Seruffin makes his way through the crowd, trying to find Crynwyr before he hustles any more of the guests.
Gerrhonot stays close to his channel, ~~ protecting ~~ him from what must be a very distressing ambient.
Seruffin would rather not zlin so many untrained Gens, and is hoping that Gerrhonot's Gen skills will be sufficient.
Seruffin: Gerrhonot, do you see them?
Gerrhonot: Um. Maybe over there?
Gerrhonot points nagerically to a thin spot in the crowd around a man who looks like Crynwyr.
Seruffin zlins cautiously, now that he has a specific subject, then turns his attention back to Gerrhonot's soothing nager.
Seruffin: Yes, that's him.
Seruffin starts to make his way through the crowd, trying to ignore the way it parts before them, and the wake of unpleasant emotions they leave behind.
Crynwyr detects the backwash of the First's nageric attention, and looks around to see what's up. He makes his way towards Seruffin as Seruffin makes his way towards him.
Gerrhonot projects ~~ comfort ~~ and ~~ admiration ~~ for Seruffin's ability to do what has to be done, despite the effect on him.
Crynwyr managed to ditch his annoying Donor at the food table, at least for the time being.
Seruffin finds a part of himself enjoying Gerrhonot's admiration, even though he's only doing his duty, and he's not the only channel being subjected to a barrage of unpleasantness.
Seruffin: Hajene Crynwyr, I see your Donor has deserted you.
Seruffin offers a little ~~ nageric quiet ~~, to make it easier for both of them to think.
Crynwyr: Oh no, Hajene. Quite the other way about. I decided the benefits of this particular Donor weren't worth the costs -- if you know what I mean.
Crynwyr paints a nageric picture for Seruffin's benefit of an ~~ annoying whiner ~~.
Seruffin lets a touch of ~ disapproval ~ for this disparagement of a Donor by her channel reach his showfield.
Seruffin: I take it, then, that she disapproved of how you have been conducting yourself?
Crynwyr ~~ winks ~~ nagerically.
Crynwyr: You certainly might think that -- I couldn't possibly comment.
Crynwyr's nager is crystal, however.
Seruffin lets his ~~ disapproval ~~ become more easily zlinnable by a channel of Crynwyr's sensitivity.
Seruffin: May I remind you that we are guests here? And that we represent the Tecton in the minds of the Senator's guests, even though we are officially off duty? And that it is inappropriate to peddle an investment scheme to your fellow guests under these circumstances? Senator Tsibola's wife sought me out to complain about how you importuned her husband.
Crynwyr: Come, Hajene. I merely asked him if he wished to invest. He himself asked me to explain the investment, which I did. He declared his opposition, and I moved on.
Crynwyr's nager conveys "It wasn't that big a deal"
Crynwyr: It's only that my Donor decided to make a huge stink over it: physically restraining me, no less.
Seruffin: Have you thought that perhaps she might know something you don't? Such as that Senator Tsibola is terrified that Simes will gain influence at the upper levels of Gen society?
Crynwyr: Well, of course I don't know everything about these people -- I don't travel in their circles. Which is why the opportunity to make inquiries was such an excellent one. By the way, shall we switch to English? Our fellow guests may think this is a Sime conspiracy of some sort.
Seruffin: As you wish. But please refrain from telling any of the other guests about your "investment opportunity".
Seruffin switches languages smoothly.
Crynwyr does too, of course much less smoothly.
Crynwyr: What you say, Hajene. ~~ reluctant agreement ~~
Crynwyr: Of course, do not want to make life difficult for Sime diplomatic corpse. But New Washington, I must say, very expensive place for Second Order channel, even on strict budget.
Gerrhonot doesn't think so. After all, Crynwyr gets room, board, uniforms and Gen transfers. His salary should go a long way.
Crynwyr: Hence desire to become a breaker -- no, brokener -- as line of side activity.
Crynwyr is adhering strictly to the truth, of course, even in English -- but nothing requires him to tell the whole truth. He has other motives for wanting money, of course, one of which is that he was the right age to become a high-powered capitalist at the tail end of the Unity Spring, but had the wrong genetics. He wouldn't want to give up channeling, no, but he wishes it didn't dictate so many of his choices.
