This is the diary & short stories of Shalee Lianne Cerra, in the fictitious universe, New Eden, in the game of Eve Online. Come be a part of her world...

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Wishes and Wants

Station lights dimmed inside of the Chaven Imperial Gardens as a lone man wearing an Imperial Navy Commander's uniform took a seat beside Shalee Lianne Cerra, keeping the hood of his cloak pulled low to cover his face. "Hello, Cadet Cerra."

Shalee sideglanced as someone took a seat beside her. Though his face was obscured, of course, she recognized the voice—deep and robotic sounding. Her voice was flat and without emotion. "Vlad."

"The time for that is not here, not now. We must speak somewhere private."

She gave a glance around the expansive, empty garden, "We are alone."

Vlad consulted a pop-up chart, showing an all-clear electronic signature scan. "Very well."

"How did you find me?" she asked as she turned to face him.

"The Academy Directory. Really, did allowing that full name to be published sound like a good idea? Anyone with half decent tracking skills can and will find you."

"You're assuming that anyone out there is looking for me. But I am curious... why were you searching for me?"

"Because one Shalee Lianne disappears from No Mercy and then returns in Shadow Cartel. And one Shalee Lianne Cerra is an academy student. Along with the disappearances of Kenzi Lianne and Tigerfish Torpedo. Something is ill afoot and we intend to find out."

Shalee stared at him, her thoughts a whirl. She had assumed that she was safe in high-sec, far from the grasp of anyone who might seek her out or harm her. "Why do you even care?"

"Because it is our job to investigate possible threats," he answered in that deep monotone voice of his.

"Threats to who?" she asked as she turned away from him, her gaze unfocused on the viewport in front of her.

"Our charge. Until we can verify who you truly are, that is all that can be said."

Shalee slashed her eyes to the right, looking directly at him. "You have my daughter?"

"We can neither confirm nor deny."

"You don't have to. You just did. I don't know who else your charge would be that would concern me. Where is she?"

"In a safe place. There are factors that are far beyond just one person at play here."

"I don't care about your factors. I want to see my daughter, dammit! She belongs to me, not you."

"She belongs to Garst Tyrell equally, who has entrusted her care to us."

Shalee inhaled a deep breath, trying to stay calm and relaxed despite every fiber of her being wanting to scream at the machine sitting beside her. He had no idea how she felt, being apart from her own daughter for so long. "Fine. Ask your employer to give me back my child. He shouldn't care now... he is busy with his ever-lasting wars, from what I hear. He doesn't have time to be a real father to her."

"No. Because right now, we have no idea what you really are."

"What do you think I am?" Her brow rose.

"We do not know, and that is why you cannot have access. For all the proof that is out, you could be another Kenzi."

"You have no right to keep her from me."

"Once everything is verified, visitation can be arranged." Vlad withdrew a syringe seemingly out of thin air. "Fortunately for you, there should be a way to tell.

"And how do you propose to verify..." her voice trailed off as she noticed the syringe.

"Sleeping sedative should put you under with no ill effects. Strange things happened when Shalee Lianne slept. We propose to test it."

"Absolutely not!" She stood and put distance between them. "Why would you drug me?"

"Because we need you to sleep."

She threaded her fingers through her auburn hair, sighing. "Here? No. I am not falling asleep in a public area. I think I know what you're trying to do, but I won't reveal that part of me here, out in the open. You're asking for me to trust you. I have no reason to think that you wouldn't harm me."

"Do you want to see your daughter?"

"More than anything. But, I am not making myself that vulnerable to you. Not without someone else present, at least."


"Only one person knows I am here. Reginald."

"No. Possible involvement."

Shalee searched her memory, trying to remember who she could trust. The hazy image of an Imperial Templar came into focus. "Thal." Thal had always been there for her when she resided on Huola.

"Possible. Although he may behave irrationally."

Her brow quirked at the mention of Thal behaving irrationally. "I trust the Templar... I can contact him. He will help me. I know he will."

"Have you studied tunnel communications yet?" He asked as he glanced around. "Do you have access to the fluid router training capsules?"


"Would you be willing to connect to a highly encrypted channel and then be sedated by medical personnel here?"

Shalee hesitated for a long moment, then nodded. "Only if you swear that I will see my daughter after we are finished."

