Just thought I'd clarify something that I noticed could slip into looking like an error if not explained now. And I don't think this is a fact to "discover" really, anymore.
Okay, so patiae (and humans injected with special patia juice allowing them to communicate mentally) don't usually talk "secretly." Going into that secret place in the mind feels like a violation, unless done by a Mental Protector -- whose skill demands that it not be bothersome to work properly -- or by someone with whom you are very, very close to. We're talking children and parents, and those in romantic relationships. "Probing", or forcing thoughts into or out of the mind, feels both disgusting and painful. It can be done, just like running around nekkid and waving your bits around can be done, but it's a SERIOUS social taboo. Those in authority will do it as a last resort in serious cases of he said she said -- we're talking murder, rape, as you just witnessed slavery charges, and so on. Thievery doesn't count, btw.
The mental protector status is why Gil and Jason can talk to you guys without it hurting.
These are things you know. So why on earth is it that sometimes during somewhat private conversations in which Gil or Jason is not involved, people don't take notice? For instance, Maria cried out, but only her team responded?
Well, much like in a crowd, thoughts between that many people are like a dull roar. All jumbled up with the pictures and the feelings and the feeling of feelings and so on. People could "hear" Maria, but she's just one more group of emotions in the sea. The fact that she "targeted" the people in her unit really helped when she cried out, much like calling some one's name. Gil and Jason would have noticed her particularly, since she's part of their Unit and they're both mental protectors.
In smaller groups, Maria's thoughts would have been immediately noticed as suspicious and worrisome.
Oh, and fyi, I'm wiffle waffling on the range of thoughts. I've already established that, for instance, on a small ship someone in the cockpit can't call to someone in storage; they have to make use of the monitors. But the range in thoughts on an open plane? Hmmmm...