Marvin walks up the path from the Sime Center gate to the front door and lets himself in without fuss, since he can zlin it's Bibi there, thank God.
Marvin: Dimples! You're home!
Marvin tracks down the channel-shaped spot in the selyn field to Bibi's office. ~~ happiness relief ~~
Bibi: Marvin! ~~ happy to zlin him ~~
Marvin: Sorry, I know it's your office and all, but hey.
Marvin laughs with ~~ delight ~~.
Bibi gets up and hugs him.
Marvin: Hey, you zlin good! That vacation was good for you, wasn't it!
Bibi: It was a nice break, despite the Sime cars and the retainers. But you're not the one to complain to about that!
Marvin: I want to hear all about it, and I have some news about our fair-haired boy from Gumgeeville, and ..
Marvin's voice and Bibi's overlap.
Marvin: You first, or me first?
Bibi: Go ahead, go ahead. Here, have some trin, I just made a fresh pot.
Marvin grabs a chair and pulls it up not far from Bibi's.
Marvin: Well, let's see.
Bibi rummages in the file cabinet for the spare mug, fills and offers it. She can't help it, she was raised to feed and water her guests first, and since she's been out-T for all these years, she's gone native again.
Marvin: First of all, Bart is doing great. I left him at -- would you believe it? -- a newly opened school specifically for out-T pre-Donors. Talk about timing! The head, at least for now, is a Farris ambrov Im'cholee, though I'm sure once things are going they won't leave her there. Apparently someone in the world Controller's office, if not the W.C. herself, actually got a clue.
Marvin giggles a bit over the pun.
Marvin: Anyhow, all out-T pre-Donors are being rerouted there, regardless of previous placements. Isn't that fantastic news? ~~ enthusiasm ~~
Bibi is ~~ puzzled ~~.
Bibi: It doesn't sound like a very good idea to me, Marvin. I'd think it would be better for students from out-T to get as much exposure to in-T people as possible.
Marvin raises his tentacles over his head in a "Don't blame me" gesture.
Marvin: From what I hear, they are finding that out-T Donors have too much trouble keeping up with their in-T counterparts. So they're trying an experiment, a special curriculum combining Donor training with extensive briefings in in-T culture. Apparently the sink-or-swim approach was generating unacceptable rates of psych problems and program drop-out.
Bibi: I see. Well, I hope they give the students plenty of opportunity to see and meet ordinary in-T people, Sime, Gen and child.
Marvin: Good point. Hopefully they've thought of that, but if not, there's always the post-training period.
Bibi: Well, I hope he'll write to me, and tell me how it's going.
Marvin: I told him he'd better write everybody he knows -- in his copious spare time.
Bibi: Poor Bart! You've laid a heavy load on him.
Marvin: Yeah. But with a small starting class and some heavy hitters on the staff, I suspect he'll get top-notch training without too much associated misery. Which is encouraging.
Bibi: I'm sure he'll do well. Anyone who zlins him can zlin that.
Marvin: By the way, Eugen's assigned to me again this month. He dropped me off here and went in search of -- well, not snipes, I hope. Anyway, he'll be back in a few hours. Where's Cristal?
Bibi hopes that Eugen doesn't get lost, stolen or strayed, as he did in Gumgeeville.
Bibi: Oh, Cristal is out jogging. He's made a local friend, and the two of them pace each other.
Marvin: A friend friend, or a friend?
Bibi: An older woman, a retired nurse. She's been by here twice. She doesn't much like Simes.
Marvin: Ouch. No future in that for Cristal, I fear. He may have his limitations, but nobody can doubt his dedication to his career.
Bibi: Well, at least she's a friend of sorts. Can you imagine him making friends with a non-donor Wild Gen when he first came here?
Marvin nods again.
Marvin: Frankly, no. Speaking of which, how has he been behaving himself?
Bibi: He's changed a good bit. He really tries, and often succeeds. He still doesn't have good people skills, but not everybody can develop them.
Bibi thinks a bit.
Bibi: He and I are getting along better as Donor and channel. He's more relaxed with me, more relaxed using his nager with me in non-professional contexts.
Marvin: That's great to hear. Day by day, you have to depend on him for emotional support, despite occasional visits from me ... and my Hated Rival ~~ grin ~~, Hajene Whatsisface.
