The Repercussions: Episode 1

Cristal is walking to Bibi's office for his appointment. He's been thinking about the Geggs and their problems, as Bibi asked him to. He knocks on Bibi's door.

Bibi wishes he wouldn't do that.

Bibi: Come in, Cristal.

Cristal comes in and closes the door behind him.

Cristal: Hello, Bibi.

Bibi: Hi. Have a seat.

Bibi pushes the box of cookies over to the Gen's side of her desk.

Cristal sits down and forces himself to take only one cookie.

Bibi: So, any thoughts about the Geggs?

Bibi sips her cooling tea.

Cristal: Would you like me to warm up your cup?

Bibi: No, I've been drinking too much tea today. Thanks anyway.

Cristal: As far as I can tell, this business with Mik is at the core of the entire problem.

Bibi: Yes?

Bibi isn't sure whether Cristal has some new insight or is stating the obvious. Well, obvious to everybody else, that is.

Cristal: If we either had a pretty good assurance he was going to be a channel, or no reason to think so at all, he would just be another part of the general Gumgeeville problem -- which is rather outside our remit. But the chance that he will be a channel is making everyone bend over backwards. So I suggest that we preempt the entire situation and simply send him in-Territory.

Bibi: Cristal, it's taken a lot of effort to get him to the Ford. Although sending him in-T would be ideal, I'm doubtful that we can achieve it before he turns sixteen.

Bibi tries to keep her face and words calm and reasonable, rather than rolling her eyes or throwing up her hands.

Cristal: Why not? His family are only interested in his economic value, and that's already covered by their collective willingness to donate. They shouldn't have any further objections if he moves in-T.

Bibi: I don't think it's that simple, Cristal. His parents do care about him. They're still hoping he'll establish, and they don't really trust the Tecton at all. And I wouldn't describe their alleged intention to donate as "willingness", either.

Cristal: If he does establish, he'll be an adult by out-T law in -- what -- a few months or so. At that point they wouldn't be able to get labor out of him for nothing, surely?

Bibi: Well, he'd still be a member of the family, and would likely continue as part of that economic unit until he marries. Actually, he'd probably take over the farm eventually, so would continue to live there, and bring his wife there, and raise his children there. Even if he finds an outside job, he'd continue to live at home, if possible, or send money back if he can manage it.

Cristal: Surely he could do that from in-T if he established, and if he did change over out here, they'd never get anything from him. It's a win-win solution, Hajene.

Bibi: That's true, but the whole situation is a very emotional one for the Gegg family. They can't be expected to approach it completely reasonably. Mister Gegg is not like Jed Mullins.

Cristal makes the "Granted" gesture.

Cristal: First of all, as I understand only one child typically inherits the farm, and it might well not be Mik. Bart, after all, didn't really want the farm even before he got interested in professional work.

Bibi: It's usually the oldest boy. A girl wouldn't inherit unless there were no surviving sons.

Cristal: Bart is the oldest boy, Bibi.

Bibi: As I said, usually. If the oldest boy takes up another career, his brother might take the farm, especially if it's not much of a farm, like the Mullins's.

Cristal nods.

Bibi could explain that the local culture is patrilineal, patrilocal and fairly patriarchal, but figures Nattin probably already has. She's heard it from Nattin herself, as well as a.. lecture .. on how this differs from the more matrilineal tendencies of in-T culture.

Cristal sees that this isn't a productive line of reasoning, no matter how plain it seems to him.

Cristal: In that case it is imperative that Mik be established here at the Ford, with his parents' consent. While Mik's concerns about a pogrom are probably overblown, we don't want to do any more to alienate the locals.

Cristal winces a bit at the thought.

Bibi: Yes. We've managed to get his parents to consent to him living here. Perhaps after a while we can suggest he move in-T, very cautiously, of course.

Bibi would like to pat Cristal on the head for getting a clue, almost on his own, but refrains.

Bibi: Hajene Seruffin seems to have convinced Mik's mother to agree, and she appears to make the important decisions in the family. But of course, this results in several problems for us.

Cristal: I see. If he is a channel, then we are not prepared to handle his changeover. And if he doesn't change over or establish fairly soon, he will be dependent on the unreliable word of his out-T family.

Cristal says "out-T" the way some people say "barbarian".

Bibi: Cristal, all we can do is our best. So far, our best has been to convince a Simephobe and his Sime-averse wife to allow us to take their first-born child from them. This is an accomplishment. If he changes over, we'll have saved his life.

