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A Father and a Spectre

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Richard moaned as he rolled over and hit the snooze button on his alarm. His muscles were sore and protested as he dragged himself out of bed. He had pushed himself too hard for the last few nights at the barracks. Remember what Tannis said, Stretch or you’ll tighten up. He took some time to go through the stretches he had learned from her. Finally feeling awake and less sore, he went off to get ready for the day. His apartment was more of a studio. It was large enough for the galaxy’s smallest kitchenette, a twin sized bed, somewhere to store his clothes and equipment, and a bathroom. As he was brushing his teeth, he heard his omnitool buzz with an incoming call. Quickly finishing up, he answered the call, which he saw was from his mother.

“Mom, why are you up so early?” He checked the time. It was 15 O’clock. Unlike most humans, he had grown up in a house where they adhered to the Galactic clock. While there were only 20 hours, the actual breakdown of time was easier to understand and the day was twenty percent longer.

“I know it may be early for you, but I am getting ready to go to bed. Your grandmother wanted me to invite you to have breakfast, or dinner for you. She found this wonderful Asari restaurant on the 73rd level of Zakera Ward.”

“That sounds nice. What time are you two going to have breakfast?” Great. I love Grandma dearly, but I know she is going to try and guilt me into getting hitched.

“We were thinking 5 o’clock.”

“That sounds good, I get off at 4, so I will meet you there, just send me the address.”

“Ok, I love you Richard.”

“I love you too Mom.” Richard hung up and sighed. He was often exhausted after work. He quickly hopped in the shower and checked the address. He would have to shower at the station before going to eat with his family. At least she hadn’t asked him to bring a date..or a co-worker.. She was always trying to find him a nice person to settle down with, but working the night shift at C-Sec left very few options of whom he could spend time with.

After a quick breakfast of oatmeal and fruit, Richard hurried off to the station. Most people were having dinner or out at the clubs, so there was little foot traffic as he headed down the hallway. He always enjoyed the Wards to the Presidium levels. There was more going on, and he was actually able to see people not trying to out class each other. He waved to the vendors hawking their food and wares. He was often tempted to go in and buy something, but his only time to do that was often during work. He had been drilled on discipline from a young age, and he didn’t think he could throw that away now. Not without having another thing my grandmother can guilt me with.

After about 10 minutes and a few thousand stairs, he reached his station and went inside. He put some nice clothes into his locker and pulled out his armor and equipment. He quickly stripped to his undergarments and pulled on the light uniform of a beat cop.

“Got a date?” a dual toned voice said behind him. Richard turned around to see his partner, a Turian female named Tannis. Her mandibles swung wide in a smile. She was tall for a Turian, nearly a foot above Richard, who was not short for a human. Her pale green colony markings framed her face well and matched the heavy armor she was wearing. She was his mentor ever since he graduated from the academy.

“Yeah, with my family. They want to see me for breakfast.”

“I’d offer back-up, but I know you grandmother would try to hook us up again. She does know I’m married, right?” Richard shook his head. Tannis had been his partner for the last 3 years, and she had been married for longer, but his grandmother still tried to get them hitched. His grandmother had a thing for Turians and polyamory.

“You know that she doesn’t care about that kind of thing. As long as she gets to coddle some kids as her great-grandkids.” He looked at Tannis quizzically. “Why are you wearing full armor? Aren’t we on the market district tonight?”

“No. The Captain wants us to join in on a warehouse raid. Apparently, there is a smuggling ring one of the detectives found.” Richard struggled into his full armor set. He never liked the heavy armor, as it hampered his movement, but it offered great protection for assaulting entrenched places. “Apparently, they are smuggling half of the drugs on the Zakera ward. There are other allegations against them, but none are supported.” Tannis rubbed the back of her neck. Her mandibles clacked against her face.

Richard finally got all his armor on. It had only been 75 years since the Reaper invasion, but people were already back at their old criminal ways. “Tannis, tell me what’s going on. I know I am only human, but I have grown up around Turians for my whole life. I know when you are hiding something.”

Tannis chuckled, a deep, rich laugh. “I keep forgetting that.” Her mandibles were held tight to her face. “There is also allegations of slave rings.” Richard ground his teeth. There were barely enough people for galactic civilization as it was without making people slaves. Hefting his Katana and Predator, Richard nodded and set off after Tannis to meet up with the rest of the assault group.

