Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Dervish
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Dervish Let's get volatile

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@DrRtron and I did a thing.

The water broke upon the shore in gentle, unassuming waves. Karnoc stared at the pull of the sea, a cycle of reaching and retracting, just shy of his feet, like the most ineffective predator grasping for prey it wouldn’t know what to do with if it caught it. It was a strange, alien thing to the krogan; Tuchanka wasn’t exactly renowned for its majestic oceans, and a lot of the worlds he’d been to weren’t mostly water like Earth was. Apparently the oceans turned into a mighty tempest called a hurricane sometimes and destroyed entire cities, and perhaps that was what drove Karnoc to visit this seemingly gentle giant; he wanted to see if anything on this planet could account for humanity’s strength and dominance in the galaxy.

Was it not a human that ended the Reaper threat? Karnoc’s current leader was a human woman that he could pick up with a single hand and wouldn’t be able to make a scratch on him if she tried without the assistance of weaponry, but there was something about humanity that lent themselves to many strong emotions from other species that one could only obtain from being in a position of strength and power. It was a spectrum ranging from loathing to fear to respect and anything in between, and if it weren’t for humanity forcing an end to thousands upon thousands of years of animosity between the species of the galaxy in light of the bigger threat, there was a good chance that this beach wouldn’t have had a single soul left on it, and this seemingly weak body of water would carry on, ignorant of the people who had once lived alongside it vanishing.

Krogan were feared more than anything, powerful warriors and conquerors that required extinction level solutions to stop when the species hit its stride. It took the entire combined efforts of the galaxy to stop the Krogan Rebellions that ended with a sterilization plague and the galaxy was powerless to stop the Rachni until the krogan arrived to snuff out the bug bastards. It wasn’t respect the krogan were ever shown, or understanding.

Karnoc’s people were either tools that their wielders never realized how dangerous they were or a force of nature that required nothing short of genocide to stop. Unlike the batarians, who pretended to be strong and bickered and whined about being treated unfairly by the Citadel and were incapable of taking what they wanted from humanity because they were weak, the krogan decided to take what they felt were owed and the bloodiest and most devastating war in galactic history, save the Reapers themselves, was what the krogan promised.

And so, with a destroyed homeworld and having survived the genophage and whatever else the universe decided to throw at the krogan, Karnoc’s people had emerged from this war stronger and more united forever, and perhaps following a new path that was worthy of countless generations of just surviving against all odds. Maybe, just maybe, this whole peace thing was worth a shot, and the strength that really mattered wasn’t born from a planet where everything wanted to test and murder you. Perhaps that made the krogan shortsighted, whereas humans were able to focus on the bigger picture and more ambitious and clever goals because of their soft planet. Maybe that’s why Karnoc fell in line to Katya and followed her leadership without complaint; there was something to learn from her, and the krogan would become an ambassador for what his species could be.

The waves reached towards Karnoc and finally touched his toes.

“That’s it; show me what you’re made of, runt.” Karnoc challenged the ocean.

After asking around the resort, Karnoc was a very distinct krogan after all, Janiri was finally pointed in the right direction. She headed to the beach, which made sense considering that there were no oceans on Tuchanka, pausing as she reached the edge. It was beautiful. The salty smell, the regular and soothing sound of the waves, how the sun glistened off it, all of those were more beautiful than she had expected. She had seen oceans before, of course. The extranet was filled with them and she had spent hours watching videos of scientists exploring the depths of their own seas.

She had never seen one in person, however, and it was better than she had imagined it would be. Janiri walked onto the sand and, looking around to make sure no one was too close, pulled a glove off and knelt to let the sand fall through her finger tips. She gave a soft giggle at the sensation, doing it a few more times before she pulled her glove back on and made her way towards Karnoc.

He was standing at the edge of the ocean, staring out at it. For a brief moment she wondered what he was thinking as he saw it. Was he wondering what monsters lay in the depths that he could fight? Comparing it to a blue rose? The possibilities were many, though she had to admit most of them dealt with violence.

Carefully, so that she didn’t startle him and end up like the drell, she edged into the side of his vision and waved a tentative hand. She was six feet back, giving herself plenty of space to back up should he decide to touch her again.

