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Concussive Rounds

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"You should have let me take him down. He deserved it." Dammit, he was shaking. His tongue was thick in his mouth and he couldn't blink. He fixed his gaze on a nondescript spot on the gunnery wall, marshaling the necessary control to avoid doing what he really wanted, which was to stare a hole in Shepard's forehead. "You shouldn't have interfered. It was a simple operation. What about it didn't you understand?"

The human in front of him crossed her arms and held her ground, and that caused the tension at his jaw to flare. Of course. It would be too much to ask for her to back down, much less apologize for fucking things up.

"How is gunning Sidonis down any different from Jaroth wanting you dead for killing his brother? Do you really want to be the guy who kills everyone who's ever crossed him? Because that's where you were headed, Garrus. Like I said on the way there, that's not you." Wait...he knew this routine. Unbelievable. This was the same smooth tone she took when charming civilians, and now she was turning it on him.

Fine. He turned away to power down the Thanix cannon console, then faced her again, looking her dead in the eyes. "If you can't see the difference between me and an Eclipse crime boss, I guess that says a lot, Shepard. We're done here."

With that, he stalked out of the gunnery, clipping her shoulder sharply as he brushed past. He caught the look on her face as he did so: the widened eyes, the mouth slightly agape in astonishment. He stepped out into the mess and kept walking toward the elevator. He didn't hear her footsteps behind him. Well, good. Let her sit with her shock for a while. If Omega had done nothing else for him, it had made him accustomed to calling his own shots without interference-not from his father, not from C-Sec, not from the Council, and for two years, not from his best friend, Commander Jane Shepard. She'd have to get used to the change, or she could set him down at the nearest port and find a more obedient turian to help her fight the Reapers. While she decided, he'd be shooting targets in the Normandy's hangar.

Shepard stood in the gunnery and tried to parse what had just happened. She'd prevented Garrus from wrecking his life over the actions of a coward, and somehow he was pissed as hell about it. Had Omega scrambled his brain? No way Harkin wouldn't have tattled on Garrus to C-Sec, once they'd picked him up for ID forgery. Is that was Garrus wanted? To be wanted by C-Sec-where his own father was a highly respected veteran-for murder and assault? The Council would have come calling eventually, demanding that she turn him over to the authorities in return for some favor she needed in order to help fight the Reapers. Hand over your best friend, Shepard, and then we might not confiscate the Normandy and sabotage you while you try to save the galaxy. And she'd have had to turn him in, if it had come to that. But she'd fixed it, dammit. Hadn't let him take the shot, helped him keep his hands clean, and now he was having a tantrum. Ingrate.

"EDI, what is Officer Vakarian's current location?" she asked, keeping her tone conversational.

EDI's blue orb popped up. "Commander, Officer Vakarian is in the hangar. He has informed me that he will be engaging in target practice for at least the next hour."

Shepard raised an eyebrow. "Oh yeah? What's he got in there? His sniper rifle? Is he armored?"

"Officer Vakarian is wearing his usual armor and shielding, and the sniper rifle he brought with him when he first boarded the Normandy. Would you like to speak to him?"

"No thank you, EDI. I'm going to get my own armor and rifle, and then I'll be joining him. I suppose he's locked the door?"

"Yes, Commander. As a safety precaution."

"What kind of ammo is he using?

"Concussive rounds only, Commander." Okay, she could work with that...

"All right, EDI. I'll have further instructions for you when I get to that hangar door. I'll just be a few minutes. Not a word of this to Garrus, please."

"As you wish, Commander. Logging you out."

Shepard stormed through the mess not three minutes after Garrus had done the same, and it caused the off-duty crew there to fall silent, watching as she headed for the elevator.

"What the..." started Donnelly, pointing. "Did you see-?"

"Looks like mommy and daddy are fighting," Jack sneered as she foraged in the freezer, and then she whipped around in alarm at the explosive snort behind her; Joker had spluttered his drink all over the table.

"Mommy...and...daddy? It's going to take me months of therapy to heal from that mental image, I want you to know," Joker whimpered as he and Kelly both dabbed at the mess with napkins.

Jack frowned. "Shit, Moreau. Do you pay any attention to what's going on around you, or are all your spare cycles really taken up by the porn you watch when you think no one's looking? Those two," she jerked her thumb toward the exit both Garrus and Shepard had taken, "have been working on a slow boil. Unfinished business. They're either going to fight each other or fuck. Maybe both."

