Part I – http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1082356.html
Part II – http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1082751.html
Regine barely managed not to gape at Cya like a fish. But the fiend was still going. “In addition, I want access to all of the data you access in this manner.”
Regine could not help a supercilious eyebrow raise, no matter how many times Mike had told her Do not raise your eyebrows at her. Do not. “Do you think you can follow the genetic data?”
“Well, if I can’t, my house geneticist can.” Cya shrugged as if a lifetime of studying genetics was nothing.
Regine cleared her throat. “Well. Be that as it may, I’m not going to allow your descendants to skip out on the Addergoole school. That might be as much as half of my population by this point.”
“Skip out?” Cya laughed. “No, I can’t imagine you’d agree to that. No. Just an agreement that, while attending Addergoole, each and every one of Boom’s descendants gets a pass. One time, when they’re in over their heads — bad Keeper, bad promise, the current big-bad-wolf — you, the staff, will help them out of it. The Keepings aren’t real, the promises aren’t real, you’re not damaging the Law by doing so.”
“But what lesson do we teach them, if they can get out of trouble at the first drop of a hat?” Regine had conducted this argument several times over the decades. She didn’t flinch.
And neither did Cya. The smile grew, as a matter of fact, and got sharp. Her voice was edgy now. “You’d be teaching them that the adults who Mentor them are their backup, are there to protect and guide them. You’d be teaching them to have allies.”
“We teach them to have crews, to find help and allies in their cy’ree, to be friends with their former Keepers and Kept.”
“After their first year. You isolate them from other first-year students, do not push the idea of a Mentor until they are either already collared or soon to be, and sometimes allow the interference of the Keeper in Mentor choice. The staff generally frowns on the idea of first-year students finding crews, and, while you may pretend to like and encourage them, you discourage crews actively standing up for one another.” Cya was still lounging against her couch, but her words were anything but casual.
And they were accurate. “It’s proven beneficial to encouraging the Keeper-Kept relationship…”
“Which you encourage, I assume, to ‘encourage’ the production of more little babies for your project. A point which is pretty moot when you do not allow students to leave until they’ve provided you with those babies.”
“Students also need to understand the dangers of Keeping and the problems inherent in both sides of the relationship before they are out in the world,” Regine insisted. Now Cya was no longer smiling. Regine was not sure that was an improvement.
“I’m certain you’re aware that you and I will never agree on that point. Be that as it may, there are other ways to encourage Keeping, and by encouraging good Keepings and allowing the possibility that the ‘trapped’ Kept could ask for a reprieve, you allow students to understand what a healthy Keeping should look like, before they go out in the world and perpetuate bad habits.”
Regine opened her mouth and closed it again, her lips curling into a frown. “Surely you’re not insinuating that Addergoole is responsible for the actions of its students once they’ve graduated?”
“No. I’m saying that you and your choices are responsible for a great deal of misery in the world. However,” Cya plowed on blithely, “that doesn’t matter. You’ve done some awful things, and now you want a favor from me. Does that about sum it up?”
Regine bit her tongue and counted to ten. “I come asking a favor of you, yes,” she answered levelly.
“Therefore, your justifications really don’t matter. The question is: will you agree to my terms?”
Part IV: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1095923.html
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