Healing the World: Episode 22

Mik is looking forward to the channel/Donor get-together with a mixture of ~~ anticipation ~~ and his usual ~~ pessimism ~~, even though he's supposed to be safely pre-turnover. He's convinced more than half the time that no Donor who isn't a trainer will ever take the slightest interest in him, either as a channel or just as a human being, especially with the stigma of being from out-T.

Mik is en route to the Donor camp that specializes in out-T Donor training, but figures that actually makes things worse -- these are going to be folks who want to have nothing at all to do with their past or anything that reminds them of it.

Mik also finds that he's more sensitive to Sime motion sickness than the average QN-2, which makes him even more ~~ gloomy ~~. He reins in his showfield, which is beginning to ~~ break up ~~, before he gets reprimanded.

Mik: Oh well. Only another five minutes and twenty-three seconds at this rate, eh.

Bart is waiting on the platform for the train bringing some young channels, including Mik, to visit his Donor training camp. He's really looking forward to seeing his friend and third cousin again, now that he's had some real training, and has served transfer.

Bart surreptitiously hopes they can try some of the nageric tricks together that the students tell each other somewhat confused stories about.

Mik's train pulls in, and since he's sitting conveniently near a door, he's one of the first to detrain. The ambient is absolutely flickering with partly-trained-Donor nagers.

Bart spots Mik and waves, focusing his attention on him, wondering if Mik can zlin him through the crowd.

Bart: Hey, Mik, over here!

Mik sees Bart waving and is ~~ very surprised ~~. He'd totally forgotten that Bart was one of the trainees! ~~ relief ~~ He pulls himself together further.

Mik: I see you, Bart. Be there in a minute.

Bart grins and waits, ~~ delighted ~~ to see Mik. He really looks and moves like a Sime now, and has some of that serious channel look about him.

Mik makes his way through the crowd to stand next to Bart, after exchanging ~~ signals ~~ with the chaperoning channel. He grins widely too; his face does not quite crack.

Bart offers a comradely hug, knowing better than to touch any Sime without his consent.

Mik accepts with ~~ enthusiasm ~~.

Bart: Great to see you, Mik!

Bart pounds Mik on the back and ~~ invites ~~ him to engage nagers.

Mik slaps Bart on the back repeatedly, though only with a Gen-appropriate level of force. He links only superficially.

Mik: Umm, is there somewhere we can go? This crowd, well...

Bart extends his nager, with considerable skill, to protect Mik from the ambient.

Mik: Aaah. That's better. But I'd still like to get where we can talk. You must know the good spots by now, eh?

Bart: Yeah, we can start walking back to the camp. It's only about a kilometer. They'll take the luggage in the wagon.

Bart grins and laughs with ~~ pleasure ~~ at being with his friend.

Mik ~~ enjoys ~~ the ~~ pleasure ~~.

Bart: Hey, I served transfer for the first time about a week ago. Wow! ~~ delight ~~ deep happiness ~~

Mik gets ~~ really happy ~~ for Bart.

Mik: Wonnnderful!

Bart: It sure was! Mik, it was so easy, so natural. I just wanted to do it so much and I did it and it was great.

Mik zlins Bart more closely now that there's some space around them.

Mik: So what are you now, a low First or a high Second or what?

Mik can tell Bart's higher than he is, but not how much.

Bart: Hey, go ahead and zlin me.

Bart offers his arms in their loose sleeves, and competently sets his nager on ~~ neutral ~~.

Mik: I've been zlinning you, but you're rated above me, so I can't discern, at least not yet.

Bart: Well, I qualified as a midrange Second, since the channel was. They're going to give me a higher rated one next time. The monitoring channel said I have lots more capacity.

Mik: Oh, excellent!

Bart realizes this might not be the most tactful thing to say to Mik.

Bart: But because I didn't start right out as soon as I established, it's hard for them to tell where I'll end up in rating. So we could still end up sharing transfer.

