Time is a relative thing. Flimsy at best. Too fast when you're enjoying something. Too slow when you're hating something.
It dragged on and on and on when you're in a situation you don't want to be. To have to wait, that was something that Keya hated and now she was stuck in this tiny shuttle, crowded with too many passengers, elbow to elbow, waiting that those stupid doors would finally open.
She could hear the docking procedure, the soft 'clank' when they finally connected and the soft hiss of air being rerouted to make the landing as seamless as possible. The others didn't move and waited as annoyed as her for their travel to be over. She had been on too many of those shuttle trips to care about the other passengers, as long as no one would threaten her, she was perfectly fine with ignoring every single one of them.
Not that most of them would even dare to approach her, being in full armour, 6.1 feet tall and buffed up with muscular arms showing where no armour covered them up. It didn't help that she was wearing an armour made for males, without the lean and curvy look that other medium armours would show.
She could smell her own sweat, mixed with the stench of explosives, blood and sand. Basically, she smelled like she had been through hell and that was kinda the case. The sand was in her hair, baked into the wrinkles in her face, washed away in small rivulets of sweat leaving her pale skin surprisingly clean where she had dragged her glowed hands to swipe away the droplets.
Most of those fools were heading to Omega for completely selfish reasons, because they heard so much about it and wanted to see it for themselves. Good for nothing bachelors thinking it was a good idea to let loose here of all places. Some of them came here because they did something they shouldn't, pissed someone off they shouldn't. To seek shelter in this stinkhole was the last advise she would have given someone, whatever shit hey were running from, it had a habit of following and finding them anyway. Running from it? Waste of time and effort.
But, at least one good thing came of it. They would provide her with enough cover to avoid Arias goons long enough to take a shower, get some chow and test her newest addition. Finding a C-7 Roomsweeper submachine gun was the best thing on this whole trip.
They were too rare to even find them on the blackmarkets of Omega, since Kassa Fabrications had stopped producing them after just 500 pieces. There was an issue with overheating that couldn't be fixed and the weight and clumsiness of the weapon didn't turn it into a customers favourite.
Keya licked her lips and smiled wickedly. That was exactly what she needed, a heavy piece that was tweakable enough so she could practically mold it to her needs and still use it to butt some noses in with it. She was already searching through the extranet to find blueprints of the weapon and the parts she'd need. Harrod should have them or could at least find them for her.
The doors finally opened with a hiss and the bulk of people flocked together on their way out, ignoring the stomach churning stench that Keyas big bag emitted. No one was stupid enough to ask what was in there, even though she would have luckily showed them. With a snicker she parted from the masses, standing in one of the darker hallways, just relaxing for a moment and enjoying not being poked in the rips or trampled on her feet.
The thick air was a palpable mixture of piss and sweat of way too many different aliens, a stale stench, merged with booze and puke. She could see the new arrivals crunch their noses, some even holding a hand in front of their faces, retching against the smell. 'Welcome to Omega' she laughed inwardly, slightly shaking her head. She couldn't distinct it anymore, being exposed to it for years now, but she guessed it was indeed bad. For her it felt like home.
As always, she took a different route to her place than the last time, a wild variation of back alleys, shortcuts and sharp turns. It took Keya nearly an hour to reach the Doru District where she was living, at least she was fairly sure that no one followed her. The stench changed a little here, smelling fresher, less used up. Being the closest to the support beam in the deadcenter of Omega it was also where the vital utility systems where located. Water treatment, air ventilation and the main hub for electricity distribution.
It wasn't necessarily a residential area and only engineers and their families had built up a shanty town and formed it into apartment complexes which attracted at least some lowly retailers and snack stands to the area. Due to its uniformity and grey and dark exterior no one that didn't have to be here came here and that was why Keya liked it so much.
Even though everyone tried not to pry about the neighbours, it had grown into a tight knitted community.
The kids played together in the vacant apartments that no one wanted to move into. The elderly met in the corners of the staircases, watching over the comings and goings of the others. Mothers watched each others infants, so at least some of them could take a break or go shopping or spend some quality time with their husbands. The men met for poker and drinks, telling themselves all about which pipe needed fixing and which filter needed to be exchanged.