“Hello? Kroc?” She closed her eyes, wincing and hunching a little more in on herself. Fuck. That wasn’t his name. Why did she want to keep calling him that? She corrected herself as she continued. “Karnoc? I’m Janiri, the one you saved back on the mission. The farmer? The one you told to get up and fight? I just wanted to say thank you for that. For saving me, not for yelling at me.” The words were soft and slowly said, so she didn’t stutter as her eyes looked everywhere but Karnoc’s eyes. She didn’t know what to do with her hands as she crossed them, folded them, tried to leave them hanging, before finally settling on pulling a credit chit from her pocket and just turning that over and over.

The heavy crested head turned to look at the asari… the idealist. He gave Janiri a curt nod. “I remember. We’re on a team; I’d appreciate it if you didn’t insinuate I’m an idiot who can’t remember people because I’m a blood raging krogan.” he remarked dryly, his voice was level. “Not sure how many battles you fought before, I assumed a few if you were on the team. I can tell you’re young; there’s no place for ideals on the battlefield. Doesn’t matter if those drell were mind controlled or not, they would have killed you and everyone else if presented the opportunity.”

He grunted, shaking his head slowly. “Way I see it, there was never any guarantee they would have been freed from control, especially if Reaper crap was involved. If I were trapped in my own body with something else puppeting me, I’d hope somebody would put me out of my misery. It was always going to be us or them; it just worked out that the solution was tidy enough to save some of them.” he lifted his large shoulders in a heavy shrug. He regarded the credit chit the asari was fiddling with with a tilt of his crest to the side.

“I’m not taking your money for doing my job.”

Janiri hunched further on herself as Karnoc spoke. She hadn’t meant to imply that he was an idiot! They had only just met two days ago! It was stupid of her to have included so many reminders. She should have just left it with her name and explained further if he didn’t figure it out. Why didn’t she ever do the smart thing? Her inner beration was interrupted as he continued and lectured her on her ‘ideals’. She kept quiet, eyes still refusing to meet his own. She wasn’t an idealist. The Reaper War hadn’t left anyone with ideals alive. She was just good at following orders. They had been explicitly told to keep the drell occupied and alive. Regardless of how good Karnoc’s points were, their orders hadn’t changed. Fortunately for Karnoc, it didn’t matter in the end. The drell were all killed by the seeker swarms and no one was going to wonder why there was another that had been eviscerated.

Her brow furrowed in confusion and she tilted her head at the mention of money, before she looked down at the chit she was still turning over in her hands. Her next words were blurted out as she blushed with embarrassment.

“Oh! No, nonono! Sorry! I wasn’t going to pay you for saving me, not that you wouldn’t deserve it! I just have this thing where my hands have to be kept busy, and I figured it’d be less weird if I was messing with a chit rather than folding and unfolding them. Sorry if I insulted you with that. And sorry about the accidental insinuation. It’s just that we’ve only known each other for two days...and didn’t interact much...and I didn’t want there to be any confusion...sorry...” She trailed off, putting the chit back in her pocket to hopefully avoid any more confusion. A few beats of silence and then a thought popped into her head. Karnoc knew what he was talking about when it came to combat. While she had no idea if the squad was set up to be effective or not, Karnoc would.

“Do you think we’re an effective squad? When I was in Eclipse there was a balance. I was tech, Shala was the biotics. Tazun and Mark were the muscle. I...don’t see such clear lines here. We got the job done, but.... Sigma died. That Collector almost tore through us. It was messy.”

“You’re more skittish than an over-caffeinated salarian; relax.” Karnoc said, turning to face Jainiri, his hands hanging at his sides, as if unsure of what to do with them when they weren’t holding something. He could relate to the asari’s reasoning for needing to fiddle with the chit. “Believe me, insults tend to need to get to the point of inter-clan gunfire before I start to really pay them any mind. You’re fine.” he reassured her in an almost tired baritone.

Janiri nodded, but her body language didn’t change. Sure, she was fine now. But that could change in an instant, even with as unusually calm a krogan as Karnoc seemed to be.

