Letter 1

Capital Budget Hotel -- Capital, West Nivet
The Best in the West for the Economy Traveller

3 days before autumn equinox, 12 AU

Dear Roza:

I know you're going to hear about what happened so I thought I'd get my version to you before somebody else gets theirs to you first. Or, worse, the Tecton gets its version to Skyepar. Don't write to me at the address on the hotel stationery, I'm out of here.

I'm not going to have time to tell the whole story, but I want you to know that Everything Is Okay. The summary is that your sister Yilli, Sectuib in Teiu, did an emulation of the painting 'Klyd Farris Confronts the Nivet Council in Capital', with ugly Tecton Standard furniture instead of the lush appointments of the Nivet Council Chambers, a committee of rigid QN-1s in Tecton uniforms instead of the flashily-dressed juncts, your almost-too-stocky-to-be-a-Sime sister doing a poor job of representing the tall, dark, handsome and charismatic Klyd Farris, wearing a slightly tatty sweater instead of a flowing blue cape, with a petrified Church of Unity missionary just qualified TN-2 to represent Ediva, and to provide nageric and moral support, a couple of TN-3s from the Householding (in town to try to sell tree nursery equipment to the Regional Land Management Bureau) in walnut-hull brown instead of Sergi and Hugh and Risa in their red and orange capes and that Gen Army officer in his glittering dress uniform. Well, I did get some support from a mysterious stranger who turned out to be Riyyh, Sectuib in Naros, but I'll get to that later.

It's a good thing I didn't realize the similarity to the painting until the Sectuib in Naros pointed it out, or I'd have had an even harder time keeping an 'appropriate demeanor' as they like to call it. I went to see the painting yesterday too, and Riyyh was just right. I wish I could draw, to do my version of it.

If you get into Capital, be sure to go see the murals at the Territorial Museum. They've finally finished 'Spring Trade Fair, Gulf Territory'. It's great -- it covers a whole wall with action and color. Everything's there -- the Freebanders, the Gen Army, the Gulf militia, the ambrov Carre, the ambrov Keon in red, Klyd in blue, Hugh and Kitty in orange. The brilliantly colored tents and pennants, horses and trade goods, hundreds of townspeople, each dressed differently and with a different face. They say that the bunch of art students who got hired to do the details of the mural put all their friends' and enemies' faces into it, and I can believe it. This isn't art by committee, it's art by a swarm of individuals. I really enjoyed looking at all the details, and I think generations of little kids are going to want to come back again and again and do the same. It will get them into the Museum and give them more things to think about. If I want something serious I can go look at 'Ardo Pass' or 'Siege of Shen'. I sure won't be able to get a sobering effect from 'Klyd Farris Confronts the Nivet Council in Capital' anymore!

Anyhow, don't worry, I got out of it at least as well as Klyd did. I think we can do some cooperative stuff horticulturally with Naros. I'm going to stop by there later in the month. I have to go pick up my missionary now. We are heading up to Shen today. He's going back into the field and I'm going to have a talk with the Out-T Missions Board.

your sister and Sectuib,

p.s. I'm beginning to believe that rumor that before you can get anywhere in the Tecton hierarchy, you have to go out-T and have your sense of humor surgically removed. Ask Skyepar and find out how he avoided it. Tell him that when he's in Cago, he should watch out for the veterinarians they must be using as Sime surgeons.

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