Fall of a Senator: Episode 16

Seruffin follows World Controller Jaklin's secretary into the sitting room of the luxury suite she is occupying during this stop on her tour of Nivet. He feels ~~ fortunate ~~ that she was conveniently near the border when he instigated the latest scandal in Gen Territory, making a long absence unnecessary.

Jaklin rises to greet him, extending tentacles and nager in a welcoming collegial fashion.

Seruffin: Jaklin, it's good to zlin you again.

Jaklin: So good to zlin you, too.

Seruffin brushes tentacles, trying to casually zlin how upset she is that the plans for dealing with the Wild Gens must be revised -- again.

Jaklin is a little perturbed to zlin the stress Seruffin has been under.

Seruffin: I hope your tour is progressing well?

Jaklin waves that away.

Jaklin: As usual, brushing everybody's tentacles so they can say they did... Hotel food... too many different beds...

Seruffin: And the occasional brush fire to stamp out?

Jaklin: Bah. They can put them out themselves. They just want me to take the responsibility for it.

Jaklin gestures for Seruffin to sit.

Seruffin: Of course. Why else do you get the fancy title?

Jaklin: But at least I don't have to wear retainers like you do.

Seruffin sits.

Seruffin gives a ~~ wry ~~ smile.

Seruffin: It's when I take them off that I run into difficulties.

Jaklin pours trin for him.

Jaklin: Indeed. Quite a show it must have been. Tell me about it.

Seruffin: The newspapers got the basics right. We were at a charity reception when I zlinned Senator Tsibola's pain. Gerrhonot and I approached as casually as we could, and it became clear that the blood supply to his heart was compromised, and the rhythm was off.

Seruffin rattles off some numbers.

Jaklin winces.

Seruffin: Senator Pollovic was hosting the event. He asked if I could do something to help, and when Tsibola's wife agreed, he scribbled some signs on pieces of scrap paper and recruited some of his friends to hold them.

Jaklin knows it can't have been easy to do such delicate work in the midst of a crowd of uncontrolled Gen nagers.

Seruffin: I got Tsibola stabilized, and suggested that he get evaluated by a heart specialist, which I'm not. He's on blood thinners, now, and seems to be doing well, although he hasn't let me near him since. Or any other channel, for that matter.

Jaklin: I'm surprised Tsibola's wife agreed to let you touch him.

Seruffin: It was clear even to Gen eyes that he was in serious trouble. And she loves him.

Jaklin nods.

Jaklin: Was Gerrhonot able to support you through all this?

Jaklin knows that the Donor gets confused when things happen too rapidly, especially emotionally laden things.

Seruffin: He did what he could, but the ambient was pretty chaotic. I couldn't coax his heart back into a normal rhythm the usual way, and had to use brute force. Fortunately, Gerrhonot is used to working in crowds of out-Territory Gens by now.

Jaklin: Good.

Jaklin is well aware of the strength of Gerrhonot's nager, and wouldn't want to be leaning on him if he panicked.

Jaklin: So. Do you suppose Tsibola has forgiven you and his wife for saving his life in a manner so contrary to his principles?

Seruffin: I don't know. I haven't been invited to visit him, and the newspapers have been long on speculation and short of facts. I gather he's not speaking to reporters -- not that I blame him.

Seruffin ~~ considers ~~.

Seruffin: From what I know of the man, I expect he blames himself more than me. When his wife agreed to let me help him, I thought I zlinned ~~ relief ~~ under the fear and pain.

Jaklin: Hmph. He expects a lot of himself.

Seruffin: He likes to view himself as an honest man -- and he lives as close to his principles as any of us. I don't care for some of those principles, and I don't understand others, but I don't doubt that he thinks they ought to apply to him as well as others.

Jaklin: I can see that, but to expect himself to refuse help when he's semiconscious, in pain, dying...

Jaklin shakes her head. Who can figure out-T Gens?

Seruffin: He thinks his principles are worth dying for, if necessary. So do you and I, when it comes down to it.

Jaklin: True, but if my lungs are filling with water, I suspect my tentacles are going to grab for the rope without philosophical consideration of who's tossed it to me.

Seruffin: Probably.

Jaklin: Of course, I suppose I might regret it later. But maybe I'd be secretly glad.

Jaklin shrugs.

Jaklin: So what will the political repercussions be?

Seruffin: I'm not sure, and in part it depends on how completely Tsibola recovers. If he has to retire, his seat will probably go to one of his cousins. I'd anticipate similar positions on most issues, and somewhat less competence in promoting them, depending on how much coaching Tsibola is able to do. That advantage would countered to some extent by the difficulties of working with a new negotiator.

Jaklin: And the effect of you having been the channel who intervened? Is your effectiveness compromised?

Seruffin: I don't think this will change anything, to be honest. A lot of the Senators don't trust Simes, but at least I'm a known quantity. Also, a replacement would be less effective until she'd gotten to know the various Senators.

Jaklin: Good. As much as I'd like to give you a chance to come back in-T for a while, I really don't have anyone to replace you out there who's as competent. You've been making yourself indispensable, you know. ~~ affection ~~ appreciation ~~

Seruffin gives a ~~ wry ~~ smile.

Seruffin: If Tsibola is able to continue working, the possibilities get more interesting.

Jaklin: ~~ inquiry ~~

Seruffin: If he continues in the Senate, it'll be because his party has decided he's too valuable to get rid of. He'll have a little less credibility with the more extreme conservatives, but that's a minor impediment. On the other hand, his opponents across the aisle are likely to give him more credibility than before, which could be a problem.

