Rundles In The Jungle: Episode 7

Randayl is sharing a meal with Saag, this time some fruit he picked off the Embassy grounds.

Saag: I didn't know these things were edible. There were some in the landscaping at home.

Saag pops another berry into his mouth.

Randayl: They're not edible, for Gens. They're okay for Simes, though. I think they're kind of tasty.

Saag: Yeah, they are. Doesn't make up for not having strawberries, though.

Randayl: At least we can eat raspberries.

Saag sighs.

Saag: My grandma's cook makes the best raspberry pie...

Randayl: The problem is, food just doesn't inspire the way it used to. I can remember really enjoying eating, but these days, I just don't feel it.

Saag: I know what you mean. At First Year camp they went on and on about proper nutrition, how you have to make yourself eat and eat right, or you'll get sick and die young, so I try to do what they said. But it's not always easy.

Saag eats another berry.

Saag: But fruit is easier than most things.

Randayl: I wonder if it would be easier if we could hire a cook like we used to have? One who knows how to prepare really good food?

Saag shrugs.

Saag: Why hire a cook when there's all those trin carts around the square every day?

Peychaud Himinola walks up the stairs to Saag's apartment. He's a Gen a few years older than Saag and Randayl, dressed in an out-T suit and carrying a briefcase.

Randayl: The trin carts are convenient, but no one's hiring them to present fine dinners at the Embassy, right?

Saag: Yeah, but how often do you feel like eating a fine dinner?

Saag zlins the Gen, but figures he's visiting another flat, since he doesn't recognize the nager.

Randayl: You got a point.

Peychaud knows enough not to knock, but not how to give the appropriate nageric signal, so when he reaches Saag's door he scratches on it vigorously.

Saag: Anybody you know, Randayl?

Randayl zlins.

Randayl: Never zlinned him before, that I remember.

Peychaud: Tuib Saag? Tuib Randayl?

Saag: Come in!

Peychaud opens the door and comes in. The room is pretty much what he expected, maybe a little neater than a bachelor flat would usually be.

Peychaud: [English] Greetings, Tuib Saag and Tuib Randayl. My name is Peychaud Himinola, of Himinola and Son, a legal firm in New Washington City.

Peychaud: I have here ...

Peychaud holds up the briefcase

Peychaud: ... something that will be greatly to Tuib Randayl's advantage to hear.

Peychaud has always wanted to use that phrase for real.

Saag is ~~ nonplussed ~~.

Randayl's jaw drops.

Randayl: Huh?

Peychaud more or less ignores this reaction, though he does look around ~~ pointedly ~~ at the various things to sit on.

Peychaud: Just to make sure you are who I think you are, would you mind telling me the name of the first dog you had as a kid?

Randayl: Phydeaux, but he liked my little sister better than me, the faithless mutt. And her fluffy kitten would follow me around all the time -- it was embarrassing.

Peychaud: Excellent. Well, I realize this is Tuib Saag's apartment, so we can't exactly ask him to leave, but if you prefer, we could take a walk -- it's a nice evening.

Randayl is zlinning both the Gen and his fellow Sime, trying to figure out what's going on.

Saag zlins of ~~ suspicion ~~ about the Gen, and ~~ willingness to provide moral support ~~ for his friend. He knows Randayl is so hopeless and negative these days that he'd be easy to take advantage of.

Randayl isn't quite sure he trusts the Gen, either.

Randayl: Saag's my buddy. I don't mind if he hears what you have to say.

Randayl hopes not, anyway, as he has no idea what this is about.

Saag nods, ~~ relieved ~~.

Randayl figures he made the right call, at least as far as not aggravating the guy who's been giving him crash space.

Peychaud: Very good. Would you mind if I sat down?

Randayl belatedly remembers his manners.

Randayl: Sure. Grab a... well, that cushion over there is relatively clean. I think.

Peychaud chuckles.

Peychaud: I have to live at home, but if it were up to me ... Well, anyhow.

Peychaud opens the briefcase and takes out a fat wad of papers held together by clips.

Peychaud: Okay. You remember your Aunt Matilda? I'm representing her today -- indirectly.

Randayl is ~~ concerned ~~.

Randayl: Aunt Matilda? How's she doing? I haven't gotten a letter from her for over two weeks.

Saag is ~~ concerned ~~ too. Randayl's aunt is the only family member he's got who isn't pretending he's dead, and her weekly letters can really cheer him up.

Peychaud: [gently] I'm sorry to inform you that she passed away a week ago.

Randayl looks at Peychaud in ~~ shock ~~.

Saag: That's awful. Sorry, Randayl. ~~ sympathy ~~ comfort ~~

Randayl: I knew she was sick, but she was sure she was going to get better. She said she'd make sure I learned how my family was doing by summer, and come up with some more permanent way for me to get news.

Peychaud: Unfortunately these things happen. In any case, her will was read last week, and since you are mentioned in it, I've come here to tell you about your legacy.

