Pollovic is in his study, going over some of the preparations for the ball. He's a bit concerned that only three replies have come in yet, from more than a dozen invitations he sent out to people from Sime Territory. At least, all of those three have said yes.
Pollovic has a more important concern right now. He has to make sure that there's enough security in place, since the ballroom will be posted as Sime Territory for the evening.
Pollovic throws down his pen and buries his face in his hands. He knows that this is necessary, and he would even agree with most of his mother's reasoning about what kind of wife he requires... if only it were for someone else. But somehow, Eulalia is able to bring out the rebellious fourteen-year-old in her son, every time she talks to him about the wife-hunt or the ball.
Nick and his now-Naztehr are making their way through the Pollovic mansion, on their way to their shift.
Katsura: He's in his study, Nick.
Katsura gestures in that direction.
Nick: That's convenient. He'll be gone by the time we get back.
Nick offers Kat his arm, out-T style, to escort her to the study.
Katsura takes his arm, charmed at how pleasant this out-T custom is for a female Sime and male Gen.
Nick's nager practically hums with ~~ contentment ~~.
Katsura can't keep from smiling, with this to zlin.
Nick taps on the open door to Pollovic's study, with his fingertips rather than knuckles.
Pollovic raises his head.
Pollovic: Come in.
Pollovic attempts to rein in his ~~ worried ~~ and ~~ despondent ~~ nager.
Katsura can zlin that the senator is not in a happy mood. She opens the door.
Katsura: Perhaps this isn't a good time to speak with you, Senator?
Pollovic: It's fine. Come on in. I could use something else to think about for a change.
Pollovic attempts to, as Seruffin told him, accept his emotions so that he can set them aside. He halfway succeeds.
Nick leads the way, deftly ~~ moderating ~~ Pollovic's distress while allowing Kat to zlin it well enough not to feel smothered.
Nick equally deftly manages his new Sat'htine cloak, which is a very fine garment indeed. He thinks that he looks rather spiffy in turquoise and light orange.
Katsura thinks he does as well, and he's also a pleasure to zlin in this state.
Pollovic raises an eyebrow at his first glimpse of Nick. This isn't the usual drab Tecton uniform that he's used to seeing.
Katsura: Senator, we wanted to tell you that our political problems have been solved, and we're no longer in hiding. We'll be heading home soon.
Pollovic manages a smile.
Pollovic: That's wonderful news. I'm glad for you.
Nick has been ambrov Sat'htine for less than twelve hours, but he really likes the thought of "home".
Katsura: We cut the cording knot. Nick is now ambrov Sat'htine.
Nick grins ~~ charmingly ~~.
Katsura's grin may not be as charming, but it's a very definite grin.
Pollovic: Are congratulations in order?
Katsura: Definitely. Not many are invited to pledge fealty to Sat'htine.
Pollovic rises and gives Nick a firm senatorial handshake.
Nick is well-versed in out-T etiquette, and handles the gesture with aplomb.
Nick: Thank you, Senator.
Pollovic: And congratulations to you as well, Hajene Farris. I think you've gotten a good man for your Householding.
Katsura: Oh, yes.
Katsura looks at Nick with stars in her eyes.
Pollovic: Are congratulations of another sort in order?
Katsura is ~~ puzzled ~~.
Nick: Er, no, not at present.
Nick is aware that the closeness between channel and Donor is often confused with sexuality by out-Territory Gens.
Pollovic can't help absorbing a little of the ~~ joy ~~ in the air. It's hard to be depressed with these two grinning at him.
Pollovic: I'm sure you're glad to be going home, but I'm going to miss the two of you around here.
Katsura: We thank you so much for your hospitality. I know it has been difficult for you and your household.
Nick: Your people have been very accommodating.
Pollovic: I won't pretend there haven't been some difficult moments, but it's been worth every bit of it. And if you or your colleagues ever want to visit New Washington again, you'll be more than welcome here.
Pollovic knows better than to dissemble about the difficulties, with a Sime.
Nick: That's very generous of you.
Katsura: I accept your magnanimous offer on behalf of Sat'htine.
