smugglers to see about getting their allies off of Pentateuch. Enhenduanna uses the opportunity to spend some quality time with her old mentor, Philosophus Belesis.
After speaking privately for some time, Lady Koralia emerges from the room and tells the remaining members of her entourage that she must make a quick trip into the Imperial Capitol, on private business. Kadan is uneasy leaving her alone, and tails her. She goes to a bakery near the spaceport, and spends quite some time speaking with a young woman. Kadan takes care not to linger close enough to overhear Lady Koralia’s conversation: just because he doesn’t want to leave her alone doesn’t mean that he wishes to defy her wish for secrecy. She purchases a few dozen cookies from the bakery, and Kadan ceases his subterfuge and walks with Lady Koralia openly on their return to their rooms. Lady Koralia does not seem surprised that Kadan followed her.
Meanwhile, Paxton has met with Consul Oliver Lords, a high ranking Scraver official. He honors his contract with the Scravers, selling them new technologies he has invented, and modifications to old ones. Doctor Wulfric has arranged with some smugglers to get Provost Torenson, Novitiate Jall, and Novitiate Azoth off of Pentateuch in secret, though the cost is staggering. He pays for much of it himself, but does manage to extract some coin from Paxton to help pay for the passage.
Unsure of how to proceed, and curious about the possible connection to Vau technology exhibited by the Door or Doramos they found on Pentateuch, Lady Koralia sends a message to Stuckaneer, requesting to meet. He replies rather quickly, saying to meet him for dinner at a restaurant called the Pampered Vorox in a middle class area of the city.
After exchanging pleasantries, Stuckaneer produces a noise cancelling device so that the group may speak in private. After sharing with him their concerns, he tells them that actually speaking with the Vau is impossible: the Vau Embassy on Byzantium Secundus is nearly always empty, and only the Emperor himself and his closest advisers are allowed there anyway. He does mention, however, that if their concern is with Vau technology, there is an Engineer in the Imperial Capitol that specializes in Vau technology. His name is Frederick Gasson.
The next day, the group go to meet with Engineer Gasson. He is an older man, and very scatterbrained. After discussing things for some time, showing him images, sketches, and notes, he tells the group that the door is not Vau technology, but seems to function on some of the same principles. Namely, the door seems to be constructed of a quantum active alloy: the door both exists and does not exist at the same time. The only way to open it would be to collapse the wave function, solidifying the door either in or out of existence. He tells them that even knowing this much could be considered heresy by some of the more conservative members of the Church, and demands a high payment for his expertise. While the group is discussing, trying to figure out what to offer the man in payment, he deftly cuts a lock of hair from Paxton, and then tells them to consider their debt paid.
Upon returning to their rooms, Enhenduanna and Kadan, who have been working to teach each other their native tongues, come to a startling realization: the symbols on the Door of Doramos look oddly familiar, and the just realized why: the symbols appear to be ancient Obun.
With some more solid information, and a clearer goal in mind, the group decides to arrange passage to Velisamil to investigate the symbols found on the Door. However, they decide to wait a couple of weeks before departing, to insure that the refugees from Pentateuch arrive safely, and to get them settled in.