Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Amaranth
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Amaranth the Kasaanda

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Edge of the Terminus Systems, 2184





Unlike its namesake, the Eyas soared through the dark void with Kori’Andh nar Chayym at its controls. Not that she had much to do at the moment - she had already plotted the course to the nearest Mass Relay at the edge of the system and the navigational computer was doing the actual flying and microadjustments to dodge bits of space junk and asteroids. Still, Kori checked and rechecked all the flight paths and sensors to make sure they were still on course. A good pilot didn’t get overly comfortable. The Quarian pilot stood up and stretched after she had done her second check of the instrumentation.

The Eyas was not a big ship by most standards, perhaps 25-ish meters long, but Kori loved it. She had practically built it from scratch. It was a converted survey shuttle, meant to be launched from much larger ships to scan and land planetside, and capable of limited FTL flight (though, it mostly relied on Mass Relays for longer trips). From what she had seen first hand and info she had dug up on the extranet, the main compartment of the ship had originally held sophisticated sensor gear for planetary scan. Of course, by the time she had found the ship, the equipment was useless and barely more than scrap electronics. So, Kori had stripped it out and functionally turned it into a small freighter. When she was ‘enlisted’ by Aria’s Organisation they had insisted she turn it into a troop transport as well as cargo hauler. She had dutifully installed cargo netting that could be flipped down to double as seats, which they currently were.

Kori sat back down and tapped the control panel to check on her passengers. She had been instructed by Gallienus that a freelance group of mercs needed transportation to a nearby system and that they’d be afforded a portion of the payment if she flew them out. Knowing that she didn’t really have a choice in the matter, and she’d only get about 10% of the credits anyway, Kori agreed. The Quarian glanced over at the camera feed displaying the cargo hold. Six of them in total, still there. Surprisingly they hadn’t murdered each other yet. She had seen a krogan and a turian go at each other last time. Naturally, she was a bit wary about giving another group of freelancers a lift.

She had no idea what their mission was and didn’t plan on finding out. All Kori’Andh knew was that their destination was some colony named New Syrtis and that it was civilised enough that she would nap on the ship while they did whatever violent acts the employer requested, and then fly them back to Omega. No blood on her hands and everyone was happy. The Pilot leaned back in her chair and put her feet on the control panel. They still had a fair few hours before they hit the Relay, might as well relax. Using her Omnitool, she set an alarm in her suit to let her know when they were a few minutes out from the relay and then drifted off into a half-sleep.

A soft beeping and blinking light on her suit’s visor shook Kori’Andh out of her stupor and she straightened up in her chair, quickly tapping a few buttons to make certain they were still on course. Thankfully, they were. The Quarian Pilot reverted the Eyas to manual control and guided the shuttle towards the approach corridor with one hand, deftly typing in the mass of the shuttle and transmitting the data and coordinates to the Mass Relay, which angled itself towards their destination as they entered the mass-free lane generated by the relay, catapulting the ship and everyone in it towards New Syrtis. A moment later, they blinked into existence a few light-seconds away from the verdant colony. Kori was surprised to see that the orbit of New Syrtis was abuzz with space-traffic, ships coming and going from the planetside spaceport. The most striking sight was a civilian cruise ship, slowly drifting in orbit over the ocean of the planet like some spacebound grazing animal. A cursory scan revealed the name of the ship to be the Ecliptic Moonrise, a passenger liner that made trips out to all the outer colonies in the Terminus Systems and Attican Traverse.

Kori’s suit visor auto-dimmed. She squinted to see what had caused it to engage. Sunrise? She manually shut off the light-protection function and looked again. The Ecliptic Moonrise it was gone.

In its place, a second sun.

“Keelah…” Kori whispered as she grabbed hold of the controls and swerved to avoid wreckage propelled toward them by the blast. She guided the shuttle to a safe distance and stared, in shock, at the data file she had brought up about the Ecliptic Moonrise. 533 people had been on board. Already, emergency shuttles were swarming like blinking flies over a fresh corpse.

Kori blinked and snapped out of her daze, she quickly tapped into the nearest comm buoy to see what was going on and if it was even still safe to land. The extranet connection pinged affirmative and the Pilot’s Omnitool was immediately bombarded with warnings about six suspects who were thought to have destroyed the passenger ship Ecliptic Moonrise in a bombing. Six suspects? The Quarian brought their pictures up on one screen and opened another. She flicked on on the cargo hold camera feed and compared the twelve individuals.

It was impossible! Someone was framing them! Kori’s mind raced with questions and courses of action but she sat, immobilised by her own fear. She should tell them right? They can’t land on the planet anyway, so they need to know that at least. Nervously, Kori got to her feet. She paced the length of the small cockpit and fiddled with her Omnitool. The report listed them as armed and extremely dangerous terrorists. To be shot on sight. The Quarian Pilot’s blood rapidly froze and then thawed as she checked - again - that she hadn’t been added to the list. Her blood cooled again when she realised C-Sec or whatever authorities were out here probably wouldn’t play too nicely with an associate of armed terrorists. She put a three-fingered hand on her own chest and bid herself to calm down.

Once she had regained her composure - mostly - she punched the cockpit door controls and passed into the makeshift passenger compartment. Deep breaths.

“We can’t land on the planet. There was a bombing and… they are blaming you.” Kori explained her breathless words belying her nervousness. To further provide proof of her claims she held up her Omnitool and displayed the APB. Sure enough, six rotating models of the six freelancers’ heads flickered into existence over her palm, alongside crimes such as ‘𝟱𝟯𝟯 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗺𝘂𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗶𝗻 𝗹𝗼𝘄 𝗼𝗿𝗯𝗶𝘁’ and ‘𝟰 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗱𝗲𝘁𝗼𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗺𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘆-𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗹𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘃𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗮 𝗰𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗹𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝘃𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗲𝗹.’ Kori turned off her Omnitool and looked out at the group, at a loss for ideas and looking for guidance.
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Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Spoopy Scary
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Spoopy Scary ☠️🌸soft grunge🌸☠️

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Days before…

A few candidates were already checked off the list.

Cherk was orderly, methodical, and most of all, efficient. He went down the list of recruits to see who was left. Most of the crew was already accounted for, there were just a few left to collect. They still needed an engineer other than Kori’andh to do the actual maintenance while she was flying. Of the two on this list, one was clearly more qualified. One was more of a soldier, and would probably make for a decent mercenary, but he needed a specialist. Self-taught mechanics couldn’t fix spaceships or decrypt computer code. A bona-fide engineer that could create automatic robotics and program a VI? That’s the type of person he needed. What sealed the deal was that they already had a little bit of experience with contracts like the one he had in store for her.

Her name on the record was Cheyenne Jung, apparently wanted for questioning by the Citadel regarding the Luna incident. However, word around Omega says such a woman went by the name Shy.

She stuck out like a sore thumb the Afterlife Club of Omega. The woman was the only one at her table next to the stage of dancing asari, and unlike the rest of the lowlives who called Omega their home, she didn’t look like much of a killer. In fact, she didn’t look like much at all. She wasn’t wearing armor or openly brandishing any weapons, but this didn’t keep him any less on his toes. According to the dossier he created based on floating rumors, she might have been odd and peculiar, but she also had a reputation for being a pretty efficient bounty hunter. As he closed the distance, her appearance became clearer underneath the neon lights. The saturated colors bounced off her buttoned up shirt printed with palm trees and pineapples, and her blonde hair adopted the lights’ pink and blue hues. Her feet were propped onto a metallic dome, a device of some kind, which was set onto the table. As he approached, she turned her head toward him, giving him a glimpse of her slanted eyes. They looked bored and unimpressed, even if there was an amused smile on her face from the performance of the dancing asari. This must’ve been what counted as a relaxing evening he had just interrupted.

“Shy Jung?”

“Did I finally get my own bounty?” She asked.

“No, I--”

“Damn. Was hoping to collect on myself.”

“I wanted to offer you a job.” He declared confidently, pointing his finger at her.

“A job?” Shy parroted back with an amused huff. “No thanks, I can’t dance. Ask one of these ladies.”

“I represent a group of mercenaries looking for someone skilled enough to patch together a hull just as well as an AI.” He explained.

“Don’t feel like it.” She was quick to answer.

The volus was left momentarily speechless before he tried to continue his sales pitch. “Are you quite sure? I think I can provide you with an opportunity to--”

“Look little man,” Shy interrupted, “why are you so dead-set on competing with the Blue Suns and the Blood Pack?”

“I’m more interested in smaller game at the moment…” He explained further. “The job pays well.”

“And why should I be interested in a low-paying job where I work with other small-fry mercs?” Shy challenged. It was hard to tell with her face unchanging, but she didn’t seem sold on the idea of working with others. “And why me?”

“Well, I understand you have some history. I don’t know the whole story, but perhaps with enough time invested, we can help you take care of that. As for you? As I understand it, you haven’t had the opportunity to finish many jobs. But despite that, I hear you’re a brilliant tech. That’s untapped potential.”

“The best.” Shy asserted nonchalantly.

“We could use someone like that. I assume you can support that claim?”

He wasn’t sure if Shy could’ve narrowed her eyes even further, but somehow she did it. Did he sabotage his own recruitment by doubting her? His concerns were lifted when the slightest smirk appeared on Shy’s face.

“Of course I can.” She said. “How about I finish a job right now?”

“Are you serious?”

“Never.” She said as she removed her feet from the table. She sat up in her seat and righted the metal dome in front of her before flipping it over and cracking open its casing, exposing the wiring inside. “But shit, it’s no skin off my back. Why not?”

After rewiring whatever was inside, she slapped the casing back on and rolled the dome around and hitched on some kind of magnetic device that was previously secured to her belt, then screwed off some kind cap on top of the machine and plucked the wiry antenna right next to it. One of the omni-tools on her wrists were taken off, and as if she was simply changing a battery, plucked a chip from inside of it and inserted it into a slot within the dome before taking the centerpiece of her tool and twisted it into a port that the cap was previously covering. She slid the antennae back into its port and screwed the cap back over the centerpiece before returning to the omni-tool on her other wrist. The volus looked over her shoulder and saw that she was waiting for a signal. ’Drone connection secured.’ Then with a swipe of her hand, she turned on the device and the sphere began to lift off of the table. Another port opened and out came a barreled lens -- video suddenly came to live on a projected monitor from her omni-tool. As if she was showing off, she swiped around on the interface and the drone spun around, its camera sending video feedback to her tool.

