The Giftening: Hazan Edition
Some time during the flight
Some time during the flight
Serena made her way down the ramp, humming a light tune to herself as she carried Hazan’s gift in her hand, smiling as she saw the turian approaching from the opposite direction. ”Hi Haze! I have that gift for you!” She waved the box excitedly, frowning as she looked at him. ”You look despondent again. What’s wrong? Her eyes narrowed. ”Did Vellios threaten you? If he did I swear I’m going to pin his mangy carapace to the damn wall.”
Hazan was approaching the ship, his tool bag hanging from his shoulder and rifle case clasped in a talon, when Serena met him on the ramp. He did look despondent, yes, but only because of the funk he was in. He shook his head in response to her question and chuckled softly.
”Nah, he didn't. He helped cheer me up yesterday, so there's that, I guess. I still feel really bad about everything, but the feeling will pass.”
Hazan gestured at the little box that Serena was holding and raised an eye ridge.
”A gift? For me? Ya shouldn't have, Serena.”
Serena begrudgingly accepted his response, brightening as he gestured at her gift. ”I get that a lot. Here.” She handed it over to him, explaining it as she did so. ”I noticed that you like to listen to music, music I don’t understand but music nonetheless. You don’t seem to have headphones to listen to it, or anything to store it on, and I imagine there’ll come a time when you want to block Dex and Vellios out. So I got you something for that problem.” She ducked her head in shy embarrassment, continuing on in a mumble. ”It has a couple ear buds that can be disconnected if you don’t want to lug around the player itself. It can also store upwards of a thousand songs and voice recordings if you ever need to make a memo or something.
She fidgeted for a moment more. ”If it’s a stupid gift tell me so I can take it back and get you a better one. I’ve been known to make stupid decisions.”
Hazan blushed a dark blue as he took the box and stood there rather awkwardly, not knowing what to do or say.
”I...uh… Thanks, Serena...”
”Is this something that’s a terrible gift? I can take it back if you’d prefer something else. It’s okay to say you don’t like my gift. Really. I’ll take it back and get something you actually like.” Serena said, looking at him anxiously. It appeared that she had made him uncomfortable, which was exactly the opposite of her goal.
He shook his head rather rapidly and smiled.
”No, no! It’s a good gift, Serena. I’m sorry. I’m just...distracted. Heh...I don’t know what possessed me to not buy a music player all these years. I’ve just been using a...y’know what, why don’t I show you? C’mon.”
Hazan chuckled and brushed past Serena politely, making his way into the ship. With her behind him, he made his way to his room near the cockpit. The turian’s quarters were sparsely decorated. Simple colours, no attempts to decorate apart from the cases of equipment and clothes he’d brought with him. A small, cylindrical device sat on his bed, which bounced gently into the air as he sat down. He grabbed the cylinder in his talons and twisted it, which made it light up in a bright blue as music played from both ends. Hazan held up the portable music player and kinda grinned.
”I’ve been using this a lot. Portable speaker synced to my omnitool.”
Serena followed, a small frown of confusion on her face. She glanced only briefly around the room, noting the militaristic style that seemed to be typical of all turians. She made a small note to herself about it, then focused back on Haze as soft rock music began to play. She grinned back at him, eyes darting over it as she tried to unlock it’s secrets by just staring at it ”I like it! Pretty and functional. The best of both worlds!
”I”m glad you like your gift. I worried about it from before purchase up until now.” She smiled sheepishly. ”Anyways, before I run off to give one of the others their gifts, what’s the deal with your bounty? Are we going in blind or do you have a blueprint and patrol patterns of the place hidden around?
”Not totally blind. I have blueprints of their hideout, and where to go. Tonka’s been filling my head with ideas about an ambush though...not sure which I should decide on, really.”
He smirked a little and stretched, placing his speaker back on his desk as he unwrapped the little gift box Serena had given him. The wires and earbuds sat within some foam casing in the box, along with a few connection jacks and wireless dongles. Hazan removed the wires and assorted gadgets from the box and smiled to himself.
”These are perfect, Serena.”
Serena grinned, pleased that he was happy. ”Good. As for the ambush…” She shook her head. ”I don’t think we need to add ‘Wanted for breaking into and killing members of the bounty station on Omega’ to our list of reputations. We just need to go in quick and get out clean, leaving you with a clean slate and a VI that automatically deletes you whenever you’re put in. Serena smiled smugly as she continued. ”Which I happen to possess the skills for.
”All of these plans sound good, dammit! Now I can’t decide on anything.”
He chuckled and sighed, shaking his head.