And in all of that you could find nearly every race, except for maybe Vorcha because who wants to be around those assholes anyway, right? But it was absolutely normal to see a Human take their lunch break together with their Quarian or Salarian workmates. An Turian mother explains what helps when their babies finally grow some teeth to an Asari, which in return helps coming up with new ways to get the screaming bundles of joy to sleep.
It didn't look like much, however, for her it felt like home.
Keya followed the sound of laughter around a sharp corner of the third staircase, the soft hum of the big pipes around her accompanied by a few pings and clatter. She followed a newly built ladder onto a gangway that led her across to another entrance hall. From there it was another staircase up and through a long and just barely lit corridor onto a balcony that some had used to grow some plants and then just around two more corners and she was there. Laughter and a few words here and there greeted her, some kids yelling at each other and chasing a leathery ball. The zigzag of the labyrinth of an ever-growing complex made it sometimes difficult to find her own apartment or at least the best way to it. Especially when her work kept her away for weeks to an end.
The plants growing in the damp darkness where not nearly enough to feed them, but a few months back all the tenants of the twelfth floor had thrown in some money and outfitted one of the empty apartments into a city garden. With the ever present and barely restricted electricity they didn't have to worry about the bill, Aria didn't care as long as her territory was lit like a fucking human christmas tree.
So, they had a new Asari scientist in their midst, making the hydroponic food available to everyone living there. They got potatoes and tomatoes for the humans, some cucumbers and beans as well. Some fruits and plants from not only the Asari homeworld but from the Salarians and Turians as well, colourful in their bloom and spreading a fine scent of outerworldly sweetness. Some even tasted good, even with some tummy tingling and bad digestion as a side dish.
Her apartment had a black door, but no number and was initially just another room of the apartment beside it. When the Krogan brothers living next door acquired another apartment to the other side and rearranged some walls, it was a spare room with just a small window. She took it. At least it got a window, even though it just had some chicken wire instead of glass. Not that there was weather of any kind anyway.
The thick cement walls kept the temperature to a constant, even when the pipes in her room managed to heat up from time to time. It was the perfect spot to dry her clothes. She had a tiny bathroom, not even big enough to comfortably turn around. But with a steady flow of hot water and probably the best electricity reliability of all of Omega. Which made up for it.
With time she had found a decent enough bed and an old sturdy desk, even a swirl patterned carpet and simple shelves that fitted in between the coppery pipes along the walls. With her wall mounted weapons and an upgraded security system in place it was her own small place of Omega that she got to cherish more and more. She didn't have a kitchen, just a kettle and a reheater, but that was more than enough for her. She spend most of the time out anyway.
“Honey I'm home” she shouted, but there was no response. 'Figures' she sighed and stripped out of her bulky armour and stored it in the run-down armour locker she had gotten about a year ago. It wasn't state of art but with a new laser and a few tweaks to the software it worked perfectly fine. Not only would it clean the different armourplates but search for dents and holes and weak points and inform her. Keya would have loved to get her hands on one of those that did the repairs as well, but they were hard to get by these days.
Slipping out of her underwear she hisses when the hot water came in direct contact with yet another laceration, this one painful enough to be annoying but not deep enough for her to even register during the fight or the travel back to Omega. One of those days she'd install medigel to come out of her shower head instead of water. With a grin and a relaxing sigh Keya enjoyed a long, hot, foamy deluge – indulging in the feeling of being absolutely clean and smelling like herself for a change.
Years ago, together with a few other upgrades, she had decided to have some bodymodifications done and as a result she had not only her eyeliner tattooed amongst some more tattoos but no hairs grew where she didn't wanted to. Which basically meant that the hair on her head was left alone, but she was freed from having to shave her legs or under her arms and only trimming the hair further south in length, but not form. It saved a lot of time and she felt cleaner for it, as well.