Joker held perfectly still as he processed this, then turned to Kelly for reassurance.

"Don't look at me, Jeff," she said cheerfully, still swabbing at the table. "My money's on fucking, and lots of it."

Joker's eyes bulged, and Jack had to laugh.

At the hangar door, Shepard pulled on her helmet and made her customary last minute armor adjustments. She could feel her heartbeat in her eyelids. The more she thought about the conversation in the gunnery, the more livid she became.

"EDI, on my mark, unlock the door, and when I'm through, lock it again behind me. If Officer Vakarian gives you any orders, check with me first before complying. Cut all surveillance recordings in the hangar until we both exit. I don't want the crew patching in to watch us. There may be shots fired, but don't do anything about it unless one of us is in serious condition. Understood?"

"Understood, Commander." EDI's vocal output was calm as always, but Shepard had to wonder what the AI thought of this unorthodox turn of events, or if she thought anything of it at all.

"All right, EDI, let me through." The door hissed open and shut and she shouldered through, weapon drawn.

Garrus was twenty feet ahead, kneeling with his back to her, shields glimmering faintly in contrast to the hangar's grey walls. He must have heard her enter, but he didn't acknowledge it. Instead, he flattened an empty crate at the back of the room with a precise shot. His way of proving he wasn't rattled, naturally.

Shepard was having none of it. "I wasn't finished with you, Garrus, but if you're going to hide and pout, I'll take the high road and come to you."

He didn't flinch. Peering through the scope of his sniper rifle, he lined up the next shot. His familiar blue helmet obscured his expression, but it was fairly clear that he wasn't going to be reasonable.

"Have it your way, then," she snarked, and unloaded a concussive round right at his back. The force of the blast sent the turian flying into a stack of crates at the end of the hangar. Upon impact, he rolled quickly to the side, into cover. No flailing limbs, no dropping his rifle. She'd seen him do this a thousand times in the field, yes, but always out of the corner of her eye as she was under enemy fire. There had never been time to admire the grace of his reflexes, until now.

She waited in the silence that followed for him to stand up, to come stampeding over to demand an explanation. So it was a bit of a surprise when the glint of a scope was her only warning before her body was slammed backwards against the top of hangar door and dumped on the floor like a rag doll. She lay spreadeagled for a moment, reassessing the situation. That's going to leave a mark.

"God DAMMIT, Garrus!"

"Shouldn't've shot me, Shepard," called a low, terse voice from the rear of the hangar. "Not in the mood to play."

She jumped to her feet, only to be blown clean off them again from a new angle, knocked behind a pile of boxes. Bastard! He'd moved closer and she hadn't even heard him. Rage throbbed behind her eyes, forking its way through her nervous system. Rage...and a surprise bonus: a thrum that ran from her ass cheeks to her clit. Kelly would have a field day analyzing that one. It was simple, though; she hadn't had sex for years, whether she counted the two she'd lain dormant on a medbay table or not. She hadn't lost her temper in years either. Lose control of one, lose control of the other. It figured.

"You better believe I'm not playing either, Garrus," she bellowed, thumbing the control to her tactical cloak, switching to her pistol, and stashing her rifle between the wall and a box. From where she was hidden, she might be able to make it over to him if he'd just give his new position away...

And he did, sort of. She was already sneaking in the right direction when he shouted back, "Shepard, you should go." There. Moving in a crouch, she circled behind him and fired another round into his back, hurling him forward. Before he could recover, she sprang on him, pressing the muzzle of her gun into the vulnerable part of any hardsuit: the pressure seal at the neck.

"A concussive round at close range wouldn't be fatal, but it'd sure hurt," she remarked. "Drop the rifle and roll over. Slowly." A manic smile crept over her face as she said it, and she was once again grateful her faceplate allowed her to appear impassive. Licking her lips, she turned off her shields.

"The hell I will." Garrus tensed, but made no motion to obey.

"Do it. Now." Pistol still at his neck, she yanked his arm, flipping him over and sitting on him (straddling him, really) to prevent escape (suuure). Their hardsuits creaked in unison as she leaned down and clicked her helmet against his, using the moment to reach around and power down his shielding. This was insane; everyone knew you didn't invade a turian's personal space unless you had something specific to accomplish. A fight. Medical assistance. Sex. And christ, two of those options were doing their solid best to beat the shit out of each other in her head. She tried again to shove her increasing arousal aside, and failed miserably. Her nipples pebbled so hard they stung. "That's better, Garrus. Now, why don't we continue our chat. Clear the air."

