4 days after autumn equinox, 12 AU
Dear Roza and Skyepar,
I've met a very extraordinary young Donor, and I really want to do something for him, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what. I'm hoping you and Skyepar can help. I'm leaving for Naros in a few hours but will be back here in a week.
Last evening I walked over to the Capital Central Sime Center to offer my volunteer services as a channel. Things were backed up a bit in the collectorium since they had to pull staff off to manage several extra changeovers that were going on at once, so I figured I'd do a few hours work, chat with the staff and donors, drink trin, etc. The clerks were upset because they didn't have a spare First to support me in the excruciatingly delicate work of taking donations from a bunch of Gens whose main nageric difficulty is that they are getting a bit annoyed at being kept waiting. I told them it was no problem, I can work without support, and got started. Ten minutes later, Hajene Z QN-2 came in, bringing Sosu Janush, TN-2, whom he has just pulled out of bed to support the Sectuib in Teiu in her difficult functionals. He apologized for not being able to provide me with someone more suitable, which I thought was rather tactless right in front of this poor young Gen, so I thanked Hajene and told him that from a quick zlin, I was sure that Sosu Janush and I would work very well together. Hajene zipped off to his other important work.
I told Janush that as far as I am concerned, he can go back to bed, but knowing the politics in Sime Centers, if he actually does so, everybody will think he has done something awful to disgrace himself, so if he wants to relax in the comfy chair provided for the channel to recover from the functionals, he is welcome to. Now here is the first clue. He smiles, showing me that he has a sense of humor, but the amusement does not affect his field support, which retains the Tecton Standard Light Support of Channel Not Actively Engaged in Functionals pattern. I mean, I can zlin the smile too, but the support is completely unperturbed. This is quite remarkable in a Second. Why is he still a Second?
I had already arranged with the clerks to send me another donor as soon as they see the previous one come out. I am soon draining the backlog as fast as I am draining the Gens, everything is perfectly routine, everybody is healthy and normal, except I tell one Gen to her delight and another to her chagrin that she is pregnant. I qualify five GN-3s as GN-2s, two GN-2s as GN-1s, and I tell one GN-1 that he might wish to consider training as a Donor. Almost everybody is happy, and the main reason I can zip through them so fast is that Janush is willing to sit at the desk and fill out the forms from dictation while I just sit on the nicely upholstered transfer lounge, read through the files, chat with the donors as they come in and drain them. I pre-sign a pad of receipts so I don't even have to get up to sign them, he just fills in the numbers and hands them to the donors. It may be childish, but I like the little nageric frisson when the donors realize that they get more cash than usual when I'm the one taking donations.
The waiting room is pretty much empty and I invite Sosu to go out for a snack with me. Sosu is concerned: Don't I want to rest first? He hasn't worked with Firsts before, but he has never seen a channel spend almost four hours doing one functional after another without a break, except I did go out to pee once and several times dumped my secondary on some other channels they sent over from the dispensary. I agree to rest while they send over some more human selyn tanks for me to load up. I have him sit in the comfy chair, get into his lap, have him put his arms around me, I manipulate his field a little, and we both feel very good, except he zlins a bit amazed, too. I tell him I am teaching him a new trick to support channels, private to my House, that I personally like better than neckrubs. We go out, I load up the dispensary channels, one of whom feels awkward about taking the upload standing in the office instead of on a transfer lounge in a private insulated transfer room. This is beyond me -- this guy has sworn to put his body between the Sime and the Kill and he is embarrassed to be seen by a bunch of selyn accounting clerks in lateral contact with the Sectuib in Teiu? We get the bookkeeping sorted out, I explain that since Sosu will not be on the boards again until tomorrow morning, I would appreciate it if they would allow him to continue to provide his excellent support to the Sectuib in Teiu for a little longer until I bring him back. They should regard this as a continuation of the overtime he has spent assisting me in working the collectorium. I am careful to say all the formulas and not lay it on too thick.
