Shorsh steps into the module after returning from walking Gegg back up to the house.
D'zoll is lying on the bed looking as calm as he can, which for a Farris channel is pretty calm.
D'zoll: I'm fine, really. I just said I needed rest so you could deal with Gegg Gen-to-Gen.
Shorsh examines his channel with a professional eye.
Shorsh: I figured as much, but that did take a bit out of you. ~~ not all that sympathetic ~~
D'zoll: Just a bit, perhaps. How's Gegg doing now?
Shorsh: I gave him another sleeping pill. I hope he uses it.
Shorsh sits down.
Shorsh: I suppose he feels like you'd expect any other semi-consenting rape victim to feel.
D'zoll sighs much more dramatically.
D'zoll: Isn't that description just a tad overblown? I mean, he did consent, even if under pressure.
Shorsh: He panicked there, when you made lateral contact, and you overpowered him. Physically and nagerically.
D'zoll: Yes, he was unwilling at the time. But his consent was uncoerced. You know the difference between willingness and consent as well as anyone, Sosu.
Shorsh: I'm concerned that we may have reinforced the original trauma rather than vitiated it. He feels like he "broke" again, and with far less cause.
D'zoll: Umm, he didn't feel to me like he felt that. Did he tell you so in so many words?
Shorsh: Not in so many words. He feels like he failed. He has less hope that he'll be able to learn to feel safe around Simes.
D'zoll: Hmm. And what did you tell him?
Shorsh: I told him he'd feel better after a good night's sleep. And that I believed things are going well over all.
D'zoll: Mmm, fair enough. So do you think I exceeded the limits of good practice, or are you just tweaking my tentacles?
Shorsh sighs again.
Shorsh: In retrospect, we should have gone slower, taken it in smaller steps over a few more sessions. But retrospect is easy. You were the one with the tentacles on the problem.
Shorsh lets D'zoll zlin that he's feeling a little ~~ guilty ~~ for not discouraging D'zoll's haste.
D'zoll: In retrospect, I think you're right. Thank you for not calling a Companion's Demand.
Shorsh: I think if I'd done that while you had Gegg in your grip, backed against the wall and screaming, it would have done more harm than good.
D'zoll: [bemused] Screaming, was he actually screaming? I thought that was just his nageric projection!
Shorsh: He screamed when you applied your laterals and he tried to pull away. Good thing we didn't teach him how to kill a Sime manually, eh?
D'zoll attempts to call to mind his sensory recollection of the event.
Shorsh: He also sort of wailed when you released his mouth, but of course it was over by then.
D'zoll: I guess you're right, though I might call it a yelp or a blatt. As for the extensor-node technique, I heartily agree.
Shorsh: I was worried that he was going to injure you either physically or with another Genslam, but you seemed very confident.
D'zoll: Well, I had to seem confident. In fact, though, I was pretty confident. I didn't think he was likely to injure me physically either accidentally or on purpose, and as for Genslam... well, I knew you were standing by with just that in mind.
Shorsh: Are you sure you're all right?
D'zoll takes stock of himself.
D'zoll: Nagerically, no question. Physically -- I could probably stand to do a few isometrics.
Shorsh gestures D'zoll to go ahead.
Shorsh: I think I'll have some tea. Still some in the pot?
D'zoll nods while doing his Sat'htine forearm exercises. At least they're better than Zeor denial exercises.
Shorsh pours himself a cup and returns to his seat.
Gegg personally found that the night passed very slowly. He was tired out from his ordeal, and not feeling very trusting towards his in-Territory visitors, and so he tried sleeping without the sleeping pill Shorsh gave him.
D'zoll spent much of the night when only he was awake thinking over Shorsh's comments.
Gegg finally ended up taking the pill around two in the morning, after the second time he woke Toria with his nightmares, but not before the tossing and turning reawakened his back injury of the previous winter.
Shorsh has been rather quiet this morning. He's feeling even more guilty that he didn't rein in D'zoll's enthusiasm for taking down Gegg's field immediately so he'd be able to present Hiram with the accomplishment.
