Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Decoding Big Pharma’s Secret Drug Pricing Practices
We pay more, not less.
We pay more, not less.
Jehanjir turned to Morwethe's god, realizing at that moment he never had actually gotten a name to address him by. The godling saw his concern and simply waved him off, becoming a column of smoke and falling through the floor. It seemed, as usual godlings looked out after themselves first. He looked over to the mechanical princess and Albrecht, huddled at the center of the ship, and knew that they were in the hands of the summoner's magic, and if anything would work for them, that would. Thus, knowing as he did that both the boat was away and the captain had parachuted off, it was time to save himself. Fortunately he had had tie to complete a device that he had found sketches of in an older notebook in his possession, on an idle month, in his infirm days, he had made a better one. His modifications were based on sketches of the seeds of trees, most specifically of maple trees. HE wandered to the back escape hatch, and pulled a lever that slowly cranked out a plank. He hauled the device slowly into place and waited for a roll of the ship to make it easier to drop out. What was there was folded up, but it had two wings, like the seed pods of a maple, and a seat. He crawled out on to the plank, said a minor prayer for that bit of celerity he might need, hoping himself to be far enough away from Albrecht's influence, but not counting on it. He mounted the seat sideways, and sure enough, the ship rolled and he was tossed down and aside.
It took some cranking to make the wings unfurl, and then unfold. They were shaped like seed wings, and he had painted on the edge of each wing and on the bottom of the seat, the precious dragon glow he had earlier collected. The wings began to spin, converting ether to ayre, and rather smoothly, he began to drift downwards quite slowly, spinning slowly on the seat as the excess motion from the wings was pushed down to the chair. He remembered to kick out the two small wings on the foot rest, which would stabilize the whole apparatus, and keep him from swinging too hard. It occurred to him that some kind of control would be desirable, but this itself might be quite useful, since the parachutes would only really work in the ayres of a sphere, where as this might well save men even in high ether.
But it would need work.
The trip down was not unpleasant, he saw the dragon wing its way off, he saw the ship sucked into the gyre. His eyes were now sharp again, and he could see the boat with its large chute, and the smaller chute of the captain. There were no creatures here of the high air, but he noted a fine black dust settling down. He speculated that this must be the action of the ayre of Korana against the shadow shards, but did not have the ability to collect any samples to back the speculation.
“You old fool.”
He realized he had a small microscope in his gear, he fished it out and took one of the specs of the black dust. It was very slow work to focus on it, what with the swaying back and forth of the craft, but it was not impossible once he got used to a certain level of nausea.He saw the spec and was surprised by what he saw, it was not dust at all, but a small black crystal like an animalcule from the sea, and 'twas not truly black, but, in fact, glowing black. Black as a color, as if it were any other color. He watched it, and watched it one by one duplicate its crystal structure. He also saw pressing on it the ghostly outlines of preter-born spirits, trying to push their way in and incarnate.
This then, was the answer to the shadowlands, they were living reefs, and someone had used some clever alchemy to convert ether into food for these living things. Now he understood why death not being able to operate there was so essential to the functioning of the black reef, these small things attracted hoards of preter-born spirits, why the mass above must be more life than existed in all the rest of the sphere of the cosmos, all the way out to the edge, and was growing rapidly. It was sucking the ether as well, hence the ease of their travel here on dragon wing.
“Yes, yes, it make sense now.”
Some months before received a freshly printed copy of a microscopist's text on observing both spontaneous generation, and on the incarnation of a small preter-born soul. And, of course, he had spent a week duplicating the work, even though he worked so very slowly. It took, he recalled figuring, a day for him to do an hour's worth of work of a healthy man. He saw a single animalcule about to divide, and the spirit slip in completing the division, and he had seen a clearly dead animalcule breath back to life when a spirit was able to stretch out within it. In both cases the trick had been a preparation that either encouraged dividing, or dying, and a method of using a hair stretched between two small screws to divide one creature from the rest. Here since the spec was dry, there seemed to be no need.
From the concentration, looked upwards, and thought that the black was not merely a place, but like a tumor that eats out a man in his waning years, swelling up until some small organ has bloated to be larger than all the others combined. Now he understood the panic of the gods and godlings, because this was truly some arcane operation that threatened the balance. He was also sorely doubtful that the sons or sisters had come to understand this themselves, wanton and lazy as they were. But who? But what? He decided to put away the microscope, and take the time to survey the land below, since this would be of use, and would be impossible to do later. But a thought gnawed at him that there was the germ of a solution here.
Below, to see that the pole was different from his maps, he took out a scrap of parchment and made a quick sketch. Most of all he took note that there were several impact craters around the edge of Korana's great polar sea. Was their source, as well, the shadowlands? This would imply much larger pieces of them falling downwards, but those larger pieces would create a particular kind of impact, since they would be falling slowly, and mainly through ayres all the way. No, these came from farther away, having had time to build speed among the ether, and then only lately towards the end of their journey be slowed on approach.
It implied that perhaps the shadowlands were not merely a creation, but in some sense a defense. But what would attack so? He had seen no comets of such size as to cause these craters, he counted four large ones and 3 smaller ones. He made some rapid notes in charcoal, and then carefully folded the map and put it deep inside his robes.
The rest of the ride down he used his spyglass, both to look up and note the underside of the shadow lands, which seemed almost ribbed, as if there was some kind of weave or structure. He noted the similarity to the ribs of a serpent or serpentine monster. He looked down, saw a city that was white amidst the black, and wondered how it stayed so, if this black powder fell, it should coat everything not moving, and thus he should be able to tell how the wind was scrubbing it off. So much to observe.
From far above he saw the impact of the ship, and he expected a shockwave, but when it came, there was a distinct hesitation before the second wave appeared, by many minutes. This was odd, and he assumed that therefore something else had caused the second explosion, He was fearful than any living thing could survive such a horrible pair of events, but was equally fascinated watching the great wall of black sand spread outwards in all directions, thinning as it went.
Some ways to fall, he made several sketches of the gyre as he went, till slowly worked such control as he had over the gyro to bring him towards the new crater that had been formed. He watched as the sea filed in part of it, creating a figure that looked like a giant crab from above, with blue resting between two slender outstretched claws.
Finally he did land, near the ridge of the crater. As he was coming to the ground here realized a paradox: that folding the wings would make him fall, but waiting might well make him collapse. However, in this case he had an out: by unloosing the rotary gear the bottom began to spin as fast as the top, and when the tip of the apparatus reached the sand, it augured itself in some ways before stopping. He stepped off the gyro, which tiled over on to the sand, still glowing slightly from the tiny remains of the dragon glow. It had been scrubbed off, and he noted this, it meant that dragons must secrete their glow from glands or some other workings of their body, in order to maintain it. Much to think about there too.
Looking towards the center of the crater, and was briefly astonished by what he saw there.