Jason stands with a circle of a hundred or so people, on the outside where the tall men go, next to his new friend Luke, watching Sarah Newlin welcome them to the Conference. She is lovely. She's blonde and icy, but with such a tenderness in her eyes and such width to her smile that you can believe in her, young as she is. A lush young beauty, Amanda Jane, approaches Jason, flirting, as she hands him his "honesty ring," which Sarah explains is a symbol of the promise to be "completely honest and open while here on this campus." Which is deft in the way that Maryann is deft: you can't have a cult if people think they have something to hide. You can't own someone completely unless you can see all of them, shadow and light, all their parts, and tell them it's okay. And if that sounds worryingly similar to love, well, there's a reason it works.
Although this honesty is interesting, because it's not really honesty: it's the illusion of honesty wearing the clothing of honesty. Take a hollowed-out man like Jason, who destroys everything he touches and loses everyone he loves, and say, "Whatever you say in this circle is all that you are," and that you love it, he'll find himself in a womb kind of feeling. But then tell him, "And this is what you are," he'll have no recourse: he's wearing honesty on his fingers. He has lost the capacity for secrets, and left no place in himself to hide, to hide the truth from your honesty. And so the hollow place is filled.
As Luke and Jason Wonder Twin their rings together, Sarah reminds them additionally that honesty is made of hate: pure, real silver. A metal that means something in this world that it doesn't mean in ours; a word that means kryptonite. "So protect it with all your heart. And maybe one day, your ring will protect you!" A guy who doesn't matter yet, but will someday soon, jumps into the circle, overcome with excitement: "Die, fangers!" They laugh, she laughs. Indulgent. She keeps talking, about how they've been lonely and they don't know people here yet, but they will make fast friends. Jason smiles: "And this is nothing to worry about." The idea is shockingly like grace. They are united, all one, Pluto becomes a planet again, just as Orry promised: "You all have one thing in common. Because for every one of you, today is the day His holy light begins to shine on you." Her husband laughs, and adores her, and as a chorus of Amen strikes up, they kiss.
Daphne's marrying the mustard. Not matrimonially, but... You know what I mean. She screws it up. Sam encourages her, and then spits ever more hatefully at Tara that she's late, as she comes in. She scuttles away, and in her place there's Maryann, radiant and wickedly friendly: "How about me? Am I on time?" Always.