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Below are the 15 most recent journal entries recorded in Regan Tam's LiveJournal:

Friday, June 13th, 2008
11:44 pm
Gabriel may be working again -- may have hit a plateau in his recovery, and Regan hopes that's temporary (and fears it's not) -- but he still gets check-ups. More often than he'd like, but this at least he knows better than to resist.

When the check-up's over, Regan has her own appointment, sometimes. Briefer, and just to talk.

She trusts Gabriel about many, many things. Accurate reporting of his own health is not necessarily one of them.
Thursday, November 29th, 2007
12:03 am
Gabriel's been quiet, in the few days since his last appointment with Dr. Navarro. "How did it go?" she asked, and "All right," he answered, and that was that.

She hasn't pushed. Not yet.

(She's worried. And she's wearily resigned. Which emotion wins out depends on the moment.)

So she keeps herself busy, and tries to keep Gabriel from keeping himself too busy, and bides her time.
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007
10:37 pm
The world of politics doesn't stop because one senator's been hurt. If anything, it speeds up -- rumors spread, rivals try to take advantage of the weakness, and the press gets more interested, not less.

Regan's carefully coiffed, her makeup discreet and her wardrobe carefully chosen to provide the right note: restrained, but not somber. She's been making a statement to that press, smiling for the vids with the right balance of determination and careful optimism. Gabriel is recuperating well and the doctors are confident he'll make a full recovery, and I can assure you that all leads are being thoroughly investigated and no comment, thank you, and it's been a trying time, but our family is strong, and we're keeping each other's spirits up.

None of it's a lie, exactly, but it's exhausting. More than ever, right now.

But it's over, and she has two days until the next scheduled press conference. And there are no press allowed in this small lounge near the hospital cafeteria; no one but close family and friends of the patients in this wing.

Regan has tea, and a succinct dossier of their rivals' current activities that she's gamely attempting to focus on. Her success is indifferent at best.
Tuesday, July 10th, 2007
1:20 am
Breakfast together is one of the things the Tams make time for in all but the busiest of times. It's a time, whenever possible, to put aside the stacks of proposals and public opinion polls and dossiers, and talk to each other about how their days have gone. Lunches and dinners are often tied up in charity and political events, but breakfast is free, and they've made a point of keeping it so.
Sunday, June 24th, 2007
11:53 pm
Regan doesn't want to think about personal security in all situations.

Regan is aware that, as the wife of a senator -- and, more, as the mother of Simon and River Tam and the wife of the senator proposing the controversial Interplanetary Infrastructure and Guardianship Act -- she doesn't have the luxury of avoiding it. As the day Parliament votes on the act gets closer, their chief of security has been increasingly vigilant about reminding them of this.

Therefore, she's at her desk, resignedly reviewing the dossier of procedure Mark Jiang handed them both last week.
Thursday, April 5th, 2007
11:55 pm
Regan has work to be doing, and soon enough she'll get back to it. Letters to be written, and others to be read, and Senator Thiering's proposed revision to the IIGA -- gutting of the IIGA, really -- to pick apart so she and Gabriel can compare notes.

But first, she's allowing herself a short break. She has mint tea and Dae Alvarez's Identity -- a favorite novel, relaxing, and one she's read at least half a dozen times -- and her bare feet tucked under her on the couch.
Thursday, July 27th, 2006
3:33 am
12:31 am
Light spills from the windows of the Tams' new house, refracting gently off the electronic security fence; more lamps line the front walk, and cast a diffuse glow over the paths and benches in the small back garden. Inside, the rooms are impeccably tidy. The large rooms on the first floor were designed for entertaining guests, and every one is well-supplied with comfortable chairs in small clusters; the upstairs is devoted to private living space, but for this particular party it too is open to any wandering guests. That's traditional for a housewarming party, after all.

A catering company was hired to provide appropriate refreshments and servers, and extra security includes two smiling guards at the door, checking names off a list. The house is filled with the low murmur of dozens of friendly conversations, punctuated by occasional laughter. This party is only for friends and supporters of the Tams -- from Core and Rim both, and from numerous walks of life -- and the atmosphere is accordingly relaxed.
Monday, June 19th, 2006
3:56 am
Sunday, June 18th, 2006
10:36 pm
Thursday, June 1st, 2006
1:40 pm
Hal Carson is not a happy man right now.