“Now who would be a good… aha. This guy. Smallfry. Babo, collect a bounty on the human, Sten “Deadeye” Eysenck.”

In response, the scouting drone hummed and buzzed, as if processing the request before the computer floated away above the crowd. Shy turned to look at the Volus and smirked. “Check this out.”




Sten was enjoying a relaxing sip of a Full Biotic Kick from his cocktail glass in the Fortune’s Den. He blended in well with the seedier crowd, even for a human among aliens. It was the best place a man with a bounty could get a decent drink, and compared to some of the big-leaguers surrounding him from all sides, he was small fry. Even if he was one man, nobody was going to open fire in here. Once one person starts shooting, everyone does. That’s how it worked here. Nobody was taking any chances. And to think it all started with a little bit of desertion! Pfft, fuck the Citadel. Fuck the Alliance. There wasn’t any way in hell he was going to face off against an entire Geth fleet. It was suicide.

He set his drink down and dealt his hand, much to the chagrin of the aliens around the table. Which a cocky laugh, he punched a few buttons of a computer installed into the table and he saw the number of credits to his name swell.

“Someone ought to knock you off your high horse, as you humans say.” One deep-throated krogan grumbled. “Or kick you in the quads, at least.”

“Learn to play better and you just might!” Sten goaded, leaning back into his chair. “That’s why you don’t mess with the best.”

“The best, he says,” remarked a similarly disgruntled turian, “the one who spends all his time hiding out in shithole clubs like this one. Maybe if he could keep a crew of pirates together, then he wouldn’t have so much free time on his hands.”

“Oh please,” Sten drawled, “that again? Look, if I said it once, I said it a thousand times: I didn’t need those lowlives. Amateurs like those can’t even hold up a--”

“But mutinies aren’t usually consensual on the captain’s part, are they? They threw your ass into a pod and jettisoned you out into space like they were taking out the trash. Nobody cares about you, Sten. Your bounty isn’t worth shit, and for as long as your annoying ass has been here, nobody has even bothered to try and claim it.”

...Sten rolled his eyes at the memory of the exchange, recounting the moments that lead up to this point. Looks like he ate his words.

It wasn’t but a minute after that did that blasted scouting drone buzz through the crowd, stopped in front of him, and a little red light by the top of its head turn red before deploying two holographic drones of its own and a sardonic, feminine voice demanded that he turned himself it. Immediately alarmed, Sten had just jumped away from the table before they opened fire on his chair.

His lucky chair.

It had been a chase through Omega since that point, but with all the time he spent here, he knew this place like the back of his hand. A well placed proximity mine was enough to stir up enough dust and debris for the bots to lose his trail, and from there, it didn’t take long for him to find a shortcut to the Kima district. One way in, one way out. If there was someone after him, they’d be easy pickings. He set another proximity mine on the stairwell to keep anyone from sneaking up on him from another angle, and upstairs, he comfortably positioned himself next to the window with his sniper rifle. The Volkov X; this shit was top of the line, and he didn’t earn the nickname Deadeye ironically. However came across that bridge was as good as dead.

Surely enough, someone came.

They looked like a young woman, blonde, and wearing a black, lightly-armored suit. She was flanked by her three drones and casually walked across the bridge without a care in the world. Dumb bitch. He knew well enough that taking her out meant taking out the drones too. He carefully lined up his shot as she made her way across, making sure to remain patient, allowing her to get closer for an easier shot and to build up her confidence. If she felt safe, then she wouldn’t be as on guard. As the next minute passed, and the woman made her way to the end of the bridge, Sten smirked.

‘It’s the end of the line for you.’

With bated breath, he pulled the trigger, and a explosion roared from within the chamber, followed by the shattering of glass and an energy projectile ripping through the air and through the woman’s head.

Yet she still stood.

In that very moment, static arced across her body before turning to light, a hologram, like the two defense drones that were at her side, before disappearing. Sten barely had time to react before the two drones unleashed a barrage on his location. He immediately took cover behind the piece of wall below the window as more bit of glass rained down on him. His mind racing for a solution -- he still couldn’t believe he let himself get baited like that! Then, amidst the hail of fire he was under, he heard a thunk! from outside. Did they just launch something? He looked up as a piece of metal soared over his head and onto the floor behind him. It slid across the ground for a few feet and coming to a halt. From the device, a sentry turret was raised, a jet of exhaust allow it to hover in the air as it, too, began to assail him with energy bolts.

Sten cursed and swore as a bolt hit him in his gun toting arm and another in his leg, having just enough strength left to dive behind a large piece of furniture and corner himself. He was desperate for a plan and a way out, and all he had left was his pistol and a shitty old tactical cloak that would buy him a few seconds at best. He winced as he heard the drones outside blow apart the entrance downstairs. He had the mine still situated by the staircase, so that should also…

But as he waited for the sound of the explosion, none came. The sentry turret ripped apart his barricade had suddenly ceased fire, and what would’ve been the ideal moment to come up with a plan thanks to the silence, was spent wondering why his mine didn’t go off and dreading whatever was coming next.

The sound of the woman’s voice echoed through the room, sounding clear as day, “Oh, look at that. Looks like you’re cornered.”

‘Shit.’ Frantically, he attempted to activate a device on his harness. Expecting his form to camouflage, he instead found the device exploding into sparks. ‘Fuck!’

With a last act of defiance, Sten stood on his good leg from behind the furniture and aimed his gun at the drones positioned around him, but as he pulled the trigger, no shots came. He watched sparks fly out from the battery pack and the vent was exhausting out more steam than a pistol should ever have to. He looked up helplessly at the drones cornering him. Did these things remotely sabotage all of his tech?

“Where are you?!” He shouted through the room.

In response, the tool atop the mother drone’s head created an orange-colored holographic display. On it was the video transmission of a blonde-haired woman -- not in armor, but a Hawaiian-printed shirt, and a volus looking over her shoulder. There were asari dancing in the background.

“Hey there.” She said with a smirk on her face. “Looks like you’re in a pretty tight spot.”




Presently…

Kori’s piloting needed some work, Shy thought. All this tossing and turning, one would think she flew them all through an asteroid field. She even had plans for giving the quarian shit later, something along the lines of, “is this how quarians fly?” or “It’s a wonder the migrant fleet isn’t orbiting around some planet like debris.” But the truth of the matter was far less humorous. To think she just wasted the brain power to cash in on a bounty without even getting off her ass just to get shoved into a pod of dysfunctional squares and a B-list horror monster and get framed for something she didn’t even do. Again.

She looked around the ship, eyeballing to see if there was anyone who actually could pull something off like that and get the rest of them in trouble. Zaash? She doubted he was smart enough. Naryxa? Heavens, no, too… uh, so anyway… Kyo? Possibly, ninja boy could probably sneak on board, but maybe too smart to get himself in trouble too. Ardan? Possibly. He does seem like the type to blow people up, possibly not smart enough to not incriminate himself. But that was the problem: all six of them were incriminated. Who wasn’t? Kori and and Cherk?

As Kori’andh explained the shituation, Shy seemed unfazed, still sitting in her chair with her feet propped on top of the table. She gave the people in the room another once over, and even seemed to give an appreciative nod at the accuracy of her own depiction.

“Fucking sweet.” She simply said. “Clever. So, what’s next then? You and shorty are turning us in? Haha, jokes on us, that was the plan all along? Get six chumps on your ship and frame them for an easy bounty?”

Shy scratched her head behind her ear. “Huh… I should’ve thought of that.”
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Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Stormflyx
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Stormflyx Queen of Doggos

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Kesir Apartment, Presidium Commons, The Citadel
Several days ago...





No matter what was happening that day, no matter how urgent a task seemed to be - there was first time for a morning routine. There was always enough time to set aside to properly prepare. The lilac skinned Asari stepped out into the lounge room of her Citadel apartment, the soft carpet under her bare feet was a familiar comfort, the carpet had not been changed for over 286 years, and yet it was still almost as pristine as the first day it was placed, just a few scuffs here and there, and a distinct dip where it had been worn down underfoot in the doorway. Still, these were the things that Naryxa appreciated.

She appreciated that, while she often felt restless and wanted to move on to a new vocation or activity - her father’s apartment was always the same and had been since she was a child. The very same terrarium was built into the wall between the lounge and kitchen, it just had different plants in it from time to time. Such a home would be incomprehensible to most races in the galaxy. That the very same statue that was placed there in 1876 by the famed Salarian biologist Gurok Teran was still in the same spot that he had placed it all those years ago for decoration - incomprehensible. But these were very minor in the grand scheme of things, but to Naryxa, her apartment represented an anchor and constant that kept her grounded.

She pushed open a window, to take a few moments to breath in the early morning air with a smile before flicking a switch on the wall. The terrarium lit up, and mist shot into it from sprinklers fitted into its ceiling. She made her way with soft steps to her bedroom, the sliding door hissing quietly as it pulled open to allow Naryxa through. She turned the blinds open - natural light filtering through into the room as she sat cross legged on the floor and closed her eyes. Meditation was the perfect way to begin a day, and allow a clear mind and relaxed body.

The Asari allowed herself an extra hour this morning for her practice. She would be away from The Citadel for a while, and when that was the case she would take time to appreciate her surroundings. She opened her eyes and twisted herself into the first of many positions she would get into, bare skin soaking in the light from the window. It was freeing, and there would most certainly be no naked yoga for her in Omega.





Afterlife Nightclub, Omega
Several nights ago...


“Didn’t expect to see you here tonight, Nair…” came the sultry voice of a Drell from the bar. He had one arm resting against the surface - the other at his side holding a glass.