Seruffin: You have the right to do what you wish in your spare time, of course, but offending powerful Gen Senators is not prudent. Not for your outside interests, and not for the Tecton.
Crynwyr: Point taken, Hajene. I shall restrain from asking Senators further.
Seruffin: Good. Leave handling the diplomacy to the diplomats.
Crynwyr: Of course, unfortunate that former profitable little sideline -- involving Senators, ha! -- dried up since job passed to Householder who makes no money anyhow, but such is life, eh?
Crynwyr refrains from nagerically elbowing Seruffin in the ribs, but it's not easy.
Crynwyr: Very difficult compete with people non-profit on principles.
Seruffin: You did the ethical thing, as a Tecton channel.
Crynwyr: True, true. Money not everything in life.
Seruffin: Yes. There are ideals that must guide us all, if the Tecton is to succeed.
Crynwyr: Quite, quite. Well, I sure you have many persons to do, things to see, eh? Word to the wise is efficient.
Seruffin: I hope so. Come, Gerrhonot.
Seruffin nods, ~~ satisfied ~~ that his point has been made, and gestures for Gerrhonot to follow him.
Gerrhonot follows, ~~ protectively ~~.
Tsibola has left the ballroom, ~~ disgusted ~~ by the sight of his younger colleague dancing with a Sime.
Tsibola had a point regarding leather imports that he wanted to discuss with Seruffin, and was hanging back politely until Seruffin was through carrying out his wife's request to rein in the other channel.
Tsibola was ~~ horrified ~~, upon drawing closer, to hear their conversation apparently straying into areas he'd hoped would never be discussed in public.
Seruffin, alas, was not zlinning anything but Gerrhonot, and so missed Tsibola's approach entirely.
Tsibola is ~~ outraged ~~ at the ~~ betrayal ~~.
Tsibola: How could you! I thought that your silence was part of the bargain!
Tsibola comes perilously close to grabbing Crynwyr and shaking him, tentacles and all, in his ~~ anger ~~.
Crynwyr cringes from Tsibola's attack -- no macho out-Territory male he -- and tries to lean on his unfortunately absent Donor.
Crynwyr: Senator! Please! Control yourself!
Crynwyr pulls himself together nagerically even as he speaks, though.
Crynwyr: In any case, I have not breached confidentiality.
Tsibola: Don't lie to me. I heard you telling Seruffin about your little "extra income". Do you really think a sharp negotiator like him won't use that information to apply a little extra pressure here and there?
Crynwyr: Of course he will not. He is channel, bound by confidentiality just as I am. But of course perfectly legitimate to discuss case with other channels, just as you out-Territory doctors do.
Crynwyr is quite indignant at this suggestion, despite his general skepticism about Tecton higher-ups.
Tsibola: I will not have my family difficulties become common gossip for your friends. Is that understood?
Tsibola glares at Crynwyr, unknowingly focusing the full force of his high (if nondonor) field on the Donorless channel.
Crynwyr loses it.
Crynwyr: Gossip, my left laterals. How you think small, not significant channel like me attract attention of high-powered Householder for your petty disagreements? You think I have open canal to Householding Sat'htine? Of course not. I spoke to Sime diplomat who might have such connections, and so he did.
Crynwyr waves arm and tentacles in the direction of Seruffin's back.
Crynwyr: He is fully informed about case, of course!
Tsibola looks at Crynwyr in ~~ horror ~~.
Tsibola: You told Seruffin about Craig?
Bernice comes into the room and spots her husband engaged in a shouting match with... the same obnoxious Sime.
Crynwyr: Of course. How else convince him convince Hajene D'zoll case was important enough for specialist? Did not give Craig's name, as best I recall, but certainly did say who you were -- in your best interests, of course.
Bernice heads over to help him -- he really has to watch his blood pressure -- but can't understand what they're arguing about. How does Craig figure into this?
Crynwyr: All channels bound by confidentiality of patient, never to take advantage of. That include Hajene Seruffin, Hajene D'zoll, Sectuib in Zeor, and me!
Tsibola recalls that this is a public venue, even if most of the other guests withdrew earlier to avoid the two Simes, and lowers his voice a little.