Jaklin: Hm. ~~ please continue ~~

Seruffin: Tsibola is a very effective advocate for the things in which he believes, and a fair number of them are sound even in my opinion.

Seruffin: Previously, his adamant stance against any lowering of the barriers between New Washington and Nivet has tended to make the more liberal senators discount what he has to say. If they believe that he's started to give in on that issue -- whether or not that's true -- they'll be more likely to pay attention to his opinions.

Jaklin: How much to our detriment?

Seruffin: I don't know. It depends in part whether Tsibola really does reconsider some of his positions, and on which issues are being considered by the Gen Senate.

Seruffin shows ~~ increased concern ~~.

Seruffin: There is one other possibility, however, that would affect us a great deal.

Jaklin: Yes?

Seruffin: There is a rumor circulating -- and I don't know how much credence to give it -- that the liberals are considering advancing Tsibola's name as their candidate for the next ambassador to Nivet.

Jaklin is ~~ startled ~~.

Jaklin: But they certainly can't expect him to promote their policies here!

Seruffin: It does make a certain amount of sense, from their perspective.

Seruffin: The conservatives have enough power in the Senate to block the candidates they'd really prefer to nominate. Tsibola has enough respect on both sides of the Senate to win confirmation. And sending him to Nivet might not promote their policies, but it would get him nicely out of the way, unable to assist his replacement in the Senate.

Seruffin: Once he's here -- well, if he won't donate, he won't be able to leave the embassy without making elaborate arrangements.

Jaklin runs a few tentacles through her hair, then takes a sip of trin.

Seruffin: He'd have to carry out most of his duties through his staff -- and they wouldn't qualify for his exemption from donating. In fact, he'd have to make do with a staff of people who don't share his views, for the most part.

Jaklin: I can't imagine why he'd accept the position, unless he's coerced into it somehow. Surely better to retire, write his memoirs and coach his successor?

Seruffin: I don't know what he'd decide, if he was offered the position. I don't think he'd retire willingly, but I could be wrong. And all of that depends on him recovering well enough to continue working in some capacity.

Jaklin: Well, Seruffin, as sympathetic as I am to you, I'd rather not have the wasp up your tentacle sheaths transferred to mine!

Seruffin: Tsibola is difficult to handle, I'll give you that. On the other hand, it might not be a bad thing for him to be where a channel can keep a zlin on him. I don't think the Gen doctors can do a lot for him.

Seruffin has the normal channel's ~~ protectiveness ~~ towards an injured Gen.

Jaklin: Not that we're oversupplied with geriatricians, except among Householders.

Seruffin: Unless he's had a change of heart, I expect he's going to have to be looked after by the one channel he can't avoid -- whoever's handling the diplomatic issues on our side.

Jaklin smiles.

Jaklin: If he comes here, maybe I should invite Katsura Farris and Nick ambrov Sat'htine to come look after him. ~~ teasing ~~

Seruffin chuckles.

Seruffin: How is Hajene Farris on trade treaties?

Jaklin: About what you'd expect from a focused pediatrician. But I understand Hiram has decided it's high time she broadened her scope to include the many areas a Sectuib requires expertise in if her House is to thrive.

Seruffin chuckles.

Seruffin: Well, I wish her luck with him, if it comes to that. He's frustrating, but he can be managed as long as you can look at the world at least somewhat from his perspective.

Jaklin: She does have more experience with New Washington senators than the vast majority of channels, Farris or otherwise. And her perspectives were no doubt painfully stretched this past winter.

Seruffin: Just make sure Tsibola doesn't wrap her up in her own laterals.

Jaklin: I was being facetious, but maybe I'll mention it to Hiram next time I see him. I suspect he'll be keeping her busy for some time to come.

Seruffin: Probably, if she's in training to be their next Sectuib.

Jaklin stands and stretches.

Seruffin stands ~~ politely ~~ as well.

Jaklin: Well, I have to go meet another delegation of local notables who want to be photographed with the World Controller and tell her how she should be running the Tecton.

Seruffin chuckles.

Seruffin: I wish you joy of them. Do you have any suggestions for how to handle the situation in New Washington?

Jaklin: Let me think about it. We can meet again tomorrow evening, I think.

Seruffin: I look forward to it.

Jaklin: Such a diplomat!

Seruffin guffaws.

Seruffin: Truly, it's good to be in-Territory again, if only for a little while.

Jaklin: Indeed. I'd like to bring you in again, at least for some assignments. Perhaps once their senate closes down for the planting season.

Seruffin: That would do my poor abused laterals much good.

Jaklin: Or perhaps just for a vacation. Think about how you can leave your post for a month or so without the First Contract collapsing.

Seruffin: I will. And... perhaps...

Seruffin's thoughts turn to a particular set of charming dimples.

Jaklin smiles. She can zlin what Seruffin is thinking.

Jaklin: Perhaps some other channels who have been out-T a long time deserve some time back in Nivet.

Seruffin blushes, in a dignified fashion.

Seruffin: If that could be arranged, we would both be most grateful.

Jaklin: What's the point in being World Controller if I can't occasionally help out someone it's my duty to overwork and abuse?

Seruffin: I will indulge in your generosity, then.

Seruffin lets his ~~ appreciation ~~ show, then takes his leave.

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