Pollovic sits in the waiting room at the border crossing. Since this is a honeymoon, not an official visit, he has no special status here and has been patiently waiting his turn along with the rest.
Pollovic watches as Pametta enters the interview room. She'll have to donate, of course, as well as getting her papers stamped, since she hasn't donated since before the wedding.
Pollovic relaxes a little as he waits, knowing he's got another two weeks (well, technically twelve days) before he'll be expected to donate. He hopes the extra time will give him a chance to get a grip on the terror of donating that's plagued him since The Incident.
Yozz puts a final stamp on the paperwork from her last customer, then goes out to the waiting room to zlin herself a new one.
Yozz is the duty First for this section of the station this shift, and is ~~ fully cognizant ~~ of the responsibility that implies.
Yozz studied about the importance of the border stations in her First Year camp, and that was only last year, so she hasn't had a chance to forget the details yet.
Yozz zlins the prospects, but only one Gen is tense enough to give the Thirds trouble. She ambles over.
Yozz: Greetings. I is Hajene Yozz. You cross border, right?
Pollovic looks up at the very young Sime in the Tecton uniform. Too young, surely, to be fully qualified to work as a channel. But then, why should he require a channel, when he won't be donating? He curbs the shiver of fear at being so close to a Sime, and stands.
Pollovic pulls his border crossing papers out of his jacket pocket, and with them the letter Seruffin gave him to explain, in Simelan, his current medical condition.
Yozz takes the papers.
Yozz: Comes with, please.
Yozz heads towards her better-than-average-insulated cubicle, which has the usual desk, chairs, and transfer lounge. She settles behind the desk, trying to look very ~~ official ~~ but instead mostly looking very ~~ young ~~.
Pollovic settles into the chair opposite, unobtrusively pushing it back a little as he sits.
Yozz: So, this says you just married, visits for procuring lunar sweetness?
Pollovic takes a few moments to process this before giving a tight nod.
Pollovic: Yes. A honeymoon is... a time when a newly married couple travels, to spend time together without the distraction of friends and family and the usual daily routine.
Yozz: Goodness and well wishes. This other says you have problems near past?
Yozz holds up Seruffin's letter.
Pollovic: Yes. ~~ nervousness ~~ The ribs are still a bit tender, though the rest seems to have healed well.
Yozz is still close enough to First Year to ~~ zlin ~~ the ribs with ~~ curiosity ~~
Pollovic tenses as the Sime's laterals peek from their sheaths. ~~ increased nervousness ~~
Yozz: Yes, ribs hurt. Not advised to get off horse so unplanned way. Foresight is better.
Pollovic: Believe me, I know that.
Yozz: Please, no worries. Just normal donations here.
Oniot, Yozz's donor, is about her age and also intensely curious about this Wild Gen.
Pollovic: I don't have to donate yet. It's only been a couple of weeks.
Pollovic tenses more at the mere thought.
Yozz ~~ leans ~~ on Oniot.
Yozz: Is advisable, however, for travel among Simes.
Pollovic: ~~ rising panic ~~ But I'm only half...
Pollovic blanks on the Simelan word for "half-field".
Oniot turns up the support to medium-well.
Yozz: You is calmness to get, please.
Pollovic tries, with little success.
Yozz gives Oniot a "what did I say?" look.
Yozz: You field strong, cause problems. We make weaker, not cause problems.
Oniot: [Simelan] I suspect he had some kind of bad experience out there.
Yozz passes Oniot the explanatory letter.
Pollovic is struggling not to bolt from the room.
Oniot: Ah. [English] Fear not, we not will hurting you today!
Yozz: I channel, not new Sime hungry with need.
Yozz beams at Pollovic.
Pollovic: I... it's not as easy as it used to seem.
Pollovic struggles to remember all of Gegg's good advice. None of it seems to help right now.
Pollovic: I thought I still had a couple of weeks before I had to...
Pollovic stops himself, realizing that he's babbling.
Yozz: Not maximum selyn today, true. But enough to cause disturbance, so better take care, right?
Pollovic stares at the very young channel. Almost as young as the berserker who attacked him.
Pollovic: Is this a... a requirement for crossing the border?
Yozz: Much advised, yes. Accident preventing better than clean up afterwards, right?
Pollovic swallows hard, thinking about what an "accident" might mean in this context.
Pollovic: I thought before that I was safe because I was low field. But I wasn't anyway.
Yozz: Besides, not want to appear rude on visit, right?
