"Lissen up gits! We's got a kuppel of days on da Citadel, an' so is time fer sum shore leave. Evrywun kan do wot dey wont, 'cept Bounsy an' Bukkit 'oo are wiv me fer da furst day. Also, sakkurity gits need ta keep an eye on da ship. I don't wanta get bak 'ere ta find dey let a Loota onto da ground kroo, ya get me? Gud."

Tali and Liara met Sheppurt at the breethy stuff lok, both wondering why they had been singled out.

"Rite den. We's got sum shoppin' ta do. Bounsy, you need sum bitz, dat wun lab kote is lookin' a bit busted rite now. Den you's both need proppa Orky armour, an' we need sum moar bukkit food as well."

"Do you think we could stop by the M'sania shopping mall? Everything I need is probably there."

"Gud idea. Dat's where all da bounsies go ta shop anyway. But first, we's goin' ta da Zakera Ward."

Deffchompa yipped happily, drawing wary glances from the two females. Whenever the squig was happy it usually meant violence was a probable outcome of whatever they were about to do.

"Oy! Taxy!"

The taxi drivers were usually very prompt when Orks wanted a ride. As it turned out, that was because Orks were great tippers.

"I's needin' ta get ta da ate-'underd bloks, kwik as ya like."

Liara winced at those words. She had led a relatively safe life, sure, but even she knew that telling a Salarian taxi driver to go as quick as he liked was a terrible idea.

The ride was certainly hair-raising. Not only was their chauffeur Salarian but he was also quite insane, and by the time they reached their destination Sheppurt had made a friend for life. In the back seats, Liara and Tali had spent most of the ride clinging to each other and screaming their lungs out.

"Dat wos orsum. Alrite, we's 'ere."

The visibly shaken Tali and Liara eased themselves out of the taxi, both looking around. Liara could remember visiting Zakera Ward before the Ork War, and the clean lines of buildings she remembered couldn't be further from what she saw now. The entire ward had been, for want of a better word, Orkified. The only non-Orks she saw beside herself and Tali were either Krogan, or those rare individuals who identified better to Orks than their kind, normally placed into a psych ward as soon as possible by their own species. The air was pervaded with the scent of smoke and cordite, the atmosphere was dark and oppressive and every building was covered in Ork totems, many of which consisted of a creative arrangement of the skeletons of various species.

"Ah. Almost as gud as 'ome. Off ta da mek shopp."

"M ... mek shopp?"

He led the two of them on an incomprehensible winding course through the ward, eventually coming to a halt in front of a large building with what looked like an array of capacitors in front of it. Sheppurt barged through the door, bellowing a greeting.

"'Ello, Ken!"

A Big Mek stomped round from behind some outlandish contraption.

"Sheppurt! I 'assent seen ya fer yeers! Oy Gabbz, get out 'ere!"

"Ay Ken, is dat Sheppurt I's 'earin?"

"'Ello Gabbz. Da too of you up ta no gud as ushul?"

"Course we is. So wot kan I do fer ya, Sheppurt? Need anuvver speshul snikky slugga?"

"Not kwite. I's 'ere ta get sum bitz fer dese two."

"A bounsy an' a bukkit? Dat's ..."

"Unkunvenshunal."

Tali looked from one to the other, bemused. They even finished each other's sentences.

"Dey's on ma kroo, so dey need gud bitz. Da bof of dem need gud Orky armour an' betta choppas, an' da bounsy needs a weirdstikk."

"Okays den. Lessee ... Hum. Kum bak at da end of da day and we's be finished makin' da gubbinz."

"Gud. We'll be bak dis aftanoon den."

"See ya round, Sheppurt."

The three of them left the mek shopp, making their way back to the taxi stand in no time. To the Ork's delight and the mounting horror of the others their Salarian friend was still there.

"'Ello again. M'sania shoppin' place, an' I'll make it wurf yer while if ya get us dere in ten minnits."

The Salarian grinned maniacally and gunned the engine.

#####

"Ohmygoddessohmygoddessohmygoddess ..."

"Kee-EEELAH!"

"We's 'ere. Gud werk, taxy-nutta."

The three of them disembarked from the taxi into the most exclusive Asari shopping arcade on the Presidium. The only non-Asari present were an assortment of species with a universal long-suffering demeanour getting towed along by their blue-skinned bond mates, usually piled high with bags of every shape, form and description.

"I remember my mother took me here for my fiftieth birthday. She told me I could get whatever I wanted. We ended up needing to rent a cargo truck to bring all my purchases back to the hotel."

