Physicians Across Borders: Episode 10

Forpind is sitting in a corner of the cafeteria, sipping a porstan ~~ thoughtfully ~~. He would normally choose a drinking establishment with more atmosphere, but the local bars out-T don't serve porstan. He also objects to dealing with out-Territory Gens in his off hours; he spends enough time zlinning their undisciplined nagers when he's on duty in the Collectorium.

Crynwyr enters the cafeteria, gets himself some Sime goodies and a porstan too, and sees Forpind in the corner. He doesn't zlin "keep off", so Crynwyr sends him a ~~ nageric signal ~~ and approaches. It's very very pleasant not to have to yell "Hey you!" and in Genlan to boot.

Forpind shifts his porstan over a bit to make room for Crynwyr's.

Crynwyr sits down and holds up his mug. ~~ toast ~~

Forpind clicks his mug to Crynwyr's, and drinks.

Forpind: What's the occasion?

Crynwyr: My return to civilization, after an Adventure among the Wild Gens.

Forpind: Ah, that sounds promising. Did you have to fend off their shotguns with your golden tongue?

Forpind is well aware that Crynwyr's Genlan is no match for his Simelan.

Crynwyr: No, no, no guns, just crazies. You know I've been wanting to build up a little capital for my little venture...

Crynwyr lays one tentacle to the side of his nose.

Forpind: Yes, and I still won't play cards with you.

Crynwyr: So I got a job doing discernment for a certain Big Cheese.

Forpind: A Big Cheese? What did she want you to discern?

Crynwyr: He. An out-T politician. He was interviewing one of his relatives, and wanted to know if he, the relative, was telling the truth.

Forpind: Oh, my, that sounds juicy. Was his wife straying, or perhaps his son was failing to own up to his peccadilloes?

Crynwyr smiles.

Crynwyr: Not exactly. [English] You see, what a-happen was...

Crynwyr: [Simelan] The relative has been going around preaching Sime-Gen unity, and of course no politician in these parts wants to hear about that.

Forpind: Oh, I think there are some who don't mind it. There was that fellow in the paper a while back, anyway.

Crynwyr: Well, he's a special case, if you mean Pollovic. He's from a border district, and they all want Unity there anyhow so they can graze their sheep across the border freely. Or something like that.

Forpind shakes his head.

Forpind: Sheep. What a reason to support Unity.

Crynwyr shrugs.

Crynwyr: Whatever it takes. Anyway, suppose the Sectuib in Zeor's cousin decided to go Distect, very publicly? It'd be like that.

Forpind: That'd be a bigger embarrassment than Arat Audnes/Farris going for the old junct lifestyle was.

Crynwyr nods.

Crynwyr: Anyway, so the Big Cheese abducted his cousin or whatever and Penned him up in some kind of old building with very strange nageric acoustics.

Forpind: Really? What's it made of?

Crynwyr: You got me. I assumed stone, but no. Couldn't zlin a thing until I was practically in the room with the guy, even though I could see him through the window plain enough.

Crynwyr: [English] It one big mystery, okay?

Forpind: Sure. Go on. This guy's in a Pen, and his relative the politico has the keys.

Crynwyr: And he figures since the guy is crazy, I'll be able to confront him with the untruths he's telling, and since he believes Simes never lie, he'll have to see that he's crazy and will have to go sane.

Crynwyr uses nageric imagery to keep Tsibola and Craig disambiguated.

Forpind: So is this one of those forms of craziness that runs in families?

Crynwyr: I don't think so. Afterwards I finally figured out that the Cheese didn't understand that Simes can't discern truth from untruth, just sincerity from insincerity. I explained it to him, but you know how my Genlan is.

Forpind chuckles.

Forpind: Yeah. I've heard you try to explain donating to the Wild Gens. You're brief, I'll give you that much.

Crynwyr chuckles too.

Crynwyr: But I'm very persuasive!

Forpind: Nah, you just grab 'em while they're still trying to figure out what you were saying.

Crynwyr laughs, hard.

Crynwyr: [English] You got that right, okay?

Forpind: Works just fine as a distraction, I'll give you that much.