"Once you are cleared, you may see her."

She shook her head. "I still don't feel comfortable doing this alone. I need Thal to be here."

"Very well. If that is what you wish."

"What I wish is to see my daughter," she said stubbornly.

"What matters is keeping her alive," he countered.

Shalee nodded, giving a sigh of resignation. Though she wasn't happy about it, she knew that it was in Vlad's best interest to keep Gia safe. "I agree."

"I will be in touch soon. There are more than enough enemies that want her dead for propaganda or spite," he warned.

"So I hear, not that Garst believes it, I'm sure. He thinks he can keep her safe with half of New Eden breathing down his neck? Our daughter will be safest with me, here, in Empire space."

"A cadet? Keep her safe? Considering the.. track record that various Holdings in the Empire have on keeping her safe, we highly doubt it."

Shalee tilted her head to the side, "I don't care what you doubt. I want my daughter. She needs me. Once I hear from Thal, I will be in touch."

"Very well. Do bear in mind, this is not the only angle we are investigating. Although we will not mention your existence here."

"Thank you," she said, just before he left.

A chill of unease snaked down her spine as she watched him disappear beyond the garden doors. Her life had been entangled with Vlad's since she had first become a capsuleer. Of course, he would find her. Of course, he would still be in service to Garst Tyrell. Of course, he would have access to her daughter. It seemed that fate would never unravel their destiny, that someway, somehow, he would always be a force within her life.

She activated her neo-comm and sent a message to Thal.

From: Shalee Lianne Cerra
To: Templar Thal Vadam, 
I desperately need your help. Please, tell no one of this letter, not even me, if you should see me face to face. I know that it makes little sense, but I am reluctant to explain it over communications.
Can you meet with me?


Re: Encrypted
From: Templar Thal Vadam
To: Shalee Lianne Cerra, 
Shalee receives a short reply of only four words, but words she might find familiar.
"As My Lady wishes."

(The above post is an edited roleplay with Vlad Cetes, the letters are from Thal Vadam)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Lose Myself In Reverie

Solar System: Chaven
Region: Domain
Constellation: Parud
Security Level: 1.0
Location: Imperial Academy Space Station

Voices echoed in the back of her mind as old memories hovered on the edge of her subconscience, fighting for dominance. It was always this way after a session with Dr. Witwer—a brilliant scientist specializing in clone memory retrieval. He had helped her years before, putting the pieces back together after a Blood Raider had kidnapped her for a blood farm.

This time was different. This time her memories had lain dormant in an illegal base clone in the deep recesses of null-sec while an imposter hijacked her body and had assumed her life. Kept in a drugged comatose state, her memories began to erode as the days bled into months. 

More than a year had passed when she had awoken in a clone retrieved by her most entrusted employee, Elisen. Elisen explained that she had known something was wrong when the Imposter left the No.Mercy corporation and abandoned her daughter in null-sec. 

The Imposter had fooled most everyone, but Elisen knew better. The Imposter underestimated the love Shalee had for her daughter—she simply wouldn't have left Gia with her father, Garst Tyrell. She certainly wouldn't have left null-sec to return to her Holding in the Bleak Lands without her child.

Shalee had never concerned herself with Imperial Court, and would never put the Empire above her child. She had left her life in the militia and the Empire behind to fight in Tyrell's wars, a heavy price to pay to keep her child safe—not that Garst would allow their child to leave his protection. 

It was inconceivable that Shalee would just walk away and pretend that Gia didn't exist.

There were other clues. Shalee's husband, Tigerfish Torpedo, had also dropped out of the public eye. Elisen had tried to contact him to no avail. She even tried to gain an audience with the Imposter but she had refused a meeting. Too many things simply didn't add up.

Elisen wouldn't let it go. Though she was a scientist by heart, she stepped out of her comfort zone and joined the Amarrian Militia in an attempt to get closer to those Shalee had flown with in the past. It was breadcrumbs, but it was all she had. For months, she stayed on the fringes of the Militia, quietly observing those who might unknowingly offer any information on the real Shalee's whereabouts. 

