Katsura is relaxing in her compartment on the way home to Sat'htine, watching the scenery roll past and enjoying the zlin of Nick's increasingly replete field as he dozes in the seat beside her.
Pedro waits in the station at Odradek for the train to arrive. His, umm, contacts in Cottonwood City tell him that the Audnes Donor will be on it.
Katsura thinks the relief effort in Cottonwood City was a very worthwhile and educational experience, but she's very glad to be back in-T, where people and their nagers are so much more predictable.
Pedro has a teeny little surprise in his pocket for Nick Reckage, who may be a TN-1 in rating but is still a rogue at heart.
Katsura gets up and carefully disengages her nager from Nick's as the train approaches Odradek station for a fuel and water stop. She wants to stretch her legs, and maybe she can buy some edible treat for her Donor. ~~ affection ~~
Nick genuinely didn't mind working the long hours Kat had to demand, but no Gen can keep up with a Sime forever. He's sleeping too deeply to feel Kat disengage.
Pedro knows that the rest of the team have left the disaster site. Though he doesn't know exactly why Nick and Katsura are going home alone, he's certainly going to take advantage of it.
Katsura goes up the aisle to the exit. The car is almost empty. They left Cottonwood City a few days after the rest of the team so Kat could continue to work on some of the worst cases a little longer.
Katsura looks out the door as the train pulls to a halt. Prospects for tasty Gen treats are not too promising. It's quite a small station, only a few people on the platform.... Oh, no! It's Pedro!
Pedro spots Kat and tries to decide whether to confront her first or just get on the train. He opts for the latter, on the ground that the channel might be able to hold him long enough for the train to leave carrying his true target with it.
Katsura sees Pedro coming and decides to confront him outdoors, rather than in the aisle or vestibule of the railcar. She hops down.
Katsura: Good afternoon, Sosu.
Pedro: Good afternoon, Hajene. Excuse me; I'm on duty.
Pedro trots down to the next train door and tries to get on the train there.
Katsura is ~~ annoyed ~~ that Pedro is evading her. He's obviously after Nick. She goes back into the car to defend her Donor from this noxious bureaucratic pest.
Pedro successfully climbs on the train and turns down the car's aisle. He sees Katsura standing between him and Nick. ~~ determination ~~
Katsura is also radiating ~~ determination ~~ but Pedro, of course, can't zlin it.
Pedro: [officiously] Hajene Katsura Farris ambrov Sat'htine?
Katsura: Sosu, we've met.
Pedro nods but doesn't respond verbally.
Katsura continues to stand there. Few people can out-stubborn an annoyed Farris.
Katsura: Can I help you, Sosu?
Pedro: By the authority of Hajene Benito Muslin, Controller of this town, I have here the original and a certified copy of a Controller's Injunction addressed to Tuib Nick Reckage, alleged to be a Donor in the Tecton. I require that you not hinder me in the execution of my duty.
Katsura: Hajene Muslin has no authority over my Donor. His Controller is presently Hajene Hiram Farris, Sectuib in Sat'htine.
Pedro: A Controller's Injunction, as is well known, overrides all other sources of authority. Even the Sectuib in Zeor would not be exempt.
Katsura: Nonsense. An injunction from the World Controller, Hajene Jaklin ambrov Imil would, but not one from a local Controller with no authority over the House of Sat'htine.
Katsura spears Pedro with her dark Farris eyes.
Katsura: Or do you think every two-bit Third Order Center Controller from every little backwoods Sime Center can order around anyone they please?
Pedro: If you or your House choose to dispute the injunction before the World Controller, that is certainly your prerogative. But you may not prevent me from serving it. Mountain Bells v. Snaid.
Katsura: So be it. I'll accept the paper, and pass it on to Sectuib. I'm sure he'll be quite displeased at your Controller's presumption in interfering with the affairs of the House.
Katsura isn't usually this prickly, but she had far more than enough of Pedro's meddling and causing trouble in Cottonwood City.
Pedro: Very well.
Pedro gives Katsura the certified copy.
Pedro: As you will note on page three, the injunction also gives me the discretion to arrest Tuib Reckage if I believe he is attempting to flee this jurisdiction. Under the circumstances, I have no hesitancy in exercising that discretion.
Katsura: We are en route to Sat'htine, Sosu.
Pedro: Which, as you have thoughtfully pointed out, is outside the jurisdiction. That makes his meditation of flight a certainty rather than merely a reasoned supposition. Consequently, in the name of the Tecton, I demand that you stand aside while I arrest the rogue.
Katsura: What nonsense. You may not arrest him. He's my Donor, and I'm in need. I have no intention of camping out in this little fueling stop while your Controller does his posturing.
Nick awakens to the sound of arguing in the corridor outside the compartment he is sharing with Kat.
Pedro: I assure you, Hajene, I would never dream of leaving you without a Donor. There is a Farris-trained TN-1 waiting at the Odradek Sime Center. So let us exit the train peacefully and without additional fuss, hm?
