Status

Recent Statuses

3 yrs ago
Current "Gee Sam, this seems like the kinda case that requires the gentle, safe-cracking touch of the sociopathic, sausage-fingered freelance police."
1 like
3 yrs ago
Blue in Dallas

Bio

Rain pattered dismally against the office’s windows, made liquid brass by the faint glow of the streetlamps below, and streaked against the glass like tears. Once, the words “Jennofski & Jennofski” had been painted in gold across these jalouises… but now there was only an outline, a ghost that had lingered, long past its time, when the acid rain had taken the rest to its grave.
The Octo P.I. could sympathise with that.

But as long as he remained, those names would never be forgotten. Not in this, the office that had been his home, his sanctuary, and his prison.
A perfectly preserved memory, kept sealed within the bell jar of personal tragedy.
OctoP.I. sighed, deeply.
“Of all the octopode's profiles in all the world… you had to read mine.”


Hi all, Jenno here! Or Captain. I'm your resident blues harpist, and part time octopode! (But let's keep that between you and me, eh? Nobody suspects a thing.)
If you want to know anything just drop me a line via DMs and I'll get right back to you!

Most Recent Posts

Hi all! I'm Jenno. I haven't been doing much roleplaying lately (largely because I've been out of the country), and I thought the best way to shake the dust off would be to get a little writing practice 1x1 before launching myself into bigger games again.

I've got a hankering for a story that takes place in a distant post-apocalyptic future, where a neo-medieval society has arisen to occupy the ruins of a far greater but long extinct people. The protagonists would be mecha pilots, effectively serving as Sci-Fi knights during the final months of a dying kingdom. Hopefully, the story will follow two such knights and their exploits in the face of certain and impending death, effectively fighting up hill until their inevitable demises.

The minutiae of the setting, the technology, and the society represented is up for discussion - I'd be thrilled to world build with somebody! But I'm hoping to stick to an outline similar to the one above, because the idea is that this will be a finite story that someday ends. I'm planning a full on return to the guild at some point in the near future, but until then, I'd rather conduct these roleplays in Discord or something similar. If you're interested, please, drop me a message!
To say Kargad had thoroughly enjoyed his afternoon with Serena would have meant misunderstanding its significance. Although now getting into his Krogan middle-age, Kargad had not fully known the joy of watching films until he’d started his family. Before then, it had been an exercise in patience, he often watched only to discuss the feature later, with colleagues. But when in the right company, the experience was totally unique. Time seemed to work differently, in those long stretches of low-light where two people in sync crack unrelentingly wise about shlock, or else shriek amongst themselves during moments of high tension. Kargad had done both with his daughters (particularly Kalayla, who had a fondness for alien romantic comedies) and, now, the former with Serena. There was something grounding about that. Something that made the prospect of being in Andromeda- and here on the Nexus, an alien even among aliens- a little bit more familiar.

He had entered the Blasto films expecting them to be a disastrous parody of far more enjoyable movies. He had subsequently been proven wrong, and then, against every expectation, converted. Blasto was a non-stop thrill ride: an unforgettable, full-throttle exploration of a deep and sophisticated character. Starting as a hot-shot, straight-out-of-school womaniser, and slowly developing deeper feelings as time goes on. Kargad had joked that he felt a kinship with Bubin, the no-nonsense C-Sec Elcor just 3 (solar) days from retirement… he, too, was getting too old for this shit. The casting was frankly fantastic, too: although Kargad didn’t often face in that direction, Blasto’s actor was a fine cut of pink gelatine, and he didn’t care who knew it.

It was whilst Kargad was pondering this, stood before a makeshift movie theatre, put hastily together as most things on the Nexus were, that he clocked a familiar face coming towards him. Kargad had been hoping to find some Blasto films airing on the big screen, for the next time he or his new friend were feeling down, but it seemed he’d found his CO, instead. Upon Sabinus’ approach, he hurried to salute: that was how soldiers said hello, wasn’t it?

The turian waved off the salute, and Tanya was left smiling at the sight of the big krogan lingering around taking in the limited entertainment options aboard the Nexus. ”At ease Kargad, we’re not on duty. I left the stick up my ass in my weapons locker, so please, relax on your shore leave.” Sabinus said. ”Tanya, this is Bragus Kargad, one of the members of my Fireteam. Kargad, this is Tanya Carson, you can probably guess what we are. Enjoying the worst of the vids that followed us across darkspace?” he asked after the brief introduction.

Tanya put out her hand for the krogan. ”Used to serve with a big old bastard in my mercenary days named Ravanor Tonka. He thought we were all daft for making this trip, but he definitely taught me to appreciate krogan where ever they come up. Never a dull moment with you lot around. I hope my boyfriend isn’t being a total arsehole to you and the team.”

Kargad relaxed, breathing out and losing about two inches of height with it as he dropped into a more comfortable slouch. He shook Tanya’s hand with both of his, and beamed brightly: he had yet to meet a human he didn’t like. Thus far, they’d done him more kindness than the rest of the Citadel races. Then again, they hadn’t seen the Krogan Uprising.
”You make a good lookin’ couple!”, he told her, before gesturing with his head towards Sabinus, ”Your fella’s been pretty good to me, all things considered. I’m not really the soldierin’ type, so he’s bein’ real patient.”
His smile slanted a little, and took a turn for the apologetic as he met Sabinus’ eyes, ”I sorta made a show of a trainin’ exercise. But in my defence, I had a shotgun and the enemy was far away. Had to change that, chief.”

Sabinus grinned in turn. ”Oh, don’t worry. You were perfectly in line of what I expected. It was just unfortunate we didn’t have more time to train; everyone’s come from different places with different ideas of how to approach things. You were just doing what you know best, and it got results. We’ll figure out the rest as we go along, the war isn’t going to let us do that the boring way.”

When he released Tanya’s hand, he used his own to gesture broadly about them, ”I was just lookin’ to see if any of the Blasto films got sent out with us! Serena and me just spent the afternoon watchin’ the whole bunch, after she found me sittin’ around and…”
A missed beat.
”Y’know. Bein’ all... big, and manly, and stuff. Just, Krogan things. Uh. What were you two watchin’?”

”Ugh. The same thing. I’ve never been one for the really silly action movies, whereas Tanya is. Let me tell you something, Kargad; even I take orders from somebody.” Sabinus said, glancing over innocently at Tanya, who rolled her eyes.

”Don’t listen to him. He giggled, a lot. Very improper for a turian, I might add. I have an acute interest in what aliens do for pop culture, and I’ve always had a sweet spot for bad movies. Given how grim and utterly rubbish everything’s been around here, I’m glad to have something to laugh at. So, Serena’s been buddying up to you, huh? Did she ever tell you she used to pay me to kick her ass when we served together?”

AH, Kargad thought to himself, loudly and with rampant embarrassment. YES. BECAUSE BLASTO IS A COMEDY. DIDN’T GET SERIOUSLY INTO THAT CHARACTER AT ALL.
”Haha, sure have! That kid’s a treat, all sunshine and- wait what.”

Tanya winked. ”Oh yeah. Kid forgot how to throw a punch, so she wanted me to show her how. I’d like to think my lessons paid off if that surprised you.” She paused, looking back towards the crowd leaving the theater. ”I’m glad you’re taking care of her. She’s a good person, I worry about her sometimes.”

Kargad’s entire being breathed a sigh of relief. The raunchier scenes of the Blasto movies had clearly left a strange mark on his psyche. He laughed again as he followed Tanya’s gaze. Movie goers from all walks of life, brought together by terrible cinema.
”She really is a good person. Honestly, she’s more been takin’ care of me, today. Not a lot of dark in that girl, is there?”

