Published as a part of A Companion In Zeor #13 , 14 & 15
NOTHING VENTURED - NOTHING GAINED - Chapters 8 and 9 (end)
Tomar was in bed, and the rest of the house had grown quiet, when Vidal finally entered Jason's room much later that night, to find his partner sitting on the carpet playing his guitar, and singing softly -
"Mothers watch their children play
As they pray by night and day
Is he Gen, or is she Sime?
They will know in course of time.
When the fateful day did dawn
How she wished, she'd not been born
Her Son was Sime - his Sister dead
Her Father found her by her bed.
Now they'd lost both girl and boy
Only sorrow, no more joy!
Earth was cursed - it was no lie
Zelerod said they all would die!
As the old ballad drew to a close, Jason glanced across at his partner, and gave a whimsical smile, as Vidal murmured.
'Melancholy words. I've heard it before.'
'I expect you have - Zelerod's Doom. It's ancient. No one knows who actually wrote it.' Jason confessed. 'I didn't expect you tonight, it's well after midnight isn't it?'
'Half past one - Sorry to be so long. Father insisted on going over everything again, in minute detail. By the way, how's the shoulder now?'
Vidal frowned. 'There's still a residual ache there however.'
'It's nothing like as bad as it was.'
'Perhaps not. But if it hasn't gone tomorrow I'll have another go at it.'
Jason nodded his thanks. 'Tute was telling me earlier that Bancroft himself was probably behind this whole affair.'
'Father believes that too, and he's rarely wrong.'
'Tute also said that there is little chance of tying him in with it. Even if they do manage to round up Conor and Geno, together with the rest of their gang.'
'That's also true, unfortunately. The authorities will get the small fry eventually - but the big fish will all swim free.'
'Can't be helped I guess. It's the way of the world - money still talks most languages.'
'Perhaps not so blatantly in this case.' Vidal said softly. 'I believe Trent money in this instance, may well shout the loudest.'
'Shout the loudest?' Jason stood up and replaced his guitar in its case, before looking across at his partner.
'I suggest you keep an eye on the financial news in about six month's time. It should make interesting reading. I don't usually agree with my Father's business methods, but this time?' Vidal shrugged expressively.
'You think your father will pay Bancroft back financially?'
'I know he will.'
'Well I'll not lose any sleep over it. The bastard was quite prepared if needs be, to see both Tomar and I dead you know. After all, there was no other reason why his men didn't bother to hide their faces from us.'
'True, we came to the same conclusion.' He zlinned his Companion closely. 'You're exhausted.'
'Only a little. It's no great problem. I don't think I could sleep yet anyway. I spoke to my therapist Dagmar Doyen a few hours ago. I told her about you having to take transfer with Tony, and how I was feeling. She suggested you get someone to take my field down as soon as possible. She reckons the fact that my body is holding all this selyn - and is producing more all the time - probably explains why I feel so damn nauseous.'
'Yes, I agree with her, but a passive donation may not be the answer. Actually, it's one of the things that I wanted to speak to you about.'
'You weren't shorted were you?'
'By Tony? Don't be ridiculous!'
'Well in that case, Dagmar says if I don't have my field taken down by someone soon, we're going to be out of phase with each other. Unless we leave it till next month, which is definitely out, as far as I'm concerned. I already feel lousy. And what do you mean - a passive donation may not be the answer?'
'Exactly that. There may be no need to take your field down.'
'No need? So why - hey, hold on! You're not really expecting me to simply wait till next time, and do nothing at all about getting rid of this excess selyn, are you? I don't believe it Vidal, you damn well are!'
'No, I am not! Will you please let me explain.'
'Go on then, spit it out.'
Vidal ran his fingers and tentacles through his hair. 'You don't have to agree to what I am about to suggest, but.'
'Well that sounds pretty ominous for a start!'
'Do you want to hear what I have to say or not?'
'Not really. Oh, come back you cretin! Walking out isn't going to achieve anything is it?'
'If you are not prepared to even listen!'
'I'm prepared. I'm just not all that certain that I want to hear what you have to say.'
'Perhaps not. But I do ask you to at least consider the alternative that I am about to offer you. Tony gave me transfer.'
'I already know that! And I suppose he was fantastic - right?'
'What do you think? I'm supposed to be your Companion - not him.'
'True, but you weren't available Jason, so we should both be grateful to Tony and Jordan.'
'I know that. I'm not completely stupid. So what's the alternative?' Suddenly he froze, his green eyes moving to capture his partner's dark ones. 'Tell me I'm mistaken!? You're not suggesting what I think you are!? You don't really expect me to give transfer to the high and mighty Jordan Farris!? No, even you wouldn't suggest that. Not knowing how I feel about bloody Zeor! Vidal, if you've got any such idea in your tiny mind, I'll tell you right now, exactly what you can do with your shenning suggestion!'
'Jason, please. For just once in your life, try to be logical, and let your head over-rule your innate stupidity.'
'Thanks very much. You really are your father's son, aren't you?!'
'I apologise for that, but you'd try the patience of a saint!'
Jason walked to the bed and threw himself onto it, face downwards. 'So, get on with it Vidal. Against my better judgement, I'm listening.'