He pondered what her follow-up question postulated. “Considering we went up against a Collector that we weren’t expecting and only lost a single soldier to enemy fire, it went about as well as you could expect.” he didn’t mention that Sigma’s sacrifice, while appreciated, was utterly unnecessary; a rocket would hurt and likely break his shielding, but krogan physiology and battle-tested armour would have taken care of the rest… it just might have knocked him senseless for a bit, maybe took a limb if he was really unlucky. “I think mostly we have individuals who are talented and experienced, you kind of have to be to survive the war, but we don’t know each other.

“Maybe you can be assed to read a dossier or pay attention to someone at the range or whatever, but we never fought alongside each other. We all have different strengths and doctrines and tactics and blah blah blah. I know the others look at me like I’m a liability, that I’m reckless and dangerous and probably stupid because krogan go smash, krogan no use turian tactics, you know how it is. What they fail to consider is I’ve survived Tuchanka with my clan for a long time before most of the people we’re fighting with were even born. I survived fighting the Reapers in the frontlines the entire time. Yeah, a human tries to do what I do, they’d be eviscerated in no time because they’re soft. A krogan is a force-multiplier; we draw fire, we endure shit that would kill anyone else in stride, and our reputation and ferocity puts fear into our enemies. So what if I take a few shots? I can withstand it. Can you say the same about anyone else?” he asked the asari.

Janiri couldn’t help but think that he had reinforced those thoughts. Karnoc had recklessly ran forward several times during the fight. Though, she had to admit he had a point about being able to survive it. He didn’t need to worry about being reckless when he was the organic equivalent of a tank.

“I could get the same results with my tech armor, technically speaking,” she allowed herself a small snort at the unintentional pun before continuing. “But it wouldn’t be able to handle nearly as much firepower as you would be able to. I don’t know about the others, but I for one appreciate you taking all the attention. Having that Collector’s attention on you was much preferable to having it on me.” She paused, realizing how callous her words might come across as. “Sorry! Not that I think you deserve it! Or that you can’t do anything other than charge forward recklessly! Not recklessly, intentionally! Because you know tactics!” Gods why couldn’t she stop talking. It was like a water spout that didn’t shut off. Desperate to change the subject, she blurted out, “Did you get Kate’s messages? Whomever is buying the artifact shards is delayed. While we’re waiting for them we’ve got two new squad mates. A medic and an engineer. That should help, right?”

“Technically speaking. Just don’t rely on it; technology has a way of crapping out when you need it most.” Karnoc grunted. “Seen a few mercs in my days think they were untouchable because of this piece of tech or this gun or whatever and they forgot the basics and they always have this betrayed look on their faces before their faces get blown off when their toys malfunction. Even a cheap omnitool usually has some level of cyberwarfare suites to sabotage enemy tech. One minute your shields are up, the next your HUD is screaming at you because something shorted them out. One second you’re firing a burst from your gun, the next it’s too hot to hold.”

He looked down as the water reached his feet again, letting the asari scramble to cover her ass from her salvo of verbal gaffs. “I don’t think deserve has much to do with anything. I’m not the sneaky type, if I didn’t think I could hold my own being the focal point in a fight, I wouldn’t do it. If I wasn’t keeping the Collector’s attention, it might not have given someone else an opening to make the critical shot.” his attention turned back to Janiri with a nod.

“Yeah, I looked at the messages. Not much really of interest to me, at least as far as the aftermath of a job goes. They could use the artifact as a paperweight for all I care.” he waved a dismissive hand. “The replacements are at least interesting, as much as they’ve told us anyways. Someone who can fix bodies and someone who can fix tech. Hopefully they know how to fight.”

Janiri gave a small shrug. “I mean, I kinda have to rely on it. As you saw, I’m pretty lacking when it comes to fighting. Without you, that drell would’ve splattered me instead of you splattering him. Thank you again for that! It would have ended...poorly for me if you hadn’t arrived.” Janiri paused, thinking over the messages they had received, both to try to remember what had stood out to her from them and to take her mind off of the fact she had nearly died without Karnoc’s help.

