Citadel: Rescue the Quarian
AN- thanks for all the favouriting and alerting - huge thanks to Reikson who's swift and enthusiastic bata reading skills have already made this much better then it has any right to be Now on with the show.Our routine mission started with a pick-up on Eden Prime. Kaiden Alenko and I deployed to the surface to retrieve an ancient artifact of a long dead race, The Protheans. I figured Kaiden's powerful biotic abilities might come in handy, as it turns out, I was right. Instead of a nice peaceful farming colony, we walked into a war zone. The colony was under attack by the Geth, an army of synthetics lead by a Turian named Saren Arcterius, an agent of the Office of Special Tactics and Reconnaissance or SPECTRE for short.
In the confusion, Kaiden and I rescued an Alliance Marine, Ashley Williams. Her unit had been massacred by the Geth. leaving her the only survivor. I watched her face as the Geth turned several of them into mindless zombie-like creatures, Husks. Stripped of all humanity, little more then raw animal instinct warped to serve Saren's demented will. I figured it was even worse for Williams. She'd served beside these people and now was forced to put them out of their misery or die by their hands.
I tried to stop Saren from escaping but was hit by some kind of discharge from the Prothean artifact. The blast uploaded a vision of war and impending doom into my mind. We returned to the Citadel to inform the council of what happened and demand they do something about their out of control Spectre. They flatly refused to even believe their best and most well known operative could be involved in the attack against the human colony. Since the Council refused to do anything without tangible proof of the threat Saren posed I was going to need hard evidence.
Xander often says "Fate has a way of handing you a gimme every once in a while." I'd be inclined to disbelieve him except it turned out he was right
The neon lights of the lower words made a nice counter to Xander's bleak mood. Harris was grumbling as he trailed after Hobbs the Normandy's Requisitions Officer. Xander's skill with languages had won him this particular assignment. Hobbs could only speak the common trade language but it was a fairly open secret that the better discounts and "special items" were reserved for those customers familiar with local languages and customs.
They'd stopped close to another of the station's omnipresent keepers, strange bio-mechanical creatures that silently maintained the Citadel's many functions. They often seemed completely unaware of the many alien creatures that surrounded them, often going about their tasks in seeming ignorance they were sharing the space with anyone at all. Xander rebalanced several packages in his over burdened hands.
"OK, Hobbs, seriously how much shopping do you really need to do?" he whined.
"Commander Shepard said you'd help me pick up a few items from the wards."
"A few Hobbs ,,, a few ... not the entire damn ward. I think we hit every merchant in this entire station." Harris complained. "Do you really need to buy this much stuff?"
"The Gunnery Chief expressed some ... dissatisfaction ... with my selection of mods." Hobbs answered.
"So it's Ashley I have to blame for the fact I'll be needing the icy-hot when we get back." Xander grumbled.
"It's a miracle I can find any decent mods at all." Hobbs replied thoughtfully, "Fist controls the local trade in illegal weapon mods."
"Anyone with the balls to refer to themselves seriously as Fist - needs to have their asses kicked just on general principle." Xander replied before being distracted by a beeping on his comlink. when he answered, deafening gunfire could be heard over the audio link. There was a battle going on somewhere.
"This is a general distress to any Normandy personnel in the vicinity of the lower wards." It was Shepard's voice."Come on, answer me dammit."
"Shepard? its Harris, what's your position - what's going on?"
"Harris! Never mind where I am. I need you to get to the alleyways near Chora's Den - on the double Mister. You'll find a Quarian civilian carrying precious cargo. You'll secure that cargo and protect the civilian at all costs."
Xander shoved all of the heavy packages in his hands into Hobbs' startled grasp. "I'm on my way Commander." he answered running full tilt across the ward past several startled passersby. He noticed Ashley and Kaiden coming down the stairs from a club with the annoyingly upbeat name of Flux. They were already at a full run.
"You heard I take it." He shouted as the three fell in step.
