"We get the buggy this morning. I'll drive. The mare is pretty lively."
"The seat is more comfortable."
"Much better springs than the wagon, too. Ready? Good."
"So tell me how we're going to do this, what you'll want me to do."
"Well, your training is going to get a workout. The most important thing is that I'll require you to protect me from spikes in the ambient, especially when I'm performing a functional. Like I've said, these people have taken some big steps forward, first in taking their child to a Sime Center or missionary in the first place, second in wanting to stay in contact with the young Sime, and third in coming here to Nivet, crossing the border into Simeland and exposing themselves to Simes. Some of them have had terrible experiences with berserkers or even raiders, and although they've overcome them with their intellects, the effect on their emotions is not so easily overcome. When they see me take a Gen in a transfer grip, they may panic, or even just experience an adrenalin rush. They may be surprised by this themselves, and will try to control it. Unfortunately, to them, control means not letting it show to the common senses. They have no idea how to control what a Sime can zlin."
"I can try to protect you continuously."
"No, that won't be necessary, and I don't want you to tire yourself out. I'll go hypoconscious if somebody really panics. I'll signal you when I want you to do the 'bubble of isolation' pattern. The Gens won't perceive it, and it will give me all the insulation necessary."
"Please, Yilli, signal me if you require my help."
"Oh, I shall. I have no intention of suffering any more than necessary! I'm going to be using several techniques here. One is that I'll try to look as friendly and harmless as possible to these people. I'm going to act as much as I can like the Gen next door. I'll try to evoke parental feelings toward me in older adults, and to children and young adults, I'll try to seem like a mother or aunt or teacher. To Gens my own age, I'll try to seem like a sibling or friend or schoolmate. With the males, I may even flirt a little, if I think it will help. I'll also make use of the religious feelings of the religious ones, and personal feelings of gratitude they may have towards me for training the missionaries who served their children in First Need. You should observe my body language and theirs, what we say, try to figure out which tactic I'm using, and how well it works."
"You can take notes if you like. I may occasionally ask you to note something separately from what goes in their Tecton file. I'll tell you these things in Simelan, and we'll later track the Gen down and talk to him or her privately."
"What kinds of things?"
"Well, one real minefield with out-T Gens is the whole topic of sex and reproduction. In their culture, women are supposed to make a formal, lifetime commitment to a man, give up a lot of their rights to him, before they have sex, and especially before they get pregnant. We have marriage, but it's much less formal and more a cooperative agreement between equals, than it is out-T. At any rate, I learned the hard way that if I zlin that a woman is pregnant, congratulating her is not necessarily the best thing to do, especially in front of anyone who knows her. So we'll track these women down later, and tell them privately. The same for any kind of sexually transmitted disease. Also, if someone is seriously ill, we'll tell them privately.
"Oh, a few bits of Genlan idiom. They have all these euphemisms for anything to do with sex, as well as all kinds of curse words related to it. Of course, 'shen' doesn't have much impact for them as a bad word! And watch out, 'defecate' and 'urinate' are bad words to them too, very rude. So you can ask them if they want to 'visit the privy', but don't ever ask them if they have to urinate! Now one term to watch out for is 'the blessing'. That's what they call menstruation, because it's one sure way they can tell that a girl has established. They call any child in changeover a 'changeover victim', which we wouldn't do unless the child didn't survive, any more than we'd call a healthy mother a 'childbirth victim'. Of course, out-T few children in changeover survive.
They use 'sleep' or 'sleep together' as a euphemism for sex, so if they hear you say that we sleep together, they will think badly of us. It's true we enjoy sex together too, but that could upset them because we aren't married, and also, you might still seem like a child to some of them, and they think that an adult having sex with a child is as perverted and exploitative as we do. Maybe more so since they are more physically capable of it."
"Maybe I should just talk about the weather, or food."
"That might be safest. Of course, they all eat animals, so food can be a disturbing topic to us. It might be best if you say as little as possible while we are working up here. Once we go back to the barracks, everybody will be much more relaxed."
"Yilli, are you going to have other people close enough to hear when you take these donations?"