“Well, they can’t be any worse than me. If I remember correctly the engineer survived both the Sovereign attack on the Citadel, and when the Reapers brought it to earth. And the medic is a turian. They’re born to be excellent fighters. They’re like your people, only with discipline rather than redundant systems”

She winced at the implication again, stumbling over her words in her haste to cover it. “Not that the krogan can’t be disciplined! Obviously they’re more than just brutes! I mean, look at you! Not that you surprised me! You’re just-I’m just-I should go! That’s what I’m gonna do, I’m gonna go! Thanks again, bye!”

Blushing with embarrassment, still not meeting Karnoc’s eyes, Janiri turned back towards the city of Havana and beat a hasty retreat. She had managed to thank him, but by now she believed her foot was so far in her mouth that it would take the team’s new medic to pull it out. Gods, she could never just stop talking. She should have messaged him. That would have been easier.

Karnoc watched Janiri scramble away, somehow inflicting more mental damage to herself than Sigma had physically a few days prior. “Heh. Nice kid.” the krogan chuckled, turning back to the vigil of monitoring the water. It was just as uninteresting as beforehand.

So a turian medic? Karnoc never considered that turians practiced medicine, an irrational part of him always just assumed turians were like krogan that forgot to nuke themselves to the stone age and lacked the physical robustness to not bother with anything that didn’t resemble a firearm. Their bedside manner was probably abhorrent, probably blaming the patient for getting sick or something equally rigid and humourless.

The engineer probably lived in the ventilation system if they somehow survived two seperate Reaper infestations on the Citadel. Hide and seek might keep you alive, but the krogan wasn’t entirely sure how it was somehow more notable than fighting the Reapers on the battlefield each and every day; Karnoc had once narrowly avoided getting impaled by a Banshee by shoving a primed grenade into its stupid, shrieking maw one time, and a Brute shoved him through two separate walls before a squadmate brought it down with a missile. Everyone had simply survived the war, so he hoped the newcomers brought something to the table that was actually useful for their damned jobs.

The waves seemed to retreat further away from Karnoc’s feet. He grunted disapprovingly.

“Come on. Do something.”
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Auz
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Havana, Cuba

February 7th, 2187


The ball bounced off the wall, ricocheting off the rim of a low hanging chandelier and landing in the tips of the Turian’s outstretched fingers. “Hm. Almost got away from me didn’t you?” He thought before flinging it back at the tiled floor of the hotel suite. A souvenir from one of the kids back in the desert, Kysar had departed with some of the useless human paper he’d received as payment for it. A worthy trade, at least in his opinion, as the rhythmic sound of the ball bouncing off the floor and the wall were calming in a way.

Besides, there wasn’t much else to do. He had already fired off a report on their first mission via an encrypted channel to Turian High Command. As expected there was no response, nor was there any updates to his missions, protocoles, parameters, or anything. Life, or more specifically his life, was beginning to grow quiet. Outside, Kysar could hear the hustle and bustle of the city, a slew of emotions returning to the streets. Normalcy was returning in force.

“Good for the humans.” The Turian mused, rubbing his chin. “I wonder if Palaven is doing the same.” His heart sank at the thought. It had been a long time since he thought of home, longer still since he’d thought of the only person on that wretched planet he actually cared about. The rubber squeaked as Kysar squeezed the ball. “Please be alright.”

A communicay pinging through on his omni-tool brought the Sentinel out of his trance. A couple messages had come through earlier noting a few of the others had left the hotel. Many in his new squad had made their way to the beach but Kysar had had enough sand for the time being. These new messages were different though, dossiers for a couple of new members. The Turian kicked up his feet onto the bed, bringing the new profiles up as he lay down.

“Another Human?” He rolled his eyes as he skimmed its contents. “Let’s hope this one lasts a little longer.” Flicking it away, he moved onto the next one, stopping dead on the photo. “Woah!” He said aloud as he sat up, back as straight as a ruler. “What do we have here?” Dropping the ball, the Turian zoomed in before darting back and forth across the file.

“Medic…” he muttered to himself, “Palaven… Taetrus… Doesn’t fire a gun?!” Kysar cocked his head to one side, wondering how that would look like, while at the same time making a mental note to come up with some sort of line around that. “Something about me being all the protection she needs.” Pressing on, he couldn’t help but smile. At least he’d get to have a little fun now, even if that was in the least some teasing and flirting.