Mik: Yeah, we might. I'll never be a First, that's for sure. My best friend at camp was a First, and I know the difference. So do you have any idea what you might like to specialize in, assuming you make First, or even if you don't? Last I heard from you, you didn't.

Bart: Well, I guess I'll have to get more general experience first. I'm out of my First Year now, if Gens have one, and they don't think it's so important for Gens to decide these things early. Maybe once I'm out on the internship in a couple months I'll see more of what goes on and get some ideas. How about you?

Mik laughs.

Mik: "Firsts specialize, Seconds just work", they say. Unless I want to go back out-T -- which seems like a good idea in some ways, a very bad one in others.

Bart: How so?

Mik: Well, I certainly know more about the culture than your average in-T channel. Even if they send me far away from Gumgeeville, I'll still have a big head start.

Bart nods ~~ agreement ~~.

Mik: But it'd be lonesome out there. I'd hardly see another Sime from one year to the next.

Bart: Like Hajene Bibi. Well, except for Marvin. And Seruffin.

Mik: It's not likely that I'd be as lucky as Hajene Bibi, after all.

Mik laughs again. He's had more laughs today than he has in... he can't remember when.

Mik: Great minds think alike.

Bart is ~~ pleased ~~ that Mik is in a good mood, and offers deeper nageric engagement.

Bart: Well, even if they sent you out-T it would be to a bigger Sime Center than Hannard's Ford. They didn't let Hajene Bibi run a place alone like that until she'd had ten years experience.

Mik nods slowly.

Mik: That's true, that's true. So maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all. Does out-T work interest you at all?

Bart: Yeah. I think I could be most useful out-T, especially with the kids who are changing over. But I'd like to see more of Nivet first. They'll probably start me in a big city, where I can get a lot of different experience.

Bart shrugs.

Bart: And maybe in the meantime I'd find something really special that I would be good at.

Bart laughs again.

Bart: If it hadn't been for that big snowstorm last year I'd be sitting around Gumgeeville wondering how the heck I was ever going to make a living.

Mik: [pretending to be stung] Well fine. And I'd be six feet under. Your point is?

Bart: Sorry, Mik. ~~ compassion ~~

Mik's good humor leaks out on his face, though.

Bart: Well, I really like being a Donor. I feel like I was born to be one. And I might never have known it.

Mik: True, true. You certainly are a Natural. Umm, can I deep zlin?

Bart: Be my guest.

Bart offers his arms again, and a ~~ neutral ~~ field.

Mik does a full lateral contact exam, except it's not really an exam, just Sime voyeurism.

Mik: Amazing. What a beautiful nager you have, Bart.

Mik gets a touch of ~~ intil ~~ but keeps it firmly under control.

Bart is ~~ pleased ~~ at the compliment and fondles Mik's tentacle sheaths. ~ affection ~~ attraction without enticement ~~

Bart: We'll be rooming together. You'll have plenty of chance to enjoy it. And we can try different nageric stuff.

Mik: ~~ attraction affection ~~

Mik: Oh yeah. That sounds great. I mean, both things. Ummm.

Mik backs off so he can talk coherently and not like a Sime in Genlust.

Bart: Sorry, was I laying it on too thick?

Mik: No, no, not at all. I was just, well, I don't often get to zlin a field like yours that isn't attached to, well, an intimidating Giant Killer Gen personality. You're just Bart; I've known you all my life, after all. It makes it easier to let go.

Bart: I guess they'd give you guys really tough experienced Donors to train you, eh? Ones who can handle any channel, no matter how inept or confused. ~~ teasing ~~

Mik: You got that right, Bart.

Mik is quite serious.

Mik: It's taken me months and months to be anything but a bumbler. If it weren't for this guy Nenuphar I've told you about, I probably wouldn't have made it this far even.

