Plans and Promises: Episode 5

Tsibola paces back and forth on a quiet corner in the quiet, discreet neighborhood where his nephew Craig is undergoing -- involuntary treatment. He's waiting for this new channel whom Hajene Crynwyr said was "very good help such problems", in hopes that the fellow is right.

Tsibola would much appreciate it if something progressed well in his dealings with Simes: Seruffin is dangerously close to getting the advantage in the trade treaty negotiations.

Shorsh spots someone pacing as the cab draws up to the corner they were told to go to.

Tsibola really looks a little too dignified to be pacing the way he is.

Shorsh: That must be him, D'zoll.

D'zoll: If you say so. He doesn't zlin like a Senator.

D'zoll is merely making conversation, as he has never zlinned a Senator before.

Shorsh fishes out some New Washington currency and pays the cabbie, with a substantial tip in support of Unity, as the cab stops.

Shorsh: And what does a New Washington Senator zlin like?

D'zoll shrugs.

Shorsh eyes D'zoll. He looks okay, modulo the retainers.

D'zoll: Whatever. Let's go talk to him.

Shorsh opens the cab door and steps out, providing his channel with a thick layer of ~~ protection ~~.

D'zoll leaves the cab and walks over to the pacing man as Gen-like as he can manage.

Shorsh stays close.

D'zoll: "The oranges in Gulf Territory are very good this year."

Tsibola turns to examine D'zoll closely, from head to toe.

Shorsh thinks this passphrase business is remarkably childish, but refrains from rolling his eyes. Besides, D'zoll seems to be enjoying it.

Tsibola: "The asparagus lacks flavor, however." You are Hajene D'zoll?

Tsibola can't think of any other Sime who is likely to be in this neighborhood, but it never hurts to confirm the obvious.

D'zoll: That's me, Senator. Shall we go in, or do you have anything to say to me in private? As it were.

Tsibola: Has Crynwyr explained the delicacy of the situation to you?

D'zoll: I think so. You want to make very sure that Mr. Craig's -- situation -- remains out of the public eye, as well as your connection with it.

Shorsh: Or our connection with you.

Tsibola: Yes. And if possible, I would like my nephew returned to a state where he can be allowed out in public without embarrassing the family.

D'zoll: Quite so.

Tsibola: He has been very resistant to giving up his insanity, and very insistent upon spreading it to the best of his ability.

Shorsh thinks that the Senator must be using the term 'insanity' in a nonstandard sense.

D'zoll nods sagely.

D'zoll: That's often the case with people who are convinced of the rightness of their cause, don't you think?

Tsibola: Indeed. But the Craig I knew would have been able to understand the consequences of his actions for the family, and the damage his preferred approach would do. I hope you will be able to convince him that his actions have consequences beyond his immediate goals.

Tsibola thinks that at least this Sime speaks passable English, unlike the first channel he hired.

D'zoll: I'll do my best to bring about a more flexible and reasonable view of the situation, Senator.

D'zoll doesn't mention exactly whose view he has in mind.

Tsibola: Good. I assume that the terms I had with Hajene Crynwyr are acceptable?

D'zoll: Terms? We will provide standard confidentiality, of course.

Tsibola nods, and briefly outlines the hours and remuneration he worked out with Crynwyr.

D'zoll: What do you think, Shorsh? Shall we take the Senator's offer?

Shorsh is willing to play along with the farce, rather than suggest they hit the Senator up for big bucks or turn around and go back to Sat'htine.

Shorsh: If you're willing.

D'zoll: Senator, it's a deal.

Tsibola: Good.

Tsibola forbears to shake hands on it, in deference to D'zoll's larity.

Tsibola: In that case, let me introduce you to my problem nephew.

Tsibola leads the way down the street.

D'zoll was soooo hoping he'd get to spit in his palm before shaking hands.

Shorsh signals a query whether the protection he's providing is adequate for the retainers and the Senator.

