Fantasies and Realities: Episode 5

Katsura is sitting at the bedside of a patient with cardiac arrhythmia problems, using her nager to keep his heart beating regularly. Now that she's got him stabilized, he's dozed off, but she's monitoring him and suppressing any anarchic impulses of muscle fibers in his heart.

Nick is behind Kat, slumped in a comfortable chair.

Katsura doesn't really need Nick's support, but it's comforting and pleasant to have it, despite not having him for her next transfer.

Nick has been working double shifts for the past couple of days, as he tries to learn what he needs to know about Lanard before their transfer without shorting Kat of Donor attentions before his replacement arrives from Sat'htine.

Katsura is unaware of Nick's shifts with Lanard -- she's assumed he's been off enjoying some of the attractions of Capital, a good use of the free time she feels he deserves.

Nick is making use of a technique he perfected during his tenure at the Snake River Dam: maintaining a perfectly steady, Farris-grade support while sleeping.

Katsura figures the patient's heart is doing well enough that she can have a quiet conversation with Nick while she keeps the patient calm and sleeping and continues to monitor.

Katsura: So, Nick. Where did...

Katsura stops speaking as she realizes Nick is unconscious. Not that she needs him, but it's rather early for him to be falling asleep. She turns to look at and zlin him.

Nick shifts in his chair and rubs one hand vaguely across his face, all without a bobble in his steady ~~ support ~~. He's definitely fast asleep, not just dozing.

Katsura zlins him carefully. Is he ill? No, just tired and somewhat sleep deprived. She wonders what he's been up to at night. Tomcatting around? No, not Nick, despite his father's reputation. He hasn't been drinking to excess either.

Katsura is impressed at Nick's almost autonomous nager, and its ability to work with a channel without his conscious participation.

Nick feels Kat's more focused attention, and long-honed reflexes bring him awake. He yawns, even as his nager smoothly steps up his ~~ support ~~ in anticipation of a functional.

Nick: Whatssup?

Nick's brain has obviously not quite caught up with his nager.

Katsura: Nothing. I'm just surprised to find you sleeping.

Nick shrugs.

Nick: It's nice and quiet in here.

Katsura is using about 20% of her own consciousness to support and monitor the patient. She smiles.

Katsura: Well, you were out late last night. I hope you enjoyed yourself.

Katsura assumes Nick was out listening to music and maybe dancing, or perhaps at a play.

Nick: Lanard's a good kid, but she doesn't have much confidence in herself. Worries a lot about what some other Farris channel could do, instead of figuring out some other approach that she can do.

Katsura thinks it's nice of Nick to show the young channel some of the attractions of city life.

Katsura: Where did the two of you go?

Nick: She was working night shift at the Urgent Care clinic. She did pretty well with the routine stuff, but she got a little flustered when they brought in a half dozen accident victims.

Katsura: You were working with her? For the whole shift?

Nick: Yeah. Her Companion isn't much more experienced than she is, and she overrates him by quite a bit.

Katsura: She should ask the Controller to have her work with a more experienced channel, not just let the two them wing it like that. It's not fair to anybody, certainly not the patients.

Nick: I think by the end of shift they were starting to get the hang of it, though. At least a little.

Katsura: You stayed for the whole shift?

Nick: I couldn't leave them to fumble around on their own, could I?

Katsura sighs.

Katsura: I guess not. Especially since you have so much experience with treating injuries.

Nick: Besides, you have to agree that it was a good way to get acquainted with what kind of channel Lanard is.

Katsura: I suppose so, but you do need your rest.

Katsura isn't being paternalistic to her Gen, is she?

Nick: It's only for a few days.

Nick is ~~ not all that concerned ~~ about sleep deprivation.

Katsura turns back to her patient and quells a heart muscle fiber with an independent streak.

Nick has absorbed some of the Iron Farris ethic over the years.