“Sniper Tannis and Vanguard Richard reporting for duty.” Tannis and Richard threw smart salutes to the Asari captain they had come up to. Captain R’Donis turned around and examined them. She was an Asari in her matron stage of life. Her purplish skin was accented by the blue freckles. Richard had to remind himself not to stare. She was his superior and he had a job to do.

“We need to hit this place hard and fast. They are in there now and I am not letting them get away.” She growled at them. “Come on. You are going in first.” She was about to leave them when Richard found her hand on his shoulder. “Be safe in there kid.” They jogged around to the side of the building where two other Turian snipers were waiting.

Richard’s hands kept gripping and releasing his shotgun, trying to work out that cold, clammy feeling he always got while anticipating the coming combat. It was never easy being the first one in the building, but with his biotics, he was a cannonball to open up the fireworks. They had done this a few times before, but it never got easier. He looked over his shoulder to see Tannis and two other Turians from another station running flank. Tannis smiled at him and shouldered her rifle.

After what felt like 10 minutes, but by his armor’s watch was only 80 seconds, the signal came in to start. One of the Turians quietly opened the door and Richard peeked in. It was a largely empty warehouse, with most of the crates stacked up on the far wall, meaning the team on that side was blocked. There was a group of Humans and Turians at the wall opposite of the large doors. They stood around a table and seemed to be arguing about something.

Not wanting to give them a chance to disperse, Richard gathered his biotics and charged into the closets member, attempting to knock the rest of them down like bowling pins. He crashed into the back of the closest Turian, snapping its spine and tossing the corpse into the others. He quickly discharged his shields to knock back the few who had been missed by the corpse. His Katana barked in his hands and there were the blue streaks of relativistic ballistics flying all around him. In moments, the smugglers were dead or too injured to move. Moving gingerly, sparing his right side, Richard noticed a door that lead to an office in the back. He crept over to the door and heard some muffled voices inside. He motioned to Tannis and she covered him as he burst through the door.

On the other side was a Batarian holding a young Turian hostage. He had a pistol to her head, and only one pair of eyes was focused on Richard, the other pair was constantly moving, looking for a way out.

“One more step and she dies human. Drop your weapons.” The Batarian’s phlegmy voice growled out at him. Richard knew he couldn’t get a shot off without hitting the girl. Slowly, he lowered his weapon to the floor and slid it away. He raised both hands up, palms forward, in front of him.

“No one else has to die. We have you surrounded. You can’t force your way out of here without dying. Hand over the girl and I can promise you will live to see trial.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you Human!” The Batarian spat. “I’m in this spot because of your kind. No, I am going to leave, and no one is going to kill me. Back out of the room. Now!” The Batarian switched his aim to Richard to emphasis his point. The Turian girl whimpered and her mandibles clacked as the Batarian’s hand closed around her throat.

This was all the opening that Richard needed. He had been gathering himself for a shockwave, but the switch of aim allowed him to be more reckless and he charged. He impacted into the gun just as the Batarian fired it. The sound of the Batarian’s arm snapping nearly made him lose his breakfast. Richard lost all feeling in his right arm at the moment the gun went off. He quickly recovered and gave the Batarian a quick jab to loosen his grip on the girl. Knowing the Batarian was no longer threatening anyone; Richard quickly grabbed the girl and bolted out into the warehouse. Tannis and the other Turians piled into the room to arrest the Batarian and search the premise for evidence.

Richard set the girl down by one of the cruisers and grabbed a blanket, ignoring the fire in the left side of his body. “My name is Richard. You’re safe now. Is there anyone we can contact for you?” Richard draped the blanket over her shoulders as a medic came over to examine her. She was shaking as the medic examined her, but refused to speak. Her colony markings were yellow and of a pattern he had not seen before. Her mandibles were pressed tightly to her face.

“Officer Kadimus, report!” Captain R’Donis walked over, helmet under her arm. Richard straightened up and saluted. Was it him or did she have a worried expression on her face.

“6 smugglers dead, 1 in custody, sir. They had one hostage, whom we recovered with little injury to our officers or her.” Richard gestured to the young Turian currently wrapped in a blanket. R’Donis raised her eyebrows, giving Richard a once over. She walked over to the girl and had a quiet conversation with her. Seeing she was in good hands, Richard walked over to one of the other EMT’s to get himself looked over. He often took a shot or two during these raids.