Tanya spared Sabinus a glance. They both were well aware of Serena’s history and were debating how much to share with Kargad. ”She’s… been through a lot. More than she’ll really let on. I’m not really in a position to share information that’s not mine to share, but she’s definitely got a spirit of perseverance and empathy.”

Tanya spoke up. ”I’m not your boss and I used to work with her, so I’ll cut the shit; she’s lost a lot of people and she holds herself accountable for it. It’s part of why, I think, she really goes out of her way to try and smother her teammates and friends with kindness because she feels like she let her old partners down and wants to make every moment count with the people she has now. She tries to help others deal with their pain because she’s internalized a lot of the shit she’s gone through. Not that I’m any better.” she added with a self-deprecating smile.

Kargad was quiet for a moment. A shadow moved behind the gentle green of his eyes, a memory of a centuries old loss. He cleared his throat, and then raised his hand to scratch lightly at his jaw. He was lucky, he realised, to have had his girls for support when Revixtia had passed. He couldn’t imagine carrying that pain with him the way Serena was said to. Even his formidable strength would give out, eventually.
”That’s… hrm,”, was all he could bring himself to say, in that moment. He didn’t want to vocalise his intentions, but he made a note to give Serena a fond and unexpected hug at some point.
”That’s just. A damned shame. Girl like her deserved an easier life. Hell, everyone does.”

Kargad turned again to the movie theatre. It looked nothing like the ones on the Citadel, all glitz, glamor and holographic gals. It was small, makeshift. Like so much of this strange, unnatural place was. They deserved a better life than this.
”I feel a little selfish, now - she lent me a hand in a difficult time, and I didn’t even know she’d had it worse. I think I’m gonna hafta find a little something to show my appreciation, huh?”, he supposed. He threw a glance back to Tanya, ”Without showin’ my hand, that his. I’m not gonna start tellin’ her what we talked about here.”
He had learned a long time ago that his girls didn’t appreciate conversations about them that they weren’t privy to.
”That’s sorta what I like about humans, though, y’know? I say they’re pretty similar to krogan - they’re not afraid to really feel things, and express those feelings. Plus they’re hardy, and… just a little bit dangerous.”
He gestured to Tanya, with a broad grin, and then to himself: ”But if I had to pick one thing I really preferred about humans, it’s that capacity to empathise like y’ do. When a krogan lives a lousy, rotten life, most of the time they just sorta. Harden to deal with it. I can’t imagine bumpin’ into another krogan livin’ rougher than me, and them havin’ sympathy for what I’m going through. It’s beautiful, y’know? Humans feel some sorta cosmic camaraderie I just… really appreciate. It speaks to me.”

”You come from a homeworld that’s a radioactive wasteland where many of your people murdered each other for scraps. Forgive me for thinking you might have a bit of a skewed idea of what constitutes as ‘having it worse’.” Sabinus replied good-naturedly. ”Look, even the biggest and scariest species in the galactic community is allowed to have soft spots and needs reassurance once in a while. I’m of the opinion that the rest of the community never really gave the krogan that; for all of your formidable strength and ability to shrug off even the most inhospitable conditions and hostilities, you’re still people who have thoughts, hopes, dreams, emotions. We turians are a lot like you in that regard; we’re raised to compartmentalize unimaginable stress and strong emotions so we can do our duty even in the face of armageddon. It doesn’t mean that once in a while as individuals, we don’t falter and need someone to tell us it’s going to be fine.”

Sabinus placed a hand on the small of Tanya’s back in a gesture of solidarity. He smiled. ”I think I might have come to the same level of appreciation about humans, myself. It’s nice to have someone I can gripe about petty crap to without being told to shut up and fill out a report to.” he joked.

Tanya rolled her eyes. ”Such a romantic. I wouldn’t say we humans are all about that cosmic camaraderie that you mentioned, Kargad, we’re quite prone to dividing ourselves over the most rubbish justifications. Before aliens became real for us, we were still murdering the shit out of each other based on crap like the colour of our skin or what gods or lack thereof we worshipped. Suddenly, we weren’t the big kids on the block; finding out there’s alien civilizations that have been travelling the stars for longer than we began forming tribes with spears and huts and whatnot and were shooting mass effect cannons at one another way before we discovered how neat gunpowder was kind of was more than a little humbling.

“When you’re up against aliens who’ve seen the entire galaxy and established entire colony worlds across hundreds of thousands of lightyears that were more advanced than Earth while we were proud of having settled two worlds past our Relay, it kind of put all of the petty shit aside since we had much bigger problems. On the plus side, our infuriating quality of refusing to admit someone’s better than us by every metric and not being shackled by tens of thousands of years of following the rules of the Citadel made us a bit too creative and improvisational than most people like.”
she smiled, returning Sabinus’ gesture. ”Honestly, I think our best trait is being able to look at the stars and not letting anything stop us from chasing our dreams. It’s why we’re all standing here together, people of three very unique worlds and cultures shooting the shit like we’re old buddies so far away from where we were born that we came here because, well, why not? Somebody had to be first.”

She walked over to the krogan, reaching far up to place a hand on his shoulder. ”Look, I was born before we even had an idea there was a wider galactic civilization out there, and we don’t carry the same baggage or thousands of years of turmoil and distrust that were built up between your people and everyone else, so it’s easy for us to shrug off differences and see everyone as people. The fact that you’re standing here, despite everything rotten and shitty that was done to you and the krogan, really speaks volumes to how much you believe in starting from a clean slate where we’re all here together as one people. I admire that, and I admire the fact that you could crush my head with your hand without straining yourself and had enough humility to be comforted by a girl smaller than I am and finding hope in what she had to say. Never lose that spark.”

Kargad turned his head to the side, and smiled shyly, scratching again at the side of his face - this time at patches of heat.
”Aw, Hell… you’re gonna give me a big head. And mine’s already the biggest on the crew,” he joked, gently, ”Truth be told, though, I’m not here based totally on a pioneer’s dream. That’s part of it, definitely - but the greater half’a the equation is… was... my wife. Honestly, I’m only out here ‘cause I’m still ridin’ on the coattails of someone who deserved to be here much more than I do.”
He contemplated that thought for a moment. It was a strange feeling, a sort of warm melancholy. He smiled doughily, remembering her face, picturing her eyes filled with Andromeda’s wonders. What a terrible loss, and this galaxy would never realise. Kargad turned back to Sabinus.
”It’s a shame she never made the trip. She was a real scrapper - she’d have been a real jewel in your APEX crown, I think.”

Sabinus glanced to the crowds for a moment, letting out a quiet sigh, before meeting Kargad’s gaze. Here he was with his partner alongside him where most people had their loved ones still in cryo, unknown when they’d see the light of day again, and in the worst case, lost them completely as Kargad has lost his wife. ”She deserved to be here alongside you, to breathe the strange alien air and see sunsets on new worlds. I’m sorry she isn’t, I truly am. From the sounds of it, she was a remarkable woman and someone who guided your way. There’s an aspect to Siari beliefs I found comforting, that the individual returns to the universal consciousness when they pass. It gives a certain impression that no matter where you go, no matter where you are, those you love can still find and support you. It’s not the same as them being there where you can see them, speak to them… but it’s some comfort.” Sabinus replied, hoping it wasn’t a raw thing to touch upon. There wasn’t much he fully understood about asari beliefs, but he knew that Kargad subscribed to them. He hope he wasn’t overstepping his bounds.