"It was on wide band broadcast," Kaiden snapped "I think people back on Earth heard."
The trio ran through the crowded wards and down a flight of stairs, barreling though a door. Kaiden was about to cross a bridge stretching over a vast chasm. On the other side was Chora's Den, gentleman's club and rumored HQ for much of the crime that transpired aboard the Citadel. Gunfire could be heard coming from the seedy club along with cries of pain and torment that were fair indicators that Shepard was doing what she did best ... but Xander veered right heading up a narrow flight of steps.
"Where are you going, Fist's club is this way?" Kaiden pointed.
Xander didn't even break stride, "The Quarian's in the alleyway and the alleyway is this way."
"You said you've never been to the Citadel before." Williams snapped as She and Kaiden switched direction to dash after him.
"I haven't, Shepard made me help some Salarian with his Keeper scanning project, had me crawling though every damn nook and cranny in this place."
They burst through a door and charged down a shadowy hallway arriving at bizzare scene. Three assassins in custom body armor menacing a young looking Quarian. She ducked away from them, using a concussion grenade to scatter the group of thugs.
Xander brought up a pistol, firing at one of the Salarians. The mercenary's head rocked backward from the impact of Xander's shots. The assassin dropped in a heap on the deck floor. His fellow Salarian partner chattered angrily at Harris before pointing his omni-tool sheathed arm at him. The suddenly overheated pistol in Xander's hands clicked uselessly, Xander swore in ancient Sumerian as he dived for cover.
Ashley slid smoothly into cover, her trusty assault rifle unfolding from its inactive state like a deadly rose in her hands. The Lancer screamed fire through the hallway, mass accelerated gunfire pounding on the remaining salarian's chest, knocking him to the ground, the rifle's modded rounds sparking as they skidded across the merc's kinetic barrier.
His Turian buddy scrambled for shelter desperately trying to avoid being chewed to ribbons by Ash's gunfire. Ashley switched back and forth between both mercs keeping them cowering behind a keeper who tapped away at its console blissfully ignoring the firefight going on around it.
Kaiden gestured, the blue fire of a biotic field swirling around him. The Salarian Thug was picked up and slammed with unforgiving force into a bulkhead. The kinetic barrier of the merc's hardsuit sparkled briefly before failing. The merc panicked stabbing uselessly at his hardsuit controls trying to get his shield back up. Ashley smiled grimly as she aimed a burst of AR fire that caused the salarian to dance backward sprawling like a rag doll.
The suddenly outnumbered Turian concentrated his gunfire on the Quarian again who angrily returned fire Instead of cowering, launching blasts of fire from the shotgun in her hands.
Xander tapped at the omnitool on his wrist, His earlier trips through the Citadel's hallways and corridors had let him know how sensitive the local environment was to being sabotaged. Pointing the tool at a service conduit behind the Turian, Xander watched with satisfaction as the coolant system overloaded and a pipe exploded spewing liquid gas all over the merc flash-freezing both his exo-suit and naturally toughened flesh underneath. The merc cried out in pain even as The Quarian racked another round in her shotgun firing at the mercenary. The Turian's armor shattered and burst open. The Quarian's following shots hitting him solidly leaving him dead on the floor.
"That damn Fist I knew I couldn't trust him." The Quarian snapped angrily in the strange mechanically-assisted phasing unique to all Quarians.
Shepard finally arrived, her armor smelling of smoke and battle.
"Don't worry about Fist," Shepard was saying, "he got what was coming to him."
"You missed the party." Xander pointed out dryly.
"I had a party of my own to get out of, over at Fist's place," Shepard riposted, grimacing.
"You know how it is. You make a big enough impression on people and they just
don't want you to leave. Thank God I had some backup."
At her heels, the blue armored Turian Xander had seen lingering outside the Citadel Council Chambers, Garrus something-or-other and a giant of a Krogan. This one had been at Citadel Security HQ Xander had heard him called Wrex - some kind of Bounty Hunter. Xander knew without asking that the station's population in paid thugs had taken a severe dip in the last few minutes.
