Letter 6

Church of Unity Northwestern Synod
Capital Guest House
Capital, West Nivet

3 days after autumn equinox, 12 AU

Dear Roza,

I guess I'll just zip through the remaining events at Elk Mountain village, although it's all a very charming story. The following day there was a big celebration, combination harvest festival, changeover party and goodbye party for the community's very own high rated channel, rescued from the Pens as an infant and raised among them to change over into such a marvel and source of pride. It was full of really nice touches, small speeches by everyone involved thanking everyone else, the girl and her family introduced Jori's out-T renSimes to the community and said that since they hadn't had changeover parties out-T, this was their party too. Some people brought a lot of yarn and knitting needles and everyone knitted a few rows of five warm scarves, for the girl, Jori and the renSimes, complete with the local specialty, a multicolored doubleknit panel at the end in their own canola blossom pattern. Of course, while all this was going on, Jori as a guest of honor and someone that everybody at the party hadn't known for most of their lives was answering the questions of just about everyone there, telling them about the Church and Teiu. So they knew where to send those nice letters, which were circulating along with the petition to the District Office to send them another wonderful Donor like Jori to serve more of their children in changeover, for everyone present to sign, unbeknownst to Jori.

Very early the next morning, since Hajene X was still incommunicado, the nice Third whom Jori had chatted with the previous day, as Acting Controller, asked them to take the girl with them to Shen so the District Office there could figure out where to send her next. So they all trundled off to Shen in high spirits in Jori's wagon through some really beautiful fall weather. Fortunately, they were all farm kids who knew how to drive a team, so Jori could spend much of the trip lying down in back. They arrived in Shen late that night, Jori took the girl into the main Sime Center where they were very happy to take care of her, ditto the renSimes at the Church's Newcomers House, and Jori collapsed at the guest house, ready for another fourteen hours of sleep if he could get it.

So Jori met with the Mission Board over the next few days, plans were made for the future of his area out-T, everything was going quite well, and Jori was getting ready to head north again when the Church received a message from the Tecton's Regional Office in Capital demanding that Jori come to Capital to answer questions at a hearing about the events at Elk Mountain Village Sime Center and related matters that had come to the Regional Office's attention because of those events, the hearing to commence shortly after the relevant papers could be served to Yilli, Sectuib in Teiu, who was responsible for his actions, and expected to arrive in Capital by the time of the autumn equinox.

The Missions Board, instead of telling the Regional Office that there was nothing to question, Jori was a Tecton-qualified Donor acting under the direction of the Tecton-appointed Controller of the Elk Mountain Village Sime Center, and his activities out-T were not within the Tecton's jurisdiction, went into a flittering fit and sent Jori to Capital immediately, where he alternately tried to find me and worked himself into a panic at the idea that something he had said or done might have destroyed the entire out-T missions program.

Anyhow, it took Jori a while to tell all this, but he ate all the sandwiches at the same time and relaxed quite a bit, not just from me working the fields, either. I reassured him that I, his Sectuib, would handle it all capably and there were a few things we could do while waiting for the papers to find us. I said that if he was up to it, I'd like to put on what Sectuibly regalia I'd brought with me and we would go to the Regional Offices Sime Center where all the bureaucrats work off their entran. We would be sure to find at least one Farris channel with expertise in transfer burns and Donor problems, even if she were really the administrator in charge of urban sanitation issues, to examine him and formally state her observations in writing, which I'm sure would be: (1) this Gen has shown remarkable skill and competence in managing his selyn system through an extreme event and (2) the Gen Has Not (Really) Been Harmed, as evidenced by that incredulous shiver of transcendent joy whenever he thinks about the peak draw part of the event. I reminded him that Farrises are all serious Householder types who will regard him as a form of my property, so he should defer to me in everything and try to keep a straight nager about it, for all the good that would do in dealing with a Farris. At least we would look like we were trying. Also we were going to do the whole Householdingly nine yards, with Teiu giving its respects and vice versa, the ritual I liken to the familiar one of two dogs meeting each other in the street.