“So Doc, what’s the damage this time? I don’t think I can feel my right arm.” He asked Hevek, the Salarian medic. The medic took an omnitool and started to scan Richard.

“Two bruised ribs, a lacerated thigh, a perforated biceps, and some bloody knuckles. Seems you got off light this time. Have important plans in the morning?” Hevek started applying medi-gel to Richard’s wounds. Richard let out a gasp and then a sigh of pleasure. The pain was receding as his injuries were being healed.

“How did you know?” RIchard smiled innocently. Hevek smirked.

“When you have an important date, you get reckless, you get jittery, and you drum your fingers. Let me guess, your grandmother and a blind date?”

“Kind of, surprise breakfast with her and my mother. I know they are going to gang up on my about that. My grandmother wants great-grandkids to spoil, and my mom wants me to be in someone’s arms.” Hevek shook his head and continued to apply some medicine to Richard’s armor ports.

“Glad I am not going. Will not be set up for a mating contract with you. Too blunt for my tastes.” Hevek smiled at Richard, and they both started laughing. Richard gasped and clutched his ribs. “Ribs will take longer to heal. Best to not get into any fist fights. Or weight lifting contests.” Richard blushed. Once he was done being patched up by Hevek, Richard wandered back over to Tannis, who was giving a report to R’Donis. Richard waited just within earshot, hoping to hear a few tidbits.

“…crates of red sand, impure…trafficking…slaves…” Richard watched R’Donis glance at the Turian girl he had saved, and then seemed to notice Richard. Without waiting for her to speak, Richard stepped closer and saluted.

“I assume you heard what we were talking about, so I am just going to come out with it. These were slavers and drug smugglers. We need you two to hunt down the remaining slaves and who bought them. By the manifest, there were 6 in total, the others were sold here on the Citadel. You saved one of them, but we need to get the rest.”

“We’ll get right on it Captain. What is going to happen to the girl?” Richard asked.

“We need to keep her under observation for a few days at the hospital, but after that, we will try to find her family. It’s not going to be easy. Either they are the other slaves or...” her voice trailed away. R’Donis never seemed to be the type of person to shy away from hard truths. “Don’t worry about her kid. We’ll take care of her.” With that, R’Donis dismissed them. Tannis handed over a data pad to Richard, which had the slave manifest on it.

The slaves had been sold to a person known as “Red”, and the location of the sale was at the Fade, a seedy nightclub way down on Zakera Ward. Neither Tannis nor Richard had been there before, and to get anywhere, they were going in unarmed and unarmored. They had a back-up squad on call, but as a last resort or when they found the slaves.
As Richard was stripping his armor off, Tannis tossed a sheathed knife to him. “We might need these, and the captain said no firearms, mostly because you count as a weapon, being Biotic.” Richard took a look at the knife. The blade was reminiscent of an old Bowie knife, just a little thinner and longer.

“Doesn’t your husband mind the amount of times you’ve seen me at least partially naked? I mean, we are going to a nightclub.” Richard joked as he continued to take his armor off and get into the plain clothes he had been given.

“Not really. I have no attraction to humans. You are a little too squishy and not nearly as scaly as I like. Plus, he never asks, so I don’t tell.” They both laughed as Richard got dressed, secured the knife under his shirt, and they headed off to the nightclub.

**************************************************

About an ten minutes later they were standing out in front of the night club Fade. Richard took a deep breath as they prepared to enter. It wasn’t that he disliked these places; it was that he was a cop going into a very lawless place with no apparent authority. Tannis grabbed his arm and practically hauled him forwards to the club. He let out a groan as his bruised ribs protested at his partner’s strength. When they got in, the strobe lights and the pulsating music hit them like a baton. A moment later, the smells and heat of the place hit them like a wall. There was a large, circular dance floor with two bars on the outside and lounge seating up top. There were professional dancers on pedestals and cages above the crowds. Off in the back, there were some private rooms. Tannis let his arm go and disappeared into the crowds.