Pollovic: You're very welcome, Hajene. So how soon am I losing you?
Katsura: We will leave at the end of the week, if we can get tickets.
Katsura hopes to get a large sleeping compartment for the four ambrov Sat'htine.
Nick is glad that Kat didn't explain that the reason for the delay is to allow them all to take transfer, so the Simes don't have to travel in need. He knows that Pollovic is broad-minded for an out-T Gen, but is also pretty sure that the Senator hasn't spent a lot of time with Simes that he knows are currently in need.
Pollovic gets an idea.
Pollovic: Would you consider staying just a couple of days longer?
Katsura: Perhaps we can. Why?
Pollovic: You know about my ball, of course. I would have invited you from the very beginning, if you hadn't been in hiding.
Katsura wonders if there's a graceful way out of spending the evening surrounded by crowds of hostile and fearful Gens, but feels she owes Pollovic a few favors after all his help.
Katsura: We will not feel rejected if we don't go. We appreciate your offer.
Pollovic: Before you answer, I should warn you that, although you're welcome just for yourselves, I also have an ulterior motive. I could use your help.
Katsura knows her duty.
Katsura: How may we help you, Senator?
Nick can see the potential difficulties, too, but Kat obviously has her reasons for agreeing.
Pollovic: You know the underlying purpose of this ball: to help me choose a wife.
Nick: So I've been informed.
Pollovic has, by now, discussed almost every aspect of the upcoming event with Kat and Nick.
Nick has heard quite a bit on the subject from the Senator's mother as well, in between discussions about the roses.
Pollovic: And you know why I wanted to have several channels present.
Katsura: To demonstrate to your peers your position on Unity.
Pollovic: And also to screen out any candidate for my future wife who would be... inflexible... about Simes.
Katsura nods. She thinks it's a good idea, although a little hard on the channels.
Nick: Ah. You wish to test them?
Katsura hopes this won't be any kind of hands-on testing.
Pollovic: Yes. I invited a number of channels, but most haven't replied. And with only a few days left, the odds are that if I haven't heard by now, they won't be coming.
Katsura: I can see that you require our help. We will come to the ball, and you may introduce your potential brides to me.
Katsura is very glad that Nick will be with her at all times.
Pollovic: Thank you. I know it will be difficult for you, to be among so many potentially hostile strangers. I appreciate what it will cost you to be there.
Katsura: You have undergone difficulties here to help us, so it is fair for us to do the same.
Pollovic: If you know of another channel and Donor who'd be willing to attend, they'd be welcome too. That way, you'd be able to spell each other off. And I'd get a second opinion.
Nick looks at Kat ~~ inquiringly ~~.
Nick: Do you think D'zoll and Shorsh would be willing?
Katsura thinks this will be a great opportunity for D'zoll to observe upper class out-T Gens in their natural habitat.
Katsura: We should ask them.
Pollovic: I'll give you a copy of the invitation for them.
Pollovic rummages in his desk and comes up with a blank invitation.
Pollovic: I'll let you fill it out, since most of the rest are in your handwriting anyway, Hajene. ~~ mild amusement ~~
Nick: What exactly do you want us to do?
Pollovic: By the way, I greatly appreciate your patience in playing social secretary for my mother. I know she's not easy to deal with.
Nick: I admit, I enjoy her. But she looks at me as a gardener with a talent for roses, not a son.
Nick has dealt with far nastier old ladies in his time, starting with his grandmother Prunida.
Katsura: I wonder what she will tell her friends about the improvement in her arthritis problems?
Katsura: Do you think she will go to the Sime Center for treatment after we are gone?
Pollovic: She -- or rather, her joints -- may miss you even more than I will. She just might. And if so, it's one more small victory for Unity.
Pollovic: And to answer your question, Nick, nothing too blatant. Just circulate around, and try to have brief conversations with all of my potential brides. Zlin how they feel about and around Simes.
Katsura nods, although she was hoping she could stay in a quiet corner and let the women come to her.
Pollovic: I don't require that my future wife actually be a donor, but I can't have someone who's hostile to Simes, or who won't be able to deal with Simes as people.