Katsura: You can't work double shifts for several days. You'll wear yourself out. And it isn't necessary either -- we're here in Capital, where channels have to compete for work. All those bureaucrats...

Katsura realizes that she's not just feeling paternalistic concern for a Gen, she's a bit jealous of Nick's interest in Lanard. ~~ embarrassment ~~

Nick: None of whom knew that there would be a multi-carriage pileup in front of what's normally a very quiet clinic.

Nick gives his patented charming smile, fully 75% as charming as his sire/grandsire's.

Katsura: Would you have left earlier if it were just the usual parade of victims of altercations in bars, babies with slight fevers and people who finally decided to go to a channel after dithering all day?

Nick: Probably. Lanard was doing pretty good with those, especially the hangovers.

Katsura: I hope she didn't give them much sympathy. You wouldn't want to encourage them.

Nick: No sympathy, but I could tell she knew what she was doing. I expect she's had a bit of practice.

Katsura: Good. I suppose she would, considering her Householding's chief product.

Katsura turns her full attention to her patient again. No problems.

Katsura: Nick, it's important that you take care of yourself. You need to eat and sleep, and more than a channel does.

Nick's nager is providing perfect ~~ support ~~, with a relaxed competence that makes it easy to overlook his work schedule.

Nick: I know my limits. Believe me.

Katsura: But you needn't work up to them. Not if there's no emergency.

Katsura wonders if Nick isn't getting enough challenges to satisfy him.

Nick: I can manage until Sectuib sends you a replacement. There really isn't anyone available who's up to what you require.

Katsura: I don't require someone of your expertise for routine donations and transfers. I wonder if I should take on Lanard's Companion while you help her? Between us we can teach both of them.

Katsura hopes this compromise will keep Nick from overworking.

Nick considers for a moment, then shakes his head.

Nick: Not unless I'm there, at least at first. He doesn't really know what he's doing with a Farris channel. Not really.

Katsura sighs. Now Nick is proposing even more work for himself.

Nick: He knows just enough to be dangerous.

Katsura nods, then checks her patient again.

Katsura: Oh, Nick...

Nick: Yes?

Katsura takes his arms and wraps her handling tentacles around them gently, then extends her laterals without tightening her hold.

Nick's nager is as ~~ warmly welcoming ~~ as usual, making it easy to just overlook that he's tired.

Katsura enjoys what she zlins, and while Nick is short of sleep, he really isn't doing himself any substantial harm.

Katsura gives him a little squeeze, then relinquishes her hold.

Nick: See? I'm fine.

Nick is ~~ tolerantly amused ~~ by Kat's overprotectiveness.

Katsura was raised and educated by traditional Householders who believe the basic tenet that an adult Gen is the equal of an adult Sime, but still see Gens as a valuable and endangered resource to be protected from any abuse or risk.

Katsura: Well, I guess I should let you continue your nap, then. It's remarkable how well you can support me in your sleep.

Nick yawns.

Nick: A lot fewer people would have survived that last winter at the Dam if I hadn't picked up the knack.

Nick settles into a more comfortable position, lightening his support just a bit to something he can hold.

Nick: If you want more support, just lean on me. That'll wake me up.

Nick considers.

Nick: But if you do that, don't use any of the Sat'htine-specific signals until I'm fully awake. Some of them aren't quite reflex, yet.

Nick is a bit ~~ apologetic ~~ about that.

Katsura smiles at her Companion affectionately, and strokes his hand with a tentacle.

Katsura: Okay, Nick. Just rest now.

Nick goes limp as he nods off, his nager steady in a level of ~~ support ~~ that a lot of Donors would have trouble maintaining fully awake and well rested.

Katsura hopes Sat'htine can provide Nick with the professional challenges he thrives on.

Nick's nager follows Kat's with the sort of iron discipline Farris channels are famed for exercising -- and imposing on those who work with them.

Katsura turns her full attention back to her patient, and tries not to lean on Nick. She doesn't want to wake him.

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