Shepard kept layering on the provocation. She'd shot him, and it fucking hurt. Pissed him off so much that he'd shot her back, twice, reveling in watching the famed Commander hit the deck like any other target. Though she'd been armored and shielded, she'd likely have a bruised backside for a day or so, even with all her cybernetic upgrades. It would probably look like her soft human ass had gotten spanked, hard. He wouldn't get to see it, sadly-no one would-but she would see it, when she next bathed. That thought pleased Garrus. It pleased him very, very much.

But she was blatantly messing with his head, and he hated that it was working. She'd managed to sneak behind his position and subdue him, and now having practically mounted him, she wanted to keep talking. Though the layers of ceramic plating between them made that impossible, he could swear he felt heat of her thighs against his waist. He certainly shouldn't be feeling her breath against his mandibles as she spoke, not through the full helmets they both wore. What he could feel, and what was real, was that gun gouging at his neck, the slight yet deliberate rocking motion of her hips, and his unbidden insta-erection pressing uncomfortably against the inside of his hardsuit. For all the claimed differences between humans and turians, a few things translated far too well across species lines.

As a top rated hand-to-hand combat specialist with an ounce of pride left, there was only one thing for it. He pulled himself up, nodded as though he were about to capitulate, and when she sat up, he headbutted her in the face with all the force he could muster.

The blow knocked her off balance enough that he was able to wrest the pistol from her grip. He took quick advantage, his weight on her back forcing her to submit to the same treatment she'd just dished out-the weapon poised at her own neck, his hips atop hers as she scrabbled against the ground. He pretended to take no notice of the sounds she made. The grunt as she hit the floor, the shuddering gasp as she dragged air back into her lungs. The audible swallowing sound she made as he leaned forward to speak.

"Yes, let's continue our nice chat. The one about how you couldn't be bothered to follow our...very. Simple. Plan. That was annoying, Shepard. And stupid. If you had a problem with the goal, you should have spelled it out clearly beforehand, not stuck your head between a sniper and his mark." The woman beneath him brought her head up to protest, but he pressed it firmly back against the ground. So what did she do? She rocked her ass back against him and spread her legs a little, both movements barely noticeable, minor enough to be plausibly denied. Lust sang in his veins. Shepard was pushing all his buttons at once. Did she know it?

"Let's talk about stupid, Garrus," came the muffled retort. "We bust in on Harkin and rough him up, right? You almost shoot him. Then we make him find Sidonis for you, and Sidonis turns up soon after with a sniper's round through his brains. Well, Harkin has no reason to cover for you. He hates you, and he's afraid of you. The second C-Sec turns up on his doorstep, he hands them your name on a silver platter. What better way to get rid of you than to finger you for a crime you actually did commit? Harkin gets a shorter sentence, and C-Sec humans get the glory of hunting down the murdering son of a respected turian C-Sec veteran. Where's the benefit to you there? Because I'm not seeing it."

Fuck. She had a point, but still. "So instead of laying all that out for me at the time, y'know: 'Hey, Garrus, if you do this, Harkin will squeal,'" he growled, " go and change the plan without letting me know? Is that standard procedure now, Jane?" He emphasized his point by grabbing hold of her hip and thrusting down, grinding her armored pelvis against the hangar floor, spreading her legs further apart.

Pinned to the floor, Shepard heard the turian's voice drop at least an octave as he added, "Do I get to take control with no warning, too, Jane?"

He'd never, ever called her by her first name. No one did. No one dared. But god, the sound of his flanged voice growling her name got her wet, soaking through her cloth leggings and probably slicking up the inside of her armor. She nearly cried out in frustration, as there was nothing for her to rub against inside the damned hardsuit; it was designed to prevent chafing, for fuck's sake. She fought for control of her voice, but her words came out huskier than she intended.

"I dunno, Garrus. It seems like you've already got that one down." She twisted her shoulders, getting a good eyeful of him mashed up against her back. And bless him, he let her, which allowed her to whip an elbow around and crack him a good one across the jaw, grabbing for the pistol as he reeled. She rolled and grappled with him, ending up on top, but he held the pistol far out of her reach. As she leaned across him to have another go at the gun (and maybe to hear the clack of her chestplate against his helmet-the closest she could get to shoving her tits in his face), his arm shot out, pulled her shoulders close, and nuzzled the weapon against her temple.

