I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
Mass Effect 1 1/2
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Minbari was understandably upset. As a Huntress, she'd visited the Citadel often enough and explored many worlds beyond that, but now her service to the military was done. She felt that she was well on her way to Matron-hood but she still didn't have a place she wanted to settle, though that didn't mean much. Minbari had felt lost, so she'd come to the Citadel in the hopes that her future would find her. Instead, she'd found news that the SS Normandy had been destroyed and Commander Shepard was missing, presumed dead.
The human Commander hadn't been a hero to Minbari, exactly, but had certainly been a good example. Commander Shepard had seen a danger, addressed it, and then taken action to correct the issue. Reapers, the Commander had said, are coming. Without the Commander, chances were good that the diplomatic Council would cease any action regarding the Reapers and that, to Minbari's way of thinking, was unacceptable. So she'd done the one thing she'd sworn never to do; she'd gone to her Mother for aide. The Councilor had granted her request to form a small special task group. Minbari was a council Spectre after all, and had some basis for petitioning some groups. Still, Minbari was used to working alone and had no idea how to go about forming a group much less leading one. Maybe that would be her first task, finding a leader for her group. Someone who could take command or at the very least, coordinate the group. Of one thing she was certain: she needed diversity. The Commander had an elite force and Minbari believed that part of the reason they'd been so successful was their diverse backgrounds. They'd had the ability to work cohesively and adapt to any situation they'd come across.
So she was wandering the Citadel now, searching through the roster of current officers, military personnel, and civilian workers currently on the Citadel in the hopes that she'd find someone worth approaching. As usual, she moved while she thought and the simple black dress she wore covered her from her shoulders to her feet. Only the dark blue of her head, face and hands showed through. Her pale blue eyes were focused almost entirely on her omni-tool as she frowned in concentration.
Eater of Breakfast Foods
Marekeis was tired. There weren't too many days where he actually felt his full 31 Salarian years old, but unfortunately this was one of them. His shift on C-Sec felt as if it had dragged on, turning the 8 hour patrol into something akin to torture; all the fiddling with his omni-tool in the world, which would normally distract him, fell short and left him feeling agitated.
Now that his shift was actually over, he was heading over to Flux for a stiff drink from a bartender that hopefully wouldn't ask him too many questions. Ever since Commander Shepoard had personally saved her sister from being some sort of undercover dancer at Chora's Den, she was a lot more chatty. He didn't even bother changing out of his C-Sec uniform, hoping that would make people either leave him alone or attempt to bribe him with a drink. The blue threads looked nice against his pale, orange spotted skintone accented by dark purple eyes and he felt a little sorry for his more unusually colored co-workers, as the royal blue was a bit more unforgiving on the bright green variants.
He took the long way to the bar. While he was anxious, he did want to finally check his more personal items on his omni-tool, mainly his personal email. He didn't receive much else than a response to a long chain between he and an old work friend from STG. Quickly he began typing back a response, his eyes darting back up every few seconds to make sure he wasn't walking into walls.
People, however, was something he should have been looking out for. He immediately started mumbling an apology as his shoulder collided with that of an Asari, also distracted by her omni-tool.
"Sorry, miss. Should probably pay more attention to where I'm going."
The Dark Star Lounge, 28th level of Zakera Wards, Citadel
They had chosen this meeting place well, David thought to himself as he looked around the nearly filled to capacity lounge. From what he understood, this was a fairly average night for one of the Citadel's most popular “night” clubs, where members of every species from all walks of life could drink and dance away their troubles for as long as they pleased, provided they had credits to spend of course. The practical side of his mind noted that with all the people present, it would be nearly impossible to see trouble coming before it got too close for his liking, and the loud, booming music could easily cover the sound of a silenced gunshot.
David finished glancing around the room and returned his attention to the turian seated across the table from him. The man was dressed from head to toe in the armor of the Blue Suns mercenary company, a galaxy wide band of soldiers who performed missions ranging from simple reconnaissance to, at least it was rumored, straight out murder. Ordinarily, David would have preferred to have nothing to do with the Blue Suns, but times were hard, and his credit savings were always dwindling.
“What exactly are your qualifications, Mr... Devarron,” the turian said, setting aside the datapad David had handed him. “Most of your references are out of date, and your mission history is blacked out to the point where you're giving me a headache trying to read it.”
David smiled slightly, “Sorry, past client confidentiality. You understand. As far as qualifications... I have advanced training in reconnaissance and assault situations, and have had experience in dealing with just about every organization out there. Aside from C-sec, or the Spectres, of course.”
