Marvin is sitting on a trunk in the so-called "Sime car", which is properly the baggage car of the train to New Washington. He has a bad itch in his tentacle sheaths, but is aware that he just has to ignore it, since he has no wish to face a lynch mob of Gens as an unretainered Sime.
Eugen changes position for the twentieth time. His butt is still going numb on the crate that's trying to double as a seat.
Marvin figures that whistling will help him distract himself. He whistles "The Unity Song" more or less on-key.
Eugen: ~~support, ow, oops~~
Sirtoss is pacing the primitive platform at the Vivan's Crossroads train station, which is usually a freight stop only. He is much too ~~ nervous ~~ to whistle: the train is fifteen minutes late.
Sirtoss would not normally be concerned with the passenger train schedule, as it doesn't usually stop at Vivan's Crossroads, but today the flag is out. He just hopes that it isn't too late, already. He looks nervously at a tool shed close to the tracks, but there isn't any sound coming from it, so he goes back to looking down the tracks, straining his eyes for the first sight of the train.
Sirtoss spots movement down the tracks. ~~ profound relief ~~ He starts for the shed.
Fridda huddles in the freight shed, semi-conscious. Her arms are tied behind her, and she's been in there for several hours.
Marvin wishes he could use Eugen's field to scratch the itch, but no such luck.
Eugen decides that he should head off the numbness in his butt before it spreads forward and down. He stands up holding onto some rope rigged to keep still more crates in place.
Marvin: [automatically] Watch your hands.
Marvin: Sorry. I should have told you to move before. I'm distracted by this infernal itch.
Eugen: No prob. Just wish I could be more use to you.
Marvin: Not your fault.
Marvin notes the train decelerating when it should not be; his Sime senses tell him that the regular stop is still several klicks down the line.
Eugen: How about I go forward and get an ice tea spoon. Maybe you could work that in and scratch.
Marvin: No. Stay put. This isn't a regular stop, and I detect a disturbance in the selyn field.
Eugen gets himself ready to "help" as much as he can. He can imagine too many things that might require something more than nageric support. ~~worried~~
Sirtoss pauses in front of the tool shed to check that the safety is off of his shotgun.
Sirtoss: You still alive, in there?
Fridda is too out of it to hear that, much less answer.
Sirtoss shrugs, and pulls open the shed door, introducing the gun barrel first. He's pretty sure that the ropes around Fridda's arms would hold an elephant, but with Simes, it never hurts to be very, very sure. He sees that Fridda is lying on the floor, where he left her.
Sirtoss: Train's coming. Time to get up.
Sirtoss nudges Fridda with his boot.
Sirtoss checks the ropes, then sets his gun aside.
Sirtoss: Come on. If you miss the train, I'll have to shoot you.
Sirtoss bends over Fridda, radiating an odd but understandable mixture of ~~ concern ~~ and ~~ wariness ~~
The train squeals to a halt at Vivan's Crossroads with much groaning of metal and hissing of air brakes.
Sirtoss looks behind him at the train, then shakes his head and bends over to pick up Fridda.
Fridda is limp, her eyes half open but unseeing. She's breathing is gasps.
Sirtoss: Not a moment too soon. [muttered]
Sirtoss carries Fridda's limp form towards the train's baggage car.
Marvin realizes just what the field disturbance is: there's a pre-Sime just outside the car! He yanks the large baggage door open, somewhat damaging the mechanism in the process.
Eugen: Can you make out anything yet, Marvin?
Marvin: There's a kid in changeover out there. I think it's a stage four arrest. And a Gen, I don't know why.
Eugen: Not good. ~~Support~~
Sirtoss has done a lot of peculiar things during his years of service to Fridda's family, but this is by far the oddest. And among the most dangerous.
Sirtoss sees the door to the Sime car open, and grunts in satisfaction. He carries Fridda up to the baggage car.
Sirtoss: Got a present for you. Special delivery.
Marvin replies in his native-speaker English:
Marvin: Thanks, we appreciate it.
Sirtoss considers handing Fridda to Marvin, but chickens out and offers her to Eugen, instead.
Eugen moves closer and makes to get between the channel and the other Gen but settles for just getting to a position where he can ~~shield~~ which puts him in the right spot to take the poor kid.
Sirtoss isn't willing to get quite that close, and he shoves Fridda at Eugen before the Donor is quite ready for it.
