Katsura has taken Nick to a rather nice trin house not far from the Sime Center. She's concerned that he's been working too many hours, and doesn't want to risk Lanard shanghaiing him while they wait for the start of their next shift.
Nick sets a plate of healthful but tasty goodies in front of Kat, and sits next to her projecting a ~~ healthy Gen appetite ~~ (discreetly, of course).
Katsura smiles at Nick's projection and selects a tiny apple square from the plate.
Nick: You're right, this place is definitely worth a visit. They even stock the full line of Narosian teas. Would you like to try the "Marvelous Mango Melon Metropolis"? It's Farris-safe.
Katsura: Sounds bizarre. Sure, let's try it.
Nick pours, ~~ careful ~~ out of long habit to avoid splashing the hot tea on himself.
Katsura: Smells delicious.
Nick: Doesn't it? I don't care much for my -- relatives -- but they do make good trin.
Katsura puts a little honey into her cup to enhance the fruit flavor, and stirs.
Nick takes up a scone, breaks off a piece, and dips it in lemon curd.
Katsura: It's better for you than brandy, at least.
Katsura sips the trin and nibbles her apple square.
Nick: For me, yes. The brandy is safer for you than a lot of Naros teas. They're not just trin, you know.
Katsura is startled.
Katsura: Really? What do they have in them?
Nick: The flavors come from blends of various dried herbs and oils. It's quite an elaborate process.
Katsura: I hope they label any that are pharmacologically active or toxic at that concentration!
Nick: Oh, they have mild effects, but apart from the odd Farris allergen, they're not likely to do anything but give a little indulgent pleasure. And most of that's probably the placebo effect.
Nick: They are a little more complicated than brandy, though.
Katsura resolves to read the list of ingredients carefully before she tries any new Naros blends.
Nick: Although you mustn't tell Lanard. She's very proud of her House's product.
Katsura: I've never developed a taste for brandies. I'm surprised you have.
Nick: They're not my preferred beverage, but I do know the difference between good stuff and bad. Lanard's offering was quite decent. She lacks confidence in it, though, as well as in herself. Or at least that's my impression.
Katsura: I suppose they've developed a market for it, but it wouldn't hurt for their Sectuib to back its reputation wherever she goes.
Katsura: She's very young, and certainly didn't expect this responsibility to be thrust on her so soon.
Nick: No, she didn't. And it doesn't help that she's neither fish nor fowl, to use an out-T metaphor.
Katsura: I hope her older and wiser naztehrhai are helping and encouraging her.
Nick: My impression is that a lot of them simply don't know what to make of her, or how to help her learn what she has to know. They're just not used to exotic Farris channels.
Katsura: She's not a very high rated Farris. There are many non-Farris Firsts who'd outrate her. And she seems quite healthy, so it's not as if she's plagued with allergies.
Nick: She's not a complicated or high-ranking Farris, but the next highest ranking channel didn't qualify as a low First until almost ten years past changeover.
Katsura: They've had some years to get used to the idea, to get over the whole Farris mystique nonsense.
Nick: I don't think it hit them that Lanard was so different until her changeover.
Katsura: I suppose it doesn't help that the Tecton has to send her transfer partners. It sets her apart, not taking transfer within the House.
Nick: Yes. I'm not sure she could ever have a transfer from within her House, except during a full-scale emergency. They couldn't train her, either. And when she went to the Tecton for training, she found out that she's not really able to perform up to normal Farris standards.
Katsura: Nick, the sharing of selyn is a deeply emotional matter within a House. It reinforces the feeling of solidarity and interdependence. It's far less important now, after Unity, but it's very deep in a Householder's heart.
Nick: I know.
Nick reaches out, quite gratuitously, to stroke a finger lightly down one of Kat's lateral sheaths.
Katsura smiles and wraps a tentacle lightly around Nick's wrist.
Nick: I've been trying to show her that what's important is what she can do, not what other Farris channels can do. After all, when she goes home, there won't be any other Farris channels around to do the techniques that she can't.
Katsura: It sounds like she's as hung up on the Farris mystique as her naztehrhai. They should be glad they've got a First of any description for Sectuib.