Crynwyr: Anyway, so whether the guy's crazy or not, he definitely believes everything he says, except for very minor things that would pass unnoticed even in-T except maybe in court. So I try to do a little mediation, but what those two really need is couple's counseling.

Forpind: So what was this nutty inmate of the family Pen believing, that his relative the Big Cheese found so unsavory?

Crynwyr: Well, that the Big Tuib in the Sky they all believe in out here has told him to go out and tell everyone that Simes aren't demons, but actually sent by Him to keep Gens from lying to each other all the time.

Forpind: Hmm. So our function is to go around and air all the dirty laundry? I suppose that's better than being seen as a monster, at that.

Crynwyr: Exactly. But the Cheese apparently has taken an oath never to have anything to do with Simes, at least openly, and of course out-T politicians always have plenty to hide.

Forpind: He took an oath never to have anything to do with Simes, and so he went out and hired you?

Forpind shakes his head in ~~ disbelief ~~.

Crynwyr: Not in public. He talks with diplomats, after all -- he'd have to. I don't know, maybe they don't mean the same thing by "oath" around here. Anyhow, I promised to come back and talk to the crazy guy, or not so crazy guy, and also try to find someone with Mind-Healer experience on out-T Gens, as if.

Crynwyr elevates both eyebrows.

Crynwyr: Unless you happen to know of such a person?

Forpind: Didn't specialists in Wild Gen psychology go out with Unity, when the Sectuibs stopped trying to integrate Choice Kills into their Houses?

Zylexa approaches Crynwyr and Forpind's table, carrying a mug of porstan. She's a thirtyish channel, who looks like she's had a hard shift.

Crynwyr shrugs.

Forpind looks up and waves in invitation.

Crynwyr: I have no idea.

Zylexa: May I join you dedicated specimens of warriors on the forefront of Unity?

Forpind: Zylexa, come join us. Crynwyr was regaling me with his adventures among the Wild Gens.

Zylexa: Wild Gens. Ha! What now? ~~ disgruntled ~~

Forpind raises an eyebrow.

Forpind: Bad shift?

Zylexa: I just get tired of the men drooling over me sexually. They don't realize I can zlin it. Most of them at least try not to show it otherwise, at least. Most of them.

Forpind is ~~ sympathetic ~~, and feels it prudent not to make clear if his sympathy is for Zylexa or her admirers.

Zylexa makes a casting away gesture.

Zylexa: So what have you been up to, Crynwyr?

Crynwyr: Well, do you happen to know anyone with Mind-Healer experience among out-T Gens?

Zylexa: Do out-T Gens have mind healers? How can they tell what their patients are feeling?

Crynwyr: No, I mean channels who've worked with Wild Gens, of course.

Forpind: You mean, besides us, and the Mind Healers the donors drive us to?

Crynwyr: Don't be thick, Forpind. I'm serious.

Zylexa: Maybe one of the Firsts?

Zylexa and her fellow porstan drinkers are Seconds. They don't specialize, they just work.

Crynwyr: I was doing some discernment work for a high-powered Gen politician, and it turns out what he really needed was couple's counseling.

Zylexa snickers, imagining Crynwyr advising an upper class out-T Gen couple on their sex life. In English.

Crynwyr: The guy thinks his relative is insane, and he's got him locked up because of it, but I don't think he's insane at all, not that I'm any expert on it.

Zylexa: I suppose they have different ideas of what counts as insanity out here. Most of them believe in powerful invisible beings manipulating their lives.

Crynwyr: What they need is to start understanding each other better.

Forpind: Do you think that will help?

Crynwyr shakes his head and ~~ affirms ~~ at the same time.

Crynwyr: It can't possibly make things any worse.

Forpind: I know a lot of couples who got along just fine before they started to understand each other better.

Crynwyr: Oh? Tell. ~~ prurient curiosity ~~

Forpind: Well, there was this pretty little thing I used to fancy quite a bit from afar, before I discovered that she likes to suck on garlic.

Crynwyr gives Forpind The Look.

Crynwyr: I remember that one. At least it got you to shut up about her and leave the rest of us in peace.

Forpind: And the one who insisted on adorning her bedroom with stuffed penguins.