Tsibola: Did it never occur to you that... Hello, Bernice.
Bernice takes her husband's arm.
Bernice: And you. Didn't Seruffin tell you to behave in a civilized manner in this place?
Bernice's tone implies "as hard as it may be for one of your kind".
Crynwyr looks freezingly at Bernice.
Crynwyr: Excuse you? Your husband approach me after my private conversation with Hajene Seruffin and attack me, charge ethics violations. I merely explain falsity of charge.
Bernice: Ethics violation?
Bernice laughs incredulously.
Crynwyr: He claim I discuss case with improper person, but Seruffin extremely proper.
Bernice: What, your get rich quick scheme?
Crynwyr: No, no, medical case.
Bernice: What's all this nonsense, Ruthven?
Crynwyr is stunned, not understanding how long-married couples -- even Gen ones -- can possibly keep things from each other
Crynwyr: Miz Tsibola, you are not familiar with case? Astonishment!
Bernice: I have no idea what you're talking about.
Tsibola is growing increasingly ~~ desperate ~~ as Crynwyr continues to allude to a secret.
Crynwyr: Senator, please calm down! Your emotions very unpleasant, and if your wife does not know I certainly will not tell her.
Bernice turns to Tsibola.
Bernice: What is he talking about, Ruthven?
Tsibola unfortunately doesn't have even Pollovic's or Fennik's degree of control of his nager.
Crynwyr: Sorry, Miz, can say no more -- despite husband's beliefs. Tecton regulations forbids, so does personal pride. Good day.
Crynwyr turns his back on the couple, while still keeping his ears and zlinning organs open.
Tsibola: An unpleasant matter I was hoping could be resolved quietly.
Bernice lowers her voice.
Bernice: That slimy little snake really got your back up. You know it isn't good for you to get so... exercised, Ruthven.
Crynwyr is familiar with the out-T belief that snakes (not to mention "snakes") are slimy, but this is the first time he's ever appreciated the implied pun.
Tsibola: I know, Bernice, but there's much at stake.
Crynwyr moves off, hoping that the Tsibolas will underestimate how well a channel can overhear a conversation when he has nageric assistance about its emotional content, particularly when carried on two high fields.
Bernice's curiosity gets the better of her.
Bernice: What was he saying about your nephew Craig and Seruffin?
Tsibola: Not here, Bernice. I'd rather not give Seruffin any more of a hold over me than that...
Tsibola makes a substitution, as swearing is frowned upon in polite society.
Tsibola: ...traveling salesman and shyster has already handed him.
Bernice pats his arm.
Bernice: Of course, my dear. We can discuss it later. A bit of brandy might go down well about now, wouldn't you say?
Tsibola: Yes, Bernice. After this, I need a drink rather badly.
Tsibola allows himself to be led away.
Crynwyr can't follow without being really obvious; he hopes that someone else will take over for the rest of the conversation.
Trudi wasn't actually invited to the ball: she was substituted at the last moment for Sosu Priapella, who came down with female complaints the day before the ball. At least that's the official story.
Trudi is a young attractive female Donor, and one is as good as another, after all, for Senator Pollovic's purposes -- and for other purposes, Trudi is much better than Priapella.
Tsibola shortly finds himself in a semi-private alcove, sitting on a bench with a reassuring brandy in his hand, and a less reassuring wife looming over him, demanding an explanation.
Trudi finds herself just around the corner from that alcove, nursing a drink she's hardly touched all evening. How convenient.
Tsibola finds himself ~~ unwillingly ~~ sketching out an abbreviated version of the story, in which Craig suffered a relapse, and an in-Territory specialist was called in when the out-T specialists proved unable to deal with Sime-caused damage.
Bernice is ~~ appalled ~~ that Ruthven was desperate enough to help his nephew that he called in Simes, and further ~~ appalled ~~ that they botched it.
Trudi's ears perk up at this story. Good thing she has an excellent memory, because taking notes would certainly be off-key in this environment. She will instead write up the conversation later and leave it in the usual drop where her naztehr Triangusul will find it tomorrow. Of course it's not up to her to decide what he does with the story, but it's not up to him to decide what else she does with it either.