Gerrhonot is sitting on a park bench in Capital, watching the ducks on the pond and enjoying the beautiful sunny fall day. Seruffin is working on the draft of a major revision of the trade agreement still under discussion, and shooed him out to enjoy himself.
Gerrhonot has the park pretty much to himself right now, and is able to somewhat relax the usual tight hold he keeps on his powerful nager around renSimes.
Trisha wanders through the park. She's not in the mood to enjoy the day. She's hungry, discouraged, and depressed. She notices a warm, pleasant, and very substantial nager on a bench near the pond, and is drawn to it. It's the best thing she's zlinned all day.
Trisha: Hi. Mind if I join you?
Gerrhonot is startled out of a daydream by Trisha's voice. He pulls in his nager and turns to see a thin young renSime who looks rather unhappy.
Gerrhonot: Um, okay.
Trisha focuses her eyes on the good-looking man in the Tecton uniform.
Trisha: Thanks, Sosu.
Gerrhonot projects a little ~~ friendliness ~~ and ~~ comfort ~~ but is careful not to engage her nager or provide actual support.
Trisha sits at the other end of the bench. She basks in the comfortable nager and inches a bit closer to the stranger.
Gerrhonot can tell the young woman isn't in need -- she's just lonely and discouraged.
Trisha searches for a conversational opening.
Gerrhonot: Would you like an apple muffin?
Trisha is ~~ embarrassed ~~. Is it obvious even to a Gen that she's starving?
Gerrhonot likes feeding Simes, and he does have a Gen territory background. He's got a bag of Sime-sized pastries with him.
Trisha: Uh --
Trisha wants to accept the food. It smells wonderful. But she doesn't think she should.
Gerrhonot: They're really good. I bought more than I should have. They'll go stale if I don't give some away.
Gerrhonot takes a muffin out of the bag and offers it, unconsciously projecting a little ~~ delicious ~~, as he does when offering food to Seruffin.
Trisha gives in.
Trisha: Yes, thanks. They smell wonderful.
Gerrhonot hands over the muffin, careful not to touch the renSime.
Trisha accepts the muffin and takes a big bite.
Trisha: Mmmm. That's delicious.
Trisha remembers her manners belatedly.
Trisha: I'm Trisha.
Gerrhonot: Hi. I'm Gerrhonot.
Trisha: Pleased to meet you. And thank you very much for the muffin. It's the best thing I've tasted all day.
Gerrhonot figures it's probably the only thing. Simes tend not to take care of themselves properly unless they have a Gen to help them.
Trisha doesn't add that it's the only thing she's tasted all day. Or yesterday. She tries to take small appreciative bites instead of gulping down the whole thing.
Gerrhonot: You're from out-T, aren't you? Out-T people know what good food is.
Trisha: Yes, I am from out-T. How can you tell?
Gerrhonot: Your accent. I've got an out-T accent too, but it's mostly gone now.
Trisha: Oh. You've lived here a long time, then?
Trisha wonders if it's her out-T accent that's made it so hard to get work.
Gerrhonot: Um, about six years now. But before I established I lived with my uncle and he speaks Simelan with an out-T accent too.
Trisha decides to go ahead and ask.
Trisha: Is that a handicap around here? Having an accent?
Gerrhonot: Um. I don't know.
Trisha: I guess, being a Donor and all that, it's not really an issue for you.
Trisha edges a bit closer to the warm nager.
Gerrhonot has made his way by his Donor talent. He wonders if the woman is disjunct. That would be a handicap.
Gerrhonot: Yeah. I'm a TN-1, and there aren't many Gens who can do that, so they'll put up with a lot from one who can.
Gerrhonot thinks about it, and figures if she's disjunct, she'll already know what a stigma that is, compared to a mere accent. Of course, Gens might wonder if she's disjunct given the accent, since they can't zlin the mark.
Trisha: You're lucky. It seems like there are about a million renSimes who can do anything I can do, and do it better.
Gerrhonot: Yeah, I am real lucky.
Trisha realizes she's sinking into self-pity, and searches for something positive to say.
Trisha: So am I. I've got a wonderful boyfriend, I've got my whole life in front of me, I've got the taste of a delicious apple muffin on my tongue. I just wish I had a job.