So we go out and I ask him to suggest a place to eat. He zlins a bit flustered and I infer that he is embarrassed to suggest an expensive place since I am paying and he is wearing the clothes he threw on when they yanked him out of bed to support me, but he is also reluctant to suggest the usual sort of place he goes to when he wants to escape Sime Center food to the Sectuib in Teiu. I mention that my sister and First Companion Roza and I travelled around for the first years after Unity, sometimes we slept under rocks and gathered wild plants to eat, so atmosphere was not a big priority, just good food and plenty of it for Gens. We go to a student-type place a few blocks from the Sime Center. I have a small fruit salad with a little yogurt, Sosu has the all-you-can-eat buffet. He established less than a year ago and is still growing. We sit around drinking trin and I compliment him on the texture of his nager, which really is very nice. I say that although in this case I didn't require his support, I would be glad to have it if I did require it.
He shyly asks me if I think he might be able to make First some day. I ask him if he minds me deep zlinning him and manipulating his field in public. It's mostly a Gen restaurant, it's the middle of the night, there's nobody in the place, the ambient is pretty flat. We can pretend that he is doing something heroic to save a channel in desperate trouble, I'll even throw in a bit of theatrics if he prefers. He says no, no problem. I take him in contact and deep zlin him. Then I put my head on his shoulder and ask him to project different things, pretend this, pretend that, etc, you know the drill. I then ask him to tell me what he feels as I go along, take a fifth contact from the base of his throat and really start pushing his field around. He's amazed, nobody has ever done stuff like this to him before. He's been reading books and never understood a lot of what they were describing until I gave him the experience, and now he can use the terminology to describe it as it happens.
They are whining about a Donor shortage and here they are throwing away this man's potential. They timidly qualified him Second on his first transfer. They are afraid to give him anyone who significantly overmatches him lest the channel go berserk and scorch him a bit. The Gen Must Not Be Hurt. They only want interchangeable Tecton Standard support from him, and don't care what else he can do or learn to do. I put my head on his shoulder and ask him to put everything he has into it, pretend I am dying, only he can ease my suffering, but do not raise my intil. He's fairly low field, he doesn't have the power, but the texture of his nager is a work of art. I tell him to keep it up, relinquish lateral contact, and ask him to put his arms around me. I rest against him physically and nagerically, love and gratitude gradually suffuse his nager, he holds me closer. I float in his field. We stay there a long time. This is the most pleasurable thing that has happened to me in quite a while. He maintains the field characteristics effortlessly. He even begins to doze a little without slacking up on this beautiful support. I wish I could requisition him to sleep with me for a few nights. There would be no nightmares inside that field.
Somebody in the kitchen drops a pile of dishes. He comes awake without disrupting the ambient he has created, I float down duoconscious in time to hear the last bits of china and glass clatter around. All this happens with absolute smoothness. I go sit back in my chair. He looks at me expectantly. I think what to tell him. I know what I want to do -- I want to rail against a policy that it is more important to standardize than to develop individuals. That hearing he is an artist, the only thing they can think of is give him a bucket of whitewash and tell him to paint a shed. That they require rags to clean up the kitchen, and it doesn't matter if they are pieces of worn out dish towels or pieces of intricate tapestry that someone went blind embroidering. They require a cog of a certain size and shape, so it's to their advantage to keep him a Second issuing standard support even though he could be a First not only issuing standard support at a higher level, but using his talent to support channels who really require it to do things few channels can do. Working alone or as a colleague with a channel instead of as a nageric body servant this young man could do remarkable things to ease suffering. I would willingly die in his arms. Too many have died without such arms to die in.
I thanked him for one of the most beautiful experiences I've had in some time. I told him that I have no doubt that he could qualify as a First. I told him that I can't estimate how high his potential is in terms of serving transfer, but I'm a midrange First and I'm sure he could match me. That he has a remarkable talent for manipulating his field in support of a channel. Not only can he do so with technical skill, he can do so with beauty. I ask him whether he has thought about specializing in some area other than Sime Center functions. He says he had always hoped he would change over as a channel so he could be a healer. I told him that I think he has exceptional talent not only to support channels in healing, but that he could easily learn to heal Simes with his own field. That in a few minutes he had learned how to ease the death of a Sime. All I had to do was ask him to try and he did it effortlessly. I even zlinned him doing it in his sleep.