'You promise you won't speak till I've finished?'
'I won't speak.' But only because I'm too shenning angry to do so. He admitted honestly to himself.
'Good.' The channel walked across the room to look up unseeing at the stars in the night sky, as he marshalled his thoughts. 'First, Jordan has suggested to Sam Betjeman, that you and I join forces with Tony and him on a special assignment. Sam has already agreed to it, so it's non- negotiable. I'll explain it all later. Suffice it to say that the outcome could affect every man woman and child on both Earth, and her colonies, whether Sime or Gen.
'Second. I am not a Householder, but at my time of need, Jordan sent his own Companion to serve me. The Sectuib feels, as many Householders do, that to truly know a Gen, one must first take transfer from him or her. And I must admit, he is correct. I feel now that I understand Tony far better than I would, if we had merely been friends, even for years, but had never taken transfer together.
'Therefore, as we are all going to be working closely. I would urge you to at least consider, giving transfer to Jordan. He's waited well passed his due time, in the hope that you will agree. He'll be arriving in Capital City tomorrow morning. We're to meet him at the main Sime Centre in the heart of the City. However, if you cannot bring yourself to do this - I'll contact him, and he'll take transfer from another Donor.'
'Why the Sime Centre? Zeor has a facility just up the road from there doesn't it?'
'Yes it does. However, I understand that Jordan believes it will be easier for you if you meet on "neutral" ground so to speak.' Vidal hesitated, picking his words with care, before he went on. 'Even in today's modern world the Sectuib of Zeor is treated with the utmost respect everywhere - but in Zeor?'
'In Zeor they bow and scrape and treat him like a shenning God I suppose!'
Vidal sighed. 'No, that is not what I meant.'
'Well forget what you meant - the Sime Centre will suit me just fine. By the way, I trust he's arranged for someone to be on standby, just in case?'
'I would imagine so, yes.'
Silence fell between them. Vidal stood staring up at the sparkling heavens, whilst his Companion lay across the bed, his mind in turmoil.
'Does he really have any idea at all what I think about him, and his precious Zeor?' Jason asked at last, breaking the uneasy peace.
'And he still wants me? Knowing how I feel about what he was doing on Rockall?' Jason looked across at his partner. 'What is he, some sort of masochist?'
'No. Although I admit that I once thought as you do. He's a dedicated man, who follows a difficult path, and does what has to be done. When others would augment like hell, just to get away.'
'I agree that he likes to play God with peoples lives, but you make him sound like a saint.' Jason all but sneered.
'Hardly. He'd be the first to deny such an assertion, and once you get to know him, you'll understand why I'm saying that.'
'Well, for the sake of argument, let's say that I agree to this crap! How do we know that I'm a good enough match for him? I might not be.'
Vidal could feel his partner's hope of a reprieve in the ambient, and knew he had to crush it, as he replied. 'He and I went into test together once, and were extremely close. We've both grown since then of course. However, I've already taken transfer from Tony. We were a good match. I doubt very much that you'll have any trouble serving Jordan. Besides he would not allow you to overtax yourself. Are you worried about it?'
'Yes, of course. Whatever else I might think about him. He is the Sectuib in Zeor. Are you really sure that I'm qualified to do this?' He pressed the point home, still trying to find a way out, aware that Vidal knew it too.
'Jason, look. I refuse to spin you a pack of lies. Let's get one thing very clear. No, you do not have Tony's expertise. Which I have to admit, in some respects, is quite formidable. But you do have a natural talent, a true gift from the Gods, and in many areas that can far outweigh any abilities that are merely "learned". Even if they are taught by a House such as Zeor.'
His partner rolled off the bed and stood up to look Vidal in the face. 'So you won't be wishing I was Tony, next time we have transfer?'
Vidal moved quickly to grasp the Gen's hands, his tentacles emerging to bind them together. 'Never think such a thing! You are my Companion, not him. Have you any idea how difficult I find it, to even suggest that you give transfer to Jordan - though I am not in need myself?' His voice rang with sincerity. But he didn't say that Tony had also helped him to break the dependency he had fallen into with Jason. They had enough problems to deal with at the moment, without any more. For Vidal had no doubt at all, but that he would fall into a Dependency again with his Companion, at some time in the future - it was fated to be.
Jason drew in a deep breath as he accepted what his senses were telling him, Vidal was speaking the truth. 'Okay, I'll give it a try with the Sectuib. I suppose it'll be an experience. Not everyone gets to give him transfer do they?' He forced a grin. 'The worst he can do is kill me I guess.'
'JASON! Don't say that, even as a very bad joke! The Sectuib in Zeor would die himself, before he would hurt any Gen.' Vidal looked and sounded shocked.
'Mmm, so you say. I have to admit that knowing what I do about him, I don't have your confidence.'
'You must! You can't even attempt transfer, not with that attitude.'
'Okay, don't get your tentacles in a twist. I'm just tired and a bit frustrated. I was looking forward to having transfer with you, and then I find you don't need me.' He smiled wryly.
'I will always need you.' Vidal said softly, and then went on. 'Sleep on it, see how you feel tomorrow morning. If you do not wish to go ahead with the transfer, I'll tell Jordan myself. But if you do, you have nothing at all to worry about. Of course, I could always suggest to Jordan that I act as monitor.'