Bibi can't conceal the frisson of ~~ remembered sexual pleasure ~~ from her trip to New Washington. Of course, she blushes.
Marvin: Whoo, that was nice to zlin!
Marvin's eyes twinkle.
Bibi blushes harder.
Bibi: The timing of the trip was perfect.
Marvin: How so?
Marvin slaps his head.
Marvin: Oh, perfect. Sorry, I'm not thinking too well today.
Bibi blushes again. Poor Marvin is past turnover.
Marvin: [sardonically] By the way, I estimate that you and I will be just barely back in phase in another 17 need cycles, assuming nothing changes. Isn't that yummy?
Bibi: You're okay, though, aren't you? You're not running a risk of the CDs?
Marvin: Oh no. I carry out all my assignments. Religiously.
Bibi, inevitably, blushes again. She sips her tea.
Marvin grins his thousand-Genpower grin.
Bibi: I met Fridda's father -- Seruffin and Gerrhonot and I were in a coffee shop near the university and he walked in.
Bibi: He asked how you were.
Marvin: You mean, had I been strung up by my thumbs by the Tecton? ~~ irony ~~
Bibi reaches out and strokes Marvin's hand.
Marvin smiles and sighs.
Marvin: ~~ sincere ~~ Thanks, Bibi. You are my truest friend.
Bibi: Seruffin says it's quite remarkable how much he's changed since he first met him. He's far more comfortable with Simes. He even...
Bibi blushes again.
Marvin: Nooooo. He didn't!
Bibi: I zlinned a bit of sexual attraction, when he was introduced to me. Of course he didn't let it show other than nagerically. He has poor nageric control, as you'd expect.
Marvin: Well, just so he doesn't Presume On His Acquaintance!
Marvin's eyes are dancing at the thought.
Bibi: The poor man got rather flustered when he realized that Seruffin and I were... [English] an item. He tried not to show it, but to two channels?
Bibi's eyes sparkle too.
Marvin snickers his lowest snicker.
Marvin: Y'know, Dimples, I think we've invented a whole new species of [English] dirty joke. But only out-T Simes like us would appreciate 'em.
Bibi: Oh, dear. I hope that's not how we go down in history. Can you imagine us in a mural in a Tecton building, looking steadfast and heroic:
Marvin begins to crack up.
Bibi: "Inventors of the First New Species of Dirty Joke Since Ancient Times"
Marvin: Maybe a statue would be more like it. With a rather, er, suggestive pose?
Bibi: Oh, dear!
Bibi sips more tea.
Bibi: Well, one lovely thing about the trip was that in addition to Seruffin's nager, I got to zlin Gerrhonot's. He's really pleased about me and Seruffin, so there's this steady undercurrent of ~~ happiness ~~ and ~~ approval ~~ from him. Carried on that luscious nager of his, it's really marvelous.
Marvin: ~~ mild envy ~~ I'll bet.
Bibi: So despite the flighty and sometimes hostile Wild Gens and the retainers, it was a good trip.
Marvin: Like this?
Marvin gets up, assumes a pose, and paints a nageric picture of a flighty and mildly hostile Wild Gen.
Bibi nods. Marvin has certainly met far more of such than she has.
Marvin wipes away the picture with a swipe of his nageric eraser and extends ~~ sympathy ~~.
Bibi doubles and returns it.
Marvin modulates the ~~ sympathy ~~ to ~~ shared happiness ~~.
Bibi smiles and strokes Marvin's hand again. ~~ affection ~~
Marvin beams at Bibi and runs a tentacle along the side of her face.
Bibi leans into the caress.
Marvin runs his other hand to the top of Bibi's head and knuckles it gently ~~ affection happiness ~~
Bibi displays her dimples.
Marvin uses a fingertip to play with one of them.
Marvin: Aw, Bibi.
Bibi gets up and gives Marvin another hug. She rests her head on his shoulder.
Marvin sighs. ~~ warmth affection friendship love ~~ He gently strokes Bibi's back.
Bibi ~~ purrs ~~ nagerically.
Bibi: It's good to have a friend like you.