After the last bits of grime and sand and dust were drained she switched a knob around and the water stopped. A powerful hum started up, blowing redirected warm air into the small cubicle, drying her within minutes. Another time-saving solution which also freed her from using towels and the need to wash them after.
With efficient movements she covered herself in moisturiser and straightened her hair while her skin soaked up the barely smelling balm. She almost felt like herself when she was done and stepped back into some casual wear. Normally most people on Omega were clever enough to wear armour, at least in some of the more run-down districts and no one bat an eyelash about it. In Doru, if the people knew you, you wouldn't need it. Sure, a few stupid assholes needed to be reminded of their manners from time to time, all in all, there were surprisingly few murders though.
While getting dressed she could hear the space stations noises through her fenced window, shouting of merchants, arguments between aliens, someone being shoved around and the typical clanking and clunking of pipes, ducts and vents. Together with the static hiss of leads and conduits it blended together in a busy, yet familiar background.
Clad in loose cargopants, black combat boots (with a knife hidden in each) and a black tank top she was looking at the few, and there were like five, jackets and sweaters she owned. With a sigh she just chose the first hanging in the minimal row, a loose leather jacket with studs and a few patches. Nothing special. She put her omnitool back on and had her hand on the actual doorknob as she heard her neighbour opening his door as well. The massive Krogan, a greenblueish armour fitting his green headplates, grinned in her direction.
“Keya! I was wondering when you'd be back. Zaeed asked for you just a few hours ago!”
“Jorgal Drorr!” She reached over after putting a pistol in one of the many pockets of her trousers and offering her hand in a familiar and strong clasp around his wrist. His yellowish eyes glanced curious at the weird shaped ball inside her bag that began to stink up the dimly lit hallway. They shook hands and walked together down to the street. His big stature made her feel tiny, even though she was tall and muscular for a human.
“Had a nice hunting trip I see?” Drorr asked, no longer able to withheld his curiosity and points at the bag.
“Got lucky. I'll bring the 'evidence' to Aria and swing by the ol' man after. You need an'thing from the market?”
“Nah, I'm good, Keya. I have a job, I'm healthy, no one robbed me in 42 days and you are back so I have someone to annoy. What else can I want, huh?” His belly deep laughter made her grin and they waved goodbye after following the confusing path through the apartment complex down.
The way further into the station and finally to Aria's bar Afterlife took her another hour, but mainly because she stopped along the way to shovel in some food from one of the many vendors. A beer and a platter of deep fried something later she pushed in between the sad aliens standing in line.
The Elcor bouncer barely looked at her, a soft nod was the only reaction, so she waltzed in and needed to wait a few seconds to get used to the loud booming music and drunk people. It was barely 3pm in the afternoon. The dark interior, windowless and pierced by pink and red lights, however let people believe it was whatever time of the day they needed it to be. It was like stepping into another time zone, where booze and dancers flowed around whoever could afford it.
Gripping her simple shopping bag with the odd ball tight Keya used her elbows to find a way between the patrons and tourists, shoving here, pushing there. And finally leaving the hustle behind to be greeted by Anto. The Batarian bodyguard didn't made a sound, like always, just watched her for a moment and nodded for her to go up after scanning her and waiting patiently to give him her pistol for the duration of the meeting.
Her stomach responded to the deep bass thrown her way, the music turning the dancing masses into a living breathing thing. The emporium, towering above it all, had the best view and Keya took a moment to let it sink in. She waited, patiently, till Aria acknowledged her and risked a glance at her bag.
“Keya.” Her typical greeting falling short the self-acclaimed Queen of Omega went straight to business.
“Aria.” After waiting for the inviting nod the blonde Bounty hunter sat herself on the leathery sofa, sighing as the soft material connected to her sore muscles. In one smooth movement she folded one leg underneath her and gave her bag to Grizz, the Turian bodyguard, that had followed her up the stairs.
“I assume everything went according to plan?” Aria asked with a detached voice, when Grizz unfolds the grimy linen and fluttered his mandibles. He is holding the chopped off head of a Batarian in his hand, sand trickling from it, and puts it back. Nauseated he nods at Aria, yes, that really was who she had wanted dead. Mission accomplished.
