Identity is Fluid

Log Info

Title: Identity is Fluid
Emitter: Liv
Characters: Sandra
NPCs: Burke, Muire; Paige Muire; Dell
Place: Cove City, MD; ??; ??
Time: 7/27/2010, evening; 7/28/2010, ??; 7/28/2010, ??
Summary: Soul Shadows ambush Sandra, intending to use her as leverage to buy silence from the students who spoke against Evelyn Prieto. Following that, conversations with a youngster in training and the woman (?) behind the plan.


Stealing salt-shakers full of salt and dumping them in a tub just /ISN'T/ the same thing as relaxing in the ebb and flow of the ocean currents. Sandra has been behaving herself, however, periodically coming up for air so the life guard on duty doesn't have a heart attack. And now the sun is setting and the beach is closing, and following the rules of the land, Sandra must go. But that is fine, she has a bit of money with her, and has grown to like the iced drinks served at a shop just down the street from where the young woman walks off of the sandy beach and onto the sidewalk.

As Sandra walks, her path grows darker, as if one of the overhead lights has just burst - but if she looks up, all seems normal. Each step, and the night deepens. The last glimmers of red on the horizon are receding, true, but that fast? It's rapidly reaching hazardous depth, at least for those with normal eyes. Sandra will see enough to realize that the few other people passing this way … aren't affected.

Interesting. And not exactly something that Sandra likes. The Atlantean Princess does her best to walk along casually, just like everyone else, unaffected by the deepening darkness that is surrounding her. In between strides, Sandra dives a hand into her bag, pulling out her modified Holographic Imagining Device from home made to work with the local cellular grid and LOOK like a cell phone. Now, let's see… no, she doesn't actually remember anyone's numbers. She'll just have to fake it.

As Sandra reaches for her phone, she sees a swarthy figure - female? - slide away from a bus stop. Her form blurs as she moves around the transparent wall, hand sweeping up. A pulse of hazy black energy - not quite shadow, but sometimes there, sometimes not - rushes towards Sandra and warps around her. It feels as if her stomach tries to go one direction, her head another, and the world goes black for an instant. Disorientation spins-swirls-crashes around her. When it clears, she finds herself in the foyer of what looks like an abandoned courthouse, every wall and surface limned in supernatural darkness. It's also earlier in the day here, but even though there are skylight windows, none of the sun's glare penetrates.

"That was distinctly unpleasant," offers Sandra to the darkness. Blue eyes shift faintly to stormy grey as the young woman looks around, shifting her head trying to look like she is searching blindly. Then she sighs, obviously unimpressed and disinterested in being captive. "Have you cloned my shadow yet? Or are am I a captive for your amusement? I do have other things I need to do. I have a Mathematics test in the morning."

"Be grateful," a gravelly alto voice says. "We considered beating you down, but that seemed too touch and go. We've heard things about your home town."
"I can take your test if you want," another voice, male, observes with a nasty twinge to the humor. He pauses, tosses in the direction of the other, "Please. No dumb jock jokes."
The pair step out of opposing hallways, a slight woman with kohl-colored hair and an olive-skinned, patrician face, and a tall, athletic man with fringed dark hair.
"Do you notice I didn't say anything?" she observes to him. "Alessandra, I presume."

"Well, if you would manage a decent grade for me," offers Sandra with a wave of her hand. Then her eyes look first at the woman then at the man, before Sandra affects another sigh. "Yes, Atlanta is a tough town," she drawls. "That is what some call me, yes."
"Oh, conditions now?" the man inquires, arching an eyebrow. He advances, hopping up on a clerk's counter. "Good. Wasn't totally sure she'd come back with the right woman."
The woman flicks him a mildly disgusted glance, then shrugs. "You seem remarkably calm," she says. "You do realize we're very willing to kill people who get in our way?" She reaches behind the desk and flings something in Sandra's direction. It hits the floor with a clang and clinks at her feet. It's a pair of neutralizing cuffs. "Put on the right cuff."

"You obviously do not quite understand who you are dealing with then, if you think that scares me," notes Sandra. "The day I was born, there was an assassination attempt on me. I have lived my life with death looming over me each step of the way. The question is, however," notes Sandra as her eyes lazily slide from one to the other, "Is if you will let me put up a fight to defend myself."
As the cuffs are tossed her way, Sandra simply looks at them, considering them for a moment. "No, I do not believe I would like that very much. I will simply play good guest."