'Wouldn't it be an insult to him to propose that?'
'He would understand.'
'Maybe he would.' Jason said musingly, and then shook his head firmly. 'No! If I'm going to do this, I don't want anyone holding my hand, as if I'm a child. Not even you.'
'As you wish. But you can always change your mind. Remember we have to leave by nine. Good night Jason.'
Jason had opened his eyes the next morning to find he had a blinding headache, the Sun was streaming into his bedroom, and a breakfast tray was sitting on the table beside the bed, although he could not recall anyone entering the room. Simes! They moved around like ghosts, never dropping anything or stubbing their toes. Very often you didn't even know they were there, unless you could actually see them.
He rolled out of bed, and glanced at the tray. There were several different types of bread roll, butter, and wild honey, fresh fruit and Coffee, in an insulated jug. Vidal had obviously sent this up for him. He glanced at the chronometer beside the bed; he had just under an hour before he had to meet Vidal.
At exactly five minutes to nine he left his room to look for his partner. He had already ascertained that Vidal was not in his own suite.
He turned towards Tomar's familiar voice, surprised at being hailed. Before the kidnap, the boy would have ignored him. 'Hi yourself. How are you feeling today?'
'All right. Father says I've got to go back to classes tomorrow.'
'He's right. The quicker you get back into your normal routine the better.'
'Are you going out today?'
'Yes. Vidal and I have an appointment in the City.'
'Can I go with you?'
'Don't you want to spend the day with your mother and father?'
'No. I'd rather spend it with you.'
'You'll have to speak to your Uncle Vidal about that.'
'Where is he?'
'I've no idea. I'm on my way to find him now.'
'You've found him! Feeling better Jason? Apart from the headache of course.' They both turned to find Vidal walking towards them.
'I've taken a tablet for it, I don't seem able to shake it off.' Jason confessed. He should have known he wouldn't get the headache passed Vidal.
'Give it a few minutes more. If it hasn't gone by then, I'll get you some fosebine.'
Jason shuddered. 'It's gone - I swear it has.'
'See what I mean? It works every time.'
'Uncle Vidal can I go with you and Jason to the City?' Tomar demanded, looking up at the tall Sime pleadingly.
'Not today. Jason and I have an appointment.' Vidal replied at once. 'Besides I've just been speaking with your mother, she's arranged a surprise outing before you resume school tomorrow.'
'I know, she told me. She and father are taking the girls, so I don't want to go.' The look on his young face was mutinous, and reminded Jason of Ian at the same age.
'You'll be sorry if you miss it.' His Uncle warned him.
'Do you think I ought to go Jason?'
'Yes I do. You can tell us all about it later.' As Tomar disappeared around the corner, he smiled ruefully. 'I'm wondering what I've let us in for?'
'It seems young Tomar has changed his opinion about at least one Gen, in the last few days.'
'Only a seven day wonder. Once your father gets to work again, I won't stand much chance.'
'Don't be so sure about that. Both Sheldon and I have had quite a bit to say to that young man about his father and Grandfather's propaganda. He's quite intelligent you know, give him a nudge in the right direction, and he can work things out for himself. I did at his age. Now, if you're ready, we'd better be off. Unless you've changed your mind?'
'Not yet. Let's go before I do. The thought of a day out, even with four screaming kids is beginning to look better all the time. By the way, where are they going?' Jason asked as he fell into step beside his partner.
'To the Game Park - it's the latest attraction for kids at the Leisure Gardens. A mixture of both real and holographic simulation.'
'I've read about it. You can walk amongst all sorts of wild animals, many of them now extinct on Earth, but still alive on the sanctuary planets of course.'
'That's right. Tomar should enjoy himself. Step inside,' Vidal indicated the transmuter with one tentacle, as he turned to dial up their destination.
'What about Tony, isn't he coming with us?'
'He left late last night to await Jordan's arrival.'
Minutes later the two men stepped out into the main foyer of the Sime Centre in the middle of the City. With a brief glance around the busy reception area, the Channel led the way across to one of the desks.
'Hajene Vidal Trent and Souse Jason Devere to see Sectuib Jordan Farris. We are expected.' He said formally.
The woman smiled at them, and waved two tentacles to catch the attention of a young Gen, who was wearing the coffee and cream uniform of the Sime Centre staff. He immediately nodded his acknowledgement, and came swiftly across to the desk.
'Ryll, would you take these two visitors to Room 339?'
The Gen nodded. 'Come this way please.'
'Now that he was actually on his way to see Vidal's friend again, Jason began to feel less confidence in himself. Perhaps he really should have changed his mind, and gone with young Tomar to walk with the animals!'
'The insulation in these places is excellent,' Vidal informed him as they followed their guide. 'I can't sense a thing.'
'Neither can I.' Then Jason grinned broadly as the young Gen turned to look at him again, this time in open surprise. 'I think our guide is questioning whether I'm really a Gen,' he confided to his partner in a loud stage whisper.
'Excuse my friend, he's got a weird sense of humour.' Vidal stated quickly, with a shake of his head.