Bart: Hey, I've been bumbling quite a bit myself. When I first came here, everybody was complaining how "loud" I was. It was embarrassing.

Bart uses the Simelan term for nageric "loudness".

Mik: You zlin fine to me. Did you learn control, or did you have an [English] operation? ~~ teasing back ~~

Bart: Just be glad you weren't the one teaching me to relevel a Sime! ~~ remembered embarrassment ~~

Mik: Nope, I wouldn't be up to that yet.

Mik: ~~ wonder ~~ But hey, isn't this amazing for a couple of hayseeds from Gumgeeville? I mean, here we are, professionals!

Bart laughs.

Bart: Yeah, you're a professional soul-sucking demon, and I'm a professional Sime-kissing selyn whore. But, hey, I like having my soul sucked. ~~ affection ~~

Mik rubs his hands and tentacles together and grins eeeevilly.

Mik: Oh yeah, I'm a monster of depravity, just waiting to get my tentacles on you!

Bart: And I've got that lust for your hot Sime lips!

Bart starts giggling.

Bart: Oh, if they could hear us now in Henree's saloon!

Mik sighs deeply.

Mik: Yeah. Probably never happen, though.

Bart: Well, we'd be pretty foolish to carry on in a place like that, but I'm just imagining the look on Henree's face if you did a lateral contact exam like that standing at the bar. My dad would probably think it was hilarious.

Mik: He would, he would.

Mik catches the giggles.

Mik: My dad -- my dad would probably be serving transfer to a new renSime in one of the upstairs rooms.

Bart: Gosh, Mik, do you think he might really be able to do that some day?

Mik: I hope he'd never have to, frankly, but who knows? Tecton law doesn't apply in Gumgeeville, and there's no Gen law against it. I never would have believed he could have gotten as far as he has, either. Zlinning him take charge of my nager was... absolutely beyond belief.

Bart: Were you scared?

Bart thinks fear would have been an entirely reasonable reaction to having an untrained Simephobic Wild Gen grab control like that, even if he is your father.

Mik: As far as I can remember, I was too startled to be scared. And I just automatically fell back on my training -- told him not to move because we were in trautholo, or something like that. Fortunately, Sectuib Hiram disentangled us.

Bart: Yeah, your dad would have felt awful if he'd slammed you. Maybe worse than you would. ~~ comfort ~~ sympathy ~~

Mik tries to soak up the comfort and sympathy in hopes of bringing it out later when he really needs it.

Bart thinks Mik must be having a much more stressful time with his training than Bart is having with his.

Bart: It'll be better when you're finished training. You'll have your own Donor all the time, then.

Mik: Well, yes, I guess. ~~ doubtful ~~ You know me. The glass is always half empty, and the grass is always browner on the other side of the fence.

Mik chuckles.

Bart projects loud ~~ encouragement ~~ and ~~ support ~~.

Bart: How's that?

Mik fakes a ~~ cringe ~~ and stuffs his tentacles in his ears.

Mik: [whines] Too loud, young Gen, too loud!

Bart fades the projection down to a barely zlinnable level.

Bart: Better?

Mik takes his tentacles out.

Mik: [hard-of-hearing voice] Eh? Can't hear you, sonny boy.

Bart grins. ~~ affection ~~

Mik: Remember old Sam Stark when we were kids? He talked like that.

Bart: Yeah. Mostly when he didn't want to hear. ~~ nostalgia ~~

Mik: Well, anyhow, I see here we are. I understand there's supposed to be some sort of mixer first, so we better mix.

Mik disengages his nager from Bart's.

Bart: Yeah. I recommend the hot cider with spices. It's really good.

Mik: Great.

Mik heads off for the hot spiced cider and the attractive Gen trainee who's dishing it out. Being Sime is great, but it's not the only thing, and Mik feels much more adventurous than usual, thanks to Bart's efforts.

Bart watches Mik going for the cider server, and hopes he won't get flattened by her sharp tongue.

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