Eugen: Whoah! [makes a grab but misses]
Marvin could catch the pre-Sime by augmenting, but doesn't dare risk scaring the Gen.
Fridda falls on the baggage car floor, landing on her bound arms. She screams in ~~ agony ~~
Marvin shuts his eyes as the ~~ backwash ~~ penetrates his depleted secondary system and reaches his primary.
Sirtoss hadn't thought Fridda had enough fight left in her to scream that loudly. He looks down the platform, where an impatient conductor is waving for him to either get on the train, or close the door. He elects the second option, and slams the door closed, then waves at the conductor to proceed.
Marvin sees that the door mechanism no longer latches properly, but decides not to worry about it.
Marvin: Yes, an arrest, and I have nothing to treat it with. Shen.
Marvin is not quite swearing. He invokes a fifth-level augmentation and deftly snaps the ropes around the kid's arms.
Fridda tries to move her arms, but they're almost paralyzed from being tied up for so long.
Eugen moves in close to ~~SUPPORT~~ Marvin.
Marvin: I know it hurts, but everything will be all right very soon.
Eugen kneels next to the channel. The kid doesn't look too good.
Fridda lies on the splintery wooden floor, gasping. She tries to lift her head and look at Marvin.
Marvin: You're going to be a Sime, but you will never kill, and you will go on to live a long and useful life.
Marvin attempts to engage the proto-Sime's field, but it keeps slipping out of his grip.
Marvin: Water, Eugen, please.
Eugen reaches behind him and pulls a canteen from his back pack and hands it to Marvin.
Marvin pulls out the cork and supports the child's head so that she can drink a bit. He gently places the canteen's mouth to her mouth.
Fridda tries to take the canteen but her arms are too painful. She whimpers but drinks as well as she can. She's badly dehydrated from vomiting.
Marvin: Slowly now. Slowly.
Eugen feels sorry for the poor little nearSime but it doesn't look too promising. ~~SUPPORT~~ ~~concern~~
Fridda is starting to feel ~~ nauseated ~~ again and stops drinking.
Marvin: That's good. No more water for now. Tell me, what's your name?
Fridda: Fridda. Thanks... for the water.
Fridda tries again to move her arms and almost manages to get them onto her chest.
Marvin: Fridda, good. I know you feel absolutely awful right now, but it will pass as soon as your body moves to the next stage of changeover.
Marvin: No, not at all. It only feels that way. All new Simes feel like they are dying.
Marvin: This is my Donor, Eugen. I want you to turn your head just a bit so you can look at him. Look at him as closely as you can.
Fridda turns her head painfully. Fortunately, Eugen is big enough to fill her visual field with only a slight turn of the neck.
Eugen: Hi Fridda. Lots of stuff happening today, huh?
Fridda: Shed. For hours.
Eugen: Well, you'll be fine now.
Eugen isn't above some wishful thinking of his own.
Marvin: Staying in that shed must have been dreadful.
Marvin thinks that Fridda is lucky she's still sane after those hours of sensory deprivation during changeover.
Fridda: Tied up. Hurts.
Marvin: [very gently] You aren't tied up any more, although your arms may still feel like they are.
Marvin: [in Simelan] Focus your attention on her, please. I can do without it for the moment, and she needs support.
Fridda wasn't sensory deprived. She had plenty of pain to feel, and sounds to listen to.
Eugen: Are you sure you want to give her me as a focus?
Marvin: At the moment, I have no choice. I don't have enough selyn in my secondary to treat her effectively.
Eugen: ~~calm, soothing, support~~ ~~care~~
Fridda begins to feel less despair as Eugen's field affects her.
Marvin: [in English]. I need you to take slow, shallow, even breaths. Breathe....breathe....breathe....
Fridda tries to breathe evenly but her shoulders are sore.
Eugen: Well, if we're gonna do this... Let me get in here, Marvin.
Marvin moves away a bit.
Marvin: Breathe from your belly, Fridda. In ... out. In ... out.
Eugen moves in and gently lifts Fridda into his arms and cradles her.
Marvin: Excellent. That's it.
Fridda starts coughing, and tears of pain stream down her face.
Marvin tries again to get a grip on Fridda's field now that Eugen is wrapped around it.