Nick: Yes. And they'd better get over it before her children grow up, or things could get very unstable.
Nick doesn't like or understand politics, but unstable channels are well within his area of expertise.
Katsura: Children will be a problem for her. I hope she'll have her pregnancies monitored by someone competent with Farrises. At home, we don't encourage female Farris channels to have children at all, unless they're very determined to.
Nick: They've gone to the Tecton for her training and for Donors. I doubt they'd risk letting her go through a pregnancy without adequate care.
Katsura: She should talk to Rimona before she even considers it. And the fathers should be low rated Gens, I'd think, even GNs.
Nick: She hasn't mentioned anyone in particular, but she has time yet.
Katsura: Indeed. Unless she's desperate to breed her own Companion, to the point of taking a serious risk.
Katsura can imagine she might be, never knowing where her next transfer is going to come from.
Nick: Breeding up is not what that House needs, just now. She's already more than they can handle.
Katsura: Maybe she can recruit a First Order Donor as a Companion.
Katsura is glad that Sat'htine got Nick first, then worries that Nick will regret his pledge faced with yet another Farris channel who desperately needs him and only him.
Nick: I don't know how that would work. She couldn't afford anyone who was lazy or incompetent, but she doesn't have much to offer a good candidate.
Nick is still more or less under the illusion that most other Donors work as hard as he does.
Katsura: An idealist, perhaps? Or maybe someone who wants a Householding to retire to.
Nick: Yes. There's not a lot of work. Lanard is quite good at entran outfunctions.
Katsura: It's not as if she does any complex nageric work. She just needs an adequate transfer partner, one she can get along with, who'll fit well into her House.
Nick: Yes. Someone who's content to live a quiet life in a minor Householding.
Nick isn't, any more.
Katsura: She should discuss it with her District and Regional Controllers. They can make a point of sending her candidates as transfer partners, so she can meet several and decide whether any should be invited to pledge.
Nick thinks about that for a moment, then chuckles.
Nick: You know, I still catch myself thinking of Regional Controllers as obstacles to be avoided at all costs, not as resources to help solve problems. But that is the Regional Controller's job, isn't it?
Katsura: Yes. To make sure every Sime in his region gets an adequate transfer. Among other things.
Nick: I suppose... most of them get it right, much of the time.
Nick's admission is somewhat ~~ grudging ~~, as he has been a direct victim of Regional Controllers who didn't.
Katsura: It's not an easy job. It isn't possible to make everybody happy.
Katsura: At least a Sectuib knows everyone involved personally, usually all their lives.
Nick: I can't imagine trying to match people up by the numbers. And I watched Arat do it. He did have the advantage that few people dared to complain to his face.
Katsura: If a pair doesn't work out, it's his job to find them more compatible partners, or he'll get less work out of them. So he's motivated to get it right, no?
Nick: I suppose so. Although some have other priorities.
Katsura remembers her food and trin and takes a nibble and a sip.
Katsura: The dam site was an unusual situation, with the constant personnel changes. Usually, people stay in the same District, everybody gets to know each other, and compatible pairs work together most of the time, with switches in transfer partner occasionally to prevent dependencies. So scheduling is usually not very complicated from month to month.
Nick: Not too different from a House, right?
Katsura: Well, a lot more people are involved, and they don't have the solidarity of a House, but I suppose the scheduling isn't too different. Try to please as many people as much of the time as possible, and make sure nobody gets what they don't want too often.
Nick: And if you can't, make sure that the people who lose out aren't the type to complain, or be listened to if they do?
Nick takes a calming tea.
Nick: Sorry. That was a little too cynical.
Katsura strokes his arm with a tentacle.
Katsura: I'd hope that a good Controller, like a good Sectuib, would try to find a way to arrange things better for such people. Trade them with another District or Householding if necessary. Or trade in better matches for them.
Katsura spreads her tentacles.
Katsura: Ideally. The real world is a messy place, and it's a hard job to be fair to everybody, even if you want to be.
Katsura sips her tea.
Katsura: You're safe now, Nick ambrov Sat'htine.