"Best not make any sudden moves," he warned. "You don't want me to get jumpy with my finger on this trigger."

"If you're trying to scare me, it's not working. You've got the steadiest hands I've ever seen. You don't pull the trigger unless you mean it."

"How many times are you going to test that theory today?"

"That depends entirely on you, Garrus." She eased herself to a sitting position, and he followed, unwilling to let the gun stray from its position. Keeping her hands where he could see them, she flipped the catches on her gauntlets and pulled them off, letting them drop to the side.

"So...what? You're going to punch me with your bare hands? Is that it?"

She cracked her knuckles slowly, deliberately. "Nope. I'm going to find out exactly how steady you are with that trigger." Rising to her knees, she deftly popped the seals on his armor, cast aside his pelvic guard, and reached for his cock, only to be denied; Garrus' free hand caught hers in a tight grip.

"Newsflash, Shepard," he snarled, "Turian 'equipment' isn't like humans'. Any attempt to do damage won't disable me, it'll just make me madder."

The hold on her wrist didn't loosen one bit. Maybe a different strategy...

"I'm not going to damage your 'equipment,'" she purred. "I'm just gonna...give it some maintenance. Never fired one of these things before. Been curious for a while."

Garrus made a sharp sound in his throat, and it wasn't immediately clear whether he was growling, laughing, or choking. "Thanks, but I can handle the maintenance on my own."

"Oh, I'm sure you've kept your gun well polished, but when was the last time you had someone else give it a thorough going-over, hmm? Sometimes it takes a second pair of hands to make it really shine." It's working. He was too preoccupied to notice as her free hand crept up, up, until...There. Her own finger slid next to his on the gun's trigger, and she heard the huff of his breath as he realized he'd let his guard down. "Ah, there we go. Now, how about you let my wrist go?" She worked the pistol back toward the scant inches between their faceplates.

"Hey-" he began, stopping short as her finger twitched on the trigger. "Dammit, if you fire that, we're both fucked."

"You catch on quick."

He grudgingly released her wrist, then grunted as her fingers traced the outline of his dick through the cloth of his undersuit. There was no hiding that he was rock hard, but why hide it? He wasn't some human, pathologically ashamed of his bodily functions. And Shepard, well...she wasn't exactly acting horrified. Huh.

For all her bravado, her touch was more hesitant than he'd expect, cupping, pulling, exploring. She made a little "hmm" noise, like she was concentrating. At this point, he wanted to hurl the pistol away, shuck her armor, and bend her over the nearest crate, but without being able to see her face, he couldn't get a good handle on what was going on in that stubborn head of hers. And without that feedback, he couldn't tell if she was in the mood to pull the trigger and get them both sent to medbay for Mordin and Chakwas to patch up. So, he tested the waters.

"Don't act like you're not impressed, Shepard. Turians pack more heat than human men. If you're scared, the door's over there. I won't tell the crew you ran away," he goaded.

"Save it. I've seen pictures; I'm not a dumbass. If I wanted Alliance-issue fare, I'd get it from Jacob or Zaeed. But I want to shoot the big gun. And this," she said, emphasizing her point by dragging the backs of her nails down his length, "is a very big gun indeed."

His mandibles flapped against the inside of his helmet as he mustered the willpower not to thrust against her hand. It helped that his pistol arm was beginning to cramp, but that was about to get annoying. Shifting a bit, he popped the armor catches at her waist, explaining, "Chatter is great, but you aren't going to get to fire this thing unless we find a place to mount it."

"Mmmhmm. Agreed." After a bit of fumbling, her lower armor, along with his free hand's gauntlet, clunked to the floor. "How do I-"

"There's a flap. Reach in and pull it out of the...holster."

"Right." Her alien fingers walked themselves to his fly, encircled his cock, and hauled it out into the open. "Oooh. Hey, now. Diagrams and brochures didn't do justice to the design."

He twitched involuntarily. Raw pleasure sparkled through him as he watched her stroke him from tip to base, up and down, questing for sensitive spots, teasing all the right nerve clusters.