'Room 339 Hajene, Sosu.' The door slid open even as he spoke, and with a quick nod, the young Gen turned and hurried back down the corridor.
'Come in, both of you! Tony's just making some trin.' Jordan sat behind the large glass topped desk, zlinning Jason as he followed Vidal into the room.
'Smell the difference? It's specially imported from one of Zeor's market gardens. This really is how trin ought to taste, nothing like the stuff they dare to call trin elsewhere.' Tony called across as the door closed behind them. 'Can I interest either of you in a cup?'
'Thanks.' Vidal spoke for both of them, as he zlinned his friend, no one would ever guess that Jordan was so far into need.
'I'm glad you and young Tomar got back in one piece.' Jordan said looking across at Jason.
'So am I, although there were times when I had my doubts.'
'I'm sure there were.'
'Jordan, I'm sorry to interrupt, but how are you feeling?'
'Fine Vidal, just fine.'
'Fine!' Tony snorted the word with derision, as he placed four cups onto a tray and carried them over to the desk. 'We're in our "nothing bothers me!" mode. They even offered us a deferment suite, but would he take it?'
'Tony, please. It's really not as bad as you make out.'
'But bad enough.' Vidal murmured softly.
Jordan merely smiled as he picked up his cup of trin.
'Fair enough. But I think you'll be pleased to know that Jason has agreed to the arrangement.' Vidal glanced across at his partner, who had been watching both Channels carefully, and now nodded his head briefly in agreement.
Jordan forced another smile to his lips. 'Thank you Jason.' He realised that the simple words of gratitude would mean far more to this particular Gen if they came from him personally, rather than in the formal words of his House.
'There's a Transfer Suite booked, may I suggest you both go up there - like right now!?'
'You're becoming more of an old woman every day.' The Channel informed his Companion affectionately before he glanced at Jason, 'when you're ready Sosu.'
Jason stood up and placed his cup back on the tray. 'Yes, I'd better go and get it over with I suppose,' he said grimly, straightening his back as though going into battle.
Vidal looked shocked at the words, Tony's eyebrows shot up, it was only Jordan who roared with laughter. 'Well, I can see what you find so fascinating about this particular Gen, Vidal. There aren't many who can make me laugh not when I'm this far into need!'
'He makes it sound like he's about to be flogged.' Tony muttered.
'Perhaps that's exactly how he feels.' The Sectuib replied softly, and still chuckling he stood up, and indicated the door to Jason, with a single tentacle, 'if you're ready Sosu - shall we - get on with it?'
The Transfer Suite the Sectuib ushered him into was large and decorated in various relaxing shades of blue and cream. There was a row of large windows in the ceiling, and at the moment the blinds were open, flooding the room with golden sunlight. It was comfortably warm, and smelled of tangy citrus.
Jason had only been in a few transfer rooms before, usually to donate, before he had ever got involved with Vidal. Most of them, whilst being bright and clean had all smelled of soap, trin, and various medications that he had never been able to identify.
He now glanced around the room with interest. His eyes resting briefly on the stainless steel sink with glass fronted cupboards over, obviously filled with medicines that were considered necessary.
Two of these cupboards were sealed with white tape, whilst the third was marked ZEOR in large red letters, and Jason remembered that Farrises were plagued with allergies.
Like Vidal, Jason had never had an allergic reaction to anything, and wondered what it must be like to go through life frightened of touching something new, just in case it might affect you.
In a separate section he saw there were more facilities for brewing trin, together with glasses and cups.
A large upholstered monitor's chair was pushed to one side. Whilst over the other side of the room stood a contoured lounge, specially designed for transfer. At the far end a door stood open, and he could see that it lead to a shower and other necessary facilities. His eyes swung back to the contoured lounge, above which was mounted a panic button. Hopefully that wouldn't have to be used today! Mentally he crossed his fingers.
While Jason was inspecting the room, Jordan was looking through the various medications that had been placed ready in the Zeor cupboard. It gave him an excuse to stand with his back to the room, whilst at the same time zlinning the Gen deeply.
From the moment he had sent Tony to serve Vidal, he had been wondering whether he was doing the right thing. After all, Jason not only did not belong to Zeor - he belonged to no Householding at all. Indeed, according to Vidal, he held Householders in the lowest esteem possible, and Zeor it seemed, was at the very bottom of the pile! What was he, as Sectuib in Zeor doing, even considering taking transfer from someone with his background? Was he totally mad?
He wondered briefly if these doubts were "need" induced? They could be, because for hours now Jordan had been practising restraint, keeping his emotions under tight control. Now carefully, like a swimmer testing the water, he began to lower his shields. Steeling himself to touch the Gen's nager for the first time with no one else present, and with all his own barriers lowered.
Eeee Gods!! For a moment he thought he had cried out loud, and then knew that he had not. The Gen's nager had truly startled him, for it had suddenly locked onto the only Sime in the room - himself! Shen, but he had strong selyur nager this one - it had a real bite to it. And Householder trained or not, he knew immediately that Jason was a born Companion.
