Travel Broadens: Episode 8

Gerrhonot is sitting out on the patio of one of his favorite trin shops in Capital. The patio overlooks a park with trees and a pond, and the food and trin are really good.

Gerrhonot brought along the novel he's reading, about the founding of a small Householding up in the mountains long before Unity. He's enjoying it a lot, and the First Companion is easy to identify with.

Gerrhonot is mostly just looking at the park, sipping trin, nibbling a pastry and daydreaming. He's glad that he doesn't have to worry about Seruffin the way he does out-T.

Verg ambrov Imil carries a tray of tea and pastries out onto the patio, and looks around for a place to sit.

Verg is a Second Order Donor from an old Householding family, who managed to get assigned to Gerrhonot as a roommate while they were in training.

Verg: Gerrhonot? Is that you?

Gerrhonot becomes alert, reflexively keeping his nager smooth and calm as he does so.

Gerrhonot: Hey, Verg!

Verg: Are you meeting anyone?

Verg eyes the empty seat next to Gerrhonot.

Gerrhonot: No, it's just me. Have a seat.

Verg does so, looking Gerrhonot over carefully.

Verg: It looks like being out of school agrees with you.

Gerrhonot: Yeah, I guess so.

Gerrhonot found training very stressful. The nageric parts were easy, but it took several extra months before the staff gave up hope on teaching him to fill out forms correctly, research regulations and write reports.

Verg: What did the Tecton decide to do with you?

Verg graduated while the instructors were still trying to figure out whether Gerrhonot could learn enough of the academic part to be useful as a Donor.

Gerrhonot: Um, well, they kind of gave up on teaching me some things. But I've been working as a First, and most of the channels have been okay with me even though I can't help them with paperwork much.

Verg: I guess with the shortage of really strong nagers, the Firsts will accept things that Seconds wouldn't. What brings you to Capital?

Verg wonders if they've found Gerrhonot a niche in some big Sime Center where he can spend his time doing nageric work while his channels rely on others to do the paperwork.

Gerrhonot: Um. My channel is a diplomat. We're mostly out-T, in New Washington, but he came back here to consult with Hajene Jaklin. She's your naztehr, right?

Verg: Yes, she is.

Verg is ~~ proud ~~ of having one of his own running the Tecton, but he's never personally met her.

Gerrhonot: She's really nice. I sometimes serve her in transfer so my channel doesn't develop a dependency on me.

Verg: You're with a diplomat, you said? I would have thought they'd want someone who was expert in law and stuff for that.

Gerrhonot: Well, Hajene Seruffin and I were together before he got the diplomat job, and he wanted me to stay with him. We get along really well.

Verg: Hajene... Seruffin, did you say?

Gerrhonot: Yes.

Verg: Not the Seruffin who's been... but there can't be two diplomats with a name like that, can there?

Gerrhonot: I don't think so.

Verg shakes his head in ~~ wonder ~~

Verg: Who'd have thought you'd make it to such rarefied circles, when you were worried that they'd never let you out of training?

Gerrhonot thinks that Verg has always figured it was unfair that Gerrhonot got the bigger nager and the greater Donor talent, when an intelligent Householder like himself ended up as a Second.

Gerrhonot: Um. Diplomats don't have as much routine paperwork as Controllers...

Verg: Yes, but you're stuck will all sorts of fancy receptions and other formal government events. I never did care for that sort of thing. It's not nearly as much fun as a real party.

Gerrhonot: Yeah. It's not easy protecting a channel from a bunch of Wild Gens who are all moving all over the place.

Verg: It must not be, even with a nager like yours.

Gerrhonot: They're not like Gens here. They don't control at all. And a lot of them hate Simes or are scared of them.

Verg: I've heard stories about how badly even one or two Wild Gens disrupted the ambient, back when Imil used to buy them at the Choice Auctions. And they weren't allowed to mingle until they were lowfield. I don't suppose the Gen government has the sense to make its representatives take that simple precaution?

Gerrhonot: Well, a few people donate, but most don't. Of course, the ones who donate are the ones that wouldn't be as big a problem anyway.

Verg: What do they think of you?

Gerrhonot thinks about it.

Gerrhonot: Um. Sometimes I'm glad I can't zlin. Most of them don't know what to think. It's not like here where a Donor uniform gets you respect from everybody. I guess some of them think I'm crazy, and some think I'm like a prostitute, and some think I'm some kind of zombie controlled by my channel.