Kargad nodded sagely. His smile tempered itself, and became measured, sure. A truer truth, he knew, had never been spoken.
”Ultimately, we’re all embers from the same fire,” he assured, gently. He’d noticed that sigh - that moment of thoughtful consideration.
”I talk about Revixtia is a lot, but please don’t mistake it for regret, even at losing her. She was a stupendous woman, mind you; as much grace and splendor as she had grit and brawn. But she’s somewhere better, now, returned to- I like to think- a place without weight, or worry. I miss her every single day, but it isn’t painful anymore, y’know? I miss her like I miss a dear friend I’m sure to see again.”

Kargad took a moment to step back, and appreciate the image of Tanya and Sabinus. A pair more scandalous than even he and Revixtia had been in their day, somehow.
”If I talk about her often, it’s just ‘cause she was… is… my inspiration. My drive to grab life by the quads. My girls, and my faith, helped me overcome missin’ the sensation of holdin’ her hand - and when that faded, all that was left was the good memories. ‘Vix left me with a whole tonne of those. Like the memory of what it was like to truly love someone - more than heart and soul, but on a whole different, existential level. That sorta love that helps you see colours a little brighter, laugh a little harder.”
He grinned his Kargad grin, so hard and wide that it forced his eyes closed: ”Or appreciate a young couple, knowin’ they’re on the same path. So what’s there to be sad about, there, right?”

”Oh bugger, you’re going to make me blush. Turians don’t have that problem.” Tanya replied, shooting Sabinus a cheeky grin before turning back to her krogan compatriot. Her expression softened to one of comprehension and understanding, cool gunmetal-coloured eyes studying the formidable alien before her and comparing him to Tonka. Was that old bastard even still around? ”Someone smarter and wiser than I am, probably a six-year-old magazine that was in a medical clinic or some shit, gave some advice that stuck with me for years and years now. Never regret losing someone or something, be grateful for the opportunity you had to have had those memories and experiences. Even a short time is better than none, yeah? Seems like you figured that out on your own, took me a few years after I lost my first boyfriend, Gary. He’s the reason I got into mechanics and racing, it felt like the sun got a little darker and the desert a bit more inhospitable after he passed doing what he loved.” she exhaled visible through her lips, leaning back against the railing that looked down at the commons below. ”It was a pretty shit way to find out your wedding was going to be cancelled, let me tell you. Changed my entire life.”

Humans lived such short lives, but still often had many partners. Kargad admired that, too, in a way - their culture was one filled with changing notions of love. He wondered if the Krogan would have been better off if they, too, had appreciated the variety and nuance of it all. He had found it just as intoxicating as violence - and hadn’t known a blood rage since. He nodded towards Tanya, full of sympathy but his smile unfaltering still. It wrinkled the edges of his mouth, its near-permanence had wrote its echoes into his skin.
”Hell, I’m sorry to hear that - no matter how things shook out, nobody deserves an ending like that one.”
Kargad stepped to her side, and then put his hands to the rail, looking down onto the Nexus beneath them.
”I wonder what it is about tragedy that draws people together. ‘Scuse me for sayin’ this,” he nodded to Sabinus, ”Sir,” he laughed softly, ”But I feel closer to you, as a stranger who knows that sorta loss, than I do most of my coworkers. I don’t doubt they’ve lost people, too- good people- but until they tell me about it, I feel like we’ll always be strangers. Ain’t that weird?”

The turian smiled in response, joining the other two. It was nice, being able to relax and socialize without the pressures of duty bearing down like a weight. Part of the appeal of traveling across the stars was learning about the people and their stories, and from there, finding a common thread to build the foundations of their new home. ”Well, one thing’s for sure, you always have a reliable fallback conversation that doesn’t rely on the weather when you go through the thick of it with people. Watching a krogan man-handle a Fiend is definitely worth the trip from the Milky Way, fighting giant monsters is definitely something krogan put a special flair to that no one else can match.” He replied, enjoying Kargard’s genuinely warm personality. Maybe, when all of the shit with the Kett was over and APEX could stand down, they could form a proper friendship that wasn’t tainted by rank.

Tanya snorted, amused. ”Coworkers are people you put up with because you try to earn the same kind of paycheque. Nothing cozy about that, unless you’re shagging one of them on the side.” Tanya replied dryly, running a hand through her hair to put it all back in place. ”Last ship I served on, the Borealis, was filled with all sorts trying to escape this and that, a real shithole of unresolved issues and baggage. I only really bonded, and I mean truly bonded, with a small handful of them. It just feels tacky airing out a lot of the skeletons in your closet with people, especially when you breathe the same recycled air as them for months at a time. Back then, I hadn’t really made peace with myself. Now? Much better place. So, no, I don’t think it’s weird at all. We can see eye to eye better than most.”

”I come from similar territory, I think. Krogan, hardy as they are, tend to try and make their hardships into a dick measuring contest, pardon my English,” he gave a sort of shuddering, croaky laugh. A little different from his others, this one seemed to betray his age. It was a laugh of a finer vintage. The best, Kargad thought, almost always came from poking fun at one’s self.
”Not to say I’m any different. My girls got me through the worst of it, but you can guarantee after Vix’s passing, I got some free drinks bought.”
He shrugged gently at this, raising his palms skyward, ”We’re melodramatic, it’s in our genetics. Maybe we’d have been thespians given a better start, huh?”
Exhaling through a smile, the krogan threw another glance over the rail, this time a little more intensely.
”Although on that topic, are there any... y’know... bars, on this space paperweight? Askin’ for a 400-odd pound hunk I know.”

Sabinus gestured towards what was conventionally known as the ‘North’ end of the Nexus. ”In the commons towards the Hydroponics Gardens there’s the Vortex Longue, which was converted out of necessity for that. Can’t imagine the selection’s that great, but it beats fermenting your rations in the latrine.”

Tanya placed a hand on Kargad’s back. ”Well, let’s get a few drinks in you and you can tell me all about your girls. Besides, I’d like to know who’s looking after my boyfriend when you’re off kicking around some assholes in the cluster.”

”You get me talkin’ about my girls and I might not stop,” Kargad half-joked, moving away from the rail as Tanya steered him ‘North’ and walking alongside them: ”Get me drunk enough and I’ll show you pictures from their childhood dance recitals - if you think Eos was a battle ground… ooft.”


"Kargad? Are you okay? What's wrong?"

A bolt of panic shot from heart to hump as Kargad sat up straight, again, and tried hastily to regain his composure. He dreaded to think what the people of APEX would think of him if they saw him so low, given how poor an impression he was already making. He stowed his locket away beneath the breastplate of his armour, and tried his best to force a smile - although they looked unconvincing on a Krogan in the best of moods, nevermind one who felt so lost. He was fortunate enough to have not been crying… at least, not in this instant... but his fine green eyes were still glazed by the film of tears shed earlier, and the streaks they had left down his cheeks still caught the unnatural light of the hydroponic heat lamps. On the face of a man sired by a hardy warrior race, the remnants of a tearful sadness made his likeness even more alien.

He spoke with a measured tone, drawn from the stomach. Artificially deep, and gruff, to hide the quiver in his voice.

”Oh, Serena!”

He recognised this human. She was the fidget. She’d been on his team during the training exercise, also. He answered her warily, for fear she would look at him the way the Asari had.

”Ah, y’know I’m… it’s… I was just, praying, you know?”, he laughed, terse and unconvincing, ”These isn’t much else to do around these part, seems like.”

Serena stared at Kargad in surprise for a brief moment. She had never actually seen a krogan cry, or even look like they had just gotten done crying. Honestly, she had always unconsciously thought they were incapable of it, and the sight of Kargad, obviously trying to pretend like he hadn’t been, was something that jarred her experiences with and general knowledge of the krogan race. Her surprise only lasted a second, however, before being replaced with empathy. Whatever Kargad was feeling, it must be serious.

