How The Other Half Lives: Episode 16

Nick is getting a crash course in obstetrics, as part of a program of learning more about various specialties available for him to study at Sat'htine. He's finding a lot of gaps in his education, but he's enjoying working with Rimona.

Rimona is sipping trin as she briefs Nick on the morning schedule of office visits.

Nick is currently doing nothing more demanding than light ~~ support ~~, which leaves him free to listen to Rimona's briefing.

Rimona: So most of what I'll be doing is routine checking of pregnant women who have or may develop problems with their pregnancies.

Nick nods.

Rimona: What I'll want from you mostly is assistance in blocking the emotions of the patient and helping me zlin more clearly during the examination.

Nick: Do you want me to provide a protected window for you to zlin through?

Rimona smiles.

Rimona: I've heard about your little specialty. Yes, I'd like to try it. Please don't be offended if I ask you for a lot of minor modifications -- I sometimes want all the acuity I can get in these cases, especially the early pregnancies.

Nick: Of course.

Rimona: Our first patient is someone unusual, an out-T woman pregnant with twin channels. Or perhaps a channel and a high order Donor, potentially.

Nick: Toria Gegg?

Nick pronounces the name with an out-T accent.

Rimona: Ah, right! You must know her husband. Foolish of me not to think of that.

Nick: I've met Toria, too, when we were both picking berries.

Rimona: Good. I hope that will make her more comfortable with you there. Out-T, all midwifery is done by women, so having a man present could be upsetting for her, not that she's easily upset!

Nick smiles.

Nick: No, I've gotten the distinct impression that Toria is the voice of reason in her family.

Rimona sips her tea, glances at Nick, picks up and eats a tiny cracker.

Rimona: She and I have been getting along well. We've been giving her some Donor training, hoping we can teach her to accept selyn from a channel, should she need it.

Nick: Is she likely to?

Rimona: I think it's likely. She's doing well, so I'd like to have a first attempt at it today. Even if it isn't successful, the more we can prepare her, the easier it will be all around if I have to get selyn into her during labor or delivery.

Nick: Indeed. That's not something to try for the first time under less-than-optimal circumstances.

Rimona pauses.

Rimona: It's agonizingly painful for the Gen if it has to be forced. I'll go slowly and carefully today, but it is possible that she'll panic or suddenly resist, and we'll both get hurt. Not likely, but possible.

Nick: Should I have fosebine ready?

Rimona smiles.

Rimona: Well, there's always some in the cabinet. We can wait a minute or two for you to mix some up. But I wanted to warn you that there's a small chance things might not go well, despite my vast experience and Farris capabilities.

Rimona winks at Nick.

Nick chuckles.

Nick: Indeed. And as a non-Farris of Narosian breeding, I assure you that I'm genetically incapable of doing the Iron Donor act.

Rimona: Good lad.

Rimona reaches out and pats Nick's hand.

Rimona: Well, to work, young man!

Toria sits in treatment room #7, wishing she'd brought along something to do this time. She's gotten pretty used to lengthy delays, but this seems more than a bit extreme.

Toria sets herself to be polite, not of course aware of the ~~ annoyance ~~ carried on her nager. She's also suffering from ~~ boredom ~~, which probably exacerbates the annoyance.

Rimona taps lightly on the door, opens it and comes in with Nick following.

Rimona: Good morning, Toria. I've got Sosu Nick with me today instead of Sosu Salk.

Nick: It's nice to see you again, Miz Gegg.

Toria's mood changes completely to ~~ surprise ~~ and ~~ delight ~~.

Toria: Nick! How nice to see you again.

Rimona ~~ enjoys ~~ the positive emotions.

Toria: Excuse me, Hajene Rimona. Nick and I... well, I suppose you can tell, eh?

Rimona: I can zlin that you're happy to see him.

Toria: We had a very pleasant conversation while picking berries a while back.

Toria smiles.

Nick: Very tasty berries they were, too.

Toria: Ah, good. Did D'zoll enjoy them as well?

Nick: Yes. He actually ate two handfuls of them, which must be something of a record for a Sime.

Rimona: That boy always was an easy feeder.

Rimona gestures to the transfer lounge that doubles as a channel's examination table.

Rimona: I'd like to check your babies now, Toria.

Toria: Of course, Hajene.

Toria gets up from the chair and moves to the transfer lounge.

Rimona assists her to lie down. She's getting big, and it's getting awkward.

