Marvin is feeling a bit apprehensive but ~~ not showing it ~~ as he walks into the classroom. He's managed to get there before the bell, but the room is already full.
Marvin has done a lot of one-on-one work with new Simes, but he's never had any practice speaking to large groups.
Marvin knows that in other circumstances the Tecton would never let him near First Year training classes, but with Jiri the Jerk doing his route, there isn't much choice for anybody.
Marvin decides that waiting isn't going to help any: strike while the iron is hot.
Marvin: Hello, class. My name is Marvin Gardener, and I'm going to be substituting for Hajene Jiri for the next few weeks. I have his notes here, but I need one of you to fill me in on just what you learned last.
Marvin calls on a hand-waver and determines that today's "aim" is to learn management of one's field in the presence of someone feeling strong emotions.
Kinitall waves furiously for the attention of the "teacher".
Marvin: Yes, I'll call on you shortly. But first, I want you to all move your chairs into a circle, please. This isn't going to be a lecture.
Ecoli moves his chair to where he thinks the perimeter of the circle will be and waits for it to form.
Marvin does his bit by dragging his chair out from behind the big desk and plopping it down in front.
Adora moves with the rest of the class.
Kinitall brings his chair to a point where he will be seen when he raises his hand next time. He hasn't yet figured out that hand waving really isn't necessary for Simes.
Marvin watches benignly until all the chairs and the students are in their places.
Marvin points at Kinitall.
Marvin: You had a question?
Kinitall starts to stand up but remembers that it isn't proper among "adults".
Kinitall: We covered the nager space rules and the Gen distance rules.
Marvin: Is there a question in there somewhere?
Kinitall blinks. He thought that the teacher had asked to be filled in on what was covered earlier. He is a beat behind, it seems, which is most ~~uncomfortable~~ for him as he is used to being one of the fastest in class.
Marvin: Ah. You think I wanted to know something? Your classmate over there [points with his tentacles] already filled me in.
Ecoli is ~~ smug ~~ at his classmate's embarrassment. He has more sense than to volunteer.
Adora ~~giggles~~ behind her hand.
Kinitall: I beg your pardon Hajene. I must have missed that while I was moving my chair forward.
Kluliss gazes out the window, wondering if the weather will continue fair.
Marvin makes the "Granted" tentacle sign, saying "No problem" at the same time.
Marvin notes Kluliss's abstraction, and decides to begin with him. He walks around to Kluliss.
Marvin: So tell me, what's your name?
Kluliss: I'm Kluliss, Hajene.
Ecoli watches, expecting to be amused by what follows.
Marvin elevates an eyebrow but doesn't say or ~~ show ~~ anything.
Kluliss gazes at the teacher with an innocent expression.
Marvin: Okay. We'll start with one of the strong basic feelings.
Marvin manipulates his showfield, releasing strong ~~ happiness ~~
Marvin: So Kluliss, how do you like this class so far?
Kluliss: It's just great, Hajene!
Kluliss smiles ~~ enthusiastically ~~, trying to figure out what hit him.
Adora giggles again.
Marvin chops off the ~~ happiness ~~ and exposes ~~ depression ~~ instead.
Marvin: And what do you think now?
Marvin infiltrates ~~ desire to speak ~~ on top of the existing emotion.
Kluliss: You're picking on me!
Marvin: Yes. I am.
Ecoli snickers. Kluliss is such a dolt.
Marvin relevels Kluliss's emotions to ~~ neutrality ~~
Kluliss looks at Marvin ~~ resentfully ~~
Marvin: Now the fact is, that you believe that you felt those things, but actually the emotion was someone else's. Mine.
Marvin: What you've all got to learn is to distinguish between feeling your own emotions and feeling other people's, so that you know which is which.
Marvin: Now process that for a while while I mess with someone else's head.
Kluliss wonders whether this means he's safe for the rest of the class and can go back to daydreaming.
Marvin flashes his eyes and ~~ nager ~~ wickedly. He moves on to Ecoli.
Marvin: You seem like someone who might find a small demonstration useful.
Ecoli looks at Marvin with the kind of alert, cooperative and attentive appearance that always worked back home in New Washington.
Marvin radiates ~~ fear of Ecoli ~~. He also plays up with a little method acting.
Ecoli figures that the teacher's pulling one on him.
Marvin deepens the ~~ fear ~~
Ecoli feels the fear, but knows he has nothing to be afraid of. It's just the channel trying to scare him.
Kinitall watches and zlins. Ecoli has been a pain in everyone's butt. It would be nice to see him taken down a notch.
Ecoli's steel nerves got him out of a lot of trouble out-T, usually by getting somebody else into it.