Oniot: Not good for Gen nervous worry to be projecting. ~~ sympathetic ~~
Pollovic, as a politician, knows just how much damage a bit of rudeness can do.
Pollovic takes a deep breath.
Pollovic: Very well. Let's do it.
Yozz: Much goodness.
Pollovic finds it strangely difficult to stand and take the few steps to the transfer lounge.
Pollovic manages somehow. Habit takes over and he settles himself on the lounge.
Yozz bounces up with ~~ youthful enthusiasm ~~ and follows Pollovic to the lounge.
Pollovic cringes away from her. ~~ panic ~~
Yozz looks ~~ bewildered ~~.
Yozz: Please, is nothing to fear. I channel, study hard at very good school to help you.
Pollovic: What?! You're still a student?
Yozz: No, no. Graduate months ago.
Oniot: No no, not student any more. Grad-u-it.
Yozz: Top in class.
Pollovic closes his eyes, trying to picture the reassuringly mature, calm visage of Seruffin.
Yozz wiggles just a bit with ~~ enthusiasm ~~, then holds out her hands.
Yozz: When you ready. Try for calmness.
Pollovic takes three deep breaths, trying to let the tension drain away. Then three more. And three more.
Yozz: Question here: you wants me to finish, right?
Pollovic gradually becomes aware that he is sitting on his hands, trying to tuck his forearms completely under his body. With an effort, he pulls them out.
Yozz: Not take long.
Yozz reaches for the now-uncovered hands.
Pollovic's eyes spring open.
Pollovic: ~~ tightly ~~ Go ahead.
Yozz ~~ considers ~~ the situation for a moment, decides that Pollovic isn't going to calm down, and signals her Donor to be ready for trouble.
Yozz then takes the hands, securing her grip a bit more firmly than she normally would for a routine donation. Her laterals represent a considerable investment by the Tecton, after all, and she was taught to take care of public property.
Pollovic holds his breath.
Yozz makes the transfer contact and begins zlinning, checking the injuries to make sure they won't affect the selyn flow. She notes with ~~ concern ~~ that her client isn't breathing.
Pollovic tenses further.
Yozz tries to gently use her nager to ~~ encourage ~~ breathing.
Pollovic gasps and begins to struggle.
Yozz tightens her grip just a bit, hoping that Oniot will say something to calm their client down. She is too busy herself lowering his field.
Pollovic: ~~ wild panic ~~
Yozz is starting to feel ~~ ill ~~, but channels gamely on.
Pollovic isn't actually feeling anything unpleasant, except for the tight grip on his wrists.
Yozz finishes, and breaks lip contact with ~~ relief ~~.
Yozz: Stillness to hold, please.
Pollovic tries. He really does.
Yozz: Please, is over, but must hold still so I let go.
Pollovic takes a very deep breath and holds it.
Yozz hastily retracts her laterals, then lets Pollovic go.
Pollovic springs to his feet, then stops himself. ~~ embarrassment ~~
Yozz: See? No harms.
Pollovic: I'm sorry for being so... difficult. ~~ inadequacy ~~
Pollovic stares down at the bruises curling around his wrists.
Yozz: Apologies for that. Wish fixing?
Yozz reaches out one hand towards the wrist.
Pollovic: (hastily) No. No, it's all right. ~~ self-loathing ~~ It serves me right.
Yozz: Not punishment. Just unfortunate result, quite fixable.
Pollovic collects himself enough to realize the potential political embarrassment of being seen with such bruises on his wrists.
Pollovic: All right. Go ahead.
Pollovic is ~~ determined ~~ not to struggle this time.
Yozz signals Oniot to support, and reaches for the arm again.
Yozz: Stillness, please.
Pollovic again holds his breath.
Yozz decides that she can live with the breathing problem, this time, and focuses her attention on the bruises, instead.
Pollovic lets his breath out slowly.
Pollovic: That is better. Thank you.
Yozz: Much welcomeness.
Yozz gets her laterals safely retracted again and retreats behind the desk.
Pollovic hastily heads for the door, then stops as he remembers his border crossing papers. He knows he won't be let back on the train without them.
Yozz: Here is paperwork. Much happiness with lunar sweetness, please.
Pollovic pulls his donation voucher from the top of the stack.
Pollovic: Keep this. Give it to charity or something.
Yozz: Will give to kid from your Territory. Much thanknesses.
Pollovic: Thank you.
Pollovic flees the little room. He's gotten through his first post-Incident donation, and he knows that should count as a victory. But all he wants to do is hide away in his train compartment and shake.