“Dransu, a pleasure to see you again,” Naryxa replied with a smile as she sat herself down into the seat, turning just enough so that the alien could catch a glimpse of her physique - of her bare skin where the dress allowed it, most notable her back and shoulders. She could tell he was looking.

“Pretty sure the pleasure will be all mine if I play my cards right, never can tell with you.” He sidled closer and took the empty seat beside her, the aggressive strobe lights of the nightclub flashing off his gold and blue complexion. “What are you doing out in Omega anyway?” He motioned with his finger to the Asari behind the bar, “a drink for my friend here,” he said as she placed both elbows on the surface of the bar, interlacing his fingers.

“Was hoping to find a job or two - maybe you could help a girl out,” Naryxa said coyly as she took the glass from the barmaid and shot a smile in Dransu’s direction. He did look very dashing in his casual attire, she had to resist thinking about how good it would look draped over furniture and thrown around a room. “Don’t play the innocent flirt now,” he laughed as he moved closer to her, tempted to trace a finger down her spine. His fingers locked tighter. “I might know of something, whispers on the wind and all that…”

Naryxa sipped from her glass, the stones of her dress shimmering with every subtle movement she made. “I wanted to get away for a bit, from The Citadel. I miss travelling with people, you know?” she remarked with a sigh, moving her finger back and forth over the rim of the glass. “It’s been a bit lonely since, well…” Her head tilted to the side as she felt herself reflecting on the events of the last year. “Truthfully, publishing articles isn’t exactly raking in the credits either.” She hated to admit it, but in times of strife and unrest, academia was just not as important or revered. What had happened to The Citadel had caused an unsettling kind of trouble.

“Mmmm, wouldn’t know anything about that. Always been a rogue living in the underbelly of society,” Dransu scoffed - taking back the last dregs of his drink. “Must be nice to have the opportunities to flitter around like you do.” There was an almost bitter quality to his voice, but Naryxa paid it no mind, and instead had his glass topped up. “That’s your charm though isn’t it?” she tapped the rim of her glass to his, “so, about that whisper on the wind…”

He clicked his tongue at her, shaking his head with a sigh “look for a Volus with a coffee machine.” He watched her face suddenly change to show a confused expression, at which point he smirked again, a breathy chuckle following. “That’s all the whispers allow me to know.”

“I suppose that'll do, how hard can he be to find?”

"So, you gonna join me for a dance to say thanks?" He had finally lifted his hand from the bar top, and was weighing up the consequences in his mind of touching her. As it happened, any consequence would be worth it and he smoothly ran his finger softly down the Asari's spine, resting his palm flat against the small of her back. His eyes had narrowed and his lips curled to a flirtatious smile. She looked at him with a warm expression - he was a good companion of hers, and since she had known him she had found it hard to deny him anything. "Well, I did come to Afterlife to dance, I don't get dressed like this to sit at the bar all night."

With that, they headed over to the dancefloor together. Tonight, she would enjoy herself - tomorrow she had a coffee machine to hunt down.


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Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Amaranth
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Amaranth the Kasaanda

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Edge of the Attican Traverse, 2184




Kori’Andh looked at the human woman named Shy in disbelief, “What? I didn’t- I couldn’t- Why would I even try and frame six heavily armed mercenaries at once?” She finally finished, clearly flustered. “You can look at the wreckage out there! It’s real enough!” She continued, pointing toward the open door of the cockpit.

“Hey,” she replied dryly with a shrug, “our choices are to be shot on sight or willingly give ourselves to you. Not much of a choice there. Though honestly, killing over five hundred people is going a little far.”

As she spoke, Shy’s head turned and followed Kori’s gestures through the cockpit, giving her a good view of the floating mass of debris out in space. Her lids opened up at the sight, showing two wide, pearly eyes.

“Holy shit. You guys did a number on them.”

Ardan Parvius let out a low whistle as he looked out of the view port at the devastation. “Looks like they rigged up the eezo core, at the very least. I haven’t seen that kind of devastation since I watched a Dreadnaught bisect a pirate cruiser.” the turian said, halfway between admiring the thoroughness of a sapper’s job and perturbed about the senseless loss of life. All to frame them? There’s no way they all had bounties on their heads at the same time this quickly for the ship’s detonation. Someone set them up, but who?

The quarian didn’t seem the type, nor the Volus; it’s not as if there were any way to restrain the mercenaries and they all had their weapons and gear. It was way too quick and thorough of a job for any slack-assed amatures to hit them with. Ardan turned to the Quarian and the others in the shuttle. “So, either of you know anything about our client, or if he’s even capable of something like this?” he asked. “Who could have possibly known about this and had information on all of us to plan something like this in such a short amount of time? It’s not like you can just sneak aboard a civilian cruise vessel like that in heavily guarded Citadel Space and do something like that without a lot of planning, connections, and logistics.”

“Guys, just trace back the signal.” Shy groaned, as if it was she was explaining something obvious. “They’re not frequency hopping and or using short transmissions, so it’s not like they’re hiding or anything.”

Kori anxiously fussed with her Omni-tool, for a few moments before speaking, “Look, I’m just the pilot. I don’t know anything about what the job was, I was hired through a middleman. The same as you six I assume.” The light on her mask blinked a few times, as if she had more to say. “It… It was the volus. Cherk. I can contact him if you want.”

“Right now our priority should be to get away.” Khosin spoke up, voice calm. “The rest can wait for the moment. If they were prepared to put a bounty on our heads so quickly, who's to say someone isn't en route already to capture us.” He said, turning to look at the pilot. “Once we are away, and sure that we aren't being pursued, we can contact Cherk.”

“Goddess…” came a voice from the back, an Asari strode over to the view port, taking a place beside the Turian. She too looked out at the damage, taking it all in - an expression of disbelief on her face. “They had absolutely no chance against whoever it was that did this.” She did not need to look upon it anymore and so she took steps back, finding herself beside the Batarian. “I’m inclined to agree with you, but where can we even go?” She folded an arm over her chest and propped her elbow on it and began thumbing her lip. Thoughts swirling through her mind. She couldn’t understand who would frame her. From what she could gather at a glance at the rest of the group, they were just as surprised too.

“Omega,” a soft voice said. It belonged to a human that had followed a short distance behind Naryxa, emerging from the gloomy lighting of the rear of the shuttle. Kyo Zhang, his black leather jacket looking shiny and crisp over his combat hardsuit, crossed his arms and his face was set into an even deeper scowl than his usual severe expression. Twin swords were sheathed across his back, long enough for their tips to reach his waist. “I believe the quarian. She doesn't know anything. That would be careless. Whoever did this is is not careless.” He spoke in clipped tones, direct and to the point. Kyo looked around at his fellow would-be criminals, his gaze lingering on Ardan and Khosin. Their presence made him uncomfortable. The whole situation was deplorable. He hadn't been so cautious and careful his whole career only to be suddenly thrown out of the proverbial airlock now. “Leave Citadel space. Go underground. Contact the volus. Work from there.”

“Pre-gunpowder cosplayer has a pretty agreeable plan. That shithole's where I call home, and unless the Citadel governments have a desire to start a war with the entire damn Terminus Systems over six fugitives, then we'll have all the time in the universe to start figuring this out.” Ardan said, shaking his head at the ridiculousness of a human wearing glorified dinner utensils as if they were real weapons.

Kyo glowered at him but said nothing. Shy snorted in amusement.

Ardan looked to Kori. “We have enough fuel to make it home, right? It might be wise to find a fueling depot in this very system so anyone who monitored our jump through the relay doesn't immediately see us jump the way we came. If we act like we have a purpose that wasn't that,” Ardan said, pointing at the dead ship in a deadly cloud of eezo fuel, “Will give us a better chance avoiding law enforcement.”

“Omega is the obvious choice, criminals accused of worse have hidden out in the Terminus systems before. The law won’t follow us there.” The Vorcha stated calmly through razor sharp teeth, staying a distance away from the other mercenaries in a seated position. His long claw tipped fingers clasped around each other as he spoke. Such death on that scale was the definition of overkill. There was no thrill in that, extinguishing innocent lives like that. He didn’t suspect any of them as the perpetrators of such an act, whoever did it likely long gone, or just another face in the panicking masses.

“Every second spent arguing instead of speeding through space only aides the law on our tail.” Zaash added, outwardly not showing much concern or shock. Panic helped no one here. He’d had a bounty on his head before, not for terrorism though. Truthfully he’d rather not spend the rest of his spectacularly short life in prison.

“We have enough fuel, I did the calculations myself just to be sure but, but I’ll bring us back around to the depot and top us off just so we don’t look suspicious.” Kori answered, still fumbling with her Omnitool and looking half-heartedly at Ardan. “Once we are back in the Terminus Systems I’ll contact Cherk and maybe he can shed some light on this.” The Quarian nodded in affirmation of her statement and walked back into the cockpit, not bothering to close the door this time, though when she crossed the threshold, she silently exhaled a breath she was subconsciously holding in. Denying a mercenary the chance for payment wasn’t known to be good for one’s health in her experience. Let alone six of them.

Naryxa was no fool, she watched the Quarian closely, her fumbling over the datapad - the way she retreated, her nod. She was nervous - the very fact of that gave the Asari a confidence that she knew nothing about it. She followed the young girl into the cockpit and closed the door behind her slowly. Whatever the rest of them were going to discuss would only further worry the girl. “Are you alright?” she asked, rather frankly but with a soft expression on her face.

Kori turned to face the Asari, not bothering to sit down yet. She felt more at ease at the mere presence of the other woman, even though she had no problem believing that the Asari had more combat experience than Kori’Andh had years to her name. “Yes I think so,” the Quarian answered, still playing with her hands anxiously, “I’m just a bit shook up is all. Seeing the ship… All those people…” She shook her head sadly as her voice trailed off. “I’m not used to seeing things like that.”