He's served four terms in parliament, elected in an easy landslide each time; he has the connections, and the money, and a certain amount of personal charisma. They've won him a seat on several important committees, and reciprocal deals with any number of other senators, and a strong electoral base in the heart of the Core. He's not popular on the Rim, of course, but he's never much cared about the outlying planets, and they return the favor. Half of the border worlds are full of unrepentent Browncoats and revisionist sympathizers, in his opinion, and most of them don't bother to vote even nowadays. This election, his advisors agreed, was likely to follow the same pattern.

Then came the Saranac Event -- that wave of vast and inexplicable destruction that just happened to take out a certain number of vital and highly classified institutions. The scientists have named it and catalogued it and published any number of papers about it, and so far as Carson has heard no one has come up with any kind of plausible theory for what actually happened. He doesn't care. What he cares about is that the Alliance was left scrambling in its wake to rebuilt infrastructure and facilities and popular confidence in the stability of the 'verse and, more importantly, the political system.

And then came Miranda.

And now -- now, his assistant has just apologetically handed him a datapad keyed to display the latest polls.

Which show that that qīngwā cào de liúmáng upstart Gabriel Tam -- a man with no political experience, a man with skeletons in his family closet the Independents out on the Rim and the fluff-brained dissidents in the Core seem to love him for, a man calling for the subversion of principles central to the government protecting the future of all the allied worlds -- that upstart has just pulled ahead of Carson in the popular polls by three more points.




Gabriel and Regan Tam and Andronicus Crowley travel together whenever possible. It allows for convenient conferences, in a hotel room (thoroughly inspected for bugs) or a private section of a supporter's guest-house (similarly inspected) or one of Crowley's properties. When they can't manage that, they compare notes over three-way conference waves encrypted with all the security Bentley Aeronautics can give them. Bentley Aeronautics can give a hell of a lot of security -- they do have shares in Teknor Apex and Merkury Ltd. and a sweetheart deal with Camwyn Electronics, and Birnam Acquisitions has its own deal (engineered by one Gabriel Tam) with Iskellian Technology Solutions -- but it's not the same as hunching over a cluttered table together, trading rapid-fire analysis and strategy. Even their bodyguards and advisors aren't always allowed in the room for those. (Not when there's discussion of, say, Milliways, or the children the Tams haven't seen in years -- so far as anyone in this 'verse knows, anyway -- or of Southdown Abbey or the Tet Consortium.)

Arranging to be on the same planet doesn't mean much outside of those nightly planning sessions, though. It's Wednesday, two weeks before the election, and time is short. The three of them (with aides and bodyguards, and the Tams have almost gotten used to that because they're much too busy to care) have split themselves a dozen different ways over the course of the day. Meetings over breakfast and lunch, a speech before each of three different fundraising gatherings, a press conference, a cocktail party and two charity dinners, one with a wayang kulit shadow-puppet play that's mostly a backdrop to the political mingling before and after it.

And, of course, they converge afterward to compare notes. He said this; she said that; polls are up on Whitefall and down on Beaumonde; Nick Rosse has been seen in close conferences with Hal Carson's head advisor, and his rival Martinpur Select seems ready to devote more funds to the Tam Campaign in reaction. Gossip and newsfeeds and tiny shifts of wording and body language, strategy and advertisements.

Time is short, and getting shorter.




Gabriel clasps Senator Fred Atwood's hand, smiling affably. The senator is firmly in support of Hal Carson, and that's no secret. Carson has been one of his proteges, in fact. But there are niceties to be observed in any social situation, and Gabriel firmly intends them to be colleagues soon. It would be counterproductive to alienate him.

"Tell me, Tam," Atwood says heartily. He's a hearty guy: bluff-faced, broad, fond of jokes and backslaps. A war hero, and the media loves him. "What do you think of the Ngembe Amendment? It'll never pass, of course, but it sounds right up your alley."

Gabriel smiles, knife-sharp, and parries the question as if he doesn't hear the challenge in it, and as if there's no answering challenge in his reply. But the fierce light in his eyes gives the lie to that. Every public occasion is a genteel skirmish these days, and he intends to win.




