[LMB] Ekaterin - off and running.... almost

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Thu Jun 1 14:28:29 BST 2017

Ekaterin is almost out the door when Foscol calls to tell her to collect Tien.
(Foscol really enjoys the call, I'm wondering if the information stuck on Tien's
back is her private idea, she seems to like sticking the knife in). And Ekaterin
almost leaves him, but he's Nikki's father, they have years of co-parenting
to come, she has to take responsibility.

What if Ekaterin had left a minute earlier? What if she had decided not to go
and get Tien?

Her new motto: 'I am not here to vent my feelings. I am here to achieve my goals.'
There's steel here. This is probably the point where you start to realise that
Ekaterin could be really frightening.

Another sad observation: 'There might be more to pleasure than the absence of
pain....'  Ekaterin is surfacing from very very deep down. She's starting to think
of herself as a separate unit, not a supportive part of a couple.

She has to get a job to earn the money to get herself and Nikki home, or borrow

from family - distasteful idea. But '... What you feel doesn't count, girl....Goals.
You'll do whatever you have to.' (Doesn't she sound a LOT like Miles here? He
calls himself 'boy' in his internal dialogues. And gives the same sort of advice.)

Then... Tien is dead. Ekaterin stays strong - she has to, the Auditor needs her.
She's iron-calm. Get him inside, turn up the heat... stay logical, keep control.

She rejects Miles's lie that Tien's death was quick. She won't accept lies, not
even for comfort.

Tien's death doesn't bring a rush of regret, or guilt. It doesn't paint him in rosy
colours and obscure their problems. She doesn't try to hide or cover that their
relationship was over, even though technically she hadn't left. Steel backbone
here, she made her decision and she'll stand by it. No lies.

They bring each other up to date on events. Miles wonders why the Vorzohn's
wasn't found when Nikki was made... oh, he was a body birth:

"I don't. . . quite remember how it was decided. Tien and I decided together. I was young, we were just married, I had a lot of stupid romantic ideas. . . I suppose it seemed heroic to me at the time."

"How old were you?"


Yes, she was young and idealistic. But Tien was thirty. Either he was very blinkered,
or he deliberately manipulated her. (I wonder if some Old Vor attitudes to UR tech
remain - if there are some men who don't see it as 'real' birth, don't want their wives
to take the lazy way out.)

Ekaterin notices the way Miles really listens to her - it's so long since her thoughts
were given any attention.

Did Ekaterin kill Tien? She wonders - if she'd broken sooner, or later, he woudn't
have gone to the waste station at that time...

Their talk is remarkably honest and intimate, she's emotionally bare: "Did you
love your husband, Madame Vorsoission?" (Of course, both of them being in
shock is part of it.)  And even at this horrible moment she realises how free she

is - there'll be so much to sort out, and the hardest problem alone is better than
the easiest problem with Tien. No more need for careful negotiatios, permission,

She makes sure she returns the rented lightflyer - it's one thing that's within
her control. They go back to the flat - and it's been tossed. Because they needed

one more thing. Miles wants to use his neural stimulator - Ekaterin points out
that it might be booby-trapped. And then he fits, and she just copes brilliantly.
She puts in his mouthguard, times the seizure, keeps him steady.

Just think what she's been through this day. Ended a marriage, faced Tien, been
widowed, seen the horribly dead body, facing a mass of problems about money,
treason, the flat burgled, and an auditor twitching on the floor. And she's calm,
but she's not frozen-calm, she does the right thing. She puts the auditor to bed
in Nikki's room, then finally gets some sleep herself. She's going to need it.

Solid steel, and incredibly strong.

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