Randayl: Her will? I thought Simes couldn't inherit?

Peychaud: Inherit, no. Take a legacy when explicitly mentioned by name, yes. The will was witnessed by a judge -- it's airtight, Tuib. You'll get what's coming to you.

Randayl is shaking his head in a mixture of ~~ sorrow ~~ and ~~ joy ~~ that one member of his family really did love him in spite of his tentacles.

Saag pats his friend ~~ comfortingly ~~ on the shoulder.

Randayl: That's... I never expected anything from her. I mean, she answered my letters when nobody else would. That was enough.

Peychaud nods ~~ sympathetically ~~.

Randayl is thinking in terms of a small gesture, like a nice piece of furniture or enough money to take his buddy out to a good shiltpron parlor.

Peychaud: Because we have cross-border connections, your regular family lawyers hired H & S to find you, inform you, and report back.

Randayl: I see.

Peychaud: So you're found, and on with the information part. Your aunt named you what we lawyers call her "residuary legatee." That means you get everything that wasn't specifically bequeathed to anyone else. The residue, if you follow me.

Randayl nods to show he does. Sort of.

Peychaud: So there were a good many presents of one sort and another, specific stocks and bonds and furniture and the like, to various old servants and your aunt's friends and relations. Then there's your father, who got the house and its contents, and of course the land that goes with it. All the rest went to you.

Randayl: All the rest?

Randayl's hasty exit from Gen Territory took place before he learned much about modern Gen finance, and he hasn't had the necessity of mastering anything but the most basic of the Sime version, either. He has no idea how complex a big family's finances are.

Peychaud: The rest of the stocks -- industrial, transportation, etcetera -- and bonds -- Territory government, commercial paper, churches --, the other landed properties, the city buildings, the pied-a-terre in New Washington City. You know, the usual.

Randayl: The, er, usual.

Randayl is zlinning rather ~~ stunned ~~.

Saag is somewhat ~~ stunned ~~ himself.

Saag: Randayl, you can go to university now. Be whatever you want to be.

Peychaud: Some of them, like the directorship in New Washington Nonferrous, you'd have to exercise by proxy, but that's no problem -- your aunt did the same. I'm afraid the presidency-for-life in the Gardenia Society isn't included, though.

Peychaud twinkles.

Randayl: It's a pity. I've actually learned something about gardenias, lately.

Peychaud laughs in as lawyerly a fashion as he can manage.

Randayl is focusing on small things because the whole is too outlandish to take in.

Peychaud: It's an organization of elderly upper-class women dedicated to the proposition that "Sime influence in Gen Territory is substantial, is increasing, and should be decreased." I doubt they'd elect you President-for-Life.

Peychaud resumes his ~~ serious ~~ air.

Randayl: Oh. Probably not.

Peychaud: In any case, it's yours to make of it what you want. If you delegate everything to your family's lawyers and just have them send you bank transfers for the dividends and interest, which is pretty much what your aunt did --

Saag is trying not to be ~~ jealous ~~, so he zlins ~~ embarrassed and guilty ~~ too.

Peychaud breaks off to shuffle through the papers

Peychaud: -- at a rough estimate, you'd have about twenty thousand a month to play around with. If you chose to take a more active interest in your portfolio, then according to this certified report, you could maybe double that while still conserving your capital.

Randayl: Twenty thousand. Each month?

Randayl's current salary is a small fraction of that, per year.

Saag gapes in ~~ amazement ~~. Shen university -- Randayl will never have to work again.

Peychaud: Yes. Of course, the property is yours outright: you don't have to live off the increment. You could blow it all at the high-stakes tables at Householding Glax -- stay away from Madame Sesostris's, their roulette wheel has four zeros.

Peychaud: Or you could buy, hmm, two or three Senators -- it wouldn't take that much, but there aren't that many Senators for sale. Or quite a lot of city governments. I can't advise you about corruption on the Sime side, I'm afraid, at least not offhand.

Peychaud: Alternatively, you could create a foundation for whatever charitable or educational purposes you might want -- it would be something like the fourth largest if you gave it everything.

Peychaud: Or you can do some combination of any or all of those things.

Peychaud pauses strategically.

Peychaud: It's all up to you.

Peychaud: Or ...

Randayl is ~~ dazed ~~.

Randayl: This is going to take some getting used to.

Peychaud nods.

Peychaud: I'm sure it will. Or, I have to say just for the sake of completeness, you can refuse the legacy, in which case your father takes it all as your aunt's heir.

Randayl: I would have expected my dad to inherit, since Aunt Matilda didn't have children. Did she give a specific reason for leaving it to me, instead?

Peychaud: She said you were the relative who has the greatest need. I suspect, from the way the will is worded, that she insisted on that exact phrase being inserted into it. Quite a sense of humor, your aunt.

Randayl: Yes, she did like her jokes.