Cristal: Of course!

Bibi: Now, we have two main problems here, an immediate one, and a hopefully less immediate one.

Cristal: But can we afford to lose him as a working channel? Not this Sime Center, I don't mean, but the Tecton?

Bibi: If we are lucky, and he gets a premonition of when he will change over, our Controller will send us a spare Donor. If not, and you are high field, you can serve him in First Transfer. Otherwise, I will. It's not optimal, but Seruffin thinks it won't be too detrimental for him. He'll still be able to work.

Cristal: That depends entirely on the Tecton's policy. So far, we've banned junct channels and disjunct channels. Who's to say that first-transfer-from-a-channel channels won't be next? You know they don't have the same capacity and strength as channels who've had proper Gen First Transfer.

Bibi: Cristal, all we can do is what's possible. Right now, it isn't possible to send Mik in-T, nor will the Controller send us a spare Donor. Are you willing to serve Mik in First Transfer, assuming I judge it as safe for you?

Bibi, as site Controller, can of course require Cristal to serve Mik, but she'd rather approach the problem more gently. She's also hoping to get the discussion onto a problem solving track rather than a bemoaning fate track.

Cristal reflects for a bit.

Cristal: Yes. Yes, I think so.

Bibi: Good. I'd like to work with you a bit about this, maybe even try to emulate a channel in changeover for our next transfer. A changeover is different from an experienced channel. I don't want you to be surprised or alarmed. I want you to give Mik the best First Transfer possible.

Cristal: [enthusiastically] So do I, Bibi. So do I.

Bibi smiles.

Bibi: I'm glad. I'll also want you to work with Mik, develop a rapport, so he can trust you when he's in changeover. I want you to give him some changeover training. It's very important that you not make him feel that he's coming from an inferior culture, despite your own opinions. Do you think you can manage not to denigrate out-T culture when you're working with him?

Bibi decided some time ago that subtlety in these matters is wasted on Cristal.

Cristal looks directly at Bibi with ~~ focused serenity ~~.

Cristal: You can count on it, Hajene.

Bibi zlins that Cristal is sincere, but wonders how well he'll be able to act on his voiced intention.

Bibi: That's great, Cristal. If you can win Mik's friendship, his changeover will certainly go much more smoothly.

Bibi doesn't add "compared to the way it would be if he can't stand you."

Cristal: I understand, Bibi.

Bibi: Now the other problem, the immediate problem, is Mister Gegg, if he decides he should donate.

Cristal looks puzzled.

Cristal: How is he different from any other, ummm, semi-cooperative donor?

Bibi: On the one hand, it would be better for me if he can be convinced it isn't necessary, because the money isn't needed. That may not be possible, because it would be difficult for him to have his wife and young daughter donate but not do so himself.

Cristal: I quite understand that! But why shouldn't he donate, necessary or not?

Bibi: He's a Simephobe, Cristal. In addition, he may have had some Donor talent in his youth, and there may be a remnant of it left.

Cristal gulps.

Cristal: Oh. I can't imagine anything worse than a Simephobic Donor!

Bibi: Unfortunately, it may be taking the form of a subconscious attraction to channels, which goes contrary to the rest of his mind, making him feel that the channels are mysteriously trying to control him against his will.

Cristal: Worse and worse.

Bibi: So while it would be easier for me to refuse his donation, it would be good for him to overcome his Simephobia.

Cristal is openly ~~ shocked ~~ by this notion.

Cristal: No doubt it would be good for him. But I don't think you ought to take the risk of exposing yourself to a twisted Donor like that.

Bibi: Well, we'll have to see what happens. If he sincerely wants to donate, and I can get him to trust me, I'll decide whether to risk it. If I do, I'll certainly need your usual excellent support, especially since I'm past turnover. Cristal, try to look at Mister Gegg as the victim of tragic circumstances, not some despicable warped out-T Gen.

Cristal: Of course, Hajene. But at the end of the day, it's your protection that I'm charged with. If I call a Companion's Demand, you are obliged to honor it.

Bibi: Yes, and I know you'll use it wisely, and only as a last resort.

Bibi hopes so, at least. So far, so good.

Cristal: ~~ confidence courage ~~

Bibi reaches for Cristal's hand.

Cristal smiles.

Bibi: I know I can count on you, Sosu.

Bibi hopes so, at any rate. She smiles encouragingly at Cristal, but her face changes as she zlins Gegg and an unfamiliar Gen coming up the drive through the open window.