A genuine talent like this was a precious gift. If only he had been Zeor trained! Jordan flinched at the silent words of condemnation, feeling almost ashamed of himself. As he realised, that by saying them at all - even in his own mind - he was inferring that Vidal had in some way ruined Jason. And that just wasn't true! Zeor, like most Householdings, simply had different goals in life than other people - and that was all.
Taking a deep breath, the Channel turned slowly, to look at the Gen still using his Sime senses. Studying the golden halo that pulsed around both of them, as the undisciplined nager followed him across the room, as he moved to stand beside the contoured lounge.
Then still moving slowly, forcing the Gen's green eyes to follow him, he began to form a theory. Was he correct? The trouble was, he had never come into contact with a Drifter to know for sure. But he had to find out.
Why, he wondered, if he was correct in his assumption, had Vidal not come to the same conclusion? The answer was obvious. Because Vidal had never allowed the Gen to control their transfers, and had therefore never thrown his field open to true manipulation. Vidal himself had always remained in total command. That was why!
Jordan frowned. Of course there was another explanation. Vidal might quite simply not have realised that his Companion was a Drifter. Or if he did realise it, had chosen for some reason known only to himself, to ignore it.
Besides which of course, Drifters as they used to be called, were so very rare. Indeed who, unless they were actually looking for the phenomena, would even recognise it for what it was today?
The Gen removed his jacket to reveal a short sleeved shirt. He hung the jacket behind the door, and then moved to sit on the lounge.
'Tony tells me that Vidal always controls your transfers.'
Jason looked at the Sectuib in Zeor with the same intensity with which he himself was being observed, as he considered the question. 'To be honest, I've never given it much thought before. But I suppose he does, yes. Why? Do you have a problem with that?'
'No. I just don't want you to throw me any surprises.' Try as he might, his intil-factor was already soaring, soon it would be out of his control. Yet still he hesitated.
For the first time Jordan Farris, Sectuib in Zeor admitted to himself that he was decidedly - unnerved. A feeling he had never experienced before in quite this way, even when he had first entered training. To be frightened of one's Donor, especially at a time like this, was unprecedented.
Why had he decided to undertake this experiment in the first place he wondered, angry with himself. For that's all it was - curiosity - a test to satisfy his own inquisitiveness, and at the same time hopefully, get to know this particular Gen. Well, this would teach him not to be so foolish.
Jordan himself had also come into contact with only one fanir in his life - Doyle ambrov Zeor, his father's Companion. Doyle had been old even before Jordan was born. Fanirs today were even more rare than any other sort of Gen.
Jordan only knew from books and texts he had read on the subject, the difference between a Fanir, who brought order and control and forced a strict dominance over a Sime's field, and a Drifter who would allow the Sime's field to roam at will.
Jordan recalled that in college, he and Vidal had entered into many student discussions, about which type of Gen was theoretically best. (Even though neither of them had had experience of either a Fanir or a Drifter.) Vidal had maintained that in his opinion the Sime should always be in control of transfer. Mainly because of the danger to the Gen's life, but also because of the risk to the Channel, who might well become junct. It was therefore for both these reasons that Vidal had not favoured either type of Gen, but had maintained that he would always prefer an ordinary Gen with no such "unnatural" abilities, as he had termed it back then.
Perhaps that was why he chose to ignore his own Companion's ability now?
Whilst himself? Well, to be honest, he had always been ambivalent on the subject. Until Tony had taken control of their transfer for the first time, and had changed his mind. Dangerous as the procedure undeniably was, the bottom line always came down to trust. If one could trust one's Donor/Companion, then there was no more fulfilling experience. Which meant that for Jordan at least, given the choice, he would now much rather take transfer from a Gen with ability, rather than one without.
He paused as it suddenly hit him. Jason was a Drifter, and he was going to take transfer from him! His secret wish was about to be fulfilled.
Shen, what was it Doyle, his father's Companion used to say to him when he was young? "Be careful with your wishes young Jordan - you just might get what you ask for!"
His thoughts suddenly turned once more to Vidal. Would his friend ever truly experience the sheer thrill of giving control over to this Gen? He doubted it, for Vidal had admitted openly, that he did not fully trust Jason. Ergo, how could he ever relinquish control?
Jordan felt a cold icy finger run down his spine, yet at the same time he was filled with a tingling excitement. Surely he wasn't really thinking of relinquishing control of this transfer to this untried Gen? Was he? Shen it, he really was crazy! For Jason, as far as he was concerned, was that most terrifying of all Gens - an unknown quantity with untrained abilities!
The Sectuib felt lightheaded as he savoured the idea. Perhaps his father had been right, he was far too curious for his own good. But his motto had always been - nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Shenshid. What was he thinking of? They were alone; he didn't even have a monitor present. But if he was correct, why should they need one? It wasn't as though he expected to burn the Gen. Jason served Vidal easily, and Tony had told him he had had no problems either when serving him. Capacity and speed, were definitely not an issue here.
Should he discuss it with Jason first? Or simply relinquish control, and wait and see what he did with it? So deep into need as he now was, would he be able to resist drawing from the Gen as soon as they were joined? Could he really just wait and see what he would do? Well, he could at least try. However, if he was unable to resist taking control himself - well, so be it.
