A Morning at the Seed Farm



"Good morning, Serri"

"Good morning, Janush. Ready for breakfast?"

"Where is Sectuib Yilli?"

"She's gone out with some of the farm people to look at some land we want to lease. They'll probably be back before noon."

"I should have gone with her."

"Don't worry. She told us to let you sleep as long as you like and feed you well when you got up. Do you want some trin to start?"

"Okay. Mmm. This is nice trin."

"We're calling the blend Red Roza. The color comes from a strain we're marketing as Red Unity. It's bred from a wild trin one of the missionaries found in New Washington somewhere. He sent us seeds. It doesn't have much flavor but it's nice in a blend like this."

"It's a very pretty color."

"It has red flowers as well as red leaves. The seed production plot is something to see when it's in bloom. Now what can I get you to eat? How about some maize porridge with an egg poached in it?"

"That sounds good."

"Here, have some bread and peanut butter while you're waiting. There's blackberry jam too."

"I've never eaten peanut butter before. I'll try some."

"That's right. Sectuib said you're from Shen. None of these northerners eat peanuts much, but we grow and eat a lot of them at Konawa. They're real good Gen food, full of energy."

"I just spread it on like this? Like regular butter?"

"Yep. Do you like it?"

"It does taste a little like nuts. It's good. The bread is good too."

"I'm glad you like it. I never ate rye bread before I came up here. I got the recipe from one of the out-T students from the north. They grow a lot of it where he comes from. It's kind of heavy, but I like it too."

"Do you do all the cooking and baking?"

"A lot of it, while I'm up here. It's what I like best. But everybody helps out sometimes, especially when we're preserving food for winter. Here, let me fill up your trin mug."

"Thanks. You're taking good care of me."

"You're taking good care of Sectuib. We can all see that she's in better shape than she's been in a long time."

"She says it's because I help her sleep better."

"It's more than that, Janush. A First should really have a Companion with her all the time. Sectuib thinks she can do without, but we can all see how much better she does when Roza is with her. None of us Thirds can do what someone like you can do for her."

"You're a Third?"

"All the Gens here at the seed farm are, and most of the Gens at the tree nursery too. Sectuib trains everyone who wants to learn, and that's almost all of us. Once we qualify, we can travel on Tecton rotations and bring in more money for the House. We can help our renSimes better too."

"I hadn't thought about that part, about the renSimes."

"In most Houses the renSimes have to stay away from the Gen members when they're approaching need, but since most of us are Companions, they don't have to in Teiu, and the Tecton can't criticize. Sectuib says this is what real Unity is about, living together and helping each other, everybody safe and confident with each other."

"She's right. I never thought about it that way. I went into Donor training as soon as I established so I never had to avoid Simes in need."

"When I established my father told my brother to throw the Gen in the wagon and haul it to the Pen. He never spoke to me again."

"That's awful. What happened to you?"

"That was the first summer the Householding got going, and the Sime Center was still at the old Pen in the village. I didn't know what was going to happen to me. I hadn't been off our farm more than a few times; our father wouldn't send us to school, even. He said we could learn everything we required in First Year. I knew they weren't killing many Gens any more, but I thought they might still chain me up and just take my selyn. My brother said he'd help me run for the border if I wanted but I was too afraid. So we went to the Sime Center, and Sectuib was there, and she was really kind to me and congratulated me that I'd grown up. She said I could live at the Householding for three months on the program for new Gens to learn to live with Simes, and they'd teach me to read and write and other useful things and then I'd be in a good position to decide what to do next. She told my brother where the Householding was and invited him to visit me any time. That night I went home with her, and she sat next to me with her arm around me the whole way, and the people at the Householding were all really nice to me. There were lots of kids and young adults my age, and some other new Gens from the area. Two days later Sectuib worked with me a while and then took my donation, and I made GN-1 and she told me that if I wanted to be a Companion she'd teach me. Here's your porridge."

"Thanks. So did you pledge right away?"