“Oh, Kargad, we both know that’s not true.” Serena said gently, hand still on his shoulder. “I’ve seen you praying before, and this isn’t how it leaves you. Stoic, yeah. Joyful, a lot of the time. But not this sadness. What’s wrong? I’ve never seen you like this. I promise I won’t think of you any less for it. You’ll still be the tough, capable krogan that took down a fiend within twenty-four hours of meeting me.” She smiled encouragingly, winking her robotic eye at him, the eye changing color to match his in the process. ”Besides, we’re teammates. It’s our job to be there for each other, no matter what.”

He faltered for a moment. A kind smile, and suddenly, an eye of soft and placid green. His eye. For an instant, he saw his eldest in her: Kalayla, gentle and sincere. There was little compromise as to which parent Kalayla looked most like, but Kargad, in his heart of hearts, knew the calm green of her eyes to be his.

But just as suddenly, Kalayla was gone again. Or, she had never arrived. Kargad smiled, a little more sincerely but also undoubtedly sadly, and slumped down into his chair. He exhaled, and tried not to choke on his words. He spoke slowly.
“I… mm. When the… the uprising, I suppose they’re calling it… when that happened, I fought for the Nexus. For Tann, and for people like Tann. Pencil pushers, head-nodders. People I can’t stand. ‘cause I figured they had the best shot of making this shitshow work.”
He looked down at his hands. Clenched his fingers and thumb into a three-part fist.
“I didn’t care about the council seat. I cared that they lied to us, sure, but I didn’t do it for that, anyway. Asari, Salarians, Turians… they’re never gonna see us as equals, I knew that from the start. Everything I did, I did ‘cause I wanted to make this place sustainable. For my girls. I’d do anything for my daughters... and I guess that included hurtin’ other people, scared and hopelessly stranded on a strange new frontier.”
He was quiet for a moment, then lifted his head and gestured with it towards the Nexus at large.
“And after the other krogan left, I stuck around to help build. Rebuild. And it was all for them. But they’re still not here. And if what happened to the human ark…”

Kargad stopped, and choked up. Struggled to breathe around his words for a few seconds, and then brought his fist down on the table before him suddenly. The thought filled him with dread, and the helplessness complimented that dread with impotent rage.
He spoke with purpose, but the purpose was directionless. His anger seemed reserved not to the circumstances, but to himself for not somehow overextending to prevent them.
“What if they never come? What if they’re out there, right now, yelling for me to help them? What if me and Revixtia dragged ‘em along for another one of our self-indulgent adventures, and we…”
Choke. The krogan seized on his own words for a half-second. Then breathed deep, and composed himself. A father sometimes needs to put on a brave face.
“What if we killed them? If I’m real honest, I just... don’t know what I’d have left. I... just… I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to them, and every day the chances of ‘em havin’ survived the journey seems to get slimmer...”

Serena didn’t think, just reacted, hugging the big krogan. She wanted to make him feel better, but wasn’t the right person and didn’t have the right knowledge to fix his heartache. She could, however, do her best to reassure him. After a second she remembered that they were basically strangers, and hugging someone she had all of five minutes of conversation with was weird and personal space invasive.

She took a step back, blushing in embarrassment. ”Sorry. A hug from a stranger is probably the last thing you want right now.” Now that she had made a magnificent fool of herself already , Great way to get to know him outside of combat! she could get on with attempting to make him feel better. She sat down across from him, smiling earnestly. ”Kargad, they’re not dead I’m absolutely sure of that. The Asari pathfinder is the best in the galaxy at making peace between two wildly different cultures, and her second is a hugely successful and widely respected Asari commando general. They’re going to get the Ark here safe. They’re going to get your girls here safe. I’m absolutely sure of that. You’re going to see them again, and then you’re going to get a hug you actually want. Two of them in fact. Leusinia will be in any day now, and we’ll have secured a spot for your daughters. Just remember that Kargad. Everything you do is preparing a spot for them.” She spoke encouragingly, hoping to lift his spirits.

” And I’m sure Ryder will fix what Tann and the rest did wrong. Pathfinder’s are supposed to bring us together. Things are already getting better. We’ve just got to keep doing our parts.”

Kargad bucked up a little bit, at least. Not necessarily because he believed her, but because he appreciated the effort. And the hug.
That last part seemed troubling, though. A human trait, maybe - unrealistic optimism. He admired it, envied it even.
”Thanks, Serena…” he looked down at the table again, although this time in thought.
”Do you really think the Human Pathfinder is gonna shake things up, though? Somehow fix this whole krogan debacle? Sometimes I wonder if it isn’t just hardcoded into people’s DNA.”

Serena smiled in relief to see him perking up, at least a little bit. ”Of course. Just as much debacles and messes like this are hardcoded into people’s DNA, so is the potential to fix and heal. Take the krogan themselves for example. They lashed out against the galaxy in the Rebellions, which made a mess right? But they also saved the galaxy from the Rachni, which fixed a mess. We all have the potential for bad things, Kargad. But we also all have the potential to do good things. Sometimes it seems like people give into that former potential way more than the latter, but I assure you, there will always be more people willing to help and fix than there is willing to hurt and destroy. Just look at the initiative now. We met an entire race who seems hell bent on destroying us. But we also just met an race who is willing to trust us and help us. There’s always good in the universe Kargad. Always.”

He nodded along: “I’ve never doubted that. I believe it - in a way I guess I have to. But it’s always seemed to me that the council races have never wanted to entertain the idea there might be good in krogans.
He reclined again, and glanced at the plants around them. Flora from familiar worlds. Some of them likely from places the krogan had coveted in The Rebellions.
”The Krogans’ crime was wanting what the Asari, Turians and Salarians took for granted. We were babes blinkin’ into a whole new, expanded horizon, and we overreacted, sure - but do you think a galactic community willin’ to forgive and forget could dream something like the Genophage up?”
Each and every plant here would have their genetic offspring cultivated on new worlds, in a new galaxy. Krogans dreamed of that sort of freedom.
”We needed reprimanding, I’m not denyin’ it. I’ve never thought the Rebellions were the right way to go… but I can appreciate what my ancestors were thinkin’. We’re just like anybody else. Just like humans. We had dreams, and goals. We wanted more than our burnt up husk of a planet, and we tried to take it. Like your Shanxi, maybe. But humans got given the benefit of the doubt - so did Batarians. It was only Krogan who got the brutal put-down. And I think it’s because, from the very start, other races have thought of us as lesser.”

He watched a Salarian wander past, eyes glued to his datapad. There was no malice in Kargad’s face, just a pondering. Another sort of sadness, an ancient one.
”Do you know what the Salarians said to us, when they came to arm themselves against the Rachni? Krogans do. It’s like an ancestral memory, almost. They told us they were uplifting us. Like we were dirt. Like we were dirt and they were Gods, trying to pull us up from the filth. And then, again like Gods, when we misbehaved they cursed us. I don’t think people ever had the Krogan in mind as peers. We were always weapons to them, our lives worthless- expendable at birth- unless we were laying them down against the Rachni. The Salarians thought so. The Turians thought so. Tann thought so. People wonder why Krogans are so brutal, so war-focused. Sometimes I do too. I think it’s because we know that it’s all people think we’re good for. We fight risky and up close, even amongst ourselves, because fighting to survive is the only time we feel as though our lives are worth fighting for…”

Kargad caught himself rambling, staring hollowly at the space the Salarian had been, moments before. He shook his head, and forced a short laugh.
“Sorry, nevermind me. I’ve heard Salarians say Krogans have a victim complex. Maybe they’re right, huh? Maybe they’re right.”