If you look at Senator Fred Atwood's desk, it's big, and it's made of dark wood, and it's covered in communiques. One from Nick Rosse rests on the top, the words on the digital paper dancing, seeming to say pay attention, pay attention, look alive, Senator. The whole business world knows Nick Rosse, and so does anyone who pays attention to the right celebrity pages, which means that anyone with any power in politics knows him too. Part of the reason is that kind of communique.

Right now Atwood isn't looking at anything. He's sitting in his big chair, and he's turned away from his desk, facing the dark screen of his in-office cortex hub, and he's got a photograph in his ruddy broad hands: a dark-haired girl, with swathes of shadow cut under her dull eyes.

When his secretary beeps him thirty minutes later -- lobbyist to see you, Senator, it's about the forest reserve bill -- he's still looking at her, looking at her eyes, as though one photograph of River Tam can tell him all he needs to know.




The Friedan-Chao Academy -- Regan Tam's alma mater -- is a prestigious university, and close to a century old. There are schools with better reputations, but not many. (Friedan-Chao students are encouraged to cultivate a sense of superiority and cordial scorn towards those laureled few.) It's a school for those who have highly placed connections, or want to acquire some, and both the education and the networking are impeccable. Accordingly, it has always been an academy that prides itself on very little student unrest.

That's changed, these days. After the Miranda revelation and the subsequent upheaval, there's no school in the 'verse that's immune to unrest. There have been there have been students dropping out with fervent and often ill-considered plans to Make A Difference, and others condemning those drop-outs with astonishing vitriol; on campus, there have been demonstrations, rallies, impassioned debates over the private Cortex channels for both students and faculty. As elections approach, it's only gotten worse.

One of the campus firebrands -- there are a lot more, these days -- is holding forth in the main square, perched on the pedestal of the abstract statue meant to represent Thought. (It looks like a giant halo, from most angles, which is possibly why Kurt LaFontaine chose it. It's also the highest easily accessible point in the square.) A crowd has gathered around him. Some of them have placards. Some of them are wearing brown armbands; it's a symbol that's spread among the youth. Most of them wear tiny buttons reading DEAD BUT NOT FORGOTTEN or TRY AGAIN, YOU POLITICIANS or TAM FOR A CHANGE. People going to class or dorm rooms duck their heads and skirt the edges of the impromptu rally. It nearly fills the square.

"For the thirty million!" Kurt screams defiantly, and thrusts his fist in the air. A cheer rises, and dozens of students mimic the gesture.

Two weeks until the election.
Friday, February 24th, 2006
1:40 am
Gabriel was going to work late, he said; no need to wait up.

Regan's in bed, therefore, but not asleep yet. The light's on, and she's leaning back against a backrest made of pillows piled against the headboard. Her current novel -- a comedy of manners by Mahfouz Wong, which she's finding well-written but short on sensible plot devices -- lies on the counterpane beside her.

She's studying a sheaf of papers, instead. Drafts of Gabriel's speech to announce his candidacy.
Monday, December 5th, 2005
5:12 am
Regan's silent, as they step through the door from Milliways into the still-deserted sidestreet.

Silent, as they stroll through the bustling Elysian Fields shopping district. Any other day Regan would be glancing from store to store, keeping an eye out for clothes and tailors and presents; she loves this part of the city. Any other day the warm smiles she directs at certain passersby might not be quite so automatic.

She's a little distracted right now.

Silent, until Gabriel touches a hand to the fingerprint-sensor keypad, and they step together into their discreetly lavish hotel room.

Then she's still silent, but the questioning look she turns on him speaks volumes.
Friday, December 2nd, 2005
4:16 am
It's an unfamiliar bed. Comfortable, oh yes; more comfortable than any hotel room she's been in, for all that the amenities are modest. The room is lovely, spare and well-appointed, and she doesn't want to ask how the dresser contained pyjamas exactly in their sizes. The bed is soft, thick-pillowed, covered in soft sheets and a thick down comforter. She's used to their own places -- middle age does that to you, and the beginnings of age in your bones -- but Regan has always prided herself on adaptability. And it's very comfortable.