“Including the Blue Suns?,” the turian asked, shifting his weight to a more laid back sitting position which also conveniently made it easier to draw the pistol at his hip.
“With respect, sir,” David began, sliding his arms off the table, “the nature of our mutual... business inevitably puts us in conflicts we had no desire to be a part of. I don't hold a grudge against the Suns for shooting at me, and I hope you won't hold a grudge against me for my past missions. After all, I was only a scout and never fired upon a Blue Suns operative.”
It was a lie, David had, in fact, participated in four assaults of Blue Suns guarded outposts, and had shot down more than one operative in the process of each under false identitys. Hopefully, the Blue Suns didn't know that though. Better to move on than let him think about it, however.
“Look, sir. The Blue Suns could use another man surely, particularly since word on the grapevine is that someone has been causing trouble for you and other mercenary companies on Omega,” David said, leaning forward, “now, you can hire me for the job, or you can give me back the datapad, and perhaps the next time you see me, I'll be in that fancy yellow armor the Eclipse is always showing off.”
David's omni-tool started blinking at that moment, diverting his attention to a small message that scrolled across his arm. S.E.R.A.'s scans must have picked something out of the crowd.
'Three possibles on approach. Human, two salarians. Danger close.'
David muttered a curse and reached over to snatch the datapad from the surprised turian. He was just starting to stand when a yellow-gauntleted hand slapped down on his shoulder and drove him hard into his seat.
“Fat chance on that last one David,” said a human that he didn't directly recognize, but whose yellow armor emblazoned with a star told the infiltrator everything he needed to know. “Eclipse remembers.”
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
The collision caused Minbari to jerk back and she caught herself from reacting instinctively, just barely. The salarian clearly hadn't meant to run into her and Minbari was just as at fault. Her eyes found the omni tool screen and the name of the person he was addressing instantly caught her interest. She stepped in front of him and smiled her best friendly smile.
"It's not a problem. Really, it was my fault. I've just got so much going on. Tell you what, to make up for it, why don't you let me buy you a drink? I know a guy in The Dark Star Lounge who makes a mean Klixen drink. That is, if you're off duty."
Eater of Breakfast Foods
Quickly, Marekeis put the omni-tool down, startled but trying to cover it quickly. He took in the appearance of the Asari who he had bumped into, noting that she was pretty, but then again, every Asari he had ever met was nearly flawless in appearance. There was a mental shrug. What the hell, he wanted someone to buy him a drink at some point in his life, why not let it be her?
"Aren't we supposed to at least introduce ourselves before offering a drink?" He smiled and held out his hand, long Salarian fingers outstretched towards hers, "I'm Marekeis, by the way."
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
"Marekeis." She smiled, his name had been on the potentials roster. Minbari accepted the outstretched hand as she recalled everything she could about his name from the group of five technicians she'd narrowed it down to. "I'm Minbari." She hoped he wouldn't recognize her name. Most Spectres were pretty well known, but there were a *lot* of asari spectres in the Citadel at any point in time. "It's a pleasure to meet you." She released his hand and subtly turned to lead him to the proper sector. "And I do many things out of their proper order. I find that tends to get the best results for me, though I'm sure you'll probably disagree. I just don't like social protocol all that much."
She smiled at him again. "I hope you don't mind. I've been looking for someone to share a drink with, but I really didn't mean to run into you. Usually, I'm slightly more graceful than that." She led him to the Lounge at a good pace.
Eater of Breakfast Foods
Marekeis allowed himself to be steered to the bar, feeling almost flattered that an Asari was so interested in taking an old Salarian like himself out for a drink. While they walked, he tried to nonchalantly scan through his omni-tool to find out exactly where he knew her name from. Ah, yes. Spectre Minbari. A bulletin had gone out to everyone in C-Sec to let them know when any Spectres were on the Citadel ever since Commander Shepard had started punching reporters and getting in fights with Ambassador Udina that threatened to get physical.
Taking a seat at the bar, Marekeis did a quick scan out of habit, but didn't notice anything too unusual. After the drinks were served, he raised the glass to his lips with a smile, "So what is a Spectre doing talking to a lowly C-Sec officer in a dark room?"
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
The asari moved relatively swiftly through the wards at the salarian's side and her instinctive sweeping of the club as they entered it probably gave away her military training if her movements had not. Asari dancers swayed as the music boomed loudly and men of all race oggled nearly naked blue skin. The turian bartender gave her a nod as she raised a hand to him, he knew what she liked well enough. Regarding alcohol as well as her bed partners.