So Jori and I washed and straightened up a bit, I put on my best shirt and tied that white scarf around my neck to represent the white lining of the cloak of a Sectuib who has lackeys to keep her regalia in good shape for her, shook out and brushed the Householding cape even though the weather was really too warm for it, and off we went. On the way over I coached him a bit on the part of the training I tend to skimp on, i.e. where to stand and how to act when appearing as Companion to one's Sectuib or other channel. I told him to just do his best at it, since they never expect much of Thirds, or even Seconds. I said that part of the game was that if the Farris asked him to do anything or if she could do anything, he was to look to me for my approval first. If she was following the same script, she would probably preface everything with 'with your Sectuib's consent' anyway, or ask me rather than him. I would try to follow the script myself, but if I start to seriously veer from it, it's a good sign, it means that I think we can trust this Farris and level with her. The Farris would almost certainly have a Donor with her, and Jori's part of the script would be to regard the Donor as a fellow but superior lackey in a dignified manner. We had all the signals straight by the time we marched into the Sime Center, my cape flowing, Jori at my left and a stride behind, looking as impressive as I'm likely to get before my lying in state.

I told the receptionist that I had an urgent matter to discuss with the shift manager and was immediately ushered into a well-insulated office with ugly Tecton standard furniture and a very harried-looking QN-1 with matching Donor. I explained that I was the Sectuib in Teiu and required the services of a very high rated channel, preferably a Farris with experience with transfer burns, to examine my Companion. He winced when I said transfer burns. I wonder what they are up to there? He could zlin from the state of our fields that if Jori was burned, I hadn't done it, and asked us to take a seat, his Donor would get us some trin, and he would make arrangements.

About the time we had finished drinking our trin in dignified silence, the QN-1 returned and asked us to follow him. We went through a maze of halls, stairways, passages between wings, etc, until we were ushered through a door labeled 'Municipal Water Supplies Redevelopment Initiative, Hj. P. Farris a. Sat'htine'. This was a dim little office occupied by a renSime clerk/receptionist who asked us to be seated and offered trin. Hajene Farris was recovering from her shift at the Sime Center but would be with us shortly. I declined the trin on behalf of us both. The shift manager took some, but didn't drink it after the first sip. I guess he was hoping for the better stuff like he had given us, not the Tecton standard the clerk offered him.

Presently a bell tinkled, the clerk came over to us and ushered us to the door of the inner office. "Hajene Farris will see you now." We find ourselves in a large, bright, nicely furnished room. Hajene Farris is sitting in a comfy chair behind a massive desk, a steaming cup of good quality trin before her, with Sosu Farris stationed behind her, hands on her shoulders, prepared to provide either a neck rub or strong nageric support instantly depending on what we do to her. The other possibility, that he's got his hands on her shoulders to hold her down didn't occur to me at that point.

Just as I'm about to formulate the polite dog-sniffing phrases in the traditional dignified manner, Hajene screams "He's been burned!" and attempts to leap over the desk at us in high augmentation substantially hampered by Sosu, who outweighs her threefold. After a brief spike of amazed confusion, Jori's trained reflexes kick in, and he does the only thing he can think of when confronted by a crazed Sime coming at him: offer his arms and an enticing nager. Of course, he can't zlin that there is no intil involved, and even if there were, his little oil lamp field would be barely visible next to the roaring bonfire of a high field Farris Gen. It's not clear to me what's going on either, but it's my responsibility to protect my sworn members, even from Farrises if they are acting strangely, so in the same instant I move in front of him just as Sosu and Hajene roll off onto the floor accompanied by a variety of desk accessories and important memos.

I suspect that by now Skyepar has figured out what the P. stands for and is holding his head in his hands. Roza, did you ever think how much embarrassment we avoid by not having any living relatives?

Unfortunately, by moving to protect Jori, I put myself within the splashby of Sosu's field as he attempts to bludgeon Hajene down with a projection of the intense calm of a deep adit in a mine that caved in during Ancient times. I stagger and almost fall. Jori grabs me, turns me toward him, wraps his arms and cloak around me and puts himself between me and that nageric tsunami. He may not have much experience working with channels, but he has good instincts. I must still be augmenting because I rapidly realize that an affidavit attesting to Jori's condition from this Hajene Farris is not likely to be the kind of supporting evidence that will be helpful at the hearing. I whisper "Let's get out of here", and Jori picks me up and carries me out of the office. He closes the well-insulated door behind us, and sets me on my feet. We look at the clerk, and the clerk looks at us. Slowly an expression of "oh, no, not again" supplants the surprise on his face and nager. "Please thank Hajene Farris for her time and trouble" I say, and the two of us head for the nearest stairwell where we hold each other and laugh ourselves to tears even though I am just past turnover. Roza, ask Skyepar whether I've just met my first double Farris.

On the way out I catch a glimpse of the shift manager. I outrate him enough to detect the snicker behind the showfield. Serves me right for trying to play the stuffed shirt. I'm really not any good at it.

your sister and Sectuib,

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