From: Reginald Sakakibara
I am pleased to offer you, on the 1st of November, YC 116, the system of Frerstorn.
Your humble servant,
"Is something the matter?" Dr Witwer asked as he noticed her frowning.
Shalee glanced up from her neocomm, the neon blue lettering flickering a soft glow across her face. "The push for Frestorn was successful. In fact, it was captured ahead of schedule."
"Isn't that good news?" he asked.
"Yes, of course. It's just that...I feel guilty for not being there," she admitted softly.
"You can't be everywhere at all times," he reasoned.
"I know. But that doesn't take away the guilt. Sometimes I feel that the bureaucracy of running a corporation takes away from my true purpose."
"And that is?" he prompted.
"To be on the front lines. I should have been there, fighting beside my men."
"From what I understand, there wasn't a lot of fighting involved. They more or less surrendered the system and fled with their tails between their legs to Auner." The news had been all over the holonet since the reclaiming.
"It feels selfish, to be here when so much is happening elsewhere."
"I have a feeling this isn't just about Frerstorn."
"No, I guess not."
"Do you want to talk about it?"
She chewed her bottom lip, debating a moment, before saying, "Yeah, I guess. I'm just so worried about so many people right now that I can't ever seem to relax."
He gave her a knowing look, "And you claim not to trust people. You wouldn't worry about so many if you didn't care."
"I never claimed not to care. Caring and trusting aren't the same," she countered.
"They are very close. Both make you extremely vulnerable... and therein lies your problem. You wont let yourself be vulnerable to those you love and care for."
"Why should I?"
"Because you are human."
"That is debatable, according to some; being a capsuleer and all," she said wryly.
"Being a clone doesn't make you any less human."
"But it does complicate things. By all accounts I should be dead by now. Instead, I know I have lifetimes yet to live, to carry this burden of guilt."
"Then let us talk about it. What is weighing on your mind the most."
"I wouldn't even know where to begin."
"Ryven," Witwer supplied. "Tell me about his situation."
Shalee pursed her lips in displeasure. "I had him arrested the other night. I just couldn't ignore it anymore."
"Ignore what?" he asked.
"His new persona. I don't understand how it works, only that he is not himself. He is dark, twisted, and sick. He came to the terrace wearing a coat made of...human. And he was just so nonchalant about it! As if it were an ordinary thing! I called for the guards, but of course he wouldn't go down easily. It just so happened, Lunarisse's personal security guard, Alexa, was there doing some recon on the rooftop. She asked if I needed assistance. I told her to shoot, but that I wanted him alive. I didn't want Ryven to die. Dying would mean escape. I wanted to lock him up before he could do anymore harm."
She continued, "After the shots were fired, Vlad Cetes activated some sort of cloaking device and left the terrace. Minutes later, two of Reginald's men were found murdered at the new Cathedral's construction site. It was chaotic. Still is. Alexa was an enormous help, so I asked her to unofficially help out with the investigation."
"What did she come up with?"
Shalee forwarded the neo-comm message to Witwer:
Subject: Arrest Warrant
From: Alexa de'Crux
My investigation of the holotapes has provided evidence to support charges against two individuals.
With your permission, I will arrest both Reginald Sakakibara and Vlad Cetes on charges of murder in the first degree and criminal conspiracy.
Witwer looked surprised, "What would he have to gain by murdering two of his own men?"
"I wish I knew..."