Crynwyr: What was wrong with that? If they'd been real penguins, now....

Forpind: Have you ever tried to get amorous while being glared at by a sea of button eyes? Besides, they made the bed lumpy. And she kept wanting to stop and rearrange them. No, when most people talk about "couples counseling", what they really want is for the counselor to enforce their own side of the argument.

Crynwyr: Well, talk-talk-talk is a lot better than locking up your friends and relations.

Forpind: I don't know how this guy thinks he can get away with such a thing. Won't the fellow be missed?

Forpind uses his own nager to identify which "guy" and "fellow" is which.

Crynwyr: Evidently not. Besides, Big Cheeses can get away with a lot, if they are ripe enough.

Zylexa: Yes, it's not as if the poor Gen is expected at a Sime Center every month, where he can ask for help, like back home.

Forpind: He doesn't have any friends that will start to ask questions? Poor fellow.

Zylexa: I wonder if you should tell the police, Crynwyr, to send help for this man. It must be illegal.

Zylexa imagines Crynwyr trying to explain the situation to the local police in English and ~~ reconsiders ~~.

Crynwyr: What, and cut off my source of outside income?

Crynwyr lays one tentacle beside his nose again.

Zylexa: But is it ethical? You're profiting from somebody else's criminal behavior, abducting and imprisoning this fellow.

Forpind: At least the fellow has someone from outside checking on him at regular intervals.

Crynwyr: Besides, he's now staying there semi-voluntarily. I tried to persuade Ts-the Cheese to let him go on condition he would keep quiet in public, but no luck. "He may be sincere about it now, but he may change his mind just as sincerely later," says the Cheese. Well, you know what they say about the two kinds of politicians, eh?

Crynwyr smiles wryly.

Zylexa: ~~ inquiry ~~

Forpind raises an interrogative eyebrow of his own.

Crynwyr: There are the honest ones -- they stay bought. And then there are the great statesmen -- they change their minds three times a day. ~~ sardonic ~~

Forpind: So this political type knew whereof he spoke, when he refused to believe that his relative's promise would stay promised?

Zylexa: Projection.

Crynwyr: Could be either, really. Sometimes I wish I could actually read minds.

Zylexa: Just as well not. ~~ remembered disgust ~~

Crynwyr: Oh, but with an "off" switch too, of course!

Zylexa: I wonder if our diplomats should know about this situation. Maybe they can help, and bring us some good PR.

Zylexa doesn't consider that the knowledge could be used for manipulation or blackmail, too.

Crynwyr: Not from me, they won't. Channel confidentiality and the principle of the Deal is sacred with me. Especially when I'm getting paid.

Forpind decides that telling someone in a position to take Official Notice of the situation is different from telling the story to colleagues over porstan, at that.

Forpind: Well, how are you going to find that Mind Healer type, if you don't tell a Big Nager? Although I guess your guy would go hire the Big Nager instead, wouldn't he?

Crynwyr: Harder to hire that kind on the left than to hire me. No, at most I'd be willing to tell one of our Cheeses and put him on oath never to tell anybody. In exchange for some help for these two, that is.

Forpind: Which one would you tell? The Controller?

Crynwyr shrugs.

Crynwyr: You pick the Cheese, I'll sample his flavor.

Zylexa: How about Seruffin? You know, the diplomat with that simpleminded Donor with the ~~ nageric simulation ~~ nager?

Zylexa is always happy to zlin Gerrhonot when he and Seruffin work at the Sime Center.

Zylexa: He deals with the Gen government politicos all the time.

Forpind: And he knows a little about mental abnormalities, too, or he wouldn't keep the kid with him.

Crynwyr: Well, he's a diplomat, so I guess he can keep his mouth shut. Okay.

Forpind: That's the spirit.

Forpind lifts his beer mug.

Forpind: Here's to that ~~ nageric simulation ~~ nager. May you have a chance to enjoy it up close as you explain the situation.

Zylexa lifts her mug too.

Zylexa: Go for it, Crynwyr, do your duty for the benefit of Unity and all human kind.

Crynwyr rolls his eyes.

Crynwyr: [English] Okay, tell Cheese, save Unity, get guy out of Pen, okay.

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