Verg: They at least can tell you are a Donor, right?

Gerrhonot: Well, when I'm with Hajene Seruffin, most of them figure it out.

Verg: I suppose they would. Have any of them ever tried to threaten you or your channel?

Gerrhonot: You mean like with guns? No. But a lot of the ordinary people around are really scared and you don't know what they might do.

Verg: What sort of things do they do?

Gerrhonot: Well, I think the worst is when they don't realize he's a Sime until they get really close and then they panic.

Verg: That must be hard to guard against. How do you handle it? ~~ professional interest ~~

Gerrhonot: I keep watching everybody, and whenever we're close to a Wild Gen, even one who seems friendly, I set my nager so Hajene can get as much support as he requires immediately. I mostly try to maintain the image of strength and reliability and protection.

Verg: If they trust you, they'll trust your channel?

Gerrhonot: Oh, I mean for my channel, to support him. Mostly I try to just stay in the background and not say anything, so they don't realize I'm not very bright. I just try to look calm and pleasant and professional.

Verg nods.

Verg: Even with your help, it must be hard on your channel. Back in the old days, only the Sectuib would interact with the high-field Wild Gens.

Gerrhonot: I guess so. Except for the Gendealers and the juncts who bought them to kill them.

Gerrhonot has this sort of thing at the front of his mind due to the novel he's reading.

Verg: Yeah. They weren't usually in a very amiable state of mind, when it came time for them to donate for the first time, I'm told.

Gerrhonot: I guess not. Sometimes in the Sime Center we get first time donors, older people, not newly established ones like here. Some of them are really scared.

Verg: How does your channel handle them?

Verg doesn't see many such Gens, working in-T as a Second.

Gerrhonot: He just goes slow and talks to them a lot. I give him a lot of support because sometimes they can panic right in the middle of the donation.

Gerrhonot still feels guilty that he wasn't around when Ma Mullins did just that to Seruffin.

Verg: Even when they've volunteered? I know that a lot of the Wild Gens Imil used to buy panicked, but they weren't willing, really.

Gerrhonot: They can volunteer, but still be scared. Um. Out-T Gens kind of believe that if they look like they're not scared, nobody will know they really are. There's never anybody to zlin them, so they get used to thinking that way.

Verg: So they think they can fool a channel? Or do they just not believe that it matters how they feel?

Gerrhonot: I guess they just don't realize how it works.

Verg: If they're pretending they're not afraid, how do they react when they do panic? Do they try to pretend it didn't happen? Or do they get angry at having their fear exposed?

Gerrhonot: Sometimes they're embarrassed. It's like their minds decided to do it, so they figure they should be able to follow through okay.

Verg: I suppose it would be difficult for them to know how they'll react emotionally, if they've never had a chance to be around a Sime before?

Gerrhonot: I guess. And they're all raised on scary Sime stories, mostly true ones about berserkers.

Verg shudders.

Verg: Now, that is something I'm glad I've never had to deal with. At least the juncts could be reasoned with, mostly.

Gerrhonot: It's awful out there, Verg. Most places there's no way to get a kid to a channel -- there just aren't any Sime Centers.

Verg: From what I hear, a lot of them aren't interested in sending their kid to a channel, even when there is a Sime Center.

Gerrhonot: Yeah.

Verg: Do you ever get hassled for being a Donor, even when you're not with your channel?

Gerrhonot laughs.

Gerrhonot: I guess it helps that I'm not too bright. They figure I'm doing it because I'm too stupid to know any better.

Verg: Yeah. If they've never spent time with Simes, how could they know what they're missing?

Gerrhonot: Well, most in-T Gens don't know what they're missing either.

Verg chuckles.

Gerrhonot smiles happily. He loves transfer. He loves helping Seruffin.

Verg: True enough. They claim they don't miss it, though.

Gerrhonot: I guess.

Verg: Well, I suppose that leaves more channels for the rest of us, right?

Gerrhonot: Yeah. Wouldn't it be awful if there weren't enough channels to go around?

Verg: Now you sound like a channel who's been shorted. I guess you can't make everybody happy, no matter how much you try.

Gerrhonot laughs.

Gerrhonot: They never get shorted with me!

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