There are several well-studied orderings on the set $\omega^*$ of ultrafilters on the natural numbers. Three popular ones are $\le_i$ for $i = 1,2,3$. We define $\mathcal U \le_i \mathcal V$ to mean there exists a function $f \colon \omega \to \omega$ of type $(i)$ such that $f(\mathcal V) = \mathcal U$, where the types are explained below.

$(1)$ Arbitrary functions

$(2)$ Finite-to-one functions

$(3)$ Finite-to-one and weakly increasing functions

I am interested in whether there can there be immediate successors in any of the orderings above. We say $\mathcal V$ is an $(i)$-immediate successor to $\mathcal U$ to mean $\mathcal U <_i \mathcal V$ and there does not exist $\mathcal W$ such that $\mathcal U <_i \mathcal W <_i\mathcal V$.

Not being too fluent in this area, it's not easy for me to go into the literature, and see what large results can be made relate to these successors. Could anyone suggest relevant results or point me in the right direction please?

One application is that an element with no $(3)$-immediate successor would make the layers of the corresponding standard subcontinua behave a little like they were hereditarily indecomposable, and also a little like a composant of $\mathbb H^*$ that corresponds to a near coherence class without a $Q$-point.

More generally I am interested in descending chains. Some results I am aware of are as follows.

(1) If a near-coherence class $\mathscr E$ has no $Q$-point then it has a cofinal descending $(3)$-chain.

(2) There exist $(1)$-chains isomorphic to $\mathbb R$ under Martin's axiom. Indeed these chains consist of $P$-points, so they are also $(2)$-chains. (*Andreas Blass*, **The Rudin-Keisler ordering of $P$-points**, *Trans. Amer. Math. Soc.* **179** (1973), 145--166.).