”I think you’re misunderstanding why the other Council races look down on krogan so much. They’re afraid of you, Kargad. Each and everyone one of you is a soldier. You have redundant organs, tough skin, can heal from bullet wounds, and your battle rage. Before the Genophage, you bred faster than any sentient race in existence. You were the perfect race for conquering worlds and after the Rachni you did just that, only being fought to a stand still by the turians. It was a war of attrition after that, which you would have won in the end. After the Genophage you were finally stopped, and the rest of the races allowed their fear to turn into distaste and hatred, because that made them feel better. They claim they can’t allow you to be cured because you’re ‘lesser barbarians’, but really they’re scared of what would happen if the Genophage was removed. And so, they treat you like second class citizens. Which, in turn, makes the krogan act like the other races expect them too, which in turn makes them keep treating you like second class citizens, and it's a vicious cycle. But you and I both know that krogans have the potential to be so much more. Honorable protectors, hard workers, loyal friends. I’ve seen all those things in the krogan I’ve worked with.

She gestured all around her, with both hands. Passion filled her voice, her eyes shining. She really, truly, believe in the original image of the Initiative that Jien Garson had proposed, the original idea that had gone away within hours of getting here. She still believed it was a possibility, something that could be forced into shape with grit and determination. ”Andromeda was supposed to be a fresh start at that. We screwed that up when everything went to hell in a handbasket, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fix it. The Pathfinder will bring us together, because that’s what Pathfinders do. As for APEX? We just have to keep showing them how to act. That science team thought we were heroes. Thought you were a hero. That changed their views. We can show them how things are, mission by mission. I know we can. And eventually, we’ll do what we set out to do. Unity and peace. The dream is still there. We just have to seize it.”

”With APEX, Kargad, we’re gonna change the entirety of the Heleus Cluster.”

”A hero…”, Kargad repeated, a little lower, a little softer. With the sort of meaningful, hopeful fascination a child would afford the same concept. The word excited him.

Kargad felt a fondness growing with every dream Serena described, a paternal warmth in his bosom. She spoke with the sort of emphatic optimism, the sort he’d known from Kalayla, six hundred years ago. Was it a consequence of youth, he wondered - and did that even matter?
He didn’t believe her, he couldn’t: humans were the new kids on the court, they couldn’t possibly know the hurt of having watched generations lose their breaths in the cradle. If the genophage was an option for the krogan, why not the Rachni? Why drag the krogan, kicking and screaming, into the lives of second-class galactic citizens at all?

And yet. The notion was so winsome, and Serena’s tone so convicted, that it overwrote his disbelief with endearment. He supposed, right in this moment, the continuation of the cycle was theory. This was not the Milky Way, and this time humankind was also in play. The Initiative was a shitshow, it was undeniable: but with brilliant young hearts like Serena’s, like Kalayla’s, to build its foundations on, there was a chance. For Kargad. For his children. For everybody who signed on dreaming of something better.

He sat back again, and interwound his fingers into each other. Held his hands together in thought. Then he smiled, a little more sincerely this time. This was a notion he would like to share.
”Y’know, kid - speeches like that are the reason I signed on to begin with.”

At the sight of the krogan’s smile Serena smiled back, happy that she was finally getting him up in spirits again. It wasn’t her original goal when walking through Hydronics on shore leave, but she was glad she had started achieving it. At his words, Serena blushed in pleased embarrassment, ducking her head. She was glad he thought so highly of her wordcraft, but knew she didn’t deserve it. ”Oh please, that was nothing more than just an impassioned ramble. Jien Garson could give speeches. I just babble excitedly.” Eager to change the subject before she got even more embarrassed, she latched on to the main thing she had wondered about the krogan.

”Kargad, you mentioned praying. I’ve seen you praying before, most notably before and after that hostage rescue mission, but never quite heard to what. I apologize if this is offensive, but what is your religion? I’ve never known a krogan to pray before, nor have I ever heard of a krogan religion in all my time in the galaxy.” She leaned forward, curiosity taking over any embarrassment or notions of personal space.

Kargad, caught off guard for just half a moment, cocked his head ever so slightly to the side, and stared back at Serena with a sort of bafflement. Then, once the tonal whiplash had passed, he smiled, wide and crooked, favouring the left of his face to the right. The krogan laughed- that same deep, mountainous chuckle he’d given during training, all stomach and joy- and scratched at the side of his face, confusion overwritten by his own awkwardness.
“Hah! Yeah, I could’a have figured somebody’d ask eventually… I guess I sorta stand out, huh?”

He moved the hand scratching at his face down to stroke the stony outcroppings of his chin, instead.
“It’s sort of tricky, in a way. Krogan are religious, believe it or not - I was actually training to be a shaman before my wife punched me onto a different path. We just don’t worship Gods, generally. Krogan are drawn to more nebulous beliefs, maybe. We worship traditions, and the survival those traditions secure, the only two things worth worrying about on a hole like Tuchanka. I don’t think we have the stomach for deities, like some other species, though. Krogan don’t believe in anything they can’t eventually beat. Some of us even think we’re gonna beat the genophage through pure stubbornness.”

”Why do I get the feeling you mean punched in a literal sense?” Serena shook her head in wry amusement, before continuing. ”So krogan’s worship traditions that encourage survival, so to speak. Makes sense. Though, from what I’ve heard you guys are going to eventually beat the Genophage. Before you all went under, you were all given a serum to encourage specific mutations that work against the Genophage. I heard it was something like eight percent bigger chance at a successful birth? Not sure, I’ll look into it.”

”So if you aren’t on the same path as most religious krogan, what do you worship? I don’t think you were thanking centuries of tradition when we got on the ship after saving the scientists.”

Kargad tapped the crack in his crest conspiratorially, and then chuckled into the back of his hand before pressing on: ”I suppose I worship the universe, if I had to put it into one word. The sort of systematic chaos that births and destroys us, this... endless cycle of energy,” he told her, making a cyclical motion with his hands to punctuate the point.
“It’s the Asari faith. The largest, anyway - hylozoism, I think you might call it. The basic idea is that we’re all expressions of the same primary energy, y’know?. Every Human, Salarian, Asari… all equal representations of the one fundamental life, that of the universe at large. Our hearts all beat, right? In my philosophy, all life- even Krogan life- is equal. Even if some Asari don’t really act like it, it’s a universal truth.”
He paused for a moment after this, and his expression muddled for a second before settling on a small, doughy smile.
”I remember, when times were tough, my Revixtia always told me as much. She was the first alien to tell me I wasn’t dirt, or somethin’, that needed savin’ or suppression. That I was her kindred spirit in the cosmos. It was the first time I ever really felt special, y’know? She really knocked some sense into me, that woman...”
Kargad gestured across the table, with a patriarch’s warmth, ”In that cosmic sense, you’re as much my sibling as anybody in my brood. But, similarly, I’m sorta attached to the enemies I fight, too. We’re all just different manifestations of the same thought. I never hesitate, mind you - but when you see me pray, I’m telling them that in death we’re equals. And that I’m grateful they gave me the best fight they could.”

Serena smiled at Kargad tapping the crack in his crest, listening intently as he explained his take on hylozoism. It was a beautiful view, she had to admit, and uniquely krogan. Only a krogan would in one moment bless their enemies as equal and in the other bloodily thank them for giving them a good fight. The way Kargad talked about his wife made her smile even more. It was sweet, and wistful. A memory of happier times, times they all hoped to return to.