"Dramatic," the man says. "Are we taping this, Muire? It could make a bad Syfy movie." He flashes a lazy smirk in Sandra's direction. "Why would we let you put up a fight? Practice?" He does tense minutely, the hand on the desk blurring and sinking slightly into its surface.
The woman - Muire - sighs, shaking her head. "It wasn't actually a request," she says, "but I appreciate the courtesy. The resolution of this is out of your hands."

"Awfully defensive for someone who apparently has the upper hand, aren't you, Burke?" asks Sandra as she lifts the cuffs and turns them over in her hand. "Well then, what do you plan to do with me once I have put the cuffs on? So that I may make an informed decision," is the question thrown at Muire.

"Ah, my fame precedes me," Burke says with a faint snort. "… well, not that it doesn't usually, but not typically in environs like this." He waves an absent hand towards the ceiling. "I'm not losing anything by admitting that you Cove City minors have surprised me, and I'm keeping my eyes peeled."
“Nothing right away," Muire says. "You're a bargaining chip to get your friends to cooperate. If they do, you go home. We trust your sort to keep their word if given. You'll be fairly treated while you're here." There's the faintest quirk to her brow that suggests she's not pleased with that.

"So long as I am treated fairly, then I will behave in a most pleasant and unassuming manner, I will give me word to that," offers Sandra, before flinging the cuffs back at Muire. "I do not like being relatively defenseless. But if you give your word, I will give mine, and we can all be relatively unhappy with that."

Muire steps forward to pick up the cuffs, moving with deliberation. She dangles them in her hand. "I don't want to have a legal wrangle with you later when your definition or mine of those terms differs," she says. "Especially if it turns out to be with fists. Nice try, but … I prefer promises backed up with metal." She tosses them back.

"Only if you wear the left cuff," offers Sandra sweetly as she catches the nullifying 'bracelets'. "Why don't you inform me of your expectations, and I will agree to them, or I will put these on," she offers, arching an eyebrow upwards. "You must understand, after all, I have always been with these abilities. To be without them, is to not be myself anymore. That thought alone is … disconcerting."

Burke splurts, muffled laughter in the sound. "All right, *that's* an image I'm going to cherish." Muire ignores him.
"The next time we're both prisoners of the same individual, of course," she says smoothly. "But really. Identity is fluid. Its loss is survivable, its change inevitable. Burke and I are experts in that." She narrows her eyes. "No negotiating. Cuffs. On."

Sandra turns to look at Burke, her gaze making it obvious she does not understand what he finds so very amusing. Then the woman looks at the cuffs and holds out her right wrist with a deep, inhaled sigh. "So says the shadow trained to be someone else's replacement. I have not had such training, nor such philosophical teaching. To us, life is … linear. Would you please do the honor? I cannot. I will not. A last act of defiance, I suppose you could call it."

Burke meets her eyes with a faint smirk, then a hardening in his gaze. "Heh - how limiting. Think it would be better if everyone had our outlook, honestly."
"Just because it's not in your syllabus, doesn't make it false," Muire says, betraying a hint of humor. She moves slowly, reclaiming the cuffs, flicking the right cuff open, and affixing it deliberately to Sandra's wrist. "A word of advice," she continues. "Defiance is rarely worth it. Why waste energy fighting the battle when you could be looking ahead to new possibilities?" She's cool, serious, as she secures the other cuff.

To that, Sandra just smiles at Muire as the cuffs are affixed around her wrists - just a smile, no other act of defiance, just that same regal smile.

Burke chuckles, relaxing … his hand sliding back into phase as he drops to the floor. "I think I like this one. You know, we could keep her …"
"We'd have to get her fixed," Muire says drily.
"Not an obstacle."
Muire steps back. "We've quarters for you," she says. "Not the Hilton, but it will do."

"I didn't realize I was broken," offers Sandra, glancing at Burke for a moment. Then she shakes her head. "You are not my type. Too soft. Definitely not Greek enough," she drawls, before nodding and waiting for Muire to lead the way.

