Strangers in Strange Lands: Episode 3

Cristal and Dillip are walking down another anonymous corridor in the Sime Center, hand in hand, heading for the transfer suite.

Dillip, despite being in hard need, is a lot calmer than he was when he first met Cristal.

Cristal: 2711, 2712, 2713, 2714, ... Here it is, Hajene. 2715 is our assigned suite.

Dillip nods, although he isn't beyond words yet.

Cristal uses his unoccupied hand to open the suite's outer door, then makes a grand gesture.

Cristal precedes Dillip carefully, without letting go.

Cristal: They should make these doors wider so we can walk through them together. Fleckin' Tecton.

Dillip sits on the transfer lounge, without releasing Cristal's hand.

Dillip is consciously controlling his breathing and doing his best to appear calm. He was embarrassed by the scene in the deferment suite, although he hasn't been able to really experience such emotions for several days now.

Cristal sits on the Gen part of the lounge.

Dillip closes his eyes and enjoys Cristal's closeness and repletion. Eight minutes and twenty-three seconds to go.

Cristal: Dillip, I know you think Tecton rules require you to short yourself, but I want you to reconsider. In my Donor's judgment, your last few transfers have not been satisfactory, and you belong on the critical list.

Dillip: I won't burn you, Sosu.

Cristal: Absolutely, Hajene. You ... will not need to.

Dillip: I'll probably have Sosu Larkin next month. I can wait.

Cristal: ~~ doubt ~~ I know you can wait. I just don't think you are required to.

Dillip: Sosu, please, I don't want a burn on my record. I'll be all right.

Dillip wonders whether he should offer to try to upgrade Cristal after all. It's tempting, but there's no time to discuss it with the Controller.

Cristal: [softly, but definitely] And I don't want a less-than-satisfactory transfer on mine. I have too many of those already. ...Please. ~~ concern ~~

Dillip opens his eyes and looks at Cristal with alarm. He has a record of giving unsatisfactory transfers? as well as undermatching him?

Cristal: Could you handle it if I went over there and mixed up some fosebine? Just in case. ~~ concern ~~

Cristal guesses that Dillip is worrying again.

Dillip: Sure, go ahead.

Dillip releases Cristal's hand.

Cristal notes Dillip's surprise.

Dillip is trying to sound nonchalant, but after what Cristal just told him, he's feeling rather nervous. It seems ominous that Cristal is preparing fosebine in advance, too.

Cristal goes over to the sink to mix the fosebine conveniently left there by the maintenance staff.

Cristal: ~~ sincere ~~ Hajene, I assure you it was never a matter of selyn mechanics. It was ... emotional.

Cristal returns to the couch and takes both Dillip's hands in his.

Dillip: I... didn't have the opportunity to read your file...

Cristal suspects Dillip didn't really want to know.

Dillip's anxiety increases. He doesn't know this guy, and with only five minutes and six seconds to go he's springing this story of a bad record on him?

Cristal: [softly] Don't fret, all will be well. All will be well.

Dillip does a breathing exercise and tries to feel more positive, or at least more calm. Or maybe more resigned. It isn't as if anything he does is going to make any difference at this point.

Cristal lifts one of their joined hands and strokes Dillip's face with them. He rotates his hand so that Dillip is still holding him, but his palm is against the transport nerves of Dillip's cheek. ~~ deep relaxation ~~

Dillip closes his eyes and tries to immerse himself in Cristal's field, although he feels a little unbalanced by the asymmetric contact. Four minutes and thirteen seconds.

Cristal moves his other hand to do the same thing, restoring the symmetry, then extends his strokes to Dillip's jaw and neck as well.

Dillip moves his hands to Cristal's shoulders and neck, and leans forward into Cristal's hands.

Cristal places his hands on the sides of Dillip's upper arms, just below his shoulders.

Cristal: [softly] Soon, soon. ~~ promise ~~

Dillip: Two minutes and fifty-three seconds.

Dillip begins to drift hyperconscious. Cristal's field is really very attractive.

Cristal sees his partner's eyes begin to go slack and ~~ encourages ~~ hyperconsciousness with his field. ~~ need to give ~~ desire to give ~~

Dillip feels himself fix on the Gen, the irresistible Gen, the Gen he's legally entitled to, the Gen who wants to serve him....

Cristal: ~~ NEED DESIRE ~~

Dillip helplessly tightens his grip on Cristal's shoulders. He shouldn't be using a shoulder contact but with that influence he can't let go. One minute and twenty-four seconds.

Cristal holds his ~~ field constant ~~ and radiates ~~ readiness ~~ and ~~ eagerness ~~.

Dillip: Sosu... help me... standard contact...

Cristal uses a martial arts move to use Dillip's strength against himself and break his grip. His hands slide across Dillip's ronaplin-soaked arms to standard transfer position.

Dillip seizes Cristal's arms with relief. Control is more difficult with a non-standard contact, and he really doesn't want to burn the Donor. He tightens his grip and slides his laterals into position as he allows his intil to rise. Forty-seven seconds.


Dillip pulls Cristal to him with more force than he intended and completes the lip contact. He waits for the last seconds to elapse.

Cristal uses his weight to relax against Dillip.

Dillip gratefully begins to draw, with rapidly increasing speed, mindful of Cristal's rated limit.

Cristal: ~~ NEED NEED NEED ~~

Cristal uses all his training to push selyn into Dillip.