Gegg and his wife overslept as a result of his restlessness, and so Sanda had to be sent off to school without doing her chores. He's thus tasked with delivering Petunia's morning slops.
Gegg finds himself ~~ apprehensive ~~ at the necessity of confronting his guests, but the pig needs food, and he's never been one to shirk his duty just because it scares him spitless. He therefore takes the slop bucket and makes his way towards the barn, trying to find a way to manage it that doesn't make his back hurt too much, and once again cursing that stubborn bale of hay the previous winter.
D'zoll: Gegg's coming. Perhaps it would be wise if you let him in. In addition, his back hurts.
Shorsh opens the door before Gegg gets to it. He sees Gegg is walking as if it pains him.
Gegg ~~ starts ~~ as the door opens, then ~~ relaxes ~~ a bit as he sees it's Shorsh.
Shorsh: Good morning. Looks like your back is sore.
Gegg: Yeah. I had an argument with a hay bale last winter, and lost.
Shorsh: Carrying a heavy bucket in one hand must make it worse.
Gegg: The pig needs her breakfast, however I feel. We overslept, so Sanda didn't have time to bring it down.
Gegg doesn't look like he's suffering from an excess of slumber. Quite the opposite.
Shorsh: Here, I'll take it the rest of the way and dump it in.
Gegg lets Shorsh take the bucket.
Gegg follows Shorsh into the barn so he can retrieve the empty bucket, rubbing the sore part of his back.
Shorsh heads for Petunia's pen, dumps the swill in the trough to an enthusiastic reception, and watches the piglets running around in circles squealing with excitement.
Shorsh: The piglets seem to have a lot of energy.
Gegg: Yup. Most young things do.
Shorsh: Alas that my youth is over.
Gegg can ~~ agree ~~ with that sentiment.
Gegg: Well, we may be old and creaky, but we're also a bit smarter than we were in our misspent youths. Or so I prefer to think. I expect Sanda might disagree.
D'zoll: I might disagree myself, if I weren't in the presence of my elders. But anyhow, good morning, Gegg.
Gegg ~~ freezes ~~ involuntarily, startled by D'zoll's nearness. He hasn't a clue how his sensitivity to Simes will vary with his own field strength. He turns to face D'zoll ~~ warily ~~.
Gegg: Good morning.
D'zoll: Ah, you're surprised because you didn't notice me. That's because your field is much lower today than yesterday, and so my field's effect on yours is much less.
D'zoll: That backache is awful. Shall I do something about it? I won't even need to touch you, though of course it's up to you.
Gegg is more inclined to question D'zoll's "suggestions" after their last session.
Gegg: What do you mean by "do something"?
Gegg is definitely ~~ tense ~~.
D'zoll: Make it stop hurting for the time being, and stimulate your, well, "bodily mind" might be how you say it in English, to start proper healing. You'll feel the effect in your field while I'm working, but after that your back should be much better.
Gegg thinks this over.
Gegg: What sort of effect?
Shorsh waits to hear how D'zoll will describe "projecting need" in unalarming terms.
D'zoll: I can't exactly say. It might feel sort of creepy-crawly, or you might itch, or perhaps feel a little ... Well, anyway, I'd be increasing the contrast between your field and mine. So you'd feel as if I were standing quite close to you, although not as close as yesterday.
Shorsh also thinks that Gegg is showing encouraging evidence of intending to be a more active participant in his medical care.
Gegg thinks this over.
Shorsh is rather impressed that Gegg is considering letting D'zoll do anything at all to him, after yesterday. He's relieved, too.
Gegg doesn't think he could face having D'zoll touch him again, but this doesn't sound like it would go that far.
D'zoll: So are you ready for me to help you?
Gegg's back really does hurt, and it took nearly two months after the original injury before it was more or less back to normal.
Gegg: I guess so.
Gegg doesn't sound very sure.
Shorsh moves to a more favorable position for supporting D'zoll in a functional.