Burke chokes again, quirking an eyebrow. "You have a taste for Greeks, hmm?"
Muire shoots him a glare. "Please get your mind out of the gutter for two seconds."
Burke waves it off and heads down one of the hallways to what were holding cells in the courthouse. Bare accomodations, but not wretched. "It's what we can do, in the circumstances."
"Everyone is broken," Muire observes, "in one way or another. Trait of humanity … or those of us who imitate it."

"Then I suppose it is good I am not human, now isn't it?" asks Sandra as she follows along, and settles down onto her cot. "Oh yes, Baklava makes me a very happy woman," she drawls, not really having had baklava before.

"You're doing a decent job of passing as one -" if Muire is surprised by this in any way, there's no sign "- so that puts you in the same category as us."
"Someone will be here at all times, so don't try anything -" Burke pauses, about to say 'funny,' then perhaps has a sixth sense about the colloquial awareness of the girl and continues, "foolish. Feel free to turn on the light." With that, the two Soul Shadows retreat.

"I am an adolescent. Is not most of what we do foolish?" Sandra asks the darkness as she goes about studying the cuffs around her wrists.



It's the next morning, but no light reaches the courthouse, wreathed in perpetual, supernatural dark. The light in Sandra's cell pushes it back about three feet if used, leaving a weird pool of shadow about the edges of the room. Muire showed up with breakfast a short while ago, and vanished, ignoring any potential attempts to converse. This leaves Sandra alone again, for the moment.

"But I don't like my eggs cooked this way," intones Sandra after Muire's retreating back. "Is there not something against cruel and unusual punishment in the Surface World's Swiss Conventions?" she asks, before shrugging. "At least can I have a book to read? I have heard much about this Stephanie Meyer and this Twilight Sagging?" she asks.
With a deep sigh, feigned, of course considering Sandra did not expect a response in the first place, the Atleantean teen idly plays with her phone, looking for reception. Finding a lack of it, she instead bounces on her cot, trying to determine if the matress is coiled or foam. After all, coiled could mean a piece of metal she might be able to use to fenagle her cuffs off.

The cell is set up for prisoners when not in the courtroom, so it is a foam mattress, and the room is proof standard forms of meddling. Move the mattress and there's some interesting graffiti on the wall, but it's not precisely relevant.
The back wall blurs, and a child slips in with a vaguely furtive air. She can't be more than ten, with a hint of baby fat still in cheeks, and dressed in a jumper over which she has thrown a black raincoat. She tosses off the hood with a look of satisfaction, releasing a tangle of light brown curls.
"Aha," she intones.

Bouncing up and down on her cot, Sandra turns and blinks at the blur, then the little girl. The Atlantean slows into a proper sitting position as she continues to watch the other figure curiously. The girl must be a shadow, after all. The question is … Liv said something about Muire in her second childhood… is this girl in the same position?
"Good … whatever time of day it is," offers Sandra after a momentary pause. "The color of your coat suits you well," she compliments.

"Good morning," the girl says cheerfully, removing the coat of the rest of the way and tossing it on Sandra's bed without so much as a by-your-leave. "Thanks! But it's too hot to wear in a place like this." She looks around her, brow furrowed. The mannerisms are all child-like - a very self-assured, confident child, but a child nonetheless. "So you're the big secret," she continues.

Sandra simply offers an awkward shrug, though she is getting better at the gesture. "Well, considering the lovely welcome gifts," she offers in her Queen's English accent as she lifts her wrists, "I would assume that to be true. Hello, I'm the Big Secret. It is a pleasure to meet you."

The girl frowns, cocking her head to regard the cuffs. "Are you sure those are gifts?" she asks, with the air of a child about to brief an adult on an Unpleasant Truth. But then she brightens and says, "Well, do you have a name? I'm Paige, Paige Muire." There's something vaguely familiar about her, and it's not a resemblance to Muire - the only sign there is both have dark eyes.

"Well, of course they are not gifts," notes Sandra with a smile as she lowers her hands. "That is called Snarcasm, I believe." Then Sandra smiles at Paige for a moment, not answering the question just yet as she studies the little Soul Shadow. "I am called Alessandra. That should suffice, it does for everyone else, after all."

"Pleased to meet you, Alessandra." There's a moment of self-conscious dignity from Paige, which promptly dissolves into buoyancy again. "I followed my dad here," she explains, even though she wasn't asked. "Got curious about where he was going. Why are you here?"