Elisen's break happened a little over a month ago, when Red woke her up screaming, frantically projecting into her bedroom in the middle of the night. Red was the subconscious manifestation of Shalee when she slept. She projected her avatar as a child with long red ringlet curls. The child was able to manifest in any virtual realm and usually used holoprojectors to reach people in reality. It was a part of Shalee that was clever and inquisitive, though very young—that innocent part of herself that lived before her mother died, before she had learned that her father and brothers were Sani Sabik. Red was Shalee's way of dreaming in reality, and when she awoke, she never remembered what Red had been up to. It was almost as Red was becoming her own entity.

Red had been trapped in Shalee's comatose mind until one quick moment where a mind-scan had been completed and a distracted clone technician had let the connection linger a moment too long. It was enough time for Red to break free from her virtual prison and broadcast out into the universe. She first tried Tiger despite not trusting the former Sani Sabik. She knew that he would save Shalee, but she was unable to reach him. Every portal from the past that she'd ever used to virtually spy upon him was blocked. She then tried Elisen, projecting into the woman's bedroom, shouting off the location where Shalee was being kept hidden away in a generic clone.

The rest was easy. Retrieving Shalee from an illegal cloning facility had been much easier than she would have thought possible. The next part was easier still—having Shalee's subconscious transferred to a legal clone that had been stored in high-security space under her full name, Shalee Lianne Cerra. No one but Elisen had been privy to that one piece of information. The backup had been kept separate from her other medical and jump clones. After someone had tried to sabotage her memories in the past, Shalee had taken extra precautions.

It paid off.

"You're daydreaming again," Elisen said as she flicked her blue eyes to Shalee.

Shalee gave a sheepish smile, "Sorry. This happens every time after I see him."

"I know. But, Dr. Witwer is amazing. He will have you back to normal in no time at all."

"Yes, but until then it's... frustrating. I remember so much but everything is out of order. Fragmented. The memory erosion has really done a number."

"At least you haven't forgotten what is important," Elisen said knowingly.

A warm smile stretched across Shalee's mouth. "Gia."

"I have news..." Elisen locked her gaze with Shalee.

"Go on."

"Lord Sakakibara has joined Shadow Cartel."

Shalee furrowed her brows, "Why would he do such a thing?"

"Apparently, the Cartel is on deployment... to null-sec."

A shiver slithered a path down Shalee's spine. "Close to No.Mercy?"

"Yes. In fact, they have allied for Tyrell's war. I believe they are being paid. I think they are stationed in Detorid."

"That is wonderful. Perhaps Regi can get close enough to find out where they are keeping Gia."

"Perhaps. Though, do you really trust him?"

Shalee nodded. "I do. I don't have a choice, really. Reginald was once very important to me, and I to him. We have a deep history and I can't imagine that he would betray me. He knows me. He knows that I would be there for him if he needed me... and that is why I believe he will help me."

Elisen gave a curt nod. It wasn't her place to say otherwise.

"Were you able to access her mail?" Shalee asked, referring to the Imposter.

"Unfortunately not. However, I was able to retrieve some older messages. They still had your old encryption. I don't know how useful they will be. I have the last ones from Garst..."

Shalee searched her memory, trying to remember the last things he'd said to her. "Send them."

Elisen nodded. "Of course."

"I assume you have read them?" Shalee asked.



"It was long ago, but... Shalee. It is too easy to connect the dots."

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"Those letters are terribly damning. He straight up tells you that he will not allow Gia to leave him. He threatens you. The logical assumption is that he is the one responsible for everything. He could have been the one to orchestrate it all. Have 'you' replaced and sent back to Huola. Keep Gia in null-sec with him. And keep the real you locked up under lock and key in that clone. He could have even taken care of Tiger. He still hasn't been found. It makes perfect sense..."

Shalee chewed her bottom lip, her pale face lit with exhaustion and worry. "I... I don't know. We had come to an understanding. Things were fine between us. It is hard for me to conceive of the idea that Garst would go out of his way to orchestrate something so underhanded. He loves Gia... I don't think he would harm me because he knows that harming me would crush her. And anyhow, he is always so very busy with his wars, I can't imagine he would even bother."

Elisen shrugged lightly. "Perhaps. But, I don't trust him."

"Not many people do. But, then again, you don't trust anyone," Shalee said matter-of-factly.

Elisen sighed. "Read the mails. Once I have more information, I will be in contact. I am following up on a lead, though it might take me a while."

"Oh? With who?"