Marvin suddenly overlays the fear with ~~ anger ~~ and ~~ disinhibition ~~
Marvin: So, you think you can bluff me, huh? You're the tough guy, eh?
Ecoli knows how to handle this -- he's run into it a lot before. The best tactic is to grovel.
Ecoli: No, sir, Hajene.
Ecoli drops his eyes and tries to look intimidated. He mostly feels ~~ resentment ~~, though. As much as he'd like to punch Marvin in the snout, he knows it would be counterproductive.
Marvin zlins the ~~ resentment ~~ and sends it back to Ecoli in phase and amplified; he also turns up the ~~ disinhibition ~~ a bit.
Ecoli clenches his fists, grits his teeth, and avoids eye contact.
Marvin: Teeth hurt, kid? I zlin your fingernails cutting into your skin a bit there.
Adora can't help feeling ~~sorry for Ecoli~~ even if he did deserve his current predicament.
Ecoli uses a stress-relief technique he developed himself for dealing with intolerable situations with authority figures. He imagines Marvin strung up by the tentacles, naked, outdoors in a snow storm.
Marvin switches abruptly to ~~ sympathy compassion ~~, patterning himself on Adora's uncontrolled emotion.
Ecoli was just starting to feel ~~ smug ~~ instead of ~~ angry ~~ when Marvin pulled the switcheroo on him. His reaction to the abrupt shift in the ambient is ~~ nausea ~~.
Marvin realizes that he's gone a bit too far this time, and quickly clamps down on Ecoli's vagus nerve to suppress the nausea before it spreads to the rest of the class.
Ecoli looks intimidated but zlins ~~ very resentful ~~.
Marvin: Okay, class. Now this is a nice demonstration of just how channels can get themselves hated. We get to pull all these stunts with other people's feelings without even having to really feel those feelings ourselves.
Marvin: Now I zlin that some of you out there think these two got what they deserved. Well, they didn't. No Sime deserves to have his emotions manipulated by someone who doesn't give a shit for them.
Kinitall goggles. He isn't used to profanity coming out of a teacher's mouth.
Kluliss starts to pay attention. This is a lot more interesting than the way Hajene Jiri teaches.
Marvin: And outside a training situation, I hope this never happens to any of you, because by the time we are done here, all of you will know enough that you can't be manipulated in this fashion. You may detect other people's emotions, or fake emotions, but you won't be buffaloed into thinking you are feeling them yourself.
Adora is surprised that a teacher would talk to them like people and not kids.
Ecoli is even more ~~ resentful ~~ at having been used as a demo dummy.
Marvin: Now our colleague here [tentacle wave] -- you notice I didn't even bother to find out his name? -- is not feeling good about me, or this situation, at all. I want everyone else to pick a number from one to ten, but don't say what it is.
Marvin waits until he zlins ~~ readiness ~~ in everyone, or almost everyone.
Marvin: [to Ecoli] What's your name?
Ecoli: Ecoli, Hajene.
Marvin: Okay. Everyone silently count up, slowly, from one to whatever number you picked. Then zlin Ecoli here, but not for very long -- I don't want his system to flip out. Get a real idea of just how he feels.
Adora counts to 3 and zlins Ecoli.
Ecoli wonders what this guy is trying to pull this time, but he does have the concept of controlling his nager the way he'd learned to control his body language as a child.
Kinitall counts to 5 and does as instructed.
Ecoli is a renSime, not a channel, and can only change his nager by changing how he feels. He does his best to zlin ~~ calm ~~ and ~~ the winner ~~.
Kluliss counts up to eight, and tries to zlin Ecoli, but there's so many other people doing things to the ambient, it's too much like work.
Ecoli, unfortunately, stills zlins fairly ~~ resentful ~~.
Marvin: Okay, now everybody count up to your number and then call out what you zlinned.
Kluliss figures he'll just wait until other people say things and then say what they do.
Marvin hears lots of ones and twos saying "Resentment" ...
Adora: One, two, three resentment mostly?
Adora is very literal.
Marvin: ... and "Hostility" and "Trying to hide his feelings".
Ecoli is getting ~~ really mad ~~ and isn't able to coerce himself calm. He concentrates on his image of Marvin in the snow storm. ~~ vengeful ~~
Kinitall got a good dose of plain hatefulness when he zlinned Ecoli. He decides that his answer need not be voiced and he can't be heard over the others anyway.
Marvin hears sixes and sevens saying "Rage" and "He wants to get you".
Adora is becoming concerned about all the bad emotions radiating off Ecoli.
Marvin hears the eights, nines, and tens chiming in with the same basic ideas.
Kinitall is getting very uncomfortable since he is sitting right across from Ecoli.
Marvin: Okay. Done. Now: How do all those negative emotions that our Ecoli is radiating make all of you feel? Don't count, just shout it out.
