Healing Old Wounds, Finding New Hope: Episode 8

Sanda has been pondering an idea she's come up with, which she believes is very important. She knows that she'll need the help of some channels to accomplish it, and probably the permission of the Sectuib.

Sanda is reluctant to approach Hiram directly, but figures she knows a better way. After all, she's been observing her parents for thirteen years now.

Lusinka has decided to indulge in a blissful half hour of inactivity, and has taken a cup of tea to the small conservatory, where she hopes no one will think to look for her.

Sanda has heard that Lusinka often has a cup of tea in the small conservatory when she can, and has been checking the place out periodically. Today, she's lucked out -- she's spotted Lusinka going in.

Lusinka notes that the plants are looking a bit better than they were a few weeks ago, and settles on a small bench, half hidden behind the leaves.

Sanda wanders into the conservatory and pretends to be checking the plants for insects or disease.

Lusinka hears Sanda enter and ~~ sighs ~~ as her solitude is broken.

Lusinka: Good morning.

Sanda: Oh, good morning, Sosu Lusinka! ~~ glad Companions can't zlin ~~ It's really nice in here on a cold sunny day like this.

Lusinka: Yes, it is. Very peaceful.

Sanda: I was just checking the plants for bugs and stuff. I'm on break at the clothing shop.

Sanda has been learning to use a sewing machine which is extremely cool. Nobody in Gumgeeville has one.

Lusinka: I was wondering whom young Nick recruited to look after the plants here.

Sanda: Uh, no, I was just looking at them mostly, I guess.

Sanda twiddles a leaf wondering what kind of plant it is. She's never seen anything like it.

Lusinka: The ones over there are medicinal, mostly. These here are just decorative.

Sanda nods.

Sanda: Uh, Sosu Lusinka?

Lusinka: Yes, dear?

Sanda: Uh. My mom is getting some Companion training for when she has the babies...

Sanda shuffles her feet.

Sanda: And my dad has all this Donor talent even if he can't really use it...

Lusinka: That's right.

Sanda: So I was wondering... Well, I was thinking that maybe...

Sanda forgets the prepared speech she was planning to give.

Lusinka: You're wondering if you have Donor talent, as well?

Sanda: Uh. Well, there's nobody in Gumgeeville who can give transfer to kids in changeover, so people have to shoot them, if the weather is bad and they can't get to Hannard's Ford, or maybe even if the weather isn't bad.

Sanda bulls ahead.

Sanda: I was thinking that maybe you don't have to have a lot of talent to serve a renSime, mostly just not be afraid of Simes and be high field. I mean, some of the kids were talking about the Dizzeck?

Lusinka's eyes harden for a moment.

Sanda is looking at the floor so misses that.

Lusinka: It's "Distect", and believe me, you don't want to get mixed up with them.

Sanda: Uh, they sounded pretty bad, but they think most Gens can serve transfer to renSimes and they seem to mostly get away with it, so I was thinking if I could learn how I could serve kids at home so they wouldn't have to get shot. Or maybe my mother could.

Sanda shuffles her feet again.

Sanda: Or maybe both of us?

Lusinka sighs.

Lusinka: Sanda, if you want to discover whether you have a bit of your father's Donor talent, I can arrange for you to be tested. However, no channel or Donor in Sat'htine would train a Donor who doesn't plan to work for the Tecton.

Sanda: Oh.

Sanda thinks about it. She could get trained and then quit the Tecton and go home and use what she learned. But the channels would zlin that she wasn't sincere.

Sanda: Even if I could save people's lives? Gens too. Sometimes a renSime kills, at home.

Lusinka: Sanda, I agree that your home has a problem with berserkers, but there are things you're not considering, because you still have a lot to learn about Donors.

Lusinka mentally waves her longed-for break time goodbye, and invites Sanda to sit next to her on the bench.

Sanda sits, trying to be polite and not show her discouragement.

Lusinka: The Distect is correct in this much: many Gens have the capacity to serve a renSime without getting killed. A renSime who takes Gen transfer will have problems, though, especially if it's First Transfer.

Sanda would like to say: "Worse problems than being dead or junct?" but realizes that it wouldn't be polite. She's learning.