“When does it ever, my Queen.” Keya couldn't resist mocking her a little. After years of collecting bounties and earning if not the trust of the Asari but at least the professional courtesy she allowed herself some indulgence. With a grin she watches Grizz walking away, the bag on his outstretched arm, probably to take care of the corpses head. Throwing it away. Hopefully not into the waste disposal.
“I see. But you did what I paid you for. It is nice to know that at least someone takes their responsibilities seriously and acts accordingly.”
“What's happening Aria? Someone giving you a 'ard time?”
“Not me personally, no. You really think someone would be stupid enough to try!? It's this vigilante, Archangel. He disappeared and now the gangs are focussing back on me. He was such a nice distraction.”
Keeya had heard about it, who hadn't? This turian came from nowhere and built up a team, striking against everyone that slightly pissed him off. Crime had always been one of the pillars of Omega, but he began to undermine it with his righteousness and 'helping the weak' bullshit. It didn't take long and he had made a name for himself, disrupting the natural flow of the station, taking down the bad guys. He was in the way. And after a while, he had even managed to get the three major gangbosses to work together in an attempt to kill him.
She hadn't known they succeeded. But she was looking forward to the station being as corrupt as usual. Which meant that Aria was in charge and everybody else either accepted that or died trying to take her place. Which also meant that Keya would not have to wait long for her next commission. And that was something she could absolutely stand behind.
“Let me know if you need us. I'm pretty sure the ol' man is as eager as ever. And as long as the creds are coming m' way, I fetch you whoever you want.”
Aria, not at all daft enough to overhear the dark undertone in the human voice, nods once again to Grizz when he came back. With a ping Keyas omnitool let her know that another substantial sum had made it into her account and she grins. “Nice doing business with 'ou.”
Ready to leave Aria to her daily amount of gloating and making evil plans for planetary domination, she stood up, stretching her tired body. To her surprise, Aria stood up as well and turned around to face her.
“Keya, there is something else.” She nearly has to shout over the deafening music and Keya took another step in her direction.
Aria, all business and not in the least afraid of the muscular stature close to her, opened a vid on her omnitool and forces it underneath Keyas nose. The vid is clearly a part of a security footage and shows the brightly red lit back alley from her bar. Vorcha are crawling around like cockroaches, their weak bodies coughing and faltering to the floor as Zaeed can be seen. He left Afterlife with a beautiful woman in his arm, dark black hair, tightly woven in a thick braid. She is wearing an Asari styled dress, maybe in a dark red or black. It is not easy to distinguish on the footage, especially with the flickering lights from the nasty back alley.
They are kissing, pressing against each other, laughing and staggering towards a dark corner. Keya has seen this way too many times but keeps steady eyes on the old mans features. There must be a reason that Aria is showing that to her!
When the lovers reached the corner the vid switched to yet another camera, this time further down the hall so that they are only small figures at the far end. They are starting kissing again and Keya can't withhold a disgusted huff, as his hand slide down her gorgeous body and hold fast on her ass. He lifts her up, her legs instantly folding around his waist, even though her long dress is in the way. Keyas blue eye lifts up, a short glance to Aria, who watches the vid as intently as she had seconds ago.
The heavy make out session continues till Zaeed is too horny to notice three Batarian stumbling into the hallway, clearly drunk, bottles in hand and grabbing each other to not fall. Their mouths are moving, maybe they are talking shit about the old fighter? The camera is zooming in, showing the rhythmic movement of Zaeeds hips and the hungry kisses bestowed upon him, as one of the Batarians gets closer and strikes out, his bottle shattering against Zaeeds temple.
A low growl emits from Keyas lips, her posture getting stiff, as she clutches Arias arm and gets the Omnitool closer to her.
The two other Batarians stop stumbling around and shooting the woman in the head, she slides down into the dirt, her dress soaking in the piss and grime that is Omega. Zaeed is too shocked for a moment, it looks like his eyes are unfocused and he shakes his head a few times, getting his member back in his pants. Aria smirks at that but gets quiet as Keya sends her a deadly stare. This stupid idiot! How could he do that to her?