D'zoll extends his laterals and takes a grip on Gegg's much-reduced but still Donor-style field.
Gegg flinches at the sight and takes a step backwards, before he catches himself.
D'zoll: Very good. Please do your best to hold still so as not to disrupt my concentration, okay?
D'zoll zlins the area and spots the problem.
D'zoll: Sosu Shorsh, would you apply pressure here on the left between the third and fourth thoracic vertebrae?
Shorsh is ~~ mystified ~~, since it looked to him like like it was the lumbar spine that was causing Gegg's pain, but complies.
D'zoll signals for increased pressure sustained and then slowly slacked off.
Shorsh does as requested.
Gegg finds this ~~ confusing ~~.
D'zoll: Okay, Gegg. You should be able to take a deep breath and hold it now -- can you do that for me, please? And Shorsh, if you'd step to the far side of Gegg?
Gegg obeys, wondering how much of this is show, and what the rest does.
Shorsh moves to where he can transilluminate the other Gen with his field for D'zoll to zlin.
Gegg is ~~ uncomfortably ~~ aware of D'zoll, as warned.
D'zoll: Very good. I'm using Shorsh's strong First Order Donor field as a sort of bright light to observe the details of your field: exactly where it's clogged up.
D'zoll: I'll need bilateral pressure between L2 and L3, Sosu. This will hurt, but not too much, Gegg.
Shorsh moves to where he can apply it without twisting his own back.
Gegg tenses as Shorsh touches his sore back, but ~~ endurance ~~ is something he's good at.
D'zoll signals more-more-more-less-more-more-less-less-less, keeping the pressure bearable for Gegg throughout.
Shorsh follows D'zoll's signals.
D'zoll: Okay, let out the breath and now breathe slowly and steadily, slowly and steadily, as Shorsh trained you to.
Gegg gasps a few times, then manages to get control of his breathing.
D'zoll: Excellent. Now cross your arms across your chest please. Shorsh, can you give him a bear hug, please?
Shorsh moves around to face Gegg, smiles encouragingly, and applies the hug.
Gegg crosses his arms, then yelps a little at the pressure of the hug.
D'zoll zlins as Gegg's vertebral column moves neatly back into alignment.
D'zoll: Hang in there, Gegg.
D'zoll enables healing mode and encourages the weakened muscles to bulk up, relieving the unbalanced strain in Gegg's back. He alternates deep treatment with soothing Gegg's soreness for short-term relief.
Gegg is left gasping, not quite sure what happened, but aware that his back doesn't hurt quite as much.
D'zoll: Okay, thank you, Shorsh. I think we need to do some of this treatment every other day this week. Within a month your back should have repaired itself quite nicely, with a little help from your friends Shorsh and D'zoll.
Gegg: That's about twice as fast as the last time.
Shorsh: Perhaps this time it will stay healed.
Gegg: I wouldn't mind that, at all.
D'zoll smiles, nods encouragingly and retracts his laterals.
Gegg feels a bit better with the tentacles retracted.
D'zoll: In any case, we've had enough nageric work for a while. Time for some more talk therapy. Shall we go in the module, or would you rather stay out here in the barn?
Gegg hesitates, reluctant to go into the claustrophobic confines of the mobile unit, but also reluctant to admit that he prefers the illusion of space to run in the barn.
D'zoll: Perhaps staying out here would be better.
Gegg is ~~ relieved ~~ that D'zoll has chosen his preferred option, without making him admit his reason for asking for it.
Gegg: That's fine with me.
D'zoll: Fine, then. Grab a hay bale, in that case.
D'zoll now knows the difference between straw and hay, at least when baled. He sits on one too, and gestures for Shorsh to occupy a third.
Shorsh finds a comfortable position from which he can manage the fields for his channel.
Gegg waits until D'zoll is seated, and settles on a hay bale a bit farther away than usual.
D'zoll: Now as I remember, during our last session you were telling me ...
D'zoll is secretly glad not to have to interact with Gegg's field any more today.