Gegg is, alas, in a state of ~~ not as intense as he'd like, alas, courage ~~

Bibi: Oh, dear. Here comes Mister Gegg. With Mik, I hope. He has another Gen with him.

Bibi gets up and heads for the door.

Gegg is dodging back and forth as he chivies his wife and Mik up the path, and it's only a coincidence that doing so puts him firmly behind them. Right?

Gegg clutches a suitcase in one hand.

Gegg: That's right, go on up through there, it's not far...

Gegg is frankly babbling.

Bibi enters the reception area and sits down in order to look small and harmless.

Bibi: Get the door for them, Cristal, please.

Cristal opens the front door and lets the family group in.

Gegg follows his family through the door, but stops short only two steps inside the room, which is about as far away from Bibi as he can stay without making an issue of it.

Bibi: Hello, Mister Gegg, Mik. So glad to see you here. You must be Miz Gegg. Welcome.

Bibi smiles in a friendly and encouraging way.

Toria: Thank you. And call me Toria, please!

Toria thinks if she could handle Seruffin, this child won't be any problem at all.

Bibi: Okay. You can call me Bibi, then.

Mik looks at the cookies, then at his mother.

Toria: One.

Bibi: Please help yourselves. There's tea as well.

Mik snarfs a cookie.

Gegg places the suitcase on the floor in front of them, perhaps in an unconscious attempt to place a symbolic barrier between himself and Bibi.

Gegg is not happy about Toria's decision that the two of them will donate to pay for Mik's upkeep. He finds it rather suspicious that she came to this conclusion after speaking with Seruffin, and wonders if the other donors from Gumgeeville were similarly mousetrapped.

Bibi: I've made arrangements, subject to your approval, with a family just outside of town. They'd like to hire Mik to work on their farm.

Gegg looks at Bibi sharply.

Gegg: Whose farm? And what are they offering?

Bibi: They're a very nice family, churchgoers. They need someone to help with milking and to deliver the milk to the cheese factory, as well as some other chores. They're offering room, board and spending money, plus extra during harvest. There are some other people interested in hiring Mik if you don't approve of this family.

Bibi knows one of the local bakers, who has wrenched his back and needs someone to do lifting and bending, would be delighted to hire Mik. While she thinks that working under the close supervision of a cranky and demanding tradesman might make Mik more sympathetic to his future Donors, she isn't quite willing to inflict it on him.

Gegg notes that Bibi has evaded his request for a name, and starts to ~~ fret ~~ about the placement.

Bibi: The farm is called Oak Grove, and it's been in the Greenwood family for generations. They're very respected here for their dairy herd. Their second son changed over several years ago and is doing very well in-T.

Gegg: Oh.

Gegg hadn't counted on his son being boarded by a family of Simelovers, although he is aware he should have seen that coming. He shoots a sideways look at Toria, to see whether he should object.

Toria gives Gegg the "Think for yourself, schmuck!" Look.

Mik starts to say something, but his mother gives him the "say nothing" Look.

Gegg thinks over what he knows of the Greenwoods, which apart from their Simephilia and different religious convictions isn't too bad.

Bibi: Of course, you may want to meet them and see their place before you decide.

Gegg: Well, I suppose the Greenwood farm will do. But he'll not attend services at their excuse for a church!

Bibi: I'm sure they won't expect him to but you may want to tell them that.

Toria: Be sure we will, Bibi.

Bibi: Cristal, could you ask Nattin for the money for Sanda's donation? One of her parents can sign the receipt for it.

Cristal goes out of the room to find Nattin.

Gegg is, at least, glad that Mik won't have to live in the Sime Center itself, something he wouldn't want to have inflicted on his child if Mik turns Gen after all.

Cristal returns with the cash and the receipt.

Bibi: Would one of you sign for the donation payment since Sanda isn't here?

Gegg eyes Cristal skeptically (he has always thought Donors were of questionable sanity), but steps forward.

Gegg: I'll do it.

Bibi wonders whether knowing that Mik will be earning his own keep, plus seeing out how much Sanda's donation yielded monetarily will discourage Gegg from donating. She hopes so.

Toria narrows her eyes and counts the bills ~~ surprise ~~

Gegg takes the receipt from Cristal and reads it. ~~ shock ~~

Bibi is surprised herself. She thought Jed had told Gegg how much a GN-3 donation was worth, but maybe Gegg didn't believe it. She's not surprised that it's news to Toria.