"Oh, well then, don't get caught," notes Sandra with a smile. "After all, if it's a secret you're not supposed to find out yet," she offers with a wave of her hand. "Sit down, I think it's clean enough," she offers congenially. "Oh, I believe it is called … um … what is the term," she considers for a moment, furrowing her brow, "Leverage? No, that is a program that is displayed on digital liquid crystal displays I have seen people watching. Oh, maybe it has a double meaning. But I am here as a captive to try and lure my friends into making a decision they do not neccissarily desire to make."

"That's the First Rule," Paige agrees, emphasis obvious from the way she says it. She perches on the cell's only chair, feet not quite long enough to reach the ground. "Hitter hacker grifter thief?" she recites. "I'm going to be a guest star on that some day. Well, not me, but future-me." She tosses her head, causing hair to fall into her eyes. "Oh," she says, mulling over this information. "I'm sorry for you. But it must be for a good reason."

"I'm sure it is, depending on one's point of view. I don't believe it is, of course," notes Sandra as she motions with her cuffed hands around the cell. "But then, why would I? I am neutralized and in a phased cell made for a criminal. And I am not aware of any laws that I have broken … recently."
Sandra smiles and grins at the girl. "It sounds like you are enjoying what you will become," she offers. "My friend said that you Soul Shadows protect each other. But she is rather annoyed at Evelyn. It's quite the quandry. At what point will you sacrifice one of your own to keep the rest safe?"

"It always works for me," Paige says, "maybe you should try it." She studies the cuffs, expression troubled. "I would never want to have to wear those. But I'm sure once this over, my dad will take the cuffs off and you can go home. So you're not being held like a criminal." That seems to settle the divide, in her mind.
Paige shrugs. "It seems like it will be fun," she says. "It's a lot of work now. I have to take acting lessons and study scripts …" A soft sigh. "Are you asking me? Because we don't leave anyone behind."

"It was just a question to the air, I suppose. I don't know if you would know the answer or not, honestly," offers Sandra with a shrug. "It is most uncomfortable to wear these," offers Sandra, looking down at the cuffs. "Very disconcerting. I have grown up with my abilities, much like you, so to be without them…" Then Sandra sighs, licking her lips. "I don't suppose you would pass on a message that I really need some water? I … I really need to sit in a bathtub, even with these on… just for a little bit. It… well … it is a difficulty I endure living here in the surface world."

Paige shrugs, accepting that without much qualm … though after a second, she returns to staring at the cuffs, eyes slightly wide. "I can't imagine not being able to walk through walls and things," she says. "But … uh …" She scuffs her foot on the floor, twisting it. "I'm not supposed to be here … I …" She wrangles with the pros and cons for a moment, then hops up. "I'll do that," she says decisively. "Though why do you need water? Are you a fish?"

"In a way," offers Sandra with a warm smile to Paige. "I was born in Atlantis," she offers with a wink. "I have lived my life under the ocean's depths. I am not used to being without it for long periods of time. I can feel my need for it, but I do not know what will happen if I am without it for a long time," she notes.
Sandra sighs and looks at the cuffs again, nodding her head. "Walking through walls would be rather fun. I would like to try it one day," she offers with a sigh. "But it won't happen with these things on at all," she notes with a lift of her wrists.
Sandra looks back at Paige for a long moment. "You must not tell them you were here, if you are not supposed to be. You might get a grounding," she notes with a bob of her head. "So suggest that your father actually ask if I /need/ anything, without letting him know you have been here. After all, it is good practice for your acting lessons, is it not?" Another pause and Sandra leans forward, "Come visit me again, and tell me all about you, and your future self, and I'll tell you all about Atlantis and what I'm supposed to do, mmm?"

"Atlantis? Wow," Paige says, eyes round. "That's amazing. Are there mermaids down there? How do people talk? Because sound travels funny underwater, I know that." She shrugs again. "Mostly it's fun. You can get all sorts of places where you'd have to wind and twist and maybe not get at all."
She nods, slowly. "Pretty hard to ground me," she says cheerfully, "but if I got caught sneaking out when I'm grounded, then there's even *more* trouble." The girl speaks from experience, it would seem. "I bet I can do that without Dad ever knowing. And you're right, it's good practice." She gathers up her raincoat, shimmying back into it. "I'd like that! I will."