Rimona takes her place in the channel's position and puts her hands on Toria's ballooning belly under her loose shirt.

Toria ~~ relaxes ~~ and lets go of her feelings, positive and negative.

Rimona: Very good, Toria.

Nick provides a nice window of ~~ support ~~ to allow Rimona maximum perception with minimum exposure.

Rimona concentrates, carefully zlinning the fetuses and the character and volume of their selyn draw. Then she winces.

Rimona: That kick in the bladder was your little girl, Toria.

Toria: I guess she's taking after her mother, then.

Toria winks.

Rimona chuckles and zlins again.

Rimona: They're very lively, and I can't very well tell them to hold still while I zlin them, either.

Toria tries to ~~ relax ~~ further in hope that it helps.

Rimona: Well, they're doing very well, and I suppose they're waking you up at night regularly.

Rimona sits up, withdrawing her hands.

Toria: Oh yes.

Toria yawns.

Toria: Excuse me. ~~ embarrassed ~~

Rimona: Nick, we think Toria is doing especially well with this very demanding pregnancy partly because her selyn system was developed by carrying her first son, the channel.

Toria perks her ears up, figuratively speaking.

Nick: I see.

Nick doesn't let the insight distract him from his ~~ support ~~ work, however.

Toria: So, have you noticed anything different? Other than they're a week older, I mean.

Rimona: Well, their draw is increasing, but you're keeping up with it well so far. They're very healthy and so are you.

Toria nods.

Toria: But their draw is going to get stronger and stronger, right?

Rimona: Yes, it will continue right up until they take their first breaths, increasing all the time, and especially during labor and at delivery. Although it isn't necessary yet, I'd like to try giving you some selyn today.

Toria raises her eyebrows.

Toria: I thought it was the babies who got given the selyn.

Rimona: It could happen, with twins like this, that they need all the selyn you can make and then some. That could be bad for them and for you.

Toria: It certainly doesn't sound good. Do Gens need selyn too, then?

Rimona: Sometimes, in cases like this, they do.

Nick is watching closely, ready to increase his support if Toria gets alarmed, or if Rimona signals for it.

Rimona: So I'd like to make sure you've learned how to accept selyn before it becomes necessary, if it does.

Toria nods again.

Rimona: That's why we've been teaching you some of the skills Donors learn, and you've been doing very well at learning them.

Toria: Okay. What do I need to do, then?

Rimona: Mostly, I'll want you to relax as much as you can, and try to drop your barriers. I don't expect you to be able to do that consciously, but it's what you do when you give a donation.

Toria: Sure.

Rimona: Unlike a donation, you may be able to feel what I'm doing, and it may feel very strange. If you can stay calm and relaxed, it won't hurt at all.

Toria closes her eyes and drifts away on thoughts of riding a horse through an endless prairie. ~~ peaceful cooperative ~~

Rimona: Excellent.

Rimona instructs Nick in what she'd like him to do to the ambient, and gently takes Toria's arms in a transfer grip.

Toria allows her arms to be lifted without any physical resistance.

Rimona: I'll make a lateral and lip contact now.

Rimona bends far forward and does so.

Toria holds very still.

Nick is shaping the ambient as instructed, while remaining poised to take over if this goes badly.

Rimona begins a very slow, low volume draw, hoping it will trigger the Gen to lower her barriers.

Toria finds herself once again in that state of mental ~~ clarity ~~ where she feels like she could understand anything, no matter how complex.

Rimona is pleased to zlin that Toria's barriers are slowly and gracefully flattening as she enters that peculiar state lateral contact seems to induce in her.

Rimona very slowly tapers the draw to nothing, then begins to equally slowly infuse selyn into the Gen's system, alert for any reaction.

Toria grunts as her mental state changes to ~~ confusion ~~ and then ~~ bewilderment ~~.

Nick increases his ~~ support ~~.

Rimona slows the infusion to nothing more than a slight positive pressure from herself to the Gen.

Nick: Relax, Toria. Don't resist.

Toria tries to remember what's going on and why.

Rimona can't speak without breaking the lip contact.

Nick: Try to find that peaceful place you stay in when you donate.

Toria has some sort of notion that she shouldn't struggle, so she tries to hold still.

Rimona decides she's accomplished enough for today. She's infused back the amount she drew plus one more dynopter, an excellent first try. She stops, breaks the lip contact, and leans back against Nick.

Nick drops his hands to Rimona's shoulders, and ~~ supports ~~ her strongly.

