Preparing for Disaster: Episode 1

Lusinka, in her official role as First Companion, is holding an important business meeting with the Second Channel of her House with regards to planning a winter test of the Sat'htine Disaster Response Teams.

Lusinka: More tea, Rimona?

Rimona: Thank you, yes.

Rimona holds out her cup, smiling devilishly.

Lusinka refills Rimona's cup, then her own, and settles back on the couch before the cheerful fire in her private sitting room.

Rimona: So what shall we hit them with this year?

Lusinka: Oh, something devious, I think. They've grown complacent, after they way they handled that spring flooding.

Rimona: They did entirely too well with that. They need a bigger challenge.

Lusinka picks her knitting back up and starts a new row on the socks she's making for Hiram.

Rimona is amused that Lusinka, too, has joined the craze for "Gen knitting" that Sanda Gegg introduced.

Lusinka: Well, it is the winter games. We should take advantage of the climate.

Rimona: What did you have in mind?

Lusinka: Something a bit... spread out, I think.

Rimona: A plague? An invasion?

Lusinka: We did a plague last year, and we haven't had an invasion in decades. How about a search and rescue?

Rimona: Hm. It wouldn't give as many team members a chance to get involved, but we can slam them with something bigger later in the year. Assuming real life doesn't do it for us!

Lusinka: We could posit, say, an early snowstorm that has trapped dozens of hikers and tourists across a large wilderness area?

Rimona: Ah! That would give everybody something to do!

Rimona thinks about it.

Rimona: It does have the potential to turn into a real disaster though, if we do get a snowstorm when everybody is deployed out there...

Lusinka: Well, we won't insist that our "victims" go in unprepared for the weather. Our response team however...

Lusinka's eyes twinkle with ~~ mischief ~~.

Lusinka: How about diverting a good portion of their supplies, to see how well they can improvise?

Rimona: Oh, dear. How naughty!

Rimona twinkles too.

Lusinka: And, hmm, we could drop them at the wrong spot. Let them slog a few miles, once they open their instructions and find out where they're supposed to be.

Rimona: Sounds good.

Lusinka: So, what sort of hiking parties should we drop on our unsuspecting victims?

Rimona: Well, there should certainly be plenty of hypothermia and frostbite.

Lusinka: Yes, and parties that split up, so they have to search for the other half.

Rimona: Sprains and other injuries. A few broken limbs. Maybe a spinal injury or two.

Lusinka: Gens who haven't had food for several days. Especially if we sidetrack some of the food, along with other supplies.

Rimona: RenSimes in attrition. New juncts.

Rimona loses her twinkle, thinking about it.

Lusinka: A Gen or two with transfer burns?

Rimona: Yes. And the Simes who burned them.

Rimona thinks psychological casualties are as important as medical ones -- they're certainly characteristic of disasters.

Lusinka: Tourists who don't speak Simelan, perhaps?

Rimona: Good idea. Of course, toss in a few miscarriages and potential miscarriages.

Lusinka: Yes, we mustn't forget obstetrics. Babies come on their own schedules.

Rimona: Well, a woman in late pregnancy should have the sense to stay near a Sime Center, but at five or six months? Some women are just determined not to let anything slow them down.

Lusinka: Yes, and if our scenario is that it was a very early blizzard that caught everyone by surprise... We can also let some of the children get in on the fun.

Rimona smiles again.

Rimona: They do love to play victims, don't they? But don't let that comedian Frekki distribute the assignments this time. An 8 year old boy claiming to be in labor is just too much when you're trying to keep a straight face. Not that the boy could, either, of course.

Lusinka: Yes, that was a bit disruptive, wasn't it?

Rimona: There was a certain... loss of verisimilitude, yes.

Rimona snickers.

Rimona: Salk told me all about it.

Rimona names her granddaughter and Companion, who participated in the last exercise as the obstetrics specialist.

Lusinka: Indeed. And this is supposed to be a realistic exercise.

Lusinka: Hmm, we should recruit some of the kids from Mister Gegg's class, and forbid them to speak Simelan. And of course, we'll specify that a number of the support people can't speak or understand English. Hiram has been wondering if we should offer our disaster teams to Gen Territory, after all. It's too bad we don't have anyone who speaks Gypsy.

Rimona: Have the kids speak gobbledygook, and pretend that it's English. Ditto, the staff. Of course, if we do send a team out-T, they'd better all be fluent, or nearly so.

Lusinka: Yes. Culturally, as well as linguistically.

Rimona gestures with a few tentacles.

Rimona: That part's a lot harder. Maybe D'zoll and Shorsh should speak to the teams about their recent experiences with ordinary out-T people, not diplomats or officials.

Lusinka: Yes. And we could have Toria Gegg brief the people who are playing the victims.

Rimona: Good thought. I think she'll enjoy that. Or how about Nick, for that matter? He lived out-T, as an ordinary laborer for many years, quite recently.

Lusinka: I don't know if we should include Nick in the preparations. Hiram might want to include him in the exercise, to see what he's made of.

Rimona: Hm, yes.

Lusinka: I admit to some curiosity there, myself.

Rimona regards Nick as her unofficial protege, and thinks he'll really shine under such conditions.

Rimona: I suspect the more improvisation necessary, the more he'll stand out as a very valuable team member. And he's certainly had plenty of experience in cold climates.

Lusinka: Yes. Even if we wait until there's snow on the ground, it won't be what he's used to.

Lusinka: Some of our other team members, however...

Lusinka chuckles.

Rimona: Oh, my, yes.

Rimona smiles and winks at Lusinka.

Lusinka winks back, then bends mock-demurely over her knitting.

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