Eugen never says the words out loud but in his mind he recites an old prayer. "Heal thee, heal thee, cry no more."
Marvin: You're trying to take deep breaths. Take shallow breaths. Shallow. Shallow.
Fridda tries again to bring her arms up.
Marvin: Hold still.
Marvin focuses his attention inward, finds his center, reaches out with his field. ~~ nageric snap ~~
Marvin has a firm grip on the combined Fridda/Eugen field.
Eugen: Warn a body when you decide to do something like that.
Eugen smiles at the channel.
Marvin: [somewhat tersely]. Sorry. Didn't know it would work.
Marvin: Anyhow, stage five transition shortly. Your field is locked to hers. Whoever serves this changeover is going to have to dismantle that, but I don't think she'll suffer any long term effects from it.
Eugen: Whoever. Right. Have you seen her arms?
Eugen, being Gen, does most of his assessments visually.
Marvin: I know, I know. Shush.
Eugen: I don't think she speaks Simelan, Marv.
Fridda's body stiffens as the transition begins. She gasps and pants.
Marvin: She can already pick up on emotions. Think positive.
Fridda tries again to bring up her arms, and each pant becomes a small scream. ~~ pain ~~ despair ~~
Marvin controls Fridda's breathing with his nageric lock, but he can't do anything about the pain.
Loohms pounds on the inner door of the baggage compartment.
Fridda: Help ... me ... hurts... dying....
Loohms: Hey, in there!
Eugen thinks positive. Simes! or should that be channels! But for Fridda's benefit. ~~Compassion~~ ~~optimism~~
Fridda's body convulses sharply and she goes limp as the transition completes.
Marvin: Okay she's out of it for now.
Marvin: [in English] What the hell is it, man? We're busy in here.
Loohms: What's going on in there, anyway?
Marvin: We picked up a girl at that last stop, the unscheduled one. She's in changeover.
Loohms: Should I wire ahead to Hannard's Ford for the pickup wagon?
Marvin: Yes, definitely. And listen, tell the channel to come in the wagon and bring the sign. Got that?
Loohms: Bring the sign. Okay. I'll see they get the message when we stop at Gumgeeville.
Marvin: Good man. We'll pull her through yet.
Loohms: That's your job, not mine, and welcome to it.
Marvin: Good point. But without your train, she wouldn't make it.
Loohms isn't displeased by this praise.
Loohms: Well, ring the signal if you need anything.
Marvin: Will do.
Loohms returns to the regular passenger cars, and starts checking tickets on the other side of the train.
Marvin: She should be awake in five seconds ... mark.
Fridda regains consciousness, sort of. She tries to get her arms up again. Blood begins to soak through her sleeves.
Fridda: Help me... please....
Eugen: ~~calm, Calm, CALM~~
Marvin: Don't move, Fridda. You're spotting a bit, but it's not serious.
Marvin buries a "Yet" under his showfield.
Eugen: It's okay Fridda. I've got you and Marvin won't let anything happen to either of us. ~~conviction~~
Marvin hopes Eugen's belief in him is justified.
Fridda reaches weakly for Eugen's hand. She's got more sensation and function back in her arms now, but unfortunately most of the sensation is ~~ intense pain ~~
Eugen takes the wandering hand.
Fridda starts crying weakly and pitifully.
Eugen hums a planting song he learned years ago. He doesn't know any lullabies and drinking songs wouldn't be apropos. He does have a fairly clear bass voice. He tries not to rumble too much.
Marvin: Don't use physical force, but try to get her to hold still. Singing is good.
Eugen nods and concentrates on Fridda.
Marvin begins to hum too, zlinning Eugen's larynx to figure out which note he is going to produce next.
Fridda turns her head and looks at Marvin. Her pupils are of unequal size, and her eyes are not tracking together. She tries to focus on him nonetheless.
Eugen looks down at the almost Sime in his arms and clamps down hard on his alarm. ~~Calm~~ ~~okay shaky Calm~~
Marvin moves to gently palpate the back of Fridda's head.
Fridda: ~~ pain ~~
Fridda tries to sit up.
Marvin is relieved to find that there is no apparent head injury.
Marvin: I know you'd like to sit up, but it's really better if you stay with Eugen right now.
Fridda: You're a channel?
Marvin: Yes, I am. I'm escorting you to Hannard's Ford, where another channel will be able to give you First Transfer.
