On the Run: Episode 21

Gerrhonot comes back to the suite he's sharing with Seruffin in Capital. He's ~~ happy ~~ and ~~ sexually satisfied ~~ after sharing transfer and postreaction with Jaklin ambrov Imil.

Seruffin: Welcome back, Gerrhonot. Did you enjoy yourself?

Gerrhonot: Oh, yes! ~~ just zlin me! ~~

Seruffin is doing so.

Gerrhonot: She's so nice. I really like being with her.

Seruffin: I'm envious. Jaklin really stretched you, didn't she?

Gerrhonot is a little ~~ embarrassed ~~.

Gerrhonot: I like sharing transfer with you a lot too, but with Jaklin we can make love afterwards.

Seruffin: That does add a spark, doesn't it?

Seruffin is inclined to be ~~ indulgent ~~ about Gerhonot's youthful enthusiasm.

Gerrhonot examines his channel. He looks replete and contented too.

Gerrhonot: Yeah. Your transfer went okay, too, didn't it?

Seruffin: It was fine. And I do like being back in Sime Territory, where Donors are plentiful and retainers are kept in the cupboard where they belong.

Gerrhonot: Too bad Hajene Bibi isn't here, but she's in need now anyway.

Gerrhonot moves closer to Seruffin and strokes his arm.

Gerrhonot: Um.

Seruffin: Oh, dear. Jaklin wants us back in New Washington on the evening train?

Gerrhonot: She told me she's going to send us out-T again. Just briefly though.

Seruffin: Courier duty?

Gerrhonot: No, she wants you to check out some little town where there might be some Distect people doing things.

Seruffin: A little town?

Gerrhonot: They have a coal mine there.

Seruffin is ~~ apprehensive ~~, given the problems he encountered in Gumgeeville.

Gerrhonot notes the channel's reaction, and strokes his arm again.

Gerrhonot: I'll take care of you. ~~ protective ~~

Seruffin: A small mining town? I don't see a lot in that to attract the Distect. Usually they do better in large cities, where folks are less interested in their neighbors' business. What sort of activity is going on?

Gerrhonot: I don't know. She wants you to find out. I guess she'll tell you all the details later.

Gerrhonot considers.

Gerrhonot: I don't understand what kind of Distect stuff they can do without any Simes around.

Gerrhonot didn't want to look any more stupid than necessary so didn't ask Jaklin.

Seruffin: It's not illegal for a Sime to live in Gen Territory, you know. Suicidal, in most places, I admit, but not illegal.

Gerrhonot: Well, like us, I guess, but an ordinary renSime... I suppose if people really liked him, and he mostly wore retainers... and there'd have to be a Sime Center so he could get transfer... oh, like if there was a Distect Gen he wouldn't have to.

Seruffin: Yes. For a Distect renSime who lives with his Donor, Gen Territory wouldn't be a bad option. As long as the neighbors didn't object too lethally.

Gerrhonot: And he'd probably be afraid to come in-T. ~~ sympathy ~~

Seruffin: The Distect isn't illegal, in Gen Territory. Any renSime who'd join the Distect wouldn't necessarily be too concerned about what Gen transfer would do to his ability to resist temptation from other, untrained Gens.

Gerrhonot: But maybe some Gen helped him in changeover out there, and now he's afraid to do anything but stick with that Gen. Like maybe he's not really Distect, right?

Seruffin: It's possible. Did Jaklin tell you any of the details about this Distect presence, and how it came to be reported to her?

Seruffin likes the idea of coming to the briefing prepared.

Gerrhonot: Um. Well, some guy tried to kidnap Sosu Nick. But Hajene Katsura defended him and they caught the guy.

Seruffin: A Distect sympathizer tried to kidnap Sosu Nick?

Seruffin finds this ~~ alarming ~~.

Gerrhonot: No, a bounty hunter. A Gen. From out-T.

Seruffin: A bounty hunter? The Distect has put a bounty on Sosu Nick? Whatever for? They have no use for a Farris-rated Donor, however shaky his loyalties.

Gerrhonot: No, it was the guy with the coal mine who wanted him. Because he brought in some food in a wagon for the Gens.

Seruffin: Sosu Nick was supplying food to Distect Gens?

Gerrhonot: Um. To the coal miners. I don't know if they were Distect. Because the coal miners were on strike and the coal mine guy closed the store so they couldn't buy food.

Seruffin: How does the man find the time to get into such scrapes? Most Donors find looking after a channel a full-time job.

Gerrhonot: I guess this was a long time ago, before he was a Donor.

Seruffin: Oh. He did live in Gen Territory for a while, didn't he. I'd forgotten.

Seruffin, like most channels, finds it almost impossible to envision a Donor having a life outside of Donoring.

Gerrhonot: He was working at the coal mine, and then they went on strike and they closed the store so Nick and some other guys started bringing in food from someplace else.

Seruffin: That sounds sensible. Where does the Distect come into it?

Gerrhonot: I didn't really understand that part. They put the bounty hunter on trial for attacking Nick and trying to kidnap him, and the judge found out the guy had served a Sime in transfer once, so he wasn't afraid of Simes but he said he didn't know anything about the Distect.

Gerrhonot thinks harder. ~~ puzzled ~~

Gerrhonot: I think the judge thinks it's important that somebody check out whether there's any Distect stuff going on out there, so she told Jaklin.

Seruffin: I see.

