Roger is undergoing a visit back home, where he is to give a rotation transfer before heading back to secure more excellent brandy for Sat'htine. He's ~~ enjoying ~~ the return to less primitive surroundings.
Roger has found a very nice, cool veranda on which to enjoy the cooling breeze while watching his younger naztehrhai work.
Shorsh strolls out onto the veranda and spots his fellow Companion.
Shorsh: Roger! Welcome home!
Roger: Shorsh! I would have thought you would be busy, this time of day. It's good to be back. Although I admit, making brandy is almost as interesting as drinking it.
Shorsh: Oh, well, it's a slack month for me, just helping out here and there, on hold in case one of the kids changes over into a Farris channel.
Roger: A nice time to be off rotation, although I'm surprised some outside Controller isn't twisting Hiram's tentacles to get you.
Shorsh: Well somebody has to be ready in case we produce another insatiable monster.
Shorsh: Like Hiram, say.
Roger: He was something, and so inconvenient in his timing. At least that's improved over time.
Shorsh: So how's life at Nyseg? Do they consume substantial quantities of their product?
Roger: Not as much as we do -- it's their only source of income, so they can't afford to indulge too much. It has been... interesting. And I admit, somewhat disturbing.
Shorsh: Your channel....
Roger: She's a good kid, basically. But in learning to serve her properly, I've become reacquainted with someone I thought died over fifty years ago.
Roger: One Roger Templeton, Wild Gen.
Shorsh: Don't tell me you've developed a taste for meat! You and D'zoll will have to get together on it.
Shorsh is, of course, teasing.
Roger: That would be relatively harmless and easily indulged. No, this has been far more... disturbing.
Shorsh: Hm. Tell me.
Shorsh realizes this is something more serious.
Roger: You know her fetish? That she wants to be dominated by her Companion?
Shorsh: I heard a little.
Roger: I figured it would be easy enough to play along, once I knew what she wanted. A harmless game.
Roger: It was just that, until I found myself enjoying it just a little too much.
Shorsh spreads his hands, in the Gen version of a Sime spreading tentacles.
Shorsh: Well, Roger, after all these years I don't think you're in any danger of going rogue or stalking the roads as a Giant Killer Gen.
Shorsh suspects Roger is making much ado about a few harmless thoughts.
Roger: Probably not, but this assignment has me uncovering a lot of unpleasant things I thought I'd come to terms with a long time ago.
Shorsh makes an encouraging sound.
Roger: When Sectuib Givren bought me, my attitudes were pretty typical for an out-Territory youngster, despite my Companion potential. I've discovered I never did completely forgive him for upsetting my world, even though from my current perspective I agree that it was the ethical thing to do.
Shorsh: But Roger, it was the raiders that upset your world. Givren saved your life by buying you.
Shorsh, despite his recent experiences out-T, can't believe that Wild Gen prejudices against nonjunct Simes can be regarded as reasonable. He's a product of his origins.
Roger: The raiders were an accepted part of my world. Evil, horrifying, but something I could understand. Givren wasn't. He was the one who upset all my assumptions and taught me that everything I thought I knew was wrong. And then proved it. In effect, he destroyed Roger Templeton to create Sosu Roger ambrov Sat'htine.
Shorsh thinks this is overly dramatic.
Shorsh: You were only a few years old. People change as they grow up, and young people are very adaptable. Do you regret surviving here? Or becoming a Companion?
Roger: No, not at all, and I think I like Sosu Roger better than the person Roger Templeton would have become, had he had the chance.
Shorsh: I think I do too, naztehr.
Roger: I thought Roger Templeton was long dead, and good riddance. Then in the last few months, I've discovered that he has a bit more life left to him, after all. For instance, how much do you know about one of the most venerable out-Territory heroic archetypes, the Gen who is so dangerous that Simes cower in terror before him?
Shorsh: I remember something about Sime-siders, who could come in-T and rescue Gens abducted by raiders, but I thought they were mostly legends and exaggerations.