She listened while moving to the seat that should be taken by a co-pilot, and slowly she sat down into it, with a wave of her hand she invited the girl to take her seat too. “Take a seat, you’ll be alright. As for the wreckage, it’s not the first I’ve seen by a long shot, and it won’t be the last. It doesn’t get easier I’m afraid.” She sat relaxed in the chair, one elbow propped up on the arm. “But that just reminds us that we’re still good in here,” there was a warmth to her tone as she placed a hand on her chest. She may have been laying it on thick, but it truly was a terrifying sight and the Quarian was in shock - she needed to calm down in order to fly them safely out. “You’ll be alright.”

Kori exhaled through her mask and did as she was told. The Asari was right. She still had a job to do, and that was get everyone home safe. There would be time to think it over later, for now, she had to fly. The Quarian Pilot tapped on the control surface and the engines responded quickly as Kori’Andh deftly swung the ship around towards the fuel depot.

“Thank you for your kind words. I’m truly sorry about what’s happened. Believe me, I know what it’s like to be kept from your home.” She added after a few moments, the words not distracting her from guiding the ship up close to the floating fuel station.

“I know that it isn’t your fault,” she smiled and stood from the seat, walking behind Kori as she flew the ship. Naryxa placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “I guess that for now, Omega will be our home. How bad can it be?” She of course, knew exactly how bad it could be, but she let the words sound light as they pierced the tension. She thought to join the others, but all she could hear from behind the door was sassy back and forth. The cockpit was a better place to be while that was happening.

Kori gave a grim smile beneath her mask, even though she knew the Asari couldn’t see her face. “It’s not all bad there. I usually sleep on the ship though, just so I don’t get robbed blind in my sleep.” The Quarian said ruefully as she hooked the ship up to the fuel station and initiated refuelling procedures.

She thought about what the girl had said, she knew that Omega was a dangerous place - she had just never really considered it from the perspective of a Quarian, a young one at that. She herself had worked on Omega made years ago, she did not fear the place. “Hmmm, I can't say that you're missing much by doing so. It's not as if there are any landmarks of note. I had a small apartment on Omega for a while.” She smiled at the memory, “that was a very long time ago. I'd say close to 150 years ago...”

“A hundred and fifty? Keelah, I can’t imagine actually wanting to live on Omega by choice, let alone own property there.” Kori shook her head again, this time it was more lighthearted than the previous instance. “I’ve only been there a year and a half and I hate it. I just want to fly ships!” The talking distracted her from thinking about what had happened and soon enough Kori’Andh was gliding the Eyas back towards the Mass Relay that would take them into the Terminus Systems once again.

“Well, it wasn’t so bad for me - back then it was a classier place.” She emphasised the phrasing, it most certainly was not classier at all, Omega had always attracted the wrong kind of people. “I was there because I danced, and for some reason, nobody fucks with the dancers,” the Asari shrugged with a small chuckle under her breath. “Maybe when we get there, I’ll get you out of the ship and take you for a tour around my old stomping ground... “

“I don’t know, walking around Omega sounds dangerous enough. Seeing the dancers would be interesting though. Dancers are well respected on the Flotilla.” Kori explained as she tapped in the mass calculations and sent them to the Relay.




“He better.” Shy remarked as she reached into her bag and pulled out what looked like a bite-sized chocolate candy. She wasn’t much good with people, let alone alien people, but all of her interactions with Cherk thus far brought her to the conclusion that he probably did a lot of sketchy business with a lot of slimy types of people. Despite her accusations toward Kori, he was likely the one the rest of them were catching heat for.

“What do the six of us have in common besides getting hired for the same job?” She continued, talking through her mouthful of chewy chocolate and caramel. “Let’s be frank, all of this is on those two… or one of them, at least. Whatever.”

“Certainly not professionalism.” Ardan muttered, squinting at the slob of a human. How the hell did they ever discover space flight on their own, he wondered. “I still don’t rightfully know why you’re here, human. Maybe our employer had second thoughts after seeing what you slithered out onto the flight deck wearing and decided to cut his losses rather than risk embarrassment.”

He sat down on the bench where he’d been before, pulling up his personal datapad and the results of the clawball match-up he’d been unable to watch due to the lengthy flight time to discover that his life was well and right fucked. It wouldn’t do to dwell on it, but he sure wasn’t going to start enjoying the company he shared.

“Nice professionalism.” Shy parried. “You still don’t know what an engineer is and why a ship needs one? Oh boy...”

She mindlessly balled up the candy wrapper and tossing it in his direction, though the drag against the air caused it to fall a few inches away from Ardan’s instead of its intended target -- his chitinous face. Had he really not realized that she was wearing this when she met Cherk? Or that she was a total badass? It was amazing how lazy some of these mercs were nowadays.

She leaned back in her seat and stretched, her feet still propped up on the table.

So lazy. And thoughtless. Not quite in the offensive way, though certainly that too, but in the dumb way. Which was another way of saying lazy, honestly. Too lazy to think. Maybe if he spent two seconds considering the whys and how, then he wouldn’t be wasting his breath telling her how he didn’t understand something. Spending two minutes to find out who you’re working with would save a lot of stress-induced headaches.

That being said, Shy didn’t get stressed, so she didn’t really give a shit who she working with.

“Plus this bitch takes names and kicks ass.” She boasted, followed quick by a second jab. “You bring one gun to the table at a time, I can bring four. I don’t know how good you are at arithmetic, but apparently Cherk’s cutting more than one loss.”

“Cute. It doesn't know how to stop chattering, like all small animals that have no substance to back up their screeching.” Ardan said, not bothering to look up from his datapad. “Apparently better at counting than you are. Three guns on my person. Unlike you, I know how to use them.

“You look like the kind of person to buy a crap drone program for your omni-tool and act like you're accomplished when it does what the salesman told you it would. Literally no one is impressed by a boast, kid. Prove you aren't useless on the job, then we'll talk.” Only then did he look up from his data pad to look down upon the little shit of a human. “I've been doing this longer than you've been alive. Go back to your toys, kid.”

Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to provoke the type of reaction he was hoping for in the human. Instead of getting defensive, her deadpan, cynical expression had suddenly contorted into one of amusement. Shy began giggling until it erupted into genuine, unrestrained laughter interrupted by the occasional snort as Shy clasped a free hand over her face to try controlling herself. Her other hand started to point at him, but any attempts at trying to argue or criticize him were rendered futile as her outburst kept her from getting a coherent sentence out.

Khosin inwardly let out a sigh. “Great.” The Batarian thought. “Someone with an inflated ego and a racist. Perfect, just perfect.” The former pirate mused inwardly, shaking his head slightly. “We’ve enough enemies biting at our heels as it is. Could we try not to throw petty insults around? I suspect our lives will be miserable enough soon, we don’t need to make them even more so by our actions.” Khosin said, looking first at Shy and then at Ardan. He knew there was little chance for his words to resonate with either party but, even so, he still felt like it was worth to try.

“I-I’m… I’m sorry!” Shy howled. “I’m just… imagining discount Blasto trying to hold three guns at once! Just to prove a point! Ahahaha!”




Kori brought the Eyas into the mass-free zone created by the Mass Relay and the shuttle winked out of the system, only to reappear in the blink of an eye back in the Terminus Systems. She guided the ship safely out of the path of incoming ships, hooked them up to the nearest comm buoy and set the autonav system to take them back to Omega. Nothing more for her to do here, the Quarian stood up and headed back into the cargo hold, gesturing for the asari to follow.

Once the group was gathered back up into the hold, Kori held up her Omnitool. “Okay, let’s see if the Volus can give us some answers.” She poked a few commands on her glowing device and after a few moments the slightly-transparent image of a volus appeared over her hand.

Before his figure even fully materialized on the omnitool, Cherk’s voice cut through the initial bumps of vocal processing. “Hello, Cherk Sab speaking. How can I —” the volus’s voice cut off with a hiss of his respirator, “Oh, it’s you.” Despite being unable to read his face, there was a stillness to his form that could only be described as irritation. “Make this quick, I’m in the middle of something.” Cherk’s respirator hissed again as he began to tap something into his terminal. His figure shifted a bit as he finished his tapping, and he let his respirator sigh for him. “I see.” The volus placed his palms flat against the table as he considered something for a moment. “I can’t say I expected this, I hadn’t mentioned anything about destroying a luxury liner in the dossiers I prepared.”

“That is because we had nothing to do with the destruction of it.” Khosin said as he stepped forward. “We had just exited the Mass Relay’s corridor at our intended destination and then the Ecliptic Moonrise was gone. A moment afterwards, wanted posters for the six of us appeared on the extranet blaming us for it’s destruction.”

“Convenient that you’re not on the ship.” Shy commented dryly.

“Someone knew we were coming.” Kyo crossed his arms and stared at the image of the volus with a heavy dose of skepticism. “The six of us, specifically. And they knew when we were due to arrive. Who would have access to that kind of information, other than yourself?”

Ardan didn’t speak up yet, instead keeping his eyes glued to the viewport at the wreckage with a stern gaze. Let the others interrogate the Volus; he probably wasn’t going to be forthcoming with information even if he was involved. Instead, a thought passed his mind. “Might want to keep this short; who knows who is monitoring transmissions.”

“That’d explain why you’re contacting me so quickly. Aside from myself, only our employer would know details.” Cherk’s respirator sighed for him again. “Ardan’s right - we ought to keep this short. I’ll have something more tangible for you when you get back.” The volus didn’t touch the claims of convenience, nor did he touch much of anything else. Under his breath he said something about accountant work being boring anyway as he moved to turn his own communicator off. “If you need something on the way here, buzz me. I won’t answer, but I’ll make a few arrangements.” His respirator hissed again, “I’d suggest not contacting any friends or family for a while.” With that, the image of the volus fizzled out.

The Eyas shuddered as it flew into the hangar, the automated sequence leaving little for Kori to do. So she sat in the Pilot’s chair in awkward silence, watching the landing through her visor. The Volus hadn’t exactly been helpful, but she didn’t know what she had expected. Selflessness was a rare thing in the Terminus Systems. There was a final clunk as the shuttle touched down on the hangar floor. Kori’Andh stood up and went back into the cargo hold.