Gegg had heard Jed's story about how much he earned, but figured that it was, well, just another of Jed's stories. He thinks about the kinds of trouble his daughter could get into, with that kind of an income devoid of parental supervision, and blanches.

Gegg: Sure you didn't misplace a decimal point, there?

Bibi: No, I don't believe so. Sanda donated the usual amount for a first donation.

Gegg makes a firm decision that Sanda won't get near the Sime Center again.

Toria makes a firm decision that this is something they can't afford to pass up.

Bibi zlins that firm decisions have been made and wonders what they are.

Toria: So if you took ... stuff ... from me, the price would be the same?

Bibi: Approximately the same. Often, on subsequent donations, it can be substantially more.

Toria: Substantially ... more..

Gegg looks at Toria, his face pale with ~~ shock ~~.

Toria's firm decision becomes even firmer. Hell will freeze over before she'll let that kind of spondulicks walk away from the Gegg family.

Bibi: Yes. We have some booklets about donation over on the table if you'd like to read about the details.

Bibi makes a graceful gesture, tentacles in.

Gegg doesn't want to know the details, and most specifically doesn't want to apply that knowledge.

Toria gives her husband the "Act like a man, you cringing coward" Look.

Gegg gulps.

Bibi sees where this is going, and acts to avert it.

Bibi: Of course, not everyone is able to donate. It's like singing - most people can learn it, some have real talent, but a few couldn't carry a tune in a bucket no matter how hard they try.

Cristal: Like me.

Cristal realizes what he's said.

Cristal: I can't carry a tune, I mean.

Cristal shuts up again.

Bibi: But he does have great talent as a Donor.

Bibi smiles at Cristal.

Cristal: ~~ pride ~~

Toria: Very well then. Bibi, take my donation, please. ~~ determination ~~

Gegg feels ~~ trapped ~~, but knows better than to object.

Bibi: Okay. We have a donation room in the corner there, if you'll follow me?

Toria: Certainly.

Bibi would like Gegg to witness it, but doesn't feel confident that she can manage a first donation in the presence of a panicking Simephobe.

Gegg has opposed his wife before, with less than optimal results. He therefore doesn't express his ~~ objections ~~, at least not verbally.

Bibi and Cristal lead the way to the donation room, and Cristal closes the door behind the three of them.

Gegg stands in the center of the reception area, staring at the door, his ears straining for any untoward sound, like perhaps a scream of terror.

Tony opens the door of the Sime Center and walks in. He looks around and sees a strange man who looks very nervous, and a somewhat less nervous teenager.

Tony: Bibi busy?

Gegg jumps, then turns to face Tony, his face a little redder than usual.

Gegg: Yes, she is.

Tony: I'm Tony Grelbix. Everybody calls me Uncle Tony.

Tony offers his hand.

Gegg: My name's Gegg.

Gegg hasn't allowed his first name to be spoken since his early youth. He shakes hands.

Tony: You're not from around here, are you?

Gegg: No, we're from Gumgeeville.

Tony sits on the most comfortable sofa and puts a package next to him. It's another piece of cheesecake, a gift from his nephew's wife to Bibi.

Tony: Gumgeeville, eh? So you must have met that inspector fellow, Hajene Ruffin, who got stuck there in the big snowstorm, eh?

Gegg: It's Seruffin. And he said he was a diplomat of some sort. Yeah. I saw him.

Gegg wishes he hadn't; that he wasn't faced with the subsequent impossible dilemmas.

Tony: Yeah, that's right. When I met him here I thought he was an inspector sent to check that Bibi's doing a good job. I told him she sure was.

Gegg: You like her, huh? How long have you known her?

Gegg is wondering how long it takes the Sime Effect to completely reorganize a Gen's natural inclinations in the Sime's favor.

Tony: Since maybe six months after this place opened. I brought my niece here in changeover and Bibi took real good care of her. I raised my niece and nephew. All my own kids are dead.

Gegg: I see.

Tony: Nephew's gonna take over the farm when I get too old. And he won't have to shoot his kids like I had to.

Gegg can't criticize Tony's choices as much as he'd like, as he is doing much the same thing with Mik. He can't, however, resist asking a burning question.

Gegg: Do you let know.

Gegg glances towards the donation room.

Tony: What, take my donation? Sure, she's real good at it. She does my nephew and his wife too.

Gegg shudders.

Tony: We're gonna have one of the best herds around here. My nephew bought some good breeding stock with the money he made, from a famous dairy breeder.

Gegg is afraid he understands the reason for Tony's casual attitude towards tentacles, and it doesn't bode well for the future.