Shalee gasped. "Oh! Is he still in No.Mercy?"

"Yes. Right where you left him. If anyone can help, it will be him." Elisen grinned. 

"And maybe he knows where they are keeping Gia."

"Precisely what I was thinking." Elisen stood and smoothed her hands down the front of her jacket, straightening it. "Take care."

"I shall try."

After Elisen left, Shalee accessed her communications and read the forwarded transmissions that Elisen was able to retrieve from her old mail system.


I never thought you'd stick with No.Mercy for so long. I was reviewing the personnel dossiers and yours flagged for special attention as you are nearing your one-year retention mark. I've been giving it a lot of thought. You have to understand I normally don't discuss these things with the pilot in question... but we have a history. And out of respect for that history and what you have accomplished with us, despite your mistakes raising Gia, I have decided to retain you in my corp.

I like to think I can separate profession from my personal life, and normally I can, but you continue to vex me by being the exception that makes me question my adherence to the rule and my pride along with it. I confide this to you to specifically underscore the great expectations I continue to have for you, to the point that I'm willing to suffer a hit to my pride and suppress my longing for what we used to share while keeping you close. Outside of the few occasions I can let myself drink and lose myself in reverie, I know that you won't be getting back together with me, at least not in a way that I could accept....

But this decision is the (mostly) logical result of critical analysis of your performance with us. To be blunt we have better pilot aces and super capital commanders but you have developed your own niche, equally unique and important in your own way. You are one of the forces in my corp that encourages the other pilots to commit emotionally, to turn the corp from a military enterprise into a family of sorts. The net result is that they are more loyal to me, more willing to die when I need them to to, jump in a new clone and die again. You help to show them the big picture is more than just anyone fight, your presence encourages them to take the long view. It's a rare talent, and I am keen to nurture talent in my pilots.

It would be foolish to squander you as a corporate asset because of my own frustrations with you, and so I am renewing your contract. I'm currently 4 wine glasses and 3 revisions in, but out of my misguided longing for you, I find it impossible to not send this mail to you explaining how I came to this decision. 

Naturally, I expect you to keep this mail confidential between or I will terminate your clone and all corporate contracts. Then I will terminate you.

But it won't come to that because you are so adept at keeping secrets, and in some measure I trust you. God help me.



Once again your failure of imagination disgusts me. Try for one moment to overcome your biological instincts to coddle this child and think rationally. Gia is not a military target. No one is after her, certainly not the Reds. If you stop being selfish for one moment you would realize she is only in danger as a target of opportunity in the wrong place at the wrong time. The local pirates that are trying to strangle our supply lines back to Empire space would kill her simply because they wanted to strip the hull of its precious metals and she would be a minor inconvenience slowing them down. You know she is safe planetside, out of sight, out of mind. And there she will remain, stable in her quality of life, while we strangle the Reds. The further we push our enemies away from our home, the more white space we create... which means these phantom fleets you fear so much who would travel all the way across the galaxy just to murder our daughter will have a longer gauntlet to run to get to her.

The Imperials couldn't even protect their empress, so what happens when the Sansha or Drifters show up and burn everything? 

So the answer is a resounding no, no, a thousand times no and don't ever question my judgment like this again. It's unbecoming of an officer in my fleet and I'm running out of patience with you. Gia will stay safe in SAH and when she is old enough, she will join us on my flagship and I will spend each of my lives striving to be worthy of preparing her for her destiny. She is awaited.

Do try to control your emotions--you're better than this.


Shalee furrowed her brows. The mails were over a year old. But damn... she could see Elisen's point. 

I will terminate you.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Noble Origin

OOC note. I've decided to start RP blogging again—I've so missed it! The stories prior to this post are pretty old, but I'll try to finish out some of those loose-end story arcs in the future. Hopefully, anyhow!

As some of you might know, I gave the Shalee Lianne toon to a friend since I wasn't really playing EVE much at the time. The RP condition for the transfer was that the 'real' Shalee remains with me and that if he decided to RP Shalee, it would be an imposter. (not that anyone in the RP realm would know ICly)

So, here we are. The following post is my first RP since returning. I hope there are many more to come!<3 p="">


Shalee Lianne Cerra stood alone in a remote part of the Chaven Space Imperial Garden's wearing a white tunic and matching pants, with knee high white boots. Her auburn hair was pulled up loosely.