"It depends. I'm going to try to do most of them out in the open, where the people who are waiting to donate can watch. Seeing Gen after Gen donate without any harm will relax them a great deal, much more than if they see people taken away to a transfer room, even if they come out again unharmed. Just noting things like a particular person being gone longer than usual will increase their nervousness more than seeing a dozen people reappear in a few minutes will decrease it. So we'll set up a little cubicle with curtains, so the person I'm taking donation from, and any friends or family members in there with us will feel some privacy, but it will be open in the front so the other people can watch from a distance and get used to the idea before their turn comes.
"As they come across the border, they'll have to do paperwork first and then the border guards will send them to us. We'll have Gens at the office to help them, and at the donation area to serve tea and food and chat with them. Some of the Simes from out-T who are pre-turnover will be there too. This will put everybody in a better mood, and they'll have a chance to see tentacles on someone who talks and acts pretty much like people they are used to. As we get groups of them in, I'll introduce us and give them a little pep talk about how donation is painless, they'll be giving a gift of life to a Sime, and that there's good money in selyn -- if they can relax, not only will I be able to draw enough to pay for their whole trip, but they'll have lots left over to buy interesting in-T products at the little trade fair at the barracks. What's more, they'll get free medical diagnosis and treatment from a top-notch channel, me. Then I'll do a little demo with one of our Gens, and ask for volunteers. I'll tell them that they are guaranteed transportation to the reunion, so they shouldn't feel rushed because everyone else in their group is ready to leave. Some of these people may have to sit there for a long time until boredom and habituation overcome their nervousness. If it gets to the point where there are too many such people, so that we don't have a volunteer every time we are ready for one, we'll go out and chat with some of them for a little while, and that will often get one of them to volunteer, usually followed by the rest. I'll take as long as necessary with each donor to make the experience as easy as possible for them.
"One thing to watch out for is that a person who volunteers right off is not necessarily someone who is comfortable with the idea. Some people deal with their anxiety by just wanting to get the thing over with as soon as possible. The longer they wait, the more nervous they get. So I'll try to oblige these people by taking their donations as soon as they volunteer to give them. Don't be surprised if I spend a lot of time easing some of the first volunteers through the process."
"Are you going to try to take all the donations yourself?"
"If I can. We're only expecting about seventy or eighty adults, and many won't show up until tomorrow. I'd rather use the channels the Tecton sent up as mules. Let them take the rest of the day off and haul the selyn back into town. A few of them may be interested enough to try to learn from me. If they're sincere and not disruptive, I'll teach them whatever I can."
"But you're going to have more than one Gen in the cubicle with you... isn't that going to be difficult?"
"I've done all this before, and it usually works very well. Simes are fond of saying that Gens act like herd animals, but Simes are even more that way because they can be so swayed by the ambient. Peer pressure works well on everybody, but I want to be careful not to let it get out of hand, to the point where somebody feels too pressured and tries to force themselves to volunteer. That's why I guarantee transportation. But peer pressure can be helpful to me too. For example, if I invite the children to watch their parents donate, the parents will feel obliged to look good in front of the children. Older adults who see newly established Gens donate will feel embarrassed not to do something a 'child' can do. Similarly, if they see an elderly person donate, they'll feel that they can overcome their trepidation if such a person can. But I won't take a group in together if I zlin that one or more people in it aren't ready or almost ready."
"Yilli, I'm worried. It sounds like you're taking a real risk of getting injured by their emotions."
"You'll be surprised how well it works out. I'll have you positioned to pick up my cues easily, and I'll always take your support, unusually strong support, during a functional. Oh, another thing -- I generally won't have the Gen recline on the transfer lounge. I'll do it with both of us sitting or even standing. Lying down may be comfortable for an experienced donor, but a neophyte can feel trapped and vulnerable."
"I hope you'll take frequent rests."
"Don't worry, I shall. If either of us gets too tired we can rest in the back for a little while. But you've seen how little rest I require between functionals. We'll be working for at least twelve hours, and even with eighty donors, that's quite a bit of time each, with you and some of the other Donors doing the paperwork. You'll be surprised. With most of them, it will be spending a few minutes talking to a group, then a few minutes with each volunteer. If they see someone they know well just sit down and zip, donate, the rest of them will take very little time. This will give us plenty of time to work with the people who really require it. These aren't just random out-T Gens. They are people who have made a strong commitment to Unity in their minds and hearts. We just have to finish convincing their bodies."