“We’re back on Omega, and safe for the moment. I’m going to go explain what happened to my… er, employer. I will also see if I can get you all a compensation job here on the station if you are interested.” The Quarian rubbed her hands together nervously again, “It’s the least I can do after what’s happened. Just meet me back here in a few hours. Feel free to sleep on the ship if you need to just, ah, don’t touch anything.” Kori let out a nervous laugh and exited the ship slightly faster than she had intended. She practically slammed mask-first into Gallienus, the turian lieutenant who she answered to.

Gallienus clicked his mandibles and half-held, half-grabbed Kori’s arm. “Well well, if it isn’t my little suit-rat. We have some business to discuss.”
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Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Scrub Mage
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Scrub Mage Ascended Sleeper

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𝐎𝐦𝐞𝐠𝐚 - 𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐝 𝐃𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐭
𝐒𝐡𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐥𝐲 𝐀𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐁𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐝

Cherk Sab hadn’t been very helpful.

After all, how could he be? Not safe to spew what he knew over a long-distance call. And what little he did know wasn’t exactly helpful. It was always important to keep a trail, but this time around he was rushed by his employer. It was a time sensitive job that paid well (too well, in hindsight), so he was forced to forego his usual obsessive background check. Whoever had hired him was cleverer than most of his standard patrons, but at the very least he made sure to track down the cretin’s address. Now it was just a matter of hitching a ride across Omega to knock on her door.

A couple of calls later and the volus was out the door, waddling through the crowded station to meet with a colleague who’d give him a lift. The volus kept his eyes open, watching the folk around him as he watched for any signs of an attempt on his life. Could never be too careful here on Omega, especially when you were about to hit the front of the extranet yourself. On his side hung his trusted executioner, surprisingly innocuous all things considered. Standard fare on this lawless asteroid, but also a huge red flag for anyone looking to hassle him.

At least I’m getting out of the house.

Cherk’s thoughts were narrow and concentrated, matching his footwork as he continued down the bustle. He approached a shuttle bearing familiar markings and gave a carefully timed two knocks to the driver before hopping into the passenger seat. The two didn’t talk – this was a business meeting, not a personal outing – but the ride passed quickly as it made its way to the Fumi District. It wasn’t a part of Omega that Cherk visited regularly, so he made sure to load a map up on his omnitool, taking the quick download time to look out the window and get a glimpse of the huge facility.

Cherk quite liked the layout of Omega, but tonight he was just worried that he might spot a rocket headed toward him. That rocket, of course, never came.


𝐎𝐦𝐞𝐠𝐚 - 𝐅𝐮𝐦𝐢 𝐃𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐭
𝐇𝐚𝐥𝐟 𝐚𝐧 𝐇𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐋𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫

Though he was thankful, he caught himself thinking that whoever had blown that luxury liner to smithereens probably hadn’t thought this far ahead. He chased the thoughts down with a snide, Sloppy work. Cherk kept his eyes open as he waddled out of the shuttle with his Batarian chauffeur, a former slaver turned – well, a current slaver, just working for the right people this time. Cherk’s respirator sounded as he pulled up an address to punch into his map.

Culi Hen
2145 Lead Road, Apt. 678
Zumi District


Staring down at the thing, he couldn’t help but think that the name was fake. He wasn’t too familiar with Asari culture, but Culi Hen sounded too made up to him. Maybe he was just reading into things a bit too much, but he was too short on time to really dig his fingers into things. Regardless of whether it was real or fake, this was who hired him, and so he had to bag her for questioning. “Odham, get your nets ready. I’ll go in first, see if I can get her to come along quiet.” The volus’s tone was strictly professional, and he saved his breath for the end of the sentence.

Cherk buzzed the residence once, and when he was greeted by the face of an Elcor his guard shot up. “Hello, I’m looking for a…” Cherk pretended he was checking a list, as if he hadn’t spent the last ten minutes memorizing a name as he tried to get through the streets of this unfamiliar District, “Culi Hen?” His respirator squeaked as he looked back to the Elcor answering the buzz. “With frustration: One second.” The face on the other end flared as the Elcor exhaled before walking off and mumbling something in the background. In a few short moments, the Asari popped up on screen. “Yeah what is – oh shit.” Her eyes recognized the volus, and he shifted to the side uneasily. “There seems to have been an issue with payment processing, and my omnitool is on the fritz, so I figured I’d drop by to discuss options.” His respirator, again, squeaked, almost as if it was trying to play up the unassuming nature of the volus. However, it didn’t take much for an Omega resident to detect the threat in his words.

Luckily, the Asari buzzed him in anyways.

As the volus wandered into the building, he shot off a quick message to Odham,

Care – Unidentified Elcor.


Cherk hopped into an elevator and passed the time by messaging a few of his guild members on Galaxy of Fantasy. Just the usual banter followed by a couple of more technically inclined directions to secure some loot later. Schedules meant that only a few people would be on, so a part of him felt obligated to get his job done quick so he could hop on and help them. Upon arriving at the door to the apartment, Cherk made sure to dust himself off enough to look presentable. He practiced a few openers before extending his hand to ring the residents inside and stood suspiciously still as he waited.

A few more moments later, and the door opened to the Elcor from earlier. He marched out of the apartment rather abruptly and continued going until he was gone. Cherk’s respirator sighed in relief, but on the inside, he was trying to figure out how to quickly get a message to someone to follow him out. Anybody could be in on it, and it would have been unfortunate to let someone worm out of his grasp. He quickly pulled up his omnitool and shot off a message to his Batarian companion, typing it out so fast that it was riddled with typos.

Now, that simply wouldn’t do. Each recursive attempt to correct it at the same speed only ended in failure, and after the third or fourth time, he resorted to starting the message over to make sure it came across clearly. By the time he was done, the Asari from earlier was giving him an impatient look, and he was sure that he was being overly suspicious. His respirator sounded in the awkward silence as he looked up to her.

“Sorry, had to send a message to someone on Galaxy of Fantasy. Do you play?”

It was the least suspicious thing he could think to say.

“So, what’s this about payment? Could we get this over with quick, I sent my friend to grab some food and I’d like you to be gone by the time he gets back.”

“Ah, I was hoping that maybe you could come down to discuss the details with my associates and I in the Carrd District. We’ve completed the job and –”

“Well, I don’t have the money yet. Could I swing by tomorr-”

Cherk’s hand hovered down near his trusted Executioner, and his tone turned a bit more serious at the mention of no money. He wasn’t as displeased as he let on, but he figured it’d be a good excuse to kidnap her. Couldn’t much do anything about it in Omega anyhow. But really, he just liked playing up the threats. And maybe he was a bit touchy about the money. Just a bit, honest.


𝐎𝐦𝐞𝐠𝐚 - 𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐝 𝐃𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐭
𝐀 𝐋𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐎𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐧 𝐇𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐀𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐚 𝐁𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐟 𝐒𝐩𝐚𝐭

Culi Hen’s real name was Halixse Sedeeri, and her Elcor friend was named Carrlon. They’d both put up rather miniscule fights (though, truthfully, it had been Odham who’d scrapped with the Elcor, and it had also been him who’d helped bring haul him into an interrogation room – well, really, that one was a combined effort from a few folks he had to call in for assistance). Everything they said seemed to point to the fact that they didn’t have any real idea to what was going on, they’d been paid off by someone else to request the job, and the poor bozos didn’t even remember the name of their own employer. Halixse was high out of her mind, and Carrlon was either putting on one hell of an act, or he was truly just that absent minded. Cherk didn’t know which possibility was more frustrating.

Interrogation wasn’t exactly his strong suit, but he was determined to get something more tangible out of the two. The past hour or so had been exciting, but more importantly, it had meant that he hadn’t had a chance to check his omnitool for a while. He had a few messages from higher ups, a few job requests, and more importantly, frantic requests for him to hop onto Galaxy of Fantasy. The volus lamented the fact that he’d let things get so out of hand, but he figured he’d get to them later. Except the messages from higher up – he had to get to those right away.

Mostly small things – “Oh, did you finish adding up those numbers yet?”, “I’ll put a hole in your suit and watch you squirm if you don’t hurry up with those numbers.”, “I heard you play Galaxy of Fantasy.”, “You really shouldn’t be playing games while you’re supposed to be sorting numbers.”, “SERIOUSLY, IF YOU DON’T FINISH THOSE NUMBERS SOON I’LL FEED YOU TO A KROGAN.” – just the usual chit-chat among frustrated clientele. One did stand out though, something about a job offer that he couldn’t refuse (this time from a source he knew was good). It was low stakes, needed a team that could get it done quick, etc. etc. Cherk glanced it over and shot a response to the sender, confirming that he had a team that could take it on, all he needed were the details.


To: Ardan Parvius, Cheyenne Jung, Khosin Grathe Sedgoroh, Kori’andh nar Chayym, Kyo Zhang, Naryxa Kesir, Zaash Gakkez
From: Cherk Sab
Title: Update on the Incident at New Syrtis

Hello all,

Unfortunately, it seems that we were hired through a proxy. Luckily, we’ve detained our proxy along with a potential accomplice, so we should have a reliable lead soon. I was hoping to get this out of the way sooner, but we’ll have to wait until their systems are clean to see if they’re a bit more clearheaded. If you’d like to ask them questions yourself, please feel free. We currently have a small villa of sorts located in the Carrd District if you need lodging for the next few days. It is rare that a mission goes this sour, and I’d like to apologize for not vetting it properly. It was a time-sensitive gig that offered an unrealistic amount of money, something which would have been too good to pass up.

I’m sure that you all have your suspicions (wise, especially in this part of the galaxy), but I can assure you I had nothing to do with this incident. Unfortunately, we will most likely not be receiving payment for this job, so as a gesture of good will, I have forwarded each of you your share of 1/10th of the funds we were promised from my own pocket. That works out to roughly 1666 Credits for each of you, with the remainder being set aside for Kori’andh, whose share I have transferred to the appropriate individuals.
Additionally, seeing as how I did hire you for a mission as opposed to a framing, I would also like to extend another offer to you. I will forward it to those of you still interested in working with me as soon as the details are passed along to me.