The bounty hunter was overwhelmed by the three attackers now and even though he packed a hell of a punch and managed to knock one of them out, in the end he was on the floor as well. Being kicked a few times for good measurement and shot in the knee so he couldn't run, they took his struggling body between them, hauling him off to who knows where.
It is only in the last sequence, another camera angle a few street away, that Keya recognizes them. Zaeed is pushed into a shuttle that had the distinct marking of a blue sun vehicle. Anger floods her system, she can see her pulse going faster and faster in her HUD, the display turning a dark yellow, slightly getting darker even and she clenches her hands a few times, fighting against her inner instinct to go run after them.
“When?” Her wavering voice doesn't hide the rage fuelling her and Aria just grins.
“I'll tell you. But I need you to promise something first.”
The sounds of the music goes quiet in her head and her left eye blinks in an irritated glowing blue, while her pale face turns a snowy white in her rage. What the fuck … ? Aria knows who had kidnapped the old bounty hunter and of course she wanted something in return for her 'troubles'. Keya forced herself to regain some calmness, to push away the urgent desire to choke the ancient Asari and punch the information out of her. She had become her main source for assignment in the last years, hell, since she was old enough to take on her own missions instead of tagging along with Zaeed. Aria had become her only source of income! The business relation had always been one of mutual understanding, not trust, but at least they benefited from each other.
It wouldn't help her to loose her temper now and she sighs, pressuring herself to unclench her fists.
“What do you want?” An angry gnarl is all the Queen gets. As always, she doesn't mind and sits down in a relaxed posture that mocks the seriousness in the young womans face.
“I can tell you who took him and where he is being held. In return I need you to take up his next mission. There are rumours about a human elitist group, some stupid terrorists thinking they can force their way into my station. And there are rumours about a certain dead Spectre working for them. I need you to tag along and tell me what they are up to.”
Keya watches how the purple light reflects on the black markings on her face, the blue skin shining against the stroboscope lights flashing. The sounds come back slowly, her breath relaxes a bit, but she is still so very very angry.
“You want me to spy on a Spectre? Risk my life to make sure Cerberus doesn't enthrone you?”
The Asari is not impressed at all, not by what happened to Massani or the technical wizard standing before her.
“Set it up.” Another angry gnarl and a nod before Aria yet again transfers some money 'for the expenses' on her account. She also receives the vid and a name. Batarian by the sound of it.
“Commander Shepard will be arriving here shortly, my informants tell me that Zaeed was hired to help and is supposed to be picked up. Instead, you'll greet the Spectre and get in the good graces. Whatever is necessary, you understand. As soon as I am sure you get to be a part of their little adventure, I'll send you the coordinates of your father.”
With a nod Keya turns around, not willing to trade more words with the Queen and leaves the club, angrily shoving people out of her way, stomping through the masses unfazed by their annoyed reaction of being disturbed.
Back in her armour and concentrating on getting the roomsweeper ready for a test drive. The video is running in a loop, showing in the HUD of her artificial eye. With her vast knowledge in all electronics she has confirmed that those videos were indeed real surveillance vids, not altered and wit a timestamp about four hours in the past.
Who ever took her father couldn't be gone long – or far. So the blonde does the only thing she can and collects as much information about Cerberus (which isn't much) and the 'dead spectre' (which is years old).
That is at least something to do and she even finds some pictures and tons of interviews and Alliance posters. If Arias spies are to be trusted, she'd have to be at the docks soon. She just wants the old grouch back. With out without that damn Spectre. So she does her own research, what did you think, come on!? She got an idea where Zaeed might be held, if the blue suns are really behind it and not just hired by Aria to make her believe that.
'Mud, sweat and spores' is how the with no doubt most feared mercenary (Her father! She wasn't far behind, though!) characterized the planet that gave birth to the blue suns home office, where she grew up years and years ago. The lush garden world is known for its heavy plant and fungal life, creating spectacular jungle zones over much of its eight continents.
