Hindered Resolution 3

[OOC note: The Hindered Resolution Arc takes place before “Defeat”]

The trip back from Knight’s Mercy was uneventful. For Reginald, it was enough to hold her hand, to know that she was there. So he didn’t say anything through the trip, their shuttle passing by freighters, transports, CODE. suicide gankers alike. The control tower at Cerra Manor cleared them for landing, their shuttle touching down without incident. As the gangway was extended, he emerged first, his hand extended politely. She took it gracefully and followed him down.

He was surprised when he saw Alexa de’Crux at the Terrace. She nodded as they approached, “Sir. Ma’am.

Kat nodded back, “Hello.”

Reginald, somewhat worried, though hiding that from Kat chuckled, “Good morning, though if you don’t mind my asking, what are you doing here at this ungodly hour? Lady Aspenstar isn’t working you to the bone is she?”

“No, sir. I am quite accustomed to working at night, sir. May I have a moment of your time, sir?”

“One moment,” Reginald tried to remain calm, suspecting that she was here to discuss the matter swirling around with Vlad and Tiger, and therefore, ultimately the issue about the two murdered guards. He turned to Kat considerately, “Can I get you anything?”

She shook her head in response “I’ll meet you up there, don’t worry about me, okay?”

He kissed her hand softly, “All right, I’ll be up presently.”

As Kat walked off towards the Manor, he ordered a cup of tea. Smiling, he turned to Alexa, “Now then, you have my full and undivided attention.”

“I must inform you, sir that I am here in an official capacity. As such, your statements may be taken into evidence during the course of my investigation.”

Yes. This was serious. He became more solemn, “Thank you for the notification. Very well, please continue.”

“First of all, I have received holographic evidence that might serve to reveal the person that murdered your guards.”

He had to demonstrate his nobility somehow. Nodding nonchalantly, he asked, “Do you mind if I sit? It’s been a long day.”

“Of course, sir.”

“I must ask your whereabouts immediately following the Cathedral incident and Vlad Cetes’ escape.”

He began by thanking Alexa, taking a seat at an empty table. This interview had to go at his pace, not hers. He looked at her, his expression hopefully unreadable, “You were there. After I was certain the Cathedral was properly secured, I returned to the Terrace and rejoined yourself and Lady Lianne.”

“And you had no further contact with Mr. Cetes.”

He shook his head with a small frown, “Not on that night, no.”

“Mm.”

That didn’t bode well. He volunteered more information, sighing, “I did have the chance to interrogate Mr. Cetes some time later–with the full permission of Lady Lianne, of course. I believe I sent you the results.”

“You did. Unfortunately some of the audio was obscured.”

He continued with his story, “But on the night you are asking about, I was primarily sitting next to Miss Tzesty until I left the Terrace to compose letters to the families of the fallen. As is my duty as their superior officer, the corporation’s CEO, and as a Holder.”

Nonetheless, he raised an eyebrow at Alexa’s remark, “Audio obfuscation? I’m not sure to what you are referring to.”

“Mm. I see. How long did you interrogate Mr. Cetes?”

That was a problematic question. She was referring to the gap, of course. The one where he struck the deal with Vlad. Why couldn’t people just take the side of true justice? Why did justice require the petty dotting of i’s and crossing of t’s? Tiger was a murderer. A murderer building a cathedral. Was he the only one who saw that? No, of course he wasn’t. Red saw that too.

“I was down there for quite some time–I lost track. My natural Circadian rhythm was disturbed by a general lack of sleep. I devoted many hours to solving the riddle of his cloaking device. I can forward you my work.”

To hide a leaf, find a forest.

“Please do.”

He sent her the paper.

“Thank you. During the interrogation, were any recording devices deactivated, for any reason?”

He furrowed his brown, wondering at one of her initial statements, “You said that evidence has come forward? Is that in addition to what I sent you?”

“It is. I am not prepared to speak of it at the moment.”

As for the question about recording devices, “Deactivated? Not by my knowledge.”

“Mm. And your guards were present the entire time?”

He shook his head, another forest, “Are you familiar with the properties of Hydrofluoric acid?”

“Colorless, corrosive. Can dissolve glass. A fluorine compound, if I am not mistaken.”

Pretty good, actually. He added, “And two hundred milliliters is enough to kill a man.”

“What of it?”

He started, slowly, “My corporation has suffered enough bloodshed, Miss de’Crux. I was tired. I didn’t want to subject them to unnecessary risks.”