Again, there is relatively safe lodging here if you need somewhere to lay low while this whole ordeal blows by, and I would recommend coming down regardless of whether you have something worked out somewhere else.

Sincerest apologies,
Cherk Sab
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Stormflyx Queen of Doggos

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Storm and Dervs doing the do.




Back on Omega. The job had been Ardan’s first foray off the station in over 8 months and he never even got to step foot on a planet with breathable atmosphere that didn’t come from an air recycling processor. The turian would have laughed at the absurdity of it all if it didn’t come packaged with the realization that even the most remote of chances he had of reuniting with his estranged family had effectively turned to “shoot on sight” thanks to his willingness to take a straightforward job with fairly lucrative pay and a chance to get off of Omega for a little while and maybe feel some star’s heat upon his carapace and eat something that didn’t taste like pre-packaged depression for a change.

Oh well. At least life was about to get more interesting; there was a virtually zero percent change there weren’t bounty hunters already salivating over the prospect of bringing in the very lucrative fugitives, and it wasn’t like Ardan kept a low profile; he’d maintained social media accounts on Omega that focused around professional guns for hire and engineering gigs to keep a relatively modest income that kept his gear up to snuff and his reputation sterling. He’d quietly deactivated the accounts when they reached the wireless networks on Omega when Kori’s ship came in to dock, and he’d read over Cherk’s e-mail a half-dozen times, searching for a coded message, or something to go off of that wasn’t more or less Greetings, Omega-Clan; I have no idea what happened, but please take this consolation prize of staying in this location of my choosing and hope I do not betray you in the end.

Like hell Ardan was going to stay there, especially since he didn’t know anyone on the team, and everyone except for the asari were problematic in their own right. He looked over at Naryxa and made eye contact and offered a smile that probably came across as disingenuous. He frowned, looking away. Remember the last time you found an asari attractive? Trusted them?

What, last week?

No, before that.

Shopping for groceries and she caught you staring while she was bagging your fish?

You’ve got a type, Ardan; you’re just an idiot.


One could say a lot about Ardan Parvius, but betraying his convictions was certainly not one of them. When they were docked and told to disembark, the turian stretched, feeling his carapace popping around his lower back and right shoulder. He frowned; when did he start getting old?

He looked over at Naryxa again and sighed, shaking his head. “So, we doing this now?” He muttered to himself. “Spirits save me.”

He walked over to the asari, hands casually behind his back like he wasn’t planning anything nefarious. Well, he wasn’t, but everyone was pretty on edge and generally “Middle-aged turian with a grenade launcher” set off red flags for a lot of people, namely how a mid-life crisis for turians tended to end up with failed revolutions or starting gangs in popular perception. Anything to break free of the tedium of the Hierarchy.

“So, Naryxa? May we speak for a moment?”

The Asari had been standing adjacent to the ship for a few moments. She was quietly reading text as it came over her datapad, a confused expression on her features which made her facial tattoos appear unusually angular. Her thumb was pressed to her lower lip as she stared intently at her reading, amber eyes moving side to to side.

Truthfully, she was feeling unsure of the situation, and working through it in her head. It was all just so confusing - why would she have been framed? She was a scientist first and foremost. These days, anyway. She felt at least comforted in knowing that she had been able to assist the Quarian with getting them back to safety. The rest of the group were… Well, they were a bunch of misfits. As she always did, she had left the dossiers unopened in her inbox. She always found it much more revealing and interesting to get to know a person - nowadays, it was as if everyone wanted to get to know each other beforehand based on information they could skim from the extranet and through hacking possessions. Was there really anything so bad about genuine connection and intuition? She sighed, and removed her thumb from her mouth, swiping over the screen of the datapad again. Suddenly, with the circumstances in mind, she was almost tempted to open up the files. Almost.

She was interrupted from her thoughts by the Turian of the group. She remembered him introducing himself as Ardan Parvius earlier. “Ardan,” she said with a smile, her face relaxing into it immediately - the tattoos smoothed over into a gentle curve once more, eyes inviting. “You seem to have something on your mind, so please - of course we can speak.”

When they were apart from the others, Ardan cleared his throat. “I’m assuming you received a similar message from Cherk, about his safehouse? I don’t trust it, or the others, for that matter. My apartment’s under a fake name and paid for via proxy, so unless someone knows a very specific alias I only use for the most mundane of activities, no one’s going to think to look there. Why don’t you take a walk with me, crash at my place, we can figure this out until our names are cleared.” he smiled again, extending a hand. “At the very least, let me buy you a drink. Might as well celebrate our lives getting a bit more exciting than they were a day ago.”

At the mention of a message, her eyes darted to the datapad again, the Turian was right - there was a message. She inwardly chided herself for not having been on top of that sooner. “Ah,” she muttered as she opened it, her eyes taking in the information as quickly as possible. She held a pause as she considered both Ardan’s offer, and the information in the message. The thumb found its way to her lip again. “It seems that the others may well be heading to this safehouse… I wonder if it is better for us to stick together, as wonderful as your apartment sounds of course!” The Quarian instantly came to mind, and how she had explained that she had been living on her ship. Perhaps she would be at the safehouse after she returned from wherever she had been taken. “It’s not ideal to stay together in shared housing - knowing so little of each other, but better together than split up, wouldn’t you agree?” she tilted her head to the side, a slightly intense stare behind her eyes as she looked into Ardan’s.

“That’s the thing…” Ardan’s voice trailed off with an edge of caution. “What do we really know about any of them, or Cherk, for that matter? As far as I know, I’m the only one in our little fireteam with the kind of talent to do something like the shit we were framed for, but there’s the problem of the fact I do not hurt civilians.” the turian pressed, his face a grim mask. “I know you have a similar skepticism about me as I have about the others, and I shouldn’t trust you, but I have to start somewhere. You’re… well, not like the others. It’s something I can work with. Doesn’t it seem a bit convenient that this volus hires us for this job, the liner explodes as soon as we jump in the system we’re supposed to be working in, and then he offers us a safehouse after we have a giant bounty on our heads? I cannot take the risk that it’s not a trap, that he doesn’t have men waiting to take us while we sleep and cash in on the bounty that he may have had a hand in orchestrating.”

Ardan shook his head, glancing at the others. “I’ll fully admit, I have an issue with the homeworlds that lot come from, and that prejudice isn’t easy to shake, but I am committed to sorting out the wrongs committed against us for all of our sakes. The thing I’ve learned about living on Omega for the past few decades is you cannot take anything for face value, especially in this line of work.”

“Well when you put it like that, it doesn’t look great. Tell me though, Ardan - from your limited interaction with Cherk, does he seem the type to manage to orchestrate such a scheme? Surely he’d pick some individuals far more likely on paper to have done such a thing too… I’m a biologist - not a terrorist… I don’t know about the others as of yet - but tell me, do they look like the type?” She really was thinking it all over, and when Ardan cast a look over at the others, she followed suite, the only one that she was really suspicious of was the Vorcha, and even she knew that was based on the reputation of the race more than any actual behaviour that he had demonstrated.

She saw no reason not to begin walking, knowing that Ardan would follow along with her, her experience of him so far had been that he had a little bit of a hot head when it came to, well, anyone that wasn’t him - or, her. “How do I know that it wasn’t you? By your own admission you are the most likely suspect. So you invite me to your apartment, alone. How do I know that you are not going to strike?” She said it in a faux serious tone, as if to only poke at the flaws in his own plan. “We were sent to a trap, you are right about that. I don’t believe that Cherk was the one to set it…” Naryxa’s voice trailed off as she took slow steps away from the ship, and out into Omega. She could discuss it back and forth with Ardan as much as she could, it was doing nothing to quell her own feelings at being framed for such a crime. It was like she said. She was a scientist. A respected one at that. It started to really sink in, and she took a deep breath in. “This whole thing looks… bad. Right now, we’re all in the same situation. I’d rather be with them, and work this out together.”

The turian had a grim smile on his face. “Got me there. Figured you’d say that, but as I so dutifully pointed out, I have no reason to trust you either, but I’m willing to take some risk. If you are in fact the bad guy in this situation, please try not to trash my abode. It’s all I have left from home.” he said, keeping pace with Naryxa easily. “Besides, if it were me, I certainly wouldn’t be trying to acquaint myself with one of my targets. Either you or I go missing, it makes the other look really, really bad.”

“And no, I don’t really believe Cherk is the one responsible, nor the rest of the team, but he did mention we were hired via proxy… that’s the real question mark. I propose we work with the others and do whatever assignments are cooked up to clear our names, but what’s that phrase, ‘don’t keep your eggs in one basket’? If it is a ruse to get us all into one easily detained location, then it makes more sense if some of us aren’t actually present. If I were trying to cash in on our bounties, I’d be trying to make sure everyone was in one place. Something happens to us, they can act on it. Something happens to them, we can act on it. No sense in letting a single shot wipe out the team.” Ardan replied evenly, his mind working in a logical, relaxed flow. The situation was less than ideal and has some severe implications, but it wasn’t a mountain that was going to be scaled in a single leap. Just focus on here, on today, and see what you can do to make tomorrow easier.

Naryxa listened to what Ardan was saying, and she considered all of his points. It seemed, however, that they were at an impasse. She saw merit in both options, and as her eyes fell over the group once more, there was some feeling in her gut telling her she shouldn’t abandon them - even if it was just overnight. “Look, I don’t know about you, but I’m beat, my head is all over, neither of us can make sense of this.” She sighed, and stopped walking. “We have the address of the safehouse, let’s go and get that drink and try to unwind some… We can then head to the safehouse - presumably most of them will also be there, and we can come to a decision then. Otherwise we’ll share this back and forth forever…”

She folded her arms across her chest, her suit was starting to make her feel uncomfortable already, she rolled her shoulders back. Everything felt so constricted and she hated it. “I’m out of practice with this shit, and I want to know where Kori’Andh was taken off to… She’s young, possibly in trouble. If we really want to sniff out the source of this, I’d start by looking into who that Turian was…” She raised an eyebrow as she thought on it. Afterlife would be a good place to start. She knew people there, she at least would feel moderately safe.