"Not in Atlantis, but we are just one city-state in the oceans. I'm trying to find Laputa, to see if it is real, maybe there are mermaids there!" offers Sandra with a grin. Then she holds one hand out towards the young woman, a friendly offer to shake hands. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Paige. Hopefully we can be friends."

"How can there be so many people under the water and no one's ever noticed?" Paige inquires, frowning with doubt. "I know how secrets are kept, but that seems unlikely." But then she brightens, clasping Sandra's hand decisively. "Good to meet you, Sandra. I hope so, too."

"A mixture of magic and advanced technology," is Sandra's answer as she clasps Paige's hand. "Until we meet again. Be safe."



Muire showed up a few hours after Paige scampered off and permitted Sandra to take a soak - in a vintage bathtub deposited in the cell opposite. Again, the Soul Shadow seemed distracted and uncommunicative, disappearing as soon as her mission was over … but to judge by the interaction, she has no idea her … daughter? … was here.
Later that day …
There's a knock on the door of Sandra's temporary quarters, such as they are - a soft, polite knock.

After enjoying the feel of water on her skin, Sandra won't even complain to Muire about a lack of salt. She does quietly observe the woman's distraction, but her random questions garner no insight into what the cause might be.
And having to wait for one's hair to dry … why that's right annoying Sandra is finding out.
"Dry faster," murmurs the young woman upon her cot as she pulls a strand of hair over her face and peers cross-eyed at it. Then the knocking comes and the Atlantean teen looks up and puffs at the hair in her face, trying to push it out of the way. "Well, I certainly can't stop you from coming in. So please enter."

"It seemed polite." The voice is new, a warm, slow alto. The woman opens the door - tall, chocolate skinned, a vaguely androgynous face. She's dressed in a business suit, no obvious shadow blur about her at the moment. She beckons. "Would you come out?" A beat, and she adds, simply, "It *is* a request."

"Since I do not mind stretching my legs," offers Sandra as she rises and walks towards the exit of the cell. "I do not suppose I could request a change of clothing and … sanitary supplies? I do believe I will get a bit rank without my abilities to help wick away dirt and what have you," she offers. "Might I inquire of your name, for you've been the most polite out of the recent group I've met."

"We can do that." She speaks slowly enough, not quite a drawl and certainly not southern, that each word carries unusual weight, without diminishing in the next. With a rolling stride, she heads towards the foyer. "Though I don't expect you will be here long." She gestures in the direction of one of the courtrooms. "Call me Dell." The briefest pause, and she illuminates, "I'm in charge." No boasting, no expectation - fact, simply.

"I was wondering who was," Sandra comments, as she follows along.
"Well, thank you for this change of scenery, Dell," she offers, glancing around curiously with her arms draping in front of her.
"Would you mind explaining your reasoning for this … shall we call it an extreme measure?"

Dell opens the courtroom door and waves to the seats within, allowing Sandra to choose her location. Her movements, though unhurried, aren't lazy - deliberation rather than ease. "You didn't assume it was Muire?" She pauses, looks back to Sandra. "What do you think is going on?" She's turned the question right back on the Atlantean.

"No, I did not, not really," offers Sandra as she takes a casual seat behind one of the tables in the courtroom. "She gave the aura of someone under orders. After all, she did say she would have rather killed Liv." Stretching faintly, Sandra turns her gaze back to Dell and watches her for a moment. "I believe that you are disturbed that some of my compatriots talked to the authorities about what happened at Evelyn's house. I must admit, that was a cololsal failure. She should have thought through her actions a bit more than she did."
Taking a deep breath, Sandra then continues, "You are going to speak to my compatriots and try to barter my freedom and safe return for their silence, and perhaps ending the harrassment against Liv. I do not think they will agree, by the by."

"She did." Dell doesn't bother to restrain her displeasure, though the manifestation is restrained … a low thrum in her voice, a flintiness in her eyes. "Prieta does not mis-step often, but when she does, it is … spectacular." That's a longer pause than usual, and noticeably so. Dell seats herself, folding her hands on one knee. "That is correct." Simple, a hint that she appreciates Sandra's assessment. "I believe Sullivan will. I cannot speak for your friends." A pause, and another one of those sounding questions, "And in our position? What would you do?”