Despite persistent problems with rot and rust, Zorya attracts investors and corporations from all throughout the galaxy, since it has exploited only a fraction of its potential resources. The Blue Suns dominate security contracts on Zorya, so much that residents describe them less like a monopoly and more like a conquering regime. 'Bring firearms and antihistamines'.
She had heard all his stories about how he cofounded the mercenary gang and how Vido betrayed him and from that it's just a small step in assuming, no, knowing, that it is his former partner that abducted him. And he would pay for it. In tons of blood!
Keya loved the old man too much to wait any longer and packs her stuff in a big, military grade backpack. Nearly half as high as herself, all her clothing, weapons, mods and technical equipment easily find a place in there. She leaves most of her medigel here, but takes the omni gel with her and stuffs all her veggies in yet another shopping back.
Activating her advanced security system she leaves the building after hanging her food at Drorrs doorknob with a voice note in clumsy krogan. 'I'll be gone for a while. Take care. K.'
The biggest lead she got right now is the Batarian sounding name Aria had given her and she parks her ass in one of those dirty streetcorner takeaway places. After ordering a beer she gets to work.
Sesk Brag'nobo. What a piece of shit.
In a blink of an eye, quite literally, she activates her left eye again, the blue light irritating the barkeeper. But he had learnt long ago to not ask stupid questions. Her mind concentrates of the soft hiss of the wired and wireless connections around her. Data streams are following the narrow streets here, so deep in the centre of the station they are still orderly.
She knows that they become a tangled chaotic mess further out, where the newer building have been established. No one cares about the design of the Omega network, as long as it works.
And it does.
Filtering through 2741 security cameras that build her very own spiderweb of surveillance she uses an older Alliance program for face recognition to scout out where the scumbag is hiding. If he is even close to one of her hacked cameras, she'll find him.
Her lips connect to her beer and she can feel her physical body putting the glass back down, but her mind and concentration are in the depth of the virtual connections all around her.
It is mindblowing and she knows she looks like a vacant shell of a human, her eye blinking with the demanding workload. But it was far better than having to type away on her omnitool that wasn't even close to the hardware power the enhanced brain of hers could muster up with her own electrical impulses of her brain.
Amplified with her TCC she became one of the most native hackers, almost never leaving a trace to what was her second home. The Internet. The Extranet. Dark Web. Whatever the others called it, Keya felt like a fish in water whenever she connected to the data feeds streaming around.
Without the picture Aria had provided this could have taken way longer, but after about ten minutes she found him. The Batarian had an orange glow to his skin, pink stripes on his enormous head and the obvious four big eyes. Nothing special, even though the colour were kinda off putting. His pale clothing had a yellow stripe and with those informations she could find him anywhere.
With a disturbing smirk on her lips the bounty hunter got up, got herself another beer for the way and followed the map in her HUD. A pink dot showed up from time to time, allowing her to follow the Batarian whenever one of her cameras recognised him.
As a kit it had been weird walking around and being connected at the same time, she felt detached to her body and ran into people and even into walls from time to time. After she had gotten her artificial eye the feed was displayed into her normal eyesight and overlapped somewhere between reality and augmentation.
Keya preferred to either be fully in the here and now or completely drowning in data, as that felt even more natural to her. Without the balance enhancer and gyroscope implanted she might not have been able to even do both at the same time. In times like these her abilities made her life so much easier, though! Others might need a visor or a helmet to show her the things she could do with a thought!
A gnarl later she got a new ping on the map and concentrated on the cameras at the docks. Sesk Brag'nobo was on his way off Omega and she fell into a sprint to catch up with him. His omnitool was easy to spot once he stopped to receive a message and from there she could permanently 'see' him. She stopped hiding her intentions now and ran double time to the docks, reaching him before he managed to find a ship taking him away from this stinkhole.
“Where is he?” Keya grunted in his ear before pushing him violently against a steel wall. His face painfully connected to it, as he wasn't prepared to be attacked at all. He was the one who shot Zaeeds conquest just a few hours ago and he had obviously thought he could leave the spacestation without any consequences.