She stared aimlessly out into space, watching a myriad of colors blurring into the nothingness.

Reginald Sakakibara wore a sidearm, though apart from that, he was dressed as any Lord Adjutant to a Holder would: a black and white tunic and matching trousers. He walked at a leisurely pace, his demeanor masking his alertness as he evaluated passersby, before finally meandering over to Shalee, so as to not arouse suspicion. He stepped next to the woman he immediately recognized as his liege lady and offered quietly yet solemnly, "This is most unusual, my lady, but I came as quickly as I could. I assure you that I was not followed."

Her blue eyes slanted to the side upon hearing his voice. "Thank you. I do appreciate your coming."
She clasped her hands together behind her back, fingers entwining. "I'm going to ask you some things and I hope that you will humor me by answering as honestly as possible. Please," she added softly.

He nodded, expecting that this was a way for his liege lady to evaluate her standing in the Holding, though he was perplexed as to why she chose this location to speak with him. "Of course," he nodded, turning his eyes to the dark expanse as if he were just admiring the view.

"When is the last time you saw me?" Her voice sounded much more confident than she felt. "I realize it is an odd question. Just... humor me."

Reginald suppressed the urge to quirk a brow, "Last week, at court."

Shalee gave a little nod of her head. "I see." She nibbled her bottom lip, her expression thoughtful—supressing the panic that threatened to bubble up at any moment. "At court? Curious. Tell me... what has been going on with you?"

"With me?" His face flashed with the briefest flicker of confusion, "As you have ordered, evaluating standard estate conflicts, arranging for your attendance at functions, reviewing your addresses to the people. And of course, overseeing the police force you installed to protect your subjects from Sani Sabik influences."

"I see. I've been very busy, apparently." She fell silent for several minutes without explanation, then finally broke the awkward silence. "When is the last time you've seen Gia?" Her heart thudded at the thought of her six-year-old daughter.

Reginald surreptitiously reviewed their surroundings before Shalee broke the silence, "Gia? As far as I was aware, she is still with Garst, in null-sec."

She exhaled softly. "With Garst. Right. Of course." A look of relief washed across her face. Though she and Garst had always been at odds, she knew that Tyrell would protect their child at all costs. "And my husband? When is the last you've seen him?"

He turned his eyes ever so briefly to her, then back to the windows, "I have not seen Lord Tiger since before you decided to hold court every week. In all actuality, I found his absence quite puzzling. But, there has been no sighting nor word from him for at least year or longer."

Her brow furrowed at that bit of news. "I see." She absently brushed a strand of hair from her face, tucking it behind her ear. A nervous habit. "And the others? Vlad? Thal? Sahriah? What are they up to currently?"

"Also absent, though I believe Vlad and Sahriah are in null-sec on maneuvers with Triumvirate. I've heard rumors Thal has found a place for himself in Lady Aspenstar's corporation." He couldn't help but chuckle softly, "You haven't done that in over a year, either. But then, I haven't had a personal visit like this with you in over a year. I admit that I'm surprised you aren't here with your standard security detail."

"You promised to humor my questions. I know they might seem odd, but they are so very important." She sighed at the mention of the Imposter and her security detail. "Luna... yes. How is she? And Daisha, have you any news of her?"

He nodded, "Of course, my apologies." He continued, "Lady Aspenstar recently lost her husband in a tragic accident. I met with Captain Daphiti to express my condolences. I took the liberty of extending your condolences to their family as well." He chewed on his bottom lip quietly, "I hope I didn't overreach in that regard. Considering that Captain Daphiti once flew in Imperial Outlaws, I thought that it would be a good gesture. Please excuse my presumption." He added, "As for Daisha, I believe she had begun a new corporation in the militia, near the Halmah pocket. Of course, I briefed you on that development during the intelligence council you convened several months ago."

She watched a streak of light in the distance as a ship disappeared behind the moon. "Poor Luna." She finally turned, her deep blue eyes wide as she stared at his noble profile. "And Kat? What of her?" Reginald's wife, and her former best friend, though she hadn't seen her in so very long.

Reginald grew quiet, a single twitch affecting the vein on his jaw. He responded quietly, "I've not seen her. She left our son in Tuomota with a note. But she could be remarried, in danger, or dead." He glanced at the ground, "I wouldn't know."