“Well, she is a quarian; she probably owes a debt to someone if she’s stuck on Omega. Hardly the place I’d chose for my pilgrimage. It would be like a school kid trying to do a fundraiser in a slum during their first trip to a big city.” Ardan replied dryly, nodding in agreement. “Afterlife, it is. What better way to know those you’re running for your life with than over a glass or two under the watchful eye of the crime queen of Omega?” he added with a grin. He gestured towards a taxi skycar terminal. “Come on. First one’s on me.”



Afterlife, sometime later…

“So the big lunk gets back from getting a drink, and he’s been a real pain in the ass for everyone at the Quasar machines, right? This krogan’s been in this suit of shitty armour for so long it’s starting to oxidize, and being pretty deep in the drink myself, I elected to tape some thermite strips to the metal stool he’d been using when he gets back. He was a real piece of work, mind you, yelling at the servers, threatening people, the usual krogan bit. I wait on it a bit; next time he predictably loses his next game, he starts hollering and getting real ornery.

“So I hit the detonator switch I’d had hidden up my sleeve and our good friend the krogan doesn’t even notice the sparking and burning heat until after a lady next to him starts screaming. He notices and stands up suddenly, this stool heat-welded to his ass and he starts swinging around and yanking at it to pull him off with minimal success. I haven’t seen anyone that embarrassed since one of my classmates pissed himself on a school trip.” Ardan said with a bemused laugh and finishing off his third drink of the evening. Despite everything, he was enjoying Naryxa’s company and the alcohol was even making the less-than-wonderful music that dozens of people were dancing to with various levels of success enjoyable; he found his foot tapping along to the bassline.

“So what about you? What’s the stupidest thing you ever done for fun?” Ardan asked.

Naryxa was taking small sips from her glass as she listened to Ardan’s story, laughing softly along with him. His stories were as explosive as she would expect, he was far from the quipping spitfire he had been on the ship now. “Well, there was one time when I sprinkled seeds through my colleagues equipment when I worked on the Citadel. His computer, in his desk, across his terminal… Everywhere! I had been working on a blended fertiliser and really I just wanted to test it… My colleague had been a little grumpy that week… I figured over a few nights they would just become small sprouts.” She took a long sip from the glass, her arm waving from side to side under the influence of the alcohol. The Asari started to cackle quietly to herself before continuing, “Anyway we had been asked to work with some other researchers to help them finish a project in another lab. By the time we got back to our own lab… The entire thing looked like a jungle!” she exclaimed proudly, slamming a palm down onto the table. “He could not even be mad at it….”

Ardan raised a hand. “Wait wait wait. Fertilizer? You mean shit?” Ardan grinned widely. “I’m not a botanist or anything of the like, so stop me if I’m wrong in imagining you sprinkling processed poop across your office to create an impromptu greenhouse. So did the lab technicians scream when they found out?”

“I made it from a formula… It was not ‘poop’.” She said, suddenly serious, a finger pointed towards the ceiling. “They were not happy, but interestingly enough that fertiliser, and the conditions in which the plant grew allowed me to further research that particular species and I learned a lot.” Naryxa sat for a few seconds longer, her expression deadpan. “Damn, I just killed the story…” she laughed, drinking back the last of the liquid from the glass. “Can't say I'd tape someone to a chair though Ardan, that was very… bad ‘ass’ of you!” The pun made little sense, but she still found amusement in it, waving over the bartender to refill her glass.

“Well the hot head just found himself in the hot seat, I just helped facilitate that particular destiny. I doubt he learned a damn thing from it.” he said, lifting up his beer when the bartender brought him another bottle in a gesture of thanks. “Excuse me for saying so, but you don’t strike me as the mercenary type. I have a hard time imagining you ever willingly hurting someone for credits.” the turian remarked, looking over at the asari next to him. “If this is your first job, I’m sorry that it was your introduction to this line of work. I promise it’s not all alike this.”

His theory gave her more to laugh about than either of their stories. “That’s nice of you to say,” she began, clearing her throat and trying to bring back her composure. “As a matter of fact, I worked with a Huntress unit for over 60 years… I wouldn't say it's willingly hurting people, but it was a job that needed to be done. You're right though, I'm less suited to mercenary life… But I'm still good at it.” There was nothing smug about her words, but there was an intensity about it that suggested there was more to her past than she was comfortable to discuss at this time. “What about you? Pardon my saying but you definitely strike me as a mercenary type.”

Ardan traced the mouth of his bottle with a finger, staring pensively at the glass. “We turians don’t get to experience as much life as you do, and I’m starting to get to the age where there’s no picking another path. We turians are born to serve, just sometimes our causes change. I served a government that forgot its obligations to the galaxy, and I lost my taste for blindly following orders without critical thought. I’m good at what I do, I’m still a soldier in a way, just my master is myself and my code is my own. It’s a hard life, one that’s dangerous and often has a cost many aren’t willing to pay. I just tell myself that somewhere along the road, I’ve helped give some people a chance to have a better future for themselves.” he smiled ruefully. “At the very least, I keep funeral homes from ever having concerns about losing clients.”

Naryxa nodded and listened to the Turian, hanging on his words, giving her attention to the way his voice changed and his nuanced body language. His was a story so typical of many of the mercenaries she had met throughout her life. “An interesting approach to your life, Ardan. Thank you for sharing that with me…” Naryxa remarked with a warm smile and warmer eyes that showed she was nothing but sincere. With such questions asked, and the bottom of her glass approaching she spoke quietly, “so… I think I will stay at the safehouse tonight.” She wondered how disappointed or angry Ardan would be, but at the end of it all, it was gut feeling and instinct that had won out for her.

Maybe it was the alcohol, the genuine warmth of the company, or the fear of being on his own dealing with something way over his head, but something inside of Ardan definitely shifted. He nodded in understanding. “I thought as much. I can’t say I’m sold on the idea, but…” Ardan turned to face her with a smile, raising his bottle to her. “I’d hate for this conversation to be our last one. I’m in.”

“Well Ardan, I’m sure if given half the chance, the others would also give you just as interesting of a conversation,” Naryxa replied with a wink, running a finger over the rim of her glass. With that said, she rose from her seat and Ardan did the same. The two of them made their way from the bar, and onwards to the safehouse.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Heat
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Heat It can't rain all the time.

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The usual chaotic sounds of Omega filled the air, only adding to the despicableness of the mining station turned city to any newcomers unlucky enough to find themselves stuck on its seemingly never-ending rough streets. Gunshots echoed in the short distance, followed by an almost symmetrical burst of return fire. Small time gangs clashed, spilling and splattering each other's blood on the steel streets. Yet, the denizens went about their usual business, only keep enough mindfulness to avoid the area where shots scattered and flew free. Such people wandered into the clinic of Dr. Jayce Loring's. The good doctor stood busily at an exam table, his hands gloved with plastic, black hair slicked back with a rough stubble dotting his jawline. His short hair was tinted with dots of grey, the man having been through quite a bit of stress in his years on Omega. He was handed a datapad displaying medical information by an asari nurse. All was peaceful within the clinic, it was a refuge for the poorest of the poor, the most unlucky of the unlucky.

An air of kindness seemed to fill the clinic, nurses busily helping patients, peaceful music playing over the speakers in the quaint waiting room. One almost forgot they were on Omega when they were in Dr. Loring's clinic. Then one swift glance at the ceiling mounted machine gun turrets were all it took to remember where they actually were. The guns were carefully hidden, but obvious to those who knew exactly what they were. A necessary precaution against the gangster scum that liked to wander in to every establishment on they could and try to shake it down, or worse, rob it. No such thing occurred anymore. A seemingly constant peacefulness filled the clinic, apart from the occasional drunkard patient but even then they'd be calmed down.

A short distance away the streets were full of small talk, crowds of denizens going to and for wherever they needed to be. Many were heavily armed and armored, displaying brutal looking firearms. Surprisingly there was no violence occurring at that moment, other than the pushing of impatient people. A crowd of vorchas moved with a swagger, snickering among themselves. Their hyena like voices cackling as they discussed their latest killings. They were branded heavily with the Blood Pack insignia, as many were on Omega. The obnoxious laughing took a pause as all of their eyes narrowed on a fellow member of their kind walking towards them, but not giving them much more than a passing glance.

Zaash Gakkez had little time for these Blood Pack aligned vorcha. At the sight of the insignia branded upon their flesh he groaned, balling his hands into fists as he attempted to shelve his anger. Fear sparked in the back of his mind, but was overtaken by the intense, nearly overwhelming lust for vengeance. As he recalled much of the pain they had inflicted in them. Still, he let out a deep breath. Calming himself down. His day was already bad enough. These vorcha were no more than brainwashed foot soldiers. He remembered that he was once like them, in his younger years, well younger by his species very short lived standards. Even though he pitied them deeply and had no doubt they were routinely mistreated and thrown onto the front-lines like chosen sacrificial lambs. As they passed by him their heads turned, but they continued on their way. Zaash let out another deep breath. The armored lone vorcha was on his way to meet an old friend. It had been some time since he had spoken to the man who saved his life. It may end up being the final time he saw the man, the final time he could thank him once again.

As the clinic doors came open Dr. Loring paused in his work, blinking slowly. He shook off the curiosity as nothing, then resumed typing into a datapad. Outlining a proper dosage for a downtrodden young man, scars marking the beaten human's face. He couldn't have been older than nineteen, yet this poor soul had been beaten to a pulp and left to die. A cast placed around his left arm by Loring for a minuscule fee. His patients payed whatever they could, he was a well off man, successful in his own right. He did not come here to rob from the poor. There were plenty that were already doing that despicable bit of business. As he set the datapad down he reached to shook the young man's one good hand, finding himself on the receiving end of a seemingly endless amount of gratitude.