But - and this was the deciding factor for him, this might well be his one and only chance to find out what transfer with a Drifter was really like. Since he had first met this Gen on Rockall, the first germ of an idea had taken root in his mind. That there was more to Jason than anyone, even Vidal, knew or realised. Now he had the chance to find out if he was indeed correct? Could he simply turn his back on this, as common sense said that he should? No, he had to find out, and to do that, he had to take this opportunity offered to him - he simply had to!
His mind made up; he turned towards the Gen, and then hesitated yet again. What if the Gen wasn't fast enough for him? He answered his own query. If he wasn't, he would just have to take control away from him again. Jordan had little doubt that he could do it without any difficulty, or harm. For although Jason had natural talent. So did Jordan. Added to which, the training that he himself had had over the years, would far outweigh any such inborn talent on the part of Jason - Drifter or not.
Jordan was surprised to realise that his lips were twitching as his eyes surveyed Jason. He was sitting on the lounge, leaning back on his arms, his legs crossed, his head on one side. His body language was clear enough, not even counting his nager, it said - "Well, I'm ready for transfer, so just how long are you going to keep me waiting around, you lorsh!?"
Dragging his attention back, Jordan realised Jason was talking to him, 'I'm sorry I didn't catch that.'
'I said, Vidal told me you were overdue for transfer, just like me. But you don't look to me as though you are.'
'Thank you for the compliment. I can assure you, that I am.' Jordan allowed his need to break forth as he spoke, even though he knew the Gen would not be able to read his field.
Jason however frowned, and his hands moved to scratch almost compulsively at his bare arms.
'Are you alright?' Jordan asked at once, eyebrows raised.
'Yes, I guess so. My arms feel like all the hairs are standing on end. The same as they do sometimes, when I'm working near an electric circuit in engineering - do you know what I mean?'
'Yes I think I do. And it's a good analogy.' Even as he answered him, Jordan could feel the Gen's field effortlessly wiping away his ravenous need. Not even Tony could do that for him, quite so quickly - and certainly not without a lot of concentrated effort. Yet Jason seemed to be totally unaware of what he was doing.
I was right, he is a Drifter, and without even being aware of his talent - he can sense fields, not in the way that Simes did of course, but in that strange peculiar way that some Gens undeniably could.
After all, scratching his arms, and then likening the sensation he felt to being near an electric current, had been a dead give away! Centuries ago, Simes had not believed that it was possible for a Gen to sense anything at all. But surely Vidal must have noticed this?
He would have to speak to his friend seriously about this. He appeared to have no idea at all, what this Gen was capable of - and that really was verging on the criminal. Although to be fair to Vidal, Jordan knew that he himself had only noticed Jason's potential, because he had been raised to study Gens - looking for just this type of undeveloped ability. In Zeor, he would not have been allowed to slip through the net! At least, he hoped that that was still true.
'I take it back Sectuib. You do look sort of - agitated - after all.' The Gen blurted out.
'I would say I am more than just agitated, but I can assure you that you are alleviating my need very well indeed.' The Sime moved to sit beside him as he spoke. 'And you don't belong to my house Jason, so it's not necessary for you to call me Sectuib. Jordan will do. Are you ready?'
'I've been ready for the last hour! Sorry, I didn't mean to snap.'
'We've only been in here for twenty minutes. And apologies are not necessary. I expect that apart from your own need for transfer, my need too is affecting you.'
'I've never thought that I had a need for transfer before, and I don't believe I've ever been affected in that way by Vidal.'
'I think perhaps you have, but without realising it. Consider, have you never noticed that you start to get far more irritable and bad tempered, as the time for transfer draws close?'
'To be honest, I only remember that happening on one occasion. And apart from that one time, I don't think I have. Mind you old Vidal manages to drive me absolutely crazy at times - and I assure you, its got nothing at all to do with transfer! So I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference.'
Jordan forced a smile, but it felt more like a grimace. 'We'll have to discuss all this at some other time. I really don't think I can delay any longer.'
'Right, well let's get on with it then.' Jason said quickly, and confidently held out his arms.
He felt the Channel's tentacles settle into position on his skin, and for the first time he realised just how good it felt. Although at the back of his mind, he knew he would still rather have Vidal facing him at this moment, than the Sectuib in Zeor.
Before he'd met Vidal, when he had first joined the Tecton, he had given transfer to various Channels. It had been - all right. But until he had given transfer to his partner for the first time on Regis 9, he had never realised just how good it could be. This of course was yet another new experience, although whether he would find it satisfying or not, he had yet to find out.
Realising that Jordan was waiting for him to initiate the fifth point of contact. He closed his eyes, as he always did, and leaned towards the Channel till their lips met, in what his Gen ancestors had called with fear - the kiss of death.
He waited for the Sime to initiate transfer. Nothing happened! What was wrong? Why wasn't he drawing? Jason had expected the Zeor Channel to snatch at the selyn as soon as their lips touched. Much as Vidal did. After all, he was well overdue for transfer, and even for the Sectuib in Zeor, it could not be easy to exercise such tight control, especially when it was no longer necessary!