Gerrhonot wishes he were smart enough to give her some useful advice. He has no experience looking for work, himself.
Gerrhonot: Here, have another muffin.
Gerrhonot increases the projection of ~~ comfort ~~ a little.
Trisha only hesitates a moment this time.
Trisha: Thank you. These are delicious.
Trisha edges a bit closer along the bench as she reaches out for the muffin. She tries to remember some of her vocabulary lessons. She's sure she's used the word "delicious" about five times already.
Trisha: I've never tasted anything so...
Trisha gives up.
Trisha: So delicious.
Trisha wonders if it's her limited vocabulary that's kept her from finding work.
Trisha: How does a person find a job around here? A real job, I mean. Not standing around on a street corner every morning hoping someone wants fruit pickers today.
Gerrhonot: Um. Some jobs are advertised in the newspaper. And sometimes people put signs in their windows that they want to hire somebody. Or on lamp posts.
Trisha: I've been looking as I walk down the street. My boyfriend Keddrin has been checking the papers. He's not so good at walking a lot.
Gerrhonot tries to remember stories people have told him about how they found jobs. Most of them are stories about lucky breaks, or really stupid jobs that didn't work out, though.
Trisha: We thought it would be so easy. We'd apprentice to some tailors together, and everything would be easy.
Trisha realizes she's repeating herself again, for lack of vocabulary. Gerrhonot must think she's stupid.
Gerrhonot: Um. Do you already know how to do some tailoring?
Trisha: No. But at First Year Camp, it was the one thing both Keddrin and I had on our aptitude tests that we thought we could do together.
Gerrhonot was under the impression that artisans and tradespeople mostly apprenticed their relatives, but maybe things are different in Capital, if Trisha was told to find an apprenticeship like that.
Trisha: We arrived in town with a lead on a couple who had only one daughter, who was Gen and all thumbs, and were looking to train someone so they could retire. Trouble was, they'd found someone a couple of days before we got here. Back home, if you wanted work, you'd ask people you knew. But we don't know anyone here but Fridda, and she's new here too, and busy with school.
Trisha licks the crumbs of the second muffin off her fingers.
Gerrhonot wonders if it's the same Fridda. The timing is right.
Gerrhonot: Um. Is that Fridda Fennik?
Trisha: ~~ amazement and delight ~~ It is! You know Fridda?
Gerrhonot: Yes. Me and my channel met her just after she changed over. How are her arms now?
Trisha: They're better than anyone thought she dared hope for at first. Her tentacles are a bit short, and they'll never be strong, but she's doing all right. And it won't matter as much, with her doing academic work.
Gerrhonot is ~~ happy ~~ to hear corroboration from someone in a better position to observe.
Gerrhonot: That's good. We worked on her arms and they were in really bad shape then. Her father told us she was doing well now. He came in-T to visit her. My channel took his donation.
Trisha: I was so glad for her, the way her father's visit turned out. She'd been so afraid it wouldn't work out.
Gerrhonot: He really loves her. He didn't know much about Simes or how to control his nager but he tried real hard to learn. It's not so easy when you're old like that.
Trisha: He didn't seem old from the way she described him. Just kind of... well, father-aged.
Trisha realizes her vocabulary is failing her again.
Gerrhonot: He's not so old for out-T, but hardly anybody but Householders is much older than that in-T. But still, it gets harder to learn nageric control the longer you are past establishment.
Trisha: I guess it's still going to take me a while to think in in-T terms. But you've met Professor Fennik. Tell me more about him!
Gerrhonot: He's basically a good guy. Kind of stiff and formal, maybe, especially with my channel, since it's all new to him. But he really tried hard to understand about Simes and learn how to act around them.
Trisha: ~~ wistful ~~ Fridda really did get one of the good fathers.
Gerrhonot: People like that, rich people, they think it's not right for them to donate, that's for poor people, but he did it anyway, so he could go see Fridda. And now he does it every month.
Trisha: He does? Wow! Is he planning to visit her again?
Gerrhonot: I don't know. Probably. Fridda changing over changed him a lot too.
Trisha: I wish my parents had been like that.