Kluliss figures that's generic enough.
Ecoli gets control of his anger and converts it into ~~ icy contempt ~~.
Marvin: "Uncomfortable". You are so right. When we Simes [Marvin looks around at everyone], when we Simes feel other people's negative emotions, we feel "uncomfortable". At best. At worst, plain misery.
Marvin: I zlin plenty of misery in this room, by the way. But don't worry, we're going to take care of all that!
Adora wonders how you learn not to feel.
Marvin brushes his hands together rapidly, somehow managing not to tangle his tentacles.
Kinitall can't wait to be able to not feel.
Marvin: And now for something completely different.
Marvin: You've all heard of the Farrises and the Tigues, I think. Even for channels, they're something pretty special. Of course, channels are already something pretty special. And so are Donors, and even the general-class donors who keep the rest of us alive.
Marvin hopes this "us" goes unnoticed.
Marvin: So what about all of you, the renSimes of this world? Nothing special, huh? "Just a renSime". Well, I'm a channel and I say poop on all that.
Marvin smiles his patent thousand-watt smile.
Ecoli thinks Marvin is a dork. He's not going to forget how Marvin used him and humiliated him.
Marvin: Without you, we channels would just be a bunch of defectives who lived hard and died young, like back in the old old days. You are what this whole operation of Tecton, channels, Donors, mules like me and all are here for. All we're about is keeping you alive and safe. That makes you all pretty special people, or we wouldn't go to all this trouble, would we?
Marvin: [football coach style] I can't hear you!
Marvin: [same style] Would we, the adults, the channels, the Donors, go to all this trouble?
Marvin: [yelling] WELL?
Adora has absorbed the unspoken but very zlinnable awe in which channels are held by most renSimes. She finds it an odd switch to think of herself as the reason for them to exist.
Kinitall can't figure out what to say.
Marvin: Okay. You're not answering? And do you know why you're not answering?
Adora looks blank.
Kinitall notes that most of the class looks as blank as Adora. He doesn't note that he looks blank as well.
Marvin: Well, since you can't answer, I'll have to tell you why. That's because I gave you something to think about, and then asked you for an emotional response. And you're blocked from that emotional response, because you're busy thinking about what I said.
Marvin: Maybe you're mostly confused by it, but until you've assimilated it and have figured out your own personal response to it, you're not going to be able to react.
Marvin: So it's not, as you were thinking back there -- no, no, I can't read your mind any more than you can read mine, but I've been where you are and you haven't been here before -- that you are going to learn how not to feel. That's impossible.
Marvin: What you are going to learn is to look at your feelings, analyze them, find out where they are coming from. And that's what is going to make you actual, real life grownups.
Marvin: Okay. Here endeth the first lesson. Anyone have anything to say? I'm getting a bit hoarse here.
Kluliss thinks that that's a lot more work than he wants to get into. He figures maybe he can fake it well enough to get a D and pass this class.
Adora is confused and a intrigued.
Kinitall is having a hard time wrapping his mind around the concept.
Marvin: No? Okay. Go find yourself someplace quiet to sit and process for a while. Everyone out. Except you, Ecoli.
Kinitall can't wait to get out the door and practically augments across the room.
Kluliss is first out the door.
Adora takes more time to gather her things but hurries to catch up with her classmates.
Marvin watches them all go. He walks over to Ecoli.
Ecoli keeps his face blank, and makes every effort to keep his nager ~~ calm ~~, with some success.
Marvin: You know what, kid? You're right. I am being a jerk. ~~ humility submission ~~
Ecoli doesn't believe Marvin's humility and submission are anything other than another friggin ploy.
Marvin slowly, so Ecoli can sense what is going on, ~~ dismantles his showfield ~~.
Marvin: [softly] This is what I'm really like, Ecoli. Tell me, what are you really like?
Ecoli: ~~ distrust ~~ contempt ~~ resentment ~~
Marvin: Distrust, contempt, and resentment. That's only natural. After all, I messed with your head, I humiliated you in front of people who already don't like you much and would like to see you shown up, and I'm a channel and a grownup and you can't lay a hand on me.
Marvin: But what did I do it for? Did I want to hurt you, really? You don't have to guess any more, you can zlin for yourself. What do you zlin?
Ecoli refuses to reply. He would normally tell the authority figure what he wants to hear, but Marvin can zlin through him, so what's the point?
Marvin: [softly] Okay. You don't have to tell me. Just so you know, that's what counts. Now out you go too.
Ecoli gets up, walks to the door and exits without looking back.
Marvin decides he has some processing to do himself, and the room is empty and quiet, so why not right here? He puts back all the chairs into a semblance of Tecton Standard Alignment, hops up on the desk, and crosses his legs under him.