Pollovic is pacing the corridors of the Senate building, thinking. He was hoping to catch one of his more sympathetic colleagues -- Bellman, Varnes, or possibly LeCroy -- but they all seem to have gone home early today.
Seruffin is heading for the safety of the Sime refuge in the Senate, trying to hide behind Gerrhonot's nager and not be too obvious about it.
Pollovic continues pacing, not particularly looking where he's going.
Gerrhonot is ~~ solicitously ~~ tending to his stressed-out channel. ~~ reassurance comfort strength reliability compassion ~~
Seruffin notes Pollovic approaching, lost in a funk, and steps sideways to avoid a collision. He then puts out a hand, channel-like, to prevent the Gen from walking into a column that protrudes into the corridor.
Seruffin: Careful, Senator.
Pollovic glances up.
Pollovic: Oh. Um. Uh, thank you, Hajene.
Seruffin: You seem very distracted this afternoon.
Pollovic: Er, yes. Um. ~~ slowly focusing ~~ Uh, yeah. I don't suppose you've got a moment?
Pollovic reflects, without real surprise, that the channel is at least as much of a friend and confidant as any of his Senate colleagues.
Seruffin really, really wants to get his retainers off for a while, and get out of the cluttered ambient of untrained non-donors. He catches a flare of hate from the guard standing in the rotunda, and inches closer to Gerrhonot.
Gerrhonot spots the likely source of his channel's distress and moves to block the guard's emanations.
Seruffin relaxes, at least a little, and smiles with teeth gritted against the pain of a pinched left dorsal.
Seruffin: I suppose I have a moment.
Pollovic smiles ~~ gratefully ~~ .
Gerrhonot doesn't like the gritted teeth.
Gerrhonot: Walk with us?
Pollovic: Thanks. Sure.
Pollovic turns and walks back the way he came, matching his steps to Seruffin's.
Seruffin feels marginally better, now that they are moving again.
Pollovic: I've been doing some thinking, and I guess I could use a second opinion.
Seruffin: Oh? About what?
Pollovic belatedly remembers his manners.
Pollovic: By the way, I never did thank you, Hajene, for your help at the ball. Or at that fundraiser.
Seruffin: You're quite welcome.
Pollovic nods and barrels on, still preoccupied with his current dilemma.
Pollovic: I've been doing some thinking, the last few days.
Seruffin tries not to rush the last few steps to the door of the refuge -- dignity becoming a diplomat, and all that.
Pollovic: I'm not really all that effective, as a senator. I never have been. I just don't have my father's knack for the job.
Gerrhonot steps ahead and unlocks the door, so Seruffin won't have to twist his retainered arm. He opens the door and holds it for the two other men.
Pollovic, in his introspection, is actually managing fairly well, for once, at containing his emotional broadcast. He follows the channel into the insulated room.
Gerrhonot goes in, closes the door behind him and helps Seruffin with his retainers.
Pollovic glances up, only now realizing where he is. He hasn't been in this room since the day of his too-public donation, but it has no particular emotional connotations for him because of that event.
Seruffin hisses as the retainer comes off the left arm, then looks ~~ ruefully ~~ down at the pinched handling tentacle.
Pollovic: Ow. ~~ sympathy ~~ That looks painful.
Seruffin: It is. Don't be too hard on yourself, Senator Pollovic. You've accomplished quite a bit, especially towards cordial relations between our Territories.
Pollovic: That's the thing. That's just about the only thing I've accomplished, and the only thing I've had much interest in lately. But I've gone out on a limb, several times, to do it, and over the long haul that could affect my electability.
Seruffin carefully stretches out the non-pinched tentacles, getting the cramps out.
Gerrhonot caresses the injured tentacle, ~~ healing ~~ it.
Pollovic watches the graceful movements with a touch of ~~ admiration ~~ .
Seruffin: So you're trying to choose between following your dreams or keeping the position that allows you to do something about them?
Seruffin is feeling ~~ old and stiff ~~ today.
Pollovic: Or seeking a different position that might let me do both.
Gerrhonot: I'll make tea.
Seruffin: Thank you, Gerrhonot. You're very good to me.
Gerrhonot smiles, ~~ happy ~~ at the compliment.
Pollovic isn't troubled by the sight of the young Donor's attentions to his channel, as he was the last time he was in this room.
Pollovic: I don't suppose you've got any of the stuff with the orange label? From Naros?
Seruffin: Orange label? You mean, the Orange Orgasm?
Pollovic: What?! ~~ shock ~~
Seruffin is unable to hide a wince.
Pollovic: Um, sorry.
Pollovic struggles to get his reaction under control as soon as he sees the channel wince.
Gerrhonot moves back to his channel from the tea corner.
