Xander was showing Liara around the ship. Shepard would have done it but Hackett had ordered her to take care of some hostage situation. Alenko had gone along since the culprits were biotic extremists.
"i am surprised your people haven't developed a more progressive attitude about biotics thus far." Liara said in that gently chiding tone Xander noticed many Asari used when speaking to pretty much every other species in the galaxy.
"Well we've only had biotics for about thirty years." Xander answered, "I mean would you believe that less then a few hundred years ago we were still locking people up for having minor genetic abnormalities. I mean we even used to use them as a form of cheap labour. I'd be ashamed of our species if I thought something like that still went on today." He gave Liara a meaningful stare.
Liara wasn't so closeted she had never heard of Ardat-Yakshi or how those who had the condition were treated, if you could call choosing between a life of imprisonment or death at the hands of a Justicar, treatment. She recalled Shepard mentioning Harris was very well read for a human, apparently he was very, very well read.
Xander for his part silently thanked Dawn Summers again as he often did whenever he was able to make use of the vast well spring of knowledge she'd encouraged him to acquire. You could never tell when knowing obscure facts about a species considered to be socially superior would let you win socially awkward arguments.
"So Shepard took Lieutenant Alenko along with her?" Liara asked hoping to change the subject.
"OH yeah Shepard's hoping Kaiden can talk the biotics down ... otherwise she'll go with plan B."
"Excuse me, plan B?"
"I believe the Asari equivalent would be Kill-Them-All-And-Let-The-Goddess-Sort-It-Out. Anyway here we have the cargo hold and of course your equipment locker." Xander gestured , "Note the lovely and scenic view of the MAKO. Hobbs will set you up with some away mission clothes and Chief Williams will set you up with some hardware."
Several crew members gave the Asari scientist a wide berth nor did they even look at her as they reported in "Sargent, repair teams have finished fixing any damage we picked up on Therum - it was mostly superficial."
Xander's eyes narrowed, "Mostly? mostly gets us dead when a hairline fracture ruptures while we're at FTL or on a reentry vector. How's about you check again and see if you can get me a definitive yea or nay so We can fix any problems BEFORE we are spread like thin jam across every LY between here and the Terminus Systems." Harris hissed.
The men saluted sharply and scuttled off.
Liara watched them leave. "Your crewmates are uncomfortable with me Sargent Harris."
"It's just Xander Doc and don't worry about it. The Boss trusts you so that's should be good enough for everybody else."
Garrus caught sight of them and stomped over to Xander gesturing wildly. "What did you do to the Mako I had the suspension calibrated perfectly - perfectly."
"Relax Cuttlebone," Wrex laughed, as he joined them. "your precious tank did it's job pulling our quads out of the fire. quite literally in fact."
Xander bleached, "Wrex? we agreed we weren't going to discuss this in front of Garrus."
"You and Williams agreed, Shepard and I - not so much."
Garrus rounded on the Krogan. "By the Spirits, Please tell me he didn't actually drive the thing INTO a volcano ... Please?"
"Look Garrus," Xander explained, "we were surrounded by Geth, the weapons had overheated and there were these two armatures baring down on us. I figured large vehicle - high speed - dangerous environmental hazard behind the enemy - what could go wrong?"
Garrus gaped at Xander in disbelief, "You crashed the MAKO INTO a Geth armature?"
"Two Geth Armatures," Wrex laughed, "Then drove them both into a lava pool - managed to stop the tank just before we hit the magma. That move alone would earn you a evening in Shiagur's bed."
Xander paused, "OK I know Shiagur was a female warlord but I have to ask , scale of one to ten - how hot was she?"
"Easily a Ten Boy you think anything less and she could lead hundreds of warriors in battle?"
Garrus snorted, "Just so you know - a ten by Krogan standards is not the same as a ten for the rest of the civilized space."
"I have never understood the unhealthy obsession males have to what is essentially a simple act of procreation." Liara muttered, to a room of blank stares.
"I'm guessing you've never done it, have you Girly." Wrex snickered.
"Of course not," Liara snapped haughtily, "such unions are special. They should be meaningful events not just ... random encounters." She shuddered in disgust at the thought.
"Spoken like a true virgin," The Krogan sneered, "well if our great leader has actually taken notice of how hard you stare at her all the time you might end up finding out why everyone obsesses over that simple-act-of-procreation."
Liara actually blushed and hurried away Wrex's laughter ringing off the deck plates.
The Elevator opened and Ashley entered the Cargo Deck. As much as he detested the white and pink colour scheme of every armor class Sirta Foundation made, Xander had to admit the Gunnery Chief did rock that outfit exceptionally well. She vanished into the cubby near her gun smithing station and when she emerged again she was dressed more causally, Xander pulled Williams aside.
