Going to Nivet: Episode 6

Lomid: It's good to see you again, Hajene Farris.

Lomid gets the idea that Katsura is feeling prickly, and decides to play it safe just now. Her channel is being seen to by Katsura's proper Donor, which is not a situation calculated to make any high-rated channel anything but difficult. ~~ standard Tecton support, modified for Farris ~~

Katsura nods as her temporary Donor gets into the carriage.

Katsura: Good to zlin you again, too, Sosu Lomid.

Katsura regards this as another toughening experience, and resolves to be polite and professional with Lomid. It's only temporary, after all, and Lomid is competent if not particularly creative or resourceful.

Katsura: We'll be meeting Senator Tsibola, and discussing the trip to Nivet and any other concerns he has. We may be taking his first donation, depending on how well things go. If that happens I may need a lot of support.

Lomid: Very good, Hajene. I understand he is now properly addressed as "Ambassador Tsibola"?

Katsura: Hm. You're probably right. Thanks.

Lomid: ~~ lots of selyn for you ~~

Katsura smiles and fiddles with a retainer.

Lomid is working hard to offset even the very modest forward motion of the carriage, since she knows that Katsura is particularly sensitive even for a Farris.

Katsura: Relax, Sosu. I don't want you to tire yourself out before we even get there. Besides, this carriage is pretty well insulated.

Lomid relaxes, as ordered, but hopes all will be well.

Katsura looks out the window at the displays of blooming tulips, one of the few things she's allergic to, until the carriage draws to a stop in front of the Senate building.

Lomid offers her arm to her channel, as she saw Nick do in front of the Wild Gens.

Katsura takes the arm as the two disembark, glad of the small relief it gives her from the discomfort of the retainers.

Maklinn has taken a few minutes out from supervising the packing up of Tsibola's office, to go down and greet his distinguished guests. Unlike most of Tsibola's staff, he has nothing in particular against Simes.

Katsura moves closer to Lomid as the impact of the ambient hits her, unattenuated by the carriage walls.

Lomid looks intently at Katsura as a way of focusing more ~~ Gen attention ~~ on her.

Maklinn approaches the pair in Tecton uniform as they get out of the carriage.

Maklinn: Hajene Farris? I'm Don Maklinn, on Ambassador Tsibola's staff.

Maklinn stumbles a bit over the word "Ambassador". It still feels odd on his tongue.

Katsura: Hello, Mr. Maklinn. This is my Donor, Sosu Lomid. Thank you for meeting us.

Katsura doesn't offer to shake hands.

Maklinn: I'm pleased to meet you.

Lomid nods politely at Maklinn but doesn't offer to shake hands either.

Maklinn starts to offer his hand in the position shown in the pamphlet he studied, then pauses to adjust the angle of his fingers. It feels odd.

Katsura nods politely. The Gen doesn't seem nervous about her larity, fortunately.

Maklinn settles for the nod and lowers his hand.

Maklinn: If you'll please come with me, I'll show you to the Ambassador's office.

Katsura nods again, and follows, still holding Lomid's elbow.

Tsibola is sitting at his desk in his office, which looks strange with much of the clutter of his career gone or in boxes. He's ~~ coping ~~ as best he can with the changes, which are only going to get worse, after all.

Maklinn: I must beg you to forgive the mess, Hajene. We're still in the midst of packing.

Maklinn ushers the Tecton pair through the outer office and knocks on the inner door.

Tsibola: Come!

Maklinn: Sen... Ambassador, Hajene Farris and Sosu Lomid are here.

Tsibola: Come in, all of you.

Maklinn stands aside to let the channel and Donor enter first.

Lomid ushers Katsura through, then pulls up a chair for her and "helps" her sit down before seating herself on another chair where Katsura can continue to touch her as and when required.

Katsura is perturbed at this breach of protocol. They should wait for the Ambassador to invite them to sit, and indicate where, but it's too late now.

Katsura: Good afternoon, Ambassador.

Tsibola examines the pair closely, giving a good outward appearance of a strong, charismatic leader that is made less effective by his having the nager of a ~~ frail and sick old man ~~.

Katsura doesn't like what she zlins from a medical point of view, but at least there's no apparent hostility or fear.

Tsibola: Good afternoon, Hajene. You are the liaison who is to coordinate our journey with your authorities?

Tsibola wonders whether sending him a pair of ladies with... unusual appetites... is an intentional insult, or an unintentional oversight. He's inclined to believe the latter, at least provisionally, because he has seen Hajene Seruffin's Donor pawing him in a similar manner.

Katsura: Yes, I am. I and my Companion Sosu Nick will also be travelling with you so we can deal with any problems on the spot and assist you with any questions you may have about life in Nivet.

Katsura notes the Gen viewing her fingers on Lomid's arm with distaste and puts her hands in her lap, trying not to let them twist in the retainers.