"So it seems. Really, I do believe she underestimated Amber's sense of … justice," offers Sandra as she glances over at Dell. "Well, perhaps Liv will, but during the Evelyn … incident both Reginald and I gave her standing orders she was not to make any deal for our sakes. It is simply something neither of us wish. Annoying how much alike that man and I are," notes the Atlantean with a roll of her eyes.
Sandra then considers for a long moment, the situation. "Well, I cannot say for certain, but sometimes, one must cut their losses while they can. I probably would have left Evelyn out to dry and protected the rest of my people. But then, my people are not the most … compassionate and tolerating of idiocy."

"Consider the alternative." Dell's tone is hard - those three words have a heavy tread. "We don't need everyone. If some of you actively renege, who will believe the rest?" She leans back, regarding Sandra with a thoughtful expression. "It's plain why it matters to us. Why does it matter to you?"
She steeples her hands, sighing. "It may be some of us are willing to cut our losses." That seems … wordy coming from her, and it's a little quicker, less considered. Her tone levels out as she continues. "Prieta, however, is not a woman to take a fall while she has leverage, and she has a lot. Leaving her out to dry is ill-advised."

"Why does it matter to me?" asks Sandra, smiling over at Dell. "Quite simple. It is the same as it is for you. Loyalty. A kinship, one could say. Sullivan was one of the first real friends I made at Steranko. You can imagine how difficult that was for me, coming from a rather … different background than most others there. Even the alien I am not that close with. I am the youngest of my family, but if I had a sister of my choosing, I would choose Liv," notes the Atlantean.
"Ah, so Evelyn has you by the bouncing balls then, does she?" asks Sandra, murdering that particular term. "I wish I could assist you with that, actually. Liv would like to be free of her. It seems Liv has made up her own mind, and frankly, while she may not be what was wished for, and how often are children exactly what was wanted anyway, there is something salvagable from it. If she continues with this do goodingness, if any non-powered person finds out about your people, they will think first and foremost of Liv and likely have a positive reaction, rather than negative."

"I see." Dell ponders. "I cannot fault your loyalty. But Sullivan is taking unforgiveable steps." Her voice chills. "I blame it on her upbringing." She lifts one shoulder in a shrug. "If she - and you - leave us in peace, we will do the same. Our secrets are not hers to offer."
The slightest snort of laughter answers the mangled metaphor - apparently, Dell believes Sandra has done it on purpose. "I wouldn't put it that way." She allows the word to hang in space, another silence … not one of hesitation, just of thought. "A positive reaction? To a people created to kill another and assume their skin? I think not. Liv is not the first to try the hero's path. It's a waste of time."

"Does the populace really NEED to know what you are? And the path you have decided to take?" asks Sandra with a shake of her head. "Let Evelyn Prieto be the rebellious one, clamoring for power and greed. Use Sullivan as your shield, your idea of what the populace thinks you are. Surely such deceptions are not difficult for those trained to decieve the most intimate of companions," continues the Atlantean.
"Really, it sounds to me," offers Sandra, "that your trouble all begins with Evelyn. Let Sullivan have her child's revenge on poor parenting. And lance the wound before it becomes infected."

"You present an interesting argument." Dell seems … amused? Disturbed? Perhaps a little rueful? "And of course, this is to your benefit." There's enough doubt in her voice to indicate this makes Sandra's entire theory suspect. "But it's not doable." Those four words imply a labyrinth of traditions, politics, allegiances and other considerations, all of which - she doesn't really need to say - are not the business of an outsider.

"Of course it is," offers Sandra as she absently tries to wave away the tone of Dell's voice with a shackled hand, before simply lowering it into her lap. "Do not any sentient beings try to maneuver things for their own improvement? It would be unpractical to do anything but," the Atlantean young woman says. "And while I am trying to negotiate for the benefit of my friend, it is for my own benefit as well. Nothing is ever truly selfless, is it?" she asks with a faint sigh.
"That is a shame," offers Sandra with a shake of her head. "Believe me, I understand … complications," she notes with a faint twist of her lips into a frown. "Is there not some sort of compromise we can work out here? I have been the one offering all the alternatives. I am curious to hear what you might have in mind."