He might have thought she wasn't back from her last contract yet. With both Massanis here, no one would have dared kidnapping him.
The Batarian fell on his knees, his head lolling with the sheer force.
“How … What... ?” He said disoriented and then realised who he was speaking to.
“Massani!” A clearer voice greeted her now, the shock of realisation making him focus more.
“I can explain...”
But she didn't listen, instead cracked her beer bottle over his head, leaving a nasty wound behind that started bleeding immediately.
“Where is he?” The sour smell of his sweat forced its way through her nostrils and she kicked him for good measure. It was amazing how stupid they could be. She had asked him twice now, but other that stumbled words and grunts of pain she got nothing to show for it.
“I won't ask again. WHERE. IS. HE?” Now shouting she kicked him between each word, hearing something crack in him and a soft rupture of … something else in him due to her brute strength.
“Please … you have to help me.”
He gurgles, not able to keep his head from rolling from side to side. Keya needed a second before that made sense, she feels another person standing behind her.
Damn! That shouldn't have happened! She should have known someone was walking towards her, instead of concentrating on that idiotic bitchbox in front of her.
“No one said you could talk, jackass.” With another kick to his stomach, she turns around.
A redhead woman is standing too close for comfort, piercing green eyes and angry glowing red scars adorning her face. She looks pissed. Probably the smell.
She is wearing an N7 armour, at least medium and shows of an impressive amount of weapons strapped to the magnetic connectors. Behind her there is a bluegreyish Turian with an impressive visor, a customized Kuwashii Visor if she isn't mistaken. And she isn't. Not when it comes to technical toys.
And the left behind the N7 is a Salarian, clad in a whiteish coat thingy, not armour. But not normal clothes either. The red stripe in the middle and the cross shaped scar on his left cheek make her grin.
“Doc.” Her deep voice is raspy, not from the exertion, more from the relief to have found the right group.
“Massani.” The scientist greets her. “Didn't know you were back. How is the TCC? Have found tweaks. Must test and install. Should meet soon. Daniel is taking care of clinic. Have more important tasks to finish.”
As usual the Salarian speaks too fast and too much but Keya nods anyway. She had planned to see him in his clinic in the Gozu district as he had become an immense help maintaining her implants.
Hell, she had even worked for him from time to time, helping to keep the annoying gangers away on their run for protection money.
After she was done with them, they never came back and in return the former STG had upgraded her. She didn't know he had left and would have been disappointed, but now there was a way to stay in contact with him.
“I expected a man.” The redhead says and Keya nods. “Most do” snickering she extends a hand.
“Keya Massani. I'm 'is daughter.” Introducing herself she shakes the Commanders firmly. “'ou must be Commander Shepard. I hear you need the ol' man to save the galaxy.”
Shepard leans back a little, crossing her arms and clearly not being impressed.
“It seems you already know Mordin Solus. This is Garrus Vakarian.”
Keya and Garrus shake hands, the human gesture surprising her. It seemed him being on a human vessel had rubbed off and he didn't even hesitate. The blonde human would have been fine with the typical nod they seemed to prefer to a touchy feely greeting.
“My … employer made a deal with him, yes. I was told to pick him up.”
“Uh, didn't know Spectres could be ordered around like tha'.” Keya wonders out loud and shakes her head. “Sorry to dis'ppoint, but he has been kidnapped. 'N this little shitcake is not willing to tell me more.”
Keya watches Garrus smirking, familiar with turians facial expressions since growing up on Omega and being around aliens all her life. The SPU plugged into her thought control chip did a fine job measuring his heart beat and letting her know that he was totally relaxed. Which surprised her. Normally Turians were always on edge.
“So you want us to find him?” Shepard asked, straight to the point and not in an unfriendly tone.
“Whatever. I'll go get him, with or without you. As soon as I can confirm where he is being shipped off to, I'm gonna rescue him. You are welcome to join though.”
Finally Shepards eyes seems to register the tattoos on her neck, thick black markings. For a moment it seemed she didn't even listen, Keya unfamiliar with her 'I'm thinking about it' face.