"No. Sectuib always waited out the three months. But after three months, I felt like a different person. It really was like a Sime's First Year. I'd learned how to do all kinds of things, and how to get along with all these other people, and really liked living at the Householding. So Sectuib let me pledge for a year, and started training me as a Companion. That's when I got into the cooking end of things. When I was a kid, we didn't have much variety in the way of food, so when I saw all the different things they ate at the Householding, and how good they were I was really amazed. The District Controller had sent us this elderly renSime, a really nice man we all called Uncle Radek, to help set up the accounting for the Sime Center when we moved it to the Householding. He was a Householder who had done this kind of work all over Nivet after Unity, and he invited some other retired Householders he knew to come help us and teach us what we required to get the House going. So this Gen man was doing the cooking and teaching us how to feed a big group of people with healthy food that tasted good and would even tempt a Sime in need to eat. I was really interested in this work, and ended up doing a lot of the kitchen management and took over when he left."

"Did your brother come visit you?"

"Yes. He used to sneak away from the farm and come to the Householding. It was a real eye-opener to him too, to see all these new things. What he really liked was the machine shop that Matti was starting up. At first they were mostly just fixing up the old farm equipment we had and trying to keep it working, but Matti was working part time with the mechanic in town, and when she got too sick to work she told Matti to move it all to the Householding and keep it going. Matti was qualified by then and used to go back and spend the nights with the mechanic and look after her and help her feel better. She was an end-stage semijunct and didn't live much longer. So we got all the tools and equipment, and the farmers started coming to us for repairs, even the ones who didn't think much of the new ways. My brother really wanted to be a mechanic, but of course he couldn't do anything while he was still a child. Our father was drinking a lot more and used to rant about how he didn't get his investment back on me and if my brother established he'd kill him himself and get at least some good out of his children. I told Sectuib and she talked to my brother and tried to get the reeve to let my brother stay at the Householding with us, but our father wouldn't agree, so it was something we were all real worried about. My brother would sneak away when our father was in need, figuring that even if he established he couldn't kill him the rest of the time, but we were still afraid that he might keep him from getting away until he came into need. So we were going to go rescue him if we didn't see him every few days. This went on for several months and finally my brother showed up at the Householding in changeover and I was so relieved I just started crying!"

"Wow. It's like a story from the junct days."

"Well, not quite as bad, but things are a lot better now. Most of that old junct thinking has died off with the juncts. And it wasn't even true that he didn't get his investment back. He got a selyn tax credit every year for each of us kids, and a big one when I established. The Region had a policy of giving the parents a tax credit equivalent to the average price of a Domestic Gen at the nearest Choice Auction five years before Unity when the child established. It kept a lot of unrest down and probably saved quite a few lives. In the first years after Unity there was a black market in Domestic Gens, but most juncts were willing to take the tax credit rather than risk the severe penalties if they were caught selling their child as a kill."

"Did your brother get to be a mechanic?"

"Oh, yes. As soon as Sectuib confirmed that he was in changeover he asked to pledge. She told him he had to finish becoming a Sime first. I had qualified by then so I got to stay with him and help him through changeover, and be the first to congratulate him after Sectuib served his First Transfer. The next week we had a pledge ceremony and she pledged him for his First Year. He works with Matti and really likes it. The only thing is he'd like to go out-T to sell our equipment and train the customers, but of course only the Gens can do that. Sectuib says that if all goes well it might happen in our lifetimes that renSimes can travel out-T freely, and even not have to wear retainers."

"What happened to your father?"

"Well, he would never speak to my brother again, either, and he kept drinking and eventually died in a fight in Konawa. He was way behind in his taxes so everything went at auction. Some of us went and looked over the farm, and we figured the part with the buildings was so eroded and rundown that it would go cheap. We wanted a piece of land like that to work on a project with the Land Management School in Konawa to show how worn out hilly land could be made productive again, and since my brother and I would get any proceeds after the taxes were paid off, the House ended up getting the land for almost nothing. We limed it and put it in alfalfa and grass right off, and had some augmentation parties to block the gullies and stop the erosion. We put some beehives over there and in two years we were selling alfalfa seed. Then we planted pecan and walnut trees into the sod with fruit trees in between three years ago. We should be starting to sell dried fruit in a couple of years, and by the time the nut trees require the space, the apricots and peaches will be too old and can come out. So we'll have a mixed nut, pear and apple orchard that should last for a hundred years, instead of a useless piece of land that couldn't even produce enough maize to pay taxes for one Sime."