"True," Dell acknowledges with a tilt of her head. She frowns slightly, seeming about to add more, then shrugs and lets it slip into silence. There is no movement in the courtroom, only the slight, imagined ripple of shadows that comes from anything but complete darkness.
"It is what it is - and we are what we are by choice." Her tone is neutral, mild. "Alternatives we cannot use. I believe in the merits of the original plan." She spreads her hands. "Were I not a Soul Shadow, and were it not for the consequences, I might think Prieta would serve us better dead … but that is equally untenable." Another one of those subtle shifts, where Dell speaks a little quicker and a little more verbosely, less centered. "No, I think I am willing to play this out as it stands."

Crossing one leg over the other, Sandra watches Dell with a tilt of her head sideways, a faint frown hinted at upon her lips. Her first real diplomatic encounter, and she is failing miserably. That is most annoying. "A shame," offers Sandra as she considers a moment, before letting out a sigh. "Perhaps, then, you can help me with another problem instead? It seems there is an assasin who summons demons of shadow wanting me dead. Would you happen to know of any such a creature?"

"It is." There's even a hint of regret in the woman's voice. "But situations do not change for shame." Dell leans back, eyes leaving Sandra for a moment to wander across the courtroom. "Hmm. That may ring bells. I will let you know." That may be genuine, but with the usual character of these beings, it's hard to tell. She doesn't seem to feel the need to bring up that it may be a moot point, but does add, with an instant's flicker of humor, "I can assure you it had nothing to do with us."

Sandra smiles, offering a bow of her head. "It actually had not crossed my mind that you had," offers the Atlantean. "No, this creature was … what is it… Arabic in style and mannerisms," continues Sandra as she watches Dell. "If I may one more question, and be bold to ask, but how … what is the origins of your people? I find it … fascinating in a way."

"We do have individuals elsewhere," Dell says. "Arabic …" she trails off, nodding once - apparently filing it away for future reference. The question brings her head back and her eyes level. "The story," she says calmly, "is the first of us formed spontaneously from the shadow of a great sorcerer, and his young cries awakened his siblings. The oldest Shadows prefer not to talk about it. It may be fancy."

This certainly seems to pique Sandra's interest, but she does, at least, try to remain respectful. "So … there are groups of you … families, I will assume, given that Sullivan was raised by Prieta, as you call her." Sandra hmmms softly as she nods to herself. "That is why you look out for one another, you consider yourselves, no matter what happens, family. Admirable, in a way. When did you turn to impersonating others, rather than living your own lives?"

"Roughly, but too simple," Dell says, without meaning it as an insult. "There are hubs of influence, but it isn't only … descendance." Her pause makes it evident the word choice is an approximation. "And largely, we are a single family." A hint of irony sparks in her eyes … and then narrow faintly. "We have always been this way." Not quite curt, but with a certain degree of cutting. "Our lives begin with our source. We are linked to them. And there are …" Consideration, an idle movement of her hand. "… consequences if the source does not die at our hand. You have met Hunter?"

"Ah, yes. A pleasent individual," drawls Sandra obviously using sarcasm. Then there is a deep … deep sadness in her eyes as she looks down and away. "Your people are perhaps … better than my own. I will tell you something, so that we may understand one another. I ask, that it is just between you and I, Dell. For I have respect from you. Our blood, is as cold as the seas we live in sometimes. If a hand tries to kill you, the hand is removed."

"He is one whose source died without him," Dell says simply. "And I will give Prieta some credit - she was there when he might have broken completely." She shrugs, then chuckles, a certain note of irony. "That is not something I hear often." Not that she likely hears any comment on her kind, but let that pass. She tips her head, considering Sandra's remark … then inclining her head, silent acknowledgement that it will go no further. "There is sense in that."

An eyebrow arches upwards as Sandra watches Dell for a long moment. Then she offers a nod of her own to the Soul Shadow. "I see," she offers, considering a moment. "Well, I suppose there are some worthy attributes even in the most vain."

"There are. In most people, if one troubles to find them." Dell's voice indicates that in many cases, it's too much effort to look. She rises, saying, "I have work to attend to. Do you require anything else?"

Sandra considers for a long moment, looking pensive as she contemplates. "No, I believe I am well taken care of, all things considered." There is a pause, then Sandra frowns, "Actually, another blanket at night. I find the cold … disturbing. After all, I have never felt it before."

"Consider it done," Dell says, gesturing for Sandra to follow her back to the holding cell.

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