"Oh? That is good news... at least, about your child. You have possession of him then, I presume? And what of Rebecca? How is she?"

"Part of Kat's note indicated custody was to be shared, so he lives with a foster family." He finally cannot help but quirk a brow, "Rebecca? Didn't you see her this morning? You insisted that she stay with you, to learn to be a proper lady."

Shalee turned so that her back was against the viewport, the murky light illuminating wisps of auburn hair framing her face. She leaned against the pane and loosely folded her arms in front of her. "So much has changed." Other faces flashed through her mind, snippets of her past, most of it a blur.
"What about Pred and Kenzi?"

"Commander Elite has disappeared, though some reports indicate... suicide," he bit his lip, "His alliance was shattered, the membership scattered to New Eden." He almost tilted his head, "As for Lady Kenzi, you told me that she was bereft with grief and therefore no longer a suitable successor, which is in part, the reason why you told me you wanted to hold regular weekly courts." He cleared his throat, mimicking an address that Shalee made several months prior, "Our dearest cousin faces a time of immense tragedy, to which the duties of state would be an unnecessary and asphyxiating burden. Thus, while our dearest cousin is in mourning, we shall take her place and assume all public duties. This is our responsibility as Lady of Cerra Holding."

Shalee Lianne Cerra nodded as other faces flashed through her mind—old comrades, friends, and lovers. Vincent. Norrin. Raphael. Eran. There were simply too many people to catch up on. She'd do it later when she had more time. "I need to ask you one more thing, Reginald."

He nodded, still finding the exercise strange and out of place for the woman he had been serving for the last year, "Anything, my lady."

Her head tilted as she searched his eyes, starting intently at him, "How could you not know?"
Reginald returned her stare with an unflinching gaze, his eyes betraying weariness, exhaustion, and loss, "Because every woman I have ever loved has either left me or lied to me. The only other alternative was being alone."

"So, you did know?" she asked, her voice wavering slightly. "You knew all along that you're serving an imposter?"

He glanced around gently, contorting his face into a smile to mask the weight of the conversation, "I tried to find you. For months and months and months. I thought about going to the Heirs, of reporting it, but I had no evidence. Nothing I could offer as proof. With all of the trails cold and with no leads, I thought the best thing to do was stay where you could find me." His smile became genuine, "Right where you left me."

"Do you have any idea who she might truly be? You've obviously been close to her... has she betrayed herself at all to you?"

He returned to his fake smile after a chuckle, as if he was laughing at a joke, before glancing back out towards space, "No, nothing. I do, however, suspect she is the pawn rather than the mastermind. And I've been kept at arm's length. I imagine because it would kick up too much dust to replace a dutiful and obedient Lord Adjutant without cause."

She forced a smile as two Imperial cadets wandered close by. She remained silent, waiting for them to move on before speaking once more. "I have no idea what to do. Nothing makes sense anymore. I woke up to an unfamiliar world and everything has changed...."

"It's been a year. Things change. People move on. But some things never do, some lights never flicker away," he said reassuringly, watching the cadets carefully, his index finger brushing briefly against his holster, "You took a risk contacting me directly. I imagine someone was with you to oversee your clone's activation. Are they trustworthy?"

"Elisen. I don't know if you've ever met her. She's been in my employee since I've become a capsuleer originally. She knew early on that something wasn't right. It's a long story really."

"I think I have. She flew in Hopscotch briefly, when I returned to the militia for a time." He glanced around the academy station, "I haven't been here in a very long time. But I understand your caution of choosing this venue."

Shalee glanced around the gardens, her eyes flittering from statue to statue before finally returning to Regi. "Technically, I'm starting over. With the Academy, at least. When I ran away all those years ago, I took the name Lianne, but this clone was always on reserve, with my full name. It is legal, at least, well, in the Empire. Though things will be complicated once the Imposter realizes I am alive—or whoever she is working for, that is."

"How would you like me to proceed in Huola, then?" He asked, the weight of the question underscored by his solemn expression.

"You must remain as you are. I don't want to give anything away too early. I doubt anyone will notice if I remain buried in the Academy."

"All right. I understand," he said loudly as a pair of cadets walked by, "Nonetheless, I hope your studies are going well." The cadets paid him little attention as they brushed past.