Roger: Most of them were, although I understand a few of them actually existed. But to young Gen soldiers, being sent out high field and untrained against juncts, it's an irresistible fantasy that some Gen, somewhere, could turn the tables on the enemy and make them as scared as the soldiers were.
Roger: I wasn't even a willing soldier: I'd gotten drunk in the wrong tavern and accepted a beer from a recruiter. The stories of Gens who could dominate Simes were among my favorites. With this assignment, I've had a chance to act out some of those stories. Only now it's different, because I actually have the ability to dominate Simes, even those who don't enjoy it.
Shorsh: But your channel does enjoy it. She needs it to get a satisfactory transfer, doesn't she?
Roger: It helps, yes. But I'd rather not have known that I have it in me to enjoy it that much. It's not civilized.
Shorsh: Your enjoyment in it is part of what she needs, isn't it? And she needs a series of good transfers before she'll be in shape to do anything about this fetish, anyway.
Roger: Yes, she does. However... You were still young at Unity, but do you remember the distrust with which Companions were viewed by the juncts? They couldn't believe that a Gen could hold such power over them and not want to abuse it.
Shorsh: Yes. Some of them were terrified of us. Others were just hostile.
Roger: We worked very hard to convince them that we meant them no harm: that we weren't Wild Killer Gens and had no desire to abuse our power over them.
Shorsh: And our channels enforced that idea with their sec nagers. Or at least that they kept us and our manipulations under their control.
Roger: It worked so well that these days, it's hard to find a person of either larity who even thinks a Donor is capable of dominating a Sime for the sake of the power rush.
Shorsh: The Tecton has civilized us all.
Shorsh's ironic tone is audible as well as zlinnable.
Roger: Yes. And in the process, it's easy to forget that the dark side of human nature exists, until you're suddenly reminded of it. For instance, I expect that you'd gone years without considering how easy it would be for a channel to kill an untrained Gen, before you went out-Territory. Am I right?
Shorsh: We all know it doesn't take a channel to do it. And that nonjunct channels have killed trained Gens, on rare occasions. And that Gens have killed both renSimes and channels.
Roger: Yes. We know that; we just prefer to ignore that unpleasant truth when we can.
Shorsh: Look, Roger, I can't imagine that you'd do anything to harm a channel. We've all pushed our channels around from time to time for their own good. Sometimes we enjoy it more than is strictly honorable, but we don't let it get out of hand.
Shorsh: In this case, I think it's a good thing for this channel to get the domination she needs from an old, experienced, fatherly Gen like you. It's natural and healthy for her to defer to such a person, so the harm is a good deal less than it would be if one of her contemporaries were administering this therapy.
Roger: I know, and I haven't crossed that line. I just don't like being reminded of how easily I could do it. And now...
Roger pulls a letter out of his pocket.
Roger: I got this. It's from the grandson of a cousin of mine.
Shorsh: From out-T?
Shorsh is surprised. He knows that Roger made no attempt to communicate with his former family after Unity made it possible.
Roger: Yes. The cousin inherited my family estate and business after my parents died, since I'd long since been declared dead.
Shorsh: What does this grandson have to say?
Roger: He's full of questions about being a Donor. And a lot of misconceptions, too.
Shorsh: Interesting. Shall we invite him to visit?
Roger: It might be interesting, at that. And there's always the chance that the Donor potential has bred true.
Shorsh: Donor candidates keep trickling in from out-T. Often they have a lot of talent. They're the ones who feel driven to live with Simes, and are willing to give up everything they know to do so.
Roger: Judging from the letter, this boy is more interested in hearing what he's sure are hair-raising stories about my experiences in Simeland.
Shorsh: Haven't we all told you to write your memoirs? Here's an excuse.
Roger: You just want me to stop boring you all with my stories.
Shorsh: No, no, we want them recorded for posterity. You lived through some very important times.
Roger: Yes, I did. At least if you youngsters continue to follow through.
Shorsh: So far, so good.
Shorsh: Well, it could go faster, but it's more or less staggering in the right direction, isn't it?
Roger: Yes. And if you live long enough, you'll see progress, too.