Transcript of Private Comments from Halberd, High Priest-Technician of Brahma, to Delg, Magister First Class.
Thank you for coming to speak with me. I know you have concerns, but I think it's best, for now, that we keep these revelations to ourselves. It's hard to overstate the positive impact on morale that our inner-surface visitors have had. It would be catastrophic if the general populace was made aware that at least two of them had been… tainted… by their contact with the Elder Node.
It's true that my concerns have mostly been focused on Ballast. There's good reason for this. Although Illithids have managed to figure out how to stun and otherwise negatively affect the minds of Forged in a brute-force kind of way, the infection Ballast suffered is the first example, to my knowledge, of an enemy mind-shard crossing to the spiritual level to infect a Forged mind / soul. This of course brings up all sorts of metaphysical worries. Was the enemy able to do this because somehow infected souls are able to communicate to it still? That's a question for Kali that I'm not currently able to answer.
In any event, Brahma came up with a… novel solution, one that I didn't even realize was possible, but one that I would appreciate your opinion on as a learned metaphysical scholar.
Since our souls are bound to Yama's void, we've had little cause to use the Astral Bridge devices in nearly three thousand years. But Brahma remembered we had them and gave me instructions in their repair and use. Brahma then copied Ballast's soul on the Astral plane and used it to create a custom spiritual Realm that was… how to describe it… a full-sensorium abstract representation of the contents of their mind. Then, using the Astral Bridges, Ballast and their companions were able to enter this custom construct-realm so that their talents at combat could translate into the discovery, defeat, and containment of the infection in Ballast's soul.
Yes, I see the questions in your eyes. I'm afraid I'd only be of limited help in answering them. Most of that I didn't even realize was possible. In any case, they entered this construct-realm, found the Outsider infection and defeated it. I suppose there were a lot of hidden processes that translated their psychic analogue attacks and spells into astral editing to cut out the infected bits, but I don't really know. All I do know is that once they returned, the construct-realm was collapsed to form a newly-cleaned copy of Ballast's soul which got connected to their body, switching out with the old, corrupted copy to be contained or destroyed in some fashion.
So, it would appear that the threat of Outsider contamination of the Astral plane through Ballast's soul was foiled. That just leaves our other concern. Sadly, because Kalki's soul is not connected to Yama's void, his infection isn't easily undone… Oh, yes, I see. You already offered to disintegrate and resurrect him and have already realized that this would be futile for an inner-surfacer. I don't envy him if he ever does die… Kali probably won't treat his soul kindly. But I suppose the threat he represents is no worse than any other warlock of the Outsider running around, and until he fully turns he might be a useful source of intel. It seems his dreams are quite vivid, and quite accurate.
I'll be doing what I can to make sure someone is keeping an eye on them going forward. I still don't know why the gods have chosen to employ them as they have, but I have faith that an answer will eventually come.