"I guess a Householding can think far into the future like that."

"Well, an ordinary person can too. That's why it's a demonstration project. People are going to be living a lot longer than in junct times, and even if they don't pass the land on to their kids, they can sell it for a lot more if it's in good productive shape like that. Now that the Gens are out running around making money instead of sitting in the Pens eating slop, there's a good market for good food, and the farmers who go for it will do well."

"And the Simes have smartened up too -- they're eating good food, and want stuff that tastes good enough to eat after turnover."

"Especially with Gens like us around nagging and nagering them into eating it!"

"Yilli's really good about eating, but she does appreciate me helping her be hungry sometimes. Of course, I haven't been with her after turnover. I guess I'll find out soon."

"Sectuib is really good that way, and she tries to make the renSimes be serious about eating too. She's zlinned too many Simes who are doing slow suicide by malnutrition. Householding Simes usually live forty or even fifty years after changeover, while in the old days a twenty year old junct was a really old Sime, just falling apart, and mostly from not eating right."

"Can you give me advice about how to take care of her, what she likes to eat?"

"She likes most kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables. I know it's hard in the winter, especially up here in the north, but you can soak dried fruit like apricots in hot water until they're soft, and cut up carrots and rutabagas and celeriac and black radishes for her. Even when she's in hard need, and can't bear to chew anything, she'll usually take a little miso broth, and if you chop up some tofu into really small pieces in the broth she'll eat that too."

"Will she keep drinking water and trin to stay hydrated?"

"Usually, but we try to remind her. If we make the trin and hand it to her, she'll drink it, and even thank us despite being irritable with need. She's a good example for the rest of the Simes. They know that a high order channel feels need worse and has to go deeper into need than they do, so if she can stay polite, so can they."

"She's always so polite, to me and everybody. Hajene Skyepar, too. When I first worked with them in Capital it was almost like they were deferring to me. I was pretty nervous working with a couple of experienced First Order channels like that but they were so kind and gentle I could relax and trust them."

"You can trust Sectuib absolutely. We all do. She'll hurt herself before she'll take a risk of hurting you."

"I don't want her to do that. I'm there to take the stress for her."

"Well, you two are in for a struggle then, if you both want to spare the other the worst! But she said you'll soon be a First yourself, so you can do a lot nagerically to help her that the rest of us can't. Are you going to pledge the House?"

"I think I want to, but she said it was too early to decide. She said it might be best politically for her to pledge me before I serve Skyepar. He's going to officially qualify me, but Yilli thinks I'll probably match her in time for her next transfer, so if she takes me without a shunt I'll really qualify then."

"I wish I could serve her myself, but I reached my peak production long ago. I'm a high Third, and I'll never even be a Second. Still, I get to serve Thirds sometimes, which is great, and brings in money for the House, and Tapiu and Sectuib both take my donations as simulated transfers, which is at least as good as most real transfers."

"I never heard of simulated transfers until I met Yilli."

"She trains us all that way. It's fast and easy and almost everybody can qualify who really wants to. I don't know why the Tecton doesn't do it, unless they are trying to select for really phlegmatic TN-3s who don't let anything alarm them. Is that how they trained you? A lot of rote, a little field manipulation, then wham, into the arms of some desperate channel in hard need, make it or break it?"

"Pretty much, but I really wanted to qualify, so it wasn't too hard for me."

"It must be hard on the qualifying channels, taking someone's first transfer when they're in hard need themselves, not knowing if the Gen is going to panic despite all the training. That's one reason they really like us when we go to Konawa to qualify. We get great reports -- we do better than a lot of experienced Thirds for the channels, because we already know how to enjoy transfer and share it with the channel. When I went to qualify, the channel burst into tears afterwards. He was disjunct and had never done a qualification and was terrified that I'd show fear. He said he'd never zlinned such pure slilbliss and it was one of the best transfers he'd ever had. Sectuib trains us right."

"She's a wonderful teacher, so patient and encouraging. She's taught me a lot. She makes it so easy. I love working to her."