Richard wandered into the mass of dancers and tried to work his way around back, where the private rooms were. Two had their doors open, but one of them had its doors shut. He decided to rent the room next to it, to see if there was anything going on in the closed room. When he approached the bar, he motioned to the empty room and made what he and the rest of the human race had found to their surprise, the universal sign of money. The Salarian behind the bar tapped the bar 5 times and held up one digit. Richard sighed and handed over 500 credits and grabbed the key for the room. Richard found Tannis after some elbowing the crowd. He grabbed her around the waist and they sauntered off to the room he had rented.

He felt eyes watching them as they closed the doors, and fervently hoped they were of the lecherous variety, and not the suspicious. Once the doors were closed, Richard realized this might not have been a good idea. The rooms were amazingly quiet and he could not hear any noise from the dance floor.

“Good thinking, they might still be in the other room. Too bad these rooms are sound proofed against this. It’s one of the oldest cliches.” Tannis placed her hands on her hips and cocked her head to the side. “Have any other ideas? Since we are in a secure room, we might as well use it.”

“I thought you weren’t into humans.” Richard said, removing his arm from her thin hips. She stuck her tongue out at him. “Besides, I don’t think we can bust in on the other room. Especially if it is not the people we are looking for.” They both spent the next few minutes looking around the room until Tannis called Richard over to the center of the room. She pointed upwards to the air circulation vent.

“I know how you love cliches.” Richard rolled his eyes as he looked at the vent. It did look suspiciously human sized. They can’t be that dumb, he thought. Pulling a table over, he reached up to the vent and pulled it off. It would be a tight fit, especially with his ribs bruised. But Richard thought he could fit. Lifting himself up into the vent, he started to inch worm his way to the next room. It was very claustrophobic and stifling in the vent. Richard’s breath started coming in short gasps. After a few minutes, helped by the copious amounts of sweat the hot air shaft provided for him, he made it to the vent leading into the next room.

There was no sound coming up, but Richard could see all of the room, and noted a lot of people in there, of many different species. On one side of the room was a group of people who were bound by their hands and on the other was a mixed group of Turians, Batarians, Humans, Elcor, and Volus. There were about 20 buyers and 2 sellers, as well as a few armed guards. Way more than he could take armed with only a knife. He looked and saw that the slaves were three Turians, a Quarian, and a Human. The Turians all had different marks from the little girl they had rescued.

He shimmied back and poked his head down to Tannis. “The captives are in there, all five, and there are about thirty five or so hostiles and buyers.”
“Why didn’t you take them out?”

“With a knife?! Are you serious?” Richard looked into Tannis’s face and realized she was joking. The blood rushing to his head must be having an effect on him. “I’ll keep an eye on them while you go for back-up.”

“I don’t like leaving you alone. You can do really stupid things that way.” Tannis chided.

“Don’t worry. The odds are too great this time for me to even think of trying. I need at least 2 more knives than we have on hand to stand a chance. Or a few thousand credits, maybe a few million, to take them all out.” Richard smiled and wiggled his way back to the other room’s vent, contenting himself on making sure he could remember who left with what captive, if it got that far.

About 10 minutes later, Richard started to wonder why he had elected to stay. The view had been disturbing and infuriating, and the sweltering heat did nothing to help his temper, or his hydration. He had already set the vent to fall inwards when he needed to jump into the room, but he almost felt that he was going to pass out before he could jump out. It shouldn’t have taken Tannis long to get the strike team together, as they were a short drive away. He had noticed that most of the buyers were from the more well-to-do parts of the wards, some of them from the Presidium itself. The fact that these people were considered upstanding citizens twisted his gut, but there was very little he could do.
Richard brought his full attention to bear when all of them looked at the door, and then started to look around confused. Richard moved to drop down, with the long Turian knife in his hands. He waited for the door to burst open before jumping down. He was so focused on his landing and his initial strikes, that he did not notice the lack of people bursting in through the door. His landing knife cut lacerated the throat of one of the guards, and his forehand swing landed the knife squarely in the heart of the guard behind him. The other 4 guards were on the ground, and all of the buyers were pressing back against the wall or on the ground. The sellers ware on the ground, both heaps of barely living flesh.
His first indication that things were not right was the lack of bodies in C-sec uniforms. The second indication was the barrel of a gun he found to the back of his head.
“Drop the knife or you die, and tell me why I shouldn’t just pull the trigger now. I just witnessed you murder 2 people.” A voice growled from behind him. It sounded Krogan. Richard gently tossed the knife onto one of the dead guards.