Pedro has arranged for the engineer to hold the train until his business is completed; he foresaw that there might be some trouble of this kind.
Nick is ~~ alarmed ~~ as he gathers the sense of the argument. He ~~ refuses ~~ to place himself once more in the tentacles of the anti-Audnes faction.
Katsura: Sosu Nick was assigned to me by my Controller, the Sectuib in Sat'htine, and I have no intention of giving him up. You'll have to take it up with Sectuib.
Pedro: I thought that might be your attitude. I also have a second Injunction addressed to you, ordering you to cooperate with me on pain of arrest and confinement. You wouldn't want to incur the penalties of violating a Controller's Injunction.
Katsura: Your Controller, Sosu Pedro, has no authority over me.
Pedro: So you say. But this train isn't going anywhere until I say so, and I can summon others to assist me if need be. I suggest you surrender quietly. It would be a terrible embarrassment for a Farris of Sat'htine to be removed in restraints.
Katsura is beginning to get the feeling that the classic Arrogant Farris act is not her forte. To tell the truth, she doesn't have much experience using it.
Nick gets up and collects his belongings, including the satchel of Farris medicines.
Katsura: I'll speak with my Donor in private.
Katsura enters the compartment and closes the door firmly behind her.
Nick meets Kat's gaze.
Nick: We've been mousetrapped, I take it?
Katsura: They have no right, Nick. They aren't going to get away with it. Sectuib will stop them if I can't.
Nick: Once they have physical custody of me, Sectuib Hiram's claim will be limited.
Pedro is not openly fuming, but he is ~~ angry ~~ enough that he would ~~ enjoy ~~ seeing the TN-1 override Kat's free will.
Katsura: I'm not going to leave you. You are my Donor, and I am Sectuib's proxy in matters concerning you. I am going to continue to maintain Sectuib's legal authority over you, and not transfer it to them.
Nick's nager ~~ warms ~~ at this statement of loyalty, but he feels compelled to offer a warning.
Nick: If you do that, Kat, you'll be tarred with the same rebel brush they're using on me. They may even decide that you're a supporter of Arat's rebellion.
Katsura: Let them try to pull a stunt like that with Sat'htine. They'll make complete fools of themselves.
Katsura is still in Arrogant Farris Householder mode. She's also reacting with the instinct of a Sime challenged by a rival Sime who is after her Gen.
Nick hadn't thought he would be offered Sat'htine's protection against the Tecton without committing himself to a pledge first.
Nick: Are you sure Hiram would be willing to waste Sat'htine's influence on this?
Katsura: All he has to do is get Jaklin to slap these people down, if he doesn't want to do so himself. She assigned you to us. She and Hiram have known each other since before Unity.
Nick has a ~~ warm fuzzy ~~ reaction.
Katsura takes Nick's hand, and wraps her tentacles gently around his wrist.
Nick lets his nager ~~ engage ~~.
Katsura: I won't let them have you, Nick. I promise you that.
Nick starts to ~~ hope ~~.
Katsura is a little bit too affected by Nick's sincere and open reaction, after his longstanding reserve.
Nick: Well, then, maybe we should go quietly.
Katsura: I don't see that we have any choice for now, but I'm not going to leave you. I'm not going to let them have you. I'm going to stay with you and protect you.
Katsura is getting quite ~~ incensed ~~ again.
Nick automatically tries for ~~ calm ~~, although he's ~~ agitated ~~ enough that he has to work a lot harder at it than usual.
Katsura: It's okay, Nick. I have a right to be [English] pissed off at these friggin jerks.
Nick: Can we get word to Sectuib Hiram? I may be a cynic, but I wouldn't be surprised if he hasn't been informed about any of this.
Katsura: Of course. I'll demand they send him a telegram I compose.
Katsura would like to see any renSime, or channel for that matter, refuse her.
Pedro is just as ~~ angry ~~ as before, and is now ~~ impatient ~~ as well. He raps on the door.
Katsura: Control your nager, Sosu! ~~ imperious ~~
Pedro forcibly ~~ calms ~~ himself; no point in putting himself even slightly in the wrong here.
Katsura shoulders her backpack.
Nick automatically increases ~~ support ~~.
Katsura doesn't need more support: her ~~ righteous indignation ~~ is enough. She just wants to put Pedro in his Second Order bureaucratic place.
Katsura: Do you have everything, Nick? Let me carry some of that.
Nick passes Kat the bag in which he packed a few changes of clothes, reserving his satchel to himself. He does have his priorities, and being able to take care of his channel trumps a clean change of clothes.
Katsura takes the bag, opens the door and seizes the initiative.
Katsura: Are you ready to go, Sosu Pedro?
Pedro doesn't trust himself to speak; he simply nods. ~~ triumph, barely muted ~~ He turns about and exits the train, fully ~~ expecting ~~ Nick and Katsura to follow him.
Katsura: Hot showers, good meals and soft beds, here we come.