Katsura is standing inside a freight shed near where the railcar for the disaster team is being loaded. She intended to supervise the loading to avert any surprises Lusinka and Rimona have planned, but Sectuib wanted to give her some last minute advice, so she had to delegate that task.
Hiram enters the shed quietly, with his showfield damped, to give himself a chance to observe Katsura before she knows he's here.
Katsura turns immediately. Her discernment is unmatched.
Katsura: Good evening, Sectuib. Well, apart from the weather.
Katsura gestures to the sleet striking against the windows.
Hiram: Nobody can plan surprises for your team half as effectively as the weather can provide them, without planning.
Katsura smiles back.
Hiram: Apart from that, how's it going?
Katsura: Good. Everybody is enthusiastic and in good spirits. We went to considerable effort to foil attempts by the planners to add more difficulties, too.
Hiram: Then they'll simply have to go to even more considerable efforts to surprise you.
Katsura: We went through every crate, sealed them with paste and paper, and stamped the paper with a specially carved potato to detect tampering. And posted a continuous guard afterwards.
Katsura is pretty ~~ smug ~~ about her precautions.
Hiram: Frankly, if I were in your place, I'd rather deal with whatever the planners intended to throw at you, than with what they'll come up with instead.
Katsura: I think everybody is well prepared. We did some practice exercises, and it looked very good. Even the Tecton observers pitched in, and did well.
Hiram: You're quite confident, then?
Hiram is ~~ enjoying ~~ this little fencing match.
Katsura: Yes, but one never knows... especially with great grandma and aunt Lusinka doing the planning! ~~ happy ~~ confident ~~ enthusiastic ~~
Hiram: Rimona is a sweet and gentle channel, and Lusinka has devoted her life to helping channels. What could you possibly fear from them? ~~ teasing ~~
Katsura: Their brilliant and devious minds?
Hiram allows himself a full-throated laugh.
Hiram: Hajene, you know us all too well.
Katsura smiles charmingly and spreads hands and tentacles.
Hiram: But you've got someone on your team whom you don't know, and he's the reason I wanted to talk to you.
Katsura: Yes, Notorious Nick the Rogue Donor.
Hiram: Don't be misled by what you've seen in the press.
Katsura: Yes, I was mostly kidding. He seems like more of a victim than a criminal.
Hiram: He made the best he could out of some very difficult circumstances.
Katsura: That's what D'zoll says. But I would appreciate any advice you can give me.
Hiram: Nick's very skilled. You don't have to fear for your wellbeing in his hands.
Hiram: But his responses aren't always Tecton standard. Be prepared for some surprises from him. As long as you can be flexible, he'll give you what you require. Maybe not what you expected, but what you require.
Katsura: In that case, it's fortunate this is a disaster exercise rather than a real disaster.
Katsura, like any channel, is not fond of surprises in life-and-death situations.
Hiram: Actually, one of his biggest strengths is that he's quite used to coping with real disasters.
Katsura: Aunt Lusinka told me to be sure to take advantage of that.
Hiram: He won't panic under pressure; he's able to improvise in almost any circumstance. He's quite good at making do with inadequate resources.
Katsura: That could be very helpful, if the planners have gotten past our precautions!
Katsura suspects Hiram knows they have, but she can't figure out how.
Hiram: Be careful, though, not to let him push himself too hard. He's willing to work harder and longer than any other Gen I've met. That's good in a crisis, but if you let him, he'll work himself to collapse.
Katsura: Do you have advice on how to get him to rest, without bruising his ego?
Katsura asks Hiram both as a more experienced channel, and as a man.
Hiram: Don't protect him from the things that won't really harm him. He's used to hard physical labor, used to working outdoors in all weather.
Katsura: But when I can zlin he really needs rest, but won't admit it?
Hiram: Tell him not to exhaust himself yet, because you may have to call on him for even greater effort later if things get even worse.
Katsura: That sounds like a good tactic. Thanks.
Katsura pauses, ~~ slightly embarrassed ~~.
Katsura: Sectuib... thanks for giving me a chance to work with him. I do find him very attractive.
Hiram: You and every other channel in Sat'htine.
Katsura looks down, grinning, and more ~~ embarrassed ~~.
Katsura: Well, he's a better match for most of them than for me, alas.
Hiram: Don't give up hope, Hajene. He may yet have some growth potential.
Katsura figures Hiram is lusting after transfer with Nick, too, and is also unready to give up hope.
Katsura: Do you think he'd want to be upgraded?
Hiram: It's not a topic we've discussed yet. And one thing I've learned is never to assume that I know what Nick will think about anything.
Katsura: D'zoll says the last thing he needs is pressure to make decisions, right now. I'm just slavering over him like everybody else, I guess.
Hiram: I'm hoping to recruit him for Sat'htine. But on that, especially, I'm not going to push. I don't want to scare him off. So don't even hint at it.
Katsura: Yes, Sectuib.
Hiram: For an exercise like this, I don't really like sending a channel out with a Donor who isn't an adequate match, because you never know what will happen once you're out there.
Katsura: If it comes to it, I've gotten some experience in Konawa in taking a shunt and a partial from a Donor who doesn't match me, so I can promise not to hurt him.
Katsura: Um, do you know how he got that old burn?
Katsura figures Hiram has studied Nick's file, and may be more willing to tell her what's in them, now that Nick has been assigned to her.
Hiram: By coping with disasters, one would assume. If it does come to a transfer situation, he'll care far more about giving you what you need than about whether he gets hurt a bit.
Katsura: I'll be very careful -- I won't let him get hurt, even if he tries to let me. That Gen does not need more traumatic experiences.
Hiram: He's used to being hurt. What he's not used to...
Hiram hesitates, searching for words.
Hiram: Is being valued. Respected. Appreciated. Treated as a worthwhile human being, not a convenience. And not as a Mythical Rogue Donor, either.
Katsura: It's a disgrace, the way the Tecton let him be abused.
Hiram: By the time the Tecton had much say in what happened to him, he'd already been branded as a rogue.
Katsura: Still, they let those two...
Katsura fumbles for a suitable word and fails.
Katsura: ...channels abuse him for year after year.
Katsura has a Householder's appreciation for the importance of taking proper care of one's Gens. Subliminally, of course.
Hiram: Every organization has blind spots. What matters now is that we're the Tecton for him now, and it's for us to make things right. Or as right as we can.
Katsura: He'd really be better off with us, than on his own in the Tecton. But he has to believe that for himself.
Hiram: He's spent a lot of time out-Territory. He's not used to relying on Simes for anything. And the Simes he's used to weren't worth relying on.
Katsura: Well, we won't abuse him. Perhaps eventually he'll learn to believe that, deep down, not just consciously. He doesn't have to depend on us, just trust us, feel safe being open with us.
Hiram: It may take a while. In the meantime, we have to walk a fine line between not abusing him, and doing what he would consider to be overprotecting him.
Katsura: It's not easy, especially when he's so attractive.
Hiram: ~~ teasing ~~ It's those Riyyh genes that'll get you every time, Hajene.
Hiram consults his internal time sense to determine whether he's kept Katsura distracted from the loading of the supplies for long enough.
Hiram: While I was in Capital, I heard this amazing story about Sectuib Riyyh...
Katsura wonders if Sectuib knows whether any of these tales are actually true.