Tsibola: I see. Maklinn here is doing the coordinating from our end; you will be working with him closely.

Maklinn gives a brief nod.

Tsibola is seeing Katsura as a political advisor, not as a physician. He lives in a culture where medical personnel are private small businessmen, for the most part.

Lomid wonders how Katsura can so firmly repress the channel's instinct to fix any frail and sick Gens in the vicinity.

Katsura: We'll also be available to help you with your health problems during the journey, and after as well.

Tsibola: My physician tells me I'm fit to travel, so you shouldn't have much to do.

Tsibola's physician has not be kept quite up to date on the frequency of mild chest pains Tsibola is experiencing.

Katsura: Well, we'll be there should any need arise.

Katsura uses 'need' colloquially, now that she's more used to speaking Genlan.

Katsura: I understand we'll have a private rail car for the journey. Will there be other passengers besides ourselves and Mrs. Tsibola?

Tsibola: I will be taking a personal staff with me, and of course some of the servants. Maklinn can provide the details.

Katsura had been hoping that she and Nick could insulate a nice little section of the railcar for themselves. If the car is going to be crowded it will be more difficult.

Katsura: Good. We can discuss the details later.

Maklinn: There will be eight of us, in addition to the Ambassador and his wife.

Katsura: I see. My Companion and I will need a space we can insulate from the ambient. It would be much appreciated if the whole car could be designated Sime Territory so I won't have to wear retainers continually until we reach the border, but if that's not possible, we can make do with a smaller space.

Katsura hesitates.

Katsura: I understand you've agreed to donate. I can take your donation and that of any staff who wish to donate to me, or they can visit the Sime Center here in advance of travelling.

Katsura zlins for Tsibola's reaction to the idea of donating.

Tsibola's face remains politely neutral, but his nager displays ~~ distaste ~~ , and his chest starts to ~~ ache ~~ a little in response to the increased stress.

Katsura zlins the ache and doesn't like it. She'll have to discuss the problem with Tsibola and perhaps his wife, but not in front of an employee.

Maklinn clears his throat.

Maklinn: I'll donate today, If I may. Set an example for the rest of the staff.

Tsibola: You must do as you see fit, Maklinn. I'm sure some of them would appreciate the example.

Maklinn: It's not a big issue for me, sir. I did it when my boys were small, to help make ends meet.

Tsibola: Then by all means.

Tsibola gestures invitingly towards the in-T pair.

Maklinn: Right now, sir? Very well.

Maklinn takes off his jacket and begins rolling up his sleeves.

Lomid looks at Katsura with alarm that she keeps out of her nager.

Katsura thinks that the Ambassador wants a chance to see what he's about to get in for. Since the donor is experienced and unalarmed, she figures she can manage it, with Lomid's help.

Tsibola is slightly ~~ taken aback ~~ at this demonstration, but doesn't interfere.

Katsura: Lomid, would you put the sign up, please?

Maklinn: It's been a few years, Hajene. Please forgive me if I'm a bit rusty.

Lomid takes the Sime Territory sign out of her pocketbook along with some sticky goop and steps outside just long enough to hang it on the door to the room.

Katsura looks calm and professional, but signals Lomid that she may have to lean on her heavily and suddenly.

Maklinn hadn't expected to donate right here in front of the Sen... er, Ambassador, but supposes the man can use all the reassurance he can get before his own turn comes.

Katsura: I'm sure it will be all right, Mr. Maklinn. After the first time, almost every Gen feels that there's not much to donating.

Tsibola hadn't intended to have his office turned into a Sime Center, but realistically, the outer office is full of boxes and staffers.

Katsura offers her arms to Lomid for help with the retainers.

Lomid snaps open Katsura's retainers and eases them off her arms, then puts the horrible things down and extends her own arms in case Katsura needs to do a functional.

Tsibola wonders if the rest of his term in Sime Territory is going to be so out of control.

Katsura looks to Tsibola, lowers her arms and stretches her cramped tentacles.

Tsibola's stomach feels ~~ queasy ~~ at the sight.

Katsura ignores the queasiness to avoid embarrassing Tsibola. She learned in Cottonwood City that it's not an unusual reaction to the sight of tentacles.

Katsura: Ready, Mr. Maklinn?

Maklinn nods and extends his arms.

Maklinn: Yes, Ma'am.

Katsura steps over to him and takes his arms gently in her hands, first signalling Lomid to provide strong support and insulation from any sudden reactions from the Ambassador.

Lomid ~~ complies ~~.

Maklinn is suddenly aware that his forearms no longer have the smooth, toned muscles of two decades ago.

Katsura: First I'll extend my tentacles and grasp your arms... now the laterals...

Lomid does the well-schooled-Donor thing.