“Richard Kadimus, C-sec officer. Currently plain clothes to find the slave trading ring and rescue the captives. I am under orders from Captain R’Donis.” Richard felt a cold chill run down his spine as he said the words. He heard a second set of footsteps, then a third.

“It’s ok Vorx, I looked him up. He is C-sec.” the voice sounded as if it came through a speaker, but with organic inflections. The gun lowered from Richard, who sagged slightly with relief. His ribs flared up again and he fell onto his hands.

“Look up officer.” A female voice said. He noticed a pair of boots in front of him. Richard looked up and noticed an Asari and a Quarian in the room as well. The Quarian was over by the captives, seeing if any were injured. He did not have much chance to look at her as the Asari filled his vision. She looked startlingly familiar. Richard had to shake his pain addled head to realize this was not Captain R’Donis. She had a similar skin color and freckles, but had a lot more scars on her face. Still did nothing to stop Richard from staring.
The Asari examined him. She had a stern look on her face, almost boring into his mind. He knew she probably could to. She had a Matron’s body, which made her a few hundred years old at least, and Asari got more powerful with age, she was dressed in light military armor, with only a pistol at her side. “I am Halona T’Nara, Special Tactics and Reconnaissance. These are my associates. Rina’Vona nar Rella and Vorx.” She gestured to the Quarian and Krogan respectively. “And You have not seem Gemini yet, but they have seen you. Just wave.” Richard waved his hand and had the sinking feeling that his hand was now being scoped on.

Richard was now able to get a better look at the Krogan holding the shotgun, and not just the shotgun. He was red and brown plated, and a little stocky for a Krogan. His face and neck was heavily scarred and wrinkled, but the wrinkles seemed to be laugh lines. Richard couldn’t tell his age, but he guessed from the lazy confidence that the Krogan was a few centuries old at least. The Quarian was rather slim and long. She stood half a head shorter than Richard, if he was good at guessing. The only thing he could tell about her was that green and blue were her favorite colors. Everything on her was a mix of the two colors.

“It is a pleasure to meet you.” He hoped. “I think my backup may be arriving in a few minutes, if you would not mind hanging around just so my partner does not think I went all gung-ho again and didn’t wait for her.” Richard gave a weak smile. Vorx laughed and went over to the buyers, making sure none of them got away.

“No problem meatbag.” Vorx said as Halona gave him a dirty look. “Come on hun, you know you do the same to me.” Halona turned from Vorx and looked at Richard.

“Kadimus…That is a Turian last name if I am not mistaken. How did you end up with one?” Halona asked as she inspected the seller and applied some medi-gel. She was keeping him from dying, but not enough to allow him to walk anytime soon. Richard turned to keep her in his sight, remembering to move slowly so he could keep his head intact.
“It was my great grandfather’s last name. He was a C-sec officer on the citadel during the Reaper Invasion. My grandmother was a refugee. Her parents had put her on a transport without them. He saved my grandmother when her parents never showed up and the Reapers invaded the Citadel. After they got away, she was unable to find her parents, so he adopted her.” Halona shivered as he finished, and Vorx went over to her. He whispered something in her ear and she shook her head.

Richard looked out of the door in time to see Tannis and the strike team entering the club and force their way across the dance floor. When they saw the door open, their weapons all came up and they rushed forwards, filling into the room. There were a few moments of high tension as guns were drawn and pointed wildly, with plenty of shouting. Halona walked into the middle and waved her companions down, and held up her Spectre credentials. That stopped the shouting, but not all of the gun pointing.

Captain R’Donis came upon the scene of a score of people being arrested and one being carted away in an ambulance. She felt her frustration grow at what she found at the scene. The captives were standing almost between what looked like a hit squad and one of her strike teams. Neither group had weapons trained, but they all appeared to be moments away from bloodshed, except for Richard, who was in what looked like a gym outfit.

“What happened here?” Barked R’Donis.

“We had some unexpected help from Spectre Halona, Sir.” Richard called out. His head was swimming from his injured ribs never being given time to recover.

“Spectre Halona?” R’Donis looked over at the Asari standing in the room, blatantly acting casual and nonchalant. Her heart both sank and soared as she recognized the Spectre.
“Long time no see cousin. I didn’t realize you had made captain. I would have dressed better if I knew.”