When the drinks arrived, she stopped sweeping the club for danger, having already noted a very drunk C-sec officer, a couple of salarians conversing a little too closely near the dance floor and a Blue Sun operative sitting down while three Eclipse armored men stood in front of him. Of the three situations, the mercenaries were the most likely to cause trouble, but it didn't look to be anything of import just yet.
Hopefully, they'd let her have a night off as she relaxed. Her eyes turned then to her companion and she took in the quick words and the smile on his face. Was he used to strange meetings like this? Perhaps they were all a little more used to strangeness after Commander Shepard had come into their Universe. Then again, C-sec officers weren't all known for their completely incorruptible natures.
Minbari felt a headache coming on and lifted the drink to her lips, refraining from chugging the drink solely because she needed all of her wits about her. While one drink wouldn't take her down, it might lower her defenses enough for trouble to find her. Then, as she tasted the drink, she decided that she might actually prefer the light warmth that a double would afford her. Better now than later.
She tossed the drink back and ordered two more, for herself, before she returned the salarian's smile. "Word gets around that C-sec officers are the ones to talk to when you want something. And I'm fond of dark rooms. They provide.... a certain ambiance." She nearly winced. This wasn't exactly the most diplomatic way to start a conversation, subtly insulting the job of the person you're talking to.
"What I'm interested in tonight, though, is something more serious than you probably wanted to hear about. I'm looking for some....well-suited companions for a journey in the near future." She leaned forward, keeping her tone low and her voice quiet so that she nearly touched him when she spoke just to be heard. "I know some of your history, Marekeis. I'm in need of someone with your particular skill set and I'm authorized to re-assign you."
She looked at him as she spoke, judging his reaction and paying less attention to the surroundings than she probably should have been. "I can't tell you anything unless you decide to accept, and I'd rather have you accept the offer of employment then force you to it. But I can promise that it'll be something worth doing. Tell me you're not tired of being a security officer...and I'll let you walk out. You'll never see me again."
David sighed heavily as the small band of Eclipse mercenaries encircled him. It's times like these that make me want to quit this business, he thought to himself.
“Little earlier on the warning next time SERA,” he muttered under his breath, knowing the VI could hear him through his armor. David looked at the turian across the table, wondering if the Blue Suns mercenary would even lift a finger to help him out of this situation. All around, people were beginning to notice the escalating confrontation and were beginning to clear space for the seemingly inevitable fight.
“It would seem you have made some enemies, Mr. Devarron,” the turian said, leaning back in his chair and picking up his glass of turian ale only to swirl its contents around the container. David noticed more than one 'patron' suddenly start moving to spots where they could have a clear line of sight, and a line of fire on the table he was sitting at. The turian set the ale down once more without taking a drink, turning his attention towards the other human who had grabbed David's shoulder. “And what did Mr. Devarron do, that would bring you three gentlemen upon his head?”
“Shut it, vorcha-lover,” the human replied, leaning forward as though daring the turian to say something else. When nothing else was forthcoming, the man looked almost disappointed, turning back to issue commands to the two salarians who were with him. “You two, cuff him and let's take him back to command.”
One of the salarians drew his pistol and pointed it at David's head while the other took out a pair of wrist restraints designed not only to bind the hands, but also shut down biotic powers and technical skills. The salarian reached forward and made a grab for David's wrist but he slid his arms away from the alien's grip.
“A fair warning, I don't like being touched,” David said, turning his gaze on the salarian. Grunting what could only be an indignant reply, the salarian reached again for his wrists.
Eater of Breakfast Foods
"I'm not tired of..." Marekeis trailed off, his focus shifting from the Asari before him to the quickly escalating situation just a few tables away from them. His hand reaching instinctively for his hip, where his Arc Pistol rested safely in a holster and his other hand slowly set down the drink that did have just the perfect kick to it. Figures. He decided it was probably best to call for back up first, hitting a few combinations on his omni-tool, his eyes darting back up to make sure no shots were fired.
He took a quick gulp of the alcoholic beverage that he just knew he wasn't going to be able to get back to.
"Of course, AFTER my shift is over," He sighed and drew his gun, keeping it low as he approached the group of mercenaries and civillians, encouraging the onlookers that he passed to vacate the area immediately. He took slow steps into the group, his eyes jumping to and from each person with a weapon.
"C-SEC! What seems to be the problem?"