"So you didn't say how the big talk went," He asked delicately.
Ashley was something of an earth first type. Not a racist exactly just uncomfortable around the Normandy's alien crew members, specifically Garrus and Wrex. She'd held her tongue as long as she could before bringing her concerns to Shepard.
"She listened to my rant, compared me to a Terra Firma party pamphlet, told me She understood my concerns then drags me planet side on a mission with the Krogan." Ash sighed, "at least I still have a job."
"Well this is a multi-species mission Ash. All of the species have directly helped the Commander at one point or another. Tali's evidence got her the goods on Saren, Wrex and Garrus have proved they'd willingly march into hell for her and Liara ..."
"... Is an Asari." Ashley said with a wry look on her face.
Xander glanced over to where Liara was holding a hard suit against herself obviously thinking of making it her regular away mission outfit.
"I'll admit you're not wrong Ash." Xander admitted, "She's an Asari but the heart wants what it wants - and when what the heart wants happens to look good in Ursa light combat armor, I can't really argue that the heart is wrong."
"Her mom is the enemy Xander, I don't care how great her ass looks in armor if your mom was responsible for aiding a terrorist I'd be a little cautious."
Xander grimaced, "If my Mother was helping a terrorist it would be more of an effort then she ever put into anything she ever did...ever," memories of his dysfunctional childhood still rankled him some two centuries after their death, "Still I heard your argument but I think its wrong."
"What the dog bear thing? let me guess ... you think I'm am a racist too?"
"No I just think you're thinking of things from an exclusively human point of view. ...for instance A Turian would agree with your tactical view of the situation. If a bear attacks you and the only way to survive is sic your dog on it and run you do it not out of hatred for the dog but because its the most efficient tactical solution ..of course they'd then bomb the forest down the roots to ensure the bear and its kin were no threat any more."
"Then there's the Salarians who would uplift and empower the other creatures of the forest to help confront the bear. Great idea until the other forest creatures then turn around and use the power they now have to become a threat as bad or worse then the bear."
"Apparently the Quarian solution would be to create a synthetic dog, make it stronger, and smarter then when it's smart enough it bites you and forces you out of your home. The Asari would see you, the dog and the bear as a single entity and try and negotiate a peace between you the dog and the bear."
"Hmm thought you go with the more obvious one " Ashley snickered.
"...That would come after, once they had achieved social political dominance over the forest. Let's face it we are all more open to suggestion when the tingling naughty parts are doing the thinking."
"That's pretty big picture of you. I thought all you cared about was old vids, cracking jokes and chasing tail."
"You wound me," Xander mocked, "and here I was wondering why you seemed so charm proof."
"Look Xander I'm flattered, really I am but there are rules and this mission will be hard enough without..."
"The frat rules are supposed to keep senior officers from taking advantage of junior officers or enlisted personnel. You and I are of equal rank ...more or less."
"There's equal and then there is equal. I mean It hasn't escaped my notice she drags you everywhere."
"You said you went to Macapa Boot Camp which means you heard all the same stories I did. You want HER to drive the MAKO cause If the stories are true, if it had been her at the wheel we might have ended up IN the lava pool. Besides I'm naturally witty. Women love wit it can make up for a glaring lack of real intelligence."
They snickered together. finally Xander paused, "Look I don't know exactly why you feel a need to be the most battle hardened Nun in Citadel space but whatever the reason I'm not going to push. I've lived long enough to know the difference between a no, and not-right-now and you ma'am are definitely putting out not-right-now vibes."
Liara showed up to save him from further conversation. She was looking for mods for her weapons. Ashley looked at the Asari up and down for a moment.
"You like to burn things or freeze 'em? I mean we could go with straight weapons damage, but that's boring."
"What does the Commander prefer?" Liara asked hesitantly
"The commander likes freezing things. Me, I prefer burning 'em. You burn someone, even a glancing blow will take someone out of action. You freeze 'em, and then you have to waste an extra bullet or two to shatter them."
Xander stared at the two females, OK Ash was female Liara maintained she wasn't exactly a woman.
"Okay, I'm going to go look at my engines with their nice normal power transfer rates now, because THIS is, by far, the strangest conversation that I've had to witness in a long, long time."
What Xander didn't mention was that he didn't know whether to be aroused or frightened at how much Ashley reminded him of Faith Lahane ... well a Faith would could bullseye targets at more then a hundred meters. Still thinking of Faith made him think of Dawn. It had been a hundred and fifty years since the younger Summers death. Not a day of those years had passed he did not remember some little thing about Dawn that made him smile. Still she would have wanted him to date again. He hadn't exactly been a monk these last several decades. Still a one night stand here or there to take the edge off wasn't what he wanted.
Maybe waiting until the mission was over wasn't such a bad idea.