It's long past midnight.

She can't sleep.

Gabriel's finally asleep, she thinks. She's not certain. For an indeterminately long time, she could feel him lying next to her, motionless and insomniac, just as she is. But his breathing has slowed, sometime in the past hour.

Her mind is a disorderly whirl. She can't put her thoughts in order.

That's all right. Every time she focuses too closely on half of it, she feels a tight knot of nausea tighten in her stomach.

It's not a water bed. Impossible to get motion-sick on a mattress. It just feels like it.

The room is dark. There's moonlight through the gauzy curtains; it silvers the glass on the impersonally soothing pictures, casts shadows deep as the black of space in the pooling folds of a wall hanging.

Gabriel explained things. Not everything -- there's far, far too much. Some of it he glossed over, or told her enough to keep her from making a fool of herself without explaining the underlying reasoning. That she shouldn't say certain things to Mr. Fell or anyone resembling Andronicus Crowley, the ways in which the bar worked -- no mention of magic, and she was grateful; no mention of any technology to explain it, either.

Explained about a ship, and she knows full well he avoided some details there and is ignorant himself about more. She doesn't have to know. She wants desperately to know every detail about her children's lives -- she doesn't have to know.

Has forfeited the right to know, whispers a tiny treacherous voice inside her. In the midnight silence, such thoughts are louder. She can't shove it away, and she can't quite deny it.

She's remembering Simon's face.

Almost challenging, almost compassionate, almost bitter -- now do you understand, Mom? Maybe there's no 'almost' to any of that.

Did you even read these?

She's not fine.

Something's wrong.

Everything's wrong.

Maybe it always has been. How much did she not notice? How much did she will herself not to see?

No, she thinks desperately. They were happy, once. For years. They were. She remembers -- Simon laughing, and River smug, and River dancing around the living room, and the two of them curled together on the couch, dark heads bent over their homework -- she remembers so much.

She remembers holding them for the first time. Each one. Simon first -- cradling his tiny form in her arms, still sore from the birth, marveling at his hands and feet, his toes, his eyes. River, five years later, no less miraculous. Remembers carrying each of them inside her, feeling the fluttering kicks inside her belly. Wondering who they'd become, what they'd be like. Waiting to meet them.

Love is an ache in her throat.

Where did it all go wrong? How much of it was her fault?

Too much to take in. Too much. Her head and her broken heart are too full.

She has to take it in. Tomorrow morning will come, and she'll have to rise, and smile, and function, and go down into the (mó shù) bar, and deal with whatever comes. Deal with it with grace and aplomb and no more second chances.

But that's tomorrow.

Not tonight.
Wednesday, November 30th, 2005
5:28 am
Regan's been doing a lot of thinking, these past few days.

About the things that are easy to think about. Strategy, political maneuvers, her role and Gabriel's in laying ground work. It's a time for change, her husband said; directed change, with new hands to guide it.

About things she doesn't want to think about. Simon. River. The gŏushĭ bùrú human interest story that tore their lives apart. About your sister is fine, Simon.

About things she almost succeeds in not thinking about -- and then trips over a memory, a thought, lets her guard slip that fraction too much, and it all creeps in. About experimentation and operations, and permanent effects. About the way her husband's white-knuckled hand and level voice did not tremble when he said Besides, it can't be worse than what they'd do to them now if caught. Trust me, Regan.

(And her own voice, the choking feel of her own taut, desperate fury: Gabriel, are you trying to destroy this family? I won't have it.)

(And the feel of her fingers on the commpad, punching in a call.)

And about... above all, about I've seen them.

Two years, since Simon disappeared.

Five, since they sent River off to school. A school that wasn't. She was fourteen, then, a little girl.

Nineteen, now. Nineteen and four months and twenty days. Almost

(there are effects)

a grown woman. Legally adult.

There are gulfs, in their marriage, since things began to fall apart. Too many things unsaid, too many brittle broken edges to dance around, too many things she dares not bring into the open.

But still. But still. Regan Tam is wife and mother. And she has always loved her family -- well, if not wisely.

Gabriel's in his study, working. And so, now, Regan makes her way down the hallway, and leans against the doorframe, waiting for him to notice.
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