When he finally finished, he closed his omni-tool, picking up the ball and laying back down on his bed. Tossing it towards the roof, Kysar allowed his mind to wander, his grin only becoming cheesier the further it went. “Oh yeah, things just took a turn.”
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Mao Mao
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Mao Mao Sheriff of Pure Hearts (They/Them)

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2187, February 7th // Noon
C-Sec HQ, Citadel

There were only a few hours of rest given to individuals who had committed to fixing their home—the Citadel. Being a space station, which sustained severe damages during the Reaper Wars, meant hourly inspections on critical infrastructure. The Citadel's life support systems, essential to preserve breathable air on the station, endured the most damage from the blast. Fortunately, it was recovered and restored to backup systems housed inside C-Sec Headquarters. But the copy was corrupted and brought forth new problems.

Alisha Gleaves, a former secretary to some multigalactic corporation, was now contributing through the restoration effort. She had been assigned with the evacuation of Docking Bay F-18 after the life support systems began failing in the section. So, the decision was made to abandon the area and transfer power over to the remaining bays. But there was resentment from the Displaced, the few survivors of the Reaper invasion of the Citadel, tired of relocating every few weeks. A squad was sent over to ensure things went smoothly.

"Just got done escorting the stragglers out." One of the squadmates reported and then continued. "We will make the rounds again to be sure before giving the all-clear."

"Sounds good. Notify me once you're done." Alisha approved before ending the transmission. It felt great that something was going smoothly for once. Behind her, a familiar man stood tall as if he was cherishing his work. She didn't notice until he went over to the other side of the room, observing one of the monitors while someone approached him with a datapad.

"Here's what you asked for." Zrartak Kruzki, a former computer engineer turned soldier after the Cerberus incursion. He was the lead engineer assigned with restoring the life support systems on the Citadel to pre-war conditions. Even with a brilliant mind working tirelessly, the task seemed insurmountable with constant malfunctions growing more concerning by the minute. But, the salarian engineer was ready to face the impossible with some help. Zrartak handed the datapad over to a close friend. "I hope it's sufficient, Tamás."

Upon hearing his first name, Tamás Zsolt-Cox felt everyone's eyes gawking at him in the room. It was something that he had never gotten used to since being designated leader. Well, more like compelled than anything. Tamás didn't have the qualities of a born leader, but he had the potential of saving the Citadel. And now, he was leaving his home to do so by answering the Sol Restoration Network's call to action.

"Thank you, Zrartak." Tamás thanked his friend and grabbed the datapad, which contained real-time data on the Citadel. "Good luck."

Tamás took a brief glance at the memorial wall, thinking to himself for a second, before going outside. There wasn't time to reflect on the dead, especially when it's still painful to do so. And the fact that the shuttle's driver, Eto Mitsuru, was technically violating the law. He was inspecting the shuttle while another familiar face was standing nearby. Inès Gobeli, the acting security chief, was still investigating reports of increased patrols close to the Citadel. She wasn't in a good mood as a result but apparently made time to bid farewell to her friend.

"I had hoped that we meet at a better time." Tamás admitted with a hint of sadness in his voice. But instead of sorrow, Inès just smiled and hugged her friend.

"This will do just fine."

Tamás held his friend for a moment longer before letting go and putting his hands on her shoulder. "This isn't goodbye. I will be back someday with enough support to restore our home to its former glory."

"I know." Inès said. "Urato and I will make sure that the station doesn't descend into chaos in your absence. Speaking of... have you seen Urato?"

"I did yesterday, but I suppose he's still in his room." Tamás looked at the C-Sec headquarters and then frowned. "Just... be there for him. He's still hurt and needs someone more than ever."

Inès nodded. Eto stood near his shuttle with his arms crossed, clearly annoyed. "Hurry up already! I don't need to remind you of the huge risk I am taking for you guys."

Tamás breathed and made his way towards the shuttle, still wearing the armor brought by Canlius. He remembered how it was wrapped up in a mixture of used wrapping paper and printer paper. And how the paint retained its fresh coat of olive green. It was a perfect gift. Now, it served as a painful memory of what was lost. Tamás barely squeezed inside the crowded shuttle as its doors shut close. He began praying for the shuttle to not crash on the way to its destination: Earth.