”That’s beautiful Kargad, truly.” Serena said earnestly, entwining her hands. ”I’m honored to be considered that by you.” She suddenly noticed that Kargad was missing a tooth, and grinned. ”I’m sure that Firuzeh would be honored too, after she takes your tooth out of her arm. What was it you told me after I warned you about her? Oh right, ‘This is gonna be childsplay’. I guess your children play rougher than most I’ve seen.” Serena winked at him, her eye changing back to hot pink as she teased him.

Kargad, suddenly bashful, lowered his head and smiled awkwardly (although all Krogan smiles were somewhat awkward) at the table, shoulders raising to curtain his face. Krogan didn’t blush, but he certainly gave off the same energy.
”You’ve got no idea, honestly,” he laughed quietly, from the chest this time, ”My girls hit like freight trains. Firuzeh reminds me a lot of one of them, actually. My youngest, Faoria… that girl has a temper on her. She was born with her blood at full boil, I think. You’ve never seen a hundred year old girl throw a tantrum like she could.”
He missed a beat, ”... that’s all their mother, though, you understand.”
”Of course. All their mother. Nothing like that all comes from the krogan who charges gleefully into a Fiend and then rips the top half of its head off. Nope. None at all.” Seren deadpanned for a few moments, before a smirk worked its way onto her face. ”I’m sure Firu has good things to say about you as well, since you knocked her out too. And after killing a Fiend together, you’re practically best friends!” Serena paused a moment, humming to herself. She like Kargad. He had an earnest heart, and an honest sort of endearing awkwardness about him.

”You know Kargad, once the asari ark gets here, I’d love to meet your daughters. If that isn’t too forward of a request for someone you’ve known…” Serena looked down at her omni-tool, bringing up a clock and date. “”A little over three weeks.”

Kargad glowed at the suggestion, grin wide and only slightly less toothy than usual. She spoke like it was a certainty.
”Hell, I think that’s a great idea! I think they’d be glad to see their old man makin’ friends. ‘Sides, the more people they meet, the easier it’ll be to adjust here, right?”

Serena grinned back. ”Of course. Though I’m sure they’ll have plenty of people to meet and work with besides your friends on APEX. Especially the weird one who just hugs you randomly. ” She glowed slightly on the inside at the idea that Kargad thought they were friends already. She hadn’t had any friends beyond work friends since Borealis, and hadn’t been able to do anything with a friend in over six centuries.

An idea suddenly struck her for something she and Kargad could do, beyond sit here and talk about how great his daughters were. ”Kargad, tell me, do you like movies with excessive action scenes and cheesy one liners?”

”I’d take a random hug over a random headbutt any day of the year,” Kargad supposed, grin unwavering. He quirked the closest approximation to his brow when Serena pressed on, though: ”Movies with excessive action and cheesy one liners? Sure I do! That’s half the reason I’m in this job,”, he replied, sportively.
”Why? You got a recommendation?”

”Great!” Serena clapped her hands together once in excitement. This is going to be fun! ”I do indeed! Have you ever heard of the Blasto series? The first Hanar Spectre? He’s got a gun in every tentacle and a lover in every port? I have the entire series, before we went off to Andromeda, ready to be watched. If you’d like to watch the first one with me?” An almost childish excitement radiated off of Serena. She loved the Blasto films. They were stupid and cheesy and that was what made them amazing.

Kargad blinked, dazedly: ”Hold up - there’s a Hanar Spectre? And he’s making movies?”
”Not a real Hanar spectre. Just an actor. Its all fake and ‘what if’, you know? So what do you say? Wanna go watch the first one with me? If you don’t like it I illegally downloaded a few thousand other films before going in the pod. I’m sure we can find something else that you’d like.” Serena looked up at the krogan, unashamedly using her best puppy dog eyes to push him towards saying yes. He sounded like the type who caved when his daughters did it, so it should work for her right?

Although that definitely worked almost 100% of the time, in this instant it was unnecessary: Kargad was already climbing out of his seat.
”You kiddin’?! I wanna see a Hanar shoot a place up! What’re we still doin’ over in plant country?”

”Sweet!” Serena shot up out of her seat, gesturing for Kargad to follow her as she lead the way back to her temporary quarters. It wouldn’t be too hard to set up a movie player. Sarah or Del could be used to project it perfectly. She practically skipped on the way over there, grinning from ear to ear. This was going to be great!
Kargad fell back when ordered, but allowed himself the luxury of a leaving prayer just before the shuttle doors were fully closed. Ascending slowly away from the carnage, he caught one last fleeting glimpse of the felled Fiend, and as he did so he wrapped both hands around the hilt of his downturned hammer, and muttered quietly, reverently, to himself. Of gratitude for another glorious battle, and of forgiveness. In death, Kargad didn’t hate the Kett – they were just different expressions of the same thought. It was a pity they had misused the gift of their lives in the way that they had, but there was always next time. In an ideal universe, someday, they would all stand shoulder to shoulder. No more hate, no more war.
Well. Maybe war for fun.

The doors slid shut, and dropped into comparable darkness, they departed. The Kett’s bodies were left to rot in the sun, but their souls, he was certain, were now free.


Two weeks later…

Freedom was something Kargad desperately craved whenever he was aboard the Nexus. He had never cared much for the Citadel, despite spending a sizable wedge of his life there, working or in transit: it was just too… fake. There was a clinical, sterile nature to it all that screamed out how unnatural the place was, all brushed steel and reinforced glass. The stars twinkled dimly from the spaces you could see them, if you could see them through the glare of the street lights. And the Nexus embodied all of these things, but lacked the Citadel’s wealth of distractions. There were no real bars to start brawls in, no hobby shops to buy tiny space ships in bottles. It was a place of strange, steely stagnation. Kargad spent much of his time pacing the place irritably, making many a passer-by anxious.

To an extent, he supposed it was because he had never felt comfortable in space. He was a Krogan, at least in body: his biology longed for the taste of iron in the air, and the feel of radioactive dirt underfoot. There was something that fundamentally disagreed with him about spending prolonged periods of time away from fresh air and solid ground. It made him sweat beneath the plates. And the only comfort he could think to seek out, for the nth time, was denied him by snivelling bureaucrats. He was of the belief that no form of life was inherently worth less than him, but if he had to pick a candidate, it would have been pencil-pushing pencil-necked cryogenic secretaries. Every few days, Kargad would return and ask them if there was any news on the Asari Ark. If he was anxious about being safe in space, he didn’t dare to fathom how terrified his baby girls would feel, lost in the dark.

”I’m sorry, even if it was here, I can’t seem to find those names on the Leusinia’s docket.”
"What,” Kargad had replied, now on his fourth visit to this dreadful office. It was in his incredibly unimpressed, dadly voice.
”I-It’s just, when I… Faoria and Kalayla Cargad aren’t even on—“
Kargad had leaned in closer, ”What.”
”I—“
"Well they were there four days ago, he smiled tersely, "Are you trying to tell me you’ve lost my little girls? Because I helped put some parts of this Nexus together, and I’d be damned happy to take them apart aga-“
”A-Ah, wait! Wait!”, the clerk pleaded. He was human, on the young side. Probably only a hundred or so. How long did humans live, again?
”I spelt Kargad wrong. Like a car, get it?”
”no”
”Maybe that error doesn’t translate so well… um… okay! We don’t have any information on them yet! Which makes sense, there’s none on the Leusinia… but no news is good news, right? H-Hehe.”
Kargad heaved in a big breath, and for an instant towered menacingly over this young man. Then he exhaled heavily, and in doing so slid slowly and surely to the floor, until he was sat with his hump against the desk, almost laying down. He stared hopelessly up at the ceiling.
”Damn it.”
”Sir?”
”I… I just want my girls to be safe. Did you know, it’s been six hundred years since I last hugged them?”
”That’s… that’s really sad to hear, Mr., um, Bragus, but you’re… you’re holding up the…”
Kargad sniffled pathetically.
”Ohh… oh, please don’t cry…”
”I am not crying,” Kargad snapped, unconvincingly.

