Dancing Around The Problem: Episode 19

D'zoll had been wanting to discuss Sosu Delia's case with Sectuib, but he's working off his postsyndrome, so the First Companion in Sat'htine will have to suffice.

D'zoll: Yes, of course it would have been better to bring Tritt. But he's not available and you are, and I wouldn't want Lusinka to, ah, influence me unduly. Not that she would. At least in her own opinion.

Lusinka's opinion at present is that warm weather is taking far too long to arrive, and that she'll have a second glass of wine to ease her aching joints. She's off duty just now, and feels free to indulge herself.

Shorsh: I'll protect you, D'zoll. ~~ teasing a little, but also confident and supportive ~~

D'zoll: [warmly] I know you will, old friend. And I do appreciate your allowing me to drag you into this. Again.

Shorsh puts his arm around D'zoll's narrow shoulders and gives him a half-hug. ~~ affection ~~

D'zoll luxuriates in Shorsh's feelings.

Lusinka had a very hard time getting Hiram through hard need this month, and this is the first time in a week that she's had time to sit in her favorite chair in the lounge off the Collectorium and look out over the grounds.

D'zoll follows his Sime senses to Lusinka's whereabouts and ~~ asks for attention ~~.

Lusinka looks up from her garden-contemplation.

Lusinka: Hullo. Would you two care for a glass of vin extremely ordinaire?

D'zoll: The House specialty? I'd be delighted.

Shorsh: Just a bit, Lusinka.

D'zoll takes care of the glasses, including refilling Lusinka's.

Shorsh prefers the House plonk heated, sweetened and spiced.

D'zoll too.

Lusinka is starting to feel a little ~~ mellow ~~ from the combination of alcohol and not having to chase after a cranky channel.

D'zoll: Pity we don't have mulling facilities here, but the view makes up for it, eh?

Shorsh nods as he gazes out over the lightly frozen landscape.

Lusinka: It's prettier in spring, but there's something cozy about being inside, looking out, this time of year.

D'zoll: Yes. Although I don't find it so in the greenhouses, I must say.

D'zoll sips on his wine, which really isn't as bad as he remembered.

Lusinka herself finds that it improves about halfway through the first glass, when one's tastebuds become resigned.

Shorsh projects a little ~~ encouragement ~~ at D'zoll.

D'zoll wakes up from his wine-and-scenery reverie.

D'zoll: Well. Yes. I wanted to talk to you about Sosu Delia's case. You being the First Companion, and she being a Donor and all.

Lusinka: Delia? The one who was sent here for evaluation? How is she doing?

D'zoll: She? She's doing fine. But I do need to register a protest, and I'm not sure who to register it with. Sectuib, perhaps, but... I doubt he can be sufficiently impartial.

Lusinka: Why not? And if he can't be impartial, what makes you think that I would be?

D'zoll sighs.

D'zoll: Because you're the First Companion.

Lusinka: So this is a matter that is not likely to be regarded favorably by someone who thinks with his laterals?

D'zoll sighs again.

D'zoll: You said it. I didn't.

D'zoll lapses into silence again.

Shorsh steps up the ~~ encouragement ~~.

D'zoll: The trouble is that Delia doesn't belong in therapy at all. There is simply nothing wrong with her.

Lusinka raises an eyebrow.

Lusinka: Oh?

D'zoll: I've had five sessions with her, and although she isn't what anyone would call well-adjusted, her problems are extremely well compensated-for. It's absurd that she's working as a mule.

Shorsh ~~ agrees ~~ and is ~~ sympathetic ~~.

D'zoll: What she is, is the victim of prejudice and ignorance, and I don't need to repeat all those kill tests just to prove that. She was tarred by the incident with those juncts, and then with the Audnes Rebellion, and there isn't the slightest justification for any of it. She thinks our sessions are a complete waste of time, and while I don't entirely agree, it isn't going to do anything for her actual problems at the present time.

D'zoll thinks there are few, if any, people who wouldn't get some benefit from therapy.

Lusinka: Do you think her lack of adjustment is going to cause problems later on? To her clients, or to herself?

D'zoll: I assure you I do not. I wouldn't be here ranting like this if I thought that.

Shorsh: Another victim of the Snake River Dam. After all, she had been working as a Donor for some time after her trauma -- it was only when Arat Audnes found out about her background and panicked that she got into difficulties with the Tecton.

D'zoll: Just so. And since when did Arat Audnes speak for the Tecton on anything?

Lusinka: Then the challenge is how to rehabilitate her reputation, since it appears that she herself doesn't require rehabilitation.

