Nick waits until the last patient of the shift leaves, then gets D'zoll a cup of tea. He has some concerns about his involvement in the upcoming Winter Disaster Games, and hopes D'zoll can help resolve them.
Nick hands a steaming cup to the channel.
D'zoll reaches up, still scribbling notes, and takes the cup in two tentacles.
D'zoll: Thanks, Nick. Hold on a minute.
Nick ~~ patiently ~~ waits for D'zoll to finish putting his thoughts down.
D'zoll finishes the notes, signs his wholly illegible signature at the bottom, and closes the file.
D'zoll: Ahhhh. So much for that.
D'zoll sips his tea.
D'zoll: Thanks, Nick. Get one for yourself?
Nick lifts the second cup he's holding in answer.
Nick: Be glad of the chance to rest while you've got it. Things will be a bit busier, I'd imagine, when a good portion of the staff are away?
D'zoll: I'll be doing a lot more of the routine work than I normally would. And I'll certainly miss having you.
Nick: Be glad. You could be running around in the sleet like the rest of us.
Nick has certainly done enough of that to have a very good idea of what's involved.
D'zoll: Frankly, I'm a little surprised that Sectuib let me off this year. Maybe it's because of Gegg. There isn't exactly anyone else who can cover for me with him even yet.
Nick: Perhaps. He certainly requires a lot of your time. Or maybe it was your sterling performance in the past?
D'zoll: Not really. I acquitted myself -- acceptably. Teamwork, at least in a team bigger than two, is hardly my strong point.
Nick: Tell me, what's Hajene Katsura like to work under? I hear she's going to be leading the disaster team this year?
D'zoll: "Under?" Why, what do you have in mind, Nick?
Nick: I am not my father. Or my grandfather, D'zoll.
D'zoll: Sorry, Nick. Listening to Shams cracking wise to avoid facing his problems always leaves me picking up innuendos where there aren't any.
Nick: If I've got the roster right, I'm going to be the Donor working with her. That's hard enough in a disaster situation when you know your channel.
D'zoll gets serious.
D'zoll: As you probably know, we haven't seen each other for several years -- until the other day, that is.
D'zoll: But although she can have a twisted sense of humor when off-duty, she's normally the soul of professionalism. On the other hand, I certainly don't think she'll have any problem with your nonstandard style.
Nick: Is it likely to upset her, even if she can cope with it?
D'zoll thinks about it.
D'zoll: I'll say no, though of course people can change, often in the direction of increasing conservatism. But Kat -- well, Kat's always been offbeat, even for an ambrov Sat'htine. I can't imagine that would just vanish.
Nick: What peculiarities am I likely to encounter?
D'zoll thinks about that one.
D'zoll: She takes this effort very seriously. I'd say she's likely to find out as much as she can about you, and then use that information to challenge you in new ways. So expect the unexpected.
Nick: How much disaster experience does she have? I mean real disasters, not exercises?
D'zoll: I don't know. More than zero, less than you, that's for sure. She will take advantage of your field experience, I think that's a given.
Nick: Do you know what she wants from her Donors?
Nick would normally have sought out a Donor who'd worked with a channel to get such information, but he doesn't know who's worked with Kat recently.
D'zoll shakes his head.
D'zoll: She's never told me. Sorry I'm not being more helpful.
D'zoll makes a mental reservation of the fact that he's being somewhat unhelpful on purpose: Kat deserves her privacy.
Nick: Do you at least know if she likes a lot of support, or whether she prefers not to have her Donor hovering over her?
D'zoll: Oh, that I can tell you. Don't hover. Kat cherishes her independence.
D'zoll: She'll expect you to be an equal partner, neither dominating nor dominated.
Nick: I hope I don't disappoint her. I'm not as well acquainted with the ways in which Sat'htine deals with disasters as I'd like.
D'zoll: We tend to put a lot of emphasis on improvisation. "No plan survives contact with the enemy."
Nick: Well, that's certainly true enough. I remember the time... but never mind.
D'zoll looks innocently at Nick.
D'zoll: Oh? What happened then?
Nick: Suffice it to say, I'd have been very glad of that rail car of supplies.
Nick: For that matter, I'd have settled for being able to fill my satchel with the most critical medications.
D'zoll: Oho. You know the definition of an adventure?
Nick: "Someone else running around in the woods?"
D'zoll: More or less. "Someone else in a shenning fix a thousand klicks away."
Nick ~~ laughs ~~, brightening up the room with his nager.
D'zoll makes an out-T thumbs-up gesture that he knows Nick will understand.
D'zoll: That's the spirit. Go give it everything you've got. And feel sorry for the rest of us, stuck here in the same old same old. ~~ cheerful ~~
Nick: Oh, yes, with a nice fire to warm your feet at, and a soft bed to sleep in...
D'zoll: If my bed were any softer I'd have a backache.
Nick: Well, then, you'd best hope that things are lively enough here to keep you from sleeping in!
D'zoll ~~ enjoys ~~ Nick's abilities at this sort of repartee.
Nick: I promise, I'll save up every bit of ~~ cold feet ~~, ~~ soggy bread ~~ and ~~ lumpy sleeping bags ~~ to share with you.
Nick's projections have the nuanced realism that only comes from long experience.
D'zoll: Ooooh! Oooh! SIME ABUSE! SIME ABUSE!
D'zoll cringes with rather less nuanced realism.
Nick's projection dissolves into ~~ laughter ~~.
D'zoll catches the ~~ laughter ~~ from Nick and amplifies it, leaving himself gasping with mirth. He thinks how much Sat'htine needs Nick. It's easier than thinking about how much he's coming to.
