Robur, a Third Order Donor, decides to check out the Hannard's Ford Sime Center to see if he can be useful there.
Robur has already filled his knapsack full of local potato cultivars, which satisfies his duty to his Householding. He spent more time searching through bins at the market than he expected, and now he needs a place to sleep until tomorrow's inbound train. He hasn't been in this town before and doesn't expect to be again, but one never knows.
Robur unlatches the gate, walks up to the door, admires the shiny new hinges, and calls out in Simelan.
Robur: Respect to the Tecton!
Bibi opens the door. Yes, it really is a high field Third Order Donor out there!
Bibi: Welcome, Sosu.
Bibi gestures him in.
Robur extends his fingers in greeting.
Bibi brushes tentacles, smiling in ~~ welcome ~~.
Robur: Robur ambrov Teiu, here to buy seed potatoes. I've missed my train; can I do you a service?
Bibi: I believe you can. Please come back to the common room. Let me offer you some tea and food.
Robur: I'm all for that. Trains make me ill, and I haven't had a thing all day. ~~ hunger ~~
Bibi: I'm Hajene Bibi, the Controller and sole channel here.
Bibi leads the way to the common room.
Bibi: Here, take off your pack and cloak, sit down and relax.
Robur does all these things with a sigh of ~~ relief ~~.
Bibi goes into the kitchen, quickly fills a tray with an assortment of Gitl's goodies, both sweet and proteinaceous, and brings it out into the common room.
Bibi: Here you go.
Bibi pours Robur a cup of tea from the pot already on the table and takes up her own cup.
Robur takes one of the latter kind and bites into it. ~~ pleasure surprise ~~
Robur: Hajene, this is really extraordinary! What ever is it?
Bibi: It's a nalashniki, a sort of filled pancake.
Robur: Wow. The quality of the cooking is just amazing for a small Center like this. My heartfelt compliments to your chef.
Bibi: Our chef is local woman. She's really talented, isn't she?
Robur: Absolutely. ~~ enthusiasm ~~
Bibi sips her tea and wonders what this guy is doing here. She isn't used to Donors falling from the sky, nor from the train, when needed. Much the contrary.
Robur eats several more of the goodies.
Bibi refills his tea cup.
Robur: Thanks, Hajene.
Robur eats another nalashniki.
Robur: Ha, this one must be made with some of those local potatoes I just bought.
Bibi: You're buying potatoes?
Robur: Yes. Teiu sent me on this trip to find interesting cultivars of storage vegetables -- potatoes are just what I found here.
Robur jerks his thumb at his pack.
Robur: That's full of 'em, plus rutabagas and winter squash and even some onions.
Bibi: I see. So you aren't assigned to a channel this month, then?
Robur: ~~ surprise ~~ Oh no. These days I'm basically a buyer, not a Donor.
Bibi wonders why this older man is no longer working as a Donor. Is there something wrong with him? Perhaps he isn't the solution to her problem after all.
Robur: I'm not surprised you're a bit confused, Hajene. Almost all Teiu Gens are qualified Third Order Donors, but most of us don't work as Donors -- after all, there's no Third shortage. In the old days, a lot of us served renSime transfers out-T, but that hasn't been practical since that lorsh Oliver Teague blew the whistle.
Bibi remembers what she heard from Gerrhonot.
Bibi: Ah! The Church of Unity missionary program! Were you involved in that?
Robur smiles reminiscently
Robur: Indeed I was. And I must say, I miss it.
Bibi: So you have experience with changeovers, especially of out-T children.
Robur: Why, certainly.
Bibi: I zlin you are high field, and you're perhaps a fairly high rated Third?
Robur quotes various technical parameters from memory.
Ammenia makes her way to the kitchen for a cup of tea, knowing that she's likely going to be up all night. She doesn't really resent the loss of sleep; this is an unusual circumstance.
Bibi: Ammenia? Please join us. We've got some tea here, and some food.
Ammenia perks up, Genlike, at the mention of food. Especially food made by Gitl. She makes her way to the common room.
Ammenia: Hello, Bibi. Flint's going to be waking up soon, I think.
Robur stands up as Ammenia enters.
Bibi: Ammenia, this is Robur ambrov Teiu, TN-3. Sosu Robur, this is Sosu Ammenia, TN-1.
Bibi uses standard Tecton etiquette in informing the Gens of ratings they themselves can't zlin.
Ammenia: Pleased to meet you, Robur.
Ammenia offers fingertips.
Robur brushes his against hers.
Robur: An honor, Sosu.
Ammenia: What brings you here, Sosu?
Ammenia hadn't thought that there was another Donor in town.