He had told the channels who trained him that he wanted to work with healers. They said that Donors were required in the Sime Centers, and he should be able to get in some support of channels doing healing there, especially in the larger Sime Centers. So he asked to be sent to a large center and they sent him where I found him. He had been there for five months, almost entirely supporting Seconds in the collectorium and dispensary. He wondered if they thought he wasn't suited to supporting healers. He asked me for advice.
I thought about it for a long time. I noticed right off that my thoughts kept circling back to ideas that would enable me to spend time with him. I asked him to slowly fade out the support. He did so and tentatively offered the Tecton Standard Light Support, etc. I told him that I didn't require it. He told me he really liked supporting me, could he continue? I asked him whether he could feel how our fields engaged and moved the ambient around a bit. A look of awe came over his face, and he said he couldn't before, but now he can with me. Roza, Skyepar, I'm still five days from need. I'm feeling no need, no intil. He's fairly low field, had transfer less than a week ago. He's been trained, he's been working in the same place with the same channels for five months. Why haven't they noticed?
I decide to lay it on the line. I'm afraid I fairly blasted him with diatribe. I really got carried away. I apologized for messing up his life and destroying whatever faith he might have had in the benevolence of the Tecton to him personally. I told him he couldn't go back to being a Second and he probably wouldn't like being a Sime Center First any better. He'd probably like it less because every First Order channel he met would want to get his tentacles on him once they realized what he could do, regardless of what he himself would like or would be good for him, and I knew that was the truth because I felt it myself. They'd be doing all that ugly scheming those high Firsts do to get the best Donors away from each other.
So I didn't know what to suggest. It would be great to get him into a House like Sat'htine, but Skyepar's mother wouldn't take in Klyd Farris and his grandfather if they came to life again and begged. I could offer to take him into Teiu and protect him that way, but what else does Teiu have to offer him? Roza and I are the only real Firsts we've got. Mavis is a First, but just barely. Apart from her, all the Donors I've trained are Thirds and a few Seconds. I have no experience developing a high First. Plus being ambrov Teiu is not going to do anyone much good in the Tecton, certainly not at any top level, and especially now that they've got a louder bee buzzing in their bonnets about Distect tendencies.
So I told him about Skyepar, and the CRF, and suggested that maybe you two can get him out of the shenned rota and help him develop and give him the healing work he wants so much to do. Can you do something, Skyepar? Are you planning to come to Capital any time soon? I feel a really strong obligation to help this young man after what I've done to awaken his gift.
Through all this he just keeps up the standard light support even though his emotions are getting more and more intense. He just wants to engage my field so much, but I've asked him not to. He has a very powerful attraction to me, and I have to admit I have as strong a one to him. It isn't fair for me to give in to it. I'd be taking advantage of him.
I finally ran down, and ended with:
"I've given you a lot to think about, especially for someone who's been dragged out of bed after too little sleep, made to work a half shift, then taken out for a meal that ended in some amazing things being done in response to a simple request for an opinion on his potential for achieving First. I've completely disrupted your life, without intending to. I feel a strong obligation to help you, but it's not clear what the best way is. Will you trust my judgment to the extent of keeping quiet about what's happened tonight for at least a week or two until we get things sorted out better?"
And he answered:
"Hajene ... I'll do what you say. You can zlin how I feel, I never imagined that I could sense these things ... thank you. I can tell that you want the best for me, but don't feel bad that you want to be with me, I want to be with you too. May I ... will you let me hold you like I did before?"
I let him hold me. I felt encircled by gratitude and kindness and a yearning to help and comfort me. Roza, Skyepar, I need this, it's too hard to be the strong, decisive, confident Sectuib all the time. I need a time to be weak, too. But I can't indulge myself at this young Gen's expense. I've unintentionally taken on a grave responsibility by awakening this young man's talents. Help me figure out what to do to help him.
p.s. I'm appending his characteristics as best I can estimate and recall them. Some may look way out of line, but I assure you those in particular are the ones I recall most accurately. I'll be really interested to find out what Skyepar can discern when he gets a chance to evaluate this remarkable young Gen.