"Dr. Loring's great. Too nice for this fucked up station." A familiar voice to the doctor spoke from behind, followed by a set of long fingers landing on his right shoulder. A smirk came onto the doctor's face as the recovering patient next to him looked on with confusion, as to why a vorcha had seemingly walked into the clinic.

"You're the one whose too nice, Zaash," Dr. Loring replied as Zaash went in for a hug, the good doctor patting his old friend on the back. "What brings you back here? Don't you have somewhere dangerous and fun to be?"

"Omega is that ain't it?" The vorcha replied with a smile.

"It is, but not here, I made damn sure of it." The doctor replied, speaking a few words to his patient as the young human left with a nod. Having received his treatment. Then Loring subtly pointed upwards as he turned towards Zaash once more.

"I noticed."

"Really, most people don't."

"You learn pretty well to check every place for possible danger."

"Smart of you. But really, how've things been? Can't be easy out there even if the moneys good." Dr. Loring asked with a nod.

"Honestly, not good, roped into a bad job with others. Ended up framed for a bombing. That doesn't concern me much though." Zaash stated, his expression turning sour. Dr. Loring placed a comforting hand on the vorcha's back and nodded reassuringly.

"It shouldn't. You're damn good at what you do. I know there's no chance that you'd bomb innocent people, that isn't you. So you're a wanted man?" He asked.

"Technically. Had to flee here."

"Couldn't pick a better place. It'd be next to impossible for them to find you here. You'll be just fine." Dr. Loring replied, crossing his arms and thinking. Omega was the perfect place for wanted people to hide.

"I hope so." Zaash stated, briefly considering elaborating to the good doctor about the internal crisis he'd been going through.

The thoughts that seemingly haunted his mind every walking moment. That hounded his sleeping hours. He could push them back and cover them, but they'd always be there until the day he died. The fact that that day could be so soon. Zaash blinked, then slightly shook his head. He didn't need to ruin the doctor's cheerful mood with his existential struggle. Bring down the man's happiness when he had so much endless, selfless work to do.

"You will be. You're a good one Zaash, you're always welcome here." Loring stated, kindness evident in the human's aged features. Then he reached to shake Zaash's hand, the hardened vorcha returning the gesture. He was momentarily lost in his thoughts, though felt a strong tinge of happiness at the doctor's words. The good doctor was perhaps his only real friend, someone that gave a shit about him. He smiled widely, feeling the ravaging thoughts of doom fade briefly.

"You're the greatest." It was all Zaash could mutter as he shook the man's hand, then turned to leave.

"Goodbye Zaash, take it easy out there. Don't be a stranger now." Dr. Loring added with a wave.

The Vorcha didn't respond, he simply paused in his stride, turned his head slightly and nodded with another smile. Then moved to depart the clinic, heading for the penthouse. He was roped in with this group of strangers now, he had to work at that the best he could. As usual he needed to show zero fear and do what he did best. It was a piece of cake.
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Spoopy Scary
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Spoopy Scary ☠️🌸soft grunge🌸☠️

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As she always did, Naryxa had left the dossiers unopened in her inbox. She always found it much more revealing and interesting to get to know a person - nowadays, it was as if everyone wanted to get to know each other beforehand based on information they could skim from the extranet and through hacking possessions. Was there really anything so bad about genuine connection and intuition?

Well, unlike some of the others on the contract, Shy had no such qualms with violating the privacy of her coworkers. Aside from pure and simple curiosity, there was of course also the matter that she was now collecting framed offense after framed offense on her growing resume of galactic violations. Developing AI, okay, that she could admit guilt to – but being responsible for it going rogue and killing hundreds of researchers, or blowing up an interstellar barge? No, no, no, no! She might’ve been callous in some respects, but she wasn’t evil. So, she resolved herself to finding out the truth and clearing her name, so what better place to start than her newest associations? Sure, maybe they wouldn’t have incriminated themselves, or maybe they were just that dumb and dragged everyone else down with them; or maybe it was their employer who wanted to frame them and collect an easy bounty. One way or another, she had to research new “friends” to see if she could rely on them to pull their weight. Who better to be the investigator than the tech-wizard?

When they had finally docked on the station, Shy was the last to get up, preferring instead to watch the others as they left. Gauge their faces, listen to what they said, and carouse through the ship without anyone watching her. She made a beeline toward the cockpit and browsed around before opening the interface from her omni-tool and linking it to the ship’s navigational computer. She still felt annoyed that the pilot wasted the opportunity to trace the signal that sent the transmission, so part of her wanted to know where this ship had been to New Syrtis before. After she finished downloading what she wanted, Shy cracked open one of the compartments and attaching a small recording device underneath the console for safe measure.

After a few minutes, Shy finally walked down the boarding ramp of the ship. She peered over to see Ardan and Naryxa still in the hangar and in conversation, and as she walked past she heard, “You’re… well, not like the others.”

Shy snorted and rolled her eyes. That’s what they always said.

She had been taking it easy on Omega for a while, so of course she had her own room. Her drones were stationed right around her door just in case some two-bit bounty hunter thought they could collect her while she went to work on her console. The dossiers were hardly telling; they had a pilot from the quarrian fleet, an asari xenobotanist and ex-huntress (Special ops agent? Intriguing,) a vorcha (ugh, gag.) merc and ambusher, a human… ninja? Weird. Then there was the batarian merc, veteran, and shock trooper, and the turian blowhard soldier who likes to blow up soldiers hard. If there was anyone among them who could’ve done the damage to the ship, it would’ve been Ardan. The only problem with that is that nobody seemed to know what the job was or where they were going, and there wouldn’t have been any time to prepare beforehand. Still, at least that meant she knew for sure that the others couldn’t have done it even if she didn’t totally trust the turian.

‘Let’s see what everyone’s up to.’

With just a few commands, Shy tapped into the extranet and began browsing through the local networks. With as big as Omega was, there were quite a few of them floating around, but Afterlife had by far the most connections. Aria would probably blow a gasket if she found out that someone had been using her club to spy around, but this wouldn’t have been the first time Shy hacked into the network. It was as simple as finding the line of code that gave users administrative permissions and rewriting her own address with it, and she could walk straight through the firewalls like a ghost in the machine. One would think that hacking into technology in the era of space travel would be a little harder.

So… who was connected? There were a few familiar names she recognized, none from her “allies” – but perhaps if she simply just… ah, yes, the bar. Of course. A collection of identification numbers associated with different names and credit chits was stored in a database in afterlife. Fishy? Yes, but mostly useless unless you knew how to get there and how to interpret the information. On top of that, it normally required a password. Fortunately for Shy, she knew how to read zeros and ones. Their employer, Cherk, was nowhere to be seen in the database. Either he didn’t call Omega home, or he’s been around the block and knew how to hide his trail. Fishy, but she at least appreciated all the credits he sent her way for compensation… even if it only was ten percent of what she was promised. Working down the list of suspects, she looked up their pilot, Kori. Nothing. To be fair, she seemed a little immature and probably wouldn’t drink in the seediest bar of Omega, assuming she drank at all. However, it only took a minute to find the turian, “Ardan Parvius.” Judging by the history of transactions made… he was kind of a regular here. Huh. Who would’ve known they’ve both been squatting on the same shitty rock for a while? The thought sent chills up her spine before she shook it off and glanced at the ID of his credit chit.

“Yeah, I think I’m just gonna write that down for future reference.”

The number on its own was mostly useless, anyways. Mostly. Ardan wasn’t going to miss anything. Much.

Maybe a few drinks.

But from the looks of things, it seemed he only made a transaction a few minutes ago. If there was someone next to her, she would’ve offered to bet a hundred credits where someone could find him. Thinking quickly, she moved through afterlife’s network until she found the security cameras. A mute image popped up on her screen, an overhead view of the crowded bar that made it hard to tell who was who; but a quick scan over the barstools showed a turian and an asari in conversation. Focusing the image, sure enough, it was her two crewmates again.

Seriously? Naryxa fell for it? What good did living a few hundred years do her if she fell for one of the dumbest lines in the book? She noticed the computer on the counter, something that could put in more orders for drinks while the bartender was busy somewhere else. Shy’s fingers a blur, she tapped into the computer, and soon, audio was playing through her console. It meant activating voice features, which might’ve shown on a small indicator light on the computer next to the pair, but it was Omega – the computers here were largely shitty pieces of malfunctioning hardware half of the time. Shy wasn’t worried about it.

“…my master is myself and my code is my own.”

“Okay, cringing now.”

Shy was pretty late to the conversation, and was only able to catch the tail end of Ardan’s story, where he said some kind of garbage about making the galaxy safe for other people – yeah, if his conduct on the ship was anything to go by, she didn’t really buy it and just assumed he was saying it just for Naryxa – and it seemed the energy was beginning to wind down. Whatever it was, it doesn’t sound like either one of them admitted being a mass murderer. Well… that depends on what one considered being a mass murderer given this line of work. Any one of them could technically qualify. When Naryxa began speaking, Shy listened intently.

“…I think I will stay at the safehouse tonight.”

“Yes!”

Shy stopped herself, and swiveled her head to look bug-eyed around her dark, computer-lit room. Turning back to her monitor, her chest tight and face flush with embarrassment, she severed her connections to Afterlife’s network, shaking her head and forcing herself to forget what just happened.

Whatever, at least those two weren’t up to anything… like explosions and framing and bounties, or…

Wait, what time were they supposed to be meeting at that safehouse? Looking at the mail again, there wasn’t really a time, but shit, it would probably be wiser to rest her head there instead of the apartment from where she made herself known. It was best to lay low until this all blows over. Downloading all the contents from her console and onto her omni-tool (just in case), she then shut everything down. She grabbed the bag containing her gear; armor and guns and whatnot, then rallied her drones together for a safe escort through Omega.
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