Portia rejoins her wife shortly thereafter, looking somewhat ~~ dazed ~~.
Dilena: What is it? Did things go -- badly?
Portia: No, no. It was... well, not nearly as bad as for you. But....
Portia sits down on one of the couches, looking ~~ overwhelmed ~~.
Portia: That beast left me -- us -- with a surprise.
Dilena: Oh, no! You have internal injuries? ~~ distress ~~
Portia: Well, internal, but not quite an injury. It's kind of odd that he finally succeeded, after so many years of trying.
Dilena's jaw drops.
Dilena: You mean --?
Portia looks down at her belly.
Portia: We're going to be a family of four, in another seven months or so. Oh, Dilena, I'm so, so glad that I'm telling you and not...
Portia begins to sniffle.
Dilena hugs Portia.
Dilena: Me too, me too.
Dilena doesn't make it clear whether she's referring to mutual happiness or mutual sniffles.
Portia is soon sniffling enough for all four family members.
Luanna joins in, much more loudly.
Dilena: Shh, shhh, dear heart.
Portia: Oh, dear. The sweetheart. Now I've gone and upset her.
Portia tries to curb her sniffles.
Dilena: Well, well, she doesn't know grownups cry when they're happy, too.
Luanna calms down, now that she's being fussed over instead of ignored, and the adults have changed the example they're setting.
Portia: Dilena, this changes things. If the Beast learns I bear his child, he'll go to any length to get us back. It could put you and Luanna both in danger. If you feel you can't take the risk of staying with me, I understand.
Portia's lips quiver with distress at the thought.
Dilena: Of course not! I'll never leave you, never.
Portia: Oh, Dilena!
Portia hugs Dilena, baby and all.
Luanna screams, lacking grace under pressure.
Portia hastily lets go.
Portia: There, there, dearest, I didn't mean to scare you.
Portia sobers and looks at Dilena.
Portia: This does mean that we're going to have to stay in Simeland. Can you bear it?
Dilena: I was thinking about it while you were in there. And -- yes. I may not like it, but I'll do whatever it takes.
Portia reaches to squeeze Dilena's hand -- the one not holding the baby.
Portia: Brave heart! Do you... do you think we ought to talk to the people here, about how to make it easier for you? You can't be the first person who's had that sort of trouble. You are braver than me, to stay under such circumstances, but I can't bear the thought of you going through that sort of distress every month, all on my account.
Dilena: Well, perhaps it'll wear off a bit? ~~ doubtful ~~
Dilena: In any case, it's not all on your account. I mean, even if I could go back now, who knows what would happen to me? My reputation's unsalvageable.
Portia: That's true enough. Isn't it good that our reputation across the border doesn't matter any more?
Dilena laughs just a little.
Dilena: Yes. Yes, it is. Did the channel tell you if it's a boy or a girl?
Portia: No. It's probably too early to tell.
Dilena: But you didn't ask. Do you want to find out? ~~ enthusiasm making it clear that Dilena certainly does ~~
Portia: At the time, I was sort of overwhelmed by the news. But now that I have a chance to think about it... yes. I want to know.
Dilena: Okay then.
Dilena raises her voice.
Dilena: Hajene? Do you have a moment?
Srini hears the Gen mother calling her, but doesn't understand the rest. She comes out of her office.
Srini: Yes? What want now?
Dilena: Can you tell, is baby a boy or a girl?
Srini: Your baby here is girl, no?
Dilena: Yes. The new one, I mean.
Dilena points to Portia's as yet unswollen abdomen.
Srini: Not can zlin yet. Is too new.
Srini thinks that a First could probably make a guess at this stage, but there are no Firsts in the area.
Dilena: How long until you can -- zlin?
Dilena stumbles over the word.
Srini: I can zlin maybe two more months. Bigger channel sooner.
Portia looks at the channel's tentacles.
Dilena: You are not tall enough? You could stand on a chair.
Portia: I know men say size matters, but I never thought it mattered for tentacles.
Srini rolls her eyes. Genlan is not her favorite language.
Srini: Bigger strongness channel. I am threeness channel. Twoness channel is more strong, can zlin more small thing. Oneness channel even bigger strong, can zlin very small thing. Is not tentacles, is zlinning.
Portia is ~~ completely clueless ~~.
Srini: Most channels like me. Bigger channels in bigger towns.
Dilena: Ah. So Portia's baby is still too small for a "threeness channel" to zlin?
Srini: Yes. Big deal is boy or girl? Is baby.
Dilena: No, not big deal. We are just wanting to know, to make up names, and so on.
Portia: We can wait a few weeks, I suppose. What's more important is to find out how to make thing easier for Dilena, next month. Is there anything you can do about that?
Srini: She not see channel before time she see Hajene Pansy? Not see normal Sime before?
Dilena: No, never.
Srini: You have month to see normal Sime, talk to normal Sime. In month not so strange, not so scare.
Dilena: I ~~ hope ~~ that is true, yes.
Srini: You show letter to channel, talk to channel, channel find time to help you before donate again. Channel know you want donate no trouble, channel know what can happen, will be okay. I think after you donate more time, problem not happen.
Srini is speaking off the top of her head, not having had any experience with 'problem' Gens. After all, donating is so simple and harmless, how can any Gen not get used to it?
Portia: We will come back, next month, then. And you can help Dilena then.
Portia feels ~~ satisfied ~~ with this solution.
Srini: You come here, okay. You go other place, you be sure show channel letter. Channel must know can be problem.
Portia: Very well.