Lusinka: Such renSimes are much more likely than renSimes used to channels' transfer to attack the nearest Gen when they are stressed, leaving them vulnerable to going junct for the rest of their adult lives. You do know that for any Sime more than six months past changeover, that's a death sentence?

Sanda nods.

Sanda: But turning Sime at all is a death sentence in Gumgeeville.

Lusinka: I know, and under such circumstances, I'd give transfer to a changeover victim myself. But the solution you propose has other drawbacks. Your brother is a channel. In a small, isolated town like Gumgeeville, where people have been marrying their neighbors for generations, there are likely to be more.

Sanda: So even if I could serve a renSime, some kid might turn out to be a channel and kill me...

Lusinka: Yes. Serving a channel is nothing like serving a renSime.

Sanda: I wish... I wish my dad could. He could have learned to do that, right?

Lusinka: Yes, he could have. As it was, his nageric strength probably saved his life. And led to the deaths of his friends, instead, which I expect is not an exchange he would have made willingly.

Sanda: By the time I get home probably a couple of my friends will have gone into changeover and been shot. In the next few years maybe four or five of the kids I've gone to school with for years will be dead. My whole life in Gumgeeville, every year, there will be kids murdered because there's nobody to help them in changeover. And maybe they'll kill people before somebody shoots them too.

Sanda fights back tears.

Sanda: It's so different here. It doesn't have to be that way. But there's nothing I can do about it.

Lusinka puts a comforting arm around Sanda.

Lusinka: I know, dear, believe me.

Sanda: It's just like the junct times here in-T isn't it? All these kids, doomed, and no fault of their own. And nobody to take them to the border.

Lusinka: Yes, it's very similar. We managed to change things, on this side of the border, but it took a war, and a lot of dead people, to win us the chance to start over.

Sanda: I have to go back to Gumgeeville. Mom will need my help looking after the twins, and we need the money from my donations, too. But I'm not going to raise any kids there. I'm going to be sure there's a channel to help them if they change over.

Lusinka: Sanda, you don't have to give up having a family, just because the Sime Center in Hannard's Ford is too far away.

Sanda: Well, I can move there, or to the city, or in-T.

Lusinka: Or if you have responsibilities in Gumgeeville that you can't leave, you can send your children, just like your brother stayed in Hannard's Ford.

Sanda: Well, Mik knew he was going to be a channel, and we knew it had to happen soon. And my dad is going to do something about the twins, in twelve years, since at least one of them is going to be a channel. But who wants to give up their kids for three or four years when they're twelve years old? Who can afford to?

Sanda means both the cost of boarding them out, and the loss of their labor, when she says "afford".

Lusinka: It might even be that by the time any child of yours is old enough to worry about growing up, there would be a Sime Center in Gumgeeville.

Sanda: Sosu, there won't be a Sime Center in Gumgeeville for a long time, if ever. It's really small. There wouldn't have been one in Hannard's Ford, except for Miz Brown, and it's lots larger.

Lusinka: Your parents managed, even though your father couldn't donate.

Sanda: It was only a couple months, for Mik. Before that, they just hoped it wouldn't happen, like everybody else does in Gumgeeville.

Sanda gestures.

Sanda: But even if I stay there, and work something out for my own kids, there's all the other kids who are going to die, and some of them will kill, too.

Lusinka: Sanda, when I was your age, I would have laughed at the idea that Sime Territory could be disjuncted.

Sanda: I guess.

Lusinka: This Miz Brown in Hannard's Ford managed to fight the Tecton to a standstill to get a channel there. Maybe you could talk to her, about how she did it?

Sanda: She did it by being related to half the town and getting all her relatives to keep writing letters.

Lusinka: Well, I expect you have some relatives, too. And friends, as well. And what you require isn't necessarily a Sime Center proper.

Sanda: Is there something else?

Lusinka: There are other possibilities. You might be able to get a retired Second Order Donor to spend winters in Gumgeeville, while officially assigned to Hannard's Ford, for instance.

Sanda: Really?

Sanda has a hard time imagining anyone spending the winter in Gumgeeville willingly.

Lusinka: If you could locate such a person, and convince them, the Tecton would probably allow it.

Sanda: How would I do that?

Sanda tries to imagine such an august person as a retired Second Order Donor accepting the invitation of a 13-year-old girl to spend the winter in a place like Gumgeeville.