Marvin: [English] You and me both, kid. ~~ tenderness ~~
Bibi snuggles closer and returns the emotion.
Marvin chastely kisses Bibi on the cheek, that being all he's up for on this day of the month.
Bibi extends her laterals and clumsily forms a rather wobbly and none-too-round nageric ball, which she tries to juggle.
Marvin: Hey hey! Not bad.
Marvin lets go of Bibi and steps back so he can zlin the ball without interference from Bibi's close-up-and-personal field. He deftly uses his field to round up the ball a bit while it is in flight.
Bibi tosses it to Marvin.
Marvin catches the ball easily and spins it up further until it deforms into a torus.
Marvin: Nothing like a little Marvin Power to keep the skills sharp, eh?
Bibi: I defer to your vast expertise!
Marvin spins the ring forward to try to make it drop over Bibi's head.
Bibi isn't sure whether to duck or what, so she just cringes slightly.
Marvin watches as the ring settles around Bibi's neck.
Marvin: And here, Tuibs, we see the Barbarian Princess with the gold and silver neck ring.
Marvin extends a lateral and touches the ring gently so that it actually does zlin "white" and "yellow", at least to Marvin's senses.
Bibi strikes a noble princessly pose, and tries to keep a straight face.
Marvin: Isn't she beeeautiful? And in this corner, we have a specially built representation of the planet Saturn.
Marvin uses two laterals to stretch the ring so that it passes Bibi's shoulders and chest and settles around her waist.
Marvin: And she certainly is [English] built, [Simelan] not so, Tuibs?
Bibi does, or overdoes, a ~~ lascivious ~~ wiggle.
Marvin: [English] Yum yum yum yummmmm!!
Marvin: And finally we see the Princess standing on a scintillating dais.
Marvin stretches the ring to a meter across so it drops to the floor, and then makes it flow together into a disk beneath Bibi's feet. He bends quickly and sets off the nageric scintillation he predicted.
Bibi assumes the noble pose again, but doesn't miss looking down and ~~ admiring ~~ Marvin's art.
Marvin drops to one knee and extends all four laterals so he can slowly absorb the disk, which shrinks and shrinks and finally disappears.
Marvin: Your humble servant, Princess Bibi.
Bibi strokes his hair.
Bibi: Arise, Tuib Marvin!
Marvin stands up and puts his hands between Bibi's.
Marvin: Is this where I swear to be loyal to you for the rest of my life? ~~ teasing ~~
Bibi: Hm. I'm not in the practice of taking oaths.
Bibi runs her hands and tentacles up Marvin's forearms.
Marvin ~~ shivers ~~ with ~~ delight ~~.
Bibi entwines handling tentacles, and nagerically offers selyn.
Marvin entwines laterals, and starts to ~~ draw ~~. He gives the private signal for "Simulated transfer?"
Bibi agrees and simulates a Gen's eager and loving ~~ need-to-give ~~.
Marvin switches his secondary system from gentle draw to all-out ~~ hard need ~~. Of course his primary system is not really affected, but the emotional effect is quite substantial.
Bibi floods Marvin with selyn, flavored with ~~ joy ~~ and ~~ affection ~~, simulating, as best she can, the zlin of Gerrhonot's rich and deep stores.
Marvin lets the draw slow down, assimilating 90% of what's in Bibi's secondary and leaving both their fields ~~ ringing with satisfaction ~~.
Marvin returns to duoconsciousness, dismantles the contact, and supports Bibi -- or is it, supports himself on Bibi?
Bibi enjoys the embrace, and sighs with ~~ pleasure ~~.
Marvin reaches out with one foot, since his hands are occupied, and deftly drags first Bibi's chair and then his into easy sitting-down reach.
Marvin: Let's sit'n'snuggle, hey?
Bibi: Might as well move to the settee, then.
Bibi figures it has the advantage of facilitating a lie'n'snuggle.
Marvin: Absolutely, if you're up to it.
Marvin carefully escorts Bibi to the settee and sits down with her, keeping one arm wrapped companionably around her shoulders.
Bibi carefully entwines her field more deeply with Marvin's as the transients fade from both their systems. She's getting more skillful at this -- she's learning from Seruffin.
Marvin appreciates Bibi's efforts and does his best to return them.