"If you say so."
"Really, Janush, it works. Oh, a couple more things, if it's okay with you, I might want to use your youth and good looks to help relax some of the donors, so if you don't mind, I may tease you and them a little. For example, I may tell a female Gen something like 'Don't you wish it was a handsome young man like Janush taking your donation instead of me'."
"Of course, Yilli, if you think it will help."
"Guarding your field won't do a thing for them, but if you just feel free to blush or look a little embarrassed, it'll actually help."
"I won't do it if you don't want me to, because it's exploiting you. I'll try not to let you really get embarrassed, but if you think of it as a sort of non-standard way of not only supporting my efforts, but manipulating the Gen's emotions the way you manipulate a renSime's for his own good in a transfer situation, I think you can actually have fun with it."
"Okay, sure. I'll try it."
"Now the other thing is closer to the heart of your vocation. I'm going to do something I often do with donors, one of the reasons I'm so successful in upgrading them. I believe, and everything I've ever done with Gens has confirmed it, that together with all the other instincts I exploit to help a Gen easily give a good donation, every Gen has an instinct to be attracted to a Sime in need, and want to give that Sime his selyn. Most Gens never have an opportunity to become aware of that attraction, and out-T the cultural conditioning they experience suppresses it powerfully, but I believe it's still there, and can be elicited in many of them. Every Gen in my House has made GN-1, often on first donation. Almost every one who wanted to has made TN-3, although a few have such low production it was hard to find a QN-3 they could match so they could be qualified. Still, I'll try to elicit selyur nager from these out-T donors. I believe your sensitivity is good enough now that you'll be able to detect the faint projection of need I'll start with, and in addition to supporting me I want you to observe the donor very carefully as I work with him nagerically in this way. For some of them, it won't work right off, or it may even make them more nervous, so I'll just get them calm and willing and take a GN-3 donation. But with a few of them, something remarkable will happen, and you won't require zlinning to perceive it. The Gen will lean towards me, the hands will move toward mine, and this will happen without the Gen consciously willing it. When I zlin something like that about to happen, I'll slow down. I'll work with that Gen nagerically, I'll let that Gen respond to my projected need, and I won't make lateral contact until the response is as intense as necessary to qualify that Gen GN-1, and then I'll do so. You've seen me do this before, and with out-T Gens, too."
"Yes, the four students, in the deferment suite."
"Did you know that the one I started with, the one who I had sit next to me, was the most nervous one of the lot?"
"No, I didn't. They all seemed eager, at least superficially."
"By taking that one first, I not only made it easier for him, by spending more time working on him, but I made it easier for the others, who knew he was the most nervous, to believe it would be easy for them, too."
"I saw what you just told me about. His hands were forming themselves to take a transfer grip. When you touched him with your laterals, he shivered and made the fifth contact without prompting. He truly wanted to give you his selyn, not just get through a donation."
"Yes. He didn't realize what he was feeling. He probably didn't consciously feel it at all. But by helping him relax his controls, his conditioning, his fears and embarrassment, his body could express its natural response to a Sime's need, selyur nager."
"It was remarkable. I wrote to Skyepar about it."
"I wish I could teach every one of these Gens to give transfer, even if they only experience the simulation. Slilbliss is their birthright, even if they never have the joy of directly serving a Sime's need. For those who go back out-T, it would make them safe from berserkers and let them save lives. It would make the ones who live in-T safer too, and let them live more comfortably with Simes, let them help Simes in need instead of having to avoid them. But I can only do this in my own House, and I can't let the Gens serve the renSimes in transfer. I had to agree to this in order to get the Tecton to recognize Teiu. Roza and I talked about what compromises we were willing to make, and this was one point we knew we'd have to concede. We had only so much goodwill from Muryin, and we didn't dare seem to be Distect, even though we aren't. I'm trusting you with this, Janush. It's getting more dangerous all the time to seem Distect. That board of inquiry was a lot more concerned about that than that I was purposely burning Gens."