2187, February 7th // Afternoon
Havana, Cuba

Three hours of standing awkwardly between strangers later, the shuttle made a rather harsh landing. The crowd was eager to leave once the doors opened. But for Tamás, he was reluctant to set foot on the planet that he once despised as a child. The planet where his family was when... it was attacked. In all honestly, he never truly gasped at the notion that he was returning to his homeworld. Regardless, it already was too late to turn back. Tamás took a deep breath and stepped on the concrete of the landing pad. He was in the heart of Havana, but it felt like the wards on the Citadel for a second... before the Reaper attack.

Before Tamás could've fully taken in his emotions, Eto impatiently walked up to him and stated. "Now, with that out of the way, where are my hard-earned credits? I did just smuggle the lot of you after all."

"Inès should've transferred the credits into your account. If it isn't there, just get her to..." Tamás glanced over and saw him from a distance, which caught him completely off-guard. But before he could've got a clean look, the person made his way through the crowd of refugees. Tamás was speechless at first before chasing after his lover, Canlius Falion.

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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Su
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Lauder
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Lauder The Tired One

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Havana, Cuba

Febuary 7th, 2187

There was salt in the air as the boat came to dock, carrying with it passengers from all different walks of life; some tourists, some wishing to start a new life, and some looking to join with the Sol Restoration Network. It was Sevipia who had sought out and joined the SRN, having been held up due to choppy weather and partially due to touring Florida and witnessing some of the native fauna that was rather interesting to her. She had found out that the North American Alligator was an exceptionally lethal ambush-predator that hid in the water, granted the young specimen that she held did not seem all that deadly. Although, the focus of her escapades mattered little when she had a job that needed to be done and so she had bought herself a boat ticket to get to Havana. However, that boat had been delayed for two days due to storms that decided to blow into the area, meaning the waves were too treacherous for civilian departure.

Sevipia, in the end, still managed her way to Havana despite the delays. That said, it was not the tourist destination that she had thought that it was going to turn out to be, while true the beaches seemed pristine, there was still destruction that she could see. Yet, there was still spirit in the city, with people seeming to carry on and moving on from the past trauma that the Reapers had dared to leave elsewhere on the planet. It brought happiness to her weary heart, knowing that people could move past the detriments of war and carnage, knowing that there was light at the end of that scarred tunnel. However, she knew that it would still take some time for certain wounds to close, a fact that made her gentle smile turn to a frown. With a huff, Sevipia gathered her belongings and stepped off the boat and onto some wooden dock, nothing compared to the ship ports she had seen while in the military.

Yet, there was a rustic happiness she could feel with it. There was a culture that was completely and utterly foreign to her, some new distraction that she could focus on as she walked forward. The Turian kept her eyes down for the most part, not quite wandering aimlessly as she knew where she was headed for the most part. However, she stopped at a park, sitting upon a bench under a tree that was generous enough to cast a fair amount of shade upon her. For a moment, Sevipia sat in silence before an older human decided to sit on the other side of the bench, accompanying her in silence. Granted, that was before she was caught awkwardly side-eying him.

“May I help you?” he asked.

Flustered, Sevipia responded, “Erm, no. Sorry.”

Letting out a light chuckle, the older man asked, “It’s a good day out isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is,” the Turian said, letting out a light hearted laugh of her own as she turned her head to the man fully.

“Hah! Trick question! It’s hot out and I can feel my shirt sticking to my back,” he retorted in a friendly manner, letting out a laugh as Sevipia herself couldn’t resist his infectious laugh.

“It’s not bad out to me,” Sevipia said, matching his sarcastic tone as she leaned back on the park bench, shifting her bag to the side.

“Yeah well, I don’t think you Turian have sweat glands like I do! I’m like a water fountain over here” he continued his jests as he wiped some sweat from his brow. Yet, his smile disappeared as Sevipia held out a water bottle to him standing from the bench with what seemed to be a smile on her face, an unexpected gift that he gingerly took only hearing a few parting words from her. Her form turning as she continued on her path to report in with those who she’d be working with in the SRN.

“It’s best to stay hydrated.”

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