D'zoll: ~~ no problem ~~

Tsibola nods to the guards as he enters the house, and shortly he is unlocking the door to Craig's prison.

Craig has been reading a volume of commentaries on Ancient ecstatic religious practices such as Whirling Dervishes, Santeria, Pentecostalism, and the Sun Dance. He looks up at the sound of voices, and sets the book aside, atop The Practice of the Confessional and Exorcism of the Soul.

Tsibola: Craig, I have visitors for you.

Craig rises, a bit stiffly after sitting for so long, to greet them.

Tsibola: These are Hajene D'zoll and Sosu Shorsh. My nephew Craig.

Craig: Hello, gentlemen. Uncle.

D'zoll: Greetings, Mr. Craig. I'm from the Tecton and I'm here to help you.

Shorsh: Pleased to meet you, Mr. Craig. May I post the room Sime Territory so D'zoll can take off his retainers?

Craig: By all means. I don't suppose you gentlemen are some of the theologians I've been begging Ruthven to bring me?

Shorsh lets D'zoll take that one as he removes a sign and a roll of tape from his bag and posts the room Sime Territory, then assists D'zoll with the retainers.

Tsibola doesn't react unduly: he doesn't view the bared tentacles as affecting him in any fashion.

D'zoll retracts his tentacles with as much Farris deftness as he can put into it.

Craig makes an effort to relax and accept his natural ~~ fear ~~ ; a certain amount of disquiet is always a necessary prelude to true spiritual healing.

D'zoll: No, I'm afraid not. We're here to assist you and Senator Tsibola to find a mutual resolution to your difficulties.

D'zoll shrugs off Craig's fear with little effort.

Craig: Ah. That's too bad; I've been doing some fascinating reading about Ancient techniques of individual and mass catharsis, and would be interested to learn the modern Sime approach.

Craig shrugs his preoccupation aside and focuses more closely on the visitors.

Craig: So, you're mediators?

D'zoll: Not exactly. I think the best English expression would be "therapy for groups of two people". Often the two people are a married couple, but uncle and nephew is perfectly common as well.

D'zoll stores the remark about catharsis, and hopes he doesn't have to overcome too many misconceptions.

Craig: Ah.

D'zoll: So let's get started, shall we?

Tsibola settles down in ~~ anticipation ~~ that Craig will be enlightened this time.

D'zoll rearranges the furniture so that four chairs are in a circle, and takes one of them himself, signaling Shorsh to take the chair directly opposite.

Shorsh figures he can manage D'zoll from that position, although it isn't ideal. After all, neither Gen is a Gegg.

D'zoll: Senator, Mr. Craig?

Craig: Yes?

Craig reseats himself.

Tsibola raises a somewhat ~~ skeptical ~~ eyebrow, but sits in the indicated seat.

D'zoll: Mr. Craig, Senator Tsibola, may I use your first names? I myself have only one name, but I find it useful to create an atmosphere of collegiality from the start.

D'zoll twitches slightly, internally, at this mild deception.

Craig: Please, call me Andrew.

Tsibola: It's irregular, but so is this entire situation. Very well.

D'zoll: Andrew, I've heard Ruthven's viewpoint, of course. Can you give me yours? Please try to be concise.

Craig: I'm sure you've heard the background already. A few months ago, I had a rather... disquieting... experience, involving Simes, which opened me up to a new insight into God's plan. I feel called to share that with the world. Ruthven, being still caught up in more worldly priorities, finds my new calling a threat and an embarrassment. Therefore, since he is the one with the material power, I am here.

D'zoll: Comment, Ruthven? Briefly.

Tsibola: There are ways to share insights that don't destroy one's family. Craig used to understand that.

D'zoll: Will the family -- or rather its standing in the community -- truly be destroyed, or damaged beyond recovery?

Tsibola: Without question.

Tsibola is ~~ very sure ~~ of this.

Craig: Cousin, I spoke only truth. How can anything worthwhile be destroyed by the light of truth?

