Rundle barks instructions at the tentacled cabbie who is delivering him to the New Washington Embassy in Capital. He still hasn't entirely recovered from the unsettling experience of being dominated by a Sime, so he's being even more abrasive than usual to compensate.
Cabbie stops the taxi, ~~ relieved ~~ to be rid of his passenger.
Cabbie: Embassy here. Please pay eighteen fare.
Rundle fishes in his pocket and pulls out a handful of funny money. Numbers, at least, are the same in both scripts, so he finds the necessary amount and throws the handful of coins at the driver.
Cabbie notes that this lorsh is a bad tipper and gives Rundle a ~~ sour ~~ look.
Rundle is more disconcerted than he would have been a few days ago by the ease with which the snake plucked the coins out of midair.
Rundle's glare indicates there'd better not be; his nager gives a more ~~ vulnerable ~~ message he isn't aware of projecting.
Cabbie: Find other taxi to go back.
Cabbie drives off briskly.
Rundle shrugs his jacket into its proper place on his shoulders, then strides up the Embassy steps and goes straight inside. He glances at the bilingual signs, then addresses the staffer behind the reception desk.
Rundle: I need to locate a particular individual.
Rundle notes with ~~ relief ~~ that the receptionist, at least, is human.
Teeree: At the embassy?
Rundle: In the city.
Teeree: Have you tried the city directory?
Rundle is unaware that his son actually works on the Embassy grounds.
Teeree rummages in the desk.
Teeree: I happen to have one here. Ah, here it is.
Teeree places the book on the counter, oriented to Rundle.
Rundle glances at the tattered volume. It's in snake-script, anyway.
Teeree: If you don't read Simelan, I can look them up for you.
Rundle: Very well.
Teeree: What's the name?
Rundle struggles to remember the weird variant of his name that was mentioned in Auntie M's will.
Teeree: Hm. There's a Risa Ramadill... nothing else under that name.
Teeree transliterates the Simelan to get the R.
Rundle scowls. It figures that the ungrateful boy would ditch his family name as soon as he got here.
Rundle: Try C for Clarence.
Teeree: There are four entries with the surname Clarence: Brunella, Klyd, Marlunia and Zlotti.
Rundle: How about first names?
Rundle realizes that was a ridiculous question as soon as it's out of his mouth.
Rundle: This is useless. Who can I talk to, who keeps records of immigrants?
Teeree: That would be the Nivet government, of course.
Rundle does not want to have to deal with a government of snakes.
Rundle: Is there anyone here who can help me?
Rundle knows all too well how hard it is to get anything out of a bureaucracy if you don't know where the local bodies are buried.
Teeree thinks she has been helping him. Granted, he appears to be a New Washington citizen, but it isn't clear why the embassy should be holding his hand.
Teeree: Perhaps you could hire a detective?
Rundle is getting tired of this.
Rundle: Perhaps you could do your job and tell me who in this building might be able to rub two thoughts together and be of some use.
Teeree: Sir, if the man you are looking for is a Nivet citizen, there's no apparent reason that we should know where he lives.
Rundle leans forward, looming over the seated woman.
Rundle: But you should know how to find out things, as a stranger to this barbaric country does not. It's your job to help New Washington citizens while they're here. I suggest you start doing your job.
Tsibola is walking down the hall, and hears raised voices in the reception area.
Teeree: When I want to find someone, I look in the city directory, if all I have is the name.
Teeree doesn't point out that she doesn't really have the name here, either.
Tsibola goes to investigate, as he has a free hour before his next meeting.
Tsibola: Is something wrong, Teeree?
Rundle freezes as Tsibola comes into view, turning his face away.
Teeree: This gentleman wants me to help him find someone who lives in the city but he isn't sure what his name is, and I can't find anything relevant in the city directory.
Tsibola: I heard.... Why, Glavius, I never expected to see you here.
Rundle bristles at the too-familiar use of his first name.
Tsibola: I wasn't informed that we were getting a Senatorial visit.
Tsibola is, of course, well aware that Senate etiquette requires such notice.
Rundle gives a tight nod of acknowledgement.
Tsibola: What brings you here?
Rundle: This is not an official visit.
Tsibola: You have an unofficial reason for traveling through half of Nivet to visit my Embassy?
Rundle considers how much to say. Tsibola may be the only person here who might actually be able to help him.
Rundle: I'm here on private business. I need to find the Sime formerly known as Clarence Rundle.
Tsibola: You're here looking for your son?
Rundle gives another tight nod.
Tsibola raises an eyebrow.
Tsibola: Well, I would never have expected that from you. Not after some of the speeches you've made.
Rundle squares his shoulders.
Rundle: Should we be discussing this in a public place?
Rundle hopes that Tsibola's time here hasn't made him forget the basic proprieties.
Tsibola: I doubt Teeree is offended, although I admit, I'm a bit at a loss as to why you are looking for your son here. Come, let's find someplace more comfortable to discuss this.
Rundle nods and turns to follow Tsibola.
Saag comes into the lobby. Someone asked him to check whether the messenger service had picked up his package yet.
Tsibola: Ah, here's someone who might be able to help you. Saag, come here a moment.
Saag: Yes, sir?
Tsibola: You have a lot of friends who share your background, don't you?
Saag: Well, some, sir.
Tsibola: Senator Rundle here has come all the way from New Washington to talk to his son Clarence.
Saag is ~~ astonished ~~.
Saag: I know him, sir. He goes by the name Randayl now.
Rundle raises one eyebrow, but on the inside he's seething with ~~ triumph ~~ .
Rundle: Excellent. Can you tell me where to find him?
Saag wonders what his friend's father is up to. From Randayl's stories it's not likely he's here to kiss and make up... well, not without an ulterior motive, probably related to Randayl's huge inheritance.
Rundle is treating the young snake as politely as he's able, given that he wants something from the boy.
Saag: He's over on the west side of the grounds, where they're putting up the new fence.
Rundle: He's right here at the Embassy? Doing manual labor? ~~ astonishment and disapproval ~~
Saag: Yes, he works here.
Rundle: A Rundle should not stoop so low.
Saag: He's not a Rundle any more, sir. And he's doing a good, honest job to support himself.
Rundle: If he is not a Rundle, then there are certain things he's not entitled to.
Rundle is determined not to let him have them, either.
Saag shrugs. According to that out-T lawyer guy, he is. After all, his great aunt left lots of stuff to plenty of other non-Rundles.
Tsibola: If your son isn't a Rundle any more, Glavius, I'm at a loss as to why you're seeking him out.
Rundle scowls and says nothing. This far from home, on Tsibola's turf, he can't afford to tell him where to shove his interrogation.
Tsibola: Nothing he does reflects on his name, and knowing you, you're not about to ensure his future by sending him to the University.
Rundle realizes that Tsibola might have just suggested a useful strategy. Pay the boy's tuition, and he may be happy to be free of the burden of administering properties and stocks from afar.
Tsibola shrugs, deciding that the indirect approach might be more fruitful, if he wants to find out what Rundle wants.
Saag backs away and asks Teeree about the messenger. He doesn't want to get caught in the middle of a clash of titans. He's careful to remember everything he hears, though, so he can tell Randayl.
Tsibola: Saag, would you take Senator Rundle to his son?
Tsibola figures he can get the whole story out of one or the other kid, and knowledge is power.
Saag: Uh, yes, sir. This way, Senator Rundle.
Rundle nods briskly to Tsibola, and follows the young snake.