Fridda: Good. Thank you.
Marvin: I know you are in pain. I wasn't expecting to escort you, and I'm sorry that there's nothing I can do about your pain right now.
Fridda: Can't see right. Blurry. Double. Dark and light...
Marvin: Close your eyes, Fridda, and try to see us with your eyes shut. I know that sounds bizarre, but you should be able to see something.
Fridda closes her eyes obediently.
Marvin: Do you see the two of us as luminous egg shapes?
Fridda: Warm... warm spots.
Marvin: That's fine. Some people see light, some feel warmth instead. Your new Sime senses are beginning to work. Soon we'll be at the Ford and you'll be fine.
Eugen is feeling rather warm with one Sime hovering close and one heating up in his arms.
Fridda: Arms... tentacles...
Marvin: Yes, that's right. Can you count the arms?
Fridda smiles faintly.
Fridda: Two each, right?
Marvin: Of course. Now open your eyes and see how many arms you see.
Fridda opens her eyes.
Fridda: Still can't see right. Too bright. Hurts.
Marvin: Okay, Fridda. Close your eyes now and rest.
Fridda: I'm dying.
Eugen: No, honey, you aren't dying.
Marvin: You are going into First Need, which only feels like dying.
Fridda: Thank you for helping me. Thought it would be worse.
Loohms braces himself automatically as the train goes into the rough stretch approaching Gumgeeville.
The train hits the bad stretch and begins to do the can-can.
Fridda cries out and tries to cling to Eugen with her semi-paralyzed hands. She starts to retch again, and tries to politely turn her head away from him.
Eugen is no stranger to changeovers and the various messes they present.
Marvin grabs desperately to extend his nageric lock to suppress the reverse peristalsis, but no luck.
Fridda moans as the retching jacks up her cranial blood pressure. Capillaries burst in the whites of her eyes.
Marvin tries to extend his internal calm to control Fridda's BP. Again, no luck. Her breathing slips away from him as well. He concentrates for all he's worth on preventing renewed hemorrhaging from the injured arms.
Fridda gasps, moans and retches. She would retract her statement that she thought dying in changeover would be worse, but she can't catch her breath enough to speak.
Eugen brings his concentration to bear on Fridda in an effort to get her some relief.
Marvin begins to evolve a desperate plan.
Fridda is burning up selyn at an accelerated rate. She can't catch her breath, and she can't stop retching. She's developing an ~~ agonizing headache ~~ and feels like her eyeballs are going to burst.
Marvin feels Fridda's headache beginning to inhibit his own concentration.
Fridda's body begins to tighten up as the pain spreads from her head down her spine and out to her extremities. Her muscles begin to contract and her back arches. Her eyes roll back in her head and she begins to convulse.
Marvin: Eugen, hold on to her for all you're worth. No matter what, don't let go! And brace yourself, too.
Marvin is too rattled to realize the self-contradictory nature of these instructions. He drops all attempt at nageric control and augments to his feet.
Eugen: [through teeth gritted with the effort] I've got her.
Marvin dances across the violently pitching car to the other end, seizes the emergency brake cord, and pulls it firmly. It breaks off in his hand.
Fridda is almost sixteen years old, but fortunately she's small and lightly built, or Eugen wouldn't be able to hold her.
The train comes to an incredibly rapid stop, almost the equivalent of hitting a wall, as the air brakes do their work.
Loohms: What the...?
Fridda's convulsion intensifies and she begins to augment.
Marvin lurches, dances on air, and recovers.
Eugen is grateful he was sitting propped securely or he would have been thrown across the car with Fridda going who knows where.
Loohms starts rapidly working his way through the train, trying to figure out who pulled the brake.
Fridda must be having some psychospatial disorientation effects, losing consciousness repeatedly in a moving train.
Marvin augments back to Fridda's other side, away from Eugen, and wraps his arms around her too.
Marvin: [as lightly as he can] Okay, consider yourself warned. ~~ NAGERIC SPLAT! ~~
Marvin is using his primary field directly to impose his pattern on the combined Eugen/Fridda field. It hurts like shenshay.
Fridda goes limp. After a few seconds she takes her first breath in more than a minute.
Loohms has finally worked his way back to the baggage car. He bangs on the door.
Loohms: Everything all right in there?