She chuckled softly. "My studies are going very well, thank you. I have the memories of a thousand battles, but now I am learning how to operate an armor repper." She followed the cadets with her eyes, making certain that they were too far to hear anything before continuing. "So what are your theories? Sani Sabi? Other?"

"Sani Sabik would be almost too likely. Her secret police have been rounding up anyone with even a whiff of Sani Sabiksm, which would benefit a particular cult over others. She could be the figurehead of a Serpentis or Angel Cartel operation or even the puppet of Matari rebels. At any rate, we won't have a better sense until we get someone closer to her."

"You are the closest person that I know. If you can't get to her, then who could? She is being very careful. Though these last few days, I've been thinking and I almost... almost don't care anymore. I should feel outrage that someone has stolen my life, but... all I truly care about is being reunited with my daughter."

He blinked in surprise, realization dawning on him. He nodded, feeling as if one unbearable weight had been lifted only to be replaced by another, even heavier than the last, "Oh, I see. Yes, of course. That is of the utmost importance. She hasn't seen you for nearly a year."

"That is the hope, at least. Surely the Imposter would not try to get past Garst's guards."

"I don't believe she's tried, no." He smiled brightly as the pieces fall together and into place, hoping he could hide the grim fate that awaited him. After all this time, it was natural for Shalee's desire to be in null-sec, with her daughter. And that meant that his place was serving the impostor, the eternal and vigilant watchman who ensured nothing would be noticed, that nothing would be amiss. And in that role, he would simply lose her again.

"But, I don't know what to do at this point," she said, rubbing the back of her neck. Without the funds from my Holding, I have very little to offer my daughter. Without my title and connections, I cannot even guarantee her safety if I should try to take her from Garst again. Though at this point, she may not even wish to leave her Father. There are so many unknown variables." She blinked several times as her eyes watered though she refused to cry in front of him. Her chin lifted proudly. "But I will find a way to her."

"It's a delicate situation, to be sure. It's far more likely that Garst will want to keep you lock and key in null-sec, with Vlad posted as your robotic guard dog."

"That is indeed possible. Without my piloting skills, I have very little value to him other than being the mother of his child. I think he would lock me up and forget about me."

"But you would be safe and with your daughter." Two things he couldn't guarantee to her.

"And what kind of role model would I be should I allow myself to become a prisoner? What will she think of me as she grows older?"

Reginald offered her his arm politely for a leisurely 'walk' through the gardens, noticing a group of cadets that have taken interest in them, "The kind of role model who would be with her." He gently exhaled, "I hate the idea of losing you again yet knowing that you are somewhere I cannot follow. But I am sure that Gia misses you fiercely and Garst has all of the resources you need for a full and happy life with her."

She slipped her arm on top of his sleeve. "You can't be serious. Return to Garst? He's..." her voice faltered as memories of Garst played through her mind, long ago memories of his darker days when he was still in the Empire.

"Perhaps not," he looked at her briefly, unable to hold back the familiar longing and the flood of memories of her familiar stride, aroma, and weight on his arm, "But more than anything, I want you to be happy." Because one of us should be, he thought grimly.

"I can't be happy without knowing whats happened. I can't just walk away without finding out the truth of who this imposter really is and what her ultimate goal is. Because potentially, she could harm Gia. And, I will not allow that to happen."

"You're right." He paused with her on a footbridge, which spaned an artificial pond bedecked with lily pads floating on a lazy current, "Give me some time. I'll try to follow her paper trails. She can't possibly be funding everything she does on taxes alone."

Her gaze followed the shimmering koi gliding effortlessly along the floor of the pool. "Thank you. I knew I could count on you. I trust you, Reginald." She sideglanced him, "I should probably get back, it is getting late."

"Of course, and I still have duties to attend to in Huola." He smiled at her, then for good measure, seeing as they were in full view of curious cadets, he leaned in and gave her a chaste kiss on the cheek. The brief display was enough to scatter the cadets since public displays of affection were powerful tools of reflecting away attention.

The corners of her mouth tugged up into a half-smile. "I will be in touch soon, and please, let me know if you find anything out. Good night, Regi." she squeezed his arm before releasing it, then headed off in the opposite direction, unaware that she was being followed.