Seruffin: I prefer the Purple Passion, myself.
Pollovic: They, um, they really call a tea "Orange ... ?"
Pollovic can't quite bring himself to say the word.
Seruffin: Yes. Most of their top teas have such names. It's sort of a trademark.
Pollovic: Oh. And... nobody minds? It's not considered rude?
Gerrhonot: Uh. We have some Naros spearmint blend, too.
Gerrhonot doesn't translate the name which involves an analogy.
Pollovic: Any of those would be fine. Um, a bit of advice... Don't translate those names for anyone else on this side of the border. Well, unless it's someone you're really, really close to.
Seruffin: I won't, then.
Pollovic tries not to imagine what the mint blend is called. Mint, er, uh, "spear"? He has been thinking about sex a lot more since his betrothal was made official.
Gerrhonot sets the kettle to boil on the burner and sits next to his channel. Pollovic's control seems to be more reactive than constant today.
Seruffin lets his abused tentacle wrap around Gerrhonot's conveniently close wrist.
Gerrhonot: ~~ happiness comfort healing ~~
Seruffin: You were mentioning a different position, that would help you achieve your goals?
Pollovic: Um, yes.
Pollovic struggles to bring his mind back to the topic that seemed so all-consuming a few minutes ago.
Pollovic: You know that a new ambassador to Nivet will be named soon.
Seruffin: Yes. Everybody's assuming Burgess will get the position, although the conservatives have nominated Tsibola, instead.
Pollovic: Well, Burgess... Don't get me wrong; the man's a powerhouse, and he's done a lot of good for our party. But frankly, in anything having to do with Simes, the man's a fossil. He'd be happier if Unity had never happened.
Pollovic: Tsibola. I don't think he's a serious candidate. Nominating him is just his party's way of punishing him for letting you save his life.
Pollovic: But... well, nothing in politics is a sure thing. Burgess probably has the job sewn up. But... well, if there's room for two candidates, there's room for three.
Seruffin: What does your fiancee think of going to live in Nivet?
Pollovic: I haven't asked her yet. But she's excited at the thought of visiting there, for our honeymoon. She wants to see her brother again. Frankly, I don't think she'd be hard to persuade.
Seruffin: Do you have anything you specifically want to accomplish as an ambassador?
Pollovic: Just what I've already started. Real Unity.
Pollovic is unaware of the slight ~~ hitch ~~ in his nager. He's managed to block from conscious memory the frightening image he had, out in Cottonwood, of Sime Territory expanding until there's no New Washington left.
Seruffin looks at Pollovic ~~ keenly ~~.
Seruffin: That bothers you?
Pollovic gives Seruffin a blank look.
Seruffin: You seemed to find the idea of Unity distressing, just then. Or perhaps it was something else?
Pollovic: I, um...
Pollovic feels something click into place in his mind, as he realizes part of his reason for wanting the job is to face his newfound fear and hope it dissolves.
Pollovic: Um. I got this mental picture once. Of a whole bunch of little "Sime Territory" signs springing up, all over New Washington, until there's no New Washington left. No place for the world and culture I'm used to.
Seruffin: Do you think that's likely?
Pollovic: I don't know. How much will we have to change what we are, to truly accommodate Simes? As opposed to just shipping them off across the border?
Seruffin: Probably not as much as Sime Territory had to change, when the Pens closed -- but it won't be an insignificant change, either.
Pollovic: Weigh that against the lives lost, the families torn apart... the choice should be obvious, shouldn't it? If you folks had to go through it, why should we balk?
Pollovic is ~~ trying ~~ very hard to convince himself.
Seruffin chuckles harshly.
Seruffin: You're being too kind. Most Simes balked until the choice was between change or death by attrition. That choice is a little more -- immediate, at least for a Sime.
Pollovic: And for us, it isn't. It's always someone else's child who's going to turn Sime. If it even bothers me, after everything I've seen and done, why should I think the average person here will even want to try to make the sacrifices?
Seruffin: Because, after all, it's the right thing to do?
Pollovic: ~~ depression ~~ Is that enough? Even for me, is that enough?
Seruffin: If not you, then who?
Seruffin: Someone has to lead the way, if we're to get to a world where children can be glad to grow up, not fearful. And it may be quixotic of me, but I think that's a goal worth working toward.
Pollovic: Maybe that's why I really want to be Ambassador. To get a taste of Sime culture, and find out if it's something I can live with. So I can face everyone else and tell them yes, it is worth it. It is possible.
Seruffin: If you don't succeed in winning the position, you can still travel across the border.
Pollovic: Pametta and I are already planning a Nivet honeymoon. But... well, I still want to do some good in the world. And over here, I'm not half the politician either Burgess or Tsibola is. Over there, maybe...?