Gerrhonot: Most out-T parents aren't. Most of them have to shoot their kids, but some shoot them even if there's a channel they can take them to. I'm out-T with my channel a lot and lots of places it's just awful.
Trisha: My dad showed up at the Sime Center with a rifle, and demanded they send me out so he could do his duty. ~~ bitter ~~
Gerrhonot figures it's another example of how irrational out-T people often are about Simes. Why shoot Trisha when she was already safe from the kill? He remembers how he had to beg Henree to let him go into the cellar to save Magit.
Trisha: And Keddrin's shot him in the leg. That's why he can't even look for harvest work.
Gerrhonot: Well, you're both here now, and alive and safe. ~~ comfort ~~
Trisha slides a bit closer to the warm nurturing nager.
Trisha: Yeah. All we've got to do now is find a way to pay our selyn taxes.
Gerrhonot sighs. He wishes he had some good advice for Trisha. The Church of Unity helps new out-T Simes. Maybe somebody there can give her some advice.
Trisha: We don't have jobs and we don't have money and we don't know anyone and I'm afraid to even visit Fridda in case she thinks she has to give us money and...
Trisha sobs and flings herself against Gerrhonot's solid shoulder.
Trisha: ...and I d-d-don't know what to do.
Gerrhonot manipulates the ambient to help Trisha regain control. As much as he'd like to hug and comfort her, it's ill-advised for a Donor interact physically or nagerically with a renSime, outside of a professional context. His nager is just too powerful and could cause an undesirable attraction to Gens. He projects ~~ calm and optimism ~~.
Trisha zlins the Gen pulling away from her, and struggles to get herself back under control.
Gerrhonot: I'm sorry, Trisha, but it's not good for Donors to interact closely with renSimes except at work.
Trisha: I -- I'm sorry. I didn't mean to fall apart all over you.
Gerrhonot: That's okay. I understand. ~~ sympathy ~~
Trisha: You just felt so much like... like the dad I thought I had, back before he... well, like I said.
Trisha fishes in her pockets for something to blow her nose on.
Gerrhonot is a bit nonplussed, but keeps the reaction out of his nager. Fatherly? He's only a few years older than Trisha.
Trisha: You know. Warm and solid and trustworthy.
Gerrhonot: Um. That's just my Donor nager. For my channel.
Trisha finds a handkerchief and blows her nose.
Trisha: It's you. It's a part of you. You're a good person. I was beginning to think there weren't any in this city.
Gerrhonot: Um, Trisha, maybe you could ask for advice at the Church of Unity? They help out-T Simes get settled in-T, I think. So maybe they know how you can find a job.
Trisha attempts a smile.
Trisha: If there's one good person in town, there might be more?
Gerrhonot: There's lots of good people around.
Gerrhonot has always found it so, although his uniform and nager may have something to do with it.
Trisha: You're enough to make me believe that. Okay, I'll go talk to the folks at the church.
Gerrhonot: If you walk north from the park about five blocks, you'll see the sign.
Trisha: I think I've seen it. It's just a block over from Job Corner.
Gerrhonot: Good. Look, why don't you take the rest of these muffins home to your friend? I'm getting tired of carrying them around.
Gerrhonot gets up and stretches.
Gerrhonot: I should head back to the Sime Center. My channel and me are on shift soon.
Trisha: Thanks. Thanks a lot. Keddrin will be very grateful.
Gerrhonot: You're welcome. Give my regards to Fridda.
Trisha: Okay. Well, thanks. Thanks for everything. I'll tell Fridda.
Gerrhonot: It's hard getting started in a new place, but things will work out.
Gerrhonot bends the rules a bit and imposes some ~~ optimism ~~ on Trisha.
Trisha smiles, meaning it this time. Maybe the big city isn't as cold and heartless as it seemed at first.
Trisha: I'm sure they will.
Gerrhonot smiles back.
Gerrhonot: Nice meeting you, Trisha. Maybe we'll run into each other again.
Trisha: I do hope so. 'Bye.
Gerrhonot turns and heads south toward the Sime Center. He'll stop at the bakery again and pick up a few more goodies for Seruffin.
Trisha skips off through the park with the bag of pastries for Keddrin. It's a beautiful day and life is full of promise.