Tony: That's some bull we got now. His get are just starting to come into milk, and they're a lot better than their dams.

Gegg: Glad to hear you're doing so well. You got that bull with the money you got from the Simes?

Tony: Yup, my nephew bought two in-calf heifers and a bull calf, and they're doing wonders to grade up our herd. That was about four years ago.

Gegg: How long after you first met Bibi did you start...doing it?

Tony: Oh, well, started after I brought in my niece. I could see that she was trustworthy, the way she took care of her, so I figured I'd try donating. And then I got my nephew to do it, cause he wanted to buy some good stock for the farm. Never tried it yourself? Not much to it. And how else would an old man like me get to kiss a pretty young lady like her?

Tony winks.

Gegg takes a step backwards at the suggestion, then catches himself. He doesn't want to appear like a coward in front of his son. He shoots a look across the room, to where Mik is taking advantage of his mother's absence to pig out at the refreshments table, but it appears the boy wasn't paying attention.

Gegg: No, I've never done it, but my friend Jed did. We all thought he was crazy.

Tony: Crazy like a fox, eh? So now you're gonna try it.

Tony smiles.

Tony: Your boy, too?

Gegg: No. Mik...thinks he might be turning Sime. And Seruffin said it was likely.

Gegg finds it very hard to admit this.

Gegg: He'll be staying until we know for sure. The wife figures we owe for his upkeep.

Tony: Well, you won't find a better channel to look after him. Bibi's brought a lot of kids from around here through changeover. She's real good at it.

Tony looks Mik over.

Tony: He looks like a good lad. Should be able to find some work with a farmer around here. We're real busy now, with most of the cows fresh, and first hay cut coming up, and the winter wheat after that.

Gegg: Yeah.

Gegg looks anxiously once more at the door behind which his wife is being subject to the Dreaded Clutches.

Tony: Most of the kids from around here who changed over are doing real well in-T. My niece is the checker at a big cheese factory. Records all the milk that comes in. She's sweet on one of the boys who delivers milk from his parents' farm, too.

Gegg: Huh.

Gegg realizes that this is not the most gracious response, and tries again.

Gegg: I'm real glad for her.

Tony: Yeah. The boy's a Gen, and his parents don't think a Gen can run a farm. She's told them different. Their Sime kids are working in the city, but the boy loves the farm.

Gegg is distracted enough to give an honest response to this news.

Gegg: The poor boy, it must be bad for him.

Tony: Why? He stands to take over one of the best dairy farms in the district, and if he gets my niece to marry him, he'll be one lucky man.

Gegg: But he'll be trapped in Simeland. Though I guess he doesn't know any other life.

Tony: Well, I guess I'm trapped in Genland. He'll be a slave to his cows, like the rest of us dairymen. I don't know any other life, either.

Gegg: Yeah. But he doesn't have a choice about being milked himself, I'm told.

Tony: Them donation payments are a real help to a farmer, in or out-T.

Gegg: Yeah. It's just...there ought to be a free choice about it. And I'm not convinced there is. Not really.

Tony: Well, he could move out-T if he really objected. But all the Gens in-T donate. Hell, if an old man like me can learn to do it, them young fellows can too.

Tony wonders why Gegg is worrying about whether Gens in-T want to donate or not.

Gegg: Learn to do it? Or be pushed into it by less-than-open means?

Tony tries to figure out what to say.

Tony: It's part of growing up for them. Out here, you turn sixteen, you're grown up, you get a rifle and learn to shoot it. Something to look forward to. Same thing in-T -- you change over, or you turn Gen and start making money from donating.

Gegg: Well, maybe that's true, there.

Gegg isn't convinced of that, however.

Gegg: On the other hand, out here...I can't help feeling the Simes are being less than honest with us. About the way they get people to donate to them.

Tony: What do you mean?

Gegg: Haven't you noticed how many people suddenly decide to do it, after they've had one or two encounters with a Sime? Do you think it's a coincidence? Haven't you felt it?

Tony thinks about it.

Tony: Well, a lot of people around here started donating after Bibi looked after one of their relatives in changeover. But a lot started before that, because of Miz Brown and the church. And then people saw that it was no big deal, so they started doing it for the money. Nobody I know ever felt anything, except maybe nervous at first, when Bibi took their donations.

Gegg looks at Tony skeptically.