"Exactly how closely did you study those diagrams, Shep-" But then he gasped; she'd taken her hand away and placed it on her hip, something she did when irritated or bemused. "Wha-"

"I think," she growled, increasing the pressure of her finger on the pistol's trigger-oh yeah, that-"I think you should go back to calling me Jane. I kind of liked that. A lot." She rocked her hips back to display the wet spot at the crotch of her body suit, then trailed her fingers down to rub there. He loved the groan that escaped her as her fingers made slow circles.

"Jane," he rasped. "Jane. We're going to need our hands free to do this right. This," he said, wiggling the pistol they both clasped, "is in the way. Can we get rid of it? Or do you need to hang onto a little toy while you handle the real deal?"

She snickered and let go. "Chuck it, then."

He obliged before she could change her mind, sending the gun skittering across the floor to the opposite wall. His remaining glove was quickly removed and forgotten as a velvety soft hand resumed its ministrations on his cock, which was now fairly pulsing with need. A tiny piece of him clamored for intimacy-to be naked together with Jane for days, not armored and helmeted, having a quick, angry fuck in the back of a hangar-but he tucked that wish away, determined to enjoy the moment as much as Jane seemed to be doing. She pulled his hand to her apex and showed him the hidden opening of her suit, one meant for purposes more utilitarian than sex. Too small; the cloth would get in the way. He tore it open with one hard jerk.

She didn't protest. Too far gone, maybe. She was good and ready, he thought, with that little nub engorged and begging to be strummed. He ran the back of one finger against it and found her slickly hot. Hearing the faint panting sounds transmitted by her helmet, he had the presence of mind for one last thing:

"Uhh. You got any allergies to dextro ammo I should know about?"

"Mmm. No. Don't belong in N7 if all it takes to bring you down is a single round from a turian. You?"

"Mild levo-sensitivity, nothing to worry about here."

"Good. Now give me that."

Combined layers of plating prevented her from feeling the rise and fall of his breath. Stopped her from looking into his eyes-were they clenched shut or wide open? Were his mandibles pulled down in a big, wiseass grin, or clamped to his jaw in concentration? Rising forward, she guided his glorious, silvery-blue tip to her opening and sank onto it gradually at first, as if it were a luxury. Well, it was a luxury, in so many ways. A luxury to find such a pleasurable, albeit temporary, resolution to their argument. A luxury to curl herself against one of the few people in the galaxy she could trust. A luxury to be with the Garrus who matched both her skills and her wit, rather than stuttering and falling into line, as he had done years ago.

...Also, a luxury to get stretched out by her unexpectedly-well-hung best friend's dick. There was that.

"Sometimes, when you're installing non-standard hardware, you have to go easy," she explained, pressing him ever so slowly in. A hissing sound emanated from his helmet, which she decided to interpret as a good sign. "And sometimes, you gotta just. Jam it. In there." She sat down hard, taking him in to the hilt, and shuddered. "Ahhhh, god. Where the hell have you been hiding this thing, Garrus?"

"Under my bunk, so Grunt won't break it," he snapped. Smart mouth. She grasped the collar ridge of his suit and pushed him down. Remembering that the skin at turian collars was sensitive, she ran her hands along it. This was almost cruel; she knew he couldn't feel it, and that he probably wanted to. To make up for it, she rose up and slammed down again, eliciting a ragged moan and an upward thrust that hit exactly the right spot. She braced herself and mewled.

He brought his talons forward and tore again at her undersuit, exposing her navel and upper thighs, and reaching inside and around to grip her ass. She feared he would pierce the skin, but the sting never came, and she forgot about it instantly when he began pressing her hips against his in hard, slow ovals. Not only was her clit grinding deliciously against him now, but she could feel his tip, nestled deep inside, tracing the same ovals. The obscene banging and creaking of their remaining armor dwindled into nothingness in her world; already she could feel a climax building, her focus narrowing to encompass only the pleasure arcing outward from between her legs, where Garrus was insistently burying that thick cock of his. Jane arched and bent her head to drink in the view, to see how he spread her cunt open and filled her completely.

It was too, too much. Her insides clenched and fluttered in anticipation, the turian beneath her growling low and speeding his pace in response, and then she was falling, burning, quaking in her release as her eyes watered. Garrus reacted, her spasms triggering him to thrust hard and spill into her in great, desperate shudders. She collapsed against his chest, finding his hands with hers and squeezing, relieved when she felt him knead back.

After a few moments spent wafting back to reality, Shepard sat up gingerly. She was going to be sore all over for at least the next day, but she didn't give a damn.

