"Praise be to the Terminal, the mirror that reflects the City's mind. Without it, the Custodians would ignore us as we suffer and starve. Without it, the great Infrastructure would lie silent and lifeless into eternity. Praise be to the Terminal, hands of Humanity."-Song of the Living Steel, Chapter 2, Verse 5
The Terminal serves two functions. First and foremost, it can be used to make requests of the Custodians. These requests can be for maintenance of existing infrastructure, the installation of new infrastructure, for the clearing and creation of farmland or reservoirs, or even to tear down certain structures. This last ability is limited, as there are certain structures (such as Custodian depots) that the City will refuse to demolish. Custodians rarely fulfill these requests immediately, as they prioritize their tasks based on resource expenditure and expected manpower, but to date no request has ever been outright refused. The secondary function of the Terminal is that of the network. Terminals can relay messages between each other, requiring only the numerical designation of the receiving terminal to send extensive messages. Messages can be set to any number of terminals at once, and can be as long as 5,000 characters at a time. Once sent, these messages remain view-able for 20 days, after which the system automatically deletes them. This can be averted if the receiver either submits a direct response, maintaining the conversation for an additional period of time, or "highlights" the message, thereby preventing the system from deleting it. It is currently unknown how much data the system can hold, so highlighting is usually limited to historical documents and diplomatic exchanges.
The Awakened currently do not possess the technology required to repair or replicate a Terminal. It is widely believed that the hardware is made in Custodian-run foundries deep underground, but the Custodians refuse to operate on a Terminal if there are any human witnesses nearby so the theory remains unproven.
Access & Availability
The Awakened regulate access to the Terminals. Usage is generally restricted to local citizens, and any orders issued to Custodians must be verified by whichever authority dominates the region. In terms of geographic distribution, Terminals can generally be found in clusters roughly five to ten kilometers apart.
The Terminals are complicated computer-interfaces consisting of a touch-sensitive screen, a complicated alphabetic and numeric keypad, and a microphone. Navigating its archival functions is simple enough, but inputting commands to the Custodians requires both multi-tasking and an understanding of the Custodian's machine-language.
The first terminal was discovered by Polmel and her First Awakened mere hours after the Awakening. Initial experimentation resulted in increased Custodian activity, and the Awakened's desperate need for food lead to a wide range of experiments terminating in the creation of the first farmstead.
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