Nick: Yes. It looks like there's some individuals I'm having trouble being fair to, isn't there? I should pay more attention to following the advice that a very wise man once gave me.
Nick: He was one of the older field hands when I had just hopped the border to Gen Territory. I was still fuming about my grandmother's ambitions to retire on my Donor's paycheck. He just gave a slow smile and reminded me that the best revenge was to live well. Which I did, for years.
Katsura: I hope you're living well again, now.
Katsura carefully projects a little intil to remind him of the fulfilling transfers he can expect almost every month for the rest of his life now. She's careful not to let the projection reach anyone else in the shop.
Nick: I am. Although I do have to admit I've wasted some time imagining the faces of some of my more powerful critics, when they heard I'd pledged Sat'htine.
Katsura: Gnashing of teeth and knotting of tentacles and wondering if Sectuib is losing it and if I'll be any more rational about you?
Nick: And are you?
Nick gives her his most charming smile.
Katsura: You've been a very good Companion to me, through some difficult times, and the other Farris channels are still dripping at the lateral orifices to take transfer from you.
Nick chuckles, and lifts his teacup in salute.
Katsura lifts hers, too.
Katsura: I'm very rationally glad you are a Companion in Sat'htine.
Nick: Rational, are you? I seem to remember some utterances you've made in my presence that were... a little less than completely rational.
Katsura: But what were you doing to me at the time?
Nick lets the barest ~ hint ~ of desire wash through his nager.
Katsura returns a sultry smile. She's past turnover, but Nick is very appealing.
Nick: Being a good Companion by making sure her long-term health doesn't suffer.
Katsura: You're very good to your channel.
Nick: I have a very good channel to be good to. It helps, you know. Even Farris-trained Companions do better with the proper... inspiration.
Katsura puts a hand on Nick's thigh and caresses it with a few tentacles.
Katsura: I hope I can provide adequate inspiration.
Nick: So far, it's been spectacular.
Katsura laughs and kisses Nick's cheek.
Katsura: You bring out the best in me. The most... inspirational.
Nick: We make a good pair.
Katsura: We do. I hope if Sectuib ever decides that being a Controller will be good training for me you'll come with me and help me manage it.
Nick: I'm not good at managing administrative matters, but I've got some practice managing Controllers.
Nick is perhaps being overly modest, as he spent a lot of time soothing over the tempers that always seemed to flare when Arat made unpopular decisions.
Katsura increases her nageric engagement and signals that she'll relinquish her nager to him, as a gesture indicating "good -- manage me".
Nick grins, and picks up control smoothly, letting his nager insinuate itself into Kat's and smooth out the wrinkles.
Katsura sighs with ~~ pleasure ~~. She originally made such displays of trust to encourage Nick to believe in her and Sat'htine, but she's continued for the sheer pleasure of it. And it doesn't hurt to reinforce Nick's confidence in her trust.
Katsura: I'm sure you're very good at it.
Nick: I am. I'm good at other things, too.
Katsura: I've noticed, but I probably haven't discovered all your talents yet.
Nick: True. And a Sectuib must have detailed knowledge of her members' talents, don't you agree?
Katsura: Yes. And a Companion must have a detailed knowledge of his channel's. We'll have to make a point of providing adequate opportunities for study and experimentation.
Katsura is smiling and continuing to caress Nick under the table.
Nick: Yes. I happen to have some free time coming up, in about a week. Perhaps we ought to further our academic study then?
Katsura: Sounds like an excellent opportunity. Pencil me in in your appointments book, Sosu.
Nick: I will.
Katsura takes stock of the remaining food and remaining time.
Katsura: I believe you have time to finish your meal before we're due in the pediatrics ward.
Nick: Yes. Just.
Nick picks up the remains of his scone, dips it in the curd, and bites. He then breaks off a small nibble, dips it, and reaches over to feed it to Kat.
Katsura licks it from Nick's fingers after first zlinning around for anyone who might notice.
Nick's eyes follow Kat's movements ~~ intensely ~~, then he settles back into his normal, disciplined Companion's calm.
Katsura finishes her trin and pours herself another cup. It won't do to get dehydrated in the week before transfer when it's a chore to eat.