Jason's green eyes flew open, surprised to find himself looking into the Sime's black ones, only inches from his own. Quickly he closed them again, and experimented by trying to expel the selyn from his body, in almost the same way that Ralf had been teaching him to execute a genslam, he was surprised when he found that he could do so. But the Sime still made no effort to draw - so now what?
He opened his eyes just a little, and through his lashes saw the sweat running down the Channels forehead and into his eyes. Surely he wasn't dying? What would Vidal say if his friend died of attrition within inches of him? And if he did, how could he ever explain it? Shen it to hell - if Jordan, for whatever reason, would not initiate transfer - then it looked as if he must!
Taking another deep breath he began to push the selyn away from his body as fast as he could As he did so, he felt a strange sensation overwhelming him, that had only ever been hinted at before. Faster and faster the flow raced on, every cell in his body singing as they each took part in the glorious outpouring of life.
Then at the very pinnacle of total awareness, as the last sparkling dynopter of selyn left him, the flow drew almost gently to a halt. He opened his eyes yet again, this time to find the Channel's eyes were closed, a look of near euphoria was spread across the face that reminded him so very much of Vidal.
Drawing back, Jason broke lip contact, and then drew in a long shuddering breath, 'are you all right?'
Jordan caught up in the sheer bliss of the exchange, and even now revelling in the steady pulse of selyn production in the Gen's body. Took a moment or two to realise he was being addressed.
A wide grin crossed his face as he carefully dismantled his tentacles and moved back. 'Perhaps I should be asking you that?'
'Oh I'm fine. But what happened? I thought you weren't going to draw, and I was worried in case you died of attrition or something stupid like that, right in tentacle reach.'
'No chance! But I really should apologise for not warning you. To be honest, I allowed my scientific curiosity to get the better of me. I wanted to see what you would do, if you were allowed to take control of the transfer.' Jordan confessed wryly.
'You mean it was some kind of experiment? But if I hadn't taken over like that, and I really wasn't sure whether I should, you know! You might well have died!'
'As I said before, not a chance! Believe me, I was at the very end of my endurance when you decided to act. Another micro-second and I would have grabbed at your selyn and the test would have failed.'
'What test? I don't understand what you're talking about.'
'Come and sit down, I'll try to explain, while I brew some trin. I think we both need something to settle our nerves.'
Several minutes later Jason sat, sipping the hot tea, and trying to absorb what he had just been told.
'You reckon I'm a Drifter then? But even if I was, what made you think I was capable of that? Vidal has never suggested that I should do anything like that.'
'And he's right. It's not something to be undertaken lightly. In this instance I did not relinquish complete control, I was on guard all the time. Just in case I should need to step in, and control the transfer. I was certain that we would have no trouble over speed, because of what Tony told me about Vidal. As far as capacity was concerned, well you were already well passed the time that you should have given transfer to Vidal, and his capacity was always close to mine.'
'Yes, but he's not a working Channel, so it stands to reason that your capacity must have grown higher than his over the years.'
'I'm a scientist Jason, not a fool. I spoke to Gregory Rudd, Vidal's therapist, before I even suggested that Tony should serve him this time. I also spoke to your therapist. Both of them were extremely helpful and gave me access to the records they held on both of you, so that I could study them.
'Although I must admit, at the time, I intended to take nothing more than a normal transfer from you. It was not until I met you again today, that I was certain, that what I had felt about you when we first met on Rockall, had been correct. I must admit that up till then, I wasn't sure if it was just wishful thinking on my part. But I'm happy to say that it wasn't, and you are indeed what they termed in the old days, a Drifter. Today, such Gens are extremely rare, I have never met one myself - until I met you.'
'If you were certain I could handle the transfer. Why did you have to watch me?'
'Because when the Gen takes control, as I allowed you to do just now - is when he's at his most vulnerable.'
'You mean it could be dangerous?'
'To both of us, yes - Channels have been known to go junct.'
'Well I think you should have warned me first.'
'Which is precisely why I made sure I was aware of what was happening the whole time - ready to step in.'
'Are you going to tell Vidal about what happened?'
'Of course. But I'm sure he knows. Álthough I think he's either in denial to himself, or he has a good idea of what you are, but has his own reasons for not doing anything about it. I'm not sure which.'
'Yeah, that's Vidal all right. Just like his father in some respects, conservative through and through.'
'I tend to agree with your assessment as far as Maxwell is concerned, but not Vidal.' Jordan murmured as he swallowed the last of his trin. 'By the way, what did you think of Maxwell Trent?'
'Apart from the fact that he's a Genphobe? Not much.'
'A Genphobe?' The Channel gave a snort of laughter. 'I've never thought that any Sime could be a Genphobe - it's a contradiction in terms surely? Without Gens - Simes die - it's as simple as that. You can't have a phobia about something or someone who is your only source of life. Can you?'
'You wouldn't think so. But a phobia is a morbid fear or aversion. I don't say he has a morbid fear of Gens, but you can take my word for it, he most certainly has an aversion to them!' And for some reason, to me in particular, he added silently.
'Yes, I'm afraid he belongs to the class of people who think that money alone entitles them to everyone's respect. A fallacy of course, respect has to be earned. But unfortunately there are some people who can be bought, and so they feed the illusion. However, Gens are not his only "aversion". He feels the same way about Householders, and to a certain extent, the Tecton itself.'
