Empty Hope

He stared into the empty bottle for a few minutes, then cast it aside with the rest. No answers at the bottom of this one either. He rose to his feet and shuffled over to his bed. Nothing seemed to matter anymore. His writing desk was covered with dozens of unfinished letters, each one beginning the same way: “My Dearest and Most Beloved Katerina.”

He fell onto his bed. It was cold, as it had been ever since he had abdicated from his position as Holder in Myyhera. Through his exile in SAH-AD to when Lady Lianne herself visited him to elevate him to a minor Holder position within her own Holding, he had been alone. The room was empty, stripped bare of sketches and memories. What more was there to do?

He reached across for his neocom, sliding in the datachip that Sahriah Bloodstone had provided him. The image flickered on to a camera floating above a podium in his former Holding. The subject was a little girl, six years of age, bedecked in finery, medals, and ribbons establishing her formal rank as Holder–all tailored to her size. The recently elevated Lady Rebecca Sakakibara. She wore a sash over her epaulet-laden uniform, speaking into the microphone with well-rehearsed but poorly-chosen words. Exoneration of all members of the former government.

The effect in the crowd to her speech was easy to spot. Ripples of discontent, anger, and even the eruption of outright threats. Templar and kameira sent from the Classiarii temple stood guard before her, but the assembled thousands were quickly devolving into a riotous mob. Only by the intervention of Katerina, whom he had named regent before abdicating, did the crowd even become slightly placated.

He sighed after closing the neocom, “What a disaster.”

He had hoped that the situation in Myyhera would have caused Katerina to at least contact him for advice for some help in navigating the politics. But that had not been the case. Instead, he had been banished from the holding. And now here he was, a permanent fixture of Cerra Manor, part ghost and part drunk, trying to find solace in bottle after empty bottle.

His mind wandered to the night of the attack, how Minmatar terrorists had stormed Cerra Manor, placing everyone in danger. The stench of battle had overwhelmed the beauty of the Terrace, burning hulks of buildings and ships smoldering in ruin. He remembered the smell of charred flesh–one of Lady Lianne’s neighboring Holders burned at a pyre on the beach.

“Thank God for the Templar,” He murmured to himself as he accessed the security footage for the thousandth time.

An image popped up of “Lord” Tigerfish Torpedo cowering during the battle. A pang of rage flowed through Reginald. He had volunteered to investigate the fire on the beach–the man being burned alive–to which, Lady Lianne agreed. As he was stepping away, Tigerfish blurted out an order to check on the speedboat. It was absolutely appalling and surreal–a man was being burned alive and the only thing that “Lord” Tigerfish could think of was the safety of an inanimate object. A true coward, a spineless fool, and yet, once the battle had finished, Lady Lianne threw herself into his arms and exclaimed, “You were so brave!”

How could she love that man?

But he had checked his anger, of course. He had left the Terrace with Sahriah Bloodstone to visit the Searie Estate and what they had found was utterly appalling. He forced back the sensation of vomit as his mind replayed the grotesque reality of what had taken place. He remembered the cut of meat presented by the terrorist playing a butler named “Gotfrik,” complete with roasted vegetables and red potatoes, paired with a decent wine. He remembered the taste. He remembered swallowing.

“What cut of meat did you say this was?”

“Oh, I believe it is from Lady Searie’s upper torso.”

He rushed over to the side of the bed and disgorged the contents of a night’s worth of drinking. There was nothing solid, only the sickening splatter of colored alcohol.

He was a mess and he knew it–a far cry from the man who once ruled a significant portion of Myyhera’s surface. He rolled onto his back. Being drunk was the only way he knew how to cope, the only way to take the edge off of the pain, the loss, the grief–the knowledge that he would never be the father he had wanted to be for nine long months.

He smiled to himself, half delirious, his mind in a daze, “You’ll have your mother’s eyes, won’t you? Oberyn?”

He felt the warm of tears rush down the sides of his cheeks, silent reminders that somewhere deep within him he could still feel the emotions of broken humanity even if did his utmost to dull his senses with drink. As he stared at the ceiling, a quiet thought slithered into his mind, past the eternal promulgation of “You have no family.”

There is a way to redeem yourself.

He glanced over to his neocom, desperately typing as the thought took root and germinated. He could be a father. He could save a life. He could finally begin making amends for his wrongs, his mistakes, his sins.

A voice answered on the other end of the neocom, “Yes?”

“This is Lord Reginald Sakakibara,” He mustered the remaining shreds of his noble upbringing for the sake of his voice, “There is a patient in the Medical Bay. A little girl. Perhaps ten years old–a survivor from the Searie Estate.”

“Yes, my lord, what of her?”

I wish to adopt her. 

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