Altercation – Prelude

Tinkering. That’s what the Sebiestors did. His mother had been adamant that he should never do such work, to sully his hands with grease and oil. Another one of the myriad restrictions placed on his childhood–after all, what gentleman worked with his hands? Then again, she would also probably be livid that he was seeing Kat. He smiled at the thought, then continued on with his work.

He double-checked the hand-written notes the drone mechanic had given him. Most of the re-assembly of the child-sized humanoid drone had been completed off-world, but a few finishing touches were required upon arrival: Some wiring to complete, double-checking the power supply, testing motors, calibrating emitters. All right, perhaps not a few finishing touches. He would never go back to that drone mechanic again.

He stood up, admiring his handiwork. Electrical engineering and applied physics had never been his strengths, but he could at the very least follow hastily-scribbled instructions. He started putting away his tools–next time he wouldn’t do this in his quarters.

It was an absolute mess, with bits and pieces strewn about as if a Tempest-class battleship had dragged itself across his floor. But despite the mess, he was surprisingly satisfied with the job well done. His goal was complete: Red would have her body back.

There was, as of yet, no news on the toys currently kept at an orphanage in Dam-Torsad. Father Ansar had been tight-lipped about the location, fearful that Reginald would unleash his stereotypical sociopathic tendencies upon poor children. He shook his head at the thought–he was a capsuleer, not a monster. Nonetheless, he felt the unsatisfied edge of a quest incomplete. He wondered if Red would be upset at receiving her things piecemeal. He made a note to contact Father Ansar about the re-acquisition of the toys.

After sweeping up the bits and pieces around the drone, clearing the surfaces of his quarters, and washing up, he stepped outside to his balcony to enjoy a glass of lemonade. Breaks were rare these days. There were operations that needed planning, he served as a representative in coalition diplomacy when Lady Lianne or Ryven were unavailable, the reactions market was rebounding, logistics needed to be calculated, and then there was his relationship with Kat.

He wondered where she was, deployed as a Legionnaire to a conflict the details of which even Kat didn’t know. Ryven had mentioned visiting her, though Reginald had not inquired as to where. He respected that Kat had a life beyond his own. In some ways, he was thankful for that–their time together was all the more valuable as a result. He couldn’t wait to see her again. Unexpectedly, his mind turned to L’s warnings.

Reginald understood that L was only looking out for his best interests, though in truth, that’s what frightened him. L had worked for the Sakakibara family years before Reginald had even been born, and his insights into family affairs were generally correct. What if L was right? What if Kat was a poor match? What if–

“No!” He said to himself aloud, shooting out of his seat.

He walked over to the railing of his balcony and gripped it tightly. He glanced down at the foamy waves in their eternal struggle to whittle away at the rocks at the base of the cliff. She was worth it. Why couldn’t they see that he was happy for once?

“Do you love her?”

Red’s question popped into his head as if on cue.

“Do you love her?”

Killawazza Valintine’s voice joined Red’s in a duet.

Reginald couldn’t keep himself from laughing a little. How many people were going to ask him that question? He stared out towards the horizon, the deep blue of the sea contrasting against the azure of the pale sky. Did he love her? The question was a difficult one. Love had been a foreign concept growing up–he imagined that most families didn’t have mothers that struck their sons with switches for not smiling properly or sisters who cared more about a title than about their siblings’ well-being. And then of course, even if he could answer that question of his love for Kat, another question was raised immediately: Did she love him?

His thoughts were disturbed by a sudden flashing of his neocom. It was a message from L. Though short, it filled Reginald with a sense of dread.

“Naomi is at the Manor.” – L

What business could she possibly have? Without finishing his lemonade, he darted into his quarters. He found it strange that his room was so neat, and wasn’t there something in the middle of the floor when he left it? He put it out of his mind and continued out towards the Terrace. He needed to see what his younger sister wanted. It was time to confront Naomi Sakakibara.

 

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