Behind her back, Tali and Sheppurt exchanged an alarmed glance.

"Come on, let's have a look at the map."

"Wait. You need a map?"

"Gork prezurve us."

As it turned out, the mall was a colossal structure, with four stories and almost half a kilometre in its longest axis. The sheer volume of stores boggled the mind, and Sheppurt earned more than a few sour glances from passing shoppers when he expressed his sentiment that not a single one of the shops was useful, something Tali had to agree with.

"We can stop here first."

"Thessian Dreams? What does that sell?"

As it turned out, it sold lingerie.

"Worr. Dis be un-Orky."

Sheppurt looked around the expansive store, the walls covered in larger than life pictures of Asari models wearing very little clothing, ranging from the standard 'lounging on couch' pose to some that were overtly sexual. Rack after rack contained items of underclothing in every design and colour imaginable, all tied together by their common trait of being painfully sexualised.

"Oo, look at dat wun. She's 'oldin a shoota. Shame 'er armour's all busted."

"I think it's supposed to look like that."

"Wot? Why da zog would ya wear armour like dat?"

Deciding that explaining fetishes to a species as sexually oblivious as the Orks was far, far above her pay grade, Tali shrugged.

"I have no idea."

Liara was browsing some of the more demure (lit. not completely scandalous) items when she was ambushed by what looked like a small army of sales assistants.

"Oh my Goddess!" one of them shrieked. "She's perfect!"

"Huh?"

"Look at her chest! It's the perfect size, and so well formed too!"

At this point Liara was seriously worried she was about to get gang-banged in a lingerie store. What seemed like the setup to a cheap porn vid was approaching realisation far too fast for her liking.

"What are you ..."

"Come this way! We have just the thing for you!"

Tali and Sheppurt watched with amusement as the shop assistants towed Liara over to the area of the shop dominated (hur hur) by leather, studs and ball gags. Apparently her cybork arm was sending mixed messages.

"Should we intervene?"

"Is you kiddin'?"

"Yes."

"Gud."

It took twenty minutes for Liara to escape the clutches of her admirers, and when she did make it to the checkout she needed two bags. Since Sheppurt was busy doing an unspecified thing at the time Tali ended up lugging them around as Liara marched off down the mall.

"Zoggin' 'eck. An' I fort da purade-mastuhz at da Stormboy kamps were tuff."

"Come on. We can probably squeeze in a lunch break in about an hour."

Sheppurt started praying to Gork and Mork for a rampaging Squiggoth to smash through the wall. At least then he'd have something to do.

#####

The cargo truck ended up being unnecessary. As it turned out Jokka was training Garrus to fly the Deffkopta, allowing them to airlift Liara's purchases back to the Normandy. Sheppurt was disappointed that his insane taxi friend was otherwise engaged and they ended up being taken back to the mek shopp by a considerably more cautious Turian.

When they arrived, they were greeted out front by Ken and Gabbz.

"Ay Sheppurt. Da bitz be dun, kum inta da shopp an' see. Bring yer aliunz wiv ya."

The Normandy crew followed the paired Big Meks into the mek shopp, Sheppurt artfully dodging a shower of sparks from some gizmo or other. Another such device decided to launch a flaming ball of something at them, only for Liara to bat it away with an annoyed huff then stare at her cybork arm as if she couldn't quite believe it.

"'Ere's da bitz."

Sheppurt was impressed. The two Orky armoured exoskeletons in front of him had clearly been sized for Tali and Liara, with allowances made for their various physiological differences.

"Kum 'ere, bounsy furst."

Liara walked forward, nervously watching the looming Big Meks as she approached the leftmost set of armour.

"Fer da bounsy, we made sum 'ard armour bitz dat go on top of 'er reggeler armour. Den we made 'er a weirdstikk an' a littul upgrade fer da bionik bitz."

Liara let out a surprised yelp as her cybork arm was detached just below the elbow and replaced with an enormous boxy housing with three metallic prongs sticking out the end.

"Ay Bounsy! You got a power klaw!"

"Figgered you's wantin' da best, Sheppurt."

"You figgered rite. Wot you got fer Bukkit?"

"We's got a gud 'ard armour set dat goes on top of 'er frij-suit. Den you said she wos gud wiv kompootas so we got 'er a slice."

"A slice? You's really goin' abuv an' beyond wiv dis job."

"We still owes ya fer bailin' us out of dat krumped battlewagon bak in da Furst Kontakt Waaagh!"

"'Ow many teef is dat?"

"Tells ya wot. You kan owe me a faver."

"Fanks you too. You's gud sorts."

#####

"Kommando."

