Seruffin is in his office alone, working through the accumulated communications that spawned while he and Gerrhonot were making a run to Capital.
Seruffin sent Gerrhonot off to lunch an hour ago, and is now regretting it.
Seruffin has been staring in ~~ shock ~~ at a particular item: the arrangements for Senator Pollovic's public donation. He had been assuming that the Senator would visit the Sime Center, take a tour with the press, and then they would retire into one of the donation rooms.
Seruffin is discovering the truth to the old adage "if you want something done properly, make the arrangements yourself."
Seruffin: Oh, shen.
Seruffin isn't swearing, just stating a possible outcome of more-than-trivial probability.
Gerrhonot signals and enters, carrying a small basket of grapes which he bought from a farmer who sells fruit from his wagon near the park. His cheerful greeting dies unspoken when he sees Seruffin's face.
Seruffin pulls himself together; this is his own fault, not Gerrhonot's, after all.
Seruffin: Ah, Gerrhonot, there you are. Did you find a good lunch?
Gerrhonot: Hajene, what's wrong? ~~ concerned ~~
Seruffin nods at the paper in front of him.
Gerrhonot goes to stand next to his channel and puts a comforting hand on his shoulder. ~~ support ~~ devotion ~~
Seruffin: It appears I've blundered badly, in the Senator Pollovic issue.
Gerrhonot waits for further explanation. ~~ confidence in his channel ~~
Seruffin ~~ leans ~~ on Gerrhonot's nager for a moment, more heavily than he usually does, letting the selyn comfort his growing need.
Seruffin: I left the details of the arrangements for Pollovic's people to work out, and didn't make clear what were the critical issues for me. That's never a good way to operate, and in this instance, it's backfired badly.
Gerrhonot: But we had to go back to Nivet in a hurry. You couldn't be here to work it out right. What's going to happen?
Seruffin: I still should have made it clear before we went -- well, that's selyn burned in augmentation, now. Senator Pollovic's campaign arranged the event for the rotunda of their Senate building. Right in front of the lunchtime crowd and the entire press corps.
Gerrhonot: ~~ alarm ~~ But there could be anybody there! Simephobes, even! And it's his first donation!
Gerrhonot hastily turns down the alarm and ups the support. ~~ devotion ~~ repletion ~~ safety ~~
Gerrhonot: When is it? After our transfer, right?
Seruffin: No, it's day after tomorrow. "Just one day earlier than you suggested," it says here.
Gerrhonot is ~~ horrified ~~.
Gerrhonot: You shouldn't even be around these guys that day, let alone... You can't do this in hard need. It's too much for any channel.
Seruffin winces as Gerrhonot's nager feeds back onto his own misgivings.
Gerrhonot's ~~ protectiveness ~~ thickens and surrounds Seruffin in a solid wall of dedicated commitment to his channel's safety and comfort.
Seruffin breathes a sigh of ~~ relief ~~.
Seruffin: At this point, I can't refuse to do it. The press invitations have already gone out, and there's a clipping here from the New Washington Times mentioning it. If I back out at this late date, Senator Pollovic will look like a fool, and he'll become an enemy, not an ally.
Seruffin buries his face in his hands, tentacles tightly retracted in distress.
Gerrhonot takes a deep breath, and breathes out all his fear and anxiety. He's confident Seruffin can manage this -- he's a really smart man, a really good channel, he has lots of experience, he can do anything he has to. ~~ confidence ~~ love ~~ devotion ~~
Gerrhonot takes Seruffin's hands, slides his own hands into transfer position.
Gerrhonot: Hajene, I'll do anything you want me to. You know that. Just tell me what you want and I'll do it.
Gerrhonot gently strokes Seruffin's tentacle sheaths. ~~ love ~~ repletion ~~ dedication ~~ strength ~~ reliability ~~
Seruffin: I don't suppose you could arrange for Senator Pollovic and the entire New Washington Press Corps to come down with mild food poisoning on the appointed day?
Seruffin's mouth lifts in an attempt at humor.
Seruffin: Sorry, that was unworthy of a channel.