"She's a wonderful woman. All of us love her like a mother. She's the real ideal of a Sectuib to us, but at the same time, she's so down-to-earth. She doesn't like us to fuss over her or defer to her. It's kind of amusing to watch sometimes, when we're trying to do nice things for her without embarrassing her. But we know she loves us too. You should have seen her with the semijuncts. It was the love between them that kept those poor Simes alive, and the love of their transfer partners. I only got to serve them a few times, and I'll always think of it as a privilege. They're all gone now, but most of the naztehrhai are the children of their pact families, or their real families for the ones from our area. If my father hadn't been such a lorsh he might have had some good years in the Householding with us. Yilli took in quite a few semijuncts from the area and they did well. They lived a lot longer and didn't suffer the way the semijuncts who had to keep killing did. Even the ones who didn't come into the Householding, she and Tapiu kept them going on channel's transfer really well. She's a brilliant channel, so skillful, and Tapiu really devoted his life to helping semijuncts."

"Tell me about Hajene Tapiu. He's the Second Channel, isn't he?"

"Yes. Oh, do you want anything else to eat? Have another slice of bread if you're still hungry, and here's some apples from our orchard. I'll make another pot of trin, too."

"Thank you."

"Yes, Hajene Tapiu is the Controller of our Sime Center, and does all the selyn management for the Householding when Sectuib is away. He's a mid-range Second. Sectuib met him at the Konawa West Sime Center in the winter when she was getting ready to reestablish the House, and invited him to pledge. So he was the third member, after Roza. He just barely managed to disjunct in the Year of Unity. He didn't succeed in his first attempt. Sectuib says they bungled it, as they bungled a lot of channel's disjunctions then, because they didn't have the experienced people to manage them. Sectuib doesn't do disjunctions. She says they are best left to specialists, and disjuncting a channel is far more difficult yet. But Tapiu succeeded in the last month of his First Year, and he's always felt that it was pure luck that he didn't end up dying a slow and terrible death as a semijunct. So when Sectuib met him, he was working in the special clinic they had there for end-stage semijuncts, and doing very well helping them, much better than you'd expect from a Second, because he really cared about those Simes. He saw himself in every one of them, and they knew it."

"They were lucky to find each other."

"Oh, yes. Sectuib couldn't have founded the House without a good channel to be there all the time, because she had to go away and work for the Tecton, and there weren't many channels who cared about the semijuncts. They were mostly just waiting for them to die off, and when they got into trouble, they sent them to the kill camps. It wasn't the semijuncts' faults -- they were dying because they desperately wanted to stop killing. It was lorshes like my father who lived the longest, not these poor Simes who had just had the bad luck to change over before anyone could help them avoid the Kill. Hajene Tapiu is a wonderful man, so kind, but he always has a sadness in his eyes. I get to work with him at the Sime Center occasionally, and he's so good with the people who come in. He's a good healer, too. One time he took a shunt and let me serve him in transfer, and I don't care what they say about disjuncts, it was a beautiful transfer for both of us. I only wish I matched him so I could serve him more often."

"Does he have another specialty now that the semijuncts are all gone?"

"Yes. Obstetrics and pediatrics! We're a House of young people, so we're having lots of babies. Sectuib told him that he was doing everything he could to help the dying, and now he should focus on new lives. She arranged for him to take extra training in the care of pregnant women and childbirth and the health of children. He's trained some of the Companions to help him in midwifery, and we've never lost a mother or baby yet in the House. He learned how to manage all kinds of problems, and he sometimes teases the women that he's going to lose his expertise if they keep having such normal pregnancies and childbirths, but he does get plenty of problem cases from outside the Householding, mostly Simes who won't take care of themselves properly when they're pregnant. He says that if they had Gens to look after them and make sure they got enough rest and ate right they wouldn't have anywhere near as much trouble. They have a lot more miscarriages than we do, too."

"Do you have any children yourself?"

"Yes, a little girl. She's two now, back at the Householding. We think she's going to be a channel -- I got her off a high QN-2 in Sommerin, so we have hopes. If she's a Gen, she could be a Companion for one of the other kids in her generation. She might make a better Companion than a channel, anyway. She's very strong-minded, or stubborn as some would say. She was a breech, ass-backwards into the world and ever since. Tapiu turned her twice in the month before she was born, but she turned right back. I was really glad he was there. It was a hard delivery and he managed it very well."

"Don't you miss her?"