"Ambassadur. Fancy meetin' you 'ere."

"We's got sum noo infermayshun fer ya. A Council kolony 'as sent a distress korl an' da finkin' be da Geff be involved. You's best 'ead dere rite kwik."

"I's on ma way."

GLOSSARY

Slice: A portable Ork quantum supercomputer that resembles an archaic paper scroll. Very rare and difficult to make, but has processing power equal to a high end Turian strategic planning VI [~200 teraflops]

Blokk: Ork quantum supercomputer that takes the form of a massive chunk of qubit processing material. Although they are erratic, unpredictable and some might even say foul-tempered, these computers are essential for what is called 'numek' - the practice of integrating salvaged Citadel tech into mainstream Ork teknologee. Each one has processing power approximately equal to the STG's KC-114 supercomputer [~4 yottaflops].

Bitz: Generic plural that applies to quantities of discrete inanimate objects (wires, bullets, drinking glasses etc.)

Gubbinz: Generic plural that applies to quantities of substances (water, metal, eezo etc.)

Boyz: Generic plural that applies to groups of individuals, usually prefaced by a qualifier for a common feature or function of the group (burna boyz, mekboyz, krog-boyz etc).

Weirdstikk: A copper staff containing element zero threads, used by Ork Weirdboyz as a biotic focus.

Power Klaw: A large weapon that resembles a crab pincer made from energised blades, often worn by Ork leaders as a close combat weapon.

Mekgun: Any of a wide variety of outlandish energy weapons occasionally employed by Orks, including zappas, shuntas, beemy deffguns, tellyport blastas and lifta-droppas.

WAAAGH! 1. Common Ork warcry. (Da Orks go WAAAGH!). 2. A major war fought by Orks against an external threat or each other. (Dis is gonna be an 'uge WAAAGH!). 3. A field of energy that pervades the universe that is subtly influenced by the will of Orks, according to the Orkish religion. (Kum on lads, da WAAAGH! be on our side taday!). Although most see the WAAAGH! energy as little more than a superstition a small but growing minority in the Citadel scientific community are investigating the possibility that it might be behind some anomalous elements of Ork technology and physiology.

CODEXY BITZ

'Galaxy Weekly' - Letters to the Editor (20th Sept 2175)

Dear Editor,

In response to your article on the increasing Ork influence in the Attican Traverse, can I just say that I for one am glad of the change. The Hegemony's constant slaving has long been a threat to outlying Salarian colonies and though the Orks might not be the most desirable of neighbours at least they are taking action against these blatant violations of Council law. Quite frankly it is despicable that a race as unrefined and barbarous as the Orks has done more to safeguard Salarian citizens against slaver attacks in five years than the Turian military machine has done in five hundred.

- Tonus Mallen, age 22

Dear Editor,

Surely you must agree that the Orks are a menace that must be stopped! I have seen the official Hegemony report on the Ork attacks on Batarian scientific outposts in the Traverse and I am horrified that such brutal, senseless slaughter is allowed to happen. What's more, they then went to callously tear open the cages and turn those poor sick people out of the medical holding facility where Batarian scientists were working to cure them of unspecified life threatening ailments. I hope the Council will take real action soon against these unprovoked and savage attacks against one of their member states.

- Allisa T'spia, 305

Dear Editor,

Although I am loath to say it, on this rare occasion I stand with the Batarians. It is true that the Hegemony sanctioned slaving operations have to end in Council space, but the sheer devastation wreaked on the Batarian populace by rampaging Ork mobs is completely uncalled for. People seem to forget that the general population of the Hegemony are by and large just regular people trying to get by. They don't deserve to be massacred for the crime of being born into a totalitarian regime.

- Renus Baracian, 47

Dear Eddita,

Dis event be anuvva exampul of da imperialist kapitalist ambishuns of Boss Hakkit an' 'is attak squigs. It is da destinee of da riteful Orks of Top Kereea ta rool ova da galaxee an' spread da lite of troof an' freedum ta ah vslgf cbhdsivw

Sorry 'bout dat, I 'ad ta likk da grease from mah fingaz. Ushulee I 'as sumwun ta do dat as befits ma posishun as riteful leader of da galaxee but mah last wun got egsekuted fer laffing while I was torking, so I's between finga likkaz at da moment. As I wos sayin', da glorius mobs of Top Kereea is goin' ta take over da galaxee an' crush da Hakkit an' da Council wiv rains of fire from da 'eavenz.

Soon as da meks make me a nooklea bomm dat akshullee werks.

- Boss Kim Jong Oon (age not given)