"We should have tried to take him alive." Garrus was complaining. "What he knew about local crime could close half the open cases on C-Sec's books."
"The Shadow Broker paid me to kill Fist." Wrex replied, "I always fulfill my contracts. Besides if Shepard doesn't have a problem with it, why do you care C-Sec-boy?"
"Fist is dead?" The Quarian asked, "then I guess there's two things I owe you for, who are you?"
"Commander Shepard of the Systems Alliance, I'm looking for evidence against Saren, evidence I'm told you have."
"Tali, Tali Zorah nar Rayya." The Quarian answered .
With introductions out of the way the group marched back up toward the presidium and Ambassador Udina's office.
"Not to be the voice of gloom and doom," Xander muttered to Shepard, "but I'm guessing Ambassa-dork Udina will be a little upset with us, and that C-Sec Dude, the one in charge ... did not strike me as the kind of guy who likes it when people go all vigilante on his watch."
"His name is Pallin - Executor Pallin," Garrus hissed. "and no, you do not get to be head of C-Sec by looking the other way when 'upstart aliens' shoot up the wards and kill random thugs. You'd think considering how much he hates the SPECTRE's he'd be happy to see one brought down,"
Shepard sneered, "If this Quarian's evidence can really nail Saren, I could give a crap what a rule book quoting bureaucrat and a disingenuous smooth talker have to say about HOW I got it."
Garrus' eyes flared and Xander could tell the young turian had just fallen in love or at least met the person he would be modeling his life after. Xander also noticed Kaiden noticing Shepard and Garrus. A slightly annoyed eye twitch and grimace the only sign of the biotic's jealousy. Xander gave a silent prayer of thanks to whatever Gods still listened that he'd apparently dropped his notorious habit of falling for unattainable women. The line forming to win Shepard's affections was obviously getting a little crowded as far as Xander could tell.
Xander shrugged and dropped back to fall in step with the young Quarian.
"Thank you as well for your help." she whispered, Xander nodded.
"I oughtta be thanking you, you got me out of a particularly nasty situation. Our requisitions officer had me running errands." Xander shuddered, "I really hate shopping."
"I have to admit I find all this use of credits to administrate the distribution of gods to be a little strange " Tali murmured.
"What, your people don't buy or sell things?"
"Back on the flotilla, when someone no longer needs something he places it in the central market aboard his or her ship. Whoever does need it can simple take it. Within reason of course, food and medicines are strictly controlled but everything else is shared among us."
"So how's a girl just off the flotilla end up in a alleyway with murderous thugs?"
"I stumbled across evidence of this Saren's activities. I didn't even know he was a SPECTRE until I arrived at The Citadel and people started trying to kill me. In hindsight maybe trying to trade with The Shadow Broker was a bad idea."
"Taking on local crooks, dealing with shadowy information dealers and pretty good with a shotgun - Daddy must be so proud."
Tali shivered, "I doubt it, if father knew I was involved in any of this he'd go crazy ... At least a long and drawn out lecture; Then punishment detail scouring engine grime or maybe realigning the power couplings?"
"How bad can that be?"
"There are several hundred ships in the Quarian Flotilla, father would expect me to help maintain them all."
A huge smile spread across Xander's face "Daddy issues as well? Tali Zorah I think you and I are going to have a whole lot of laughs."
With Tali's evidence, pulled from the memory files of a disabled Geth, we could finally link Saren to the attack on Eden Prime. But the Council was still reluctant to expend their full military might on capturing their rouge SPECTRE.
Their solution to the problem - make me a SPECTRE, The first human one.
I now had extra-territorial authority to go wherever I wanted and do whatever it took to take down Saren. It was everything I could have dreamed of ... leave it to Harris to put a damper on my joy by reminding me of an ancient bit of wisdom he says he swears by. - Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.