D'zoll: Exactly. And that's where Sat'htine needs to apply some of its formidable reputation. And that's out of scope for me. But it isn't for you, naztehr.

Lusinka: I think what may be required here is a little creativity.

Lusinka sips her wine ~~ musingly ~~.

D'zoll raises his eyebrows in lieu of the ~~ inquiry ~~ signal.

Lusinka: It's obvious that the standard tests aren't going to clear her reputation, or the problem would have been resolved long since. Correct?

D'zoll: Correct. It's a matter of perceptions, not of facts.

Lusinka: So, what we have to do is invent a new test that no one's ever heard of, and convince the doubters that's it's definitive.

D'zoll: What? How? Conservative Tecton channels thinking that "new" means anything but "unreliable"?

Shorsh: It's too bad Delia is nowhere near matching Hiram. "Served the Sectuib in Sat'htine with no problems" would be a hard achievement to argue with.

Lusinka: Well, she's not. So we'll have to come up with something else.

Shorsh: Would she match any of the Farris channels here, D'zoll?

Lusinka: Something that sounds like an exotic House technique that only a Farris channel can manage.

D'zoll: N-no. I don't think she's a candidate for Farris work. She's too, well, blunt. Tigue work, maybe.

Lusinka: Too bad we don't have any Tigues.

Lusinka reconsiders.

Lusinka: On the other hand, Tigues tend to be very bad about dissembling, at least when they're not trying to make a bargain.

D'zoll: Whereas we can lie through our teeth if we have a good reason to?

D'zoll's eyes twinkle.

Shorsh: With a Farris showfield nobody can zlin that you're lying!

D'zoll shrugs.

D'zoll: Tigues lie by telling the truth.

Lusinka: If you offer a doubter your word, unto Sat'htine, that Delia is safe, and mention that she passed the melon test with a score of 42, would it be your fault if the doubter concludes that the two statements are related?

D'zoll: [firmly] No. But it would be my fault when the whole truth came out.

Lusinka: So, offer a list of the real tests that you performed, as well. Those results are sufficient to justify your conclusion, are they not?

D'zoll: Certainly. But so were Hajene Bomar's, and Hajene Scrog's, and Hajene This's and Hajene That's, too. Back to the Tigue idea, or half-baked idea: Why is it that there are quite a few Farris Houses, but no other Tigue ones?

Lusinka: Because no one else dares to try to trade with Keon, for fear of being taken to the cleaners?

Shorsh: The Tigue mutation wasn't recognized until shortly before Unity, while the various forms of Farris have been known for centuries, and there are a lot more of us.

D'zoll: Hmm. Good point. Well, what about that channel who -- No, she was mixed up with Arat somehow, too.

Lusinka: You're onto something. What is it?

D'zoll: Does Keon owe us any favors at all?

Lusinka: We did take that six wagonloads of low-quality cotton off their hands last year, for swabs.

Shorsh: D'zoll, how is Delia going to feel being shoved off onto Keon next?

D'zoll: Like she's coming home, I hope!

Lusinka: You think she's a good match for them?

D'zoll: She says what she means, she means what she says, she has no patience with social niceties, she has a sense of humor lots of people wouldn't appreciate .... Sound familiar?

Lusinka: You may have a point.

Shorsh smiles.

Shorsh: Indeed.

D'zoll finishes his wine with secret relief and half-fills his glass.

D'zoll: Any more, anyone?

Shorsh ~~ declines ~~.

Lusinka: No, thank you. I may be a Farris, but there are limits even to my capacity for self-abuse.

D'zoll: Well, here's to you and all Farrises and Tigues.

D'zoll salutes and drains his glass.

Lusinka: I'll float your idea when Hiram's ready to listen to it. I trust that you will spend some of the intervening time writing up your final evaluation?

Shorsh smiles and applies a slight flavor of ~~ nagging ~~ to the ambient.

D'zoll: I certainly will. I assume he'll want to, umm, add his own contributions.

Lusinka: Quite possibly. Do give some thought to coming up with a suitably obscure in-House technique that could be used to supplement the legitimate test results that haven't convinced anybody.

D'zoll nods reluctantly.

D'zoll: I'll try.

Lusinka: Don't put them in your first draft for Hiram, but hold them in reserve. There's a chance we can get Keon to bite, I think, but if not, we've got to put together an impressive enough package to get the poor woman off Mule duty.

D'zoll: Ah. Good. That makes it easier. Thanks, Lusinka. I knew you'd figure out something.

D'zoll's eyes flash, rather than twinkle, this time.

Return to Table of Contents