“Sorry I didn’t tell you. I was still pretty hot after that incident at your parent’s house. I’m sorry this is the way we get to meet up again.” R’Donis strode forward and gave her cousin a hug. “But it seems you may have made a lot more paperwork for me. Anything you can do to help out?”

“Of course, we can talk about it over a meal. I have already turned custody of all the suspects over to C-sec and Rina is already submitting the paperwork to have this classified as a Spectre raid, with C-sec requisition support team.” Halona smiled.

“Thank you. I know a great place where we can grab some food. I’ll meet you there at 5. Does that work for you?”

“Perfect. Until then, we have some work to do. And you should probably get a medic over to your guy in plainclothes, I think someone may have taken a potshot at him.” Richard still had not gotten up from the ground where Halona had instructed him to stay, more out of pain than fear, but not by much. Everyone else was so busy, he seemed to be forgotten. R’Donis called over one of the medics checking on the freed captives to see to Richard.

Richard grunted as Hevek checked him over sealing the long gash in his leg and rechecking his ribs. “Twice in one night, almost seems like you don’t want to have dinner with your Grandmother.”

“That thought hadn’t occurred to me. It’s tempting though.” Richard and Hevek smiled at the joke. Richard winced as he stood up, the pain in his leg still fresh. “I’ll be fine for now, probably just paperwork for the rest of the night.”

“Good, that means he can get a break and deal with regular medical problems.” Tannis teased as she walked over. “Glad to see you didn’t do anything stupid.” Sha placed an arm around Richard’s waist to help take his weight.

“I almost got shot by a Spectre, if that makes you feel better.” Tannis cuffed him in the ribs, which were still sore. Richard hobbled off to Captain R’Donis, who gave him leave to do some paperwork then head off for the night. He saluted and went to join the rest of the squad who were heading back to the station.

Before he made it to the vehicle, he was stopped by a Geth wearing what looked like a crochet hood of brilliant blues and greens. While the Geth were now fully AI and allowed onto the Citadel, he had never heard of one coming within the last thirty years.

“Officer Kadimus. I wish to inform you I have no ill will towards you. I was doing my job of protecting Creator Rina.” After a moment, it dawned on Richard that this was the sniper Halona was talking about. He reached out with his hand.

“That’s ok. Gemini, was it?” The Geth nodded. “Thank you for the thought.” He looked at his untaken hand. “This is a handshake. It is a common gesture meaning two people have come to an understanding and that neither holds any bad feelings towards the other.” After a moment, Gemini’s hand came up and shook Richards. Richard had to let go when the shake went on far too long. Tannis helped him back to the station where he finished all the paperwork that Rina had slipped him.

*****************************************

The morning came too soon for Richard, who showered and got dressed to meet his family for breakfast. Tannis dropped him off a few minutes before he was supposed to meet his family, when he noticed the Captain and the Spectre already sitting down to eat. Richard always felt weird when he saw one of his bosses outside of the workplace. He decided to take a seat close to them, since it was going to be impossible to avoid them.

“Well, there is a familiar face. You’re looking much better now Officer Kadimus.” Halona said, sipping her drink.

“I’m surprised to see you here. Not many humans come here, as it is nestled among Turian shops.” R’Donis looked quizzically at Richard.

“My great-grandfather was Turian and took my grandmother and mother here often. I’m actually meeting them now for a family meal.” Richard sat down at the empty table next to theirs and directed his chair towards them. It wasn’t too long after he took a seat that he heard his mother call out to him. Richard got up and went over to greet them, embracing his mother and grandmother tenderly, as his ribs still ached.

“Mom, Grandma, this is my boss, Captain R’Donis, and her cousin, Specter Halona. I was just telling them about Great-Grandpa.”

“My father was such a wonderful man. He was very mellow for a Turian, but still very strict.” Richard’s Grandmother kept talking about her father as Richard gave an apologetic look to Halona and R’Donis. “He never could bring himself to marry though. Something my grandson has inherited.” Halona chuckled darkly.

“Well, I am very glad he saved you, Mrs. Kadimus. Without you, young Richard here would not have come to my attention.” Halona seemed to be enjoying learning about him. Richard felt a prickling sensation on the back of his neck. He noticed the Spectre had a predatory gleam in her eyes.