Rimona releases Toria's arms and signals her thanks.

Toria rubs her head, though not because it hurts.

Toria: What on earth?

Rimona: You did remarkably well for a first try, Toria.

Toria: That was the most confusing thing that ever happened to me.

Rimona smiles.

Toria: Even more so than my wedding day, which was pretty confusing.

Rimona: I imagine it does seem very strange. You didn't resist me at all, so I was able to infuse a very small amount of selyn. We'll practice, so you can get used to it, so if you need selyn in quantity, you'll be able to accept it easily.

Toria: Well, okay. But I think something happened to my mind when you turned the selyn around. Instead of everything seeming very clear, I became, well ...

Toria is at a loss for words.

Toria: I couldn't figure out what I was doing or what you were doing.

Rimona: But you didn't resist me, which is a wonderful natural reaction.

Rimona is always a lot tenser about this functional than she lets on. Long long ago, shortly after she first learned it, when she was a much younger, less cautious channel, a Gen nearly killed her when she tried it.

Toria: I could remember that much, somehow. But if you pushed harder, I'm not so sure.

Rimona: If we do it repeatedly I think you'll get used to it, so even if you feel confused, you'll continue to be able to accept it, even at a greater speed.

Toria: I hope you're right, Hajene.

Rimona: Oh, I think it will work out. It usually does, especially if we start out early like this. It's a technique I've used to help many women produce many strong healthy babies.

Toria: Well, that's a relief.

Rimona: It's a very unusual thing for a Gen to experience. But you did very well, my dear.

Rimona pats Toria's hand encouragingly.

Toria thinks that any selyn movement is an unusual thing for a Gen to experience, actually.

Rimona, despite her large nose and other Farris features, looks like the wise old grandmother everybody wishes they had.

Nick can't see any sign that Toria actually enjoyed the sensation of selyn movement, which as a Donor he considers unfortunate.

Rimona: So we'll do this again next week.

Rimona gets up, somewhat stiffly, but stays very close to Nick, leaning on his support.

Toria: Sounds good to me.

Toria: Nick, when will you be off duty?

Nick: Not for a while yet.

Toria: Well, when you are, perhaps we can go for a walk? It's a nice day, even if it is cold.

Nick: Certainly. The kitchen garden still has some color in it.

Toria: ~~ happiness ~~ Sounds good to me. Of course in my case it'll be more of a waddle than a walk.

Nick figures that Toria probably hasn't been getting out much, with her husband confined to the house except when very lowfield.

Rimona: The exercise will be good for you. But make sure you both eat a good lunch!

Toria waves her hands in a "See, there you go" gesture.

Toria: Yes, Hajene.

Toria has learned what to say to Simes who tell her to eat.

Nick gives Toria a ~~ sympathetic ~~ look.

Toria smiles at Nick.

Nick: Don't worry, Hajene Rimona will have a good lunch, too.

Nick winks.

Rimona: Yes, this boy is extremely good at getting his channels to eat.

Rimona smiles at Nick fondly.

Toria: Indeed.

Nick: I just withhold taffy until after the meal is consumed. Works every time.

Toria laughs.

Rimona: So I'll see you next week then, Toria.

Toria: Sure, Hajene. I'm looking forward to feeling stupid with you again.

Rimona smiles a grandmotherly smile, and heads for the door, signaling Nick to follow.

Nick: I'll come by your place when I'm off duty, Toria.

Nick waves, and follows Rimona.

Toria: It's a deal, Nick.

Rimona waits until they are in the corridor.

Rimona: Now our next patient is a renSime in her first month of pregnancy. So far everything is normal, but the baby's father is a channel, so we're keeping a careful eye on her.

Nick: Do you want the "window' again?

Rimona: Yes, it would be helpful.

Rimona turns to Nick.

Rimona: You did very well, Nick. Not every Donor, or channel for that matter, is good with patients as people, rather than cases. It's a valuable talent, and I'm very glad you have it.

Nick: I like Toria Gegg.

Rimona: She is a remarkable woman. I like her too. I'm very glad she's here. I don't think she'd survive this pregnancy in her little village out-T.

Nick: No, probably not. And her family quite likely would never know why she died, and so wouldn't know that at least one of the children, if they survived, would become a channel.

Rimona shakes her head.

Rimona: I wish we could do more for people out-T, but there's so many of them, so thinly spread out, and so resistant to us.

Nick: All you can do is offer help to the ones close enough to take advantage of it.

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