"Oh, I do, but it's nice to have a few weeks vacation too! I'll be going back with the rest of the naztehrhai after the Church reunion. I came up early to help organize the food with the Church people. We want to serve things that will be familiar to the guests. It's not too different from what the people around here eat, except for eating animals, of course, and I've fed out-T Gens at some of the other reunions in the south, but the food is more different between climates than between territories. I should start lunch. Do you want to help me?"

"Sure, no problem. What should I do?"

"Well, I'm going to make vegetable soup, so if you want to scrub these root vegetables, I'll get the pot of water going."

"Okay."

"Do you have any family back in Shen, Janush?"

"No, they've all been dead for a long time."

"That's too bad."

"Well, I wish I could have known them, but maybe they would have turned out to be lorshes like your father."

"Maybe. But even in the House we saw a lot of people who weren't like that. Some of the new Gens who came to us for the three months had good relationships with their parents. The parents would come visit them, usually after they'd taken transfer, and you could see they still loved their kids even though they'd established. A lot of those Gens went back and lived with their parents again later, although the parents sometimes sent them away when they were in need. They could always come and stay at the Householding and go back afterwards. The parents were all semijuncts and some were terrified that they'd attack their children. Sectuib couldn't train them as Companions without a pledge, but she did teach them a little of how to support a Sime without raising his intil, and that made everybody more comfortable. After a while the parents let the kids stay with them all the time, and sometimes you'd see them come to the Sime Center with the Gen child supporting the parent. Just for safety, they kept themselves out of phase, or else the Gen would donate twice a month."

"Those were hard times for everybody, no matter how much they wanted them to be different. I'm glad that the House was able to help those people help each other."

"Yes. Sectuib said it's part of our Virtue, Pragmatism. The semijuncts couldn't all be saved and with the limited resources we had, this was the best we could do for many of them. We could relieve some of their suffering by helping their children help them. She would usually tell a semijunct, when he was near the end, that he didn't have to fear that he might kill someone he cared about, because if he tried to kill even a Pen Gen, he'd abort and die of it. The Tecton didn't approve of it, but she said it gave the Simes so much relief to know that they were free of the Kill, even in that way, that she always did it once she was sure. She said even if we can't save the dying, we can do our best to comfort them."

"My stepmother, who raised me, died at a kill camp. She said she didn't care if I changed over or established, she would still love me, and I could still be a good man like my father. She taught me Genlan so I could go out-T if I wanted, but she said it looked like the world was changing so I could live a good life in-T, where nobody has to be afraid of how their children will turn out."

"Sectuib says that a Gen is safer from the Kill in-T than out-T now, and that's why she will only let our Gens go out-T if they've qualified. It's true too. Matti was in Heartland, showing the people at the government tree nursery down there how to use some equipment he developed that they bought from us, and when they went into the mule barn that evening, a berserker jumped out at them and Matti enticed her and served her. The other people all ran away and came back with guns. They expected to see Matti dead, but there he was, protecting the new Sime from them. They couldn't believe their eyes. He told them that he would take her back to Nivet with him, and she would never hurt anybody. They wanted to lock her up in the feed room, and Matti said he'd stay with her. So they brought food and blankets and stuff for them and locked them in. But a little after midnight somebody unlocked the door, and Matti thought they were coming to murder the girl, but it was the manager of the tree nursery. He was afraid that his son was in changeover and wanted Matti to look at him. Well, he was, and they locked the boy in there with him too, and he served him later that morning."

"Wow."

"You can imagine that the whole area was in an uproar over all this, but the manager made sure all three of them were safe, and got them an escort to the border, and after a few months the Unity Seminary in Konawa got a petition with hundreds of names from the people at the nursery and the villages and farms around asking the Church to send them a missionary to serve their children in changeover, and last summer the manager and his wife and the mother of the girl came up to visit the two young Simes and they brought some other kids, their relatives. Three of them had already established, but three hadn't. They wanted Sectuib to take the kids in and keep them safe until they became adults, because the Church hadn't been able to send them a missionary yet!"

"That's amazing. We hear all these stories about how vicious the out-T Gens are about Simes, and here they wanted to give their own children to the Simes to keep them safe! The world really is changing out-T too, isn't it?"

"You'll see more evidence of it at the border in a few days."