Seruffin doesn't, actually.

Gerrhonot: So maybe it's just so Jaklin can tell the judge she got it checked out? And she gets you to do stuff like that for her?

Seruffin: A small Gen mining town. Off the beaten track. Which is either a hotbed of Distect activity, or occupied by Wild Gens who live without benefit of a local Sime Center. I am right that there isn't a local Sime Center, am I not? Otherwise they would have been queried.

Gerrhonot: I guess so.

Gerrhonot is starting to get a little ~~ worried ~~.

Gerrhonot: Maybe we should take some ambrov Dar with us?

Seruffin: Now, that's a good question. Does Jaklin know anything about the town, other than the existence of a mine?

Gerrhonot: I don't know. I guess just what Nick told her.

Seruffin: Did Nick happen to say anything about the town's attitude towards Simes? It would be reassuring to know that we won't be in danger of being lynched again.

Gerrhonot: I don't know. Um. Maybe I didn't get the story right from Jaklin. Maybe it's not so bad.

Seruffin: I hope not. One time looking down a shotgun was more than enough.

Gerrhonot: I don't think that guy at Hannard's Ford was serious.

Seruffin: No, he seemed to be enjoying himself far too much for that. The folks in Gumgeeville were a lot more serious, as I recall. Of course, we did have a changeover in the picture.

Gerrhonot: And we could mostly stay in the Mullins's house.

Seruffin: We'll have to get out and around, to search a town for Distect influences.

Gerrhonot: Yeah. ~~ worried ~~

Gerrhonot: Um. Maybe she should send some ambrov Dar instead of you. Some Gens.

Seruffin: They wouldn't be able to zlin any Simes who might be around, but yes. Gens would have an easier time.

Gerrhonot: Like, the Distect people will avoid you and probably the other people won't want to help you either.

Gerrhonot wonders if Jaklin is using him to play a practical joke on Seruffin, and doesn't really intend to send him to the coal mine place, but figures she's not the sort of person who would do that. Still, he knows he's easily fooled.

Gerrhonot: Um. Jaklin isn't just playing a joke on us, is she?

Seruffin: If so, I admit I don't find it amusing.

Gerrhonot lays a ~~ comforting ~~ hand on his channel's arm, gently stroking the tentacle sheaths.

Seruffin relaxes just a bit.

Gerrhonot: I'm sorry. Maybe I should have waited to let her tell you. Maybe I got the story mixed up and now I've spoiled your mood. ~~ guilty ~~

Seruffin: Not at all, Gerrhonot. I'd much rather be prepared, if Jaklin really is sending us out into the wilds of Genland.

Gerrhonot: Maybe she should send a different Donor with you. A smart guy who can figure things out and tell you.

Gerrhonot doesn't want to give up Seruffin, but he would to another Donor who could help him and protect him better.

Seruffin: Gerrhonot, you will be my biggest asset. No one can speak with you and seriously believe that you are part of a clandestine plot.

Gerrhonot blushes, both ~~ pleased ~~ and ~~ embarrassed ~~.

Seruffin: Did she happen to mention where this town is? Or what it's called?

Gerrhonot: Maybe she told me but I don't remember. I think I was falling asleep about then.

Seruffin: I see. Well, she'll no doubt tell me soon enough. I don't suppose the Gen government has agreed to cooperate with this investigation? Or are we on our own?

Gerrhonot: I don't know.

Gerrhonot recalls that Jaklin was kind of drifting off about then too.

Gerrhonot: I'm sorry. Maybe I should have argued with her that sending you wouldn't work as well as sending some Gens.

Gerrhonot tends to the default assumption that Seruffin can do anything, and do it well.

Seruffin: I'm sure Jaklin has her reasons. And that she will explain them to me, in detail, when I suggest just that.

Seruffin gives a humorous smile.

Seruffin: So, I suppose we ought to enjoy civilization while we can.

Gerrhonot smiles back.

Gerrhonot: I guess so.

Seruffin: What are you in mood for? A dinner at a restaurant that doesn't have carrion on the menu? A walk in a park where you don't have to manage the fields so exactly because there's nobody flaring fear at us?

Gerrhonot: Whatever you want. Being out-T isn't so hard on me.

Seruffin: Of course it isn't. All you have to do is follow me around, working overtime to block all the fields from the Gens around us and worrying that one of them will react badly to my presence. Any normal person would call that overwork.

Gerrhonot shrugs.

Gerrhonot: But I don't have to zlin them, and they aren't out to give me a hard time, mostly.

Seruffin: I think the more conservative Senators dislike you more than they fear me. I'm just a monster; you're a traitor. A person who shouldn't exist.

Gerrhonot: That's okay. They just don't understand what it's like. How wonderful it is to have you for my channel. The stuff we can do together. Helping people.

Seruffin smiles.

Seruffin: You have a knack for reminding me why we do it.

Gerrhonot: You're good to me. You help me a lot. And I like helping you. I like taking care of you. ~~ love ~~

Seruffin: I admit, I don't know why you bother with an old man like me, but I'm glad you do. Let's use our teamwork, then. I'm in the mood for... hmm... basil, I think. Do you know a restaurant that has a nice basil dish?

Gerrhonot: There's one I had some tooey at once. It's over near the train station.

Gerrhonot mentions a dish made with tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, peppers and lots of basil and garlic.

Seruffin: Marvelous. Let's go there, then, and you can pick where we go after that.

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