Marvin: Sorry about that! We've got to leave the train, now, or she's not going to make it! Any of your passengers hurt?
Loohms: Couple of bruises. Can you hold on another few minutes? Gumgeeville's just around the curve.
Marvin: No, it's the rough track that's the problem. I shoulda seen it coming.
Loohms: Well, you know best, I guess.
Marvin: [more quietly] I hope so, my friend. I hope so indeed.
Marvin pushes the baggage door open, ~~ enables 2nd level augmentation, ~~ and reaches out to take Fridda from Eugen.
Loohms: If you're going, go. We're already behind schedule. I can let your friends at the Ford know where you are.
Marvin: Thanks. Eugen, I'm afraid to separate the two of you. It's not trautholo, exactly, but .... Anyway, I'll carry her, but stay very, very close!
Marvin takes Fridda from Eugen and puts her over his shoulder in a fireman's carry. He and Eugen pick up the packs in careful unison.
Fridda regains consciousness and starts retching again as her belly contacts Marvin's bony Sime shoulder.
Fridda: Sorry... sorry...
Marvin lets Fridda slip down so that he is supporting her with her arms around his neck.
Fridda ~~ fights the urge to retch ~~ with some success.
Marvin: Good, good. Okay, Eugen, Fridda, now here's my plan.
Eugen moves into position and stays close.
Marvin: There's no hope of making the Ford on foot in time, nor do I want to move you any further. You're already hurt enough. So we leave the train now ...
Marvin suits the action to the word.
Marvin: ... and walk into Gumgeeville and politely ask the local law to send us to jail.
Eugen: Marvin, tell me you are joking. [in Simelan so as not to be completely understood by Fridda.]
Marvin: Would you mind shutting the door, Eugen? Mr. Conductor there needs to move his train.
Eugen doesn't move and the conductor can bloody well close the door himself.
Marvin: Eugen. This is your channel speaking. We can't afford to alienate the train personnel.
Eugen is prevented from his usual rejoinder by a changeover.
Marvin: Eugen. If I have to put Fridda down to close the door myself, all three of us are going to be very unhappy. Is that your idea of a good idea?
Eugen closes the door for all the good it will do with the broken latch and returns to his position. ~~not acknowledging that he would like to fold spindle and mutilate a certain channel~~
Marvin tracks Eugen to maintain a uniform distance between him and Fridda, then sets off down the curve.
The train roars off into the Gumgeeville station.
Marvin crosses the track, making sure that Fridda feels as little of his uneven footfalls as possible.
Eugen: Did you forget that you are bottomed out in your secondary?
Marvin ignores this remark.
Marvin: If you can't keep a changeover still, the next best thing is to move in a straight line at a constant speed. So we're going to do that. This way to the jail.
Marvin: If I had forgotten about my secondary, which I assure you I have not, I'd have stripped off the retainers and served First Transfer right here, and damn the consequences. Obviously that isn't going to work.
Eugen is just trying to be rational. After all, isn't the Donor's job to be rational, especially when the channel has lost his little round mind?
Eugen: And how will being in jail make this better?
Marvin: We have to get her to a safe place, and you too. She doesn't have the speed to burn you or the capacity to strip you completely, but your fields are still linked, and if I dismantle that prematurely, God knows what will start to happen. If the good people of Gumgeeville decided to beat her to death, I might lose you too.
Marvin: So we're going to go to that jail, which is at least made of stone and so insulated, and we're going to do a reverse shunt. And then I'm going to serve First Transfer. And the Tecton can go to [English] Hell.
Eugen likes this less and less.
Eugen: A reverse shunt. Have you ever in your life done a reverse shunt?
Marvin: Hmm. No. Have I ever in my life done a First Transfer? You know I haven't. Is there any other channel within Farris-zlinning distance? I don't know; I'm not a Farris. But I very much doubt it.
Marvin: Sorry. Have you ever done a reverse shunt, by any chance?
Eugen: No, you aren't sorry and that's what scares the ronaplin out of me. And no I'VE NEVER done a reverse shunt either.
Marvin: Don't shout.
Eugen: ~~Calm for Fridda's sake~~
Marvin: I'm sorry for giving way to sarcasm. But we're going to do what has to be done. Because there is no one else, and we are not going to let Fridda die, no matter what.
Eugen closes his mouth on the rest of his argument for Fridda's sake.