"What did Sectuib Yilli do about the kids?"

"She said she'd take them as exchange students, and sent three of our Gens back to Heartland. They're over sixteen natal years, so they count as adults down there, and they'll learn whatever the Gens can teach them at their tree nursery and bring it back to us, and maybe they'll serve some changeovers too. I wish I could go out-T some time. Maybe if the project with the Church in Cago works out Sectuib will let me go up there for a while, but I hate to leave my daughter for long. Maybe when she's older and can go with me."

"I'll be working with Hajene Skyepar and might be going to Cago with him."

"Well, if you do, be sure to send us back seeds of whatever they're growing up there. Have you seen our seed catalog yet?"

"No, I haven't."

"Be sure to ask. Do you read Genlan?"

"Not yet. I want to learn, though."

"Too bad. The Simelan version is pretty bland, but one of the out-T students who was staying with us helped us really spice up the Genlan version. Sectuib was almost embarrassed about it, but he told us that that's how they sell things in Genland, so we tried it. It must have worked, because we got quite a few orders from out-T. We'll just have to see how many of them order from us again this year, after they've tried the reality behind the descriptions."

"You have students from Gen territory staying here?"

"Yes, we have four right now. It's a program between the Church and the University and the Tecton. Lots of young people out-T want to get more education, but they can't afford it. But if they come here, they can use their donation money, like in-T Gens, especially if they can make GN-2 or GN-1. They come here in the summer and we teach them Simelan and how to behave around Simes, and in the fall they start classes. In exchange they help us around the farm. They usually move into town to be nearer their classes in the fall, but the four we have left here are still GN-3s and can't afford it so they have to take the horse trolley in every day. They're really embarrassed by the whole thing and are hoping Sectuib can upgrade them. To be fair, they didn't show up until late in the summer, so they've only donated two or three times, once at the border where they aren't all that careful or sympathetic to most people."

"I've worked with her a few times in the Collectorium and she's just amazing at upgrading general class donors."

"Yes, she is, and she's excellent with first time donors too. You're going to enjoy working with her at the border. She has this instinct for how to handle each Gen in just the right way for that person. Here, do you want to start chopping some of these carrots? Cut them up in pieces about this big."

"I am looking forward to it. I love working with her."

"Well, if you really want to see something funny, wait until she does her days at the Collectorium at the University. It's hilarious. Word gets around "somehow" when she's going to be there, and all the Gens try to get her so she can upgrade them. You know how students are always short of money. The City Controller finally had to work out special scheduling for when she's there."

"How did that happen?"

"Well, the first time she worked at the University Sime Center, she upgraded pretty much every donor, some of them from GN-3 to GN-1. Of course, they are all young healthy Gens, so it isn't too hard. Word got out she was going to be back there the next week, and all these Gens who were due to donate decided to drag their feet a little so they could get her. So she goes in to the Center, and the Controller says, 'Oh, Hajene Yilli, we're so glad you're here, there's a selyn shortage, and you can really drain the Gens.' So she starts working Collectorium. Pretty soon she notices that the waiting room is really full, but she thinks 'Hmm, good thing they've got me here, or they'd never clear the backlog.' She works along, filling up the other channels, who are all doing dispensary. Pretty soon they can't keep up with the supply. So the Controller sent two of the fullest ones to the main Sime Center to offload and bring back some high-capacity empties. She fills them up and keeps going. Gens keep coming in, and they've got all these excuses: 'I know I'm not scheduled until four days from now, but I've got an exam that day, so I want to get it over with early' and plenty more creative ones. They send more full channels out to bring back more empties. The City Controller is getting really annoyed at the disruption in the schedule and comes out to the University to see what the shen is going on. At this point Sectuib not only has a full secondary, but she's done a couple of shunts into her primary so she can keep going. The City Controller reams out the University Center Controller for letting the Gens donate early. He says 'But you told me there's a selyn shortage!' He's full to the gills with selyn too. They both go in to talk to Sectuib. She sees this nice empty QN-1 and practically attacks him before he can say anything. I don't know how much you've seen Sectuib dealing with the Tecton, but if you have you can imagine the scene. But in the end, they just decided to schedule around the 'Hajene Yilli Days' or as the students call them the 'Selyn-Sucking Sectuib Upgrade Days'."

