"I can't find Ambassador Shayde."
They should have been terrifying words, but they had lost any such sparkle through repetition. It had got to the point that Sherlock and Officer Marken both used Ambassador Shayde as testing material for new recruits.
So far, only one sharp Ensign had passed the Shayde Test.
This... was not that Ensign.
"You've checked her office and her home, of course," prompted Rael.
The luckless trainee smacked headfirst into realisation and ran off in a panic.
Five minutes later, he was back. And out of breath. "She's... not there... either..."
Rael took mercy on the young man and pointed over the balcony where he was standing. To a lower level of the Elemeno. Where Ambassador Shayde had been happily strumming her 'axe' for some time.
"...for the truth will be greater than fictiooooonnnn..." she sang. And she sang it to a group of school-children
"Normally, we'd make you run to all of her other hang-outs," said Rael. "They're scattered all over the greater 1G zone."
The Ensign whimpered.
"You forgot the first rule of handling a figure of some import."
"Whawuztha'?" he panted.
"Read. Their. File," said Lyr, coming up behind him. "I know you opened it, but did you look at more than the in-brief?"
Rael hadn't thought it possible, but the Ensign managed to turn even redder.
"You're relieved, today," Lyr sighed. "Take this as a lesson for why we insist on protocol."
Rael watched his retreat. "Think he'll be back?"
"The Shayde Test has a seventy percent wash-out rate. We'll see."
"If he does come back," Rael paused to see the selfsame red-faced Ensign rush up to the place where Shayde was playing ballads from her time. "Do try to teach him about energy conservation techniques."