Seruffin lets his handling tentacles emerge to grasp Gerrhonot's arms.
Gerrhonot: That's okay. I knew you were joking.
Gerrhonot projects a little of the whole-hearted eagerness and joy he feels at the prospect of transfer.
Seruffin lets some of the need-tension go, only to have it replaced by situation-induced tension.
Gerrhonot ups the ~~ comfort ~~ safety ~~ and ~~ confidence ~~.
Gerrhonot: Anything... I'll do anything for you.
Gerrhonot wonders if all those people eat at the Senate restaurant. Unfortunately, he hasn't had an opportunity to make friends with the service staff, since he never eats there.
Seruffin's mind is beginning to function again, as the need- and shock-induced paralysis begins to fade.
Seruffin: We can't do anything about the location, I'm afraid. It's been too widely publicized. We may be able to reduce some of the other risk factors, though.
Gerrhonot: ~~ inquiry ~~
Seruffin: Even a few high-field Donors among the audience could do a lot to moderate the ambient.
Seruffin: The other factor we might be able to do something about is Pollovic himself. If I could work with him a little before we try this, we'd all be more confident.
Gerrhonot has a rare bright idea.
Gerrhonot: Uh, could you take his donation before, in private, and then just fake it in public? Nobody can zlin what you're doing. I could protect you better if you weren't really doing a functional.
Seruffin: I'd like to -- goodness knows, that would be a much more sensible approach. Unfortunately, it appears that Senator Pollovic's staff is very efficient. Can we be sure that they haven't invited the Nivet press, as well? Some of them are renSimes, you know.
Gerrhonot: I guess.
Gerrhonot is ~~ pleased ~~ that Seruffin liked his idea, but ~~ disappointed ~~ that he can't use it.
Seruffin: If such a subterfuge were publicly exposed, that would cause nearly as much harm as refusing to do it at all. Still, we might be able to use part of your idea. If we can get Pollovic to cooperate, a dress rehearsal might do a great deal to steady him, and at least moderate the difficulty of dealing with him in a cluttered ambient.
Gerrhonot: I wish you could take transfer early, so you wouldn't be in hard need. Would I have enough selyn for you if you augmented yourself into need?
Seruffin zlins Gerrhonot ~~ thoughtfully ~~
Gerrhonot: ~~ replete ~~ willing to give his last dynopter ~~
Seruffin: If we took transfer a day early, I'd still be shorted, but not by much. It would be better than trying this stunt in need, certainly. I'll ask the Controller in the morning. There shouldn't be a problem, unless there's some tricky rephasing going on. We are due for a rotation, next month.
Seruffin: And... I'm going to have to make it clear to Pollovic and his people that I reserve the right to adjourn to the safe room for the actual donation if I don't think it can be done safely in the Rotunda.
Gerrhonot nods in ~~ agreement ~~ and gently massages Seruffin's ronaplin glands, which are already substantially distended. ~~ confidence ~~ repletion ~~ devotion ~~
Seruffin's laterals emerge from their sheaths, the better to zlin these positive emotions.
Gerrhonot reacts with ~~ pleasure ~~ to the lateral contact. ~~ love ~~
Seruffin: Ah, Gerrhonot, what would I do without you?
Gerrhonot: ~~ happiness ~~ I like being your Donor.
Seruffin basks in Gerrhonot's affection. He's well aware that a smarter Donor would be much more help with the administrative and tactical part of his job, but he can't imagine any Donor being as supportive as Gerrhonot when it comes to emotional support.
Seruffin: I wouldn't trade you for a Farris-trained superDonor.
Seruffin is unlikely to have the opportunity, but that doesn't make him any less sincere.
Gerrhonot: I wouldn't trade you for a Farris channel. Even a female one.
Seruffin: Now that, from a young man your age, is a compliment indeed.
Gerrhonot dispenses with words and fills the ambient with ~~ happiness ~~ love ~~ repletion ~~ and selyur nager. He offers a lip contact to intensify his support.
Seruffin leans forward to accept it, letting the selyn-rich, confident nager dispel his doubts, at least temporarily.