Robur: Potatoes. I'm not working as a Donor these days, as I was explaining to Hajene Bibi.
Bibi: Sosu Robur, we have a changeover of a Third Order channel in progress. Perhaps you can tell him the background, Ammenia. Sosu Robur used to work as a Church of Unity missionary out-T, so he has experience with changeovers of out-T children.
Robur's eyebrows elevate to an alarming degree.
Ammenia: In that case, you are very welcome indeed, Sosu Robur.
Robur: Ah. No wonder you didn't want to serve the changeover yourself. I must say I was puzzled. And with all respect, it will doubtless be better for the poor fellow if he gets a good match for his First Transfer. All I can say is, I'll do my best.
Ammenia: Flint is the second of a pair of twins, neither of whom had any previous contact with Simes until Hajene Marvin zlinned Flint's brother Clint go into changeover day before yesterday.
Ammenia: Flint found the sight of his brother's changeover deeply upsetting, and he's been trying to deny that it'll happen to him. I'm afraid that he'll get into trouble if he keeps fighting it.
Robur: "Poor fellow" indeed, in every way.
Ammenia: Unfortunately, I don't know enough about his culture to help as much as I'd like.
Robur nods again.
Robur: I can probably help with that. But tell me, how did his brother's changeover go? Technically.
Bibi: Ammenia served Clint herself. Hajene Marvin is a mule channel and not authorized to serve transfer. This all happened on a train.
Ammenia: We had to improvise, a bit. Fortunately, the train stopped in a siding for the most critical hours. I wouldn't call it routine, but there weren't any physical complications beyond a complete lack of training. It helped that Clint is the less assertive of the two, and was therefore more inclined to follow directions.
Robur waves his hands.
Robur: Wait, wait. A "mule channel"?
Bibi: Yes. He works for the Selyn Transport Service. He was on his way in-T when he zlinned a child in changeover in one of the cars of the train.
Robur: Oh, I see.
Ammenia: Marvin isn't permitted to serve transfers, so I served Clint. Which makes me less than the ideal candidate to serve his brother.
Robur: I'm ~~ wondering ~~ whether I'm actually up to this job, after so many years of dormancy.
Robur looks at Bibi.
Bibi: Well, the boy is still in stage one, so there's plenty of time to make a decision on who will serve the transfer. Perhaps you can help us manage him and his brother. Keep them calm, and optimistic and so forth.
Robur: That I can certainly manage.
Bibi: I'll want to deep zlin you, and test your skills a bit, since I don't have your records.
Bibi is not going to even consider assigning Robur to Flint if she's not sure that he can do at least as good a job for the twins as Ammenia can.
Ammenia obligingly moderates her nager to support Bibi while leaving her free to zlin.
Robur removes his out-T style shirt and extends his arms to Bibi.
Bibi gestures her thanks to Ammenia for the support and takes Robur in a transfer contact, ignoring the dust from the potatoes on his hands and arms.
Bibi deep zlins the man and finds his selyn system in good shape. It certainly zlins like he's been giving transfer regularly. She gives tentacle and nageric signals and evaluates his responses.
Robur gives correct responses to the basic signals, and responds with a generic "Not understood" to others.
Bibi notes that Robur's selyn system, and indeed his personality, respond with remarkable resilience to her tests, but he seems a bit lacking in confidence.
Ammenia modifies her support to generic politeness again as Bibi releases Robur.
Bibi: Thank you, Sosu. I think you've been working a bit more than you indicate. You zlin like you've been serving transfer frequently.
Robur: Hmm. Well. Yes. I suppose I do. ~~ embarrassment ~~ But I assure you, I haven't. What you zlinned is -- a matter private to my Householding.
Bibi is a bit ~~ puzzled ~~, but doesn't zlin any guilt or other indication of wrongdoing.
Bibi: Well, as long as you haven't let your skills get rusty.
Robur: I think with a few exercises I can flake off whatever rust may be clinging to me.
Bibi: We'll see what we can do. Would you like to meet Flint now, if he's awake?
Robur: I would, Hajene. Perhaps I can help him adjust to his prospects -- I do have some practice with that side as well as the purely nageric side.
Robur's eyes twinkle.
Robur: So where are you keeping him? In the dungeons?
Bibi: Our changeover room is in the cellar. The dark and quiet are very comforting to the children's instinct to hide.
Bibi gets up and leads the way toward the cellar steps.
Robur takes his torch and goes spelunking, figuratively speaking.
Ammenia follows, hoping that a better solution to a bad situation can be found.
Robur tries to hold down his rising ~~ excitement ~~ at his return to selyn work.
Bibi smiles at Robur's excitement. He zlins more confident now.