Twenty minutes later, after tearfully showing entirely too many photographs of his family to the cryogenics clerk, Kargad was sat nursing a coffee near hydroponics. Seeing a little nature around here- albeit unnatural in itself- was soothing. It reminded him that there were living things beyond this dreadful space station, things with which he shared a fundamental connection. And in the dark, someplace far, he knew the blood of his blood was still out there. He had the strange sense that, should that ever cease to be true, he would know.
And yet still, his stomach was tight. What good was thinking that? He hadn’t felt it when Revixtia had passed. The opposite, even – he had known her presence every day since. And whilst that knowledge filled him with strength, the idea that the same was true of his daughters sapped him of it again.

Eyeing the false sky of the Nexus in silence, Kargad finished his coffee, and then took his hammer’s charm from around his neck. Off duty, when he needed strength more than his weapons did, he would carry this token with him. A purple locket in the silhouette of an Asari’s head. It housed the only physical picture he and Revixtia ever had printed. In it she- with intense eyes but a smirk that still made Kargad weak in the knees- was in the process of wrenching his arm towards the table, in a wrestling match he wasn’t entirely sure he’d actually thrown. They had been so young, back then. So sure they were going to carve their scars into an unsuspecting universe.

He pressed that picture to his bosom, and then lowered his head.
”Revixtia… you gave our girls every ounce of your strength. But… but I’m not strong enough without them. If you’re out there… keep them safe. Help them make this home. Help me.”
It took a few moments, after breaking through into the stinging daylight of consciousness again, for Kargad’s head to stop ringing like a bell. It took a few moments more for him to stop laughing about it.

It wasn’t short, and sportive, either: he came shooting back into the waking world with a belly-full of mirth, a laughter which shook him like a mountain on a fault line, so hard and deep that he felt his core throb almost as hard as his jaw was. It only seceded when he realised the atmosphere about him had grown suddenly dire. Playtime, it seemed, was over.
As they rushed to exchange their gear- Kargad said a tearful goodbye to a shotgun he never made good use of, and promised someday to rectify that- he probed his lower jaw absently, chasing the taste of alkaline and copper. A tooth on a thread – cracked down to the root.
”Damn,” he murmured, with weight. He couldn’t help but smile to himself. He spat a molar into the sand just before they boarded the shuttle – that one would take the best part of a month to take root again.

He sat himself down across from Firu, and smiled bloodily, with surprising cheer, before the briefing properly began. He was impressed. No – he was delighted.
“You hit like a freighter being driven by a truck,” he told her, quietly and in earnest. It made him itch beneath the plates. He could feel the stuff of Tuchanka- those small specks of irradiated char, the colour of earth, and stone, and blood- broiling in his veins. Kargad liked humans, but realised he had underestimated them. He’d expected them to be brutal, and fierce… but squishy. He’d never been so glad to be wrong. He liked this one.
“We’re gonna have to go toe-to-toe again – you’re going to have to realign my jaw.”

--

He grew a little more reserved when he heard tell of the stakes, and felt the disapproval of some select teammates as it went on. Here they were, in what was effectively a real hostage situation, and they all thought he’d made an ass of himself. Well, maybe he had.
He wrung his hands quietly, and tensed his jaw – then winced and promptly stopped.
What had happened here was, he felt, a fatal misunderstanding of cultures. Krogan were not brutal savages, contrary to popular belief. They bled, they loved, they thought. But they were tribal. What had happened here was, for everybody else, an example of his combat ethic – but to him, in that moment, it had been a clan bonding experience. He had been trying to gauge their worth, and show his own, in his little... Krogan way. Appear strong, reliable, and prove that he thought the same of them. Of course he was more responsible in the field – he was still alive, wasn’t he?

He caught Naryxa’s side-eye, and visibly shrank. Waved at her nervously, and tried to smile apologetically, although there were few smiles a Krogan could offer that didn’t seem tainted with menace. She wasn’t the first Asari to judge him – Revixtia's family had never approved - but he couldn’t help but catch his daughters in her face.
”Ah, shit, is that racist? Sorry girls.”
Would they have been embarrassed? Dad, acting up at an Asari function, again?
He turned mutely to his faith. Clasped his hands together, and not unlike Firu, murmured a little prayer.

It brought him strength in small degrees of indignation. At first he thought it was the Krogan in him, flaring up as it often did. But no – this was unmistakably his wife. He heard her voice, clear and loud and angry.
”Who gives a fuck what they think?”
And she was right, of course. She was always right. They thought he was just another reckless Krogan. Good to throw at an enemy now and judge later. But was he? Did it even matter?
There were no Krogan out here, no Asari, no Humans. Not the way he saw it. This was somewhere strange, and new, and brilliant – here they were all just denizens of the Milky Way. Truer than it ever was before, they were all expressions of the same cosmic thought.

--

On the ground, Kargad was quick to hang his hammer at his hump. He would do it right, this time.
“That Fiend needs to go down fast - I don’t know if Kargad or myself stand even a faint chance until that thing has gained a few pounds in tungsten… if it gets close to us without eating metal, I’ll see you all in heaven.”
“If that thing gets close to us without eating metal, we’ll ride it all the way there,” Kargad took up his mattock. Then he caught Firu’s glance, and flushed with an instant of embarrassment. Felt the heat rise beneath his armour. He wasn’t making a tonne of great first impressions today.
“I- what? It’s not the gun, it’s what you… let’s just kill this thing,” he grumbled.
“Didn’t realize your mom was here.”
Scratch all that stuff about being impressed by humans.
The Krogan laughed lowly, and shouldered his rifle. He grinned at Clyff on just the one side of his face: “You kidding? My mom’s way scarier,” he snorted, “She could bench press that thing.”
[Restored from the memos of Bragus Kargad, 2785]

[POEMS ABOUT MY WIFE]
Your...

Purple skin and...

There once was an Asari from Thessia, who,

[File moved to recycling]


This was a joke but also fairly IC.
[Restored from the memos of Bragus Kargad, 2785]

[POEMS ABOUT MY WIFE]
Your...

Purple skin and...

There once was an Asari from Thessia, who,

[File moved to recycling]
Getting Drunk At An Office Party, 600 Years Ago


They had the same sky on Tuchanka. He supposed they must have. Perhaps the stars were a little different, the atmosphere a little dustier. But still, fundamentally, the same sky: the same slither of a view into the sprawling cauldrons of creation. The vast and shiftless dark, deeper and more mysterious than the stillest of waters, older than time. Worlds had come into being and turned to dust beneath it, Tuchanka amongst them. And yet, out in that endless ink-coloured stretch of shade… fire. Dust. Smouldering clouds of silver, and white, cast to the windless void like embers beaten from the cosmic steel, the stuff of galaxies. Swathes of star-spangled sky, shining unattainably bright, and far. Broken up only by stretches where the sky burns primordial red and blue, bruises on the face of reality. And one glares more so than any other. Calling. Beckoning. Daring.

”Andromeda.”

And this had always been true. The sky had always been infinite, an inviting chaos of explosive brilliance and depthless murk. But it had never seemed that way, so full of potential and portents, until he had seen it in Revixtia. She had changed him.

”They’re looking for volunteers.”