"I think you're right. Why should only TN class Gens have the chance to enjoy transfer? I saw how the renSimes could be comfortable with the Gens in your House, and vice versa. Serri told me that was real Unity, and she's right. You've done something wonderful in Teiu, Yilli. Other Householdings don't have that, do they?"
"Perhaps some do, but they don't advertise it. At Naros, some renSimes and Gens are transfer partners. The channels help them find safe matches, so they don't have the risks the Tecton tells us the Distect takes uncaringly, killing Gens and juncting Simes. The time isn't right for everyone to live that way. I don't know if it will ever be. I can't fight every battle, and I gave up my right to fight in that one. It's more important to me, then and now, to save lives than to try to perfect them. But I do what I can. I train any of my Gens who wants it, and I take donations as simulated transfers, as do my other channels. I invented the ceremony we had the other night as a way of showing the members what it means to be a Householding, naztehrhai together, sharing our lives and selyn. It started out as a pledge ceremony for Gens, and I took their donations in the standard way, served a renSime, then pledged the Gen before the whole House assembled. But now, in addition to the beauty the members create in the ambient for all of us, and the feeling of being one family together, it's the closest I can give the renSimes to direct transfer, a possibility I took away from them when I made my contracts with the Tecton seven years ago."
"Yilli, the more I learn about Teiu, the more I admire you."
"Oh, well, it's not just me. A lot of these ideas I worked out with Roza and Tapiu, and the other naztehrhai as they pledged and matured and built the House."
"I'm looking forward to meeting them, if I can. Especially Roza."
"I think you'll like each other. Roza can teach you a lot. She's taught me and Skyepar a lot. She's one reason Skyepar and I have such a high opinion of Gens and what they can do. Not long after Roza started working as Skyepar's Donor, they went to a big meeting at the Regional offices. During a break, Skyepar started complaining that too many of these channels outrated him, how could he ever zlin anything through a Farris's showfield that the Farris didn't want him to zlin. In those days he was still too much influenced by his mother's disappointment that he wasn't a Farris. Roza laughed out loud and said she'd never seen anybody, in-T or out, who was as easy to read as a Farris. She told him that if he couldn't zlin them he should stop trying, and look at them like a Gen. It was good advice, and we've both taken it. I'm trying to encourage you to learn it too, to believe in it. A lot of Gens feel inferior to Simes, in-T, but they shouldn't. It's a prejudice, and I try to fight it in my own thinking and actions, and with the members of my House."
"You and Skyepar have both treated me as a person first and a Gen second, even when you were enjoying what I could do for you nagerically. You've always made me feel that anything I did for you was my choice, my gift, not a duty or obligation or something you could demand or take as your right. The channels I worked with in the Tecton were mostly polite and professional, but they always saw me as a Gen first, not a colleague. I thought it was because I was inexperienced, but it wasn't much different for the older Donors. Even the Householders didn't think it was unusual. Some of them told me to stop expecting so much from channels and make my friends among the other Gens."
"Things are changing, Janush. They've changed just in our lifetimes in ways that would have been unimaginable before Unity. It will be a long time until everyone sees larity as no more important than gender. It may never reach that point. It's not much comfort to you to know that most Simes will always regard you more as a particularly luscious nager than as a fine human being, just as some out-T men will never see an attractive woman as other than something to have sexual fantasies about. Because they have no live Simes out there, that depressing human tendency to make oneself feel superior by finding some other group to regard as inferior gets shifted from larity to gender, and most of it is just as irrational, and just as strongly defended as natural. You'll have an opportunity to see it among our out-T guests, and it may teach you something about larity prejudice in-T, as well as help you if you go to Cago with Skyepar."
"I hadn't thought of it that way. In history we learned that the Gen Army was all men, and they had other strange ideas about what kinds of work men and women should do, but we feel the same way about Simes and Gens."
"Yes, and we use the same arguments about physical strength and emotional stability to justify them, even when those factors are irrelevant to the work under discussion. We'll talk about it another time. Here we are, and you can see the wagons behind the barrier. Let's get some trin and check that everything is set up for us to get to work when the border opens. We'll see whether Hajene Yilli, the selyn-sucking Sectuib, can wrangle Wild Gens as well as did the Sectuibs of long ago with their expensive Choice Kills."