Nick's giggles run out, eventually.
Nick: Seriously, from what I saw, the supplies will be more than adequate to the task at hand. Or at least, not too inadequate.
D'zoll: Provided nothing happens to them between now and then. Take precautions.
Nick: I believe Hajene Katsura has a guard posted. And the crates have been unpacked and inspected.
Nick: Not that a competent burglar couldn't make off with a lot, but I trust that Sat'htine doesn't have too many of those among the Naztehrhai?
D'zoll: Probably we did at one time. However, I suspect the members with those skills are mostly too old and too cranky these days.
Nick: Well, that's a ~~ relief ~~.
D'zoll: Unlike our un-cousins at Zeor and Imil, we couldn't manufacture all our own raw materials before Unity, you know.
Nick: Tut, tut. Don't tell me the respected members of your House resorted to common theft?
Nick pretends to be ~~ shocked ~~.
D'zoll: Highly uncommon theft, I'll have you know. It's not easy to steal materia medica -- and of course nobody would sell to "perverts". We started raising our own herbs as soon as possible, but some of those plants take years to grow, as I understand it.
Nick: Well, it's not as easy to swipe medical supplies as to get, say, seasonal fruit, but it can certainly be done.
D'zoll: Of course it can be done! We're still here, aren't we? ~~ teasing ~~
Nick: Getting the rare Farris-specific medications can be difficult, I'll grant you that.
Nick is speaking with the authoritative voice of experience: theft was a way of life, when he was on the run with Snake.
D'zoll: Hmm. Perhaps I should have you talk with Sosu Roger after you get back. He's semi-retired now, but he's got a wealth of information on -- such things.
Nick: I'd like to meet him. It never hurts to have an idea about where to get necessary materials.
D'zoll: I'll introduce you. Nowadays, of course, nobody would ever swipe materials from Sime Centers, so there's no security problem. The juncts were considerably more cautious.
Nick: Where did you think Snake and I were getting our supplies?
D'zoll looks at Nick askew.
D'zoll: Nick, I think you just lost your sarcasm license.
Nick: We raided Sime Centers pretty regularly, at least for the non-Farris supplies. We got some from an out-Territory hospital or two, as well, although that was a bit trickier.
D'zoll: We, meaning you, I suppose?
Nick: No, Snake did a lot of it. I never got very good at picking locks, and she was an expert.
D'zoll: Even out-T? I should think infiltrating hospitals would be pretty hard out there.
Nick: Snake was too young to pose as medical staff, but she made a fine patient, in a long-sleeved shirt.
D'zoll: Good point.
D'zoll rubs his tentacles in satisfaction over Nick's scheming nature.
Nick: We got pretty good at figuring out where the most critical supplies were stored. Out-Territory hospitals don't shift personnel around like the Tecton does, so they're not standardized. It was sometimes harder to locate more basic necessities: food, clothing, and a place to sleep. Of course, that might simply have been that we required the latter more frequently.
D'zoll: Indeed. Somehow the warm fire and the over-soft mattress look more and more attractive all the time.
Nick: From what I've heard about past drills, the basic necessities should be adequate. I'm told that the usual problems are due to things like malfunctioning equipment and unusual cases.
D'zoll: Umm, well, yes. The year before last all the equipment mysteriously stopped working at the same time. I mention this because I don't suppose they'll use the same trick twice.
Nick: What did you do?
D'zoll: Fixed them one at a time, and depended on our unaided senses otherwise.
Nick: That's often enough, for simple injuries.
D'zoll: Fortunately yes.
Nick: At least things like bandages don't usually malfunction: if they're present, they can be used. Or improvised.
Nick: At least the staff aren't responsible for getting the patients in the first place -- that's often more difficult than treating them afterwards.
D'zoll: Well, it depends on how sick they are, I suppose.
Nick: We might have to go to a patient who can't be moved, if I understand the briefing correctly, but the search-and-rescue teams actually find the patients in the first place. Or is that one of those divisions of labor that exist only in theory, with actual practice being quite different?
D'zoll: What with head and neck injuries and possible internal bleeding, lots of patients in a disaster can't be moved, or at least unless what's going to happen to them if they are left where they are is going to be even worse. Which is not a judgment call that S&R is equipped to make, as a rule.
Nick concludes that D'zoll has never been in the position of trying to rustle up enough business, from scratch, to ward off entran.
Nick: I remember times when I would have been glad enough to find a patient who was in no condition to refuse treatment from any available source. As it was, we were sometimes reduced to diverting customers from the local Sime Center. Some were happier about it than others.
D'zoll: "Diverting". Hmm. Sounds like "kidnapping" would be the operative word.
D'zoll smiles to take away the sting of this remark.
Nick: Well, not quite. Usually. But a lot of people were reluctant to trust a rogue channel, even if she was a Farris.
D'zoll: And rightly so, I think.
Nick: Snake had a lot of problems, but medical competence wasn't one of them. Also, a lot of the places we went to, the local Tecton offerings were a bit questionable, themselves.
Nick sets down his empty tea glass.
Nick: It's a moot point now, of course.
D'zoll: Fortunately. Being given a free pass by a Tecton investigation pretty much buries anything that you might have done, or connived at, before that. Reputation's another matter, of course, apart from Tecton law. But as long as you're here, that's not an issue either.
Nick: In any case, I think I'd better get to bed early, tonight. It might be my last chance to sleep well, for a while.
D'zoll: A good plan. And meanwhile I'll continue writing up treatment notes for a while and then come join you.
Nick: Don't leave it too long, or you'll have to eat without help.
D'zoll: I won't.