”Well, ask yourself this. Do you want to just put this all behind you, or do you want blood and vengeance? If you want the former, go in quick and get out clean. The less blood the better. If you want to wreak vengeance and spill a lot of blood, take Tonka’s approach and ambush people. I would prefer the former, but it is your choice not mine. Make your decision on how you feel, not how others do. “
”Mmm...I’ll think about it then, Serena. Thanks for the input. To be honest… It’s kinda the latter, but I really need to just leave a mark, y’know? Tell these people that messing with me isn’t okay, and messing with the people I care about isn’t okay either.”
”Not to pop your touchingly ominous bubble, but the people you’d be ambushing. They’re just Blue Suns and bounty hunters right? You kill a bunch of them, and you’re just going to make the Blue Suns more irritated and raise your price for the bounty hunters, bringing in the more skilled and the less intelligent.” Serena gestured in a vague direction.
”Tonka is thinking like a krogan. And krogan logic dictates that you either kill your enemies or make yourself scary enough not to go after. Which works on Tuchanka. I don’t think it will work with the Suns or your bounty. Proving yourself dangerous will just make you more profitable to take out, and build their reputations as bounty hunters.”
”Mmm… True. I guess… I dunno, I’ll figure out once I actually start dealing with them, Serena. But thanks for the advice. And the headphones.”
He smiled and nodded to her.
”And, um...thanks for everything else, I guess. I still feel sore about letting you down, but at least...I don’t think I blame myself as much any more.”
”Progress! I was beginning to think I’d have to smack you ever time I saw you looking guilty at me.” Serena teased, flicking him lightly on the forehead. ”No need to thank me. You’re my teammate Haze. I’ll go help you fix your problems. I gotta go. Try not to wallow in self guilt to much.” Serena smiled, turning on her heel and beginning to head out the room.
”Ow- hey!” Hazan started a little from the flick to his forehead, but he returned the smile. ”I won’t, Serena. Thanks.”
Doing The Ol' Sneaky Sneaky
Doing The Ol' Sneaky Sneaky
Hazan strode off the deck of the Borealis and onto the docking bay. Dressed casually in a plain shirt, jacket and pants, with earbuds in his ears and attached to a spare (if lifeless) music player, he made his way towards the checkpoint. Hands in pockets, he joined the queue of people lined up to gain entry and reviewed the plan in his head.
During the trip to the station, he'd carefully pored over the maps of the station. Checkpoints, alternate routes, committed to heart and stored within his visor's memory chip. The scout knew he would be unarmed during the course of his infiltration, and even if he could carry a weapon, it'd have to be small. His Predator would suffice, but the other infiltration team would be carrying it, disguised as medical supplies en route to a clinic within the station. In the meantime, he had to rely on his fists and his wits to get past security. No mean feat, considering this was Eclipse they were up against. He and Dex were going to be the first in, doing a sweep of the station floor to identify hazards, other checkpoints and the whereabouts of the merc personnel that patrolled the station. Once they were both in, they were going to split up; while Dex went off to find a place where she could tap into the station's security systems, he was going to plot a route for the others to take to the clinic.
It was going to be a step by step process, just like he'd been trained in. First, he was going to establish a place where he could maintain overwatch on the Infiltration team as they made their entry. A point further ahead of a route he was going to walk alone before the others travelled it. Then, he had to link up with the team as they made their way to a rendezvous point further in the station. Preferably somewhere discreet, like a diner or an eatery. This was where everyone would meet and assume their roles for the second part of the escort. He'd be head of the pack, keeping an eye out for any Eclipse in their way while the rest took Drono to their intended destination. Professional, discreet and organised.
The nudge to his back snapped him out of his reverie. He glanced around at the giant gap in the queue ahead of him, the irritated human behind him, and chuckled sheepishly.
"Sorry. Was, uh, lost in thought."
Hazan made his way to the checkpoint counter and presented his ID chit, synced to the omnitool on his left arm. He stood still as the LOKI mech behind him did a cursory scan of his body while the official at the counter analysed his ID. The chit was a fake, of course, engineered by Dex to identify him as Neiman Vokil, a tourist from Palaven here for a routine check-up with a family doctor that had moved here from the Citadel. The ship he was on was registered as the Tarvaen, a Turian passenger shuttle and cargo freighter that just so happened to look like everyone's favourite rust bucket, the Borealis.
"Nature of your stay here, sir?"
"Strictly business. I've come to see a family doctor here, moved after he lost business in the Citadel."
The checkpoint officer gave him a once-over, then digitally signed his chit and handed it back to him.
"Have a nice day, sir, and welcome to Lafayette Station."
Hazan gave him a mock salute and grinned as he casually walked off. Unbeknownst to the checkpoint guards, his earbuds weren't actually attached to his broken music player. Instead they were wirelessly synced to his visor, and as he made his way into the throng of people within the station, he tapped a button on his omnitool and opened up the crew's private comms channel.
"This is Haze. I'm in. Plotting a route now, will keep in touch."