"Hey," she said. "We should probably clear out of here so others can use the hangar."

He gave a curt nod. She eased herself off him, noting the smear of their mingled juices at the fly of his undersuit, and quickly put her own hardsuit back together. She had to tuck the torn scraps of cloth in at her waist so they wouldn't show after she exited the hangar. Garrus reassembled his armor and retrieved his rifle. While she was still hunting in a corner for her stashed rifle, he waited near the exit. Good sign, she thought, as she caught up to him there.

"So, here's the plan," he said, crossing his arms. "You ready?"

This oughta be interesting. She smiled to herself. "Sure."

He bent forward, pulled her close, and whispered. She nodded. "Got it. I won't improvise this time."

"I should hope not," he grumbled. "Let's go."

Together, they strode out of the hangar, all business. No one appeared to be on this level, thank goodness. They rode the elevator in silence. At the crew quarters level, Garrus got out and stalked back toward the gunnery as if on his way to deliver some serious hurt. All the chatter in the mess died around him. Shepard, for her part, went directly to her cabin. After entering, she took her helmet off, sighed, and sprawled onto the sofa.

"EDI, thank you for your cooperation. You can unlock the hangar for routine use now."

"Acknowledged, Commander. Do you require any medical assistance?"

"Nah, I'm only bruised. I've got it covered, but thanks. Miranda's on duty, yes?"

"XO Lawson will be on duty for the next six hours and thirty-three minutes."

"Perfect. I'll be here until then. That'll be all, EDI."

"Logging you out, Commander."

After the gunnery door swished shut behind him, Garrus stowed his rifle and looked around. He thought about taking a few deep breaths to clear his mind, but who was he kidding? There was no clearing his mind. He'd just had his world rocked. He took down a small pack and began filling it with assorted belongings.

Before Shepard had died, even a simple argument with her would have been unthinkable, let alone a knock down, drag out fight that ended in a mindblowing orgasm. He'd had her on a pedestal, all that time. She'd always been up front about valuing respect and trust over adulation. Because he'd grown close to her after Omega, he'd never considered himself to be one of those people, like Conrad Vernor, who saw her as a legend and not a person. But he had been, and because of it, he'd missed out. Until now. He wouldn't make that mistake again, just as she wouldn't treat him as a raw recruit.

Anyway, he had something important to attend to, now. He strode back out into the mess, and yet again, the people in it went silent. There seemed more of them this time, but he hadn't exactly counted personnel as he'd passed before. His first stop was the fridge, loading food into the pack. Next stop was medbay, where he told Chakwas what he needed, and she provided the specified items without asking a single question. Those went into the pack too, which he then slung over his back. All eyes followed him until he disappeared into the elevator.

Shepard had left her cabin door open, so he walked right in and closed it behind him.

"EDI," Shepard's voice said from her sofa around the corner, "lock my door, and don't let anyone disturb me unless there's a serious emergency. I'll be unavailable until I relieve Miranda."

"Understood, Commander," chimed the AI.

"As I said, I think we both still owe each other an apology," said Garrus, stepping further into the room. "I brought medigel. And some sandwiches for you, food for me, some water, and my toiletries, some clean clothes, and some antihistamines just in case. I think we're set for a few hours of not leaving your quarters."

The human got up and came to stand in front of him. She was unarmored, undressed, wearing only a robe, and she hadn't showered. Just as he'd instructed.

"Garrus, If you don't take that fucking helmet off so I can finally see your face, I swear I'll ram it down your throat," she said, laughing as she reached for him.

"So what do you think, Grunt?" asked Jack. "You're the one with the best sense of smell."

"It reeks in here. There was a short but fierce battle. I smell weaponfire, and both turian and human blood..."

"I win! Pay up, losers!" she snarled at the other betters.

"...I also smell sex. Turian and human." He pointed at a few stray drops of fluid on the hangar floor.

Jack's shoulders slumped, and Kelly cackled. "We all win!"

"Not exactly," came EDI's calm voice. "XO Lawson, I believe I was the only one to bet that both scenarios would occur." Miranda nodded in agreement. "That means I am the winner of this bet. The losers may transfer their credits to the ship's supplies account. When we are next in port, I will use the funds to purchase a beverage for each member of the crew."

"Make mine a ryncol," demanded Grunt. "I'll need something strong enough to wash this scent out of my snout."