D'zoll: Andrew, I suppose you would count that as a less important point. But can you resume your previous worldly viewpoint for long enough to tell Ruthven why he is exaggerating?

Craig: Ruthven, you think my revelation about young Fridda will damage your reputation as a hater of Simes. But how can showing love for your niece, love beyond the boundaries of doctrine, show you as anything but a worthy and compassionate man?

Tsibola: Craig, you are not so innocent that you don't know exactly how my constituents and supporters would react. Not to mention the press and the bleeding-heart types I've been battling my entire career.

D'zoll: It's not as if you yourself are donating to support her, though, is it?

Tsibola: Of course not. I gave my word.

D'zoll: So there's no question of you having broken your word, even if...

D'zoll waves expressively about, using his tentacles as well.

D'zoll: ...all this were to come out. You have remained scrupulously within your self-imposed limits.

Tsibola: And who's going to believe that? I can name six journalists offhand who'd be speculating along those lines within a week.

D'zoll raises his eyebrows.

Craig: Tell them the truth, Ruthven. And let a Sime -- better yet for credibility's sake, a hostile Sime -- verify the truth of your words in public.

Tsibola makes an ~~ impatient ~~ gesture.

Tsibola: That would gain me exactly the same credibility -- or lack of it -- that your efforts gained you. The people whose support I most have to have would reject it entirely.

D'zoll: Ruthven, how long can you seriously expect to keep something like this utterly secret?

Tsibola: Long enough to accomplish some of my goals, before it ends my career.

D'zoll: Then you specifically foresee the end of your career over this, and your resistance is merely tactical?

Craig leans forward, ~~ interested ~~ .

Tsibola: Of course, if it becomes an issue in the press.

D'zoll: In other words, you have become, though nobody but you knows it, what I believe you call a lame chicken?

Tsibola: Lame chicken?

Tsibola is momentarily ~~ confused ~~.

D'zoll frowns.

D'zoll: Isn't that right?

Tsibola: Oh, you mean "lame duck".

D'zoll smiles.

D'zoll: I guess so.

Tsibola: Potentially, yes. I can be effective only so long as this scandal doesn't erupt into the public eye.

Craig: Which scandal, Ruthven? My new calling? The things of your past that I might reveal? Or the things you are doing, here and now, to try to silence me?

Tsibola: All of them. And I tell you now, Andrew, you won't leave here until I'm satisfied that you won't act to destroy what I've spent my life building. Not even in pursuit of your new religion.

D'zoll: What have you spent your life building, Ruthven? It seems to me, from what I understand, that you've spent most of your life conserving existing buildings.

Tsibola: Do you think that happens with any less effort? Or is any less crucial to maintaining a civilized society? My nephew may now reject that society, but he doesn't have the right to make that choice for me. Or the constituents whose interests I represent.

D'zoll: By no means. Building conservators are very valued where I come from. We don't want the roofs falling on our heads, after all.

Tsibola: My nephew is taking an axe to the beams, ignoring the damage that will occur when the roof collapses.

Craig: ~~ thoughtful ~~ You have an excellent point, Uncle. I must speak my own Truths, but I have no right to speak yours for you. They are yours, and only you can be healed by speaking them. Healing comes from within, by God's grace; I can't force it upon you or anyone else. I can only show my example.

Craig falls silent, considering. His nager shows the sudden ~~ sparkling shifts ~~ of someone absorbing new insights.

Tsibola looks at his nephew somewhat ~~ skeptically ~~. He has, after all, seen his nephew appear to see sense, only to have him once again fall back into his obsession with Simes.

D'zoll: Craig, perhaps you should consider how to best show your example so as to maintain a balance between preservation and destruction. When Nivet Territory left the Kill behind, a very drastic change indeed, we were quite careful not to pull the whole society down with us.

Craig nods, ~~ thoughtfully ~~ .

Craig: I thank you for your efforts as a catalyst, friend D'zoll. You've given me a lot to think about.

Tsibola sincerely ~~ hopes ~~ that Craig's thoughts prove fruitful.

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