Forts and Keepers
There are five keepers stationed in Earth and tasked with keeping the happiness of Alterians. They reside in five out of dozens of forts spread on Earth. The active forts are chosen based on a variety of factors, including the Alterian celestial state, geopolitics, the personal preference of the keeper, and his or her ability to legally reside in it (per local law). This means a fort doesn’t necessarily have local crew.
All of the forts are owned by the Alterian Trading Company and all of the crew, including the keeper, are its employees. The forts were built by the company’s founders, Everett and Carolyn Clark.
Forts look different. They were built and are modified to fit their surroundings. All forts have 3 things in common:
(1) Each fort is itself an hydraulic machine using substanced water as hydraulic fluid.
(2) Each fort’s lobby has the symbolic tug-of-war statue depicting the iconic moment in Alteria’s discovery.
(3) Each fort has a special communications and electronics room, where electricity is not disturbed by the substanced water.
A fort is manned by dozens of people. The two most crucial ones are the keeper and his fortmaster. They are usually separated only by death. It is known of a disgraced keeper whose fortmaster did not leave his side.
Up until the current Israeli keeper took her role, there was no female keeper.
To fulfill his various duties, a keeper perfects three skills: conductivity, control and change. These are discussed in depth in another article on this site.
A fortmaster is as strong as a keeper.
A keeper is encouraged to have a normal life and a family and is required to retire when he can no longer fill his duties. Death is implicit retirement. The next keeper is selected in a training interview, which is the normal training of a keeper during which the trainee is tested. Traditionally the interviewer is the retiring keeper. If he is indisposed, another keeper will interview as decided between them. The rest train-interview a fortmaster candidate. Fortmaster is chosen by the incoming keeper.
Currently there are 4 keepers in 4 forts, and I am interviewing to be the fifth.