“Really?” His Grandmother got an evil glint in her eye, which terrified Richard even more. He groaned inwardly as he knew what that glint meant. “Would it be too intrusive to join your table?”

“Not at all,” Halona grinned. There was a hunger in her eyes that Richard couldn’t place, but it promised that what would happen next would be a fantastic show, for anyone not named Richard Kamidus. They all sat down and ordered some food.

“Captain, were the girl’s parents among the others?” Richard queried. “I didn’t see anyone with her colony markings.”

“Unfortunately, no. We will keep looking, but from the evidence we have about the group, and the information we got from Mr. Red, I think we can assume the worst.”
“What will happen to her?” Richard asked. He was worried for the girl.

“She will probably become a ward of the state and raised in a foster home, unless a relative comes out of the woodwork. Why, were you thinking of becoming a parent?” All four sets of female eyes bore into Richard. He felt his face grow flush and his brain refused to form a coherent thought.

“Wha...me? I..no..well.” Could he even adopt her? He was only 23, worked in C-sec, and did not have any room to house her.

“I think your officer is saying yes, which will make what I want a little harder to accept.” They all looked at Halona, who shrugged. “I was going to ask if he wanted to join my group. I could use someone with his skills in my missions, which I have a backlog on. The pay will probably be better than what you are getting now, but there is more danger involved, and less time on the Citadel.”

Richard sat back, stunned. Neither of these things were something he had really thought about. He did not know the first thing of being a parent, or even an elder sibling. And giving up being a C-sec officer to be a Spectre’s companion? When he was a kid he would dream of it, but he never thought he would get to work with one. He was still in a state of shock when his mother spoke up.

“He says yes, to both.” Halona raised an eyebrow at Richard’s Mother. “My mother was saved by a Turian who cared, and we will replay that kindness my Grandfather did for us. He could use the extra money for raising her, and I will be the doting grandmother. Looking at the way his life is going, he might not get another chance to have a kid.” Halona and his grandmother laughed at this point. “I can take care of her while he is away, and he will get plenty of time to help raise her. Do we have a deal?”
“How can I deprive a new Grandmother one wish.”

“And maybe we might even get a blue one too.” Richard’s grandmother cackled. The table became a lot wetter as Richard did an embarrassed spit-take.

“He might have to meet another Asari for that. I’m bonded with Vorx, a Korgan in my party. I’d hate to be the cause of this Turian girl becoming an orphan again so soon.” His grandmother cackled at that too.

“Do I have a say in the direction my life takes or who I am responsible for?” Richard had finally found his voice and was more than a little peeved.

“Yes you do dear, but I knew what you would eventually decide, so I just cut out the waiting. Now, where is my grandchild?”

“Mrs. Kadimus, it is not as simple as that. We have to go through the appropriate channels, but we can start later today if you want.” Captain R’Donis looked at Richard, a kind smile on her face. “You might want to say goodbye to your squad mates. Let them know what’s going on.”

“Yeah. Hevek will probably throw a party once I’m gone.” Richard smiled at the thought. His smile melted away as he realized how much he would miss Tannis and Hevek, but he would still be able to visit them. And knowing a Turian with children who were his new daughter’s age meant that she would have friends. Their food arrived in short order and the conversation became more light-hearted between everyone.

********************************

Richard passed out when he got home and slept for most of the day. He was woken up by his doorbell ringing. He stood up despite the protesting bones and muscles in his body. He had not changed from the morning and stumbled to the door. He opened it and Tannis was standing there, with her Husband and 3 children.
“Good Evening. Captain told me everything. I never pegged you to have children without having the fun part, but hey, you have great taste.” Tannis laughed as they all came into Richard’s small apartment. Richard shook her husband’s hand, and gave hugs to her children, who all knew him as “Uncle Kadimus”. He offered some water to all of them, but Tannis waved him off. “We are only stopping by while we head home from a school play. It’s a school night for the kids, but we all just wanted to say congratulations and that we expect her to come over often.”

“Not too often though.” Her husband said. “We still want her to feel as if we are the fun side of the family.” Richard laughed along with them. He had a feeling that things were going to work out for him and the young woman he rescued with all the support they were getting.