Fridda, fortunately no doubt, doesn't know any Simelan. But you don't need to zlin to detect a certain lack of unanimity in the ambient.
Marvin: [English] Fridda, we are going to a nice safe place where you will have First Transfer.
Eugen however reserves the right to later take a certain channel out back and to the wood pile. If he survives.
Marvin: And then you will feel fine. Trust me.
Fridda figures she doesn't have a choice at this point.
Marvin: The best thing you can do now is to relax as much as possible.
Fridda: I just don't want to kill anybody.
Marvin: You will never kill, Fridda. And you will live ~~ conviction ~~
Marvin sees the Gumgeeville Sheriff's Office ahead.
Marvin: Please knock, Eugen. I don't want to upset Fridda.
Eugen dutifully knocks.
Fridda feels the whole experience has become totally surreal. Here she is, being carried to a village jail by a Sime who claims he's a channel, and a huge clumsy Gen, allegedly a Donor, who seems to totally disagree with the Sime. She wonders if she actually died on the train, and this is some kind of weird afterlife, or near-death vision.
Dalkik is talking to a very excited citizen.
Dalkik: Now, now. I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation for it.
Dalkik hopes so, anyway.
Marvin: Hello, Mister Sheriff.
Dalkik is not good at improvisation, which is why he's only left minding the store when the sheriff is pretty sure it'll be quiet.
Marvin knows he's not the sheriff, but figures a promotion can't hurt.
Marvin: My name's Marvin, and I'm a Tecton channel. This is my Donor, Eugen, and my patient, Fridda.
Dalkik looks up, and his eyes bulge.
Dalkik: What the...what are you doing here???
Marvin decides to seize the advantage of surprise.
Marvin: Would you be so kind as to lock us all up? In the same cell, I mean. It's a matter of life and death.
Dalkik: Lock you up? But you haven't been arrested.
Dalkik is pretty sure that the arrest is supposed to precede the locking-up, at any rate.
Eugen: Well, could you do it as a matter of public safety?
Marvin would like to make an expansive gesture, but is inhibited by the girl in his arms.
Marvin: Or you may arrest us, if your procedures require it.
Dalkik scratches his head.
Dalkik: For what?
Marvin is ready for this one.
Marvin: My patient here is a Sime, and although she has not yet reached tentacle breakout, she is obviously not wearing retainers. We are her ... accomplices. It's a conspiracy to violate the retainer laws, you see.
Dalkik: Oh. ~~ comprehension ~~
Marvin: Now you could theoretically shoot us all on sight. But that would be ... inadvisable.
Dalkik remembers being lectured on the retainer laws.
Marvin: There would be ... repercussions. In this case. A matter of family. If you understand me.
Dalkik: So you just want me to shoot the girl?
Marvin: [with great patience] No, I want you to lock us all up. In your excellently constructed stone cell that I detect back there.
Dalkik scratches his head again.
Dalkik: But then where'd we put the drunks?
Marvin: My dear Mister Sheriff. I did say "life and death". Did I not?
Dalkik: Retainer laws are a shooting offense. I can't lock you up for that. That's for theft, drunk and disorderly, and...
Dalkik tries to remember the rest of the long list.
Marvin: Very well. Steal the sheriff's pencil, if you please, Eugen. And then hand it to me.
Eugen does not please but does so anyway. It is better than punching the man's lights out.
Marvin takes the pencil and tucks it deftly behind Fridda's ear.
Marvin: There you are, Mister Sheriff. Theft, conspiracy, and receiving stolen goods.
Dalkik is ~~ relieved ~~ that he's finally on familiar territory. He reaches for the key ring hanging on a nail in the wall.
Dalkik: All right, then. You're under arrest. Come on back.
Dalkik leads the way to an empty cell.
Eugen sighs and follows, staying in position.
Dalkik: Oh, and you'd better give me my pencil back, so I can write up a report.
Marvin and Fridda follow perforce.
Marvin takes the swag from Fridda's ear and returns it to the deputy.
Dalkik: Thank you.
Marvin carries Fridda into the cell and sets her down on the cot.
Fridda lies there, feeling completely detached from reality except for the pain in her arms and elsewhere.
Dalkik shuts the door with his trademark CLANG and locks it.
Marvin: Well, that's certainly a relief. Now for that shunt, eh?