Kargad looked away from his drink when the applause struck up, but hadn’t heard a word. He’d been somewhere between here and a year prior, listening to Revixtia sell him on this adventure, instead – pitching him his own dream, but in words far more eloquent than his, and concise than hers. For an instant he panicked, looked for somewhere to put his drink, then hastily slung it back- weak enough to be water, anyhow- and pinched the glass between his teeth so that he could clap along.

This lapse in attention hadn’t escaped his company, either. His daughters- the two most wonderful Asari in this room, barring none- exchanged a concerned glance across his front. To his left, Kalayla rested a hand on his shoulder, and then gripped it firmly.
“You alright, dad?”
“Hrfmf?”, Kargad turned to face her. He opened his mouth to respond, but winced when the glass he’d been biting struck the floor, and shattered into glinting edges.
“Ah, uh. Geeze. That looked sort of expensive, do you think that was crystal?”, he fussed, scratching at the side of his face, “One of us really should’ve, uh. Caught that. Biotically, I mean.”
”Dad,” Kalayla pressed on, “Are you doing alright?”

Kalayla was almost the spitting image of her mother. A freckled, heart-shaped face the colour of heather, and a nose both small and slightly darker than the rest of her. The only compromise was in her eyes. He and Revixtia shared green eyes, but in Kalayla he knew for certain hers were his. Revixtia’s stare was intense, it betrayed her nature, but Kalayla’s were soft. Thoughtful, as, Kargad flattered himself to think, his were. In this instance, they were full of sympathy.
“What?”, Kargad snorted, defiantly, “I’m doing great. I just don’t like parties, is all.”
Kalayla tilted her head forwards, and looked up at him with an empathetic scepticism: “Are you sure?”
“What’s with the interrogation, all of a sudden?”, he shot back. He reached up, loosened the frankly ridiculous looking bowtie he was wearing, “Krogans don’t do black tie, that's all. I want my armour.”
“I think you look good in a tux, Dad,” she needled him with her elbow. He raised his brows at her, unimpressed. All three of them had to admit, he did look spectacularly foolish.
“It’s just one night.”
Kargad’s shoulders slumped, and he sighed irritably: “Our last night. Just put me on ice already.”
“Dad. It’s okay to-”

”Oh, by the Goddess’… c’mere,” his second daughter, Faoria, interjected. She was shorter than Kalayla, but built a little broader, too. She had a narrower face, and although she still had freckles, they gathered more about the bridge of her nose than anything else. Her eyes were blue, but definitely her mother’s all the same. Without fanfare, she had seized Kargad by the shoulders, and turned him to face her. Then, Faoria leapt up into the air- no small feat, in heels- and smashed her forehead against his crest as hard as she could manage.

He wished he could’ve said she got her quad from him.

The crowd of people drinking and chattering immediately around them stopped for an instant. It was quiet enough in that small sector of the room, Kargad was certain he’d heard his glass shattering again. Faoria landed with a band of dark purple across her forehead, a bruise she would probably still have once they docked in Andromeda.
The silence hung for a few seconds… and then Kargad was laughing. Nearly crying with laughter, in fact – doubling over himself, just as both of his daughters were, in a frenzy of belly-born cackling. He felt his shoulders heaving, his jaw stinging – his tuxedo popped a button, which just made them laugh more, and harder.
People opted to give the loud krogan surrounded by broken glass a little breathing room, dispersing as he recomposed himself.

After he’d caught his breath, Kargad flung his arms up and around his daughters. The pits of his tuxedo tore. Faoria hugged him with the one arm, whilst Kalayla simply put one of her hands over his.
“I love you girls.”
“You too, dad,” Kalayla replied, simply.
“But I am also going to get spectacularly drunk tonight.”
“We know,” Faoria assured him.
“And then very emotional.”
“Mhmm.”
“And then drunk again. There’s a pretty good chance I’m going to cry.”
“That’s okay.”
“A lot.”
“…”
“Like, so much.”
“Uh…”
“Hoo boy, it is going to be a mess.”

He cried his way up the ramp the next morning.

Eos, 15 or so Salarian Generations Later (hah!)


Eos was as golden a world as any Krogan can dream of. A sand-swept jewel in the heart of an alien galaxy, all russet sierras and cinnabar sand. Above, a stretch of clear, clean blue – and all beneath it, pure air and inviting sun. This was what Kargad had come for.

Or it was a good start, anyhow. He had never had the fortune of knowing a Tuchanka where the air was not a strange saccharine with the stagnant scent of death, where the sky was not bruise-yellow and the sand scorched to brown glass. But he liked to think this was what it must have been like, in the days before his most foolish ancestors. Perhaps they were twins, in a sense – formed in the same way, at the same time, by the same ever-expanding and all-inclusive thought. Products of the same celestial heartbeat.

He pondered that often, as he wandered the desert immediately adjacent to Prodromos. He would do it in the morning, when the sand was warm but not quite yet hot – and he would do it bootless, to feel the grain shift beneath his feet. The first Krogan, maybe, to ever leave barefoot tracks on a Golden World… here he was, making a small change to the universe, but a change nonetheless. Once he was done walking, he would usually find a rock- the biggest he could- and sit atop, cloud-watching. Certain, just as he was that he still drew breath, that Revixtia was some part of that great, endless blue. They'd had a sky like that on Tuchanka, once. He supposed they must have.

It was one of those mornings. A bootless walk through the wastes, with a hammer slung over his shoulder and a tuneless song on his lips. He’d spent the sunrise whomping spitbugs and kaerkyn into fine mush, as he would often do when he found himself a little homesick. They were hardly klixen, but it was cute that Eos was accommodating for his preference of wildlife, anyway. He was about to slug one of them back into the Oneness from which everything came, when suddenly:

FORM UP OUTSIDE: 10 MINUTES

Form up outside? Outside of wh-
Oh.

Kargad didn’t have his boots or his gun, what a professional embarrassment. He was easily five minutes out of Prodromos, too.
“I can make it,” he grunted to himself, puffing out his chest, “I’m only 480-young, and in the best shape of my life!”
He jabbed his hammer at a kaerkyn he’d had underfoot, his heel on its back. It scrambled desperately.
“You got lucky today, brother, the universe doesn’t want you back yet.”
Then he pulled his hammer back, yelled, and sent it sailing back out into the desert in a burst of mass effect fields and sand.

To the rest of Prodromos, going about their day, it was probably a bit of an odd sight when Kargad got back. 400 pounds of Krogan sprinting between the prefabs, panting, sweating and yelling to himself: ”Shit, shit, shit!”
He bolted right past Sabinus and his companions, cursing still, and erupted into the barracks. He kicked his locker open and pulled his M-96 up into his arms, before dropping it onto his bed. Then, immediately filled with guilt, he scooped it up, kissed it, and put it down on his pillow instead. Then he rescued his boots from beneath his bed, and wrestled with them for a few instants before finally getting them on.

”Ahh yes, now my boots are full of sand – everything is going according to plan.”

When he finally came stumbling out to greet the trio, it was bang-on ten minutes. He breathed heavily before them for a few moments- winded more by the panic than he was the effort- and then straightened up as much as any krogan could, and side-glanced his comrades. They were saluting. Should he salute?
He did, but he did it with the hand he’d been holding his hammer in, and so was visibly straining with the effort of maintaining the gesture.
“Bragus Kargad, uh. Krogan, of... Bragus. Dad of two. Nice to meet... you. Hello.”

I'm not crying, you're crying! I'll make my edits once I'm back from work, after I spend the day grinning into my desk, y'know, like normal people do?

Mood today.
© 2007-2017
BBCode Cheatsheet