Gegg: Not that. I know it's not supposed to hurt. I mean the... pull... whenever you're near one of the Simes? The one that draws you towards them, even if you don't want anything to do with them? And then, somehow, you find a reason, and they've won. And you think it's your idea.

Tony is nonplussed. This is weird. He wonders if Gegg is a bit off in the head. What strange ideas.

Tony: No. Never heard anybody feeling any kind of pull. I do like Bibi though. She's a lovely young woman. I'd be proud to have her for a daughter.

Gegg wonders if Tony has self-justified his submission to Bibi's Sime seduction by interpreting it as fatherly.

Tony: I donated to that Hajene Ruffin time before last, and didn't feel anything then either. He upgraded me, too. Make more money now.

Gegg: Are you sure you don't feel it? It's so clear... I can almost feel a Sime is there without looking.

Gegg is, perhaps, exaggerating a bit.

Tony: Maybe you should talk to a Donor. Maybe they feel like that. I don't think much of that Cristal she's got with her now though. Guy thinks too much of himself. Now that Donor she had the time she delivered them calves for my nephew, he was a good man. Older guy, not as old as me, though.

Gegg: It can't be a Donor thing. I'm no Donor, after all. I've never even had a Sime touch me. Well, except the once.

Gegg's voice quavers just a bit as he makes that admission.

Tony gives Gegg an encouraging look. He knows when someone needs to talk.

Tony: Yeah?

Gegg: I was young and stupid, so I joined the army to see the world. So, of course, they sent my squad to the back end of nowhere, where a group of Simes had set up housekeeping in a swamp. Needless to say, they weren't affiliated with the Tecton, and the locals were screaming for protection.

Tony looks sympathetic. He's heard many stories of junct Simes and raiders, although there were never any in the vicinity, except for the rare escaped berserker.

Gegg: My squad drew the short straw, so we went in after them. What they didn't tell us was that the local Sime band had been joined by another group, and there were twice as many of them as the locals thought. We were up to our knees in mud, and we couldn't see more than a few feet through the reeds. They picked us off, one by one, as easy as you please.

Gegg's eyes stare blankly at the wall behind Tony.

Tony is riveted by the story. He's faced berserkers himself, his own children.

Tony: How'd you get out, Gegg?

Gegg: Corban and I were the last. We'd found some solid ground, and the reinforcements were coming. We just had to wait. For a while, it seemed to be going well. We even shot a few of them. Then two of them charged, and while we were dealing with that, two of their buddies grabbed us from behind. They killed Corban right away, but me they dragged off. I guess those particular ones were full up, and so they decided to give me to their buddies.

Gegg can still see it as clearly as if it happened the previous night. Which it did, in his nightmares.

Tony thinks this is as bad as the worst stories men brought home from the Unity War.

Tony: What happened then?

Gegg: Eventually, the three survivors were joined by two more. They'd been in a fight, and one was limping badly. That one looked at me, and I could feel her hunger.

Tony shivers.

Gegg: She came over and started to... play... with me. I started screaming; I couldn't help it. The others were watching. I knew I was going to die, and I couldn't think of a worse way to go. Still can't, and that's the truth.

Gegg isn't able to hold his voice steady.

Gegg: I could face dying, but not... like that. Feeling how she made me... not want it, but...

Gegg does not, alas, speak Simelan, and English has no words for his experience. He is therefore reduced to waving an inarticulate hand.

Gegg: Anyway, her friends were so busy watching the show that they didn't notice when another squad came along, following the screams, I guess.

Gegg has no conception of his own role in allowing the reinforcements to remain undiscovered.

Tony: So they got them Simes and rescued you, eh?

Gegg: Yeah. I didn't have anything more than a bruise or two, and... and the rest were dead.

Gegg has a hefty dose of survivor's guilt that has prevented him from admitting, even to himself, that his injuries were far worse than the physical bruises.

Tony: I heard stories like that from the men come back from the war, but never from somebody it happened to himself. You're a braver man than any I've met if you're thinking of donating after that happened to you.

Tony looks at Gegg with admiration.

Tony: I'd like to stand you a few drinks sometime, Gegg.

Gegg feels forced to be honest.

Gegg: It was my wife's idea, actually.

Tony: That her in there with Bibi now?

Gegg: Yeah.

Gegg is not happy about it, not at all.

Tony: She'll be okay.

Gegg: Yeah. Sure.

Gegg is not sure at all, but hopes so, for Toria's sake.

Tony: You want some tea? I'm gonna have a cup myself.

Tony gets up and goes to the urn.

Gegg pulls himself together, and follows.

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