Katsura: I understand.
Pollovic: Fear of the unknown, I might be able to deal with, but if it's an actual phobia, I'd have to rule her out.
Katsura unconsciously moves closer to Nick at the prospect.
Nick puts a ~~ reassuring ~~ hand on Kat's arm.
Katsura: I can zlin such strong feelings at a distance.
Pollovic: My mother says she hasn't invited any young woman who'd be absolutely opposed to my views, but I'd rather trust a Sime's opinion on the matter than hers.
Katsura: Yes. Even if the person wishes others to believe that she is not afraid, I will be able to zlin if she is. Or if she is hostile to me.
Nick: You will have to judge yourself whether she is willing to overcome her feelings, of course.
Pollovic: Of course. And incidentally, if a candidate is here for any of the more usual wrong reasons -- greed, manipulation, and such -- it would be useful to know that as well. That's not the important part, though. There are other ways of judging that.
Nick: I would assume that any candidate your mother selected would have a certain amount of ambition.
Pollovic: Ambition, yes. But if she sees me solely as a tool, and not as a potential life partner, then I don't want to be shackled to her for the rest of my life.
Katsura: Senator, I cannot fairly evaluate a woman's character, only her emotions at the present time.
Pollovic: I'm aware of that. That's why, as I said, that's a secondary issue. It's something I can get at through the more ordinary methods. But if you zlin someone looking at me with a mixture of hunger and contempt, while smiling sweetly, that would be a pretty good sign of trouble.
Katsura smiles and nods.
Nick: Of course, it can be difficult to zlin in a crowd.
Nick is quite capable of providing a window for zlinning, but doesn't want their host to have unrealistic expectations.
Katsura: We will do what we can.
Pollovic: I don't expect miracles. Just whatever you can do.
Pollovic thinks of something else.
Pollovic: I suppose you don't have formal clothes on hand.
Katsura: No, we don't.
Pollovic: I'll get you a rush appointment with Rinaldi. He's quite a famous clothing designer, and he's from my district. He owes me a favor.
Katsura looks to Nick.
Nick cocks an eyebrow back.
Nick: He is certainly well known, although some of his recent offerings seem to have been a little... extreme.
Pollovic: I managed to get something not too avant-garde from him. Compared to his usual work, anyway. ~~ amusement ~~ Just be firm with him. He respects a client who knows what they want.
Nick: Well, as long as he doesn't try to dress me in a yawal.
Pollovic: A what?
Nick: A yawal? Looks like a feed sack with arm holes? Which is what they traditionally were, when the juncts dressed Gens in them for kills?
Katsura looks down, ~~ embarrassed ~~.
Pollovic: You mean... all those shiny cocktail dresses...?
Pollovic begins to chuckle.
Pollovic: I'm sorry. I know it's not really funny. But...
Pollovic lets out a full-throated laugh.
Nick: But it is?
Nick chuckles, too.
Katsura smiles. She doesn't know much about the world of fashion, but has heard that it can be very strange.
Pollovic: "Dressed to kill," indeed. Hajene Kat, make sure you insist on a long fitted gown. Tell him you want something to show off your figure.
Pollovic is still chuckling.
Pollovic: Otherwise, I'm sure he'll try to put you in a satin yawal.
Pollovic stumbles a little over the unfamiliar Simelan word.
Katsura isn't really interested in making a sexual display to the out-T male Gens. It will only cause unpleasant things to zlin.
Katsura: Perhaps he has something more conservative, more dignified.
Katsura is, after all, a Farris channel and Heir to Sat'htine, not some bimbo.
Pollovic: Something suited to the Heir of your House? Hmm. Tell him to pretend you're sixty-five years old. That should do it.
Nick: As long as he omits the ostrich feathers -- Kat is allergic to feathers.
Pollovic: Just tell him what you require. And be firm.
Katsura: Yes. Nick will help me.
Nick: Right now, though, we'd better get moving or we'll be late for our shift.
Pollovic: Very well, then. Good evening, Hajene, Sosu. And again, congratulations and thanks.