Dillip draws as fast as Cristal can push.


Dillip is gratified as the Gen's slilbliss echoes through his own system. His draw speed slows as he approaches repletion. He carefully awaits the point where Cristal will be drained to a safe level and he'll have to stop.

Cristal closes his eyes and turns his attention inward. He visualizes his TN-1 barrier as a thin, brittle piece of glass covering the deep selyn reservoir. He visualizes the glass flexing, flexing under the pressure of boiling selyn within.

Dillip feels the last of the Donor's TN-2 level draining, and slows further. He's almost replete, replete enough.

Cristal senses that the pressure from outside is diminishing as Dillip controls himself -- preparatory to shorting himself. He realizes if there's anything to be done for Dillip, it's he who will have to do it.

Cristal's consciousness shifts to a place in his body it's never been before, down in his chest, where his vriamic node would be if he had one.

Cristal squeezes down hard on what he imagines his TN-1 reserve looks like: a narrow deep well filled with boiling fluid.

Cristal feels the pressure inside him rise ...

Dillip becomes aware that the Donor is doing something strange and prepares to break contact.

Cristal senses the glass break into a thousand pieces and collapse. ~~ PUSH PUSH PUSH PUSH PUSH ~~

Dillip is astonished at the new supply of selyn that suddenly becomes available. Before he can react consciously, he finds that he's topped up his primary and begun to draw into his secondary.


Cristal feels his body reacting in a completely new way to Dillip's draw. He pours out everything he has, as fast as he can.

Dillip is terrified that he's lost control of the transfer, and this weird Gen is doing something to him. Like most people his age, he was raised on monster Killer Gen stories.

Dillip forcibly stops the transfer, breaks the contact, clutches his arms around himself and bursts into tears.

Cristal wraps his arms tightly around Dillip and prepares to take him through the postreaction.

Dillip shivers with fear as the monster Gen grabs him.

Cristal: ~~ happiness warmth enthusiasm postsyndrome ~~

Cristal: You're cold, Hajene. Let me warm you up. ~~ comfort ~~

Dillip is unable to zlin, normal immediately after transfer.

Dillip: What did you do to me?

Cristal: [puzzled] I didn't do anything to you, Dillip. I ... sensed that you needed more, and I found more to give you. What do you think happened?

Dillip thinks he's going to have to discuss this with his Controller before he writes it up. Or with some other QN-1. He doesn't know what happened but it scared the shen out of him. Or scared him into a shen.

Dillip: I was careful to keep my speed down to your rating. And I was zlinning to make sure I got your whole TN-2 level but didn't demand more... And then you suddenly grabbed control and pushed all this... this... turbulent selyn at me.

Dillip: What are you, some kind of wer-Gen?

Dillip is usually a lot more polite than this, but he's really distraught, slightly shenned, still kind of scared of Cristal, and has been traumatized by having lost his trusted and anticipated Donor.

Cristal: ~~ embarrassed ~~ I didn't mean it to be turbulent. Are your flows tangled? I can't tell at this point.

Cristal is acutely aware that even if he could tell, he couldn't do much about it. Or could he? If his TN-1 reservoir is open, he probably isn't low-field at all.

Dillip: I don't know. I feel weird. But I am replete and post. I guess I could use that fosebine.

Cristal is thankful that he's done something right, at least. He gets up and fetches the fosebine.

Dillip gets a paranoid flash that Cristal knew exactly what he was going to do to him, hence wanted the fosebine ready for the channel, not for himself in case he got burned.

Cristal sees the look on Dillip's face -- Simes are never any good at hiding their feelings -- and sees if he can ~~ relevel ~~ Dillip. Normally, he wouldn't be able to at this point, but ... He attempts to ~~ calm the selyn ~~ he imagines that he has left.

Dillip: Please, Sosu, don't work on me right now.

Cristal: ~~ neutral ~~ Of course, Hajene. [droning] Aaaaaas you wiiiish.

Dillip disengages his field from Cristal's. He feels like he's awakened from the nightmare of being in hard need without a Donor for days, to a stranger nightmare. He figures he should have one of the QN-1's check him out.

Dillip: Thank you, Sosu. That was quite an experience.

Dillip recovers his normal civility.

Cristal: Thank you, Hajene. I ... couldn't have done it without you. Is there ...

Cristal starts again.

Cristal: Is there anything further I can do for you, Hajene?

Dillip: No, thank you. I'm meeting a friend shortly. We'll be going out, so I have to get ready.

Dillip gets up and opens the door.

Cristal: [formally] Should I go, then?

Dillip: We've both got tomorrow off. If I recall correctly, we're scheduled for a dispensary shift the following afternoon. I'll see you then, okay?

Dillip is looking forward to a very enjoyable night and day with his friend.

Cristal: As you say. Enjoy your postsyndrome, then.

Dillip: Thanks again, Sosu. You did very well for me. I was quite a wreck when you found me, but you got me back on the boards again. You're very skillful.

Cristal bows.

Dillip: Good evening, then.

Cristal: Thank you, Hajene. It was quite an experience for me as well. Good evening.

Dillip nods and takes off down the hall at a fast walk, glad to be out of need, and glad to be away from Cristal.

Cristal goes out the door as well, pulls it shut, flips the sign to NEEDS CLEANING, and goes down the corridor in the other direction. He's ~~ worried ~~ about his "turbulent selyn" and what it may do to his rating, but decidedly ~~ post ~~ as well.

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