'I know. He's bringing his grandson up to have the same philosophy and prejudices.'
'I wouldn't want to be near Maxwell, if young Tomar turns out to be Gen.'
'Neither would I. Although I must admit, he's skinny enough to be Sime, but I know you can't put any credence in that.'
'Agreed. However, I have already spoken to Vidal. If Tomar should be Gen. Vidal is going to press both the boy's father and Grandfather to send him to Zeor. I would be more than willing to accept him.'
'That's good of you. He could be quite a handful, with his upbringing.'
'Well, to be honest with you, I do have a vested interest. Did Vidal ever mention that I once asked him to join Zeor - and he refused?'
'Yes he did.'
'I'm still hoping that he'll change his mind at some time in the future - and as his Companion - you would of course also be welcome. Again, I'm thinking primarily of myself,' he admitted wryly, 'because inside Zeor, I would stand some chance of being able to take transfer from you again some day.'
'Yes, I suppose so. You know, it might just be worth joining Zeor after all?' Jason gave a cheeky grin, and then bent and picked up the empty glasses and carried them to the sink to wash. He looked back over his shoulder. 'But don't run away with the idea that I agree with you over everything else - because I don't. Far from it!'
'I take it you mean Rockall?'
Jason nodded his head vigorously, his hair falling into his eyes. He really would have to get it cut.
'And has Vidal told you what we're doing on Phobos?'
Jason nodded again.
'Can I therefore ask that you reserve judgement for the time being, and at least for the moment, give me the benefit of the doubt on everything else?' Jordan asked quietly, as he dried the glasses and placed them back in the cupboard.
'After an experience like that, it would be churlish of me to refuse wouldn't it?'
'Well it would certainly make it extremely difficult for us to work together.'
'And that's another thing. Vidal has told me next to nothing about this new assignment we're supposed to be undertaking together.'
'Patience. First I'll go and have a word with him about you. After all it would be wrong, if he didn't use the talent you possess. Whatever the objections he might have against doing so.' He walked to the door and then turned back, and said softly. 'My first transfer was of course the best.'
'Yes. But after that, there are perhaps a handful of other transfers that will always stand out in any Channel's life - this was one of them.'
'I think I know what you mean.'
'I'm sure you do. I'm only sorry Zeor did not discover you years ago, when you were more malleable. Who knows what you might have been capable of?'
'You know there could be lots more like me out there amongst the ordinary Donors, just waiting to be found. And if they really are anything like me, they wouldn't have a clue about themselves, would they?'
'Very true. Less than a century ago, Sime Centres actively sought out talented donors, all over the world. Nowadays things in the Tecton are so lax. Most donors are taught by the Hayashi method, and hardly anyone bothers to look for truly natural talent anymore, even Zeor isn't entirely blameless. We rarely look outside the Household.' Jordan shrugged expressively, and then went on.
'To be honest with you Jason, many Channels that I know - myself included - have often wondered how such things have progressed in the Distect during this same period of time? After all, their whole approach is, and always has been, diametrically opposite both to the Tecton, and ourselves.
'For which reason, it could well be that they have an even larger majority of truly talented Donors than they had in the past. If so.' He hesitated, and smiled at the Gen. 'However, I think perhaps we should leave this discussion for now. In the meantime, I'll arrange for a meeting between the four of us later, when we can discuss in full the new assignment we are to undertake. Does that satisfy you?'
'Yes, of course.' He hesitated, and then went on. 'Have you heard of the Runzi Campaign?'
'Yes. And that is something else we will have to discuss, but not now.'
'Okay, well I'll just have a quick shower before I leave here. Tell Vidal I won't be long.'
'Of course, and Jason - thank you once again, that was a most - interesting experience.' And he smiled across at the Gen.
'You're welcome.' Jason watched the door close behind the Channel. Slowly he pulled off his shirt, and then realised that his injured shoulder was no longer hurting him, and that he had never felt quite so fit and healthy for years.
Perhaps it had something to do with the transfer he had just had with Jordan? Then again perhaps it did not. Either way, he knew for certain, that he just had to experience that almost euphoric feeling again, at some time in the future.
He could only hope that Jordan would be able to convince Vidal that he should allow his Companion a more active roll in their transfers. Because if he didn't - well, ignorance is bliss - so the old saying went. But now that he knew what he was missing, and the blinkers had been torn from his eyes, he would find it very hard indeed to return to quite such a passive role in future.
He smiled grimly at himself in the mirror, as he elbowed into his shirt once more.
It looked as though Vidal and he were in for quite a few altercations, about the course that their relationship would take in the future. Yet strangely, it was something he was almost looking forward to, and at least he had the backing of the Sectuib in Zeor. Now that must be worth something, even in today's modern world, mustn't it?
He began to sing softly under his breath, feeling happier about the future than he had in a long time.
Ten minutes later he left the Transfer Suite feeling both ravenous and slightly elated. Quite sure now, that a new phase in his life was about to begin.
Ancient Ballard - Zelerod's Doom - writer unknown.
This can be sung to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star!"
Read the next INSTALLMENT "Journey to a Wild Place" now Chapter One
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