Lusinka: It would take some searching, but if you could offer a decent living situation, it wouldn't be impossible.

Lusinka: There are other alternatives, as well. Your town has a train station, and so there are channels going through at least somewhat often. Mules aren't allowed to serve transfer, but they do have Donors with them, and they can zlin for changeover or establishment as well as anyone.

Sanda: I tried to get my friends to have Hajene Marvin check them out when he was in town, but they were all afraid.

Sanda sighs.

Sanda: Gumgeeville is really backward.

Lusinka: Sanda, you can't force people to accept new ideas, even when those ideas are helpful.

Sanda: I know.

Sanda sighs again.

Sanda: I'll think about what you said, and talk to my mother.

Lusinka: Do that. Your mother is a very sensible woman, and she knows Gumgeeville very well. She may have ideas that neither of us could dream of.

Lusinka just hopes that they are more realistic than Sanda's.

Sanda: I guess there's no point in testing me for Donor talent. If I had as much as Bart, it would have shown by now. And I can't join the Tecton; I have to go home and help my family with the twins and the farm.

Lusinka: Not everybody can be a Donor, Sanda -- and it doesn't solve all of life's difficulties, believe me. A lot of the real progress in this world is accomplished by ordinary people, who decide that something has to be done about a problem, and who use the talents at hand to solve it.

Sanda: Well, if I could serve channels, I'd be safe doing that in Gumgeeville, but nobody here would train me anyhow, since I'm going home.

Sanda thinks a little more.

Sanda: You're right, though. That's what Miz Brown did in Hannard's Ford. But I don't think there's much a 13-year-old like me can do about berserkers in Gumgeeville, most of the time.

Lusinka: If you could serve channels -- and we don't know that you couldn't -- you wouldn't be happy just serving an occasional changeover. Nor would it be the best use of a Donor's time and talent to do so. But you won't be thirteen forever, and when you're accepted as an adult there, you'll have a great deal more influence with your neighbors.

Sanda: I suppose.

Sanda figures that in the three years until she turns sixteen, about a dozen kids will be shot in Gumgeeville. And nobody is going to listen to a sixteen-year-old, either.

Lusinka: In the mean time, you'll be setting an example that will make the idea of going to the Sime Center more acceptable to your neighbors, at least when the weather and the train schedule make that possible. It doesn't seem like much, I know. But it's small changes that tilt the world in new directions.

Sanda: I guess. Look at all that happened just because the pass got blocked with snow last spring. Mik's alive, and a channel. And a couple of other kids are alive too. And the money has made a big difference for most of the people who donate. And my dad is getting over his Simephobia and my mom is going to survive this pregnancy, and I got to travel in-T and learn Simelan and other stuff.

Sanda turns and smiles at Lusinka.

Sanda: Those sewing machines are really cool!

Lusinka: Yes, they save a lot of time, and the clothes last longer.

Sanda: I'm going to ask my mom if we can use part of the donation money to buy one. Maybe we can get it back by doing work for people in town with it.

Sanda isn't thinking about the generally cash-strapped economy of Gumgeeville.

Lusinka: You could even teach other people to use it. And while they were learning, they'd also have a chance to learn a little bit about what you've learned here.

Sanda: Yeah! We could rent time on it!

Sanda isn't thinking how such a capitalistic notion would appear to a Householder.

Lusinka: If you didn't charge very much, then most people could afford to learn to use your sewing machine -- and you'd have a chance to talk to all of them. It wouldn't even matter if you are younger than most of them.

Sanda is doubtful about that, but nods to be polite.

Lusinka: It would be a start. Over time... it might even be enough to make Gumgeeville a place where the Tecton is willing to post a channel or Donor.

Sanda: Or maybe to get people to improve the road to Hannard's Ford.

Lusinka: See? You're coming up with ideas already.

Sanda smiles.

Sanda: Thank you, Sosu. I appreciate your time. I have to get back to work now.

Lusinka: You're welcome, Sanda. Talk to your mother. I expect she's been thinking about the same issues, so if you put your heads together, you have twice the chance of finding a solution.

Sanda: Okay, I will.

Sanda waves and leaves.

Lusinka takes a ~~ regretful ~~ last sip of her now-cold tea, then gets slowly to her feet and starts back towards the Collectorium, and her next shift.

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