Randayl is struck by a thought.

Randayl: How did my father take the news?

Peychaud: Unfortunately, I have no idea -- Himinola and Son weren't yet involved in the case when the will was read. But it's my experience that people with a lot of money are usually quite unhappy when they expect more and then don't get it.

Randayl: Unhappy. Yes.

Randayl looks at Saag.

Randayl: I'm kinda glad I'm here, far away from his influence.

Peychaud reflects on how ~~ fortunate ~~ he is to have such excellent relations with his father, who could easily have been an overbearing tin-plated dictator who made his life hell.

Peychaud: For many people, leaving home is the best thing that can happen to them -- I've seen that often enough.

Saag: It's not like we had a choice.

Peychaud: True. No more did my brother -- less, in fact. We'd have been happy to help support him, but he's been assigned to fire-watching duty.

Randayl: Fire watch? That doesn't sound like the usual sort of thing the career counselors come up with.

Peychaud: It was a controller's injunction, and the reason for it is a state secret.

Peychaud wouldn't ordinarily talk about his private life, but Randayl is about to become a highly influential person on both sides of the border with a motive for gratitude.

Randayl: That sounds... serious.

Peychaud: Considering the lengths they threatened to go to if he violated it -- yes, you could say that.

Randayl: I... hope it works out for him. And that eventually they'll tell him what it's all about.

Peychaud: Thank you.

Randayl: The Tecton isn't always good at giving answers. Although -- sometimes you can even find an occasional First who's willing to be helpful.

Peychaud: That's true. In fact, that's pretty much how I found you.

Randayl: Oh?

Peychaud: Help from a First who was willing to be helpful.

Peychaud puts his finger to the side of his nose.

Peychaud: We'll say no more about it, eh?

Randayl: I guess. Listen, it's going to take me a few days to start figuring this out. Will you be in town for a bit? Or are you going back out-Territory?

Peychaud: Ah. Hmm. My duty will be discharged when I send back the signed copy of your acceptance. After that -- if you want to hire Himinola and Son, I can be at your disposal for some time.

Peychaud is winging it here, this being his first trip in-T by himself, but he feels sure his father will back him up.

Saag comes back to earth. Right. Lawyers. Every word is billed to somebody.

Peychaud shuffles the most important paper to the top.

Peychaud: If you'll sign here, just indicating that you accept the legacy ...

Peychaud passes the paper and a pen to Randayl.

Saag wonders if he should ~~ warn ~~ Randayl to read it carefully before signing.

Randayl looks at it a moment, ~~ hesitant ~~, then decides to follow his father's advice.

Randayl: Look, I'd really like to read over those papers a little before I accept or refuse anything. Could you leave them with me and come back tomorrow?

Peychaud: Certainly. Take all the time you like.

Randayl: Thank you.

Peychaud: How about I come back at the same time, does that suit you? Or I can make it later if you'd prefer.

Randayl thinks he could get used to being accommodated, rather than having to accommodate others.

Saag wonders if he should suggest that they all go out to some expensive restaurant that he and Randayl could never have aspired to eat at before. He's still Gen-culture-bound enough to associate communal eating with celebrations.

Randayl: The same time should be all right. Unless you object, Saag? It's your place.

Peychaud half-bows in Saag's direction.

Saag: Uh, sure, why not.

Peychaud: Very well then. I'll leave you everything ...

Peychaud gets up and leaves all his papers on the cushion, snapping his briefcase shut.

Peychaud: ... and wish you both a very good evening indeed.

Randayl: Thanks.

Saag: Yeah.

Peychaud turns and extends a hand to Randayl, leaving it up to the Sime to decide what to do.

Randayl zlins to make sure this out-Territory Gen is comfortable with tentacles. He's no channel, after all, and not all lowfield Gens from out-Territory are.

Peychaud: ~~ comfortable ~~

Randayl reaches out, slowly enough that Peychaud can retreat if he's misread the situation.

Peychaud brushes his fingers against Randayl's tentacles ~~ pride ~~ relief ~~.

Randayl hasn't ever had anyone be proud of brushing his tentacles, before.

Randayl: Tomorrow, then.

Peychaud: Indeed, Tuib Randayl. Tuib Saag ...

Peychaud extends his fingers to Saag in the same way.

Saag brushes them briefly with his own tentacles.

Peychaud turns on his heel and goes out the door, pulling it shut gently but firmly behind him. Not slamming doors is ingrained in Himinolas.

Peychaud is ~~ proud ~~ of keeping adequate control not to upset two renSimes, and ~~ relieved ~~ that everything went perfectly on his first solo mission in-T. He goes down the stairs and back to his hotel.

Saag flings himself back onto his cushion, spreading arms, hands and tentacles.

Saag: Wow, Randayl. I dunno what to say but wow.

Randayl turns to look at his friend.

Randayl: Shen. Just... shen.

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