“Please … I didn't do it...” Sesk stated hoping that the three newcomers would help. They didn't move, not even an inch.
Keya kicked him in his face with the steel capped heavy boots. “I said shut it.”
She saw Shepard flinch, but neither Garrus nor Mordin battered an eyelid. Maybe, because they didn't have eyelids. At least the turian didn't.
“Tried to lead me on a chase all over the Systems. Should have known better. If you have to run from Omega, there is nowhere else to go.”
“What's going to happen to him?” Mordin asks, not interested in what he had or had not done to provoke Keyas anger. She looks at the Batarian and the bloodlike liquid streaming from the wound on his head and the nostrils she broke kicking him.
“I'm going to make him talk. Don't much care what happens after that.” Without hesitation but certainty in her voice, Keya just shrugs. She really doesn't care at all and is not ashamed to let the three know.
“Do you know what Zaeeds relationship with Cerberus is like?” Shepard further investigates, still with the thinking face on.
“Easy. Cerberus is paying him a lot of money to help you on your mission. That's the long and short.”
“Not many mercs would take a suicide mission for the pay.”
'Suicide? Oh Dad!' Not sure what that mission really included, Keya looks from Shepard to Mordin, to Garrus and back to Shepard. Her sardonic smile doesn't waver, but she knows she is walking on thin ice now.
She doesn't know shit about the mission, hell, she didn't even know that Zaeed had accepted one so soon after his last. Normally he stayed a few days, they got drunk together, trained, talked. Normal Father Daughter bonding time, with a few broken noses thrown in of course.
“Most mercs don't get an offer like him. He'll get the job done, no matter what. And when it's done, he buys himse'f that villa he so desperately wants for his retirement. Maybe throw in a few nice Asari companions for that kind of money. And a Krogan attack from time to time to keep him in shape, o' course.”
Keya laughs, companions my ass! But no one joins and she stops with a sigh. Shepard doesn't seem to be on the smiling side of things. Not even a smirk.
“Please...” Another plea from the Batarian on the floor and Keya turns around.
Her biomonitor focussed on him now she can see that he has indeed lost a lot of blood, his heart is beating slow and he might fall unconscious if she waits much longer. Another kick in the face makes him perk up and she ignores Shepard, who has stepped closer.
“I asked you three times. You little cockbutton! Tell me now where he is and I let you walk it off. Last chance.” She gets her newest submachine gun out, the bulky black thing pointing at his kneecap.
“Santiago” he whispers, finally giving up on escaping the younger Massani.
“You heard the name Vido Santiago?” Keya asks the redhead with a frown. The blonde continues after the Commander shook her head. “He's the head of the Blue Suns. Runs the whole organization. Seems he recently captured an Eldfell-Ashland refinery on Zorya and is using their workers for slave labor. Aft'r Archangel is no longer a threat, the gangs are growing bold again. There is bad blood between Vido and my Dad, we get it out of the way and you can concentrate on bein' big goddamn heroes.”
During her longer monologue the Batarian finally found his balls and stands up, running away. But Keya shoots him, the submachine gun spraying the corridor with a five rounds burst fire, leaving Sesk nicely full of holes that seem to sting a bit. He cries out in pain, falling on the ground, leaving a trail of his blood behind when he crawls away.
Keya slowly moves in his direction, grabbing her backpack she had slung in a corner earlier. Patting his pink striped head she leaves him with a sly “Now fuck off.”
Turning towards Shepard again she awaits her decision patiently, ignoring Arias voice in her head commanding her to get onto that team. As the Commander doesn't move she lets her shoulders hang.
“Shepard, he was abducted today, few hours ago. You want 'is help? Let us go there and kill some gangster scum. If not, just fucking say so I can steal me a ship.”
“Just once I want someone to help me straight away. 'Sure, Shep, let's go. Right behind you'. That would be too easy now would it!?”
Shepard mumbles as she walks back the few meters to the docking bay, where she had left her ship just moments ago. She was still being fuelled up and it would take another half hour or so, barely enough time to get everyone back on the ship and on the road.