Katsura: Good. Now the lip contact...

Maklinn leans forward without fuss.

Katsura quickly zlins the donor for health problems and finds nothing other than the usual progress of aging in a sedentary Gen. She quickly drains the GN-3 level, not trying for anything deeper, and releases him.

Tsibola is trying hard to ignore the show, which increases his ~~ stress ~~, and brings the ~~ chest pains ~~ that always seem to accompany stress, these days.

Katsura: There you go. Thank you. We'll have a voucher for you in a moment.

Maklinn: Thank you, Hajene. That was quick.

Maklinn used to be a GN-1.

Katsura smiles and returns to her seat, asking Lomid to make out a voucher while she tries to unobtrusively zlin Tsibola's heart and arteries.

Maklinn rolls down his sleeves and puts his jacket back on, with one eye on his boss. The man's looking a little green.

Katsura, like most Farrises, has a short recovery time, especially from simple functionals like this.

Tsibola's stress decreases, now that nothing exotic is happening in his office, and his pain starts to ebb, very slowly.

Lomid makes out the voucher while returning her support level to the previous norm.

Maklinn reflects that Tsibola really is his boss, now. Two days ago, the paperwork came through, and instead of being a civil servant in the Senate labor pool, Maklinn is now officially employed by the man he's worked for for the last six years.

Katsura takes the completed voucher from Lomid, signs it, and hands it to the Gen.

Katsura: Mr. Maklinn, I'd like to speak with you again shortly about more of the details of the journey. For now, I'd like to speak with the Ambassador privately.

Maklinn glances to Tsibola for confirmation, then nods and turns to the door.

Maklinn: I'll be right outside if you need me, sir.

Lomid returns her chair to a slightly different spot, as the fields have changed again.

Tsibola: Is there something wrong with the chair, Sosu?

Lomid: No, Ambassador. I moved it to the, umm, neutral point, which has shifted now that Mr. Maklinn has left the room. It's easiest on my channel if I always sit at that point, wherever it may be.

Lomid hopes this is coming across.

Katsura: Farris channels are exceptionally sensitive so Lomid is working exceptionally hard to help me.

Katsura doesn't see any point in mentioning that she's exceptionally sensitive even for a Farris.

Tsibola concludes that this whole matter is some strange Sime etiquette, and that as Ambassador, he should probably just demonstrate the etiquette he's used to, rather than trying to adapt.

Tsibola: I see.

Tsibola takes a careful breath, hoping to ease the tightness in his chest.

Tsibola: There was something else you wanted to say privately?

Katsura: Ambassador, I'm concerned about your chest pains. Is your physician aware of how frequent and severe they are? The tightness seems to be almost continuous.

Tsibola: It will ease, in a little bit. Dr. Young says as long as I avoid stress, I should be fine.

Katsura: But are you able to avoid stress?

Tsibola shrugs.

Tsibola: Not always, obviously.

Katsura: I am concerned about your health, during this stressful period.

Katsura thinks that should Tsibola die on the journey, it will provide one of those character-building experiences Sectuib wants to expose her to, but she'd rather avoid that one if she can.

Tsibola: You needn't worry about the consequences to your government if my heath deteriorates. My state of health is well known; no one will blame you.

Katsura: Ambassador, I am not concerned to cover my ass. I am concerned about you.

Katsura uses an expression she picked up in Cottonwood City without realizing how inappropriate it is in this context.

Tsibola is somewhat ~~ taken aback ~~ by such coarseness from what had heretofore appeared to be a lady, not a fishwife.

Tsibola: Your concerns are noted. Now, I am sure Maklinn has things to discuss with you.

Tsibola could very much use a break, just now.

Katsura: Yes, Ambassador.

Lomid has typecast Tsibola as the analogue of a cranky First on his turnover day, and tries to make allowances.

Katsura reaches for her retainers, wondering what she should or can do about the tenuous state of the man's health. Maybe she should talk to Seruffin? And the Gen physician?

Katsura: Please let me know when you'd like me to take your donation. We'll be at the main Sime Center. Or if you prefer another channel, one you know better, that can probably be arranged instead.

Katsura carefully dons and closes her retainers as she speaks.

Tsibola: Ma'am, I agreed to obey the stipulation that I not take the usual exemption, but as I understand the law, there is no requirement to donate on this side of the border.

Katsura: A donation can be arranged at the border, then. Thank you for meeting with us. We'll go speak with Mr. Maklinn now.

Tsibola: Good day, then.

Lomid stands and assists Katsura in standing, still imitating Nick's superficial behavior.

Katsura doesn't need the assistance, but goes along with it since the Donor seems to want to do it.

Katsura: Good day.

Tsibola turns to examine a report on his desk.

Lomid escorts Katsura out, peeling the sign off the door as she goes by.

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