"What did she tell the City Controller?"

"I'm not sure. I think she said something like: 'Do you want this selyn or not? If I can't offload soon I'm going to start voiding.' So he took the offload, which nearly staggered him. She had one of the missionary students with her, and he helped her do a reverse shunt. While the City Controller was still trying to balance his own systems with the help of his Donor, she pointed out that the Gens she upgraded would stay upgraded, and the more of them she upgraded the better the bottom line on the Monthly Reconciliation Report would look. If helping his venue have a net monthly selyn surplus was going to cause him problems, she'd be glad to work dispensary instead, but if he wanted to benefit from her efforts, she was sure the University Center Controller could help him arrange scheduling in advance. She probably went into that bureaucrat-ego-fluffing routine that works so well for her, even when the bureaucrats outrate her."

"She shouldn't do shunts and especially reverse shunts so casually like that. It isn't good for her. She could harm herself."

"That's why she should have a high order Companion like you with her, to protect her from herself. She tells us she's fine, and all we can do is believe her."

"Hajene Skyepar told me to watch out for that. He said she won't require an historian taking notes at her deathbed -- everybody who knows her knows her last words are going to be 'I'm all right, really'."

"Did he have any suggestions?"

"He said I don't have enough experience to make a Companion's Call yet, so in the meantime I should just let her fully zlin how worried I am and maybe she'll be more cautious to avoid upsetting me."

"That should work, unless she's really determined, or really thinks you're worrying for no reason."

"I hope so. I haven't had to use it yet. Skyepar says she has really exceptional stamina, and I'm amazed at how hard she can work with almost no recovery time. Like he says, it really doesn't seem to harm her; it seems to do her good. But I've only seen her do Sime Center work and a little healing. Skyepar says that ordinary functionals like that are good for her, even if she doesn't often get entran."

"He's probably worrying about the missionary training. Some of that is really hard on her. The renSimes can zlin it and the rest of us can see it. But she's really dedicated to it and won't put it off even if she exhausts herself. I hope you can help her with it. Maybe with First Order support it won't take as much out of her, but she'll likely just do more of it, closer to need, with you to help her bear it."

"Serri... I really care about her. I want to do everything I can to help her. But I don't have enough experience. I've only been working as a Donor for about six months. I'm not even a year past establishment. She's teaching me technique, but that isn't the same thing."

"We're all on your side, Janush. We don't have your talent, but we've known her for a long time, all our adult lives, most of us. Please feel free to ask us for help or advice. Everybody who saw you two come in last night was impressed at how well she was. The Simes could zlin how your fields were working together. You're very good for her, and she knows it. We think you'd make a good Companion for her, and I think you'd be happy in our House. You'll have to talk to more of the naztehrhai, but I think they'll agree with me on that."

"If they're like you, Serri, I think I'd be happy to be one of them."

"Well, we're all different, but we all are pledged to the House, and its Virtues. You know Teiu means 'gleanings' or 'salvage', don't you? All of us, in one way or another, were thrown away, either by our parents, like me, or by the Tecton, like the children of the pact families, and Sectuib salvaged us and gave us the opportunity to have good lives. Now we all want to do the same for other people."

"I guess she salvaged me, too. They were wasting me at the Sime Center. I was losing my First Year -- nobody was trying to develop my potential. I didn't even know I had a special talent until Yilli showed me. It's hard to believe I've only been with her less than two weeks, or that I can do all the things she's taught me, or that I could serve a midrange First like her so soon, or Skyepar, a high First, next time or the time after. It's like a dream. It's like I imagined it might be, after I established. I'd hoped to be a channel, a healer, or if I couldn't, a Companion like in the stories I read about Householdings. But it wasn't like that at all in the Tecton, so I figured it was just stories for kids, not real at all. Just being with her, letting my field follow her, is like magic. And working to her is wonderful. She really likes my nager, too. She tells me so a lot, and not just to encourage me. I'm glad you can see that I'm helping her. She says she sleeps really well in my field, and I love to hold her and help her sleep. I... I just..."

"Janush, would you like some more trin?

"Yes, please."

"Wow, these are sharp onions, both of us have our eyes watering. Let me just dump them in the pot and we can take our trin outside and get some fresh air."


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