She quirked an eyebrow.

“If I did in that chamber, I would be resurrected in Amarr. If they died–another widow, another orphan.” He looked at her firmly, “Another letter to write.”

“How did you administer the acid?”

“Standard methods and procedures, of course. I’ll spare you the details, but I used a plastic pipet.”

She nodded slowly. He made a note of that.

“To be clear: the entire interrogation was recorded?”

“To the best of my knowledge.”

“Did you determine anything of use?”

Looking surprised, he said, “You didn’t think I would apply Hydrofluoric acid with a glass pipet lined with wax, do you?”

“I do not understand the context of that question.” She looked confused. Perfect.

He explained academically, “The corrosive nature of Hydrofluoric acid demands that plastic be used as a container. A plastic pipet is therefore the logical choice for application. Before the invention of plastic, chemists would use glass containers lined with wax to house the acid.”

“Thank you for clarifying.” Of course, she wasn’t really, “Where was the interrogation conducted?”

“Absolutely. As for something of use,” He put down his teacup, requesting another, “I believe the affidavit and video information is quite conclusive.”

“I see.” Her voice sounded obviously unconvinced.

He smiled an addition, “In terms of something of use.”

“In those terms, yes.”

“The interrogation was conducted at the Cerra Manor Medical Bay.”

“With Lady Lianne’s support.”

“Yes, with Lady Lianne’s support.”

“Very well. Thank you for your cooperation. If I require anything more, I will contact you. And I apologize for interrupting your… date…”

As she stood up, Reginald wondering how best to address her tone around the word “date” she added, “One more question, however.”

“Of course.”

“Can you think of any circumstances that would cause Tigerfish Torpedo to kill your guards? That is, does he have a grudge against you?”

“That’s a long story.”

“Perhaps you can send it to my datapad. Thank you, sir. God be with you.”

As she walked away, Reginald decided to pull on a few strings, “No need for that. I won an auction.”

“Oh?”

“What did you win, and who was the auctioneer?”

“Quite, it was an auction for a date with Lady Lianne. He believed me to have romantic interest in her. I’ve also been vocal about the Cathedral–I think it ought be destroyed.”

“I see.”

“The auctioneer was Lord Draconis, the winning bid was 1.4 billion ISK.”

“Thank you. I will contact you if I have any further questions.”

“One thing for you, Miss de’Crux.”

“Sir?”

Reginald smiled, “I was under the impression that suspects aren’t allowed to roam freely. And yet, this evening, I saw Mr. Torpedo at Knight Saissore’s Masquerade with Lady Aspenstar. I found it quite curious. And disheartening.”

He let his tone rest on “disheartening” as he waited for Alexa’s response.

“He is being observed.”

“I don’t mean to complain, but I haven’t rested very well since my men were murdered. Every day their killer is getting further and further away from justice.”

“The testimony you have given tonight should allow me to lay formal charges soon. The situation is politically delicate. I have been… gently reminded that I must work carefully.”

He quirked a brow, “Gently reminded? that sounds a lot like undue pressure being put on the efficacy of your investigative abilities, which are invaluable to us at this time.” He stood up, bowing, “Please, should you require assistance, my corporation’s humble capabilities are at your disposal.”

“Of course. Thank you, sir.”

She bowed, then exited.

That did not go well. He finished his tea, suspecting that Alexa believed him to be at best a suspect, and at worst, the culprit. Of course nothing could stick to him–he was a Holder after all–and there were plenty of scapegoats. The recording equipment technicians, accountants, guards. And even then, he was innocent–he didn’t kill anyone. He rose from his seat and walked to his quarters.

The lights were dimmed when he entered, Kat already sound asleep. He was happy she left the light on for him, but he considerately turned off the ones closest to her. He went to the adjoining bathroom to prepare for bed, wondering to himself about what Kat would say if he ever told her about what he was trying to do, how he wanted Tiger imprisoned. He wondered if she actually cared one way or another as he changed out of his ball garments and into clothing appropriate for sleeping.

When he finally joined her in bed, the tempest in his mind had begun to subside. He was careful not to wake her, though part of him felt this was entirely improper and that he should sleep on the sofa again–that’s what he had done the last time she had spent the night. Blushing lightly, and only with great hesitation, he innocently put his arm around her.

“This is okay, right?” He asked himself, a small debate starting in his head. But he decided to table discussion until the morning, the various sides retreating to wherever voices went during slumber. Smiling peacefully, he finally closed his eyes and drifted off into sleep.

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